A misconception of historical proportions

Hello YP people, in this week’s edition of the post, we delve into the field of history! History is such a fascinating field of study, with many branches and offshoots. It is also my field of study, as I am an undergraduate student at the Department of History for the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens! Today’s subject will be some of the most common misconceptions about historic facts, events or persons.

Case I, Napoleon Bonapart’s height:

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Napoleon, this great strategic and political mind, has been a polarizing figure for historians and analysts throughout the years. His ”journey” from revolutionary to emperor of France has been a point of intense scrutiny. One thing though that all the sides seem to aggre on is his short stature. He was nicknamed ”Le petite Corporal”, the short corporal, and there is a plethora of jokes about his height. But actually, Napoleon was slightly taller than the average male Franc at the time! He was around 1.68 meters tall, a respectable height.

 

Case II, Orson Welles’ alien invasion

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A well-heard story about  famous actor/director/producer/radio producer Orson Welles, is that of his radio broadcast during 1938. On his show, he allegedly read parts from the book War of the Worlds, and caused mass hysteria in the population because they thought that an alien invasion had taken place. It is often used as an example of the influence that media can have on the masses. But actually,  only a few people were listening the broadcast, and the emergency calls were even fewer. It is theorized that the whole incident was overblown by newspapers that reported it, to disprove the credibility of the radio.

 

Case III, Vikings’ skulls and horns

 

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Τhe Vikings are one of the most influential civilizations of the pre-Medieval era. They were ferocious fighters and notorious travellers. Their travels took them to many new lands, even America, as it is written in their Saga, their book of legends and myths. As it happens with many great civilizations though, there is a mist surrounding their lifestyle. So two of the most common mix-ups about them regard their war and eating habits. We’ve all seen the classic viking helmets, with the horns spiking out. Actually, no such helmets existed, and the image was first seen in the opera ”The Ring of Nibelungen”. Also, Vikings didn’t drink their wine out of their opponent’s skulls as some say, instead using their custom made drinkingk horns.

 

So from me, Marios, and the whole blog team, have a nice read and a nice week!

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