During the Bubonic Plague, doctors wore these bird-like masks to avoid becoming sick. They would fill the beaks with spices and rose petals, so they wouldn’t have to smell the rotting bodies.

A theory during the Bubonic Plague was that the plague was caused by evil spirits. To scare the spirits away, the masks were intentionally designed to be creepy.

Mission fucking accomplished

Okay so I love this but it doesn’t cover the half of why the design is awesome and actually borders on making sense.

It wasn’t just that they didn’t want to smell the infected and dead, they thought it was crucial to protecting themselves. They had no way of knowing about what actually caused the plague, and so one of the other theories was that the smell of the infected all by itself was evil and could transmit the plague. So not only would they fill their masks with aromatic herbs and flowers, they would also burn fires in public areas, so that the smell of the smoke would “clear the air”. This all related to the miasma theory of contagion, which was one of the major theories out there until the 19th century. And it makes sense, in a way. Plague victims smelled awful, and there’s a general correlation between horrible septic smells and getting horribly sick if you’re around what causes them for too long.

You can see now that we’ve got two different theories as to what caused the plague that were worked into the design. That’s because the whole thing was an attempt by the doctors to cover as many bases as they could think of, and we’re still not done.

The glass eyepieces. They were either darkened or red, not something you generally want to have to contend with when examining patients. But the plague might be spread by eye contact via the evil eye, so best to ward that off too.

The illustration shows a doctor holding a stick. This was an examination tool, that helped the doctors keep some distance between themselves and the infected. They already had gloves on, but the extra level of separation was apparently deemed necessary. You could even take a pulse with it. Or keep people the fuck away from you, which was apparently a documented use.

Finally, the robe. It’s not just to look fancy, the cloth was waxed, as were all of the rest of their clothes. What’s one of the properties of wax? Water-based fluids aren’t absorbed by it. This was the closest you could get to a sterile, fully protecting garment back then. Because at least one person along the line was smart enough to think “Gee, I’d really rather not have the stuff coming out of those weeping sores anywhere on my person”.

So between all of these there’s a real sense that a lot of real thought was put into making sure the doctors were protected, even if they couldn’t exactly be sure from what. They worked with what information they had. And frankly, it’s a great design given what was available! You limit exposure to aspirated liquids, limit exposure to contaminated liquids already present, you limit contact with the infected. You also don’t give fleas any really good place to hop onto. That’s actually useful.

Beyond that, there were contracts the doctors would sign before they even got near a patient. They were to be under quarantine themselves, they wouldn’t treat patients without a custodian monitoring them and helping when something had to be physically contacted, and they would not treat non-plague patients for the duration. There was an actual system in place by the time the plague doctors really became a thing to make sure they didn’t infect anyone either.

These guys were the product of the scientific process at work, and the scientific process made a bitchin’ proto-hazmat suit. And containment protocols!


#I think about this post every time I see someone wearing a bifold N95 #(I know I’ve talked about that before‚ but here is the specific post I had in mind) #history #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #that one post with the thing #illness tw #proud citizen of The Future

500 Million, But Not a Single One More

{{Title link: http://blog.jaibot.com/?p=413 }}


We will never know their names.

The first victim could not have been recorded, for there was no written language to record it. They were someone’s daughter, or son, and someone’s friend, and they were loved by those around them. And they were in pain, covered in rashes, confused, scared, not knowing why this was happening to them or what they could do about it – victim of a mad, inhuman god. There was nothing to be done – humanity was not strong enough, not aware enough, not knowledgeable enough, to fight back against a monster that could not be seen.

It was in Ancient Egypt, where it attacked slave and pharaoh alike. In Rome, it effortlessly decimated armies. It killed in Syria. It killed in Moscow.  In India, five million dead. It killed a thousand Europeans every day in the 18th century. It killed more than fifty million Native Americans. From the Peloponnesian War to the Civil War, it slew more soldiers and civilians than any weapon, any soldier, any army (Not that this stopped the most foolish and empty souls from attempting to harness the demon as a weapon against their enemies).

Cultures grew and faltered, and it remained. Empires rose and fell, and it thrived. Ideologies waxed and waned, but it did not care. Kill. Maim. Spread. An ancient, mad god, hidden from view, that could not be fought, could not be confronted, could not even be comprehended. Not the only one of its kind, but the most devastating.

For a long time, there was no hope – only the bitter, hollow endurance of survivors.

In China, in the 10th century, humanity began to fight back.

