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a selecção de momentos pitorescos da história do mundo

Escolhidos daqui.
346bc. Having conquered much of the rest of Greece, Philip II of Macedon sent a message to the Spartans: "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." They sent a one-word reply: " If." Their boldness paid off: Philip left them alone.

1227. The death of Genghis Khan. His philosophy, as attributed to him, is summed up thus: the greatest joy a man can have is victory; to conquer one's enemy's armies, to pursue them, to deprive them of their possessions, to reduce their families to tears, to ride on their horses, and to make love to their wives and daughters. Research published in 2003 based on analysis of Y-chromosomes suggests that 8 per cent of men across a large area of Asia (about 0.5 per cent of the global male population) are descended from Genghis Khan.

1336. The Sumptuary Act of Edward III forbade any person to eat more than two courses in one meal. The act made it clear that soup was a full course, and not just a sauce. The following year, Edward banned the wearing of fur by any man or woman, even the king.

1473. Attacking the neighbouring Aztec city of Tlatelolco, the army of Axayacatl of Tenochtitlan was surprised to be met by an army of naked women, who sought to distract their enemies by spraying them with milk from their breasts. However, this ruse did not save Tlatelolco, which was sacked, and many of its people sacrificed.

1780. Around this date, Mr Daly, manager of a Dublin theatre, proposed a wager by which he would introduce a new word into the language and have everybody using it within 24 hours. Accordingly, he and his associates scrawled the word "QUIZ" on walls all over the city, and in no time at all the citizens of Dublin were asking what these letters meant. The wager was won. Sadly, some of our duller lexicographers doubt the veracity of this tale.

1847. The ring doughnut was invented by accident, when a baker's apprentice called Hanson Gregory pushed out the soggy, uncooked centre of the conventional doughnut that he had just pulled out of the deep fryer.

1848. The utopian Oneida Community was established in New York State. The community practised "complex marriage", in effect free love, and the women on average had "interviews" with three different partners every week. To avoid unwanted pregnancies and the "waste" of seed, the men aimed to avoid ejaculation during coitus, which could last for up to an hour. Pubescent boys trained to achieve this degree of control by engaging in intercourse with women who had just passed the menopause. Those who wished to bear children had to appear before a committee, which would determine their spiritual and moral fitness for breeding. All children were raised communally. The community's founder, John Humphrey Noyes, was obliged to flee to Canada in 1879 when he was warned that he was about to be charged with statutory rape. He wrote to advise his followers to abandon complex marriage, and within a year many community members had contracted conventional marriages.

1893. At the Bal des Quatre Arts, Paris, students witnessed the world's first striptease, when an artist's model called Mona, apparently under the influence of champagne, disrobed to music. She was subsequently arrested and fined 100 francs, causing the students to demonstrate. Some claim that the world's first striptease was performed by Salome, nearly 2000 years previously. The striptease developed in the burlesque theatres of the 1890s, and a popular early theme was that the woman shed her clothes one by one in search of a flea.

1939. Gadsby, a novel by E V Wright, is published, which entirely eschews the letter "e". Thirty years later the French writer Georges Perec publishes La Disparition, which achieves a similar feat.

1946. The Bournemouth Evening Echo carried the following story: "Mrs Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue, Boscombe, delighted the audience with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled. 'He'd always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out Heil Hitler.'"

2001. Surgeons were obliged to amputate the world's first transplanted hand, because the recipient, a 50-year-old New Zealand man, found it "hideous and withered", and could not face having a dead man's hand on the end of his arm. Similarly, in 2006, a Chinese man asked surgeons to remove a penis transplant that had been grafted on to the 1cm stump he had been left with after an accident. Although the transplant was a success, neither the man nor his wife found they could live with another man's penis.
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