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Author Topic: Most annoying historical myths?  (Read 17893 times)

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Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2013, 06:15:45 AM »
The idea that the French surrendered in almost all of their wars.

Agree! Of course 1940 is a big factor here, but also U.S. and English French-bashing.

Actually Hitler and Göring deserve some credit as strategists for realizing that France was not going to bleed down another generation of its young the way she had done in 1914-18, the country was very tired of war and people were really not confident about democracy at home. The old regime had descended into going through the motions and a *lot* of rot and corruption underneath. Many of the German officers and top brass thought fighting down France was going to be a lot tougher and longer than it actually did turn out to be. But I'd argue that some of those who were spared death in a long, furious war in 1940 and after (if there had been any kind of repeat of 1917-18) went on to fight, in or out of uniform, in the years ahead.

By the way, Kennedy should have taken de Gaulle's advice and pulled out of Vietnam. de Gaulle recognized it was a place where it would be next to impossible for a Western army post-1945 to get to any kind of real victory, and also, I think, that the war would breed recrimination and shame at home.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 06:28:47 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Neysha

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2013, 06:57:24 AM »
De Gaulle was motivated more by French politics and colonial butthurtedness because Diem wasn't a Francophile tool then any sort of prescience pertaining to the communist threat in Indochina. Its all the more striking because De Gaulle was the main reason for the intervention in Indochina in the first place against American desire.

Still one has to give De Gaulle credit. He was willing to do anything to further his own influence and repair Frances pride, regardless of the opinions, blood or treasure spent to French benefit. Or of the French colonial inhabitants.

And as far as Vietnam War myths, there is a lot of scholarship in disagreement over many issues and possibilities arising from that conflict. So stating many things about the Vietnam War as a myth can be debatable.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 07:12:41 AM by Neysha »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2013, 07:11:24 AM »
De Gaulle was motivated more by French politics and colonial butthurtedness because Diem wasn't a Francophile tool then any sort of prescience pertaining to the communist threat in Indochina. Its all the more striking because De Gaulle was the main reason for the intervention in Indochina in the first place against American desire.

Still one has to give De Gaulle credit. He was willing to do anything to further his own influencr and repair Franced pride, regardless of the opinions, blood or treasure spent to French benefit. Or of the French colonial inhabitants.

I don't think you can blame him for wanting to make sure that France would not be put under U.S./U.K. occupation indefinitely after the war, and treated as a German ally. Pétain and the other Vichy men who had surrendered to Hitler in 1940 were opportunists and they did collaborate with Hitler, okay, but most French resented that and were not one bit pro-Nazi. It was an issue of what kind of people were actually representing the real France.

de Gaulle was quite justified in fighting with Churchill on the night before D-Day over his right to speak to the French as an equal to Roosevelt and Churchill the next day, and not as their lieutenant with a pre-screened, toned-down message. Even if an angry Churchill did order the general to be arrested and chained down  at one point that night - an order that was not carried out (no, this is not a historical myth).
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 07:13:28 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Beorning

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2013, 09:42:56 AM »
As for Vlad Ţepeş, I would not call him blood thirsty as much as extreme. He took over a country ruled by murderers and thieves, and killed them, revenging this way his father and brother's murder. He was not as bloody as people recall him, but he was extreme in his capital punishments(e.g. a thief would be sentenced with the cutting of a limb, a traitor would be impaled - conviction which was used more for the enemy hostages rather than traitors which were extremely rare, etc).
However, once his people saw how much he helped the country by cleaning it of crime, it was his political enemies who used the harsh, yet popular image about him, to nick-name him the Devilish - Draculea (his father was nicknamed the Devil, due to his association with the Dragon's order, aka as Teuton knights). He was, after all, a religious fanatic, and some of the literature books about him (Romanian ones) say he went insane because of the conflict of his religious beliefs and his style of ruling, which was merely meant to intimidate the Otomans, and scare the "nobles" who would attempt to sell him out. His wifes suicide conflicted him even more, as the Orthodox church refuses, even this day, the burial ceremony for suicidal deaths.

