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Medieval - Pre WW2 History Thread

Zippy!

Certified Bean
It does require more skill in melee combat

But it would take years of training and discipline to master a close combat weapon like a longsword, cudgel, or spear. It also required the user to be physically fit enough and strong enough to be efficient with it. This was very resource and time consuming.

What made guns a game changer for humanity was that anyone who picked one up instantly became dangerous. They were made on large scale manufacturing, and they were generally easy to operate. Any person wielding an ax, club, or sword could be easily disposed with modern firearms.

Suddenly it made a smaller and weaker person able to defend themselves from a much more powerful and larger individual that would have easily disposed of them back in Medieval weapon times, and large-scale armies no longer had to be as concerned with how quickly you could run a mile or how much you could lift so long as you knew how to aim and hit your target.

I cannot see us going back to early weapons unless there was no other option.
 
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Attaman

"I say we forget this business and run."
Another good example, to go back to slings, is that it could take upwards of years to get somebody to reliably hit a stationary plate-sized target at a distance of 60ft.

Yes: In return (particularly if using a Sling-Staff, which can get even more oomph) you had a weapon that was horrendously lethal at shorter ranges and required nowhere near the industry behind firearms (no need to have specialists who can smith the barrels or chemists who can mix the powder or...). But... to use another example? Chariots were the pinnacle of warfare at one point. But even disregarding their limited terrain capacity, one of the things that held them back and eventually lead to their replacement was that it took a good deal of training to have good charioteers (both in regards to driver and rider).

This is a fairly significant problem when it comes to pre-modern societies as very likely the vast majority of your population is going to be farmers (who are going to both be more valuable in their fields and have limited campaign seasons further reducing how quickly and efficiently you can train them). Hence why Charioteers were often drawn from the upper social crust (or, if not drawn from it initially, very quickly stayed there). Or why there was a significant change in European armies, fortifications, et al between Antiquity (which saw adequate logistical coordination and whatnot to field enormous armies) and the Medieval era (wherein professional armies were few and far between as opposed to retainers and fyrd and whatnot).

Also, even moreso than bows and crossbows (which themselves are moreso than slings), firearms are relatively easy to arrange for coordinated volley fire. To say nothing of the morale aspect of training wherein often times archers, slingers, and so-on could fairly readily find their kills (might even see them in the act of being killed) while firearms offered a lot of distraction as well as deniability / disconnect.

All the above matters a bit less if you can actually equip, train, and maintain a standing professional army, but in the context of where Europe was at for much of CE firearms enormously streamlined the process.

... Once again I must recommend ACOUP as over time you'll pick up on a lot of stuff re:Logistics, Morale, and so-on and it tends to frame a lot of historical developments much more readily.

[1]Insofar as the ground between 60ft and 60m can be considered 'short'. While true that an English Longbow had a hypothetical maximum range of almost 300m, most bows significantly lost power after the first couple hundred feet, and if aiming to penetrate armor would be lucky past 100ft.
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
I didn't say iron smelting was a European invention. I said that necessity is the mother of Invention. The ways in which Europeans were able to manipulate and refine their metals a large part of why they were able to have such refined and well made suits of armor and weapons. They made alot of advancements and refinements to metal working, armor making and weapon making through their environments. The environment this happened in involved many countries constantly in a state of competition towards them. The Incans comparatively eliminated/conquered their competitors rather quickly.
There's more to it than the material used, it's how the metals were refined, smithed and so on that is important too. So I'm not simply saying they lacked iron smelting, it also concerns the techniques used to get the most out of the materials used, which can be it's own discussion altogether. The Italians in particular were famous were the high quality of armor they produced at the time the Conquistadors were active.

Which is a long way of saying, knowing that Iron can be smelted won't mean anything if you don't know the best way to shape it into something useful. What does matter is the techniques used in forging the metals.

I don't know whether the Inca's local enemies were eliminated quickly by them; I don't know the history well enough.

