Commonplace Book – Pages 87-89
Misconception: Henry VIII beheaded all his wives.
Fact: Henry VIII had 6 wives. First, Katherine of Aragon, was annulled NOT divorced. Second, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded with a sword. Third, Jane Seymour, died. Fourth, Anne of Cleves, was annulled. Fifth, Katherine Howard, was beheaded with an axe. Sixth, Catherine Parr, survived him.
Misconception: Napoleon Bonaparte was short.
Fact: After Napoleon died in 1821, his body was autopsied in France, and his height was noted at 5’2″. This measurement was in French feet and was never correctly converted to standard English measure. In English feet, Napoleon stood 5 foot 6.5 inches tall. So in fact, Napoleon was actually slightly taller than the average Frenchman of 1800.
Misconception: George Washington chopped down a cherry tree.
Fact: Washington did not chop down a cherry tree. The story was invented by Parson Mason Weems who wrote a biography of Washington shortly after his death. Since so little is known about Washington’s childhood, Weems invented several anecdotes about his early life to illustrate the origins of the heroic qualities he exhibited as an adult.
Misconception: George Washington had wooden teeth.
Fact: He had a large collection of false teeth, made of everything from elephant ivory, walrus tusk, hippopotamus tusk, and one of human teeth. But none were made of wood.
Misconception: George Washington wore a wig.
Fact: George Washington did not wear a wig. Even though wigs were fashionable, he kept his own hair, which he wore long and tied back in a queue, or ponytail. He did, however, powder his hair as was the custom of the time.
Misconception: Betsy Ross sewed the American flag.
Fact: Betsy Ross did not sew the first American flag. In 1870 Ross’s grandson, William J. Canby, presented a paper to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in which he claimed that his grandmother had “made with her hands the first flag” of the United States. Smithsonian experts point out that Canby’s romantic tale appealed to Americans eager for stories about the Revolution and its heroes and heroines, but is a myth.
Misconception: William Shakespeare in Love.
Fact: William Shakespeare actually wrote about half of his romance sonnets for a young man.
Misconception: Hitler was German.
Fact: Adolf Hitler was not German at all, he was Austrian. He didn’t become German until he took office 19 years after arriving in Germany.
Misconception: The US is a democracy.
Fact: The United States is not a democracy, it is a constitutional republic. The People have a voice in what happens, but the Constitution is what rules unless it is changed. In practice it keeps the majority from tyranny over the minority.
Misconception: Witches were burned at Salem.
Fact: Victims of the Salem Witch trials were not burned at at the stake. There is no record of burning at the stake in any New state in the 17th c. Hanging was the method of execution.
Misconception: Queen Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat cake.”
Fact: Marie Antoinette never said “Let them eat cake.”In 1766, Rousseau was wrote that he was quoting the famous saying of “a great princess”, which was incorrectly attributed to Marie Antoinette. She couldn’t have made the statement because in 1766, she was only 11 years old.
Misconception: You can see the Great Wall of China from the moon.
Fact: You cannot see the Great Wall from the moon, or space for that matter. The Great Wall is only a maximum of 30 feet wide and is about the same color as its surroundings, so it’s barely visible to the naked eye while orbiting Earth under ideal conditions and the moon is 239,000 miles away.
Misconception: Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity.
Fact: Benjamin Franklin did not discover electricity when his kite was struck by lightning in 1752. In fact, electricity was already well known at the time. Instead, Franklin was trying to prove the electrical nature of lightning.
Misconception: The first shot of the US Civil War was fired at Ft. Sumter.
Fact: While its true that the first shot of the Civil War was fired by South Carolinians, it was not fired at Ft. Sumter. Instead, it was fired at the vessel the “Star of the West” which was taking supplies to Major Anderson at Ft. Sumter. Citadel cadets under Major Stephens fired on the “Star of the West” from a battery placed on Morris Island fronting Charleston harbor.
Misconception: Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea began their expedition in St. Louis.