So, his wife did commit suicide? I kind of thought that it was a bit that had been created for Bram Stoker's Dracula...

I have Vlad's biography at home, but I have yet to read it.

Quote
The vampire as seen in Eastern European and Russian culture, and you probably know this very well too, is a night creature, and only comes out to hunt at night, but there are no popular beliefs that they would be scared of the daylight. I have personally witnessed awkward burial rituals meant to keep a person in it's grave, and most of those involved tying the hands, garlic and holy water or holy oil put inside the coffin, special water and food rituals, to keep the soul at peace, and so that it doesn't return, etc. None of the old women who taught me a lot about it seemed to know anything about vampires (vampiri, strigoi, or moroi in Romanian) being affected by the sun, but they did seem bound to night-walking.

Of course, vampires are supposed to be night-walking - I'm only saying that there's a difference between being a nocturnal creature and being literally harmed by sunlight.  :-)

And, of course, the early vampires from literature, like Dracula and Mircalla, were written as active in daylight.

Regarding the tying of hands and so on: people still do that in Romania?

de Gaulle was quite justified in fighting with Churchill on the night before D-Day over his right to speak to the French as an equal to Roosevelt and Churchill the next day, and not as their lieutenant with a pre-screened, toned-down message. Even if an angry Churchill did order the general to be arrested and chained down  at one point that night - an order that was not carried out (no, this is not a historical myth).

Interesting. I didn't know that...

Offline Oniya

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2013, 09:57:45 AM »
So, his wife did commit suicide? I kind of thought that it was a bit that had been created for Bram Stoker's Dracula...

I remember reading that in a Tepes biography as well.  She couldn't cope with the things he had to do to keep order.  (Although I suspect that many of those might have been exaggerated by people in neighboring countries as well.  I'm particularly suspicious of the 'nailing on of headwear' story and the 'serving of children as food for their parents' story.)

Oh - here's an annoying one:  Vikings wearing horned helmets.  Absolutely no archaeological evidence for that.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2013, 10:22:45 AM »
Quote from: Beorning
Interesting. I didn't know that...


The story was kept under very tight wraps until sometime around 1990. Churchill and de Gaulle didn't actually meet face to face that night, but they kept sending more and more angry and intransigent messages at each other and their respective personal staff long into the night. One of de Gaulle's top liaison officers was sent to tell Anthony Eden that Churchill was a gangster, and remarked to a friend years later that "if the two gentlemen had been in the same room they would have begun wrestling on the carpet" - now, that would have been a sight for gods!  :D


Offline Neysha

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2013, 10:57:43 AM »
Interesting. I didn't know that...

As FDR once stated, Churchill had a hundred ideas a day, but only four of them were good.

Like usual, Churchills many schemes seem to make sense via gut instinct which means his heart is in the right place, but with this one, it's obvious it got the better of him. Even though he had plenty of justification for treating De Gaulle the way he did since France was a secondary ally and not equal to Britain or America in almost any sense of the word in June 1944.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 02:02:25 PM by Neysha »

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2013, 11:03:30 AM »
Women have had no power in history.  Bothers me no end.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2013, 11:51:19 AM »
All the wars taken on by the Roman republic were defensive, provoked by attack or wars they had been pulled into by obnoxious alliances and treaties among their neighbours. They never really wanted to conquer - at least not until they had conquered most of the Mediterranean.  :D I don't think that one is alive anymore but it's how it used to be told, even two generations ago.

Offline Beorning

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #34 on: July 15, 2013, 11:57:23 AM »
Oh - here's an annoying one:  Vikings wearing horned helmets.  Absolutely no archaeological evidence for that.

Wait, what?  :o

Women have had no power in history.  Bothers me no end.

Not sure I'd like to debate this one. Touchy and extremely complicated subject...