I agree that centuries of conflict involving sophisticated metal work explains why European conquerors had one of many technological advantage in war.
I also think having a written language may have presented a fundamental advantage over South-American cultures that didn't have this technology.
 

The_biscuits_532

Eternally Confused Feline
I don't know whether the Inca's local enemies were eliminated quickly by them; I don't know the history well enough.

I agree that centuries of conflict involving sophisticated metal work explains why European conquerors had one of many technological advantage in war.
I also think having a written language may have presented a fundamental advantage over South-American cultures that didn't have this technology.
Oddly enough, there is one former Spanish territory that doesn't have a Spanish speaking majority

Paraguay

46.3% Spanish and Guaraní (or Jopara), 34% only Guaraní, and 15.3% only Spanish; the rest speak other languages.
- Wikipedia

Apparently the main reasons were that Paraguay was relatively isolated compared to the rest of Latin America, and many of the natives flat-out refused to learn Spanish. Rural citizens are more likely to speak it, which has lead to discrimination against speakers, with the stereotype being that they're uneducated and poor.
 

Yastreb

Well-Known Member
Speaking of Paraguay, lets talk about the War of the Triple Alliance.

Basically the president of Paraguay in the 1860s had some really big ambitions and decided it would be a good idea to invade Brazil and Argentina at the same time. When this surprisingly backfired he refused to surrender even after the entire country was occupied and kept fighting a guerilla campaign. Estimates of casualties vary wildly but were probably around half of the Paraguayan population. The women-to-men ratio in Paraguay after the war was about 4 to 1, in some areas 20 to 1.
 

The_biscuits_532

Eternally Confused Feline
Speaking of Paraguay, lets talk about the War of the Triple Alliance.

Basically the president of Paraguay in the 1860s had some really big ambitions and decided it would be a good idea to invade Brazil and Argentina at the same time. When this surprisingly backfired he refused to surrender even after the entire country was occupied and kept fighting a guerilla campaign. Estimates of casualties vary wildly but were probably around half of the Paraguayan population. The women-to-men ratio in Paraguay after the war was about 4 to 1, in some areas 20 to 1.
I remember reading about this. Apparently the only reason we still have Paraguay is because the US President at the time recommended they keep it as a buffer state between Argentina and Brazil.

I also remember reading one of their dictators (either him or another one) made it illegal to marry a member of your own race. Gonna go verify that now, brb
 

The_biscuits_532

Eternally Confused Feline
Apparently it was a different guy, but yes it did happen.

From Wikipedia
In March 1814, Francia imposed a law that no Spaniard may intermarry with another Spaniard, and that they may only wed mestizos, Amerindians, or Africans. This was done to eliminate any socioeconomic disparities along racial lines, and also to end the predominantly criollo and peninsulare influence in Paraguay. De Francia himself was not a mestizo (although his paternal grandfather was Afro-Brazilian), but feared that racial disparities would create tensions that could threaten his absolute rule.
 

Comfy-Girl

The cutest plushie bunny in a lil green sweater
There never was a skull on the original Jolly Roger flag, but it wasn't entirely invented by popular fiction either.
Pirates did actually paint skulls along the sides of their boats to show how many men they had killed.
It was a quick and easy way to gauge the proficiency of a pirate captain within the pirate subculture.
Except for Le Check who exaggerated his numbers and was killed for doing so.

It's called the "jolly roger" because Roger was a slang term for a gay man and since it was both illegal and socially inacceptable to be gay in those times pirates tended to seek out gay people because they'd be unemployed and desperate for money. It's jolly because these "rogers" are free to live their lives without prejudice and not suffer because of it. Though in reality they were being exploited, the concept was good advertisement for any pirates looking to get people willingly joining their crew.

