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Author Topic: Most annoying historical myths?  (Read 17830 times)

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Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #125 on: September 02, 2013, 08:24:58 PM »
More witches: the idea that ordeal by water, when looking for sorceresses, meant the accused (and bound) woman would either float and show herself to be in league with Satan, or she'd sink and be left to drown on the spot, sanctimoniously signed off as "innocent, but unfortunately dead". In those days very few people were able to swim, and the supposed scenario is that the woman was just tossed into some lake or stream, solidly bound, with everybody else staidly watching a couple yards away.

Sorry, it's just a modern myth. The normal procedure would have been that the woman was heaved into still water from a boat, with some rope held by the guys in that boat so she could be pulled out quickly if she did sink. Law in those days had its nutty sides, but putting a suspect in a situation where they were obviously going to die even if they were deemed innocent wouldn't have been legit anywhere in Europe at that time.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 08:26:01 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #126 on: September 02, 2013, 11:31:24 PM »
It implies that there should be a moneyless, classless society where everything is owned equally by everybody. And why? Because that was Marx.'s ideal of a utopian society. The fact that nobody has worked out to put this into practice and that every attempt to create a communist state has ended up with dictatorship says more about human nature than communist ideals.  And while it's never been truely put into practice the closest thing to a commumist state people might be familiar with is Star Trek, no money, no class, everyone is free to better themselves how they see fit.
Two things: 1. That says a lot about what society would be like. How would it be run? How would decisions get made on the level of society as a whole? This is what government is, and is not addressed at all in your response here.

2. I suggest you look into Spain ca. 1936 before saying that it has never truly been put into practice, or that every attempt devolves into dictatorship.

But to go back to Oniya's orginal misconception that commumism is an econmic system, does that mean that the US was a communist state between 1940 & 1945?
I'd really like to see some documentation about the US collectivizing anything in that timeframe or any other. It would be fascinating reading.

But in most communist states the citizenry as a whole do get to choose thier representatives, admittedly those choices are limited by the state party. But is that really that different from western democracies when the parties choose who the public get vote for? Especially when the differences between the parties are so small you're going to be eating the same dog food no matter who's elected, it'll just come in a different colored bowl
A choice between A and A is not a choice, so we'll just skip past that. The rest of this paragraph... is pretty clearly coloured by American politics. You might want to take a look at how other countries do it before using blanket terms like "western democracies".

Offline mia h

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #127 on: September 03, 2013, 05:43:31 AM »
I'd really like to see some documentation about the US collectivizing anything in that timeframe or any other. It would be fascinating reading.
It has nothing to with being a collective, you could have a collective state that was still a free market economy where no central body decides on what or how much of any single good is being produced, the level of ownership of those goods is an entirely seperate issue.

And you can have democraies that are planned economies,  for instance "After America entered the War, a part of the automotive industry was diverted to aircraft production."  http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww2/cou/us/aod/arms/air/aodwa-air.html and who was it that did the diverting?
I'll give you a small clue it was the Federal Government, they instructed companies to stop making cars and start making aircraft. The same thing happened in the UK, carpenters were told to stop making chairs & tables and instead start produce parts for the Mosquito. And although the UK didn't exert 100% control over production it still directed sizeable chucks of production into the 50's as part of post-war reconstruction.

The rest of this paragraph... is pretty clearly coloured by American politics.
Wrong

You might want to take a look at how other countries do it before using blanket terms like "western democracies".
The US for the most part has open primaries so anyone can stand and anyone can vote for who gets to represent a particular party. It's more common for the process to be closed only party members can vote and bodies within the party decide who can stand.

A choice between A and A is not a choice
I agree. Candidate A believes in policy X, Candidate B also believes in policy X where's the choice? Does it matter that candidates A & B are from the same party or different parties? So where is the difference? Most communist states are democracies it's just the lack of choice is sometimes a little more obvious.

