Discussion in 'World History' started by Nuka-sama, Aug 3, 2006.
They did well enough. There were plenty of Nestorian churches in Tang China.
There is one major thing that separates advanced civilizations from backward ones. That thing is... Beer!
Think about it. The American indians didn't ever discover how to make beer, they were conquered. The Aztecs didn't discover beer, they were conquered. The Zulu didn't discover beer, they were conquered. The Aboriginals didn't discover beer, conquered. See if you can name just one civilization that has had any (lasting) succes without beer.
The Europeans, Arabs, Chinese, and Japanese all found out at some point in their history how to ferment grain or honey or rice or whatever. That way, they reduce their needs for supplies of clear drinking water, because the alcohol will kill germs and stuff and prevent the beer from spoiling. With the ability to make beer, they can thus support much larger populations than backward civilizations that depend on clean water supplies.
Beer made possible the infrastructure that is needed for the progress of a civilization. So as the saying goes: "Drink your way to success!"
Actually, beer should be a civilization advance in the game Civilization.
Actually the agricultural civilizations of the Americas did have brewing traditions, they got conquered anyway. In fact it seems every single agricultural civilization has had a brewing tradition, and it seems that this technology is pretty much as old as farming, pretty much everywhere. Some people have theorized, and not entirely in jest, that this may have been a major factor in making people switch from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to sedentary farming -- farming was necessary to produce enough surplus grain to have a regular beer supply. So it may be that we have beer to thank for civilization itself.
Why did Europe create great Empires? Cause Europeans rule, there was also great Empires in diffreant parts of the world also. Really Calling the Aztecs, and Africans more advance and stronger the Europe is just plain bull, The Tribes of Africa were just running around with old spears and living in dirt huts, while the Aztecs were just a little bit more advance then the Africans. the Europeans were just better in Military might.
This is absolute crap, and enough has already been said in this thread to show it. I find it depressing that such stupid prejudices should still be found on this site.
What? Well.. What do you want me to say? Mabye i think some of the stuff you said was absolute crap. What i said was no a prejudices.
What do I want you to say? Something true, of course. And it's not true that Africans were all just running around with spears and living in dirt huts when Europeans got there. There were great kingdoms and empires in Africa before Europeans ever sailed down its coast, and great universities too. Haven't you heard of Timbuktu, or of the massive stone fortresses of Ethiopia? If you had heard of them, you wouldn't have made such a daft, sweeping, and dismissive statement.
But how much of that stuff was made by the Arabs? The Greeks? the Romans? and so on. Why is THERE STILL ARFICANS tribes that run around with spears, and live in huts? You can even see that if you want on tv.
Seriously, you're just digging yourself deeper into a hole here. This is like saying that the existence of Native American reservations in the US demonstrates that all Americans go around with feathers in their hair. Of course there are still Africans who run around with spears in live in huts. But that doesn't mean that they all do. You know, they actually have quite big cities in Africa these days, and live in real buildings with windows and things, and drive cars. Have you even met any Africans?
This reminds me of a cartoon in a book I read a while ago about Nigeria (yes, by a Nigerian - they even have books!). It showed a very shocked-looking European with a big thought bubble showing what he was thinking - a bunch of naked savages in huts holding spears - while in front of him was a huge metropolis with skyscrapers and a group of well dressed Africans greeting him. And that book was forty years old. Looks like the old prejudices still die hard...
Timbuktu and the Ethiopian fortresses were not built by Arabs, Greeks, Romans, or anyone other than Africans. The great empires of the Sahel were built by sub-Saharan Africans without any help from foreigners. I don't know why this is so hard to understand.
Ok, so a few beer-brewing civs got conquered. But the argument goes that beer is a pre-requisite, not a guarantee, for succes.
Here's some African stuff. Certainly more that spear-waving, no?
One of the churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia. Hewn from the rock in the Middle Ages.
The Great Mosque of Timbuctu, the ancient capital of Mali, famous for its libraries. (If Muslim scholars want to find really ancient texts, Timbuctu's the place to look.)
One of the so called "Benin Bronzes", a statue of one of their past kings. These sculptures absolutely bowled Europeans over when they turned up as booty in the west in the 19th, westerners back then being of the opinion that Africans were all about... "run around with spears, and live in huts".
