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Author Topic: Most annoying historical myths?  (Read 17789 times)

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Offline Ephiral

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #450 on: February 28, 2014, 09:44:12 PM »
Chivalry's existance wasn't a myth, but it was a myth that all knights Followed the code. To be fair some took it very seriously, much like samurai and bushido. But the guys were humans, and humans can be assholes.
Relevant to the topic: Bushido as we know it today has its origins circa 1880, long after the end of the samurai as a military class. There were previous concepts of honor and upright conduct, but they were far less formal, far more battlefield-centric, and are not the ancestors of what we think of today.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #451 on: March 01, 2014, 05:21:59 AM »
Relevant to the topic: Bushido as we know it today has its origins circa 1880, long after the end of the samurai as a military class. There were previous concepts of honor and upright conduct, but they were far less formal, far more battlefield-centric, and are not the ancestors of what we think of today.

Very interesting, as Madame Butterfly/Cho-Cho-San invokes some sort of bushido ethic when she resolves to kill herself rather than live with the dishonour of being treated as a plaything and losing her child and husband to another woman (the opera was written around 1900, and based on a recent stage play).

Offline alextaylor

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #452 on: March 01, 2014, 01:17:03 PM »
  One really annoying myth for me is that primitive people are/were stupid. They were not. They were very intelligent and took to whatever advantage they could find. the Plains Indian tribes are a big example. In less than a hundred years after the Spanish landed in Mexico, several tribes had converted from a pastoral culture to a nomadic culture that could and did range wide to do their raids.

 Another myth is that the American Indian tribes were peaceful. and fully in touch with nature. This ignores the forests that were cleared to grow crops and the wars the Indians had with each other. Or that some tribes even took slaves.  Peaceful the Native Americans were not. No more than any other human society.

I'd be surprised if any society anywhere were stupid. They might be selfish and/or greedy. The British and other European colonists really manipulated people's greed and selfishness for their own gains, though the British did the best job with this. But ironically it bit them back in the end. I do believe that plenty of societies grew up lazy because of excessive prosperity - a lot of Asian countries went this route. Yet even the Asians modernized really quickly when under external pressure.

I remember reading someone's memoirs, where it was stated that Japan went from becoming a nation that produces cheap low quality goods to a nation that was able to seriously threaten China/Russia/USA/UK all at the same time and became one of the most feared navies despite their poor resources. Anyone know how that revolution happened?

Offline Lux12

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #453 on: March 01, 2014, 02:10:50 PM »
No one in the Americas made armor. Well as a matter of fact, the various Mesoamerican peoples frequently made cloth armor. Similarly, the inuit peoples made a type of lamellar armor. I don't know if the Inuits waged war and I haven't found anything to indicate they have, but they did make armor.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #454 on: March 01, 2014, 02:12:31 PM »
it was known as the Meji restortation.
The emperor's reforms, along with japan's humilation & national pride, created a drive to catch up to the west. it's a facinating subject that's more complex than I could discribe. here's the wiki to get you started. Wiki's aren't irrifutable, or accurate, but they are a good place to start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meiji_period


Also don't forget the wooden armor of the native tribes where the Dixie states would later be.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #455 on: March 09, 2014, 03:26:36 PM »
The knights templar were one of the most extreme and intolerant knightly orders. Actually the villainous image the templars receive is rather puzzling because they were actually despised by a number of people for being too tolerant in their eyes.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #456 on: March 09, 2014, 04:08:54 PM »
Not sure you wrote that correctly...

But from what I've seen of them the real templars were "Practical zelots" as much of a contradiction it might seem in today's poltical climate.
Their goals were to protect the crusader states, and the pilgrims. Some were noble, some were corrupt, like all organizations. But their methods were logical, downright scientific by the standards of the time. They didn't seem to care about where you were from, what you did, what you worshipped. As long as you could serve the order in protecting the christian states.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #457 on: March 09, 2014, 04:11:26 PM »
Not sure you wrote that correctly...

But from what I've seen of them the real templars were "Practical zelots" as much of a contradiction it might seem in today's poltical climate.
Their goals were to protect the crusader states, and the pilgrims. Some were noble, some were corrupt, like all organizations. But their methods were logical, downright scientific by the standards of the time. They didn't seem to care about where you were from, what you did, what you worshipped. As long as you could serve the order in protecting the christian states.
I thought it was evident that the first sentence was the myth.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #458 on: March 09, 2014, 04:30:30 PM »
Alright man, I didn't read it right.
May I ask for some "quotes" around the myths in the future.

