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Historical Myths – Lady Godiva Rode Naked

Historical Myths – Lady Godiva Rode Naked

Lady Godiva was an Anglo-Saxon noble woman who is supposed to have ridden through the streets of Coventry naked in order to force her husband – Leofric (968–1057) – to remove an unfair tax on his tenants.

Both she and her husband were very generous to the poor and religious institutions in their time. In 1043 Leofric founded and endowed a Benedictine monastery at Coventry and it is believed that his wife, Godiva, was the primary instigator of this.

It is very possible that the legend has sprung from this particular event. But there is no doubt that her husband was a very generous man with little need for coercion. Interestingly, the legend of the Peeping Tom also arises from this myth as later versions of it describe a man, Tom, who peeped at Lady Godiva whilst she rode naked, and was struck blind.

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Historical Myths – Edison Invented the Lightbulb

Historical Myths – Edison Invented the Lightbulb

In fact, Thomas Edison not only did not invent the lightbulb, he did not invent many of the things attributed to him.

His shrewd business skills enabled him to steal, improve, and patent many ideas before their original inventors were able to.

He was, in addition, a ruthless man who attempted to discredit other inventors in order to gain popularity for his own.

Prior to Edison’s patent for the electric lightbulb in 1880, electric lights had already been invented. In 1840, British Astronomer and Chemist, Warren de la Rue, enclosed a platinum coil in a vacuum tube and passed an electric current through it, thus creating the world’s first light bulb – a full 40 years before Edison.

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Historical Myths – Lopsided

Historical Myths – Lopsided

Amazons were women who cut off one breast so they could use a bow and arrow better

Considering how ridiculous this story is, it is hard to believe that so many people believe it.

This element of the Amazon myth was invented in the 5th century B.C. The poor Amazons had to start mutilating themselves because some big boob thoughtlessly dabbled in the dark art of etymology without the proper equipment.

Hellanicus of Lesbos imagined the name was derived from the Greek prefix a- (“without”) and mazos, a variant of mastos (“breast”). He was surely wrong, but his folk etymology is still firmly embedded in the collective consciousness after more than two dozen centuries.

There was no hint before his time, either in writing or art, that the Amazons had anything other than usual complement of breasts, so we can safely assume that the one-breasted image we have of them flowed from the (false) etymology and not vice versa.

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