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Thread: History enthusiasts

  1. #1
    King of Little Sisters ~ Chrior's Avatar
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    Default History enthusiasts

    Hello everyone! This is my first time making a thread here, hope some people like it and keep posting here.

    This thread is for all students or enthusiasts of History in general. Anything you want to discuss, from what topics in History interest you the most, to controversies, to new discoveries or different ways to look at things, please share what you want. This thread is about sharing knowledge and experience. Any books or podcasts you'd like to recommend are great.

    To start this up, I'm talking about my passion. I'm crazy for anything "Byzantine". Except the name. I know it kind of needs its distinction for practical reasons, but there are more correct ways to refer to it. Eastern Roman Empire, Medieval Roman Empire, Empire of Romania, etc. It's a shame that most of the time, this issue gets swiped under the rug and things just stay the same. But I digress. It all began when I was in my 7th grade. I was in History class, which, until that year, had all been nationally distorted narrative about my country (I suppose that's true for everywhere...). But then, we started learning a wider, European-wide (that's still narrow minded, but it was better, and makes sense) History. We learned about the rise and fall of Rome, the typical, super famous (and not very well told) story. I knew that, more or less. It's one of the most well known historical tales, after all. And then we turned to Medieval Europe. But when I looked at the post-fall of Rome maps, I saw something startling. The eastern half of the empire hadn't fallen at all. The map said "Eastern Roman Empire". "Wow, how could we be talking about the end of it, if only half of it was over!?", so I thought. And I asked my teacher about it. The answer I got was something like "Oh, that doesn't matter, it's not really the Roman Empire". And that was the end of it.

    Skip to my boring 12th grade, I was looking to fill my free time and Wikipedia came to the rescue. Yes, I spent my free time on either World of Warcraft or Wikipedia. And it was then that, for some reason or another, that moment from 5 years before came back to me and I started researching about the Eastern Roman Empire. It's been 3 years and my interest keeps growing. I'm currently listening to "The History of Byzantium Podcast" by Robin Pierson. It's a fantastic podcast, with lots of well researched info, good commentary and insight, as well as giving lots of original sources and modern books about the subject. I'm also planning to buy "The Byzantine Republic: People and Power in New Rome" by Anthony Kaldellis, which defies the prevailing view of the empire as a theocratic/autocratic Greek institution and reveals a much more familiar populist Roman one. I guess this controversy of a post-Roman-but-still-existing-Roman Empire that existed since way before historians started arguing about it is what interests me the most. The continuation of that state, those people, how they kept on living, despite all the adversities they faced, coming back again and again, reinventing themselves... It's a fascinating topic in History.

    I don't want to make this post much longer, so now I leave the discussion open. Comment, share your thoughts, your tastes, your reading/listening material! Talk about History, AP folks!

    (here is the link to the amazing podcast! http://thehistoryofbyzantium.com/)

  2. #2
    ウサギ joekido the Second's Avatar
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    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Good idea for a thread. I too believe that the Roman Empire actually collapsed in 1453 and not 476 as that's when the western part collapesd. But modern historians wants to believe the old Roman Empire collapesd in 476
    Currently writing a book

    https://www.facebook.com/redjoekido

  3. #3

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrior View Post
    Hello everyone! This is my first time making a thread here, hope some people like it and keep posting here.

    This thread is for all students or enthusiasts of History in general. Anything you want to discuss, from what topics in History interest you the most, to controversies, to new discoveries or different ways to look at things, please share what you want. This thread is about sharing knowledge and experience. Any books or podcasts you'd like to recommend are great.

    To start this up, I'm talking about my passion. I'm crazy for anything "Byzantine". Except the name. I know it kind of needs its distinction for practical reasons, but there are more correct ways to refer to it. Eastern Roman Empire, Medieval Roman Empire, Empire of Romania, etc. It's a shame that most of the time, this issue gets swiped under the rug and things just stay the same. But I digress. It all began when I was in my 7th grade. I was in History class, which, until that year, had all been nationally distorted narrative about my country (I suppose that's true for everywhere...). But then, we started learning a wider, European-wide (that's still narrow minded, but it was better, and makes sense) History. We learned about the rise and fall of Rome, the typical, super famous (and not very well told) story. I knew that, more or less. It's one of the most well known historical tales, after all. And then we turned to Medieval Europe. But when I looked at the post-fall of Rome maps, I saw something startling. The eastern half of the empire hadn't fallen at all. The map said "Eastern Roman Empire". "Wow, how could we be talking about the end of it, if only half of it was over!?", so I thought. And I asked my teacher about it. The answer I got was something like "Oh, that doesn't matter, it's not really the Roman Empire". And that was the end of it.
    That's amazing, my huge leap into being more interested in history that turned me into what I am today was similar.
    It was the sudden realization that yeah actually the Roman Empire lasted until pretty much the days of Columbus. And it sort of blew my mind out, and from there it all happened.

