World’s Strangest

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11 of the Richest People in History

Coming up with a definitive list of the richest people of all time is almost impossible, thanks to the difficulties that arise with comparing different currencies and adjusting for inflation over thousands of years. But these 11 men were up there in the 0.001 percent of their time—and they were all just a little bit [...]

How Military Operations Get Their Code Names

© Hannibal Hanschke/dpa/Corbis Last month the world watched rebel forces pour into Tripoli under the banner of Operation Mermaid Dawn. While watching the news, I was struck by a curiosity many of you might have shared: just where exactly do these names come from? It’s a relatively new practice, actually—less than a hundred years old. The Germans [...]

Processions of the Holy Roman Empire

Bibliodyssey has some gorgeous printings derived around the year 1700 from woodcuts of the 16th century, called “Festival Books” that depict the pomp and pageantry of the Holy Roman Empire’s royal celebrations. Some of these are concept pieces, created before the actual event, and so envision an idealized version of court festivals. The Emperor Maximilian I [...]

What Happened to Marie Antoinette’s Children?

The tragic tale of Marie Antoinette’s death during the French Revolution is the stuff of legend. But while the story of Marie Antoinette ends with her death by beheading on October 16, 1793, the tragedy of her family continued to unfold long after her death. Marie Antoinette and her husband, the Dauphin, were married for seven [...]