Did You Know?
* Pearling sends Louis de Rougemont on his first sea voyage across the globe. Considered the "Queen of Gems," pearls were within reach of only the wealthiest and most powerful people throughout history.
* Suetonius wrote that Vitellius, a Roman general, once financed an entire military campaign by selling a single pearl earring.
* To prove to Rome that Egypt was beyond conquering, Cleopatra reportedly challenged Marc Antony that she could provide the most expensive dinner in history. At the meal, she had only an empty plate and a goblet of wine or vinegar. She took one of her pearl earrings, crushed it into her goblet, and drank. Marc Antony admitted defeat. Pliny records that her pair of earrings were worth 60 milliion sesterces or 1,875,000 ounces of silver. At $5 per ounce of silver, that equals $9,375,000!
* If marvelling at the natural wonders of the world keeps you enthrall, might we recommend the BBC/Discovery Channel's mini-series Planet Earth? This five-disc set is available through the Chester County Library.
* Louis states he leaves London at sixteen (1868) and returns in 1896. In the meanwhile, he missed such world events as the American Civil War, the death of Prince Albert, the opening of the Suez Canal, the advent of pasteurization, the introduction of secret ballot voting in Great Britain, the invention of the telephone and phonograph, Queen Victoria declared Empress of India, the first use of electric light in a home in Great Britain, Jack the Ripper's notorious attacks in London, the discovery of x-rays, and the first car built by Henry Ford! He also missed the publication of Great Expectations, Les Miserables, das Kapital, War and Peace, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Time Machine, and The Red Badge of Courage. (Tragic for a man who grew up loving adventure stories!)