Ancient Curiosities — Things That Make You Go “Hmm”

You know, just when I think I’ve got some stuff figured out, I land on fascinating, and sometimes very strange, historical tidbits that make me blink, pause, then think:

Holy crap, that’s freaking amazing.

Once again, my writing research has brought me down a very unexpected path. And, once again, I’ve discovered some things about our ancient past that I had to share with you. Check this out.

Did you know…

The Inca built their amazing empire without money at all.
I know, right? But it’s true! The Inca were one of the wealthiest empires in South America, yet they didn’t use beans or textiles or any other goods to buy and sell products. Instead, Incan males had to offer physical labor to the state beginning at the age of 15. They helped build buildings for the public, and the road system that was used to expand and link their empire. In return for their work, the government provided what they needed to survive — food, housing, clothing, and tools. What makes this even more interesting is that no shops or markets existed, either. And although their lands sat on huge piles of silver and gold, those precious metals were used as part of their religious worship. It’s kind of like Trekverse, only millennia earlier.

Greek physicians recommended sex as a way to alleviate many ailments.
In fact, they thought sex helped reduce lower back pain, jaundice, depression, and indigestion. And, Hippocrates claimed that unlimited and uninhibited sex cured dysentery. Some claimed it even cured insanity. So, yeah. There’s that.

Gaius Gracchus, a Roman politician, had a bounty put on his head — for its weight in gold.
Septimuleius rose to the challenge and brought Gracchus’s head to Opimius in return for payment. Only the head weighed in at an amazing 17 2/3 pounds! Turns out Septimuleius committed fraud by removing the brain and filling it with lead so he could collect a bigger reward. But Opimius figured out his trick and, in the end, Septimuleius got nothing for his efforts. Just goes to show you, it doesn’t pay to cheat. Or steal. Or lie. Or… well, you get the picture. 🙂

Go back 5,000 years and you’ll discover ancient man may have used acupuncture as part of a healing system — through tattoos.
While most tattoos are ornamental in nature or for show, tattoos found on Ötzi (a well-preserved mummy of a man who lived over 5,300 years ago) seem to be for something else. Ötzi had a series of tattoos in the shape of simple stripes and crosses, found in places normally covered by hair or clothing.  Because non-ornamental tattoos had also been previously found in similar locations on mummies in Siberia and South America, some researchers speculated Otzi’s tattoos were therapeutic in nature. Meaning, associated with pain relief treatments. Cool, eh?

The ancient Egyptians went to great lengths to remove body hair. You’ve probably seen pictures showing bald ancient Egyptians, or wearing wigs (almost every Egyptian shaved their head, by the way), but did you know they went through a lot of trouble to remove all body hair as well? In fact, they were almost consumed by it. Removing body hair was part of normal hygiene for the ancients, but no one knows exactly why they did it. Many historians think it might have had something to do with the heat, because removing hair would have kept them cooler. But ancient Egyptians were also obsessed with cleanliness, so that could have been a reason, too. And they did so by shaving, or using depilatory creams, and even rubbing one’s hair off with a pumice stone and then massaging oils over their skin to keep it smooth and soft.

So, got anything you want to share?


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About terriponce

I write about secrets, suspense, and soulmates.
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9 Responses to Ancient Curiosities — Things That Make You Go “Hmm”

  1. marilynlevinson says:

    How interesting, especially to me, an old Spanish teacher. Sorry your WIP is giving you problems. Do you like the story line as much as you’ve liked all your other books?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ellen Byron says:

    Fascinating! Thank you for sharing all these historical tidbits.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kaye George says:

    Crazy stuff, Terri! Thanks for the entertainment.

    Liked by 2 people

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