History is amazing, and history is strange. So often one finds that the reality written is stranger that anything that could come out of the mind of the greatest writers. However, some false facts often make their ways into our books, mixing with the improbable events till they don’t stand out in themselves. But taking such facts at their face value can be dangerous, both for our individual and common knowledge and the implications that they can have. Here are some facts that you should probably erase –
Einstein Didn’t Fail Math
Source - (Tons of Facts)
An often inspirational anecdote used to encourage children is to tell them that the great Einstein actually failed math in his childhood. Though probably well-intentioned, the fact is false. The genius was always gifted in the field of numbers, though he did fail a college entrance. In fact, it might be more heartening for kids to know that like all humans, the scientist was good in some subjects and bad in some, though he did have a disdain for the educational system all children can relate with.
Vikings Didn’t Wear Horned Helmets
Source - (Inverse)
As cool and aesthetically pleasing the large horns of Loki and the wings of Thor looked in the Marvel movies, the original Vikings were nowhere near as fashionable, preferring practical helmets fashioned out of cloth or metal, with a guard for the eyes and nose. The horned helmets became associated with Vikings when a 19th century costume designer created them for a Wagner opera.
Slaves Didn't Build the Pyramids
Source - (Reddit)
Popular fascination with Egyptian lore remains only surface level, restricted to treasures and tales of mummies, which means that many misconceptions abound. One such tale suggests that the Pharaohs of Egypt used an army of slaves to construct the Pyramids. In reality, Egyptologists say that the honour of creating a tomb for the pharaohs (which is what the pyramids are) would have only been granted to skilled and respected labourers, many of whom are in fact buried near the site.
Ninjas Were Not Elite Warriors
Source - (wbur.org)
That label belonged to the samurais of Japan. Ninjas were mercenaries who often carried out jobs that were considered dishonourable for samurais, including assassinations, guerrilla warfare, espionage, and psychological warfare. They also didn’t dress exclusively in black, often instead blending in with normal individuals. In a society bound by strict codes of honour and social conduct, ninjas were often unfair means of gaining advantage.
Newton Was Not Attacked by an Apple
While it is true that Newton discovered gravity when he began pondering about why an apple always falls down to the ground instead of floating away, it is very unlikely that the apple actually fell on his head to prompt this thought. The commonly told fiction seems to have emerged from a conversation that took place between Newton and his biographer in 1760s, where he told him of the insight the red fruit gave him about a fundamental fact of nature.
Columbus Didn’t Discover America
Source - (Gnostic Warrior)
Yes. In fact, Columbus might have not even made it to the mainland of the continent. Also, he believed that the continent was Asia, not an entirely new thing. Besides, the Native Americans were always there, so it is not as if it was a human ‘discovery’ of a new place that had been previously uninhabited. The Vikings are often suggested to have been the first Europeans to set foot in the American continent.
Napoleon Was Not Short
Source - (CNN)
Despite being the namesake for a height-based complex, Napoleon stood at five foot seven, which was an average height for Frenchmen during that time. A mistaken in translating pre-French revolution units into British units, combined with the fact that his enemies were only too happy to let the insult stick, led to the popular misconception.
So there you have it. Don’t believe everything you read, even in history books. And certainly don’t assume that all that is written is all there is.