179 votes

When did people decide that all caps means the writer is shouting?

SOMETIME AFTER 1984 BICAMERAL SCRIPT HAS BEEN AROUND FOR CENTURIES THOUGH THE RULES FOR ITS USE HAVE ONLY SOLIDIFIED IN THE LAST FEW HUNDRED YEARS. WHILE PRINTED MATERIAL WAS ABLE TO USE BOTH UPPER ...
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  • 52.6k
172 votes
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How do historians and linguists know how to pronounce the names from non-phonetic scripts?

By comparisons with known languages. Let's take the example of Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is well known that the ancient Egyptian script was decoded thanks to the Rosetta Stone, which recorded an ...
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  • 95.8k
159 votes
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When did people decide that all caps means the writer is shouting?

The tradition of all caps denoting shouting arose from typesetting of printed publications. The 6 September 1958 Bookseller: The Organ of the Book Trade says: It [a 16 page list of books] picks out ...
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  • 3,239
107 votes
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Which culture used no personal names?

This would seem to be a piece of folklore. Anthropologists have not found a single society which does not use personal names in some form; they are a human universal. However, the forms that ...
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97 votes
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What is the origin of 3 meals a day?

In "Millennium From Religion to Revolution: How Civilization Has Changed Over a Thousand Years"*, Mortimer explains the origin of 3 meals a day: As for mealtimes, few people in northern Europe ate ...
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  • 1,008
77 votes

How do we know baroque art depicted obese ladies because of a different ideal of beauty?

Art does not exist in a vacuum, but is rather only one part of the historical record. Just as people comment on our modern standard of beauty today, so does early modern writers on theirs. Fortunately,...
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  • 95.8k
73 votes

How do historians and linguists know how to pronounce the names from non-phonetic scripts?

The short answer is that we don't. The pronunciations we use today are our best guess at how the ancients pronounced their words. For your two examples. We know that Sumerian had an immense ...
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  • 76.2k
56 votes
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Were Medieval Britons aware of the existence of the Roman Empire?

Educated Britons would've received an education deeply steeped in classical antiquity, so knowledge of the Roman Empire must have been inevitable among the literate. Unsurprisingly, therefore, many ...
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  • 95.8k
56 votes

When and why did having long hair become associated with women, and short hair with men?

The First World War is often identified as a turning point in men's hair length. Prior to the war, both men and women commonly kept long hair, at least in western societies (and the Far East). This ...
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  • 95.8k
50 votes
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Why was PTSD not written about as much before the 20th century?

I believe this is as much sociological as medical. Terms such as 'shell shock' or 'battle fatigue' were used from at least WWI - it was believed that shelling actually 'shocked' the brain - but ...
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  • 7,691
40 votes
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Why do the Japanese sing Ode to Joy during the Japanese New Year?

This modern tradition has its roots in the First World War, when Japan entered on the side of the Allies following the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Japan's entry carried an initial, overt goal of ...
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  • 95.8k
38 votes

When and why did having long hair become associated with women, and short hair with men?

It's obvious that having short or long hair is an identity sign for men and women respectively, more or less worldwide. No, it's not obvious, especially not in history. You may be mistaking a ...
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  • 2,202
38 votes
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Why didn't Europeans before Gutenberg print with woodblocks?

First I would say that during the medieval period the demand for books was much lesser than after the books became comparatively cheap after Gutenberg. The key here is the expense a quickly worn out ...
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  • 73.7k
35 votes
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When did challenging to a duel cease to be a practice in English culture?

During the 1830s and 1840s. In the twenties dueling was still common. From 1815 to 1830 Castlereagh, Canning, and Wellington were responsible in turn for the government of England, and they all ...
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  • 95.8k
34 votes
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Is the swastika in The Great Gatsby anti-semitic?

Hitler did not choose the symbol because it was "anti-Semitic". Nowhere in the web article you cite in the comments does it say any such thing. It says, quote, the swastika "...traditionally had been ...
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  • 37.2k
34 votes
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Why does Romanian culture have Latin influences?

