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The animal trials were common in the Middle Ages. (The Trail of Bill Burns by P. Mathews, 1838)  Source: דוג'רית / Public Domain

Strange But Serious Medieval Animal Trials Were No Kangaroo Court!

One of the more unusual aspects of the Medieval world was that animals could be put on trial like human beings. Yes, there was such a thing as legal animal trials! While the veracity of many Medieval...
John Dee performing an experiment before Queen Elizabeth I.

John Dee: Scholar, Astrologer, and Occult Practitioner that Captivated the Royal Court of 16th Century England

Born into the era of intellectual and artistic reawakening, John Dee quickly rose through Elizabethan society as a scholar, philosopher, navigator, doctor, and astrologer of the Queen of England...
Photo of the Roman horse's head pre-restoration.

German Farmer Lands $1 Million Reward for Rare Bronze Horse Head Found on His Property

Nine years ago, archaeologists unearthed a Roman bronze sculpture in farmland in Lahnau, Germany. They knew the discovery was both rare and valuable. The farmer who owns the land received a payment...
François Clouet - Dame au bain (Portrait of Diane de Poitiers)

A Mistress with the Midas Touch: Her Hunger for Gold Would Be the Death of Her

Diane de Poitiers was a French noblewoman and courtier who lived during the 16 th century. She is best remembered for being the mistress of Henry II, the King of France. This allowed Diane to wield...
A view inside the painted village of Tiébélé in Burkina Faso.

Cultural Identity Painted on the Walls in This One-of-a-Kind Village

Crocodiles and snakes wind their ways across the walls. The creatures swim in a sea of stars, moons and geometric designs... Traditional art and architecture are alive in the village of Tiébélé in...
Venus and Mars, c 1485. Tempera and oil on poplar panel, National Gallery, London.

Trial by Public Performance: The Impotence Trials of Pre-Revolutionary France

The impotence trials of prerevolutionary France sound a bit like a political joke. France had mostly squelched the ability for couples to divorce, and it was in the wake of this that the impotence...
Figurines representing three of the ten judges of Diyu and Red Maw

Journey to Hell, Featuring Torture and Never-ending Bureaucracy: Understanding the Underworld in Chinese Mythology

“Each of the criminals is bound to an iron pillar and the ox-headed demon is in the process of administering punishment—using iron or copper blades he peels the skin of the person's face, just as a...
Detail from an illustration of a body in its coffin that starts to bleed in the presence of the murderer during a cruentation 1497.

The Bizarre Importance of Bleeding Bodies in Medieval Trials

The history of criminal justice and forensic science is really interesting because of all the absurd rituals and superstitions courts relied on to determine guilt or innocence right up until the 19th...
Re-creation of the port at Eridu, an ancient “Court of the King of the World”.

The Royal Road of the King of the World, and the Ancient Center of the Earth

The Royal Road of the King of the World is a 20-degree band around the Earth that has 30 degrees north latitude as its center. This band is not, technically, the geographical center of the Earth,...