I often chance upon tasty tidbits of knowledge as I browse the web’s buffet of podcasts, academic courses and blogs. In this new feature I will serve up some of these intellectual hors d’oeuvres. I invite you to serve up your own tidbits in the comments. I only ask that you provide a reference link. Bon appétit.
Oil lamps in the ancient Near East held more than oil and a wick. (Hanukkah celebrants take note.) The oil was actually a thin film resting on a cushion of water. The wick then rested on the oil and led to the lip of the lamp where a flame was lit.
From: REL 101: Literature and World of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, Lecture 11 (iTunes)
Early in the American Civil War, before Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, official US government policy was “denial of asylum.” That meant that Union commanders were required to return escaped slaves to their owners, provided that the owners claimed to be loyal to the Union.
From: HIST 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877, Lecture 15 (website).