There is no doubt that disputes and bets have a special role in history and life. The mere thought of what could become the subject of controversy among the great rulers, writers or creators already causes excitement and excites the imagination.
Maybe a case, or maybe a special knowledge in the sciences, or even just a human desire not to yield in a dispute, turned out to be decisive and fateful. We offer you 5 of the most interesting historical bets.
1. Pearl cocktail
Once Cleopatra and her beloved Mark Antony argued that Cleopatra could easily drink 10 million sesterces of wine for one dinner. Antony did not hesitate to agree to this bet, anticipating very interesting prospects. Having thought everything over in advance, Cleopatra, at the very beginning of dinner, took out a black pearl earring from her ear and threw it into the wine. As a result of the reaction of calcium carbonate and acetic acid, by the end of the evening the wine turned into a harmless drink that can be drunk in one sip. Mark Antony admitted defeat. Scientists also confirm the feasibility of such an experiment. Professor Prudence Jones, having conducted a similar experiment with vinegar and pearls, confirmed that 24 hours is enough to dissolve an average pearl. It is quite possible that Cleopatra prepared herself and removed the pearl, which had already been softened in advance, from her ear, or their dinner smoothly flowed into breakfast.
2. Race with the butcher
One of the most resourceful bets in history happened in England in the 18th century. In the city of Brighton, a wealthy butcher named Bullock asked a young aristocrat, the Earl of Barrymore, to make a bet. Interestingly, Bullock, being a well-fed man, but rather resourceful, invited the count, who was keen on athletics, to compete in running.
The butcher boldly stated that he intends to overtake the young Barrymore at 100 meters, but on condition that he chooses a place for the race and reserves a 35-meter head start. The payoff is equal to the value of the entire butcher business.
The Count accepted the challenge. And just minutes before the race, the butcher revealed his plan. It turns out that he chose the narrowest street Black Lion Lane for the race, and when the count easily caught up with the enemy, he simply could not squeeze in to overtake. The count accepted defeat with dignity and paid the entire amount of the contract.
3. Balzac women
The story of this bet, which is more a literary fiction, has all the prerequisites to be true. Balzac was famous as a connoisseur of women, he loved to invent biographies of random strangers on the streets, which often entertained his friends. Walking, one day, with a friend in the park, Balzac saw two completely different women.
One was blonde, with a good figure, "with a truly Parisian gait" and manners. The other is a thin, awkward brunette with a strange hat on her head. Balzac decided to argue with a friend that the blonde is a native Frenchwoman, has no children, and is living a beautiful life. And the brunette looks like a housekeeper who gave birth early by mistake, and now the child is being brought up by his grandmother, and barely makes ends meet.
Friends argued for dinner at an expensive restaurant. When the "connoisseur of women's souls" approached to meet strangers, he was amazed to learn that the blonde is a married German woman, a mother of two children, and the brunette is a Frenchwoman with a very frivolous disposition and an actress. Balzac was unlucky with dinner that evening.
4. Moon bet
The landing of Neil Armstrong on the moon was a grandiose event not only in the history of all mankind, but also of a Briton named David Trelfall. It happened to him 9 years earlier (in 1960), to look into one bookmaker's office, having only 10 pounds in his pocket. It is worth noting that for that time, the money was not small, given that the salary of a worker was 30-40 pounds. Lacking ideas, David had the idea to put a man on the journey to the moon in the next 10 years!
The rate was 1 to 1000. And it had to be a year before the end of the rate the first lunar landing would happen. Thralfall bought a sports car with the money he won, which crashed to death a year later.
5. Around the world for ...
Phileas Fogg's bet described by Jules Verne in Around the World in 80 Days has been repeatedly tried to be repeated in real life. For the first time, Fogg's record was broken by American journalist Nellie Bly in 1889. To her editor, Pulitzer himself, she offered to organize a business trip for her along the route described by Jules Verne, with 200 pounds in her pocket and small luggage.
At the same time, Cosmopolitan magazine is sending its journalist on a similar journey. There was a wager who would be the first to return. In November 1889, Nelly's voyage began on the Augusta Victoria. Of course, it is difficult to compare the adventures with Jules Verne's, but the journalist reported everything that was happening via telegrams for the magazine.
At this time, the readers were offered a tote with bets on the date of Nelly's return. After surviving a storm in the Pacific Ocean, moving to the other coast, continuing her journey on a personal train, Nelly arrived in the United States on January 21, 8 days ahead of schedule. A journalist from Cosmopolitan, at this time, sailed the Atlantic, resigned to defeat.