I'm not going to explain what the two crossed bones represent because i think you can figure it out from what i said. Often however it was just simplified to two swipes of white paint in a cross shape. Didn't need to be more complicated than that. You see a black flag with a big white X on it and nobody needs to tell you that's a pirate ship. The reason the flag was black was also to attract slaves seeking freedom in much the same way they exploited the gay community.

To be fair, living on a boat almost entirely populated by people who were following the dream of equal rights did occasionally result in ships that genuinely represented that especially when the concept of mutiny was always on the table, but none of these pirate groups ever really became that successful. Despite the fact the most successful ships were exploiting those groups, they didn't have any ill-will to the ships that chose freedom. They just respected them as fellow pirates and got on with their lives.
 

Frank Gulotta

Send us your floppy
Banned
There never was a skull on the original Jolly Roger flag, but it wasn't entirely invented by popular fiction either.
Pirates did actually paint skulls along the sides of their boats to show how many men they had killed.
It was a quick and easy way to gauge the proficiency of a pirate captain within the pirate subculture.
Except for Le Check who exaggerated his numbers and was killed for doing so.

It's called the "jolly roger" because Roger was a slang term for a gay man and since it was both illegal and socially inacceptable to be gay in those times pirates tended to seek out gay people because they'd be unemployed and desperate for money. It's jolly because these "rogers" are free to live their lives without prejudice and not suffer because of it. Though in reality they were being exploited, the concept was good advertisement for any pirates looking to get people willingly joining their crew.

I'm not going to explain what the two crossed bones represent because i think you can figure it out from what i said. Often however it was just simplified to two swipes of white paint in a cross shape. Didn't need to be more complicated than that. You see a black flag with a big white X on it and nobody needs to tell you that's a pirate ship. The reason the flag was black was also to attract slaves seeking freedom in much the same way they exploited the gay community.

To be fair, living on a boat almost entirely populated by people who were following the dream of equal rights did occasionally result in ships that genuinely represented that especially when the concept of mutiny was always on the table, but none of these pirate groups ever really became that successful. Despite the fact the most successful ships were exploiting those groups, they didn't have any ill-will to the ships that chose freedom. They just respected them as fellow pirates and got on with their lives.
There was never an official flag for pirates, the closest to an organisation it ever came to was privateers who worked for monarchs. At sea everybody communicated through flags, and gruesome imagery was often used to send a clear message as to a ship crew's intentions. As such skulls as well as full skeletons were actually used a lot. Although from what I've read the flags tended to be red rather than black (a color that had fuckall to do with anyone's skin color by the way). If we could avoid rewriting history for politically correct purposes that would be great
 

Kope

Artist?
There was never an official flag for pirates, the closest to an organisation it ever came to was privateers who worked for monarchs. At sea everybody communicated through flags, and gruesome imagery was often used to send a clear message as to a ship crew's intentions. As such skulls as well as full skeletons were actually used a lot. Although from what I've read the flags tended to be red rather than black (a color that had fuckall to do with anyone's skin color by the way). If we could avoid rewriting history for politically correct purposes that would be great
What has been re written?
 

Comfy-Girl

The cutest plushie bunny in a lil green sweater
oh. brown apparently. not red or black.

and even though they did do a lot of luring slaves with the promise of freedom, the flag had nothing to do with it.
 

Yastreb

Well-Known Member
There never was a skull on the original Jolly Roger flag, but it wasn't entirely invented by popular fiction either.
Pirates did actually paint skulls along the sides of their boats to show how many men they had killed.
It was a quick and easy way to gauge the proficiency of a pirate captain within the pirate subculture.
Except for Le Check who exaggerated his numbers and was killed for doing so.

It's called the "jolly roger" because Roger was a slang term for a gay man and since it was both illegal and socially inacceptable to be gay in those times pirates tended to seek out gay people because they'd be unemployed and desperate for money. It's jolly because these "rogers" are free to live their lives without prejudice and not suffer because of it. Though in reality they were being exploited, the concept was good advertisement for any pirates looking to get people willingly joining their crew.

