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History Questions Not Worth Their Own Thread VIII

Discussion in 'World History' started by Flying Pig, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

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    But it wasn't about inherent biological differences between people at that point. The descendants of a peasant living by the castle of the first king would be biologically similar to the descendants of the first king. The jews were biologically similar, to the point where a particularly insane (the disease being religion...) king was opening his grandmother's tomb to check whether she had a tail and must have been jewish. This was a few decades after the expulsion of the jews in the early 16th century. Jews would be recognized only because they had hidden tails and the king might have "unclean blood"! It was religious madness, not something due to biological differences.

    As the nobility closed ranks to monopolize power and privilege for their own descendants, this "blood purity" test just happened to be easier to do when there were obvious giveaways such as skin color: no descendant of the old nobles could possibly be black. Kings might make a commoner noble despite this closing of ranks by alleging that some ancestor was noble, or even that obviously valor proved such-and-such was of unacknowledged noble birth (illegitimacy was common...). But no such finessing could be done of the person was black! It was the nobility against parvenus... a phenomenon common even among the upper castes or any country today.
     
  2. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Reconquista Spain was heaving with newly-minted nobility, though, so it doesn't make a lot of sense for the old nobility to target Jews and Moors who were not the people getting rich from Christian conquests, and therefore not the people challenging their status. I would tend to think that the racial hostility towards Jews and Moors represented precisely the opposite dynamic, a way for nobles of dubious lineage to assert their legitimacy by drawing the line elsewhere than ancient Visigothic forebears.
     
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  3. innonimatu

    innonimatu Warlord

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    The old nobility claims were back to the beginning so the several kingdoms, not to the visighotic times. By the time this started to become a thing, roughly the late 14th century, it was old. But not that old. And it really only became a thing in the 16th century. Then there was an old nobility that interbred, and a office nobility often made up of commoners promoted by the king but that was not regarded as being on the same level and would not have lands and hereditary privileges. I guess it was much like in other places in Europe? War allowed for social mobility, stability closed it...
     
  4. Josu

    Josu Chieftain

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    As far as I know, in the particular case of the basque, it was not until XVI century when some intellectuals started to write about the origin of the basque language and its relationships
     
  5. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Why did the British give Hong Kong back to China? I looked into it a bit, and everything seemed to say something along the lines of "Britain's 99 year lease was expiring", that was a treaty signed with Imperial China, and they weren't around anymore (and I swear I read something about the PRC repudiating all the treaties signed with Imperial China). Unlike the Falklands, China couldn't just show up on the beaches of Hong Kong with some marines and say "it's ours now". Further, I was under the impression most residents of Hong Kong were perfectly happy with British rule. Plus, Britain signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984 which laid out the framework for putting Hong Kong under Chinese authority. It seems odd to me that Thatcher and the Tories would give away several million people in a British territory to China, right after going to war to protect some miserable islands in the South Atlantic with a couple thousand people.
     
  6. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Ummm, why in the hell not? Hong Kong is immediately adjacent to China, and China's army is 10s of millions of men larger than Britain could field these days. And if Britain's power projection capabilities were maxed out in the Falklands, where Argentina's weren't much better, then what could they possibly do 10,000 miles further away?

    Short version being that nuclear or folding were the only options, should China decide to push the issue. They didn't have a credible threat.
     
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  7. Imaus

    Imaus Chieftain

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    Britain in 1997, post-Cold War and post-Conservative, was a wholly different beast from Falklands-War era Britain of 1982. It had drastically cut its military - from 5% GDP in 1982 to around 2.5 by 2000 - it had no geopolitical advantage from stuffing up the Chinese - compared to showing off a quick war against a third-rate power to spook the Soviets, a feat basically replicated with Grenada and the Gulf War for the US and UK with the US for the latter - and basically, not much changed on the ground immediately. A million people already left before the handover, the PRC was changing to their State Capitalist reforms that impressed Thatcher enough, and the PRC was not going to drop the issue.

    In '82, Deng and Thatcher met. Thatcher tried to be sly. Deng had none of it. It was a matter of extreme cultural and political symbolism to China; the UK, however, had been gutted of its empire nearly fifty years before and Hong Kong, while impressive, was not crucial for the UK. Hong Kong suffered a hit in '83 via Typhoon Ellen as well, making it a small drain for a while that imprinted itself on the common mind. Then the UK and PRC basically made a new treaty: PRC gets control of HK but keeps it special up to 2047, then it can do what it wants. And so it went from there.
     
