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Author Topic: Most annoying historical myths?  (Read 17888 times)

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Online Oniya

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #375 on: January 28, 2014, 03:50:36 PM »
Isn't the whole idea of R+J being a romance as we think of one today a 'historical myth'? Like you said, they were infatuated with each other primarily because of the family feud. They made utterly stupid choices over and over for their love, and in the end they both commit ironic suicide thanks to poor communication. It's a tragedy, the entire story is supposed to be sad and facepalmy.

Yeah, but when you hear someone described as 'her Romeo', or a couple described as 'Romeo and Juliet', the average (not classically educated) person thinks 'Wuv... twoo wuv... Dat dweem wifin a dweem...' instead of 'Yup, mutual suicide at the end of the relationship.  You can see it coming a mile away.' 

Offline IStateYourName

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #376 on: January 28, 2014, 03:53:23 PM »
Isn't the whole idea of R+J being a romance as we think of one today a 'historical myth'? Like you said, they were infatuated with each other primarily because of the family feud. They made utterly stupid choices over and over for their love, and in the end they both commit ironic suicide thanks to poor communication. It's a tragedy, the entire story is supposed to be sad and facepalmy.

I think the problem with Romeo and Juliet is it doesn't translate well to the modern world.  Mores have changed radically over the centuries.  This doesn't make R&J any less epic, or classic.  But contemporary audiences will have a hard time with it.  The age difference alone is a big frakking deal in the 21st century--a real-life Romeo would be getting anally raped courtesy of Uncle Sam for a decade or more, as most people cheered on, if he didn't save the taxpayers a half-million dollars by bumping himself off like in the original.  (Outside of America, your mileage may vary somewhat.)  So I don't think we can really call it a "good" or "bad" romance, as written.  The goalposts have shifted, seismically, since Shakespeare's time.

Offline Torterrable

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #377 on: January 28, 2014, 03:56:36 PM »
Yes, I suppose it really depends on who you are talking to. Shakespeare might have meant it differently; after all, I don't think he was making a statement against the dangers of teenage love in his day, but it certainly is applicable now. Furthermore, my main beef with Shakespeare's play isn't the themes of the play itself, but the focus that people tend to place on its "perfect" love story.

Anyways, if Taylor Swift is a reasonable measure of what most people tend to think when they hear of Romeo and Juliet...

Love Story, anyone?

Online Oniya

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #378 on: January 28, 2014, 04:03:14 PM »
I think you mean the 'young age' rather than the 'age difference'.  Taking into account that in Elizabethan times, Juliet was considered 'legal', the story could easily be adjusted accordingly.  After all Tony and Maria have casting ages as high as 25 and 20, respectively.

Offline IStateYourName

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #379 on: January 28, 2014, 04:06:04 PM »
I think you mean the 'young age' rather than the 'age difference'.  Taking into account that in Elizabethan times, Juliet was considered 'legal', the story could easily be adjusted accordingly.  After all Tony and Maria have casting ages as high as 25 and 20, respectively.

True.  I was taking the story as written, without attempts to convert or adapt it in that manner.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #380 on: January 31, 2014, 10:15:23 PM »
Yeah, but when you hear someone described as 'her Romeo', or a couple described as 'Romeo and Juliet', the average (not classically educated) person thinks 'Wuv... twoo wuv... Dat dweem wifin a dweem...' instead of 'Yup, mutual suicide at the end of the relationship.  You can see it coming a mile away.'

Ah love, that flaming passion between two people that you hope doesn't end with them burning to death.

Or:
  "Love is a fire.
But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house,
you can never tell."
~ Joan Crawford ~
(March 23, 1905 - May 10, 1977)

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #381 on: January 31, 2014, 11:12:54 PM »
Ahh, good ole Romeo and Juliet.

At least everyone is of the agreement that it is not a love story. The story, if you look it up in his works, is marked as a tragedy.

For one, the story (play) takes place over the course of four days. FOUR days. True love in four days? Puh-lease.

Second - Juliet was just shy of her fourteenth birthday. Did you know what love was at that age? I sure as hell didn’t. I thought I did (and I remember thinking I was madly and utterly in love with Don Johnson and Duran Duran) but yeah, not one freaking clue.

The story (play) is about a crush and teenage rebelling made all the more seductive by the fact that they were forbidden fruit for each other.

If anything, this story (play) is a public service announcement  - “Obey your parents!”

Offline Lux12

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #382 on: February 01, 2014, 08:01:58 PM »
Ahh, good ole Romeo and Juliet.

At least everyone is of the agreement that it is not a love story. The story, if you look it up in his works, is marked as a tragedy.

For one, the story (play) takes place over the course of four days. FOUR days. True love in four days? Puh-lease.

Second - Juliet was just shy of her fourteenth birthday. Did you know what love was at that age? I sure as hell didn’t. I thought I did (and I remember thinking I was madly and utterly in love with Don Johnson and Duran Duran) but yeah, not one freaking clue.

The story (play) is about a crush and teenage rebelling made all the more seductive by the fact that they were forbidden fruit for each other.

If anything, this story (play) is a public service announcement  - “Obey your parents!”

