Submitted by AutoModerator t3_11bkh5p in history

Welcome to our History Questions Thread!

This thread is for all those history related questions that are too simple, short or a bit too silly to warrant their own post.

So, do you have a question about history and have always been afraid to ask? Well, today is your lucky day. Ask away!

Of course all our regular rules and guidelines still apply and to be just that bit extra clear:

Questions need to be historical in nature. Silly does not mean that your question should be a joke. r/history also has an active discord server where you can discuss history with other enthusiasts and experts



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claudecardinal t1_j9yavf9 wrote

I am curious about maritime commerce in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Did the captain of a trading ship carry box of gold or something to pay for goods and pay the crew? When selling at a foreign port did they take payment or was there some credit scheme or something similar?


elmonoenano t1_j9zy5ip wrote

It depends a lot on what the goods were, where they were going, etc. A lot of voyages were speculative and instead of wages, the crew would get a proportion of the profits from the voyage. How big a share you got was determined by your rank. So, you would sign on to sail to Goa and pick up spices. You'd go down and hopefully not die, then come back, or jump ship if there was a more lucrative looking offer, and sail back. When your cargo of spices are sold, it's accounted for and you're given an allotment commiserate with your rank and whether and for the length you spent on the ship during that voyage.

The other poster mentioned advances. Those became more essential and expected over time. Sailors needed money to support their families while they were gone if they had one. They had to settle debts. Etc.

Also, some things we don't count as wages were considered wages back then. The most important was the food and beer rations. Nicer food/beer was seen as a better wage. They also had the opportunity to pick up some rare goods to take back and sale on their own.

Also, if the vessel had passengers, the crew had opportunities to earn tips to supplement their wages.

There's a scholar named Lewis Fischer who did a lot of work on this topic. He's got a couple books out and if you've got JSTOR you can find papers.


terminus-trantor t1_j9z0tha wrote

Ultimately, yes Masters of the ship (merchant ships most often had just the master) carried some money with them to pay expenses

but for your exact cases situation is more complicated. Crew was usually hired for specific journey and payment was agreed to be done at end destination which often was at return to original port (to make sure your crew stays all trip). Some advance would be given before sailing (e.g. 4 months wages in some exploratory voyages). Payment would then be settled in relative safety and availability of funds in familiar port.

Additionally "banks" would often be involved and instead of actual cash, bank letters of exchange could be given. Not sure how widespread that would be but it was definetly an option to make sure not much cash was carried on the trip itself. If nothing else the master could withdraw cash at the port from a bank if he needed cash for wages.

The same goes for cargo, banking and exchanges were the norm. Just wanted to point out by then there was a separation of shipping and trading so while the master could buy and ship his own goods, he may just as well just sell space on his ship and let others deal with buying and selling goods


Kobbett t1_j9yxzpw wrote

You might get cheques or letters of credit trading between European ports, banking had advanced that much by then. But ships trading with distant countries took gold or silver (depending on what was most valued) to pay for cargo, if they couldn't pay from sales of the goods they sold on the outbound journey. Crew would be payed when the ship docked, sometimes they'd only get their full pay when the ship reached its home port.


claudecardinal t1_ja02x97 wrote

All excellent information for me. I found Shipping and trade (1750-1950) on Internet Archive with much of interest.


ImOnlyHereCauseGME t1_j9yd7wk wrote

Watching the movie Greyhound (good movie btw) it made me think, what happened if you joined the Navy in WW2 or before and found out you were violently sea sick? I would assume most guys joining the Navy back then had probably never been on a boat as traveling wasn’t as common, and certainly not on rough seas. Would they be reassigned to something land-based or would they just have to suck it up/live with it until they hopefully got used to it?


shantipole t1_j9zrthe wrote

From my understanding, if a sailor or officer was violently seasick and didn't get over it after a day or two, that's a liability to the ship and was bad for morale, so it's in everybody's best interest to transfer him to a shore role (which probably limited their chances for promotion and so some refused). There were a ton of Navy jobs that didn't involve being on a ship. Some guys probably lied about how sick they were or just hung on out of sheer stubbornness, and they made it work, but that depended on their NCOs and CO letting things slide.

But, generally you'd want to figure this out before the guy was deployed somewhere where him being half-dead from vomiting the past 10 days straight might or not might matter. So, everyone went on a training cruise during basic training or OCS at least in part to see how they handled being on a ship in deep ocean. Worst case,l scenario, you find out on your first Atlantic crossing or the trip to Pearl Harbor, you suck it up and do your best until you get there, and they reassign you there.


ImOnlyHereCauseGME t1_ja8j4e5 wrote

That makes total sense to me. I would assume you’re right in that people who got seriously sea sick would be an annoyance at best and dangerous to have aboard at worst in a battle situation.


2748163 t1_ja96ex7 wrote

This was not my uncle’s experience, he had never been on a boat and joined the Navy and was extremely sick his whole deployment. This was during Vietnam, there wasn’t much sympathy or flexibility from the Navy, the attitude was at least you’re not on the ground in the jungle being shot at.


getBusyChild t1_j9yb5pt wrote

How did Rome manage to sustain the losses during the second Punic war? Was it mainly it's allies that took the brunt of the losses to Carthage? What happened to the allies of Rome after the war, did they become citizens?