Fact: Lewis and Clark did not begin their journey in St. Louis. The first entry of the Lewis & Clark Journals state that Lewis began the expedition in Pittsburgh, PA where he sailed with supplies down the Ohio River. Clark would join him later with other men in Indiana and only then did they call themselves the ‘Corps of Discovery.” The Lewis and Clark expedition The Lewis and Clark expedition did not consist of just Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacajawea. There were 51 other people involved.
Misconception: The Beatles were introduced through the Ed Sullivan Show.
Fact: The Beatles were first introduced to America on tape in Jan. 1964 on the ‘Jack Paar Show’, not the Ed Sullivan Show.
Misconception: Charles Lindbergh was the first person to cross the Atlantic in an airplane.
Fact: Lindbergh was not the first, 66 people did it before him, however he was the first to do it solo.
The Hundred Years’ War lasted 116 years.
Misconception: Paul Revere rode alone to warn revolutionaries of approaching British soldiers.
Fact: Paul Revere did not single-handedly ride on horseback to warn residents of the British attack. There were 60 riders who spread the word that night. One man alone could never have covered such a distance, especially on horseback.
Misconception: As Paul Revere rode, he shouted “The British are coming!”
Fact: He did not say “The British are coming!” In 1775 the colonists still thought of themselves as British. British soldiers were called “the regulars”. When Revere came galloping along in the middle of the night, the guard told him to stop making so much noise. Revere responded by saying “Noise? You’ll have noise enough before long. The regulars are out.”
Misconception: “Bloody Mary” and the “Blood Countess” are the same person.
Fact: “Bloody Mary” was not the woman who bathed in the blood of young girls in a bathtub. That was Erzerbet Bathori or the “Blood Countess” (1560 – 1614). “Bloody Mary” was the nickname given to Queen Mary I of England (1516 – 1558) during the Marian Persecutions or the persecutions of religious reformers and Protestants.
Misconception: Christopher Columbus was the only one who knew the Earth was round.
Fact: Christopher Columbus’s efforts to obtain support for his voyages were not hampered by a European belief in a flat Earth. In fact, sailors and navigators of the time knew that the Earth was spherical, but disagreed with Columbus’ estimates of the distance to the Indies.
Misconception: All slaves during the Civil War were declared free by the Emancipation Proclamation.
Fact: Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately free all American slaves, just the ones in the area under revolt (i.e. the South). Since that area did not recognize his authority, only a few slaves were immediately freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Most slaves were freed as Confederate territory.
Misconception: JFK made the mistake of saying “I am a jelly doughnut”
Fact: The German crowd witnessing John F. Kennedy’s speech in Berlin in 1963 did not mistake “Ich bin ein Berliner” to mean “I am a jelly doughnut.” The pastry is known as a Berliner only in some parts of Germany, but not in Berlin.
Misconception: Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.
Fact: Thomas Edison neither invented the light bulb, nor held the first patent to the modern design of the light bulb. In reality, light bulbs used as electric lights existed 50 years prior to Thomas Edison’s 1879 patent date in the U.S. Additionally, Joseph Swan, a British inventor, obtained the first patent for the same light bulb in Britain one year prior to Edison’s patent date. Edison’s light bulb, in fact, was a carbon copy of Swan’s light bulb.
Misconception: Martin Luther rebelled against the Catholic Church after nailing his 95 theses to the church door.
Fact: Martin Luther did not nail his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Instead, he included them, round about the same time (1517), with a letter he wrote to his superiors denouncing the sale of indulgences. Most historians now believe it’s likely that the story of the nailing is a Christian urban legend, invented after the fact for greater dramatic effect.
Misconception: The infamous “Iron Mask” was a royal torture device.
Fact: When concerning the story of the “Man in the Iron Mask” disputed to be either the Duc de Vermandois, a twin brother of Louis XIV, or an elder brother of Louis XIV, it should be noted that the “Iron Mask” wasn’t an iron mask at all. It was a simple mask of black velvet.
Misconception: Louis XIV said “I am the State.”
