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Toxic CustardHistory of the World

Ladies and gentlemen, climb into your police-box, put your weird time-trousers on, cast your spells, call your travel agent, or do whatever you normally do when you travel through time... but come with us on a trip through time...

Watch breathless as history happens before your eyeballs. What wacky events will happen? Who will discover whom? Who will declare war on whom? Set against the background of a world half undiscovered by the other half, who are far too busy being irritable and burning each other at the stake to discover anything, we present the History Of The World...

1800-1700 BC
The first use in Egypt of papyrus. Before long, Egyptians on their way to work would be reading the morning papyrus on the camel train. In 1748 BC the first Scroll Three girls were introduced by papyrus baron Rupmur Doch. Yes, that is a very very bad try at an ancient Egyptian name.

1400 BC
Moses finally gets sick of Egypt and walks out, taking all his mates with him. He gets into an argument with some dam builders along the way and wins a monumental bet from them. He also ghost-writes the world's first ten point etiquette guide.

1300-1200 BC
The Hittites, controlling Mesopotamia, discover the wonders of smelting iron, and open iron smelting shops up and down the country. In them, tough and/or sinewy men stand around very hot furnaces cracking dirty jokes, and pinning up Scroll Three girls. The Hittites, having armed their men to the teeth with big hammers, Singer sewing machines and complete spanner sets, then clash with Egypt. History says that neither wins, and both empires begin to crumble. I say one crumbled a tad more than the other. In fact, I say I've never heard of the Hittites. 'Nuff said?

1180 BC
The famous Siege of Troy, where the Greeks came up with the idea of giving away free samples (of giant wooden horses) for product promotion and genocidal purposes. The horse is left outside the gates of Troy, loaded with Greek warriors, who manage to keep from giggling while the Trojans drag it back inside. The rest is history. Now, where does Pandora fit into all this?

c1060-c970 BC
David is king of Israel. During this time, the first negotiations take place with the PLO, but to no avail. The rest of the world eagerly waits for a resolution...

c970-c940 BC
Solomon is king of Israel. Sheesh, why couldn't Israel make up its mind? Anyway, Solomon uses his enormous wealth to build the Temple at Jerusalem. Others argue that such a large infrastructure project should not be contemplated under such economic conditions. Solomon starts to get irritated when a petition is raised by local residents fearing noise from prayers and the destruction of a local beauty spot (where the sand is piled into particularly picturesque dunes).

800 BC
The Phoenicians found Carthage. They shouldn't have lost it in the first place. Carthage had actually been left on the bus from Dandios to Chadzintium in 802 BC, and had been sitting in a lost property office for 18 months. The Phoenicians just happened to be going past the lost property office the day before everything got auctioned off, so as you can see, it was a pretty close run thing.

776 BC
First Olympiad. Karlos Lewisophonos is stripped of his gold medallion when it is found he has been using performance enhancing herbs. Greek women protest at their non-admittance, mainly because they want to see the athletes, who are competing nude. Several well-endowed athletes injure themselves during the running events, inspiring the Pole Vault for the next Olympics.

753 BC
Rome founded. It probably involves some Caesar or other digging the first sod, or opening a plaque, or some other kind of ceremony. "I hereby declare this Empire open. May Zeus bless her, and all who live in her." Something like that. Followed by an inaugural crucifixion.

750-550 BC
Greek city states emerge on Greek mainland and around the coasts of the Mediterranean and Black sea. It's probably about now that the name "Macedonia" first gets argued about.

691 BC
Assyrians conquer Egypt. The Assyrian accountants spend endless summer evenings arguing about how the Egyptians ever could have raised the cash to build the pyramids, especially during the recession of 3000 BC. An attempted calculation of the depreciation on the Sphinx causes overloads on several abacuses (abacii?)

660 BC
First Mikado in Japan meets rapturous applause and goes on to do a six month season at the Tokyo National Theatre.

