AnaphoricReference t1_jdve8kt wrote

Both basketweave and dyeing are obviously millenia old, and sometimes occur together from about 1000BC onwards. But looms, widespread trade in dyes, and textile industry are a lot younger.

The idea of all people in the clan wearing the same complex pattern in a number of different colours kind of presupposes a local textile industry using looms that could repetitively and inexpensively produce the exact same pattern. No way poorer clan members would have managed to do that at home.


AnaphoricReference t1_jdujoe8 wrote

If mere dark-light checkered textiles count, the oldest dyed tartan in the Netherlands is from 800 BC. Checkered textiles are hardly an original idea. Most traditional "ethnic" dress is a lot younger than most people like to believe.


AnaphoricReference t1_jb0peqb wrote

The Netherlands has had three female Kings in a row in recent history. The Consitution is quite clear the topic: the monarch is King, and King (written) may be read as "Queen" if a woman is monarch. This led to an interesting discussion about downgrading the title of Queen as consort of the King to Princess, in analogy to Prince for the consort of a regnant Queen, because people have gotten so used to equating "King" and "Queen". And in common parlance both King and Queen were used for Beatrix: without qualification it is "Queen", but it is for instance "the first Dutch King that [..]".


AnaphoricReference t1_j9oj44t wrote

Although stone (or bone) arrowheads are considered positive proof of archery, and we can't make any inferences from the absence of evidence, you don't actually need a hard point for bowhunting. To kill a rabbit or a bird just the impact of a blunt wooden arrow will suffice, and making those is a lot less work.

So these arrowheads are evidence of relatively big game or humans as archery targets IMO.


AnaphoricReference t1_j4fz8at wrote

Seems to me that a string of small fiefdoms has less options to maintain a balance of power between language areas, cultures, military alliances etc than a network of fiefdoms, and therefore is more likely to gravitate towards similarity. Lasting political unification on the other hand usually requires a shared enemy that is really perceived as the other, and that was absent most of the time. Japan was relatively isolated and hard to invade. Norway is a bit similar.


AnaphoricReference t1_j4fwk0s wrote

Our historical narratives reflect how we think about the reasons for colonial annexations. Colonial empires did in fact often use some concrete pretext (a raid with European victims, piracy, a treaty violation, a trade conflict, picking one of the sides in a civil or succession war, etc) to decide to annex countries. Certainly if the area annexed was one that other colonial powers had economic interests in as well, or just generally to justify the cost of going to war to taxpayers. But we typically take those pretexts about as seriously as Hitler's story that Poland started it in 1939, and ignore them when summarizing colonial history.

The inability of nations of "uncivilized natives" to honour treaties, protect traveling Europeans within their borders, or keep their citizens from raiding over the agreed borders, immediately disqualified their existence in the eyes of Europeans.


AnaphoricReference t1_j4fssbd wrote

The notion of the Byzantine emperor was invented as a disambiguation between two emperors in countries that were themselves in the sphere of influence of the "other" Roman emperor (replacing the even worse "Emperor of the Greeks"). They needed circumlocutions that avoided "Roman emperor" to avoid insult.

But do note that Carolingian empire is a similarly modern circumlocution. No contemporary would have called it that. In contemporary documents it is just the Roman Empire (Imperator Romanorum). So Western European historians have already "fixed" that issue of two emperors as far as I am concerned by inventing more neutral new terms for both of them.


AnaphoricReference t1_j461zat wrote

The ratio of military expenditure to national income one year after entry into war was only higher in the Soviet Union (60% in 1942 for SU vs. 40% in 1940 for Germany), Germany expected to defeat them soon, and Germany at that point in time (June 1942) already matched them at 60% in its third year of participation in war. Germany moreover already spent 20% several years before the war started. Not exactly a situation in which Germany was very urgently considering losing a war of attrition.

A major factor is that Germany had occupied countries to exploit, and due to economic blockades had almost full control over availability of raw resources for production. They had those companies by the balls anyway: they could only produce if resources were prioritized for their use. On the output side you can then keep behaving as if business goes as usual.

There are similar input control factors in play for US industry, but more subtly: Dutch colony Suriname was for instance the biggest supplier of aluminium ore to the US, so it was easy for the government in exile to 'prioritize' it for use by US factories that built warplanes. The British government had similar options for regulating industry through its colonial exports to the US. US industry was pushed into war mode before the US government started pulling on it.


AnaphoricReference t1_j45sbc1 wrote

Not to mention that Germany's total war economy drive in 1943 involved things like 1) stripping underutilized factories in occupied countries that were resource-starved from their machinery and tools, 2) targeted forced labour razzias in industrial areas in occupied countries to obtain capable metal workers etc, and 3) using concentration camp infrastructure to run factories (e.g. Neuengamme had 92 subcamps attached to factories, i.a. assembling military vehicles). That's a part of 'full mobilization potential' not considered for the Allies.


