Arsinoë II, Ptolemaic QueenStuff You Missed in History Class
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- 22 Mar 2021
The Ptolemies were a Greek dynasty that ruled Egypt during the Hellenistic period. And in a lot of ways Arsinoë II really set the standard for the generations of Ptolemaic queens that followed her.
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Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the podcast, I'm Tracy Wilson, and I'm Holly Fry. Remember our recent episode on Zoey and Theodora? We talked about how I have some challenging research moments thanks to there being so many people in the Macedonian dynasty who had the same name. I do remember.
Yeah, today's episode is worse from that perspective. We are talking about Ptolemaic. Queen Arsinoe the second at the Ptolemy's were a Greek dynasty that ruled Egypt during the Hellenistic period. And most of that dynasties men were named Ptolemy. For the most part, the women were named Arseneau, a baronetcy or Cleopatra. Sometimes people say baronetcy, Berniece, but I understand why they would land there. But that's not it. Sometimes the women were also called Ptolemy's, which was a feminine form of Ptolemy.
So that's basically you got four or five names to work from for the most part. And then the dynasties family tree is also pretty convoluted. Arseneau ways husbands included her half brother, Ptolemy Carrados, and her full brother Ptolemy. The second, of course, are going to be talking more about that. Of course, these repetitive names and the challenges that they create are not why I chose Arseneau for this episode. The Hellenistic period stretched from the death of Alexander the Great to the establishment of the Roman Empire.
And it's just it's not really a period. We have talked about that often on the show and in a lot of ways, Arsinoe way. The second really set the standard for the generations of Ptolemaic Queens that followed her. Also, just as a heads up, as was the case with Zoe and Theodora, there's a lot of killing in this episode, including the murders of children. Arseneau, whose father was Ptolemy, the first Soder meaning savior. He had been a companion and advisor to Alexander, the third of Macedon, later becoming one of Alexander's bodyguards and eventually one of his generals.
Alexander was, of course, also known as Alexander the Great. That empire was huge. It stretched from Greece and Egypt in the west to the Indus River and the Himalayan mountains in the east. Alexander's empire did not survive his death in 323 B.C., though. When Alexander died, his wife Roxann was pregnant, but she had not given birth yet. And he also had a disabled half brother who was still living. But beyond that, Alexander had no direct successor.
He did not name anyone to follow him either. He just said that the empire should go to the strongest or the fittest, depending on the translation that you're reading.
Some of Alexander's generals and advisors wanted to wait for Roxann to give birth to see if she would have a son, and she did. But soon they were dividing up the empire among themselves, becoming satraps or governors of various territories, although some of these satraps were at least ostensibly holding territory on behalf of Alexander surviving. Kim, his half brother, was murdered in 317 B.C. and his son with Roxann was murdered in 309 by 386. These dyadic or successors were consolidating territory and presenting themselves as kings instead of generals or provincial governors.
I just want to say I have heard at least four different pronunciations of this, of the successors from from different people who should know what they are talking about. I've heard Dyadic Diatta, Kai, that a coin, which is more like how it was pronounced in Greek, it's really all over the place. For Ptolemy's part, after Alexander's death, he became the satrap of Egypt and then he expanded his territory from there through marriages and through military conquest, including wars against some of the other Dyadic I.
And really this whole period was incredibly chaotic. It was full of all kinds of disagreements and infighting and a series of wars that stretched from three twenty two to two eighty one B.C. Some of those will come up again later. Ultimately, Ptolemy became king of Egypt in Macedonia and founded the Ptolemaic dynasty, which controlled Egypt for nearly three hundred years. His public works projects included the library at Alexandria and the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which is described as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Ptolemy also stole Alexander's body as it was being taken back to Macedonia to be buried. He took it to the Egyptian city of Memphis and then eventually to Alexandria, where he had it in Tombs. This tomb became a focal point for the cult of Alexander, which Ptolemy made into a state cult and. Alamy used the cult, the worship in the cult, the presence of Alexander's remains in Alexandria, all of that together to reinforce the idea that he and his dynasty were the legitimate rulers of Egypt.
