History seems like a pretty boring subject to many people, but that's really not the case. The many stories of one-upmanship, backstabbing, and sweet revenge are just part of what makes history so interesting.
Reddit user u/Eslayer12 asked:
Olga of Kiev. When her husband died, the country that killed him assumed they'd just take over and force her into marriage.
She straight up killed the dignitaries that were sent to tell her she had to marry - multiple times, in the most intense way possible.
She then travelled to where her husband had been killed and basically burnt the place to the ground - again, in the most hardcore, amazing way.
They made her a freaking saint. Worth the read on Wikipedia!
“Stop sending people to kill me! We've already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle... If you don't stop sending killers, I'll send a very fast working one to Moscow and I certainly won't have to send another.”
Tito to Joseph Stalin
In the late 1980s Nintendo and Sony developed a CD add-on for the Super Nintendo. Nintendo then pulled out of the partnership and opted to work with Phillips instead and released the CD-i.This move was highly frowned upon because Nintendo had decided to ditch a fellow Japanese company for a foreign one.
So Sony picked up the pieces of the project and tried to partner with Sega. The board of directors turned the idea down saying "that's a stupid idea, Sony doesn't know how to make hardware. They don't know how to make software either. Why would we want to do this?"
At the end Sony released a game system by the name of Playstation in 1994 to compete with the Nintendo 64 and outsold their former partners nearly 3:1 plus it marked the first time that Nintendo wasn't top dog since they released the NES.
This was played in besieged Leningrad. And it was broadcasted on radio, so nazi soldiers could hear it.
Imagine hearing "F**K YOU" from a city that you thought was already dead.
The "Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks" is the best response to a demand for surrender, ever.
In response to requests by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire to desist attacks and submit:
"Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!
O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil's kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are thou, that canst not slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil sh*ts, and your army eats. Thou shalt not, thou son of a whore, make subjects of Christian sons; we have no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, f**k thy mother.
Thou Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-f**ker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig's snout, mare's arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw thine own mother!
So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won't even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we'll conclude, for we don't know the date and don't own a calendar; the moon's in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day's the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!
Koshovyi otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host."
There's a painting of this moment with all the Cossacks laughing as they compose the letter.
My personal favorite: the beginning of the Battle of Stamford Bridge, in England, 1066. England's been invaded by a Norwegian army led by Harald Hardrada, king of Norway, and Tostig Godwinson, exiled English earl and estranged brother to the English king. They've already fought one battle, they've captured York. Things are looking good for them.
They're chilling, enjoying their success, waiting at Stamford Bridge for the hostages they demanded. It's a hot day. They're not expecting any trouble. But wait- an English army shows up. That's practically impossible. The battle of Fulford Gate had taken place only five days ago, and the Norwegians had completely routed the forces of the northern earls. The rest of the English army was known to be in the south, awaiting a Norman invasion.
Turns out the English had ridden all the way up North in FOUR DAYS.
The Norwegians were, understandably, a bit unhappy. They form into a circle. They don't have their armor with them- it's at the ships. It's too hot to be hanging around in mail. They've got helmets and shields and weaponry, and that's it.
The English send a rider to negotiate. He tells Tostig that his brother the King is willing to offer him his earldom back and part of the rule of England if he gives up now. Tostig asks what his buddy Harald Hardrada gets for his trouble.
"Six feet of English ground, or as much more as he needs, being taller than other men."
Tostig says they're done here. The rider rides away. Harald Hardrada asks who that dude was, because if it had been him talking, he'd have just killed the bast*rd there. Tostig says oh, that's my brother. That's Harold Godwinson, the king.
Harold Godwinson rode up to an enemy army personally and told the king of Norway, known to be a great warrior and general, that all he'd get from this invasion was a grave.
Battle commences. Norwegians lose. Tostig and Harald Hardrada both die. Huge bloody mess. English army is crippled. And then three days later the Normans land in the south. Harold is screwed. He still marches his army back, gathers as much force as he can, and engages three weeks later. He's killed at Hastings. Normans conquer England.
Basically a very personal f**k you moment that snowballed quite intensely.
The first cell phone. The first call ever made from a cell phone was to a competitor's landline. Big d*ck energy
Martin Cooper, a Motorola employee and inventor of the first cell phone, called his competition at Bell Labs.
On the crowning of King Henry VII, he backdated his own reign to before the date of the Battle of Bosworth, meaning anyone who was loyal to him now but had shown any sign of opposition at Bosworth was now a traitor and an enemy to the realm. Justice served.
After the Restoration, the English dug up the body of Oliver Cromwell and hung, drawn and quartered the body, sticking the head on London Bridge
So when France exiles Napoleon Bonaparte (the first time), they didn't think to change out military personnel. So he basically rolls up to the first French outpost he gets to, says "'sup" and begins reassembling an army. By the time he gets to Paris, he's got enough forces that France is like "Well. Welcome back."
