History questions? Fire away!

Dreadmaker

I need to go outside
Hey folks.

So, as some of you may know, I'm a history major at a university, and as such, I'm sort of a history buff. August is my 'Academic month'; Essentially, I'm playing less video games and working on researching an article or two for a conference in the fall, along with a few other school-related preparations.

That means that my brain is going to be in the thick of history for the next month, and YOU can benefit.

Recently, someone on the forums asked me a question about Islam's effect on our current level of technology in the west. I answered him in my blog, although the delivery was somewhat wall-of-texty. In future, I'll be cleaning it up a bit, but in any case, I'll be writing more of these things, on various topics.


Topics that YOU want to hear about.


Have you ever wanted to know something about the past but you never really cared enough to figure it out? Or perhaps, always had a biting question about the roots of our civilization? Maybe you, too, are a history buff, and you'd like a more in-depth look at something more specific. In any case, This thread is essentially an 'ask the expert*' thread. If it's something easy (e.g. why do Americans speak english instead of spanish), I'll answer it right here. If it's something longer (e.g. Why is most of North America protestant, and not Catholic?), then I'll write a blog post about it, and link it here.


So, no matter how big or small, go ahead and ask me any history questions you may have. I know a good chunk about most things in general, but my focuses these days are medieval history, especially involving the interactions between islam and catholicism, and modern history, like the bolshevik revolution or the world wars. I also have a fairly firm grounding in ancient history.


* I DO NOT claim to be an expert in the field of history; just an amateur. However, I've studied it fairly extensively, and so I'm probably more of an expert than the average joe.
 

Fear Feathers

Posting Commander
YES !!1 haha I love history too. just not in school loll

Crusades!! EXPLAIN !!! lol - sry :)

full detail on the Crusades story plox
 

Dreadmaker

I need to go outside
There are books and books and books written on that particular topic :p

However, I have a little work saved for myself: Last year, when Associated Content actually still payed people from outside of the States, I wrote and article about the Origins of the crusades. Read that, see if it gets what you'd like, and then we'll talk specifics :)
 

Mayhem Death

Forum Legend
Community Manager
Ok. I have one for you. Did Anubus and most of his soldiers really have animal heads? I asked my history professor and he said he wasn't all that sure (which scared me a little for him.)
 

Dreadmaker

I need to go outside
Ok. I have one for you. Did Anubus and most of his soldiers really have animal heads? I asked my history professor and he said he wasn't all that sure (which scared me a little for him.)
If you're talking about the Anubis from Ancient Egypt, in fact, he was mythological. He was a deity, specifically the god of death (and then, after the old kingdom period, the god of burial, having been replaced by Osiris in the Middle Kingdom period).

To actually answer your question, yes they did. Egyptian gods were all zoomorphic; that means that they were all shaped (At least in part) after a certain animal. Anubis, and his mythological followers all had the head of a Jackal, which was the sacred animal of his cult. Jackals are known for the fact that they are scavengers (much like American coyotes), which is linked, of course, with death.

As for the mortal followers of Anubis, they may well have adorned themselves with dead jackal skins, or what have you, but it was probably much MORE likely that they revered the animals, and didn't hurt them. Jackals were, of course, sacred, and so logic dictates that they probably wanted to avoid killing them, and thus avoid invoking the wrath of their god.


Did that answer your question? or did you have something else in mind?
 
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AnotherAsian

Forum Fanatic
EDIT: Scratch that, I dont want this question answered.

If there is a mp3, what happened to the mp2?
 
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Dreadmaker

I need to go outside
EDIT: Scratch that, I dont want this question answered.

If there is a mp3, what happened to the mp2?

BOO! mm... tl;dr on the last answer: Richard Dawkins invented the first meme, but the first one that was actually popular on the internet, to my knowledge is this.




As for your actual question, it still exists. In fact, mp1, mp2, and mp3 were all released at the same time by the same company. They simply have different types of compression that make them more or less suitable for a variety of environments. mp2s are still used almost universally in TV broadcasting and radio. mp1s, however, are largely outdated.
 

Orange_Kun!!!

Famous Poster
What area do you feel the Etruscans migrated from before settling in the Latin regions (Etruria)?

I've heard of speculation about Lydia and other places in and around Ionia in Asia Minor, regions north of Greece and perhaps Macedon, and theories that they were in the northern Italian regions the entire time.

It's been awhile since I've last read up on any findings pertaining to them, but last I can remember I don't think there had been a definite consensus placing a finger on any one particular area.

Figured I would ask what your opinion was on it.
 

Dreadmaker

I need to go outside
What area do you feel the Etruscans migrated from before settling in the Latin regions (Etruria)?

I've heard of speculation about Lydia and other places in and around Ionia in Asia Minor, regions north of Greece and perhaps Macedon, and theories that they were in the northern Italian regions the entire time.

