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Titana
2006-Jul-23, 07:47 PM
To you, which was the greatest ancient civilization? Which one do you think was the most important to the development of history? (although I know that each contributed to history in there own way) but, which one do you think was most important. Which one would you have liked to live in and why?


I really enjoy reading about ancient civilizations anything from Ancient Greece, Egypt, Incas, Aztecs, Mayans etc. My favorite though, would definitely have to be Egypt. I guess because of all the mystery that lies behind them. Also, I admire the intelligence and techniques they used in the construction of their Pyramids.



Titana

Gillianren
2006-Jul-23, 08:14 PM
I consider it to be pretty much a three-way tie between the Greeks, the Romans, and the Hebrews. (Most people forget that last, but after all, Western civilization did kind of adapt their religion, and look at how much influence that had on Western civilization.)

GDwarf
2006-Jul-23, 08:14 PM
Two of your criteria are mutually exclusive for me, I think that the Chinese had the greatest ancient civilization (Although Greece, Egypt and Rome come very close), but a relatively small effect on history, due to their isolationist policies.

As for why China was the best, essentially they had the most advanced technology for quite a period of time, until they decided that they no longer needed new ideas and shut up like an oyster. They chose a rather bad time to do this, as the Renaissance happened just a few years later.

A funny footnote: When ambassadors from various European nations came and tried to get them to give up their isolationist policies they'd always bring clocks as a sign of how amazing their technology was and how they thought the universe worked. Now, the Chinese used to have clocks, but by that point had largely forgotten how to make them, so they were regarded with interest. However, the Chinese saw them mostly as funny trinkets and didn't reverse their policies. This, apparently, didn't dissuade other people from Europe trying to convince them, and they all brought clocks to present to the emperor. As far as I can work out the Chinese court had to have thousands of clocks, I mean, they would have to employ people to simply keep them all wound.

Gillianren
2006-Jul-23, 08:15 PM
Right--mine really only answers the second question, since the first is really only answerable by opinion, unless a definition for "great" is provided.

Titana
2006-Jul-23, 10:28 PM
Right--mine really only answers the second question, since the first is really only answerable by opinion, unless a definition for "great" is provided.


Yes, basically, the first question would be based only on personal opinion. In other words which was the greatest to you or what civilization do you admire most.

Titana
2006-Jul-23, 10:33 PM
I consider it to be pretty much a three-way tie between the Greeks, the Romans, and the Hebrews. (Most people forget that last, but after all, Western civilization did kind of adapt their religion, and look at how much influence that had on Western civilization.)


True, when it comes to Greece vs Rome many people consider it a tough decision. Both were considered by many to be very complimentary in their contributions to Western Civilization.



Titana

Ronald Brak
2006-Jul-24, 02:09 AM
I'm afraid no ancient civilization would be much good to live in by our standards. Even if you were on or near the top, no matter how many slaves you had it wouldn't count for much during when Mr Cholera came to town. And even having a retinue of musicians on call couldn't provide as wide a variety of music as an ipod. Of course if the idea of having slaves appeals to you for some sick reason, you might think it would be worth it, but your chance of owning slaves instead of being one aren't good.

BigDon
2006-Jul-24, 07:16 AM
Thanks Ron, I like my civilization as well.

Had I been born a hundred years ago I wouldn't have made it out of my teens. Had a really bad burn when a half gallon of boiling water poured down the front of me, painkillers yay! Then a couple of years later I developed severe bacterial pneumonia, antibiotics! Yay! Screw the ipod!

Gillianren
2006-Jul-24, 08:50 AM
Yeah, no kidding. I spend some weekends pretending to be in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, but we leave out things like the Plague.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jul-24, 09:16 AM
I find modern people really have trouble understanding just how poor the average person was before the industrial revolution. About the most accurate movie portrayal of the conditions people lived under in the middle ages that I can think of is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Avatar28
2006-Jul-24, 11:33 AM
I find modern people really have trouble understanding just how poor the average person was before the industrial revolution. About the most accurate movie portrayal of the conditions people lived under in the middle ages that I can think of is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Which is really kind of sad in itself. I've actually seen a few others that protrayed it well, can't remember the names of them though. One I believe was The Navigator (http://imdb.com/title/tt0095709/maindetails). Don't ask me how it got this many stars, I thought it was a horrid movie. *shudder* I still feel disgusted at the time I spent watching it and that was 15 years ago. However I think it did protray the medieval period well from what I remember.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Jul-24, 12:08 PM
I'll take Cruel & Harsh Times To Live In for $500 Bob.

Gotta agree with those that wouldn't want to live in any time but now. For all it's weaknesses, there's no time like the present. I think if you plotted time on one axis and comfort level of the average person on the other, with the exception of maybe a couple small blips, you'd get a constantly increasing comfort level over time. For all the bashing done of the current state of society, I'll bet 99.99% of people would find trying to live even 3 or 4 generations ago positively intolerable.

In every respect I can think of, the ancient civilizations were very, . . . antiquated. Medicine, forget about it. Nutrition, average people were happy to get a meal, any meal. Education as we think of it, strictly for the elite. Entertainment, they couldn't get the cheapest dish Network package even if they had the money.

But seriously, even their "values" were barbaric. Human sacrifices were routine, death and war were sports, and they thought their leaders were gods. For anybody who thinks the ID'ers are tough to swallow, imagine what it must have been like to live under a ruler who thought they were divine.

The ancient "civilized" folks each got their turn, and no longer exist, for very good reasons. If society as practiced by the Romans was so great, they'd still be around. Nothing speaks like results.

GDwarf
2006-Jul-24, 02:30 PM
Oh, of course they were horrible to live in, but at the same time they're still fascinating, and did contribute to our culture, so the original questions still work.

Tinaa
2006-Jul-24, 03:11 PM
In most ancient (and some current) cultures women were considered chattel.

I would NOT have made a good Athenian/Roman/medieval/pioneer woman. I like my microwave, washing machine, AC, computer and car. I like voting, making and spending my own money and being master of my own life - as much as a mother CAN be her own master.

Those times would be interesting to visit but I wouldn't want to live there!

Titana
2006-Jul-24, 03:18 PM
Oh, of course they were horrible to live in, but at the same time they're still fascinating, and did contribute to our culture, so the original questions still work.


I agree, but I quess I will leave the last question out for obvious reasons.


We can stick to the first to questions.......:shifty:



Titana

BigDon
2006-Jul-24, 05:18 PM
In most ancient (and some current) cultures women were considered chattel.

Those times would be interesting to visit but I wouldn't want to live there!

Ma'am take a long look at the globe. Most of South America, almost all of Africa, up through the Middle East and then you get to Asia. That makes the places that don't consider woman chattel pretty small. Been there, done that, came back home. Shoot, in Nigeria the still put women to death for carrying twins. You only make one soul per pregnancy, if you have more than one child its considered an abomination.

V-GER
2006-Jul-24, 07:54 PM
Yeah, no kidding. I spend some weekends pretending to be in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, but we leave out things like the Plague.

I'm sure no one got burned at the stake either...

Lurker
2006-Jul-24, 08:06 PM
Yeah, no kidding. I spend some weekends pretending to be in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, but we leave out things like the Plague.

I'm sure no one got burned at the stake either...
Bold is mine... geeze... where't the fun in that?? :sad:

Gillianren
2006-Jul-24, 08:12 PM
I'm sure no one got burned at the stake either...

Some events I've been to have had stocks, though.

Jim
2006-Jul-24, 08:18 PM
The Celts.

mugaliens
2006-Jul-24, 08:47 PM
I'd have to give my nod to the Persians, centered in what is today modern Iraq. It was there the beginnings of most modern technologies were created, including building design/construction, writing, and farming techniques, not to mention animal husbandry. They developed working versions of the same technologies which served us well into the 19th century, with very few additions that had any lasting impression on society.

And if it be contemplated, I'm a white, Scottish/English/Irish/German descendant. So there! I just see things as they are.

hewhocaves
2006-Jul-25, 12:50 AM
Gotta agree with those that wouldn't want to live in any time but now. For all it's weaknesses, there's no time like the present.

(grin) along those lines, I'd much prefer to live a hundred years from now... no wait, a thousand.. no wait, ten thousand AD... the height of the New Roman Empire (lol... gotta love Doctor Who!)

Lurker
2006-Jul-25, 02:01 AM
I'd have to give my nod to the Persians, centered in what is today modern Iraq. It was there the beginnings of most modern technologies were created, including building design/construction, writing, and farming techniques, not to mention animal husbandry. They developed working versions of the same technologies which served us well into the 19th century, with very few additions that had any lasting impression on society.

And if it be contemplated, I'm a white, Scottish/English/Irish/German descendant. So there! I just see things as they are.

I have always had a soft spot for Persians...

Strider1974
2006-Jul-25, 03:52 AM
Anyone else seen Terry Jones's Barbarians?

I would have liked to live with the Celts or the Greeks of Syracuse.

ASEI
2006-Jul-25, 10:10 AM
I find modern people really have trouble understanding just how poor the average person was before the industrial revolution. About the most accurate movie portrayal of the conditions people lived under in the middle ages that I can think of is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I understand just fine, and am extremely greatful to live in the civilized modern world. And I hope my great grandchildren will live in yet a more civilized, more modern world, and so on.

But as to this topic, I wonder what it is that drives people to so absurdly idealize the past. (I'm talking about serious idealization, not for fun, like with fantasy/Tolkien settings) I replied to some post the other day blathering about how hunter-gatherer societies were culturally and spiritually richer than 'civilized' societies (with scare quotes). Hard to wrap my mind around. It's always some "richer" "organic" (rank/strictly heirarchial?) society of ages past that's looked to as morally superior to our depraved age (where the poor don't starve to death, in fact obesity is considered a common health problem!)

PS. In terms of what ancient society I would like to live in - does the Venetian Republic count as ancient enough?

Ronald Brak
2006-Jul-25, 10:25 AM
I replied to some post the other day blathering about how hunter-gatherer societies were culturally and spiritually richer than 'civilized' societies (with scare quotes). Hard to wrap my mind around.

Well I can sort of get this. They had no science so spirits were the moving force behind pretty much everything so life was more spiritual. For example if someone falls out of tree we say it because he slipped and gravity took over. For hunter gatherers the explanation would often be an evil spirit or someone put a spell on them. Of course why anyone would think this is a good thing is beyond me. The Spanish Inquisition is a good example of where this sort of thinking leads.

As for culturally richer, I would say more culturally dependant. As a hunter/gatherer your culture will have been honed by vicious attrition to promote survival. In modern society we have the resources to do our own thing without worrying too much about what others think. A hunter-gatherer often couldn't afford to lose the support of their group as it could mean death to do so and would keep a complex web of relationships and obligations in their head as these relationships could mean the difference between life and death, whereas if I don't happen to like my cousins I can safely ignore them as we never depend on each other for survival.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jul-25, 10:36 AM
But as to this topic, I wonder what it is that drives people to so absurdly idealize the past.

