20 Events Taught In History Class That Actually Aren't True.

History class is a place for learning about the great events of our past. Or... it's a place to be lied to?

Here are 16 of the biggest falsehoods that you probably learned in history class.

Thanks to Auntie Meme for creating many of these! Thanks to Wikipedia for the rest.

1/16. 16th Century chastity belts were a nightmare.

Well, that would have been true, if chastity belts even existed. They were actually made famous in satirical images something like today's political cartoons that were meant as a joke. The chastity belts that exist in museums today were made as gag gifts.

2/16. Martin Luther nailed his thesis to the door.

The story goes that Martin Luther was so fed up with corruption in the Catholic church that he nailed his 95 theses where they couldn't be missed. Yeahhhh, that probably never happened. Given the evidence, the more likely story is that Luther bombarded the Pope with a bunch of letters until he got annoyed enough to act. In fact, Martin Luther wasn't happy that the public found out about his thesis at all. He never intended to start his own church, he just wanted the Pope to stop taking money for salvation.

3/16. 60s feminists once protested by burning their bras.

Men burned their draft cards, and women burned their bras. Except they didn't do that at all. Women protesting the 1968 Miss America Contest in New York tossed several items into a trash can, including bras, girdles, heels, and women's magazines labelling them "instruments of torture" but no fire was involved.

4/16. Everyone in the Medieval Times smelled awful.

Actually, no! Contrary to popular belief, Medieval people loved to wash themselves. They especially liked soaking in hot-tubs and, as late as the 13th-century, many towns and villages had public bath houses, similar to what the Japanese have today.

5/16. The War of the Worlds broadcast caused widespread panic for listeners who didn't know they were listening to a radio drama.

Newspapers and journalists loved reporting that plenty of people had been sent into a panic over the impending aliens. They even went so far as to stage photos of people "preparing for an alien invasion." In reality? Nobody was fooled for long.

6/16. Napoleon's Army blasted off the Sphinx's nose.

Nope. That nose was long gone by the time Napoleon got to it. Reports dating back to the 1500s a full 200 years before Napoleon was said to take shots at the nose confirm that the Sphinx had no nose.

7/16. "Let them eat cake." - Marie Antoinette

The story goes that Marie Antoinette learned that the peasants in the town had no bread to eat, and she replied with this famous quote. This was actually said by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. According to Antoinette's biographer, she was a really nice and charitable person, so saying something so condescending would have been out of character.

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8/16. Ancient Greece was a place of enlightenment.

The way Greece is depicted in history class, you might be left with the idea that it was a bunch of philosophers in togas eating grapes and musing on life all day. That version of Greece never really existed, because there was no "Greece." The Hellenic Peninsula was home to over 1000 city-states, each with its own army, government, customs, and religions. And there were tons of slaves.

9/16. Pre-Renaissance audiences loved a good jousting match.

Actually, they much preferred horse shoes. Jousting at this time wasn't even possible, because jousting stirrups weren't adopted in most of Europe until the 11th century. Medieval leisure time was spent on good old fashioned tag, bowling, dancing, and horseshoes.

10/16. The Hoover Dam is full of corpses.

Rumor has it that a bunch of the workers fell into the concrete during construction and died. There's even a plaque. In reality, men died during construction, because people were pretty bad at workplace safety, but none died in a glamorous bed of cement.

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11/16. Columbus is the discoverer of America.

Actually, he landed closer to Haiti. Yes, he was an explorer. Yes, he "discovered" some land. But that land was the Bahamas Archipelago and then Hispaniola land which is currently split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He travelled further south in later voyages, but never even got close to what we know as the United States of America.

12/16. Early Christians were fed to lions in the Colosseum.

This is one of the earliest and most prominent examples of Christian execution and martyrdom. But, there are no records of Romans executing Christians. Ever. It would have been impossible, because at the time Nero was persecuting Christians, the colosseum hadn't even been built yet. By the time it was complete, Rome had gotten used to the idea of Christianity.

13/16."Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." - Nelson Mandela

This quote is so famously attached to Mandela that even Hillary Clinton cited it during her 1998 commencement speech at Howard University. The actual source is a feel-good self-help book by Marianne Williamson, called A Return to Love.


14/16. The Dark Ages were a sickly, miserable time.

Actually, it was a good time to be alive. The standard of living, even if you were poor, was pretty decent. Humanity managed to hit new highs in health care, charity, and innovative philanthropy. Most scholars have actually stopped using the term Dark Ages, due to this very fact.

15/16. Ancient Romans were known for their orgies.

But that's weird considering they never had any. All those group sex stories were propaganda created by Christians. The reality is that Romans went to great lengths to have almost the exact opposite of orgies. Their idea of sex was with one other person, in complete darkness, and with most of their clothing still on.

16/16. In the Middle Ages, the Black Plague was spread by rats.

Rats really seem to have a bad reputation in the world. By far one of their most infamous stunts was spreading the bubonic plague, which wiped out 100 million people during the 14th century. But recently, scientists studying weather patterns realized it couldn't have been the rats. Why? Because Europe experienced plague outbreaks after Central Asia had a wet spring followed by a warm summer terrible conditions for black rats. There is evidence that it was most likely airborne, instead.

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