It was observed that survivors of the mad god’s curse would never be touched again: they had taken a portion of that power into themselves, and were so protected from it. Not only that, but this power could be shared by consuming a remnant of the wounds. There was a price, for you could not take the god’s power without first defeating it – but a smaller battle, on humanity’s terms. By the 16th century, the technique spread, to India, across Asia, the Ottoman Empire and, in the 18th century, Europe. In 1796, a more powerful technique was discovered by Edward Jenner.

An idea began to take hold: Perhaps the ancient god could be killed.

A whisper became a voice; a voice became a call; a call became a battle cry, sweeping across villages, cities, nations. Humanity began to cooperate, spreading the protective power across the globe, dispatching masters of the craft to protect whole populations. People who had once been sworn enemies joined in common cause for this one battle. Governments mandated that all citizens protect themselves, for giving the ancient enemy a single life would put millions in danger.

And, inch by inch, humanity drove its enemy back. Fewer friends wept; Fewer neighbors were crippled; Fewer parents had to bury their children.

At the dawn of the 20th century, for the first time, humanity banished the enemy from entire regions of the world. Humanity faltered many times in its efforts, but there individuals who never gave up, who fought for the dream of a world where no child or loved one would ever fear the demon ever again. Viktor Zhdanov, who called for humanity to unite in a final push against the demon; The great tactician Karel Raška, who conceived of a strategy to annihilate the enemy; Donald Henderson, who led the efforts of those final days.

The enemy grew weaker. Millions became thousands, thousands became dozens. And then, when the enemy did strike, scores of humans came forth to defy it, protecting all those whom it might endanger.

The enemy’s last attack in the wild was on Ali Maow Maalin, in 1977. For months afterwards, dedicated humans swept the surrounding area, seeking out any last, desperate hiding place where the enemy might yet remain.

They found none.

35 years ago, on December 9th, 1979, humanity declared victory.

This one evil, the horror from beyond memory, the monster that took 500 million people from this world – was destroyed.

You are a member of the species that did that. Never forget what we are capable of, when we band together and declare battle on what is broken in the world.

Happy Smallpox Eradication Day.


#this post was queued to ensure proper timing #Tumblr traditions #anniversaries #illness tw #history #proud citizen of The Future

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if you liked @earlyandoftenpodcast (which is itself excellent as an amalgamation of a century of history, told with an imperceptible amount of fnords), I recommend Presidencies of the United States

it’s a bit slow (it’s taken him six years to cover twenty years of history) but i like it that way


Presidencies of the United States does have transcripts, if you’re so inclined. You can find them at the bottom of the page for each episode, such as the most recent one.

#i couldn’t find it for a while but i remembered hearing the guy insist that he had transcripts #also early and often *was* great and i highly recommend it as a sort of background to Presidencies #the New York episodes in particular helped to set the stage for understanding NY at the time of the Clinton faction #even if NY politics truly is the devil’s own incomprehensibles

Ooh, thank you!

*adds to reading list*


#reply via reblog #oh look an update #podcasts #recs #history #home of the brave #that excuse for communication called speech


if you liked @earlyandoftenpodcast (which is itself excellent as an amalgamation of a century of history, told with an imperceptible amount of fnords), I recommend Presidencies of the United States

it’s a bit slow (it’s taken him six years to cover twenty years of history) but i like it that way


#hmm #I consume very little audio (and am thus already saturated) and this doesn’t seem to have transcripts #but Early and Often *was* great #I suspect that in practice I will never get around to listening to this‚ but hey‚ maybe they’ll come out with transcripts someday #anyway‚ all of you should go read the Early and Often transcripts #(or I guess listen to them if you’re into that sort of thing: I never did) #podcasts #recs #history #home of the brave

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goncharov this goncharov that. you fools homestuck fans did this literally like 10 years ago


I don’t know if this is true and honestly I refuse to learn more about it


> they dont know about the time 2010 homestuck users tried to gaslight everyone into thinking squiddles was a real show



#…was Squiddles not the first thing other people thought of when they found out what was going on with Goncharov? #admittedly they may have heard of the Squiddles thing but *not* known it was Homestuck-related #I think it was quite some time after I learned Squiddles wasn’t real that I learned it was‚ specifically‚ a Homestuck joke #(the posts I saw were nowhere near as blatant about the Homestuck connection as the ones given here) #Squiddles #Goncharov #unreality cw? #Homestuck

chooseyourmusehasmoved asked: This is probably a very silly question but how do you know which fan works are ‘worth’ saving, for lack of a better word? Like, I imagine ones that touch on real world topics or at least have a modicum of plot to them are probably better for history than whatever random anime pwp I’m reading 😅






The answer is yes.

