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Topic: What's Going on in Antiquity? (Read 3215 times)

  • Belfrager
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What's Going on in Antiquity?
News from the ancient worlds.
A matter of attitude.

  • Belfrager
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A roman snack-bar was discovered
Reply #1


Archaeologists uncover ancient street food shop in Pompeii
You can know what people were eating at the disaster day... (a bit of a morbid thing to know)
A matter of attitude.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #2
Elections? :)
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #3
This has been a good tomb-looting year, or as Esquire puts it: We Sure Are Digging Up a Lot of Ancient Dead People These Days

The Norwegian and Spanish ones are late and thus out of period (Viking and Muslim age respectively), but the Egyptian one is right in time, full of Greeks hidden in boxes. 

Still, Esquire missed the biggest one, in Chengdu.

https://youtu.be/jEEUWjvXWI4



  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #4

  • Belfrager
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #5
A matter of attitude.

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #6
Hey! That's the old kingdom. That predated antiquity with 2-2½ millennia, longer than the 1½ millennia antiquity predated us. But we might be here because those Egyptians liked a tipple. So  :cheers:

I have made a proposal to keep track of time, when a wrist watch won't do: Big history: Generational history

  • Belfrager
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #7
Why did you start counting at around 3.000BC? the real scale in my opinion would be around 40.000 years ago, with Homo Sapiens.
Course in that case you would have 40000/30=1333 generations where nothing happens during 1200 generations. A bit boring story.
A matter of attitude.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #8
Some 5 000 years ago, when people moved they packed their suitcases and their monoliths.
The discovery of a dismantled stone circle--close to Stonehenge's bluestone quarries in west Wales--raises the possibility that a 900-year-old legend about Stonehenge being built from an earlier stone circle contains a grain of truth. Radiocarbon and OSL dating of Waun Mawn indicate construction c. 3000 BC, shortly before the initial construction of Stonehenge. The identical diameters of Waun Mawn and the enclosing ditch of Stonehenge, and their orientations on the midsummer solstice sunrise, suggest that at least part of the Waun Mawn circle was brought from west Wales to Salisbury Plain. This interpretation complements recent isotope work that supports a hypothesis of migration of both people and animals from Wales to Stonehenge.

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #9
Why did you start counting at around 3.000BC? the real scale in my opinion would be around 40.000 years ago, with Homo Sapiens.
Course in that case you would have 40000/30=1333 generations where nothing happens during 1200 generations. A bit boring story.

For that, blame the Egyptians. A pretty natural starting point is the bronze age. The need for copper and tin led to a Eurasian trading network all the way from Japan to Scandinavia. That would also coincide with the diffusion of writing, technology, farming surpluses, cities, organised warfare and so on. So 3500-4000 years ago, 120-130 generations ago would be a happening time to begin our period. If we set the Younger Dryas as a convenient starting point for agriculture, we could split that into three parts of about 4000 years, the first third would mostly have been lost in the fog of prehistory, but by the end we'd have fairly functional agriculture with the first animal-driven ploughs, modern pottery and so on. The second third wouldn't be so dramatic either but at least we'd get some stories, and the first individuals we know the name of. And of course, byt the third everything was buzzing, and there are little differences with the world today.

That third could be trisected as well, roughly before antiquity, during antiquity, and now (after antiquity).

But by bisecting as I did (arbitrarily with the first king of united Egypt), this counting would start closer to the beginning, and we have 170 generations to work with, rather than 120.

  • Belfrager
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #10
I read your blog's post and saw your Google Doc's Timeline of History.
Are the benefits of the immense, gigantic work of changing school's teaching, books, and people's mind worth of it? Not to speak about convincing Historians (what I believe to be an impossible thing to do).

Anyway, I support your idea just for the sake of the iconoclast attitude and for the absolutely huge discussion and indignation it would generate at the solemn members of the Academia. 8)
I doubt it to being a more practical system than what we have currently.

However there's a problem, where does the French Revolution fits? It's perhaps, after Jesus Christ, the more important timemark to mankind separating an epoque from another. It doesn't seem to me that it has the adequate relevance in your system.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #11
I was definitely taught in terms of "chunks" in my history lessons from the first to the university under some six or seven different teachers. Year-numbers were there, but so were the "chunks" like Bronze Age, Dark Age, Medieval Times, Age of Enlightenment. Did jax have a single bad history teacher throughout his school years?

Moreover, the chunks cannot be universalised. In different places there are different ages at the same absolute time, because the titles of the ages are descriptive of level of culture, not of time. For example, the people of Papua New Guinea are still happily in Stone Age as we speak, though somewhat distracted from it by an occasional smartphone.

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #12
Second to biology, history may be the field that has advanced the most in our life times. Whatever you learnt at youth is but a small fraction of what we now know. And this doesn't end. All the while our actual history is ridiculously short, a few hundred generations (to which we're adding a few more every life time).

