Historical artifacts and photographs never fail to fascinate – they're like mysterious keys to other cultures – but this roundup of some of the strangest and most mesmerizing artifacts from history might just take the cake. From a piece of bread that dates back to Pompeii to some truly disturbing melted wax figures from a fire at Madame Tussauds wax museum in London, these images are sure to incite some reaction, be it delight or disgust.
Artifacts are objects made by human beings that – with the passage of time – come to represent a cultural or historical moment in the popular imagination. Which is why really weird artifacts are still so interesting; what do they reveal about the societies that created them?
For that matter, in the future, what will our cultural artifacts say about us?
One Of Just Two Authentic Jolly Roger Flags In ExistenceIs this fascinating?
Hercules Armor Of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II, 1555-1560Is this fascinating?
Preserved Loaf Of Bread From PompeiiIs this fascinating?
Shakespeare's Last Surviving Handwritten Play Script
The only surviving play written in Shakespeare's hand is at the British Library - and you've likely not heard of it, in part because Shakespeare wasn't the main author. One of Shakespeare's lesser-known literary contributions is the collaborative play The Booke of Sir Thomas Moore, written in the late 16th or 17th century. The manuscript, available to read online, is about the life of Sir Thomas More, the lawyer, author, and counselor to Henry VIII who was beheaded because he refused to acknowledge the king as head of the Church of England.
The play was written mainly by Anthony Munday, along with Thomas Dekker and possibly Henry Chettle, Thomas Heywood, and Shakespeare.
Andrew Dickson, an arts critic and journalist, wrote in an article for the British Library that Shakespeare penned "the play's emotional highpoint, in which the heroic More... pleads with the crowd to accept and welcome the asylum seekers in their midst." Here's an excerpt:
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs, with their poor luggage,
Plodding to th’ ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silenced by your brawl...Is this fascinating?