Romania was the ancient Roman province of Dacia. Under Roman rule, the province was systematically colonised and developed. It has been theorised that these Roman settlers, intermingling with ...
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  • 95.8k
33 votes
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How Did the Mongol Empire Get So Big?

There are a number of tactical and strategic reasons that the Mongols were successful. Core of strong leaders: Not only were the upper levels of military leadership strong, but the mid-level and ...
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  • 7,204
32 votes
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What are the hay effigies in this Japanese movie?

It's a scarecrow, but, in Japan, the setting up of the scarecrow is a ritualized process: ... the Scarecrow Festival or Kakashi Matsuri takes place in autumn, from 8th-16th September [Dates were ...
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  • 10.5k
30 votes
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Why did Japanese samurai disembowel themselves?

The usual explanation is that Japanese culture believed the soul resides in the abdomen. Since the ritual of seppuku or harakiri is usually meant to provide an honourable death, cutting open the ...
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  • 95.8k
28 votes

Were Medieval Britons aware of the existence of the Roman Empire?

Educated people in the European Middle Ages knew Latin and read the Roman classics. They were thus very well informed about the Roman Empire. Even uneducated people were keenly aware of the contents ...
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  • 9,473
27 votes
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Was touching your nose a greeting in second millenium Mesopotamia?

It seems like this was the 'polite' gesture of greeting in ancient Sumeria, and is actually the meaning of a Sumerian phrase for greeting: She faces in the direction of the cultic activity, her ...
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  • 33.8k
26 votes
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Any information about the photo with Army Uniforms

These are Polish Army Uniforms, starting around 1919. Unfortunately the main wiki pages show no Uniforms of the times. To my knowledge, these types of zig-zag collars (Polish only, but translates ...
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  • 6,800
25 votes

Why do people say, "Alexander the Great conquered the world?"

Wikipedia tells us that Alexander did indeed set out to conquer the whole world. His empire consisted of most of the world known to the ancient Greeks of his time, so for his compatriots, yes, he ...
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  • 11.4k
25 votes

How do we know baroque art depicted obese ladies because of a different ideal of beauty?

A lot of the paintings were commissioned as portraits, why would people pay for themselves to be depicted in an ugly way? Wealth nowadays is associated with a slim, tanned, and shaped body because ...
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  • 251
25 votes

How and why was the boundary between West and East Berlin decided to be where it was?

The initial decision to divide Berlin into sectors was made around the 12th of September 1944 by the European Advisory Commission (EAC). E.A.C. (44) 9th Meeting Berlin Area (as shown on the annexed ...
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  • 6,800
24 votes

Were major foreign films allowed in the USSR?

Some films were officially licensed and were quite popular, such as Sun Valley Serenade, Some Like It Hot, The Sandpit Generals etc. You might take a look at the chart here. Where there's only year, ...
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  • 617
23 votes
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Where does this hairstyle originate from?

Of course this hair style is found in a cartoon and thus not really bound to any reality either historically or as mart pointed out in comments physical reality: I envy the sheer volume of hair ...
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  • 73.7k
22 votes

Were Medieval Britons aware of the existence of the Roman Empire?

The short answer: they were very aware of the Roman empire and its past glory. Long answer: This questions gets to the problem of "What was England Like in the 9th Century?" If you can answer this ...
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  • 37.2k
22 votes

Why was PTSD not written about as much before the 20th century?

The term PTSD was invented in the 1980s by the medical discipline of psychiatry. The condition which the term PTSD refers to was well known to people from antiquity under various names with ...
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21 votes
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Who are these red flag worshipers from these early maps?

See Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus / auctore Olao Magno ... Magnus, Olaus, 1490-1558 (click here for full Hathi Trust catalog entry for the 1562 edition) or here for Wikipedia's description. ...
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