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seen Sep 1 at 16:56

Sep
24
comment Is it true that Spartan soldiers fought naked?
Good comparison of ancient art to Hollywood! No reason to believe that the old artists (and 'historical art/literature') didn't exaggerate.
Aug
28
comment What can be considered to be the single most important reason for the decline of muslim Golden Age?
Ah, Abbasid then. The accepted answer is probably off then, and the other answer about the pressure of invasions and internal politics/fragmentation is more accurate. Accepted answer is still good if you treat the Rashidun/Muhammad era as the golden age, like some scholars do.
Aug
27
comment What can be considered to be the single most important reason for the decline of muslim Golden Age?
Actually would say they weren't too reliant on Muhammad. Muhammad's conquests were split up into the Ridda Wars after his death, but the unification under Abu Bakr was proof that they could survive and thrive without Muhammad. The Abbasid Empire was also quite culturally stable, had incorporated its conquests into its customs, didn't suffer so much from overreach. I don't know what the term is, but Abbasid's collapse seems to be more because someone holding a lot of power for a long period of time will have many internal political entities trying to grab a share of that power.
Aug
27
comment What can be considered to be the single most important reason for the decline of muslim Golden Age?
Which golden age? Rashidun? Abbasid? Mali/Songhai? Ottoman? Timurid? Ottoman Empire was extremely powerful and influential, and survived into the industrial era, but was weakened centuries before dissolution.
Aug
27
comment How come Indians were not mass converted to Islam/Christianity?
Even throughout Muslim India, the caste system carried on, and parts of the caste system and culture worked its way into Islamic teachings. Culture and religion often intertwine.
Aug
27
comment When did people start caring for the handicapped?
Caring is a luxury. If people are starving and suffering, they'd be more inclined to neglect the handicapped. But if they are comfortable, with enough food on the plate, it's natural to empathize with the sick and poor. Even back in prehistoric times, if you've got excess food and excess time, it would do no harm to feed it to with less means.
Aug
27
comment How did Muslim traders raise investments given Islam's prohibition of usury?
You might have confused Mudarabah with Murabahah. Mudarabah is a concept where one person provides the money, the other person provides the workload and know how. Murabahah is arguably usury (as I've questioned on Islam SE: islam.stackexchange.com/questions/7887/… )
Aug
27
comment How did Muslim traders raise investments given Islam's prohibition of usury?
There's profit sharing. There's also hibah, which means giving a reward. Someone could have an informal agreement that if they borrow $1k, they'll pay back $1k and a 'hibah' of maybe $100. In effect, it gives similar returns to interest, but is not enforced.
Jun
11
comment When did the practice of formally “declaring war” cease and why?
Agreed with @Anixx, quite often war is declared after the surprise military strike. Troops were landed in Iraq before war was officially declared. Japan declared war on USA right after Pearl Harbor. I think most of this can be summarized as saying that most people want a limited military conflict between governments, but not a full on war. With today's precision warfare, we try to take out the leaders of a government, not to blow everything up along the way.
May
13
comment How did a besieged city/castle defend itself vs. catapulting diseased dead bodies into it?
It's probably not a desirable method for the attackers either. The besiegers would have to load a rotting, infected carcass onto a siege engine. Which might be more detrimental to the artillery team than to their targets who can just walk around a landed corpse. On the other hand, the besiegers would probably have better access to medical supplies.
May
3
comment Military training in the Hijaz during early Islamic era
An analogy for a more common view was like the pre-Genghis Khan Mongol tribes. There were lots of inter-tribe fighting and it took an ambitious leader to redirect those tribes towards a greater goal. Once united, they directed their military experience outwards. And like other rapidly expanding military empires, they collapsed to infighting when they ran out of enemies.
Apr
28
comment Military training in the Hijaz during early Islamic era
@RISwampYankee They were hardly 'well established, the Rashidun empire was a very young one. A lot of their early military experience involved raids and skirmishes: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_expeditions_of_Muhammad
Apr
25
comment Military training in the Hijaz during early Islamic era
It's summarized from over 2000 pages of reading of reading on the subject matter. However, the firsthand sources themselves are written by the victors, and may well be fanfic. And the second sources are often biased as well and in Arabic. Which is why I've mostly cited Wikipedia on this as it's a more neutral source.
Apr
24
comment Did people have better nutrition before agriculture?
As in having all the vitamins/nutrients they need. Higher quality & more balanced diet. There's no doubt that agriculture was a killer technology because it's a low risk source of cheap energy and saved a lot of time. But was it swapping out higher quality food for a more stable food source or were the health dips a side effect of city life?
Apr
24
comment Did people have better nutrition before agriculture?
@kubanczyk Healthier as in better nutrition. I left out the details on the life expectancy part because it's a catch all measurement that derails from the topic. Our generation is no longer killed by animals, has third world countries with better sanitation than kings did in the paleolithic era, lacks wars, does not suffer from starvation, has little infant mortality, and so on. Life expectancy is a very poor metric for nutrition!
Apr
24
comment What was the structure of religious beliefs among the Arabic peoples before conversion to Islam?
A few followed Abrahamic religion (was referred to as Hanif). Many followed a version of Abrahamic, with Allah as a sort of king of gods, and daughters, al-Uzza, al-Lat, Manat being among the most popular. As well as dozens of other minor gods. It's difficult to find a reliable source for this because of lack of documents from back then and most Arabian history is written by people who try to make Islam look good by making the older religions look bad.
Apr
5
comment What are major differences between a Caliphate and a modern Republic?
I was unsure whether it belonged here or on Politics SE. But the hard part of this question seemed to be centered around 7th century Islamic history, whereas Politics SE seemed more centered around 20th century things.
Mar
20
comment Plans to depose, disgrace, or assassinate Hitler
No wonder Hitler was so paranoid at the end of his days.
Mar
20
comment What cultures did, or do, perform human sacrifice on a regular basis?
IIRC, a 7th century Egyptian tribe used to throw virgins into the Nile every year to keep the river flooding. Can't seem to find a reliable source, though.
Mar
19
comment Historical use of alcohol as a source of clean water
@MarkC.Wallace Thanks, I rewrote the question to make it clearer. First part is to confirm the assumption of whether/how alcohol was used as a source of water. Second part is to compare those societies to the ones who boiled water. I'm assuming people back then knew of the benefits of food preservation and treated alcohol in a similar manner, even without germ theory.