Top 10 Accurate Historical Lessons From Popular Culture

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Historical books are all over the place, all claiming to teach you this and that, but it turns out a lot of these so-called “facts” are not accurate at all, at least not according to popular culture, the ultimate Bible. All that stuff they taught you in High School and college? Well, those were a bunch of lies. Here are the top ten historical lessons documented far more accurately via film, television, and video games. Feel free to toss out your silly old-fashioned textbooks any time.

10. Genghis Khan Was Actually An Irishman

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For centuries, we’ve gone through life convinced that Genghis “Temujin” Khan and his bride were Mongols. Well finally, in 1956, Howard Hughes showed us that Genghis Khan far more resembled John Wayne than anyone else. Yes, that John Wayne. The cowboy.

Mr. Hughes further demonstrated that the Great Khan’s empress would be most fitting portrayed not by some Asian actress, which would just be silly, but rather by an American of Swedish descent named Susan Hayword. When one looks at Medieval drawings of Genghis Khan, you can really see the resemblance to the Duke. And certainly, when you think of a Mongol Empress-consort, you immediately imagine a ginger Swede.

9. The Ancient Persians Employed Armies of Largely Ineffective Monsters

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Kind of like how the orcs in the Lord of the Rings films get cut down by the scores in exchange for every one human or elf they manage to kill, the Persians in 300 are mowed down by the thousands by a mere 300 Spartans. In this acclaimed documentary, we see the Persians use everything from demonic Immortals (their elite warriors) to giant elephants the size of a house, to grenadiers, to even some kind of chained monster. Heck, the Persians even employ a guy with bladed arms for executions! Yet, none of these monstrosities are really much of a match for the Greeks, who only suffer defeat after being betrayed by a fellow Greek, who of course is horribly deformed, too.

8. The Romans Had The Most Over-The-Top Beheadings Ever

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If you thought the French were onto something creative with the guillotine, watch the video clip below, to see how much more inventive the Romans were, nearly two thousand years earlier. Actually, a lot of Caligula is consistent with other ancient sources, but we have yet to find anything else about a “wall of death.” Clearly, it’s a long-lasting conspiracy to hide the truth from the unwashed masses, and only Bob Guccione had the stones to stand up to them and reveal their secret to the world.

7. Dante Was Really A Crusader Capable Of Killing Death And Defeating Lucifer

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Forget anything you were taught by your so-called English teachers. EA and Sony have finally revealed the true story of Dante Alighieri. You might have thought, prior to 2010, that he was just some poet of the late Middle Ages in the pre-Renaissance era. Nope. He apparently lived nearly two centuries earlier than historians claimed and fought in the Third Crusade, where he did some bad things.

How bad? Let’s just say much of what he did would get one sent to Hell. Dante managed to kill Death (stealing his scythe, no less) and then went on to defeat monstrous versions of King Minos, Queen Cleopatra, Mark Antony, Cerberus (who it turns out was not actually a multi-headed dog, but rather some kind of multi-headed human-worm hybrid), and even Lucifer. Dante did all of this to save his beloved Beatrice. Love will inspire many a man to do brave things, including descending into Hell and destroying everyone there.

6. The Battle of Stirling Bridge Had Squat To Do With A Bridge

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You might think that a battle named after a bridge might be won at, well, a bridge. Not so, according to Academy Award-winning film Braveheart and, as we all know, a film is automatically disqualified from winning Best Picture if it lies. Ergo, Braveheart is 100% real. The film puts historians in their place, by showing us that William Wallace fought for Scotland’s freedom on a much more open plain, and used spears that were twice as long as a man, to grant the Scots the edge over their horse-mounted English attackers.

5. Spartacus Defeated The Shadow Of Death

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Before Spartacus, another historical freedom fighter, encouraged slaves to rebel against Rome, he appears to have been a gladiator. While a gladiator, he did not just fight against fellow enslaved warriors, but also defeated the Shadow of Death himself! In the televised reenactment of this epic battle, we see that this monster could survive even a brutal gash in the chest. The duo of Spartacus and fellow champion gladiator Crixus barely managed to defeat this beast. But fortunately for movies and television alike, they did, and were able to go on and lead the slave rising that we have seen adapted numerous times now in cinema.

4. Abe Lincoln Was Pretty Much Everything Ever

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Abe Lincoln is revered as the American President who tried to glue the country back together during the divisive and bloody Civil War of the 1860’s. Yet, according to pop culture, the story of Lincoln is much more complicated and epic than your teachers claimed. In the documentary Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, we learn that he had it out not just for confederates, but (get ready) vampires!

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Elsewhere, we’re taught that President Lincoln, when not freeing slaves, winning a civil war, and defeating vampires, was busy eating bananas and flinging poo. If you look really closely at some photographs of the Lincoln Memorial, you may notice some interesting facial features on the Great Emancipator. Does he look like an ape to you? because, according to Planet Of The Apes, he absolutely was.

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We’re not done. As it turns out, a mad scientist later found Lincoln’s corpse, and brought it back to life. The resulting FrankenAbe was immortalized in the Presidential Monsters action figure line, though his is the only verified transformation. Come on; JFK as the Phantom Of The Opera? Now that’s just silly.

3. George Washington Belonged To A Family Of Cannibals

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Did you know that George Washington was a cannibal and that, for centuries after his death, a cult known as the Washingtonians have continued this dark legacy? No? Then clearly, you have not been listening to the right people. Peter Medak of The Masters Of Horror was apparently the only decent source out there, as only he was able to show the world that George Washington enjoyed the taste of human flesh. And you thought today’s politicians are scandalous.

2. The American Revolution Was Part Of A Centuries Old Struggle Between Time-Traveling Assassins and Templars

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Have you ever looked closely at Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware? Don’t ever do that again, because it’s wrong wrong wrong. If you look at the far-more-accurate depiction above, you’ll notice that, right behind Washington, is none other than an Assassin. The Assassins have been feuding with the Templars since at least the Crusades. In Assassin’s Creed III, we learn that Connor, a half-Mohawk/half-Englishman, was a major player in this centuries-long conflict, with his story playing out during various key moments of the American Revolution. It was a lot like how Forrest Gump managed to influence just about every key event in mid-twentieth century America history, only real.

1. The Declaration of Independence Has A Treasure Map In Its Other Side

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When the Founding Fathers were not busy fighting a war of independence against Britain (and eating people,) they also stockpiled priceless treasure, with a special map revealing its location on the most important document in American history. They probably thought their secret was safe that way, especially since they secured the Declaration behind a wall of uber-security but, contrary to popular belief, it can be stolen much more easily than anyone of us would have guessed possible. Luckily, for all of us interested in the true tales of history, Nicolas Cage was on the call, quickly recovering the booty and safely preserving it for generations to come.

By Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, who has also written Banned From The Internet.


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13 Comments

  1. Im pretty sure that most of these were not meant to be historically accurate. Some are symbolic, others are historical fiction. Try not to be so dense

  2. @Jared, PLEASE tell me you’re being funny…PLEASE tell me you were able to discern the sarcasm in this article…PLEASE…

  3. Amanda Thorpe on

    This made me chuckle! As long as you know the background of these events and/or people, the cinema is there to be enjoyed, not taken too seriously. Well, at least I hope it isn’t taken seriously. If so, we have a whole new problem! Regardless, National Treasure and Braveheart remain on my all-time faves list!!

  4. I think National Treasure was inspired by the book of Mormon, i read it once and seem to recall something about looking through different colored lenses.

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