25 Interesting Moments In History, From A Viral Thread

Published 8 months ago

Though we know a little bit about the big events in the timeline of mankind’s history, there’s obviously more to the story than meets the eye. There are so many little things that happen, so many players that can influence events and a million other moments that combine to make up the final outcome. These little moments are usually undocumented or less popularly known unless one has spent time studying the events to grasp what went down better.  

Amateur historians recently gathered online to share the stories they have put together through their own research about historical events they felt were important and shared it on Reddit. We’ve scrolled through the lot to find the most interesting and shared them in the gallery below. So scroll below to check out what some folks consider as rather dramatic, powerful or important moments from our past that may not be quite common knowledge. 

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Image source: phillanthropist, Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein

Diogenes the cynic was a very extreme philosopher who didn’t believe in ANY amount of earthly possessions. Literally the only thing he owned was a tattered robe to cover himself and he lived in a discarded barrel in the middle of the city square. One day he was just chilling, sunbathing in his barrel when Alexander the Great, the most powerful person in the entire world, came to visit him, he was like “Diogenes, I’ve heard such great things about you and your philosophy, if there’s anything at all you want me to do for you, just tell me.” And this absolute mad lad replies “move two paces left, you’re blocking the sunlight” in that same exchange, Alexander tells him “if I weren’t Alexander the Great, I would want to be Diogenes” and Diogenes replies “If I weren’t Diogenes, I would want to be Diogenes as well” what an absolute unit.


Image source: cerebus19, Thomas Gainsborough

I’ve always been fond of the exchange between John Montagu and John Wilkes, both British politicians in the 18th century (Montagu was also the 4th Earl of Sandwich, the namesake and possibly inventor of the sandwich).

During one of their many verbal battles, Montagu reportedly spat at Wilkes and said, “Upon my soul, Wilkes, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox.”

Wilkes replied, “That depends, my lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”


Image source: anon, Unknown

The winter war. When the soviet union invaded Finland expecting it to be a walkover. The fins captured entire divisions with small amounts of men, had no tanks or air force and inflicted massive losses on the Russians. The most effective sniper of all time “the white death” was fighting for the fins & there are loads of stories of russian soldiers waking up and finding their fellow comrades frozen solid with their throats cut. The Russians eventually overran the Finns but were internationally humiliated and had to settle with taking some slithers of land from the border as opposed to occupying the country.


Image source: ahfuq, Benutzer:Ticinese

Probably something everyone knows by now but my favorites are the ways the Spartans would talk s**t as part of their culture. King Agesilaus of Sparta being given a tour of another city called its walls “wonderful women’s quarters”. Or when Philip 2 of Macedon, Alexander’s daddy, said “If I win this war you will be slaves forever,” the Spartans simply replied “If.”


Image source: LiterallyMussolini69, Office of War Information

I have 2. 1: when Charles DeGaul became President of France, he pulled the country out of NATO and then asked President Johnson (I think it was Johnson at least) to pull all US troops out of France to which he replied “does that include the ones buried in Normandy?”

2: During the cold war, the leader of Yugoslavia, Tito, was getting aid from the east and the west. Stalin didn’t like that so he sent an assassin, he was stopped so Stalin sent another assassin and that one was stopped so after awhile Tito got annoyed by all the assassins so he sent a letter to Stalin saying “stop sending people to kill me. If you do not stop sending killers I will send one to Moscow and I won’t have to send a second.”

I know more but that’s just off the top of my head


Image source: anon, E.Thomas

This french guy named Favras was being sentenced to death and his last words were “you have made three grammatical errors” when they read his death sentence.


Image source: whinny_whaley, Aşık Çelebi

Oh, remembered another one. Yeah, I know, Ottoman again but these guys had 600 years and have performed some big f**k you’s all around. This is more like a literal “eat s**t” moment but also funny.

Sultan Selim, receives a chest from the Iranian King of the time. The two sides are not really fond of each other and the tension is definitely big. But the chest is covered with jewels and quality fabrics, looking good… except the smell. It smells awful. While the council inspects the chest and the gift, they find human feces placed in bottom. Yes, Iranians sent literal s**t to the Ottomon King of the time.