The US could hypothetically have a Communist Economy where we did a share all economy.
No US couldn't be a communist economy because it doesn't exist; you could have a planned economy, an unplanned economy or a mixed economy those are your choices.

Most of the Communist states are run using a Dictatorship model of Government, because a Communist GOVERNMENT would not have a head. It would be an ideal Democracy (following Marxist Ideals). Communist states have been Dictatorships using Communist economic structures that enforced planned economies.
So close.

Offline Beorning

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #128 on: September 03, 2013, 09:38:09 AM »
More witches: the idea that ordeal by water, when looking for sorceresses, meant the accused (and bound) woman would either float and show herself to be in league with Satan, or she'd sink and be left to drown on the spot, sanctimoniously signed off as "innocent, but unfortunately dead". In those days very few people were able to swim, and the supposed scenario is that the woman was just tossed into some lake or stream, solidly bound, with everybody else staidly watching a couple yards away.

Sorry, it's just a modern myth. The normal procedure would have been that the woman was heaved into still water from a boat, with some rope held by the guys in that boat so she could be pulled out quickly if she did sink. Law in those days had its nutty sides, but putting a suspect in a situation where they were obviously going to die even if they were deemed innocent wouldn't have been legit anywhere in Europe at that time.

On somewhat related note: is that true that iron maidens are a myth? I once read that they haven't actually existed in the Middle Ages and that they've been "invented" during the later eras to showcase medieval Inquisition's supposed cruelty...

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #129 on: September 03, 2013, 10:06:12 AM »
On somewhat related note: is that true that iron maidens are a myth? I once read that they haven't actually existed in the Middle Ages and that they've been "invented" during the later eras to showcase medieval Inquisition's supposed cruelty...

Looks like they are a myth invented in the late 18th century and retro-supported by a number of such devices pieced together from separate old objects with other purposes. The notion of a darkened cell that was so close in shape to a human body that you could actually be standing inside it without any part of your body being further off the wall than a couple inches or so is reality though: the oubliette could be like that sometimes.

I remember seeing a medieval fortress built on an island in an arm of the river running through a city in the French Alps. A local told me that the narrow, bar-gridded windows in one of the walls facing the water belonged to old, cramped cells where people had been held captive, sometimes chained and treated without good manners. The river was narrow at that point and the footings of the fort were right next to the waterline, with a row of houses on the other side, so if there was a spring flow or just a lot of rain, the water level would rise rapidly for a while. In the old days, the local guy told me, well if this happened, those in the cells might simply get drowned when the water poured in through the barred window openings.  :o
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 10:09:45 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Rogue

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #130 on: September 03, 2013, 10:56:54 AM »
It has nothing to with being a collective, you could have a collective state that was still a free market economy where no central body decides on what or how much of any single good is being produced, the level of ownership of those goods is an entirely seperate issue.

And you can have democraies that are planned economies,  for instance "After America entered the War, a part of the automotive industry was diverted to aircraft production."  http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww2/cou/us/aod/arms/air/aodwa-air.html and who was it that did the diverting?
I'll give you a small clue it was the Federal Government, they instructed companies to stop making cars and start making aircraft. The same thing happened in the UK, carpenters were told to stop making chairs & tables and instead start produce parts for the Mosquito. And although the UK didn't exert 100% control over production it still directed sizeable chucks of production into the 50's as part of post-war reconstruction.
Wrong
The US for the most part has open primaries so anyone can stand and anyone can vote for who gets to represent a particular party. It's more common for the process to be closed only party members can vote and bodies within the party decide who can stand.
I agree. Candidate A believes in policy X, Candidate B also believes in policy X where's the choice? Does it matter that candidates A & B are from the same party or different parties? So where is the difference? Most communist states are democracies it's just the lack of choice is sometimes a little more obvious.
No US couldn't be a communist economy because it doesn't exist; you could have a planned economy, an unplanned economy or a mixed economy those are your choices.
So close.

