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Famous People

In this section, we shed light on some of the most famous and infamous people known throughout history, from powerful pharaohs, to emperors and empresses, acclaimed military leaders, or just regular civilians who’ve been thrown into the spotlight for great crimes or for heroic actions, leaving an indelible mark on the world.

Queen Elizabeth II. Source: Open Government License

Queen Elizabeth II Becomes Second Longest-Reigning Monarch in History

As the United Kingdom recovers from the jubilee celebrations which took place from the 2nd to the 5th June 2022, commemorating seventy years since Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne, the queen has...
Queen Elizabeth I as depicted in the film Mary, Queen of Scots. Credit: Focus Features

Was Queen Elizabeth I Killed by her Poisonous White Makeup?

Queen Elizabeth I was one of the most successful, celebrated queens in British history. The daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn , she came to the throne on November 17, 1558, following the death...
Detail of an etching of Manetto, who was pranked by Filippo Brunelleschi, from The Fat Woodworker. Source: Public domain

Filippo Brunelleschi and his Remarkable Renaissance Prank

Everyone loves a good, harmless prank. This was especially true for Filippo Brunelleschi, a Florentine man who famously got back at his friend for having failed to show up at a dinner party in...
The saints Chrysanthus and Daria being pushed underground to their horrible death in a salt mine.		Source: Public domain

Legendary Christian Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria Proved To Be Real

Legend has it that the now Christian saints Chrysanthus and Daria, who lived in the third century AD, converted thousands of fellow Romans to the Christian faith. This resulted in their arrest and...
Il Disinganno, or The Release from Deception, by the Genoese artist Francesco Queirolo. Source: Dalia Nera / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Impossible Statue: The Marvelous Marble Net of Il Disinganno

The impossible sculptural feats within the Sansevero Chapel Museum in Naples will take your breath away. Amongst them, the famed statue known as Il Disinganno , was carved out of one single block of...
Amphora dating to circa 540 BC made in Attica, Greece, depicting bees from ancient Greek mythology. Source: The British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Getting Buzzed: The History of Hallucinogenic Mad Honey

Everyone loves honey. A delicious, sweet treat, it can be used in recipes, cosmetics, or as a sugar substitute. However, not all honey is made the same. This is incredibly clear in Nepal and Turkey,...
Klaus Störtebeker was part of the Victual Brothers pirate band that terrorized the Baltic Sea until . . . 		Source: waewkid / Adobe Stock

Klaus Störtebeker: The Bizarre Tale of a North German Pirate

Looking to the past, the annals of history have its fair share of extraordinary and unusual deaths, some more famous than others. It’s well known that Attila the Hun, the marauding Mongolian warlord...
Obverse and reverse of the golden Curmsun disc. Source: Tomasz Sielski / CC BY-SA 3.0

Sweden’s Enigmatic Golden Curmsun Disc

In 2014, a young girl living in Malmö, presented her teacher with a small golden disc brought to Sweden by her Polish grandmother. Little did she know that this small golden artifact, now dubbed the...
Left; Portrait of Francisco Pizarro. Right; The tomb of Francisco Pizarro in the Lima Cathedral held the wrong man’s remains for nearly a century, but modern science has corrected the error with Pizarro’s remains, found in two boxes beneath the cathedral in 1977.						Source: Left; Public Domain, Right; RAF-YYC / CC BY-SA 2.0

Finding Francisco Pizzaro: The Strange Story of Pizarro’s Remains

It’s fair to say that Francisco Pizarro was a highly divisive figure. Indeed, even a mention of him today in some parts of the world can incite blood fueled anguish and hatred of the man responsible...
Left, a Sedducee, who some scholars claim the Teacher of Righteousness is based on. Right, A fragment of the Damascus Scroll in which the Teacher is most mentioned. 	Source: Left; Hartmann Schedel / Public Domain, Right; CC0

Who was the Teacher of Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

The Teacher of Righteousness is supposedly the person who replicated the God-like figure by his words, beliefs and actions. Who was he? Was he Jesus? The Teacher of Righteousness is a figure...
Representational image of Ermine de Reims. Source: inarik / Adobe Stock

The Visions of Ermine de Reims - Supernatural Forces in Everyday Medieval Life

Ermine de Reims was a relatively inconsequential peasant woman who moved to the town of Reims, in northeastern France, from rural Vermandois with her elderly husband in 1384. She was a pious woman,...
Artists impression of Brahmin, representative of the of the Sena Dynasty elite, who were part of the Brahmin top-echelon caste in India who forged the Sena Empire. Source: Olena / Adobe Stock

The Sena Empire: Rise and Fall of the Last Hindu Kings of Bengal

The kings of the Sena Empire, who were part of the Brahmin top-echelon caste in India, originally came from Karnata in southern India before they moved to the Bengali region. The history of the Sena...
Representational image of Achilles. Source: Warpedgalerie / Adobe Stock

Achilles: The Greatest Hero of Greek Mythology?

