Page 10 - History Facts

Julius Caesar was also a poet—and according to Tacticus, a rather bad one at that!

Julius Caesar was captured by pirates in 75 BC, while he was still a young man. He entertained them with poetry until he was released. Tacticus would argue that is exactly the reason they released him—so that they didn't have to listen to it any longer!

Poems by Julius Caesar are mentioned by several sources but only a single, incomplete line of his poetry survived intact, and it is about an ointment! He wrote: "We lubricate our bodies with soothing telinum."

Tacticus thought their loss is a happy accident for the rest of us. He said: "For Caesar and Brutus wrote poems, and put them in their friends' libraries too. They were no better than Cicero, but have been luckier, for their poetry is less known."

The titles of two works Caesar wrote as a young man are known. They are 'Laudes Herculis' (Praises of Hercules) and the verse tragedy Oedipus. Augustus quickly put a stop to their planned publication in a letter he wrote to Pompeius Macer. A third title, 'Iter' (The Journey), was written by Julius Caesar in 46 BC while he was on a trip from Rome to Spain during the civil war.

We will never know for sure, but looking at the reactions to his literature it seems we can be grateful it's been lost to the ages.


A Japanese general who did heinous human experimentation in WWII was never charged with war crimes. How did he escape?

World War II was a time of devastating destruction and inhumane experiments. Lieutenant General Shiro Ishii of the Imperial Japanese Army was also a microbiologist that led the infamous Unit 731. This unit used forced and often lethal human experimentation during the war, collecting data to wage terrible biological warfare.

Ishii began experiments in 1932 as a secret project for the Japanese military at Zhongma Fortress. In 1936, Unit 731 formed and a large compound was built outside the city of Harbin, China for experimentation.

The research was secret, and Unit 731 was officially tasked with water-purification work. He began field tests of germ warfare agents on Chinese prisoners of war and on the battlefield in 1942. The Unit 731 headquarters was blown up and all 150 subjects killed by the Japanese when defeat was imminent to destroy evidence.

Lucky for Ishii, he gained immunity from war-crimes in 1946 before the Tokyo tribunal. The price? A full disclosure of germ warfare data he obtained from human experimentation.

The information was considered invaluable since experimenting on humans isn't acceptable for the U.S. There's speculation as to where he ended up after the war. Some say he went to Maryland to advise on bioweapons and others say he stayed in Japan where he did examinations and treatments for free.

He died of throat cancer at the age of 67 and was never convicted of a war crime.


Before the Nazi's burned books, the German Student Union cleansed prose that didn't match the German spirit.

On May 10, 1933, members of the German Student Union held their first book burning in an attempt to purge books, including American and Jewish novels, that didn't represent the German spirit. Nearly 25,000 books were set on fire, including Heinrich Heine's play in which he wrote, a century earlier, "Where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people."

As opposition grew against those whose opinions countered Nazi ideology prior to World War II, students sought to burn books as part of a ceremony meant to cleanse and purify the German language and it's literature.

In addition to the book burnings, artists, writers, and scientists were forbidden to continue their work and were banned from libraries and universities. In addition to the destruction of their works, these authors also faced persecution. Many writers were forced into exile, had their citizenship denied or revoked, or were later executed or imprisoned in concentration camps.

The book burnings were a success for the students. The campaign, known as "Action Against the Un-German Spirit, took place in the towns of 34 universities across the country.

In 1946, the Allied occupation created a similar censorship program, where millions of books, including textbooks and poetry, and pieces of artwork seeming to relate to Nazi ideology were destroyed. The requirements for such censorship were broad, and thousands of confiscated books and paintings were shipped to the United States, where they remain today.


Some awesome lists!

At the height of its power, Pablo Escobar's cartel was spending $2.5k/month on rubber bands to wrap their cash with

Pablo Escobar was a notorious Colombian drug lord who dealt cocaine exclusively. In 1989, Forbes estimated Escobar was worth $3 billion. Escobar himself described his business as bribing the right people.

At the height of his drug empire, Escobar's Medillin drug cartel was smuggling 15 tons of cocaine into the U.S. Per day. This was worth about half a billion dollars. According to Escobar's brother Roberto, at this time, the cartel was spending $2500 a month to wrap their stacks and stacks of cash.

Escobar, an extremely violent man, was eventually forced to give himself up. He was imprisoned in Colombia but continued to have influence in criminal activities. He was then extradited to the United States. Escobar eventually committed suicide.


Joan of Arc's only crime was cross-dressing, but she was still sentenced to death. Why?

Joan of Arc has been heralded as the teenage savior of France, rallying troops with her religious battle cries and bravery. Ultimately, she met an untimely death at the hands of the English by being burned at the stake. As common with death by stake burning, many believed it was for heresy and witchcraft. However, her only true crime is cross-dressing.

Joan of Arc, also known as the Maid of Orleans, supported Charles VII in taking France back from English control in the Hundred Years' War. She claimed to have visions from God that instructed her to lead, and she gained prominence when she managed to life the siege of Orleans in just 9 days.

Alas, in 1430, she was captured by the Burgundian faction that was allied with the English. The only crime that the Inquisition tribunal formally charged her with was wearing men's clothing. In prison she wore men's clothes to prevent rape. Her hosen and tunic fastened to one piece making it very difficult to pull her pants off.

25 years after her death, Pope Callixtus III examined the trial and pronounced her innocent. Pope Benedict XV canonized her on May 16, 1920, and she is now one of the most popular saints of the Roman Catholic Church. She was a distinguished leader that was so greatly feared by her enemies that she was put to death for such a stupid charge.



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