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word origin: sardonic

from word origin posted in history by prof_improbable

Webster's dictionary defines the word sardonic as "disdainfully or skeptically humorous : derisively mocking."

The word originates from the ancient peoples of the island of Sardinia off the Italian coast (from Wikipedia):

In 2009, scientists at the University of Eastern Piedmont in Italy claimed to have identified hemlock water dropwort (Oenanthe crocata) as the plant responsible for producing the sardonic grin.

This plant is the candidate for the "sardonic herb," which was a neurotoxic plant used for the ritual killing of elderly people in pre-Roman Sardinia. When these people were unable to support themselves, they were intoxicated with this herb and then dropped from a high rock or beaten to death.


That is so totally metal.

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thonis-heracleion

from ancient egypt posted in history by pete_nice

A lost city with two names, Thonis-Heracleion was discovered about 6.5 km off the coast of Alexandria in 2000 by underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio. Called Thonis by the Egyptians and Heracleion by the Greeks, this important port city was founded in the 8th century BC, and sank to the bottom of the Mediterranean by the 8th cetury AD. To put that in context, Alexandria wasn't founded until 331 BC.

Goddio has been doing extensive excavations on the site, bringing up statues that I don't feel bashful calling marvelous. Check out Goddio's website here.

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the murder castle

from chicago world’s fair, serial killers posted in history by pete_nice

Owner and operator of a drug store at this intersection, Dr. H. H. Holmes bought the adjacent lot and proceeded to construct a mammoth building. The three-story building had a 162' x 50' footprint, and was dubbed "The Castle" in the neighborhood. Holmes named it "The World's Fair Hotel", and it served as a hotel during the World's Columbian Exposition (aka The Chicago World's Fair) in 1893.

Holmes constructed a variety of rooms with the intent of killing his boarders, and carried out numerous murders in "The Murder Castle." He sold the skeletons of his victims to medical schools, while stealing the belongings of the deceased.

The "Murder Castle" was burned from the inside by arsonists in 1895, but the building survived and remained in use until it was torn down in 1938.

The story was retold in Erik Larsen's book The Devil and the White City, and an adaption of this work by Martin Scorsese with Leonardo DiCaprio is in production.

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ötzi the iceman

from mummy, prehistoric people posted in history by crabapple

Found by hikers in 1991, "Ötzi" is Europe's oldest known natural human mummy. Through forensic archaeology, it may also be the world's oldest murder cold case.

The story of Ötzi was featured in Episode 3 of History on Fire podcast.

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bataclan theatre

from terrorism posted in history by prof_improbable

Built in 1864 and opened in 1865, the Bataclan is a café-concert theatre built in the Chinoiserie (European version of Chinese) style. With historical appearances by notable figures as diverse as Buffalo Bill Cody and Edith Piaf, the Bataclan has been hosting rock acts since the 1970s.

The theatre was the scene of a coordinated terrorist attacks on Nov. 13, 2015, killing 89 people and injuring over 200. The members of the band that evening, Eagles of Death Metal, were interviewed after the attack for Vice.

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