Category: literature

Atlantis – the lost city

Atlantis (or Atlantica) was described in antiquity as a large island in the sea to the west of the known world (the Western Ocean), near the Pillars of Hercules (the Gibraltar Straits?). It was not, therefore, a part of the known geography of the period. An earthquake was said to have submerged it in the […]

Pen is mightier than the sword

English novelist and dramatist Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton (1803–1873) uttered the wise words “The pen is mightier than the sword” in 1839 for his play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy: True, This! — Beneath the rule of men entirely great, The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold The arch-enchanters wand! — itself a nothing! […]

Does This Language Make Me Look Fat?

One of the first things Regiina Nohova had to learn when she moved to the Czech Republic was how to open her mouth wider when she spoke. As a native-born Estonian, she simply wasn’t in the habit. “In Estonia, we speak slowly,” she said. “We almost don’t open our mouths when we speak. We don’t […]

Numbers as letters

You are most likely familiar with numbers being used to implicate letters, phrases or even symbols. In SMS (txting) shortcuts, for instance, 2 can also be used for “to”, 4 can mean “for” and the 8 spells “eat” in gr8, meaning great. This is called SMSish or textese or simply SMS language. When numbers instead […]

The dictionary writers

Samuel Johnson completed the first English dictionary in 1755. Apparently Johnson was known for his drinking. On the other hand, Noah Webster, who wrote the famous Webster Dictionary, was known as a short, pale, smug, boastful, humorless, yet religious man. Webster is also accused of crediting himself with coining many words which had been in […]

First travel book

Tourism is a $4 trillion-a-year industry, affecting more than 200 million jobs, or 1 in 10 workers. But tourism actually is an old industry, dating back to the first Olympics in 776BC. Even in ancient Rome it was popular to travel up the Nile to Thebes to view the statues. The first book on travel, […]

Oedipus and the sphinx riddle

The head of ancient Egyptian sphinxes portrayed the reigning pharaoh but also, when featuring the head of a falcon, represented the sky-god Horus or Amun-Re, with the head of a goat. When the Greeks adopted the sphinx it became a female monster. According to Greek legend the sphinx put a riddle to all who passed […]

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn […]

World’s largest encyclopedia

The word encyclopedia comes from two Greek words meaning “a circle of learning.” The oldest known encyclopedia was written in Greece about 2000 years ago. It’s no longer in existence. The oldest encyclopedia in existence was written in the 1st century by Roman scholar Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder). His encyclopaedia, called Natural History, […]

True story of Gulliver’s Travels

When Jonathan Swift published Gulliver’s Travels in 1726 he intended it as a satire on the ferociousness of human nature. Instead, today it is enjoyed as a children’s story. In another book, called ‘A Modest Proposal’, Swift suggested that the solution to poverty and overpopulation is to raise and eat the children, as one would […]