One of de Gaulle's top liaison officers was sent to tell Anthony Eden that Churchill was a gangster, and remarked to a friend years later that "if the two gentlemen had been in the same room they would have begun wrestling on the carpet" - now, that would have been a sight for gods!  :D

 :o Can't... unsee...  :o
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 11:59:14 AM by Beorning »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2013, 12:01:07 PM »
Wait, what?  :o

I should have clarified that with 'into battle'.  That's what I get for neglecting to check with Cecil first.

Offline Arianna de L'ombre

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #36 on: July 15, 2013, 12:27:12 PM »
So, his wife did commit suicide? I kind of thought that it was a bit that had been created for Bram Stoker's Dracula...
I have Vlad's biography at home, but I have yet to read it.

I have found, looking for some other foreign friends for English materials, this one article that tells you the story of his life without turning it into literature, but merely from a historical p.o.v.
Here, it is said that "The Turks finally succeeded in forcing Dracula to flee to Transylvania in 1462. Reportedly, his first wife committed suicide by leaping from the towers of Dracula's castle into the waters of the Arges River rather than surrender to the Turks."

Of course, vampires are supposed to be night-walking - I'm only saying that there's a difference between being a nocturnal creature and being literally harmed by sunlight.  :-)
And, of course, the early vampires from literature, like Dracula and Mircalla, were written as active in daylight.

I agree about the sunlight, it is not written anywhere, nor it is known in folklore... That was exactly what I was trying to say, that although they are night creatures, they are not known to be harmed by sun light.

Regarding the tying of hands and so on: people still do that in Romania?
Oh yes... they still do all the things I said before, although I admit not always. Sometimes, a sane person like me will come along and threaten to chop anyone's hand if they put garlic near their loved one's body *it was too much*...
I had no say in the hands and feet being tied though, they actually do that at the morgue, after dressing the body and putting it in the coffin. They do, however, cut the strings after the religious ceremony is over, right above the grave. The priest is the only one who can do it.
Then the grave has to be smoked with holy incense for three weeks, every morning. A cup must be placed at the window where they used to live, and filled with fresh water every night. You must go to a special ceremony every Saturday for six weeks, making a cake called coliva and giving it all away for free, then, 40 days after, when soul is finally supposedly at peace, the relatives throw a big free dinner, pomana, usually with the food the deceased enjoyed, to rest his soul, and so on... this stuff still, really happens... creepy, I know. :P

~Ari.

Offline Beorning

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #37 on: July 15, 2013, 12:48:41 PM »
I should have clarified that with 'into battle'.  That's what I get for neglecting to check with Cecil first.

Wow. That was most enlightening... Thank you.

Oh yes... they still do all the things I said before, although I admit not always. Sometimes, a sane person like me will come along and threaten to chop anyone's hand if they put garlic near their loved one's body *it was too much*...
I had no say in the hands and feet being tied though, they actually do that at the morgue, after dressing the body and putting it in the coffin. They do, however, cut the strings after the religious ceremony is over, right above the grave. The priest is the only one who can do it.
Then the grave has to be smoked with holy incense for three weeks, every morning. A cup must be placed at the window where they used to live, and filled with fresh water every night. You must go to a special ceremony every Saturday for six weeks, making a cake called coliva and giving it all away for free, then, 40 days after, when soul is finally supposedly at peace, the relatives throw a big free dinner, pomana, usually with the food the deceased enjoyed, to rest his soul, and so on... this stuff still, really happens... creepy, I know. :P

Actually, it's pretty interesting :)

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #38 on: July 15, 2013, 12:53:16 PM »
I was gonna say The Da Vinci Code - not the detective story itself but the premise that the Vatican is hiding documents or stuff that could shake the foundations of Christianity if they became known. Two of the guys who wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail had been publicizing essentially the same idea of massive cover-up of a buried religious truth during the feuding over the Dead Sea scrolls in the nineties. But I reckon many people who do care about that subject also realize that Dan Brown's book is just a novel and has no historical basis.