The French newspapers which, in 1815, were subject to the censor, announced the departure of Bonaparte from Elba, his progress through France, and his entry into Paris in the following ingenious manner:
— 9th March, the Anthropophagus has quitted his den
— 10th, the Corsican Ogre has landed at Cape Juan
— 11th, the Tiger has arrived at Gap
— 12th, the Monster slept at Grenoble
— 13th, the Tyrant has passed through Lyons
— 18th, Bonaparte is only sixty leagues from the capital; he has been fortunate enough to escape the hands of his pursuers
— 19th, Bonaparte is advancing with rapid steps, but he will never enter Paris
— 20th, Napoleon will, tomorrow, be under our ramparts
— 21st, the Emperor is at Fontainbleau
— 22nd, His Imperial and Royal Majesty, yesterday evening, arrived at the Tuileries, amidst the joyful acclamations of his devoted and faithful subjects.
A pirate known as Jean Lafitte had a bounty of $500 put on him by a governor. So he put a $5000 bounty on the governor
When Otto von Bismarck was about 50, he was walking down a street when a man ran up to him and shot him five times. Otto then turned around and began to beat the absolute sh*t out of him until some armed guards come to help him. When they inspected Otto for wounds, they found that all 5 hit, but they all either just grazed him or bounced off his ribs. Literally the iron chancellor.
IN AD 37 the new Roman Emperor Gaius, better known by the nickname Caligula, built a bridge across the sea.
It stretched three miles across the deep blue waters of the Bay of Naples at ancient Rome's most fashionable seaside resort of Baiae.
But Caligula's was no ordinary bridge. It was a temporary, floating structure built on wooden pontoons, a costly and impressive feat of engineering. It served a single purpose before being dismantled.
On a day of boiling heat watched by crowds of spectators, Caligula rode across the bridge. His armour glinted in the sunlight, for the 24-year-old emperor had dressed himself in the golden breastplate of the legendary Greek hero Alexander The Great.
On the following day Caligula made the journey in reverse, this time riding in a chariot, followed by soldiers of his personal guard.
It was a pointless piece of showmanship, lost on the majority of the crowd, several of whom fell drunkenly to their deaths in the sea after two days' partying.
One historian claimed Caligula pulled the stunt to disprove a prophecy that he had no more chance of becoming emperor than of riding a horse across the Bay of Baiae.
In the 1970s the small town of Vulcan, West Virginia asked for state funding to replace a bridge into town. The state legislature refused to grant Vulcan the funding they needed. Instead the town appealed to the Soviet Union for aid. After hearing about the request, the state legislature immediately granted over $1 million for the town to build a new bridge.
If a small town in WV asking for soviet funding in the middle of the Cold War isn't a big middle finger to the state government, then I don't know what is.
The funny part is that two Soviet representatives at the US embassy actually came over to look at the broken bridge, and seriously considered funding the rebuilding to piss off the Americans.
British prisoner of war in Nazi Germany stitches a quilt. The Nazis put it out for show. Hidden in Morse code stitched in were the words "F hitler" and "god save the King"
This requires some background. The Spartans were famously blunt. They were trained to "get to the point" when speaking (instead of using artsy and beautiful language that would have been common at the time) by being bitten on the thumb if they became long winded. Now to the meat. Phillip the second of Masedon (Alexander the greats father) sent the Spartans a letter saying "Would you like me to enter your land as friend or foe?" The Spartans responded with one word. "Neither". Phillip was irate. He then sent another long winded message. "If once I enter into your territories, I will destroy ye all, never to rise again". The Spartans then sent back one word. "If". It was like putting your head in a lion's mouth and I love it.
I would say the moment that Rollo swore allegiance to the French king:
"the bishops present suggested that Rollo kiss the king's foot, as a sign of submission. It was probably an idea intended to humiliate Rollo, and was not taken very well.
After some discussion, it was agreed that one of Rollo's men would do it. However, the person chosen lifted the king's foot, and, without bending down, brought it up to his mouth. Not surprisingly the king fell over, amid general laughter in the court. Following this amusing scene, the king and his men swore to honour the concession to Rollo."
This is already one of my favorite threads in reddit history...
Galvarino: Chilean warrior who had both his hands cut off by the conquistadors for raising arms against the Spanish. Instead of letting himself serve as a message of helplessness in the face of the invaders the crazy bast*rd strapped swords to his stumps and went on the warpath.
When Germanic tribes invaded Britain after the Romans left, they named the native Celts Welisc, meaning "foreigner" (even though they themselves were the foreigners). That later became the word Welsh, which the English promptly adopted for phrases like welch on a bet.
TL;DR: all of history has been one giant etymological middle finger to the Welsh.
This is more petty, but when Taft bragged to his friends via telegram about scaling a mountain on horseback, that it was a few thousand feet, clear weather, all in all not too difficult, his friend replied, "HOW IS HORSE?"