Everyone has heard them, myths that have been told so often that they are perceived as true. Sir Isaac Newton was hit by an apple, Marie Antoinette stating “Let them eat cake!”, and many, many more. Here are the top 10 historical myths of all time:
1. Eve ate an apple
This may be slightly controversial but nowhere within the bible does it mentioned that Eve specifically ate an apple. Within the text, the “forbidden fruit” is simply mentioned as “the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden.” Potentially it could have been an apple, but with so many fruit trees in the world, who can say for sure.
2. Disney drew Mickey
Often Mickey Mouse is credited to Walt Disney, however, the true creator was Disney’s top animator, Ub Iwerks. Iwerks single handedly drew Mickey’s first short, Plane Crazy, in 1928. All of that said, Disney did play the voice of Mickey once sound films began and that is probably when the connection was made.
3. Van Gogh cut off his ear
While portions of this myth are somewhat true, it is not entirely true. Van Gogh suffered severe mental illness during his short lifetime and after a fight with another artist, Gauguin, he cut off his ear, and then committed suicide. Ok, so yes, he did cut off his ear, but he did not, in fact, cut off his entire ear. In the end Van Gogh only sliced off his left lobe. Still awful and painful, but not the whole ear.
4. Witches were burned at the stake in Salem Massachusetts
While there were the witch trials in 1692 that led to the arrest of 150 people of which 31 were tried and 20 eventually executed, none of them were burned at the stake. Instead, the regular method for dealing with the witches was by hanging.
5. Napoleon was small
Everyone has heard of the term “Napoleon complex” which is owed to the belief that Napoleon Bonaparte was particularly ambitious to compensate for being so small. While Napoleon certainly didn’t tower over many men, he was in fact still 5′ 7″.
6. Magellan circled the globe
Unfortunately, poor Ferdinand Magellan only made it halfway around the world prior to being killed by natives in the Philippines. Juan Sebastian Elcano completed Magellan’s trip the rest of the way around the world.
7. Rome burned and Nero fiddled
There is an old myth that Emporer Nero started the Great Fire of Rome in 64 A.D. and then began to play the fiddle as Rome burned. This would be highly inaccurate as the violin was not invented until 1600 years after the Great Fire.
8. Shakespeare wrote Hamlet
This is another that will probably come across rather controversial with hardcore Shakespeare devotees. While Shakespeare is regarded as the greatest playwright to have ever lived, most of his plays are in fact adaptations of earlier stories. Hamlet was based off of an old Scandinavian story.
9. America gained independence on July 4, 1776
While the Declaration of Independence was signed on this date the war waged on for another seven years before America had true independence from England. The actual date is September 3, 1783 when the Definitive Treaty of Peace was signed.
10. The electric light was invented by Edison
There is no argument that Edison is known as the world’s greatest inventor, however, he did not invent the electric light. In fact, four decades before Edison’s birth the English scientist Sir Humphry Davy invented arc lighting using a carbon filament. Edison’s contribution to this invention was to create a filament that would burn for more than 12 hours before breaking.