History isn’t just about boring dead guys in powdered wigs. There’s also a good deal of bad-assery involved.
This is based on the AskReddit “What was the biggest f*ck you given in history?” Link at the end of the article.
1/16. Galileo’s middle finger is literally on display at the Florence History of Science Museum as an eternal f*ck you to his haters.
2/16. Most people don’t know that JK Rowling REALLY knows how to hold a grudge. When she wrote the first Harry Potter book, her publisher hired Stephen Fry to do the narration for the audiobook. Fry had only been told that it was a children’s book and thought it would be a pretty easy afternoon’s work.
When he gets to the studio for the recording, he meets Ms. Rowling. She informs him that she’s going to be writing a sequel to which he responds “Good for you,” in a most condescending and rude manner.
Years later, the Harry Potter books are flying off the shelves, and Mr. Fry is hired to do the recording for the Prisoner of Azkaban.
He’s reading through nicely when he gets to the phrase, “Harry pocketed it.” And he couldn’t say it. They did take after take and he couldn’t get it right. The syllables simply wouldn’t come out of his mouth without getting jumbled.
So he calls Ms. Rowling and explains the situation. “Can we change the line to ‘Harry put it in his pocket?’ I can say that,” He asked.
Ms. Rowling thought about it for a moment then said, “No,” and hung up on him. And you’ll never guess what phrase appeared in every successive Harry Potter book. The phrase “Harry pocketed it,” appears in the next 4 books of the series. Don’t mess with JK Rowling!
3/16. When the Nazis invaded France, the Resistance cut the elevator cables to the Eiffel Tower so Hitler would have to take the stairs.
4/16. Warren Buffet initially had just invested in Berkshire Hathaway and intended to sell his stock. He made an oral agreement to sell for $11.50 per share.
When the written offer came in though, it was for $11.375 per share. This upset Buffet, so he bought the company and fired the man who wrote up the offer.
5/16. After WW2, Tito (of Yugoslavia) and Stalin had a split. Tito refused to have Yugoslavia become a satellite state of the USSR, so Stalin attempted to assassinate Tito several times.
So Tito sent him an open letter saying:
“Stop sending people to kill me. We’ve already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle. (…) If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send a second.”
6/16. Queen Olga of Kiev was a badass. These guys called the Drevlians killed her husband and wanted Olga to marry their prince. Olga’s son was only 3 and she wasn’t about to have that.
The Drevlians sent 20 or so men to persuade her to marry their prince. She had them buried alive.
The Drevlians did not know this and Olga sent word to the prince that she accepted his proposal and needed their best men to accompany Olga on her way to marry the prince. When the top men arrived, she had them burned alive.
She then invited the leading Drevlians to a funeral feast to mourn her late husband. After they were drunk, she ordered her soldiers to kill the 5,000 or so Drevlians.
Now that their wisest and most distinguished men where out of the way, the remaining Drevlians begged for mercy and offered to pay whatever Olga wanted. Olga, taking immense pity, asked for 3 pigeons/sparrows/doves from each house, so as not to burden them financially. Drevlians were happy to comply.
But the thing about those birds? They always fly back to their nests. And Olga knew it too…
So she had sulphur and cloth tied to the foot of each bird. When they went back to roost at their nests in the Drevlian city, the sulphur caused all the houses to catch on fire. Since all the homes caught on fire at once, the fire couldn’t be contained.
Olga sold the survivors as slaves.
You killed my husband? F*ck you and your entire village.
7/16. The burial of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the Taj Mahal. As I’m sure you know, Shah built the Taj as a mausoleum for his wife. Now, the dude was absolutely obsessed with symmetry.
In fact, there are myths that he tortured any artisan or labourer who accidentally or otherwise messed with the symmetry of the Taj. His wife’s sarcophagus is dead centre of the inner chamber, purely because of his obsession with symmetry.Anyway, his rather spiteful son Aurangzeb locked him in the Agra Fort when he grew ill, where he eventually died.
As a final “f*ck you” to his father, he placed Shah’s body into a sarcophagus to the side of his wife. His son intentionally ruined the perfect symmetry of the Taj Mahal specifically to spite his father.
8/16. The St Nazaire Raid in 1942. British commandos rammed the dry dock at St Nazaire (West France) with their destroyer Campbeltown.
