Best history TV factual errors of all time

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Band of Brothers picture

Carentan - S1-E3

Factual error: In this episode we see Blithe get shot in the neck and are told that he died in 1948. In reality he was shot in the shoulder and survived. He later served in Korea and was promoted to master sergeant as well as receiving the paratrooper of the year award. Blithe died in 1967 while on active duty in Germany.

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Rome picture

Stealing From Saturn - S1-E4

Factual error: The verse Octavia recites is from Virgilius' poem "the Aeneid". That poem was written at least a quarter of a decade after the death of Caesar.

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Attila picture

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Factual error: Aetius' troops don't look anything like 5th century Roman soldiers. They are carrying a large rectangular shield, a pilum (a spear which was used for throwing) and a sword (gladius) on their right. This was typical for the Roman army until about the 3rd century A.D. In Aetius' time, the soldiers would have had smaller oval shields, a hasta (a lance used for stabbing and for fending off cavalry attacks) and a sword (spatha) on their left. Also, there would be an enormous amount of "barbarian" mercenaries in the Roman army (Goths, Vandals, even Huns.), so it was hardly a Roman army anymore. And where's Aetius' cavalry?

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The Kennedys picture

A Father's Great Expectations - S1-E1

Factual error: When JFK leaves to become a PT-boat commander he is wearing full lieutenant's rank insignia. He was actually a lieutenant junior grade when he took command of PT-109.

Necrothesp
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Blackadder picture

Ink and Incapability - S3-E2

Factual error: Dr. Johnson completed his dictionary in 1755, 7 years before the Prince Regent was born (1762). So it's unlikely for him to be asking the Prince for patronage.

David Mercier
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The Blue and the Gray picture

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Factual error: Disc 2: There is a scene where a cannon shell explodes inside a hospital ward. Everyone in the ward is killed, but there are no signs of limbs torn off or even shrapnel wounds, only some blood here and there. The same thing happens at the Battle of Bull Run when the old woman gets blown out of her bedroom by cannon fire. (01:32:00)

Daz
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The Borgias picture

The Poisoned Chalice - S1-E1

Factual error: In the Pope's coronation procession they play the anthem Zadok the Priest. It was composed by Handel for the coronation of George II in 1727, 235 years after this coronation took place.

Necrothesp
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Underground picture

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Factual error: "Underground" is set in 1857 Georgia, yet the padded baseball glove August Pullman gives to his son is of a type used during the early 20th century. Before 1883 when padded gloves were first manufactured, gloves were either not used by baseball players or railroad brakeman's gloves were used.

Scott215
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The Path to 9/11 picture

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Factual error: Throughout the series, traffic in Pakistan is depicted driving on the right. In Pakistan, traffic drives on the left.

Necrothesp
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Victoria picture

A Soldier's Daughter - S2-E1

Factual error: Captain Souter is shown lying dead in the snow following the massacre at Gandamak. In fact, Thomas Souter was one of the few who survived to be captured by the Afghans and was later freed.

Necrothesp
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Birdsong picture

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Factual error: The battalion commander wears the correct crown and pip of a lieutenant-colonel, but the four cuff rings of a full colonel (lieutenant-colonels wore three).

Necrothesp
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Masada picture

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Factual error: The Essenes climb Masada bearing the scrolls. Just as Joseph Wiseman is framed solo, a black SUV drives from left-to-right below him on the road.

tedloveslisa Premium member
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Daniel Boone picture

The Perilous Journey - S2-E13

Factual error: At the end, Daniel Boone is met by the Marquis de Lafayette, played by an actor in his 60s. When he arrived in the American Colonies to aid the revolution, Lafayette was 19 years old.

Jean G
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Shogun picture

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Factual error: When they first meet, Rodrigues tells Blackthorne that aboard his ship there is plenty of food and grog. The problem is that grog was not "invented" until 1740, when it was introduced into the British Navy by Admiral Edward Vernon, who was nicknamed "Old Grog" because of his habit of wearing a grogram coat.

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Roots picture

Part 1 Roots: The Saga of An American Family - S1-E1

Factual error: The slave ship 'Lord Ligonier' flies the White Ensign. This has always been reserved for the Royal Navy; British merchant ships (as American ships were in 1765) have flown the Red Ensign since 1674.

Necrothesp
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The Pacific picture

Guadalcanal/Leckie - S1-E1

Factual error: The climax of the first episode, The Battle of The Tenaru River, is not historically accurate. Leckie did not run about shoring holes in the Marine defensive line. The real heroes of the engagement known variously as The Battle of Alligator Creek (a misnomer - no alligators in the South Pacific), Battle of the Tenaru River (mismarked on Marine maps, properly known as The Battle of The Ilu a tidal lagoon) were Marines Leroy Diamond, Al Schimd and John Rivers. These men accounted for over 200 Japanese KIA. All three paid dearly. Rivers was killed, Diamond sustained over 8 bullet wounds and Schmid was blinded. For their gallantry in action the three were awarded the Nation's second highest honor the Navy Cross. An accurate depiction of this battle was in the movie "Pride of the Marines."

Bill Freedman
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The Sinking of the Laconia picture

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Factual error: Although addressed as "Kapitänleutnant" in the film, Hartenstein had actually been promoted to Korvettenkapitän three months before the film is set. He is never seen wearing rank insignia, but he does correctly wear a Korvettenkapitän's oak leaves on his cap peak.

Necrothesp
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Vikings picture

Burial of the Dead - S1-E6

Factual error: The snakes in the King of England's pit are all constrictors. They do not have venom and are too small to see a human as prey, yet they show a man dying from a bite by one of these snakes.

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Jamestown picture

Episode #1.2 - S1-E2

Factual error: The settlers prepare to burn Verity at the stake as a witch. Witches were never burned in England or her colonies; they were hanged.

Necrothesp
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War & Peace picture

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Factual error: Pierre Bezukhov's spectacles are of the type with nose pads, which were not invented until the late 1920's.

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