10 Historic Serial Killers You Don’t Know

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10 Historic Serial Killers You Don’t Know



We’ve all heard the stories of historic serial killers like Elizabeth Bathory, Jack the Ripper, and H.H. Holmes and watched many horror movies based on their horrendous acts. They were not, however, the only historic serial killers. Here are 10 more people who committed some of the most horrible acts of murder ever.

10historic serial killers: Ancient Roman Poisoning Ring
Italy, 331 BC

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After many leading citizens died of a mysterious plague, a slave testified that a group of maids were poisoning their employers. Investigators found 20 maids in the process of brewing the poison.

The maids swore that the poison was medicine. To prove it, they drank their own brew and . . . were instantly cured of all sickness! Actually, they fell over dead immediately.

Another 170 maids were arrested and found guilty, though investigators concluded that this wasn’t a case of malicious intent. Instead, it was the first recorded case of “angel of mercy” syndrome.


9Liu Pengli
China, 144–116 BC


Liu Pengli became prince of Jidong in the middle of the rule of Emperor Jing of Han. Along with servants and slaves, Liu would attack various victims under the guise of robberies.

The actual reason behind the attacks was simply for a good time. This reign of terror lasted from 144 BC to 116 BC, scaring the townspeople so badly that no one would leave their homes as soon as the Sun set.

Eventually, the son of a victim accused Liu of the murders and he was foundguilty of over 100 murders. The court officials wanted Liu executed, but Emperor Jing couldn’t live with the idea of sentencing his nephew to death.

Instead, Liu was stripped of all rank and power. His sovereignty was abolished and his land reclaimed. Liu was banished to Shangyong as a commoner. Whether this was a case of nepotism or not is up for debate.

8Peter Stumpp
France, 1564–1589

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Photo credit: Lucas Mayer

Although the method of extracting his confession was questionable (it was during the witch hunts), Peter Stumpp confessed to practicing black magic from age 12. He also confessed to killing 14 children (including his own son) and two pregnant women and having a belt that could turn him into a wolf.

Stumpp was missing his left hand, which was considered to be a sign that hewas a werewolf. His entire family was accused of having incestuous relationships with each other and various demons sent by Satan.

Sentenced to death, Stumpp was tied to a large wagon wheel on Halloween. His flesh was pulled from his body in 10 places by a hot pincer, his legs were broken by the back side of an axe head, his head was cut off, and then his body was burned in a fire.

Stumpp’s daughter and mistress had already been skinned alive and strangled to death before being thrown in the same fire. All this was done as a warning against Stumpp’s behavior.


7Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova
Russia, 1762


Photo credit: russiapedia.rt.com

It’s easy to make comparisons to Elizabeth Bathory, but what really separates Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova from the Blood Countess is that Saltykova would fly into rages for no apparent reason. Some believe that she was angry at her lover for having an affair behind her back with a young girl while Saltykova was having an affair with him.

Saltykova was notorious for torturing 139 people to death, including children, pregnant women, and young women whom she viewed as rivals. These tortures included breaking bones, stripping the victims before tossing them into the frozen Russian landscape, pouring boiling water on them, and more.

Although Saltykova never seemed to want to murder men, she did enjoy the anguish that came when the fathers and husbands of her victims mourned their losses. One local man lost three wives to her rage.

Saltykova was eventually caught. After being chained and beaten in public while wearing a sign explaining her crimes, she was sentenced to life imprisonment in the basement of a local monastery.

6Gesche Gottfried
Germany, 1813–1827

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Photo credit: ndr.de

In another case of “angel of mercy,” Gesche Gottfried was a German woman who was found guilty of poisoning 15 people over 15 years. Her motivations have been debated for centuries. It’s believed that she suffered fromMunchausen syndrome, which caused her to overexaggerate aspects of her life and the lives of those around her.

She would poison her victims to keep them sick so that she could continue to “care” for them. From this, Gottfried gained a reputation as a selfless and caring person, even garnering the nickname “Angel of Bremen.”

On her 43rd birthday, Gottfried was arrested after one of her would-be victims found white flakes in his food and told his doctor about it. The flakes turned out to be “mouse butter,” better known as arsenic.

Four years later, Gottfried was given the honor of being the last public execution in Bremen. Her death mask was then used in the now-defunct field of phrenology.

