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Historic The ask questions about history thread.

Discussion in 'History & Military Discussion' started by Arrou, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. Not really? I mean, at least my experience if medieval and older historiography doesn't seem to back that up. I mean, they do focus on wars more than social history, but most of their histories don't come even close to "a timeline of wars."

    Not sure who you're reading that this is the case with, tbh.
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  2. CV12Hornet

    CV12Hornet Riter.

    Tacoma, Washington
    Not really? I mean, most of the writing from ancient Mesopotamia we have is financial records, for instance. And a lot of medieval chronicles I've read focus on literally anything that was going on, which included wars but also, well, everything else.

    Otherwise, I agree with Ironanvil about historiography prioritizing wars and their outcomes. Social history has only really gotten serious traction since the 1970s, IIRC. Plus, we're a board of sci-fi nerds spunoff from Spacebattles. Enough said.
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  3. Fernandel

    Fernandel Lovely Writing, Tendency to Waffle Councillor

    That really says more about the people that record and study history more than anything else.

    Also, people wrote about things other than war all the the time. Things like food, religion, cultus, laws, houses, architecture, and minor stuff like bathing habits have been described in historical accounts since the time of the Romans. Like, Tacitus did that.

    Whether they're all that accurate is another question entirely...
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  4. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Across the Horizon
    Well, popular history prioritizes wars. Military history has actually quite unfortunately been pointedly ignored in recent years, a result of the pendeulum shifting too much in the direction of economic and cultural history. Serious social history still has a ways to go by comparison.
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  5. This is true, but by this standard, Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian are all different languages, but these languages have about as many differences as say Putonghua VS Fuzhouhua. In linguistics, there is no solid criterion about how different two ways of communicating have to be before they are two languages rather than two dialects. In the words of Max Weinreich, "a language is a dialect with an army and navy." Obviously, if there is 0% mutual intelligibility (English VS Chinese), these must be separate languages. But what about 50% mutual intelligibility? 70%? 90%? What about Galician vs Spanish vs Portuguese? There's no objectively obvious dividing line here. Instead, governments are able to put the dividing line anywhere they want in the gray area. That's why Serbo-Croatian is a language family, but Chinese is a set of dialects.

    Personally, I'd put the line closer to the Chinese side and say Serbo-Croatian should be a group of dialects as well, but it is still arguable.

    EDIT: for a more English example, here is some Doric Scots, which is an dialect of Lowland Scots. Lowland Scots is recognized as an official minority language by the UK.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
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  6. The spices were hugely profitable in Europe (in a single returning ship will pay for the whole expedition several times over way), but not locally.

    But huge thing is that a lot of center's ability to administer territory is only withing spitting distance of the palace. If governor XYZ writes in the annual report "province still poor, harvest failure again, 0.01 dollars in taxes attached to the end of the letter" there is very few things the center can do. Big fact-finding mission will half-time be bribed to report falsely and the other half report falsely to increase their clout back home.
  7. It is les to do with cold weather (Though that would play a part) and more about agriculture. Many societies, Greeks included, utilized a bulk of their armies from people who worked the land. The average Greek Hoplite would be a small land holder who would have to tend to his own lands, so you didn't keep him under arms for too long usually. I mean unless you were conquering Persia and swimming in all the treasure you were stealing.
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  8. This is pretty much Roman History until maybe the dominate. Get rich off the backs of all the people you are looting until you run out of people to loot/all the time your armies spent in the field and all the slaves you've taken allow the fatass rich people back home to steal all your land.

    Probably because after the northern half of their empire was conquered by the jurchens, they realized that you really do need to get a handle on that whole war thing.

    The actual answer is that they did, periodically. But SE Asia really sucks to march armies through, so usually the issue is settled by tributes

    More that your armies don't all get malaria and die.

    I want to stress that SE Asia really fucking sucks to march armies through.

    India is 100 percent impossible to get to by a direct line between China and India. You have a giant desert, and then the world's highest mountain range. Small groups of people would rarely make that journey, much less armies.

    The Steppes aren't farmland. And they're inhabited by nomads. You can't effectively tax a population that picks up and moves, and you can't settle lands that aren't fertile. Thus the steppes are, effectively, useless to any Chinese dynasty. If you were campaigning there it is because the steppe peoples have been raiding too much, and you want to break their power, or to get them to pay you to go away (which, ironically, is what the steppe people do to you too)
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  9. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    The Yuan did march its armies through South China and they still defeated the remnants of the Song, malaria be damned.

    I won't argue against invading SE Asia was a bad idea, but tropical nations being invaded is not an impossible thing (see literally a good chunk of South America). The Yuan did end the Song in South China after all, even if it took a very long time to do so. They also held North Vietnam for quite a while being pushed back. And while the invasion to Pagan (Burma) and Indonesia flopped, it didn't mean it wasn't worth doing.

    Compare that to Alexander, who just didn't think going west was worth it. The east had Persia, and Persia was where its at. The west had Italy, and they totally never amounted to anything /s.
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  10. I have read that pre-columbian Americas did not have malaria
  11. How many invasions of the amazons do you think occurred :p? Even today the amazons are sparsely settled. South America isn't one giant rainforest.

