I watched for short moments the live broadcast by BBC today, it was about pope retiring. One of the journalists said about the uniforms of the Swiss Guard that those were designed by Michelangleo. No, there were designed during the beginning of the XXc. Did Dan Brown was talking about it? Yes, he did. Pop cultural version of historical facts.
|Form Wiki commons, part of treatise about opitcs by Bacon|
There are more opinions repeated as facts.For example that people during medieval times believed that Earth was flat. No, already ancient Greeks knew about spherical Earth and would be difficult to find any scholar who believed in flat Earth.Or that all believed that the Earth was center of the Universe. Or that medicine was based on prayers and superstition. ( Medieval medicine if wasn't folk medicine was exactly the same as in Antiquity). Or that in medicine there was no dissection of corpses at all. Or that there was no interest in chemistry. (It was, thanks to Arab writings which were read by monks). There is quite a number of strange beliefs about history of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, which don't get corrected by the pop culture.Why? Because those beliefs help to create those periods in some kind of monolitic icons which than have more popular appeal.
After all it is more interesting to say and believe that the Swiss Guards uniforms were designed by such a giant as Michelangelo himself, instead of giving credit to some obscure commandant of XXc. People often say that history was written by victors ( not exactly correct, it was actually written by others than victors too). Not only victors shape views of history, also common biases and what are common preferences, what people gladly believe, and what they dismiss as uninteresting, even if the uninteresting facts are closer to historical truth than interesting historical pieces of gossip.