Our history is full of legends and these 11 popular history myths that are busted are just the tip of the iceberg.
Some of the history myths are quite insignificant and have little impact on the way we live our lives today. Did Queen Marie Antoinette really say “Let them eat cake” or not, doesn’t affect us in the slightest. The date of Christmas, however, is something that most people plan their lives around. It even affects the way the economy works, with big Christmas sales, trees, and decorations. And all of that because some guys arbitrarily decided that December 25th would be a good date to celebrate Jesus’s birthday.
Other popular history myths, like Nero’s fiddle and Napoleon’s height, are the result of political slanders, created by their opponents. It is funny how we readily accept these myths as a genuine truth about great men, regardless of their origin. All it took was few caricatures published in London’s papers back in a day and Napoleon will forever be remembered as “La petite Caporal” (The Little Corporal). If you ask people on the streets today what happened at Austerlitz, chances are very few will know. But ask them how tall was Napoleon and most of them will start pointing at their chest, saying “Ye this big”. These history myths are even more persistent than science myths.
Some are created to boost pride and provide inspiration, like the 300 Spartans myth. While nobody in their right mind would question their bravery and loyalty, things didn’t go quite as we are led to believe by our history teachers. To make things even worse, they even made a movie and now we have people actually believing that Persians had monsters and mountain trolls in their army and that the Immortals were a mix between zombies and vampires. That’s Hollywood for you.
But for me personally, the myth about Polish cavalry charging at German tanks in World War Two was the most astonishing one. Why would anyone believe that? A cavalry charge with sabers and lances against armored vehicles? Yet, people believe in it, even today. Go figure.
If you want to know what really happened and see what other popular history myths are busted, read on.