Thursday, November 13, 2008

Facts I'm checking

A selection from the fact check sheets: just to give you an idea of the scope of the next phase of book writing. Aren't these fun taken out of context?

  • A 9th century vessel displacing 52 tons can carry about 200 amphorae of oil, or 4000 bushels of grain.
  • In Venice in 827, you could sell a few dozen casks of black pepper for 600 gold solidi. (2.6kg gold)
  • But even a whole ship full of saffron would not be worth 10,000 solidi.
  • Women dancers in venice in 827 were considered disreputable.
  • In 827, the Pope wore red slippers.
  • Sharks exist in the Mediterranean.
  • Depths in the Giudecca Canal can range from 3 1/2 to 4 fathoms.
  • 9th century fishermen in the Adriatic used hook-and-line to catch big fish
  • 6 solidi is a high, but reasonable, price for treating a dislocated shoulder
  • Goat droppings come in piles.
  • Belaying pins were commonly used in the 9th century.
  • An old man with an arrow in his lung would last at least a minute before suffocating.
  • A brothel in Constantinople might have a floor made of reed mats.
  • The road Makoros Embolos in Constantinople was made of crushed stone.
  • "Al-Sinnif" is the Arabic equivalent of the nickname, "Lefty".
  • The Coptic pope in December, 827 was named Yakub.
  • The Pharos lighthouse was on the left side as one exited Alexandria harbor.
  • Catapult stones fired over water can skip if launched at a flat enough angle.
  • It is possible to float an iron pin in sea water by coating it in oil.
  • A Dromon carried about 150 oarsmen.
  • Greens and squash are available in Bari, Italy in January.
  • There are carvings of Abraham and Mary on St. Mark's Basilica

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