1. The word “fork” is derived from the Latin furca, which means . The first dining forks were used by the ruling class in the Middle East and the Byzantine Empire.
In 1004, Maria Argyropoulina, niece of the Byzantine emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII, was married to the son of the  of Venice. She brought with her a little case of two-pronged golden forks, which she used at her wedding feast. The Venetians were shocked, and when Maria died three years later of the , Saint Peter Damian proclaimed it was God’s punishment. And with that, Saint Peter Damian closed the book on the fork in Europe for the next  hundred years.
2. The first known cards, developed in the  century A.D. were the size of dominoes. In China, card games became popular as an activity that was good for the mind—meditative, yet challenging, as well as social.
3. For many living in ancient Africa, Asia and Oceania, pillows were stiffer than the stuffed cushions we have come to rely on for a good night’s sleep. These early pillows, some dating as far back as the  Dynasty (around 2707-2369 BC) look a bit like child-sized stools with a curved piece resting upon a pillar. These stands supported the , not the , perhaps to safeguard the elaborate hairdos that were en vogue.
[H/T The Smithsonian]