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Forum LockedEuropean way to world primacy.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 00:22
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Hello to you all
 
Well I have been looking into this problem for years. Up to this point I think there are three events and three movements that made europe what it is today.
 
The events are the peace of Augsburg, peace of Westphalia and of course the discovery of America.
 
The three movements are the university movement of the 14th century, the exponential growth in trade in the 16th and 17th century and the institutionalisation of the state from the 16th century onwards.
 
Why I chose these, well for the following reasons.
 
Augsburg finally distroyed the last vesteges of papal authority and legitimized the existance of faiths other than the catholic faith. From now on half of europe was outside the pope's authority and the other half under papal anger. Popes would never be strong again.
 
Wesphalia established for the first time the idea of independent nations and internal independent of nations. Now, war was not fought on a whim of the ruler but through diplomatic means. States were now free to develope themselves with relative freedom of fear that their independence would be infringed upon. Of course this didn't happen immediately but it was a step non the less.
 
As for America well it is self explainatory.
 
For the movements, it is from the university that the renaissance came, it was from university that reformation movements begging from the Lullards and ending with Luther began. It was in the university where european science developed and then prospored. It was from the university that the great ideas of philosophy were forged. One can trace all the great ideas that shaped europe to this often forgotten and unrecognised institution.
 
Trade replaced religion as the prime mover of europe from the 14th century. However with the discovery of America, the demise of the papacy and the realisation tht people want the guy who gives them food not sell them superstition trade got the kick start it needed. Europe was poor, extremely poor. 95% of the people were either serfs, tenants or simply beggars. Religion was the only way to conrol these people and because of it those nations lost to the pope. European monarchs found it more profitable for them and their subjects to support trade because the more money you had the stronger militarily you were and the nearer to the pope's heart and later to the people's heart. As wealth poured in europe everything took off. Industry, science, which you coul not navigate oceans without, technology, how to reach to the destination faster than your competitor etc.
 
Finally states were ruled in the fasion of germanic tribal chiefs of old. This lead to nothing. However seeing that countries with a bureaucracy like Venice and the Ottoman empire prosper and achieve massive wealth and weild huge power and influence both on their subjects and outside made european monarch mouths water. The history of europe was always plagued by the struggle between nobility and the monarch. Now it was time to get rid of them and instead put people of humble origins but great skill at the helm. Richelieu and Mazarin did in France and it made France the wealthiest, strongest and most advanced nation in France. seeing this Britain followed and with one advantage, an active parliament. By the 1763 Britain became what France was 100 years ago.
 
Al-Jassas 


Excellent post.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 08:33
Well, Parnell and Al -Jassas. The later of You have thought about this for years, but can You perhaps, before reading further, guess what my objections may be like?
I think it may be in next post...
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 08:48

My criticism against the later explanations is not that they "are wrong", though I think there is a lot more that made Europe take a lead. Rather what I find unsatisfactory is that is is the "traditional historians way" of (non) explaining! Late historical events and actions "explained" by earlier ones, the way You may hear year after year at (some) univerrsity lectures. In a certain way this may not be completrely unacceptable, as long as we remember we only in a shallow sense has any explanations at all - and that this kind of explaining best fit minor events and details (which we all should love as true historians!)

There may allways be at lot in a deeper sense "unexplainable" in the life of humans (history), but I think if we are not to continue in what seems to be close to "cirkles",
it seems obvious to include external(relative to humans and their artefacts) factors. In a way this idea are perhaps in some way a "return", since even the "father of History", Herodotus, were interested in a lot other topics than pure human affairs and included them- though perhaps in a way we would not do today.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 11:02
At my university lectures we aren't given the 'grand narrative' spiel. I tend to rather ineloquently manage that by myself. Even the question 'European way to world primacy' would invoke 2,000 objections and many puzzled faces if put before most of the history academics in my college!
"Neither apathy nor antipathy can ever bring out the truth of history" Eoin Mac Neill.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 11:26
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

