You’ve probably accepted these nine occurrences as historical fact – but they’re actually totally false, or at least highly embellished.
Nero didn’t fiddle while Rome burned
Ah, Nero, the original unconcerned bystander. While this first-century Roman emperor certainly isn’t blameless in the story of Rome’s fiery fall, he definitely wasn’t playing the fiddle during it. For one thing, Nero wasn’t even in the city when the fire began; he was in Antium, about thirty miles outside of the city. For another…there was no such thing as a fiddle in ancient Rome. While Nero was a musician (and supposedly liked to play a harp-like instrument called the cithara), he sure wasn’t playing an instrument that wouldn’t appear until the 11th century. A Roman historian has claimed that, if anything, he was singing about the legendary fall of Troy when he learned his city was burning, but there were no witness accounts to back this up.
Rats didn’t actually spread the Black Death
Recent studies have discovered that rats may not actually be to blame for this devastating plague that wiped out a third of 14th century Europe. So it’s time to rat out the real culprit. Scientists at the University of Oslo conducted an experiment that assessed the potential transmission routes for the deadly pandemic. They discovered that the parasites that carried the disease were much more likely to have come from humans than rats. The model showing the disease spread by human fleas and lice matched the death rates of the actual Black Death much more closely than the model involving parasite-carrying rats. Sorry for pinning the blame on you for all these years, little guys.