Thibaudborny t1_j9yn91y wrote

Italy was actually quite populated, and Rome had managed to integrate central Italy quite thoroughly, particularly during the 4th century (for example, see the Latin Wars). This demographic advantage coupled with the thorough political integration wrought over the centuries ensured Rome could survive Hannibal's onslaught. But make no mistake, the toll was hard. In that sense, it was the payoff of Rome's policies of integration in generations prior. Those who abandoned Rome mostly were recent conquests.

The Allies mostly remained as such, later on leading to the Social Wars (91-87 BCE).


Amockdfw89 t1_ja3n0nz wrote

What are some good YouTube channels for history that are neither:

A. Too dry

B. Too childish

I am a US history teacher so I am surrounded by dry text and childish videos. Just something clever or interesting I can listen to on my long commute to work.


LaoBa t1_ja92sdn wrote

Defragged history has an excellent series about the 80 years war, they're on YouTube. She goes into great detail, is more or less impartial and she knows how to pronounce Dutch and Spanish names. She also has excellent shorter series about the Batavia shipwreck and the Kursk disaster.


GSilky t1_ja447du wrote

Good question. I can't handle YouTube videos, they do tend to be childish and focused more on being witty and graphically interesting than informative (for example, false Smerdis doesn't have enough sources to make a five minute video, and can be covered with "rival power centers propped up options"). I was drawn into history by good authors like Voltaire, Gibbon, and Will Durant who know how to write, text books and academic historians don't seem to have that prejudice. If doing Rome, check out Mary Beard, she gives a vibrant and factual narrative.


elmonoenano t1_ja5k5va wrote

Various state historical societies video tape their events. You can look for their youtube channels. My local societies is here:

There's similar ones for groups focused on more defined areas, like Gilder Lehrman has a channel for US Civil War stuff.

Gilder Lehrman recently had an event at Yale specifically for teachers. I they had a big wig there too. I can't remember if it was Eric Foner or David Blight

Also, CSPAN's author talks are fun. Or you can just search for authors and books you like to find talks by those people. Lots of bookstores started putting up their author events during the pandemic.


Keith502 t1_j9z4jlg wrote

OK, I recently uploaded a post to r/history but the mods took it down for some reason and then referred me here. I think it's an important historical question, so I still wanted some input. The question is as follows:

In most of the Western world, the path of a man and woman to becoming married typically begins with a relatively casual, informal encounter between them. After this informal encounter, the man and woman begin engaging in dating activities and begin referring to each other as “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”. This relationship is initiated by the couple themselves and organized by the couple themselves. The interpersonal chemistry and intimacy between the man and woman gradually grows throughout the duration of the dating process. At the couple’s discretion, the man and woman may or may not include sexual intercourse as a part of their dating process. Whether or not the couple have sex while dating is usually of little concern to anyone else beside themselves. If things between them don’t work out, they informally break up; if things do work out, the man, of his own accord, will likely ask the woman to marry him. Whether and when they get engaged is entirely at the discretion of the couple themselves. The choice of the couple getting married is typically based on their mutual chemistry and love for one another.

This is more or less the custom of romantic courtship that most of the developed world is familiar with. But it’s my understanding that this custom is not the way it has always been. From ancient times, it appears that arranged marriage was the norm for how a man and woman got involved in a romantic relationship that would lead to marriage. Typically, a bachelor or his parents would go to the parents of the woman that the bachelor wanted to marry and would offer the woman’s parents a bride-price. (Or alternatively in some cultures, the parents of a woman would offer a payment of dowry to the family of a bachelor to give away their daughter in marriage to the bachelor.) The beginning of the relationship was arranged largely from outside the couple by family members of the couple, rather than the man and woman directly choosing each other. The initial encounter between the man and woman appears to be more formal and organized. After the bride-price or dowry is paid and the man and woman are now betrothed, a marriage date between them is planned upon. Often the man and woman know each other very little, if at all; thus there is often little or no real chemistry or romance between them at the time of marriage. The couple get socially acquainted with each other after their marriage instead of before. The woman is often forbidden from fornicating, and is expected to maintain her virginity while still a maiden, and only give up her virginity to her betrothed as a consummation of their marriage. This preservation of her virginity ensures that her husband’s eventual heir is genuine and will be able to carry on the husband’s bloodline. Furthermore, the woman’s virginity is of great concern to her parents, as the betrothal of a virgin daughter will fetch a higher bride-price for the family; alternatively, a non-virgin daughter may be of far less value, if she can even be married away at all. The betrothal between the man and woman is essentially a formal monetary transaction between the families of the man and woman. The couple’s relationship has less of a romantic purpose and more of a social purpose, involving the covenant between the two families in order to ensure a progeny and a family life for their respective son and daughter.

Here’s my question: At some point in history the arranged marriage system became phased out in most of the developed world and was replaced by the more informal system of men and woman getting girlfriends and boyfriends, respectively. When did this happen? Why did this happen? What social or historical forces led to this change in how people engaged in romance? How did the concept of the "boyfriend/girlfriend" develop?


jezreelite t1_j9zr6pt wrote

The turning point, at least among elites, began in the late 18th century. By the 19th century, the choices of the couple began to count for more and the traditional methods of arranged marriages had began dying out.

