Thursday, November 15, 2018

I’d Love To Read About: Ancient Bad Decisions



Have you ever learned a strange fact or seen an unusual thing and thought, I wish there were more books about that? It happens to me all the time. Authors, if you’re listening, here are four ancient bad decisions that I wish somebody would write about. (Or take inspiration from. I’m not picky!) 







I’d Love To Read About . . .






Bad-Decision Pets



Crocodiles as pets in Egypt.
Pets in ancient Egypt.


In ancient Egypt, Nile Crocodiles were fashionable pets. The Nile Crocodile is the second-largest living reptile. They can grow to 16 feet (5 m) long and weigh 1600 pounds (750 kg). Ancient Egyptians would decorate their crocodiles with jewels and let them roam freely around their homes and temples. Crocodiles may have been popular pets because the Egyptian creator god, Sobek, has a crocodile head. The crocodiles in Sobek’s temple were actually better fed and cared for than many Egyptian humans. Luckily for the Egyptians, the pet-crocodile fad only lasted a few years. Probably because giving a giant predator free reign of your house will end badly for somebody.








Bad-Decision Chemicals



About Qin Shi Huang.



The ancient Chinese believed that you could achieve immortality if you swallowed enough mercury. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. Swallowing large amounts of mercury will cause death. This may be what happened to China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. He took mercury pills for years and died at age 39. Qin Shi Huang’s interest in mercury didn’t stop with his death. Scientists know the location of his tomb, but one of the (many) reasons why it hasn’t been fully excavated is because the soil contains high levels of mercury. According to legend, the emperor’s body is surrounded by moats of liquid mercury. Most scientists aren’t eager to mess with that. Exposure to high levels of mercury can cause brain troubles and make your skin fall off.








Bad-Decision Entertainment



About myth reenactments.


Ancient Rome was a terrible place to get arrested. The rulers were not kind to their prisoners. Executions were considered entertainment, and the Romans were excellent at finding the most humiliating ways to murder prisoners. One of those humiliating executions was the ludi meridiani (midday spectacle). Prisoners were forced to perform myths to entertain the public. The only part of the performance that was not an act was the deaths. The actors were killed on stage by animals or by other actors. Yeah. I’m glad that theater has changed in modern times . . . .  








Bad-Decision Vacation



About the Gate to Hell.


In Southwestern Turkey, there was a town called Hierapolis, which contained a well-known spa and healing center. Most people went to Hierapolis to visit doctors and swim in the thermal springs, but that wasn’t the only attraction in the city. Hierapolis also contained the Gate to Hell. The gate was a natural cave. Priests would lead livestock into the cave, where the animals would quickly collapse and die (while curious spectators watched, of course). The priests would leave the cave unharmed. Why did the animals die? Ancient people didn’t know this, but the cave is situated above a volcanic vent that spews carbon dioxide. Since carbon dioxide is heavier than air, most of it pooled on the cave floor. Sheep and goats are short, so they suffocated while the tall humans survived.   






Is there an ancient culture that you’d like to read about?








45 comments:

  1. Talking about bad decision chemicals... in The Radium Girls, the women were told that RADIUM was non-toxic and even good for their health. They were encouraged to PAINT the radium on themselves!

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    1. I KNOW! I haven’t read the book, but I know the story, and it’s crazy. Don’t mess with weird chemicals, people.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. Having a croc as a pet probably helped control their cat population problems, (and to have such a pet, you'd want to make sure it was really well fed). The "Gate to Hell" is interesting, I want to learn more.

    www.thepulpitandthepen.com

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    1. Haha, poor cats. The crocodile might control the human population, too.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. Oh wow, that Gate to Hell sounds awful - and the poor animals! And I'm so glad that theater has changed these days. I don't want to watch people be murdered. LOL

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Exactly! I think I’d have a heart attack if I saw someone murdered onstage.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. You're going to end up in the acknowledgements to all my books, LOL. I actually do have my elves making bad decision entertainment. I didn't think my readers would want to see cat burning... but the elves thought it would be okay to do that with humans instead (fortunately, the seer's appearance ended that one, but not until after the gladiator-style fight between humans had occurred). My characters have yet to arrive at the city with the Dwarven ghost army though.