AnaphoricReference t1_j3lfmfa wrote

The Estates General of the Dutch Republic had a yearly budget in the 17th-18th and a formal process to approve it. But interestingly it had only four categories of expenses on the budget: Repayment of debts, War, Water management, and the Representative office of the Estates General (tasked mostly with negotiations), with Repayment of debts and War always taking most if it (even in peace time).

Still it was apparently light years ahead of enemies in budget keeping, since it always paid lower rates for debts and never defaulted on repayments, while regularly bankrupting kings like those of Spain and France during wars.

One of those Representatives of the Estates General (in practice a sort of PM), Johan de Witt, is credited with laying the scientific foundations of financial mathematics and contributing to the formalization of probability with his paper 'The worth of Life Annuities compared to Redemption bonds' which is discussed in letters between Bernouilli and Leibniz. The topic of the paper is of course a very practical matter for a guy tasked with negotiating the conditions of big loans.


AnaphoricReference t1_j20vb9x wrote

Not to mention that the current inhabitants of Africa did some large scale displacing and colonizing as well in recent history. The Bantu expansion (1000 BCE- 1 CE, iron age culture) is considered far more recent than the Indo-Europeanization of Europe (3000 BCE- 2350 BCE, late neolithic and copper age culture). If indigenousness is a race, Europe is likely to win from Africa.


AnaphoricReference t1_j1pkmwb wrote

Yes. They had no almost no control over how hard the iron would turn out. The real cost would be in fuel and skilled labour. If the weapon turned out too brittle or soft for its purpose, you had to start all over again.

If you compare the standard types of side arms armies used in those days:

- The small hand axe (Franciska, Tomahawk) needs one hard edge, but is otherwise not prone to bending or breaking.

- The long knife (Seax) needs one hard edge and a stiff back.

- The short short (Gladius) needs two hard edges and a stiff centerline. This is an order of magnitude more difficult to achieve. Needs to be stiff enough not to bend or break when stabbing a shield or armour.

- The long sword (Spatha) needs two hard edges and a long stiff centerline, that is stiff enough not to break or bend when blocked halfway with another weapon. Again an order of magnitude more difficult than a short sword.

The small axe was a weaponized common tool that was within reach of any household. Owning a seax was fairly common as well, but would have been more expensive. A functioning long sword was really something else. Not because of the amount of material, but the amount of trying (and fuel) that went into it.

The main advantage the Romans had, was centralization and industrialization of weapon making. More fuel and labour dedicated to it.

Edit: To gain some insight into how involved weaponsmithing would be in those times: Try to build a fire of 1500 degrees celsius using just wood. It is impossible.


AnaphoricReference t1_j0uqj02 wrote

The irony is that the notion of "Age of Imperialism" is part of a very Eurocentric storyline. It is when a handful of Western European countries started behaving like traditional land-grabbing empires of old for a brief period.

It is a fitting storyline for a British or French school system, explaining their history in broad strokes from their own perspective, but one would expect haters of Western Civilization to be less uncritically Eurocentric if they actually aimed for a more balanced understanding of world history.

Europeans did not invent "Imperialism" in any meaningful sense. They just repurposed a Latin word that sort of described an important dynamic in a historical period of their own country well.


AnaphoricReference t1_j0g179q wrote

The part of that argument that makes sense to me is that a civilization that depends on bronze will need access to a large distance trade network to obtain both copper and tin. It will never have an incentive to destroy the trade network, even during war. A civilization that has made the switch to iron will more likely intentionally disrupt trade networks when it goes to war if its enemies depend on bronze.

In that sense it was a "disruptive innovation".

But iron was neither easier to work with nor better than bronze in those days. Just more widespread geographically.


AnaphoricReference t1_ixmeijj wrote

If you look at the squad selection behavior of Dutch coaches we definitely rank the Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and arguably Belgian/Swiss/Austrian competitions higher. The club should be a potential CL or EL contender. If you go to the MLS (or QSL, etc) you basically retire from the squad.


AnaphoricReference t1_ixi89ww wrote

Translators are obviously rarely explicitly mentioned in histories, but Caesar at some point for instance mentions changing translators due to questionable loyalty of his allies the Aedui, who apparently supplied them.

This detail has been of some interest in the discussions about the languages spoken in Gaul in Caesar's time, because it might explain why 'Germanic' tribes/chiefs/places have 'Celtic' names: the possibility of adoption of exonyms from the Gaulish language of his translators as a bridge between Latin and third languages.