We all know the standard narrative about World War I: the Great War was initially caused by Gavrilo Princip’s assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. That’s giving Gavrilo too much credit, though (and believe me, dude gets a lot of credit). The truth is, the First World War was set off by a bunch Read more
Empress Theodora (497-548 AD) was the most powerful woman in Byzantine history. Here are 5 reasons why she totally kicked butt. 1. Her dad was a bear keeper: That’s right. Although little is known about the Empress’ early life, we do know that her father was a bear keeper at the circus in Constantin Read more
1. “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity.” —George Patton, General of the US Seventh Army The Maginot Line has come to symbolize a lack of foresight and the dangers inherent when conservative military planners fail to accurately anticipate changes in technology and tactics. The Fren Read more
Despite the staid image of religion in the Middle Ages, those who created books of religious and cultural significance weren’t always so boring. In fact, they had pretty darn good senses of humors, often drawing beautiful and unusual pictures in the texts’ borders. These images, called marginalia, w Read more
If the aftermath of New Year’s Eve partying has got you feeling like death, know that you’re not alone. According to studies, the first of January is the deadliest day of the year, which at least lends an air of science to your dramatic moaning. Before reaching for your personal hangover cure, take Read more

History's Funniest Obituaries

Dec 31, 2015
Jake Offenhartz - Staff Writer

If comedy equals tragedy plus time, it’s no surprise that the announcement of death tends to fall on the unfunny side of that equation. But while the Obits section of a newspaper may not be the first place you’d go for a laugh, a few exceptions exist that prove the rich comedic potential of these no Read more
Can you believe HistoryBuff’s only been around for less than three months? We’ve had such a great time sharing our love of history with you all. As we close out 2015, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite pieces from the year—with a special focus on those you might have missed the first time a Read more
The Romani people have been persecuted for centuries. Often pejoratively referred to as “gypsies” or Roma, the Romani are known as gitanos in Spain, Kale in Finland and Portugal, Manush or gitan in France and Travelers in Scandinavia. Although many people have preconceived ideas about them, few know Read more
Acclaimed 19th-century writer Rudyard Kipling was born 150 years ago today. Best remembered for creating the Jungle Book children’s stories, Kipling was also a major poetry figure in the UK and India. During the first decade of the 20th-century, he earned high praise in literary circles, with Henry Read more
1. How to lose your reputation in ten days: Write poetry or fall for the cute shop-boy The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine prided itself on giving good advice to young ladies, especially those looking for husbands. As a writer enthused in an 1866 issue, “a bevy of fair damsels, all tremulous with e Read more
The Battle of the Bulge was a Hail Mary pass by a führer who was quickly running out of options. Hitler desperately needed a decisive victory on either his Western or Eastern front. Remembering his series of victories after sneaking through the Ardennes forest in 1940, he went for a repeat in 1944. Read more

5 Bizarre Sumerian Proverbs

Dec 29, 2015
Mallory Ditchey - Contributor

Sumerian, originating in Southern Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), was the first written language, starting around 3200 BCE. Of the many genres of Sumerian texts is a particularly fascinating collection—Sumerian proverbs. Sumerian is already extremely challenging to decipher because the language is st Read more
Are you feeling down in the dumps about the 2016 election? Did you spend Christmas hiding from your relatives’ political arguments? Take heart: as depressing as American politics can get before a presidential election, we’re still way more civil about the whole process than the ancient Romans were. Read more

Nobody Celebrates Kwanzaa

Dec 26, 2015
Crispus Knight - Contributor

If you hear the word “Kwanzaa” uttered this year, it will probably be in the punchline of a derivative late night television joke. We get it. Nobody really knows what a Kwanzaa celebration entails, what the holiday is supposed to mean, or can even identify a single person who celebrates it. Yet in t Read more
Struggling to find the right battle cry for the occasion? A well-timed war whoop can really help you get your point across. We’ve selected 5 of the best battle cries in human history. Take your pick. 1. “There is no land beyond the Volga!” When the Nazis surrounded Stalingrad in the summer of 1942, Read more