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Popular Historical Myths

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Fri October 10th, 2008, 10:58 am

I think it had more to do with nutrition than anything. many medevil leaders (Edward I, Charles IV, etc. stood well over 6 feet) would be considered tall. like you say, perhaps fewer tall people, would have been a better way to put it.



i dont want to get into a cruelty debate nor defend the actions of the first crusaders. The wholesale slaughter of jerusalum was excessive but also exagerated for propaganda purposes (an entire suburb of damascus was founded by jerusalum refugees so clearly not everyone was killed). there are any number of examples of wholesale slaughter at those times in any part of the world. 40 years after the first crusade an estimated quarter million armenians were exteminated in southern asia minor. Timur the lame built a mountain- A MOUNTAIN- of skulls from all of the men, women and children he'd slaughtered in Asia. there are countless other examples. it was a horrible age all around.

I think as Margaret said, it was the hypocrisy of the crusades that people dislike. however there are many examples of religous tolerance shown by both the franks and muslims during the period of oultremer. For instance, King Aleric of jerusalum (father of the leper king) went so far as to question the superiority of christinaity over islam and claimed that saracens had souls (an idea unheard of in Europe until the renasaince).

in short the crusades were bad for all but also a product of their times and a great deal of good came from them as well (exposure to other cultures, increased trade, access to literature, and increased tolerance). Anyway, i wont say anymore about it. most people have their ideas about how bad the crusades were so its pointless to try to point out the positives.



several times othello refers to his "face black as pitch" or something along those lines so who knows how dark shakespere imagined othello. In susequent performances hes usually potrayed as sub-saharan when ive always thought north african would be more likely. but its fiction so i guess he could be whatever shakespere wanted. theres a good chance that shakespere had never actually met anyone with darker skin than himself.

take care

here are my comments without the quotes, voldagon. sorry for the confusion

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Fri October 10th, 2008, 3:02 pm

Kenny, I'm from Israel and with the Crusades being of particular interest to my parents, have been to going to Crusader sites since childhood. I wasn't saying that the Crusades were all bad and so on, but I did point out that the First Crusade was considered quite shocking at the time, a step up in violence.

The line 'face black as pitch' does not appear in Othello. Black appears only 5 times in relation to Othello, and one of them reffers to virtue (or lack thereof), when Emilia says 'and you the blacker devil.' Black was used at the time interchangeably with dark and swarthy. An example from later times is a bothy ballad 'the scranky black farmer'.

People in Elizabethan and Jacobean times probably saw more North-Africans and Muslims than is popularly thought. There were several visits by Muslim ambassadors which caused great excitements, and there were accounts of soldiers, sailors and traders.
At the tap o' the Garioch, in the lands o' Leith-hall,
A scranky black farmer in Earlsfield did dwall;
Wi' him I engaged a servant to be,
Which makes me lament I went far frae the sea.

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Alaric
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Post by Alaric » Fri October 10th, 2008, 3:17 pm

Suleiman the Magnificent would have surely sent envoys to England and France when he was at war with the Holy Roman Empire, probably as an assurance they wouldn't come to the Empire's assistance. There were plenty of visits from Muscovite ambassadors in the same century so it's reasonable to assume the Ottoman's made contact with western Europe as well.

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Fri October 10th, 2008, 3:19 pm

There is a good book precisely about such contacts, but the title escapes me.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Fri October 10th, 2008, 7:25 pm

[quote=""Volgadon""]Kenny, I'm from Israel and with the Crusades being of particular interest to my parents, have been to going to Crusader sites since childhood. I wasn't saying that the Crusades were all bad and so on, but I did point out that the First Crusade was considered quite shocking at the time, a step up in violence.

The line 'face black as pitch' does not appear in Othello. Black appears only 5 times in relation to Othello, and one of them reffers to virtue (or lack thereof), when Emilia says 'and you the blacker devil.' Black was used at the time interchangeably with dark and swarthy. An example from later times is a bothy ballad 'the scranky black farmer'.

People in Elizabethan and Jacobean times probably saw more North-Africans and Muslims than is popularly thought. There were several visits by Muslim ambassadors which caused great excitements, and there were accounts of soldiers, sailors and traders.[/quote]

Sorry if it came off that i was implying you didnt know about the crusades. im just used to talking to people who see them as a colossal waste of time (which in many ways they were) and unworthy of study (which ill definitly disagree with). I was just trying to show relatable acts of unbelievable violence in those ages.

Ive been so obsessed with them that I took several months to hike across Asia minor retracing crusader routes in my youth.

by the way, what is your favourite oultremer site? I really enjoyed Castle Pilgrim near tortosa and the stunning Chastel Blanc. Modern Antioch is an unbelievable disappointment.

As for the Otello, I couldve sworn he refered to his "black face" at some point but i havent read it in 15 years or so. im sure you know more than me on it. and i know we dont know to what degree of swarthyness he was refering. i do know that most presenters of the play in modern times make othello sub-saharan which i find much less likely than southern mediteranian.

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Sat October 11th, 2008, 4:04 pm

I can see the Horns of Hattin from my window, so I'm rather partial to it, even went camping there once, but my favourite place is Qalat el-Nimrud (Nimrod's Castle). It was actually built as a Muslim fortress, then used for a while by the Assasins, then the Crusaders, and so on. I've always wanted to see Crac de Chevaliers, so close yet so far!

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Sat October 11th, 2008, 4:06 pm

I was going to add that what seems to have been most shocking to Muslim observers was that the Crusaders massacred other Christians, IE, their own people.

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Sun December 14th, 2008, 6:39 pm

Another favourite historical myth is that Follow the Drinking Gourd was somehow sung by slaves telling them how to escape and find the Underground Railroad. Their masters would have had to have been UNBELIEVABLEY thick not to figure it out.

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Sun December 14th, 2008, 10:10 pm

[quote=""Margaret""]Weird but true: Did you know there were alligators in Texas and Louisiana well into the 19th century?[/quote]

I'm not sure I understand that statement... :confused:

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AuntiePam
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Post by AuntiePam » Sun December 14th, 2008, 11:20 pm

Did Marie Antoinette really say "Let them eat cake", when told that the peasants had no bread? Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope books says no, but do historians agree?

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