Going to agree to disagree on this one as every little bit of history and Economy that I've been taught disagrees with you. Maybe you have a different definition of things than we do, but either way.... Agreeing to disagree.

Looks like they are a myth invented in the late 18th century and retro-supported by a number of such devices pieced together from separate old objects with other purposes. The notion of a darkened cell that was so close in shape to a human body that you could actually be standing inside it without any part of your body being further off the wall than a couple inches or so is reality though: the oubliette could be like that sometimes.

I remember seeing a medieval fortress built on an island in an arm of the river running through a city in the French Alps. A local told me that the narrow, bar-gridded windows in one of the walls facing the water belonged to old, cramped cells where people had been held captive, sometimes chained and treated without good manners. The river was narrow at that point and the footings of the fort were right next to the waterline, with a row of houses on the other side, so if there was a spring flow or just a lot of rain, the water level would rise rapidly for a while. In the old days, the local guy told me, well if this happened, those in the cells might simply get drowned when the water poured in through the barred window openings.  :o

OHHHHHhhhh! That's what happened. It's a shame too, since Iron Maidens are one of my favorite. Not my favorite by any stretch but it's definitely one of the ones to use.



Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #131 on: September 03, 2013, 11:02:14 AM »
Well, spiked Spanish boots are authentic, it seems - so if you start there, use one of those small cells and...*breaks off, reminding herself that this is public territory

Offline Rogue

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #132 on: September 03, 2013, 11:03:31 AM »
Well, spiked Spanish boots are authentic, it seems - so if you start there, use one of those small cells and...*breaks off, reminding herself that this is public territory

.... Maybe a world building thread dealing with authentic torture devices?

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #133 on: September 03, 2013, 11:06:57 AM »
..and authentic (medieval) bondage devices!



Offline Rogue

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #134 on: September 03, 2013, 11:12:46 AM »
..and authentic (medieval) bondage devices!




*giggles* Yes! If you do happen to do something like that, link it here please?

New irritating historical myth!

That rates of homosexuality are increasing (and by that I mean outside of the general ratios) and completely ignoring the fact that homosexuality in ANCIENT GREECE was a MAJOR thing and encouraged even in the military as a method of bonding between a soldier and his comrades.

sarcasm/ Of course this increasing rate has nothing to do with homosexuality becoming more socially acceptable. Not at all. /sarcasm.

Offline Beorning

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #135 on: September 03, 2013, 12:54:52 PM »
.... Maybe a world building thread dealing with authentic torture devices?

Hear hear! I'd love to learn which of the torture devices I've read about are actually real and which are fakes...

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #136 on: September 04, 2013, 07:13:21 PM »
It has nothing to with being a collective, you could have a collective state that was still a free market economy where no central body decides on what or how much of any single good is being produced, the level of ownership of those goods is an entirely seperate issue.

And you can have democraies that are planned economies,  for instance "After America entered the War, a part of the automotive industry was diverted to aircraft production."  http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww2/cou/us/aod/arms/air/aodwa-air.html and who was it that did the diverting?
I'll give you a small clue it was the Federal Government, they instructed companies to stop making cars and start making aircraft. The same thing happened in the UK, carpenters were told to stop making chairs & tables and instead start produce parts for the Mosquito. And although the UK didn't exert 100% control over production it still directed sizeable chucks of production into the 50's as part of post-war reconstruction.
Top-down centrally-directed production is... directly counter to the principle of collective action. It seems that there is some confusion here - what you're speaking of sounds more like "policies enacted by states that claimed to be communist" than anything that actually lines up with any definition of communism you care to name.

Wrong
"The parties choose who you get to vote for" ignores the concept of independent candidates. "Differences between the parties are so small they're effectively the same"... well, that's certainly not my experience in a Western, democratic nation - our major parties include big-business hard-right cut-all-the-taxes types (what would qualify as 'centrist' in the US), up-from-the-grassroots union-driven hard-left high-tax-high-spending-high-service types, and break-up-the-country-because-Reasons types. Those... are just a little different in action.