5John Lynch
New South Wales, 1835–1841

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After John Lynch was sentenced to penal transportation to Australia, he decided to steal cattle from a previous employer in New South Wales. Lynch had already been in trouble for murdering a man who had presented evidence against Lynch and his gang. But he was cleared of those charges because the jury didn’t believe his confession.

So Lynch now had a herd of stolen cattle that he intended to sell in Sydney. On the way, he met other herders and farmers whom he would murder and steal from. Then he would sell their goods along the way. Afterward, Lynch decided to kill a family who owed him money before claiming their land and settling down.

His undoing came when one of his victims was found by a man who had visited the farm. Lynch, who had been using the name Dunleavy, was thenexposed by a local barmaid. He confessed only after every bit of evidence against him left no doubt of his guilt. Although he was responsible for killing about 10 people, Lynch was only convicted and executed for the murder of one.


4Manuel Blanco Romasanta
Spain, 1844–1852

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Photo credit: Alchetron

Today, many psychiatrists feel that the case of Manuel Blanco Romasanta was a missed opportunity to legitimize psychiatry in Spain. Romasanta, who had come to Spain from Portugal, was regularly hired as a guide out of the town where he lived.

He would return with letters to his clients’ families claiming that his clients were settled down and happy at their destinations. Some people began to question these claims, though, when Romasanta was found selling clothes from previous clients and soap that was rumored to be made from human fat.

When he was arrested, Romasanta claimed that he suffered from lycanthropy. This claim gained him the title of “Werewolf of Allariz.” His doctors ran tests based on phrenology, a field which said that mental conditions could be determined by the shape and size of the face and skull.

Romasanta’s doctors claimed that there was nothing mentally wrong with him. According to the doctors, Romasanta killed because he was a “perverted and accomplished criminal, capable of anything” and that he acted “with free will, freedom, and knowledge.”

However, many modern psychiatrists believe that Romasanta suffered from antisocial personality disorder. Romasanta confessed to 14 murders but was only found guilty of nine. The other five victims were deemed to have been killed in actual wolf attacks.

3Catherine Wilson
United Kingdom, 1855–1861


Catherine Wilson was an “angel of mercy” who was able to convince her victims to include her in their wills. She had over 30 patients die under her care. But she was only known to have actually killed her husband and a previous patient who had been exhumed. She also attempted to give enough sulfuric acid to another victim to kill 50 people.

Bizarrely, the judge in her first trial found her not guilty. The police had continued their investigation through the trial, though, and arrested Wilson as soon as she stepped off the dock.

She was charged in the murder of seven patients but only tried for one. At her second trial, Wilson was found guilty and sentenced to hang. She was the last woman to be publicly hanged in London.

2Juan Diaz de Garayo
Spain, 1870–1879

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Photo via Wikimedia

In Spain, the term sacamantecas (“fat extractor”) is used to describe a form of bogeyman—a monster that extracts fat from your dead body and fashions it into various uses. Juan Diaz de Garayo is known as “El Sacamentacas.” He was the bogeyman.

De Garayo strangled five women and a 13-year-old girl to death. He also attacked four other women. De Garayo’s family tried to claim that the victims were attacked by a sacamentacas, which gained him the nickname.

Most of his victims were prostitutes whom he tried to hire, but they turned him down because of his low payment offers. Eventually, de Garayo stopped offering money and simply murdered and raped his victims.

After two failed attempts that almost got him caught, de Garayo put his murdering ways on hold for about four years. Eventually, he was implicated in the deaths of many of his victims. He was arrested when he returned to his hometown.

In 1881, de Garayo was executed by garroting, displayed publicly for 10 hours, and then buried in an unmarked grave.

1Bochum Serial Sex Murderer
Germany, 1878–1882

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Photo credit: erenow.com

The Bochum serial sex murders are a series of sexual assaults and murders that took the lives of eight women between 1878 and 1882. The victims were raped, strangled, and mutilated while working or walking alone in the countryside areas of Bochum, Germany. Although a man was executed for the murders, many people believe that the case remains unsolved because the crimes continued for four months after the execution.

This is the case that led to many changes in Germany’s justice system. The death penalty was reinstated after 15 years simply to reassure the people of Bochum that someone would be severely punished for the crimes. The Bochum sex murders also brought about a new eye on the roles of victims and aggressors in sexual assault and rape cases, and the case helped to coin the term Lustmord (“murder simply for pleasure”).

