ancient history

Everyone recognizes the classical white marble statutes of the Greeks and Romans, but most of these statutes were painted. Specialists were able to determine this fact due to trace amounts of paint they found on the statutes and and references to painted statutes in ancient literature and history.
Here are some examples of how we are used to seeing the statutes and how the statutes probably originally appeared.

To see more comparisons, go here.
Source. Source. Source.


Peterhof, officially began in 1710 by Tsar Peter the Great, boasts a 256 acre territory. It also contains 64 fountains which use 8,189 gallons of water per second. The fountains are operated entirely without the aid of machinery and rely solely on gravity.

The joke fountains are particularly interesting. One fountain, called "A bench," appears like a regular bench but soaks those who sit on it. Another, called "Oak let fountain," contains 500 hollow branches and is surrounded by tulips. It also soaks unsuspecting guests.

To see a satellite image of Peterhof, click here.
Source. Source. Source.


Charles Seymour (1662-1748) earned the nickname of "The Proud Duke." He did not allow his children to sit in his presence. He refused to talk to his servants, but used sign language instead. When he traveled, Seymour had the roads cleared. He also had a number of houses built between his town and country house so he did not ave to stay at public inns.

Source. Source. Source (page 28).


Prussian King Frederick William I (1688-1740) was obsessed with his Potsdam Giant Guards. Height was the only criterion for admission, and most of the men were over 7 feet tall.
Frederick was ruthless in his recruitment tactics using bribery, political influence, rewards, force and kidnapping. Every year, a few hundred new recruits were found. At one point, there were 2,000 men in the Guards.
One tall priest was kidnapped in the middle of his sermon. An Austrian diplomat was kidnapped but able to escape. Kirkman from Ireland was kidnapped off the streets at a cost of a thousand pounds.
Frederick also started a genetic engineering program, marrying tall men and tall women together.
When foreign courts caught the hint, tall men became diplomatic tools and gifts to Frederick. Peter the Great, who also admired giants, send Frederick hundreds of Russians all over 6 foot four.
Because height was the only requirement, the men were sometimes mentally retarded. The only case of a man being allowed to leave freely is a Swedish man sent as a gift from Augustus the Strong of Saxony. Despite frequent beatings, the man could not be drilled and was released to die a beggar in Berlin.
Because of the horrible living conditions, many of the men mutinied. About 250 were able to dessert each year, but if they were caught, their ears and nose would be cut off.
The men never fought in battle, but were kept for the amusement of Frederick who would often have them parade and drill for him.
Frederick was 5 foot five inches himself.
After his death, the Guards were disbanded.

Source. Source. Source. Source (p.168).


Thank you once again to I Beati for this award. Am I allowed to give this award to all my readers? I hope so, because that is what I am going to do. My reasoning? My blog is so fabulous that those who read it regularly must be fabulous too. But seriously, thank you for reading my blog. I love researching and writing it, and having readers makes it even better.


Katman said...

I guess the lesson you're teaching us here is that if one of us turns out to be incredibly powerful and run a country or something, be warne that someone will write about you in a blog someday!!

The painted sculptures are weird tho. I went to your source and left an entry there to the effct that I thought the Greeks & Romans left their art in a natural state was to display shapes, lines & contours in the same way we view black & white photo's. I'm nit artistic, but it just seems better in black and white. And colour statues really look tacky!

Anyway, Greeks and Romans were weirdo's and overhyped. if they were that good, how come they didn't invent something more interesting? Democracy, sanitation, medical practices, education...(yawn)...yes that's all well and good, but I've never seen a good Greek film, reliable Italian car, or a decent PSP game from either of the two!!

odd facts said...


Or maybe you just have to be crazy.

They do look kinda tacky when they are alone, but if they were part of a larger group, building or display of other brightly colored things, they might not look so out of place. I love black and white though. I think it makes for a stronger movie/picture in most cases.

They did have some interesting stuff. I did a post awhile ago on it. If you are interested:

Anonymous said...

Never thought about the statues being a totally different perspective...strange..

AY@tes said...

Holy barf-balls thats alot of facts.

I personally like the faded white marble statues over the coloured versions. I like the "antique" look better.

Though the last one, of the guys head, is pretty funny. He looks like something a cartoonist created!

Katman said... makes it funny is that I know someone who really is the spitting image of it...a little less hair tho!!

kasper794 said...

Hey old friend. Very interesting post indeed. I like the statues black & white myself it leaves more to the imagination.

satire and theology said...

Specialists were able to determine this fact due to trace amounts of paint they found on the statutes and references to painted statutes in ancient literature and history.

Fascinating. They do look better painted.

Anonymous said...

A really great piece of historical information. History was my most favorite subject in High School, and I was fortunate to have a teacher who made it so very interesting. There is so much to be learned about this beautiful planet, and also the artistic work of its people in every land. I think I really do prefer the statues in the white. It may be paint, but it does look very clean. The original color would be effective too, but over the years the artifacts turn dingy looking. Bronze would be fantastic. I do not favor the ones painted in colors, although as one of your readers mentioned, if one saw them in a group in the right setting, it would be very effective and quite a sight. Are you going to be doing any more of this type of blog in the future? I will keep watching ...........

odd facts said...

coopernicus: Very strange.
ay@tes: I do my best to overwhelm with information.
katman: hehehe
kasper 794: Hey! Thanks, and yes it does.
satire and theology: Run! I think you're outnumbered in your opinion!
anonymous: I love history, but I tend to dislike history books because everything becomes so dry and sterile. Bronze would be cool. "this type of blog?" as in art or interesting? More of both in the future hopefully. My blog subjects are often ruled by my fickle moods.

InnerNinja said...

i like the faded, colorless art much better... or is it just what i'm used to seeing?
then again, photography is often much better in black and white too. cool find!

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