Yes, they are worth saving.

Yes, all of them.


Look, let me explain to you in real actual historical terms exactly why that stuff is important. I learned this when I was doing a rewrite of Lysistrata for my Directing class in college.

There’s a bit in the first act, first scene, where Lysistrata is convincing the women of Greece to pledge they won’t have sex until the war is over, where she says “we won’t act like the lioness on the cheese grater.” I looked through six different translations, aka “all the translations I could find,” and every single one used that phrase: “the lioness on the cheese grater.” Now some of these were very old, stuffy, let’s-pretend-this-isn’t-an-absurdist-comedy-about-anything-as-dirty-as-sex-after-all-it’s-Greek-and-thus-must-be-dignified kind of translations, but one of them had specifically been written to be as over-the-top shockingly vulgar as possible, and it still included that phrase. I was expecting it to be modified to whatever the modern name of that position was, but nope–still “we won’t fuck like whores and assume the position of the lioness on the cheese grater.”

And thus began an undignified six hours of me reading very dry academic papers and clicking all kinds of shady links trying to answer the question: what the fuck was the lioness on a cheese grater?

At the end of six hours I said “fuck it” and changed it to doggy style.

Because the answer is: we only know the phrase from the play and from a “menu of services” in a brothel. Ancient cheese graters looked more or less like modern ones, so there wasn’t really room for decorations of lions. We have no idea what it was. It was apparently in-demand enough to be worth a very pretty penny (or, er. A very pretty drachma, as it were), but no records outside the play and that single menu exist. There’s even the possibility it was put on the menu as a joke in reference to the play, and that it means nothing at all.

So: am I saying your random anime PWP could theoretically someday be the only remaining record of the word “bishounen” being used in Latinized form?

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Far enough into the future that most of our records have been lost, when the world looks unimaginably different, your random-ass porn could be something historians use to say “hm. The fact that these letters made these sounds, and these kanji made these sounds, and the word here is being used in a similar way to how it’s used when written in kanji…we’re pretty sure this is evidence there was literary communication between English-speaking countries and Japan.”

Or, put another way: nobody’s ever gonna forget covid. But will they remember that slender young men with shaggy hair were considered desirable in the 2010s? That is something that will be of interest to some future historian. I assure you, people have been handwringing over the goddamn lioness on the cheese grater for over two thousand fucking years. Yes, there is a place in history for your smut.

And I will leave you with this: stripped of all pretension and the mystique granted to it by virtue of being old as balls, Lysistrata is a play whose plot is thus: “fuck this war! We, the women of Greece, are going to make ourselves as hot as fucking possible while also closing our thighs for business until the men agree to put down their weapons and stop fighting! Jesus, they won’t even send us dildos because they ‘need wood and leather for armor’–fuck that shit, seize the treasury and whip out the chastity belts, girls!” And then the entire second act is men running around wearing giant-ass fake penises, we’re talking Ron Jeremy would blush in shame here fake penises, going “let us fuck you! Please, please, pleaaaaaaase let us fuck you!” and finally agreeing to end the war so they can fuck. That’s it, that’s the play. I mean, it is wildly funny. But it’s very thin on the ground in terms of plot (and frankly has a gigantic plot hole in the form of “you’re really going to say none of these guys just said ‘fuck you’ and started boffing each other?”), and it was not written to be intellectual. It was for the Bacchanalia. It was written for a bunch of super-drunk, super-rowdy, probably-illiterate partiers who would have been walking in and out of the arena. Hardly highbrow entertainment, in other words.

…but what a loss to the world, wouldn’t it be, if all copies of it had been forever lost?


i wanna remind everyone that at the time a lot of kirk/spock fic was written, in the sixties and early eventies, sodomy was illegal in most american states. kirk/spock fiction was depicting something that was obscene, immoral, and illegal. even accusing men of being homosexuals was slander, because again, sodomy was illegal, homosexuals were committing crimes, and therefore a great many industries couldn’t knowingly employ men who admitted to homosexuality or were proven to be so.

our archives of these works are incomplete, but what works that we have preserved from that time–against all contemporary consensus of its moral value!–are invaluable to the history of fandom as a whole. the fanzines and booklets preserved in odd corners and university libraries and grandma’s attic are treasures. you can analyze the way people thought at the time about love and forbidden love, the way they thought it might change in the future, the way certain fanfiction tropes and literary conventions started out way back when, the way women found each other and organized before the digital age. love, technology, cultural taboos, the past regarding the future, communication, creativity, it’s all there.

and this is a comparatively large body of work from only fifty or sixty years ago. imagine how much more precious, say, Diane Marchant’s “A Fragment Out of Time” from 1974 might be in another hundred years? how much will it tell future historians of the very real women who lived and watched TV and wrote about love to each other?

and this is fiction that depicts not just worthless smut, but reprehensible smut.

yes, fanfiction is historically significant.

yes, all of it.