Some people care a lot about social dominance. Although as a white male I am vastly richer than almost all white males in history, I can no longer keep slaves, I am no longer considered racially superior to others, I am no longer considered superior due to my sex, I am no longer allowed to beat up my children or wife. Improvements in equality and democracy and destruction of class barriers mean that people no longer show the deference to the rich they used to. If anyone these things are important to you it is possible to construct an emotional arguement that life was better back in the old days. Personally I think these sorts of arguements are as hollow as a drained out coconut, but it doesn't stop a lot of people from making them and trying to convince others. Then of top of that there is plain ignorance which is often exploited by people argueing about the beauty of the past.

And the neat thing is that people who are interested in equality can idealise the past as a time when everybody worked together and there was real "community spirit". I guess there is something for everyone in distorting history.


Anyway, getting back on topic, I just read that Ancient Egyptians were only about 4 centimeters shorter than modern Europeans, which isn't bad compared to medieval Europe and suggests that common people in Egypt weren't too malnourished, so maybe Ancient Egypt wasn't so bad compared to some other civilizations.

Gillianren
2006-Jul-25, 10:43 AM
And they could perform brain surgery!

No, if I had to live in a past civilization, I'd choose Elizabethan England. Sure, I'd be considered chattel, but I probably wouldn't have been burned at the stake for my mental illness, and I could've seen Shakespeare act.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Jul-25, 12:02 PM
I can no longer keep slaves, I am no longer considered racially superior to others, I am no longer considered superior due to my sex, I am no longer allowed to beat up my children or wife.

You could always move to a certain location and take up a certain belief system that allows these things (except maybe the slavery).

V-GER
2006-Jul-25, 12:35 PM
You could always move to a certain location and take up a certain belief system that allows these things (except maybe the slavery).

Certain belief system also allows slavery in certain places.

yuzuha
2006-Jul-25, 01:25 PM
I think I'll put in a vote for the Minoans.

LurchGS
2006-Jul-26, 02:29 AM
I'd have to give my nod to the Persians, centered in what is today modern Iraq. It was there the beginnings of most modern technologies were created, including building design/construction, writing, and farming techniques, not to mention animal husbandry. They developed working versions of the same technologies which served us well into the 19th century, with very few additions that had any lasting impression on society..

yay! I'm not alone in this. On top of all that, they also instituted a system of fair and equitable taxation...or.. take a look at their quanat system. Darn fine engineers, they were!

BigDon
2006-Jul-26, 08:22 AM
I think I'll put in a vote for the Minoans.

You can't fool me! You just like the women's style of dress! :dance:

Gillianren
2006-Jul-26, 07:53 PM
Uck. It must've been so uncomfortable for larger-breasted women. I've always been grateful for the invention of the bra.

Careless
2006-Jul-27, 01:56 AM
I'd have to give my nod to the Persians, centered in what is today modern Iraq. It was there the beginnings of most modern technologies were created, including building design/construction, writing, and farming techniques, not to mention animal husbandry. They developed working versions of the same technologies which served us well into the 19th century, with very few additions that had any lasting impression on society.

And if it be contemplated, I'm a white, Scottish/English/Irish/German descendant. So there! I just see things as they are.
It doesn't sound like you're thinking of Persia. Persia is farther East of Iraq, though the Iraq area was pretty much the first thing they conquered. Also, Persia as an empire didn't exist until after these technologies had been invented.
I've got to go with Greece over China, given the importance of Greeks to Roman development

Jens
2006-Jul-27, 02:08 AM
It's interesting, because my initial answer would be that there were four great ancient civilizations: China, Harappan, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. And Central and South America might be added, though I think it's difficult to define it as a single civilization. What's interesting is that Greece and Rome didn't even occur to me. Sure, they had an enormous influence on Western civilization.

yuzuha
2006-Jul-27, 02:23 AM
You can't fool me! You just like the women's style of dress! :dance:

Um, I do like the style of dress, but I think I'd wear a shawl over that, thank you! :D

BigDon
2006-Jul-27, 03:22 AM
Sorry, Yuzuha, I made a gender assumtion! :doh:

Lurker
2006-Jul-27, 03:23 AM
The greatest of all ancient civilizations has to be...


the stonecutters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonecutters)
:shifty:

SolusLupus
2006-Jul-27, 04:06 AM
Urgh... I'm tired of hearing about The Stonecutters. The joke was cute at first, but now it's getting just plain plumb annoying. The horse is dead, Jim!

Anyways, my hat's off to Poland, before WWI (when it got all religiosity-ified!). You can't be a society that was pretty much religiously "free" at the time of the Crusades... and they fought hard for their way of life.

They also didn't judge people based on race... if you were from Poland, you were Polish. I just like how they persevered at that time period... like an oasis in the middle of Mercury.

sarongsong
2006-Jul-27, 06:53 AM
Phoenicians (http://home.cfl.rr.com/crossland/AncientCivilizations/Middle_East_Civilizations/Phoenicians/phoenicians.html) were pretty sharp.

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Jul-27, 09:29 AM
Other than the Chinese ....

The civilisation that the Romans eradicated, Cartheginian I think it's called.

TriangleMan
2006-Jul-27, 11:05 AM
It's interesting, because my initial answer would be that there were four great ancient civilizations: China, Harappan, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. And Central and South America might be added, though I think it's difficult to define it as a single civilization. What's interesting is that Greece and Rome didn't even occur to me.
As a Canadian I find your view unusual but refreshing. When I was in school (admittidly a good number of years ago) ancient history was always Egyptians -> Greeks -> Romans. If I just went with what school taught me I would never have known that there were civilizations in China, Mesopotamia and India back then. China tended to get its first mention when Marco Polo visited it, India during the Age of Exploration, Central America when the Spanish found it.

Hopefully things have changed now but the 'Eurocentric' history focus when I was in school got on my nerves. Glad to hear not everyone went through that.

GDwarf
2006-Jul-27, 01:03 PM
As a Canadian I find your view unusual but refreshing. When I was in school (admittidly a good number of years ago) ancient history was always Egyptians -> Greeks -> Romans. If I just went with what school taught me I would never have known that there were civilizations in China, Mesopotamia and India back then. China tended to get its first mention when Marco Polo visited it, India during the Age of Exploration, Central America when the Spanish found it.

Hopefully things have changed now but the 'Eurocentric' history focus when I was in school got on my nerves. Glad to hear not everyone went through that.
How it works now, at least in Ontario, is that the mandatory history courses in elementary school and Grade 10 cover the history of Canada. You then have the option of taking the 'ancient civ.' course, which goes:
Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Ancient China, Ancient Japan.
You can then take another history course that picks up where that one leaves off.

yuzuha
2006-Jul-27, 01:43 PM
Other than the Chinese ....

The civilisation that the Romans eradicated, Cartheginian I think it's called.

They or the Etruscans.

BigDon
2006-Jul-27, 05:16 PM
Hey! The Etruscans started it!

mugaliens
2006-Jul-27, 07:15 PM
I'd have to say it was the ancient peoples of Persia, the Sumarians, and those that followed, for they're credited with the beginnings of written language, mathematics, engineering, etc.

Jim
2006-Jul-27, 08:50 PM
Yeah, right, blame it on the Sumerians.

Eric Vaxxine
2006-Jul-27, 10:24 PM
They or the Etruscans.

Were they the ones that lived in what is now Tunisia?

BigDon
2006-Jul-27, 10:28 PM
The Etruscans were the next tribe over in the early days.

ASEI
2006-Jul-28, 12:52 AM
Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Ancient China, Ancient Japan. I'll take one of each, without the homework, please! Just give me 10 more hours in the day. I've always thought ancient history was interesting. The more complicated and accomplished a society, the better. Too bad I couldn't take anything on the far east. (Rocket science really cuts into your gen-ed time).

PS. Doesn't mean I would rather live anywhere else but in the modern civilized world, where our food supplies are regular, abundant, and clean; as our our cities and water; and the doctors can actually help relieve you of pain, rather than merely of limbs!

Titana
2006-Jul-28, 05:19 AM
Were they the ones that lived in what is now Tunisia?


Wouldn't that be the Phonecians?



Titana

yuzuha
2006-Jul-28, 05:26 AM
Were they the ones that lived in what is now Tunisia?

Tuscany... taught the little Roman backwater a few miles S of them everything they knew.

ASEI
2006-Jul-28, 11:03 AM
Phoenicians were pretty sharp.

Didn't their religion require child sacrifice or something?

V-GER
2006-Jul-28, 12:05 PM
Didn't their religion require child sacrifice or something?

Not sure about Phoenicians in general but Carthagenians did sacrife their children. Romans too had a habit of killing their offspring but I think it was more to do with "family management." After all there were no birth control measures at the time(were there?)

yuzuha wrote:

Tuscany... taught the little Roman backwater a few miles S of them everything they knew.

The little backwater was obviously a better student the Etruscians had anticipated.

(edited to correct spelling)

SolusLupus
2006-Jul-28, 12:19 PM
Not sure about Phoenicians in general but Carthagenians did sacrife their children. Romans too had a habit of killing their offspring but I think it was more to do with "family management." After all there were no bith control measures at the time(were there?)

I wouldn't be surprised if they developed some, what with how they were the ones that found out about C-Sections (I think?)

Titana
2006-Jul-28, 01:38 PM
Didn't their religion require child sacrifice or something?



They were not the only one's.



Titana

Gillianren
2006-Jul-28, 06:40 PM
After all there were no birth control measures at the time(were there?)

No effective ones. Oh, they'd plenty of ideas (some sounding either really gross or very uncomfortable), but yes, Roman birth control was pretty similar to infanticide.

As to C-sections, contrary to popular belief, there were no Caesarian sections performed in the era of the Caesars wherein the mother survived. Medicine was just too primitive. Heck, 100 years ago, it was pretty much even odds as to whether the woman would survive or not.

sarongsong
2006-Jul-29, 05:23 AM
Didn't their religion require child sacrifice or something?Not unless you have evidence, or something:
...any source other than texts written by Phoenicians can not be solely relied upon and are secondary (Freedman, 358)...Phoenicians used both floral and animal sacrifices. Animal offerings included bulls, sheep, oxen, deer, and goats. Doves and pigeons seemed to be the popular birds to sacrifice. The floral sacrifices would often include offerings of cereal grain and plant derivatives such as oil... PlanetPapers (http://www.planetpapers.com/Assets/979.php)

BigDon
2006-Jul-29, 06:26 AM
Not sure about Phoenicians in general but Carthagenians did sacrife their children. Romans too had a habit of killing their offspring but I think it was more to do with "family management." After all there were no birth control measures at the time(were there?)

The Romans had a plant that was an effective birth control method, but was so popular it was driven extinct by the early AD's. They also invented the sheep gut condom and used the sponge as well. And "alternative forms" of love making were commonly used and grounds for divorce if the wife refused. (Colledge human sexuality course. I got a "A".)

Jens
2006-Jul-29, 01:28 PM
As to C-sections, contrary to popular belief, there were no Caesarian sections performed in the era of the Caesars wherein the mother survived. Medicine was just too primitive. Heck, 100 years ago, it was pretty much even odds as to whether the woman would survive or not.

