Leonardo Da Vinci Facts
1. Leonardo is considered by many as the father of modern science.
2. He was the illegitimate child of Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci, a Florentine notary, and Caterina, a peasant.
3. Leonardo was raised by his single father.
4. He began his career as an apprentice to Florentine artist Andrea del Verrochio.
5. Leonardo was an architect, musician, engineer, scientist and inventor.
6. He wrote most of his notes using mirror writing. Some believe that this was to keep his ideas secret.
7. Leonardo sketched the first parachute, first helicopter, first airplane, first tank, first repeating rifle, swinging bridge, paddleboat and the first motorcar.
8. He made maps of Europe.
9. He invented the scissors and hydraulic pumps.
10. He designed a movable bridge for the Duke of Milan.
11. He invented the bicycle 300 years before it appeared on the road.
12. Leonardo's first solo painting, completed in 1478, was 'Madonna and Child'.
13. He took part as an engineer in the war against Pisa.
14. 'The Mona Lisa' is perhaps his most famous work. The subject of this portrait is still debated to this day, the most popular current view being that it is of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo. One of the most unusual hypotheses is that it is a self-portrait of Leonardo as a woman. It took him about ten years to paint Mona Lisa's lips.
15. Leonardo had a reputation of being a man of high character.
16. Leonardo Da Vinci predicted the mass use of solar energy as long ago as 1447.
17. Leonardo da Vinci was dyslexic and he often wrote backwards.
More History Facts
Sumerians invented writing in the 4th century BC.
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.