Fact: The phrase “L’État, c’est moi” (“I am the State”) is frequently attributed to King Louis XIV, though this is more likely to have been conceived by political opponents as a way of confirming the stereotypical view of the absolutism he represented. Quite contrary to that apocryphal quote, Louis XIV is actually reported to have said on his death bed: “Je m’en vais, mais l’État demeurera toujours.” (“I am going away, but the State will always remain”).
Misconception: Washington was the first president to live in the White House.
Fact: George Washington was not the first president to live in the White House. The White House was not completed until after his presidency, although he did help select the site of the new capital city and the executive mansion. As President, Washington first lived in New York and later, Philadelphia.
Misconception: Natives in the Carribean were cannibals.
Fact: It is believed that the Carib people of the Carribean were cannibals. But even after Columbus was presented with evidence that this was untrue, the myth was perpetuated because in 1503, it was ruled that ‘only people who were better off under slavery’ (including cannibals) could legally be taken as slaves. This provided Spaniards an incentive to enslave them. The film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was criticized for portraying the Carib people as cannibals.
Misconception: Admiral Lord Nelson had a missing eye and wore an eye patch to hide the socket.
Fact: While Nelson did have a bad eye, he did not wear an eye patch. The nearest he came to it was a peaked eye-shade which he had built onto his naval hat, but that was there to protect his good eye from the sun, not to hide his bad eye. Nelson had no need to wear an eye-patch, because there was no obvious disfigurement to hide.
Misconception: Galileo Galilei invented the telescope.
Fact: Galileo did not invent the telescope nor was the first person to look through a telescope and draw his observations. That honor belongs to Thomas Harriot, an Englishman, who bought his first “Dutch trunke” (i.e. telescope) shortly after its invention in the Netherlands and made a sketch of the moon as seen through it in July of 1609.
Misconception: British troops forced themselves into American homes during the Revolution.
Fact: While many sources claim that the Quartering Act of 1774 allowed troops to occupy private homes, this is a myth. The act only permitted troops to be quartered in unoccupied buildings. The freedom from having soldiers quartered in private homes was a liberty guaranteed since 1628 by the Petition of Right. Although many colonists found the Quartering Act objectionable, it generated the least protest of the Intolerable Acts.
Misconception: British soldiers fired on innocent, unarmed Boston civilians during the Revolution.
Fact: Concerning the Boston Massacre, it was certainly not a massacre but rather a moment of self-defense. The mob had grown to 300-400 people and was pressing around the soldiers. They harassed and threw small objects at them, one soldier was struck down with a club, and many were taunting the soldiers by shouting “Fire!”. In the trial of the soldiers, which opened November 27, 1770, John Adams argued that if the soldiers were endangered by the mob they had the legal right to fight back, and so were innocent.
Misconception: The Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific Ocean.
Fact: Lewis and Clark, sadly, did not actually see the Pacific Ocean. They landed at the mouth of the Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon on November 7, 1805. The day was rainy and foggy, and the Columbia River estuary was four or five miles wide and they could not see the Oregon side of the river or Point Adams at the mouth of the river in the distance. But they were close enough to have reached their goal.
Misconception: The pronunciation is “Blackfoot” for singular and “Blackfeet” for plural.
Fact: The name of the “Blackfeet” tribe of Montana, though the official name of this tribe, is actually a misnomer given to them by white authorities. The word is not plural in the Blackfoot language, and some Blackfoot people still resist this name.
Misconception: The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776.
Fact: A final copy of the Declaration of Independence was produced by Timothy Matlack, assistant to the secretary of Congress, on August 2, 1776, at which time most of the delegates signed it. Because it is dated July 4, 1776, many people falsely believe it was signed on that date.
Misconception: The Liberty Bell was cracked as it rung for independence.
Fact: The Liberty Bell was not rung to celebrate independence, and it certainly did not acquire its crack by doing so: that story comes from a children’s book, Legends of the American Revolution, by George Lippard. The Liberty Bell was actually named in the early nineteenth century when it became a symbol of the anti-slavery movement.