The dry dock was the largest the Germans had control of that entered into the Atlantic. It was the only place their largest battleships could be repaired without having to sail past the UK.
Many commandos were captured during the raid.
During the interrogation of Sam Beattie, one of the captured British Commandos, the German Naval Officer was chastising the foolishness of the plan to ram the wall of the dry dock with their boat, and saying how easy it would be to fix the damage.
Unbeknownst to the Germans, the Campbeltown was full of explosives and detonated not a moment later, killing 40 senior German officers and civilians who were on a tour of the wreck and destroying the dry dock, knocking it out for the rest of the war.
After the explosion, Beattie smiled at the German and said, ‘I guess we’re not as foolish as you think!’
9/16. After invading southern Greece and receiving the submission of other key city-states, Philip II of Macedon sent a message to Sparta: “If I invade Laconia you will be destroyed, never to rise again.” The Spartans replied with a single word: “If.” There was no invasion.
-fatheroftardigrades10/16. Can’t remember the details exactly, but this guy Cato had a beef with Julius Caesar for reading personal notes during senate meetings and accused him of being involved in some conspiracy.
He declared that if Caesar had nothing to hide, he wouldn’t mind sharing the contents of the letter. So Caesar hands the letter over and it turns out it was a love letter from none other than Cato’s own sister.
11/16. In the 1300s Italy was just a bunch of city states and Bologna and Modena were in conflict with each other.
In the Battle of Zappolino in 1325 this all came to a head and the Modenese beat the sh*t out of the Bolognese.
To celebrate their victory and rub salt in the wound, the Modenese held a festival outside the city walls of Bologna and for days the city’s residents were forced to watch the Modenese act a fool in their front yard, 14th century style.
But before they left, they did something else.
Before they left, those pesky Modenese thought it would be a good laugh to steal the bucket from Bologna’s main well as a trophy of their victory.
Laughs were had and it was good. Except laughs are still being had, as about 700 years later the Modenese still have the bucket. It’s on display in a glass case in a museum in the city as a constant reminder of that day in 1325 when the city beat the sh*t out of Bologna.
12/16. In 390 BCE, a Gallic tribe led by Brennus overran and conquered the still-young city of Rome. As ransom, he demanded a thousand pounds of gold and this was agreed to by the Romans.
During the weighing process, it was discovered that Brennus was using false weights on the scales; they were heavier than stated, designed to cheat the Romans out of even more gold.
When confronted about this, he threw his own sword onto the scales (adding even more weight to the payment required) and declared “WOE TO THE VANQUISHED.”
-Calvin_v_Hobbes13/16. The Nazis made a meticulous “phantom airfield” in occupied Holland. Being German, they focused on exacting detail. This focus made the construction take longer, long enough, in fact, for allied intelligence to determine that it was a fake air field.
So, when the allies bombed the fake wooden air field, they made sure to drop a fake wooden bomb.
14/16. The story about how Julius Caesar was captured by pirates. He was 25 years old and was kidnapped by pirates who demanded 20 talents of silver as ransom. They didn’t realize how important he was, and Caesar was insulted by the amount so he told them to ask for 50 talents.
It took them a little over a month to gather the ransom money, and in that time Julius actually befriended the pirates. But it was a mistake for them to let their guard down.
Caesar would write poetry and play games with the pirates, and eventually they came to respect him and pretty much let him do whatever he wanted on their island and ships.
Caesar told them that as soon as he was released he would hunt them down for holding him prisoner. The Pirates thought he was joking, but as soon as Caesar was released he gathered a small fleet, captured them, and then crucified them.
15/16. During the US Civil War, Union general John Sedgwick was complaining that his men were ducking from enemy sniper fire at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse. “Why are you dodging like this?” he said. “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”
Seconds later a sniper shot him through the head.
-mrcchapman16/16. Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump, sold the movie rights to Paramount in a deal that entitled him to a share of the net profits from the film.
Hollywood accounting, of course, ensures that even a wildly successful box office smash like Forrest Gump loses money on paper, so he didn’t get anything close to the millions he’d expected.
(That’s why big stars make sure they get a share of the gross box-office receipts.)
When he wrote the sequel, Gump & Co., Paramount tried to buy the film rights. Groom refused, saying in good conscience he couldn’t allow the studio to spend so much on a franchise that had lost so much of their money.