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Comical Historical Events

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The Archregimancy
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Comical Historical Events

Postby The Archregimancy » Tue Apr 19, 2022 3:50 am

In an attempt to lighten the mood a bit...

This thread invites you to share your favourite comical historical event. Note that the intent is that these should be relatively light-hearted historical events (conceding that they likely weren't always comical or light-hearted for the people involved) rather than snarky commentary on present events. So "isn't it funny how the Austrian army defeated itself at the [possibly apocryphal] Battle of Karánsebes" is in the spirit of the thread; "isn't it funny how the Russian army seems to have miscalculated logistics for its advance on Kiev" is not.


To get you started, and to give you a pointer on the type of historical event we're looking for, I give you the Erfurt Latrine Disaster.

In July 1184, Henry VI, King of Germany (later Holy Roman Emperor), held court at a Hoftag in the Petersberg Citadel in Erfurt. On the morning of 26 July, the combined weight of the assembled nobles caused the wooden second story floor of the building to collapse and most of them fell through into the latrine cesspit below the ground floor, where about 60 of them drowned in liquid excrement. This event is called Erfurter Latrinensturz (lit. 'Erfurt latrine fall') in several German sources.

A feud between Landgrave Louis III of Thuringia and Archbishop Conrad of Mainz which had existed since the defeat of Henry the Lion intensified to the point that King Henry VI was forced to intervene while he was traveling through the region during a military campaign against Poland. Henry decided to call a diet in Erfurt, where he was staying, to mediate the situation between the two and invited a number of other figures to the negotiations.

Nobles across the Holy Roman Empire were invited to the meeting, and many arrived on 25 July to attend. Just as the assembly began, the wooden floor of the deanery, in which the nobles were sitting, broke under the stress, and people fell down through the first floor into the latrine in the cellar. About 60 people died, including Count Gozmar III of Ziegenhain, Count Friedrich I of Abenberg, Burgrave Friedrich I of Kirchberg, Count Heinrich I of Schwarzburg, Burgrave Burchard of Wartburg and Beringer of Meldingen. King Henry was said to have survived only because he sat in an alcove with a stone floor.
Last edited by The Archregimancy on Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Nationalist Northumbria » Tue Apr 19, 2022 3:54 am

When the Vikings enslaved English monks, only for the monks to sleep with their lonely wives.
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Postby Ethel mermania » Tue Apr 19, 2022 4:03 am

Samuel chapter 5

God gives the philistines hemmeroids.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... story.html
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Postby Valentine Z » Tue Apr 19, 2022 4:09 am

A poorly built catapult/trebuchet fired a single shot 90 degrees into the air, then fell back down and smashed the thing.

Copied from this Reddit post here, which also has proper citation:

This is referenced in Cortés' *Third Letter*, late in the Siege of Tenochtitlan:

> Since our powder was running very short we had spoken over a fortnight before of making a catapult: and although we had no engineers really competent to undertake it, yet some carpenters offered to make a small one... The catapult took some four days to put into position even after it appeared in the square, Meanwhile our Indian allies were proclaiming to those in the city in what a marvelous manner we were going to kill them all... Both hopes however were doomed to disappointment, for neither did the carpenters succeed in working their engine, nor did the inhabitants though frightened make any move towards surrender, so that we were obliged to cover up the failure of the catapult by saying that moved by compassion we were unwilling to kill them all.^1

Cortés tends to be understated, but we have another account from Díaz del Castillo with some more color:

> In Cortés; camp there was a soldier who said that he had been in Italy in the Company of the Great Captain and was in the skirmish of Garallano and in other great battles, and he talked much about engines of war and that he could make a catapult in Tlatelolco by which, if they only bombarded the houses and part of the city were Guatemoc had sought refuge, for two days, they would make them surrender peacefully... Cortés promptly set to work to make the catapult... When the catapult was made and set up in the way that the soldier ordered, and he said it was ready to be discharged, they placed a suitable stone in the sling which had been made and all this stone did was to rise no higher than the catapult and fall back upon where it had been set up... Cortés at once ordered the catapult to be taken to pieces.^2

Finally, we also have an account of this instance from the Mexica side of things, in Book 12 of Sahagún's history:

> And then those Spaniards installed a catapult on top of an altar platform with which to hurl stones at the people. And when they had it ready and were about to shoot it off, they gathered around it, vigorously pointing their fingers, pointing at the people, pointing to where all the people were assembled at Amaxac, showing them to each other. The Spaniards spread out their arms, showing how they would shoot and hurl it at them, as if they were using a sling on them. Then they wound it up, then the arm of the catapult rose up. But the stone did not land on the people, but fell behind the marketplace at Xomolco.

