The Longest Word

The longest word in literature is the fictional dish described in Aristophanes’ comedy Assemblywomen, written in around 391 BC. λοπαδοτεμαχοσελαχογαλεοκρανιολειψανοδριμυποτριμματοσιλφιοκαραβομελιτοκατακεχυμενοκιχλεπικοσσυφοφαττοπεριστεραλεκτρυονοπτοκεφαλλιοκιγκλοπελειολαγῳοσιραιοβαφητραγανοπτερύγων which is the name of a dish compounded of all kinds of dainties, fish, flesh, fowl, and sauces. which, in the Roman alphabet is written as: Lopado­temacho­selacho­galeo­kranio­leipsano­drim­hypo­trimmato­silphio­parao­melito­katakechy­meno­kichl­epi­kossypho­phatto­perister­alektryon­opte­kephallio­kigklo­peleio­lagoio­siraio­baphe­tragano­pterygo with a rough English Continue Reading

Why are months so weird?

Calendars throughout history have struggled to be logical and maintain synchronism between the lunar cycle (about 29.5 days) and the solar year (about 365.25 days). Most systems include a bodge factor or intercalary months or days to bring things back into line, with varying degrees of accuracy. Sumerian The ancient Continue Reading

Top Ten Empires

Largest Empires by Land Area: British Empire Land area: 35.5 million km2 Percentage of world land area: 23.84% (in 1920) Period: 16th to 20th century Mongol Empire Land area: 24.0 million km2 Percentage of world land area: 16.11% Period: 13th/14th century Russian Empire Land area: 22.8 million km2 Percentage of world land area: Continue Reading

Draconian Death

In the 7th Century BC, Draco became the first legislator of Athens in Ancient Greece. His written laws were particularly harsh and it is from this that the adjective Draconian (referring to severe laws or rules) comes from. It is alleged he died after being suffocated by hats and cloaks Continue Reading

Roman Teeth Whitening

The Romans used human urine as a mouthwash and teeth whitener.  This may seem somewhat disgusting but it was effective. However, even in Roman times, it was not universally popular, as an extract from a poem by Roman poet Catullus, who was not fond of Egnatius, reads: Egnatius, because he Continue Reading