Table of contents:

8 "historical" facts that are irrelevant to the truth
8 "historical" facts that are irrelevant to the truth

Debunking another batch of myths about the Vikings-berserkers, Prince Vlad Dracula and the builders of the pyramids.

8 "historical" facts that are irrelevant to the truth
8 "historical" facts that are irrelevant to the truth

1. Beethoven was born to a woman with syphilis


The following text has been circulating on the Internet for a very long time:

If you met a pregnant woman who already has eight children, three of them are deaf, two are blind, one is mentally retarded, and the woman herself is sick with syphilis, would you advise her to have an abortion? If you answered yes, you just killed Beethoven.

Apparently, the author is trying to convey to us that any life is important, abortion is bad, "God gave a bunny" and so on. Just this example is complete nonsense. The Beethoven legend is debunked by God as an illusion in his book God as an Illusion by Richard Dawkins.

Beethoven was not the ninth, but the second child. And he was born into a good family. Ludwig's mother, Maria Keverich, at that time was 22, and she did not have syphilis. Beethoven's older brother died in infancy, but in those days it was, unfortunately, common. There is no evidence that he was blind, deaf, or mentally retarded.


True, Beethoven's mother really died after a long illness, having contracted tuberculosis. It just happened 17 years after the birth of the future composer.

2. The creator of the guillotine was executed on it


The guillotine was invented

French surgeon and physiologist Antoine Louis and German engineer Tobias Schmidt. They were inspired by an earlier device used for decapitation in Scotland and Ireland (the so-called "Scottish Maiden".

Initially, the decapitation machine was called the louisette, but in 1789 the French physician Joseph Guillotin presented it to the French National Assembly, and his name stuck to it.

In those days, convicts were dealt with by rather cruel methods: they were burned alive, strangled, quartered - in general, they had fun as best they could. The good doctor out of philanthropy decided to alleviate the suffering of the convicts, for which he suggested using this device.

There is a story that Guillotin himself was beheaded by his own car.

Such a story, obviously, is designed to teach us thoughts in the spirit of "don't dig a hole for another and don't invent instruments of murder, otherwise you yourself will fall into them." But in fact, Dr. Guillotin survived the revolution safely and died a natural death in 1814. So he did not become either the inventor of the guillotine or its victim.

Perhaps this myth is a reworking of an older story about the Greek ruler, the tyrant Phalaris, who thrust his enemies into a hollow copper statue of a bull and roasted there alive. So much so that because of their cries it seemed as if the bull was roaring. Falaris was the first to bake the creator of this execution weapon, the blacksmith Perilaya, just to test the product. And after the overthrow of the tyrant, he himself was sent to the bull.

Ovid left a note about this. Ibis, 437; Properties. II. 25, 12; Pliny the Elder. Natural history. XXXIV, 89 Diodorus Siculus, Pliny the Elder and several other ancient historians, but how reliable the event is, it is impossible to say. A lot of time has passed, you know.

3. Romans vomited vomitoria to continue eating


There is a widespread belief that the Roman patricians lived too well. And these well-to-do children had special rooms in the palaces - vomitoria.

What for? You have eaten so much that you feel unwell, and the feast is still in full swing, only the second has been brought. You go to vomitorium, induce vomiting, empty your stomach - and you can continue to overeat with a clear conscience.

Again, this way you can eat a lot and not get fat. Roman "emetic diet".

But this is a myth, in ancient Rome there were no such rooms. Vomitoria have consonance with the English vomit (vomiting), but in fact this is a polysemantic Latin word vomō, vomere, meaning "to spew."

Vomitoria are aisles in amphitheatres and stadiums that allow crowds to quickly and easily take their seats and leave after the show is over. Nobody specifically caused vomiting there.

4. Vlad Dracula was incredibly cruel


The name Dracula is known even to those who are not interested in history - the writer Bram Stoker used it in his cult novel, creating the image of a sinister vampire count. The prototype of the ghoul was a very real historical person.