10 Dark Secrets Of The Sun Cults

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10 Dark Secrets Of The Sun Cults



The Sun is one of the most ancient symbols of divinity. For millennia, people have seen this star as the center of their spiritual universe. It gives life, reminds us of our mortality, and offers a glimpse into the possibility of rebirth. The archaeological record is filled with enigmatic objects offering tantalizing clues about these ancient sun cults.

10Earliest Eclipse

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Photo credit: Ancient Origins

On November 30, 3340 BC, Irish Sun worshipers carved the first known representation of a solar eclipse. The engravings into three megalithic stones are located on the Cairn L site in County Meath. Researchers discovered that the Sun illuminates a special chamber within the monuments on November 1 and February 2, which mark the halfway points between the solstices and equinoxes.

The stone carvers predate the Celts. However, all later arrivals to the Emerald Isle continued Sun worship in some form. Brigit was the Celtic deity of light. Known as “The Bright One,” the Sun goddess was later absorbed into the Christian pantheon of saints.

Experts were able to trace the origin back to a specific date. Out of the 92 eclipses they analyzed, only the one in 3340 BC matched the location of the stones. Chinese astronomers made the previously oldest known eclipse carving in 2800 BC.


9Sun Cults: Mayan Solar Sacrifice

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Photo credit: archeolog-home.com

At the Mayan site of Tikal, archaeologists unearthed evidence of human sacrifice related to Sun worship. Researchers believe that a man and boy were killed and burned to reenact the myth of twins who immolated themselves to be reborn as the Sun and Moon. This legend is widespread throughout Mesoamerica. However, there has never been concrete proof of human sacrifice associated with the myth.

Tikal’s Burial PP7TT-01 contains the body of a boy between 10 and 14 and a man between 35 and 40. Discovered at the bottom of a pit, they had beensacrificed and burned. Obsidian blades and rib lesions suggest that the victims were killed before they were set ablaze.

Others believe that they were still alive when cast into the pyre. The burial pit was built close to Tikal’s solar cycle calendar structures. The grave was also built on the compound’s eastern edge, associated with the rising Sun.

8Grave Of The Sun Priestess

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Photo credit: delhidailynews.com

In 1921, archaeologists uncovered the burial of a “Sun priestess” in Denmark. Dated back 3,400 years, Egtved Girl was buried in an oaken coffin along with her infant. Between 16 and 18, the 160-centimeter (5’3″) girl was found wearing a Sun-shaped bronze belt buckle.

Experts interpret her belt as evidence that she was a priestess in an ancient Nordic Sun cult. The partially cremated bones of her child were found alongside her in a bark box.

Isotope analysis of Egtved Girl’s teeth revealed that she was likely born and raised in the Black Forest 800 kilometers (500 mi) to the south. Her clothes were typical for Denmark in the era. However, they were made from animals that lived elsewhere.

It is likely that she tried to integrate herself into foreign society by imitating their clothing. Experts believe that Egtved Girl married into a Danish chiefdom and was buried in her adopted home.


7Britain’s Magical Gold

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Photo credit: Live Science

Archaeologists recently discovered that Bronze Age Irish Sun worshipers sought out “magic” gold from across the sea for their sacred artifacts. Chemical analysis revealed that the 4,000-year-old gold, which was assumed to have been mined locally, came from southwestern Britain.

The most common forms for this alien gold were Sun shapes, which reflected the spiritual beliefs of the island. No similar artifacts have been found in Britain, which suggests that the gold was exported and then worked on in Ireland.

Southwestern Britain was the site of a Bronze Age gold rush. Experts theorize that 200 kilograms (440 lb) of gold were extracted from Cornwall and West Devon. Some believe that the gold was a by-product of the more important tin industry.

Cornish tin was essential to Western Europe during the Bronze Age as tin was an integral part of the alloy along with copper. It is unknown whether British gold was more common or sought after specifically for aesthetic and symbolic qualities.

6Trundholm Sun Chariot

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Photo credit: Malene Thyssen

In 1902, archaeologists discovered the Trunholm Sun chariot in a Danish bog. Dated between 1800 and 1600 BC, the 58-centimeter-long (23 in) artifact consists of a horse, six wheels, and a disc—all made of bronze. The disc is covered with a thin gold sheet on one side.

