During the siege of Syracuse, Archimedes singlehandedly stopped the Roman Army for almost two years leaving them frustrated and angry.

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: Wikipedia-Archimedes

I am sure every history buff worth his/her salt would remember the Second Punic war fought between Rome and Carthage.

It was a war that is completely overshadowed by the great Carthaginian general Hannibal who invaded Italy scored emphatic victories at Lake Trasimene and Cannae before his eventual defeat at the hands of the Roman general Scipio Africanus in 202 B.C.

That said, an often-overlooked battle that nearly frustrated Rome for two years was the Siege of Syracuse, from 213–212 BC. This battle was a special one. This was a battle between military might and the brilliance of science. The brute Roman military strength was led by the great general Marcus Claudius Marcellus and his massive army was opposed by the brilliance of one man, Archimedes whose superior technological inventions stopped the Romans dead in their tracks. …


History, Culture

The emperors of imperial China had hundreds of concubines who were captives for life, leading very lonely lives.

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: AncientOrigins — Movie Credits Curse of the Golden Flower

There was a popular misogynistic proverb in China that tries to justify why men need multiple women but women are expected to adjust only with just one man.

“One teapot is usually accompanied by four cups. But have you ever seen one cup with four teapots?”

That said, concubinage was a complex practice in imperial China and for most of the women a necessary evil to be adopted simply because women at that time had only four options to survive; be a wife, work as a maid, be a concubine, or work as a prostitute.

And out of the options available, being a concubine was one of the easiest ways available for a poor woman to earn social security and financial status if she can’t find a husband. Concubinage was also considered far safer than prostitution as there will be only one male partner and chances of getting sexual diseases were less. …


The Apollo 10 astronauts heard a ‘mysterious music’ on the dark side of the moon that was kept classified by NASA until 2008.

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: USAToday-Apollo-10-Crew

Just a few months before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their historic landing on the moon, three NASA astronauts circled the moon as part of the Apollo 10 mission. They were Commander Thomas Stafford, Command Module Pilot John Young, and Lunar Module Pilot Eugene Cernan.

As part of the mission, their job was to test the technology that allowed the spacecraft’s lunar lander module to detach and re-attach to the command module. It was a dress rehearsal to the Apollo 11 moon landing mission later and as far as most people knew, it went smoothly without any hiccups.

Except that, it wasn’t that smooth. …


Why did the ancient Romans draw penises on everything?

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: Wikipedia

Life as a soldier in the Roman legion is always assumed to be thrilling, death-defying, and constantly on the move with participating in massive military campaigns for subduing people throughout Europe and the Near East.

While this is true but not always. Roman soldiers did have a lot of free time in their hands and they utilized this free time either playing board games like Ludus Latrunculorum(a Roman game of strategy and direct battle) or drawing penis art on the walls. Yes, you read it right, penises. The Romans had an obscene obsession with penises.

And even when they are working on crucial installations like the Hadrian’s Wall, a defensive fortification in Roman Britannia to strengthen frontier borders, archaeologists have found more than 57 etchings of male genitalia scattered across the length of the Hadrian’s Wall. As Mike Collins, the inspector of ancient monuments for Hadrian’s Wall tells us. …


History, Culture

Before you fill your plate, remember the dark history behind the day.

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: Britannica-1st-ThanksGivingDay

“Native Americans and the settlers were best friends.”

The above statement came straight out of the notebook of my 6th-grade daughter who was told to write a short essay about Thanksgiving.

That set me thinking. At school, all of us are fed a beautiful picture of Thanksgiving. …


Does the mythical island really exist off the coast of Ireland?

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: YouTube

I suppose most of us would have heard about Atlantis. Atlantis was a mysterious island described by the Greek philosopher Plato that was home to an advanced civilization. Then one day as the story goes, the island sank beneath the sea without a trace.

That said, there is another strange, disappearing island from ancient times that supposedly sits in the North Atlantic Ocean about 321 km (200 miles) off the coast and can be seen on multiple maps spanning between 1325 right up to the 19th century. It was called Hy-Brasil and is Ireland’s equivalent of Atlantis.

