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12

The Maya did: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_religion , in most cases this seemed to be more extaordinary and in a way of trying to get the attention of the gods in extreme circumstances, such as famine, flood or alternately kings ascending the throne. As did the Aztec: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec#Human_sacrifice , although I have never seem much ...


10

In GENERAL, captured nobles were ransomed. That's because this maximized their value to their captors. One notable exception was the battle of Agincourt, in 1415, during the 100 years' war. At one point, the French lines approached the English prison camp, and King Henry V feared that the prisoners would not only be released, but re-armed, and take the ...


6

While Christmas has roots far in the past, many of our traditions in the English world were introduced by the Victorians. This was the period that moulded Christmas into important celebration is it today, deciding on the themes we recognise (charity, goodwill, gift giving etc), the traditions (many drawn from Germanic ones) and even the commercialism (cards, ...


6

Carthage practised mass infant sacrifice to their gods in particular Baʿal. The practices increased as Rome was defeating Carthage culminating just before the destruction of the city. Source: NY Times and The Punic Wars by A. Goldsworthy.


6

Followers of Kali in India. It was never a mass thing, but supposedly at some point a certain Kali temple sacrificed a human every day. It still happens today, but a lot less frequently. One non-scolarly source: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,322673,00.html Also, Wiki ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sacrifice#History_by_region ) has ...


5

One example of human sacrifice was a practice called Sati in India. It was a Hindu tradition, mostly restricted to some northern regions of India. Under Sati, a widowed woman would sit on her husband's pyre and burn along with him. What differentiates Sati from other examples above, was that this practice was voluntary and the decision rested with the widow ...


5

Most recently? From the 1840s, at least in England. Christmas has many fathers, as traditions like gift-giving and feasting have periodically risen and then been suppressed over the centuries, and then revived with newly Christian significance retroactively applied to what might have originated in a secular or pagan custom. The most recent father of our ...


4

I have been doing some (online) research on the issue. What is clear and factual is that when Napoleon conquered most of Europe he set a lot of standards in the Conquered region. From driving on the right side, common measurements/weights to require people to have a last name. So this should be your answer already. All other countries driving direction can ...


4

Exemplary answer Somebody who will provide similar answer, with dated primary sources, will receive additional bounty. This drawing from Wikipedia shows two British soldiers (an officer and a sergeant) in 1848. Please note he's saluting with the left hand. This drawing (presumably dated the same period) shows two French soldiers from Napoleonic era: ...


4

Christmas was originally a pagan tradition in northern Europe where they were celebrating that the sun had started to rise again. Winters were difficult to survive in those days with no lights, bad clothing, worse housing and heating and sometimes not even enough food etc. So winter and its end was a much bigger deal back then than it is today. Then when ...


3

The officers was paroled, and without any ransom as late as at start of WW1. For example the later marshal Tuchachevsky was a "poruchik"(= senior leutenant) then and was taken as a prisoner by Germans. And as all other officers was allowed to walk into the town, and had his freedom, only he gave his honest word that he'll return into the barracks. But he ...


3

I saw one in Germany - can't remember which city. I had the impression that it was not uncommon. I've also heard this in connection with Cosa Nostra.


3

During the 17th Century, military records detail that the 'formal act of saluting was to be by removal of headdress' For some time after, hat raising became an accepted form of the military salute, but in the 18th Century the Coldstream Guards amended this procedure. They were instructed to 'clap their hands to their hats and bow as they pass by'. This ...


3

FIELD MANUAL No. 3-21.5, DRILL AND CEREMONIES : HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY WASHINGTON, DC,7 July 2003 APPENDIX A - SALUTING The origin of the Hand Salute is uncertain. Some historians believe it began in late Roman times when assassinations were common. A citizen who wanted to see a public official had to approach with his right ...


3

One form of human sacrifice that I hadn't considered was the act of retainer sacrifice that was exercised in ancient Egypt as well as Mesopotamia. Whenever a king or ruler died, his entire household could be executed to serve him in the after-life. There even seems to be indications that this happened in ancient China as well. This form of sacrifice I ...


2

I'm not saying this is The Truth®, but here's the argument typically given for the Ancient Romans you mentioned. Nobody is really sure exactly when Jesus was born (even the year, much less the exact day). The biblical authors do not seem to have felt it was particularly important information. The earliest two Gospels don't even mention Jesus' birth at all. ...


2

Romans: I know they're not the first ones to come to mind, but their gladitorial games started as a tribute to the spirit of the deceased (i could be wording this very bad). also they twice buried alive a couple of greeks and celts, once during the second punic war, after cannae, on an interpretation of the sibillyne books.


1

Military paroles became impractical when mass conscription led to the formation of armies of tens or hundreds of thousands of men that were too hard to keep track of. Military parole was used as late as the American Revolution. This was when "armies" typically numbered in the thousands, and both sides spoke the same language (English). Also, the British ...


1

The answer appears to be the Venetian Republic was the first nation to hold masquerade balls. Wikipedia has an article on the history of masquerade Victorian Masquerade Ball confirms many of the assertions in wikipedia Samantha Peach has an article that is less well sourced


1

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the term originates from the Tudor period of Henry the VIII whose emblem of the House of Tudor was the red rose. This excerpt from the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) does indeed point to it: under the rose: privately, in secret, in strict confidence; = sub rosa adv. Also in extended and allusive use. [The origin ...



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