The unicorn has a fascinating cultural history, not only because many in the West believed that unicorns were real until the 18th century, but also because it symbolizes contrasting qualities.
In western culture, the color that is traditionally associated with emperors is purple, a special kind of reddish purple that was discovered over 3,000 years ago on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea.
Why is the olive branch a symbol of peace in the West, and what has the dove got to do with it? The answers take us far into the past, before the Bible, then bring us back to the modern age with Picasso.
In ancient Europe it was believed that the pelican would cut its breast open with its beak and feed its young with its own blood if there was not enough food, even though pelicans don’t actually do that. Some even believed that the pelican had the power to bring its dead young back to life by giving them its blood.
This belief lasted at least until the 17th century, as shown by this late 16th century work on plants and animals, published again in 1622:
When you put together Viking stories and a breakthrough in wireless communication, you get Bluetooth technology, which you carry with you every day. Why is it called “Bluetooth” and why does it have a strange-looking logo? That’s the story.
The 1917 poster of Uncle Sam recruiting for the U.S. Army is one of the most iconic American images, but its design and concepts are actually British in origin.