Yes, the name is confusing and looks eerily similar to the South American country of Brazil. But rest assured, the ancient mariners did not make the mistake of assuming that South America’s Brazil was a small island off the Irish coast. In fact, the name ‘Brazil’ is a variation of the old Celtic word, ‘Breasal’ which means the ‘High King’. …


Dying in Pompeii under the Mount Vesuvius volcanic eruption was a horrifying experience.

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: Pompeii Tours

What is the worst way to die?

There can be many answers to this question. Getting eaten alive by a shark, being burned at the stake, drowning, beheading, or if you are adventurous, crucifixion. The possibilities are endless.

Ok, how about getting your blood boiled, brains turned into tough glass due to intense heat, ‘heat-shocked’ into a sort of instant rigor mortis, and slowly getting ‘baked’ and asphyxiated by volcanic ash and toxic fumes for a period of time. And all of this happening simultaneously on your body.

Gruesome? isn’t it?

That is what happened to the residents of Pompeii on August 24, 79 AD, one day after the Roman holiday of Volcanalia, dedicated to the god of fire. At noon Mount Vesuvius erupted, spewing ash hundreds of feet into the air for 18 hours straight. …


The astronaut John Young is best remembered for his sneaky act of smuggling a corned-beef sandwich into space.

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: BarstoolSports-JohnYoung

“I hid a sandwich in my spacesuit,” admitted John Young sheepishly.

The main objective of NASA’s prestigious Project Gemini was to learn how to send astronauts to the Moon, testing their ability to fly long-duration missions and to perfect rendezvous, docking, and spacewalking procedures.

But along with all these lofty objectives, NASA also managed to learn how a corned-beef sandwich tastes like in space, thanks to astronaut John Young who managed to smuggle it in space against NASA rules.

And John might be excused for his blunder because as far as space food goes, it was not exactly appetizing to look or eat at least in those days. Even now the food is packaged into bulk overwrap bags, referred to as BOBs, which are packed into cargo transfer bags for delivery to the space station. Each astronaut can get up to nine personalized BOBs for a mission, each containing up to 60 food and drink options so that they can get at least most of their personal favorites within the selections. …


The story of Mariya Oktyabrskaya, a woman tank driver who avenged her husband’s death by destroying the Nazi Army.

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: Warhistoryonline

They say revenge is a dish best served cold and when it is meted out by a woman wielding a tank, the intensity increases hundred-fold. The Nazis killed Mariya Oktyabrskaya’s husband and she took revenge by destroying their army with her tank.

Mariya lost her husband at the hands of the Germans when Hitler launched the disastrous operation Barbarossa to invade Russia. When Mariya got the news that her husband Ilya had been killed by the Nazis, she did two unusual things.

· She sold all her stuff and donated her savings of 50,000 roubles to the Red Army.

· She wrote an emotional letter to Joseph Stalin asking for his help. …


Was the ‘Battle of Los Angeles’, a shadowy government cover-up or an embarrassing military blunder?

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: TheBull-LA

On Dec. 7, 1941, the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, was ravaged by a surprise attack from the Imperial Japanese air force.

21 U.S. ships were sunk.188 American planes were destroyed and 2,403 Americans including 68 civilians were killed in less than two hours. More than the physical damage, the psychological after-effects on the Americans was immense. Pearl Harbour is nearly 4,000 miles from Japan but the Japanese devastated it. ‘What is stopping the Japanese from ravaging the West Coast? ‘

The fear of attack made the American forces jittery and the citizens along the West Coast were particularly aware of their perceived vulnerability. In the frantic weeks that followed the Pearl Harbour attack, even ‘small events’ were enough to strike fear within the Americans. …

About

Mythili the dreamer

I write about gray areas and blurred boundaries where imagination rules supreme. Find me in the twilight between relationships, creativity, and human behavior.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store