I took it more as "here's the messed up crap that will happen if you carry on petty blood feuds" to be honest and that the message was that the whole bloody mess could have been avoided if the two families decided to stop hacking each other apart.

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #383 on: February 01, 2014, 08:27:35 PM »
I took it more as "here's the messed up crap that will happen if you carry on petty blood feuds" to be honest and that the message was that the whole bloody mess could have been avoided if the two families decided to stop hacking each other apart.

Yup - that was my take-away.  If the families had made peace with each other, there could've been more weddings than a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. 

Offline Lux12

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #384 on: February 02, 2014, 03:12:18 PM »
To get us back on track...

Mayan, Aztec, and Incan religion are interchangeable. Yes there are a lot of similarities such as sacrificial offerings, sun worship, polytheism, interest in the movement of celestial bodies and prophecy, huge religious festivals, ancestor reverence etc., but if you really read into them there are noticeable differences in doctrine, deities worshiped, festivals, ritual observances, and other such elements.

Offline Rogue

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #385 on: February 02, 2014, 09:13:22 PM »
To get us back on track...

Mayan, Aztec, and Incan religion are interchangeable. Yes there are a lot of similarities such as sacrificial offerings, sun worship, polytheism, interest in the movement of celestial bodies and prophecy, huge religious festivals, ancestor reverence etc., but if you really read into them there are noticeable differences in doctrine, deities worshiped, festivals, ritual observances, and other such elements.

Seeing as they were entirely different cultures, you'd think this would be common sense.... I mean most different native american traditions, despite being in the same areas had different traditions.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #386 on: February 02, 2014, 09:17:59 PM »
Seeing as they were entirely different cultures, you'd think this would be common sense.... I mean most different native american traditions, despite being in the same areas had different traditions.

Yeah, I actually didn't realise that was a myth.  "Hey peeps, these cultures separated by centuries and thousands of miles were different."  Not that I disbelieve you, just that its not a myth I'd come across before.

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #387 on: February 02, 2014, 09:25:49 PM »
Yeah, I actually didn't realise that was a myth.  "Hey peeps, these cultures separated by centuries and thousands of miles were different."  Not that I disbelieve you, just that its not a myth I'd come across before.

Well seeing as a lot of high school history classes teach them in the same span of weeks, I see why it's a myth. Just shows how messed up the US education system is to be honest.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #388 on: February 02, 2014, 10:22:40 PM »
Seeing as they were entirely different cultures, you'd think this would be common sense.... I mean most different native american traditions, despite being in the same areas had different traditions.

Wait, you mean all Indians didn't live in teepees with feather headdresses while hunting buffalo through the forests after teaching white men how to grow corn? My educational system has failed me again!

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #389 on: February 04, 2014, 01:22:17 AM »
I brought this up before, but people sort of ran with the southern myth (as annoying as it is...)
I get irked by the "fallen utopia" myths, the idea that a conquered, or now no-longer existent culture, lived in a perfect harmonious utopia, before largerm evil (insert name of an expanding Civilization at the time) came along and conquered/killed/culturally absorbed them.

I see this all the time, looking at history with rose tinted glasses. I believe this does those same cultures a disservice, by painting over the gritter, dirtier, parts of their history. Many times I find it's in the same mindset as jingoisim, albeit a weird psudo-historic counterpart.
I'll use a less sore reference.

Celts & Norse I find them fascinating, but often those who idolize them in story and prose leave out the more brutal aspects, or play them off as "oh those cheerful scamps" so they conform to the "pirates that don't do anything" trope in pop culture.
There's a line in the Danish rune stones where Viking logs call one warrior "the child's man" and find it both hilarious and a threat to his masculinity that he refuses to kill children during raids.
Or that there's actual evidence that Wicker Man rituals were preformed as ceaser said, where rather than assisting enemy wounded, or taking captives, they sacrificed everyone, including camp followers, captured. To ensure a bountiful harvest.

I find these things compelling, and the reasons behind them revealing. Just as norse myth and storytelling or celtic song and poetry, is compelling, and revealing. I believe it does a serious disservice.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #390 on: February 04, 2014, 11:01:42 AM »
I brought this up before, but people sort of ran with the southern myth (as annoying as it is...)
I get irked by the "fallen utopia" myths, the idea that a conquered, or now no-longer existent culture, lived in a perfect harmonious utopia, before largerm evil (insert name of an expanding Civilization at the time) came along and conquered/killed/culturally absorbed them.

I see this all the time, looking at history with rose tinted glasses. I believe this does those same cultures a disservice, by painting over the gritter, dirtier, parts of their history. Many times I find it's in the same mindset as jingoisim, albeit a weird psudo-historic counterpart.
I'll use a less sore reference.

Celts & Norse I find them fascinating, but often those who idolize them in story and prose leave out the more brutal aspects, or play them off as "oh those cheerful scamps" so they conform to the "pirates that don't do anything" trope in pop culture.
There's a line in the Danish rune stones where Viking logs call one warrior "the child's man" and find it both hilarious and a threat to his masculinity that he refuses to kill children during raids.
Or that there's actual evidence that Wicker Man rituals were preformed as ceaser said, where rather than assisting enemy wounded, or taking captives, they sacrificed everyone, including camp followers, captured. To ensure a bountiful harvest.

