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Old Apr 22, 2012, 04:37 PM   #21
Louis XXIV
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Which ones were wrong in the Cracked article? I understand the Davis's theory probably misunderstands the Zuni language, but what about the others?
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 06:11 PM   #22
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#5: Could be from looters or from other contamination (more likely given the absence of other evidence of contact)

#4: Geologist cited is considered a fraud; most consider this to be a forgery or at the very least unreliable.

#3: The head statue...don't have anything to say to that. Maybe others do. As for the pots, they were not discovered by an archaeologist but by a diver with no historical backing and apparently a history of falsification.

#2: Trading between Indian tribes is more likely the cause of this

#1: The linguistic "evidence" is so screwed up. First of all, none of the "Japanese" words listed are Japanese, anyway a few cognates does not mean linguistic relationship, and the word order is shared in tons of other unrelated languages.

In other words, all of these are bunk.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 06:41 PM   #23
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Tobacco was made into insecticides in the 19th and 20th centuries and mummies did get infested with insects if they weren't in the right condition. So to "conserve" the mummies, nicotine containing pesticides were poured over them. But I'm sure there are at least a dozen other ways mummies could have been contaminated considering the treatment they have been getting for the last couple of centuries.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 07:08 PM   #24
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Read the article now just to see how bad it was.

The article openly states why some are almost certainly wrong.

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and the word order is shared in tons of other unrelated languages.
ONLY 45% of languages!!!! Just think, that is only 3% more than the second most common word order.
I had a good laugh at that one. Along with the idea that L'Anse aux Meadows just might have been significant enough to be considered a temporary campsite (with several wood framed structures, a forge, etc).

The only one I might give any consideration to would be the Roman statue, based on the slim chance that some ship got caught up and managed to survive a one way ocean crossing. I would not be completely surprised if there were a few one direction crossings by accident. There definitely was no trade across the Atlantic Ocean until much later.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 08:37 PM   #25
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WTF? Cracked is usually better than that. I especially like their articles debunking historical myths. Now they have to go and make one that gathers up several of them. I have encountered some awful history on Cracked before - the "Hitler liked to be peed on" story - but nothing this bad.
They had some article that was like "top 5 myths about Christmas" and every single one of them was very, very wrong. Cracked is a comedy website, taking it seriously about anything is a bad idea.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 09:48 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Huayna Capac357 View Post
#5: Could be from looters or from other contamination (more likely given the absence of other evidence of contact)

#4: Geologist cited is considered a fraud; most consider this to be a forgery or at the very least unreliable.

#3: The head statue...don't have anything to say to that. Maybe others do. As for the pots, they were not discovered by an archaeologist but by a diver with no historical backing and apparently a history of falsification.

#2: Trading between Indian tribes is more likely the cause of this

#1: The linguistic "evidence" is so screwed up. First of all, none of the "Japanese" words listed are Japanese, anyway a few cognates does not mean linguistic relationship, and the word order is shared in tons of other unrelated languages.

In other words, all of these are bunk.
While I see the counter arguments, that's very different from saying it's factually wrong. The linguistics one is an argument where the factual support is wrong. Finding a rock in the mid-west with Hebrew written on it is very likely to be fake but that's different from saying that the website is factually wrong.

#3 is a good example of something that was factually inaccurate, thanks for pointing that out.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 03:17 AM   #27
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The problem is the "discoveries" were presented as something that's more important and significant and real than they really are, even "proof that the history books are wrong", when in fact every single one of these "evidence" is fake or misinterpreted or inconclusive.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 04:53 AM   #28
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Presenting a claim as a fact and drawing inferences from it on that basis is wrong. That something could be a Roman head doesn't make that a fact. Nor does the claim that it was discovered under two concrete floors the former of which was laid before X date make that a fact. It is interesting, don't get me wrong, but the likelihood of it being a fraud far outweighs the likelihood of it even being a one-off fluke let alone emblematic of something substantive (transoceanic trade) that would rewrite the history books. (At best, it might get an interested nod and it worst it'd become fodder for lolconspiracies).
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 05:57 AM   #29
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or this "book of Greek lies" from Slavic Macedonia (Macedonia rules, Greece sucks and has almost no real history)
just the the note above this article (Big Greek lie #1) is worth it
freely quoted: We are not out to create tension but as long as the Greeks don't recognize us we will create tension
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 10:24 AM   #30
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Double think aside, anyone know anything about Byzantine Finance?
I apologize for missing this; I sort of ignored this thread early on, since I find circle-jerks about "lol idiots dun know history" to be somewhat distasteful. I'm here to teach, learn, troll, and laugh.

I suppose the proper follow up question is: do you mean Byzantine state finance or individual finance?
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 10:44 AM   #31
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since I find circle-jerks about "lol idiots dun know history" to be somewhat distasteful.
So far, it is more like "lol not-that-idiotic people twist history for political benefit".

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I suppose the proper follow up question is: do you mean Byzantine state finance or individual finance?
State finance. The author of this 'documentary' clearly regards individual finance as suspicious temptation of the Western financial oligarchy.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 11:33 AM   #32
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So far, it is more like "lol not-that-idiotic people twist history for political benefit".
Sure, but as I said, my comment was based on first impressions. And neither one of those things is really about the denizens of WH helping each other learn about history.
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State finance. The author of this 'documentary' clearly regards individual finance as suspicious temptation of the Western financial oligarchy.
All right.