You may think that’s the f**k you moment, but there’s more.

Selim, being the king, orders another chest to be prepared as a return gift. Only difference, they put Turkish Delight instead of feces. Oh, and a small, itty bitty note…

“Everyone offers what they eat.”


Image source: metaaltheanimefan, JoachimKohlerBremen

A town in germany pretend it was part of Switzerland during ww2


Image source: NosiferX, AR VLD

The Persians and the Byzantines had a treaty, which the Byzantines then broke. The leader of the Persians, Khosrau, decided he couldn’t have that. He marched through the Byzantine empire, looting towns, until he got to the Mediterranean Sea. He rigged a chariot race so that the Byzantine Emperor’s favourite team would lose. Finally, after the Byzantine Emperor had paid him to leave and stop sacking towns, Khosrau headed home, sacking every town he came across.

The best part? He came to a major city, Antioch. He took notes of the city’s layout, then captured the whole population and burnt the city to the ground. When he got back to the Persian Empire, he used the money he had gained from his recent sacking of towns to build a new city, with the exact same layout as Antioch. He moved all the original citizens of Antioch into this new city. He named the city Weh Antiok Khusrau, which translates roughly as ‘Khosrau’s Better Version of Antioch’.


Image source: Tankbotherer, Mathew Benjamin Brady

I personally like Colonel John Sedgwick, a Unionist Colonel who was shot and killed by a sniper. His famous last words were “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”


Image source: TheDoorDoesntWork, François Clouet

When Henry VIII proposed to Christina of Denmark, her reply was,”If I had two heads, I would happily put one at the disposal of the King of England”.


Image source: Touristupdatenola, Myrabella

> Harald Hardrada: How much land will you give me?

> Harald Godwinson: Seven feet of English soil, for you are taller than most men.


Image source: happymisery, Unknown

Cromwell was so hated that after he was dead and buried, they exhumed his corpse so that they could execute him. He was drawn and quartered with his head piked on London Bridge two and a half years after he died.


Image source: LifeOfFate, DoubleBlue

[operation Paul Bunyan](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_axe_murder_incident)

Basically the United States tried to trim a tree in the NK/SK DMZ that was supposedly planted by the supreme leader or something. While trimming the tree NK reacted and killed two soldiers. 3 days later a joint operation launched where South Korea and the US shows up with extreme force while the North Koreans get to watch the sacred tree nearly entirely cut down.


Image source: ROBANN_88, France govenment

I forgot the name of the place, but at obe point during Alexander the Great campaign in Persia, right by the coast, there was a fortress on a Island. So he just filled the gap, turned it into a peninsula and beseiged it.


Image source: thepersonthatsays, Unknown

The fact that the founder of Lamborghini made Lamborghini because his Ferrari broke down and the company screwed him out of a warranty.


Image source: anon, Unknown

After The Hobbit was published in 1937, Berlin publisher Rütten & Loening wanted to circulate the book in Germany, but asked Tolkien for proof of his “Aryan descent”. [Tolkien drafted two replies](http://www.openculture.com/2014/04/j-r-r-tolkien-snubs-a-german-publisher.html), and the TL;DR is that he – a *famous* etymologist – not only questioned whether or not they knew what the word Aryan actually meant, but included the line “*But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people*”.


Image source: Briskylittlechally2, Robert Ker Porter

I think it’s Sir Sidney Smith who had just been captured by Napoleon, writing a message for him on the wall of his cell that read something amongst the lines of “I’m not angry, because I am at the bottom now, and you are at the top, but when the wheel of fortune is spun, you will begin to fall, and I shall rise higher than I’ve ever been before” and Napoleon, who later got locked up in the very same cell, then read that message.

Sir Sidney Smith was an awesome character, by the way. You should definitely look up on him.


Image source: GundamMaker, Ridpath

“More weight.” –Giles Corey


Image source: bigdamhero, Maurice Quentin de La Tour

On his Deathbed Voltaire was asked to renounce Satan to save his soul. His response, “Now, now my good man, this is no time to be making enemies.” One last shot at stupidity.

