The writings of great men like Plato and Marcus Aurelius are studied today with the same fervor and admiration they enjoyed thousands of years ago. However, we often overlook the poor folk who lived ordinary lives and dealt with ordinary problems. Etchings from some of these men have survived thousands of years and give us extraordinary glimpses into everyday life in ancient empires.
Nothing seems more fragile and helpless than your newborn child, held in your arms for the first time. It turns out, though, that newborns are actually incredibly durable and capable little things in some ways. Your newborn child can do things that you can only dream of. But we only discovered this through some scientific experiments that are completely insane—and that you shouldn’t try on your own baby.
The Spartan army was the toughest in the world. Every Spartan man was enlisted, and they were feared around the world. Sparta did away with city walls, believing its men strong enough to make walls useless. It was the only country that Alexander the Great saw and left unconquered—and he never even had the courage to march his men into their land.
Spartan men were warriors because Spartan boys suffered through some absolutely incredible experiences. A child raised in Sparta wasn’t raised by his mother. He was raised by the state, and he was put through an education unlike any other in history.
Before he became the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln dabbled in another career: writing mysteries. In the 1840s, Lincoln was working a day job as a lawyer, but at night he entertained wilder dreams.
Lincoln was reportedly a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe. He devoured every one of Poe’s works, taking a special interest in his mysteries, and he soon found himself wondering if the strange stories he”d gathered in the courtroom were interesting enough to sell.
In 1846, Lincoln gave writing a shot. He sat down and sketched up a fictionalized version of a real court case he’d taken part in, sent it in, and got it published in his local paper, “The Quincy Whig”. Lincoln’s little mystery didn’t make a splash and he never became a famous author – but he did get one little story published.
And it’s actually pretty good.
The Seven Wonders of the Natural World may have been named too quickly. Wonders like The Grand Canyon and Victoria Falls are certainly big, and anyone who sees them will surely be impressed—but sheer size isn’t enough to truly leave a person in awe.
There are other places in this world, though, that are far stranger. Places that seem almost alien, as if they could only exist on a planet that evolved separately from our own. These are places that scientists have had to struggle just to understand how they ever could have been formed. Places that will truly make you wonder—not just because they’re beautiful, but because they seem to follow scientific laws that don’t exist anywhere else on earth.
History will never forget Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon or the Wright Brothers’ first moments of flying through the sky. However, some historical firsts—mundane things—never quite stood the test of time.
Fortunately, historians and archaeologists have taken the time to track these things down. Thanks to their tireless work, history will never forget those moments so vital to human development—like the one when the first fart joke was cracked.
George R. R. Martin doesn’t seem like the type of author to have any dark, hidden shames hidden in the reaches of his back catalog. When your best-known work is filled with incest, rape and murder, you have to do something pretty weird to shock your readers.
There is one story Martin has written that would make even his most hardened fans a little squeamish. That story is Meathouse Man, and it is, in Martin’s own words, “the darkest, bleakest, sickest, most twisted thing I ever wrote.”
Meathouse Man makes Game of Thrones look like a Saturday-morning cartoon.