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17

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 ...


16

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 ...


13

We drink champagne on New Year's in large part due to savvy marketing in the late 19th century. At first, royal favor made champagne an easy sell to the nobility. But with the rise of industrialization in the 19th century, the nobles were no longer guaranteed to be the wealthiest consumers. Champagne producers dangled their products in front of the ...


11

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 ...


11

The officers were paroled, and without any ransom as late as at start of WW1. For example the later marshal Tuchachevsky was a "poruchik" (senior lieutenant) then and was taken as a prisoner by Germans. As with all other officers, he 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 ...


9

Not Roman, but Greek. The term you are seeking is Symbolum. The best description I find is from the book Everything is Sacred: A Complete Introduction to the Sacrament of Baptism By Thomas J. Scirghi. (emphasis mine): The word symbol derives from the Greek word symballein, literally meaning 'to throw together.' In ancient times, a symbolum was used ...


9

"The Man Who Touches Deer", by Bill Heavey, Field and Stream, October 2000, p. 44. The article is an interview of naturalist author Tom Brown, Jr., who claims he was taught as a child by a Lipan Apache scout.


8

Carthage might have 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. Theses source do support the assertion: NY Times and The Punic Wars by A. Goldsworthy. However, this is not clear cut: What actual proof is there for Carthaginian ...


8

During WW2, submarines on patrol were out of contact with friendly forces for extended periods of time. Even when operating in a Wolf-Pack, they generally couldn't tell exactly where their pack-mates were or how they were doing. While they could broadcast their status using their radios, this was limited to avoid radio intercepts and direction finding giving ...


7

What I'm seeing there for good attestations are the following: In Irish folklore, a Jack-o'-lantern appears to have been the same as what was called a will-o'-the-wisp in English folklore. In other words, ignited swamp gas visible at night, with lots of creative folklore built up around it. This is attested to as known folklore before we know of the term ...


6

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 ...


6

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 (...


6

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 ...


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

It is a bit complicated... Since printing exists, its applications created professionals who were creating documents by hand. Books, and in later times magazines, were expensive because of the necessary amount of manual work involved. On the other hand people used handwriting for their own works; even dissertations were written by hand until the 1970s, ...


5

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 ...


5

I fairly often have to produce decently formatted printed documents. Endnotes, which I too dislike, are much easier to manage for the publisher. Footnotes on the other hand mess up your page layout big time. If they designer of the layout complains loud enough - and those prima donnas do that very well - the publisher happily gives in. To give you an ...


5

A flag is flown at half-mast in memoriam as long as deemed appropriate by the head-of-state of the sovereignty. Note that in U.S. state governors are deemed to be sovereign within their states in this regard. (The precise delineation between Gubernatorial and Presidential authority in this regard is a Constitutional Law issue on which SCOTUS hasn't ruled on ...


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

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.


4

The main reason for publishers preferring endnotes over footnotes is financial: Many university presses now more or less require endnotes, since typesetting notes at the bottom of the page requires more fiddling by technicians and is therefore more expensive. Footnotes also carry the potential for added expense when corrections are made to page ...


3

Question: Captured nobles in medieval times, were they always ransomed? No they were not always ransomed. There were many ways for a captive to be taken advantage of beyond just being ransomed for short term money. Medieval captives were entirely at the mercy of their captors. Some were held hostage for prisoner exchanges, some ransomed, some were ...


3

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. ...


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

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 ...


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 was ...


3

In Adomnán of Iona's Life of St. Columba (Book 2, Chapter 39), the author speaks of a man from Derry who swore an oath of slavery to a man who saved him from the death penalty. He later ran away and ended up in Scotland, where he met St. Columba. The man, named Librán of the reed-bed, explains his his back-story thus: I killed a fellow. After this I was ...


2

According to this book, in ancient Rome a saviour was treated as a 'second father'. Unfortunately google books cuts you off when you get to the relevant bit. The Wikipedia article about Fabius has the following quote: Fabius rushed to his co-commander's assistance and Hannibal's forces immediately retreated. After the battle, there was some feeling that ...


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