Now we would be in the first year in the 171th generation since Lower Egypt reportedly got clobbered by Upper Egypt, and the Old Kingdom of Egypt began (or in the 246.16th generation if you opt for decimal).



So what can we do with too much information, especially if we intend to remain blissfully unaware of most of it? We can chunk it. 5000 years of global history is not tractable, 170 generations kind of is. Especially if we ignore 150-160 of those. Of course, the full prehistory is a little more terrifying (my scheme covers the upper left corner, crossing into the Upper Pleistocene). But again, that's a framework behind the framework we can ignore. 

If we focus on the good times, it isn't too bad. 




  


  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #13
I was definitely taught in terms of "chunks" in my history lessons from the first to the university under some six or seven different teachers. Year-numbers were there, but so were the "chunks" like Bronze Age, Dark Age, Medieval Times, Age of Enlightenment. Did jax have a single bad history teacher throughout his school years?

Moreover, the chunks cannot be universalised. In different places there are different ages at the same absolute time, because the titles of the ages are descriptive of level of culture, not of time. For example, the people of Papua New Guinea are still happily in Stone Age as we speak, though somewhat distracted from it by an occasional smartphone.

Exactly. That framework we learned at school is unusable, and not interoperable (we learned about "the Viking age", which is basically the time when Scandinavians interfered with UK politics, Lindisfarne to Stamford Bridge, which made little sense in a Scandinavian context, or a Non-Scandinavian context for that matter). Even back then the teachers knew, but what could they do? Teaching history to children is pretty futile to begin with. The chunks in my framework are completely arbitrary, but to which we can attach mnemonic labels as desired.

History in Eurasia (with North Africa as honorary member) is a continuum. Less so the rest of Africa, even less so the rest of the world. But events are synchronised at irregular intervals. No island is an island.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #14
I'm back! And glad to see my absence didn't deter clever and sometimes deep conversation... As I hope my return doesn't stifle its continuation! (Think of me -warts and all, like the proverbial Red-headed Step-child: Just lookin' for love!? :) ) So: I'm back, and -as they say, "with a vengeance! (Those of you with an only middling familiarity with My EnglishTM might take the following admonition in the spirit in which it's meant: When in doubt, consult The (Other) World's Greatest Authority... Namely, Just me!
Anyone who wonders what I'm about should check out my new and improved blog: oakdaleftl.vivaldi.net :)
'Nuff said!

I disagree, ersi: What jax proposes is an intriguing emendation to the "Chunks" stricture you'd impose. (Not all the categories that exit have been dreamt of in your structuralist philosophy, my friend! ) Just because you learned it in school way-back-when doesn't make it so: It ain't necessarily so, as the Gershwin Bros. so poignantly pointed out...
A little lyric?
"The things that you;re liable to read in the Bible... / It ain't necessarily so."
Yes: Balfrager would take the topic side-ways, with an appropriate, humanitarian/humanistic focus. I'm quite interested in joining the fray -- on his side...:devil:

@jax: I promise to examine "your" charts after a while. (I'm gonna have to print them out!)
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • ersi
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #15
Exactly. That framework we learned at school is unusable, and not interoperable.
The school framework is used and it brought us to where we are, thus it is usable. And everybody who has given a thought to the matter understands that global interoperability cannot be had, as long as local cultures evolving at variant speeds are to be adequately described.

The global interoperability, providing an occasional synchronisation to connect the timelines of local cultures, archeological-philological evidence permitting, is the Western year-numbers BC/AD method. So all the necessary pieces in history education are already there.

Teaching history to children is pretty futile to begin with.
A general anti-educational attitude will definitely not help your cause.

The chunks in my framework are completely arbitrary, but to which we can attach mnemonic labels as desired.
Also now the chunks are arbitrarily named (Middle Ages? Early Modern times? As times move on, these are bound to be renamed, so there should have been some deeper thought given to naming them in the first place). And the labels are mnemonic enough for teaching children. If the system is unusable to teach children, it is useless.

The current system is already in the spirit that you try to achieve, "Something is easier to remember if it has a name, even if a name is misleading. Names, just like the end points of generations, are arbitrary. In principle the names might be something like Alice and Bob, but hooks help." The current labels of eras are based on a messy, essentially arbitrary system of hooks to provide a reference point to the era, so we are already there.

  • Belfrager
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #16
This deserves a brief out-of-theme comment:
Is just my computer or Oakdale is posting with invisible ink??  :lol:


Ah ah, but I discovered how to read it..
A matter of attitude.

  • jax
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #17

I promise to examine "your" charts after a while. (I'm gonna have to print them out!)

Thanks for the Vivaldi refresher-trigger for a sojourn. The social layer seems functional if fallow. I might rereturn.

It was that stratigraphical map that was the direct trigger for my proposal. Earth history is ridiculously long. Human history is ridiculously short. We have lived though much of human history in our own life times.