I'm not going to explain what the two crossed bones represent because i think you can figure it out from what i said. Often however it was just simplified to two swipes of white paint in a cross shape. Didn't need to be more complicated than that. You see a black flag with a big white X on it and nobody needs to tell you that's a pirate ship. The reason the flag was black was also to attract slaves seeking freedom in much the same way they exploited the gay community.

To be fair, living on a boat almost entirely populated by people who were following the dream of equal rights did occasionally result in ships that genuinely represented that especially when the concept of mutiny was always on the table, but none of these pirate groups ever really became that successful. Despite the fact the most successful ships were exploiting those groups, they didn't have any ill-will to the ships that chose freedom. They just respected them as fellow pirates and got on with their lives.
Sounds interesting. What is your source on the origin of the name?
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
While I'd like to believe the romantic backstory to the jolly roger that comfy girl suggested, I cannot find any source to support the idea that it is true. :S

Moreover, pirates through the ages have regularly taken slaves in raids and actively participated in slave trades- so their relationship to this gruesome industry is much more complex than what comfy girl described.

What has been re written?


There have been numerous examples of large historical errors posted in this thread. They usually contort history to make it appear more sympathetic to contemporary political causes. E.g. regarding pirates as a group that dreamed of equality.
Ironically, Frank has actually been responsible for some of these, but I am glad he noticed this latest one.
 
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Kope

Artist?
While I'd like to believe the romantic backstory to the jolly roger that comfy girl suggested, I cannot find any source to support the idea that it is true. :S

Moreover, pirates through the ages have regularly taken slaves in raids and actively participated in slave trades- so their relationship to this gruesome industry is much more complex than what comfy girl described.




There have been numerous examples of large historical errors posted in this thread. They usually contort history to make it appear more sympathetic to contemporary political causes. E.g. regarding pirates as a group that dreamed of equality.
Ironically, Frank has actually been responsible for some of these, but I am glad he noticed this latest one.
I’ve been kinda skimming though to the bottom of the thread tbh.
 

KimberVaile

Self congratulatory title goes here

Fun little article, I'd have never thought pizza had such curious origins!
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
Usman dan Fodio founded the Sokoto Caliphate in west Africa in the 1800's, in part because of his religious belief that there should be a prohibition on some types of slavery.

But by the end of his life the giant Caliphate was probably one of the largest holders of slaves on the entire continent.
 

The_biscuits_532

Eternally Confused Feline
Usman dan Fodio founded the Sokoto Caliphate in west Africa in the 1800's, in part because of his religious belief that there should be a prohibition on some types of slavery.

But by the end of his life the giant Caliphate was probably one of the largest holders of slaves on the entire continent.
I like how I only know about Sokoto because of how it's one of the worst nations in Europa Universalis 4
In that it's incredibly hard to form, as it's basically based on RNG due to Usman's appearance event.
And then that only happens like, a few years before the game ends anyway
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
I like how I only know about Sokoto because of how it's one of the worst nations in Europa Universalis 4
In that it's incredibly hard to form, as it's basically based on RNG due to Usman's appearance event.
And then that only happens like, a few years before the game ends anyway
I thought I would be able to mention a massive country that nobody had ever heard of but you know too much! ;D
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
Ulugh Beg was a Sultan in the fifteenth century in what is now Uzbekistan.
He is famous for making significant contributions to astronomy, and his calculation for the length of Earth's year is only 1 minute different from contemporary methods.

He built an observatory- which means astronomical observatories existed in central Asia at least 100 years before Europe.

Central Asian civilisation and mathematics was incredibly advanced for the time, because Arab armies acquired the secret of paper making from China in the 8th century.
By contrast, Europeans had to rely on stretched animal skins for making parchment, which meant producing and distributing literature was only possible for people who were incredibly wealthy.

Paper was eventually introduced to Europe through what was then Muslim Spain.

So that's a story which involves 3 different civilisations and all of the continents in the Old World.
 
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