Who Invented Writing
Sumerians invented writing in the 4th century BC.
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Marie de' Medici (1575 - 1642) was a member of that famous Italian family and, as wife of Henry IV, queen of France. Like most French royals, she had expensive tastes in clothes. So much, in fact, that she almost bankrupted France with her extravagance.
Marie was not the first royal with expensive habits. Francis I, who became king of France in 1515 (and ruled until his death in 1547) had 13,600 gold buttons on a single coat.
King Louis XIV was also known for his opulence. Known as the Sun King, he reigned France 1643 - when he was only 4 years old - until his death in 1715, which made him the longest reigning European monarch (72 years). He spent some $5 million on diamond buttons for his coats. One of his coats had 171 diamond buttons.
But Marie had outdone them. One of her dresses had 3,000 diamonds. Of course, at that time diamonds were valued less than pearls. But she had 39,000 tiny pearls in that dress. It cost the equivalent of $20 million dollars in 1606. She wore it once.
Marie's son, Louis XIII, ruled France from 1612 to 1617 but they were exiled 1631. Marie died in poverty.
Edward the Confessor grew up in Normandy, France while his half-brother Hardicanute was ruling England. At Hardicanute's death in 1042, Edward took the throne and surrounded himself with his Norman favorites. In 1051, he named William, Duke of Normandy, heir to the English throne but it was taken by Harold II in January 1066. Nine months later, at the Battle of Hastings, William conquered England, hence William the Conqueror. For the next 300 years, the rulers and nobility of England spoke French, not English.
Leonardo da Vinci, who was born in Vinci, near Florence in 1452, is known for his visionary ideas. He made sketches of scissors, the parachute, helicopter, airplanes, and engineering designs, some of which came into use 400 years after his death in 1519. But his notebooks never provided an explanation on the mechanics of his inventions. In fact, it is not known if he ever even constructed any of the ideas himself. What is known is that he could write with the one hand and draw with the other simultaneously.
In his last 6 years, Leonardo da Vinci worked for King Francis I of France. The king bought one of Leonardo's paintings, which he hanged in his bathroom. Called La Gioconda, this portrait of Lisa Gherandini was the first painting to feature fading colors to create a sense of aerial perspective. Today it is better known as the Mona Lisa.
In 1912, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre, Paris. It took almost 3 years to recover. During that time, 6 forgeries turned up in the USA, each selling for a very high price. The original is, obviously, priceless.
Video: Mona Lisa is one of the best-known faces on the planet. But would you recognize an image of Leonardo da Vinci?