    But it's sad too because it seems from the US over to Western Europe we're insanely self-obsessed to the point of even European history being literally "Western Europe".
    To our sphere it's like the order of operations goes GREECE---ROME---FRANKISH EMPIRE/DARK AGES EVERYONE HAS DARK AGES---RENAISSANCE---ENLIGHTENMENT---MODERN
    The fact that the Roman Empire continued strongly in the eastern half is irrelevant because that's not the history of Western Christian civilization. It's some Orthodox eastern nearly mideastern shit. Ironically involving the same Greeks we obsess over, just past the point we give a shit about.

    The Byzantine Republic: People and Power in New Rome" by Anthony Kaldellis, which defies the prevailing view of the empire as a theocratic/autocratic Greek institution and reveals a much more familiar populist Roman one
    Thing is Greek and Roman are actually not antonyms at all.
    If you want some really mindblowing shit, consider that modern romantic nationalism sculpted modern Greeks as we know them.
    Because there was a time in the 1800's when Greeks were debating what to actually call themselves.
    And the choices were between Hellenes, Greeks, and Romans.
    If I recall, Hellenes had been the closest thing to a group identity in the classical times that the people in question actually considered themselves.
    Greeks was a foreign phrase by Western Europeans, but one that these people understood to be a very prideful and beloved name.
    And Romans was what they actually called themselves throughout most of the past 2000 years, because of Byzantium.

    The discussion ended up turning against "Romans" because in nationalist logic it was eventually seen as invasive because it came to them from an outside power. So like 1500 or so years of these people calling themselves Romans ended due to modern romantic nationalism latching on to the same classical Greece fetish that Western Europe had and well..transfered to the Greeks.
    So now they call themselves both Hellenes and Greeks, both because modern Greeks latched onto the fetish of classical Greece in building their ethnic narrative.

    Further to the point, the Ottoman Empire referred to Greeks as Romans too in their demographic records, and to most Middeastern peoples "Rome" geographically was a mix of Greece and Anatolia. The Ottoman province of Rumelia was basically modern northern Greece. And the first major Turkish statelet in Anatolia called itself the "Seljuk Sultunate of Rome" or Rum in their language.

    Had things worked out differently Greeks would have called themselves Romans to this day, in huge defiant clash of western narratives of Rome being entirely the western entity.
    Or alternatively we could have had Italians calling themselves Romans had the peninsula not experienced such heavy dissunity throughout the 1500 years or so between Western Rome and modern Italy.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Quote Originally Posted by joekido the Second View Post
    Good idea for a thread. I too believe that the Roman Empire actually collapsed in 1453 and not 476 as that's when the western part collapesd. But modern historians wants to believe the old Roman Empire collapesd in 476
    Historians don't believe that. It's mostly just incorrect common "knowledge" in Western Europe and Latin America/Anglo America (who as we should remember are both cultural children of Western Europe).
    Considering the influence of Western civilization around the world, I wouldn't be surprised if it's thought that way throughout most of Africa and Asia.

    But you damn well won't catch Eastern Europeans and many Middle Easterners thinking that way.

  4. #4

    Default Re: History enthusiasts



    On a more serious note, my favorite historical times were: The English Revolution, World War 2 and The Golden Age of Piracy.

  5. #5
    playing a little cardgame Admiral Issho's Avatar
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    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    well my teacher was a little bit different he always showed us movies from spiegel about world war 2 and sometimes about world war 1. it was a little bit repetitive after a certain amount of movies. but that didn't keep me from pursuing history and i decided to study it.
    all credits to benjamminbrown

  6. #6

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    I wish my country had something cool to share. I mean, we had our own Civil War and Dictatorship but I don't think its a thing every school outside of Brazil teaches.

  7. #7

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    My story with history studies are a bit confused, since I didn't had a "correct line" of learning, just a mishmash of informations (because I had to change from school a lot of times, I guess it was 6 times). Later I had to arrange all the knowledge I learned from the schools I went.

    So, from the things I learned that I like:

    - Brazilian history
    - The revolutions (Russian, French and English)
    - The history about the Spanish America
    - World War 1 and 2
    - The history of Portugal
    - "Neo colonization"
    - Cold war


    Besides that, I like to do a bridge between literature and history, so I can learn more things about the period the book was written.


    Quote Originally Posted by KageKageKing View Post
    I wish my country had something cool to share. I mean, we had our own Civil War and Dictatorship but I don't think its a thing every school outside of Brazil teaches.
    HEY, we were one of the few monarchies in the Americas, respect.

    Also, Tiradentes, Prestes and Collor
    Last edited by C_uggs; July 26th, 2015 at 06:40 PM.
    When AP used to be good:

    NEVER FORGET !!

