"It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world."
This was made in 1627. By hand! Bernini was contracted to create a bust of Maria Barberini Duglioli, niece of Pope Urban VIII, and subcontracted the work to Giuliano Finelli. Finelli chose to focus on the lady's accessories: the intricate lace collar, the flower in her curly hair, her ropes of pearls. When released, the bust was widely hailed as a tour de force. Finelli raised the standard for female portraits and an inspiration for future busts.
Sure, most of us know that Europe became near-uninhabitable. But check out China, which was mainly steppe/tundra! And New Zealand's northern island had a rainforest! What catches your eye?
Charity Hospital is the second oldest hospital in the United States. It was founded when Louisiana was still French, in May of 1736, using money from the will of Jean Louis, a French sailor and shipbuilder who died in New Orleans the year before. His last will and testament was to finance a hospital for the poor in the colony of New Orleans. Only Bellevue Hospital in New York City is older (just barely) since it was founded a month earlier in March of 1736. Charity Hospital was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina flooding and evacuation in 2005. Technically, the new University Medical Center New Orleans has taken over its functions. But the Charity Hospital's imposing, decaying remains still stand in New Orleans, a reminder of what was lost and the work still needing to be done.
New York City's A Train, 1939
In the 1870s, the Harvard College Observatory director was frustrated with his staff, and would often say "My Scottish maid could do better!" When he hired her officially in 1879, Williamina Fleming proved he had been right all along. She spent two years doing astronomical clerical work, then in 1881, Pickering invited Fleming to formally join the Harvard Collage Observatory and taught her how to analyze stellar spectra. She became one of the founding members of the Harvard Computers, an all-women group of human computers hired by Pickering to compute mathematical classifications and edit the observatory's publications. Williamina ran an astronomy team for decades, publishing a classification system of tens of thousands of stars, discovering a total of 59 gaseous nebulae, over 310 variable stars, and 10 novae. One of her most famous discoveries (among astronomers, anyways) was the Horsehead Nebula in 1888.
The standard of Ur casket, dating to about 2600 BCE, shows a Sumerian soldier standing in a four-wheeled chariot. In fact it shows three such chariots, all with solid wooden wheels. This early form of chariot would come to dominate Bronze Age warfare before a swifter model was invented. The big change? Two-spoked wheels.
Thanks to this well-covered counter-culture music festival, blue jeans became something that everyone wore. They were no longer the clothing of workers on the job, or rebels advertising their disdain for society. The next year jeans appeared on fashion runways. They began being seen on the street as everyday wear. As an example of the festival’s importance, the year after Woodstock, Levi’s ran an advertisement the next which simply showed a picture of the crowd at the festival.
A 214 CE inventory of the imperial palace in Rome noted lists 17 tons of opium.
The Bramble Cay melomys was a tiny rodent that lived on a tiny Australian island. If you’ve never heard of it before, you’re not alone.
It lived on the uninhabited island of Bramble Cay in the Great Barrier Reef. The island has been impacted by rising sea levels, storm surges, and other weather events that have worsened due to climate change. No Bramble Cay melomys have been spotted since 2013, and after seven years of searching for the rodent, the state government changed the species classification from endangered to extinct. The melomys are the first, but will not be the last, mammals to be done in by a climate changing too quickly for them to adapt.
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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