According to ancient Chinese belief, a tiger's body parts have magical powers to cure disease. Tiger bones supposedly cure weakness. Whiskers are used for toothaches. And tiger tails are used for skin diseases.  These beliefs are paying for catastrophic poaching, as tiger's body parts can be sold at high prices to a Chinese market hungry for "medicine."

Slightly Gruesome But Well-Preserved Mummy Found In China

She's about 700 years old. Still, she looks pretty good. Found preserved in a brown liquid, her silk and cotton dress indicates she was likely at some high-ranking level in the Ming Dynasty, which ruled China from 1368 to 1644. Click through the images to see her like some lucky researchers can!

Caligula, the Roman emperor who was ... mentally challenged ... tried to emulate Alexander the Great by riding horseback across a bridge of boats over the Naples Bay. And he did it dressed in a breastplate Caligula had stolen from Alexander's tomb.

Ali Ibn Yusuf’s Ring

This ring, made of silver and gold, is a beautiful example of Seljuk artistry and craftsmanship. It is topped with a purple stone seal. And around the seal is a wish for "Perpetual Glory and Prosperity [and] Long-life.” The ring comes from Persia in the 1100s CE, and a second inscription tells us that it was once owned, or perhaps made, by an “Ali Ibn Yusuf.”

In British English, raisins are also called "sultanas." That's because they were originally a foreign import, from the Ottoman Empire. In the UK and Australia, "Raisin Bran" cereal is "Sultana Bran."

Aizen Myoo, a Shingon Buddhist protective deity and god of love. The protective deity makes sense. But he is not looking particularly loving. Maybe his tough exterior hides a soft heart? This particular seated wooden statue of Aizen Myoo is Japanese, from the Kamakura Period, circa 1200s to 1300s CE.

No one actually knows where the Koh-i-Noor diamond came from. Who first discovered it, how big it was before being cut -- all unknown. The famous diamond can concretely be placed only starting in 1739, as one of many jewels seized and shipped from Delhi to Iran by an upstart invader named Nader Shah. He was one of many local rulers who were taking advantage of the collapsing Mughal Empire. With a couple tons of loot being sent back to Nader Shah's capital in Iran, historians are lucky anyone thought to note the Koh-i-Noor!

The First Fashionable Knockoff

About 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered how to make silk from the cocoon of silkworms. Silk quickly became highly prized -- and very expensive -- so to keep their monopoly, the Chinese kept the secret of how to make the valuable fabric. It was illegal to take silkworms outside of China. Anyone caught trying to export the secret of silk could face the death penalty. With such stringent measures, the Chinese managed to keep the secret for almost 3,000 years! Which opened the door for knock-offs.

The most common knock-off was cotton, beaten with sticks to soften it, then rubbed against a stone to give it a shine like silk. The resulting fabric was called "chintz" because it was "cheap." Even today, with silk much cheaper and more available, the word chintz means something less valuable and of less good quality.

An Old, Old City

Gwangju, a major city in the south of South Korea, was founded in 57 BCE. Which is pretty amazing to think about -- it is that old, and yet, we have a precisely dated record for when it was founded. Many ancient cities, including Pyongchang in Korea, Beijing in China, London in England, and Rome in Italy, are just ancient. Their actual age isn't known, they just have legends and myths. That makes Gwangju a pretty special city. It recently, or recently in comparison, celebrated its two thousandth birthday in 1957.


"Every 12 years Jupiter returns to the same position in the sky; every 370 days it disappears in the fire of the Sun in the evening to the west, 30 days later it reappears in the morning to the east . . ."

Gan De, a Chinese astronomer. He was born around 400 BCE.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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