> Because of that the Spaniards there argued among themselves. They looked as if they were jabbering their fingers in one another's faces, chattering a great deal.^3

All in all, this is a relatively well documented event during the war between the Mexica and the Spanish-Tlaxcalans. It fits with the Spanish having to rely on items like gunpowder being delivered from the coast and having to improvise. Some projects, like the brigantines constructed by Martín with Tlaxcalan labor and the utilization of native craftsmen to make crossbow bolts were fairly successful, but the catapult is recognized as an unequivocal failure, with only who to blame for its construction and failure being in question.

____

^(1 Cortés H [trans. JB Morris 1969] *Five Letters of Cortés to the Emperor*, p. 218)

^(2 Díaz del Castillo B [trans. D Carrasco 2008] *The History of the Conquest of New Spain*, p.298)

^(3 Sahagùn B [trans. J Lockhart 1993] *We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico*, p. 230)
Last edited by Valentine Z on Tue Apr 19, 2022 4:13 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby New Baltenstein » Tue Apr 19, 2022 4:09 am

I confess that the Battle of Karansebes was the very first even that came to my mind upon reading the thread title.

Ancient Greek author Aeschylus being killed by some bird of prey mistaking his shiny bald head for a rock and dropping a tortoise from the sky on it is also pretty funny (though probably untrue as well)
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Postby Valentine Z » Tue Apr 19, 2022 4:20 am

To double post, the close second would go to one of the German zeppelin run. To preface, it was NOT the bombing itself that was comical, oh no. It was this part:

In September 1915 a German Zeppelin crew dropped a hambone on a parachute into London, with a note saying “A gift from starved-out Germany”.
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Postby Old Tyrannia » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:04 am

I'm recounting this anecdote from memory as I can't recall where I first read it, so I apologise if any details are incorrect.

Tsar Peter the Great of Russia gifted an ornately decorated sword to his ally, King Augustus II "the Strong" of Poland. Later, the sword was taken by King Charles XII of Sweden following his defeat of the Polish in the Great Northern War. Charles himself was later defeated by Peter, who reclaimed the sword in the process. Peter the Great was a notorious practical joker, and at a later meeting with the Polish king, he made a point of asking about the sword. Augustus, not wishing to be embarrassed by admitting to the tsar that he had in fact lost the sword, pretended that it was still in his possession. Peter then produced the sword, causing the king much embarrassment and the tsar much mirth.
Last edited by Old Tyrannia on Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby The Archregimancy » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:06 am

Ethel mermania wrote:Samuel chapter 5

God gives the philistines hemmeroids.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... story.html


I've just checked what us blaspheming Christians (or at least the English-speaking ones) say about this event in Jewish history. The key bit is 1 Samuel 5:8-12.

The New International Version uses some wishy-washy language about 'tumours', obscuring the location of those 'tumours' with a footnote conceding that they might have been 'in the groin' in the Septuagint:

8 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”

They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

9 But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron.

As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” 11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. 12 Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.


The King James Version, on the other hand, gives it to us straight:

8 They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.

9 And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.

10 Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.

11 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.

12 And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.



'Emerods' is just an archaic term for 'haemorrhoids', one closer to the old French spelling. But this does raise the possibility that G-d was having a bit of a joke with the Philistines in 1 Samuel 6:2-5....

2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the Lord? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place.

3 And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.

4 Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.

5 Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.


1 Samuel 6 goes on to describe in detail just what was done to those golden haemorrhoids in order to appease the Lord. Truly, YHWH has a rich sense of humour.
Last edited by The Archregimancy on Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Oppressthemville » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:10 am

The reply of the Zaphorizian cossacks

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Postby Utquiagvik » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:13 am

This is DARKLY comical, but Theodore Roosevelt got shot in the chest once in 1912, but he couldn't really care less. He just simply made sure he wasn't severely injured, and then he went on with his speech, acting like he hadn't just been shot. The true Gigachad of the early 1900s.
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The Archregimancy
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Postby The Archregimancy » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:14 am

New Baltenstein wrote:Ancient Greek author Aeschylus being killed by some bird of prey mistaking his shiny bald head for a rock and dropping a tortoise from the sky on it is also pretty funny (though probably untrue as well)


Ah, but Saint Athanasius the Athonite (c.920 - c.1003 AD), founder of arguably the most important centre of Orthodox Christian monasticism (Mount Athos), did die when the cupola of brand his new church collapsed while he was standing under it.

