Whose Birthday Is It? March 19, 2018

Sir Richard Frances Burton (1821)

Burton lived a life of adventure and scandal as an explorer, translator, fencer, ethnologist, poet, and spy. He spoke at least 25 languages and put these skills to use translating works like the Arabian Nights and Kama Sutra into English. His linguistic skills also helped him pass himself off as a Muslim so that he could visit the forbidden holy cities of Mecca and Medina. After he died, his wife burned 40 years’ worth of his diaries. What caused the distinctive scars on his face? More…

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