For example, Queen Victoria's mother and maternal uncle both wanted her to marry one of their Coburg nephews, but rather than outright arrange the marriage, they just invited Ernest and Albert to visit her often and hoped she would take a shine to one of them (which, as we all know she did). Victoria and Albert then used similar methods to marry off their nine children. Marriages weren't outright arranged as they had been in the 18th century and earlier, but the royal children instead were introduced to other suitable royals in hopes that they would meet someone they liked. This still isn't quite like modern dating and marriage, but it's still not traditional arranged marriage, either.

Among British nobility in the 19th century, there was also a change from more traditional arranged marriages to allowing some degree of choice with the birth of the London social season, which became the time for unmarried children of nobles and gentry to find matches. While they are fiction, Sense and Sensibility and Bridgerton both depict the London season.

It's more difficult to gauge changes among common people, but it is known that the Industrial Revolution is one main catalyst in the changing of marriage and courtship. One problem is that records of peasant marriages in the medieval and Early Modern Period are sparse, so comparing and contrasting is not as easy as it for royalty and nobility.


Keith502 t1_ja0kh5l wrote

Good information. Thanks for the response.


shantipole t1_j9zyzd6 wrote

First, ask yourself why the old system was the default and when those factors that caused the old system to be the default changed. The old system wouldn't persist across millennia and multiple cultures if it didn't, as a practical matter, work.

Second, I think your recitation of the state of affairs was overly-cynical and so you missed the point. Marrying for love is not the historical norm because romantic love doesn't indicate success in a life that was fairly precarious. Romantic feelings for your partner were certainly a good thing, but marriage was more an extremely involved with each other business partnership. It was thought of in terms of: you were joining your life to this other person, and joining your families (at least to the extent that you might call on them for help but it'd be nice if they could work together e.g. raising a barn for the couple), and probably were subsistence farming together (so you were heavily reliant on each other's abilities in order to not starve), and rearing children together (who would take care of you when you were old). You need to pick someone who will be at least a minimum level of successful in life or you suffer and maybe die. Plus, your pool of potential partners is relatively small...people didn't travel and how many people of marriageable age were within a 1-day walk?

And divorce was very frowned upon in the Christian West. It was a very high-stakes decision that was very difficult to undo. Romantic love was not a factor that would make this a success or not, plus it was common that most couples would grow to love each other at least somewhat over time (Ned and Catelyn Stark in the book of A Game of Thrones is a good example, though obviously fictional and nobility), so romantic love was basically a non-factor.

So, you see older-and-wiser people basically making the decision by arranging marriages because they were making the best decision for those children in light of the likely consequences for making a bad decision. And you see things like older men marrying younger women because the man has proven he's successful enough, removing the risk for her. While she would be young enough that her risks in childbirth were (relatively) low and her energy and ability to care for a large (remember: farming) family were high, removing risk for him. It's not about exploitation but about reducing risk (though, of course, people are terrible and so you do see examples of exploitation).

For romantic love to be a dominant factor, you need to see the consequences of a bad choice of partner somehow be lessened or disappear. Or, put another way, you need to see a system with romantic love making at least as good a choice for.the couple as the old system. When and what those factors exactly were depends on the culture, time period, etc., and are something you can research, but there's a reason it correlates with industrialization.


Keith502 t1_ja0kd9z wrote

Thanks for your response. Would you happen to know of any particular books or any specific fields of research that pertain to my question?


jezreelite t1_ja137xq wrote

For the foundations of Western ideas about marriage (most of which were formulated in the Middle Ages out of a mixture of Roman law, Christianity, and Germanic and Celtic law and customs), try:

  • How Marriage Became One of the Sacraments: The Sacramental Theology of Marriage from its Medieval Origins to the Council of Trent by Philip L. Reynolds
  • The Knight, the Lady, and the Priest: The Making of Modern Marriage in Medieval France by Georges Duby
  • Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe by James Brundage
  • Marriage and the Family in the Middle Ages by Frances and Joseph Gies

The Gieses' book is the best to start with, because it's aimed at laymen rather than scholars.

For a read about the shift from arranged marriage to companionate marriage based on romantic love came about, try Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz.


GSilky t1_ja418zz wrote

Love marriages were always a thing in western society, but only when a lot of property wasn't on the line. Aristocrats continued the arranged marriage scheme, possibly even today, because of the economic and political concerns, as well as classism, that marriage and offspring create. Other societies that rely on arranged marriage almost always have a very strong class consciousness and a view of the family as the primary social organization; religious communities also tend to have matchmakers and such, Anabaptists and Jews come to mind, in order to keep the community going. You saw a greater acceptance of love marriages with the transition to a money based economy as property and real estate became less important and the position of women changed. Urbanism also increased the trend as children and wives became relegated to being biological toys and showpieces rather than equal partners in the family franchise.


Keith502 t1_ja5e7z1 wrote

Would you say that the rise of feminism or the women's rights movement had any influence on the shift towards dating and love marriage?


GSilky t1_ja5zuxa wrote

Maybe. It's also possible the reverse is the case, as a major aspect of romantic love is regard for the partner. Can you refuse something to one your in love with? I don't mean to say that men's weakness lead to women's rights, but maybe a little bit of respect was created?


