A little over one hundred years ago people were listening to recorded music on phonograph cylinders. Disc records were also around, and for a time the two formats competed with each other, before records eventually won out.
In 1936, a US magazine, The Colophon, asked its readers to name ten authors whose work would still be highly regarded by the end of the twentieth century. Unfortunately those polled were a little off the mark, but if you’re looking for some new reading ideas, then the ten authors they did nominate might make for a good starting point.
Sitting around campfires in the evenings, after a day of hunting, collecting, or farming, allowed our ancient ancestors the opportunity to talk about matters that were not quite so vital to day-to-day survival, and this is when storytelling began to emerge and develop.
A study of evening campfire conversations by the Ju/’hoan people of Namibia and Botswana suggests that by extending the day, fire allowed people to unleash their imaginations and tell stories, rather than merely focus on mundane topics.
Make no noyse nor use any meane, whereby thou maiest disturbe thy schoolefellowes: much lesse thy schoolemaster. Be a patterne of good manners, industry, curtesie, and obeying thy Master unto all in the Shoole. So shall thy praise be great, and thy profit greater.
As a child Elizabeth was sent away from London, to keep her isolated from the plague outbreak. She nonetheless contracted the disease and died. Fearing the worst, that is execution, her minders dressed up a local boy, to masquerade as Elizabeth, and managed to fool the King, Henry VIII, when he travelled to see her.
Of course there was no choice but to maintain the supposed charade, and the same boy, still impersonating the deceased Elizabeth, later ascended the throne.
So when “she” stood at Bisley manor, in the dimness of an oak-beamed hall lit by latticed windows, it was not so surprising that the king failed to realise he was being duped. He had no reason to suspect his daughter had been ill, after all, and he himself was tired and in pain. But after he left later that afternoon, the hoax began in earnest. Parry and Lady Ashley realised that if they ever admitted what they had done, the king’s fury would be boundless. They might get out of the country to safety, but their families would surely be killed. On the other hand, few people had known the princess well enough to be certain of recognising her, especially after an interval of many months. This boy had already fooled the king, the most important deception. Meanwhile, there was no easy way to find a female lookalike, and replace the replacement. As the courtiers buried the real Elizabeth Tudor in a stone coffin in the manor grounds, they decided their best hope of protecting themselves and their families was to teach this Bisley boy how to be a princess.
Sounds more like a storyline from Blackadder if you ask me, but who knows.
Actually there’s nothing in this Futurity article directly suggesting that, but the tipping point, or threshold, for the rapid rise in the world’s population, can be traced back to Roman times, rather than perhaps the Industrial Revolution:
“The industrial revolution and public health improvements were proximate reasons that more people lived longer,” says Aaron Stutz, an associate professor of anthropology at Emory University. “If you dig further in the past, however, the data suggest that a critical threshold of political and economic organization set the stage 1,500 to 2,000 years ago, around the start of the Common Era.”
As a comparison, this beast would have been seven times heavier than Tyrannosaurus rex. Luckily for us – if people had been around at the time – Dreadnoughtus was a herbivore, meaning the species wouldn’t have had much interest in humans as a food source. Heaven help any creature that did something to annoy them though.
Some honey produced in coastal regions of Turkey, along the Black Sea, can be possessed of a certain hallucinogenic quality, if honey bees are able to pollinate, and gather the nectar of, rhododendron flowers that grow in the area.
While adding a dollop of this so-called “mad honey” to drinks, such as tea I imagine, resulted in a buzz akin to consuming a couple of alcoholic beverages, when ingested in any reasonable quantity it can however induce nausea, blurred vision, and seizures, among other things.
Indeed, in 67 B.C. Roman soldiers invaded the Black Sea region under General Pompey’s command, and those loyal to the reigning King Mithridates secretly lined the Romans’ path with enticing chunks of mad honeycomb. The unwitting army ate these with gusto, as the story goes. Driven into an intoxicated stupor by the hallucinogenic honey, many of the flailing soldiers became easy prey, and were slain.
Interestingly, I saw a film called Bal, or Honey, a few years ago, that is set in pretty much the same part of Turkey, although I don’t believe hallucinogenic honey was featured.
Despite being one the most celebrated English literature authors of the nineteenth century, no one had known what Jane Austen really looked like until Melissa Dring, a freelance forensic artist, set about helping to create an accurate likeness of her for Madame Tussaud’s wax museum.
Dring was similarly unimpressed by Cassandra’s sketch – “It makes her look a little bit as if she’d been sucking lemons and it’s so totally unlike the feeling that you get from reading her books.” – but nevertheless used it as a starting place. She then spent a year consulting the many eyewitness accounts that described Jane; scouring portraits of members of Austen’s family for shared traits; even consulting a graphologist who examined Austen’s tight, cramped hand, and highlighted the writer’s private, secretive nature, her practicality, and her right-handedness. Drawing on all the available information – which, she said, was more than she normally has to go on – Dring created a composite portrait of younger Jane Austen that she felt captured the author’s physical appearance as well as her character.