  8. #8
    King of Little Sisters ~ Chrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey King View Post
    Thing is Greek and Roman are actually not antonyms at all.
    If you want some really mindblowing shit, consider that modern romantic nationalism sculpted modern Greeks as we know them.
    Because there was a time in the 1800's when Greeks were debating what to actually call themselves.
    And the choices were between Hellenes, Greeks, and Romans.
    If I recall, Hellenes had been the closest thing to a group identity in the classical times that the people in question actually considered themselves.
    Greeks was a foreign phrase by Western Europeans, but one that these people understood to be a very prideful and beloved name.
    And Romans was what they actually called themselves throughout most of the past 2000 years, because of Byzantium.

    The discussion ended up turning against "Romans" because in nationalist logic it was eventually seen as invasive because it came to them from an outside power. So like 1500 or so years of these people calling themselves Romans ended due to modern romantic nationalism latching on to the same classical Greece fetish that Western Europe had and well..transfered to the Greeks.
    So now they call themselves both Hellenes and Greeks, both because modern Greeks latched onto the fetish of classical Greece in building their ethnic narrative.

    Further to the point, the Ottoman Empire referred to Greeks as Romans too in their demographic records, and to most Middeastern peoples "Rome" geographically was a mix of Greece and Anatolia. The Ottoman province of Rumelia was basically modern northern Greece. And the first major Turkish statelet in Anatolia called itself the "Seljuk Sultunate of Rome" or Rum in their language.

    Had things worked out differently Greeks would have called themselves Romans to this day, in huge defiant clash of western narratives of Rome being entirely the western entity.
    Or alternatively we could have had Italians calling themselves Romans had the peninsula not experienced such heavy dissunity throughout the 1500 years or so between Western Rome and modern Italy.
    Yeah, I know all about that. I read a lot about the fallout of the Empire in the east and the building of the modern Balkans/Turkey. The big big problem there was the infiltration of the Western European romantic nationalistic mindset that completely blew apart the Ottoman society there. Nationalism was suited to France and Germany and little else, most of the times it was exported to other places, it was badly implemented and ended up destroying the underlying society. The state of the Balkans today is almost a miracle, when we look at other places...

    About Italy... the same can be said about many other Roman places, only with other excuses. If half of the empire hadn't been conquered by the Arabs/Moors, they would still be romans (Carthage, Spain, the Egyptian urban population, Syria); if feudalism hadn't ripped central Europe apart, things would have been different in Gaul, for instance... When one thinks about historical "what ifs", things become really fun and weird...

  9. #9

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Ugly View Post

    HEY, we were one of the few monarchies in the Americas, respect.

    Also, Tiradentes, Prestes and Collor
    Damnit Ugly, Tiradentes accomplished nothing and the Collor incident is only over 20 years old.

  10. #10

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Quote Originally Posted by KageKageKing View Post
    Damnit Ugly, Tiradentes accomplished nothing and the Collor incident is only over 20 years old.
    They are still good exemples of brazilian history, may I add Getulio Vargas, Coluna Prestes and Lampião ? Also, don't talk shit about Tiradentes, the Incofidência Mineira was a awesome part of our history. Because of him (and other things) we are free from Portugal. (Good/bad ?).


    And the dictatorship was 51 years ago, sure, there is people still missing this days.
    When AP used to be good:

    NEVER FORGET !!

  11. #11
    From Elvis in Memphis Cyan D. Funk's Avatar
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    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    It's odd that somehow Edward Gibbon remains the be-all end-all authority on the later/middle?/early middle? Roman Empire in the public consciousness. Like talking about Rome suddenly falling apart over night (MAYBE BECAUSE OF CHRISTIANITY - Edward Gibbon, indirect inventor and most popular subject of modern historiography.)

    I've amassed what I'd call a pretty decent collection of good history books, some scholarly and some pop:

    - 1491 by Charles C. Mann (OH MY GOD this book, this is the ultimate pop history book on pre-Colombian America, and unlike Jared Diamond's book it doesn't drive Anthropologists and Historians up the walls)
    - 1493, also by Charles C. Mann (something of a vast history of globalization, also briefly shits on Gavin Menzies which I'm always up for)
    - Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson (the end-all single-volume history of the American Civil War. Goes deliberately out of it's way to illustrate that yes the war was about slavery and every citizen in the Confederacy had a vested interest in it's survival)
    - George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm, by Miranda Carter (WHO'S UP FOR SOME WORLD WAR ONE MONARCHY SHENANIGANS)
    - Empire of the Summer Moon, by S.C. Gwynne (a history of the Comanche Indians, focusing on all-around interesting dude Quanah Parker. You'd better get used to some gore)
    - The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation, by John Laband (a thorough history of the Zulu kingdom, from Senzengakhona to Cetshwayo. Best if you take some notes to help follow along)

  12. #12

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Ugly View Post
    Also, don't talk shit about Tiradentes, the Incofidência Mineira was a awesome part of our history. Because of him (and other things) we are free from Portugal. (Good/bad ?).
    Nope. He was only a Martyr on this said event. Things would go the same route without him.