MabsAMabbin t1_j9zbtc3 wrote

Got any medieval recipes? 😁


Kobbett t1_ja2nsjt wrote

There's a 1390 English cook book that's survived, The Forme of Cury.


MabsAMabbin t1_ja3ahu0 wrote

DUDE. This is ... AWESOME. My family is already sick of me walking around the house reciting these!


jezreelite t1_j9ztnxt wrote

The Inn at the Crossroads blog has medieval recipes for Oxtail Soup, Leek Soup, Beef and bacon pie, Pork pie, Fruit tarts, Apple crisps, Hildegard of Bingen's spiced cookies, Spiced plum mousse, Boiled beans, Almond milk, and Mulled Wine, amongst others.

This page on the website of the British Museum also includes recipes to recreate Medieval Creamed fish, Roasted steak, Mushroom pasties, Lamb stew, Haddock in sauce, Cherry pottage, Cream custard tarts, Rose pudding, and Mulled wine.

There are plenty of surviving medieval cookbooks (translations of many of which can be found here), but they're very difficult to use alone. because they tend to be maddeningly vague about measurements. This, for example, is a translation of a 13th century French recipe for pancakes:

>Here is another dish, which is called white pancakes. Take best white flour and egg white and make batter, not too thick, and put in some wine; then take a bowl and make a hole in it; and then take butter, or oil, or grease; then put your four fingers in the batter to stir it; take the batter and put it in the bowl and pour it through the hole into the (hot) grease; make one pancake and then another, putting your finger in the opening of the bowl; then sprinkle the pancakes with sugar, and serve with the "oranges."


SgtMatters t1_ja268ea wrote

There are even recipes from old mesopotamia (around 2000 bc)


Forsaken_Champion722 t1_j9yii7n wrote

Had France started colonizing the new world earlier on, is it possible that the Huegenot Massacre could have been averted? Could the French have sent the Huegenots there, just as the English would eventually send Irish revolutionaries to Australia?


Thibaudborny t1_j9yo6jt wrote

What if's are overall quite pointless, but consider how in very few cases emigration truly solved everything. Ireland was never pacified, the emigration of puritans did not stop them from being pivotal in the English Civil War, etc. So, most probably, it would have mattered little. Remember that the Huguenots in France were also often well-off groups with vested interests and not necessarily with much incentives to abandon all that.


BoringView t1_j9yyddk wrote

French colonial policy wasn't as well planned as other states. One such policy was to deport prostitutes and criminals to a colony, and it didn't work.

Deporting the French protestants would probably either be a failure or if successful, have a potentially disloyal colony.


Thibaudborny t1_j9yzcn1 wrote

But considering the social position of the French protestants and then consider the implications of forced deportation, that would definitely be the Religious and Civil Wars cranked up to the max.


elmonoenano t1_ja03uay wrote

In the US the narrative of colonization for religious reasons gets over played b/c it's a nice story. But what really drives colonies are institutions, usually financial. England was set up to make more money off of colonies b/c it's institutions, like corporations, banks, credit systems, shipping, etc. were set up to exploit those opportunities. The French just weren't at the same scale.


GSilky t1_ja4crgb wrote

The French were much larger scale than the British. The British won the seven years war and got Canada out of the deal. We have French colonial hand downs in Colorado to give you an idea of the scale of French involvement in the Americas. The key is that they didn't necessarily have organized colonisation as an impetus, they were fine with trading and not investing. This worked for a very long time across a large portion of the continent.


jezreelite t1_j9yvj2x wrote

Likely not. For several reasons.

One, a number of powerful nobles had embraced Calvinism. John Calvin himself believed that the reason the Huguenots were able to flourish was the conversions of nobles like Jeanne III of Navarre and Louis I, Prince of Condé.

Two, the French crown was in dire financial straits, which would have made it unlikely for them to support expeditions in the Americas (which often failed). The lack of funding itself was a major reason why the Wars of Religion kept reoccurring: the crown lacked the funds to either enforce the majority of its edicts of tolerance or destroy the Huguenots entirely. This was because the constant warfare Charles VIII, Louis XII, François I, and Henri II had waged against Italians and/or the Habsburgs had drained the treasury and the reoccurring civil wars disrupted agriculture, which just created something of a vicious cycle.

Third, religious tension in Great Britain wasn't actually eased all the much by having colonies. While some Puritans were fine going off to Massachusetts Bay Colony, there were plenty of them that weren't, like Oliver Cromwell, and that other issues led to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.


GSilky t1_ja4cc58 wrote

We can look at another Catholic power involved in the Americas for some illumination. Spain didn't see the protestant issue, they saved all their persecution for Jews. What we have found is that many Jews were involved with the Americas (some even think Columbus was Jewish). They still stayed "crypto Jews" but didn't suffer the indignities that they would have in Spain, where you could be pantsed in public if you were suspected of being Jewish to see if you were circumcised. They maintained deep cover in the New world regardless, but they have found Jewish cemeteries in the San Luis Valley and through New Mexico and the southwest, the key point being that it wasn't until the 60s or so that this was discovered. So maybe the Huguenots could emigrate, but the political deal between the monarchy and church would probably keep them oppressed in the Americas, as it did for Jews in Spanish America.

