2016   |   October

Zero Killers

Did you know that when the head of the Cosa Nostra was arrested in 2006, five annotated Bibles and several religious items were found in his hiding place; in the Middle Ages witches were believed to gain power from fairies; and Rosie the Riveter was a fictional character to boost the enthusiasm of women during WW II?

2016 October Zero Killers
Shopping with the Romans

Shopping with the Romans

If you fancied some serious retail therapy in the ancient world then the streets of Rome were the place to be. Ancient Rome was a cosmopolitan city. By the late first century BC, there were as many as one million inhabitants in Rome, an urban population figure not reached again in the western world until London in around 1800.

Religious godfathers

Religious godfathers

The organized underworld needs no introduction, thanks to the seemingly inexhaustible collection of crime series, movies, and books that offer a glimpse into its ways and history. Since the mafia is rooted in the traditional societies of the 19th century, modern man might have some difficulty understanding some of the rituals and customs that govern the lives of mobsters. In an effort to reconcile the deep discrepancy between their faith and actions, they came up with a peculiar moral code.

Witches and fairies

Witches and fairies

From the Reformation of the early 16th century, until the early part of the 18th century England had its peak time for witchcraft trials. For much of this time, England was, to a degree, a step removed in terms of culture. While continental witches met in luridly described Sabbats, this was fairly rare in England. English witches derived their power from familiars, while animal spirits were far less common in continental trials.

The brew that conquered an empire

The brew that conquered an empire

These days when we drink coffee, we do not really consider its remarkable cultural history. There were religious leaders and even sultans in the Ottoman Empire who wanted to see coffee banned due to its adverse spiritual and physical effects.

We can do it: Rosie the Riveter

We can do it: Rosie the Riveter

World War II brought about fundamental changes in traditional female roles, particularly in the U.S. By the end of the war, the number of women in the workforce had increased by millions. There was a fictional character symbolizing the ideal female worker that helped boost the enthusiasm of women: Rosie the Riveter.

The end of the world

The end of the world

In October 1347, Genoese galleys returning from the east made landfall at the port of Messina, Sicily. As the gangplank lowered, gaunt sailors stumbled ashore, permeated with the stench of disease. These were the ships which carried the Black Death to Europe. Sweeping the entire continent in just over a thousand days, it took an estimated 25 million lives. So immense was the death toll that the pestilence was known as the “Great Mortality” in medieval Europe, and in the Islamic world the “Year of Annihilation”.

Zero killers

Zero killers

Whether it was set on fire or had its engine hit, the most resilient fighter aircraft of World War II, the Grumman F6F Hellcat, seemed unstoppable – which made it a fiercely demoralizing weapon in the eyes of the enemy. The unmistakably-shaped plane could easily be recognized by anyone, and although it was not much to look at when compared side-by-side with its Anglo-Saxon or German peers, it was much safer than its prettier rivals. Over the course of its career, the Hellcat played a key role in the American victory over Japan in the Pacific theater, and was even used during nuclear tests after the war.

Wreck hunters’ big catch

Wreck hunters’ big catch

The discovery of the New World brought unexpected fortunes for the conquerors of the continent. Silver and gold practically flowed into Europe. As fleets of ships loaded with precious metals navigated the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, there were times when Mother Nature chose to show her less flattering side, separating the valuable cargo from its owners. When the wreck of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha was discovered, it yielded one of the greatest findings of modern treasure-hunting.

Surprising 7: Famous Fires

Surprising 7: Famous Fires

World history is rich in stories of great fires destroying entire cities. In several cases these fires were man-made. A few of these fires stand out in our memory, and there are some which had a major role in shaping history. Which fires are these?

~ Contact ~
202 Wallasey Road
Wallasey
Merseyside
CH44 2AG

+44 20 8458 7427
my History Digest