At my university lectures we aren't given the 'grand narrative' spiel. I tend to rather ineloquently manage that by myself. Even the question 'European way to world primacy' would invoke 2,000 objections and many puzzled faces if put before most of the history academics in my college!
No doubtg You are right about that.Perhaps we even may go as far as to say "the grand narrative" is "the big evil" for some. To some extent I even understand them (or You?) , that there may be a danger of completely "eliminating" human independent action and give a false impression that everything and every detail can be set on some sort of formula. Perhaps I think it is also possible to go to far in the "opposite" - to occupy oneselves exclusively with details, not even daring to even think there might be something else. I have this little suspicion (partly from experience) that some part of academia are there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 13:02
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

At my university lectures we aren't given the 'grand narrative' spiel. I tend to rather ineloquently manage that by myself. Even the question 'European way to world primacy' would invoke 2,000 objections and many puzzled faces if put before most of the history academics in my college!
No doubtg You are right about that.Perhaps we even may go as far as to say "the grand narrative" is "the big evil" for some. To some extent I even understand them (or You?) , that there may be a danger of completely "eliminating" human independent action and give a false impression that everything and every detail can be set on some sort of formula. Perhaps I think it is also possible to go to far in the "opposite" - to occupy oneselves exclusively with details, not even daring to even think there might be something else. I have this little suspicion (partly from experience) that some part of academia are there.
 
In the scheme of things, a "grand narrative" within historiography is akin to the false elitism the old European bourgeois derived from the "grand tour": it is a superficiality that obscures true character. Now do not let such an observation upset because there is a parallel discussion at the root of Historical Study and the urge toward utilitarianism. Is Historiography a Science or an Art?
 
Now the original proposition behind this thread, the European way to world primacy, is heavy with cultural chauvinism and strongly premised upon 19th century Materialism. As one may understand from any reading of J. A. Hobson's Imperialism: A Study, all is  matter of Voltarian "definition of terms". I raise the ghost of the old Frenchman because he himself stands at the very door of History as a tool for explanation [yes, one can forcefully assert that Thucydides attempted the same a millenium earlier, but...] yet, historiography as with all grand creation myths is essentially a narrative on apocalypsis--let us say it speaks of the Twilight of the cultural gods!
 
OK even that is a heavy Romantic flourish but the world is stranger than we can ever imagine it, no matter how hard we try to fit it into a comfortable model. Yet, part of the delight in historical study is the perusal of the grand designs positing explanations for the accidents of transience through time. For example, Gibbons elaborated a masterly treatise on Rome with the simple object of underscoring how Christianity was the vehicle that brought the Empire down; however, this intellectual premise or assumption has more to say about the historical milieu of his time than any Roman perception or force. Therein the caveat. For in the writing of history, no matter how great the insight, one also carries the assumptions and prejudices of one's own being.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 15:05
History is a science and an art, I'd tend to believe. It is an art in that its partly a construct of the eye of the beholder, and its a science in that its partly objective. I don't believe the two are mutually exclusive.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 16:03
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

History is a science and an art, I'd tend to believe. It is an art in that its partly a construct of the eye of the beholder, and its a science in that its partly objective. I don't believe the two are mutually exclusive.
 
Well Parnell, an old colleague of mine used to torture his students with this succint summation of what constitutes Science:
 
Science is the concerted human effort to understand, or to understand better, the history of the natural world and how the natural world works, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding. It is done through observation of natural phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate natural processes under controlled conditions.
 
Is there an objective conclusion in History? Let us use shorthand, will A in the presence of B always result in C? Thus, in terms of the human condition do certain events taken in sequence provide a predetermined conclusion that is unalterable and static? Yes, we can move back into the philosophy of history and notice the constructs of Vico (whom Marx plagiarized) and understand the impact of ideas on the writing of history, for example we are still in thrall to the concept of progress being the dynamic catalyst behind interpretative flow, but then are we not simply entering the realm of abstraction? In that sense, both Art and Science have a common beginning--we imagine and then postulate--but we can never declare certainty in terms of historical study for there we commit the fallacy best known as scientism. As the Franco-American intellectual, Jacques Barzun, iterated: "Scientism is the fallacy of believing that the methods of Science must be used on all forms of experience and, given time, will settle every issue." (From Dawn to Decadence, p. 218).
 