The dissenters that left for America were in trouble for their proximity to people who would have bad outcomes if the dissenters prevailed, so moving to America relieved the political pressure. The dissenters also tended to be fans of living experiments, Quakers and puritans wanted a new society, but believed pretty much the same things as Anglicans, a geographic solution would work in this case.


Rahodees t1_j9z6f1h wrote

In the movie The Northman, some raiders, after having raided a village and enslaved much of its population, then threw a bunch of people (the rest whom they didn't enslave?) into a house and burned them alive.

I found a thread here in which someone states, with a citation, that this was indeed a practice at that time and place. However, no explanation was offered there as to why they did this?

So that's my question. What would be the reason for killing those people? Why not just leave them behind?


shantipole t1_j9zzqqx wrote

You don't usually leave people who can recognize you and are highly motivated to do you harm in a position to act on that motivation. Especially if you plan to raid anywhere near here in coming seasons.

Plus, it encourages your next victims not to fight back (by running away as soon as they see you coming, in this case). Brutality now to prevent resistance from others later is a pretty common tactic.


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_j9zt8a0 wrote

>What would be the reason for killing those people? Why not just leave them behind?

Raiding was often mutual, and enmities and feuds were well-known. A raid could be opportunistic, or part of a long campaign against an enemy, to frighten their people, to weaken their economy, to gain renown.


GSilky t1_ja428ma wrote

It was common place for a long time, and leaving people alive after a conquest is usually a stage in social development. You see it in the middle east ancient history. For a long time it was a tribe coming out of the desert or hills replacing the existing people wholesale. Then you see people like the Assyrians taking slaves and relocating whole populations. The Babylonians would only take the leadership class and eventually the Persians took only taxes to everyone's acclaim (it has been offered that the messiah mentioned in the Tanakh was Cyrus or maybe Darius, ICR which).


Rahodees t1_ja4c4y2 wrote

>eventually the Persians took only taxes to everyone's acclaim

That's interesting, was it seen as like a surprising innovation, or something people often hoped for but rarely saw happen?


GSilky t1_ja4zfou wrote

I think it was the influence of a more cosmopolitan outlook, it was certainly a first, afaik, but that is also an over gloss, it was more complicated of course, but that is the traditional textbook take. I personally think that it depends on the time and place, while mercy has been developed by today, it's always been present in individuals, there are surprisingly modern examples of this type of behavior, I would think that the knowledge of past behavior like being discussed was also not necessarily the norm, but those bizarre headline grabbing scenarios of today.


No_Procedure7454 t1_ja0svdf wrote

When did anti-semitism start? My assumption is that it began in the Roman Catholic Church soon after Christ’s death, but past that I don’t know much about Jewish history. Did Jewish persecution begin with the Roman destruction of the temple of Jerusalem and the Jews subsequent exile? What historical events took place that lead to the holocaust?


fictionalmenrailme t1_ja265o4 wrote

Not really an expert but i remember that Nebuchadnezzar II 606BC-562BC destroyed the kingdom of judah . The destruction of Jerusalem(597BC) led to the Babylonian captivity as the city population (semits) were deported to Babylonia .

I dont know if this was helpful or not but its the first thing i remember


LaoBa t1_ja93ctr wrote

Deportation of conquered populations was an important instrument of government of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires, this deportation was not exceptional.


Forsaken_Champion722 t1_ja2t0tr wrote

Throughout medieval and into modern western history, there was always prejudice against people with different religious beliefs. This applied not just to non-Christians, but among different Christian denominations as well. However, in the case of Jews, what I see happening is a transformation from religious to racial prejudice.

From what I can tell, Jews in Europe were viewed as white people who practiced the wrong religion. Benjamin Disraeli's family converted to Christianity when he was ten. Had they not done this, it is unlikely that he would have become prime minister, but his Jewish ancestry did not prevent it. During the 19th century, many Jews converted to Christianity and some changed their last names.

Hitler viewed Jews as a separate race. During the Holocaust, there were people who didn't know they had Jewish ancestors until the Gestapo researched their ancestry and showed up at their door. This sort of racial view of Jews seems to be the prevailing view of anti-semites today.


TheBattler t1_ja5bfxa wrote

So like, the Eastern Mediterranean especially in the time after Alexander was super religious syncretic. The Greeks didn't posit Zeus as superior to Amun due to their conquest of Egypt, they took a more practical route to integrate into the existing Egyptian systems by equating Zeus to Amun and worshipping them as the same deity.

The obvious exception were the Jews, who became a little more ethnically closed off in opposition to the polytheism around them. You start to see writers of other ethnicities like Manetho around them talk about how strange and stupid their religion was. That's kind of a proto-antisemitism.

Eventually, you had the Romans come long and conquer the whole Mediterranean but maintaining the syncretic religions as long as their subjects acknowledged the Roman Emperor as divine. This wasn't going to fly in Judaism. You see kind of an escalation where the Romans suppress Jewish religion like destroying their Temple and Jews looking towards the Romans enemies like the Persians for help in gaining their autonomy (and who doesn't want autonomy from a militaristic Empire?). Pretty soon the Jews are viewed as subsersive elements within the Empire who collaborate with the enemy, which should sound kind of familiar.


