First published in 1691 in London, The Athenian Mercury was the original supplier of answers to readers' questions, a format much imitated since. Queries on love, science, religion, literature and anything else people thought to ask about, were answered by The Athenian Society, members being publisher John Dunton and three of his friends. Athenian Mercury Project
is a blog where Dr. Laura Miller publishes questions and answers from the The Athenian Mercury and The Awl has an occasional series where they trawl through the archive (1
). Both of these places are good places to start, but if they aren't enough, The Athenian Oracle: Being an Entire Collection of All the Valuable Questions and Answers in the Old Athenian Mercuries, is available on Google Books for free perusal, searching and download. Well, almost all, sadly enough volume one is nowhere to be found, but it does contain volumes two
and a supplement
(which includes a lengthy history of The Athenian Society). In addition to that, there is Athenian Sport
, a collection of paradoxes debated by The Athenian Society. The questions asked by 17th Century Londoners should be familiar to those of us who read Ask MetaFilter.
posted by Kattullus
on Sep 2, 2011 -
Follow the pollen trail...
The recent volatility
on the stock market has nothing on the Tulip Mania
that swept Holland in 1637. They went so gaga over over the colorful
heralds of spring that one blossom obsessed fella, for example, sold a brewery to buy a single bulb. It's become an example
of what happens
when we become economically overconfident. Myself, I'd rather deal in flowers than money, anyway.
posted by moonbird
on Apr 3, 2003 -