I would ask you to juxtapose Gibbons and Macaulay with much of what passes for History today. The Fall of the Roman Empire remains a pleasure to read, it is vibrant and literary; likewise the portraits penned by Macaulay, which are agreable to read. These men provoked curiosity, perhaps they were a bit glib on little points, but they were wonderfully dramatic in promoting a sense of understanding. Again Barzun: "But in the popular conception of Science, small and large are of equal moment and [this] superstition has been transferred to History, where a rational Theory of Error would legislate just the opposite: attend most carefully to the big points and judge the importance of details by their consequences." (Ibid. p. 569-570).
 
In History, there can be no "final report" on what "really happened" (pace Barzun) because interpretative narrative does not constitute theory nor inevitable conclusion. In essence, no matter any nationalistic sensibility, Napoleon Bonaparte was as much a "beast" in the 19th century as Adolf Hitler was to the 20th. The only difference, the time of the former is more removed from us than that of the latter. So much for all of those that dream "world primacy" as far as History is concerned.


Edited by drgonzaga - 02-Jun-2009 at 16:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 20:20
 
In the scheme of things, a "grand narrative" within historiography is akin to the false elitism the old European bourgeois derived from the "grand tour": it is a superficiality that obscures true character. Now do not let such an observation upset because there is a parallel discussion at the root of Historical Study and the urge toward utilitarianism. Is Historiography a Science or an Art?
 
Now the original proposition behind this thread, the European way to world primacy, is heavy with cultural chauvinism and strongly premised upon 19th century Materialism.  
 For example, Gibbons elaborated a masterly treatise on Rome with the simple object of underscoring how Christianity was the vehicle that brought the Empire down; however, this intellectual premise or assumption has more to say about the historical milieu of his time than any Roman perception or force. Therein the caveat. For in the writing of history, no matter how great the insight, one also carries the assumptions and prejudices of one's own being.
[/QUOTE]
Ok, if You are right and some big bad "grand narrative" obscures some "true character", then let us know more about this other truth (the truth of history or one of them?)!
I will leave the mentioned authors because partly very limited knowledge, partly because I see their approach as rather different form ideas about "external" factors influencing historical effect.
Another thing:Is it desirable, or avoidable to study anything as "central"? (as in the usual talking about "eurocentrism", "americacentrism" etcetera).If so then Gibbons "sin" for instance seems to be to study Rome at all.
Perhaps the whole historian discipline ends up being a sort of "therapy"?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 21:28
Fantasus inquired:
"Ok, if You are right and some big bad "grand narrative" obscures some "true character", then let us know more about this other truth (the truth of history or one of them?)!"
 
An interesting query and a self-contained connundrum akin to the Johanine declaration placed in the mouth of Pontius Pilate: "Truth? What is truth? Is your truth greater than mine?" Let us take a typical bon mot from the Victorian era--"The sun never sets on the British Empire."  Nifty and encapsulating is it not? No matter that it is an actual plagiarism of an earlier declaration: "El imperio en que nunca se pone el sol"--the empire upon which the sun never sets--said of the dominions held by Philip II of Spain. Interestingly enough, it was such an acceptable descriptive that a literary work of social criticism during Spain's Golden Age bluntly declared: The sun has set in Flanders! British intellectuals said much the same consequent to World War I as far as the British Empire was concerned. The confidence of different ages eerily echoed and resounding with an identical fate! Is it truth or a perverse coincidence? History as art would weave a grand narrative on the fate of all imperial pretensions--it was a heady theme among historians in the early decades of the last century.
 
By the way, in a rather weird way, history is therapy! That thread is ably caught in the catch phrase coined by Santayana: "Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Way back at the start of modern historiography, the Swiss art historian, Jacob Burckhardt, warned:
 
"Our moral criticism of past ages can easily be mistaken. It transfers present-day desiderata to the past. It views personalities according to set principles and makes too little allowance for the exigencies of the moment."
 
As can be attested by the very threads of this forum, many are intent on denying the identity of the past by rendering repeated moral judgments that do little to give life to that past and express little more than mea culpas in the present by painting black what was incomprehensible to that past.
 