My goblin self wants to save all the little paper fragments and scraps of weird smut on curling pages and stacks of folders with half-completed sketches of characters in compromising positions.

Wait. They’re… not so much paper anymore, are they.

Fine. Save the pixels. Save HTML files with names I won’t recognize next year. Save txt files with fanfic by authors whose contact info I lost in the early LJ days. Wayback the AO3 fic. Bookmark everything I ever liked even a little bit, with notes like “this is the one where blorbo has zero refractory period” or “the one where they met on a train” and like that.

Never know what I’m gonna want to reread in another five years.

…Never know what someone is going to ask about in fifteen years, “I heard there used to be a thing with soulmate words on the wrists? Has anyone seen that in Fandom X?”

I have no idea what the literary analysts of 2050 are going to think about AO3. I know that the literary analysts of 2000 were very interested in K/S zines, which were handed around under tables and you had to know someone who knew someone to even find out they existed, because, as mentioned, they were describing immoral crimes and pretending those were healthy relationships.

AO3 is not so obscure as all that. But. We don’t know what search engines will do in the future.

And a lot of people only put “the good stuff” on AO3 and we are going to LOSE all the 300-word comment fics written in the middle of a tumblr chain. We’re going to lose the “Incorrect Quotes” things. (They are fanworks! Every single one of them can be a fic at AO3! There is no “must have at least 100 words and be a proper drabble” requirement. You can have three-sentence fanworks!)


Culture is not limited to the stuff written in the style of professionally published novels.


@pharaonicwolf, your tags have passed peer review. Thank you for this notable contribution!


#be the Marion Stokes you wish to see in the world #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #history #fandom #(also‚ Recoll synergises very well here) #(how are you going to hunt down that one soulmate words-on-wrists fic in Fandom X within your collection‚ you ask?) #(with a personal search engine‚ that’s how) #((for the *most* part if I‚ personally‚ store a fic it’s because I enjoyed it or expect to enjoy it)) #((but occasionally I’ll pull something just because it strikes me as)) #((something where later I’m going to be thinking ”what was that one thing with the thing”)) #–(((or occasionally something where I *did* later think ”what was that one thing with the thing”))) #(((and *eventually* managed to track it down on the Internet‚ but not without difficulty)))– #((so I index it in Recoll for the benefit of future-me)) #(((and I’m certainly a prolific Save Page Now user))) #amnesia cw #homophobia cw #nsfw text?


so the apple cake we made a few days ago is, supposedly, an old family recipe: we just asked partner’s mother, who said “it’s my mother’s recipe, and before her, my grandmother’s – it’s an old eastern european jewish recipe”.

… it’s almost identical to this recipe – partner’s version has more orange juice, and drops the vanilla, and the whole thing has been scaled up a little.

i’m just charmed by the way everyone thinks it’s a family recipe, and in the end, everyone got it from a magazine or a neighbor (who in turn got it from a magazine).

And the recipe, it didn’t come from her mother or her mother’s mother (“My mother? Bake a cake? Ha!” my mother said.) but a clipping that a neighbor gave her from some now-defunct magazine.

My grandmother makes a very similar cake in a bundt pan. I liked to make up stories that it was from her mother’s mother and filled with mystery and mystique and then she told me she got it out of a Home and Garden magazine only 20 or so years ago.

We have something in common! This exact recipe was considered a family heirloom. I remember adding it to my family tree history for a school assignment. My father made up stories about it – something about escaping Poland with it. And then one day my mother came clean, it was just a recipe my mom got at the tennis club from one of her friends. The horror!

I kept thinking, there’s no way this could be the same recipe as MY mom’s apple cake, right? WRONG. It’s exactly the same recipe.

