Humans have always been quirky.

Textbooks can easily flatten out the history that truly took place, but even through that, the implications of human quirk can be gleaned.

But truly--wars have been started over sheep. John Adams once passed a law making it illegal for people to make fun of him. There's no end to human craziness throughout history.

u/Axel_Ambrose asked:

History nerds of Reddit, what's a historical fact/tidbit that will always get you to chuckle?

Here were some of those answers.

The Most Ancient Trololol


Maeshowe's runes. Archaeologists explored some old Viking chambers and found inscriptions that were 14 feet tall, and unreadable. After years deciphering these runes, they translated to, "this is very high."

We haven't changed.


The Lost Midwestern War

There was a war between Michigan and Ohio over Toledo, and the Ohioans evacuated so fast there werent even any casualties. As a result, the government gave Michigan the upper peninsula and Ohio got to keep Toledo


Medieval Potty Mouth

I once read an account of a dirty joke from the 1200's.

Essentially a young knight was in the court of a noble-woman. She mocked him as so young that his face was as smooth and free of hair as her nether regions. To which he replied something to the tune of "aye, and as well tis barren and smooth, as the grass doth not grow on the oft trodden path."

Best "yeah, well... youre a whore" comeback I've ever read.


The Catalyst

During the American Civil War, there was a gentleman named Wilmer McLean. His house was involved in the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861. After the battle he moved to Appomattox, Virginia, to escape the war thinking that it would be safe. Instead, in 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant in McLean's house in Appomattox, ending the war.

Wilmer McLean could rightly say that "The civil war started in my front yard and ended in my front parlor."


Depravity: The Picnic

The Battle of Bull Run, during the American civil war, was called "The Picnic Battle", because so many civilians from Washington went on picnics on the sidelines and watched. But once the battle actually started, and the Union started to get it's butt kicked, they all ran away, running over injured soldiers and dead bodies and generally disrupting the battle. This was actually a relatively common thing during the civil war, I know it happened at Gettysburg too.


The Bats Didn't Need This

The Bat Bomb. A dentist friend of Eleanor Roosevelt's proposed that not only were the Japanese terrified of bats, bats could roost in difficult to access areas of Japanese buildings. Combine this with a timed incendiary device and the wood-and-rice-paper construction of Japanese buildings...

The Army Air Force spent six months trying to build the damn things and achieved little aside from burning down the test range at Carlsbad Army Air Field Auxilliary Air Base when some of the bats escaped, nested under a fuel tank, and did their patriotic duty 6,000 miles from the intended target.

After the debacle at Carlsbad, the USAAF fobbed the project off to the Navy, who wisely passed it along to the Marines. To everyone's surprise, the Marine Corps was able to get the project to work, even carrying out a successful test at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah.

Unfortunately, the project lost out to the atomic bomb, and was cancelled in early 1944.

Bruce Wayne could not be reached for comment.


Ancient Puppers

Ancient Romans loved their dogs as much as we do. There are entire surviving texts of people talking about their daily, monotonous life with dogs. In some cases, we have more information about their dogs and what they did with them than other aspects of Roman life.

On a less funny but sweet note; when their dogs died, many of them were given elaborate graves with highly decorative tombstones. They often carved poems about them or wrote in length about how much they'll miss them or what they loved about them most. These dog graveyards were considered sacred and vandalizing them was a major offense.


Going Out With A Squish

Giles Corey, one of the men accused and killed during the Salem witch trials, was pressed to death. There was a phrase an accused person was supposed to say even they were brought in for charges, without which a trial couldn't happen.

He paused, evidently a bit shocked at what he considered the absurdity of being accused (iirc he was like 75 years old), and the panel he was brought before began to panic. Then he realized what was going on, and decided to simply refuse to say the phrase, so they couldn't try him for being a witch.

He was brought to basically a ditch, a plank of wood placed over him, and large stones placed on the wood. The intention was to press the phrase out of him.

His last words are alleged to be "More weight"


He's Made His Point

The longest piano piece of any kind is Vexations by Erik Satie.

It consists of a 180-note composition which, on the composer's orders, must be repeated 840 times so that the whole performance is 18 hours 40 minutes.

Its first reported public performance in September 1963, in the Pocket Theater, New York City, required a relay team of 10 pianists.

The New York Times critic fell asleep at 4 a.m. and the audience dwindled to 6 masochists. At the conclusion, one sado-masochist shouted "Encore!"


This Is Why Capitalism Is Stupid


Pepsi, the soft drinks, once had the 6th largest military in the world. Due to an agreement with the Russians, they supplied them with drinks, until Russia couldn't pay for them anymore, so instead they gave Pepsi an arsenal of submarines and other military equipment leading to them having the 6th largest military in the world at that moment.


Space Mysteries

The Apollo 10 mission is involved in several mysteries, from spooky "music" heard by the crew on the far side of the Moon, to the ongoing search for Snoopy and possible recent sightings of its long-lost S IV-b stage. However, the most fascinating mystery of Apollo 10 has to be the infamous Rogue Turd Incident. You can't make this sh*t up.


Srs Bzns

Lenin was really into fitness. While he was in exile in Switzerland, an olympic weightlifter who was a communist came to visit him. Lenin was super excited and immediately got this man to teach him how to lift the barbell properly using brooms because they were the closest thing to a barbell at hand. Lenin's wife Nadezha saw them and started giggling about how stupid they looked, and Lenin apparently said "Stop Laughing! This is serious business!"


A Language For Nicer People

Esperanto is a relatively famous invented language made in the 1880s—it has a few million speakers worldwide, including native speakers over the course of multiple generations. Its purpose was to be a language that all people could easily learn, regardless of where they are from, so that everyone had a mutual language; this is known as an auxlang. It's one of the most successful invented languages in history (if not #1).

What makes me chuckle is that part of what helped propel it to popularity when it was made is that there were already people looking for a good auxlang, but the language holding that role at the time, Volapük, was pretty bad and everyone hated the creator. When Esperanto was made, the creator was much nicer to deal with, so everyone abandoned Volapük and joined the Esperanto movement.


We Should Be So Lucky In 2019


When Governor George Wallace backed by the Alabama National guard blocked two black students from entering the University of Alabama, President Kennedy simply took over the Alabama Guard and ordered them to remove Wallace from the entrance.


The Most Wholesome War

During the Austro-Prussian war, Liechtenstein sent out an army of 80 men. They came back with 81 men, having suffered no casualties and made a friend of 1 Austrian man who they brought back home to Vaduz with them. This means that they came back home stronger than they had when they were sent out.


Egos Are Unbelievable

In the earliest days of NASA, during the Mercury program, they planned for everything, including the bathroom issue, which was solved by attaching a condom to a sealed bag and then stowing it after relieving yourself.

When the doctors were making them, they had 3 sizes, your typical small medium and large, but when they polled the astronauts which size they needed, everyone only said large, not even a single medium. So they renamed the sizes to Gigantic, Humongous and Enormous. After that they had more spread out results.


Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

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