The hollow-cast sculpture is one of the earliest representations of horses in Europe. Some speculate that the wheels were in place to move the horse and solar disc during ritual performances. Others believe that the wheels simply may have helped the chariot stand upright.

According to Klaus Randsborg of the University of Copenhagen, the dimensions of the “Sun side” represent one-third of a solar year and the “Moon side” represents six lunar months. The idea of “traveling Suns” pervades the mythology of the ancient world. Norse, Celtic, Hindu, Greek, and Egyptian religions all perceived that the Sun was carried across the sky by a solar deity or animal.

5Abydos Boat Graves


Photo credit: Ancient Origins

In 2000, researchers uncovered the hull of a 5,000-year-old vessel while excavating at the ancient Egyptian site of Abydos. Dated to 3000 BC, the ship is one of 14 discovered at the site.

These Abydos boat graves are located next to the funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy, a second dynasty pharaoh. Experts believe that the boats were buried prior to the pharaoh’s tomb and may have been intended for a ruler as early as the first dynasty.

The Abydos boats are related to the ancient Egyptian belief that Ra, the Sun god, traveled through the sky in a solar boat. The journey represents the cycle of Ra’s daily regeneration.

No one knows whether the boats were used prior to their burial. They were large enough to accommodate about 30 rowers each and could have been sailed. Their construction of planks fitted together makes them the earliest Egyptian example of “built boats.”


4Danish Sun Temple

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Photo credit: archaeology.org

Archaeologists believe that the Danish Island of Bornholm was once the site of a Sun-worshiping temple complex over 5,500 years ago. The entrance to the complex was aligned with the summer solstice, and researchers have uncovered a multitude of stone discs inscribed with sunrays.

Some speculate that the solar discs might actually be early maps—with fields, fences, and plants. These “stylized maps” bear a resemblance to landscape carvings found in the Italian Alps from the same period. Others suggest that the Sun stones were magic items, intended to bring fertility to farmland.

Excavations have already uncovered pottery, animal bones, and Sun discs, which are often damaged. Similar discs have been found at Rispebjerg, which also served as a sacred site for Sun worshipers. Ritual activity continued at the Vasagard site for several hundred years. Researchers are using 3-D laser scanning technology to map the complex’s box and passage tombs.

3Monkton Farleigh Sun Disc

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In 1947, archaeologists discovered a mysterious golden Sun disc alongside the remains of a skeleton near Stonehenge. Dated back 4,500 years, the thin sheet of embossed gold features a cross within a circle.

Experts believe that this 5-centimeter-wide (2 in) disc represents the Sun, which is in keeping with Bronze Age British spiritual belief. So far only six Sun discs have been found on the island.

Given the Sun disc’s rarity, experts theorize that it belonged to a chieftain. This Bronze Age elite cherished the artifact so much that he took it with him to the grave. Pottery and flint arrowheads were also found in the burial mound at Monkton Farleigh.

The disc dates back to the time that the central ring of Stonehenge was erected. A glistening golden disc would have meant far more to these ancient Sun worshipers than mere decoration. Two small holes suggest that the Sun disc was worn as a talisman and status symbol.

2Goseck Circle


Photo credit: Ancient Origins

In 2002, archaeology students discovered the world’s oldest solar observatory during digging practice near the university in Goseck, Germany. Their excavation exercise revealed a 7,000-year-old henge with two gates that were aligned with the solstices.

The Goseck Circle is 70 meters (220 ft) in diameter. A circular wooden wall surrounds a narrow ditch. Archaeologists have been aware of the enclosures. However, they have never before understood their function. Labeled “German Stonehenge,” the area has become a tourist trap.

The people that built the Goseck Circle belonged to Stroke-Ornamented Pottery Culture, which dominated central Europe for 200 years around 4600 BC. Similar wooden henges have been found throughout Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

The spiritual beliefs of these long-gone people remain a mystery. However, the recent discovery suggests the worship of celestial objects, constellations, and most notably, the Sun. This monumental architecture dates thousands of years before the Egyptians built the pyramids.

1Sun Temple Of Ramses II


Photo credit: NBC News

In 2006, archaeologists discovered an ancient Sun temple under an outdoor marketplace in Cairo. The temple was once part of the city of Heliopolis—the epicenter of ancient Egyptian solar worship. Inscriptions reveal the temple’s founder: Ramses II.