Wrong
The US for the most part has open primaries so anyone can stand and anyone can vote for who gets to represent a particular party. It's more common for the process to be closed only party members can vote and bodies within the party decide who can stand.[/quote]It's also common to allow for independent candidates.

Wrong
I agree. Candidate A believes in policy X, Candidate B also believes in policy X where's the choice? Does it matter that candidates A & B are from the same party or different parties? So where is the difference? Most communist states are democracies it's just the lack of choice is sometimes a little more obvious.[/quote]
This is not an argument for "Soviet-style states are democracies", this is an argument for "certain nominally-democratic states are not in fact democratic".

No US couldn't be a communist economy because it doesn't exist; you could have a planned economy, an unplanned economy or a mixed economy those are your choices.
So close.
Implicit in this statement, there appears to be an assumption that all planning must come from a hierarchical governing body. Once again, I strongly suggest you look at Spain ca. 1936. "Nobody has ever had a functioning decentralized communal nation" is an annoying historical myth.

Offline Rogue

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #137 on: September 04, 2013, 07:25:09 PM »
Implicit in this statement, there appears to be an assumption that all planning must come from a hierarchical governing body. Once again, I strongly suggest you look at Spain ca. 1936. "Nobody has ever had a functioning decentralized communal nation" is an annoying historical myth.

Because I'm curious, mind citing something for me for that? I haven't got the time to read the entirety of the Spain wiki. :)

Offline Skynet

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #138 on: September 05, 2013, 01:48:42 AM »
Ephiral is referring to the anarchist communes in Catalonia.  Anarchists, Marxists, and other anti-fascists were fighting against Franco's forces.  When the anarchists collectivized the farms and turned ownership over to the farmers, the standard of living increased for several years.  This was not to last, unfortunately, due to Franco's forces crushing them over time and betrayal by their Communist allies (who had different ideas for the revolution).

A similar thing happened with the Ukrainian Free State in the early 1920s.  A militarized anarchist insurrection held off the then-fledgling Soviet Union for a few years before falling.


So while anarchist societies have been tried, they fell before things could get rolling due to outside forces taking over.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 01:50:46 AM by Skynet »

Offline mia h

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #139 on: September 05, 2013, 02:22:54 AM »
Ephiral,
you seem to be arguing just for the sake to if and have strayed vastly from the original point.
Communist states can be democratic, the two are not mutually exclusive.
Communism is not a type of economy; most communist states employ a form of planned economy but calling planned economies, communist is wrong. War time economies are by necessity planned but that doesn't those states communist.

there appears to be an assumption.
If you want to go around making assumptions that's your choice but you know what they say. Making assumptions makes an ass out of you.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #140 on: September 05, 2013, 07:32:01 AM »
calling planned economies, communist is wrong. War time economies are by necessity planned but that doesn't those states communist.

While all communisms are planned economies, I never said that all planned economies were communist.  The feudal economy was planned (everything you use is owned by the lord, and tough nuggets if he decides to take it all) but would hardly meet any definition of 'communist'.

If you want to go around making assumptions that's your choice but you know what they say. Making assumptions makes an ass out of you.

Actually, as my science teacher in high school put it, 'to assume makes an ass of u and me.'

Offline Kythia

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #141 on: September 05, 2013, 07:36:35 AM »
While all communisms are planned economies, I never said that all planned economies were communist.  The feudal economy was planned (everything you use is owned by the lord, and tough nuggets if he decides to take it all) but would hardly meet any definition of 'communist'.

So I'm confused now.  What did you mean by (paraphrased) "communism is an economic system not a form of government"?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #142 on: September 05, 2013, 07:45:07 AM »
Communism (the idea that all property is held in common with each member of society contributing as to their abilities and receiving based on their needs) is a means of distributing wealth and goods.  This makes it the opposite of capitalism, not the opposite of democracy.