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  8. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Also: racism. Falklanders are mostly white. Hong Kongese are mostly Asian. Tory voters can be reliably expected to value a few thousand of the former more than they value a few million of the latter.

    I mean, we didn't even give the Hong Kongese citizenship. They were just "overseas nationals": literally, second-class citizens. We weren't subtle.
     
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  9. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish Boba Fett

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    If Dachs makes a long, well written and thought out, informative post that takes a considerable amount of time to read (and obviously far longer for him write) what do you call it?

    Spoiler :
    A Dachumentary
     
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  10. Zack

    Zack 99% hot gas

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    How did Hannibal get his elephants across the Mediterranean? I'm struggling to imagine the logistics of it. How do you feed them, what do you do with the massive amounts of stool and urine, where do you put them?
     
  11. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Ships. It's only a few days across the Med.
     
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  12. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    If the elephants were already present in Carthaginian Spain, they could very easily have been shipped across the Straits of Gibraltar which would only be a few hours.
     
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  13. Dachs

    Dachs Emissary of Hell

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    @Cutlass and @Ajidica have basically already answered this question. We don't know exactly how the Carthaginians transported elephants from Africa to Spain and Sicily, but the distances over which they were transported were relatively short and could be covered rapidly. Hannibal in particular definitely marched his elephants around by land where he could rather than attempting to transport them by sea the whole way.

    The few textual references we have for classical transport of elephants by water in the Western Mediterranean strongly imply that moving the animals over water was usually an ad hoc affair and got messy, often with casualties among elephants, humans, or both. There were ships large enough to transport multiple elephants and their food for a few days. The ancient Mediterranean was plied by large merchantmen that could load three to four hundred tons. The issue would be keeping the animals calm for the duration of the journey. Elephants were uncomfortable with walking up gangplanks onto classical ships and usually had to be coaxed up by ruses. They were also attended by several men with ropes just in case something happened, as can be seen on one of the Piazza Armerina mosaics from Sicily. Clearly moving the animals was a harrowing business for all involved and not undertaken lightly.



    Some purpose-built vessels did exist. The late Lionel Casson published extensively on the elephant hunts of Ptolemaic Egypt, which were facilitated by the construction of large ships capable of sailing the Red Sea with elephants on board, the elephantegoi. These vessels, however, would also put in on the coast during their journey north from Aithiopia to Berenike, partly for exercising the animals and partly for the sanity of the humans. Some authors have hypothesized that each elephantegos was also attended by a grain ship to ensure that its captives were well fed, but there isn't much evidence for this. Unlike the armies of Carthage, Rome, and Pyrrhos, Ptolemaic Egypt clearly invested a great deal of resources into the logistics of elephant transportation and it showed.

    The Seleukid kings may also have employed specialized elephant transports from India to avoid transiting the Gedrosian deserts or the Hindu Kush, but unfortunately there is no evidence for or against such methods. Alexander brought his elephants overland, pace Arrian, and Seleukos might have done, but we know very little about subsequent additions to the Syrian elephant herd.
     
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  14. Imaus

    Imaus Chieftain

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    It depends where Hannibal crossed, but from North Africa to Carthagena isn't far.

    The Vandals transported most of their tribe - elderly, women, sick, children, and livestock, around 100,000 strong, from Spain to North Africa across a month or so, using mostly fishing boats.
     
  15. sydhe

    sydhe King of Kongs

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    If they were already present in Spain, he wouldn't have had to ship them at all. He went by land from Iberia to Rome, and wouldn't have to transport them for the final battle since there already were elephants in North Africa.

    If he needed to get them to Spain, it's not all that far from North Africa to Spain, and he had years to prepare.
     
  16. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Try dividing that number by 100. Not even Peter Heather, when he is channeling his inner UKIP member, placed the Vandal force that ended up in North Africa much over 10,000.
    (And that is without getting into the whole argument of what the "Vandal force" actually was!)

    Yeah, that's what I meant. Looking at my post now it is clear it devolved into a sort of word salad.
     
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  17. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    "Ptolemaic Egypt clearly invested a great deal of resources into the logistics of elephant transportation" is perhaps the most perfect WH-y sentence I've ever read.
     
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  18. Chukchi Husky

    Chukchi Husky Lone Wolf

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    During the Middle Ages, were the countries of Europe puppets of the Catholic Church?
     
  19. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    No.
     
  20. JohannaK

    JohannaK Careless Whisperer

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    Did someone tell you that?
     

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