When we went to school, history was a very dry subject. It was full of politics and war and lots of death and misery. In short, it wasn't a bundle of laughs. What we wish history lessons had been like is like the stories we are about to share with you—the truth behind the pompous men and brilliant minds of the ages.
You see, they were all human, just like you and me. It is their quirks and foibles which make them endearing and fascinating while their achievements reach loftier heights.
Check them out, we guarantee that you will laugh at these ancient stories of silliness.
1. Benjamin Hornigold, Pirate And Hat Hunter
Benjamin Hornigold was a wildly successful pirate hunter after being pardoned for piracy in 1718. As a pirate, he once got drunk and had his men board another ship just to steal the crew's hats!
2. Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father And Practical Joker
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were not happy about the idea of Benjamin Franklin being involved with the Declaration of Independence. They feared that he'd tap into his wit and slip a joke into the document.
3. Robert Liston, Doctor And Accidental Murderer
Robert Liston is said to have carried out an 1847 surgical amputation so quickly that he cut off his assistant's fingers as well. A spectator is said to have died of shock and both the assistant and the patient died of sepsis.
Liston remains the only person to kill three people in the course of one operation.
4. The People Of Hartlepool Once Hanged A Monkey
The citizens of Hartlepool in Northern England are known as "monkey hangers."
During the Napoleonic Wars, a French ship was wrecked and the only survivor, a pet monkey, swam to shore. The locals thought it was a French spy and strung it up.
5. The Pentagon Has Five Odd Sides
The Pentagon is the best known military command center in the world. It was originally designed as a pentagon to fit between 5 major roads. Then they decided to build it elsewhere but had no money to change the plans.
It's not even a proper pentagon—the sides aren't equal.
6. Caesar Was Ransomed For Too Little Money
Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates in his early career. He laughed at their initial ransom, saying it was too little and told them to raise it. He also told them once it was paid he would track them down and kill them.
After it was paid, he found them and crucified the lot of them.
7. If You Have To Go To War, Go With Leichtenstein
Famously in 1866, the army of Liechtenstein went to join the Austro-Prussian war. 80 men marched out of the country and, well, 81 returned.
Nobody had been hurt and they made a friend on the way home.
8. Diogenes Loved To Mess With Plato
When Plato once decided to describe human beings as "featherless bipeds," his chum Diogenes brought him a chicken that had been plucked.
He shouted, "Behold! I've brought you a man."
9. Fidel Castro, Ice Cream Lover
In Cuba, the now deceased dictator, Fidel Castro loved his dairy products. In fact, he loved them so much that he had his own ice cream shop.
He may be gone, but the store is still there today.
10. Pythagoras Was A Cowardly Genius
Yes, that Pythagoras of the triangular fame. He was a math genius but terrified of beans.
It is rumored that Pythagoras was right to be afraid of beans. His death was reportedly due to his inability to run across a field of beans when he was chased by an armed mob.
They struck him down on the edge of a bean field.
11. The First Alcoholic Words Spoken To The Pikgrims
The Pilgrims sailed to North America and jumped off the boats, where they were greeted by a Native American who asked, "Do you have any beer?"
He said it in fluent English, too.
12. The Chinese Navy Can Make A Great Hot Chocolate
In the war between China and Japan in 1894, the Chinese Navy was at a distinct disadvantage.
While the Japanese had guns, the Chinese had cocoa powder. They'd been given this because it was cheaper than gunpowder.
We're sure that you can guess who won this conflict.
13. The Journey Of The Giant Tortoise Was Shorter Than Expected
Incredibly, when Darwin's team found the Giant Tortoises of the Galapagos, they sent some home. None of the creatures made it to England, though; the crew decided to eat them on the journey.
14. They Couldn't Hit An Elephant But Could Hit A General
"They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."
These were the last words of General John Sedgwick in the American Civil War, just before he was shot dead.
15. You Can Die Laughing
The Greek Philosopher Chrysippus died laughing when he watched a donkey consuming figs and then getting drunk on the wine that he had given the donkey to wash it down with.
We hope that your day is brighter today thanks to the antics of the ancients. History can be hilarious.
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