7 MYTHS You Still Believe About HISTORY

Published in Entertainment at April 18th, 2017 at 10:39 AM

7 Myths you still believe about history, Things like did they really burn witches on stakes and did gladiators really fight each other, you'll be surprised as the stuff what we have been learning at school, its far from the reality.

Albert Einstein Wasn't Bad at Maths

There is an unlikely myth that Albert Einstein, one of the most important scientific thinkers of all, was bad at maths. Not so: he was brilliant from an early age. What did happen is he failed his entrance exam to the Swiss Polytechnic in Zurich (despite excelling in the maths and physics sections), but he was only 16, two years younger than most people applying for university and he was under pressure from his dad to enter a technical profession rather than pursue learning.

Marie Antoinette Never Said Let Them Eat Cake

It’s unlikely Marie Antoinette will ever be disassociated from this phrase, even though there’s no evidence she ever said it. The phrase first appears in Rousseau’s autobiographical Confessions, which were written around 1765 when Antoinette was still a child and living in Austria. Rousseau attributed the remarks to a “great princess” a full 20 years before the French Revolution and it wasn’t until the mid 19th century that it started to be attributed to her, as a handy way of summing up the undeniable excesses and nonchalance of the French ruling class.

King Arthur Wasn't Real

Someone called Arthur did live in England around the late 5th and early 6th centuries and he’s mentioned in the 9th century text as having taken part in a big bloody battle at Mount Badon. But the 6th century writer Gildas wrote an account of that battle that doesn’t mention Arthur at all. All the stuff about being a king, ruling at Camelot, Lancelot, Merlin, Excalibur, ladies in lakes… that’s all a mixture of folklore, medieval literature and poetry, most notably from Geoffrey of Monmouth, who put together a history of all the kings of England in 1136.

Salem Never Burned Witches

The Salem trials were a grizzly affair, but despite the enduring image of witches being burned at the stake, this didn't happen. Instead, most of the 20 people who were convicted and then killed were hanged. Many who survived were simply imprisoned. By that point burning people alive was illegal in England and thus also banned in the new American colonies.

Gladiators Lived Longer Than You Think

Gladiators didn’t kill each other as often as you might think. The most prized fighters were worth a lot of money as trained entertainers and many lived very long lives. A grave found at Ephesus in Turkey in 2007 found the remains of 67 men aged between 20 and 30 - many had sustained serious wounds but they had healed over time, suggesting they had been prized individuals with access to medical care.

Napoleon Bonaparte Wasn't Short

Napoleon Bonaparte’s shortness has even given name to a psychological complex, but he was in reality an average height for the time. While it suited British propagandists to paint him as an angry midget, Napoleon was 5 foot 6 inches in height. Some of confusion comes down to the difference between French and English measurement: the pouce, a pre-revolution unit that is slightly longer than a British inch. So 5’2” in pouce is 5’6” in feet and inches.

Vikings didn't wear horned helmets

Despite them being associated with Nordic raiders in popular culture, the Vikings didn’t wear horned helmets into battle. An old tapestry does show someone in a horned helmet, but either it’s someone performing a ritual or it’s supposed to be a god. It wouldn't be a very practical thing to wear while cutting down unsuspecting English Christians with your sword. This myth comes from the 19th century revival of all things Norse, when horned Viking warriors were put into epic paintings.