To be honest, the only way that anybody might arrive at the conclusion that the Byzantine state had an advanced financial apparatus would be by comparison with its Merovingian/Carolingian, English, or Iberian contemporaries. The state had no capacity to go into debt (indeed, it was by far the largest lender of any sort in the area, and it didn't invest in much, if anything), so state finances were based on tax receipts, the treasury, and extraordinary revenues if they were required. If those were exhausted, it was time to hive off state land, debase the coinage, or start paying soldiers (the overwhelming majority of the Byzantine budget, as with basically all other premodern states, was military expenditures, chiefly salaries) in kind instead of in coin. On the most prevalent reading, this was the chief reasoning behind the development of the thematic military system, usually dated to the seventh century: the state didn't have enough money to pay its soldiers wholly in coin, so it gave soldiers liens on state land and provided them with arms and armor instead of permitting them to purchase it from state commissaries. This system provided the bulk of Byzantine military manpower for five centuries - giving you an idea of how unstable Byzantine finances were at the time. Any sort of even moderately advanced debt mechanism would have to wait for the golden age of the Italian maritime republics.

Insofar as the Byzantines understood inflation - and they didn't, not really - they saw it as an issue of their coinage's purity, not as an issue of the money supply. Hence the obsession with the nomisma retaining its composition, not its value, for over half a millennium. Indeed, the Byzantines frequently had very serious deflationary pressures on account of the millions of nomismata uselessly sitting in the imperial treasuries during the 'good' years - cash with as low a velocity as you can get. And, of course, as you noted, this doesn't even touch on the fact that the Emperors barely considered copper coinage - the sort of coinage that real people actually used in everyday transactions - to have much relevance. The supply of folles was if anything even less suited to the amount of transactions that were taking place than was that of nomismata. An economic boom could be started by something so mundane as the Emperor Theophilos taking an incognito stroll in the Constantinopolitan markets and noticing an awful lot of bartering going on. On one reading, his increase in the minting of folles after that little jaunt provided one of the economic mainstays for what would become the tenth-century military renaissance.

So yeah, the only thing "stable" about Byzantine state finances before everything went up the chimney was the mineral composition of a coin that few people other than soldiers and the super-rich ever actually possessed, much less used on a regular basis. Unlike its contemporaries in Western Europe, the Byzantine state retained control over an at least titularly monetary economy for its entire existence, but the state never figured out what to do with that amount of control.

Warren Treadgold, the author of the best single-volume book on Byzantine history, has also authored a few works on the Byzantine military and its relationship to state finances. John Haldon's works on the Byzantine military also touch on finance to a not insignificant degree. From a Marxist perspective, Alan Harvey has also worked on Byzantine finances, albeit in a fairly narrow window. Michael Hendy's Studies in the Byzantine Monetary Economy is extremely solid but difficult to read, and is aging somewhat.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 11:56 AM   #33
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See, this is why I made this is why I made this thread. Because we always manage to make good discussion out of bad history. It's page two and we have fun facts about mummy preservation techniques, and a nice good post on Byzantine finance.

I think if I ever manage to get my degrees, I'm gonna set up my classes so that the final assignment is to criticize a bad but widely accepted text.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 12:09 PM   #34
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More from the Byzantine story:

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This is how the ancient Hellenic people died out, amongst whom an inexplicable demographic crisis occurred during the first centuries A.D. People did not want to live; they did not want to continue their generation...Suicide became one of the main causes of death amongst the population. This conscious dying out of a population has been called by science “endogenous psychosis of the I-III centuries”—a mass pathology and loss of meaning for continued existence.
Now, this is obviously bonkers, but what I am interested in is: was there actually a crackpot historical theory about “endogenous psychosis of the I-III centuries”, or is this something the Archimandrite invented? Googling this phrase results in mirrors of the original text or in Macedonian nationalists using that quote to prove to Greeks that they don't really exist (The Little Book of Big Greek Lies is also useful here).
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 01:13 PM   #35
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Cracked is usually decently entertaining pop history, but that was some truly awful stuff in the OP. Here is some seemingly good debunking of a terrible history book I've read.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 01:42 PM   #36
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Most Serb nationalist history. An example: They say Alexander the Great is a Serb, which is so stupid and ignorant I wont even explain why.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 03:29 PM   #37
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The Norse coin is at least conceivable, since they apparently did go to North America for timber even after the failure of the Vinland colony, and trade between Indian tribes could explain the rest.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 03:34 PM   #38
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Most Serb nationalist history. An example: They say Alexander the Great is a Serb, which is so stupid and ignorant I wont even explain why.
Anybody who really cares about with which modern ethnic construct Alexander the Great can best be identified probably sucks at history.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 03:56 PM   #39
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The Norse coin is at least conceivable, since they apparently did go to North America for timber even after the failure of the Vinland colony, and trade between Indian tribes could explain the rest.
Even if the coin is authentic, there odds are pretty good that there are a bunch of Norse artifacts spread out all over the Americas.

But it is no indication of a Norse presence in that region or of anything interesting and has zero impact on history books (the claim of the article). The presence of just one coin amongst many native artifacts, is evidence that it was not from Norse presence (which would leave more Norse artifacts and less Native artifacts).
We know the Norse were in North America, we know natives had Norse artifacts through trade and battle, and we know Natives traded amongst each other, all of which is accepted historical fact.
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 06:06 PM   #40
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More from the Byzantine story:


Now, this is obviously bonkers, but what I am interested in is: was there actually a crackpot historical theory about “endogenous psychosis of the I-III centuries”, or is this something the Archimandrite invented? Googling this phrase results in mirrors of the original text or in Macedonian nationalists using that quote to prove to Greeks that they don't really exist (The Little Book of Big Greek Lies is also useful here).
I am completely unaware of this, or anything like it, ever having been seriously posited.
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