But neither Ptolemy nor the rest of his dynasty ever assimilated with the Egyptian population that they were ruling. Although Ptolemy initially lived in Memphis, which was one of Egypt's oldest cities. He ultimately moved to Alexandria, which Alexander had founded and which was culturally more aligned with Greece. The Ptolemy's kept up a fairly insular existence in Alexandria, and they retained their Greek identity throughout the dynasty. This included generally marrying other Macedonian Greeks, although it's possible but not conclusively documented, that there may have been high ranking Egyptians among the king's wives or concubines toward the end of the dynasty.
This dynasty ended with Cleopatra, the seventh. He was typically just known as Cleopatra. She was the daughter of Ptolemy the 12th and also married to her brother Ptolemy, the 13th.
She was the only Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language or to really take any effort at all to learn about the people she was ruling, especially in the first generations after Alexander's death, Hellenistic rulers were typically polygamous kings had multiple wives simultaneously. Queens, however, did not have multiple husbands. Ptolemy was no exception. He had four wives bias ata comma Eurydice ichi barony. She was Arseneau, the second mother, and she had two other children with Ptolemy Arseneau, a sister, Filla Tara and her brother Ptolemy.
The second there were also lots of half siblings through their father's other wives. These multiple marriages caused all kinds of chaos within the Ptolemaic dynasty and then elsewhere in the Hellenistic world and other episodes about royals. We've talked about men who rose to power or at least tried to rise to power by marrying a king's widow. But if a king had multiple wives, that meant there were multiple possible paths to the throne through his surviving widows. This is especially true if none of those women were recognized as the king's primary or lead wife, which was the case in most of these marriages during the Hellenistic period.
Instead of having sort of a formal chief or lead wife, there was this more informal, ever shifting set of favorites than alliances.
And that same was true for the king's heirs. If he had multiple sons by multiple women, then which one was supposed to be first in line for the throne? What if the king did have a clearly favored wife but his oldest son had been born to one of the other wives? Or what if the king thought the best person to rule was not his oldest son or the son of his favorite wife, but a younger son born to someone less esteemed?
You could see how this gets very complicated in a hurry. Yes, many of Alexander's successors addressed this problem by choosing a son to be their co ruler. They intended that son to eventually take the throne. But this was really more about smoothing the transition from one king to the next, then like formally permanently designating an heir and then the process of determining who that co ruler would be and keeping him in that position. That could all be really fraught.
The King's wives were continually focused on elevating the status of their sons over those of the other wives. And also, if I king died unexpectedly without having chosen a co ruler, then that left everything just totally unsettled.
In other words, there was a lot of chaos within the Ptolemaic dynasty and outside of it, thanks to infighting among the dyadic conflicts with kingdoms and administrations that had not been part of Alexander's empire and these multiple marriages and potential lines of succession. And that brings us back to our sin away. She was born sometime between three, eighteen and three eleven BCE. Most sources put it somewhere around three sixteen. But there's just no documentation of her birth at all.
This year is really a best guess estimate based on the year of her first marriage. She was probably born in Memphis, but would have still been a child when Ptolemy moved the family to Alexandria. That happened around 311 BCE and we're going to get to her life.
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Pepin's dot com. As we said before the break, Arseneau spent most of her childhood and youth in Alexandria. Her brothers and half brothers were educated through tutors, and it's possible that she and her sister and her half sisters shared in that education as well. But we don't really know for sure, really. We know almost nothing about Arseneau childhood or upbringing, but we do know that her family's position at court was not all that secure. As we said earlier, there was a lot of jockeying among the king's wives and sons as they tried to establish a line of succession among all of those assorted marriages and families.
While our Sideway was in Alexandria, her mother, Barony. She wasn't at the top of this hierarchy. Instead, Ptolemy, the first, favored his first wife, Eurydice, and her son, Ptolemy. Chirinos was as a consequence, the presumed successor to the throne, another source of instability in Arseneau. His childhood would have been the ongoing warfare among the dyadic high in 3001, B.C., Ptolemy United with Senecas Salukis, the first indicator, and Cassandre against antagonist the first and his son Demitrius, the first antagonist, and Demitrius ruled Western Asia.