His name is Vlad III Basarab, nicknames are Dracul (Dracul, "son of the dragon", inherited from his father, Vlad II, a member of the knightly Order of the Dragon) and Tepes (from the Romanian țeapă, "stake", that is, "Stake planter"). This colorful nobleman in 1448, 1456-1462 and 1476 was the ruler of the principality of Wallachia, located on the territory of modern Romania.

He is famous for doing very defiant things, even by the standards of the Middle Ages. For example, he nailed the caps of foreign ambassadors who did not want to bare their heads in his presence. I put thousands of people on stakes, and then dined surrounded by rotting corpses. He burned the beggars, luring them into the barn, after promising to feed them. He ripped off the skin from the unfaithful wives, and cut off the hands of the faithful, but not able to sew.

And he also tore off the wings of the birds and put the mice on toy pegs. More details can be found in the "Legend of Dracula the Voivode" of 1486.

But in fact, rumors about the ferocity of the Wallachian governor are slightly exaggerated. No, he, of course, killed people … But he did it no more often and no more sophisticated than most of the rulers of his time.

Most historians consider Vlad III Basaraba to be a just ruler who stopped the despotism of the Wallachian boyars (by putting about a dozen on stakes, not 20,000 thousand, as some claimed). He successfully fought with the Ottoman Empire, which imposed tribute on half of Europe, and ended religious strife between Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Protestants. In general, he put things in order in Wallachia, and also lowered the crime rate. True, he hardly placed the golden cups at the wells.

The negative image of Dracula in history appeared thanks to one anonymous German story "About the villain who was called Dracula and was the governor of Wallachia." There are not unfounded assumptions that it was written by order of the prince's political opponents.


Dracula didn't live here. Bran Castle, Transylvania. Image: Todor Bozhinov / Wikimedia Commons


Dracula lived here. The oldest stone building in the city of Sighisoara, where Tepes was born. Image: Qbotcenko / Wikimedia Commons

And yes, Bran Castle, which is called "Dracula's castle", has nothing to do with it. Here.

5. Those fantasizing about space flights in the Russian Empire were exiled to Baikonur

It was from the Baikonur cosmodrome that man first flew into space. The following quote is circulating on the Internet:

Bourgeois Nikifor Nikitin should be sent to the Kyrgyz settlement of Baikonur for seditious speeches about the flight to the moon.

"Moskovskie gubernskie vedomosti", 1848

Incredible coincidence, right? No.

In fact, no one was exiled to any Baikonur. This story was invented by a researcher of the Dnepropetrovsk Historical Museum by the name of Pimenov. He admitted that he had composed and in 1974 published this story in the newspaper "Dnepr Vecherny" just for the sake of a joke. There is nothing about Baikonur in the original issue of the newspaper Moskovskie gubernskiye vedomosti.

6. Cleopatra killed her lovers


The licentiousness of the last queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, combined with her beauty, has become a real legend. She allegedly had fun each time with a new lover, killing the previous one. In this regard, our great poet wrote:

Who will start a passionate bargaining?

I sell my love;

Tell me: who will buy between you

At the cost of my life my night?

Alexander Pushkin, "Egyptian Nights"

However, there is no real confirmation of this. In the book of the ancient historian Sextus Aurelius Victor, the following was said about Cleopatra:

She was so depraved that she often prostituted, and possessed such beauty that many men paid with their death for possession of her for one night.

"About famous people"

Only there is a possibility that this fragment was inserted there by an anonymous author of late antiquity. Because the Romans strongly disliked Cleopatra for opposing Octavian. In general, another spicy tale from the section "And Empress Catherine II had sex with a horse."

And yes, it's not a fact that Cleopatra was a dazzling beauty, because she was most likely born as a result of incest. She was the daughter of King Ptolemy XII Avlet and his sister-wife Cleopatra V Tryphena - all according to the customs of the pharaohs, so as not to dilute the royal blood. So if Cleopatra killed her exes, then they would not blab out that the queen, on closer inspection … not very much.

