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People Are Sharing Historical Myths That Annoy The Hell Out Of Them

Yep, these are pretty irritating alright.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

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Painting of Napoleon on a horse.

Napoleon: Not as short as everyone says.

Image credit: Jacques-Louis David (public domain via Wikimedia Commons).

The people of the Internet love nothing more than getting annoyed at stuff and correcting other people's mistakes. After being prompted by X (Twitter) user Amy Colleen to reveal common historical myths that make their hackles rise, they got a chance to do both. 

Below are a few of our favorites. As always, we'll jump in if anything needs explaining, elaborating, or, best of all, correcting. 

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Napoleon was indeed pretty average height-wise, with estimates placing him around 1.68 or 1.7 meters (5 foot 6 or 7). Though shorter than the average male height in modern France, at the time this was at the higher end of average or slightly above it.

You're probably picturing everyone in the past too tall, including war horses, which were a lot more adorable than you're picturing.

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This is indeed irritating, and usually applied to the pyramids of Egypt. In reality, the Ancient Egyptians were skilled engineers and put a lot of time and a gigantic workforce into the task. 

The giant blocks were moved by boat, oxen, and may have been dragged on sleds by workers across wet sand, reducing the amount of force they'd need to move the huge stones. If aliens had built the pyramids, it's unlikely you would see the progression that has been found in the pyramids, with engineers using bigger blocks as time went on. It's a bizarre alien civilization that masters interstellar travel, then builds one pyramid before realizing how to dramatically improve their masonry.

As we may have mentioned before, the Moon landings were not faked, despite this thread of the most compelling "evidence" we've seen to date.

We do have evidence of ancient humans looking after each other quite far into the past, as well as evidence Neanderthals provided care to their injured.

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This myth gets around a lot. The tale goes that for centuries, doctors would treat women for hysteria by manually stimulating them to orgasm. According to the story, doctors would apply vegetable oil to women's genitals and then get to work. They would have a "paroxysm" – the doctors supposedly didn't believe women had orgasms – and be relieved of their "hysteria". According to the myth, the vibrator was hailed by tired doctors everywhere as a real timesaver, helping their patients to achieve orgasms in a far shorter appointment.

The theory came from historian Rachel Maines' book The Technology of Orgasm – however, there's no real evidence for it, and Maines does not cite any sources that mention producing "paroxysms", or any sort of massage that could be construed as masturbating patients.

 "I never claimed to have evidence that this was really the case," Maines later told The Atlantic. “What I said was that this was an interesting hypothesis, and [...] people fell all over it. It was ripe to be turned into mythology somehow. I didn’t intend it that way, but boy, people sure took it, ran with it.”

On the bright side, at least it gave the Internet something to get mad at and correct.


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  • history,

  • myths and legends

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