The battle between all these forces took place at Ipsus and Ptolemy and his allies were victorious, thanks in part to elephants that were contributed by Marijan Emperor Chondra Gupta. We talked about Chander Gupta's alliance with Salukis and our episode on Ashoka The Righteous back in May of Twenty Twenty.
This victory led to a whole string of marriages among the four victorious Dyadic Kai and their relatives. This included Arseneau, was married to lie Civicus in about three hundred BCE. Lycett MCIs was king of Thrace and he also took control of what had been antagonises territory after the Battle of Ipsus.
Arseneau was probably in her teens when this marriage took place and my Senecas was in his 50s or 60s. And although it was pretty common for men to marry younger women, this age difference was a lot more dramatic than usual. And that led to a lot of really derisive jokes and unflattering depictions of both of them, basically with her being branded as a gold digging schemer and him as a doddering old man, even though really he was still pretty spry. He was an active military leader when they got married.
Arseneau They moved to the capital of Lycett Michela on the Gallipoli Peninsula in what is now Turkey. She and Civicus had three sons over the next six years. Ptolemy born around two ninety nine BCE Lycett MCIs born around two ninety seven and Philip born around two ninety four.
Moving away from her father's court and her mother's subordinate position there definitely did not free are sent away from the kind of rivalries and infighting that she had grown up in, though my stomach has already had at least three other wives Nicaea, a mistress and a Persian woman whose name is not recorded. That last marriage had taken place during a mass wedding that Alexander the Great arranged in Suza and three twenty four BCE. This is a marriage of about 80 high ranking Greek men to Persian noble women, and it was meant to symbolically unify Greece and Persia and to create a generation of, at least hypothetically, loyal offspring from these marriages, children would be considered both Greek and Persian.
Ptolemy, the first, had also married his wife, Arkoma, at the ceremony, although she started out in a more subordinate position.
Arseneau a status during her marriage to lie Civicus, rose thanks to some events that happened back in Egypt. One was that her brother told me. The second was named Ptolemy, the first SKO monarch in two eighty five BCE. There are also records of Veronique's Chariot team winning at the Olympic Games, and if this was our his mother baronetcy, she would have shared in the glory as well. It is, however, not 100 percent clear which Baron Ichi this was or exactly when it happened.
I read a whole paper basically which baronetcy won at the Olympic Games. It sounds like a very weird setup for a sitcom, regardless of whether that really was. Her mother. Arseneau with name comes up in accounts of Civicus is Deedes is King and the names of his other wives don't lie. Senecas renamed cities after himself and his family, including Arsinoe. He also gave her control of Cassandre in northern Greece, as well as three other smaller cities that were all along the Black Sea.
In two eighty four BCE, Lysa mixes oldest son. ECOSOC Lee's son of Nicaea was accused of treason. Accounts of what happened contradict each other pretty dramatically in some arseneau manip. Related Civicus into suspecting his son of plotting against him, something that she could have done to try to secure a future for her own sons, but in some accounts, Arseneau was infatuated with ECOSOC Liz and he rejected her and thus she plotted against him to get revenge. There's no actual documentation of that, but it kind of ties into the whole idea that there was this gigantic age difference between her and her husband.
And what if she may be like this younger, closer to her own age man at court?
Other sources do not involve Arseneau in this at all, though they describe life Civicus as coming to this suspicion on his own, but then kind of filtering his response through our sent away to distance himself from it. Or in still other accounts, Agathe O'Kelly's really was plotting against his father, trying to guarantee his own position as the future king. And then that plot was discovered. So lots of different options here. Regardless of what actually happened, Agatha O'Kelly's was tried and executed.
Here's a moment where the convoluted Ptolemaic family tree really comes into play.
So it just brace. Agatha Achilles's widow was our Sunways half sister, Lysander, daughter of Ptolemy, the first and Eurydice. And to recap, Ptolemy and Eurydice son Ptolemy Chirinos had been Ptolemy's presumed successor before he named our Sunways full brother Ptolemy, the second as his caroler into eighty five. It is possible that this entire accusation against Agatha Hockley's was precipitated by Chirinos joining his sister. At least Civicus is caught after having been displaced from the court of Ptolemy the first.
