12 about historical representations

1. Pyramids of Giza were built by slaves

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Contrary to popular belief, slaves were forced to build the pyramids in Egypt. Excavated tombs near the pyramids support the theory that they were built by Egyptian workers who were proud of their work and the service of the Pharaoh.

2. The trial of the Salem witches ended with burning them at the stake

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The trial of the Salem witches in 1692 led to the arrests of 150 men and women, of which 31 were convicted and 20 were sentenced to death.

While 20 people were executed, none of them were burned at the stake. Nineteen of the victims were executed and one died during torture under the pressure of heavy cargo.

3. The Vikings wore helmets with horns

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There is no evidence that Vikings wore horns on their helmets during fights. Our modern way the Vikings wore horned helmets, came through the Opera 1876 «Der Ring des Nibelungen». These helmets with horns was created by costume designer Carl Emil Doepler.

4. Napoleon Bonaparte was very short

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The rise of Napoleon was 5’7 ft (about 173 cm), which in those days was above average height. Confusion with its growth associated with the difference between the then of England and France. A French inch was longer than the Imperial inch of the UK. The rise of Napoleon was written in French units of measurement as 5’2 feet (158 cm), but UK never made allowances for this difference.

5. Marie Antoinette said «Let them eat cake»

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Marie Antoinette never said «Let them eat cake». This quote is usually attributed to her, but actually this quote belongs to Jean-Jacques Rousseau: he wrote it in his autobiography, where he recalls a story he once heard about a great Princess. History testifies that when she was told that peasants had no bread and she replied, «Let them eat cake».

It is unlikely that Rousseau could write about Marie-Antoinette: in 1765, when it was written the book, she was only 10 years old.

6. Columbus proved that the Earth is round

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Educated Europeans at the time knew that the Earth is spherical, in fact it has been known at least since Aristotle. Columbus was difficult to get support for his journey, he actually said that the size of the Earth was much smaller. Thus, his journey was connected with the discovery of the fact that the Earth is round.

7. People in the middle ages lived a little

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While life expectancy in the middle Ages was low, this does not mean that people died of old age at the age of thirty or forty years. People actually lived well and in sixty.

8. The pilgrim fathers, the founders of the first colonies in North America, wore black, and their hat had a buckle

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The pilgrim fathers did not wear black clothing with square white collars and cuffs. Their fashion was actually borrowed from the last Elizabethan era, and they wore bright, pure colors (red, green, yellow and purple shades).

They also didn’t wear buckles on their hats, shoes or belts. The image we associate with the fathers-pilgrims, actually appeared in the XIX century, when buckles were a kind of emblem of sophistication.

9. The Emperor Nero played the violin when I was watching Rome is burning

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According to Tacitus, the historian of those times, Nero actually was not in Rome when the fire started, he was in his Villa in as well (about 30 miles from Rome).

When Nero learned of the fire, he rushed back to Rome to organize efforts to provide assistance.

In addition, the violin at that time did not exist.

10. Marco Polo brought pasta (macaroni) in Italy

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The story goes that Marco Polo brought back pasta from his trip to China.

Most historians agree that the Arabs brought the pasta to Italy in the late seventh century, during the conquest of Sicily. It was almost 600 years before the birth of Marco Polo

11. Van Gogh cut off his ear

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The infamous history shows that in 1888, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, cut off his left ear with a razor, wrapped it in newspaper, and then handed it to a prostitute named Rachel.

The reality is that he cut all of his ears, but only a small part of it.

Some historians, however, believe that in fact van Gogh lost part of his ear in a fight with his friend, French artist Paul Gauguin.

12. The cow Mrs. o’leary was kick over a lantern and started the Great Chicago fire

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The story, published in Chicago, testified that the Republican Mrs. o’leary was milking a cow in the barn and the cow kicked over the lamp that caused the fire.

While the fire indeed started in her barn, Mrs. o’leary has always maintained that her whole family sleeping in the house when it happened.

A few years ago, in 1893, Michael Ahern, the reporter who wrote the story, admitted that he wrote it.