No way! My grandmother and mother make the EXACT same apple cake, and have passed the tradition on to me. I am, incidentally, amused to report that our recipe comes not from the old world or even an old neighbor, but instead from a 1960s Catholic church community cookbook.

now, what partner and i suspect has happened is this: oodles of eastern european jews immigrated to the US between 1880-1925, and with them came, if not recipes for apple cake, then at least the memory thereof. distinct-by-family apple cake recipes abounded.

at some point, some genius put orange juice in their apple cake. this recipe has a lot going for it: all the measurements are nice round numbers: 1 cup oil, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs. there’s a secret ingredient (orange juice). it’s hard to overbake it. it tastes great even if you mess up the ingredients. you bake it in a bundt pan and it looks pretty nice without any kind of glazing, maybe in a little bit of a retro 50s coffeecake kinda way, but the flavor’s good enough it doesn’t need anything extra.

so yeah, this recipe outcompeted all the other sharlotkas and szarlotkas out there, and now it’s everyone’s family recipe.

the earliest written version of it that i could verify (conceivably – i don’t feel like getting my mitts on that book) is apparently some 80s church cookbook, which is, y’know, kinda funny:

The cake may have first been written down in a church cookbook from Smith Island, Maryland in 1981, alongside spectacularly non-kosher items like “crab loaf.” I suspect that the cake is “Jewish” in the same way that old recipes label anything stir-fried as “Chinese” or anything with corn as “Mexican,” except with the weird bonus that the cake actually is easy to bake in kosher households, and, I suppose, that my actually Jewish family adopted it as our own.

(eta: it’s a cookbook for and by a community, certainly, but it doesn’t seem to actually be a church cookbook. also eta: i’ve figured it out; it was printed in two cookbooks within a few years of each other, the earlier being “Favorite Recipes from Trinity Church”, 1981 Maryland. )

there’s some similar apple cake recipes pre-1980, like this 1973 Teddy’s Apple Cake, but that one’s missing the orange juice.

it’s a very, very, very good cake, by the way.


#hmmmmm #holding the eggs constant (because the number of eggs here is simply double ours)‚ our cake has: #less apple (and the apples are sliced‚ *not* chopped) #((god that cake looks wrong‚ all *pebbly*)) #more sugar on the apples (but the same in the cake) #slightly more flour #more baking powder #(butter for the oil‚ but that’s a known variation) #no salt (and no‚ we don’t normally use salted butter) #much more orange juice (4x) #(no walnuts‚ but that’s a known variation) #baked in a loaf pan‚ not a tube pan #three layers of apple‚ not two #honestly I think it’s primarily that there are only so many ways to make a cake #though it’s very possible that this recipe is in the genetic lineage somewhere #food #history #amnesia cw #embarrassment squick #Judaism #tag rambles


Were the ‘legendary’ names of ancient Greece common among the population of the time? Ie: were there people named Hercules, Icarus, Midas, Narcissus, Odysseus, etc getting around?


The short answer to your question is that, yes, there would have been real people with the names of heroes and gods, but no, they were not common.

The long answer is that Ancient Greek naming conventions are a complex and fascinating topic. On the one hand, there are no surviving sources that explain to us how or why the Greeks came up with names for their children. Ancient authors do not seem to have found this topic interesting enough to write about. On the other hand, Greek names form a tremendously large body of evidence – the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names claims to have published as many as 215,000 so far – and the fact that most names are composed of words with a direct meaning in Greek means that they present a unique window into the social world of Ancient Greece. Because of their components and their meaning, names can often tell us about people’s place of origin, family ties, social status, cult practices, looks, and so on.

With the exception of some restrictions on the naming of slaves, there do not seem to have been any particular rules about what people could and could not be named. We might expect, for instance, that it was frowned upon to give your child the literal name of a god or goddess, but there’s no evidence that the Greeks actually found it taboo. Admittedly the names of divinities, while becoming more popular after the 1st century AD, are rare enough in the Classical period (5th-4th centuries BC) that individual known cases have been extensively discussed by scholars. However, they are not altogether absent. There certainly were people named Artemis and Leto. This shows that there were no hard limitations to what a child could be named, but only conventions by which most names were chosen. The only names that genuinely don’t seem to have been used at all were those of underworld gods (Persephone, Hades).

So what were the conventions they stuck to? One of the most powerful factors, especially among elite families, was the names of ancestors; some sons were named directly after their fathers (such as Perikles, son of the famous Perikles), while others were named after their grandfathers (like Kleisthenes, father of democracy, grandson of Kleisthenes the tyrant of Sikyon). Modern scholars are on pretty firm ground when they assume that people with similar names are related; often a name would “run” in just one family, sometimes for centuries. A related strong influence was the desire to express social status (again especially among the rich), which meant that many wealthy people would have names that contained words like aristo- (the best), -archos (leader), and especially mutations of the word hippos (horse). The latter is often regarded as a firm indicator of high status, since only the richest men in Greece would be able to afford to own horses, and horse-riding was the favourite pursuit of the leisure class. Famous examples include Perikles’ father Xanthippos (“yellow horse”), the physician Hippokrates (“horse power”), and Philippos II of Macedon (“horse lover”).

