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History questions not worth their own thread IV

Discussion in 'World History' started by Plotinus, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    In the early days of Irish Studies we had a concept called "Iberic Peoples". The idea was that the Irish, through the Milesians, were connected biologically and culturally with the Moors of Morocco.

    This is a concept which has been removed, and no one has come forward with a term for what does connect the Irish with the Moors, and we've done just fine, despite having to explain to at least one student once a semester that that's the case.

    The question is, can anyone point to anything that Italian Feudalism had in common with English Feudalism as compared to say, Roman administration of Italy? Or the English Feudal state with the Tudor state?

    If they have no remarkable similarities, or if no one can agree what those similarities are, why should we struggle to define a term to describe those insubstantial similarities.
     
  2. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Retired Moderator

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    Are the Irish connected with the Moors? I know that Tacitus supposed the the inhabitants of Britain were probably of Spanish stock, but that seems a bit of a stretch to me.
     
  3. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    I propose that the exploration of hypothetical exotic baryon particles be categorized in the same field as pre-Borromini baroque architecture, which I will call Lightspectraism.

    What? You don't think these things have enough in common to be given a common term? Nonsense I say; all these contrarians are nothing but a narrow-minded clique. If Lightspectraism is an unhelpful word, then simply replace it with a new one, albeit I don't see anything wrong with what stands.
     
  4. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    I understand that.

    What I mean is, what existed then,if not what we popularly call feudalism? No one can even tell me? All I'm told is that it wasn't what we think it was. All I get is patronizing abdication-of-scholarly-responsibility responses like this:

     
  5. Yeekim

    Yeekim Moderator Moderator

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    I don't doubt that they were different, but were they really so different that they won't both fit under Smithian description "a social and economic system defined by inherited social ranks, each of which possesses inherent social and economic privileges and obligations, such as customary labour services owed by serfs to landowning nobles" or under Marxist description "the economic situation coming before the rise of capitalism, where the power of the ruling class (the aristocracy) rested on their control of arable land, leading to a class society based upon the exploitation of peasants who farmed these lands, typically under serfdom"?

    EDIT: It seems LightSpectra has been offended by some of my previous comments, therefore I do apologize, if I came across as impolite. I certainly respect both your person and your knowledge on the subject, even though I currently remain unconvinced in this particular matter.
     
  6. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    I don't know how to better explain this. The way that land ownership, social hierarchy tracing to the monarch, and soldier recruitment worked across Europe cannot be summarized in a single word. If you want to talk about what actually existed, you need to ask for a specific time period and place. When it's said that David I introduced "feudalism" to Scotland, it's meant that he sold land to French mercenaries; whereas "English bastard feudalism" that contributed to the Yorkist march on St. Albans was pre-established aristocrats being granted official or monetary patronage in exchange for their allegiance.

    Nobody here is trying to be rude, I think we're just exasperated at how difficult it is to talk about the subject.
     
  7. Louis XXIV

    Louis XXIV Le Roi Soleil

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    Yeah, each place was different. Pick a time period and a place and if someone has specific knowledge, they may be able to help you. But it's not easy to generalize. Even in a single place, diversity was far more common than one would think.
     
  8. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Well the Irish couldn't be white so 19th century racial theorists proposed that they were descended from the Moors. This has seriously stuck around as folk wisdom amongst Irish Americans, who think Irishmen not having red hair requires and explanation.

    That would be silly. The Spanish connection has legs, Tacitus attests to it, the Irish tradition attests to a "Miles Hispaniae", but the nature of it is fuzzy. Goidelic doesn't have a lot of linguistic connections to Lusitanian, which just throws everything for a loop.
     
  9. Yeekim

    Yeekim Moderator Moderator

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    And wouldn't both of these examples fit perfectly well under either of the definitions I mentioned in my previous post? (Neither of which, btw even concerns itself with exact tracing of social hierarchy or soldier recruitment...).
     