RageHulk t1_ja2bfi7 wrote

Hello! I am looking for a birthday present for one of my friends. He wants the book "Verlorene Welten: Eine Geschichte der Indianer Nordamerikas " - not available in English, its a book about the history of the north american natives. I would like to add something that's linked to that topic, maybe a historical tool they used with an interesting story on top or something he could use as decoration that reminds him of them. Or maybe a receipe that is typical for them? Any ideas? Thank you in advance.


ChrisNYC70 t1_j9z6ldk wrote

WW2 question. It seemed that the USA of the 1930s and 40s values lined up perfectly with what was going on in Germany. Blacks, gays, Jews were all looked down upon , killed, arrested for various things. It seems the purification of Germany would have appealed to the USA. So my question is , if Japan had no tracked us, would America have been more sympathetic towards the Axis.

As it was we had several US Senators who were openly pro Nazi and didn’t suffer for their beliefs (except lose re election after the war ended). Did Japan “save us” from joining the bad guys.


Vo_Mimbre t1_j9zd2rg wrote

This is a really conplex question that’s super well documented down a thousand rabbitholes. But I’ll attempt to summarizes. Some of this may be insulting to some or surprising to others, but it’s important to think of all this through the context of the cultures of the day.

In very broad terms, we were involved in WW2 long before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. That became the flashpoint that allowed the politicians to openly propose entering the war to a public that was now super angry. But we were already supporting in a few key ways (arms, lend-lease, etc).

America always has pockets of people who openly support any belief. There were fairly large (by the era) Nazi gatherings and a long history of open racism and anti-culture bias against whoever came to an area after whoever were already there. All of these also had many (and usually larger) counter protests. Again, all in super broad strokes.

But the largest general sentiments were to either stay out of it because it wasn’t-our-problem isolationism and it being “all the way over there” (we were very late to WW1 even), or support for Britain and France out of kindred spirit camaraderie and “why can’t they just leave we’ll enough alone). Plus of course the folks behind the scenes securing and shipping the arms that knew the truth:

The technical progression just from the beginning of WW1 to the end was enough that the same progression from WW2 beginning to end was going to lead to ICBMs or at least long enough ranged missiles, and likely with nukes, the war was going to hit North America. The Axis knew this too (Zimmerman note, sub attacks). And what America had which Japan and Germany didn’t was basically infinite natural resources. So if they could keep us from entering the war, all the best. And we knew if the Axis did win, they’d get those resources from the conquered territories.

The reasons for the Axis to even start the war are as complex and as deep as the particular question you have. But I hope the above helps.


Few-Gain-7821 t1_ja2p4vg wrote

Eugenics was a common belief among the movers and shakers of many regions of the world. This is a very nuanced question and although I think fighting the war to "stop" the Nazis was important it was not a moral decision by goverment. IBM made a fortune off the Holocaust. Henry Ford was an anti semite and eugenisist. In my opinion moat of this stems from the idea that you can perfect humanity and human societies. It always end in tears for large groups if people.


Eminence_grizzly t1_ja93rv1 wrote

The USSR, for example, was far more conservative, had a pact with Germany, and even seemed quite sympathetic towards the Axis powers in 1939-1941. However, it is hard to imagine that its alliance with Germany would have lasted forever. In the 19th century, European countries did not have many ideological differences, yet they were constantly at war with each other.


plaidtattoos t1_j9zcg7q wrote

I feel like I heard/ read once that there was a time when people didn’t name their child until the child was eight days old, due to death being quite common for newborns. Or is the eight days thing just when they were baptized? Anyone know about this?


GSilky t1_ja42lk1 wrote

It's still a custom in many societies today.


ImEdInside t1_j9zqhlm wrote

I’m trying to remember this leader (I think he was Greek) that played a huge role in his society and nearly perfected it. He decided that in order to preserve things as they were and so nobody alters the work he had done he said no decisions would be made until his return. His people (but except for one person he told) didn’t know he was leaving to never come back and he might have completed a suicide attempt in a boat that was sailing…

This is all hazy i remember reading about it as a teen.

Tl:Dr a leader attempting to preserve his societal structure and prevent changes tells people he is leaving and will discuss things when he returns. He never intended to return and hoped that his society ran the way it did indefinitely.


Larielia t1_ja15c4u wrote

What are some good books about birbs in mythology or folklore?


Skookum_J t1_ja1xeip wrote

Raven Steals the Light, by Bill Reid is fun read. an number of Haida stories of the Trickster Raven, and a few others.


redright_ t1_ja294d7 wrote

What was the area of Standard Oil monopoly in the USA?

From what I remember, at the height of its power, Standard Oil had a 91%
monopoly across the US. This should mean that a huge area of the
country was completely monopolized. On what percentage of the US land area did this famous company have a complete monopoly?

A map is welcome.


Expert_Quarter9220 t1_ja3sy2o wrote

I'm writing for college about how plenty of Germans believed that they'd been stabbed in the back when the november criminals surrendered germany from the war. Everything i read says that lots of germans thought that they were winning the war because of propaganda but i cant find any examples of newspapers, posters, speeches or anything as to why they believed that. Im sure its out there but i cant find where! Anyone know of any sources?