If there were no particular traditions binding new parents, they would be able to choose a name they liked. Endless possibilities are known. Particularly striking to us, though not necessarily the most common, are male and female names that contain a direct reference to warfare – Kallimachos (“beautiful battle”), Archestrate (“army-leader”), Nikomachos (“victory in battle”), Andromache (“battle of men”), Deinomache (“terrible in battle”). Other names are more straightforward, like Leon (“lion”), Kephalon (“head”) or Melissa (“honey”). People were named after cities, mountains, and, very commonly, rivers; Aristotle complains about rare and ridiculous names like Hermokaikoxanthos, a pile-up of the names of 3 rivers. Generally, words like kalos (beauty), stratos (army), agora (marketplace), demos/damos (people), -anax (king) and old values like bia (strength) and kratos (power) occur often in what we might call “posh” Greek names. Names ending in -kles (Perikles, Themistokles, Damokles) refer to kleos (glory). The combinations of these words don’t always make sense; what sort of a name is Isagoras (“equal marketplace”) or Iphikrates (“strong strength”)?

Interestingly, while the actual outright names of gods are extremely rare, by far the most common type of name in Ancient Greece was actually the indirect reference to a god or goddess. There were 2 ways to do this. First, the name of a god could be easily adapted into an adjective form, so as to become a name derived from a god rather than the god’s name itself. Some of the most common were adaptations of Apollo (for example into Apollonios), Dionysos (Dionysios), Artemis (Artemisia) or Demeter (Demetrios); the latter is still in common use now, in its vowel-shifted form of Dimitri. One of the most famous examples of such a godlike name is Alexander the Great’s companion Hephaistion (from Hephaistos). The second way to adapt divine names was to add words to them – most commonly kleos (glory),-doros or -dotos (gift, given). So we have authors like Diodoros (“god-given” – the reference is to Zeus), Apollodoros, Asklepiodotos; in the Roman era, when Eastern gods made their way into Greek lands, new names like Isidoros (gift of Isis) crop up. While it has proved impossible to say with categorical certainty that names are an indication of which gods were being worshipped in a given place, regional patterns are very clear in the evidence, and names derived from gods are at least a clear indication of which divinities were considered important. Perhaps the most touching are the few cases when parents who consulted the oracle on matters related to childbirth would name their child after the god who had advised them or after the place of the oracle.

Given all these factors and trends, it’s perhaps easy to understand why the literal names of heroes were not commonly used as names, even if there were no strict rules or moral taboos against them. There wouldn’t have been any family tradition to do so; there was no social credit in making pretentious references; since mythological figures were not always the recipients of cults, they wouldn’t often have been credited for advice or protection in childbirth. It’s possible that their names would have been regarded as old-fashioned or an ill omen, given the fates of most of them. According to the searchable part of the Lexicon, Ikaros is attested just 20 times; Narkissos a more respectable 74 times. I can’t find a single person named Odysseus. Only the hero Iason has a famous “real-life” counterpart in the 4th-century Thessalian tyrant Iason of Pherai.

Source for most of this: R. Parker, ‘Theophoric names and the history of Greek religion’, in S. Hornblower/E. Matthews (eds.) Greek Personal Names: Their Value as Evidence (2000), 53-79



#history #names



Ah yes, “do we really live longer than our ancestors” articles, the theses of which always seem to be “well once you eliminate deaths by disease, violence, and really every factor other than natural causes in old age, and probably only consider the upper classes (because they’re all we have data for in many cases), the difference in life expectancy from adulthood is only 5-10 years.”

And like, I get that infant and child mortality doesn’t reflect what most people intuitively conceive as life expectancy (though it bears noting that youth mortality on such a scale that it substantially distorts life expectancy figures is also really bad), but I’d argue that things like reduced frequency of wars and other homicides, the presence of antibiotics and other modern medicines, and lower rates of extreme poverty, are exactly what most people think of when they think of factors that impact life expectancy, and it’s blatant cherry-picking to say we ought to treat them as inadmissible.

It turns out that, after controlling for life expectancy, moderns live about as long as Medieval peasants did.


#anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #history #death tw #fun with statistics