MemberlistThe Library Index  FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Way Out West (Pre-History)
Reply to topic Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 11, 12, 13
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Nonsense. Current paradigms have been assembled by non-AEists, therefore they can be overthrown in hours. However, it takes hundreds of years for Applied Epistemologists to come into existence. The new paradigms were assembled by AEists and therefore are proof against all attack, even other Applied Epistemologists. It will take hundreds of years for the successors of the fabled Applied Epistemologists to come into existence...oh how they will laugh at us. The bastards. I hate them already.
Send private message
DPCrisp


In: Bedfordshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Thera itself was a major Minoan trading centre. So it was clearly pretty damn bad for them.

The evidence is that Thera had been abandoned for some decades before it actually blew.

Crete was hit by a Tsunami. It wasn't the long term atmospheric effects that did the real damage.

You'll be withdrawing the Chinese evidence from the discussion then, since that's all about atmospheric effects.

[In the 540s] there is clear evidence of falling population across Europe as a result of something.

You'll be withdrawing this from the discussion then, since it removes the lure of Britain's healthy economy.

I have already quoted John of Ephesus to demonstrate that Constantinople suffered a huge loss of people (230,000) because of the plague.

You'll be withdrawing this from the discussion then, since he records all sorts of mundane aspects of city life carrying on in spite of it all.
Send private message
DPCrisp


In: Bedfordshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

How long would the effects of the salt last? A season or two? Surely not permanently?

When we looked into this before, the only instance of salting the earth that we could find was Carthage. And as far as we could tell, it had no lasting effect: Carthage was back in business in no time.

And this was in the absence of an ash cloud, which, for all we know, caused torrential rain to wash away the salt and deposit a layer of fertile ash.
Send private message
DPCrisp


In: Bedfordshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Remember, this discussion started with regard to the question of whether there was a parallel in Britain to the American example of disease that decimated native numbers.

And there is not, since what the Europeans took in their stride left native corpses littering the ground, apparently. Whether taken in stride or utterly devastating, we have to reckon on this 6th century plague affecting the Anglo-Saxons and the English just the same.

Remember, this discussion started with regard to the question of whether there was a parallel in Britain to the American example of disease that decimated native numbers.

And there is not, since a small Anglo-Saxon warrior elite taking over and getting a living (if not amassing a fortune) from English estates would leave exactly the evidence we have of them (that is, we have no evidence of an Anglo-Saxon peasantry: all we know is that they were in charge); and this is a completely different situation from European settlers taking over the land to farm themselves and becoming the peasant population. It's not the political control of North America that introduced English as the (dominant) mother tongue.

(South America is, I believe, a different case, where it is not even clear that Spanish and Portuguese are spoken by the population at large.)
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

All this is what we call "chat". Both sides (Duncan is a whole side on his own, something we are not giving nearly as much credit as is due) are correct as far as they go but the question is 'how far is that?' This is a really important question since most of Applied Epistemology consists of taking academic textbooks and sorting out 'wheat from chaff', 'fact from chat'. It is not that orthodoxy doesn't know the difference, it is that when facts are thin on the ground, chat becomes essential in putting together even the barest-bones account. And then the chat gets repeated again and again until it achieves the patina of fact.

A good corrective is to ask, "If there were plenty of facts, would this be getting so much attention?" For instance, the Black Death is unquestionably a stupendous event in itself but if you were reading, say, a book on the Hundred Years War, the Black Death would get scarcely a mention. Apparently it made little difference to either England or France that one third of their respective populations died right in the middle of the War.

So, did the plague of 540 trigger the once-and-only wholesale transition of the British population? We'll never know for sure but my guess is that, were it not for a fairly crying need to have something to trigger this apparently epochal change, we wouldn't even be discussing the question.
Send private message
Ishmael


In: Toronto
View user's profile
Reply with quote

DPCrisp wrote:
How long would the effects of the salt last? A season or two? Surely not permanently?

When we looked into this before, the only instance of salting the earth that we could find was Carthage. And as far as we could tell, it had no lasting effect: Carthage was back in business in no time.