    That said, I have no idea how SE asia compares to tropical parts of mexico in shittiness for human habitation. The Yuan did in fact invade SE asia in a series of campaigns. And they lost, multiple times, the same way that is almost thematic in the history of the region, their armies attritioned to a point where indigenous forces could defeat them. That said, most of SE asia paid tribute to the mongols anyways, because getting invaded still sucked. But SE Asia is simply too hard to secure from China. Or Europe. Or America as it turns out.

    The Yuan never conquered SE Asia. They did send a lot of people there to die in sickness and battle. The tributary status of some of the states can seen as aybe a capitulation, but the Yuan were clearly intending more.
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  12. Jemnite

    Jemnite Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.

    Hangzhou can hardly be considered South East Asia. There's an important distinction to be made between East Asia and south east Asia, and China was definitely of the former.

    When the yuan tried going to actual South East Asia, they meet with much the same fate other invaders did. Not even the mongols were the exception this time.
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  13. Admiral Skippy

    Admiral Skippy Labrador Wrestling Champion Moderator

    That's because the membership of SV trends to something like ninety percent young men, and usually a certain demographic of young men to whit. Which is fine but like, I'm honestly surprised that you're surprised. :V
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  14. Harbinger

    Harbinger The Dappergator

    Lancaster, PA
    Had Kaiser Frederick III somehow been able to get his cancer treated and had a much longer reign how might that have affected Germany's foreign policy to the early 20th century? Many think he would have promoted a much more liberal German society.
  15. How much Frederick III was a honest liberal, and how much the German liberals just projected their hopes on him, and how much was the influence by his British wife and the memoirs of him after his death.... is disputable. I don't think he was an actually ideologically committed liberal. But he would have been far more of a moderate than William II, of course. I'm not sure what this would have changed domestically. After all, the Emperor's government always found majorities in the Reichstag, anyway, and fighting against Socialists and the influence of the Catholic Church (the Kulturkampf) is also something a good liberal can support. Bismarck would be gone a whole lot sooner, of course, and there would be a significantly earlier move towards more free trade.

    In foreign politics, well, the main point would probably be that Frederick III wouldn't do so many stupid gaffes as William II did. That could change foreign perception of Germany, especially in the UK, a whole lot. But beyond that.... the whole set up in the eastern policy was unstable anyway. The idea to solve the Russian-Austrian contrast among Germany's partners by clearly deciding for Austria was relatively widespread, so it's possible Frederick III would follow that as well. And the Navy was, ironically, always the favourite military branch of the liberals anyway...

    Plus, of course, William II would still be the heir. Personally, I think a better PoD would be to kill off William II before he can spawn offspring, so that his brother Henry ascends to the throne. Now, he was a full supporter of parliamentary monarchism and not really interested in political power. Anglophile as well, but, well, in a way so was William II...
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  16. Harbinger

    Harbinger The Dappergator

    Lancaster, PA
    Would he be so quick to get rid of Bismarck though? I know there was friction between them in the years leading to his ascension to the throne, but historically during his brief reign the two apparently got along rather well:

    From Robert K. Massie's Dreadnought
    Or do you think that was more owing to his failing health, and that a healthier Frederick would continue to be at odds with Bismarck?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017 at 10:36 AM
  17. I would think so, yes. When he became chancellor, he was already, as that text noticed, incapable of speaking. He had to rely on Bismarck. A healthy Frederick III would probably (maybe after a safe transition period) sacked and replaced Bismarck.
  18. Ironanvil1

    Ironanvil1 Riding a metaphorical pony Magistrate

    Luton Airport
    Frederick always seemed to me to want to model himself on the ideal of his father-in-law, Prince Albert.
  19. Vyslanté

    Vyslanté Putting the "late" back in "translate"

    I recently read a book about the history of the French Navy (in which the terms "trying to invade England" were quite present), and one peculiar figure left me doubtful : the number of merchant ships that the UK possessed at the beginning of the XIXth. The author gives 23000, and I found that... way more than what I thought it was. Unfortunately, I could not find more sources about that, so, does anyone here know something about it ?
  20. Fernandel

    Fernandel Lovely Writing, Tendency to Waffle Councillor

    Considering that a lot of English trading vessels were small sloops, that number is not as unbelievable as people may think.

    I don't have any more concrete numbers or sources, unfortunately.
  21. Ironanvil1

    Ironanvil1 Riding a metaphorical pony Magistrate

    Luton Airport
    Recall that the UK conducted a notable fraction of global naval trade - it's what Napoleon's Continental System was aimed against.
  22. Vyslanté

    Vyslanté Putting the "late" back in "translate"

    I know, but I was surprised by the sheer number. I did not think that there even that many ships in service at that time.
  23. Ironanvil1

    Ironanvil1 Riding a metaphorical pony Magistrate

    Luton Airport
    Smaller ships, and even more incentive to ship stuff by sea, in the absence of railways and good road transport. A lot of goods were simply uneconomic to transport any other way.
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  24. Consider the amount of goods transported. Then consider the max tonnage of the vessels of the era. It is not that unbelievable.
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