Do you mean to tell us Robin Hood wasn’t a fetching fox? Next, you’re going to tell us Prince John’s advisor Sir Hiss wasn’t a hilariously villainous talking snake. While the Robin Hood tale became popular in the 13th and 14th centuries, it was never confirmed as truthful.
Numerous outlaws of the period referred to themselves as Robin Hood, since it described their sneaky activities. It was like the “anonymous” of the era. Other researchers believe that the tale was based on the nobleman Fulk FitzWarin, which has multiple notable similarities. However, the tales you’ll see on the screen are pretty much made-up wholesale.
Before you get all huffy, this one is very much debated, with most on the side of the bard. There are some researchers who question the legitimacy of the Shakespeare name – obviously, the plays are real, and someone did right them. Even “Timon of Athens.”
Some researchers, however, believe that it was a pen name. One theory says that he was actually a man named Edward de Vere and that all his work was published after his death under the nom de plume of Shakespeare. While only a small number of academics believe in this theory, there is continued interest by people who were really bored during school.
You might have started laughing at this one, but apparently, the story of the 1998 “Mulan” animated Disney movie is based on a Chinese folk tale. The tale follows much the same story – the main character, Hua Mulan, takes her father's place in the conscription, fights against nomadic hordes, and eventually reveals her gender, much to the astonishment of her comrades.
However, scholars generally believe the tale to be a fictional one. The first record of the story was a folk song believed to have been composed during the Northern Wei dynasty, which ran from 386 AD to 535 AD. There was no goofy dragon, either.
If you get chills running down your spine when you read this name, thank your algebra class. Pythagoras was responsible for that theorem about triangles and their sides, but he might not have been a real person. Historians have no proof that Pythagoras wrote any of his work down, making it hard to give him any of the credit.
There's also the fact that not many people were doing math equations on the celestial spheres during the time he was thought to be. One way or another, his work has been torturing math students for centuries, but who knows if this math master was a real person.
There are a few Marys in the Bible, but this one isn't Jesus's mother – instead, she's the repentant sinner that washes his feet in expensive perfume and witnesses his resurrection. The confusion comes from the fact that many believe she was working in a... not very respectable occupation... but there's no Biblical evidence of that.
Mary was a popular name at the time (and has been ever since), so it's possible she got mixed up with another character. There's also no scriptural evidence that she would later become Mary Poppins, but whoa, how cool would that be. No, she simply washed the Messiah's feet – an act that meant a lot more back then. Things were filthy.