Are there any History buffs here , wondering if we can discuss about that here. It’s a subject which fascinates me
Love it. Had zero formal education on it, just hoovered up everything I could and watched documentaries galore, some good, some less than plausible. The only thing I can say is that such knowledge that I have picked up is very much Euro centric and I lack much about the Eastern Empires and kingdoms, except maybe the Mongols but even then, I reckon I’ve missed out on a lot of nuance not to mention fact.
Sadly, not really mainstream at all so other than my books and the occasional documentary, I don’t get much in the way of stimulation for one of my passions and there is literally nobody around me that I can talk to about ancient history. I have managed to get one over on them for their ignorance, though. My son is named Troy Alexander
But back to you, what period would you like to discuss?
Anything really. I am a bit more interested in Indian history but do have more than a passing knowledge in Greek / Roman and the history of the Levant area as well.
To start with , let’s look at Ashoka (a famous Indian king much of what has been made out to be about how he went peaceful after the Kalinga war and the carnage after)
This might give a different perception as to what happened. People often don’t remember the fact that he invaded Kalinga which was a major maritime nation. But I don’t buy the fact that he went peaceful after that , that’s been revisionism on his part and one that’s been reinforced by the Indian history books.
Another misrepresentation is that he converted to Buddhism after the Kalinga war , whereas he was already Buddhist before.
The most likely explanation is that he wanted to control the sea trade (which Kalinga was dominating) and hence started the war. After the war , there was no need for further violence as he basically controlled most of the Indian subcontinent anyway. He then proceeded to send his son over to srilanka (in the name of spreading Buddhism) but it was more to do with him having a friendly nation and having sea ports.
The way history is represented by the victors is often fascinating but if you dig deeper down , you get to the crux of the matter.
One more interesting fact : indians are or were called as Keling in the Malay archipelago and Indonesia , that is a direct reference to the influence Kalinga had on them
Also have a book by Herodotus. Will have to refer to that often but I find that book intriguing as well
I did watch the film “Ashoka” a few years ago. I must admit that I knew very little about him although, as ever with film adaptations, I suspect that historical events were altered to suit dramatic narrative.
In fact, I’d say that knowledge of Indian history (as in the continent rather than the modern country) in Western Europe is very poor. Generally, it tends to centre about the British Raj rather than the country and people themselves which gives a very distorted picture of the concerns of the modern country.
Sometimes I feel curious about ancient African civilizations. Can you discuss those.
Incidentally, I do have a big interest in ancient history from Neolithic to Iron Age in Europe. I lived in Scotland for most of my adult life which has a wealth of ancient artefacts.
Don’t we already have a history thread?
It’s not surprising that. I mean not many people in India would know about the ancient history of Europe for instance as well.
Egypt aside , I don’t have too much information on African civilizations but I do know that there was a major kingdom whose main source of revenue was in fact selling slaves to other places.
Not sure on the name of the kingdom
Oh yeah , the Berbers of Algeria were massive in terms of military strength at medieval times.
Here , there’s been a narrative change from a historical perspective as well. The film had little to do with it considering the narrative had already been set before.
It’s a saying right , history is written by the victors and that holds largely true.
Also it’s interesting to note the parallels between Illiad and Ramayana for example. I suspect the stories did come from a common source. Those are myths ofcourse but then Alexander did start his conquests and extended all the way till India , so I suppose there’s been some commonality there.
I’m not that well informed either unfortunately. There is obviously the North African civilizations of ancient times such as the Egyptians whose influence spread quite far south, Ethiopia has a rich ancient history that is quite well documented and when I was in West Africa I spoke to a few people and there seemed to be a link with an Egyptian colony/migration that made its way over the Sahara at some point. Less ancient but of really quite surprising advancement is a civilization which lived and thrived between 900 and 1500 AD in what is now Zimbabwe which left some very impressive ruins. Much of history in sub - Saharan Africa is hazy and shrouded as the written record is sparse say compared to Europe and Asia where one can name an emperor, king, general or even an obscure warrior that did something extraordinary on the day.
Much of the ancient history of Africa has been influenced by Europe and on the East Coast, by the traders of the Arabian peninsula. In near history terms, migrations of peoples out of Central Africa towards the south vastly influenced the development of the south as the San were displaced. Africa goes back thousands of years, just like everywhere else, but these periods are often shrouded in mystery and memory rather than written volumes but I’m sure there are African history scholars out there that have delved into the study of Africa beyond the obvious.
Guess this can be clubbed.
Continuing on African kingdoms,
This was what I was referring to. Not ancient history per se
According to my knowledge, there were five ancient civilizations in Africa
- Egypt, Pharaoh
- Dahomy, Togo
Carthage might have been based in africa but the northern African civilizations were still massively influenced by Greece and trade along the Mediterranean.
Still a massive civilization in their prime.
I suppose you could count Sudan as a country with quite a rich historic culture there. Even if counted as part of ancient Egypt for the most part.
Most of the African civilizations flourished around the coastlines… For obvious reasons
Didn’t realise that Dahomy is so young . Don’t think they qualify as ancient.