Here is a question: Is not the loss of confidence the harbinger of decadence within a cultural milieu?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 21:39
In the study of history there are historical facts - unchallenged basic narrative structures that are left unchallenged. Such as the invasion of Poland in 1939, that Barack Obama was elected President in 2008 and even that the invasion of Ireland by the Normans was authorised by the papacy. These are indisputable historical facts. (One could also argue that they only remain indisputable because no-one has bothered disputing them. Although the papal bull which authorised the Norman invasion of Ireland used to be considered to be a forgery)

The a,b,c argument is a little stale - let me ask you a question. If four people approach a mountain from four different angles, does the mountain assume four different shapes simply because the four people see four different shapes to the mountain? Or is there one shape which is not immediately apparant from one vantage point?

I believe there is such a thing as objective fact/truth. Human beings are incapable of seeing objectivity with their own eyes, but they get close. Better historians with the use of the tools in the historians trade strike even closer. All history is a mere approximation of the past. It cannot ever be considered to have a complete understanding of it. But through the investigation of the traces left behind for us we can get close to actually understanding what happened. On the other hand if you believe all events of the past are mere construct of our imaginations then I think we run into an intolerable situation, where there are no accurate or negative statements, just statements made by constructs of our consciousness. Relativism is, in a word, nuts.

The epistomological problems which philosophers put before the historians in the 60s often approached intellectual masturbation, just another example of the vain and irrelevant intellectual frivolities of that era.

Macauly and Gibbon were fine narrative historians (I have Gibbon's Decline and Fall in my bedroom, tend to read a chapter or two every couple of months. Great literature) but you must remember they wrote before the professionalisation of the historical craft. Consider them historical pioneers, not historians.


Edited by Parnell - 02-Jun-2009 at 21:57
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Quote
Here is a question: Is not the loss of confidence the harbinger of decadence within a cultural milieu?


And herein lieth the vast divergence between historian and philosopher. Historians do not posit such unintelligible sequences of words. Needlessly complex and vain words seem to be the favourite past-time of philosophers and political scientists. Sure beats having to dig for documents in archives!
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Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Quote
Here is a question: Is not the loss of confidence the harbinger of decadence within a cultural milieu?


And herein lieth the vast divergence between historian and philosopher. Historians do not posit such unintelligible sequences of words. Needlessly complex and vain words seem to be the favourite past-time of philosophers and political scientists. Sure beats having to dig for documents in archives!
 
But you are wrong here, Parnell, because "decadence" (decline, decay, or what you will) has been the motif of grand historical writing reaching back as far as Thucydides. Unless you wish to condemn historiography to the straight-jacket of the monograph, with its limited perspective, and at times its deadening jargon harking to econometrics, the full historian must risk a synthesis of the detritus in the Archives. What then would you make of cultural historians and their breadth of vision (shades of Braudel)? Each tool must be kept to its limited setting and if you are worried over jargon, you'll find that the flaw of the manipulators of documents, who somehow are fully intent on not permitting these to speak for themselves.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2009 at 22:43
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Fantasus inquired:
"Ok, if You are right and some big bad "grand narrative" obscures some "true character", then let us know more about this other truth (the truth of history or one of them?)!"
 
An interesting query and a self-contained connundrum
No, I was a rather simple question I asked to what You wrote:
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

In the scheme of things, a "grand narrative" within historiography is akin to the false elitism the old European bourgeois derived from the "grand tour": it is a superficiality that obscures true character.
So You claim something is false (an elitism), and also an superficiality, and that it obscure (hide I assume) something else:true character.
So let us see more about it - I am afraid I don´t see the need for either Pilate, Herod, the British (or Spanish or Portuguese or Habsburgian) bon mot.
 
 
 
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

By the way, in a rather weird way, history is therapy! That thread is ably caught in the catch phrase coined by Santayana: "Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
Perhaps it ends up in too much of questionable "lessons of history".
 
 
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Gawd! Both Colonel and Parnell judge Gibbons "a pleasure to read"!  I must be the only heretic in the house. I find him turgid, but good for inducing sleep. Yes, literary allusion was the style of the times, but his is insufferable. Why not call a rose a rose? (Or the Pope the Pope?)  As regards being an attack on Christianity, I read it more as laying the basis for justifying the break with the Roman Catholic church.

