20 history myths debunked by people who know the facts

It is challenging to define historical events or entities. There are numerous stories regarding various events that occurred throughout history. Some of these stories have been proven false multiple times, but people continue to accept them. When the public is repeatedly given a myth, they believe it without question. On the other hand, some people are better know of the facts and want to share them with everyone to dispel the myths that have become part of collective ignorance.

"History buffs, what is a commonly held misconception that drives you up the wall every time you hear it?" questioned one Redditor, u/throwaway000689. It immediately drew the attention of individuals eager to communicate truths that a significant portion of the world's population ignores, and exciting responses began to appear in the thread. Here are 20 misconceptions debunked by historians.


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"Neanderthals were monosyllable brutes." There is no evidence of this. Their brains were more significant than ours, and castings of the inside of their skulls revealed that they shared all of the same architecture as ours.  Their tool-making was comparable to any Homo sapiens (at least before the Great Leap Forward), and they lived in groups like us.

We also routinely mated with them and had children, something I doubt we would have done if they were nothing more than quasi-gorillas."


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"Cowboys were not cool white people with limitless freedom!!! Cowboys were primarily black, Mexican, and Native American men in need of money and considered to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Originally, whips and dogs were used to govern their herd. The Lazo evolved into the lasso, chaparajos into chaps, and the sombrero into the ten-gallon cowboy hat we know today. Cattle herding was difficult labour that was beneath "respectable white folk." Cowboys were not rugged symbols of independence but took instructions like everyone else and earned wages lower than trained manufacturing workers. Cowboys can be as young as 12 years old."


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"Way too many of my university students have told me that Lincoln owned slaves."


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"It's trivial, but I despise it when people claim Marilyn Monroe wore a size 12/14/16. This was probably true in the 1950s, but clothing sizes have changed dramatically. Marilyn's customers said that she was 5 ft. 5.5 inches tall, had a 35-inch breast, a 22-inch waist, 35-inch hips, and weighed 118 pounds. Of course, her weight fluctuated, but it is simply dishonest to believe that she would have been called "plus-size" in modern times.

Depending on where she shops, she would be a size 00-4 in today's sizing."


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"People did not die at the ages of 30-40. The high infant mortality rate distorts the overall picture. If you could make it through adolescence, you had a fair chance of reaching your senior years. There are several elements to consider (for example, class, gender, career, where you lived, and so on)."


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"Knights weren't precisely noble. It was a scheme devised to make them appear generous and to explain their brutality among their adversaries' common people while they weren't at war. Knights could even bribe their respective kings to avoid fighting in a war if summoned, which many did to continue pillaging hovels filled with bumpkins because it was an easy sport. In short, many Knights were wealthy, violent bullies with far too much leisure time."


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"Because corsets were uncomfortable and inhibited free movement and breathing, they were used to subjugate women physically." To begin with, this is frequently said by those who don't know the difference between bodies, stays, and corsets, demonstrating that they're way out of their league. Even from contemporary art, it's clear that women could endure physical labour, especially agricultural work, in that supporting garment, whether stiffened with interfacing/stitching or "boning" (not always made of bone). And if you've ever worn one, you'll understand how beneficial they are for supporting your back and core. They are far more comfy than bras.

They didn't leave red scars all over your flesh since, unlike a bra, you'd never wear one against your skin (too challenging to wash) but somewhat over some shift/chemise/combination clothing. Try wearing your bra OVER a tank top or similar, and you will notice that:

There is no loss of support.

It is much friendlier to the skin.

The bra requires much less frequent washing."


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“Medieval peasant food was bland. People seem to think peasants only ate bread and potatoes with no seasoning. In reality, while salt was indeed a luxury they often couldn’t afford, they had access to plenty of herbs to flavor their food. They also had access to things like fish and other meats, so they weren’t just eating bread, though it was an important staple of their diet.

Tasting History on YouTube is an excellent resource for learning about how various cultures have eaten throughout history. It's an excellent source of historical information as well as fun."


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"The belief that Anastasia did not die along with the rest of her family."


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"Napoleon was short." He was 5'6". It was making him only mediocre by European standards at the time. A quick examination reveals that this was a rumour created by his opponents in order to harm his reputation and the regard in which his subjects held him. "It's a funny error but still an error."


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"The American Revolution was supported by only about 40% of colonists." Another 40% were neutral, while around 20% supported the British. Most Americans believe that the vast majority of Americans desired independence."


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"Even Einstein was lousy at arithmetic" No, his scores were revealed several times and showed excellent math marks."


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"Rosa Parks was just a nice old lady who refused to give up her bus seat." She was a political activist who methodically planned that particular act of civil disobedience."


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"Witches could only be female." There have been many male 'witches' over the centuries. There are many misconceptions regarding witchcraft in general."


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"That AD means after death."


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"The Vomitorium is a myth." According to legend, the Roman nobles would go there to eat till they puked, then continue eating. It was just the name of the entryway to the Colosseum."


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"During the Medieval period, if you were a peasant, you could marry whoever you wanted for love, but if you were a noble, royal, or the like, you could only marry for power." Higher class individuals could and did marry for love (though it wasn't frequent), and most peasant marriages were arranged for the same purpose that noble marriages were, to bind two families together; you rarely got to marry who you liked; it was typically who your parents wanted.

Also, as far as I know, Prima nota has never been recorded as a thing."


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"No record exists of Queen Victoria ever saying, 'We are not amused.'" And Roman gladiator fights weren't always useless; brutal death matches for scumbag convicts. The gladiators themselves were highly trained celebrities who were well taken care of. It was show business entertainment, akin to WWE or equivalent nowadays."


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"The fact that Shah Jahan severed the hands of his workers after they finished the Taj Mahal." There is virtually no evidence other than hearsay. During Shah Jahan's reign, many monuments were created following the Taj Mahal. Think about it: who would work for you knowing they'd lose their hands if they did a good job?"


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"The only people who traded in slavery were white people." Forgetting about North and East Africa, where indigenous primarily traded with the Middle East. White women commanded high fees and were frequently moved long distances. Russian women were also trafficked to the Middle East."

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