7. Berserker Vikings ate fly agarics to provoke aggression in battle


Berserkers were especially fierce fighters among the Vikings. It is believed that these guys were so frostbitten that they rushed into battle naked, hiding at best with a skin - previously removed from a bear killed with only teeth, of course. Firstly, it demoralizes the enemy, and secondly, it is always hot in a battle involving berserkers.

According to a fairly widespread theory, they fell into a fighting trance after eating fly agarics.

One [berserker] could make his enemies in battle become blind or deaf, or filled with horror, and their weapons wounded no more than twigs, and his warriors rushed into battle without chain mail, raging like mad dogs or wolves, biting their shields and were as strong as bears or bulls. They killed people, and neither fire nor iron did them harm. Such warriors were called berserkers.

Snorri Sturluson, The Yngling Saga

But fly agarics in Scandinavia are very rare, and besides, they do not cause aggressive behavior. They were used in different cultures by shamans to cause prophetic visions, but the fly agaric is contraindicated for a fighter. It is unlikely that drunkenness, auditory hallucinations, changes in color vision, vomiting, hyperthermia, increased sweating, facial flushing, tremors, convulsions and convulsions, dilated pupils and delirium will help you on the battlefield.

For Karsten Fatur, an ethnobotanist at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, henbane, used as a narcotic, pain reliever, and cure for insomnia, was more likely to be a Berserker stimulant in Vikings. Alternatively, they could just drink for the courage before the fight.

But these are all just assumptions - it is quite possible that they became berserkers not because of doping, but simply because of their innate aggressiveness and bad character. Because of this, they were not loved in peacetime - who needs a psychopath with PTSD who does not know how to do anything useful, except how to cut off people's extra limbs?

The temper of berserkers was soon revealed: they did not like to work, but they were prone to murder and exploits. They told Vermund that the Jarl had given them to him for protection from enemies, and not for work. Their spirits soured, and they became a burden for Vermund. Now he regrets that he begged such a gift from the Jarl …

Wasteland Saga

And it is unlikely that the berserkers went into battle naked. The word serk in Scandinavians means "shirt", and berr can mean "bearish" or "naked". “Naked shirt” was the name of the fighters who fight without chain mail, but this does not mean that they were obliged to take off all other clothes.


If the "bear shirt" option is correct, it means that the berserkers could well wear fur outerwear, which, by the way, is able to protect well from cutting blows.

8. The Egyptians could not cut the stone and move the blocks for the pyramids


Egyptian pyramids are shrouded in mysteries and myths, and a huge number of people sincerely believe that they were not built by the Egyptians. The ancient civilization of the Atlanteans, highly developed forerunners of mankind, aliens - but anyone, but not ordinary inhabitants of the country of Kemet.

Because stacking large piles of roughly hewn stone is too difficult, yes.

Supporters of the extraterrestrial origin of the pyramids argue that the Egyptians could not split the limestone in any way, because they did not have iron tools. But the blocks from which the tombs of the pharaohs are built are so even that a knife blade will not fit into the gaps between them! Obviously, ordinary people could not build such things.

True, researchers have long ago found quarries where the Egyptians mined stone, and copper and stone tools preserved there. The workers (not slaves) of the pharaoh processed limestone with copper chisels, wooden mallets, stone nodules and quartz sand. And harder rocks like granite, basalt or quartzite are made with dolerite and flint tools. True, there was more trouble with them.


The blocks were moved by dragging, after having lubricated or wetted the road in front of them. Judging by the fresco of the XII dynasty, in which 172 people drag the statue of Jehutihotep II weighing under 60 tons, a wooden sled could be used for this purpose. To move the middle block weighing 2.5 tons, 8-10 workers would be enough.

And yes, the blocks in the pyramids are not so tightly fitted that you cannot even stick a knife in there - they are simply fastened with plaster mortar. In those cracks in which there is no solution or where it has crumbled, not like a knife - a hand will fit to the elbow. Even if you are a bodybuilder.