I also agree with you on the templars. I think it's the lore and myth built up around them over the centuries since their dissapearance. People love a mystery. The islamic proppaganda, then the king of france and the papacy, painted them as zelots and butchers. The image has stayed around. there are so many mysteries that people love to slip in their own ideas. Including some absurd stuff.
Like these christian knights somehow being seen as "secret neo-pagans" from some wicca followers I've talked too. The only evidence to support that is some of the confessions extracted at the hands of the french inquision which are notorious for getting people to say what they want. some of them confessed to sleeping with their mothers just to make the pain stop.
On the other hand there's a lot to deny that. They seem closer to the Freemasons, albiet a more warrior-like fraternity, with symbolic rituals for membership int the higher ranks.
I wonder if the hazed "pledges"

But they were quite tolerant. I think the Protistants did them no favor, when the knights were seen as the most pious of cathloics, and they needed to paint their enemies in a poor light to other people's of the world. They got another layer of bad press.

Offline consortium11

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #459 on: March 10, 2014, 01:05:23 PM »
Touching on the Templar myth above, general "history" has presented the Knight's Templar as a cool and sinister group of badass warrior monks/priests who may or may not have formed the Illuminati, worshiped the devil and knew black magic. The Knights Hospitaller on the other hand? Kind old men with beards who healed people rather than smite evil.

The truth? Rather different.

If nothing else the fact that the Hospitallers were an effective military (although many would use the term "pirate" instead) force till virtually the 1800's (including holding off Napoleon briefly) should be a testament to how badass they could be. Likewise the sieges of Rhodes and Malta both probably deserve to be given a lot more attention then they are, representing a triumph (even if Rhodes was technically a defeat) over outrageous odds. I'm not a huge fan of putting a vast amount of "what if..." significance in single events but if Malta had been lost I don't see how it wouldn't have had a significant impact on European history. The Ottoman Empire was at its peak, Suleiman the Magnificent was looking to the West, the route to Austria and Hungary was pretty much open and he had Turgut Reis, arguably the finest admiral/reaver of his era. Malta was a perfect staging ground for further attacks into the heart of a divided Europe... and all that held it were between 6,000 and 8,000 troops including about 500 Hospitillers (a constant thorn in the Ottomon Empire's side) led by Jean Parisot de Valette, a man who had previously been enslaved by Reis and forced to serve on a galley and at between 67 and 70 years old a clear contender for most grumpy/bad ass pensioner of all time.

The result?

Despite having one of their fortresses being pretty much literally flattened, having to take the biggest sustained bombardment history recorded up to that point and a third of the population (not just the troops... the population of Malta) dying, those Hospitillers held off between 20 and 40,000 invaders, killed Reis (albeit somewhat by luck), and inflicted pretty shocking casualties, breaking the back of the elite forces of the Ottoman army and navy. The fact that in an age of gunpowder, cannons and muskets the knights were apparently still wearing plate mail makes it seem even more ridiculously bad ass.

So, here's the thing. The Templar's may have the edge in conspiracy theories and dubious monetary practices (although with their tendency to proclaim anything shiny and valuable as being an "infidel good" which meant it could be captured and resold for the profit of the Order, the Hospitallers' weren't beyond that themselves) but in terms of being all out warrior monks? The Knights Hospitaller deserve more credit.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #460 on: March 11, 2014, 05:40:42 PM »
Apparently a number of people are under the impression that India as we know it now was always a unified country with a homogeneous culture. In fact India is not only more culturally diverse than people realized, but for much of history it was composed of a series of rival states. In fact,a large number of people living on the continent were, and still aren't Indo-Iranian. Even when some of these peoples adopted Hinduism or other Dharmic religions they kept a vast number of indigenous religious practices and some continue to practice other religious traditions.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #461 on: March 11, 2014, 05:44:48 PM »
Even when some of these peoples adopted Hinduism or other Dharmic religions ...

There's a whole series of thread-appropriates rants lurking just beneath the surface of "Hinduism" if we're turning to the subcontinent.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #462 on: March 11, 2014, 05:52:28 PM »
I tend to get miffed when even textbooks about the religions of the world claim Nirvana (entering into final non-being, vacated being, as the end point of many reincaranted lives) is originally a Hindu concept. It's Buddhist, period. Pre-Buddhist Hinduism or even "classical" Hinduism says nothing about "entering into the absolute void" as a final goal.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 05:53:34 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #463 on: March 11, 2014, 05:58:12 PM »
Jainist, surely.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #464 on: March 11, 2014, 06:00:46 PM »
Okay, Jainism originated roughly at the same time, or slightly before. But there's certainly no trace of the idea in the early Upanishads.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #465 on: March 11, 2014, 06:06:17 PM »
It's a source of considerable embarrassment to me that I have a translation of the Deussen Upanishads on my bookshelf that I've been putting off reading for coming up on three years now but somehow managed to absolutely demolish Jeffrey Archer's new novel.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #466 on: March 11, 2014, 06:18:39 PM »
It's a source of considerable embarrassment to me that I have a translation of the Deussen Upanishads on my bookshelf that I've been putting off reading for coming up on three years now but somehow managed to absolutely demolish Jeffrey Archer's new novel.