The brethren grew in number, and the construction work at the Lavra continued. Saint Athanasius, foreseeing the time of his departure to the Lord, prophesied about his impending end and besought the brethren not to be troubled over what he foresaw. “For Wisdom disposes otherwise than as people judge.” The brethren were perplexed and pondered the words of the saint. After giving the brethren his final guidance and comforting all, Saint Athanasius entered his cell, put on his mantiya and holy kukolion (head covering), which he wore only on great feasts, and emerged after prolonged prayer. Alert and joyful, the holy igumen went up with six of the brethren to the top of the church to inspect the construction. Suddenly, through the imperceptible will of God, the top of the church collapsed. Five of the brethren immediately gave up their souls to God. Saint Athanasius and the architect Daniel, thrown upon the stones, remained alive. All heard the saint call out to the Lord, “Glory to Thee, O God! Lord, Jesus Christ, help me!” The brethren with great weeping began to dig out their father from the rubble, but they found him already dead.


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Postby Islamic Holy Sites » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:15 am

When the Austrian-Hungarian empire’s army lost a battle against itself

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kar%C3%A1nsebes
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Postby Nova Catania » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:17 am

Either the fart weapon "Who Me?" developed by the US during WWII, and supplied to the French resistance, or the Pig War.
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Ethel mermania
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Postby Ethel mermania » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:19 am

The Archregimancy wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:Samuel chapter 5

God gives the philistines hemmeroids.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... story.html


I've just checked what us blaspheming Christians (or at least the English-speaking ones) say about this event in Jewish history. The key bit is 1 Samuel 5:8-12.

The New International Version uses some wishy-washy language about 'tumours', obscuring the location of those 'tumours' with a footnote conceding that they might have been 'in the groin' in the Septuagint:

8 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”

They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

9 But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron.

As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” 11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. 12 Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.


The King James Version, on the other hand, gives it to us straight:

8 They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.

9 And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.

10 Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.

11 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.

12 And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.



'Emerods' is just an archaic term for 'haemorrhoids', one closer to the old French spelling. But this does raise the possibility that G-d was having a bit of a joke with the Philistines in 1 Samuel 6:2-5....

2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the Lord? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place.

3 And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.

4 Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.

5 Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.


1 Samuel 6 goes on to describe in detail just what was done to those golden haemorrhoids in order to appease the Lord. Truly, YHWH has a rich sense of humour.


The mice didn't bother them,, but all that scratching...

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Postby The Selkie » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:20 am

Good afternoon,
admittedly not an event, but a fashion statement... codpieces.
But if we are talking about an event, I will mention unto you the maiden voyage of the magnificent warship Vasa: Imagine building one of the most modern warships of her time, armed to the teeth, decorated with the most shiny things you could afford, it is launched, you are like a kid in a candy store - a good gale comes up, now she will get going and... well, she goes. To the bottom of Stockholm Harbour.
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Elejamie
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Postby Elejamie » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:36 am

The time Napoleon was defeated by rabbits. You thought Australia losing the Emu War was bad, it has nothing on this. One Summer, he decided to have a rabbit hunt to celebrate signing a bunch of treaties to end a war and invited some top brass to join him. Except, instead of wild hares, his chief of staff accidentally brought hundreds if not thousands of tame bunnies. So what do they do when they see a short French guy with a funny hat and an itchy armpit (who was none of those things except for French and an occasional hat wearer)? They charged right at him expecting to be fed. Napoleon and his mates found it funny at first but eventually they had to bail because some of them latched onto his legs and his co-hunters couldn't shake them off. And even then the rabbits still chased his coach, with a few even making it on.

It probably didn't help that his brother Louis Napoleon accidentally dubbed himself the "Konijn van 'Olland" ("Rabbit of 'Olland") the year before when he was crowned the King ("Koning") of Holland. So, you know, foreshadowing.
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Postby Haganham » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:41 am

Theodore Roosevelt's son was the only general to land in the first wave of troops at d-day. His force landed a mile away form where they were meant to, and finding little resistance and a clear path inland Roosevelt declared "We'll start the war from right here!"
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Old Tyrannia
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Postby Old Tyrannia » Tue Apr 19, 2022 5:57 am

Elejamie wrote:The time Napoleon was defeated by rabbits. You thought Australia losing the Emu War was bad, it has nothing on this. One Summer, he decided to have a rabbit hunt to celebrate signing a bunch of treaties to end a war and invited some top brass to join him. Except, instead of wild hares, his chief of staff accidentally brought hundreds if not thousands of tame bunnies. So what do they do when they see a short French guy with a funny hat and an itchy armpit (who was none of those things except for French and an occasional hat wearer)? They charged right at him expecting to be fed. Napoleon and his mates found it funny at first but eventually they had to bail because some of them latched onto his legs and his co-hunters couldn't shake them off. And even then the rabbits still chased his coach, with a few even making it on.