A seated statue depicts the 19th dynasty ruler in the leopard skin of a high priest of Ra—the chief Egyptian solar deity. Stylistically, the statue resembles those of the 12th dynasty. Some theorize that artisans might have modified an older statue to resemble Ramses II.

Experts believe that the Egyptian solar cult originated in the Old Kingdom between 2700 and 2200 BC. Ramses II was renowned for his military campaigns against the Hittites and Syrians and his monumental building projects.

Through his reign (1279 to 1213 BC), he raised temples and statues in honor of himself. The temple to Ra at Heliopolis is the largest of the Ramses II temples yet discovered.

Abraham Rinquist is the executive director of the Winooski, Vermont, branch of the Helen Hartness Flanders Folklore Society. He is the coauthor of Codex Exotica andSong-Catcher: The Adventures of Blackwater Jukebox.

10 Truly Disgusting Facts About Ancient Greek Life

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10 Truly Disgusting Facts About Ancient Greek Life



The Greeks were philosophers. They were the fathers of democracy, men of a more civilized time who lived lives of meaning in the pursuit of truth.

On paper, anyway. Everyday life, though, was less glamorous than the few shining moments that made their way into history. Real life in ancient Greece was difficult, dirty, and often truly disgusting.

10Your Doctor Would Taste Your Earwax

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Photo credit: BBC

When you visited a doctor in ancient Greece, you could pretty much count on him reaching into your ear and taking a little nibble of your earwax. That was how your doctor got a diagnosis: He’d taste your bodily fluids.

Of course, doctors had more diagnostic tricks than just tasting people’s earwax. The doctor would choose the test depending on the symptoms. For example, a doctor might run his fingers through your phlegm or lick your vomit to see how sweet it was.

All this started with Hippocrates—the man behind the Hippocratic oath. He believed that the body was a collection of fluids and that each bodily fluid had a specific taste. Greek doctors were taught what those bodily fluidsshould taste like so they could know if something was wrong.

According to Hippocratic medicine, urine was supposed to taste like fig juice. So if you felt a little under the weather, your doctor would take a little sip—and if your urine wasn’t tart enough, he knew there was a problem.


9People Wiped Themselves With Stones

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Photo credit: thehistoryblog.com

Toilet paper didn’t make its way to Europe until the 16th century. Before then, people had to find their own ways to clean up. Like the Romans, the Greeks would sometimes clean themselves with a sponge attached to a stick—but not every Greek was so lucky.

More often, the Greeks would clean themselves with stones. They kept a pile of pebbles at their lavatories and grated hard stone against their bodies to clean up. Apparently, these were hard to come by. The Greeks had a saying to encourage a little frugality in the bathroom: “Three stones are enough to wipe.”

Other times, they’d take broken shards of ceramic pots and scrape themselves clean with that. Particularly vengeful Greeks might etch their enemies’ names onto a piece of pottery, shatter it, and use it to wipe their own butts.

It might not be a coincidence that hemorrhoids were a major problem in ancient Greece.

8Older Men Would Trade Roosters For Sex With Boys

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Photo credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen

Greek men would take young boys as lovers. The older man would always take the initiative. Usually, he’d present himself before a young, prepubescent boy and offer him a live rooster—a surefire way to win anyone’s affections that still works today.

The elder partner would act like a father to his new lover boy, teaching him the ways of the world. In a way, that might almost seem like a justification—but it’s not like these men were sleeping with young boys out of a sense of civic duty. The men wouldn’t pick the boys who most needed instruction. They’d pick the best-looking ones they could find.

The boy would be the older man’s constant companion—until the boy started to grow facial hair. Once a boy could grow hair on his face, the older man viewed the boy as getting on in years and booted him out.

When he grew a beard, the boy became a man. Now it was his turn to pick a boy of his own and keep the whole twisted tradition going.


7Athletes Sold Their Sweat

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Before competing, Greek athletes would take off all their clothes and cover themselves in oil. That was how they performed. Whether they were running or grappling with another man, Greek athletes would do it naked.

By the end, they would usually be covered in filth. So afterward, the athletesscraped all that sweat, filth, and dead skin off their bodies. It would be gross to watch—but a lot worse if your job was to help out.

A group of slaves working as gloios-collectors would have to do just that. They would run around collecting all the scrapings and bottling up all the weird, disgusting things that fell off the athletes’ bodies.