I half demolished my copy of the Upanishads, from reading, rereading and finally happening to damage it while moving house (with lots of books stacked in bags and boxes). Penguin Classics, ordered a new one through Amazon.  :D

Offline Kythia

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #467 on: March 11, 2014, 06:27:18 PM »
Good old Penguin Classics.  I've got - with no offence intended to any Muslims reading this thread - a Penguin Classics translation of the Qu'ran that I picked up secondhand at some point and have read half to death.  Did my dissertation on City of God and that Penguin Classic got a pounding as well.  Ended up with several copies so I could annotate often enough.  I loves me some marginalia.

I'm trying desperately to think of some historical myth to do with Penguins, Classics or Penguin Classics that I can pretend this was a segue in to, it's either that or I'm forced to admit it was an off topic rambling.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #468 on: March 11, 2014, 06:37:00 PM »
I tend to get miffed when even textbooks about the religions of the world claim Nirvana (entering into final non-being, vacated being, as the end point of many reincaranted lives) is originally a Hindu concept. It's Buddhist, period. Pre-Buddhist Hinduism or even "classical" Hinduism says nothing about "entering into the absolute void" as a final goal.

Even some Buddhist sects disagree with it being "nothing" too.

Offline DTW

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #469 on: March 12, 2014, 10:07:20 PM »
Here's one that I've seen in person. Some  people from  The United States Of America do not realize that the Middle east and India are in Asia. I actually argued with someone who thought that Indians were not Asian.

Seriously all  Iranians ,  Afghans , Saudi Arabians are  Asian.

Granted I don't know how much of a historical fact this is opposed to a geographical one but still..You went to school in a first world country. How do you not understand Continents?


Offline Sabre

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #470 on: March 13, 2014, 01:17:55 PM »
I'm not a huge fan of putting a vast amount of "what if..." significance in single events but if Malta had been lost I don't see how it wouldn't have had a significant impact on European history.

Perhaps this very idea of 'history would have changed at this moment' is one of the most enduring myths of history.  For the Siege of Malta the aggrandizement by the Knights over its significance was unrivaled by anything short of Vienna and Tours (also subjects of self-promotion by the rising Hapsburg and Carolingian dynasties).

In the specific case of Malta it couldn't have been any more or less important than the dozens of other engagements in the Mediterranean between the Ottomans and Hapsburgs, and the criteria for which are remembered as the day history was saved and which were forgotten as footnotes was who won and who lost.  Malta was a pirate enclave like so many others in the Medieterranean.  The Hospitallers had long since lost its strict monasticism and became pirate slave masters living large in their haciendas, like how the Teutonic Knights had become tourist guides and colonial frontiersmen more than warrior monks in the same period.  At the time the island was too small and undeveloped to be much of a base for any kind of invasion, whether from the East or from the West.  Like Djerba just to the south it was mostly a port of calling for pirates and merchant shipping, and its threat to shipping is why it was attacked no different than Djerba.  The Ottomans already passed the Maltese straits with impunity and had bases not only in Tunisia and Algiers, but the Balearic Islands, Corsica, and Southern France.  Most likely nothing would have changed - both Spain and Turkey turned their eyes to the West and East respectively for reasons beyond the Mediterranean and Central Europe, and would probably do so regardless of the outcomes of battles in the Mediterranean or Hungary.

The romanticism of historical destiny and close calls is probably something we'll never tire of I suppose.

Offline TheBlackRider

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #471 on: March 13, 2014, 01:26:30 PM »
Good old Penguin Classics.  I've got - with no offence intended to any Muslims reading this thread - a Penguin Classics translation of the Qu'ran that I picked up secondhand at some point and have read half to death.

This reminds me of an old historical myth that to my knowledge has largely died out. But during the Medieval era, many people believed that Muhammad had been a Christian priest who had splintered away from the Church to found Islam. That's why Dante has him in the 9th circle; not for founding Islam, but because Dante believed the myth that Muhammad had created a schism within the church.

And where did I learn this, why in my copy of The Inferno...Penguin Classics, naturally. :)

Offline Kythia

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #472 on: March 13, 2014, 02:30:59 PM »
This reminds me of an old historical myth that to my knowledge has largely died out. But during the Medieval era, many people believed that Muhammad had been a Christian priest who had splintered away from the Church to found Islam. That's why Dante has him in the 9th circle; not for founding Islam, but because Dante believed the myth that Muhammad had created a schism within the church.

And where did I learn this, why in my copy of The Inferno...Penguin Classics, naturally. :)

8th. 

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #473 on: March 13, 2014, 02:38:35 PM »
Speaking of Christians in the Orient, the Kingdom of Prester John is one of the most fascinating pieces of historical myth, even if it's been long since defunct. Really gives a glimpse of how Europeans in those days pictured the wider Orient - centuries before the age of exploration.

Offline TheBlackRider

Re: Most annoying historical myths?
« Reply #474 on: March 13, 2014, 03:06:08 PM »
8th.

Right you are, I'd gotten confused because he's in the 9th Bolgia of the 8th circle.