Commonplace Book – Pages 70-72
Excerpt from the Antiquarian Repertory
First, the citizens’ children walked before her magnificently dressed, after followed gentlemen habited in velvets of all sorts, some black, others in white, yellow, violet, and carnation; others wore satins or taffety, and some damasks of all colours, having plenty of gold buttons; afterwards followed the Mayor, with the City Companies, and the chiefs or masters of the several trades; after them, the Lords, richly habited, and the most considerate knights; next came the ladies, married and single, in the midst of whom was the Queen herself, mounted on a small while ambling nag, the housings of which were fringed with gold thread; about her were six lacqueys, habited in vests of gold.
The Queen herself was dressed in violet velvet, and was then about forty years of age, and rather fresh coloured. Before her were six lords bareheaded, each carrying in his hand a yellow mace, and some other bearing the arms and crown. Behind her followed the archers, as well as of the fist as the second guard.
She was followed by her sister, named Madame Elizabeth, in truth a beautiful Princess, who was also accompanied by ladies both married and single.
The representatives of the French people, organized in the National Assembly, considering that ignorance, forgetfulness or contempt of the rights of man are the sole causes of the public miseries and of the corruption of governments, have resolved to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, inalienable, and sacred rights of man, in order that this declaration, being ever present to all the members of the social body, may unceasingly remind them of their rights and their duties; in order that the acts of the legislative power and those of the executive power may be each moment compared with the aim of every political institution and thereby may be more respected; and in order that the demands of the citizens, grounded henceforth upon simple and incontestable principles, may always take the direction of maintaining the constitution and the welfare of all.
In consequence, the National Assembly recognizes and declares, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen.
1. Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be based only upon public utility.
2. The aim of every political association is the preservation of the natural and inprescriptable rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.
3. The source of all sovereignty is essentially in the nation; no body, no individual can exercise authority that does not proceed from it in plain terms.
4. Liberty consists in the power to do anything that does not injure others; accordingly, the exercise of the natural rights of each man has for its only limits those that secure to the other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights. These limits can be determined only law.
5. The law has the rights to forbid only such actions as are injurious to society. Nothing can be forbidden that is not interdicted by the law, and no one can constrained to do that which it does not order.
6. Law is the expression of the general will. All citizens have the right to take part personally or by their representatives in its formation. It must be the same for all, whether eligible to all public dignities, places, and employments, according to their capacities, and without other distinction than that of their virtues and their talents.
7. No man can be accused, arrested, or detained except in the cases determined by the law and according to the forms that it has prescribed. Those who procure, expedite, execute, or cause to be executed arbitrary order ought to be punished; but every citizen summoned or seized in virtue of the law ought to render instant obedience; he makes himself guilty by resistance.
8. The law ought to establish only penalties that are strictly and obviously necessary and no one can be punished except in virtue of the law established and promulgated prior to the offense and legally applied.
9. Every man being presumed innocent until he has been pronounced guilty, if it is thought indispensable to arrest him, all severity that may be necessary to secure his person ought to be strictly suppressed by law.
10. No one ought to be disturbed on account of his opinions, even religious, provided their manifestation does not derange the public order established by law.
11. The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man; every citizen then can freely speak, write, and print, subject to responsibility for the abuse of this freedom in the cases determined by law.
12. The guarantee of the rights of man and of the citizen requires a public force; this force then is instituted for the advantage of all and not for the personal benefit of those to whom it is entrusted.
13. For the maintenance of the public force and for the expenses of administration a general tax is indispensable; it ought to be equally apportioned among all the citizens according to their means.
14. All the citizens have the right to ascertain, by themselves or by their representatives, the necessity of the public tax, to consent to it freely, to follow the employment of it, and to determine the quota, the assessment, the collection, and the duration of it.
15. Society has the right to call for an account from every public agent of its administration.
16. Any society in which the guarantee of the rights is not secured or the separation of powers not determined has no constitution at all.
17. Property being a sacred and inviolable right, no one can be deprived of it unless a legally established public necessity evidently demands it, under the constitution of a just and prior indemnity.