TheGreatOneSea t1_ja5p2sz wrote

Well, the first and most obvious question is whether or not you can read German, because most of what's been translated into English comes from foreign language newspapers that would rather avoid the issue of victory altogether.

Generally speaking though, one of the major problems for Germany was the question of what "victory" even meant: while the idea of defeat was "unthinkable," especially with the police looking over everyone's shoulder, Germany was a rather bizarre mixture of believing itself the victim in the war, and expecting to make material gains.

As such, depending on who you asked, ending the war without war reparations or territory losses could be a "victory," as could annexing most of Eastern Europe. Few would disagree with the former (at least openly,) but how many genuinely expected the latter before Russia's collapse is a much more open question.

After Russia's collapse, most people would have likely expected to keep the territory gained, but that made Germany's subsequent reversal all the more shocking, and presumably despairing, since the German government was clearly more afraid of ending up like the Tsar than admitting defeat by the end.


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_ja4iyti wrote

>about how plenty of Germans believed that they'd been stabbed in the back

It depends on how you define 'plenty'. Some thought that, but it was mainly a post-war myth.

>november criminals

Pardon, the who?

>Everything i read says that lots of germans thought that they were winning the war because of propaganda

'Everything' is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. What says that, for instance? And, did most Germans believe their own propaganda? In the face of enormous amounts of casualties that were so extensive they couldn't be hidden, food shortages, massive inflation, and so on.

German troops were tired but optimistic after Russian defeat, but this only lasted until around the middle of 1918, when German offensives were exhausted, and they were pushed back almost to their own border. Between March and July alone the Germans took about a million casualties. Their offensives had been bogged down because of German troops stopping to raid French and British supply depots to steal wine, bacon, and white bread, which they had seen little of for four years. Reinforcements sent to replace casualties deserted in large numbers. There were mutinies of entire units who refused to obey orders. Some officers believed the home front, where strikes were common, was responsible for 'corrupting' the troops, and blamed the 'radical left' or 'the Bolsheviks', but it was quite apparent after German offensives ground to a halt that the troops themselves no longer believed the war could be won. The British, interrogating prisoners, found there was a massive drop in the morale of German troops, and that most of them now believed that Germany could not win the war. Straggler collection posts, which Germans set up because of increasing problems with deserters, were busier than ever, and in the last month of the war, were overwhelmed with tens of thousands of soldiers. Surrenders increased in number too, with 385,000 prisonsers taken in four months, which is more prisoners taken than in any single year of the war.

German troops on leave and in letters home told their families quite a lot, and would often be brutally honest. The food supply in Germany in 1917 had been severely cut short, with an official ration of 1,100 calories. Home district commanders warned that the longing for peace was widespread throughout all classes. There were strikes in April 1917 with more than 300,000 workers participating because the bread ration was reduced. The German high command constantly told themselves it was purely political, but strikes were usually around some combination of hours, wages, and food, and typically cutting the hours, increasing wages, or relaxing rationing, did the trick. The populace knew the war was not going well.


en43rs t1_ja53mjn wrote

>november criminals
>Pardon, the who?

I think that's an expression in the 1920s that reffers to the Social Democrats/other left groups who overthrew the Imperial governement and signed the armistice.


Afraid_Atmosphere781 t1_ja6zu12 wrote

What are some 'good things' that happened in the 20th century that are as impactful as all the bad?


en43rs t1_ja71v3o wrote

Penicillin and vaccine that saved billions of people, the eradication of smallpox (which killed 300 million people on the 20th century alone), the end of high infant mortality rates, mass literacy, the end of massive war in the West, lasting peace in Western Europe for the first time in millennia, in 1900 around 70% of humanity lived in extreme poverty now it’s closer to 20%, …

Yes things may look bad. But we live in the best era of humanity.


GSilky t1_jaa94jx wrote

The efficacy of nonviolent protest.


Internal_Listen t1_jac40bz wrote

The invention of the washing machine. Widespread literacy. Child labor laws. Increased enfranchisement.


[deleted] t1_j9ylmad wrote



Kordeilious16 t1_j9zpegh wrote

What were the nazis opinions on the dawes plan?


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_j9zsjol wrote

The Nazis were opposed to reparations of any kind, to any country. They weren't in power, or even close to it, but they were, from their inception, completely opposed to the Treaty of Versailles in its entirety.


mycatchynamegoeshere t1_ja050sa wrote

Not sure if this fits here, but I have always wondered why North America doesn’t seem to have any remaining indigenous groups that live in traditional ways. How is it that other continents do, and some even have completely uncontacted tribes?


AngryBlitzcrankMain t1_ja0odgy wrote

Because indigenous people of North America were not only conquered and colonized but ethnically cleansed and genocided.


mycatchynamegoeshere t1_ja4ur9u wrote

Yes, I know what happened in North America. I guess my wording wasn’t quite right. What happened on other continents to prevent such an extreme change. Other countries have uncontacted tribes and tribes living very closely to the way they did before colonizers came along. How did they avoid the genocides?


