15 Historians Share the Best F-You Moments from Days Gone By

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There are many reasons to love and study history, and if you do (even as a hobby), it becomes clear quite quickly that even though the world has changed, human beings are essentially the same.

And if there’s any proof of that, it’s these 15 amazing moments when historical people gave someone else the metaphorical finger, and it’s just as perfectly timed and hilarious as if it happened today.

15. I mean he wasn’t technically right but also he wasn’t all wrong.

Napoleon invited his brother in law to speak with him before his coronation as emperor to remind the brother in law that he objected to Napoleon marrying Josephine because Napoleon would “amount to nothing”

14. That’s pretty much how pirates (and privateers) worked.

Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States, which was very nice of them, but the reason they did it was that they had a treaty with England which prevented them from tolerating or engaging in piracy against English ships.

No such prohibition on American shipping.

13. There should be a movie made about that, because it’s quite a visual.

Galvarino: Chilean warrior who had both his hands cut off by the conquistadors for raising arms against the Spanish.

Instead of letting himself serve as a message of helplessness in the face of the invaders the crazy bastard strapped swords to his stumps and went on the warpath.

12. Some serious shade, that.

This is more petty, but when Taft bragged to his friends via telegram about scaling a mountain on horseback, that it was a few thousand feet, clear weather, all in all not too difficult, his friend replied, “HOW IS HORSE?”

11. An answer is an answer.

The second defenestration of Prague.

The Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia sends representatives to the Protestant city of Prague telling them to convert to Catholicism.

The representatives get thrown out a window and allegedly landed in a pile of manure

10. Lafitte, in general, is worth learning about because he’s cheeky and awesome.

A pirate known as jean lefitte had a bounty of $500 put on him by a governor.

So he put a $5000 bounty on the governor

9. I didn’t know he was nicknamed Caligula.

IN AD 37 the new Roman Emperor Gaius, better known by the nickname Caligula, built a bridge across the sea.

It stretched three miles across the deep blue waters of the Bay of Naples at ancient Rome’s most fashionable seaside resort of Baiae.

But Caligula’s was no ordinary bridge. It was a temporary, floating structure built on wooden pontoons, a costly and impressive feat of engineering. It served a single purpose before being dismantled.

On a day of boiling heat watched by crowds of spectators, Caligula rode across the bridge. His armour glinted in the sunlight, for the 24-year-old emperor had dressed himself in the golden breastplate of the legendary Greek hero Alexander The Great.

On the following day Caligula made the journey in reverse, this time riding in a chariot, followed by soldiers of his personal guard.

It was a pointless piece of showmanship, lost on the majority of the crowd, several of whom fell drunkenly to their deaths in the sea after two days’ partying.

One historian claimed Caligula pulled the stunt to disprove a prophecy that he had no more chance of becoming emperor than of riding a horse across the Bay of Baiae.

8. Not really much for letting go and moving on, I guess.

After the Restoration, the English dug up the body of Oliver Cromwell and hung, drawn and quartered the body, sticking the head on London Bridge

7. That’s what happens when you can do whatever you want.

On the crowning of King Henry VII, he backdated his own reign to before the date of the Battle of Bosworth, meaning anyone who was loyal to him now but had shown any sign of opposition at Bosworth was now a traitor and an enemy to the realm. Justice served.

6. Proof that people have always been a**holes.

When Germanic tribes invaded Britain after the Romans left, they named the native Celts Welisc, meaning “foreigner” (even though they themselves were the foreigners).

That later became the word Welsh, which the English promptly adopted for phrases like welch on a bet.

TL;DR: all of history has been one giant etymological middle finger to the Welsh.

5. Sometimes you don’t have time for bullets.

When Otto von Bismarck was about 50, he was walking down a street when a man ran up to him and shot him five times. Otto then turned around and began to beat the absolute shit out of him until some armed guards come to help him. When they inspected Otto for wounds, they found that all 5 hit, but they all either just grazed him or bounced off his ribs. Literally the iron chancellor.

4. What else are you going to do?

So when France exiles Napoleon Bonaparte (the first time), they didn’t think to change out military personnel. So he basically rolls up to the first French outpost he gets to, says “‘sup” and begins reassembling an army.

By the time he gets to Paris, he’s got enough forces that France is like “well. Welcome back.”

3. Equal parts ballsy and awkward.

I would say the moment that Rollo swore allegiance to the French king:

“the bishops present suggested that Rollo kiss the king’s foot, as a sign of submission. It was probably an idea intended to humiliate Rollo, and was not taken very well.

After some discussion, it was agreed that one of Rollo’s men would do it. However, the person chosen lifted the king’s foot, and, without bending down, brought it up to his mouth. Not surprisingly the king fell over, amid general laughter in the court. Following this amusing scene, the king and his men swore to honour the concession to Rollo.”


2. Definitely from a man.

The first cell phone.

The first call ever made from a cell phone was to a competitor’s landline.

Big dick energy.

1. Just stop. You’re not doing it right.

“Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send a very fast working one to Moscow and I certainly won’t have to send another.”

Tito to Joseph Stalin

Some of these are new to me, and I’m so glad they’re not anymore!

Do you love history? Were these stories awesome? Share with us in the comments!