Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mad Man's History Lessons: Timeline 3

History is fun when you don't have to remember the details. (If you do insist on the details, you can always revisit Part 1 and Part 2, and commit them to memory). However, the best parts of History never seem to make it to the textbooks. Here is another sample of History that you never heard from your history teacher.

1008 AD: Japanese writer Murasaki Shikibu writes The Tale of Genji, the world's first ever novel. The writer was so far ahead of her time, that there were no NY Times or Oprah Winfrey to help her sell. As a result, it was never slod, and thrust upon the people by her boyfriend, who was one influential princely types. It was only after the world's second novel came, a good century or so later that people acknowledged the superiority of Genji. 

1043 AD: Lady Godiva protested against the high taxes, and went on to become every young boy’s pin up girl till Playboy introduced centerfolds some 923 years later.

1125 AD: Romans introduced the Roman numerals, just to please their salaried employees from Spain, Greece and the rest of Italy. How else could they be earning a meager amount of LXXXVIII a year, and still fell like they take home a respectable 8-figure salary?

1185 AD: The first windmills appear in Netherlands. Its popularity is credited to a bunch of Marketing execs, who could sell this idea on the strength of some wind.

1215 AD: King John signs Magna Carta Libertatum at Runnymede. Six years later, when he finally read the colloquial translation, he uttered what was perhaps his greatest contribution to the Queen’s language – “Bollocks!”

1291 AD: The Swiss Confederation of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden forms. Together, they decide to go cuckoo!

1297 AD: The world’s first stock exchange set up, but nobody seems to be interested in the Facebook shares.

1337 AD: The Hundred Years’ War begins when the English lay claim to the French Throne.

1338 AD: A good number of soldiers put in their papers when their employers tell them that it would be another 99 years before they would get an increment.

1492 AD: After a drunken night, Christopher Columbus decides to sail to India, but ends up taking a wrong turn.

1497 AD: Without anyone noticing him, Amerigo Vespucci tiptoes his way to take Christopher Columbus’ sea route, names the lands after himself, and returns. The only flaw in his plan was his handwriting, which was so illegible that “Go” was mistaken to be “Ca”.

With the discovery of a new world, historians of the time were suddenly burdened with the task of documenting a whole new set of events. What say we take a break here and resume with another new chapter? Tomorrow perhaps. What’s that you say? Next week? Because one week cannot change the course of a 500-year history? Agreed! Next week then.    

No comments: