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Davian93
06-23-2016, 10:06 PM
You silly Brits...thanks for destroying the world economy with your stupidity.

Terez
06-23-2016, 10:27 PM
It looks close enough that it could still turn.

Davian93
06-23-2016, 10:36 PM
They're saying 85% likelihood that they'll leave now...looks really bad.

Dow is down over 500 in future trading. UK markets down around 10% and the £ is down over 11% so far against the $.

Davian93
06-23-2016, 10:40 PM
ITV news has called it for Leaving as has the BBC.

Kimon
06-23-2016, 10:40 PM
You silly Brits...thanks for destroying the world economy with your stupidity.

It's official.

The pound and Asian markets are already taking a hit. Others will undoubtedly follow as other markets open tomorrow. Economic fallout isn't the only worry. Will this resuscitate the schism between Scotland and England, with Scotland in the EU, and England out? Will France leave? Will the EU completely crumble?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pound-plummets-on-brexit-fears-asia-opens-up/2016/06/23/820cd642-397d-11e6-af02-1df55f0c77ff_story.html

Davian93
06-23-2016, 10:43 PM
Great time to travel to the UK though...dollar goes a long way now.

So there's that.

Rand al'Fain
06-24-2016, 12:13 AM
So, how many pounds to the dollar now?

yks 6nnetu hing
06-24-2016, 01:02 AM
welp. it's started, Northern Ireland is demanding a referendum on leaving UK as they voted strongly for staying. As did Scotland.

so, prediction time: in 15 years from now, Ireland will be one, Scotland will be separate from UK and both will be in EU (or possibly, in the union of the Nordics, if the EU should fall apart). England will have applied to become the 52nd state of US and have the same status as Puerto Rico.

btw, I still consider it unlikely that EU will disintegrate as a lot of the fearmongers try and "analyse". For the Brits... well, it's not like they were ever properly IN the EU to be honest, they don't use the Euro and they don't have open borders with Schengen. it's a pity it's gone this way but then again, there's no point in keeping someone in if they want to get out. Good luck and thanks for all the fish.

jarno87
06-24-2016, 01:56 AM
Yeah, so bye bye Untied Kingdom. It's a sad affair, especially if you look at he big age divide in the numbers from the pollsters. They say young voters where overwhelmingly in favour of staying.


Only upside, it looks like my holiday suddenly got a bit cheaper, as I'm visiting Scotland in two weeks time.

GonzoTheGreat
06-24-2016, 03:45 AM
so, prediction time: in 15 years from now, Ireland will be one, Scotland will be separate from UK and both will be in EU (or possibly, in the union of the Nordics, if the EU should fall apart). England will have applied to become the 52nd state of US and have the same status as Puerto Rico.Ireland and Scotland are both Gaelic nations (though no Scotsman speaks his language anymore, admittedly), so perhaps they could form a union of their own. They would need a king, obviously, and finding one they agreed on could be tricky.

Good luck and thanks for all the fish.Which, when you get right down to it, the British stole from Iceland (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cod_Wars).

Isabel
06-24-2016, 06:07 AM
I am worried about the future of th EU. There are lots of people who are sceptical of the EU. I really hope that this will change :(

GonzoTheGreat
06-24-2016, 06:33 AM
I am worried about the future of th EU. There are lots of people who are sceptical of the EU. I really hope that this will change :(
It may be cynical of me, but I expect the initial reaction of our esteemed leaders to be a further move towards unification. This will then lead to more disgruntlement, and hence to a strengthening of the anti-EU sentiments.

yks 6nnetu hing
06-24-2016, 07:39 AM
Oh, I don't know. Specifically for the Netherlands this might actually be a good thing.

After all, London can no longer be the financial centre of Europe, so that'll need to shift. The most obvious choice would be France or Germany, but they're too big, that would cause too much conflict, besides there'd be a language issue. Belgium is out because nobody would want Brussels to have even more power. Spain and Italy are out too, partly because of the language, partly because they're also "too big", so again, too much power; and partly because they're too much to the South. It won't be one of the Eastern European or Balkan countries, their economies aren't strong enough. and it won't be one of the Scandinavian countries, they're too far to the North. Switzerland might be excellent but it isn't in EU... so of the actually suitable choices we've got Austria, Ireland or the Netherlands. What with UK out, the Netherlands is now the 5th biggest economy in EU and about 80% of all European trade goes through here anyways, so it's the most logical choice.

Isabel
06-24-2016, 07:50 AM
Oh, I don't know. Specifically for the Netherlands this might actually be a good thing.

After all, London can no longer be the financial centre of Europe, so that'll need to shift. The most obvious choice would be France or Germany, but they're too big, that would cause too much conflict, besides there'd be a language issue. Belgium is out because nobody would want Brussels to have even more power. Spain and Italy are out too, partly because of the language, partly because they're also "too big", so again, too much power; and partly because they're too much to the South. It won't be one of the Eastern European or Balkan countries, their economies aren't strong enough. and it won't be one of the Scandinavian countries, they're too far to the North. Switzerland might be excellent but it isn't in EU... so of the actually suitable choices we've got Austria, Ireland or the Netherlands. What with UK out, the Netherlands is now the 5th biggest economy in EU and about 80% of all European trade goes through here anyways, so it's the most logical choice.

Yeah, but it seems there are lot's of morons in the netherlands as well who want a Nexit......

Jokeslayer
06-24-2016, 08:29 AM
You silly Brits...thanks for destroying the world economy with your stupidity.

The world survived your subprime mortgage crisis, I'm pretty sure it'll survive Brexit too.

Kimon
06-24-2016, 08:37 AM
The world survived your subprime mortgage crisis, I'm pretty sure it'll survive Brexit too.

Yes, but it will create at least short-term instability globally, and long-term issues for you. And likely the end of the UK, as at least Scotland, and perhaps Northern Ireland will now almost certainly secede. And this has to hurt the EU long-term as well. Not just in terms of the potential danger of this leading to a cascade of other possible departures, but also simply in terms of economic strength. This would be like New York, Texas, or California voting to secede the Union. Sure we would survive, but that would be a massive economic hit. It just seems an obvious mistake.

Jokeslayer
06-24-2016, 10:50 AM
Yes, but it will create at least short-term instability globally, and long-term issues for you. And likely the end of the UK, as at least Scotland, and perhaps Northern Ireland will now almost certainly secede. And this has to hurt the EU long-term as well. Not just in terms of the potential danger of this leading to a cascade of other possible departures, but also simply in terms of economic strength. This would be like New York, Texas, or California voting to secede the Union. Sure we would survive, but that would be a massive economic hit. It just seems an obvious mistake.

To be clear, I voted in favour of remaining in the EU, I'm not happy that we've voted out and I expect to lose my job or at least some of my hours in the next few months (my part of the country received substantial funding from the EU through both development funds and the common agricultural policy, and other than that is heavily dependent on tourism which will suffer as a result of economic uncertainty here and in the rest of Europe. I have no faith that the Westminster government will maintain this funding long term given the leave campaign's rhetoric on the money we were giving to the EU and their general attitude to this part of the country). That said, I find Davian's post irritating, offensive and ridiculous.

GonzoTheGreat
06-24-2016, 11:15 AM
... I expect to lose my job or at least some of my hours in the next few months ...You may have a bit more time than that, since the quickest way of leaving without massive trouble would take a few years plus whatever time is needed by the politicians to handle stuff. On the other hand, it is likely that a lot of jobs will disappear before they really need to, since the employers won't be willing to pay wages any longer than absolutely necessary.

Davian93
06-24-2016, 11:19 AM
heavily dependent on tourism which will suffer as a result of economic uncertainty here and in the rest of Europe.

Tourism from the USA should go up at least now that its a bit more affordable for us to come over. Same with tourists from Europe I suppose given the Euro gaining strength over the Pound.

And it'll help your exports compete a bit more as that's also a nice side benefit of a weaker currency.

Overall though, a massive blow economically in the short-term and over the next couple years since the uncertainly will kill long-term investments in the UK until the dust settles.

That said, I find Davian's post irritating, offensive and ridiculous.

You'll have to get over it then since I'm not taking it back. Voting to leave the EU was idiotic at best by the UK and it's gonna screw up the world economy the next couple years which could very well lead to more stupid decisions abroad.

I'd expect you to post the same thing about the US if we elected Trump as our President...or did something similarly idiotic. Bowing to xenophobic hysteria and then allowing that sort of emotion to run a nation is never a good road to go down.

ShadowbaneX
06-24-2016, 11:39 AM
Must spread rep...

Kimon
06-24-2016, 01:03 PM
I'd expect you to post the same thing about the US if we elected Trump as our President...or did something similarly idiotic. Bowing to xenophobic hysteria and then allowing that sort of emotion to run a nation is never a good road to go down.

Trump is an incompetent and narcissistic clown, but Britain's decision to leave still seems far more foolish than our potential election of a a demagogic buffoon. He would do damage both economic and to our prestige around the world, but likely not much more than did the Younger Bush. Britain, in contrast, essentially voted to chop off their own healthy right arm yesterday. Best case scenario would seem to be that they only lose Scotland and Northern Ireland but hold their position as one of the primary financial hubs, and manage to negotiate similar free trade deals with not just us (this might be more a consequence of us being sane and electing Hillary rather than a fool like Trump), but also with the EU. Worst case scenario seems not only does the UK dissolve, but their financial sector is crippled in terms of international significance, allowing Paris or Berlin (maybe Amsterdam) to eclipse them as the most important center for finance in Europe, and the EU decides to make an example of them in trade deals to ensure that no one else dares to leave the fold.

Cameron should have never allowed this vote to take place (Angela Merkel shares quite a bit of blame here as well, her foolish handling of the refugee crisis has helped foment all this hysteria). Or at the very least should have done a better job making clear just how contrary to their own interests a vote to leave would be. This has the feel of the final setting of the sun on the British Empire. And it is a twilight that is self-inflicted folly.

Jokeslayer
06-24-2016, 04:03 PM
You'll have to get over it then since I'm not taking it back. Voting to leave the EU was idiotic at best by the UK and it's gonna screw up the world economy the next couple years which could very well lead to more stupid decisions abroad.

I'd expect you to post the same thing about the US if we elected Trump as our President...or did something similarly idiotic. Bowing to xenophobic hysteria and then allowing that sort of emotion to run a nation is never a good road to go down.

I don't expect you to take anything back. We're both old enough to know that isn't going to happen.

If you want to tell me that my countrymen have allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by xenophobic, scapegoating fearmongers into believing in fairy tales to fight monsters under the bed, that's fair enough. I'd agree with you, and it's the sort of thing I'd say if your country elects Trump. If you want to point out that this is going to have a significant negative impact on our economy, that large parts of the country are basically turkey's voting for Christmas, again that would be fair enough and I'd agree with you. What you've chosen to do instead is to claim that my country should have made a national decision of unparalleled importance to our political sovereignty, our national identity and our societal direction on the basis of the impact it's having on your economy . There really is no politer response that I can think of to that than the one I already gave.

Davian93
06-24-2016, 07:30 PM
What you've chosen to do instead is to claim that my country should have made a national decision of unparalleled importance to our political sovereignty, our national identity and our societal direction on the basis of the impact it's having on your economy

Not just my economy, its yours too...and the entire globe for that matter. There's a reason London is largest of the arguably three most important financial hubs in the world along with NY and Hong Kong. We're all interconnected so an stupid decision like this by any of us affects us all. Throw in Singapore for that matter too.

The UK is also the US's closest ally so it doubly affects both of us. It was a stupid, stupid decision.

Kimon
06-25-2016, 01:36 AM
Not just my economy, its yours too...and the entire globe for that matter. There's a reason London is largest of the arguably three most important financial hubs in the world along with NY and Hong Kong. We're all interconnected so an stupid decision like this by any of us affects us all. Throw in Singapore for that matter too.

The UK is also the US's closest ally so it doubly affects both of us. It was a stupid, stupid decision.

Moody's has downgraded Britain's credit rating to negative.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36626201

Hopefully we, and others, at least learn from England's folly and avoid a similar bout of insanity, and avoid electing our version of the UKIP crowd (Trump). At least we aren't forced to chose between two naive, anti-trade, protectionists, because let's face it, Bernie while not openly endorsing the Brexit policy as did Trump, he nonetheless continues to preach that same message of anti-globalization protectionism that has given birth to this madness.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/284751-sanders-on-brexit-global-economy-isnt-working-for-everybody

GonzoTheGreat
06-25-2016, 04:17 AM
Trump, Brexit and so forth. Just a relatively short while after researchers at CERN 'discovered' the so-called God particle. When will the first Trollocs appear, I wonder?
Bonus question: who can see Hillary Clinton as the Dragon?

Kimon
06-25-2016, 06:35 AM
Bonus question: who can see Hillary Clinton as the Dragon?

Hillary actually strikes me as a bit similar to Moiraine. Heck, Hillary even married a womanizing politician/musician.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqB7UEdhKug

Kimon
06-25-2016, 07:17 AM
Doubt this will work, but considering the immediate effect upon the pound and their nation's credit rating, a second vote could reasonably have a far different result now that the negative economic consequences have been made apparent.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36629324

A petition calling for a second referendum on UK's membership of the EU has gained more than one million signatures following the vote to leave.
The petition will be considered by Parliament as it has passed the required 100,000 threshold.

In a separate petition more than 100,000 people have called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to declare the English capital independent from the UK and apply to join the EU.
Across all 33 boroughs in London 59.9% of people voted to stay in the EU, with the Remain vote more than 70% in some boroughs.

Davian93
06-26-2016, 04:04 PM
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36629745

HSBC to move 1000 jobs to Paris if the UK actually withdraws from the EU.

I highly doubt they'll be alone in this migration of banking jobs.


How's that "freedom" taste right now?

Rand al'Fain
06-26-2016, 04:42 PM
Sounds like Donald's big mouth finally "Trumped" him in regards to how the Scottish are reacting to things.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/i-am-learning-so-much-cool-slang?utm_term=.sskj9eAN3#.wm5oqnDQ7

yks 6nnetu hing
06-27-2016, 02:07 AM
Trump is an incompetent and narcissistic clown, but Britain's decision to leave still seems far more foolish than our potential election of a a demagogic buffoon. He would do damage both economic and to our prestige around the world, but likely not much more than did the Younger Bush. Britain, in contrast, essentially voted to chop off their own healthy right arm yesterday. Best case scenario would seem to be that they only lose Scotland and Northern Ireland but hold their position as one of the primary financial hubs, and manage to negotiate similar free trade deals with not just us (this might be more a consequence of us being sane and electing Hillary rather than a fool like Trump), but also with the EU. Worst case scenario seems not only does the UK dissolve, but their financial sector is crippled in terms of international significance, allowing Paris or Berlin (maybe Amsterdam) to eclipse them as the most important center for finance in Europe, and the EU decides to make an example of them in trade deals to ensure that no one else dares to leave the fold.

Cameron should have never allowed this vote to take place (Angela Merkel shares quite a bit of blame here as well, her foolish handling of the refugee crisis has helped foment all this hysteria). Or at the very least should have done a better job making clear just how contrary to their own interests a vote to leave would be. This has the feel of the final setting of the sun on the British Empire. And it is a twilight that is self-inflicted folly.

I strongly disagree with you here, the US presidential system gives insane amount of power to one person, particularly in the Foreign Policy bit. If that person is an "incomprehensible jizztrumpet" (thank you Scottish tweeters), and has access to the entire US nuclear arsenal... well. I don't want to think about the consequences. The Onion (http://www.theonion.com/article/americans-confused-system-government-which-leader--53156) sums it up perfectly.

As for the refugee crisis, there's lots of talk about it in EU of course, but that's not even where most of the refugees are (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_refugee_population) (check out the ratio of refugee to native in Lebanon). OBVIOUSLY the countries where they actually are now cannot indefinitely keep them; nor do the refugees indefinitely want to stay there. Seriuosly. Basically, no matter what Merkel/EU had done or negotiated, the fact of the matter is, the refugees keep coming. At least this way there's *some* control over the flow and distribution of the poor souls.




Back to the consequences of Brexit, Scotland is looking into how to negotiate a similar deal as was done when Greenland separated from Denmark and stepped out of EU while Denmark stayed in. Of course, this would be dependent on a new Scottish independence referendum. On the other hand, EU as a whole has already said to UK "Sorry for your decision but if you want out then get out. No backsies". Though, my personal opinion is that if it can be managed in the relatively tight timeframe, then Scotland should be allowed to stay; they did after all vote overwhelmingly for staying, every single district. After all, one of the main arguments for staying in UK 2 years ago was that then Scotland would still be part of EU.

GonzoTheGreat
06-27-2016, 04:01 AM
Back to the consequences of Brexit, Scotland is looking into how to negotiate a similar deal as was done when Greenland separated from Denmark and stepped out of EU while Denmark stayed in.Could Gibraltar secede from Britain and hook up with Greenland, I wonder?
They voted even more overwhelmingly against this policy change than Scotland did, you know.

yks 6nnetu hing
06-27-2016, 06:06 AM
things heard in the office today in unrelated conversations:

(Scottish person) Aww, damnit, I may need to join the army if there's civil war.



(Dutch person) Well then, now all the refugees that want to go to UK can simply go to UK, there's no reason for us to stop them here any more.

Davian93
06-27-2016, 06:52 AM
and has access to the entire US nuclear arsenal... well. I don't want to think about the consequences.

For an unprovoked first strike scenario, there is a two person rule...someone very high up (VP or SecDef among others) would have to validate the order to launch...so there is at least a little sanity there. I also suspect that the Joint Chiefs would honestly balk if a President tried to say "nuke Syria to kill ISIS".

They weren't completely idiotic when they thought up the SOP for using WMD.

Davian93
06-27-2016, 06:56 AM
Could Gibraltar secede from Britain and hook up with Greenland, I wonder?
They voted even more overwhelmingly against this policy change than Scotland did, you know.

I wouldn't be shocked if they asked for some sort of way to join up with Spain to stay in the EU...seems like the UK has given them zero reason to want to stay associated with them now.

Davian93
06-27-2016, 08:57 AM
On the other hand, EU as a whole has already said to UK "Sorry for your decision but if you want out then get out. No backsies"

What happens if the UK never actually exercises that leave option...does the EU kick them out or do they all kiss and make up?

GonzoTheGreat
06-27-2016, 11:32 AM
What happens if the UK never actually exercises that leave option...does the EU kick them out or do they all kiss and make up?Then, every time the UK asks for a new exception (which they did on average twice a month in the past 40 years) the answer will be "Haven't you left, yet?"

Davian93
06-27-2016, 11:56 AM
Then, every time the UK asks for a new exception (which they did on average twice a month in the past 40 years) the answer will be "Haven't you left, yet?"

When the UK wakes up to this idiocy in a year or two and begs back in, the EU should say "Fine, but remember those exceptions you had in the past? They're gone...and you're switching to the Euro too. Nothing, you get nothing...and we expect you to pay the admission fees yourself"

Basically Michael Corleone in Godfather, Part II for when it comes to negotiation.

Kimon
06-27-2016, 12:30 PM
When the UK wakes up to this idiocy in a year or two and begs back in, the EU should say "Fine, but remember those exceptions you had in the past? They're gone...and you're switching to the Euro too. Nothing, you get nothing...and we expect you to pay the admission fees yourself"

Basically Michael Corleone in Godfather, Part II for when it comes to negotiation.

Not so much a year or two as already. Cameron has already decided to resign as PM, and Labour is also turning on its leader, and accusing Corbyn of failing to adequately campaign for, of even explain, the Remain position. Nicola Sturgeon is already threatening to block Scotland's exit from the EU in the Scottish Parliament, and to reinitiate the cause of withdrawing Scotland from the UK. The pound is still in sharp decline. Their credit rating has been downgraded. Stock trading in Barclays and RBS had to be temporarily suspended because of their freefall. And there is somewhat conspiratorial anxiety that perhaps the Leave crowd were engineering this all as a pretext to gut or kill NHS.

This is all why I disagree with yks. Trump would be awful, but likely not much more so than a typical Republican. Likely less catastrophically so than would have been Ted Cruz. Trump would need to not just tank our economy, as Cameron and Corbyn have done to the UK, but cause the breakup of the Union. People joke about heading to Canada, but New England wouldn't actually go independent, or petition for reunification with England if subjected to Trump. As bad as he would be, he would not be a reiteration of Buchanon. He perhaps would be a reiteration of Andrew Jackson. That is a pretty horrific possibility in of itself, but arguably still less damaging than what Cameron has just done to the UK.

Davian93
06-27-2016, 12:52 PM
Analysts now expect the UK to officially enter a recession as a result of this vote with projected GDPs of -0.1% in the 3rd and 4th quarters respectively and they also believe the GBP will level out in the $1.20-1.30 range. Its currently trading at $1.32 as of a few minutes ago.

Brutal kick to the teeth for the UK and world economies. The Dow Jones is down almost 900 points since COB on Thursday now.

Mort
06-27-2016, 12:54 PM
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36629745

HSBC to move 1000 jobs to Paris if the UK actually withdraws from the EU.

I highly doubt they'll be alone in this migration of banking jobs.


Read a story that something like 50k or more banking jobs could vanish because of the exit. Add on all the service jobs that goes with all those peoples losing their job (granted they dont get another similar one in the same city). Housing prices could go down though, fewer well paid bankers who can spend millions on homes.

What happens if the UK never actually exercises that leave option...does the EU kick them out or do they all kiss and make up?

Germany and the like have said Britain will have to officially declare an Article 50 (exit) before any talks of terms is begun. So Britain can't get a nice enough deal first, and exit after. If Britain do not declare an Article 50, they stay.

Kimon
06-27-2016, 03:55 PM
Adding insult to injury, Iceland just eliminated England from the Euro Cup. So they don't even make the Quarterfinals, but Wales does.

Jokeslayer
06-27-2016, 04:05 PM
Adding insult to injury, Iceland just eliminated England from the Euro Cup. So they don't even make the Quarterfinals, but Wales does.

It's fine, we don't want to be in Europe anyway.

yks 6nnetu hing
06-28-2016, 12:52 AM
This is all why I disagree with yks. Trump would be awful, but likely not much more so than a typical Republican. Likely less catastrophically so than would have been Ted Cruz. Trump would need to not just tank our economy, as Cameron and Corbyn have done to the UK, but cause the breakup of the Union. People joke about heading to Canada, but New England wouldn't actually go independent, or petition for reunification with England if subjected to Trump. As bad as he would be, he would not be a reiteration of Buchanon. He perhaps would be a reiteration of Andrew Jackson. That is a pretty horrific possibility in of itself, but arguably still less damaging than what Cameron has just done to the UK.
you have a point there.


Germany and the like have said Britain will have to officially declare an Article 50 (exit) before any talks of terms is begun. So Britain can't get a nice enough deal first, and exit after. If Britain do not declare an Article 50, they stay. mmhmm, they also said that the deal struck last year (early this year?) to keep Britain in is now void.

It's fine, we don't want to be in Europe anyway.

well THAT has been clear for decades. No Euro, no Schengen, special deal here, special deal there... The main area where there has been some policy collaboration has been the development of the single digital market; and of course it will be hard to lose such a good counterbalance to France and Germany. Although, now Italy will be very alone in their isolationist sentiments, so at least that's good.

Davian93
06-28-2016, 07:34 AM
well THAT has been clear for decades.

More like centuries at this point...the Brits have pretty much always held themselves apart from the rest of Europe...this sense of superiority and isolationism from continental affairs essentially started with the fall of Calais under Mary. Ever since then, they've only ever really intervened to maintain the balance of power...all of their territorial gains (Malta, Gibraltar, etc) since then were purely to support their naval superiority upon which their isolation was built. For the most part, other than maybe 1-2 exceptions that didn't work anyway, they've maintained that stance and that wary suspicion of the rest of Europe.

yks 6nnetu hing
06-28-2016, 07:43 AM
More like centuries at this point...the Brits have pretty much always held themselves apart from the rest of Europe...this sense of superiority and isolationism from continental affairs essentially started with the fall of Calais under Mary. Ever since then, they've only ever really intervened to maintain the balance of power...all of their territorial gains (Malta, Gibraltar, etc) since then were purely to support their naval superiority upon which their isolation was built. For the most part, other than maybe 1-2 exceptions that didn't work anyway, they've maintained that stance and that wary suspicion of the rest of Europe.

*snort* speaking of Mary; or rather her little sister Elizabeth, one only hopes the near future political forces in England follow her lead and steer clear of Ivan the Terrible, no matter how lovely he seems in his letters the guy is a cold-blooded killer and sociopath. It is NOT a good idea to get in bed with him.

yks 6nnetu hing
06-28-2016, 08:51 AM
The EU emergency meeting is going on as we speak and it seems like the sentiments of EU and Scotland are mutual (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZONWQ8VOOg).

Of course, emotion won't carry anything through, and it's all a bit unclear at the moment, but still. I must admit, I got a bit teary-eyed myself.

GonzoTheGreat
06-28-2016, 09:39 AM
The EU emergency meeting is going on as we speak and it seems like the sentiments of EU and Scotland are mutual (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZONWQ8VOOg).

Of course, emotion won't carry anything through, and it's all a bit unclear at the moment, but still. I must admit, I got a bit teary-eyed myself.I am not quite sure that the English representative was happy about it. Of course, reading faces is notoriously error prone, so it is entirely possible that I misread him.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-07-2016, 08:52 AM
Originally Posted by Kimon
This is all why I disagree with yks. Trump would be awful, but likely not much more so than a typical Republican. Likely less catastrophically so than would have been Ted Cruz. Trump would need to not just tank our economy, as Cameron and Corbyn have done to the UK, but cause the breakup of the Union. People joke about heading to Canada, but New England wouldn't actually go independent, or petition for reunification with England if subjected to Trump. As bad as he would be, he would not be a reiteration of Buchanon. He perhaps would be a reiteration of Andrew Jackson. That is a pretty horrific possibility in of itself, but arguably still less damaging than what Cameron has just done to the UK.

you have a point there.


Relevant for this discussion: Lagarde chimes in on behalf of IMF (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/134aac12-4403-11e6-9b66-0712b3873ae1.html#axzz4DiAIktwX) - As for worldwide impact and which one is worse and whether Trump would be better or worse or same as any other Republican, well, no clue.


Lagarde warns Trump-style protectionism would hit world economy

Shawn Donnan, Gillian Tett and Sam Fleming in Washington


The antitrade policies championed by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump risk sparking a dangerous protectionist movement that could severely damage the global economy, Christine Lagarde has warned.

Britain’s vote to leave the EU is already casting a shadow over international growth, the International Monetary Fund chief said in an interview, adding that the imposition of new trade barriers in another large economy could have ruinous effects.

“I think it would be quite disastrous, actually. Well I don’t think I should say disastrous because that is an excessive word and I should refrain from excessive words. But it would certainly have a negative impact on global growth,” she told the Financial Times.

Any uncertainty surrounding a Trump presidency would probably yield more instability in financial markets, similar to the upheaval in the wake of last month’s UK referendum, she said in response to a question. But the IMF chief took care to avoid singling out any politician or referring to Mr Trump by name.

Ms Lagarde, who this week begins a second five-year term, warned of the risk of another great pause in the march of globalisation, akin to the disruption caused by the beginning of the first world war.

“I hope it is not a 1914 moment and I hope that we can be informed by history to actually address the negative impact of globalisation in order to leverage the benefits that it can deliver. Because it has historically delivered massive benefits and it can continue to do so,” she said.

Ms Lagarde said “waves of protectionism” in the past had “preceded many wars” and that protectionism “hurts growth, hurts inclusion and hurts people”.

Ms Lagarde said she did not want to get involved in the political debate in the US, the IMF’s biggest shareholder. But she made clear her dim view of the policies of Mr Trump, who has proposed punitive tariffs on goods from China and Mexico and ripping up US trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The IMF has also backed the Obama administration’s push to get a vast new Pacific Rim deal, the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership, through the US Congress. Mr Trump has attacked the TPP as a “disaster” for the US economy.

“We have to work with all governments and all authorities but we certainly hope that whatever new government is in place in the US and whoever is elected as president will look at trade in positive terms,” Ms Lagarde said.

The IMF chief also called on the UK to move quickly to resolve the uncertainty caused by last month’s Brexit vote.

She had previously said she had hoped that IMF economists would be able to upgrade their 3.2 per cent forecast for global growth this year when they release an update later this month. But that now seemed unlikely, she said.

She added that the uncertainty set off by last month’s Brexit vote was already having a much broader impact on the global economy and on the IMF’s own forecasts for growth.

“We want to see clarity sooner rather than later because we think that a lack of clarity feeds uncertainty, which itself undermines investment appetites and decision making,” Ms Lagarde said.

The IMF’s assessment of the impact of the Brexit vote on the UK economy depends heavily on what sort of trade relationship with the EU a new government would be able to negotiate, she said.

Should a deal preserve access to the single market — such as Norway now enjoys — then the UK economy would be only 1.5 per cent smaller by 2019 than would be the case if Britain remained part of the EU. Were a deal to lead to the UK’s access to the EU’s 27 other economies being subject to tariffs under World Trade Organisation rules, it would cost the UK 4.5 per cent growth.

The IMF had not modelled the economic impact of a scenario in which the UK’s exit from the EU drags on and uncertainty continues for a year or more, Ms Lagarde said, but the political crisis set off by the vote could make such events likely.

“Do we have a forecast and scenario with prolonged uncertainty, total lack of clarity, no triggering of Article 50 [the official notification required to leave the EU], things staying in limbo for a long period of time? No. We don't have that. We doubt that it would be sustainable politically, geopolitically,” she said.

That uncertainty would feed through to the global economy and force some creative approaches at the Fund. For the July 19 update of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook, Ms Lagarde said the organisation was looking at presenting a variety of possible scenarios for the global economy depending on the outcome of Brexit discussions — a departure from its usual format.



*my best impression of an American Republican: "But she's a woman so what does she know?"*

GonzoTheGreat
07-07-2016, 09:53 AM
*my best impression of an American Republican: "But she's a woman so what does she know?"*A better attempt at this: "She's a French member of the establishment." Adding "surrender monkey" probably depends on which Republican you're prequoting*, though it may be mandatory nowadays.

* Is that the right word for quoting something they haven't said yet?

Terez
07-07-2016, 10:06 AM
Dear lord, what do you expect the IMF to say? They basically exist to make rich people richer.

Kimon
07-07-2016, 11:17 AM
Dear lord, what do you expect the IMF to say? They basically exist to make rich people richer.

The antitrade policies championed by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump risk sparking a dangerous protectionist movement that could severely damage the global economy, Christine Lagarde has warned.

Bernie's name would fit just as accurately as would Trump's here. Trump's racism obviously makes him far worse than Bernie, but on trade, and on their assessment of Brexit, there is little separating the two. That is not a good thing. It's unfortunately also why I think significant numbers of Bernie voters are likely to vote for Trump, Gary Johnson, or Jill Stein.

Promoting stability and international financial cooperation does benefit the rich, but that doesn't mean that it is a bad thing for the poor. Fighting to block free trade deals like the TPP and the TTIP may be popular, especially amongst Trump's and Bernie's constituencies, but blocking these free trade deals won't resuscitate the lost manufacturing jobs. Technology has killed those jobs, not globalization. Protectionism will just exacerbate the problem. The IMF may not be loved, especially by Bernie and Trump voters, but Lagarde isn't wrong in her assessment here.

Terez
07-07-2016, 12:00 PM
Promoting stability and international financial cooperation does benefit the rich, but that doesn't mean that it is a bad thing for the poor.
You're speaking broadly. I'm speaking about specifics, which definitely benefit the rich and screw the poor. Like trade deals that protect multinational corporations from regulations, or loans floated to countries on the condition that they sell off their public resources to multinational corporations, etc. The IMF is like private equity on steroids.

Kimon
07-07-2016, 12:25 PM
You're speaking broadly. I'm speaking about specifics, which definitely benefit the rich and screw the poor. Like trade deals that protect multinational corporations from regulations, or loans floated to countries on the condition that they sell off their public resources to multinational corporations, etc. The IMF is like private equity on steroids.

The most obvious example of this is Greece. The IMF's role, and calls for austerity, in those negotiations may have seemed callous, and painful to many Greeks, but strings had to be attached. It would have been irresponsible to have not done so. Concerning trade deals, Brexit may well serve as an experiment for Bernie's desired outcome for America. Perhaps Bernie and Trump will be right, and in the long term this withdrawal will benefit England. But that seems the far less likely outcome. Repealing NAFTA, and blocking the TPP and TTIP, likely would have the same negative outcome for our economy. These deals may disproportionately benefit corporations, but that does not mean that they are a net-negative for the majority of the population. Just because some benefit more, doesn't mean that the majority don't share in that benefit to a lesser extent. This is exactly why Bernie strikes me as just as much a demagogue as Trump. Promoting class warfare is irresponsible.

Terez
07-07-2016, 01:25 PM
The most obvious example of this is Greece.
That's the most recent example, not the most obvious example. The more obvious examples are in Latin America.

Kimon
07-07-2016, 01:49 PM
That's the most recent example, not the most obvious example. The more obvious examples are in Latin America.

Argentina and Ecuador, or are you referring to something else? Argentina is a problematic example, as there's was a mess purely of their own making, like Greece. Ecuador is a stronger example, especially as regards the IMF's seeming lack of concern regarding defending the environment, specifically the rain forests. The IMF is not perfect. But neither is it an nefarious organization. The same is true of Wall Street. It is not the enemy. Treating it as such is not productive.

DahLliA
07-08-2016, 12:58 AM
Promoting class warfare is irresponsible.

Why?
With the ever growing gap between rich and poor (hell, even up here in Scandinavia we're starting to see it more and more), something has to give.

Way I see it there's three possibilites.
1. some sort of political revolution (think someone like Bernie actually getting real power and not becoming corrupt) - not likely
2. bloody revolution. Basically what we're going towards now (immigration etc will probably be the spark that blows it up, but the underlying issue is that people are feeling helpless and angry) - more likely
3. the people in charge manage to calm things down and decide to spend a bit more money on bread and circus. Then buy themselves enough time to set up Orwell's dream and we're completely screwed until aliens/global warming/robots kill us all off - sadly, the most likely

Mort
07-08-2016, 02:47 AM
3. the people in charge manage to calm things down and decide to spend a bit more money on bread and circus. Then buy themselves enough time to set up Orwell's dream and we're completely screwed until aliens/global warming/robots kill us all off - sadly, the most likely

My money is on Multi-resistent bacteria.

DahLliA
07-08-2016, 03:10 AM
My money is on Multi-resistent bacteria.

Don't really think that bacteria will be the end of us. We'll either figure out a new medicine or evolution will simply make enough of us immune.

There's been plagues before and somehow we always make it through.

Robots on the other hand. Just hope the real Sarah Connor is as bad-ass as the movie one :p

GonzoTheGreat
07-08-2016, 03:14 AM
My money is on Multi-resistent bacteria.Those may very well kill most humans, but not all. Of course, it would still suck to be in either of the categories (whether the most or the few), so preventing this problem should be a high priority for our governments. But doing so would decrease the short term profits of drug companies, which is obviously more important than long term survival of civilisation.

Nazbaque
07-08-2016, 03:19 AM
Those may very well kill most humans, but not all. Of course, it would still suck to be in either of the categories (whether the most or the few), so preventing this problem should be a high priority for our governments. But doing so would decrease the short term profits of drug companies, which is obviously more important than long term survival of civilisation.

Actually it pretty obviously is. What good is a prospering civilization when you've died of old age? So let's milk this one for all it has while we're still here. It's the capitalist way.

Kimon
07-08-2016, 08:11 AM
Why?

Way I see it there's three possibilites.
1. some sort of political revolution (think someone like Bernie actually getting real power and not becoming corrupt) - not likely


Or Trump. Still like this option?

2. bloody revolution. Basically what we're going towards now (immigration etc will probably be the spark that blows it up, but the underlying issue is that people are feeling helpless and angry) - more likely

We're not heading towards a reenactment of the French Revolution, though if we did, at least here, it would far more likely be the Tea Party than the Occupy Wall Street/Bernie crowd, as while there are a bunch of angry anti-govt people in both crowds, the former are the ones stockpiling guns.

3. the people in charge manage to calm things down and decide to spend a bit more money on bread and circus. Then buy themselves enough time to set up Orwell's dream and we're completely screwed until aliens/global warming/robots kill us all off - sadly, the most likely

This worked for the Romans. It's worked well for us too - FDR gave us the CCC and Social Security; LBJ gave us Medicare, Medicaid, and the Voting Rights Act. I'll assume that your addendum to this last option was just an intentional reductio ad absurdum.

DahLliA
07-08-2016, 10:33 AM
Or Trump. Still like this option?

Well. With Trump leading it would be more like option 2.
And never said I liked any of them :p

We're not heading towards a reenactment of the French Revolution, though if we did, at least here, it would far more likely be the Tea Party than the Occupy Wall Street/Bernie crowd, as while there are a bunch of angry anti-govt people in both crowds, the former are the ones stockpiling guns.

Well. Yeah. It would definitely be the people on the far right who went gung-ho. But I think quite a few others would join in.

This worked for the Romans. It's worked well for us too - FDR gave us the CCC and Social Security; LBJ gave us Medicare, Medicaid, and the Voting Rights Act.

So just because society has improved over the last few thousand years means that it will always be getting better? Not like governments and corporations all over the planet are trying to take away more and more of our freedom and privacy now?
Put cameras on every corner, stuff any phonecall, sms, mail, IM etc into a huge database and use it against you?
If the Romans had had PRISM, they'd have sorted out those pesky uprisings and might still be around.

It's probably already too late to do something about it though. Seeing as Snowden basically spelled all of this out and the people went: "Baaaaah. Too much thinking required. Let me watch The Kardashians in peace."

I'll assume that your addendum to this last option was just an intentional reductio ad absurdum.

Which part? That the people with money and power are trying to screw us? Nope
That we're gonna be screwed? Nope
Aliens, global warming and robots? Not really. Doubt the aliens part, and we'd probably find a way to survive global warming. Robots though. We're just one fully automated drone factory and some optimistic scientist telling his AI to "save the world" away from that :p

Kimon
07-08-2016, 11:31 AM
So just because society has improved over the last few thousand years means that it will always be getting better?

Stability has always been the greatest catalyst of prosperity, but society has not always been getting better. We have tended to witness cycles of stability/prosperity that then falls into chaos/dark ages, then reemergence into prosperity as stability and education are restored. The two most obvious examples of this are the collapse of Archaic Greece (the Minoan collapse caused by the eruption on Thera and subsequent tidal wave that pummeled Crete and the rest of the Aegean) that led to a Dark Ages with a short Mycenaean revival that also collapsed until finally the prosperity of Classical Greece emerged and then gave way to the long prosperity of the Pax Romana. Then that collapsed and the chaotic fragmenting of Europe coupled with the oppressive anti-intellectualism of the Church's tyranny produced another long Dark Age from which we only began to reemerge finally with the Renaissance and then continued through the Enlightenment. And that revival was largely due to the rise of more stable states - led by Florence in Italy, then exported north into France, England, and the various principalities of Germany. That was a fight that still continues - the French Revolution and WWII being the most obvious examples, but our own never-ending fight over abortion and over what is meant or intended by the division of Church and State is another theatre in that struggle. The current unrest in the Middle East is also witness to monotheism's continued efficacy in spreading darkness and instability.

Not like governments and corporations all over the planet are trying to take away more and more of our freedom and privacy now?
Put cameras on every corner, stuff any phonecall, sms, mail, IM etc into a huge database and use it against you?


Yeah, I'm not particularly bothered by any of this, most people obliterate their own privacy much more thoroughly simply by divulging it all on facebook and other social media. Identity theft and cyber terrorism strikes me as a much more real concern than the collection of metadata.

Which part? That the people with money and power are trying to screw us? Nope
That we're gonna be screwed? Nope


The growing wealth disparity is a very real problem, but the above is still either hyperbolic, or bordering on a similar sort of paranoia that I would have expected more from Southpaw...

Aliens, global warming and robots? Not really. Doubt the aliens part, and we'd probably find a way to survive global warming. Robots though. We're just one fully automated drone factory and some optimistic scientist telling his AI to "save the world" away from that

Any aliens close enough to effect us are probably just microbes. Of course, if brought back home from the frozen seas of Europa or where have you, those microbes could be just as devastating for us as smallpox was for the natives of America. Global warming is a more realistic problem, we just have been avoiding doing anything about it due to a convergence of a feeling of futility in trying to stop it, or lack of concern due to a sense of fu*k it, it's the next generation's problem, not mine, alongside, unfortunately, a belief by some that Jesus will just fly down on his broomstick and magic all our problems away. People are lazy. We probably need Miami or New Orleans to sink before we overcome the inertia of procrastination. Robots are already a problem, albeit a more mundane one, as automation has stolen more industrial jobs than has Mexico and China. It's just easier for politicians to blame Mexico and China.

DahLliA
07-08-2016, 02:15 PM
Yeah, I'm not particularly bothered by any of this, most people obliterate their own privacy much more thoroughly simply by divulging it all on facebook and other social media. Identity theft and cyber terrorism strikes me as a much more real concern than the collection of metadata.

That's like saying "I give to charity so I don't care if people rob me".

The growing wealth disparity is a very real problem, but the above is still either hyperbolic, or bordering on a similar sort of paranoia that I would have expected more from Southpaw...

So after all the shit that's come out the last few years (Snowden, Manning, the stuff with Blair, all the stuff Wikileaks has released) it's paranoia to think that the assholes in charge don't care whatsoever about Joe Average?

Kimon
07-08-2016, 04:31 PM
That's like saying "I give to charity so I don't care if people rob me".


The issue here strikes me as less about the intrusiveness, and more about the efficacy of the program.

So after all the shit that's come out the last few years (Snowden, Manning, the stuff with Blair, all the stuff Wikileaks has released) it's paranoia to think that the assholes in charge don't care whatsoever about Joe Average?

I have some sympathy for Snowden, none for Manning or Assange. Snowden still deserves to be punished, but I would just rescind his citizenship, and tell him that he can't come home, but beyond that, that we won't seek his extradition, nor prosecute him. I'd have no problem with him at least being allowed to live somewhere less authoritarian than Russia. It is somewhat ironic that in being forced to endure exile due to illegally revealing a bunch of pretty insignificant actions of our government, that he is now forced to live in a far more intrusive state than even the most paranoid could ever suggest of us. Bradley/Chelsea Manning, on the other hand, deserved his/her court martial and imprisonment. And again, nothing that he/she revealed to wikileaks seemed particularly damning about our govt, it was a pointless act of treason. Assange is a piece of sh*t, guilty of not just espionage, but also apparently rape.

DahLliA
07-08-2016, 05:31 PM
I have some sympathy for Snowden, none for Manning or Assange. Snowden still deserves to be punished, but I would just rescind his citizenship, and tell him that he can't come home, but beyond that, that we won't seek his extradition, nor prosecute him. I'd have no problem with him at least being allowed to live somewhere less authoritarian than Russia. It is somewhat ironic that in being forced to endure exile due to illegally revealing a bunch of pretty insignificant actions of our government, that he is now forced to live in a far more intrusive state than even the most paranoid could ever suggest of us. Bradley/Chelsea Manning, on the other hand, deserved his/her court martial and imprisonment. And again, nothing that he/she revealed to wikileaks seemed particularly damning about our govt, it was a pointless act of treason. Assange is a piece of sh*t, guilty of not just espionage, but also apparently rape.

Think we're just gonna have to agree to disagree. If you don't mind being lied to and being under surveillance 24/7 nothing I say will change your mind.
You might wanna check the facts about the "rape" though. But I guess it's the American (and Little America's(UK)) way to ignore the UN and what they have to say.

Kimon
07-08-2016, 06:10 PM
Think we're just gonna have to agree to disagree. If you don't mind being lied to and being under surveillance 24/7 nothing I say will change your mind.
You might wanna check the facts about the "rape" though. But I guess it's the American (and Little America's(UK)) way to ignore the UN and what they have to say.

I really think you're making far too big a deal of metadata. The better question is the simple one. Does it work? Whether we are casting so wide a net as to make it useless is the more constructive question. As for Assange, do you really think that Sweden is a lapdog for the CIA? If there was nothing to the charges, why would he fear extradition to Sweden? Why seek asylum from an obviously corrupt govt, Ecuador? Even if you think these charges are baseless, he's still clearly a narcissistic schmuck whose ethics are at best questionable, if not completely lacking. Snowden at least was well-intentioned.

Oatman
07-08-2016, 09:52 PM
If there was nothing to the charges, why would he fear extradition to Sweden?

My understanding of this is that as soon as he is in Sweden he can be extradited to the US due to arrangements between the two countries.

Why seek asylum from an obviously corrupt govt, Ecuador?

I believe that his choice was due to the lack of an extradition arrangement with the involved countries.

Kimon
07-08-2016, 10:25 PM
My understanding of this is that as soon as he is in Sweden he can be extradited to the US due to arrangements between the two countries.


He was held in England prior to his flight to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. England could have just as easily been trying to extradite him to us, but was trying to extradite him to Sweden instead. If we wanted him so badly, why not have England hand him over directly? Sometimes you need to look beyond all the bs and realize that the man is just a despicable egomaniac and a criminal.

I believe that his choice was due to the lack of an extradition arrangement with the involved countries.

When only govts like Ecuador are willing to help you, and respectable govts like England and Sweden both view you as a criminal...

GonzoTheGreat
07-09-2016, 03:03 AM
When only govts like Ecuador are willing to help you, and respectable govts like England and Sweden both view you as a criminal...
Then you have to wonder how much of that "innocent until proven guilty" is any more than pure lies.
After all, Assange has not actually been put on trial; officially, Sweden wants him to in order to carry out an investigation of allegations which may not even rise to the level of actual crimes even if true. So if Sweden does indeed view him as a criminal, then there is no justice at all in that country. In which case the decision not to gamble on their sense of justice seems quite justified.

Oatman
07-09-2016, 05:06 AM
He was held in England prior to his flight to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. England could have just as easily been trying to extradite him to us, but was trying to extradite him to Sweden instead. If we wanted him so badly, why not have England hand him over directly? Sometimes you need to look beyond all the bs and realize that the man is just a despicable egomaniac and a criminal.

I'm not sure of the specifics of this, I may be wrong, and I don't care enough about the answer to look into it any further myself, but I will respond based on my very vague knowledge.
England and the US have an extradition treaty for crimes a b and c.
The crime falls into category d, which the treaty between US and England doesn't cover.
US and Sweden have a treaty which covers crime d.
Sweden has a treaty with England to extradite for a crime allegedly committed by Assange(the rape you mentioned).
Once Assange enters Sweden to defend himself, he will be extradited to the US.
This isn't about believing bs, it's about getting a grasp of legal technicalities that do exist and cannot be overlooked because 'murica wants it to be that way.

When only govts like Ecuador are willing to help you, and respectable govts like England and Sweden both view you as a criminal...

If he was viewed as a criminal in either of those countries he would have been imprisoned in them. If he has a case to answer it should be answered in a fair trial, without a preconception of guilt.
Keep in mind that he was allowed to leave Sweden after the allegations were made, and was not charged with any crimes committed in England that I know of.
If nothing else the timing behind everything certainly makes it appear as though everything has been arranged to get him extradited to the US, since none of it came up until after the data leak.

Kimon
07-09-2016, 09:49 AM
I'm not sure of the specifics of this, I may be wrong, and I don't care enough about the answer to look into it any further myself, but I will respond based on my very vague knowledge.
England and the US have an extradition treaty for crimes a b and c.
The crime falls into category d, which the treaty between US and England doesn't cover.
US and Sweden have a treaty which covers crime d.
Sweden has a treaty with England to extradite for a crime allegedly committed by Assange(the rape you mentioned).
Once Assange enters Sweden to defend himself, he will be extradited to the US.
This isn't about believing bs, it's about getting a grasp of legal technicalities that do exist and cannot be overlooked because 'murica wants it to be that way.


The main, or at least potential stumbling block to extradition is the question of the death penalty. I would imagine that either the UK or Sweden would demand assurances prior to authorizing an extradition. The death penalty however seems incredibly unlikely here, as proving treason in his case would be far more difficult, as he divulged, but did not steal the classified material. His case is thus far less cut-and-dry than Manning's or Snowden's. That said, we still have never formally requested extradition. Would we? I would. His prosecution would still be far more difficult though than Manning's, or Snowden's. Any suggesting that the death penalty is what would hold this up is thus laughable. They were both clearly guilty of treason. Assange's actions, while even more unethical than theirs, also happen to be less obviously illegal. His prosecution might well end unsuccessfully. I think you are all far too certain that he would actually be extradited, or, indeed, that any extradition by the US would actually be made. What Assange did was worse, at least in my opinion, than what Snowden and Manning did, but what he did is still less clearly illegal as well.

If he was viewed as a criminal in either of those countries he would have been imprisoned in them. If he has a case to answer it should be answered in a fair trial, without a preconception of guilt.
Keep in mind that he was allowed to leave Sweden after the allegations were made, and was not charged with any crimes committed in England that I know of.
If nothing else the timing behind everything certainly makes it appear as though everything has been arranged to get him extradited to the US, since none of it came up until after the data leak.

He was being questioned, and fighting against his extradition to Sweden when he fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy. Had he not done so he would have faced that extradition. You do realize that Wikileaks was founded in 2006, right? His leaks that really annoyed us, those beginning with Manning's, occurred mostly in 2010-2011. Sweden issued their arrest warrant in August of 2010. He fought that extradition in the UK courts. In May 2012 that fight ended in the UK Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Sweden. In June he fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy. Maybe we would have asked for extradition if the Swedish case failed to result in prosecution, but you three (you, dahlia, and gonzo) all seem far to trusting of Assange's innocence, or, contrariwise, far to paranoid as to Sweden's potential for shenanigans. There is no good reason to willfully disdain the veracity of these allegations, or to assume that Sweden had any nefarious, or clandestine, intent here.

Anyway, here is a description of the relevant US-UK extradition treaty.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-16041824

And here a description of the events leading up to Assange's seeking of asylum from Ecuador.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-19426382

GonzoTheGreat
07-09-2016, 11:37 AM
The death penalty however seems incredibly unlikely here, as proving treason in his case would be far more difficult, as he divulged, but did not steal the classified material. His case is thus far less cut-and-dry than Manning's or Snowden's. That said, we still have never formally requested extradition. Would we? I would. His prosecution would still be far more difficult though than Manning's, or Snowden's. Any suggesting that the death penalty is what would hold this up is thus laughable. They were both clearly guilty of treason.Why?

From the Wikipedia article on treason (bolding mine):
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's nation or sovereign.

Assange does not have the American nationality. So the US prosecutor would have to prove that Assange committed treason against Australia. But the latter case would seem to belong more in an Australian court than an American one, wouldn't it?

Kimon
07-09-2016, 11:44 AM
Why?

From the Wikipedia article on treason (bolding mine):
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's nation or sovereign.

Assange does not have the American nationality. So the US prosecutor would have to prove that Assange committed treason against Australia. But the latter case would seem to belong more in an Australian court than an American one, wouldn't it?

I suppose I could have worded that better, but that was my point. There is a clear treason case against Snowden, just as there was against Manning. There is not against Assange. Just espionage, and even that would be more difficult to prosecute. It's why there is no certainty of extradition. What Assange did was unethical, but it wasn't necessarily illegal. Which is why I think you guys are so wrong about this Sweden issue. He clearly is afraid to go to Sweden, which under the circumstances, looks more like an indication of concession of guilt concerning the rape allegations, as that is far more likely than the probability of him even being extradited to the US, let alone found guilty of any crimes by us. It just seems an obvious pretext to avoid facing prosecution by the Swedes on the rape charges.

Davian93
07-10-2016, 04:03 PM
What Assange did was unethical, but it wasn't necessarily illegal.

Was it any different than, say, the NY Times publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971? Same concept generally...the American people had a compelling right to know what its gov't is doing...especially when laws are being bent out of shape and/or broken.

Kimon
07-10-2016, 04:56 PM
Was it any different than, say, the NY Times publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971? Same concept generally...the American people had a compelling right to know what its gov't is doing...especially when laws are being bent out of shape and/or broken.

Wikileaks hasn't demonstrated enough willingness regarding the sensitivity of the material that they have been allowing to come to light. Most notably in their seemingly intentional mishandling of the State Department cables, allowing decryption keys to leak so as to allow for the promulgation of material that served little constructive purpose but to endanger state department activities and operatives. Assange isn't a legitimate, nor a responsible, journalist. He is simply an egomaniac set upon feeding his own delusions of grandeur. Unlike his rape allegations, or his earlier conviction for hacking back in Australia, this is less obviously illegal, but it is still irresponsible and unethical. I see little difference between him and other dangerous narcissists, like Martin Shkreli.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-11-2016, 01:56 AM
Stability has always been the greatest catalyst of prosperity, but society has not always been getting better. We have tended to witness cycles of stability/prosperity that then falls into chaos/dark ages, then reemergence into prosperity as stability and education are restored. The two most obvious examples of this are the collapse of Archaic Greece (the Minoan collapse caused by the eruption on Thera and subsequent tidal wave that pummeled Crete and the rest of the Aegean) that led to a Dark Ages with a short Mycenaean revival that also collapsed until finally the prosperity of Classical Greece emerged and then gave way to the long prosperity of the Pax Romana. Then that collapsed and the chaotic fragmenting of Europe coupled with the oppressive anti-intellectualism of the Church's tyranny produced another long Dark Age from which we only began to reemerge finally with the Renaissance and then continued through the Enlightenment. And that revival was largely due to the rise of more stable states - led by Florence in Italy, then exported north into France, England, and the various principalities of Germany. That was a fight that still continues - the French Revolution and WWII being the most obvious examples, but our own never-ending fight over abortion and over what is meant or intended by the division of Church and State is another theatre in that struggle. The current unrest in the Middle East is also witness to monotheism's continued efficacy in spreading darkness and instability.

the cycle (from the Western/European point of view) is speeding up though. Roman Empire -> collapse of the Roman Empire & Dark Ages -> Charlemagne's revival and High Middle Ages -> The Plague -> Renaissance & Humanitarian movement -> 30 years war -> Enlightenment & early industrialism -> French Revolution. Since the French Revolution we can count a massive mess every 50 years or so - 1789-1815; 1853-1856; 1914-1918; 1939-1945; 1989-1992 although, the Yugoslavian/Eastern European mess didn't really spill over into the World as a whole, so perhaps 2001-2014 is more appropriate.

as for the Big Brother fearmongering, Dahlia it's a lost fight. true privacy hasn't existed for the past 30-40 years or so, might as well stop pretending like it's somehow new and shocking that governments keep information on citizens. Instead we should focus on taking charge of our own data. Me, personally, I don't care that various institutions know stuff about me. I DO care, very much, that I don't know what they know about me and I have no say in correcting something if it's wrong. This does vary from country to country and institution to institution but in general, the whole thing is depressingly red-taped.

Example from my own experience, a month or so ago [note: I'm using the word "retarded" in the sense of outdated, slow, not modern]: I'm going on maternity leave pretty soon, so my employer notified the entity that deals with non-working people (everything from unemployment to pension to medical leave). I get a letter from that institution, saying everything's in order and ready to go. yay! At the same time I get an email notification that I've a message from that same institution on the "my government" site. I'm curious to see what it is, so I log on, wander about a bit (FINALLY sign up to be an organ donor. I got a little distracted) and eventually make my way to that institution's section of the "My government". It was the same letter I already got per post so nothing too interesting, but as I was curious, I poked about some, just to see what's there. you know, what's my work history should I get fired (not that that's really an acute possibility but one never knows) and what would I be entitled to etc. So by chance I see that while my salary information keeps rolling on, my "worked hours per month" stops per 1. January 2016. Which is weird because I've definitely been putting my hours in. So I call them up (which is retarded btw, I'd much rather email. But ok, whatever) and ask what's up with that, is it important? yes it's important, has to do with benefits in case I lose my job for a longer term. Um. Ok, is it important for the maternity leave? no, it doesn't count towards that. Ok, but the worked hours should still be listed, right? How do I fix it? So I get the instructions and send the correction request in (which again was retarded, I had to print out a form, manually fill it in, and mail it by snailmail back to them. Apparently they don't have emails in that institution? But ok. At least I didn't have to go to some government office in the middle of a work day). Three weeks go by and I get another letter saying that it's not fixed because they can't find my worked hours on my salary slips (fucking MORONS, it's RIGHT THERE where it says "worked hours this month") and anyways I need to fix it via my employer's salary administration because they give the data to the Tax Office, and the Tax Office gives the data to this institution. *bang head on desk* This was also the point where I realized that I'm probably not the only one in my company who has this little "glitch", I'm just the only one that noticed it. So, anyways, I contacted HR - I actually did that first thing, when I saw the hours missing but since the helpdesk at first told me I should fix it myself, well, nothing for HR to do really. But now it's up to the HR person to get the salary administration people to talk to the Tax Office people to talk to the pension office people and fix the whole bloody thing.

And that's trying to fix something I KNOW about that's incorrect. And Netherlands has, according to most metrics (https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/Reports/UN-E-Government-Survey-2014), one of the most supple and transparent online governance systems in the World.

Davian93
07-11-2016, 09:58 AM
One immutable fact in the world: HR always sucks.

Kimon
07-11-2016, 03:03 PM
Cameron is resigning tomorrow, and his successor is going to be Theresa May. Somewhat interesting that not only were both of the candidates to succeed Cameron women, but that while May was a supporter of the Remain cause, Andrea Leadsom is a supporter of the Leave campaign.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36768148

Edit: Not tomorrow - Wednesday. Not sure why I was thinking today was Tuesday, though, being a teacher (and hence on extended vacation), the days do seem to flow together during the summer.

GonzoTheGreat
07-12-2016, 03:23 AM
May has announced that she will carry out the Brexit, and that she will try to do it quickly.

Davian93
07-12-2016, 07:18 AM
May has announced that she will carry out the Brexit, and that she will try to do it quickly.

So she's going with the ever popular "Pull and Pray method" eh...I'm sure it'll work well.

GonzoTheGreat
07-12-2016, 07:24 AM
So she's going with the ever popular "Pull and Pray method" eh...I'm sure it'll work well.She does have the advantage that she can blame Cameron and Johnson when it all goes horribly wrong. Not sure how much comfort that would be to the British voters who discover they can't afford new roundabouts when the EU doesn't pay for those any more, but that's a result of their own decision, isn't it?

Ozymandias
07-13-2016, 02:20 PM
Stability has always been the greatest catalyst of prosperity, but society has not always been getting better. We have tended to witness cycles of stability/prosperity that then falls into chaos/dark ages, then reemergence into prosperity as stability and education are restored. The two most obvious examples of this are the collapse of Archaic Greece (the Minoan collapse caused by the eruption on Thera and subsequent tidal wave that pummeled Crete and the rest of the Aegean) that led to a Dark Ages with a short Mycenaean revival that also collapsed until finally the prosperity of Classical Greece emerged and then gave way to the long prosperity of the Pax Romana.


Just want to point out (as yks does later) how Euro-centric this viewpoint is. The Minoans were a minor fringe culture in the Near Eastern world and the any collapse in that society probably barely registered on some of the greater civilizations bordering them, which were in the middle of a period of hitherto unmatched diplomatic and artistic glory.

Obviously ancient economies were centralized and re-distributive in nature, and thus any instability in the center would have precluded major social advancement for any given civilization. But I took your implication to be that there are widespread cycles of stagnation and advancement, which I don't think is necessarily correct.

More importantly for the historiography, however, is the fact that in what were more or less pre-literate societies, almost all of our written records come from government/elite sources. It's very easy to get a rosy view of periods of high central authority because we end up having vastly more written records to comb through and inform out opinion, whereas the natural uncertainty and guesswork involved in interpreting fragmentary archaeological clues lends itself to viewing such periods as "Dark Ages". It doesn't necessarily follow, though, that those times were any more or less "advanced" than others. Doesn't help, of course, but worth considering.

the cycle (from the Western/European point of view) is speeding up though. Roman Empire -> collapse of the Roman Empire & Dark Ages -> Charlemagne's revival and High Middle Ages -> The Plague -> Renaissance & Humanitarian movement -> 30 years war -> Enlightenment & early industrialism -> French Revolution. Since the French Revolution we can count a massive mess every 50 years or so - 1789-1815; 1853-1856; 1914-1918; 1939-1945; 1989-1992 although, the Yugoslavian/Eastern European mess didn't really spill over into the World as a whole, so perhaps 2001-2014 is more appropriate.

Just to elaborate on the point I'm making above, I think this idea that "cycle is speeding up" is rooted in a fundamental over-reliance on the written record, as well as the greater ability to "fall" farther as the rising tide of economic and social progress lifts all boats.

The Roman Empire had many ups and downs. The Thirty Years War was highly localized to Germany and Central Europe and the French or English would probably consider the 100 Years War or the Wars of Religion, or the War of the Roses, as far more epochal events than the Thirty Years War.

And moreover, some of the examples you cite aren't even "regressions". The period from 1789-1815 could be viewed as a massive improvement on what came before; only in the size of the armies in play did it differ from the constant warfare of the previous 100 years, and the massive sea changes in how the Napoleonic Era changed the concept of the modern nation cannot be overstated.

And more than that... the period starting in the mid-18th century began an unprecedented growth in literacy. We have so much documentary evidence of the last few centuries that it defies imagination. Of course we're more prone to remember crises from recent centuries; we have thousands if not millions of firsthand accounts for every little mess that comes along. The South Sea bubble, or Mississippi Company bubble, probably had large impacts on the economic resources available to the French, and yet they are largely forgotten, because thousands of people write about the relatively minor turmoil of recent recessions, instead of dozens writing about those. A prolonged drought might have caused unimaginable hardship to millions of people on a regular basis for thousands of years, and yet those get glossed over as part of larger historical eras as opposed to breaking down recent history into four or five year blocs of "regression".

Viewed from that same wider lens, the last 250 years can be viewed as the triumphant emergence of democracy and the market economy, with barely a blip on that steady march. When a few centuries elapse and history can take the wider view, we may very well find that even traumatic events like the period from 1914-1945 become mere footnotes to the Age of Democracy, much as the Crisis of the Third Century has become little more than a subset of the 500 year "Roman" period.

All of which isn't to say that societies don't advance and stagnate by stages. I just mean to point out that your opinion depends on the arbitrary bracketing we do. I agree, it's difficult to argue that European civilization was in a better spot in 650 AD as compared to 150 AD. But that may not be the case as you widen your view, or change it. Certainly, slavery was less prevalent, which is a plus! If you take the long view, its very difficult to avoid the conclusion that all societies have generally been on an upward trend of advancement.

Kimon
07-13-2016, 03:41 PM
Just want to point out (as yks does later) how Euro-centric this viewpoint is. The Minoans were a minor fringe culture in the Near Eastern world and the any collapse in that society probably barely registered on some of the greater civilizations bordering them, which were in the middle of a period of hitherto unmatched diplomatic and artistic glory.


My background is in the Classics, so while I may be more focused on the Greek world than you, I still disagree with your assessment of both the significance of the Minoans, and of the significance of their collapse. They had dominated the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. They had a very sophisticated society, a language which we still only slightly understand (we just don't have enough of either Linear A to fully decipher it), and their collapse had devastating consequences for the region. It not only left a power gap into which the Mycenaeans emerged, but their absence in dominating the seas led to the rise of the so-called Sea Peoples (probably the Mycenaeans) so oft mentioned by the Egyptians that so devastated the coasts of all the Near East during the era that followed the Minoan collapse. Memories of this time are seen in a number of important myths that helped shape the later Greeks, most notably the Trojan War, but also two overlapping myths that served as allegories for throwing off the Minoan yoke - Hercules' 7th Labor (the Cretan Bull) and Theseus' slaying of the Minotaur. It has also long been argued that this cataclysm is eerily similar to Plato's tale of Atlantis. Aside from that, one can not overlook how differently Greek civilization might have developed had Thera's eruption and accompanying tidal wave not so obliterated the Minoans. This was not a minor ripple in history, no mere footnote, it was one of the great turning points.

Obviously ancient economies were centralized and re-distributive in nature, and thus any instability in the center would have precluded major social advancement for any given civilization. But I took your implication to be that there are widespread cycles of stagnation and advancement, which I don't think is necessarily correct.

There was a sharp decline in level of sophistication in the Greek world after the fall of the Minoans, and then another after the Mycenaean collapse. The Minoan floruit was c. 1900 BCE - Thera (c. 1500 BCE - we don't know the exact date of the eruption). The Mycenaean floruit was c. 1600 - 1100 BCE. The Trojan War, largely romanticized and embellished, but almost certainly commemorating an actual piratic expedition dates to around 1200 BCE. Both of these civilizations were literate. I mentioned Linear A (Minoan) above. We can occasionally make out names - usually of gods like Zeus or Athena, indeed it has often been hypothesized, even by the ancient Greeks, that perhaps their gods were dim memories of semi-mythic kings and queens or heroes from that Minoan civilization. The Mycenaean script, Linear B, we understand far better. Moreover, Linear B is similar in many ways to Ancient Greek. The Minoan Linear A by contrast seems unrelated. More similar to the relation of Etruscan to Latin. That literacy was lost after the Mycenaean collapse, and the Dark Age there traditionally is dated from 1100 - 800 BCE. After that, literacy reappears, and sophisticated culture and poetry (pottery too, likewise cities and city-states start to re-appear, though Mycenae never recovers, Sparta and Athens in contrast do both recover and begin to assert themselves at this time) begins to re-emerge - Homer, Hesiod, etc.

This also is not isolated to Greece. Think too of Egypt. Of the 3 so-called "kingdoms", it is the Old Kingdom that was the most sophisticated. It was during it, the earliest, that the pyramids were constructed. And part of the cause of that decline? The Hyksos. The Hyksos are also interesting as they are almost certainly the Jewish/Semitic invaders, but unlike the tale preserved in the Bible, they were not slaves, they had conquered Egypt, and then had been driven out. The Exodus wasn't the Jews being freed from Egypt, it was Egypt freeing itself from their foreign conquerors. The rise and fall of the Hittite Civilization also comes to mind for the Near East. That Hittite collapse also seemed to be caused by the "Sea Peoples". Troy has often been linked to this collapse.

Addendum - I might as well respond to two of your latter points as well.

The Roman Empire had many ups and downs.

Really just one - the 3rd Century Crisis. This ended with Diocletian, albeit the stability that he restored was somewhat mangled after his departure into retirement, allowing for the rise of both Constantine, and of Christianity. We might have had another Diocletian-esque correction, but Julian was assassinated by the bishops during the Siege of Ctesiphon, and with Julian died the last hope of the Classical World. One could mark the beginning of the last great Dark Age either at this murder, or with Thedosius' reign of terror. Nonetheless, unless you include the Byzantines, there is only one massive blip (that chaos in the 3rd Century), not the many spasms that was the Byzantine Empire.

All of which isn't to say that societies don't advance and stagnate by stages. I just mean to point out that your opinion depends on the arbitrary bracketing we do. I agree, it's difficult to argue that European civilization was in a better spot in 650 AD as compared to 150 AD. But that may not be the case as you widen your view, or change it. Certainly, slavery was less prevalent, which is a plus! If you take the long view, its very difficult to avoid the conclusion that all societies have generally been on an upward trend of advancement.

Serfdom is but slavery under a different name. It wasn't until the Black Death produced a labor shortage that serfdom was largely eradicated in Europe. And, of course, that still largely meant turning to new sources for slavery, not the end of slavery.

Terez
07-13-2016, 08:08 PM
Of course we're more prone to remember crises from recent centuries; we have thousands if not millions of firsthand accounts for every little mess that comes along.
This is something I noticed when translating Chopin's correspondence and that of his contemporaries. Most of them were in Paris; a good example is the Retour des cendres (when Napoleon's remains were returned to Paris). They all seemed to think it was their duty to record their memories of that event, probably because they weren't far removed from the period where such mémoires were scant. Their approach was infectious; many of those letters, I would have ordinarily only translated the bits relevant to Chopin, but I found myself translating whole letters because it was clearly important. In retrospect, I found myself questioning the account of the Marquis de Custine; he gave a very detailed account, and I suspect the entire thing was fabricated.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-14-2016, 01:24 AM
The Roman Empire had many ups and downs. The Thirty Years War was highly localized to Germany and Central Europe and the French or English would probably consider the 100 Years War or the Wars of Religion, or the War of the Roses, as far more epochal events than the Thirty Years War. Not so; Perhaps I should have clarified it with "the wars that started with the Reformation and ended in 1648, of which the Thirty Years War is best known" The Thirty Years War ensured the dominance of France and England over Spain "the empire where the Sun never sets" and set the stage for the rise of the Russian Empire, both of which were cemented in the Northern War/Spanish inheritance war (or whatever the official English language name is for it) in the beginning of the 18th century. The conclusion of those wars, and the principle of "cuius regio, eius religio" had some very far-reaching consequences.

And moreover, some of the examples you cite aren't even "regressions". The period from 1789-1815 could be viewed as a massive improvement on what came before; only in the size of the armies in play did it differ from the constant warfare of the previous 100 years, and the massive sea changes in how the Napoleonic Era changed the concept of the modern nation cannot be overstated. I agree with this: by and large, the Napoleonic era was a huge catalyst (in my opinion) for the betterment of civilization. However, that wasn't my point - I pointed to a period of great social, political and military upheaval, which went and pretty much destroyed the former way of living. Actually I should have included the American War of Independence into this period, as both the French Revolution and the War of Independence came from the same frustrations and aimed to fix the same problems, just in different... kingdoms.

And more than that... the period starting in the mid-18th century began an unprecedented growth in literacy. We have so much documentary evidence of the last few centuries that it defies imagination. Of course we're more prone to remember crises from recent centuries; we have thousands if not millions of firsthand accounts for every little mess that comes along. The South Sea bubble, or Mississippi Company bubble, probably had large impacts on the economic resources available to the French, and yet they are largely forgotten, because thousands of people write about the relatively minor turmoil of recent recessions, instead of dozens writing about those. A prolonged drought might have caused unimaginable hardship to millions of people on a regular basis for thousands of years, and yet those get glossed over as part of larger historical eras as opposed to breaking down recent history into four or five year blocs of "regression". I disagree. I'd say it's been longer than that - people always discount the Humanitarians of the 16th and 17th century. Just because there were perhaps more scientific/industrial breakthroughs in the 18th and 19th century, those would not have been possible without the groundwork of (religious/social) philosophers such as Luther, More, Erasmus, Locke, Bacon. Without them, well, one concludes that most of the innovators of the 18th century would have gone the way of Galileo.

Viewed from that same wider lens, the last 250 years can be viewed as the triumphant emergence of democracy and the market economy, with barely a blip on that steady march. When a few centuries elapse and history can take the wider view, we may very well find that even traumatic events like the period from 1914-1945 become mere footnotes to the Age of Democracy, much as the Crisis of the Third Century has become little more than a subset of the 500 year "Roman" period.

All of which isn't to say that societies don't advance and stagnate by stages. I just mean to point out that your opinion depends on the arbitrary bracketing we do. I agree, it's difficult to argue that European civilization was in a better spot in 650 AD as compared to 150 AD. But that may not be the case as you widen your view, or change it. Certainly, slavery was less prevalent, which is a plus! If you take the long view, its very difficult to avoid the conclusion that all societies have generally been on an upward trend of advancement. Point taken.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-14-2016, 01:28 AM
In retrospect, I found myself questioning the account of the Marquis de Custine; he gave a very detailed account, and I suspect the entire thing was fabricated.

This was, at the time, depressingly common.

Terez
07-14-2016, 03:03 AM
This was, at the time, depressingly common.
Just out of curiosity, have you read Custine's La Russie en 1839? It's still considered to be a valuable outsider's perspective on Russia at that time, despite his tendency to embellish things to suit his chosen narrative.

GonzoTheGreat
07-14-2016, 04:07 AM
I disagree. I'd say it's been longer than that - people always discount the Humanitarians of the 16th and 17th century. Just because there were perhaps more scientific/industrial breakthroughs in the 18th and 19th century, those would not have been possible without the groundwork of (religious/social) philosophers such as Luther, More, Erasmus, Locke, Bacon. Without them, well, one concludes that most of the innovators of the 18th century would have gone the way of Galileo.I wouldn't count Luther as a humanitarian at all. For that, read what his opinion on Jews was.
And as for his philosophical credentials, there's his reaction to the ideas of Copernicus:
"There is talk of a new astrologer who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon, just as if somebody were moving in a carriage or ship might hold that he was sitting still and at rest while the earth and the trees walked and moved. But that is how things are nowadays: when a man wishes to be clever he must needs invent something special, and the way he does it must needs be the best! The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth."All in all, Martin Luther was first and foremost a religious bigot. He was a successful one, I grant him, but that doesn't actually make him any more worthy.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-14-2016, 04:33 AM
Just out of curiosity, have you read Custine's La Russie en 1839? It's still considered to be a valuable outsider's perspective on Russia at that time, despite his tendency to embellish things to suit his chosen narrative.

I haven't read that, no.


Gonzo, comparatively speaking, taking into account his contemporaries and general ideology at the time. Historiographically speaking, we can't judge historical figures on the moral standards of our current time, you know that.

GonzoTheGreat
07-14-2016, 06:31 AM
Yes and no.

I do admit that he was not particularly exceptional in being an anti-Semite at the time. On the other hand, his earlier works were a lot less virulent on the subject than his later works, suggesting that when he had had thought more about it, he became more hostile towards Jews. That's not time-dependent, that is just how he was.
And the Copernicus episode shows very clearly that he put Biblical claims on a higher level than philosophy. That may be right for a theologian such as he was, but it is not at all an endorsement for his philosophical leanings.

On the other hand, we can and should judge them by our own standards when considering them as moral guides for our own time. If you want to say that Lutheranism is no worse than 16th century Roman Catholicism, then I might agree with that. But applauding its social philosophy when Luther approved of the slaughter of thousands of rebellious peasants (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Peasants%27_War) is not really setting a good standard, I think.

I know that people often say "we can't judge historical figures on the moral standards of our current time", but using that very standard, you yourself should not be speaking about this, since in those days women were not allowed to engage in politics and such. Neither would I have been, apart from the fact that I'm from the Netherlands, where the rules were different even then.
On top of that, and more seriously, it is almost always possible to find people contemporary to the subject or earlier who did have a "more modern" view, thus proving that even historical figures could have known better.

Ozymandias
07-14-2016, 08:37 AM
My background is in the Classics, so while I may be more focused on the Greek world than you, I still disagree with your assessment of both the significance of the Minoans, and of the significance of their collapse.

Hah, well that explains it, because my academic background is on Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Mesopotamian societies.

They had dominated the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. They had a very sophisticated society, a language which we still only slightly understand (we just don't have enough of either Linear A to fully decipher it), and their collapse had devastating consequences for the region.

I don't think this is an area in which we'll agree, so I'll let it go despite still not fully buying this point.


It not only left a power gap into which the Mycenaeans emerged, but their absence in dominating the seas led to the rise of the so-called Sea Peoples (probably the Mycenaeans) so oft mentioned by the Egyptians that so devastated the coasts of all the Near East during the era that followed the Minoan collapse.

This is all pretty fraught. Firstly, it is almost certain that the Mycenaeans were an established civilization well before whatever brought low Minoan civilization. We have too many references to Late Bronze Age rulers treating with them as equals by the mid 15th century for them to have been anything but an established political player by that time.

And I would hesitate to ascribe any explanation for the emergence of the Sea Peoples. We know so little about them that its difficult to even assign probabilities; one thing is certain, however, and that is that they have little to nothing to do with any civilization on Crete. They appear hundreds of years after the fall of the Minoans, and its really pushing it in everything except a purely chronological sense to imply that the disaster which devastated Crete had anything to do with larger regional issues that occurred a few centuries later.

Memories of this time are seen in a number of important myths that helped shape the later Greeks, most notably the Trojan War, but also two overlapping myths that served as allegories for throwing off the Minoan yoke - Hercules' 7th Labor (the Cretan Bull) and Theseus' slaying of the Minotaur. It has also long been argued that this cataclysm is eerily similar to Plato's tale of Atlantis. Aside from that, one can not overlook how differently Greek civilization might have developed had Thera's eruption and accompanying tidal wave not so obliterated the Minoans. This was not a minor ripple in history, no mere footnote, it was one of the great turning points.

You're the expert. But those are fairly localized effects on a small geographic region. That those myths and legends were disseminated throughout the world has much more to do with the cultural diaspora of the Greek world through Alexander, and then Rome.

There was a sharp decline in level of sophistication in the Greek world after the fall of the Minoans, and then another after the Mycenaean collapse.

I don't have the knowledge to dispute this but I believe you anyway. However, the Greek world was an unimportant backwater in this period. The wider ancient world continued to flourish for centuries and represents some of the richest textual evidence we have of any period of history up until the modern age.

This also is not isolated to Greece. Think too of Egypt. Of the 3 so-called "kingdoms", it is the Old Kingdom that was the most sophisticated.

This is highly debatable. Yes, the most impressive pyramids were built, but there are plenty of other reasons that such monumental architecture couldn't have been built in subsequent dynasties, not least of which was the acute awareness of grave robbery. The artistic and literary flourishings of later dynasties is proof positive that state power was directed areas other than massive funerary monuments.

Moreover, to your subsequent point, the Hyksos were involved in the decline of the Middle Kingdom. Sustained droughts and famine brought low the Old Kingdom, along with a steady (and relatively permanent) decentralization of power.

Really just one - the 3rd Century Crisis.

If you view the Roman Empire as both the Imperial period, the Principate (which we do) and the imperial Republican period (which we probably should), then there are far more. The Civil Wars certainly come to mind, but even if we limit ourselves to the order Augustus established and beyond, we can see that the Antonine Plague of the Late Second Century constitutes a massive reduction in trade, population, and overall prosperity.

If the point is that there were few real dislocations from about 35 BC to 165 AD, that's fine... but we can find plenty of 200 year periods where everything was hunky dory (to our knowledge). As I said to yks, all of it depends on cherrypicking the beginning and end dates.


but Julian was assassinated by the bishops during the Siege of Ctesiphon, and with Julian died the last hope of the Classical World.

Seriously? Does that conspiracy theory have any evidence beyond conjecture? Ancient sources are pretty much in agreement that he was injured in battle, which is far more plausible anyway. Besides which they never besieged Ctesiphon in either case.


Serfdom is but slavery under a different name. It wasn't until the Black Death produced a labor shortage that serfdom was largely eradicated in Europe. And, of course, that still largely meant turning to new sources for slavery, not the end of slavery.


I imagine that both serfs and slaves would disagree with you. Serfs preserved several important rights that slaves didn't have.

Haha this all got a little off topic, huh?

Ozymandias
07-14-2016, 08:45 AM
I disagree. I'd say it's been longer than that - people always discount the Humanitarians of the 16th and 17th century. Just because there were perhaps more scientific/industrial breakthroughs in the 18th and 19th century, those would not have been possible without the groundwork of (religious/social) philosophers such as Luther, More, Erasmus, Locke, Bacon. Without them, well, one concludes that most of the innovators of the 18th century would have gone the way of Galileo.


I'm not talking about inventions or social dislocations. I'm talking about basic literacy. The average person in 1500 was almost certain to be functionally illiterate. By 1750 more people could read and write than couldn't. Obviously among educated elites there have always been philosophical musings and enlightenment. But if only 10% of the population can write, you are automatically restricting the historical record to a small subset of people who have an outlook centered on wealth. As literacy percolates down the social ladder, you begin to have a vastly greater written record, as well as a richer one from the standpoint of breadth of opinion.

GonzoTheGreat
07-14-2016, 08:53 AM
I'm not talking about inventions or social dislocations. I'm talking about basic literacy. The average person in 1500 was almost certain to be functionally illiterate. By 1750 more people could read and write than couldn't. Obviously among educated elites there have always been philosophical musings and enlightenment. But if only 10% of the population can write, you are automatically restricting the historical record to a small subset of people who have an outlook centered on wealth. As literacy percolates down the social ladder, you begin to have a vastly greater written record, as well as a richer one from the standpoint of breadth of opinion.Mind you, finds in Egypt suggest that there was far more literacy there 3,500 years ago then was believed to be the case until recently. Maybe the workers on the Pyramids were a great exception; but until those shopping lists, letters full of gossip and so forth were found in an ancient rubbish heap, it was accepted wisdom by experts that only a small number of scribes could read and write at all in those days.

I'm sure the literacy figures now are higher than they were a thousand years ago. But I'm less sure that we have a really good indication of what they were before this specific item was carefully recorded.

Kimon
07-14-2016, 09:48 AM
This is all pretty fraught. Firstly, it is almost certain that the Mycenaeans were an established civilization well before whatever brought low Minoan civilization. We have too many references to Late Bronze Age rulers treating with them as equals by the mid 15th century for them to have been anything but an established political player by that time.


The mid 1400s (15th Century) would already date to after the eruption of Thera. Prior to this eruption all evidence points to the Mycenaean cities on mainland Greece being vassals, or at least tributary states of the Minoans. The myths of Hercules and Theseus both make this explicit. After the collapse, the Mycenaean states filled that vacuum and emerged as the primary power, especially Mycenae and Argos, the two cities most associated with Hercules. The ship lists from the Iliad create another problem here as they more likely over-emphasize cities visited (hence important cities) in the 8th Century, which differs somewhat from which cities were important centuries earlier during the Trojan War. Hence the overemphasis of Athens, which was an insignificant backwater until the 8th Century. Mycenae, by contrast, while remembered as in ascendancy in this early period, was already long but an abandoned ruin by the 8th Century. As for your contention that there are sources of other local rulers treating them as equals, I am unaware of them ever being mentioned so explicitly by Egypt, they may be mentioned in some Hittite texts, but a clearer indication here of just what you are referring to is needed.

And I would hesitate to ascribe any explanation for the emergence of the Sea Peoples. We know so little about them that its difficult to even assign probabilities; one thing is certain, however, and that is that they have little to nothing to do with any civilization on Crete. They appear hundreds of years after the fall of the Minoans, and its really pushing it in everything except a purely chronological sense to imply that the disaster which devastated Crete had anything to do with larger regional issues that occurred a few centuries later.

This association is very common, and has been the usual association for a very long time, going all the way back to Champollion himself. Consider even the names mentioned by the Egyptians and others for the various tribes of Sea Peoples.

The Denyen = the Danaans (one of the most common ethnic designations for the Greeks in Homer)
The Ekwesh = the Achaeans (Homer's other preferred reference)
The Lukka = the Lycians (Anatolians, not technically Mycenaeans)
The Peleset = the Pelasgians (first mentioned by Homer)
The Shekelesh = the Siculi (this one is a bit problematic, it's really too early for the Greek presence in Sicily)
The Teresh = the Tyrrhenians (usually associated with the Etruscans, who had long, and early contact with the Greeks - indeed this is where the Greek alphabet enter Italy)
The Tjeker = the Teucrians (another common designation marker for the early Greeks)

So there are a few outliers, such as the Teresh and Shekelesh, but the associations with the Mycenaeans is very common for all the other so-called Sea Peoples. And these Sea Peoples are widely associated with the widespread collapse of late Bronze Age settlements that began with the Hittites. Shortly thereafter this collapse that they had caused was brought home and spread like a cancer through their own settlements in Greece. And again, their own myths hold memory of this. The murder of Agamemnon upon his homecoming and chaos in Mycenae that erupted afterwards between Klytemnestra and her children, Orestes and Electra. Orestes again, with the murder of Pyrrhus. 7 Against Thebes. The Heraclidae. All memories of chaotic infighting and civil wars ripping apart their society. All corroborated by the archaeology.

You're the expert. But those are fairly localized effects on a small geographic region. That those myths and legends were disseminated throughout the world has much more to do with the cultural diaspora of the Greek world through Alexander, and then Rome.

The Minoans dominated the region. Then fell - essentially in one night, wiped out by a one-two punch of ash and water. Then the Mycenaeans filled the void, almost immediately, and began to prey upon all of the coastal settlements of the Near East. First soft targets (unwalled settlements), then as they became more powerful, also the great walled settlements - Troy, Ugarit, Tarsus, Byblos, perhaps even far inland at Hattusa, though Hattusa seems perhaps to have just been abandoned due to the collapse and predations elsewhere.

It is clear that Thera caused the fall of the Minoans and the rise of the Mycenaeans. It is also clear that the Mycenaeans caused the collapse of the Hittites and other coastal areas of Anatolia, and even much of the Levant. This was not an isolated phenomenon. There is a reason why the Sea Peoples receive so much mention by the Egyptians. It is not a Greece only event. You are also giving far too little credit for how important the Greeks were for all Western development. Any change here is of massive importance for all that came after.

You're the expert. But those are fairly localized effects on a small geographic region. That those myths and legends were disseminated throughout the world has much more to do with the cultural diaspora of the Greek world through Alexander, and then Rome.

See above. This is a similar issue to the significance of even but one man - Themistocles. Without him, the Persians win the 2nd Persian War. The world remembers the pointless stand of the 300 Spartans so much more, but that stand was but symbolic. Athens still burned afterwards. All Greece still would have been conquered. Only because Themistocles first convinced them to build the fleet, then convinced them to abandon their city, Athens, to be sacked was Salamis possible. And the Persians lost the war at Salamis, not at Thermopylae. Without Thera does Mycenae ever emerge ascendant? Without the Mycenaeans is there ever a Greek ascendancy? The Minoans were not really Greek. Their language makes that clear. Civilization develops perhaps far differently without Thera. Just as civilization emerges certainly far differently if Greece becomes but another conquered province of the Persian Empire. Instead we have the Athenian Empire, then the Peloponnesian War, then the 2nd Athenian Empire, then Philip, then Alexander. Can any of that happen without Themiscles? Does Troy and Ugarit fall without Thera? The Sea Peoples almost certainly don't emerge with the Minoans policing and ruling the seas. This is of massive significance for all that happens after it.

I don't have the knowledge to dispute this but I believe you anyway. However, the Greek world was an unimportant backwater in this period. The wider ancient world continued to flourish for centuries and represents some of the richest textual evidence we have of any period of history up until the modern age.


No. Neither before, or after. Nor did the wider ancient world continue to flourish long after this. Thera set in motion a cascade that ended with the Bronze Age Collapse. A collapse that ate the Hittites, and destabilized Egypt enough to help cause the Hyksos invasion and then Dynasty in Egypt.

This is highly debatable. Yes, the most impressive pyramids were built, but there are plenty of other reasons that such monumental architecture couldn't have been built in subsequent dynasties, not least of which was the acute awareness of grave robbery.

Grave robbery is part of the reason, but the main reason is still that they were far weaker in the Middle Kingdom than they had been in the Old.

If you view the Roman Empire as both the Imperial period, the Principate (which we do) and the imperial Republican period (which we probably should), then there are far more. The Civil Wars certainly come to mind, but even if we limit ourselves to the order Augustus established and beyond, we can see that the Antonine Plague of the Late Second Century constitutes a massive reduction in trade, population, and overall prosperity.

If the point is that there were few real dislocations from about 35 BC to 165 AD, that's fine... but we can find plenty of 200 year periods where everything was hunky dory (to our knowledge). As I said to yks, all of it depends on cherrypicking the beginning and end dates.


For the common people, aside from the instability of the 3rd Century, there is little disruption in everyday life. The other struggles but touched the army and the aristocracy - dynastic struggles for powers such as after the death of Nero that led to the rise of Vespasian. Moreover, none of those power struggles at the top ever caused a decline in the civilization. Only the widespread chaos of the 3rd Century caused actual decline.

Seriously? Does that conspiracy theory have any evidence beyond conjecture? Ancient sources are pretty much in agreement that he was injured in battle, which is far more plausible anyway. Besides which they never besieged Ctesiphon in either case.

Julian's siege of Ctesiphon began in May of 363. He was assassinated on the 26th of June during the Battle of Samarra (I thought it was at Ctesiphon still, but apparently it was after the withdrawal from Ctesiphon). The spear-wound that killed him came seemingly from within his own ranks. Ammianus Marcellinus argued that it was the enemy, Libanius however said it was by a Christian soldier in Julian's own army. John Malalas was even more specific, he said that the soldier was carrying out the order of the Bishop of Caesarea, Basil. Sozomenus, a later Church source continued to stress this version, that the Bishop of Caesarea had ordered the assassination. This isn't a conspiracy theory, it is not certain, but it is very likely what happened.

Kimon
07-14-2016, 10:10 AM
I'm not talking about inventions or social dislocations. I'm talking about basic literacy. The average person in 1500 was almost certain to be functionally illiterate. By 1750 more people could read and write than couldn't. Obviously among educated elites there have always been philosophical musings and enlightenment. But if only 10% of the population can write, you are automatically restricting the historical record to a small subset of people who have an outlook centered on wealth. As literacy percolates down the social ladder, you begin to have a vastly greater written record, as well as a richer one from the standpoint of breadth of opinion.

Gonzo mentioned this also with his reference to ancient Egypt, but there are even more obvious examples. Literacy in Classical Athens was clearly close to universal. We know this for a very simple reason - the widespread use of inscriptions for public consumption. Doing so would be pointless if the public could not read. Literacy in Republican and Imperial Rome was also near universal. We know this not just through inscriptions, but also due to widespread finds of ancient graffiti. And this is not just citizens that were literate. Recall that Romans oft employed Greek slaves as tutors for their children. Slavery amongst the Romans was also far different from what we usually envision. We know of widespread evidence of large numbers of freedmen, many of whom form the imperial bureaucracy. Slavery was not as permanent and inescapable in the Roman world as it was in ours. Nor as inescapable as was serfdom. The world became a much worse place due to the fall of Rome. Much worse in many ways, and for a very long time.

GonzoTheGreat
07-14-2016, 10:42 AM
Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about the bathroom graffiti in Pompeii. That is indeed a good indicator of widespread literacy, albeit with not all that much literary quality.

Ozymandias
07-14-2016, 02:41 PM
Mind you, finds in Egypt suggest that there was far more literacy there 3,500 years ago then was believed to be the case until recently. Maybe the workers on the Pyramids were a great exception; but until those shopping lists, letters full of gossip and so forth were found in an ancient rubbish heap, it was accepted wisdom by experts that only a small number of scribes could read and write at all in those days.

Really? Can you point that out to me? I mean that sincerely; almost everything I've read or studied (and I by no means focus on Old Kingdom Egypt) said that literacy was extremely low, in the low single digit percentages in the most optimistic case.

Gonzo mentioned this also with his reference to ancient Egypt, but there are even more obvious examples. Literacy in Classical Athens was clearly close to universal. We know this for a very simple reason - the widespread use of inscriptions for public consumption. Doing so would be pointless if the public could not read. Literacy in Republican and Imperial Rome was also near universal. We know this not just through inscriptions, but also due to widespread finds of ancient graffiti. And this is not just citizens that were literate. Recall that Romans oft employed Greek slaves as tutors for their children. Slavery amongst the Romans was also far different from what we usually envision. We know of widespread evidence of large numbers of freedmen, many of whom form the imperial bureaucracy. Slavery was not as permanent and inescapable in the Roman world as it was in ours. Nor as inescapable as was serfdom. The world became a much worse place due to the fall of Rome. Much worse in many ways, and for a very long time.

This is... suspect. First off, both of those were slave-based societies, and it is highly unlikely that slaves could read. So we're talking a MASSIVE portion of the population being illiterate, right there. Second, assuming that the presence of graffiti indicates widespread literacy is dangerous. Maybe 5-10% of the population could read and write, at least in Rome. So when you say that literacy in Classical Athens was clearly "close to universal," you should probably be saying "close to universal among the wealthy male voting population." Which may be true. That all members of Classical Athenian society could read and write is pretty obviously false, and I would argue that even the wider citizen body of poor freemen would have been unlikely to be fully literate. Once you eliminate most women, basically all slaves, and a pretty large portion of the rural population, you're looking at a very small literate body of people. In certain geographic subsets, like a large polis, you'd see widespread literacy. That isn't the same as through society, which goes back to my point that we should be quite careful to assume that our written sources reflect actual fact; rather, they serve to exaggerate the concerns of the literate classes for posterity.

Kimon
07-14-2016, 03:23 PM
This is... suspect. First off, both of those were slave-based societies, and it is highly unlikely that slaves could read. So we're talking a MASSIVE portion of the population being illiterate, right there. Second, assuming that the presence of graffiti indicates widespread literacy is dangerous. Maybe 5-10% of the population could read and write, at least in Rome. So when you say that literacy in Classical Athens was clearly "close to universal," you should probably be saying "close to universal among the wealthy male voting population." Which may be true. That all members of Classical Athenian society could read and write is pretty obviously false, and I would argue that even the wider citizen body of poor freemen would have been unlikely to be fully literate. Once you eliminate most women, basically all slaves, and a pretty large portion of the rural population, you're looking at a very small literate body of people. In certain geographic subsets, like a large polis, you'd see widespread literacy. That isn't the same as through society, which goes back to my point that we should be quite careful to assume that our written sources reflect actual fact; rather, they serve to exaggerate the concerns of the literate classes for posterity.

Ozy, all signs point to widespread literacy. The numbers would be lower amongst women and slaves than amongst the free males, though not significantly so amonst the Romans, harder to determine for Athens, though we have knowledge of many well-educated women at Athens too, such as Pericles' mistress, the hetaira (courtesan - essentially an expensive whore) and metic (she was a native of Miletos) Aspasia. Though clearly not all women would have been as well-educated as Aspasia, Hypatia, or Clodia. But even amongst women and slaves, at least at Rome, likely less so at Athens, all signs point to high degrees of literacy. Certainly the vast majority of free males, rich and poor, seem literate. We see signs of literacy widespread through the military, even in odd ways - we have graffiti etched even on artillery bullets from sieges taunting back and forth. Likewise the practise of ostracism yields numerous ostraka which required literacy for all citizens to write for use. While it is difficult to determine amongst field-hand slaves, many Roman slaves were attached to cities, and especially ethnic Greek slaves were employed in jobs/tasks that required both reading and writing, record-keeping, teaching. You need to keep in mind how common schooling was, especially at Rome. Boys, especially aristocratic boys, received more than girls, and non-aristocratic girls obviously less than non-aristocratic boys, but Horace, for example, arguably the greatest poet Rome ever produced, was the son of a freedman (ex-slave). Horace's story is not atypical. Cicero's family also were nobody provincial schlubs prior to his rise. We see this often in Athens as well. Pericles came from the aristocratic Alcaemonidae clan (like Thucydides), but Themistocles rose from the city peasantry, his mother was not even Greek, let alone Athenian. And the proletariot in democratic Athens produced many such literate leaders, not just Themistcles. Caesar indeed in his description of the Gauls, especially of the druids, compares their education system to what was practised by the Romans, and notes differences that would strike the Romans as odd, such as the unwillingness of the Gauls to write down sacred texts, yet notes that literacy exists even here in Gaul, noting that they used Greek letters for writing.

Education and literacy were both highly valued by Athenian and Roman society. And literacy and education was required in both not merely to advance in society, but to function. The widespread use of writing in public - graffiti, inscriptions, record-keeping, the mass of common and sophisticated writing all make this clear. You are too trapped in thinking about what literacy levels were like before and after. These were highly literate societies. And we see signs of this throughout the span of the empire, not just in Rome. Not just men. Not just free citizens. Ozy, your suggested numbers would be way too low even for the slaves. We just see far too much mundane writing for this to be open to debate.

Ozymandias
07-14-2016, 04:01 PM
The mid 1400s (15th Century) would already date to after the eruption of Thera. Prior to this eruption all evidence points to the Mycenaean cities on mainland Greece being vassals, or at least tributary states of the Minoans. The myths of Hercules and Theseus both make this explicit.

But as you point out... these are myths. It's conjecture, even by the standards of how we interpret the historiography of the time. And I don't know much about it, but Wikipedia puts the eruption of Thera in the mid-15th century and I can't find anything more specific. Whether that's a couple decades earlier is pretty immaterial to the larger point.

I am unaware of them ever being mentioned so explicitly by Egypt, they may be mentioned in some Hittite texts, but a clearer indication here of just what you are referring to is needed.

I didn't see the relevance of the few sentences before so I omitted it, but I am also referencing Hittite texts. However, there are Egyptian references to Eastern Mediterranean peoples in the mid to late 15th century during some of the Syrian/Palestinian campaigns.


This association is very common, and has been the usual association for a very long time, going all the way back to Champollion himself. Consider even the names mentioned by the Egyptians and others for the various tribes of Sea Peoples.

Common does not mean correct. There was a very understandable rush when most of these documents were discovered/deciphered to place them in a context which fit with what historians of the time knew. This meant slotting them into a framework laid out by the Homeric epics, similar to how a great deal of the archaeological evidence was used to justify the historic claims of the Old Testament, rather than judging the Biblical claims on the evidence.

The murder of Agamemnon upon his homecoming and chaos in Mycenae that erupted afterwards between Klytemnestra and her children, Orestes and Electra. Orestes again, with the murder of Pyrrhus. 7 Against Thebes. The Heraclidae. All memories of chaotic infighting and civil wars ripping apart their society. All corroborated by the archaeology.


Even if we accept the claim that such stories are memories and myths of actual earlier events (which is in and of itself dubious), that doesn't show us anything regarding the Minoans, or the origins of the "Sea Peoples" or anything else. It's possible that these are stories appropriated wholesale from other cultures, much as the story of Moses in the rushes is an appropriation of Sargonic myth.

The point being, the Mycenaean culture existed before the collapse of Cretan high civilization. I'll accept the premise that this was a subordinate culture, since you have greater knowledge on that subject, but the logic chain that the fall of the Minoans allowed the rise of the Mycenaeans, which allowed the fall of Mycenae, which in turns spurred the collapse of other civilizations, is on insanely shaky ground. Firstly the chain of logic itself is suspect, since you could make the argument that it was the collapse of Akkadian power in Anatolia which allowed the rise of the Hittites (and thus their subsequent fall), if the only necessity here is the chronological chain of events.

Then the Mycenaeans filled the void, almost immediately, and began to prey upon all of the coastal settlements of the Near East.

Again, there was no "void" to fill. Mycenae already existed. Perhaps they emerged from a subsidiary relationship to the Minoans. But they didn't immediately begin preying on the Near East. It was, literally, hundreds of years before the collapse of Late Bronze Age societies in the Levant.

First soft targets (unwalled settlements), then as they became more powerful, also the great walled settlements - Troy, Ugarit, Tarsus, Byblos, perhaps even far inland at Hattusa, though Hattusa seems perhaps to have just been abandoned due to the collapse and predations elsewhere.

Except that the "Sea Peoples" didn't destroy the Hittites. Indo-Europeans arriving by land did. Phrygians and local Semitic speaking peoples caused most of the damage. Beyond which, these "Sea Peoples" destroyed Mycenae itself, which strongly argues against the likelihood that they were of Mycenaean extraction. More likely is that waves of tribal immigration caused overlapping chains of dislocation, and that mass movement of peoples throughout the region destabilized what were otherwise fairly precarious regimes. Egypt survived, after all, and the only other major power to fall was the Hittites, who weren't a coastal empire anyway (or not Mediterranean).

Ancient cultures were not equipped to understand environmental or demographic change. Thus, the face of a confluence of destabilizing circumstances took on the name "the Sea Peoples." They were merely symptomatic of what is being shown with increasing paleobotanic and environmental evidence to be a large scale drought and perhaps even miniature climate change phenomenon like the Little Ice Age.


It is clear that Thera caused the fall of the Minoans and the rise of the Mycenaeans.

Again, the Mycenaeans were an existing culture. The departure of the Minoans from the scene may have elevated the relative importance of mainland Greece, but that is not in any way the same as causing their "rise" in a cultural sense. Politically, it is possible that their importance grew. I'll again defer to you on that. But that would imply the opposite of what you're getting at; a stable and powerful Mycenaean civilization wouldn't be involved in the destabilization of what was an established and flourishing international political order that included themselves.

It is also clear that the Mycenaeans caused the collapse of the Hittites and other coastal areas of Anatolia, and even much of the Levant.

No. Lets be clear. This is not a given, and not an accepted historical fact, in any way, shape, or form. Even the identification of the various tribes you listed earlier are entirely speculative. They are appealing because they seem to correlate with our existing biases, but I am not aware of any prosopographic (is this the right form of this word??) evidence that definitively links the two.

This was not an isolated phenomenon. There is a reason why the Sea Peoples receive so much mention by the Egyptians.

Well there's the rub. They don't. There are what? A dozen mentions of the Sea Peoples and or the tribes assumed to constitute that group, across a few centuries of Egyptian textual evidence? Fewer? That isn't much, at all, given the extensive corpus of evidence we have.

It is not a Greece only event. You are also giving far too little credit for how important the Greeks were for all Western development. Any change here is of massive importance for all that came after.

Well on this we agree. The Greeks have had a massive influence on the modern world (or really, anything that came after Classical Greece). But that just leads to distortion when considering the relative importance of historical events. For the Greeks of the "Dark Ages" or Archaic period, the collapse of the Minoan polity may very well have been a seminal event. But that doesn't mean it was as important on the contemporary international stage.

We are heirs to Greco-Roman culture, not Babylonian or Egyptian culture. The trials and tribulations of the Greeks echo across the ages in a way completely out of proportion to their actual importance. Thermopylae is a heroic last stand for us; to the Persians, it was a minor setback in an ultimately fairly successful campaign. Xerxes would have viewed the entire expedition as a qualified success, whereas your average person today would probably tell you that the Persians were decisively defeated.

Given that there was an established diplomatic order of precedence for relevant civilizations at the time, and that Minoan Crete or Mycenaean Greece hardly appear in it at all (whereas, the polity existing on Cyprus does), its not unreasonable to conclude that the major powers of the Ancient Near East didn't consider Crete or Greece to be primary players.


See above. This is a similar issue to the significance of even but one man - Themistocles. Without him, the Persians win the 2nd Persian War. The world remembers the pointless stand of the 300 Spartans so much more, but that stand was but symbolic. Athens still burned afterwards. All Greece still would have been conquered. Only because Themistocles first convinced them to build the fleet, then convinced them to abandon their city, Athens, to be sacked was Salamis possible. And the Persians lost the war at Salamis, not at Thermopylae. Without Thera does Mycenae ever emerge ascendant? Without the Mycenaeans is there ever a Greek ascendancy? The Minoans were not really Greek. Their language makes that clear. Civilization develops perhaps far differently without Thera. Just as civilization emerges certainly far differently if Greece becomes but another conquered province of the Persian Empire. Instead we have the Athenian Empire, then the Peloponnesian War, then the 2nd Athenian Empire, then Philip, then Alexander. Can any of that happen without Themiscles? Does Troy and Ugarit fall without Thera? The Sea Peoples almost certainly don't emerge with the Minoans policing and ruling the seas. This is of massive significance for all that happens after it.


I see that I anticipated you a bit. But again... Salamis barely represents a defeat at all. The Persians still annexed Thrace, and its doubtful they cared much about conquering a handful of poor, barbaric, fractious cities in the first place.

Again, your chain of reasoning isn't, well, reasonable. Obviously the course of history would have been changed in some way had Minoan civilization endured. But it's equally possible that the nascent Mycenaean civilization would have eventually replaced them anyway. All I'm saying is that in an era with exceptionally well documented evidence of international diplomacy, nobody seems to much care about the Minoans or (more reasonably, given the chronology) their pseudo-successors the Mycenaeans.

No. Neither before, or after. Nor did the wider ancient world continue to flourish long after this. Thera set in motion a cascade that ended with the Bronze Age Collapse. A collapse that ate the Hittites, and destabilized Egypt enough to help cause the Hyksos invasion and then Dynasty in Egypt.

This is where it becomes difficult to take you seriously. Again, this is the second time you've misidentified the Hyksos. They were long gone (or assimilated, whatever; it's a native Egyptian dynasty again by now) by the time of the Late Bronze Age collapse. I am sure you know a ton about Minoan civilization, and I don't mean that in a patronizing sense. But you seem to have little idea about where the chronology of (lets call it) proto-Greek cultures fit in with the wider narrative of the region. They were secondary players on the international stage, if that. While our corpus of evidence postdates the Minoan collapse, there is no reason to think that they were of any significant importance to the wealthy and powerful rulers of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, or Iran. They just don't warrant mention, in an era when international diplomacy was alive and well.

If your cascade theory is allowed to span centuries between cause and effect, then you can argue almost any historical event/catastrophe as being the causal event for any subsequent collapse. There is just too much time between the collapse of the Minoan civilization and the collapse of the wider Bronze Age political landscape to justify a connection. The height of Bronze Age Hittite, Babylonian, and Egyptian culture all occurred literally hundreds of years after the collapse of the Minoans. It's barely a blip on the historical records for those societies. An entire subsequent rise and fall occurred for most of these civilizations, even IF you assume that all the Sea Peoples were of Greek extraction.



Grave robbery is part of the reason, but the main reason is still that they were far weaker in the Middle Kingdom than they had been in the Old.

And Egypt was far stronger in the New Kingdom than at any previous time. What's your point? Pharaohs ended the practice of grand repositories for their earthly remains because they were giant signposts to robbers or future kings saying "A ton of wealth is buried here." Which is why they opted for increasingly grand mortuary temples/cults, with hidden tombs. One need only look at the opulence of Deir el-Bahri to understand that monumental architecture on an extravagant scale as still being built by the Egyptians, centuries after the Old Kingdom.


For the common people, aside from the instability of the 3rd Century, there is little disruption in everyday life.

Says who? The Antonine Plague killed (it is estimated) millions of people, with death counts reaching as high as 20% in some regions. That kind of mortality rate affects everyone. Again, my point is that we have no record of how a common Gallic or Syrian farmer reacted to this, only the evidence of the urban elites.


Julian's siege of Ctesiphon began in May of 363. He was assassinated on the 26th of June during the Battle of Samarra (I thought it was at Ctesiphon still, but apparently it was after the withdrawal from Ctesiphon).

There was a battle the Romans won, but no siege. The entire disaster of the Roman retreat occurs because the Romans couldn't prosecute a siege, and Julian decided to cross the Tigris and raid the Sassanids instead, and got caught without a way back across. That is why a "siege" which began in May ended up in a battle in a totally different place a month later; the Romans were attempting to withdraw because a siege was untenable, and Julian was killed in the fighting.

The spear-wound that killed him came seemingly from within his own ranks. Ammianus Marcellinus argued that it was the enemy, Libanius however said it was by a Christian soldier in Julian's own army. John Malalas was even more specific, he said that the soldier was carrying out the order of the Bishop of Caesarea, Basil. Sozomenus, a later Church source continued to stress this version, that the Bishop of Caesarea had ordered the assassination. This isn't a conspiracy theory, it is not certain, but it is very likely what happened.

You do realize this is the definition of a conspiracy theory, right? You have to assume that he was killed by friendly fire. Then you have to assume that he was killed deliberately by a Christian. Then you have to assume he was killed on orders. Libanius even contradicts himself in a later writing, saying he was killed by a Persian. Common sense, plus the reactions of contemporary observers, indicate that Julian was killed by the Persians, or at worst, by accidental "friendly fire." The fact that later Christian writers can only have been biased against Julian, and eager to have him killed by the faithful.

So yeah... at best its an improbability that isn't supported by the contemporary evidence we have, and more likely is a full fledged conspiracy theory.

Ozymandias
07-14-2016, 04:17 PM
Ozy, all signs point to widespread literacy.

What signs? I'm being serious. Yes, the urban political elite was probably highly literate, no argument there. But that is an enormously small portion of the population. It's like saying that the rich elites of Late Medieval Europe were literate. I'm sure they were... but the millions of serfs and women and less well-off people weren't.

I'm not saying there weren't educated slaves, or women, or that literacy wasn't highly valued. But it's too easy to overestimate the importance of the surviving evidence. Thousands of people in Pompeii may have been literate. Pompeii was a wealthy urban center, though; we're more likely to see evidence of literacy from such a place than we would in Gaul or Hispania or Thrace.

Likewise the practise of ostracism yields numerous ostraka which required literacy for all citizens to write for use.

The operative word in the entire paragraph is "citizens" which is already an elite among the people we're discussing. What was the percentage of eligible citizens against the full population? 10%? 20%? Certainly no more than that.

As to the following paragraph, which in the interests of space I won't quote since I'm not going to refute a specific point: I don't agree.

While Wikipedia isn't the greatest source of factual knowledge, it corresponds generally with what I've been taught. Literacy was, at best, maybe 10-20% in the Classical world, and that would have been focused in wealthy urban areas. You are again falling prey to the problem I've mentioned a couple times; we are obviously deaf to the stories of the vast portion of the population that couldn't write. It's very easy to find a couple dozen examples of literate women, or courtesans, or slaves, and extrapolate for the whole population. That some few sources do survive could just as easily indicate that we have most of the literate population is accounted for as it could mean that we have only a tiny proportion of what previously existing evidence.

You can declare it closed for debate, but I have never seen any serious scholarship which suggests that a majority, or even a large minority, of ancient populations were educated. I'd be very interested in reading something like that, as well. You are falling prey to the idea that because some evidence exists, massive amounts of it must not have survived. How much evidence do we have of servile literacy? A few dozen? I honestly don't know. But if we know that there were hundreds of well educated Greek-speaking slaves educating wealthy Romans, that isn't even a drop in the bucket of the millions of slaves that labored in the fields, or in the mines, or rowed the galleys, or what have you, who almost certainly could not read. Wealthy patrician women in Rome may have been educated, but its not certain that this was universally accepted to include reading and writing, and more importantly, that represents a tiny fraction of women. For all that Rome and to a lesser extent Athens were huge cities, these were still primarily agrarian societies, and the rural poor would have had no access to formal education.

Nazbaque
07-14-2016, 06:33 PM
Would they have had any motivation for education? Today we need to be able to read our local language because so much of important everyday information is in writing. Back then there wasn't much to read. It could have been useful in many ways but how could they have known that?

Kimon
07-14-2016, 07:12 PM
There is nothing more frustrating than spending about a half hour writing up a reply only to have it all lost in submission due to a system glitch. Anyway, I'll try to recreate most of what I wrote, but this will likely be somewhat more succinct.

But as you point out... these are myths. It's conjecture, even by the standards of how we interpret the historiography of the time. And I don't know much about it, but Wikipedia puts the eruption of Thera in the mid-15th century and I can't find anything more specific. Whether that's a couple decades earlier is pretty immaterial to the larger point.

Yes, but myths are often meant as an attempt to recall the past. Often in romanticized form, but still a recollection. As for the date of Thera's eruption, it is most often dated by archaeologists to c. 1500 BCE.

I didn't see the relevance of the few sentences before so I omitted it, but I am also referencing Hittite texts. However, there are Egyptian references to Eastern Mediterranean peoples in the mid to late 15th century during some of the Syrian/Palestinian campaigns.

This is vague, but 15th Century would date after Thera, not before. Whether that would actually refer to the Mycenaeans is another issue. Are these references to the Sea Peoples? Eastern Mediterranean after all could refer to peoples of the Levant, or of southern Anatolia, rather than to Greeks.

Common does not mean correct. There was a very understandable rush when most of these documents were discovered/deciphered to place them in a context which fit with what historians of the time knew. This meant slotting them into a framework laid out by the Homeric epics, similar to how a great deal of the archaeological evidence was used to justify the historic claims of the Old Testament, rather than judging the Biblical claims on the evidence.

It fits the archaeology. It fits the mythology. It fits the etymology. It makes sense. Arguing against it thus seems more stubborn than logical.

The point being, the Mycenaean culture existed before the collapse of Cretan high civilization. I'll accept the premise that this was a subordinate culture, since you have greater knowledge on that subject, but the logic chain that the fall of the Minoans allowed the rise of the Mycenaeans, which allowed the fall of Mycenae, which in turns spurred the collapse of other civilizations, is on insanely shaky ground. Firstly the chain of logic itself is suspect, since you could make the argument that it was the collapse of Akkadian power in Anatolia which allowed the rise of the Hittites (and thus their subsequent fall), if the only necessity here is the chronological chain of events.

Mycenaean civilization begins c. 1600 BCE. It is in its infancy, and also clearly of subject status to the Minoans until Thera. The eruption clearly caused the collapse of the Minoans, and immediately thereafter the mythology, corroborated by the archaeology, stresses that the Mycenaeans rose. They did not become a truly dangerous power until around the time of Troy, but both the myth and the archaeological record show that they were involved in piratic activities along the coasts of Asia, culminating in the sack of Troy, and then Ugarit and other Hittite sites. This fits with the Egyptian narrative of the predations of the Sea Peoples.

Again, there was no "void" to fill. Mycenae already existed. Perhaps they emerged from a subsidiary relationship to the Minoans. But they didn't immediately begin preying on the Near East. It was, literally, hundreds of years before the collapse of Late Bronze Age societies in the Levant.

You're conflating two separate issues. They Minoans had dominated the seas in the area. After Thera that dominance evaporated - a void. For well over a hundred years no one filled it. During this time the strength of the Mycenaean cities grew, until they began to exploit the absence of power on the nearby seas by preying first upon small unwalled settlements along the coast, and then, as their power continued to grow, larger, eventually even major walled settlements, like Troy and Ugarit. This coincidentally, albeit wrapped into a much shorter duration, is what is described in the Iliad. At Troy they also benefitted seemingly from another natural disaster, as the archaeology shows evidence of earthquake damage (the Horse - Poseidon after all is associated with both horses and earthquakes) to the walls soon prior to evidence of a sack.

Except that the "Sea Peoples" didn't destroy the Hittites. Indo-Europeans arriving by land did. Phrygians and local Semitic speaking peoples caused most of the damage. Beyond which, these "Sea Peoples" destroyed Mycenae itself, which strongly argues against the likelihood that they were of Mycenaean extraction.

Whether Troy is really a Hittite site is debated, Ugarit though is not, and it was destroyed by the Sea Peoples. Pottery finds here are also indicative specifically of Mycenaeans. Hattusa seems to have been abandoned, though its unclear if before of after. The Hittites ruled both much of the coastline of Anatolia (except, notably, Lycia) and the Levant, and much of the interior of both. Its the coastal sites only that were hit by the Sea Peoples. Mycenae was not destroyed by the Sea Peoples. It was the Dorian Invasion that lay waste to the power of Mycenae. The city was largely abandoned c. 1200 BCE - almost immediately following the traditional date for the sack of Troy, fitting eerily with the events (Agamemnon's murder and the subsequent civil war between Klytemnestra and her children, followed by the return of the Heraclidae - the Dorian invaders) recorded in Greek mythology. Again myths often carry kernels of truth.

I see that I anticipated you a bit. But again... Salamis barely represents a defeat at all. The Persians still annexed Thrace, and its doubtful they cared much about conquering a handful of poor, barbaric, fractious cities in the first place.

The Thracians weren't Greeks. The Persians did maintain some suzerainty over the semi-Greek Macedonians briefly, but they had been driven out of all of the Greek lands in Europe by the combination of the naval victory at Salamis and the land victory at Plataea that soon followed. Thereafter the Athenians rebuilt their city and took the war to the Persians, with Kimon (whose ostrakon is used as my profile pic) driving them out of the Greek cities of Ionia, and then after his great victory at the Eurymedon River, the threat was largely removed forever. This marked the height of power for the Athenian Empire, albeit also helped cause its downfall, as with the accompanying Peace of Callias, the Persians were forced to recognize the independence of the Greeks in Asia, and the tribute still paid to Athens by those states that had feared Persia began to so vex that eventually this, coupled with Spartan fear and envy, led to the Peloponnesian War. As for your odd calumny. Both Persian invasions, both unsuccessful, had been attempted punitive invasions aimed at but one fractious city - Athens. The first to punish Athens actions in the Ionian Revolt, the second as revenge for Marathon.

This is where it becomes difficult to take you seriously. Again, this is the second time you've misidentified the Hyksos. They were long gone (or assimilated, whatever; it's a native Egyptian dynasty again by now) by the time of the Late Bronze Age collapse. I am sure you know a ton about Minoan civilization, and I don't mean that in a patronizing sense. But you seem to have little idea about where the chronology of (lets call it) proto-Greek cultures fit in with the wider narrative of the region. They were secondary players on the international stage, if that. While our corpus of evidence postdates the Minoan collapse, there is no reason to think that they were of any significant importance to the wealthy and powerful rulers of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, or Iran. They just don't warrant mention, in an era when international diplomacy was alive and well.


I brought up the Hyksos as another example of causes of decline, not to connect them directly to the Sea Peoples or to the late Bronze Age collapse. Not sure why you were confused on that.

And Egypt was far stronger in the New Kingdom than at any previous time. What's your point? Pharaohs ended the practice of grand repositories for their earthly remains because they were giant signposts to robbers or future kings saying "A ton of wealth is buried here." Which is why they opted for increasingly grand mortuary temples/cults, with hidden tombs. One need only look at the opulence of Deir el-Bahri to understand that monumental architecture on an extravagant scale as still being built by the Egyptians, centuries after the Old Kingdom.


The important contrast here is between Old and Middle, so as to illustrate that there was not a continuous advance. If you recall, all this nonsense began as an illustration of dark ages, here of a period of decline following the collapse of the Old Kingdom.

You do realize this is the definition of a conspiracy theory, right? You have to assume that he was killed by friendly fire. Then you have to assume that he was killed deliberately by a Christian. Then you have to assume he was killed on orders. Libanius even contradicts himself in a later writing, saying he was killed by a Persian. Common sense, plus the reactions of contemporary observers, indicate that Julian was killed by the Persians, or at worst, by accidental "friendly fire." The fact that later Christian writers can only have been biased against Julian, and eager to have him killed by the faithful.

So yeah... at best its an improbability that isn't supported by the contemporary evidence we have, and more likely is a full fledged conspiracy theory.

It is clear that the Church viewed him as an enemy. Libanius, his friend and contemporary, insinuates Church involvement, and Church sources openly take credit. It's possible that they merely delighted in his death and falsely took credit either for one man's treachery, or even for simple chance, but their hate is clear, as are their own assertions. Can we be certain concerning what happened? No. Is it plausible. Yes. They clearly viewed him as a threat, which he was. And soon thereafter they took steps to ensure that no other Julian could arise, hence Theodosius' brutal suppression of paganism.

What signs? I'm being serious. Yes, the urban political elite was probably highly literate, no argument there. But that is an enormously small portion of the population. It's like saying that the rich elites of Late Medieval Europe were literate. I'm sure they were... but the millions of serfs and women and less well-off people weren't.

There is a distinction here between Athens and Rome. Athens had some political elites, like the Alcmaeonidae (Cleisthenes, Pericles, Thucydides), but much of the power was in the hands of the general citizenry. Themistocles for instance was the son of a nobody, truly proletariot. As were many of the leaders. And they were all literate. Was this true of all Greek cities? It's long been assumed that the Spartans, who valued literature far less, and stressed very different aspects in education, had a less literate society than one would find in Athens. Many poets, historians, philosophers and sophists however came from different Greek cities. It's also difficult to determine the numbers of slaves in Athens. The civilian population can be extracted to a certain extent from the numbers of ships that they could field, but the population also held many metics, free non-citizens. Essentially resident aliens. Most of these also seem to be literate. Athens did however seem to provide far less education to women than did the Romans, so numbers of literate women in Athens is almost certainly significantly lower than for Roman girls. Yet we know of well educated, clearly literate Greek women - Pericles mistress, the hetaira (courtesan) Aspasia being the most obvious. She was from Miletos, and her profession clearly does not hint at an aristocratic background, yet she clearly was well-educated. The Hellenistic scholar Hypatia, murdered by the Christian mob in Alexandria also comes to mind, and indeed her murder is a telltale sign of the descent into the Dark Age. At Rome we see wider access to education for women, and indeed education common for both the rich and the poor. One of the great Roman poets, Horace, was the son of a freedman (ex-slave). Education was cherished and widespread. The rich often received more thorough education, and better, but then that is still true today. Nonetheless, education was very widespread, as was literacy. The graffiti is too commonplace but to indicate widespread literacy, and it is not the only sign. Funerary inscriptions, bullets with taunts written in scratches on them, curse tablets. And we see too many slaves and freedmen involved in jobs and tasks involving literacy to even exclude large numbers of them. It's just too commonplace to ignore. And it makes so stark a contrast with what comes after their fall.

I'm not saying there weren't educated slaves, or women, or that literacy wasn't highly valued. But it's too easy to overestimate the importance of the surviving evidence. Thousands of people in Pompeii may have been literate. Pompeii was a wealthy urban center, though; we're more likely to see evidence of literacy from such a place than we would in Gaul or Hispania or Thrace.

Caesar wrote of literacy even during his Gallic campaign, noting differences. He noted that the Druids were involved, amongst other things, in teaching, and that while they knew, and used, Greek letters, that they wouldn't refused to use writing for religious texts, thinking it a mix of lazy and profane. Presumably literacy was significantly lower here prior to the Roman conquest, but was one of the changes, along with bathing more regularly, brought by Romanization.

Addendum:

Really glad a copied (and then pasted) this all after writing it this time, as the page tried to time me out and lose it all again.

Kimon
07-14-2016, 07:16 PM
Would they have had any motivation for education? Today we need to be able to read our local language because so much of important everyday information is in writing. Back then there wasn't much to read. It could have been useful in many ways but how could they have known that?

That's the point. Like today, literacy was so much more necessary to function in everyday life for Romans and Athenians than it was for a random German peasant (or noble) a few hundred years after Rome's fall. Writing was ubiquitous for the Athenian and Roman, just as it is for us.

Kimon
07-14-2016, 07:21 PM
While Wikipedia isn't the greatest source of factual knowledge, it corresponds generally with what I've been taught. Literacy was, at best, maybe 10-20% in the Classical world, and that would have been focused in wealthy urban areas. You are again falling prey to the problem I've mentioned a couple times; we are obviously deaf to the stories of the vast portion of the population that couldn't write. It's very easy to find a couple dozen examples of literate women, or courtesans, or slaves, and extrapolate for the whole population. That some few sources do survive could just as easily indicate that we have most of the literate population is accounted for as it could mean that we have only a tiny proportion of what previously existing evidence.


The OCD (Oxford Classical Dictionary), which I trust more than some random wikipedia article, puts the most pessimistic estimate at 20-30% for the entire population. And that's just a guess, and assumes very low numbers for women. That pessimistic estimate would still put male literacy at over 50%.

Nazbaque
07-14-2016, 07:40 PM
The OCD (Oxford Classical Dictionary), which I trust more than some random wikipedia article, puts the most pessimistic estimate at 20-30% for the entire population. And that's just a guess, and assumes very low numbers for women. That pessimistic estimate would still put male literacy at over 50%.

Um no it wouldn't. If you assume the most pessimistic 20% and that population had men and women in equal numbers then male literacy would be 40% at most (if female literacy is 0 that is). Only if you assume more than 25% of population and all of that being male does male literacy cross the 50% line. If men are about half the population. If women were significantly more numerous it would be a different story, but I think that's beside the point here.

Kimon
07-14-2016, 07:45 PM
Um no it wouldn't. If you assume the most pessimistic 20% and that population had men and women in equal numbers then male literacy would be 40% at most (if female literacy is 0 that is). Only if you assume more than 25% of population and all of that being male does male literacy cross the 50% line. If men are about half the population. If women were significantly more numerous it would be a different story, but I think that's beside the point here.

I was splitting the difference, since I think that number is ridiculously low. I'm not sure what wikipedia page he was looking at to find an even lower number. This is from the main literacy page.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy#Ancient_and_Post-classical_literacy

When the Western Roman Empire fell apart, literacy became a distinguishing mark of the elite, and communications skills were politically important. Even so, in pre-modern times it is unlikely that literacy was found in more than about 30-40% of the population.[16]

This is all largely extrapolation. The key feature here is that it is agreed that literacy declined after the fall.

Daekyras
07-14-2016, 07:48 PM
Hey guys,
By classical times are we talking Romans or ancient Greeks?

I would find almost all the percentages quoted sounding high for the Greeks. And probably the Romans too.

Kimon
07-14-2016, 07:55 PM
Hey guys,
By classical times are we talking Romans or ancient Greeks?

I would find almost all the percentages quoted sounding high for the Greeks. And probably the Romans too.

I was trying to differentiate to a degree. Percentages would vary more state to state for the Greeks, as well as more between men and women, and between slave and free. I would expect higher overall free male literacy for instance in Classical and Hellenistic Athens, but perhaps overall lower population-wide literacy than amongst the Romans, where slave and female literacy would likely be higher. Women had better access to education in Rome than Athens. Or take Sparta in comparison to Athens. Women were much freer, more respected, in Sparta than in Athens, but literacy seems less valued amongst the Spartans than the Athenians. Some Hellenistic cities also valued education more than others. The Ptolemies and Rhodes both invested heavily in education. Rome is a bit more homogeneous.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-15-2016, 01:19 AM
I'm not talking about inventions or social dislocations. I'm talking about basic literacy. The average person in 1500 was almost certain to be functionally illiterate. By 1750 more people could read and write than couldn't. Obviously among educated elites there have always been philosophical musings and enlightenment. But if only 10% of the population can write, you are automatically restricting the historical record to a small subset of people who have an outlook centered on wealth. As literacy percolates down the social ladder, you begin to have a vastly greater written record, as well as a richer one from the standpoint of breadth of opinion.
You do know that one of the main complaints of the many, many reformist branches was that people couldn't read for themselves what the Bible actually said (firstly because they couldn't read and secondly because it was in Latin); and even worse, often the priests couldn't read it either. So they had no idea what they were actually supposed to be preaching. The spread of literacy is directly linked to how much importance was given to being able to read the holy text themselves. I mean, my best reference point is Lutheranism because Sweden was Lutheran, and therefore Estonia was Lutheran early on and stayed largely Lutheran. Literacy rate overall was extremely high as early as mid-1600s, and higher among women than men. Nobody and I mean including serfs was allowed to get married if they couldn't read and write. If you look at the countries where various reformist movements "won out", you'll see that proportionately speaking, more science was produced earlier on. England, large parts of Germany and the Netherlands got a jump start on early industrialization and only then, when the benefits of more universal literacy became clear, did other countries catch on.

Would they have had any motivation for education? Today we need to be able to read our local language because so much of important everyday information is in writing. Back then there wasn't much to read. It could have been useful in many ways but how could they have known that? Exactly. At the time, pretty much the best argument for being able to read was being able to read the Bible.

Kimon, I had understood that Sparta was much more gender-egalitarian than Athens or Rome, is that correct?

Terez
07-15-2016, 05:45 AM
You do know that one of the main complaints of the many, many reformist branches was that people couldn't read for themselves what the Bible actually said (firstly because they couldn't read and secondly because it was in Latin); and even worse, often the priests couldn't read it either. So they had no idea what they were actually supposed to be preaching. The spread of literacy is directly linked to how much importance was given to being able to read the holy text themselves.
Related, musical notation arose out of the desire to standardize liturgical chants during the Carolingian renaissance. It's a few hundred years after that when we get our first surviving secular music; by then notation had evolved a little bit. It was really rudimentary at first.

That said, the spread of literacy had more to do with the invention of the printing press itself than anything else.

GonzoTheGreat
07-15-2016, 07:02 AM
That said, the spread of literacy had more to do with the invention of the printing press itself than anything else.It may be a bit off topic, but was it really the printing press, or was it cheap paper, which was the important change?

I don't think a printing press would do much to decrease the cost of books if you need a whole sheep (all right, the skin of a lamb) for every parchment page.
But if you can make paper from old cloth and use that, then written things become much cheaper.

Kimon
07-15-2016, 09:24 AM
Kimon, I had understood that Sparta was much more gender-egalitarian than Athens or Rome, is that correct?

Egalitarian gives the wrong impression, but we have various Athenian sources that point to how different life was for women there compared to in Athens, where proper women were meant to be cloistered inside, not seen by any unrelated men. It sounds almost Taliban-esque. Being outside, in public, for an Athenian woman was a sign that one was either so poor that one was forced to work outside the home, or that one was a prostitute, or both. Aspasia, for instance, Pericles' mistress, presumably a hetaira (we know she was a metic, as most hetairae were) was oft ridiculed, as was Pericles for allowing her to give him advice. We see this especially in Aristophanes. In the Acharnians, Aristophanes flat out blames her for the Peloponnesian War. She is also mentioned unfavorably by Plato, Xenophon, Aeschines, and was prosecuted on the charge of impiety (for acting unlike a women) by another comic poet, Hermippus. Xenophon and Aristotle both write, as do many others, (and it should be noted that Aristotle isn't Athenian, so the more Athenian view on women is clearly the more common one for the Greeks, not the Spartan), on Spartan women. One of the main things they highlight, and complain about, is that women in Sparta are out in public, and not just scandalously outside, but exercising. The usual explanation is that Spartans believed that strong women gave birth to strong sons, and hence women should be physically fit. The Athenians didn't like this, and felt that the Spartan women essentially were acting like prostitutes, strutting around naked in public.

The wikipedia article on this actually isn't that bad.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Greece#Women_in_Ancient_Greece

As an aside, are you familiar with the myth of Poseidon and Athena vying for patronage of Athens? It in many ways highlights this ironic misogyny in Athens. Each god gave a gift to the city, and then the city voted. Athena gave the olive tree. Poseidon gave a saltwater spring. All the people at this time were allowed to vote, men and women. The women all pointed to Poseidon's gift, and said, it's saltwater, it's useless as a spring. They all voted for Athena. The men all pointed to Poseidon, and said, yeah, but he's a man, and all voted for Poseidon. There were more women, so Athena won the vote. The men however were angry, but didn't wish to offend Athena, so they simply decreed that the women shouldn't be trusted to vote, and so from that point on, Athena was their patroness, but women no longer were allowed to vote.

Somewhat fitting that the woman that they would pick doesn't particularly like women. Athena didn't really have a mother, just Zeus, as he ate Metis (her mother), and then gave birth to Athena himself. We see her misogyny in two myths (maybe more, but these are the two that immediately jump to mind for me) - Orestes and Medusa. With Orestes, she acts as the judge in Orestes murder of his mother, Klytemnestra. She decreed that Orestes was right to murder his mom, as while a son should honor his mother, that he owed more loyalty to his dad, and thus Orestes had to murder mom, so as to avenge his dad, since Klytemnestra had murdered her husband, Orestes' father, Agamemnon. With Medusa, Medusa, a priestess of Athena, was raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple. Rather than blaming Poseidon, Athena blamed Medusa, cursing her into the monster that she became.

Kimon
07-15-2016, 09:42 AM
It may be a bit off topic, but was it really the printing press, or was it cheap paper, which was the important change?

I don't think a printing press would do much to decrease the cost of books if you need a whole sheep (all right, the skin of a lamb) for every parchment page.
But if you can make paper from old cloth and use that, then written things become much cheaper.

The Romans and Greeks used wax tablets in teaching, and papyrus for most writing. Cheaper materials than vellum, but the main thing is still access and encouragement of education. If your society values literacy, and makes it readily, and cheaply, available, your society will have higher literacy rates than if your society views literacy as a mostly pointless luxury that can be left to just the monks.

GonzoTheGreat
07-15-2016, 12:27 PM
Papyrus was readily available for the Egyptians, and not hard to come by in significant quantities for Romans. But a 12th century German wouldn't have had much luck trying to buy some in his local town.
And, I suspect, neither wax tablets nor papyrus would be very useful when using a printing press.

Ozymandias
07-15-2016, 01:22 PM
Yes, but myths are often meant as an attempt to recall the past. Often in romanticized form, but still a recollection. As for the date of Thera's eruption, it is most often dated by archaeologists to c. 1500 BCE.

So sometimes myths are attempts to recall the past. Sometimes they're attempts to whitewash the past (think about the idea of slavery as some kind of benevolent institution that seems to have currency in the South today). Sometimes they're just fun stories!

The point being, we have no way of judging the historicity of ancient myths. As historians, humans have a tendency to try and fit the facts into pre-existing narratives. Hence all the effort to justify the historical occurrence of the Trojan War. So I object a bit to you cherrypicking the myths which support your point, and ignoring (or, equally likely, just not knowing because they won't have been taught) the ones that don't.


This is vague, but 15th Century would date after Thera, not before. Whether that would actually refer to the Mycenaeans is another issue. Are these references to the Sea Peoples? Eastern Mediterranean after all could refer to peoples of the Levant, or of southern Anatolia, rather than to Greeks.

Okay? My point was that there are several hundred years between the collapse of Minoan civilization and the first references to the "Sea Peoples," who then proceed to crop up over the ensuing several centuries themselves in various ways. Its far more likely that the Egyptians had no idea what they were talking about and just kept clumping new migrants into a pre-existing cultural framework, but either way, the gap of four centuries is pretty conclusive that the collapse of Cretan civilization was a wholly distinct and unrelated phenomenon to the later widespread Bronze Age collapse.

It fits the archaeology. It fits the mythology. It fits the etymology. It makes sense. Arguing against it thus seems more stubborn than logical.

The archaeology tells us that pottery found in the Southern Levant most likely originated in the Aegean. I think we can safely agree that "fitting the mythology" is meaningless, because the nature of mythology is to interpret current events through some imagined historical framework. Again, the idea of happy slaves in the antebellum South, and that's in an era of extensively documented history.

As far as the etymology, I'm not very facile with prosopography, so I won't comment, but it's equally possible that our current understanding of tribal names is informed by ancient misconceptions, as that the ancients got it right. Basically, I don't think I'm be stubborn; I'm being skeptical. We are always safer when not jumping to obvious conclusions, because we're pattern seeking animals and what seems obvious may just be a trick of how evolution has hardwired our brains.


Mycenaean civilization begins c. 1600 BCE. It is in its infancy, and also clearly of subject status to the Minoans until Thera.

Well here's the thing. Mycenaean, or any culture, is definitely NOT in its infancy if we can detect consistent traces of it. If we can recognize a common cultural framework, it means that culture is fairly mature.


The eruption clearly caused the collapse of the Minoans, and immediately thereafter the mythology, corroborated by the archaeology, stresses that the Mycenaeans rose.

Again, I haven't seen anything to prove that the Mycenaeans "rose". By your admission, it was a young culture, and thus might have been on the verge of displacing the Minoans anyway. And again, lets drop the mythology aspect as "evidence" of anything. It isn't. At best, mythology is an interesting cultural artefact that gives insight into how the people of a certain timeframe interpreted their own actions and their own past. Even highly literate societies fall prey to completely misinterpreting their own past, and when its an oral tradition being discussed that becomes even more fraught.

They did not become a truly dangerous power until around the time of Troy, but both the myth and the archaeological record show that they were involved in piratic activities along the coasts of Asia, culminating in the sack of Troy, and then Ugarit and other Hittite sites. This fits with the Egyptian narrative of the predations of the Sea Peoples.

Again, lets take a step back. The Mycenaeans were never a truly dangerous power. The entire Trojan War episode may never have occurred, and even if it did, was very clearly a minor irritant rather than a major struggle. The Aegean was always considered a poor backwater compared to the vastly more wealthy riparian civilizations in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. And that continues down into Achaemenid times; Xerxes and Darius didn't give two shits about Athens or Sparta.

You're conflating two separate issues. They Minoans had dominated the seas in the area. After Thera that dominance evaporated - a void. For well over a hundred years no one filled it.

And I'm saying that if you want to make this argument, then you can make ANY argument you want as long as its technically chronologically correct. If it took the Mycenaeans 300 years to "grow into" the void that the Minoans left, then its hard to make the case that the Minoans were actively suppressing that rise. 300 years is an enormous gulf of time. Why not say that the demise of the Akkadian Empire 1,000 years prior left a void open for all these players to grow into? It's ridiculous on its face.

larger, eventually even major walled settlements, like Troy and Ugarit.

Again, lets strive for some degree of relativity. Troy was an unimportant, tiny city on the Aegean coast. Ugarit was a large and important city for the time and a major trading entrepot.


Whether Troy is really a Hittite site is debated, Ugarit though is not, and it was destroyed by the Sea Peoples.

Ugarit was Amorite, ethno-linguistically, but was likely reliant on either the Hittites or Egyptians (depending on the time period in question) for political and military protection.

Mycenae was not destroyed by the Sea Peoples. It was the Dorian Invasion that lay waste to the power of Mycenae. The city was largely abandoned c. 1200 BCE - almost immediately following the traditional date for the sack of Troy, fitting eerily with the events (Agamemnon's murder and the subsequent civil war between Klytemnestra and her children, followed by the return of the Heraclidae - the Dorian invaders) recorded in Greek mythology. Again myths often carry kernels of truth.

Myths just as often carry bushels of poor or invented information. My entire point here is that you can't cherrypick the portions of myths that seem to fit your preferred fact pattern, and then declare those bits to be the "true" parts. Ancient societies were ALWAYS being attacked by nomadic or more tribal "barbarians"... all stories have that aspect to it, so you'll always be able to draw a line between them and actual events. I haven't studied Archaic Greek history, but since I imagine in broad strokes there are many similar themes, I can say with confidence that there are probably half a dozen other instances of civil war and outside incursion that those myths could refer, if they're based in fact at all.

Furthermore, "almost immediately" is pretty generous. Even among scholars who admit that Troy might have been a historical polity and that the Iliad reflects some truth, there is a century and a half period of uncertainty in dating the "Fall of Troy," of which 1200 BC is the outside date. Even within the sweeps of time we're talking, a century or more is not "almost immediately". At best, the historicity of the Trojan War as described in the Iliad is uncertain, and even the most gung-ho scholars who support the existence of Homeric Troy would likely recoil at drawing the entirely speculative conclusions you've laid out.

And besides, if Mycenae was destroyed by a Dorian invasion in the timeline you lay down, then the Sea Peoples cannot have been a concerted (or even piecemeal) Mycenaean push into Anatolia and the Levant, since that occurs post 1200 BC, or after the fall of Mycenaean civilization. As I said, much more likely is that large scale population movements like that of the Dorians caused ripple effects which spread throughout the region. And if that's the case, then we've conclusively eliminated the Minoan collapse as a causal factor in the collapse of the Late Bronze Age.

Both Persian invasions, both unsuccessful, had been attempted punitive invasions aimed at but one fractious city - Athens. The first to punish Athens actions in the Ionian Revolt, the second as revenge for Marathon.

Again, this is an opinion from a Hellenic perspective. From a Persian point of view, the first invasion reconquered Thrace, forced the submission of Macedonia, and gave a salutory lesson to several city states like Eretria. There have been plenty of other victories campaigns through history that would have been happy to achieve so much. Athens, and thus the western world that is its cultural heir, celebrated it as an epochal victory against huge odds, and for the Athenians, it was. But it was a small campaign in a poor fringe of the empire the Persians.


I brought up the Hyksos as another example of causes of decline, not to connect them directly to the Sea Peoples or to the late Bronze Age collapse. Not sure why you were confused on that.

You've now twice misidentified them, is my point. They weren't a cause of decline for the Old Kingdom or the New, which were the two periods you were attempting to associate them with. They appeared at the end of the Middle Kingdom. I am sure you are vastly more knowledgeable about Minoan/Mycenaean history than I am, but as I said, you don't seem to have to a good feel for how they fit into the wider political world of the Ancient Near East. If either of those civilizations had been important, they would have been acknowledged as such by the rulers of the day, who had fairly involved rituals surrounding addressing one another diplomatically. Instead, as you believe, they seem to have been considered barbarians who appeared every so often to make trouble before being defeated and sent away (at least until the eventual collapse of the whole system).

The important contrast here is between Old and Middle, so as to illustrate that there was not a continuous advance. If you recall, all this nonsense began as an illustration of dark ages, here of a period of decline following the collapse of the Old Kingdom.

I recall. You were claiming that the collapse of Minoan civilization plunged the region into a dark age from which it wouldn't emerge until Classical Greece. I was saying that was patent BS, because most of the region didn't care about the Minoans and for many centuries thereafter Near Eastern societies continued to thrive, advance, and flourish, along the way creating what could be called the first international order in human history.

My wider point was that while individual societies may stagnate, others progress, and that the net effect is that humanity advances in a broad sense. Medieval Europe may have been fairly stagnant and the Medieval Islamic world dynamic, but the Renaissance and Enlightenment are inconceivable without the advances (or preservations) made in previous centuries by scholars and scientists of the various Caliphates.


It is clear that the Church viewed him as an enemy. Libanius, his friend and contemporary, insinuates Church involvement, and Church sources openly take credit.

Of course the Church was his enemy! Which is why we should be so careful of taking any Church source at its word. Later Church sources take credit, but the phrase "later Church sources" can be usually be taken to mean that whatever your about to read is the least reliable historical narrative possible. The medieval Church was accomplished at essentially one thing, and that was fabricating history from Late Antiquity. And as I said, Libanius contradicts himself and thus cannot be considered a reliable source one way or the other.

All Roman writings are filled with scurrilous invective, and need to be read with that bias in mind. Julian and his army were engaged in a desperate rearguard fight in enemy territory as they retreated towards home; its extremely plausible that he was killed in a skirmish. Church historians would have found it convenient that one of their own would have killed the heretic emperor, and contemporary historians would have taken pleasure in recording any piece of gossip surrounding the event. As I said, one of the main sources for considering his death an assassination came from a man who later on published the exact opposite.


It's possible that they merely delighted in his death and falsely took credit either for one man's treachery, or even for simple chance, but their hate is clear, as are their own assertions. Can we be certain concerning what happened? No. Is it plausible. Yes. They clearly viewed him as a threat, which he was. And soon thereafter they took steps to ensure that no other Julian could arise, hence Theodosius' brutal suppression of paganism.

Firstly, the "Church" as we know it didn't exist yet. Subsequent Emperors suppressed paganism out of either genuine piety or an acknowledgement of the overwhelming political advantages of Christianity. While it is possible that Christians were responsible for the death of Julian, its extremely unlikely. Its also possible that George W Bush orchestrated 9/11. You can make an interesting circumstantial case for both. But the preponderance of the evidence, circumstances, and just plan common sense fairly thoroughly debunk both. Again, maybe Julian was the victim of a religiously motivated assassination. As with all conspiracy theories, it'll never be disproven.


There is a distinction here between Athens and Rome. Athens had some political elites, like the Alcmaeonidae (Cleisthenes, Pericles, Thucydides), but much of the power was in the hands of the general citizenry. Themistocles for instance was the son of a nobody, truly proletariot.

This was a slave society with no gender equality. Being a citizen meant you already belonged to a political elite comprising no more than maybe a quarter of the population. Themistocles was poor, but he wasn't a slave and wasn't a woman. And we know nothing of his background. He wasn't born to the truly economic elite of the city, but that doesn't mean his father was a nobody. We need to take ancient sources with a grain of salt; it is Plutarch who claimed that Themistocles was born to a man who was "nobody". He claimed the same thing about Gaius Marius, in the same words, and independent evidence is pretty clear that Gaius Marius was the son of an elite provincial family. Again, not at the top of the socio-economic pecking order, but certainly not someone starting from the bottom.

the population also held many metics, free non-citizens. Essentially resident aliens. Most of these also seem to be literate.


Says who? Look, in modern times, widespread literacy was only achieved through the advent of the public school system and mandatory or semi-mandatory attendance. Since that obviously did not exist in the Classical world except for the very pinnacle of the elite, it follows that widespread dissemination of literacy was unlikely/implausible.

And, for what its worth, I went to the references quoted in the OCD and followed up. Rosalind Thomas, who is one of the main authors cited, says:

... the ability to read or write very simple messages, often in capitals, was probably not rare; and in cities like Athens, where there was a profusion of democratic documents, most citizens had some basic ability and perhaps "phonetic literacy" was pretty widespread; but that the written texts of poetry and literary prose had a reading audience confined to the highly educated and wealthy elite

There is a lot to unpack there. Firstly, she echoes my comments about the narrowness of the subset of the population for which one could claim "most" people were literate. It's restricted to citizens, and even then is quite hedged. This automatically excludes the female half of the population (obviously with exceptions) and obviously also what would have been a sizable slave population. Second, the kind of literacy she's referring to is emphatically not what I had understood we were talking about. Phonetic literacy is not literacy. And while I don't think that reading complex philosophical tracts is necessarily the right bar either, there is an obvious middle ground. Clearly most Athenians and Romans (and again, this is restricting the intellectual exercise to two particularly wealthy, important cities) didn't write letters or use writing as an everyday instrument in their lives. That would be my definition of literacy; everyone in the modern world uses writing as a completely necessary tool of their day to day existence. Ancient folks did not. Contracts were audio-visual and witnesses were more important than the written word. News was passed word of mouth, not through writing.

Think about all of that together. Specifically in cities where civic engagement was particularly high, freeborn male citizens were likely to have a basic phonetic literacy, and perhaps be able to read in slightly wider numbers, but were almost certainly not in the business of using the written word on a day-to-day basis. So, only in the wealthiest and most prestigious urban centers, only the most priviliged subset of society was likely to have the ability to read, and even among that fairly narrow subset, very few of them would have been capable of writing. And once you get outside the cities where literacy was valued, almost no one can read or write.

Will also throw in, also from Thomas:

Women had no part in public life, and were probably almost all illiterate unless they kept domestic accounts.

You'll have to find a new source, because the OCD is very clearly not supporting the position that literacy was anywhere even approaching widespread.

Kimon
07-15-2016, 01:58 PM
So sometimes myths are attempts to recall the past. Sometimes they're attempts to whitewash the past (think about the idea of slavery as some kind of benevolent institution that seems to have currency in the South today). Sometimes they're just fun stories!

The point being, we have no way of judging the historicity of ancient myths. As historians, humans have a tendency to try and fit the facts into pre-existing narratives. Hence all the effort to justify the historical occurrence of the Trojan War. So I object a bit to you cherrypicking the myths which support your point, and ignoring (or, equally likely, just not knowing because they won't have been taught) the ones that don't.


Ozy, your obstinate refusal to recognize the historical usefulness of myths is alarming. They clearly demonstrate a memory of a time when the mainland was subject to the Minoans, they also accurately record a memory of religious significance accorded to bulls that later Greeks found odd, but which art found at Knossos corroborates, just as does the labyrinthine layout of Knossos itself hearken to the mythological reference to the labyrinth itself. Disregarding their usefulness is foolish.

Again, lets take a step back. The Mycenaeans were never a truly dangerous power. The entire Trojan War episode may never have occurred, and even if it did, was very clearly a minor irritant rather than a major struggle. The Aegean was always considered a poor backwater compared to the vastly more wealthy riparian civilizations in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. And that continues down into Achaemenid times; Xerxes and Darius didn't give two shits about Athens or Sparta.

This is so wrong that continuing this discussion is largely becoming pointless. The myths and the archaeology clearly point to a warlike event occurring at Troy at the right time to fit with the myth. Embellished over time, but clearly occurring. Your misunderstanding of the significance of the Persian Wars is even more alarming. This was an obsession for the Achaemenids, begun out of anger for Athenian involvement in the revolt of the Greeks in Asia against the Persians (the Ionian Revolt), which directly led to the first invasion, the maritime landing and battle at Marathon. The embarrassing defeat they suffered there so increased their obsession that the second invasion was even far more massive, but still ended in humiliation. After that second war, the Athenians continued humiiating the Persians, and the Achaemenids were forced to turn to diplomacy instead, trying to play Athens and Sparta off against each other to limit the threat and the power of each. After the Peloponnesian War, Sparta briefly took up the mantle of keeping Persia in check, but far less successfully than had Athens, hence the contrast between the far more humiliating concessions that the Persians were forced to make in the earlier Peace of Callias, compared to the more beneficial peace treaty that ended Sparta's campaign against the Persians, the so-called King's Peace. But Persia never again took the war to the Greeks after Plataea, they just used gold to try to keep the Greeks attacking each other rather than them. But it always now was the Greeks on the attack, threatening Persia. And how did Philip, and then Alexander, hold the Greeks together during the Macedonian hegemony, by focusing them on finishing off Persia. This wasn't a backwater. Calling them such is both ludicrous and ignorant. You simply haven't the slightest clue what you are talking about when it comes to the Greek and Roman world.

GonzoTheGreat
07-16-2016, 03:18 AM
This is so wrong that continuing this discussion is largely becoming pointless.
Pointless?
We're very close to deciding which volcano in the Mediterranean should erupt so that Brussels will be flooded and London can achieve its position as a gloriously independent world dominating power.

As an aside: what will happen to EU fishing regulations in the North Sea and such?
I'm wondering whether we're going to have yet another English War over that. And what president Trump will do, when all four sides (London, Brussels, Edinburgh and his golf course) invoke NATO article 5.

Ozymandias
07-28-2016, 02:23 PM
Apologies for disappearing, been traveling and working a bunch


This is so wrong that continuing this discussion is largely becoming pointless. The myths and the archaeology clearly point to a warlike event occurring at Troy at the right time to fit with the myth. Embellished over time, but clearly occurring.

This is an interpretation, not a fact. There can be no debate on this point. A highly plausible interpretation, I will agree. Ten thousand years from now people may look back on the Holocaust and say that the myths say that the Jews, gypsies, and communists were a parasitic growth on global society, and the archaeology confirms there was a massive backlash against them. This isn't to say that our myths of the Trojan War aren't correct, merely that we have almost no facts whatsoever concerning a potential war at Ilium, and there is an equally convincing case to be made that those scant facts we do have, were interpreted with the cultural memory of the "Trojan War" in mind.

Your misunderstanding of the significance of the Persian Wars is even more alarming. This was an obsession for the Achaemenids, begun out of anger for Athenian involvement in the revolt of the Greeks in Asia against the Persians (the Ionian Revolt), which directly led to the first invasion, the maritime landing and battle at Marathon. The embarrassing defeat they suffered there so increased their obsession that the second invasion was even far more massive, but still ended in humiliation.

This is not a misunderstanding and you need to take your cultural blinders off. The Greeks viewed the Persian Wars as an obsession on the part of Persia with Greece. The conquest of Naxos had nothing to do with Athens, or the Ionian Revolt (seeing as Naxos had been independent) or the Greeks beyond a general desire for expansion in the West. The campaign in Thrace and Macedon can be treated the same way. Darius pro-actively prioritized the re-conquest of Egypt over what he would have viewed as putting down the Greek "rebellion". Greeks continued meddling in Persian affairs (and visa versa), so there was repeated conflict, but that hardly constitutes an obsession. Persian rulers after Artaxerxes showed almost no interest at all in Greece, and were far more concerned with Egypt, along with internal concerns such as spreading Zoroastrianism and improving the infrastructure (if one can call it that) of the empire. Again, the overwhelming weight of extant evidence and cultural dissemination colors our vision. From the few Persian sources remaining, it becomes clear that while this was an important objective, it wasn't any more so than any other campaigns. Note that Darius personally led campaigns into the Indus, and against the Scythians, but did not deem the first Persian invasion important enough to demand his presence.

Likewise, the second Persian invasion was only defeated because Xerxes left to deal with unrest in a far more important province in Babylon. Somehow that never gets mentioned; it is highly unlikely that the Greeks would have had the same success at Plataea against Xerxes with a full force. And the Persians never really bother to come back; they had achieved what they set out to do.

After that second war, the Athenians continued humiliating the Persians, and the Achaemenids were forced to turn to diplomacy instead, trying to play Athens and Sparta off against each other to limit the threat and the power of each.

Again, I implore you not to make blanket statements when considering only one side of the argument. Campaigns in Cyprus were either piratical raids or failed offensives, depending on how you want to interpret the motivations of the Delian League. Their expedition in Egypt was a total disaster and an absolute victory for the Persians.

Your interpretation for why the Persians never launched another invasion of mainland Greece is because their "obsession" was thwarted at Plataea and in the ensuing raids and campaigns by the League. A Persian-centric argument would be that they simply did not care. The first invasion was a natural extension of a campaign which was instigated mostly as a reprisal to support of the Ionian Revolt. The second was inevitable, because Near Eastern ideals of kingship (and indeed afterwards and in other places) wouldn't allow for a defeat to go unpunished. A good parallel would be the Roman defeat at the Teutoburg Wald (though that was a more crushing defeat). The original battle was part of an ongoing raid, which itself was part of a general, sort of shapeless advance in all directions. After the defeat, further assaults were made on the tribes in question by Germanicus to avenge the honor of the legions, but the Romans never occupied those lands for eminently practical reasons; they were relatively poor, poorly defensible, and there was no compelling motivation to take them over. Ditto the Persians with Greece. Greece was a poor backwater, and Marathon was a victory-by-ambush (though no less impressive for that) as well. Why would the Persians want to come back and conquer such a place? They were having a hard enough time holding the vastly more wealthy Ionian cities.

And how did Philip, and then Alexander, hold the Greeks together during the Macedonian hegemony, by focusing them on finishing off Persia.

Well this is kind of my point. Persia was always the monster for the Greeks. There is no denying that. But there is zero evidence that the Persians felt anything even close to that regarding the Greeks.

This wasn't a backwater. Calling them such is both ludicrous and ignorant. You simply haven't the slightest clue what you are talking about when it comes to the Greek and Roman world.

I can promise you I do. I have a pretty extensive knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The difference is I know a great deal more about the Ancient Near East. At no point have you understood anything about Persia, about Egypt, about the motivating forces in the East. Every comment, every shred of evidence you've mustered; it's all from the Greek perspective. That is what I'm trying to point out. That the Greeks were afraid of Persia, that their "foreign policy" concerns were overwhelmingly directed at keeping the Persians at bay, I won't deny. But you are ascribing Greek motivations and interpretations to the Persians that have no evidence backing them.

The Greeks were concerned that Persian gold was breaking down their unity in the face of possible future aggression. For the Greeks, this meant that Persia was turning all its wealth and guile and might to weakening them through bribery what they couldn't do through force of arms. From a Persian perspective, they just would rather have the Greeks fighting each other, and taking responsibility for policing the Aegean, than raiding and attacking their own territory. After all, the Greeks may have been able to defeat a raiding party and a reduced holding force, but had not the might of the Persian King of Kings been proven in battle and in burning Athens? I'm obviously speaking somewhat tongue in cheek, but I hope the point I'm making is clear.

And Greece was a backwater. Civilization in Egypt and Iran and Mesopotamia and the Levant stretched back thousands of years. To tie back to an earlier point of discussion, the Minoans were barely building mud huts at a time when Babylonian and Memphite scholars were studying the stars and engaging in complex mathematics. Egyptian pharaohs and Sumerian kings were erecting architecture so monumental the world hasn't seen it since, or making deserts bloom through very advanced hydraulic engineering. Greece was poor. Greece was young. Greece was at the edge of the known world. Of course they were a backwater, to the Persian eye. That they had a superior method of warfare is almost immaterial. Swiss mercenaries were equally as feared as the hoplites, and hailed from an equally unimportant collection of remote polities.

We are the heirs of Athens. It pleases us and strokes our egos that Athens be David, slaying the towering Goliath and taking his place at the head of nations. For Persia, Athens were the Cherusci and the Chatti, barbarians at the edge of the world, capable of defeating them on the field on occasion, perhaps, but never their equal.

Kimon
07-28-2016, 05:28 PM
This is not a misunderstanding and you need to take your cultural blinders off. The Greeks viewed the Persian Wars as an obsession on the part of Persia with Greece. The conquest of Naxos had nothing to do with Athens, or the Ionian Revolt (seeing as Naxos had been independent) or the Greeks beyond a general desire for expansion in the West. The campaign in Thrace and Macedon can be treated the same way. Darius pro-actively prioritized the re-conquest of Egypt over what he would have viewed as putting down the Greek "rebellion". Greeks continued meddling in Persian affairs (and visa versa), so there was repeated conflict, but that hardly constitutes an obsession. Persian rulers after Artaxerxes showed almost no interest at all in Greece, and were far more concerned with Egypt, along with internal concerns such as spreading Zoroastrianism and improving the infrastructure (if one can call it that) of the empire. Again, the overwhelming weight of extant evidence and cultural dissemination colors our vision. From the few Persian sources remaining, it becomes clear that while this was an important objective, it wasn't any more so than any other campaigns. Note that Darius personally led campaigns into the Indus, and against the Scythians, but did not deem the first Persian invasion important enough to demand his presence.


I'm not sure what caused your misunderstanding of the 1st Persian War, but clearly you misunderstand both what happened, and why.

Yes the Persians were expansionists, and yes prior to the Ionian Revolt they had conquered Thrace and made Macedon a client. But, again, Thrace is not at all Greek, the latter is only partially Greek - which is to say the aristocracy was considered Greek, but the population was not recognized as Greek. Concerning Naxos, a Greek island in the Aegean, yes they tried, unsuccessfully to conquer it prior to the Ionian Revolt. This obviously failed, but the target of the mass invasion, the 1st Persian War, was not Naxos, but Athens. Naxos is involved both in events that preceded and followed the Ionian Revolt. The Persians failed to conquer it prior to the revolt, but Naxos, along with Lindos, were two Greek islands conquered in 492 BC as staging grounds during the naval invasion that was specifically directed at Athens. Directed specifically at Athens because they alone of the Greeks outside Persian hegemony had sent aid to the Ionian Greeks during their failed insurrection, the Ionian Revolt of 499-493 BC, most notable for its sacking of Sardis. This is what inspired the desire to punish Athens. This invasion, the First Persian War (i.e. Marathon) happened as a direct reaction to the Ionian Revolt. You seem to be arguing that they would have eventually turned their eyes on central Greece eventually even without the Ionian Revolt, but you cannot ignore the immediacy of the invasion following the revolt, or the targeting of Athens and its clear connection to that revolt. Or likewise, why they again were fixated upon Athens in the 2nd invasion, and hence why they sacked and burned the city when they captured it, as revenge for both Sardis and Marathon.

Likewise, the second Persian invasion was only defeated because Xerxes left to deal with unrest in a far more important province in Babylon. Somehow that never gets mentioned; it is highly unlikely that the Greeks would have had the same success at Plataea against Xerxes with a full force. And the Persians never really bother to come back; they had achieved what they set out to do.

The numbers are obviously somewhat suspect, but typically modern scholars scale back Herodotus' numbers to around 300,000-500,000 for the invading force, which includes approximately 4000 ships, around 1200 of which were triremes, the rest transport. The Greeks had no where near that, with even the highest estimates placing the number at around 400 triremes, and around 125,000 total for land forces at Plataea. That Xerxes fled after Salamis and left Mardonius to deal with Plataea is inconsequential. Mardonius had been the general in charge of the war during the entire campaign, and the war was already lost due to the Athenian victory at Salamis. Xerxes fled because he was worried that had he not, that like Mardonius, who along with almost the entire force, he would have died at Plataea.

Is the problem that you are more familiar with Ctesias' account rather than Herodotus'? Ctesias' is useless. He thinks that Plataea happened before Salamis. Whatever the issue is, you have a very odd, and incorrect, impression of these wars.

Ozymandias
09-09-2016, 05:59 PM
I'm not sure what caused your misunderstanding of the 1st Persian War, but clearly you misunderstand both what happened, and why.

Yes the Persians were expansionists, and yes prior to the Ionian Revolt they had conquered Thrace and made Macedon a client. But, again, Thrace is not at all Greek, the latter is only partially Greek - which is to say the aristocracy was considered Greek, but the population was not recognized as Greek. Concerning Naxos, a Greek island in the Aegean, yes they tried, unsuccessfully to conquer it prior to the Ionian Revolt. This obviously failed, but the target of the mass invasion, the 1st Persian War, was not Naxos, but Athens. Naxos is involved both in events that preceded and followed the Ionian Revolt. The Persians failed to conquer it prior to the revolt, but Naxos, along with Lindos, were two Greek islands conquered in 492 BC as staging grounds during the naval invasion that was specifically directed at Athens. Directed specifically at Athens because they alone of the Greeks outside Persian hegemony had sent aid to the Ionian Greeks during their failed insurrection, the Ionian Revolt of 499-493 BC, most notable for its sacking of Sardis. This is what inspired the desire to punish Athens. This invasion, the First Persian War (i.e. Marathon) happened as a direct reaction to the Ionian Revolt. You seem to be arguing that they would have eventually turned their eyes on central Greece eventually even without the Ionian Revolt, but you cannot ignore the immediacy of the invasion following the revolt, or the targeting of Athens and its clear connection to that revolt. Or likewise, why they again were fixated upon Athens in the 2nd invasion, and hence why they sacked and burned the city when they captured it, as revenge for both Sardis and Marathon.

I am not disputing any of this. Of course the Persians were looking to teach the Athenians a lesson. I'm just pointing out that they had other aims, as well. And in those other aims, the Persians enjoyed a great deal of success. You keep referencing both Persian campaigns as humiliations; while there is some truth to that, it reflects a particularly Athenian point of view. If you were Athenian, you absolutely humiliated the Persians. If you were a Persian, it was a minor defeat at the end of a long and successful campaign. I'm just trying to make a wider point about the way in which we look at and remember all events. I was taught about Marathon and Thermopylae and (sort of) Plataea as a kid and a high schooler and all that. I only learned the opposite side of the ledger in later studies which 99.99999% of the population doesn't undertake. 2,500 years of Western historiography have beaten the tropes into our heads to an extent that its difficult to escape the usual narratives; all I ask across this entire discussion is that we attempt to look at events from the opposite lens. Which, I admit, can be difficult due to the dearth of extant sources.

The numbers are obviously somewhat suspect, but typically modern scholars scale back Herodotus' numbers to around 300,000-500,000 for the invading force, which includes approximately 4000 ships, around 1200 of which were triremes, the rest transport. The Greeks had no where near that, with even the highest estimates placing the number at around 400 triremes, and around 125,000 total for land forces at Plataea. That Xerxes fled after Salamis and left Mardonius to deal with Plataea is inconsequential.


Even those numbers are probably insanely high. I would be truly shocked if any army at that time was greater than even a small fraction of that. Even later Republican Roman armies only ever got up to 80,000 or so, and that was a shorter distance and greater populations were likely involved. But that is unimportant; obviously the Greeks were heavily outnumbered to begin with. What I care more about is that last sentence.

First, this is the point I was making above. You are assuming that Xerxes "fled". Because typifying his departure in that way makes sense, given our cultural heritage. A much more logical and persuasive argument is that he was returning home to suppress a rebellion, which is hardly fleeing. It also underlines the relative importance of Greece, which was not worth spending further time to bring to heel, because events were afoot in more important parts of the empire.

Again, and you do it in the part I didn't quote, you are completely ignoring that events might have been occurring outside of "Greece" proper that might have influenced events. Xerxes didn't "flee" because he feared for his life; he returned home with most of his army because he had a much bigger issue to deal with. Exactly like how Darius didn't bother to finish Athens with another campaign because he wanted to deal with Egypt, a FAR more important part of the Persian Empire.

Is the problem that you are more familiar with Ctesias' account rather than Herodotus'? Ctesias' is useless. He thinks that Plataea happened before Salamis. Whatever the issue is, you have a very odd, and incorrect, impression of these wars.

No, I have a broader impression of these wars. You are a specialist in Classical history (or you are relative to me, at least). You may have read every primary account we have. But you're only reading the Greek sources! That is why I am trying to get across here. For the Greek authors, Greece was the epicenter of the world. Ignore the fact that ancient authors always minimize their own force, and exaggerate that of their enemy, and all those normal biases. There is a more insidious bias, which is that no Greek author has a Persian perspective. Egypt was the wealthiest region of the Ancient Near East, and Babylon the greatest and likely largest city in the world. But you hear barely a murmur about internal strife in Persia from the Greek authors when they discuss Marathon or Salamis and the respective campaigns. And that is despite the fact that major military operations were needed in those regions that were much more important that the Persian emperors attend to.

Kimon
09-09-2016, 06:55 PM
No, I have a broader impression of these wars. You are a specialist in Classical history (or you are relative to me, at least). You may have read every primary account we have. But you're only reading the Greek sources!


With good reason. The only Persian sources we have are Ctesias (proven unreliable for reasons mentioned above) and Dio Chyrsotom. Dio is very late (he died in 115 CE), but may be the source of your confusion. He mentions the Persian propaganda story about Naxos as the target of the First Invasion and that the Persian official records downplayed the disaster at Marathon. He notes the same propaganda in their records for the Second Invasion, and that Xerxes tried to use his victory at Thermopylae to cloud the disasters of Salamis and Plataea. But we don't even have those records that he saw, and correctly knew made no sense in comparison to the true versions recorded by Herodotus, Thucydides, and the various Greek inscriptions. Nothing else is extant in terms of a narrative account, and what little we do have, like the Bisitun Inscription on the rise of Darius, and scant royal inscriptions on the province lists also have been shown unreliable even for tracing the growth and decline of the Persian Empire.

What we have are the accounts of the side that clearly won the war, Ozy. Not sure why you keep trying to argue that theirs was somehow the unreliable version, and that Ctesias' useless propaganda version that simply tried to paint the humiliated and defeated Persians in a better light for home consumption somehow was anything but official lies. The Greek version is accepted for good reason. They may (and often did) exaggerate the numbers, but they clearly accurately recorded the causes, events, and outcomes.