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62

This happened in Roman Times judging by two notes in Slaves doing business: the role of Roman law in the economy of a Roman household by Richard Gamauf (2009): A Roman slave could hold property which, despite the fact that it belonged to his master, he was allowed to use as if it were his own. All acquisitions based on such a peculium were automatically ...


54

There are examples of slaves owning slaves from different historical periods and in different regions of the world, including: Ancient Near East Early Medieval Sunni Islam Late Medieval Mallorca 19th century Brazil and the West Indies Pre-colonial and colonial East and West Africa Ancient Near East During the Neo-Babylonian empire (at least) the answer ...


10

With one hinge folded we see a four-column matrix affording an unusual crosswise reading. It's probably custom work, as none of us have located a similar object online, and isn't really a ruler at all: the discontinuity at the other hinge makes any length measurement onto the second half incorrect. This device had perhaps three functions: to exhibit the high ...


6

edit: originally this question asked specifically about modern comedians, and that's what I've tried to answer below. The UK comedy scene, once called 'alternative comedy' started as an anti-Thatcher subculture in urban comedy clubs. 'Thatcher, eh?' used to be a lazy go-to line for a comedian to show he was 'one of us'. Before that, UK comedy generally ...


5

Here is my two penn'orth: Whatever D means, it translates to 9 shillings and fourpence, which is 112 pennies. 112 is the number of pounds in a (British) hundredweight. (These units, shilling and hundredweight, were still taught when I was at school in the 1960's.) So I suggest that D means pennies. Pennies were divided into four farthings prior to 1960, ...


5

In 46 BC, as part of the introduction of the Julian calendar, Caesar first had to wrench the existing calendar back into alignment with the solar year. It had drifted so far out of alignment that harvest festivals were separated from the harvest by several months. As part of doing this, he introduced two special one-time intercalary months between November ...


4

More than once I have read the insult "slave of a slave", implying that someone had a very low status. Of course one cannot be certain that someone who used such an insult knew of actual slaves of slaves in their society, or merely imagined that someone could be so lowly they could be the slave of a slave. And I believe it was possible for unusually ...


3

Is there a time in US history when bicycle ridership was more prevalent than now? I haven't tried very hard to dig up hard data, but based on general trends, I suspect probably not. The Wikipedia article on "bike booms" is illuminating here. The 1890s was the first major wave of popularity for bicylcing, but at that it was almost exclusively done for ...


3

Some time ago, a relative contacted the British Museum about this item and I have just received their feedback. The museum staff admit it had "several" of them puzzled so they contacted the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford. In sum, they came up with the following: The item pictured is known as a Ready Reckoner; these were used for "quickly pricing ...


3

I should preface this with the caveat that the story of what happened during the rise and fall of 'IS'/Daesh is still being written, and that we can reasonably expect many more details to become available in the future. It is also worth repeating the old truism that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". There may have been undocumented ...


2

[Posting this here as comments don't allow much formatting...] I've honestly no idea what the answer is, but when you google "ig-Nobel prize dinner" you get summaries along the lines of: or in the case of the Ig Nobel, far beyond a plaque and a free dinner Which invite to think that, yes: there is such a dinner, and it's basically the only thing you get ...


2

I can't say anything about Edwardian England, but my mother told me about her younger brother who died a few days after birth. This was somewhere around 1900 in The Netherlands. My family owned a plot in a cemetery, a limited number of adult members of the family could find their resting place there. The infant was buried (his little coffin sideways) at ...


1

I am a drafter by trade and this tool looked instantly familiar to me. Back before computers or caluculators, we used rulers like this. Though the one I used to work with did not have monetary values but different scale options. I am only guessing here but maybe this was a way for carpenter/journeyman to measure and find the cost of a particular job all with ...


1

Here is a listing for a four-fold ruler, but made of wood rather then ivory. It is described as 50 to 80 years old, used by carpenters and similar construction trades: Every carpenter and builder carried a rule like this with him at all times - slipped in his pant's pocket. At that time they were the equivalent of the now familiar steel measuring tape....


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