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    1. It’s funny that readers scream when animals die, but NOBODY cares about innocent humans. Good luck with your writing!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  5. We’ve come a long way, baby. Although I’m sure there are a few morons here in FL that still attempt to have alligator pets. Crazy swamp people. LOL

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    1. There does seem to be a lot of unusual people in Florida. I bet there are a few pet alligators wandering around in that state.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. I would think the Mercury thing would have been disproved really quickly lol

    I'm in FL and I'm always baffled by people who feed the alligators and then wonder why they eat pets.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Haha, yeah, I think if a few people swallowed it and died, other people would catch on quickly and stop swallowing it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  7. I'm definitely into bad decision chemicals! Just reading about them, though. ;)

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    1. Same! I need to read Radium Girls. That book has more bad-decision chemicals.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. Your post totally made me smile...especially the bad decision pets and the bad decision vacation. :)

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  9. You amaze me with the fascinating things you uncover. I used to teach chem, so all the fascination with Hg was crazy. Large amounts kill you, small amounts make you mad.

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    1. If I saw mercury, my first instinct wouldn’t be “I’m gonna eat that.” I want to write about mad hatters in one of these posts, but I haven’t had a chance to do it yet.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    2. The hatters was one of the "fun facts" we always shared with the kids about Hg

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  10. A horror or fantasy novel that incorporates the Gate to Hell would be really interesting to me.

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  11. Oh my gumdrops this is my new favorite post!!

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  12. I love the story about the caves! That is... unfortunate! Would a tiger be a bad decision pet? I kind of want one. XD

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    1. Haha, yes, a tiger would be a bad-decision pet. Any pet that’s big enough to eat you is probably a bad decision. :)

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  13. I don't generally read about different cultures mainly as they rarely feature in the genres I read unless tourists are under attack by a monster at a temple or something! I would be interested in reading more horror along these lines though! Something is alive in the Egyptian Pyramids etc!

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    1. I think everything in this post would make an excellent horror story. Someone needs to write it!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  14. These are all so interesting!!! I can see why crocodiles as pets didn't last long!

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  15. The thought of crocodiles as pets terrify me!

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    1. Me too! I would not want to be in a house where a crocodile was roaming around.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  16. Whoa, I can't imagine having a crocodile wandering around your home! That blows my mind.

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  17. Holy crap, people were nuts. Well, are nuts, let's be real. One day someone is going to look back on us and have some things to say, but I digress. I think the mercury one is my favorite because it is so STUPID and Darwin probably had a field day with that guy.

    Also why did people think it was so fun that the animals died? Like. That wouldn't be my idea of an amusing Saturday night but... okay. Also I feel like there 100% NEEDS to be a book about the ludi meridiani. I'd venture it'd make for a pretty epic dystopian, actually. Someone needs to get on this ASAP.

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    1. Someday someone is going to write a blog post about us and how stupid we were :). I think watching the animals die was proof that their religion was real? That’s why they were so interested in it. It’s not something I’d want to watch. I would totally read a YA book about ludi meridiani, though.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  18. This post just gave me such a case of the giggles! The pet-crocodile fad -- I can't understand how that ever made sense to them.

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    1. Thanks! Crocodiles in the house is a very bad idea . . .

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  19. I love reading anything Ancient Egyptian! One of my guilty pleasures is actually watching Ancient Aliens on the History Channel.

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  20. Gosh these are all so scary tbh. and interesting!

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  21. I'm really impressed with Egypt. They were able to keep predator pets for YEARS, I would have assumed it lasted a good week.

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

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  22. I ADORE these posts. These ancient decisions sound very logical to me. I don't know why we've changed stuff.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  23. I admin a Facebook history group for a small Upstate NY town where I went to high school, and last year the big news were the two approximately three foot alligators that were caught in the river there. The aftermath of a bad pet decision I guess. Ha ha. They now reside at Animal Adventures with April the giraffe. ๐ŸŠ๐ŸŠ

    That was a cool fact about the carbon dioxcide at Hierapolis. I had never heard about that before. ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘

    Easter Island has always intrigued me. Have you seen the movie Rappa Nui? ๐ŸŒŠ

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  24. More bad decision re: mercury - the Mad Hatter was likely mad because of exposure to mercury vapors from the felting process involved in hat making. Also, there was at least one Snow White retelling where the Evil Queen was insane because of the mercury used to silver the back of the "magic mirror," and the exposure to the mercury drove her mad and that's what made her start talking to her mirror and go all murderous toward her step-daughter.

    You know, just in case you wanted to take your bad decisions into a fairy tale twist, lol. :)

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  25. I somehow missed this post when it came out, but I guess I knew I'd need to read a fun read today! For some reason, this reminds me of the time a seventh grader nervously approached me and asked, "What would happen if someone brought their pet mouse to school..and it escaped?" That bad decision was not theoretical either.

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  26. Having a crocodile as a pet was without a doubt a bad decision. How did Egyptians sleep back then?! Plots around bad decision pets would be so intriguing. I didn't know about those Roman spectacles. =O So morbid!!!

    Happy readings! ;)
    Tรขnia @MyLovelySecret

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