And generally, I can see a bunch of whacko Christians in the US juggling snakes on the telly if I like as well.
Doesn't mean I need to think all Americans do it, or that I necessarily understand what it means to those that do, as I watch it.
Because Europe wasn't backwards or weak, and these other lands weren't really way stronger and more advanced...
Europe may have been considered backward in the 5-12th centuries by historians, but as a group they weren't actually BEHIND in technologies that were spread during this time period (water wheel, eyeglasses, textiles, horse collar, stirrups, capitalism, better sea navigation techniques... where is the backwardness here?). They were able to pursue local affairs without a massive tax on everything to support the Roman Empire (which had been decaying for awhile before it collapsed) so it might actually have been an improvement over the Roman Empire from some people's points of view.
Europe wasn't in any position to do any global colonizing after the Romans fell but neither was anybody else. The colonization you are probably speaking of didn't happen until the 15th century and later, well after significant portions of Europe had turned capitalist and started multiplying overall productivity through investment (that really developed somewhere in the 10th-11th centuries). That's not a weakness nor is it backward, especially if nobody else in the world was pursuing economic productivity and growth at anywhere near the same scale.
Although, now that I am thinking about it, it depends on what you think of as backwards and weak, but this is finally my answer to the original topic of the thread. (It took awhile to think up what I really think was the difference.)
Just think of it... the fall of the Western Roman Empire happened almost a THOUSAND YEARS before the colonial powers started spreading out, and FOUR HUNDRED YEARS after "capitalism and investment banking" was finally able to permanently establish itself in Europe as a method of multiplying productivity. Granted, industrial cities were more like enclaves rather than ubiquitious, but consider that attempts to establish places like this elsewhere failed to maintain permanence.
Well yeah; the conquerors also had beer.
What. The Americas had a large population but as it may have been pointed out the lack of pack animals limited the size of native american civilizations except for the Tawantinsuyu which was the largest empire on Earth. Bigger than Mali, expanding Russia, China or anything else and a major latitude spanner as well. Imagina a civ spanning from Cairo to MOSCOW!!!
I didn't say it didn't spread far to the east. Christianity simply didn't take hold and remain the dominant faith in Asia, as it did in Europe. And I did mention that the gospel made great strides into Persia.
That's okay. The gospel is doing pretty well in China now.
Interesting. What is your source for that assertion?
That's not surprising. The Apostle Thomas is said to have taken the gospel to India, dying there as a martyr. But, was Christianity ever the dominant faith in India? I think not.
So, I agree with you with regards to the fact that Christian missionaries spread the gospel far to the east. What I am saying, is that for centuries there were no great Christian nations east of Persia. Of course, in 2006, the most-Christian nation on Earth, may just be South Korea.
Well, Christianity was the dominant faith in Persia until some centuries after the Arab conquest. I'd say that before the second millennium, Christianity was doing rather better east of Palestine than it was to the west.
I don't have an Internet source, but I was researching this recently. I can tell you that a number of Central Asian peoples converted largely wholesale to Christianity in late antiquity and in the early Middle Ages (particularly around what is now Turkestan). The Kerait and the Ongut were notable examples, combining their traditional culture with Nestorianism. For example, the prince of the Kerait would drink special mares' milk, as was their custom, but bless it with the sign of the cross first.
The presence of many Nestorians among Genghis Khan's troops was what led a number of Europeans to think that Genghis Khan was Prester John and that he might engage in a holy war on Islam. Although that didn't happen, the Mongolian empire was an important factor in the spread of Christianity east. After Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty in China, Nestorian and even Catholic missionaries appeared there, since the Yuan encouraged Christianity (this was the second great wave of mission to China, which ultimately perished with the Yuan). Again, we have the journals of William of Rubrick, a thirteenth-century Belgian friar who travelled to the court of Möngke Khan only to find a very multi-faith society, with pagans, Muslims, and Christians all encouraged to hold debates at the palace. William didn't get on very well, because he began his sermon by telling the Great Khan that he was going to hell if he didn't convert. Möngke Khan didn't convert - although his own mother had been a Christian, who spent much of her time founding Muslim universities, such was the ecumenical spirit of the early Mongol empire.
So I don't really see that Europeans in any more "spiritual light" than anyone else during this period; even if they had been, I don't see what that's got to do with being more powerful.
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