The good and evil, every part of history has shaped our world into what we are living in now. As a matter of fact, the world has drastically progressed over time in terms of moralities, cultures, and acceptance.
The progression has led to some negative changes, but when we dive into the real history of our world, we get to know that we have been told things far from the actual truth, which makes us realize how little we know.
The Religion Lost in Time
Manichaeism is an extinct religion that became ancient history for everyone. Even today, not many people know about the existence of this religion and how widely followed it was during the time of its preaching.
A prophet, Mani, from Babylon (now Iraq), claimed to know the divinity of the world and felt responsible for delivering the message to everyone and called it heavenly order.
The religion did not believe in one deity or the existence of the devil; instead, it challenged the beliefs and firmly agreed upon the existence of good and bad and how these concepts were vital for the universe to work.
Mani was imprisoned by a king for preaching the religion and, after 26 days of trials, was crucified, but the people followed his teachings for many hundred years.
According to Mani, the world was all about the choices between good and bad, and this is all that is divine. The religion started to spread at a high pace, and many people started to follow it. From Persia, all the way through Egypt, Rome, to France, people started following the beliefs of the religion. It became a rivaling cause for all the Christians as their faith of monotheism was completely being challenged, and people were converting to become part of the new faith.
For centuries, this went on when the Roman emperor, Theodosius I, declared that whoever found practicing the religion would be killed. Subsequently, the number of followers started to decrease.
Theodosius even stripped away all the Civil rights of the people who were involved in practicing the religion. One of the few places that still followed the faith was China.
Divorce was not an Option
Putting a wife up for an auction might sound like a crime now, that too, a terrible one, but it was a common practice in Victorian England. Divorces were extremely expensive, and only the powerful and wealthy people could afford them. Moreover, the concept of feminism was a crime, as only men were allowed to exert their power.
For that reason, divorce would only be permitted if a man wanted it because a woman’s experience wouldn’t have mattered. Even the rich people needed an act of parliament to get divorce approved, making it hard to opt for it.
It was impossible for the poor to go through with it. That is when the act of auctioning the wife came in.
The husband would take his wife to the market, and anyone who bid well for her could take her, making it a “faux divorce.” The only good thing about this practice that makes it seem less misogynistic and cruel is that the woman had the right to reject the bidder she did not like and choose for herself.
Many times they would be brought by their own families or past lovers, and the marriage ended in a (hardly but kind of) win-win situation for both sides as the women also got many legal rights out of practice, including inheritance of property which was usually uncommon.
Crushing the Dead
Europe, in particular, has a very dark history. The people of Ancient Europe were into all kinds of messed-up things, from putting their wives up for auctions to eating the dead.
Starting from the 12th century and lasting for up to 500 years, the Europeans openly practiced cannibalism.
At first, they used to take preserved mummies from Egypt and powder up their dry skin, which was believed to be a cure for almost everything from headaches to curing wounds, despite the terrible taste.
A vile of mummy dust was known as Mumia, which was widely available to anyone. Later, the mummified bodies became just a part of a wide practice of cannibalism.
The people actually started consuming human flesh, that too, openly. They said the more brutal the person’s death is, the more potent their flesh would be. The blood was used to stop bleeding problems, the fat was used to tend to bruises, and skulls were powdered up to form medication for migraines and headaches.
The worst part is that even the Victorians, including royalty, were involved in cannibalism and considered human parts a cure for something worse than Bubonic Plague. So the practice went on for many hundred years.
Share the Bride for a Night
In Mesopotamia, a practice called Jus Primae Noctis, meaning “Right of the first night,” was a custom where the rich lord or king would sleep with the bride-to-be of a peasant a night before the marriage.
He would get physically involved with her even before she married the man who would be her husband.
This practice was a reflection of the male power and domination during the time; however, there is no prominent evidence or record of its practice.
Many people believe it to be a hoax and a fabricated rumor by the angry peasants who had had enough of the cruelty and wrong use of power by their lords. If the practice actually took place, it was surely the worst one of all time.
Human Fat for Sale
This may sound disgusting and frightening at the same time, but human fat was actually sold in Europe during the 16th century and was in high demand as well. Any person could get their hands on a chunk of human fat. It was known as Axungia Hominis, or “Poor sinner’s fat.”
The people who were prisoners or those who were executed were dismembered, and their fat was taken out of their bodies to be sold to those who were able to afford it.
The fat was used for medical purposes prominently. It was mainly sent to pharmacies and was used to create medications for body and toothaches, diseases like arthritis, etc. In simpler terms, it was considered a potent form of diet for bone strengthening.
The doctors and surgeons even got their hands on dead soldiers after wars on battlefields to get good money. The hideous trend was practiced for centuries when it finally came to an end during the mid-18th century.
The Butchered Leader
Johan de Witt, a great and prospering leader of the Netherlands, was a Dutch man who was the son of another great leader. His father was a mayor and was highly appreciated by anyone.
Born in 1625, during the times when the Netherlands was at the peak of its glory, Johan became a counsel pensioner in 1653 at the age of 28. He was such a great leader that he was reelected for his position three times.
The Netherlands was not on good terms with England and France, and because of Johan’s efforts and negotiation, he built good political terms with everyone.
There was another influential family in the Netherland that Johan and his father despised: the House of Orange. They never got along in years of their political careers and remained rivals.
Things were well for a few years, and people appreciated and loved Johan for his efforts, but unfortunately, England started a war with the Dutch in 1665.
Soon, France decided to join in. In 1672 king Louis XIV declared war on the Netherlands as well. The situation and pressure from the people got worse to the point that Johan decided to resign the same year in August.
The people blamed Johan for what had happened to the Dutch Republic and decided to make William III, a member of the House of Orange, their leader.
They got Johan’s brother Cornelius arrested on charges of treason against William. Johan decided to visit his brother at the prison when a Dutch lynch mob, led by furious people, attacked both the brothers and tore them to death.
They dragged their naked bodies, butchered them, and ate the flesh to show their disrespect. The once famous and respected leader died a disgraceful and horrible death.
Three hundred years later, to show their remorse for the events that took place in a dark chapter of their history, the Dutch built several statues to give tribute to the great leader and show him how deeply apologetic they were for what had happened to him.