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23
votes
3answers
686 views

What is the earliest known account of the modern military salute?

The military salute, made with right hand to head of a soldier, seems to be a European tradition, however it is adopted by many armies in the world. What are origins of this gesture? I came across a ...
15
votes
9answers
2k views

What cultures did, or do, perform human sacrifice on a regular basis?

Looking at the Area 51 commitment page, I realized that some of the questions that were originally suggested there never got asked here, so I thought I'd add some of them. Something else I would like ...
6
votes
2answers
281 views

When did the parole of prisoners of war become unacceptable?

Prisoners of war in earlier centuries, especially officers, could be given temporary or permanent freedom in return for various conditions: A parole. This overlaps with the modern civilian use of ...
2
votes
1answer
173 views

Where did the masquerade ball come from and what was its original concept?

I mean a kind of party which guests and hosts hide their faces behind different masks or/and wear odd clothes. Surely there is no certain idea about main concept with me unless perhaps it has roots in ...
15
votes
1answer
239 views

Why did people in some countries start to drive on the right?

Most people are right-handed and it seems natural that people used the left hand side of the road when riding horses or simply walking. In case of conflict a weapon could be easily put between you and ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

'Sub rosa' council meetings

Wiktionary's etymology of the term sub rosa reads: The rose's connotation for secrecy dates back to Greek mythology. Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros, the god of love; he, in turn, gave it to ...
5
votes
2answers
157 views

What's the story behind Christmas?

Looking at this question I see the tradition of Christmas presents, but where did the tradition of Christmas itself come from? Also, what's with the Christmas tree and Santa (or Kris Kringle)?
5
votes
2answers
486 views

Where does the tradition of Christmas gifts comes from?

Where does the modern tradition of exchanging gifts from Christmas comes from? I've heard that it's inspired by a similar tradition the Ancient Romans had on one of their festivals, is that true?
9
votes
1answer
418 views

Captured nobles in medieval times, were they always ransomed?

Was watching the directors cut of Kingdom of Heaven, and one of the scenes had an actor playing what seemed to be a nobelman stating that he is according the privilege of ransom. While I remember that ...