It's been awhile since I've last read up on any findings pertaining to them, but last I can remember I don't think there had been a definite consensus placing a finger on any one particular area.

Figured I would ask what your opinion was on it.

That's an awesome question (more of THESE types of things, people! :p).


Well, as it turns out, the question isn't about the Etruscans, but rather their ancestors. The Etruscans are actually descendants of the Villanovans, who were their predecessors. The Villanovans were around in about 1100 BC at the earliest, and they fizzled out around 800 BC. Etruscan culture took over then, until about 550 or so, where a certain famous city took over for 1000 years (give or take).


You're right, that there is a lot of uncertainty as to where they come from, but I'll tell you that most modern historians agree that they ARE NOT from Ionia or Asia minor. They are ethnically distinct in both dialect and physical attributes. At the time, Ionians WERE in and around Italy, but to the south, in what is generally referred to as Magna Graecia. So the argument that they were from anywhere around greece is typically thought of as obsolete these days. However, the debate isn't dead; it's moved to Europe instead. Many people DO think that they were always there, and were a distinct people, but there are some theories that suggest Germanic (specifically Celtic) roots.


That said, I don't buy it. The areas that we believe the Villanovans settled were all in the north of the Italian Peninsula, but not above it. My personal take is that they were blocked by the Alps. The Villanovans and Etruscans had a relatively unique culture that, in my opinion, was far enough distinct from the other Germanic cultures in Europe that it indicates a lack of contact. Frankly, when you have a natural barrier as vast as the then unconquered (read: no roads/paths) Alps, it really does give a strong incentive to stay where you are. Why on earth would an ancient culture cross a mountain range if they didn't need to? They had a great location with good farmland and plentiful other resources; there was no impetus to move.


Thus, tl;dr, my theory is that they were always there, and that they didn't move because they had no real reason for doing so. It's true that that doesn't really exclude the possibility of contact from the south, and thus mingling with, say, the greeks, but modern research tends to not support those theories anymore.
 

Mayhem Death

Forum Legend
Community Manager
If you're talking about the Anubis from Ancient Egypt, in fact, he was mythological. He was a deity, specifically the god of death (and then, after the old kingdom period, the god of burial, having been replaced by Osiris in the Middle Kingdom period).

To actually answer your question, yes they did. Egyptian gods were all zoomorphic; that means that they were all shaped (At least in part) after a certain animal. Anubis, and his mythological followers all had the head of a Jackal, which was the sacred animal of his cult. Jackals are known for the fact that they are scavengers (much like American coyotes), which is linked, of course, with death.

As for the mortal followers of Anubis, they may well have adorned themselves with dead jackal skins, or what have you, but it was probably much MORE likely that they revered the animals, and didn't hurt them. Jackals were, of course, sacred, and so logic dictates that they probably wanted to avoid killing them, and thus avoid invoking the wrath of their god.


Did that answer your question? or did you have something else in mind?
Nope. Answered it perfectly.

Question 2: In the crusades, did they just go into the city and destroy everyone in it (which I think is called "The Purification"), or do they save the citizens and only kill the soldiers?
 

Dreadmaker

I need to go outside
Nope. Answered it perfectly.

Question 2: In the crusades, did they just go into the city and destroy everyone in it (which I think is called "The Purification"), or do they save the citizens and only kill the soldiers?
Another good question.

Let me first say that when people say 'the crusades, they often don't really know how big they're talking. Realize that they started in 1095 (ish), and the major reason Christopher Columbus actually got the funding to head over to the new world was because the incredibly catholic spanish rulers, Isabella and Ferdinand, were trying to find a route to china that went around the middle east,so they could establish more trade routes, to fund more crusades. We're talking about 400 years of history here. There were nine formal crusades, and then a whole whack more of them put on by individual governments (i.e. Spain).

So, for the record, talking about each of them individually would be way to big. However, there are some patterns we can talk about.


The first crusade is real easy. The crusaders went to Jerusalem (that's very simplified; suffice it to say there were lots of trials and tribulations that are for another conversation), and when they got there, they murdered every man, woman, and child in the city. It really didn't matter who it was; there are records of them killing other Christians. They just slaughtered everyone. The second crusade wasn't all that eventful in the east; It was more interesting in the Iberian peninsula, where a bunch of crusaders helped retake Lisbon (yes, in Portugal) from the Moors.

The Third Crusade is usually considered to be the pinnacle of crusading in general. It is also called the King's crusade, and is definitely the most famous. You've got Richard the Lionheart of England, Phillipe Augustus of France, and Saladin the Wise. This crusade actually ended in a truce, where Saladin retained control of Jerusalem, but allowed Christian pilgrims to access the holy city and the surrounding area; there, it was a very chivalric battle; both sides fought with a lot of honor. There's a lot of literature out there on the 3rd crusade; it's the most fun to read about. You should look into it.