I'd be careful about these assumptions, though. We know that many thousands of years ago, people performed trepanations (surgery on the skull to relieve swelling in the brain) successfully. But 100 years ago, it wasn't done because of the very high mortality.

This is something from Wikipedia, and so its truth must naturally be questioned, but for what it's worth: "European travelers in the Great Lakes region of Africa during the 19th century observed caeserean sections being performed on a regular basis. The expectant mother was normally anesthetized with alcohol and herbal mixtures were used to encourage healing. From the well-developed nature of the procedures employed, European observers concluded that they had been employed for some time."

I'm speculating somewhat, but if you think about it, what would be a difference between trepanation and c-section? Simply, trepanation leaves undeniable evidence, and you will find that evidence when digging up skeletons. But c-section doesn't, and so even if it was done in the past, we would never know it in the absence of written records. So it's difficult to judge. With trepanation, we do know with absolute certainty that ancient surgeons successfully performed surgeries that are not trivial.

afterburner
2006-Jul-29, 03:20 PM
I would like to live in the Inca Empire, or perhaps somehwere North America (maybe as a Myan or Native American) BEFORE the arrival of the Spanish. I dont think they had many diseases, and life seemed pretty laid back, except for the occasional human sacrifice. :sad: . I think that the Incas dfinitely had potential to become a great civilization...If only Europeans were not so greedy and barbaric...:think:

Gillianren
2006-Jul-29, 07:46 PM
I'd be careful about these assumptions, though. We know that many thousands of years ago, people performed trepanations (surgery on the skull to relieve swelling in the brain) successfully. But 100 years ago, it wasn't done because of the very high mortality.

This is something from Wikipedia, and so its truth must naturally be questioned, but for what it's worth: "European travelers in the Great Lakes region of Africa during the 19th century observed caeserean sections being performed on a regular basis. The expectant mother was normally anesthetized with alcohol and herbal mixtures were used to encourage healing. From the well-developed nature of the procedures employed, European observers concluded that they had been employed for some time."

I'm speculating somewhat, but if you think about it, what would be a difference between trepanation and c-section? Simply, trepanation leaves undeniable evidence, and you will find that evidence when digging up skeletons. But c-section doesn't, and so even if it was done in the past, we would never know it in the absence of written records. So it's difficult to judge. With trepanation, we do know with absolute certainty that ancient surgeons successfully performed surgeries that are not trivial.

There's another major difference between trepanation and c-section, you know. The number of layers of tissue that have to be sewn independently in order for the operation to be concluded successfully. After all, you can't just sew all the layers together in one big stitch. The uterus must be stitched separately. This means far more chances for infection.

What's more, there's a heck of a lot of blood vessels around the uterus. True, there are in the head as well, but trepanation requires a far smaller cut. I mean, since the pain of childbirth is in no small part caused by the size difference between a fully-dilated cervix/vaginal canal (10 cm) and a child's head and shoulders (I'm not sure, but bigger--and my daughter's head didn't change shape like it's supposed to), there's no way a trepanning-sized hole would be remotely sufficient.

No, despite its relation to the brain, trepanning is actually simpler surgery.

Edit: Besides, the historical record shows that the first successful (ie, both mother and child survived) c-section in Western history was performed by a pig-gelder in (as I recall) the 16th century.

Van Rijn
2006-Jul-29, 11:12 PM
I'd be careful about these assumptions, though. We know that many thousands of years ago, people performed trepanations (surgery on the skull to relieve swelling in the brain) successfully. But 100 years ago, it wasn't done because of the very high mortality.


Do we have any solid evidence on the survival rate thousands of years ago? Just because it was done doesn't mean there was a high survival rate.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jul-30, 04:11 AM
I'd be careful about these assumptions, though. We know that many thousands of years ago, people performed trepanations (surgery on the skull to relieve swelling in the brain) successfully. But 100 years ago, it wasn't done because of the very high mortality

Umm, well, we drill holes in people's heads today in order to relieve pressure, but generally in the past it was done for such reasons as letting evil spirits out. So I wouldn't say they were successful trepanations, even though people could manage to survive. I would say they were unneccesary trepanations.

Jens
2006-Jul-30, 12:18 PM
Do we have any solid evidence on the survival rate thousands of years ago? Just because it was done doesn't mean there was a high survival rate.

It would be fairly difficut to do. Obviously, the best solution would be to go back to the August BC 4000 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, which had an excellent review of the subject, but unfortunately there are no copies left. :shifty:

The only real way we could approach it would be to look at the number of failed trepanations compared to successful ones. It's fairly easy to tell, because in the unsuccessful cases there would be no bone regrowth. I'm not aware of any study dealing with that, but if it exists I'm sure it could be useful. Obviously, there could be problems even then, because there could be complicating factors, like perhaps the people most likely to be buried in good circumstances would also be more likely to get a successful trepanation, etc.

HenrikOlsen
2006-Jul-30, 01:47 PM
Umm, well, we drill holes in people's heads today in order to relieve pressure, but generally in the past it was done for such reasons as letting evil spirits out. So I wouldn't say they were successful trepanations, even though people could manage to survive. I would say they were unneccesary trepanations.
How would you know?
When all you have as evidence is a skull with an obviously artificial healed hole in it, you know you have a successful trepanation but you have no idea why it was done.

Ronald Brak
2006-Jul-30, 02:36 PM
How would you know?
When all you have as evidence is a skull with an obviously artificial healed hole in it, you know you have a successful trepanation but you have no idea why it was done.

People wrote down why they performed trepanation in the middle ages and it wasn't done for what we would consider sound medical reasons. I don't know what the Egyptian medicine scrolls say about it, but I doubt they applied it in cases where we would use it today. Since there is no real way for them to know where brain tumours etc would be located it would only have been of use in emergancy cases of high intra cranial pressure and I don't know how they would have dectected this pressure. I suppose it would have been possible for them to shine a light into the eye to see if the optic nerve attachment was swollen, or they might have just put a hole in the skull of everyone who took a severe blow to the head and didn't regain consciousness. But we don't have evidence of a scientific method that would have let them evaluate the benefits of putting a hole in someone's head.

Titana
2006-Jul-30, 04:16 PM
Do we have any solid evidence on the survival rate thousands of years ago? Just because it was done doesn't mean there was a high survival rate.


Here (http://www.trepan.com/survey.html) is one interesting article. It is very complete information on Prehistoric and Early historic trepanation includes:

Motives of trepanation

Surgical procedure

Repair and survival....etc.

According to this article the survival rate proved to be remarkably high.


Titana

Titana
2006-Jul-30, 04:54 PM
The Romans had a plant that was an effective birth control method, but was so popular it was driven extinct by the early AD's. They also invented the sheep gut condom and used the sponge as well. And "alternative forms" of love making were commonly used and grounds for divorce if the wife refused. (Colledge human sexuality course. I got a "A".)


Also the Egyptian woman were known to use honey and natron as a contraceptive method. They also devised the first known pregnancy test. They moistened a small sample of barley and wheat each day. If the barley grew, the child would be a male. If wheat grew, the child was a female. If neither wheat nor barley grew, then it meant the woman wasn’t pregnant.



Titana

Ilya
2006-Jul-30, 05:42 PM
I'm sure no one got burned at the stake either...Bold is mine... geeze... where't the fun in that?? :sad:
I agree, burning at the stake is not much fun. Impalement is far more entertaining. Gladiatorial combat even more so.

Gillianren
2006-Jul-30, 06:38 PM
Also the Egyptian woman were known to use honey and natron as a contraceptive method. They also devised the first known pregnancy test. They moistened a small sample of barley and wheat each day. If the barley grew, the child would be a male. If wheat grew, the child was a female. If neither wheat nor barley grew, then it meant the woman wasn’t pregnant.

Do we know if it's a successful pregnancy test? We also know, for example, that quite a lot of primitive contraceptive devices didn't work--including pretty much all of the ones used by the Egyptians and the Romans.

ASEI
2006-Jul-30, 07:03 PM
Right. Most of this medicine seems like superstitious woo-woo to me.

It doesn't matter if they cut into people as part of their rituals. To be medicine, these people have to know what they're doing. They have to be doing it with some sort of purpose, according to some sort of knowledge based on how the body actually works. Otherwise, any positive result from their traditions is merely accidental.

The Romans cutting off limbs to prevent infection and death is medicine. The egyptians moistening barley to tell if a child is a boy/girl is superstition/magic.

Titana
2006-Jul-30, 07:39 PM
Well yes, Modern science has shown a fair degree of accuracy in the pregnancy aspect of the test but none in the sex-determination aspect.)

And according to original scripts the test was reliable in 25% of cases.

As for the contraceptive methods, I have not come across any article stating how sucessful they were. But, don't think anyone would really like to test them either, especially the crocodile dung method.....






Titana

yuzuha
2006-Jul-30, 07:49 PM
I wouldn't sell those old cures short... the Egyptians got a lot of practical medicine from occupational injuries (building those temples and pyramids). They got pretty good at setting bones and fixing wounds. Honey, as mentioned in one of the ancient medical papari, actually does make an antiseptic and protective coating for wounds (bees and ants evolved to secrete germicidal chemicals on their bodies to keep diseases from wiping out entire colonies). Garlic is also antiseptic and both it and onion will help purge the body of heavy metals (these were peasant foods in ancient Rome.... ever wonder why the common people seemed to do okay while the nobilty was "off in the head," what with all the lead pipe and high lead levels in wine... they even used lead salts as a flavoring agent in sauces). Spider web made a good wound filler... the little fibers created a connective network for the platelets to bond to and stop bleeding. If I remember correctly, the Egyptians also used crocodile dung in their contraceptives (the bile is supposed to be poisonous and was used in Chinese medicine for asthma).

There is usually some basis behind a lot of those old folk remedies other than simple superstition.

ASEI
2006-Jul-30, 10:30 PM
And according to original scripts the test was reliable in 25% of cases.


So it was wrong statistically more often than random guessing would be? (50/50)? Lol! My point exactly! (Though how they managed to be wrong with greater accuracy than they should is curious.)

Jens
2006-Jul-31, 01:42 AM
It doesn't matter if they cut into people as part of their rituals. To be medicine, these people have to know what they're doing. They have to be doing it with some sort of purpose, according to some sort of knowledge based on how the body actually works. Otherwise, any positive result from their traditions is merely accidental.


I don't agree. What you really have in cases like the Romans cutting off limbs is a sort of long, not very well controlled clinical trial carried over a long period of time, but in the end it's still a clinical trial. People figured out that chopping off the limb had a beneficial effect (higher survival), and it was incorporated into their medicine. There are a lot of things that we know work, but even today (or at least until recently) don't know exactly why they work.

A good example is salicylic acid. Apparently, Hippocrates prescribed the bark and leaves of the willow tree as a painkiller back in BC. And then based on experiments, the substance was rediscovered, isolated and found to be a good painkiller, in 1887. But the mechanism wasn't known at all, and it was only in the 1970s that people started to understand the mechanism involved (through prostaglandins). And even today, we can't really say the mechanism is 100% understood.