If so, this whole incident may have been connected to the rivalry between Ptolemy's wives baronetcy and Eurydice and by extension, their children.
After Agatha Achilles's death, Lisandro and Chirinos, who were just going to call Chirinos because there are too many Ptolemy's, they went to Salukis, the first indicator for aid, and that led to a war between Thrace and the Soviets. That empire, although like Civicus, had taken control of territory and Western Asia after the Battle of Ipsus, a lot of the political leaders and people there sided with Salukis. The war between Civicus and Salukis finally ended with the battle of corrupting and 281 B.C.
This is actually the last battle in the wars of the dyadic and life. Civicus, who at this point was almost 80, was killed in battle. Arseneau was about 35 at this point, and she had a company glycemic as to war, but not to the actual battle. She stayed behind in emphasis, but that city's residents wound up siding with the solutions and opened the gate for the saluted army. Away is described as escaping the city disguised in rags, while one of her attendants put on her royal garments and acted as a decoy.
In some accounts, this decoy was killed, but in others she survived. Since Arseneau had been given control of Cassandre and still had supporters there, she fled to that city and went into hiding. This is already so much drama. But then Ptolemy Carina's turned on Salukis. They had been in the process of conquering what was left of Arseneau late husband's kingdom. They had crossed the Hellespont, which is now known as the Dardanelles, into Thrace. When Carrados stabbed Salukis to death.
This may actually be what earned him the nickname Chirinos, which means Thunderbolt. Then Ptolemy Chirinos turned his attention to his half sister Arseneau way. We're going to get into that after a sponsor break. Brought to you by Marvel Studios, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and original series now streaming exclusively on Disney. Plus Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan have reprised their roles as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in the next installment to the Marvel Universe. Together, they've teamed up for a comedic action packed adventure to honor Captain America's legacy.
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Just to recap where we were before the break, because I feel like the situation is very tangled, our sin away had married life. Then I kissed the king of Thrace, whose son, Agatha Hockley's, was tried for treason and executed. Agatha Achilles's widow was Arseneau half sister, Lisandro, and after the execution, she and her brother, Ptolemy Carrados went to Salukis, the first indicator for aid. So Lucas went to war against Arseneau husbandly Civicus, who was killed in battle.
But then Ptolemy Carrados turned against Salukis and killed him. Meanwhile, our Sadoway fled to Cassandre, which her late husband had given to her earlier on in that marriage. That is where we left off.
Although Ptolemy, Chirinos and Salukis had taken a lot of the territory that lies Civicus had previously held, there were still people who were loyal to our sin away, and her late husband, Chirinos, probably wanted to protect himself from those people, as well as from anyone who had been loyal to Salukis. He probably also wanted Cassandre itself, but whatever his exact reasons were, he lay siege to that city, offering to marry his half sister Ursin away and adopt her children as his own.
He said he would take no other wives and have no other children. Her sons would be his heirs are sent away and Ptolemy Chirinos were both in their mid thirties. At this point, Arseneau, they really had no reason to trust her half brother, her full brother Ptolemy. The second had displaced him as the presumed heir to the Ptolemaic kingdom. He and his allies, the Lucas', had gone to war with and ultimately killed her husband. He was also literally besieging the city where she had taken refuge.
That's how you Igal didn't you know? But at the same time, here's the thing. She really did not have many other options. If she and her sons managed to escape Cassandra, there was no guarantee that they would be able to make it all the way to Alexandria and to her brother's protection there before being apprehended. If she married someone with enough military and political power, she might be able to defend herself against Chirinos. But although high ranking women in this era weren't generally forced to marry without their consent, they also were not people who negotiated these unions.
Their male relatives did that. You could argue that Carrados kind of did an end run around that whole thing, right, by negotiating a marriage with his half sister himself. But regardless, Arseneau agreed to marry Ptolemy Chirinos. She did the one thing that she really could to try to protect herself in this situation, which was that she demanded that the marriage ceremony be conducted in public. Chirinos agreed. But then immediately afterward, he murdered her two young sons, Lysa, Marcus and Phillip.