After the third crusade, though, they started to get... dicey. They were put on for less good reasons, they were less well attended, and they never again reached their goals (except briefly during the 6th crusade, but it was taken back just as quickly). The fourth crusade, for instance, was a disaster. The crusaders took over a christian port city in the name of venice because they couldn't pay their ferry fees, and then later, helped to install a pretender on the throne of Constantinople, only to sack the city later because they determined they weren't payed enough to do it. It was bad; The crusaders killed the archbishop, and 'named' a prostitute as the new one, by installing her in the chair in the Hagia Sophia. The Pope Excommunicated all of the crusaders after they sacked and invaded that port, but then he realized that he wouldn't have a crusade if they did that, and immediately re-instated them all.


So, in short: It varied by crusade. The general rule of thumb is that the first crusade was a brutal slaughter; totally prejudiced and very much anti-Islam. Over time, they did grow more tolerant of Islam, as their cultures mingled a bit more, and as a result, from then on, it was usually a little less gruesome. This is generally proven by the excellent conduct on both sides of the 3rd crusade. However, after the 3rd crusade, for the most part, the practical morals of the crusade (because they were always declared with good intentions) disintegrated. They turned more into money-grabbing missions than actual religious journeys. Many of them actually failed to even get to the middle east, and if they did, they usually didn't do much.


tl;dr: it was a mixed bag. started bad, got better, and then tapered off in both enthusiasm and action.


To be honest, I wish I could go into more detail, but this post is already lengthy, and I fear that it would just be rambling. You get the basic idea here; if you have something a bit more specific, then I'd love to answer it more in detail. But, if that's what you were looking for, there it is :)
 
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Mayhem Death

Forum Legend
Community Manager
That is the best answer I could have.

Next Question: What did Alexander the Great REALLY do to get that nickname? I have read about him a little, and so far what I have read is that he has won many battles. What is a GOOD reason why he has that name?

(Btw, what is steam name so I can add you?)
 

Dreadmaker

I need to go outside
That is the best answer I could have.

Next Question: What did Alexander the Great REALLY do to get that nickname? I have read about him a little, and so far what I have read is that he has won many battles. What is a GOOD reason why he has that name?

(Btw, what is steam name so I can add you?)

Again, great question. I love these things.

Once again, that's a big question, and one that I've had more than one lecture on in my various classes. The problem is that he's had such a massive effect on the history of europe and the middle east that it's really quite difficult to summarize it all at once. However, I'll do my best. I'll give you the cliff's notes.

Firstly, between him and his father, he re-defined the practice of war in Greece. They organized their army to incredibly deep formations, with incredibly long spears. Essentially, even if you charged at them and killed their first ranks, you would STILL have spears in your face and another long way to go in breaking them. I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say, just like, for instance, Shaka Zulu did several centuries later, he completely changed how war was done using the same tools that everyone else had. Very innovative, and very smart. As it turns out, that comes partly from the fact that he was educated by Aristotle.


Secondly, the first point doesn't really matter as far as greece is concerned, because before he was even named the real king of Macedon (because he was, in fact, Macedonian and not Greek), he had united all of Greece (excluding Sparta, the stubborn jerks) in a 'Hellenic League" (sometimes called the League of Corinth). Greece hadn't ever been unified to this extent before. After he did that, he decided (for a lot of reasons that again, I'm cutting out for brevity) to invade Persia to get them back for both of the times where they invaded Greece in the past.

Here's where I'm going to cut out the most stuff, because it's here that can take hours to talk about. Massive TL;DR: he took over all of Persia, and he conquered all the way to India. To make that visually clear: link to a big picture


See how tiny Greece is, up in the top there? See how massive the area is that he conquered? I'm not great with area, or numbers, but using my fingers, it seems that he conquered an area about 6 times wider than Greek is long (not including Egypt) and my mathematician's intuition tells me that it's probably well over 6 times the area. This is one of the largest empires in the entire world, and it was the 4th largest in the ancient world (Persia is actually first here, about 150 years prior to Alexander).

Now, if you have a look at my blog post from the other day, you'll find that it was partly due to alexander that we are as technologically advanced today as we are. It isn't because he was particularly advanced, but because when he conquered most of persia, the two cultures mingled, and much later, when the Arabic empires were delving into the past, they studied Persia, some of their ancient roots, and as a result of their respect for greece, translated all of the greek scholarly works, which contributed to the growth of universities and higher education in the high middle ages. Neat, huh?


So, tl;dr, today in bullets:

Alexander:

  • revolutionized Greek military tactics
  • united Greece almost fully
  • conquered most of Persia, all the way to India
  • maintained the 4th largest empire in ancient history
  • his empire led Islamic scholars to be interested in the Greek civilization much later

Hope that does it. As for adding me on steam:

http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197988683115

Go ahead and add me from there :)
 

Mayhem Death

Forum Legend
Community Manager
Geez. I wish you were my history professor.

Next Question: How did Persia become such a huge and successful empire (until Alexander came)?
 
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