In many cases, I think that things come to be understood because something works, and only later do people come to understand the mechanisms involved.

Now, I'm not arguing that the ancients were on the same level as us, just that we can't just assume a priori that they were backward in all areas. A lot of ancient civilizations, like Harappan civilization, had very advanced water and sewage facilities.

Monique
2006-Jul-31, 04:09 AM
The French!! Of course!! ;)

Jens
2006-Jul-31, 05:24 AM
The French!! Of course!! ;)

I guess you mean Asterix and Obelix. :D

sarongsong
2006-Jul-31, 10:38 AM
...and is she old enough? http://www.bautforum.com/images/icons/icon12.gif
...the ancient civilizations is the years 4,000 B.C. to 500 A.D. What distinguishes the period of ancient history from the Prehistoric Period is the development of writing... Ancient Civilizations (http://home.cfl.rr.com/crossland/AncientCivilizations/ancientcivilizations.htm)

HenrikOlsen
2006-Jul-31, 01:40 PM
A good example is salicylic acid. Apparently, Hippocrates prescribed the bark and leaves of the willow tree as a painkiller back in BC. And then based on experiments, the substance was rediscovered, isolated and found to be a good painkiller, in 1887. But the mechanism wasn't known at all, and it was only in the 1970s that people started to understand the mechanism involved (through prostaglandins). And even today, we can't really say the mechanism is 100% understood.
The discovery in 1887 can't have been the isolation of salicin (the active ingredient in willowbark extract), which was isolated in 1828, and already then modified to salicylic acid.
I think you're thinking of the synthesization of acetylsalicylic acid, which happened in 1897.

This is actually one of those stories which at first hand does seem to bolster the idea that natural medicine is the way to go, but when you dig deeper you find that it is actually nonnatural medicine, inspired by a naturally available substance, but resulting in something that no plant produces.
Yes it's a good example, but it's a good example of what chemical research can produce, not one of "there's all these wonderful cures out there that the ancients have known about since the dawnatime and those science guys are just too stupid to realise that."

Note that I'm definitely not trying to insinuate that you think that way, just that that's the lesson lots of people apparently got from the willowbark->aspirin story, instead of the "ancient people could observe and occationally get correct results as well" lesson you're looking for.

Jens
2006-Jul-31, 02:31 PM
Note that I'm definitely not trying to insinuate that you think that way, just that that's the lesson lots of people apparently got from the willowbark->aspirin story, instead of the "ancient people could observe and occationally get correct results as well" lesson you're looking for.

Sure, I understand what you're saying, and I was certainly somewhat mistaken in my description. And I wasn't trying to say that the ancients knew everything, and that we are just rediscovering it. I think you basically understand my position, which is not that the ancients were just as advanced as we are, but rather that we can't simply assume that they were totally ignorant of everything. They did have some knowledge. In any case, it doesn't change the main point that I was trying to make, however, which is that the mechanism (i.e. prostaglandins, etc.) wasn't really understood until the 1970s. So there was a compound, and chemists understood that it worked, but they really couldn't explain exactly why it worked. I think this is basically correct.

Ozzy
2006-Jul-31, 02:50 PM
However, it was not until the second century of the Christian era that the tone was really set by Galen (Claudius Galenus in Latin, Klaudios Galenos in Greek), who was born on 22 September 131 in Pergamum, Asia Minor, and died in Rome in 201.

This Greco-Roman doctor, pharmacist and philosopher produced around five hundred books and treatises and was unquestionably the leading scientist of his day. Galen wrote on all aspects of medical science, his books on medicine and anatomy, shaping medical thinking throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. The word "galenic" is still used to describe drugs and medicaments made directly from vegetable or animal ingredients (known as "simplicia") using prescribed methods.
http://www.home.gil.com.au/~bpittman/galen/materia.html

He also invented many surgical instruments and was able to flip the corneas of cataract patients. He learnt anatomy in Egypt because post mortem disection was illegal in Rome.

Ozzy
2006-Jul-31, 02:51 PM
Hey!

I'm a senior member!

Do I get any fly buys?

Sam5
2006-Jul-31, 04:04 PM
I would like to live in the Inca Empire, or perhaps somehwere North America (maybe as a Myan or Native American) BEFORE the arrival of the Spanish. I dont think they had many diseases, and life seemed pretty laid back, except for the occasional human sacrifice. :sad: . I think that the Incas dfinitely had potential to become a great civilization...If only Europeans were not so greedy and barbaric...:think:

Just about everything you said is a myth.

Celestial Mechanic
2006-Jul-31, 05:54 PM
I would like to live in the Inca Empire, or perhaps somehwere North America (maybe as a Mayan or Native American) BEFORE the arrival of the Spanish. I don't think they had many diseases, and life seemed pretty laid back, except for the occasional human sacrifice. I think that the Incas definitely had potential to become a great civilization, if only Europeans were not so greedy and barbaric.Just about everything you said is a myth.
You are right, Sam5. About the only thing afterburner said that was not a myth was that people of the New World did not have many diseases. More people were slain by Old World diseases such as influenza, scarlet fever, cholera, typhoid, malaria, etc. than by conquistadors' swords. Many groups in North America were decimated by disease long before the arrival of the first white men in their communities.

As for being "laid back", I'm sorry to have to inform you, afterburner, life in the 15th century was not "laid back" for anybody except those in power (and not all that "laid back" even for them).

As for "the occasional human sacrifice", there are records of hundreds and even thousands being sacrificed at a time at the principal sites of Aztec civilization. Most of the sacrificial victims were prisoners of the endless wars whose main purpose was, well, to provide more sacrifices. If not for the intervention of the conquistadors Aztec civilization might very well have collapsed in a century or two at the next major drought, the way Mayan civilization did.

Inca civilization a potentially great civilization? Maybe, but without writing how would anyone in the future know? A handful of moldy quipus doesn't cut it.

And finally, afterburner wrote: "if only Europeans were not so greedy and barbaric." Europeans were not any more greedy and barbaric than anybody else at the time--they just had better transportation and weapons. This should be a warning to us even now.

Doodler
2006-Jul-31, 06:55 PM
I think the Romans or the Mongols were probably the most impressive, attaining the #1 and #2 largest empires in history. The Romans giving rise to the more powerful nations of the modern era.

Surprised no one's mentioned the Egyptians.

Doodler
2006-Jul-31, 07:06 PM
You are right, Sam5. About the only thing afterburner said that was not a myth was that people of the New World did not have many diseases. More people were slain by Old World diseases such as influenza, scarlet fever, cholera, typhoid, malaria, etc. than by conquistadors' swords. Many groups in North America were decimated by disease long before the arrival of the first white men in their communities.


Seems there was a powerful counterattack of sorts from the New World natives.

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

The major decimation of the New World by disease had more to do with the fact that the carriers were coming to the New World and introducing the diseases into the heart of the native population centers which were never previously exposed, and those bringing diseases back from the New World were pretty easy to isolate, since signs of infection would show up long before they were introduced back into the greater native population of Europe.

Even so, I bet a few did manage to slip back across the Atlantic, I just haven't stumbled onto information on them.

I'm sure had New World natives arrived in Europe, that syphilis would likely have become extremely widespread.

Gillianren
2006-Jul-31, 07:23 PM
Hey!

I'm a senior member!

Do I get any fly buys?

You can buy all the flies you want!

Regarding syphillis, there's apparently some debate as to whether it's really a New World disease or not. There's some historical evidence that suggests it wasn't. (I think I saw it on Nova, but definitely PBS.) Even if it is, however, it's slow-acting enough that it doesn't remotely compare to smallpox or measles, which I believe were the two most destructive diseases to be brought to the New World.

Sam5
2006-Jul-31, 08:23 PM
Even so, I bet a few did manage to slip back across the Atlantic, I just haven't stumbled onto information on them.

They did, but in the old days, 400 years ago, people didn’t know how to isolate and identify the separate diseases or to trace their places of origin, especially similar diseases, and by the time 19th and 20th Century modern medicine came along, all the diseases of Europe, Africa, the Western Hemisphere, and the Orient had been pretty well mixed and spread around the world. They certainly had bacteria, viruses, and other diseases in the Western Hemisphere before Columbus.

But if you look at a world population chart, you’ll see that the big world population growth began to start during the great European “exploration” period of the 1600-1900s, aided by European technology. Now we’ve got so many people on earth, we don’t know what to do with them. The Navajos tribal population never exceeded about 8,000 for thousands of years before the Europeans came out West. After the big 19th Century Western migration of the Europeans, now the Navajos number up around 350,000. Same with the Apaches, historically only around 6,000 of them. Now there are 100,000 or more.

Many of the Eastern US tribes gradually inter-married themselves out of existence as distinct autonomous tribes. There was a vast amount of inter-marrying with Europeans in the 18th and 19th Centuries. I’m part Cherokee, for example.

Mexico City used to have a population of a couple of hundred thousand people. Now it’s more than 20 million. There was so much European/Indian mixing in Latin America, a whole new race emerged.... the “Hispanics”.

I’ve been to Yucatan, Campeche, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.... Indians all over the place. Millions and millions of them, with the Indians living mainly in rural areas and the “Hispanic” mixes living in and near the cities.

Celestial Mechanic
2006-Jul-31, 08:28 PM
Regarding syphillis, there's apparently some debate as to whether it's really a New World disease or not. [Snip!] it doesn't remotely compare to smallpox or measles, which I believe were the two most destructive diseases to be brought to the New World.
Thank you! I'd forgotten about those two! So for those keeping score, we have:

Old World diseases brought to the New World: at least seven (scarlet fever, influenza, typhoid, malaria, measles, smallpox, cholera).
New World diseases brought to the Old World: one (syphilis), maybe.

Sam5
2006-Jul-31, 08:32 PM
Thank you! I'd forgotten about those two! So for those keeping score, we have:

Old World diseases brought to the New World: at least seven (scarlet fever, influenza, typhoid, malaria, measles, smallpox, cholera).
New World diseases brought to the Old World: one (syphilis), maybe.

Do you think that in 1492 Africa, the Orient, and the Western Hemisphere were free of bacteria and viruses? Only that little area of the world called "Europe" had “diseases”?

Gillianren
2006-Jul-31, 08:47 PM
While it is true that there were almost certainly diseases endemic to the New World, it is a documented historical fact that the native population of the New World suffered far more from imported diseases than the conquering population suffered from native ones. Entire tribes were wiped out before their first encounter with Europeans because the viruses moved faster than the conquerors. (Through people from other tribes trying to get away from either the disease or those who brought it.)

What's more, no one knows for sure what the pre-Columbian population of any native group was, simply because they themselves did not conduct censuses. It is fairly certain that Mexico City was one of the largest cities in the world at the time of the Spanish invasion. However, its exact population was not known until after war and disease had wiped out a fair amount of the city.