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #143 on: September 05, 2013, 07:55:01 AM »
Ah, I get you.  I think that's more "words changing meaning" than "myth" though - communism doesn't really mean that any more:

Quote from: Wikipedia
In the modern lexicon of what many sociologists and political commentators refer to as the "political mainstream", communism is often used to refer to the policies of communist states, i.e., the ones totally controlled by communist parties, regardless of the practical content of the actual economic system over which they may preside. Examples of this include the policies of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam where the economic system incorporates "doi moi", the People's Republic of China (PRC) where the economic system incorporates "socialist market economy", and the economic system of the Soviet Union which has been described as "state capitalist".

Offline mia h

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #144 on: September 05, 2013, 08:47:17 AM »
The feudal economy was planned (everything you use is owned by the lord, and tough nuggets if he decides to take it all) but would hardly meet any definition of 'communist'.

That doesn't make feudal economies planned, if indiviual Lord's got to decide what was produced in thier own lands then it would be an unplanned economy. If each Lord was told what to produce by the Monarch or central council then it would be a planned economy

Quote
But we reserve "planned economy" for when there is only one group, a monopoly, doing the planning. In a planned economy, the government is this monopoly.
http://www.ehow.com/facts_5799501_definition-planned-economic-system.html

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #145 on: September 05, 2013, 11:28:50 AM »
Ephiral is referring to the anarchist communes in Catalonia.  Anarchists, Marxists, and other anti-fascists were fighting against Franco's forces.  When the anarchists collectivized the farms and turned ownership over to the farmers, the standard of living increased for several years.  This was not to last, unfortunately, due to Franco's forces crushing them over time and betrayal by their Communist allies (who had different ideas for the revolution).

A similar thing happened with the Ukrainian Free State in the early 1920s.  A militarized anarchist insurrection held off the then-fledgling Soviet Union for a few years before falling.


So while anarchist societies have been tried, they fell before things could get rolling due to outside forces taking over.

Ahhhhhh.... Okay. :)


Offline Mera1506

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #146 on: September 14, 2013, 05:45:47 AM »
Though history itself is interesting, I never was any good at it. The fact that we'll never know what really happened is because history is written by the vitors and there's at least ten versions of each legend and so on it confuses me to no end. However maybe a history buff can teach me a little?

Offline Cyrano JohnsonTopic starter

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #147 on: September 14, 2013, 10:51:59 AM »
Though history itself is interesting, I never was any good at it. The fact that we'll never know what really happened is because history is written by the vitors and there's at least ten versions of each legend and so on it confuses me to no end. However maybe a history buff can teach me a little?

I think I could point you to a good introductory book on historiography (the set of methods historians use to try to read between the lines of sources, reconcile versions of stories with physical evidence, and generally attempt to solve the problems you mention above). Might that be useful?

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #148 on: September 19, 2013, 03:26:58 AM »
Animated map of European history and border changes over a thousand years - link to another part of the forum, so those who are unapproved will not be able to see it. Useful tool for you guys (Americans and others) who didn't meet this stuff in school, or who have forgotten some of it.

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #149 on: October 01, 2013, 10:03:17 PM »
The most annoying (and infuriating) myth I know of is Confederate apologists claiming thousands of slaves fought in the Confederate military against those damn Yankees for the glory of the antediluvian South.  And I usually hear Conservatives claiming that Liberals are historical revisionists...  Slaves were brought along by what were usually wealthy Confederate officers to do the menial camp tasks (if they couldn't find a poor white soldier to do the work).  There was, however a small contingent of free blacks from New Orleans who, I believe, wished to fight--owning slaves themselves wasn't profane enough already--but I think they may have been turned down by Louisiana's governor--correct me please if anyone knows this side-note of U.S. Civil War history.