It probably didn't help that his brother Louis Napoleon accidentally dubbed himself the "Konijn van 'Olland" ("Rabbit of 'Olland") the year before when he was crowned the King ("Koning") of Holland. So, you know, foreshadowing.

It's not even unambiguously true that Napoleon was French. He was born in Corsica, the same year that it was annexed by France, and was a Corsican nationalist in his youth. At that time, Corsica was culturally more Italian than French, and had little in the way of cultural affinity with la métropole. His mother tongue was Corsican, not French, and he was ten years old before he began to learn the latter; he always spoke with a broadly Italian accent.
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Postby Dogmeat » Tue Apr 19, 2022 6:24 am

Dark humor perhaps, but I enjoy General J. Sedgwick's last words.
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Postby The Blaatschapen » Tue Apr 19, 2022 6:26 am

Ethel mermania wrote:Samuel chapter 5

God gives the philistines hemmeroids.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... story.html


They were just butthurt.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kettle_War
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Dogmeat
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Founded: Apr 01, 2018
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Dogmeat » Tue Apr 19, 2022 6:33 am

The Blaatschapen wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:Samuel chapter 5

God gives the philistines hemmeroids.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... story.html


They were just butthurt.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kettle_War

In good company with:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Bucket
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The Archregimancy
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Founded: Aug 01, 2005
Democratic Socialists

Postby The Archregimancy » Tue Apr 19, 2022 6:37 am

Old Tyrannia wrote:
Elejamie wrote:The time Napoleon was defeated by rabbits. You thought Australia losing the Emu War was bad, it has nothing on this. One Summer, he decided to have a rabbit hunt to celebrate signing a bunch of treaties to end a war and invited some top brass to join him. Except, instead of wild hares, his chief of staff accidentally brought hundreds if not thousands of tame bunnies. So what do they do when they see a short French guy with a funny hat and an itchy armpit (who was none of those things except for French and an occasional hat wearer)? They charged right at him expecting to be fed. Napoleon and his mates found it funny at first but eventually they had to bail because some of them latched onto his legs and his co-hunters couldn't shake them off. And even then the rabbits still chased his coach, with a few even making it on.

It probably didn't help that his brother Louis Napoleon accidentally dubbed himself the "Konijn van 'Olland" ("Rabbit of 'Olland") the year before when he was crowned the King ("Koning") of Holland. So, you know, foreshadowing.

It's not even unambiguously true that Napoleon was French. He was born in Corsica, the same year that it was annexed by France, and was a Corsican nationalist in his youth. At that time, Corsica was culturally more Italian than French, and had little in the way of cultural affinity with la métropole. His mother tongue was Corsican, not French, and he was ten years old before he began to learn the latter; he always spoke with a broadly Italian accent.


Broadly true, but perhaps goes a little too far in the other direction. Napoleon was born just after the annexation of Corsica, and it was formally incorporated as a French province less than a year after his birth; he was only nine when he moved to the mainland - though it's true that by all accounts he always spoke with a distinct Corsican (rather than Italian) accent. But by the standards of Republican France, where citizenship was held to be on the basis of willingness to embrace French culture rather than ethnicity (a concept that in any case was still developing at this point anyway), he was French enough. It's important to stress in this context how few of France's residents spoke standard metropolitan French during Napoleon's youth - likely fewer than 20%. The others spoke regional languages and dialects, like Occitan, Breton, Picard, etc. Widespread use of standardised French as a national unifying principle arose as a consequence of the Revolution and Napoleon's own reforms.

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Existential Cats
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Postby Existential Cats » Tue Apr 19, 2022 7:11 am

Operation Paul Bunyan, when the US and South Korea cut down a tree to show North Korea who's who.
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The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you've gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?

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Valentine Z
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Postby Valentine Z » Tue Apr 19, 2022 7:14 am

Existential Cats wrote:Operation Paul Bunyan, when the US and South Korea cut down a tree to show North Korea who's who.

To complement that, the South Koreans countered the North Korean propaganda with... K-pop.
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Postby Page » Tue Apr 19, 2022 7:28 am

The Florentine Friar Savonarola (responsible for the "bonfire of the vanities") lost the last of his support after being challenged to a trial by fire (challenged to literally walk through fire to see if God would miraculously keep him from burning). What's funny is that he didn't lose the trial. The trial simply didn't happen because after hours of preparation, it suddenly started raining, making it impossible to light the fire, which pissed off the mob that had been standing around all day waiting to see the spectacle.
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