Page 433. " case or an iron maiden "


Iron maiden and other torture instruments
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeIron maiden and other torture instruments - Credit: epbechthold

An iron maiden  is a torture device which consists of an iron cabinet, with a hinged front, sufficiently tall to enclose a human being. Inside, it is usually lined with iron spikes.  It often has a small hatch,  so that the torturer can interrogate the victim. The iron maiden, though often associated with the Middle Ages,  was not invented until the late 18th century: no account of the iron maiden can be found earlier than 1793.


Page 433. " from the ruins of Versailles "
Versailles, View from the Park
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeVersailles, View from the Park - Credit: Marc Vassal

The Palace of Versailles is a magnificent royal château in France and a World Heritage Site. When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, it is a suburb of Paris, some twenty kilometres southwest of the French capital.

The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return there in October 1789 after the beginning of French Revolution.

Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol absolute monarchy.  


Page 433. " what happened to Atlantis "

The Last of Atlantis
Public DomainThe Last of Atlantis - Credit: Nicholas Roerich
 Atlantis  is a legendary island first mentioned by Plato, who stated that  Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa  approximately around 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".

Scholars dispute whether and how much Plato's story or account was inspired by older traditions. While little known during the Middle Ages, the story of Atlantis was rediscovered by Humanists in the Early Modern period.

Various sites have been proposed as the location of Atlantis - in or near the Mediterranean Sea, in the Atlantic ocean, in the Bermuda Triangle. In the Mediterranean, the Thera eruption, dated  17th or 16th century BC, caused a large tsunami that experts hypothesize devastated the Minoan civilization on the nearby island of Crete, further leading some to believe that this may have been the catastrophe that inspired the story.


Page 449. " the fly became a marmoset "

Creative Commons AttributionMarmoset - Credit: Carmem A. Busko
 Marmosets are any of the 25 New World monkey species of the biological family Callitrichidae. Most marmosets are about 20 centimetres (8 in) long. Relative to other monkeys, they show some apparently primitive features, like claws rather than nails, and tactile hairs on their wrists. Marmosets are highly active, living in the upper canopy of forest trees, and feeding on insects, fruit and leaves.