1635: And Drinking Cocktails Too, Apparently

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Quirin Boel: Two Monkeys Playing Backgammon (1635 – 1690) (source)

“Twee apen spelen triktrak” in Dutch; “triktrak” is a nice onomatopoeia.

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1892: Ocean

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 David James: Seascape, Storm Breakers (1892)
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1806: Beings Resembling the Human Species

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EXTRAORDINARY PHENOMENON

The following account of an extraordinary phenomenon that appeared to a number of people in the county of Rutherford, state of North Carolina, was made the 7th of August, 1806, in presence of David Dickle, Esq. of county and state aforesaid. Jesse Anderson, and the Rev George Newton, of the county of Buncombe, and Miss Betsey Newton of the state of Georgia, who unanimously agreed, with the  relators, that Mr. Newton should communicate it to Mr. J. Gales, Editor of the Raleigh Register and State Gazette.

Patsy Reaves, a widow woman, who lives near the Apalachian mountains, declares, that on the 31st of July last about, 6 o’clock P. M. her daughter Elizabeth, about eight years old, was in the cotton-field, about: ten poles from the dwelling. house, which. stands by computation, six furlongs from the Chimney mountain, and that Elizabeth told her brother Morgan, aged eleven years that there was a man on the mountain. —Morgan was incredulous at first; but the little girl affirmed it, and she saw him rolling rocks or picking up sticks, adding that she saw a heap of people. Morgan then went to the place where she was, and calling out, said that he saw a thousand or ten thousand things flying in the air. On which Polly, daughter of Mrs. Reaves aged fourteen years, and a negro woman, ran to the children, and called to Mrs. Reaves to come and see what a sight yonder was: —Mrs Reaves says she went about three poles towards them,

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312 BC: A Musicians’ Strike in Ancient Rome

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It is…a mistaken idea to suppose that strikes are modern inventions. They are indeed of ancient origin. Livy speaks of an or­ganized strike in the year 312 b.c., the description of which, although sufficiently humorous to make a background to a classical comedy, shows nevertheless the power of those ancient unions when de­siring to use the strike as a weapon for their rights.

Livy, of course, could not have suspect­ed the future developments and impor­tance of the strike; he therefore dismisses the subject as an affair of very little im­portance,” which he “would not have men­tioned were it not for its being closely con­nected with religion.” (Book ix., cap. 3o.)

The strikers on this occasion were the musicians, and the strike was caused by an act of the public censors, that seemed an infringement on the rights and privi­leges of the former. The musicians, who always assisted at the worship of the gods, enjoyed the privilege of annually cele­brating a feast at communal expense in the temple of Jupiter.

In the year 312 B.C., however, Rome hap­pened to be in financial straits; the Sam­nite wars had swallowed up millions; just then large sums were needed to fight the Etruscans, who had risen against Rome and who had a great and well-equipped army. The newly elected censors there­fore advised the Roman senate to curtail all the domestic expenses, especially to grant no money for the annual feast of the musicians.

The censors then conferred with the board of the musicians’ union, explaining the position and telling them to forego their usual festivities. The musicians could not see the necessity of being de­prived of their pleasure, they protested against the censorial order, and the board ordered a general strike.

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2393: A View from the Future

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Once the financial capital of the world,  New  York  began  in  the  early  twenty-first  century  to  attempt  to  defend  its  elaborate and expensive infrastructure against the sea. But that infrastructure had been designed and built with an expectation of constant seas and was not easily adapted to continuous, rapid rise. Like the Netherlands, New York City gradually lost its struggle. Ultimately, it proved less expensive to retreat to higher ground, abandoning centuries’ worth of capital investments.

—Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes: The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future (2014)

Image: Heidi Cullen: Weather of the Future (2011)

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2017: May I Help You?

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Anton Egorov: Impossible Interior (2107) (source)

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17th Century: Werewolf on Trial

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Sennertus [Daniel Sennert, 1572–1637], on the authority of a respectable man, informs us that a certain woman was apprehended on the suspicion that she was a werewolf; which she also acknowledged. The magistrate promised to spare her life, provided she would shew him how she effected her transformation, which she promised to do, provided that he would send to her house for a certain pot of ointment. On its being brought to her she anointed her head, neck, shoulders, and other members with it, and immediately fell down before him in a profound slumber, which lasted three hours. On her awaking, she was asked where she had been in the interval, and what had kept her so long. She replied that she had taken the form of a wolf, and had proceeded to a neighbouring town where she had first torn a sheep and afterwards a cow. The magistrate, by way of ascertaining the truth of her statement, sent thither to inquire, when he found that this precise damage had actually been done.

Major P. I. Begbie, Supernatural Illusions (London, T. C. Newby, 1851)

Image: Frans Snyders (Flemish, 1579-1657) (attributed to): “The Wolf” (after Rubens’ Whitehall Ceiling, London) (date unknown) (source)

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