Having read Holy Blood, Holy Grail (and used it as a source on the evolution of the bible as a literary document) it definitely covers a lot of things that are historically interesting. I find it amusing that my brother's 'sister' firm in London represented the authors in their suit on Brown for taking their material without permission.

Definitely an interesting book though. How much of it is accurate not sure.. it pointed towards specific historical events on how the bible 'grew' into the document some folks call the literal word of god.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #39 on: July 15, 2013, 12:56:55 PM »

Oh - here's an annoying one:  Vikings wearing horned helmets.  Absolutely no archaeological evidence for that.

...but I saw them wearing those two-horned helmets in a humour show I zapped into on French tv only last night!  :-(

Offline Beorning

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #40 on: July 15, 2013, 01:05:29 PM »
...but I saw them wearing those two-horned helmets in a humour show I zapped into on French tv only last night!  :-(

It also makes the classic Lost Vikings game look terribly inaccurate...  ;)

Offline Oniya

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2013, 01:55:38 PM »
I had no say in the hands and feet being tied though, they actually do that at the morgue, after dressing the body and putting it in the coffin.

Some of these practices are more to keep the body looking presentable in the coffin.  Imagine a pall-bearer stumbling and the coffin getting jostled around.  The body gets tossed a bit and the limbs get disarranged - not a comforting sight to the bereaved.  (Same thing applies to the old custom of putting coins on the eyes - it keeps the eyelids from coming open, or the viewers from seeing the sunken orbits when the eyeballs have started to lose structure.)

As for the priest being the only one who can cut the string, that's more on the superstition level.

Offline Arianna de L'ombre

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2013, 02:09:10 PM »
Some of these practices are more to keep the body looking presentable in the coffin.  Imagine a pall-bearer stumbling and the coffin getting jostled around.  The body gets tossed a bit and the limbs get disarranged - not a comforting sight to the bereaved.  (Same thing applies to the old custom of putting coins on the eyes - it keeps the eyelids from coming open, or the viewers from seeing the sunken orbits when the eyeballs have started to lose structure.)

As for the priest being the only one who can cut the string, that's more on the superstition level.

I agree with the logic of the ties, but there are also cases where people die at home, and are dressed by the family (especially elders), and they do the same. I thought it had to have a logical explanation, until the priest himself explained why it's done... In the orthodox religion, it is forbidden to put money in the coffin, or on the body, the same priest confirmed that for me. If the eyelids open... that is that. But to keep that from happening, mixed with a bit of more superstition, they cover the dead person's face with a wet handkerchief from midnight until 6 am, during which time, they say the eyes might open, and the spirit might want to look around. It is also why they forbid you to cry - the hardest thing for me, and they say you should tell funny, happy stories about the life of the deceased...

~Ari.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2013, 03:09:13 PM »
The family probably doesn't know the logical reason for it, and does it because 'that's what's done'.  The priest probably doesn't really care that there is a logical reason for it, as long as the congregation buys the one he's selling and therefore keeps coming to church.

Some mortuaries will actually stitch the eyelids closed and/or insert 'shape-holders' under the lids to make the corpse look more 'natural'.

(*cues Bill Cosby's routine on funerals*

'Hi - Bob.  How's the wife and kids?  Don't I look like myself?')

Offline Cthonig

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #44 on: July 15, 2013, 03:31:10 PM »
 
I have a similar beef with a very bad horror movie Stigmata. They did the same thing there: they made some stuff that painted the Catholic Church in extremely bad light (as in "Catholic bishops personally murder people" kind of bad). For what reason? Just to tell a crappy horror story. Ugh.   
    Stigmata wasn't trying to say anything about the real Catholic Church; it was purely fiction and that's all it was ever presented as.
    I'm with Trieste, I liked it. Not as much a favorite now but for a while it was and I do still like it. During the movie you need to buy into the Catholic beliefs for the story to hang together but other movies ask the audience to do similar buy-ins with their premise. For example, if you don't accept that there could be an all-encompassing Force (in that universe), you're going to hate Star Wars.