  13. #13

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Quote Originally Posted by KageKageKing View Post
    Nope. He was only a Martyr on this said event. Things would go the same route without him.
    Next you are going to say that Anita Garibaldi, Santos Dumont, José do Patrocínio, JK and José Bonifácio were not important to Brazil. I know we were taught to hate our history, but don´t be like that, brazilian history is awesome.

    About Tiradentes, I hardly disagree, martyrs are great symbols of a ideology, I know about all the shenanigans about the bought independence, but Tiradentes WAS important to Brazil, just like Zumbi.

    Also, you ignored poor Carlos Prestes.
    When AP used to be good:

    NEVER FORGET !!

  14. #14

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrior View Post
    Nationalism was suited to... Germany
    lol I'm not so sure that one worked out so great.

    I think the point you're getting at is that Romantic Nationalism was less of a big deal in more homogenous states like France and the German lands that got patched into Germany. And big multi-ethnic empires like the Ottoman and Austrian Empire...well it ended up violent in part, or large part.
    Romantic Nationalism is tricky, because you have to navigate between real cultural differences and the fabricated and played up...while also navigating between genuine inter-ethnic oppression and those that arise when people start obsessing on difference.

  15. #15
    King of Little Sisters ~ Chrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Can you Brazillian folks agree that D. Pedro I of Brazil was, like, the best guy ever? (at least in terms of intentions, the results weren't always the best)

  16. #16

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Russian History is pretty cool(No pun intended) and you learn a lot about Eastern Europe alongside.
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Ugly View Post
    Also, you ignored poor Carlos Prestes.
    Because this one is an actual alright subject. I just don't expect good things from communism.

  17. #17

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrior View Post
    Can you Brazillian folks agree that D. Pedro I of Brazil was, like, the best guy ever? (at least in terms of intentions, the results weren't always the best)
    Yeah, Dom Pedro I was awesome (+ 1 for technology in brazil), his father was hilarious and his son was...yeah a troublesome kid, I still like the story about the creation of our flag.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Quote Originally Posted by KageKageKing View Post
    Because this one is an actual alright subject. I just don't expect good things from communism.
    At least he tried to do the Coluna Prestes, but he lost his wife to the nazis (thanks to Getulio Vargas), we have lots of "anti heroes", I guess this is the same for every country.

    But yeah, I recommend everyone to learn about the brazilian history, just 515 years of history.
    When AP used to be good:

    NEVER FORGET !!

  18. #18
    Into D Ice Age Muq'ch_H's Avatar
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    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Quote Originally Posted by KageKageKing View Post
    Russian History is pretty cool(No pun intended) and you learn a lot about Eastern Europe alongside.

    Because this one is an actual alright subject. I just don't expect good things from communism.
    I really enjoyed and liked the End of Czars with all the Rasputin plans and ideas he was forcing the people to deal with and the Czar didn't stop him. The Bolshevicks Revolution.
    "There is no struggle too vast, no odds too overwhelming, for even should we fail — should we fall — we will know that we have lived."

  19. #19

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    I love to read people talking about history here in arlong park, but I always hated history back in school. I wonder why is that.

  20. #20

    Default Re: History enthusiasts

    Man I wish I lived in countries with rich and colourful histories like you guys'. Stupid 50-year old Singapore, I guess Lee Kuan Yew dying and the ensuing shitstorm was a start.

    Oh umm... yeah I'm kind of a noob on history compared to all the hardcore name-dropping right here, pretty much the only solid standings on the whole topic I have are:

    - Horrible Histories (oh come on we all had to start somewhere)
    - Hark A Vagrant (God bless your soul, Ms. Beaton)
    - My O-Level Secondary 4 History textbook covering 20th century Soviet/USA history
    - This very forum (well if the fucking Arab Spring isn't going to be part of the future history textbooks of tomorrow then I don't know what will be)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hudell View Post
    I love to read people talking about history here in arlong park, but I always hated history back in school. I wonder why is that.
    Can't speak for everyone else here but I'd say if you're stuck in a setting where you're forced to learn stuff in a rigorous academic setting you'd naturally feel a knee-jerk reaction against all the history shoved down your throat (or ears. Or eyes.)

    Contrasr that with a more casual discussion where people just shoot the shit over whatever topic we're on right now and you'll get a more condusive environment in wanting to learn more, and heck maybe even contribute!

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