Sorry, only vaguely related to the topic at hand. But I had to get that off my chest. Were I to be offered a scholarship to the European University of my choice in some future life, I'd opt for Montpelier, Salamanca, or Coimbra over Oxford, or anywhere else they still read Gibbons. (Shudder!)
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Thank God! Someone else who does NOT consider Gibbons a pleasure to read. I thought I was delusional when I read that. And, needless to say, I'd choose to study someplace that wasn't in England. Well, I did as a matter of fact.

I don't have to do that any more though. I can read and study history for pleasure instead of being force-fed Gibbons as I was in my misspent youth.  I can read Stobart instead.  Ah, the joys of being a "grown-up".  LOL

Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Gawd! Both Colonel and Parnell judge Gibbons "a pleasure to read"!  I must be the only heretic in the house. I find him turgid, but good for inducing sleep. Yes, literary allusion was the style of the times, but his is insufferable. Why not call a rose a rose? (Or the Pope the Pope?)  As regards being an attack on Christianity, I read it more as laying the basis for justifying the break with the Roman Catholic church.

Sorry, only vaguely related to the topic at hand. But I had to get that off my chest. Were I to be offered a scholarship to the European University of my choice in some future life, I'd opt for Montpelier, Salamanca, or Coimbra over Oxford, or anywhere else they still read Gibbons. (Shudder!)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2009 at 01:29
For shame!

Our teacher told us to 'read Gibbon with head tilted in utter reverence, one chapter at a time'. Now there was someone who revered Gibbon. I just enjoy his use of language more than anything, and am quite conscious of how old the volumes are when I read it. The whole 'pioneer' buzz and all that.

The use of jargon is a case in point. Jargon obfuscates. History attempts to clarify. The twain should never meet. When they do its bound to be a slow death sentance (Admittedly, this is why I veer away from economic and feminist history - yoink!)

P.S- FloridaGuy, You might want to add Trinity College Dublin along with that list of universities to avoid. Gibbon might as well have a shrine here (We actually have a statue to a historian universally considered to be boring, vain, stiff, disinteresting and a complete geek. W.E. Lecky. And he's another guy I actually quite liked LOL)

P.P.S- JR, thought you would have been a Macauly man? Or at least a proud adherent to the historical novels of Walter Scott? Your dislike for English historians is quite understandable... I shall say no more than Hugh Trevor-Roper!


Edited by Parnell - 03-Jun-2009 at 01:40
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Scott? I assume that is intended as an insult but I'll not react in kind.

As literature, I have read his work, of course. However, they happen to be something known as FICTION. 

I am quite capable of reading historical sources such as Barbour's The Brus and Fordun's Scotichronicon, thank you very much.  Or for something more modern my own preference is Barrow's Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland. (I've quoted all three on the forum on more than one occasion)

As far as The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History the absurd man seemed to think he was the only one to know that the philabeg is a modern invention.  The amusing thing is that a certain number of readers take him at his word that no one else ever noticed it. Let me tell you though, they're one heck of a lot easier to put on than a belted plaid. Ask any man who's worn both--I can't testify as to it myself since WOMEN don't wear either. As for his hatred of devolution and the move toward independence, he's just another anti-Scottish Englishman. There are too many to get excited about one. His arguments with almost everyone in the English establishment were more amusing.

PS. I wonder why you think I'd be a Macaulay "man".  (I'm assuming you meant Thomas Babington Macaulay--if you meant someone else then ignore the following)

First, it's hard to be a Macaulay man when I'm not a man.  Second, he was English educated at Cambridge--another typical Englishman really. Third, although I do NOT love the Stewarts I hardly agree that the usurpment of James II by William and Mary was a good thing--quite the contrary it brought many, many years of increased oppression of Catholics and severe oppression of the Scots and Irish.  (I can be considered a Jacobite only in that I despise the Hanovers and William of Orange even more) Fourth, his worship of Whigs was, to put it mildly, excessive although at least he wasn't exactly for the oppression of the working class although his anthems about how wonderful 1830 working conditions were do leave me shaking my head. Fifth, I'm hardly an admirer of what he did in India. Mind you, his prose is more readable than Gibbons, but since they wrote on entirely different periods that doesn't really relate.