659 BC First Pirates Of Penzance in Japan. We don't really need to take this joke any further, do we?

612 BC
Chaldeans conquer Assyrians (just as they were getting their heads around tax rebates for infrastructure investments) and establish second Babylonian Empire. They are condemned for their execution and torture of civilians, and for giving inspiration for Boney M over 2000 years later.

597 BC
Nebuchadnezzar, Chaldean emperor, captures Jerusalem in a campaign of rock throwing and car bombs, and carries off the Jews into captivity.

594 BC
Solon lays the foundations of Athenian democracy. Unfortunately, stone voting tablets make counting a real pain in the arse.

560 BC
Buddha born. It wasn't until later that he put on weight. It is not recorded whether or not he gained hair before losing it all again. Amongst his most amazing achievements is getting copyright over his own image, which means that if you look carefully you'll find a "Copyright (c) Buddha Holdings Inc, 520 BC" on the bottom of every Buddha. Well, okay, not the bottom... oh, you know what I mean.

551 BC
Confucious born. His first great saying is "goo gaa gggoo blarp."

539-525 BC
Cyrus, king of Persia, makes himself master of Asia Minor, captures Babylon... and then gets told off by his mother for leaving all his clothes on the floor. He later founds the Persian empire and opens up carpet factories nationwide. (Well, they come from somewhere, you know.)

525 BC
Cambyses, Cyrus's successor, conquers Egypt. In one famous incident, more than 500 of his soldiers all shit themselves simultaneously when they first spot the Sphinx. (Well, I probably would too if came across a giant stone cat sitting in the desert that I hadn't already seen on a postcard.)

510 BC
After much debate, proposals for new flags, and generally making fun of the royal family, Rome becomes a republic.

490 BC
Athens unsuccessfully tries to help Greek cities in Asia Minor revolt against their Persian overlords. When it is clear that they have failed, leaders in Athens overwhelmingly say "oops". Darius I of Persia lands a force in Greece to punish Athens, but they are beaten at Marathon. They just couldn't make the distance.

480 BC
Xerxes makes a second attempt to crush Greece, but he doesn't have a large enough steam-roller, and so occupies Athens instead. But the Persian fleet is destroyed by salami. Destroyed by salami? What, huge sausages of salami that fall from the sky and sink the ships? The curse of the Delicatessen God is fulfilled!?
Oh sorry, that should have been "destroyed at Salamis".

479 BC
Persians defeated at Plaetaea. Not their decade, was it?

455 BC
The Parthenon is proposed, but fails to get planning approval.

447-438 BC
During Greece's "golden age", free of the Persian menace, the Parthenon is finally built. Protesters delay building, claiming it will ruin the landscape, be an eyesore, and all those other things that people protesting new buildings go on about. A riot between supporters of Ionic, Corinthian and Doric columns takes place.

431-404 BC
Athens and Sparta have a battle, but the generals are so drunk when it comes to naming the war that when someone suggests 'Peloponnesian War' they all agree thoroughly, and shout from the rooftops that it is not only a great name for the war, it's the *only* possible name for it. That any other name for it would be a crime. The war ends with the capture of Athens.

390 BC
Gauls capture Rome using some super-strength magic potion their druid made for them. The Romans regain the city by paying a huge ransom, including 250 crucifixes, a dozen discounted aqueducts and free plumbing for a year.

359 BC
Philip becomes king of Macedonia (I wonder if that's the Greek one or the Slav one?) He sets to make himself overlord of quarrelsome Greek cities. ("My streets are wider than yours!" "Are not!" "Are too!" "Well at least my river doesn't smell!" "Ooh! You take that back!")

338 BC
Philip defeats combined armies of Athens and Thebes and becomes master of Greece. His catchcry is "Take a closer look", and before long he has many Greek cities producing discount consumer electronics.

336 BC
Philip assassinated. After Lee Harvos Oswaldopoulos is arrested for the assassination, the third slingshot theory is ruled out. Philip is succeeded by his son, Alexander the Gratefuldead.