I find these things compelling, and the reasons behind them revealing. Just as norse myth and storytelling or celtic song and poetry, is compelling, and revealing. I believe it does a serious disservice.
There's no evidence for that wicker man stuff regardless of what anyone may say, just people who have some sort of strange vendetta against pagans. The Celts if you read through many folk tales and the like were in all likelihood less brutal than some want to believe. I won't deny that they did the whole head hunting thing and fought like they had the fury of all hell's wraiths in their hearts, but people either try to downplay or overemphasize things to the point of exaggeration. Penalties for more severe transgressions in those days were also brutal no matter where you went. Roman Crucifixion wouldn't exactly escape the label of cruel and unusual in today's courts and the blood sports of the coliseum would be looked upon in horror.  It's actually since been determined that human sacrifices were a lot more rare in societies that practiced than previously. Thought. as a matter of fact, researchers now say that if the Aztecs for example sacrificed as many people as claimed then  the area would have been much more depopulated before the Spanish arrived.

Now as for something else, the Vikings actually had pretty steep penalties for rape, especially for their time period. If you so much as attempted to rape someone you could be killed without question. This is not to say that things such as war rape didn't happen and sadly it very likely did at some point. However, the casual rapist Viking may very well be a blatant exaggeration. Once again though, this does not mean that such horrors did not actually occur and one has a good chance of finding accounts if one knows where to search. War sadly has never truly been a "civilized" endeavor. It's the historical horror film that plays out over and over again in our world. Their ability to be brutal in the heat of battle and when seeking retribution for slights and transgressions against them, real or imagined, seldom required exaggeration.

It should be noted, however terrible it may be, that the vikings did not plunder just for the sake of plunder. Survival was part of the motivation. This does not excuse the horrific actions that occurred during these raids, but it needs to be seen as it was, not as it is imagined.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #391 on: February 04, 2014, 11:05:18 AM »
One of my favourite jokes in the world:

Why does Edward Woodward have so many D's in his name?  Because otherwise he'd be E-waar woo-waar.

And thus ends Kythia's contribution to discussions of wicker men. Did y'all like it?

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #392 on: February 04, 2014, 01:15:22 PM »
They found fossilized remains of a wicker man in eastern France, or that's what the French arcologists think it was, it was a jumbled pile of burned bones inside burned ruined wicker. There's also the "Dog Pit" found under the costal plains between Bath & Carlisle.
The fossilized remains of thousands of dogs found in a clay pit when an English crew broke ground, their throats were slit, and it dates to the roman invasion of Britain. But more disturbing, atop these bones, was a Briton Noble age 16, he still had is jewelry on when sacrificed.
It's from what I've seen, and read, it seems that the human sacrifice the druids actually happened in times of strife, desperation, and famine. It was an attempt to plea with their gods as the roman juggernaut marched towards them. After loss and loss, druids turned to more and more valuable sacrifices to turn the tide against their foes.

Take their habit of sacrificing captives, and wounded enemies, but burying their own victorious dead with honors.
Combine it with their desperation, and turning to more valuable (aka human) sacrifices in desperation as their gods seemed to abandon them to this great enemy.
And you have some effective Nightmare Fuel for the romans, and for Caesar to embellish, making himself all the grander.

"Did you hear Agetpum fell last month? why aren't the gods listening? Why are WE LOOSING?" "we have to pray and sacrifice harder my brother!"
I find this an interesting story of desperation, fanaticism, and the dangers of a "Get what you Give" type of religion.

Online Neysha

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #393 on: February 14, 2014, 10:48:42 PM »
Since this wasn't really mentioned AFAIK.

Here's a myth, the recently dubbed one of the difference between historical and observational science.



My observations tell me that many historical myths are being conjured in this debate. ;)
« Last Edit: February 14, 2014, 10:56:58 PM by Neysha »

Offline Lux12

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #394 on: February 17, 2014, 10:19:38 AM »
Here's another one. Buddhism is of Chinese/Japanese/Tibetan/other Asian origin. Granted some great minds and developments in Buddhist thought came out of these cultures and there are a lot of followers of Buddhism among them and that a number of different sects were started by people from these cultures, but Gautama Buddha was from what's now Nepal.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 09:12:41 AM by Lux12 »

Online Neysha

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #395 on: February 17, 2014, 12:57:23 PM »
Oh yeah, I always assumed he was an Indian fellow.

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #396 on: February 17, 2014, 02:44:33 PM »
Oh yeah, I always assumed he was an Indian fellow.

There's no contemporary records but yeah, the most "popular" birthplace for him is in what we'd now call Nepal. 

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #397 on: February 17, 2014, 03:04:54 PM »
Oh yeah, I always assumed he was an Indian fellow.

Probably because he died in India.

Online Neysha

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #398 on: February 17, 2014, 04:56:51 PM »
Happy Presidents Day!!!

Any presidential myths to bring up at this juncture?

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #399 on: February 17, 2014, 05:08:51 PM »
William Taft getting stuck in a bathtub?