Empires Past: Empire Trivia
Many things about the day-to-day lives of the Aztec, Chinese, Egyptian, and Roman empires are not well-known, even though they are often the most interesting ones of all. This list (which is grouped by empire) attempts to fill in these gaps.
- The Aztecs made chocolate from cacao beans
- The Aztecs had a 365-day calendar over 100 years before the Europeans did
- The Aztecs used fertilizer, an invention previously unknown to the rest of the world
- Ancient Chinese judges wore dark glasses so they would not be able to see the accused, and would therefore remain impartial. The saying "justice is blind" was thus more accurate in ancient China than elsewhere.
- The Egyptians were the first to fish for fun
- Ancient Egyptians invented the first pregnancy test. Women moistened a sample of barley and emmer (wheat) with their urine. If the barley grew it meant that the woman would have a male child. If the emmer grew it meant that the woman would have a female child. If neither grew it meant that the woman was not pregnant. Modern science has proven that the urine of a non-pregnant woman will prevent barley from growing!
- Our symbol for prescriptions ("Rx") originated from "The Eye of Horus" symbol which stood for the goddess Ma'at of justice and truth. It was worn as a good luck charm for good health.
- An eye within a triangle symbolized Horus' time in the underworld waiting for rebirth and appears on the Great Seal of the United States and the United States dollar bill.
- The Egyptians invented beer
- While performing her duties as a pharaoh, Cleopatra wore a fake beard.
- The Egyptians were the first civilization to keep bees for making honey
- When the Roman men swore to tell the truth in court, they swore on their testes. Hence the term "to testify".
- In Roman cities, there were often small elevated rocks were placed at crosswalks. This served the double purpose of protecting people's feet from the rain (which often accumulated in streets) and slowing down the carriages that passed through the busy city streets (the Roman precursor to today's speed bump).
- The term "century" that is used to describe 100 years was first used to describe a battlefield unit of 100 men in the Roman military
- After the fall of Rome, many marble statues were burned to make lime for plaster