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Jan
20
comment Has there ever been a revolution backed by a royal or a noble against their own family?
Well, no permanent personal gain, at least...
Dec
12
comment Did Jews commit crimes in Germany before 1939 that led Nazis to demonize them?
While Luther did eventually change to anti-Semitic views, he doesn't appear to have actually regularly "asked people to kill Jews". Certainly, he wanted to prevent Rabbi's from teaching ("on pain of loss of life and limb"), but wasn't advocating wholesale slaughter. His overall view still seems to have been conversion or expulsion ("if you're not one of us, go away").
Nov
21
comment What's the correlation between an excessive unmarried male population and a big war breaking out?
@MasonWheeler - Nah, scary is when you remember both parties have nuclear weapons...
Jun
28
comment Was early marriage of queens not considered pedophilia?
@opthamologist - just because they were married, it doesn't mean they had sex (no "wedding night"). It's not necessarily true of marriages even today!
Apr
17
comment Outdoors Survival Knowledge for Samurai?
Re: needing permission for hunting - The parents of a teacher at the Japanese middle school I teach at own some part of the mountains around here (horizon is several hundred feet up and a mile away in a 360 spin). The police caught some mushroom poachers one day, and brought them in to pay a fine. (The teacher's family owns a vegetable shop, so the property likely provides some produce).
Mar
7
comment Do we have enough Titanic references for full reconstruction?
Reconstructing an accurate iceberg, would, alas, be rather more difficult...
Feb
19
comment What caused scientific and cultural decline of East Roman (Byzantine) Empire?
So far, I've only seen a mention of a ban against philosophy and interpreting the laws (so... no lawyers? I'm assuming that was civil law...). Wikipedia's entry on Christian Topography (and the author) seems to indicate most of his contemporaries didn't share his views on the shape of the earth and the heavens, and in fact believed in a spherical earth. Everybody seems to like his book for the travelogue aspect, since he actually went somewhere.
Jan
15
comment Did the Japanese try to start peace negotiations while in a position of strength in WWII?
er, shouldn't that be IJN, not IGN? Or is there something I should know?
Nov
16
comment Why did textile mill owners during the industrial revolution keep their factory windows closed?
@Semaphore - Which is my point - there likely wouldn't be "inspections" in the first place. Most of the people with the power to make the laws would be more lamenting the loss of resources due to training replacements, etc, than the human cost.
Nov
16
comment Why did textile mill owners during the industrial revolution keep their factory windows closed?
Just because windows were "down", it doesn't mean they were covered over. In fact, usually they'd have to be clear, to let light through. It's possible that the windows were on top of the building (or at least high on the walls), which would make peering through for inspections difficult. Was there even a worker-protection agency at the time? It might help to know what kind of mill this was, as well as what they were working on...
Oct
27
comment Did the date of 9/11 have significance, or was it chosen randomly?
@dan04 - Like I said, I can't remember.
Oct
23
comment Did the date of 9/11 have significance, or was it chosen randomly?
One of my friends posted something on Facebook that it was the anniversary of some event in Islamic history, but I can't remember what it was (and this was years ago now). No clue if he was actually right. Note that this would most likely be in (one of) the Islamic calendars, which varies wildly from the Gregorian/ISO calendar the world at-large uses. You'd first have to figure out what the day was in those calendars, then look for anniversaries based on that...
Aug
12
comment How do modern historians evaluate Sherman's “Total War”?
I doubt he was, y'know, burning homes while people were still in them. That would have been considered a bit much for most of history. I believe infrastructure is still a valid target - supplies and supply lines are a great way to take armies down several pegs.
Aug
10
comment Why did people die for their religion in the 400s CE (or even now)?
Does this even have to be just about religion? What about things like the French Revolution(s), where people were willing to die for a change in government types? Or the leadup to the Meiji Restoration, with the fighting between forces for the Emperor and the Shogunate? The person generally considered the first Christian martyr is Stephen, who would have died in the first century AD/CE.
Jul
13
comment Prisons and prison laws in Old Testament times?
Hmm, you're right, depending on which passages are in effect: Exodus 21:7 (she doesn't go free) versus Deuteronomy 12:15 (she does). Barring certain other restrictions of course. Argh, laws tend to be dry reading in any culture. The puberty thing is new to me though.
Jul
13
comment Prisons and prison laws in Old Testament times?
In the interest of completeness, only Jewish male slaves were to be released. Although somehow I feel like this was less about denying freedom to a class of people, and more about making sure people without other economic support would be provided for (as in the year of Jubilee, the men would get their land back). I tend to feel that slavery in the ancient world was for two main purposes - 1) debt repayment/relief, generally because you made bad economic decisions, and 2) a means of population control after wars (some overlap with 1). Still maybe not nice, though.
Jul
5
comment Prisons and prison laws in Old Testament times?
Note that any type of prison requires a large amount of free resources, because essentially you're supporting people that aren't working for themselves (this is true even you're using them as slave labor). So yeah, not suited for nomadic or near-subsistence rural societies. In Jeremiah's case the impression I always got was that the specific location he was being held was a further punishment, as opposed to simple incarceration.
May
27
comment Were ancient Israel's neighbors henotheistic?
You're probably going to want to specify a time period here. Note that there's some debate over whether the historical Israelites had only one god, or multiple. For most cases, though, the neighbors likely had one "chief" god, with the rest lesser in some way (ie, Egypt had Ra, etc). Most references in the Old Testament seem to indicate they had multiple.
May
19
comment Was Christianity the first belief system which encouraged the ideal of peace among all people on Earth?
...and those arguments are? Eternal punishment/Hell is generally treated as something akin to a natural consequence of the universe, not as a command to followers. Your argument there seems to me to be the equivalent of "Well, America would be a peaceful country, if it wasn't for the fact that falling off a tall building would kill you!". For the Israelites (before Christianity), revenge was specifically left in God's domain (barring a specific set regarding murder); for Christians it's really more turn the other cheek.
May
19
comment Was Christianity the first belief system which encouraged the ideal of peace among all people on Earth?
@RichardTingle - Except that's a command to the Israelites, for a specific geographic region, and effectively to a specific time period; by the time Christ showed up, a number of those people groups were gone (whether through those wars, later ones from other parties, intermarriage, whatever). Deuteronomy is only included in the Christian bible as a way of explaining history/cultural context of the Israelites. Most (modern) denominations really only use the 10 Commandments as the base, and that verse would probably be superseded by Matthew 28:19.