Monday, December 6, 2021

MORE ANECDOTES FROM HISTORY:

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Some of these have been detailed in Bytes in the past.

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In the Baltic town of Vilnius, through which Napoleon’s troops marched to their doom in the summer of 1812, there stands today a simple monument bearing two plaques. Together they tell the whole story. On the side with its back to Moscow is written ‘Napoleon Bonaparte passed this way in 1812 with 400,000 men.’ On the other side are the words ‘Napoleon Bonaparte passed this way in 1812 with 9,000 men.’

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When Xerxes I invaded Greece in 480 BC.]he sent envoys throughout Greece, demanding surrender to the Persians. All but two city states complied. Athens beheaded their envoy, Sparta threw theirs down a well.

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The funeral of William the Conqueror. His corpse, bloated with gas, exploded during the service, driving out most everyone except the servants, who promptly ransacked the stinking corpse before fleeing.

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"The [American civil war] began in my front yard and ended in my parlor" - Wilmer McLean. Mr McLean lived in Bull Run, Virginia and his house was used as a confederate headquarters of General Beauregard during the first major battle of the war. After the second battle of bull run he started to fear for his and his family's safety so he bought a small cottage about 120 miles away in Appomattox, Virginia where April 9, 1865 General Lee officially surrendered to Lt General Grant in Mr. McLean's front parlor thus ending the Civil War.

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The male heir to the throne of England is usually given the title Prince of Wales. This originates from 1301 after Edward I conquered Wales and met with Welsh nobles to try to get them to accept his lordship over them and stop rebelling. He promised to appoint a Prince of Wales that was born in Wales and didn't speak any English.

He then presented his infant son who was just born in the English castle inside Wales and didn't speak any language as the Prince.

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The mathematician Joseph Fourier, revered for his famous Fourier series and mathematical theory of heat, was a great believer on the imagined healing properties of heat. He would wear excessive amounts of warm clothing and wrap himself in blankets, thinking this would maximise the "healing effect". In 1830, he tripped over one of these blankets and fell down the stairs, killing himself in the process!

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Conductor Thomas Beecham once met a lady he knew, but could not remember who she was. He asked her whether she was well.

"Oh, very well, but my brother has been rather ill lately", she said.

"Ah, yes, your brother. I'm sorry to hear that. And, er, what is your brother doing at the moment?"

"Well... he's still King", replied Princess Mary.

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