Given the era, I think we may safely add bubonic plague to the diseases brought to the New World, though we may also be sure that it didn't wipe out as many people in the Americas as it did in Europe.

Also note, Sam5, that Africa and "the Orient" (you know, Asia) are considered Old World as well. The diseases that struck Europe struck both of those as well; the Black Death is well documented to have spread westward from Asia. There are, however, isolated groups in Africa whose encounter with outsiders has been responsible for certain diseases (think Ebola) striking a wider population.

Sam5
2006-Jul-31, 09:20 PM
Every part of the world had their native indigenous diseases and epidemics for thousands of years. The diseases were spread around by boat travel and eventually by airplane travel and were worse where people gathered in large population centers. There are far more Indians in the Western Hemisphere now than when Columbus arrived.

See:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521801672/002-4938881-3601630?v=glance&n=283155

Sam5
2006-Jul-31, 09:39 PM
Quote:

“The least healthy people in the study were from the urban cultures of Mexico and Central America, notably where the Maya civilization flourished presumably at great cost to life and limb, and the Zuni of New Mexico. The Zuni lived at a 400-year-old site, Hawikku, a crowded, drought-prone farming pueblo that presumably met its demise before European settlers made contact.

It was their hard lot, Dr. Rose said, to be farmers "on the boundaries of sustainable environments."

"Pre-Columbian populations were among the healthiest and the least healthy in our sample," Dr. Steckel and Dr. Rose said. "While pre-Columbian natives may have lived in a disease environment substantially different from that in other parts of the globe, the original inhabitants also brought with them, or evolved with, enough pathogens to create chronic conditions of ill health under conditions of systematic agriculture and urban living."

In recent examinations of 1,000-year-old Peruvian mummies, for example, paleopathologists discovered clear traces of tuberculosis in their lungs, more evidence that native Americans might already have been infected with some of the diseases that were thought to have been brought to the New World by European explorers.”

http://www.csun.edu/~jaa7021/hist110/disease.htm

Gillianren
2006-Jul-31, 10:29 PM
There are far more Indians in the Western Hemisphere now than when Columbus arrived.

Okay, let's repeat this. No one knows what pre-Columbian native populations were. It's completely speculation, and it is well established in historical circles that the populations cited for native populations vary depending on what political point one is trying to prove. Those wanting to emphasize how evil the conquerors were choose larger population figures; those wanting to absolve them of guilt choose smaller ones. Given the lifestyles of many of the groups and the environments in which they lived, there isn't a heck of a lot of evidence that would point to an accurate population figure with any certainty.

I, personally, tend to go with middle-of-the-road population statistics, but it doesn't really matter, because the effect of Old World diseases on New World populations is well known, and it would take a great deal of willing blindness to pretend it wasn't there--or that there was a remotely comparable effect of New World diseases on Old World populations, which in and of itself is evidence that there weren't a heck of a lot of diseases exclusively endemic to the Americas.

Doodler
2006-Jul-31, 10:37 PM
Do you think that in 1492 Africa, the Orient, and the Western Hemisphere were free of bacteria and viruses? Only that little area of the world called "Europe" had “diseases”?

By my timeline, as of 1492, there'd been enough regular contact that diseases in Europe would have been pretty representative of diseases from both Europe, Asia, and North Africa due to trade contact. Only the Americas and Central Africa remained in relative isolation.

The Europeans arrived with a stacked deck in the biowarfare division.

afterburner
2006-Aug-01, 12:31 AM
You are right, Sam5. About the only thing afterburner said that was not a myth was that people of the New World did not have many diseases. More people were slain by Old World diseases such as influenza, scarlet fever, cholera, typhoid, malaria, etc. than by conquistadors' swords. Many groups in North America were decimated by disease long before the arrival of the first white men in their communities.

The diseases, I feel, were already cleared up by Doodler and Gillianren.


As for being "laid back", I'm sorry to have to inform you, afterburner, life in the 15th century was not "laid back" for anybody except those in power (and not all that "laid back" even for them).

Although this may be the case, answer me this Celestial Mechanic...Where would you rather live in the 1400s or even 1300 as a typical member of the community? The Americas or Europe? Which do you think was more disease-free, in-touch with nature etc...is this not what we are trying to achieve now?


As for "the occasional human sacrifice", there are records of hundreds and even thousands being sacrificed at a time at the principal sites of Aztec civilization. Most of the sacrificial victims were prisoners of the endless wars whose main purpose was, well, to provide more sacrifices. If not for the intervention of the conquistadors Aztec civilization might very well have collapsed in a century or two at the next major drought, the way Mayan civilization did.

Celestial Mechanic, I am very impressed by your knowledge of Aztec human sacfice. I would be more impressed, however, if you compared that to the European witch/wise women hunts. As for the wars, what would you call the crusades, among other wars between major European kingdoms at the time...


Inca civilization a potentially great civilization? Maybe, but without writing how would anyone in the future know? A handful of moldy quipus doesn't cut it.

And finally, afterburner wrote: "if only Europeans were not so greedy and barbaric." Europeans were not any more greedy and barbaric than anybody else at the time--they just had better transportation and weapons. This should be a warning to us even now.

Werent the Spanish very impressed when they saw some of the Inca cities, considering they were made of stone, and had lots of riches (gold for instance). They just HAD to have it all, and destroy as much as possible, since it was their God given right...right? The Incas also did not have any slaves, unlike the newcomers.

Wasnt this thread supposed to be opinion-based? If you dont like the Inca Empire based on what you think makes a good or bad Empire, thats fine, but my opinion is my opinion. I personally think that the Inca Empire was quite something and if some people think otherwise, thats fine too.

Gillianren
2006-Aug-01, 12:35 AM
Celestial Mechanic, I am very impressed by your knowledge of Aztec human sacfice. I would be more impressed, however, if you compared that to the European witch/wise women hunts. As for the wars, what would you call the crusades, among other wars between major European kingdoms at the time...

The Crusades were well over by 1492. The European continent was gearing up for the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation by then.

And you want comparison to the witch hunts? There are quite a lot more certain victims of Aztec human sacrifice in one day than we can say for sure were killed in the witch hunts and the Inquisition combined. Most figures given for deaths in the witch hunts are greatly inflated--and you have to remember that the witch hunts stretched over a greater time period than the height of the Aztec civilization.

Opinion is fine if it's based on facts, but if you have the facts wrong, you might change your opinion once they're cleared up.

Sam5
2006-Aug-01, 12:52 AM
The Crusades were well over by 1492. The European continent was gearing up for the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation by then.

And you want comparison to the witch hunts? There are quite a lot more certain victims of Aztec human sacrifice in one day than we can say for sure were killed in the witch hunts and the Inquisition combined. Most figures given for deaths in the witch hunts are greatly inflated--and you have to remember that the witch hunts stretched over a greater time period than the height of the Aztec civilization.

Opinion is fine if it's based on facts, but if you have the facts wrong, you might change your opinion once they're cleared up.

I see you've studied this subject.

afterburner
2006-Aug-01, 12:54 AM
Yes, estimates of 20,000 sacrifices a year is quite a bit. I pointed out the crusades and witch hunts (you pointed out the Inquisition as well) only to provide a contrast, and show that Europe was not all peachy either.

Gillianren
2006-Aug-01, 01:18 AM
I see you've studied this subject.

I've studied a lot of history.

blueshift
2006-Aug-01, 03:45 AM
As for me, being a victum of celiac disease, I would have found the hunters/gatherers as being the best possible life and diet about 25,000 years ago in Africa. I might have grown up liking my own family instead of feeling that I was being poisoned by them. I might have known what it was like to eat food without feeling a degree of pain after every meal that put appendicitis to shame in comparison. None of the hunters/gatherers eat any wheat or gluten in any part of their diet.

Celestial Mechanic
2006-Aug-01, 04:59 AM
Thank you! I'd forgotten about those two! So for those keeping score, we have:

Old World diseases brought to the New World: at least seven (scarlet fever, influenza, typhoid, malaria, measles, smallpox, cholera).
New World diseases brought to the Old World: one (syphilis), maybe. [Emphasis added.]
Do you think that in 1492 Africa, the Orient, and the Western Hemisphere were free of bacteria and viruses? Only that little area of the world called "Europe" had “diseases”?
Great Flying Spaghetti Monster! Don't you ever read what people write before responding? I wrote Old World, NOT Europe. Old World = Europe, Asia and Africa. New World = North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Edited to add: And while the New World was not devoid of bacteria and viruses, the fact that we cannot agree on even ONE disease that made the jump from New World to Old indicates that New World diseases just could not cope with Old World immune systems toughened by millenia of diseases and plagues.

Jens
2006-Aug-01, 05:00 AM
Blueshift, I sympathize with the problem, and I also agree that the diet of hunter-gatherers was no doubt healthier than ours. But two small points. One is that in our world (unlike probably a few hundred years ago) it's possible to eat a gluten-free diet. The other thing is that if you really went back to the paleolithic era, you'd also find lots of "Snozzwangers, Hornswogglers, wicked Whangdoodles, and Vermicious knids" to deal with. So it's not all nice.

Ozzy
2006-Aug-01, 10:43 AM
Gluten gluten! Yuk! I sympathise blueshift. (Wheat is being genetically modified.... not for crop yeild... for increasing gluten!!! Seems the bakers like the extra sticky dough ..oooop ..Doh!)

The hunter gatherer diet was much better balanced than agricultural societies. They suffered much less from diseases resulting from cramming lots of people together. They suffered very little if any tooth decay. A common cause of death was infected gums and jaws, because they often ate gritty food, and used their teeth as tools. By the time they were in their 40's, their teeth were so eroded as to allow infection. Tooth wear is a common indicator of 40+ years of age in paleoanthropological specimens. Unhealed infection of injuries was another killer. Oh ...and starvation (particularly if they lived with a restricted territory).

TriangleMan
2006-Aug-01, 01:50 PM
Thank you! I'd forgotten about those two! So for those keeping score, we have:

Old World diseases brought to the New World: at least seven (scarlet fever, influenza, typhoid, malaria, measles, smallpox, cholera).
New World diseases brought to the Old World: one (syphilis), maybe.

Pellagra (http://www.eufic.org/web/article.asp?cust=1&lng=en&sid=4&did=16&artid=103) is also a "New World" disease because it was only known in Europe after they started planting corn (which was imported from the New World).

HenrikOlsen
2006-Aug-01, 02:19 PM
Edited to add: And while the New World was not devoid of bacteria and viruses, the fact that we cannot agree on even ONE disease that made the jump from New World to Old <snip>
Tobacco addiction :)

Ozzy
2006-Aug-01, 02:50 PM
Hot dog addiction!

Doodler
2006-Aug-01, 03:50 PM
Tobacco addiction :)

Chocolate, too.

hadi
2006-Aug-01, 04:06 PM
I'd have to give my nod to the Persians, centered in what is today modern Iraq. It was there the beginnings of most modern technologies were created, including building design/construction, writing, and farming techniques, not to mention animal husbandry. They developed working versions of the same technologies which served us well into the 19th century, with very few additions that had any lasting impression on society.

