Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 46 | Reading | Digging Up The Dirt on History

Welcome back, people! Here’s a very long reading (and the one I did in the podcast down below), along with the questions for you guys to answer. I hope you enjoy this!

If you had to imagine a Viking, most likely you’d see a wild and filthy man, basic but deadly ax in hand, racing up a beach, intent on destruction and making off with stolen treasure. It’s a pervasive image that has been popularized throughout modern culture, reinforced by all kinds of media from comics to advertising campaigns.
The reality is decidedly different. The Danes who set out for other countries during the Dark Ages were traders and craftsmen whose first interest was in engaging in commerce with locals and seeking new agricultural opportunities. Viking men also took great pride in their appearance. Excavated artefacts from old Viking villages suggest that while some men were sharpening their knives for combat, others were using ornamental combs and razors to maintain complex hair and bear styles. Certainly, the dramatic version is more exciting, but the truth is that Vikings spread knowledge and passed on skills that greatly enriched the cultures of the places they reached.
Vikings are not the only ones whose history has been fictionalized or, at the very least, embellished. Despite the vast archaeological evidence revealing the story of Ancient Egypt, countless myths about this period remain. A common invention is that the servants who had been attending the Pharaoh during his reign found themselves shut inside his tomb upon his death, yet of the more than 300 pharaohs who ruled Egypt, only two followed this practice. The rest had themselves buried with ‘Shabtis’: clay or wooden figurines that could assist the pharaohs in the afterlife.

Gateway C1

For the full story, view my podcast down below. Questions follow….


  1. Comics and advertising campaigns have recently shown more authentic representations of Vikings.
  2. There is physical proof that Vikings followed a careful grooming regime.
  3. It was only the earliest Pharaohs who had their servants entombed alongside them.
  4. It was actually a gladiator who decided on the fate of the person he was fighting.
  5. People who saw Wagner’s operas in the 19th century were skeptical about how realistic the costumes were.
  6. Most British artists had never seen an accurate picture of Napoleon before they painted him.
  7. The knowledge that the world was round has been lost by the 15th century.
  8. Film producers are just as likely to manipulate the trust for recent events as ones occurring long ago.

For each of the questions above, decide whether they are T/F/NG

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