Edit: for those misunderstanding, I’m saying V “took a shot at” stupidity, in that on his death bed he pointed out the ridiculousness of such a stupid belief (deathbed conversion + afterlife) put in practice


Image source: OtterLLC, Mikhail Nesterov

[Olga of Kiev](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olga_of_Kiev#Regency) has a pretty cool story. Summary:

* Married Prince Igor of Kiev around 903 AD

* When Igor took power, the neighboring Drevlian tribe stopped paying tribute, so Igor went to have a sit-down. He got paid and left, but then decided he wasn’t paid enough. So he went back, and the Drevlians didn’t appreciate this so they tortured and killed him.

* The Drevlians sent some people to Olga, to encourage her to marry the Drevlian responsible for her husband’s death. Olga told them that sounded great, and that the next day she’d have them carried in their boat into her court for a formal announcement.

* Olga had a trench dug overnight. The Drevlians returned with their boat, sat inside, then were carried directly to the trench and the boat was dumped in. As the Drevlians were being buried alive in the trench, ‘*Olga bent down to watch them as they were buried and “inquired whether they found the honor to their taste.”*’

* Olga then invited the Drevlians to send more envoys to escort her to her new prince. The new group was invited to go have a relaxing bath, and Olga had the bathhouse barred and burned down, with the Drevlians inside.

* Olga then wrote to the Drevlians and asked for a funeral feast where her husband was killed. She went with a small group, mourned at the spot of the murder, then they all had a big feast. The Drevlians drank a lot, and while they slept it off, Olga’s group killed like 5,000 of them. She went back home.

* Olga raised an army in Kiev and marched it back to the Drevlians, who holed up in their walls where they held her off for a year. She told them she’d take a tribute of 3 pigeons and 3 sparrows from every house. The Drevlians thought they were getting off easy, so they accepted, and gave her the birds….

* Olga took all the birds, tied a wad of sulfur wrapped in cloth on a string to the birds’ feet, lit them up, and let the birds go. They all flew back to their Drevlian homes, which then all caught on fire. As the Drevlians fled the burning city, Olga’s army caught them, and killed a bunch, took a bunch of others as slaves, and took tribute from whomever she let survive.

Apparently she was upset about what happened to her husband.


Image source: anon, BiblioArchives

Winston Churchill and a woman had a conversation:

Woman: Mr Churchill you are drunk!

Winston: And you my dear are ugly, but tomorrow i shall be sober


Image source: Zytharros, Paquitogio

Sony releasing the PlayStation after Nintendo’s “f you” is one of the biggest technological Uno reverse cards in history.


Image source: Aloysiusakamud, Anonymous

A governor put a bounty of $500 on the pirate Jean Lefitte. The pirate’s response was to put a $5,000 bounty on the governor’s head.

Also, Julius Cesar was kidnapped & wasn’t released until a ransom was paid. After he was released, he raised an army & went after his kidnappers. Once they were caught he had them crucified.


Image source: MisterCogswell, Protoant

TL:DR Arlington natl cemetery was Robert E Lee’s front yard.

During the American Civil War, when it became difficult to bury Union dead in appropriate cemetery’s, the quartermaster directed them to be buried in Robert E. Lee’s front yard, so that for the rest of his life, he would be reminded of the damage he caused the country ever day simply by coming and going from his home. And that boys and girls, is THE reason Arlington Cemetery became what it is. In an added twist, Arlington house and plantation were owned and built by George Washington’s adopted son, George Washington Custis, who’s daughter Mary, married Robert E. Lee (at the time a US Army office). Their son George Washington Custis Lee served in the Confederate Army. The Lee’s sued the Feds for illegally seizing their property, and years later, after Robert and Mary’s deaths, they won the suit in the US Supreme Court. Their heir, Robert E Lee Jr, knowing the impossibility of moving the thousands buried there. Offered to sell it to the US Federal Govt. who agreed to purchase it. Setting the stage for a remarkable occasion, where then Secretary of War, Robert Todd Lincoln (yes Abe and Mary’s boy) handed Robert E Lee Jr a check for approx $150k and purchased the plantation.

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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amateur, historians, history, middle finger, past, research
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