Obscure historical jokes and facts
This section is dedicated to cataloging the more obscure historical references, jokes, facts, and even mistakes that show up in the Epic Rap Battles of History
. These are sorted by rap battle, in the order that the battles were released.
Abraham Lincoln vs. Chuck Norris
- Lincoln: I never told a lie and and I won't start now
- This is a sneaky bit of historical misattribution. The original context was the fable of George Washington and the cherry tree, where Washington cut down one of his father's trees, then confessed to it, claiming that he could not tell a lie. While this story was probably not true, it was used to enshrine the memory of the first President of the United States. Years later, the story became warped by oral telling and time, and some versions replaced Washington in the story with Lincoln. That's why we have it used by Lincoln in this rap battle.
Albert Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking
- <Einstein sticking his tongue out at multiple points>
- There is actually a well known picture of Einstein doing just that. Einstein was known for being a bit of a showman as well as a scientist, and a number of his more eccentric behaviors were actually intentionally done to amuse the public.
- Hawking: I'm about to bake raps from scratch like Carl Sagan
- This is based off a quote by Carl Sagan, an fairly well-known astrophysicist. "If you wish to bake an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." Sagan himself meant that the universe, with all the elements thereof, had to exist before you can make those elements into an apple pie or anything else. In the rap battle's context, it's likely a Badass Boast, implying Hawking is capable of inventing the universe.
Genghis Khan vs. The Easter Bunny
- <The announcer pronounces Genghis's name with a hard G>
- This is actually a common misconception, due to the most common spelling of his name. The first G is soft, leading many historians to adopt alternative names for him such as Jenghis or even Chingiz.
- Easter Bunny: The Great Wall couldn't keep you out of China
- This statement is technically true, but is misleading all the same. At the time the Mongols invaded China, the Great Wall was not a singular wall, but consisted of several smaller walls that would not be connected until later centuries. As defensive structures, they were basically useless, since they could be ridden around and were typically undermanned anyway. On the other hand, the Mongols had greater difficulty with the more fortified walls that surrounded several Chinese cities, but most of this happened years after Genghis Khan had died.
- Genghis Khan: ...then butcher your family, and make a new coat!
- This is a really subtle historical reference. According to Mongol tradition, Genghis Khan started his conquests by trading away a valuable fur coat (which was a dowry owed to his family that he had collected) in exchange for a force of fighting men.
- Genghis Khan: Now my DNA's in dudes from New York to Japan!
- Not entirely accurate. The starcluster C3* Y-chromosome is likely a mongoloid genetic marker, and is present in about 8% of men in parts of Eastern Asia, with this not counting immigration into other parts of the world. However, it is highly unlikely that it's directly connected to Genghis Khan himself, and was probably already spread around before his conquests began. This is a major point of contention, as many people from Mongolia revere Genghis Khan and continue to make this claim.