Her oldest son, Ptolemy, escaped. It's possible he just was not there when his younger brothers were murdered. He was the only one of her sons who had reached adulthood by this point. And there is some suggestion that he and his mother were estranged in some way. Arseneau was forced to flee once again, this time taking refuge in cemetaries.
Accounts are pretty contradictory about what chirinos his motivations were in killing his nephews, whether that really had been his plan from the beginning. Whatever it was, though, he did not wind up remaining king of all this territory for long. He married Arseneau and about 280 BCE and the following year his territory was attacked by the Gauls and he was killed in battle. Eventually, sometime between 280 and 276 BCE. Arseneau returned to Egypt from Sammeth race, possibly taking her son Ptolemy with her.
It had been at least twenty years at that point since Arseneau had been in Alexandria. Her brother Ptolemy. The second was now the king and his court had been through its own allegations of treachery. His first wife passed away. The first, just to keep it confusing, had been exiled under suspicion of plotting against him. Arsinoe the first was the daughter of our son away, the second husband like Civicus. And although it is not clear which of his wives was passed away, the first mother, she was much younger than ours anyway.
The second and it's possible the elder Arseneau may have even helped raise her. This timeline is really, really fuzzy, but it seems that are sent away. The first suspicion and exile happened before are sent away. The second returned to Alexandria, although some sources still try to pin the whole thing on arson away. The second a few years after returning to Egypt and about 273 BCE Arseneau, the second married her brother Ptolemy the second and. Details of this marriage aren't really known, they had no children together, although our son away, the second did adopt our son away, the first children as her own.
Ptolemy did not take any other wives after marrying his sister, although he did have several concubines are sent away and Ptolemy were both given the moniker Philadelphi or sibling loving our Synagis.
Earlier marriage to her half brother Ptolemy. Chirinos had been unusual in the Greek world, but such a marriage was it totally unheard of and it was legally permitted in some places. But marrying her full brother Ptolemy, the second would have been far more unusual among the Greeks. It wasn't really unusual in the Egyptian society. The Ptolemy's were ruling, though at least not for Egyptian royalty. We talked about this in our episode on Hatshepsut back in twenty nineteen in Egyptian, King often took a sister or half sister as his great royal wife.
With that pairing echoing back to an Egyptian creation story in that story that got a tomb, had no partner, and created a pair of sibling deities who in turn created another pair of sibling deities as their descendants, continuing that line in pairs. It doesn't seem like this brother sister marriage was as taboo in the ancient Greek world as it would be in the West today. And there's really almost no surviving account of the actual Greek response to it at the time passing away.
And Ptolemy did take some steps to try to normalize it, though, including comparing themselves to the Greek degrees Souce and Herra, who were also married siblings. They also made the comparison to Egyptian deities, ISIS and those Sirus who were descendants of that chain of Egyptian sibling partners. Although this was really one of the few ways that they tried to frame themselves as Egyptian at all.
We have no documentation of their thought process or reasoning for this marriage. It's possible that they just wanted to consolidate some of their political power or that they thought they'd be a little more protected. In a world of perpetual dynastic rivalries and infighting. Arseneau They may have thought that marrying her brother was her last chance to secure a political future for her one surviving son. There are several references to various Ptolemy's in the historical record that may have been him, meaning the son.
But it is not 100 percent clear where he wound up. It was not in the primary Ptolemaic line of succession, though cults were a huge part of the religious and political structure of the Hellenistic world, with rulers being deified and worshipped sometimes during their lifetimes. And this also had some roots in the Egyptian tradition of defying royalty Arseneau away and Ptolemy established the Theo Adelfa or the cult of the royal couple. Arseneau herself was also deified individually, probably while she was still living.