That wasn't quite the consensus.

Some of us don't believe the event ever happened, as surely no one at the time would have been foolish enough to think it could work. Unlike our own time of course. Plenty of fools now.

The legend of salting the fields of Carthage, I (and possibly some others of us) suspect is a mudled account of fertilizing the fields of Carthage -- using that other great salt of ancient (and modern) times: Phosphate.

If we assume that the Carthaginian economy was based primarily on ocean-going trade, it is possible that no effort had been made to build there a self-sustaining agrarian base for the city-state. Food could be shipped in from Egypt or elsewhere, in exchange for goods more easily and cheaply obtained by the Carthaginians than would be their own home-grown food-stuffs. And the near-desert conditions of North Africa certainly could not compete with the food-producing power of the Nile Delta.

But post-conquest, Rome gained monopolistic power over all trade inside the Mediterranean. The harbours of Carthage were of little use except as a port for inbound and outbound materials moving directly to and from Africa and Rome itself. And with Roman Legionaries clamouring for land as compensation for their service (though admitedly, this was the pre-Marian-reform period so I'm speculating heavily), the neglected fields around the old city of Carthage might have been more attractive.

So as my model has it, those fields were not "salted" to insure they remained abandoned, as legend has it. Those fields were "salted" to bring them to life. They were "salted" with Phosphate as part of a Roman engineering project designed to fertilize and irrigate a formerly lifeless plain: An effort that altered the emphasis of the Carthaginian economy away from its former maritime basis to a broader mix that now included agrarian development.

That, anyway, is one proposal to explain the "salting" incident.

Another proposal is that the whole event is legendary and represents the intrusion into historiography of that mythical archetype, "sowing the dragon's teeth".
Send private message
Ishmael


In: Toronto
View user's profile
Reply with quote

DPCrisp wrote:
And there is not, since what the Europeans took in their stride left native corpses littering the ground, apparently.

Stress on "apparently." Some of us (well..maybe just me actually) are skeptical about the supposedly "devastating" impact of disease upon the native population.

South America is, I believe, a different case, where it is not even clear that Spanish and Portuguese are spoken by the population at large.)

Exactly. Which is perhaps the primary reason for my afore-mentioned skepticism.
Send private message
Ishmael


In: Toronto
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Mick Harper wrote:
So, did the plague of 540 trigger the once-and-only wholesale transition of the British population? We'll never know for sure but my guess is that, were it not for a fairly crying need to have something to trigger this apparently epochal change, we wouldn't even be discussing the question.

Absolutely right, of course.
Send private message
DPCrisp


In: Bedfordshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Some of us don't believe the event ever happened

Yes, that's what I mean: there is only one story of salting the earth and even then it didn't do what it was said to, so it was clearly not a known technique, but a legend of another kind, such as you suggest.

They were "salted" with Phosphate as part of a Roman engineering project designed to fertilize and irrigate a formerly lifeless plain

An interesting idea, though salting the earth in this sense is still a singular event, with no signs of having been applied anywhere else. (The Rothamsted Experimental Station, near here, is credited with the development of artificial phosphate fertiliser in the 19th century, so if the technique had been used, it was evidently lost.)

Some of us (well..maybe just me actually) are skeptical about the supposedly "devastating" impact of disease upon the native population.

The alternative, I presume, is that the native population was radically less than is commonly supposed... which still means there is no parallel between Anglo-Saxonised Britain and Europeanised North America, right?
Send private message
Ishmael


In: Toronto
View user's profile
Reply with quote

DPCrisp wrote:
Earlier, I wrote:
They were "salted" with Phosphate as part of a Roman engineering project designed to fertilize and irrigate a formerly lifeless plain

An interesting idea, though salting the earth in this sense is still a singular event, with no signs of having been applied anywhere else.

Well...my notion is that the fields were continually "salted" every year afterward. Much as it is said today that the Israelis "made the desert bloom" -- it wasn't a one-off thing, though the words are phrased in the past tense. They've "made the desert bloom" every year afterward as well.

Some of us (well..maybe just me actually) are skeptical about the supposedly "devastating" impact of disease upon the native population.