333 BC
Alexander walks all over Darius III of Persia and strolls into Egypt, where he founds Alexandria. City planners begin planning their bid for the Seventh Wonder Of The World, basing it around a lighthouse motif. I can't see it working nowadays.

327 BC
Alexander extends his empire as far as the Indus. He proceeds to show-off enormously, proclaiming "hey girls, look at the size of my empire!"

323 BC
Alexander dies; the empire crumbles like a set of dominoes being decapitated by an axe-wielding lunatic in an earthquake. It is divided among his generals, who hang it upside down for a couple of days, and then cook it for lunch.

280 BC
Pyrrus and the Greeks get together to kick some Roman butt.

275 BC
Rome defeats Pyrrus, and becomes mistress of southern Italy. (What the WHOLE of southern Italy?! All at once? I hope Rome was careful, and took precautions against nasty diseases. Nowadays, Rome would probably shun all that unrestrained... stuff)

264 BC
First Punic War between Rome and Carthage for control of Sicily. Excuse me? "Punic" War?! Who on earth came up with that? I'd expect something at least a little butch. Perhaps the "War Of All Eternity", or the "Vicious Bastard Knife In The Guts And Sword Through The Jugular War". But "Punic"??

260-256 BC
The Romans continue to battle their way around Italy, ignoring the protests of Carthaginian hippies, who declare the whole concept of conquest to be really uncool, and the city of Rome to be bad vibesville.

246 BC
Great Wall of China built. Unfortunately, due to its length, it is impossible to guard it, and before too long Mongol graffitists have decorated most of their side. I wonder if Hadrian had that problem?

241 BC
Carthage loses Sicily, and fails to find it at the Lost Property Office, despite leaving a name-tag on it.

238 BC
Carthage sets out to create new empire in Spain. Their leaders strive, but fail, to make up a better name for a war than "Punic". But it does leave scope for authors over 2200 years later to make jokes about battles involving clothing to be called the Tunic Wars.

225 BC
The Gauls and the Romans get into a tiff, the Gauls returning home with their (figurative) tails between their (collective) legs. Rome extends the frontiers northwards, now controlling all of Italy.

219 BC
Second Punic War. An accident-prone 26-year old Carthaginian general, known as Hannibal to his friends, strolls into Italy. (Note that courses on ancient history inevitably include Hannibal Lectures.)

217 BC
Hannibal destroys a Roman army at Lake Trasimene. Oops.

216 BC
Hannibal destroys a second Roman army at Cannae. Oops again. Told you he was accident-prone. The Romans demand that he pay for the damage before leaving.

210-206 BC
A Roman army that has managed to keep out of Hannibal's way conquers Spain with a bullet, going to the top of the Warriors' charts in less than three weeks.

204 BC
The Romans continue their world tour, crossing from Spain to Africa in a triumphant wave of publicity. Fourteen Roman generals are tipped to win in the annual Kablammy Awards for excellence in war, invasion, destruction and persecution.

202-201 BC
Hannibal returns to Africa to save Carthage, but is defeated at Zama. Hannibal drops from the Top 10 of the Warriors charts, which for another four hundred years will be dominated by Romans. Carthage surrenders and hands Spain over to Rome.

166 BC
Tartar invasion of China. China retaliates, sending in forces under the command of Mayonnaise, HP Sauce and Ketchup.

149 BC
Third Punic War. Rome resolves to destroy Carthage. So have you noticed a running theme in these history things? War. So-and-so invades whoever. Whatsername annhilates the other dudes. I get the feeling that either (a) people back then weren't terribly nice, (b) that they hadn't heard of the old world order, let alone the new one, or (c) the wars were the only thing the historians could be bothered writing down.

146 BC
Carthage destroyed. All right, who did that? We're not going to continue with history until whoever destroyed Carthage owns up. We'll be here all day if necessary.
Ah, so it was the Romans, was it? Go and stand in the corner. That wasn't a nice thing to do, was it? One more stunt like that, and you Romans will be removed from History early without any dinner.

