The Biggest History Mindf**ks 1

Collected by AskReddit


During the Mongol Empire in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Mongolian forces were fighting Germans and Japanese at the same time – and these two peoples had no idea of the others’ existence! This wouldn’t be attempted again until the 1940s.


The pyramids were as old to the Romans as the Romans are to us.


when I was studying Egyptian history one of my professors talked about research he had done on graffiti at the pyramids. One of the inscriptions was from a New Kingdom Pharaoh (think circa King Tut) which said to the effect, “The great Pharaoh XX visited these pyramids and marveled at the mysteries of his ancestors.” Egyptian civilization spanned such a great amount of time that they even forgot how they built the pyramids.Mindf**k: The pyramids were ancient history, even for Egyptians.


Napoleon marched his troops under the Brandenburg Gate in 1804 after he invaded Germany. Hitler marched his troops under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris during WWII as an act of revenge. Europeans have quite long memories.


My great uncle Edmund and his friend Hap flew B-29s during WWII. They flew bombing raids over Japan, and they were shot down and taken as POWs for 8 months. Forty years after being rescued, Hap goes back to Japan to try and stop the constant nightmares he had been having ever since his time as a POW. He ends up meeting the pilot that shot him down, and they become friends.


The time difference between when Tyrannosaurus and Stegosaurus lived is greater than the time difference between Tyrannosaurus and now.


Not exactly historical, but it’s 100% mind-f**king:

In Australia, the Aboriginal Kuuk Thaayore people use compass directions for every spatial cue, for example, “There is an ant on your southeast leg.” The people’s traditional greeting is “Where are you going?”, essentially requiring that each person be familiar with the cardinal directions at all times. Perhaps as a result, these people have been shown to be more skilled at dead reckoning than any other population: when asked to order a set of picture cards, they instinctively arrange them not from left to right or right to left, but from east to west, no matter what direction they are facing.


The Russo-Japanese War technically lasted over 100 years. When Russia and Japan declared war in 1904, Montenegro was allied with Russia at the time, and also declared war. However, being a tiny principality at the time, Montenegro didn’t really participate in the war other than sending a few volunteer troops. When the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed in 1905, Montenegro’s involvement was overlooked. It wasn’t until 2006 that Japan and Montenegro realized they were technically still at war, and another peace treaty was signed.


Mississippi didn’t ratify the 13th amendment (Prohibition of slavery) until 1995, only 16 years ago.


When Alexander the Great decided to attack the city of Tyre, he ran into a problem: Tyre was an island, and he had no boats. No matter; he had his men construct a bridge amidst the hail of arrows from the walls of Tyre. Then he crossed the bridge and conquered the city.2500 years later, the centuries of accumulated silt and sand have turned that man-made bridge into a full-scale, permanent geological feature. Tyre is, to this day, no longer an island.


In about 240 B.C.E., the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes calculated, with astounding accuracy for his time, the circumference of the earth. According to Wikipedia, he came up with the measurement of about 252,000 “stadia.” Though the exact size of said “stadion” is in dispute, historians believe he would have used the measurement of the then contemporary Egyptian stadion; he did after all, conduct his measurements in Egypt. Such a stadion would have measured about 157.5 meters, which puts his measurement for the earth’s circumference at about 39,690 kilometers, astoundingly close to our current measurement of 40,075;dr people have known the earth was round for a long time. Also, Greek mathematicians were resourceful as hell.


In a single afternoon, 40 thousand Roman soldiers were slaughtered by Hannibal at the battle of Cannae. A slaughter of this proportion in a single afternoon wasn’t matched until WW1.


When Inuits were first discovered they had no idea there were other humans on the planet


When Hannibal led his forces through the Alps, he got to a point where the war elephants couldn’t pass. Hannibal said f**k it, built some roads for his elephants and went on his way.

The Roman defense against war elephants was to cut off their trunk and cause them to panic.


The Temple at Gobekli Tepe

In Turkey, there is an empty, uninhabited region overlooked by a ridge of mountains. On a hill at the base of those mountains is a temple unique in human history.

Gobekli Tepe is a series of temples, built on top of each other over time. The oldest of ‘layer’ of temples is more than 11 000 years old. Do you understand how old that is?

That’s not just seven thousand years older than the Pyramids. Five thousand years older than the first cities in the fertile crescent.

It’s a thousand years before agriculture. The builders were nomads, living off of herds and foraging.

It’s before writing. So the whole thing was built by people whose knowledge had to be learned entirely in their lifetime and committed to memory. Can you imagine building a house with a group of people, when there aren’t any diagrams or written instructions on length or weight? And the project took more than just your lifetimes? (Okay, maybe there were measured lengths of rope or something, but still.)

So it existed almost alone on Earth, with no large permanent human settlements. Not in the middle of a city, or even near one, or at a time when our concept of ‘cities’ even existed. There are barely signs that people even lived at the site. It indicates humans who used it lived in nomadic villages nearby and it stood mostly empty. It was unimaginably unique at the time.

We only think it was a temple because it was full of larger-than-life statues of humans and dozens of different animals. The concept of a bigger-than-life statue indicates respect and reverence, when it was believed that humans weren’t sophisticated enough at the time to see themselves as gods, or worthy of worship.

We know that Gobekli Tepe was in continuous use for more than three thousand years, and then buried. Not in an avalanche, not in a fire or storm. By hand. The entire f**king complex was buried by hand. We know from the striations of earth that it was carried in from the land around and dumped. And it wasn’t destroyed first, the buildings was intact.

Only 5% has been excavated. It’s been picked at for decades because of competing claims on archeological rights. Who knows what else is in there.

Bonus: Awesome fountain