  10. Louis XXIV

    Louis XXIV Le Roi Soleil

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    I'm not sure I agree with the part of your definition that says "a social and economic system defined." If selling land to French mercenaries is feudalism, would Julius Caesar giving land to his soldiers also be feudalism? Would Patricians vs. Plebians be? It's a broad definition that only makes sense if you confine it to the Middle Ages. But then you're basically just saying "feudalism is the middle ages." In which case, you might as well call it "the systems that existed in the middle ages."
     
  11. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Retired Moderator

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    Perhaps, but then those become unhelpful categories - the point is that there's so many different societies which can be summed up as having 'inherited social ranks, each of which possesses inherent social and economic privileges and obligations' - off the top of my head, the Roman Republic, classical Sparta, 11th-century France, 1600s Japan, 1900s Russia, modern Britain. It's simply not helpful to historical study to group these together; they're totally dissimilar societies and should be studied in their own light, rather than trying to force them all into one concept - it's a little bit like a geographer studying 'big things' - yes, Lake Superior, Mount Everest and Birmingham are all linked by being 'big things', but can you imagine having them all in one person's specialism?
     
  12. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    Louis XXIV's response is pretty much on the ball. The anti-feudalism people here have been stressing two points this entire time: (1) "feudalism" as we think of it never really existed, and the wide divergence between places called "feudal" therefore (2) makes the word utterly vague and worthless unless particularly defined by an author that wants it to mean what they're talking about. I mean, my apartment complex gives discounts to people that are a part of the U.S. armed forces, you could conceivably call that feudalism (it has more in common with, say, Ottonian military settlements than the Ganshof model does).
     
  13. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Even more, are we counting formal social ranks or informal ones?
     
  14. History_Buff

    History_Buff Knight of Cydonia

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    What do we think of Necho II and a supposed circumnavigation of Africa in Phoenician times? I was reading Carthage Must Be Destroyed, and it was mentioned fairly authoritatively (though in passing) as A Thing That Definitely Happened, with sailors getting at least as far as the Bight of Benin. Which struck me as odd since that was the first I'd ever heard of it, and that sounds like quite the feat.
     
  15. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    highly unlikely, to say the least. The Carthaginians had far more resources and interest to explore the Atlantic, and the furthest any of them got was Hanno the Navigator in the 4th century B.C., who got to about modern-day Nigeria. You have to wait for the caravel before getting to the other side of Africa from the Mediterranean is plausible.

    I have a question. In modern history (let's say starting in the 1600s), what are some examples of major armies that have surrendered or been annihilated due to being cut off of supplies?
     
  16. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Retired Moderator

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    Von Paulus' surrender at Stalingrad might fit that description.
     
  17. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    Well, yes, that counts. He was also completely encircled and hopeless outnumbered in addition to being totally cut off.

    But I was more curious about stuff such as the German Spring Offensive in 1918 that almost made the British evacuate continental Europe due to their supply line hub being so stressed by artillery shelling.
     
  18. History_Buff

    History_Buff Knight of Cydonia

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    The example that springs to mind is the Siege of Detroit, where the British basically scared the Americans into surrendering by exploiting their fear of the Indians. The Americans certainly had the superior numbers and position, and probably a superior force overall.

    The French surrender at Metz likely counts as well, though they would have known the Prussians had more forces kicking around anyway.
     
  19. bombshoo

    bombshoo Never mind...

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    The farthest I ever heard about them sailing was during Hanno II's voyage to Sierra Leone or Nigeria or possibly as far as Cameroon. I remember reading they encountered "a tribe of savages covered in black hair" whom they dubbed "Gorillae" and though it's unknown if what they really encountered were gorillas, it's still where the name of the species comes from. I realize that doesn't answer your question, but I've always just found that an interesting related story.
     
  20. Yeekim

    Yeekim Moderator Moderator

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    Pretty much, but "feudalism" is considerably shorter.
     
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