“Sing Goddess, the rage of Achilles” is the very first line of The Iliad , Homer’s epic poem, as he introduces its main hero. The Greek hero Achilles was believed to have been the strongest, bravest...
Whatever Happened to Blackbeard’s Silver-Plated Skull?

Whatever Happened to Blackbeard’s Silver-Plated Skull?

Blackbeard, an infamous pirate from the 1700s, was notoriously an excellent fighter and survivalist. He was so famous, in fact, that after his death his skull was rumored to have been plated in...
Vaccination poster image. The story of inoculation is far older than you might think. Source: bakhtiarzein / Adobe Stock

Just a Poke: The Origins of Inoculation

With the recent pandemic and the still-spreading Covid-19 virus, inoculation has become a hot topic throughout several areas of the world. Regardless of what side you’re on, the history of...
A statue of Eri, the mythical founding king of the Igbo people of northwestern Africa.		Source: TheGuardian, Nigeria

Eri: Mythical King and Founder of the Igbo

The Igbo are a large ethnic group located around Nigeria with a fascinating origin story. Having lived throughout northwestern Africa for many years, the Igbo’s origins can be traced back nearly 6000...
Composite image of the Trung sisters. Source: warmtail / Adobe Stock

Hell Hath No Fury Like the Freedom Fighting Trung Sisters

Throughout history, Vietnamese women have been instrumental in resisting foreign domination. The most well-known of these heroines are the Trung sisters, who led the first national uprising against...
Composite image combining illustration of Acharya Kanad and an image of an atom. Source: astroved / CC BY-SA 4.0 & Siarhei / Adobe Stock

Acharya Kanad: An Indian Sage Who Developed Atomic Theory 2,600 Years Ago

While John Dalton, an English chemist and physicist, is the man credited today with the development of atomic theory at the turn of the 19th century, a theory of atoms was actually formulated 2,500...
The Ben Cao Gang Mu (Compendium of Material Medica) is a 16th-century collection of medical knowledge. Source: Public domain

The Ben Cao Gang Mu – The Bible of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The Ben Cao Gang Mu , or Compendium Materia Medica , is an encyclopedic compendium written by the 16th-century Chinese doctor Li Shizhen. This compilation is said to be the most complete and...
Christopher Columbus statue in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Source: Nikolay N. Antonov / Adobe Stock

First Tomb of Christopher Columbus Finally Found

He can be hailed as the heroic explorer who “discovered” the “New World” or reviled as the man who set off the process of genocide of indigenous Americans, but he can’t be denied a momentous place in...
The screen poster for the 1982 film The Return of Martin Guerre.		Source: Erogers148 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Martin Guerre: A Much Celebrated Historic Tale of Stolen Identity

On the 16th of September 1560, in the small rural French town of Artigat, a man named Arnaud du Tilh was put to death by hanging for a most unusual crime: for over three years, he had assumed an...
Gold signet ring bearing the coat of arms of Sir Matthew Jenison, once Sheriff of Nottingham.		Source: Hansons Auctioneers

Gold Ring that Belonged to Real Sheriff of Nottingham Sold

On March 24 Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire, England began taking bids on one of the more fascinating historical artifacts they’ve put up for auction. The item they’re selling is a flashy golden...
King Arthur statue at Tintagel Castle, one of the mysterious Celtic Kings of legend. 	Source: Alex / Adobe Stock

The Royal Burials of 65 Celtic Kings Identified in England and Wales

Researchers in England had always known there was something special about these 65 graves. Now, a new paper explains that these are likely the resting places of powerful post-Roman period Celtic...
Henry VIII shares a drink with Anne Boleyn, after Daniel Maclise, but she was soon to lose her head as Henry revolted against Catholic divorce laws. (Mike Licht / CC BY 2.0)

Why is Henry VIII’s Tomb So Small When His Life Was So Very Opulent?

Hidden under the floor in St George’s Chapel in Windsor, England where thousands of people walk every day, a forgotten tomb lies. Its inhabitant was once one of England’s most exuberant kings, yet...

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