And if it be contemplated, I'm a white, Scottish/English/Irish/German descendant. So there! I just see things as they are.

I should correct persians center were in Fars, Iran's inland.I was born in germany and I'm not a partial person at all. I really execrate present day government of iran.I like romans,persian,celts and some other civilisations and I honestly enjoy reading books about the middle ages. I want to have a little introduction of The Persian Civilization.


"Persia has long been used by the West to describe the nation of Iran, its people, and its ancient empires. It derives from the ancient Greek name for Iran's maritime province, called Fars.

Science and technology in Iran, like the country itself, has a long history. Persia was a Cradle of Science in earlier times. Iranians contributed significantly to the current understanding of nature, medicine, mathematics, and philosophy. To name a few, persians founded Algebra, invented wind-power machine and discovered Alcohol."(wikipedia)

The Persian Civilization:It was ahead of Egypt by 500
years, of India, by 1,000 years, and of China, by
2,000 years, of Greece by 3,000 years, and of Rome, by
4,000 years! According to Professor Arthur A. Pope,
the famous Orientalist.
Professor Pope also believes that the world owes its
greatest industrial developments, in the early stages,
to the Persian Civilization! (Ibid).
Another Orientalist, the French Professor Kalamar of
the Sorbonne University of Paris believes that: The
Persian Civilization is the mother of all
civilizations! (Ibid).

The first empire in the world, the Persian Empire
(from the Indus River down to the Danube River in
Europe and up to the Nile River in Africa;Central
Asia, present day Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Azirbaijan,
Armenia, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Macedonia,
Cyprus,Lydia and up to the borders of Greece. It
stretched from Ethiopia to India, with 127 provinces
and 28 different nationalities).

"The Greeks and Romans later copied the best features
of the Persian Method of Governing the Empire. (World
History, Philip Groisser, New York, 1970, p. 17).

Sam5
2006-Aug-01, 05:14 PM
Old World = Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Indians came from Asia. We all originated in Africa.

Celestial Mechanic
2006-Aug-01, 05:28 PM
Old World = Europe, Asia and Africa.The Indians came from Asia. We all originated in Africa.True. Your point being? :think:

Gillianren
2006-Aug-01, 07:32 PM
The hunter gatherer diet was much better balanced than agricultural societies. They suffered much less from diseases resulting from cramming lots of people together. They suffered very little if any tooth decay. A common cause of death was infected gums and jaws, because they often ate gritty food, and used their teeth as tools. By the time they were in their 40's, their teeth were so eroded as to allow infection. Tooth wear is a common indicator of 40+ years of age in paleoanthropological specimens. Unhealed infection of injuries was another killer. Oh ...and starvation (particularly if they lived with a restricted territory).

Better-balanced if they could find enough to meet all their needs, of course. And not many hunter-gatherers, to my knowledge, lived 40+ years. That's a pretty modern lifespan. Besides, I think one can be reasonably sure that at least some hunter-gatherers ate wheat, because if they didn't, why would it have been cultivated in the first place?

blueshift
2006-Aug-01, 07:54 PM
This is getting pretty interesting. I have Persian relatives and don't need to speak up for them here at all. Others seem willing. I could speak at great lengths about the hunters/gatherers and how they derived a round earth that circumvented the sun long ago but refused to ever publish it because they could care less about publishing. As far as they were concerned, the tracks on the ground was handwriting with its own history and they knew it could be disguised.

Further, it was scientific observation that invented their religions. Without genetic science at their disposal, the ancients had to come up with a reason why a seed grew into a flower or a child grew into adulthood. They assumed that a purpose must exist and, therefore, that a two way arrow was possible at times for cause and effect. Each could preceed the other. Secondly, they would have made comparisons between child behavior inside the womb and outside the womb. Inside the womb is this methodical poking that occurs in about the 8th month of pregnancy. Why doesn't it break anything like kids do on the outside?
Why isn't it screaming and impatient? Why isn't it afraid of the dark? And, once born, something attached to it belly seems to have gone limp and shriveled...the umbulical cord and afterbirth, something that appeared to sacrifice itself in some journey that passed a teaching...a rite of passage?

Ozzy
2006-Aug-02, 01:54 PM
And not many hunter-gatherers, to my knowledge, lived 40+ years. That's a pretty modern lifespan.
I can only speak for Australia, but many Aboriginal people in the past lived 40+. they were/are called elders.


Besides, I think one can be reasonably sure that at least some hunter-gatherers ate wheat, because if they didn't, why would it have been cultivated in the first place?
Yes hunter gatherers ate wheat, and birds, and eggs, and fruits ...etc. As the Tigris Euraphates, Nile areas got drier, seasonal grasses became a more important food source and led to agriculture as we know it.:lol:

blueshift
2006-Aug-03, 02:27 AM
African Dobe consume no wheat. Their main staple is mongoko nuts and berries along with meat from small animals.

The reason wheat got cultivated was because, like any social order, there are those who reject the band's view and the hunters/gatherers only passed on to their children by example. If you want to leave the band, you just do. Since the hunters/gatherers kept moving, generations of rejectors would keep starting up farming all over the planet and the more the nomads moved, the greater the spreading would take place. By the time the species spread out of Africa (due to the drying up of the intermittant lakes and streams that once occupied the Sahara), the degree of hunting gathering dropped among the nomadic dwellers in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Many of those nomads were looking for a place to settle.

The life span of the Dobe is way past 40+ years..It is more like 70. Lions consume about 700 per year, mostly children, and that influences some the statistics that show a lower number. There is only about 250,000 of them left..but that number is steady.

TriangleMan
2006-Aug-03, 04:43 AM
The life span of the Dobe is way past 40+ years..It is more like 70. Lions consume about 700 per year, mostly children, and that influences some the statistics that show a lower number. There is only about 250,000 of them left..but that number is steady.
Do you have a link for this information? I couldn't find one on Google.

Ronald Brak
2006-Aug-03, 05:29 AM
And not many hunter-gatherers, to my knowledge, lived 40+ years. That's a pretty modern lifespan.

There might be a bit of confusion between average life span and the distribution of ages in a group of hunter-gatherers. Because many people died young, sometimes because of disease (although this wasn't nearly as common amoung hunter-gatherers as agriculturalists) and more often due to accidents, hunger and violence, the average life expectancy might have been around 40, but this doesn't mean there were no people above 40 around. Of course the older you got, the more likely you were to experience an episode of ill health that would finish you off, or convince you to stop trying to stay alive as with one mouth less to feed there would be more food available for your children and grandchildren.

SolusLupus
2006-Aug-03, 05:36 AM
The Indians came from Asia. We all originated in Africa.

Actually, according to the Discovery magazine, there's some controversy here. They think that we all may have originated from Asia, instead of Africa, as was originally thought.

There seems to be just as much evidence pointing to Asia as there is Africa... but there is no definitive "proof" either way.

Ronald Brak
2006-Aug-03, 05:50 AM
There seems to be just as much evidence pointing to Asia as there is Africa... but there is no definitive "proof" either way.

They got bones of like apey type people in Africa.

TriangleMan
2006-Aug-03, 11:16 AM
Actually, according to the Discovery magazine, there's some controversy here. They think that we all may have originated from Asia, instead of Africa, as was originally thought.

There seems to be just as much evidence pointing to Asia as there is Africa... but there is no definitive "proof" either way.
IIRC the two main theories of human origins, the single-origin theory and the multi-regional theory, both have mankind starting in Africa. Do you have any more information on the Discover article? It sounds interesting as I wonder what evidence was found to form an Asia-origin theory.

Disinfo Agent
2006-Aug-03, 03:18 PM
(Sorry if I'm echoing someone else's reply. I haven't read the whole thread.)


To you, which was the greatest ancient civilization?I don't think your question has an objective answer. How would you measure the "greatness" of a civilisation? I mean, I've been fascinated by ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and classical Rome since I was a kid, but that's just me. And with time I came to find interest in other civilisations, too. I think it's all in the eye of the beholder.

Having said this, I think it's interesting how classical Greece quickly anticipated all the solutions and problems of democracy, many of which we still aren't able to solve, so long ago.


Which one do you think was the most important to the development of history? (although I know that each contributed to history in there own way) but, which one do you think was most important.What do you mean by "development of history", and why should I find it important?


Which one would you have liked to live in and why?In all honesty, none. I don't think I would stand the brutality of the ancient days.

Titana
2006-Aug-03, 05:32 PM
I don't think your question has an objective answer. How would you measure the "greatness" of a civilisation?

Greatness as in, Superior, Outstanding, a civilization that you feel had a great impact on history....:rolleyes:



What do you mean by "development of history", and why should I find it important?

Well if you don't find it important that is your personal opinion. Let me give you an example so you understand.

I think that ancient Rome contributed heavily to the development of law, war, art, literature, architecture, and language in the Western world, and its history continues to have a major influence on the world today....That is my personal opinion anyway......;)


In all honesty, none. I don't think I would stand the brutality of the ancient days.

Exactly what most people replied. If you look back a bit in the thread we decided to leave that question out........;)


Titana

Gillianren
2006-Aug-03, 06:30 PM
Greatness as in, Superior, Outstanding, a civilization that you feel had a great impact on history....:rolleyes:

Disinfo's point is that "superior" and "outstanding" aren't actually any more specific than "great." The only thing you've said that is quantifiable is "great impact on history." The point is that, say, my fondness for Elizabethan England is based on its great contributions to literature, the arts, and scientific knowledge. (Think Sir Francis Bacon.) But if you're more interested in exploration, Philip II's Spain of the same time would be a greater civilization even though we do call that age Elizabethan, and even though Elizabeth sent out explorers as well.

If you are looking to conquerors, Rome or Alexandrian Greece. If you are looking to architecture, Egypt, Greece, or Rome. If you are looking to expansion, clearly ancient China. But your personal definition of "great" could encompass any of these, and I think it's kind of rude of you to assume that someone is being obtuse for not knowing what you mean by it.

Disinfo Agent
2006-Aug-03, 07:06 PM
Thank you, Gillianren. :cool:

And what if a certain civilisation, or a certain society, did not contribute anything to our civilisation, in fact disappeared without a trace, but it managed to make those who lived in it happy for as long as it was there? Can't such a culture be called "great", too?

Disinfo Agent
2006-Aug-03, 08:19 PM
Actually, according to the Discovery magazine, there's some controversy here. They think that we all may have originated from Asia, instead of Africa, as was originally thought.

There seems to be just as much evidence pointing to Asia as there is Africa... but there is no definitive "proof" either way.All of us?! That sounds odd.

As far as I've heard, not only Homo sapiens sapiens, but all our hominoid ancestors are known to have originated in Africa.