You aren't the only one to have ever set foot in a university.

Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

For shame!

Our teacher told us to 'read Gibbon with head tilted in utter reverence, one chapter at a time'. Now there was someone who revered Gibbon. I just enjoy his use of language more than anything, and am quite conscious of how old the volumes are when I read it. The whole 'pioneer' buzz and all that.

The use of jargon is a case in point. Jargon obfuscates. History attempts to clarify. The twain should never meet. When they do its bound to be a slow death sentance (Admittedly, this is why I veer away from economic and feminist history - yoink!)

P.S- FloridaGuy, You might want to add Trinity College Dublin along with that list of universities to avoid. Gibbon might as well have a shrine here (We actually have a statue to a historian universally considered to be boring, vain, stiff, disinteresting and a complete geek. W.E. Lecky. And he's another guy I actually quite liked LOL)

P.P.S- JR, thought you would have been a Macauly man? Or at least a proud adherent to the historical novels of Walter Scott? Your dislike for English historians is quite understandable... I shall say no more than Hugh Trevor-Roper!


Lirelou, I didn't mean to ignore your comment. Sorry that I missed this comment addressed to me:
Quote The Spanish conquest of the Americas was testimony of their military might. Indeed, even on the European continent, their land forces were invincible until 1627 (Breda?), ergo the reason the United Provinces and Britain developed into maritime powers.


Since I SAID there was growth in military might during that period, I'd be interested in knowing what you're arguing with me about.  I agree that it was an area of very substantial growth. Military might was EXACTLY why I said Europe prevailed during the period in question.

And since the Sikh wars were during a different period that what I was discussing, they're irrelevant. There were improvements in organization later but I see no sign of it that early. The Anglo-Sikh War was substantially later.



Edited by JRScotia - 03-Jun-2009 at 05:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2009 at 03:05
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Gawd! Both Colonel and Parnell judge Gibbons "a pleasure to read"!  I must be the only heretic in the house. I find him turgid, but good for inducing sleep. Yes, literary allusion was the style of the times, but his is insufferable. Why not call a rose a rose? (Or the Pope the Pope?)  As regards being an attack on Christianity, I read it more as laying the basis for justifying the break with the Roman Catholic church.

Sorry, only vaguely related to the topic at hand. But I had to get that off my chest. Were I to be offered a scholarship to the European University of my choice in some future life, I'd opt for Montpelier, Salamanca, or Coimbra over Oxford, or anywhere else they still read Gibbons. (Shudder!)
 
Well, I suppose you would draw the same conclusions on reading Jane Austen or Anthony Trollope, or God forbid, Walter Scott, eh Lirelou? I'd bet you'd have the same experience in deciphering "the classics" at the institutions you mention. Imagine what you would make of reading Unamuno or Ortega y Gasset at Salamanca! Strangely enough, by your comment you illustrate one of the major pitfalls in modern higher education, an abysmal history in the inculcation of literacy and period style. Such is actually quite strange for any who wish to do archival research and encounters any text prior to the 20th century. But, I guess I've raised a tempest in the old teapot...wonder when the Queen of Hearts will start screeching "Off with his head"! Wink
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JRScotia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2009 at 04:37
Quote By the 1763 Britain became what France was 100 years ago.


And this was a GOOD thing? One of the most oppressive powers to ever rise in the history of the world. I'm not struck with admiration.

You know I don't want Scotland out of GB because of Culloden, or the many Highland massacres, or because the 1707 union was a joke in which the Scots were bought and sold (although that doesn't help). But I am so proud of all the things we did together. Sending Scots to oppress Ireland (God, the shame!), Iraq, Trident, Cash for Peerages, Slavery, imprisoning Ghandi, Suez, the Highland Clearances, the Black and Tans, the Irish Potato Famine, the genocide of numerous N. American, Australian and African peoples, the Boxer (opium) Rebellion, arming Saddam, selling Hawks to Indonesia for murder in East Timor to name but a few. Oh, yes. Good times were had by all.

PS *sigh* Time for a break when it gets under my skin that badly.




Edited by JRScotia - 03-Jun-2009 at 04:52
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