AngryBlitzcrankMain t1_ja500u7 wrote

Did they avoid them? Are there many indigenous people of Indian ocean islands? Or South America? Or are there a few isolated groups living in areas that are hard to reach and thus were spared the ethnic cleansing groups that lived in other areas faced. USA was colonized fully and the natives were slowly moved from east to the west as colonization continued while their way of life was slowly but steadily destroyed.


GSilky t1_ja4383v wrote

First of all, their are many Native Americans living traditional lives, they just use updated equipment. However, research the history of boarding schools for native children, the founder of the system is on record as wanting to "kill the Indian and save the man". The various native cultural expressions, like ceremonial dances and such, were outlawed and being a member of a historical society that helped to keep traditions alive were also outlawed.


mycatchynamegoeshere t1_ja4uanz wrote

Yes, I am aware, and perhaps my wording was wrong. I have just noticed that on other continents there are folks living far more closely to the way they lived before colonizers came along. I understand what happened in North America, just curious as to why it didn’t happen quite as extremely in, say, South America.


GSilky t1_ja50jxp wrote

Gotcha, fair question. It's access. Geography helped keep cultural influences out of the Amazon, Andes, etc. At the same time, look into how much Spanish ways integrated themselves into Latin American native cultures.


[deleted] t1_ja3y4w1 wrote



en43rs t1_ja53a57 wrote

Probably the Battle of Cannae, where Hannibal defeated a larger Roman army. He didn't use shield walls but tight formations that trapped the Romans... and he slaughtered them all. It's considered one of the greatest victory in military history.


Dangerous_Grab_1809 t1_jaas5qn wrote

I am looking for a good book or website about how dictatorships end, especially the peaceful transitions of power (e.g., Franco in Spain). Any suggestions?


Internal_Listen t1_jac4rpa wrote

I cannot think of a single dictatorship that ended with a peaceful transfer of power. The non-violent exchange of power is what distinguishes a demorcacy from a dictatorship. So finding a book about specific dictatorships and peaceful transitions of power seems hard. I would suggest looking into political science or philisophical works to address those topics.


-ShutterPunk- t1_jaato6r wrote

Is there any compelling evidence of cities or civilizations before the ice age?


Stellastar9000 t1_jab3soh wrote

I'm trying to find out more about an artist named Pam Cooper, I recently bought an antique plate from a collection of hers, but I can't find out anything about her, does anyone know anything about her or where I might be able to learn more about her?


Plastic_Onion_8913 t1_jadx4gz wrote

Is the children’s crusade a real thing that happened?


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jae38sv wrote

There were attempted crusades around that time that involved children, but they were not crusades led by children, made up entirely or even mostly, of children. The latter idea is a fanciful creation added on to misunderstandings, or outright mythmaking.


milksteakmania t1_jae3tc4 wrote

I'm looking for population pyramids of countries involved in the first and second world war. I've done quite a bit of research online to find it but haven't had any luck. Even just the data would work as I can turn it into a graph myself.


en43rs t1_jaeghln wrote

Wikimedia's got you. There are population pyramids for nearly all the countries, and for the major ones you got several from the early 20th century.


Anarcho-Totalitarian t1_jaexh7e wrote

My knowledge of the Age of Discovery is assembled from a loose collection of stuff I learned in school and the odd passages in other books. Thinking about it, there are still a few points I'm confused on where things don't seem to make sense. If anyone has an answer or can point me to a good source I would be grateful.

The story I got in school was that the Portuguese were looking for a route to India. However, they spent decades content with the west coast of Africa and Vasco da Gama's initial voyage to India didn't set sail until years after Columbus' return. What Africa did have at this time was a profitable network of trans-Saharan trade routes that ran between Timbuktu in the Malian Empire to coastal cities in Algeria and Libya, and even as far as Egypt. Gold and slaves went out, salt came in. First question: were the Portuguese exploring the African coast as a way to cut out the middleman?

Now for Columbus. He'd been trying to get funding for a westward voyage before any other sea route to Asia was active, and in fact before Dias even rounded the Cape of Good Hope. As far as I know at that time the only claim of a circumnavigation of Africa had been made over 2,000 years earlier by the Phoenicians. So Columbus was in effect saying that the westward route would be more promising than attempting to sail around Africa. I realize that Columbus did some funny math to try and prove that a westward expedition was even feasible, but what gave him the confidence that it was the best choice? Were there any stories of land masses between Europe and Japan that Columbus would have known about? Did he know of Viking expeditions? Were there perhaps rumors that the ancients reached the Antilles?

Finally, I'm curious about the geopolitics involved in Spain actually funding the trip. In 1492, Spain finally wrapped up the Reconquista. And after wrapping up this 200+ year project they throw money at an Italian adventurer with visions of grandeur? Were they so eager for a prestige project? Columbus used funny math, but surely someone at the Spanish court could have called him on it. Spain had 3 universities by this point. Were they just too afraid of missing out on a potential opportunity and worried a rival might get it first?


The_WASPiest t1_jaab70f wrote

Hypothesis: part of the reason the United States has survived as long as it has is its two-party system. Unlike in a one-party or autocratic state, when one major party in this country collapses (as when the Whig party collapsed circa 1850 or the Republican party split disastrously in 1912), the other major party is always there to step in and provide stability and continued governance — even if their policies are mediocre or awful, they at least keep things going.