6Shakespeare Liked the F-Word
Since he's widely considered the greatest writer in the history of the English language, we tend to think of William Shakespeare as well-educated and dignified, a true master of his craft. However, what you might not have realized is that he liked to toss F-bombs around like Tony Montana breaking his foot on a trampoline.
"Motherfucking cocks. Verily."
Here's an excerpt from Henry V, Act IV, Scene 4, wherein the awesomely named "Pistol" tells a French prisoner, in clever alliterative language, that he's going to rape him.
PISTOL Master Fer. I'll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him. Discuss the same in French unto him.
If you think "firk" sounds like "fuck," it's because it totally does and that's totally what it means. Shakespeare's heroes didn't just like to declaim odes about bands of brothers. They also liked to tell prisoners of war they were going to straight fuck them in the ass.
Also, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, one of the characters inquires:
SIR HUGH EVANS Leave your prabbles, 'oman. What is the focative case, William?
Yep. "Fuckative," a play on words, since Sir Hugh is actually referring to the vocative case of the Latin language.
"Fuckative you, ma'am."
It's worth bearing in mind that these plays were performed in front of an audience that didn't have a script to follow. Exchanges like these would easily be lost among the massive amount of other lines being delivered, and anyone who caught them would probably just assume that they'd misheard. But Shakespeare knew, and the actors knew, and it must have been fun to know they were being paid to stand up and yell "fuck" to an audience that often included the royal family.
5The Bayeux Tapestry
When we think of ancient cathedrals, we tend to picture massive ornate buildings constructed with absolute care and precision and decorated with intricate paintings, tapestries and stained glass windows. The Bayeux cathedral in France is no different, and when it was built in the 11th century it had its very own tapestry to go with it.
It also has a pool table.
The Bayeux Tapestry is an absolutely massive, graphic-novel style depiction of the Norman conquest of England in 1066 that measures almost 70 meters long and is embroidered in careful, minute, painstaking detail. It is a wonder of medieval art and justly famous for being an almost perfectly accurate historical representation of what happened during the conquest.
And then we get to this panel:
Here we see Harold (King of England) and William (soon-to-be William the Conqueror) arriving in the city of Rouen. Seems normal, right? Take a closer look at that guy on the right, next to the rocket ship:
There are two things to notice here. First, that's a priest punching a woman in the face. European history wasn't exactly kind to women, so this normally wouldn't be too shocking, but this dude literally has nothing to do with the story whatsoever. The caption to the image, loosely translated, reads, "Here's a priest smacking a woman." Also, some scholars theorize that the woman's name as it is written is actually medieval slang for "babe." So essentially, the caption reads, "Here's a priest smacking some broad."
But then we have to look below her, to the left:
Nobody knows who the hell this naked guy pointing at his swinging man-salad is, or what he's doing there at the bottom of the tapestry. It's like whoever made it simply thought, "This son of a bitch is 70 meters long, who the hell is going to notice one tiny naked boner?"
Us, history. The answer is us.