102 BC
Marius drives back invading German tribes, refusing to buy their luxury chariots.

91 BC
Revolt of Italian cities belonging to Rome but with no say in government. Oh come on Rome - be nice! Let them join in the democracy! You won't get dessert if you don't begin political reform!

89 BC
All Italians become Roman citizens. All right! At last they get to go to the circus and be in the audience, rather than the lion-food. Mind you - it's a shame for the lions. Myself, I love Italian.

88-86 BC
Marius and Sulla have a bit of a tiff. Marius runs away to Africa. Sulla nips off to Greece for a quick fighting holiday, and Marius gets back with a suntan and grabs power. But then Marius dies. Bummer.

82 BC
Sulla arrives back, also with a tan, massacres his enemies, and becomes dictator. Doesn't sound like a very agreeable person.

78 BC
Sulla dies. Marius would be dancing on his grave, if Marius hadn't died eight years earlier. But of course, this is a minor consideration. In fact, it's not recorded (at least, not here) whether or not Marius' ghost dances on Sulla's grave. Or even if Sulla has a grave. Perhaps he is taken by aliens, or is thrown into a bog. Who can tell? Not me, sitting 2000 years later typing this.

73 BC
Following a breakdown in negotiations, Spartacus leads revolt of 60,000 members of the Federated Slaves Union.

71-70 BC
Crassus crushes Spartacus revolt with a 20 ton weight. Crassus and Pompey reduce the power of the Senate.

66-62 BC
Pompey captures Jerusalem, conquers Syria and advances to the Euphrates. Busy bloke. "All right lads, that's Syria done... c'mon, it's only lunchtime.. time to invade another continent!"

60 BC
Pompey, Crassus and Caesar divide Rome's government between them, forming a Triumvirate, even though none of them can work out what it means. Caesar begins conquest of Gaul. Peter Arnett of the Caesarian News Network, in Gaul when the conquest begins, asks Caesar why it is taking place. Caesar replies, saying something in Latin, which Arnett can't understand.

53 BC
The Triumvirate Baseball game begins. Crassus defeated and killed by Parthians. Strike one!

51 BC
Caesar completes conquest of Gaul. Peter Arnett leaves in disgust, and decides to go to Baghdad and wait for something to happen there.

49-48 BC
Caesar sneaks up on Pompey, who escapes to Egypt and is murdered. Strike two!

44 BC
Caesar is murdered. Et tu Brute an' all that. Strike three!

43 BC
Octavian, Caesar's nephew, Antony and Lepidus form Second Triumvirate, despite still nobody knowing what it means. Octavian ignores all the laughter about his name.

42 BC
Octavian and Antony defeat Brutus and Cassius, chief plotters against Caesar. Octavian rules Rome's west, while Antony rules the east, and gets it on with Cleopatra. Octavian continues to ignore the jibes about his name.

31 BC
Octavian defeats Antony and Cleopatra at Actium, after he hears that Antony said his name sounded poofy.

30 BC
Deaths of Antony and Cleopatra. Meanwhile, Octavian finally gets hold of a very early draft of the dictionary, and learns to his disappointment that Triumvirate has nothing to do with virility or bizarre sexual practices. Oh well.

27 BC
Octavian finally gives in to pressure, and changes his name to Augustus. Oh, and he becomes the first Roman Emperor. And manages to get a month named after him. Not bad for a Thursday.

4 BC
True birthdate of Jesus. So, let me get this straight. Jesus Christ was born 4 years before himself. Is this the result of some sort of miscalculation on someone's part, or an unusual time distortion?

All the calendars change from BC to AD, which must have been very confusing for the people around at the time. I'm glad I wasn't around then. Not only would it mean that I would be dead now, but heck, even Daylight Saving confuses me.

  Next: 1-499AD

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