    Vampire myths and legends contain a multitude of descriptions. There are heads flying about trailing their entrails. There are some that have iron claws and fangs waiting for a passerby below them as they dangle from a tree branch. Some can change into a butterfly. One kind was only active from noon to midnight. Various things work against the different types of vampires: rice strewn on the ground (they must stop to count and/or pick up each piece), daylight often reduces them to human (acting/appearing/abilities), or even lemons.


Oniya and Arianna85, thank you for the links.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2013, 03:38:14 PM »
Vampire myths and legends contain a multitude of descriptions. There are heads flying about trailing their entrails.

That's one of my favorites - the penanggalan.  Always female, usually works as a midwife, and has a vat of vinegar in her house to help shrink her entrails back down so that they fit into her torso again.

Offline Arianna de L'ombre

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2013, 05:01:15 PM »
The family probably doesn't know the logical reason for it, and does it because 'that's what's done'.  The priest probably doesn't really care that there is a logical reason for it, as long as the congregation buys the one he's selling and therefore keeps coming to church.
Gosh, no, I am not claiming they actually believe the whole hands/feet tying as being to keep them from waking up... all I'm saying is that they still do it, from an old, silly custom. What's even funnier is that the Orthodox church has some rituals that they expect you to do, but people take it beyond that, using old, pagan beliefs as well.
When I was in that circumstance, I tried not to argue with my family, but when you hear stuff like "my beloved John came in my dreams last night and he was mad because his pants were falling off of him, and I woke up and remembered I didn't put on his belt when we buried him"... it does kinda creep you out...
Logical explanations are plenty, to everything: subconscious messages we are not aware of, irrational fears of the unknown, even natural elements... But we (Romanians) are a very superstitious nation, even to this day... I have an infinite resource of examples, lol.

     Stigmata wasn't trying to say anything about the real Catholic Church; it was purely fiction and that's all it was ever presented as.
    I'm with Trieste, I liked it. Not as much a favorite now but for a while it was and I do still like it. During the movie you need to buy into the Catholic beliefs for the story to hang together but other movies ask the audience to do similar buy-ins with their premise. For example, if you don't accept that there could be an all-encompassing Force (in that universe), you're going to hate Star Wars.
    Vampire myths and legends contain a multitude of descriptions. There are heads flying about trailing their entrails. There are some that have iron claws and fangs waiting for a passerby below them as they dangle from a tree branch. Some can change into a butterfly. One kind was only active from noon to midnight. Various things work against the different types of vampires: rice strewn on the ground (they must stop to count and/or pick up each piece), daylight often reduces them to human (acting/appearing/abilities), or even lemons.
Oniya and Arianna85, thank you for the links.
I loved Stigmata, from the same point of view... I try to treat every movie nowadays as strictly a work of fiction, and not tie it to reality. This way it lures me in deeper. X-files for example, used a lot of local myths and lore that were more or less changed to sound more... supernatural. I still loved every episode...
Chupacabra turned out to be a real thing, you never know, maybe everything we call fiction will one day hit us in the face. Though I loved an episode of Haven where this guy had the ability to turn anything he imagined in reality, so he was convinced aliens were invading Earth... soon UFO's were attacking the city... lol. We still don't know our mind's whole ability...

Anyway, you are welcome for the link, thank you for checking it out :)

~Ari.

Offline Caeli

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2013, 05:28:39 PM »
People who think Romance of the Three Kingdoms is historical truth make me want to cry. :'(

Offline Rogue

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2013, 08:03:06 PM »
People who think Romance of the Three Kingdoms is historical truth make me want to cry. :'(

But it says it... Like in the title.... "Romance"... so even if it resembled the history... it's obviously been Romanticized.... How... *continues to be baffled by the stupidity of some people*

Offline Oniya

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #49 on: July 15, 2013, 08:17:44 PM »
Maybe they think the Three Kingdoms fell in love or something?  (Woot!  Three way!)

*ahem*  Sorry - that was my inner sophomore talking.