These scrapings would then be sold as medicine. People would rub the sweat of athletes on their skin. They believed that it calmed aches and pains—which it probably didn’t do particularly well.

If nothing else, though, the Greek people, after rubbing sweat and dirt on their skin, got to smell like an Olympian.

6Women’s Illnesses Were Treated In The Filthiest Ways Possible


The Greeks believed that women had a unique susceptibility to the impure. Disgusting things, they believed, affected women in a way that they did not affect men.

That didn’t just mean that women were more easily grossed out—this was an idea that became part of their medicine. When a woman had a disease, the Greeks believed that there was no better treatment than disgusting filth.

A woman suffering from a discharge, for example, would drink a mix of “roast mule excrement” and wine. If she had a miscarriage, they’d put cow dung on her. This occurred because of another weird belief: that a woman’s womb could move around the body. They believed that the womb would be so disgusted by the smell of the dung that it would run away.

5Sneezing Was Promoted As An Effective Birth Control Method

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Photo credit: ancient.eu

The Greek physician Soranus taught that birth control was a woman’s responsibility. If a woman got pregnant, he felt, it was her own fault. After all, it was a little unreasonable to expect men to do anything to stop that from happening.

In reality, if a Greek woman got pregnant, it probably was a man’s fault—specifically, Soranus’s. He told women that they could just sneeze instead of using contraceptives. After making love, Soranus told women that they just needed to squat, sneeze, and rinse and they wouldn’t get pregnant.

Obviously, it didn’t work. Soranus had a few backup ideas, though. He also suggested rubbing honey or cedar resin on your genitals before making love—which, if nothing else, probably discouraged people from having sex in the first place.


4Slaves Had To Wear Chastity Belts


Photo credit: ChrisO

The Greeks didn’t want their slaves to waste their time making love under the stars. If you were a slave in ancient Greece, there was a decent chance your owner would make you wear a chastity belt just to make sure.

Greek slaves would often have to endure something called infibulation. That meant that a metal ring would be wrapped around their genitals. It would seal them shut tightly enough that even getting excited would be painful, and it could only be taken off with a key.

If your master made you wear a chastity belt, you knew it could have been a lot worse. This was really just an alternative to becoming a eunuch.

3They Thought Lesbians Had Giant Clitorises

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Photo credit: greek-islands.us

When it came to women’s rights, ancient Greece wasn’t exactly the most progressive country. They didn’t really believe in listening to what women had to say—and so the ancient Greeks had some pretty weird ideas.

Above all, the Greeks really didn’t understand lesbians. They couldn’t conceive of any two people making love without somebody penetrating somebody else. They refused to believe that women were doing anything else.

And so, they concluded that lesbians must all be born with gigantic clitorises. They referred to it as the “female penis” and figured that it was the cause of female homosexuality.

That idea held on for a lot longer than it should have. No more than 100 years ago, even Sigmund Freud believed that the clitoris was behind this whole lesbian phenomenon.

2They Used Crocodile Dung As Skin Cream


Crocodiles were a bigger part of life for the Greeks than they are for us, and that led to some weird details in Greek medicine. One medical treatise, for example, offers a warning for victims of crocodile bites.

If the crocodile walks back into the patient’s home after biting him and—because ancient Greek crocodiles were jerks—pees on the wound, the patient will die. Apparently, this happened often enough that they had to write about it.

Crocodiles weren’t just a threat, though. They were a cure, too. The Greeks recommended treating scars around the eyes by applying a little crocodile dung as eye shadow. “Levigate the dung of the land crocodile with water,” a Greek medical document recommends, “and anoint.”

1They Held Phallic Parades


Photo credit: plus.google.com

Once a year, the roads of Athens would be alive with penises. Men and women would march down the streets, holding gigantic phalli proudly above their heads as a tribute to their god.

This was an integral part of a Dionysian celebration—a festival held in honor of the god of wine. Dionysus’s followers would get drunk out of their minds and lead a phallic procession to the temple, singing songs about penises and yelling rude jokes at people as they went.

According to Aristotle, phallic processions were the birthplace of comedic theater. He claimed that people adapted the jokes they’d yell during the parades into full stage plays. If Aristotle’s right, all comedy began with Greeks carrying gigantic cartoon dicks.