Stranger than fiction
History is stranger than fiction… and often grosser and creepier too. Check out these historical facts that you’d rather wish was all made up.
King Tut’s parents were most likely siblings
Once you’ve finished shuddering with disgust, here’s what researchers know about the boy king and his family. His father was almost definitely Akhenaten, who preceded Tut as pharaoh in the fourteenth century BC. The identity of his mother is pretty much unknown, but recent DNA samples from his and other mummies have revealed that she was probably one of Akhenaten’s sisters. King Tut was rather frail and suffered from a bone disorder, perhaps due to his parentage. Incestuous relationships, though, weren’t out of the ordinary in ancient Egypt, a fact which is not exactly reassuring. Despite Tut’s health issues, and his short life even by the standards back then (he died at 19), he’s gone down in history as one of Egypt’s most famous and wealthiest pharaohs.
In 1494, Europe experienced the closest thing to a real-life zombie outbreak
Italy’s Renaissance period has a major, though little-known, dark side. Sailors returning from the New World brought with them a massive outbreak of syphilis, which spread through an entire French army. The troops then brought what would become known as “the great pox” to the rest of Europe. With no such thing as antibiotics back then, the disease was able to spread unchecked – and its effects were nasty. The skin on victims’ faces would essentially rot away from the disease’s grisly ulcers. In some cases, the noses, lips, or other body parts of the affected people were essentially gone, and several of the victims eventually died from the disease. So while there was a lot to love about the Renaissance in Europe, the concurrent syphilis outbreak was basically the real-world version of the zombie apocalypse. No big deal.