Arseneau also established an annual festival that was held in Alexandria that honored Adonis with Ptolemy appearing in the role of Adonis and herself appearing in the role of Aphrodite, Arseneau became highly influential in Ptolemy's government. She appeared on its coins, both alone and with him and on some of these coins. She appears to be in full pharaonic regalia, suggesting that she was regarded not just as the king's wife but also as a pharaoh herself. This includes wearing the Urías or royal cobra, and our IS Cartouche also included a throne and described her as king of upper and lower Egypt.
But it is not clear if that's an honorific from her lifetime or something that was bestowed on her later as a more honorary title, Arseneau also became a popular public figure.
During her reign, she accompanied Ptolemy on a tour of the Egyptian border, and its defense is making public appearances along the way. And one year it's not clear which. She won a clean sweep of the equestrian events at the Olympic Games, although her father told me the first was the one who started the construction of the library and museum at Alexandria. Some sources credit Arseneau way, the second with actually finishing that.
She also seems to have influenced foreign policy, advocating for an alliance with Greek city states that protected their freedom from encroachment by Macedonia. This influence continued after her death. Ptolemy, the second, outlived her, and he, allied with several Greek city states against Macedonia in the criminality and war, are since his memory became sort of a recruitment and public relations tool to rally support for Egypt's involvement in that war, Arseneau became the standard for future Ptolemaic queens to follow, and her marriage to her brother also became a template for later marriages in the Ptolemaic dynasty.
As we've said, although the Ptolemy's ruled Egypt, they never really became Egyptian. They kept. Are power to themselves and in the hands of Greek people, most of the dynasties, marriages after Arseneau and Tolum were between siblings, half siblings or cousins. And this actually seems to have influenced culture in Egypt after the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty as well. There are sibling marriages that are recorded in Roman census records in Egypt after the end of this dynasty, at least to Rotunda's, were built in our Snowies honor, one in Alexandria and the other in Sammeth race.
The rotunda in Sammeth race was built in her lifetime and it was dedicated by her. But the inscription detailing who her husband was at the time has not survived. So it's possible that it was built during the reign of Civicus to commemorate the alliance between the Ptolemaic dynasty and Thrace, or during the reign of Ptolemy to commemorate Sammeth race, having sheltered arson away after she had to flee from her half brother. There are also a lot of coins that bear her image, as well as carving statues, statuettes and other depictions that are either of her or believed to be of her.
The date of Arseneau and the second death is uncertain. One Stelae lists it as in the 15th year of Ptolemy, the second reign, which would have been 270 BCE. But other sources say it was in the 17th year or 268. So she would have been in her mid 40s. Both her cults and the cult of the royal couple continued to worship her after her death. Her brother also named streets in Alexandria after her and renamed the city of Fayoum and its surrounding district for her as well.
Arsinoe also became a popular name for daughters of priestly Egyptian families. But after the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty are sent away, the second mostly vanished from literature and art.
Instead, Cleopatra's sister, Sunway, became the more well-known woman with that name that you can accidentally get a whole bunch of stuff that you bookmark that turns out to be about Cleopatra's sister and not your podcast. They're wrong.
Our Away. We will end this with a quote from Elizabeth Donelly Kanae from the introduction to Arseneau of Egypt and MassArt on a royal life. This is really the only modern English language biography of her. It's from an academic press, but it's pretty accessible and also quite short because there's not a lot that we actually know about. In a way. She wrote, quote, Looking at Arseneau ways, life is a bit like trying to meet someone at a big party, but somehow always missing them, though, perhaps getting a whiff of their perfume and hearing a lot of stories about them.
In a sense, Arseneau way is always in the other room. I really liked that clip, and I think it summed up some of my challenges researching this episode. Do you have less challenging listener mail? I do.
So this is an email posed a question, and I don't know that we'll ever tackle the topic that they suggested. But it was an interesting enough question to me that I wanted to read it. And it is from Eva. Eva says, hi, Holly and Tracey. I'm a few months late or very early sending this idea for a holiday episode. But here it is bare with me every time I watch that scene in a Christmas story, when the father breaks out a hammer and pry bar to open the giant wooden crate containing the infamous leg lamp.