Including geological time. When we went to school, geological time was simple. Cambrian, Silurian, the like. Learning two hundred names for different geological periods is not an option, at least not for me. A numerical system would make more sense. The 5:5:3 notation for generations is a direct inheritor. As is the application of the chunking/drill-down of geological time onto the much shorter human history. 





  • ersi
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #18
Is just my computer or Oakdale is posting with invisible ink??  :lol:
Command-line webbrowsers can strip off all sorts of font face, font size, and colour formatting, so that people's posts become actually visible.

In old times, most browsers were easily capable of this. In IE 5 and 6 it was possible to set "ignore webpage fonts and colours". With some digging it is probably still possible in FF, but Seamonkey and Palemoon are better.

Chrome-likes are dumbing people down too much.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #19
I think back to my "blog" at MyOpera, where I combined my poetry with my photography... One reader -a pretty smart cookie- complained that one poem was too hard to read because its font too closely matched the background (the photo)! I suggested she simply highlight the text... Problem solved!
Not every " problem" requires a special "solution". Sometimes just remembering what the medium actually is is enough...:)
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #20
The school framework is used and it brought us to where we are, thus it is usable. And everybody who has given a thought to the matter understands that global interoperability cannot be had, as long as local cultures evolving at variant speeds are to be adequately described.

The global interoperability, providing an occasional synchronisation to connect the timelines of local cultures, archeological-philological evidence permitting, is the Western year-numbers BC/AD method. So all the necessary pieces in history education are already there.

Teaching history to children is pretty futile to begin with.
A general anti-educational attitude will definitely not help your cause.

It was the best available framework at the time. But it doesn't scale that well from "what happened in my village at my great grandmother's time" to 5000+ years of human endeavour.

Each our life-time adds about 2% to history (depending of the span of our lives and what we count as span of history). A child's conscious span is a tenth that. The first historical event I remember I was 4 and didn't really have a timeline until at least double that. To a child history is something that happens to other people, mostly the dead ones. Chronological stereopsis comes later, if at all. That is not a requirement for engaging with history, but it is part of the reason why we often don't.

I am no better at maths now than I was at my early 20s, I am probably significantly worse. But I do know a whole lot more history. That is pretty typical. We learn more, even much more, history after school than we did in school. I'd venture the guess that is the case most of you.

That is not «anti-educational», quite the opposite. Education should strive to instil an interest, even enthusiasm for, history, and give tools for acquiring an overview to learn more later in life. But data cramming in childhood is not optimal. We got a lifetime to fill in the blanks. A system like this gives us a frame on which to hang the new information.

A generational framing in turn is a tool for a much larger project:

A call for Big History

The chunks in my framework are completely arbitrary, but to which we can attach mnemonic labels as desired.
Also now the chunks are arbitrarily named (Middle Ages? Early Modern times? As times move on, these are bound to be renamed, so there should have been some deeper thought given to naming them in the first place). And the labels are mnemonic enough for teaching children. If the system is unusable to teach children, it is useless.

The current system is already in the spirit that you try to achieve, "Something is easier to remember if it has a name, even if a name is misleading. Names, just like the end points of generations, are arbitrary. In principle the names might be something like Alice and Bob, but hooks help." The current labels of eras are based on a messy, essentially arbitrary system of hooks to provide a reference point to the era, so we are already there.

There is a difference between a tag and a name. "The Middle Ages" isn't just a label, it is the name of a time period in Western Europe, with quibbles for its beginning, end, and geographic extent. The Middle Ages is a thing. A label is just a transient crutch, which can be personalised. If instead of "phone" you picked e.g. "US hegemony" or "the rise and fall of Japan" that's your prerogative.

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #21
I am no better at maths now than I was at my early 20s, I am probably significantly worse. But I do know a whole lot more history. That is pretty typical. We learn more, even much more, history after school than we did in school. I'd venture the guess that is the case most of you.
I'd posit I also learned vastly more history after school while I was in school, except probably while I was going to university.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #22
Except for some rare instances, what's history isn't hidden; not purposefully. (When that's not the case, technology and ingenuity soon defeat the intent of the hiders...: ) That is to say, we can "discover" almost anything that piques our interest!
Not -to be sure- with perfect fidelity. But as close as our budget allows.
Look at the work done by genealogists lately: Even sequenced DNA/RNA have come to play a role! And if our times are thrilling imagine how marvelous those of the next millenia will be...:)

Am I wrong in assuming that no one here accepts history based upon ideological strictures of interpretation?
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

  • Frenzie
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #23
I suppose that would depend on what you mean by ideological strictures. Epistomologically speaking I would have certain demands on method.

  • OakdaleFTL
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Re: What's Going on in Antiquity?
Reply #24
I mean things like: Presuming only economic/power relations are explanatory...that everything else is, at best, self-serving rationalization. ¿Claro?

I suspect methodological considerations don't vary widely among those not afflicted with ideological blinders... :)
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)