Commonplace Book – Pages 21-24
Other Knights of King Arthur
* Sir Ulfius * Sir Bloyse * Sir Gwyniarte * Sir Bellias * Sir Marrys * Sir Pynel * Sir Caulas * Sir Lyoneses * Sir Ladynas * Sir Torre * Sir Petipace * Sir Garnysh * Sir Balan * Sir Brastius * Sir Flaundres * Sir Badovin * Sir Lucas * Sir Bellaus * Sir Gwynas * Sir Pharyaunce * Sir Graciens * Sir Abellyus * Sir Blamoure * Sir Garlot * Sir Bagdemagus * Sir Jordanus * Sir Emerause * Sir Gryfflet * Sir Meliot * Sir Annesians * Sir Bryaunte * Sir Bloyas * Sir Morians * Sir Phelot * Sir Alocrdyne * Sir Balin * Sir Launceor
Sir Cologrenant (Colgrevance): Cousin to Sir Ywain; a Knight at the Round Table. He dies during the Grail Quest while trying to stop Sir Lionel from killing Sir Bors. Bors wouldn’t fight Lionel, and Lionel slays Colgrevance and goes after Bors until God renders him immobile. Or, he died while trying to catch Lancelot and Guenevere together.
Sir Palamedes (Palomides): He was a Sarocen pagan who converted to Christianity.
To the Greeks, Celts were called “Keltoi.” Germains called them “Kelten.” The French softened it to “Celtes.”
The Celts introduced to northern Europe the use of iron. Iron was used for tools and weapons, abundant, it was more efficient than bronze in felling men and forest, tilling the soil, and providing transport.
Celts introduced soap to the Greeks and Romans, invented chain armor, were the first to shoe horses, and give shape to handsaws, chisels, files, and other tools. They developed seamless iron rims for their wheels; set our standard 4 ft – 81/2 in railroad gauge with chariots; pioneered the iron plowshare, the rotary flour mill, and were among the first to secure womens’ rights.
The city-name Paris recalled the Paris II, a Celtic tribe, while the Rheime recalls the Remi tribe. Helvetia, a poetic name for Switzerland, comes from Helvett, and Belgium from Belgae. The Boli descended into Italy, left their name in Bologna, and made their home in Bohemia. To the Romans, Celts were called Galli. And the Gauls of Caesar’s Gallic wars were related to the Gaels of Scotland and Ireland, to the Celts of Galicia in Spain and Galicia in Poland and to the Galatians in Asia Minor, to whom Saint Paul sent an Epistle.
From Salt Mount in Salzberg, Hallistatt, men have burrowed for salt for 3,000 years. In 1734, miners discovered a Celt buried in salt. He was probably caught in the avalanche of about 300 B.C. Miners carried him down to the village, but superstitious villagers feared this “devil” and the priest cast him out. A pagan, he couldn’t receive a Christian burial in the churchyard.
In 387 B.C. the Gauls sacked Rome; others pushed eastward along the Danube, traversed the Balkans and in 279 B.C. pillaged the oracle at Delphi.
Some 20,000 Gauls crossed the Hellespont into Asia Minor, settling around Ankara, a region henceforth known as Galatia.
The Celts would use giant bar-headed war trumpets, chariots, horses, slingstones, spears, and swords in battle. They would cut off the heads of enemies, and attach them to the necks of horses. Singing in triumph as they carried off these trophies, they nailed them upon their houses. They embalm in cedar oil the heads of the most distinguished enemies and preserved them carefully in a chest and displayed them with pride to strangers.
Queen Boudicca of the Inceni took to the warpath in her chariot. She shredded Roman legions and burned Londinium to the ground.
Druids exercised great political influence, foreseeing the future, fixing auspicious times for enterprises, educating the young nobility and conserving traditions. In Irish legend, a Druid, after drinking a bull’s blood and eating its flesh, could identify the next king in a dream.
A warrior’s horse was his badge of nobility, commoners fought on foot. Epona, the horse goddess, is represented more widely than any other Celtic deity.