I think to myself, I have never in my life received a delivery in a wooden crate, not at Christmas, not in a year of pandemic lifestyle supply delivery, not ever. Why is this? Presumably the answer is corrugated cardboard boxes. And then, I wonder, weren't corrugated cardboard boxes around in the 1960s when this movie was set to which the answer is I have no idea. It seems like a simple low tech technology that you'd expect to have been around for a long time.
And then I go to the liquor store to get boxes from moving my books like you do. And I see ten dollar bottles of wine and I wonder how much that same bottle cost back in the day whenever it was with the extra cost of shipping it around in wooden crates, presumably built into the cost. And then I get into the mental exercise of comparing the environmental impact of wooden crates versus cardboard boxes, extra fuel and exhaust to ship wooden crates versus the disposable nature of the cardboard boxes.
And I get stuck because you can reuse cardboard boxes over and over until they wear out or get damaged. People just don't reuse them much. Exactly, because they're so wonderfully light and cheap that we take them utterly for granted. But if a Christmas story is to be believed, they've only been introduced in like my boss's lifetime. So how is their impact so invisible to us? Our corrugated cardboard boxes, a classic textbook case study that all the materials scientists know about and no one else does like 3M Scotch tape is a classic case study in business circles and the Snow White had cholera outbreak.
Is the progenitor of infographics or is it like the Happy Birthday song where it's so elegantly simple that everyone assumes that sprang forth from the primordial is fully formed and ready to ship? Inquiring minds want to know? So that's my holiday episode suggestion. The history of corrugated cardboard boxes.
The e-mail goes on a bit from this, but to have time to answer the question, I'm going to stop it there. So thank you, Eva, for this email. I actually have gotten things shipped in boxes like that. One of them. It was from one of those places where you you opened your mail and there's a surprising and strange thing there, that's part of a mystery. And as you solved the mystery and the end, you get something special that's like the sort of capstone piece to this mysterious thing that you have unfolded through your through the things you've gotten in the mail.
And the final thing that we got was, was in a wooden crate very like that. Also, when I was a child, my brother and I desperately wanted to play house. Playhouses are very expensive. What my father did was cut a door into a shipping crate that had been used for a refrigerator. And that became our playhouse. So neither of those things, what I call a normal shipping circumstance, what I really think is happening in a Christmas story is that that shipping crate, which looks like like a museum shipping crate.
Like, that's part of the joke, but that is like here is your box of very carefully packed leg lamp. What in the world?
Because it is a precious artifact, Tracy. That's why. Yeah, it's it's incredibly important. It looks a lot more like you would see like an antiquity shipped to a collector than an ordinary thing that you would have shipped to your home cardboard.
However, very briefly, cardboard was developed in the mid 19th century, and by the early 20th century, cardboard boxes were coming into common use. So by the time this this film takes place, there were plenty of cardboard boxes. I really do think it is that is for comedic effect to hype up what is the magical wonder that is in this box. And it is a leg lamp leg.
Me, I don't know if you had something you wanted to add with that, Ali. No, I'm suddenly thinking about how many when she mentioned shipping alcohol, how many places were really just making alcohol for local consumption for a long time.
Oh, yeah. Being shipped around that idea of like sourcing alcohol from different magical places. So it is a little modern, but not entirely. Yeah, yeah. That would be an interesting and fun study. Rabbit hole to go down.
Yeah. Well in that, that made me think about the way less. Happy sounding like the the rum trade and how that was connected to both sugar and slavery, but that was also like a, you know, 18th and 19th century shipping things a long way on a boat. Right.
Not quite the kind of direct to consumer package. And I think not at all, although also often distilled locally so that people that landed on those islands. Oh, yeah. It had been at sea would have it as part of their healthy regimen.
Hmm. Was it's I don't know, I that suddenly took me down the mental rabbit hole of the various places near me that have started delivering from their, you know, their liquor and beer and wine stores during the pandemic. Something I have taken advantage of during these times, so thank you again for this delightfully written email. I hope we have.
You have answered your question satisfactorily. I don't know that we will do an episode on the history of cardboard, but I did think this was a fun email to listen to read and talk about.
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