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Green Gogol

On realism, grimdark and childishness

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On 2/20/2019 at 8:29 AM, SeanF said:

 Gibbon's view that the 2nd century AD was the best time to be alive was absurd by his time.

The guy blamed Christianity for destroying the Empire. Of course he's going to idolise the old pagan days.

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On 2/20/2019 at 11:13 AM, SeanF said:

The real idiocy was to sack Constantinople in 1204, which dealt a fatal blow to the only State that could stem the Turkish tide.

I have a fondness for the Fourth Crusade. Yes, it screwed up the Byzantines, but it did result in a flood of priceless manuscripts into Europe, giving a massive boost to learning.

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1 hour ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

The guy blamed Christianity for destroying the Empire. Of course he's going to idolise the old pagan days.

Which is bad history from the beginning as it implies the Empire was destroyed versus moved focus.

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Just now, C.T. Phipps said:

Which is bad history from the beginning as it implies the Empire was destroyed versus moved focus.

No-one reads Gibbon for the history. You read Gibbon for the writing style and amusing prejudices. He's great fun - and very important to the development of historiography, as well as looking at how the British Empire thought about itself - but he's otherwise obsolete.

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3 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

The guy blamed Christianity for destroying the Empire. Of course he's going to idolise the old pagan days.

The good old days, when you could have a nice lunch at the arena, while watching a slave being crucified, or a woman being raped by an animal.

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

The good old days, when you could have a nice lunch at the arena, while watching a slave being crucified, or a woman being raped by an animal.

An eighteenth century gentleman like Edward Gibbon wouldn't imagine himself (or his reader) as a slave or a woman.

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3 hours ago, SeanF said:

The good old days, when you could have a nice lunch at the arena, while watching a slave being crucified, or a woman being raped by an animal.

Roman virtues like infanticide, honor killings, and burying suspected non-virgins alive.

It is silly to assume a man of the 17th century would have the same access to history as we do today. But I still have to sideeye how he talked about how tolerant Roman paganism was to Christianity.

Not just religion in general, but specifically Christianity.

...Yeah.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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2 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

An eighteenth century gentleman like Edward Gibbon wouldn't imagine himself (or his reader) as a slave or a woman.

 

2 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Roman virtues like infanticide, honor killings, and burying suspected non-virgins alive.

It is silly to assume a man of the 17th century would have the same access to history as we do today. But I still have to sideeye how he talked about how tolerant Roman paganism was to Christianity.

Not just religion in general, but specifically Christianity.

...Yeah.

I love reading Roman history, and admire their achievements, but Gibbon airbrushed the ruthlessness and cruelty towards the lower classes, slaves, women, and "barbarians".  I think there was a very strong tendency in the Eighteenth century (and to some extent today) for students of Rome to imagine themselves as Roman Senators, and to assume that Roman Senators were just like them.

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3 hours ago, SeanF said:

I love reading Roman history, and admire their achievements, but Gibbon airbrushed the ruthlessness and cruelty towards the lower classes, slaves, women, and "barbarians".  I think there was a very strong tendency in the Eighteenth century (and to some extent today) for students of Rome to imagine themselves as Roman Senators, and to assume that Roman Senators were just like them.

In academia, one of the first things you learn is history is a weapon and used as a bludgeon for whatever cause you believe in.

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On 19 February 2019 at 7:29 PM, SeanF said:

Western Europe remained in awe of Rome, long after it's economic and cultural achievements surpassed those of Rome.  The West was certainly less advanced in 900 than in 400, but way ahead of the Roman Empire by 1400. Gibbon's view that the 2nd century AD was the best time to be alive was absurd by his time.

Having now read a bit of economic history, I'm pleased to see that we were right.  (I'll post some links tomorrow).

GDP per head is estimated at $570 (1990 values) across the Empire at the death of Augustus, rising by about 25% by 150 AD.  It then falls by a similar amount by 300 AD.  Subsistence is estimated at $400.  By 150, about 13% of the population were at twice subsistence level and above, but by 300, scarcely anyone was above subsistence, apart from the elites, the army, the civil servants, and some merchants and artisans in Rome, and a few cities.  No wonder, as @Marquis de Leech said, that most Western towns had gone by300.

England's GDP per head was about $800 by 1300, rising to $1,200 by the end of the century.

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