Celestial Mechanic
2006-Aug-03, 09:03 PM
Thank you, Gillianren. :cool:

And what if a certain civilisation, or a certain society, did not contribute anything to our civilisation, in fact disappeared without a trace, but it managed to make those who lived in it happy for as long as it was there? Can't such a culture be called "great", too?
If said civilization "disappeared without a trace", how could anyone possibly know that "those who lived in it happy for as long as it was there" were really happy? In the absence of any knowledge about the happiness of the inhabitants or anything else about this vanished civilization what right do we have to declare it "great" or anything else? :think:

Titana
2006-Aug-03, 09:31 PM
Disinfo's point is that "superior" and "outstanding" aren't actually any more specific than "great." The only thing you've said that is quantifiable is "great impact on history." The point is that, say, my fondness for Elizabethan England is based on its great contributions to literature, the arts, and scientific knowledge. (Think Sir Francis Bacon.) But if you're more interested in exploration, Philip II's Spain of the same time would be a greater civilization even though we do call that age Elizabethan, and even though Elizabeth sent out explorers as well.

If you are looking to conquerors, Rome or Alexandrian Greece. If you are looking to architecture, Egypt, Greece, or Rome. If you are looking to expansion, clearly ancient China. But your personal definition of "great" could encompass any of these, and I think it's kind of rude of you to assume that someone is being obtuse for not knowing what you mean by it.


Well yes, maybe I should of said what Ancient civilization did you like most, I
quess...

Where did I assume that he was being obtuse? I don't see that nowhere in my post. But anyway Disinfo Agent please excuse me if I seemed rude...I really did not mean to be.....


Titana

Disinfo Agent
2006-Aug-03, 09:35 PM
If said civilization "disappeared without a trace", how could anyone possibly know that "those who lived in it happy for as long as it was there" were really happy? In the absence of any knowledge about the happiness of the inhabitants or anything else about this vanished civilization what right do we have to declare it "great" or anything else? :think:My point was that the standards by which we judge the contribution of a civilisation, or another society, to the history of mankind, are subjective. The very decision to judge a society by how much it contributed to the civilisations which followed it, is subjective.

Gillianren
2006-Aug-04, 04:11 AM
Where did I assume that he was being obtuse? I don't see that nowhere in my post.

The little eye-rolly emoticon. It read, to me at least, like "I can't believe I'm having to answer this question."

SolusLupus
2006-Aug-04, 04:20 AM
IIRC the two main theories of human origins, the single-origin theory and the multi-regional theory, both have mankind starting in Africa.

Yeah, well, from what I've read, the location is controversial.


Do you have any more information on the Discover article? It sounds interesting as I wonder what evidence was found to form an Asia-origin theory.

Nope, sorry. I'd have to dig up the magazine, and I have no idea where it is. I'd make a half-hearted promise to try to find it, but I honestly probably wouldn't... mainly because I'm either busy, tired, or doing something that makes me forget entirely. Maybe next time I read something interesting, I'll make notes... that would get rid of this problem.

Celestial Mechanic
2006-Aug-04, 04:37 AM
[Snip!] The very decision to judge a society by how much it contributed to the civilisations which followed it, is subjective.
Nothing subjective about it. Either the earlier civilization contributed or it didn't. The only room for subjectivity is where you set the dividing line between "a little" or "a lot".

I cast my vote for Greco-Roman civilization because so much of our Western Civilization derives from it. Chinese Civilization is a strong runner-up, and Indian Civilization is a distant third. The history of this century is probably going to be about the merging and integration of these three civilizations.

You might ask, "What about Egypt? What about Sumeria?" Sure, there are some contributions from these civilizations, but primarily those things that the Greeks and Romans chose to use and preserve. For example, we have only been able to read hieroglyphics for less than 200 years; ancient Egyptian texts were undecipherable for almost two milennia. Only because someone chose to show text simultaneously in hieroglyphics, Demotic script, Greek and one other language, and the people that came after did not destroy this Rosetta Stone are we able to read and truly appreciate documents of ancient Egypt.

As for which ancient civilization I would rather live in, well, Ancient Civilization is an interesting topic to visit but I wouldn't want to live there! :)

Disinfo Agent
2006-Aug-04, 10:47 AM
Nothing subjective about it. Either the earlier civilization contributed or it didn't. The only room for subjectivity is where you set the dividing line between "a little" or "a lot".Wrong. First, in practice it's more a question of how much a society contributed to others, than of whether it contributed.

But, more importantly, Why should it matter whether (or how much) a given society contributes to the civilisations that follow it? Because you say so? That's subjective!


Yeah, well, from what I've read, the location is controversial.AFAIK, it was a matter of debate for a while; until the eighties, more or less. But the genetic evidence uncovered during the nineties has shown beyond any reasonable doubt that humankind is far too young and homogeneous to have had multiple origins. You should double check that claim you read on the magazine.
There may be some fossils whose dating doesn't quite fit the puzzle, but that's likely because the fossil record we have is so scarce.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Aug-04, 01:44 PM
Thank you, Gillianren. :cool:

And what if a certain civilisation, or a certain society, did not contribute anything to our civilisation, in fact disappeared without a trace, but it managed to make those who lived in it happy for as long as it was there? Can't such a culture be called "great", too?

Kinda hard to call it anything if it's existence is unknoiwn.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Aug-04, 01:48 PM
All of us?! That sounds odd.

As far as I've heard, not only Homo sapiens sapiens, but all our hominoid ancestors are known to have originated in Africa.

I thought the recent examination of genetic markers had not only firmly established Africa as the place of human origins, but had also pretty much nailed down a timeline of all the major migrations as well.

Strider1974
2006-Aug-04, 03:51 PM
I think that ancient Rome contributed heavily to the development of law, war, art, literature, architecture, and language in the Western world, and its history continues to have a major influence on the world today....That is my personal opinion anyway......;)


Titana - Have a look at the documentary called Terry Jones's Barbarians. In this brilliant look at the ancient world Terry Jones ( of Monty Python fame) investigates who were the peoples referred to by the Romans as Barbarians. Most of what we know of these cultures comes from the Romans and so Terry investigates the cultures of these people with some starting revelations.
For example - far from civilizing the societies they conquered the Romans often destroyed much of what they found.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/bbcworldwide/worldwidestories/pressreleases/2006/03_march/barbarians.shtml

blueshift
2006-Aug-05, 01:19 AM
Do you have a link for this information? I couldn't find one on Google.Here's one pushing them into their 80s.
http://www.naturopathyworks.com/news/news1104.html


http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/dept/d10/asb/anthro2003/lifeways/hg_ag/worst_mistake.html

This one link above has both agricultural and hunters/gatherers way lower in life span thousands of years ago but does have the hunters/ gatherers living a longer life, 25 years to 19 from skeletal remains.

Here, the following link has ambiguous data. How can someone have a life expectancy of 30 years and then turn around and claim that 45 year old women are in abundance enough to display data that show them living to 65 years? It could mean that the few that make it that far are likely to keep going until 65 years but the whole data table points to "postreproductive life span", the number of years from menopause and on. Maybe I am misreading something?

http://www.anthro.utah.edu/PDFs/Papers/NBJ2002.pdf

You might also do a google search on astronomer Thebe Medupe. He has done some studies along this area of interest.

My own personal source is a friend in Kenya, a pharmaceutical chemist who heads into remote areas experimenting with rare herbs and attempting to obtain data from shaman. But even he gives caution when it comes to taking data from observing the hunters/gatherers and the particular data that he gathered.
They cover their tracks and they also appear to cover their observations and discoveries with stories to keep others at distance from them. He found that, among many bands, they would treat their stories by campfires similar to the way we relate to jokes. They want to hear new ones each night and can't stand the idea of passing their thoughts on to their offspring. They wish to hear new stories from their children that they have never heard. So he feels we need to pass probability arrows to each hypothesis we hear concerning hunter/gatherer history. As long as the hypothesis reproduces a past condition that points to the present, it holds some validy. The trick is, how much probability is there? There is a possibility that every belief system that exists today existed back then, but was not passed on, each simply died out with each passing generation. Conditions may have changed at one point that led to the imposition of the past onto the present, with the Neolithic Revolution providing furtile soil for such growth.

He and I have done some studies that have suggested that there is a chance that we had some of our morals imposed upon us by another species. The data is sketchy but there. One example:
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8305836/?GT1=6657

Ozzy
2006-Aug-05, 11:30 AM
There is a possibility that every belief system that exists today existed back then, but was not passed on, each simply died out with each passing generation. Conditions may have changed at one point that led to the imposition of the past onto the present, with the Neolithic Revolution providing furtile soil for such growth.

Are you saying that before the Neolithic, belief systems were no more than a generation old? You friends work in Kenya sounds interesting, but as he isnt an anthropologist, is there a chance that he misinterpreted the story telling scenes he saw. I can think of several reasons why the adults didn't want to tell stories while visitors were there.:think:

blueshift
2006-Aug-06, 01:48 AM
Are you saying that before the Neolithic, belief systems were no more than a generation old? You friends work in Kenya sounds interesting, but as he isnt an anthropologist, is there a chance that he misinterpreted the story telling scenes he saw. I can think of several reasons why the adults didn't want to tell stories while visitors were there.:think: Not exactly. We knew that we could come to some irrational conclusions. So we could not ignore the anthropologists' view. Brian Fagan, Barbara King, Robert Leakey and Edward Fischer are good sources for me while Owino, my cyberpal in Kenya has had inputs from antropologists right in Africa firsthand.

Many of their views kept changing with each of his visits. We thought, at first, they were just jacking him around.

For example, what were the reasons for humans to keep moving and reject stability? Many views came.
1.) The world keeps shaking to drop us hints to get lost.
2.)Other animals bigger than us take off running in herds. If they have reason to be scared, we should not even wait to see what is chasing them.
3.)Each time they did hold up in some baobab tree for a long while where food was plentiful, they would get disgusted at their own human waste smells and decided to take off to cleaner places, away from where even other humans have been.
4.)The apparent motion of the celestial bodies suggested a few things to them for pondering:
a.)Why do the stars and the sun never show any aging like people and plants do? Some concluded that they find good food that we have not found and it lies past the horizon. If they could find such food then they would stay young.

b.)Others thought this was preposterous. Everything dies. Some things die slower. The mountains and trees are quite old. And the moon is really a sun that is aging, only slower. It keeps trying to show that it still has some heat left to go with its brightness but, like the elderly, can only show off and find that youthful zip once in a while, needing time to recover. So it visits the sun when it is desparate.

c.)Others saw the moon as a victim, stoned by stars but getting smart and slowing down its motion so that those mischievous stars would miss the next time they started hurling (meteor showers).

These and many other views are too numerous to put here although one suggested a flirtation with relativistic motion concepts in reaction to first boat rides and in reaction to earthquakes. Those rigid locked step dances are seen as attempts to convince the earth to settle into a calm steady motion like the stars have.

The stories kept changing each time and would die only to resurface in another band. Still, we were suspicious because marriage could explain a migration of such an idea. But that didn't explain its disappearance. Yet these and other reasons were not the convincing reasons for our conclusions.

