Why are we so inclined to look in our past? Is it to discover what currently makes us who we are? Is it to find out where others went wrong, in order not to repeat the same mistakes? Or maybe it’s just our fascination with the lives of others so different than us. Whatever the reason may be, history has a certain aura of fascination and mysticism that most of us can’t resist.
Here are some interesting and lesser known random history facts that will change your view of the past:
The horse that became a senator
Throughout the years, horses weren’t just the domestic creatures we love today but also the partners in battles and comrades for many characters in history, literature, and mythology.
Alexander the Great managed to tame his horse, Bucefal when he was only a young boy. Rocinante faithfully joined Don Quixote in his quest to conquer the love of Dulcinea. But no horse either in history or literature gained the status of Incitatus.
Caligula, the consul, and Emperor of Rome is well known for his eccentricities. But one act that truly stands out is that of appointing his white stallion to the Senate. Although some may view this fact as a sign of insanity, many proclaimed it as a way for Caligula to show his disrespect towards the Senate. Nonetheless, Caligula’s infatuation with his horse was very real. Incitatus was living the life of royalty and Caligula even managed to find him a wife, named Penelope.
The Castle built by a ghost
Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu was a Romanian writer born in 1838. Although he is known for his literary masterpieces, another eerier fact made him truly famous. His daughter, Iulia Hasdeu was a gifted child and at only 16 years old she became the first Romanian woman to study at the prestigious Sorbonne University. Unfortunately, her life was cut short at just eighteen years old when she died of tuberculosis.
Her father could not get past his daughter’s untimely death and soon became desperate to find a way to cope with his loss. And that’s when he appealed to mysticism. Hasdeu built the castle in Campina as a temple, a place that could facilitate communication with his daughter. He included a darkroom that would become ground zero for his dialogues with Iulia. He admitted that he received the construction plans for the castle from his daughter Iulia after her death in one of these infamous mystical sessions.
Between December 23rd, 1890 and April 18th, 1903, Hasdeu kept a total of 101 transcripts of his séances.
The prophecy that came true
The tragedy genre can be traced back to Aeschylus. It is believed that the ancient Greek tragedian wrote seventy to ninety plays, of which unfortunately only seven survived. As a young man, he was told a dark prophecy when he asked the Oracle.
According to the Oracle, his death would be caused by a falling object. In fear of the prophecy coming true, Aeschylus mostly avoided staying indoors. In 455 BC, Aeschylus was outside when an eagle mistook his head for a rock suitable for shattering the shell of a tortoise.
The playwright was killed on the spot and the prophecy came true despite his efforts.
Robin Hood – with a twist of cocaine
Pablo Escobar built a drug empire that made him infamous. At its peak, Escobar was smuggling 15 tons of cocaine per day. His luxurious estate that covers up to 7.7 square miles included a collection of classic cars, airplanes, dinosaur statues and a zoo.
Despite his wrongdoings, “El Patrón” was highly well regarded by the people of his hometown of Medellin, Colombia. He built parks and soccer stadiums, established food banks, gave money to churches and hospitals and even created a neighborhood. Thus he received the nickname of “Robin Hood” amongst his own people.
Apparently, the hate of the people towards the government that seemed to ignore them made it easier for those like Escobar to gain their trust. In a similar move, Al Capone became popular during the Great Depression for opening one of the first soup kitchens.
Albert Einstein could have been the president of Israel
Albert Einstein left his mark on both science and literature. The German-born physicist of Jewish descent is best known for being the author of the Theory of Relativity.
A lesser known history fact about the man who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 is that he was also offered the Presidency of Israel in 1952. The position, much as that of the British Royal family in recent years, has been mostly a ceremonial one, executive power being exercised by the Prime Minister.
David Ben-Gurion, then-Prime Minister, decided to offer the position to Albert Einstein via a letter. Albert Einstein politely declined due to his inability to “deal properly with people and exercise official functions”.
Karl Marx wrote for the New York Daily Tribune
Karl Marx was a philosopher, sociologist, economist and a very avid critic of the capitalist economy, fact that he made very clear in his most important (although unfinished) work: Das Kapital (The Capital). Together with Friedrich Engels, he laid the ground for Marxism, the socioeconomic method that analyses relations between the classes.
What is surprising about the man that, together with Friedrich Engels wrote and published The Communist Party Manifesto is the fact that he was a journalist for the very capitalist New York Daily Tribune.
For a period of 10 years (between 1852 and 1862), Karl Marx wrote news summaries about the events that were occurring in Europe.
Random little-known History facts
Diving into History fascinated many minds. Although treason, war, conquers and acts such these managed to shape our society today and capture the attention of historians, it is these random little-known history facts that truly make us become more interested in our past.