History’s Strangest Habits: 30 Peculiar Practices of the Past



During the middle ages there was a legal category called “enbrotherment” that allowed two men to share living quarters, pool their resources, and effectively live as a married couple. The couple shared “one bread, one wine, one purse.”



In 18th-century Denmark, people were afraid to take their own lives because they believed it would send them to hell. Instead, they resorted to killing other people to receive the death penalty and repented before execution, believing that doing so would send them to heaven.



The concept of the “rap battle” has existed since the 5th century. Poets often engaged in “flyting,” a spoken word event where poets would insult one another in verse. The Norse god Loki is noted as having insulted other gods in verse. It is said flyting has similarities to slam poetry and rap battles of today.

4Cases Against Husbands

Cases Against Husbands

In France in the 1500s, women could charge their husbands with impotence. He would have to become erect and show that he could ejaculate in a courtroom. If he failed, he could demand a trial by Congress and attempt to have sex with his wife in front of the experts.

5Two Sleeps

Two Sleeps

In medieval times it was common to have “2” sleeps per night. You would fall asleep for 4 to 5 hours, wake up for 2 hours or so and fall back to sleep for another 3 to 4. It’s been suggested that we may have evolved this way to tend to the fire in order to keep us warm and safe.



The term “Freelancer” used to refer to a knight in the Middle Ages who was not under any feudal oaths and who sold his services to the highest bidder. Since a knight’s primary weapon was a lance, he was a “free” “lancer.”



The word decimation comes from the Roman practice of killing every 10th man as a form of maintaining discipline.

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8Feast of the Ass

Feast of the Ass

January 14th used to be observed as the Feast of the Ass. It was a Catholic feast day that was mostly celebrated in the Middle Ages to honor all the asses in the Bible, especially the one that bore Mary and the baby Jesus into Egypt after the birth.

9Symbol Of Unity

Symbol Of Unity

In the middle ages it was an accepted political act for two kings to sleep in the same bed as a symbol of unity between their two countries; much like the modern-day photo-op. There was nothing sexual about it.

10Viking Raids

Viking Raids

Viking military tactics succeeded mainly because they disregarded the conventional battlefield tactics, methods, and customs of the time. They ignored unspoken rules, like not attacking holy sites. On the contrary, Vikings intentionally targeted religious sites for their vulnerability and wealth.

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