Linguists have a view that cannot be ignored and marries right into many other views in this thread as to why an "Out of Africa" origin, and not China or a many places theory holds up well in comparison. It has been a common misconception that a common language or a common enemy or neccesity is what unites people while the House of Babel sets everyone at odds with one another. Complete nonsense, claim many linguists. The evidence is right among us. 3 weeks after the towers went down in NY Americans went right back to flipping each other the bird in traffic. Familiarity and tradition both breed contempt. Ignoring traditons and common languages can breed isolation or build up contempt. So now where do we go?
What breeds unity?

When a family migrates from one country to another, the children that are under the age of about 4 will pick up the new language without any accompanying accent from the old country. Above that age through teens will show that the language is learned but that an accent from the old country will follow. The children will have no trouble picking up the new customs. The adults will stumble and this creates an interesting result.

Those adults are dependent upon their children to trranslate the new world to them. In industrialized societies they need their kids to to simply buy things at the store and tell them what is on the labels and what they all mean. Some have never heard of saturated fat. In nomadic bands the children are able to translate messages from nearby bands to where sharp rocks or snake pits are ahead for slower moving tender feet. The need their children to interpret what other adults are telling them in differing languages. In both cases the child is not seen as some dumb bell that needs inspiration and guidance. So the parent in this situations learns where to relinquish authority and monitors it right to a fine edge. Likewise, the children learn to reliquish their rebellion against some old fogeys and see their parents as a source that gives them leverage in their new peer group. All of us know and experience the uneasiness when immigrants move in with another chatter code that appears to hold mysteries we cannot grab a hold of. For the immigrant child in the industrialized world he sees advantage. For the hunters/gatherers a child senses respect and a bridge that goes between.

So within that migrating family exists a check and balance of power that does not exist among the native families and a unity that will die as soon as those immigrant children grow up and breed. The condition will then be gone or will have withered away substantially.

Native peoples do not feel threatened by just a few new visitors (like a small band) with a new language.. But thousands can make them feel uneasy, as if they were invaded. Since hunters/gatherers never really make a stake at possessions or land, the concept of invasion gets diluted as long as they remain in just bands. It is like meeting people on vacation who happen to be going in the same direction.

Moreover, languages do not remain constant. They fall apart and evolve into new tongues where vowels shift position in our mouths while consonants weaken and prefixes fall off only to be built back up with new ones while grammar is all that survives.

Therefore, where the house of babel exists is where there is the most stability in unwritten human history. Large areas where one language exists implies where an invasion or holocaust took place. China out...Africa in. The clicking languages of the Dobe change at such degrees that it is common for them to speak up to 7 languages in their life times. But each generation has a different set of 7. Do our children seem to not understand how to speak proper language? Or are we too blinded not to see what the Dobe already know? Language is not learned. It happens. Our brains are wired to learn and burn them.

Do remnants of those clicking languages exist among all of us, regardless of where we reside? How do each one of you call your pet bird or dog or cat or horse? With clicking sounds? "Here boy! ..tsk.. tsk.. tsk.. tsk.. tsk.

Ozzy
2006-Aug-06, 02:50 AM
Sorry blueshift,but I'm having a little trouble understanding what you are trying to prove. That changing ideas are led by the young? This has been proven amongst Macaques, where juveniles started washing their sweet potatoes in the sea, and other juveniles started copying them, but the adults weren't interested.

Fluidity in ideas allows for survival in a changing environment. Perhaps many environmental changes occur on average within the generation of a human lifetime, perhaps this even explains why humans are not reproductive until their adolescent years.

Although new ideas are often instigated by the young, new solutions are also discovered from years of trial and error by mature adults. I would also think that new concepts are a layer of icing upon a very thick, tried and true cake.

I find hunter/gatherer societies fascinating and wonder if we should start a new thread, as we seem to we straying from "the greatest civilization". Most hunter/gatherers are not classified as civilizations because they are not state wide polities with distinct layers of heirachy.

My understanding is that the two schools of modern human evolution are called "Out of Africa" and the "Regional Continuity Model". DNA evidence seems to favour a rapid widespread migration from common ancestors in fairly "recent" times.

The rapid spread of humans is more easily explained if many of these people were skilled boat builders.

blueshift
2006-Aug-06, 05:50 AM
Sorry blueshift,but I'm having a little trouble understanding what you are trying to prove. That changing ideas are led by the young? No. But you do raise an interesting issue that does a fit with my point that the passing of a new language, whether it be the language of astro-physics, chemistry,human history or Polish to a willing and needing recipient can bring civilization to a species that lacks it.



This has been proven amongst Macaques, where juveniles started washing their sweet potatoes in the sea, and other juveniles started copying them, but the adults weren't interested. Sounds like these uninterested adults weren't interested in suffocating their young. They just let them go ahead and do it.


Fluidity in ideas allows for survival in a changing environment. Perhaps many environmental changes occur on average within the generation of a human lifetime, perhaps this even explains why humans are not reproductive until their adolescent years. First part of that I understood.


Although new ideas are often instigated by the young, new solutions are also discovered from years of trial and error by mature adults. I would also think that new concepts are a layer of icing upon a very thick, tried and true cake. Agreed. Don't get me wrong. We weren't claiming children held a monopoly on new invention and thought. On old woman told a story why the earth spins and is round. She explained that the oceans' waters are going uphill from the distance onto beaches. If it were flat the water would rush out downhill and away from the beach and fall off a distant edge. And, since she cups her hands to get water, she knows a flat earth can't hold any water. The earth spins because the size of the sun at sunset and sunrise are the same no matter how far they travel toward either horizon. The tree rule taught her that trees shrink when you move away from them. They get larger when you move toward them. They can move and not change size when you spin in a dance. Yet she said it was just a story to her. Passing it on did not interest her.


I find hunter/gatherer societies fascinating and wonder if we should start a new thread, as we seem to we straying from "the greatest civilization". Most hunter/gatherers are not classified as civilizations because they are not state wide polities with distinct layers of heirachy. True, but they did feed into them without wanting to just like we feed into things without wanting to. We could just drop the discussion and see if any pick up some other pieces. The Persians and Celt discussions will likely take off again.


My understanding is that the two schools of modern human evolution are called "Out of Africa" and the "Regional Continuity Model". DNA evidence seems to favour a rapid widespread migration from common ancestors in fairly "recent" times.

The rapid spread of humans is more easily explained if many of these people were skilled boat builders.Good points but the shore travelers could have made it from Africa to Australia on land as the water levels were different back then. You could wade across many places easily and with small boats you could do better. By the way, thanks for the exchange.

Ozzy
2006-Aug-06, 10:46 AM
Thankyou Blueshift, I dont get to talk about this stuff very often.


Good points but the shore travelers could have made it from Africa to Australia on land as the water levels were different back then

Although sea levels were lower during the ice ages, Flores (Indonesia) has always been an island, with a wide, deep stretch of ocean to cross. (One of the issues surrounding Homo Floresiensis). The journey to Australia required a substantial raft, and a re-enactment using a bamboo raft was done around 1999. It is thought that colonisers knew it was there because they can see the smoke from large bushfires.

I just wonder how much affect boats would have, if any, on the extent of Homo erectus range, and the speed of dispersion of Homo sapiens.

I think I'll start a new thread.:dance:

Donnie B.
2006-Aug-06, 03:09 PM
I'm astonished that nobody has mentioned the one ancient civilization that is obviously, clearly, indisputably the greatest:

Atlantis

If you don't believe me, just ask that other Donnie... Donovan.

;) :liar: :shifty:

Launch window
2006-Aug-06, 03:54 PM
I really enjoy reading about ancient civilizations anything from Ancient Greece, Egypt, Incas, Aztecs, Mayans etc. My favorite though, would definitely have to be Egypt.

I would say Greek or Chinese, some of the Arab Empires were fascinating such as the Ottoman/Turk Empire but today the Middle East region is a mayhem and reminds some of the DarkAges
The more modern European age of exploration with characters like Columbus, Cook and Magellan were highly important for mankind with inventors/artists such as da Vinci (1452 - 1519 )
I like other Native civilizations that came from the America's but sadly the Europeans also brought great destruction with them
Celts ( Stonehenge) were also wonderful but were mostly defeated into adopting Roman culture, the Romans also but an end to Ancient Egypt

Gillianren
2006-Aug-07, 07:53 AM
Here, the following link has ambiguous data. How can someone have a life expectancy of 30 years and then turn around and claim that 45 year old women are in abundance enough to display data that show them living to 65 years? It could mean that the few that make it that far are likely to keep going until 65 years but the whole data table points to "postreproductive life span", the number of years from menopause and on. Maybe I am misreading something?

It generally means that an awful lot died in infancy, which skews the numbers. Just because you can expect to live to 30 in a certain culture doesn't mean that everyone does. In fact, logically, it means that quite a lot don't, or else the life expectancy would be higher to balance out those that live longer. I mean, for heaven's sake, Ryan White (a famous AIDS patient who died in 1990) had approximately the same life expectancy as I, some 75 years, give or take, and in fact was 18 when he died.

A.DIM
2006-Aug-07, 12:57 PM
To answer the OP:

I have to point to mesopotamia, or Sumer/Akkad, as having the most profound impact on human existence and cultural evolution.
It is there we find nearly every "first" of which we consider indicative of high culture or advanced civ, which remain extant in today's world: agriculture, animal husbandry, cities, writing, math, astronomy, art and music, legal and educational systems, more, and not least of all religion and kingship.

V-GER
2006-Aug-07, 01:39 PM
animal husbandry

This reminded a bit too much of the South Park episode where PETA members "really love their aninimals." So I had to check it from a dictionary...

sarongsong
2006-Aug-08, 06:23 AM
I'm astonished that nobody has mentioned...Atlantis...:Hurry quick---some Atlantean researcher on coasttocoastam.com tonight (Monday); says Plato left 50 clues for, etc.

Jens
2006-Aug-08, 06:50 AM
To answer the OP:
It is there we find nearly every "first" of which we consider indicative of high culture or advanced civ, which remain extant in today's world: agriculture, animal husbandry, cities, writing, math, astronomy, art and music, legal and educational systems, more, and not least of all religion and kingship.

No to mention that I think our days of the week (moon-day, etc.) were developed by the Sumerians, and even spread as far as China (they use a numbered system today, but used the planetary names until the time of one of the two revolutions).

Jim
2006-Aug-08, 12:37 PM
No to mention that I think our days of the week (moon-day, etc.) were developed by the Sumerians...

Any civilization that invented Mondays should be automatically disqualified.

Ozzy
2006-Aug-08, 02:01 PM
If they invented Mondays then they must have been the first to experience Mondayitis, .... thus another great contribution to mankind.:o

I think the first writing systems were for keeping track of trade items. They didnt have paper though, they used clay(great for archaeological preservation). Papyrus parchment was a product of Egypt. The Mayans used animal hides. The Chinese made paper as we know it. So many civilizations solving the same problems with what was available to them.

They didnt have a monopoly on agriculture though. Agriculture in New Guinea has been dated to 9,000 BC.

Disinfo Agent
2006-Aug-08, 02:06 PM
I didn't know about that! It would have been a great contribution to this discussion (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=43723).