Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > General History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

General History General History Forum - General history questions and discussions


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old June 15th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #1

Alex III's Avatar
King of Macedon
 
Joined: May 2009
From: BC, Canada
Posts: 803
Common Historical Misconceptions/Myths


Hey, it could be fun to post/discuss some of those big historical misconceptions or myths out there! There are plenty aboud, so I'll start with a few of my favourites!

Captain James Cook was the first European to discover Australia - False, nearly 100 years before Cook 'discovered' Australia and New Zealand, the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman had been there, and the current Australian island state of Tasmania bears his name. This was not a misconception at the time, but the majority of people today, even Australians, will tell you that Cook was the first European there.

Witches were burned at the stake in Salem - Actually, the 20 that were executed were hanged. Nobody convicted of witchcraft in Salem was burned at the stake.

The US gained its independence on July 4th, 1776 - Well, the founding fathers did sign the Declaration of Independence on that day, but it wasn't until 1783 that the United States was officially recognized as an independent nation, not only by the British but by the other European powers.

Slaves built the Pyramids at Giza - Most evidence suggests that the majority of workers were paid craftsmen that worked in the offseason when they were not farming.

A thumbs up in the colisseum meant let the defeated live, a thumbs down meant kill him - Actually, a thumbs up meant kill the defeated, and the signal for letting him live was a closed fist with no thumb.

The War of 1812 was won by Britain (In Canada) or: The War of 1812 was won by the United States (In the United States). Let's just agree that nobody 'won' the War of 1812, look at the Treaty of Ghent, for all intents and purposes, it was a 'stalemate'. Nothing really changed, everything pretty much returned to the status quo.

Christopher Columbus set sail to prove that the world was round - He, like any semi-educated European at the time, already knew the world was round-ish (well they thought it was pear shaped). In fact it has been known since at least 500BC, and likely earlier, that it was not flat.
Alex III is offline  
Remove Ads
Old June 15th, 2009, 08:15 PM   #2

tjadams's Avatar
Epicurean
 
Joined: Mar 2009
From: Texas
Posts: 25,369
Blog Entries: 6
Re: Common Historical Misconceptions/Myths


John Hancock: signed the US Dec. of Ind. so large that the King of England didn't need his glasses to read it.
Abraham Lincoln: wrote the Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope while riding a train.
Geo. Washington: had wooden teeth
tjadams is offline  
Old June 15th, 2009, 08:23 PM   #3

Pedro's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2008
From: On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
Posts: 12,491
Blog Entries: 1
Re: Common Historical Misconceptions/Myths


Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
Geo. Washington: had wooden teeth
Has anyone suggested they were made from the cherry tree he didn't chop down?
Pedro is offline  
Old June 16th, 2009, 12:53 AM   #4
Archivist
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 233
Re: Common Historical Misconceptions/Myths


Prior to Columbus people thought the world was flat. The peasant farmer may have thought so -if it ever crossed his mind, but amognst seafarers, the educated and the like the Earth being a globe was an accepted fact.

If life expectancy was 30 you weren't considered middle aged at 15 or old at 31. You need to take infant mortality into account, 50-60% of children dying before 5 has been common. Often it was quite a bit higher. So if you survive childhood chances were you had a long life ahead of you.
NullZone is offline  
Old June 16th, 2009, 12:58 AM   #5

DIVUS IVLIVS's Avatar
Pragmatic Idealist
 
Joined: Mar 2009
From: Virginia
Posts: 2,408
Re: Common Historical Misconceptions/Myths


Julius Caesar's last words were: "Et tu Brute?"

In fact, although some sources maintain that his lasts words were Greek: "Kai su teknon?" (you too, my child), it is far more likely, and this is acknowledged in said sources, that he said nothing, and died silently.
DIVUS IVLIVS is offline  
Old June 16th, 2009, 02:24 AM   #6

Inspiration's Avatar
Archivist
 
Joined: Jun 2009
From: Norfolk, England
Posts: 121
Re: Common Historical Misconceptions/Myths


They say that the Industrial Revolution began in Telford but it is rumoured to have started in Manchester.
Inspiration is offline  
Old June 16th, 2009, 03:31 AM   #7

Fluffybunny's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Mar 2009
From: Hofheim, Germany
Posts: 1,026
Re: Common Historical Misconceptions/Myths


Hollywood has depicted Roman war galleys to be manned by slaves, however, a vast majority of the rowers came from allied Roman cities and were given a salary. There are hardly any sources to suggest that slaves were used, but it is reasonable to assume that the gaps that remained in the workforce were filled through slaves, but the numbers most likely never exceeded 10% of all rowers.
Fluffybunny is offline  
Old June 16th, 2009, 05:50 AM   #8

tjadams's Avatar
Epicurean
 
Joined: Mar 2009
From: Texas
Posts: 25,369
Blog Entries: 6
Re: Common Historical Misconceptions/Myths


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluffybunny View Post
Hollywood has depicted Roman war galleys to be manned by slaves, however, a vast majority of the rowers came from allied Roman cities and were given a salary....
True. Sadly, History teachers are left to clean up the mess when Hollywood attempts to teach
tjadams is offline  
Old June 16th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #9

diddyriddick's Avatar
Forum Curmudgeon
 
Joined: May 2009
From: A tiny hamlet in the Carolina Sandhills
Posts: 14,101
Re: Common Historical Misconceptions/Myths


Myth-The Battle of Gettysburg was fought over a supply of shoes in the town.

Reality-Tax records indicate no warehouses or manufacturers of shoes in Adams County Pa. The reality is that Gettysburg just happened to be at the junction of major roads.
diddyriddick is offline  
Old June 16th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #10

diddyriddick's Avatar
Forum Curmudgeon
 
Joined: May 2009
From: A tiny hamlet in the Carolina Sandhills
Posts: 14,101
Re: Common Historical Misconceptions/Myths


The German army was fully mechanized in WWII.
diddyriddick is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > General History

Tags
common, misconceptions or myths


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Best Greek Myths zapmoo Ancient History 57 April 19th, 2013 05:26 AM
Most common cause of war? Commander War and Military History 58 March 17th, 2010 05:33 AM
In Search Of Myths and Stories fanninhj New Users 3 April 11th, 2007 03:40 PM
Myths of the Vietnam War Komrade American History 5 November 17th, 2006 09:55 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.