Showing posts with label Romans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Romans. Show all posts

Aug 6, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

The earliest reference to this expression goes back to the Ancient Egyptians. They noted that the rising of the star Sirius began the hottest part of the summer. The star’s hieroglyph is a dog. Sirius would appear in Egypt, after about a 70 day absence, just before the season where the Nile typically floods, so it is thought the star’s hieroglyphic symbol 'watchdog'.

Romans and Greeks also referred to dog days and would often make sacrifices to Sirius, including sacrificing dogs to appease Sirius with the hope it would result in a mild summer and protect crops from scorching.

Sirius is the brightest star in the Canis Major (Latin for “Greater Dog”) constellation.

Jul 13, 2012

History of Mooning

Some sources have cited mooning, or baring one’s butt at another as an insult that stretches back to the Romans, but the gesture as we know it today seems to have started in the Middle Ages.

Wikipedia claims that the first known instance of mooning was recorded by the famous Roman-Jewish historian Josephus in the 1st century A.D. According to Josephus’ account in The Wars of the Jews, a Roman soldier bared his rear to an audience of Jews celebrating Passover, and incited a  riot that killed “upwards of thirty thousand.” However, a closer examination of Josephus’s account shows that the soldier was not mooning the crowd, but rather farting in their general direction. Josephus puts it more delicately, “One of the soldiers, raising his robe, stooped in an indecent attitude, so as to turn his backside to the Jews, and made a noise in keeping with his posture.”

One of the earliest known instances of mooning happened during the Fourth Crusade around 1203, when Western Europeans attempted to take Constantinople. As the crusaders’ ships pulled away after the failed attack, the Byzantines hooted and hollered and “showed their bare buttocks in derision to the fleeing foe.” Another account tells of the Italian nobleman and troubadour Alberico da Romano, who was so indignant at losing his favorite falcon during a hunt that he “dropped his trousers and exposed his rear to the Lord as a sign of abuse and reviling."

Though it was a worldwide phenomenon by the 19th century, mooning didn’t get its name until the 1960s. The Oxford English Dictionary dates moon and mooning to student slang of the 1960s, when the gesture became increasingly popular at American universities. The term derives from the use of moon or moons as slang for the bare buttocks.

Jan 27, 2012

Toilet Talk

The film “Psycho” was the first movie to show a toilet flushing. The scene caused a huge number of complaints about indecency.

The Roman army didn’t have toilet paper so they used a water soaked sponge on the end of a stick instead.

The toilet is flushed more times during the super bowl halftime than at any time during the year.

The average person spends three years of their life sitting on the toilet.

Over $100,000 US dollars was spent on a study to determine whether most people put their toilet paper on the holder with the flap in front or behind. The results showed that three out of four people have the flap in the front.

The first toilet cubicle in a row is the least used.

Dec 16, 2011

What's in a Name, Togas and Tunics

Most men and women in Ancient Rome wore a basic undergarment called a tunic, which they belted at the waist. The length and design of the tunic distinguished the wearer's social status. Elite Romans wore longer tunics with stripes, whereas slaves and manual laborers generally wore tunics that came above the knee and allowed freer movement. Only male citizens were allowed to wear the togas. These draped over the body on top of the tunic.

Apr 15, 2011

Four Uses for Mustard

Romans were first introduced to mustard seeds by the Egyptians. They mixed unfermented grape juice with ground mustard, and called this concoction "must" - hence mustard!

For Sore Throat - Combine mustard, the juice of one half of a fresh lemon, one tablespoon of salt, one tablespoon of honey, and one half cup of boiling water. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Take some in your mouth and gargle! Warning: this concoction will not taste of smell good. After a few rounds of gargling, your throat should be feeling a lot less sore.

To remove bad smells, use some mustard and hot water and wipe over surface.

Drippyness' can be induced to encourage decongestion by rubbing some mustard on your chest. Place a cloth, damp with hot water, on top of the mustard. Within minutes, you will feel better.

Soothe aching muscles  Combine 2 tablespoons of mustard and 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts in your warm running bath water. Mustard will amplify the therapeutic effects of the salts, relieving you of muscle pains. As a bonus, you can also use mustard on your hot dogs and hamburgers.