The alternative, I presume, is that the native population was radically less than is commonly supposed...

Exactly.

And I do have a fact-supported argument to make that this was so. I am reasonably confident that native populations were always very small.

which still means there is no parallel between Anglo-Saxonised Britain and Europeanised North America, right?

You could say that, depending on the presumptions you make concerning Britain at the time. I try to avoid any statements of fact concerning the human condition prior to 1066.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

There is a puzzle here that perhaps we haven't really taken on board. It is a "fact" of Roman history that Rome was always fed by the 'breadbasket' of North Africa. This seems to have been true right up until the days of St Augustine (of Hippo) and the Vandals' occupation of these parts.

And yet today, this general area is more desert than breadbasket. The orthodox explanation for this is...wait for it...goats. It is argued that Bedouin herbivore flocks nibbled away at the growing shoots etc etc. as soon as there was nobody politically strong enough to keep them out. In fact even today this idea of nomads overgrazing is routinely named as the cause of desertification. Even though when the rains return nobody moans about the nomads.

Let's assume this is all bollocks. In my experience nature is far stronger than any human intervention, at any rate on the tuppeny-ha'penny scale of a few goats. As it happens we have another case of a 'breadbasket' that latterly became a desert and that is in Mesopotamia. This was (in this case more believably) ascribed to the Mongols (or whoever) smashing up the irrigation system. So Ishmael's idea that this area was subject to a quite sophisticated regime of potashing (or whatever) seems something of a runner. Once the potashers leave, the area reverts.

PS There are some mysterious lakes around Carthage. They should be investigated. They don't seem natural to me.
Send private message
rexleroy


In: Alabama
View user's profile
Reply with quote

DPCrisp wrote:
Some of us don't believe the event ever happened

Yes, that's what I mean: there is only one story of salting the earth and even then it didn't do what it was said to, so it was clearly not a known technique, but a legend of another kind, such as you suggest.


The Wikipedia article on the Third Punic War claims that the story of salting Carthage originated in the 1800s. Appian doesn't mention it, saying only that:

They decreed that if anything was still left of Carthage, Scipio should obliterate it and that nobody should be allowed to live there.

...

To those who had aided the Romans there was an allotment of lands won by the sword, and first of all to the Uticans was given the territory of Carthage itself, extending as far as Hippo. Upon all the rest a tribute was imposed, both a land tax and a personal tax, upon men and women alike.


I doubt the Romans chose to spoil their spoils.


But there is at least one other story assigned to an earlier time, before 1000 BC even by consensus chronology. From Judges 9:45 (ESV):

And Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He captured the city and killed the people who were in it, and he razed the city and sowed it with salt.


Wikipedia gestures at there being Hittite and Assyrian texts speaking of the salting of conquered cities, but doesn't provide references.
Send private message
rexleroy


In: Alabama
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Ishmael wrote:
So as my model has it, those fields were not "salted" to insure they remained abandoned, as legend has it. Those fields were "salted" to bring them to life. They were "salted" with Phosphate as part of a Roman engineering project designed to fertilize and irrigate a formerly lifeless plain...


If the story is not wholly a modern invention, perhaps it had something to do with those ubiquitous salt traders y'all go on about. Though dumping an entire warehouse full of salt on a field seems incredibly wasteful when it could have supplemented the salary of the soldiers.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Well, they did have biggest source of salt in antiquity. One on the Carthaginian doorstep plus these

These salt lakes stretch with only two short breaks in a line from the Mediterranean at the Gulf of Gab├Ęs to the Algerian frontier, which they penetrate for a considerable distance. The French term "chott" is a transliteration of the Arabic shat, a term for a broad canal, an estuary or lake. These shats however are, strictly speaking, not lakes at all at the present day. They are smooth depressed areas (in the case of the largest, the Shat el Jerid, lying a few feet below the level of the Mediterranean), which for more than half the year are expanses of dried mud covered with a thick incrustation of white or grey salt.
Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 11, 12, 13

Jump to:  
Page 13 of 13

MemberlistThe Library Index  FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group