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Jun
3
comment Which country traces its roots back to the oldest civilization?
@Anixx: True, I probably should have included them, although it must be said they didn't leave very much of a written record as far as I know. They can be dated from round about the dawn of the Mycenaean Greek culture (though not as early as the Minoans of course).
Apr
27
comment When were swords last used in European warfare?
@TylerDurden: Only if you call it by its proper name (football hooliganism), hah! ;)
Apr
26
comment Where did the Gaels originate?
No, not at all.
Apr
25
comment Where did the Gaels originate?
See no reason to doubt the Gaels are the same as the Phoenicians?!? Apart from their totally different languages (Indo-European and Semitic respectively) and extremely disparate genotypes. I stopped reading here.
Mar
28
comment Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?
@hayd: Yeah, I said that badly... you're quite right. The legal situation is a bit confusing I suppose, due to the multi-stage granting of full rights of an independent nation (Statute of Westminster, etc.). Suffice to say Britain's influence was still sufficiently strong and the Imperial links were tight enough at that point in history still, that they worked together and considered their causes somewhat united.
Mar
9
comment Where did the Gaels originate?
Interesting. Thank you for this answer. I've also heard of the tale of the Gaels originating from Galicia. While it may be easy to dismiss as fantasy, it history and archaeology certainly suggest the Gaels made their way to Ireland directly from continental Europe, and not by way of Britain (which a separate group of Celtic peoples settled, from northern France).
Mar
9
comment What were Hitler's religious beliefs?
@otakucode: Ah right, I didn't know he was Lutheran. I believe they're quite a minority in Austria (and were at the time indeed), since the vast majority are Roman Catholic. The situation with Pius XI & XII is interested. Both certainly opposed Nazi ideology, and Pius XII although he sought safety for the Catholic church in Germany (why wouldn't he from a political perspective?), became very critical of Hitler & the Naxis when WWII broke out, as far as I know.
Oct
15
comment What language(s) were spoken within the Holy Roman Empire?
Ah yes, good call @knut. Although weren't all Oïl languages probably mutually intelligible at that time?
Aug
23
comment Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?
Yes, I'm sure it was, @Matthaeus. But I'm also quite confident the sort of common view of Germans on Jews, Slavs, and other "untermenschen" wasn't so prevalent in Italy at the time. Indeed, their are reliable quotes of Mussolini finding the Nazi/Hitler's racial policy very distasteful. I get the feeling fascist Italy collaborated with the Nazis and sponsored their racial policy insofar as they were allies, but didn't really have the same conviction of belief (let alone zeal) behind it.
Aug
22
comment Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?
@Matthaeus: Only in part. Spain didn't really subscribe to the racial policies of the Nazis though (nor did Italy really, although they were an "ally" for some time). And Spain didn't send any troops or military assistance as far as I know. Probably because they weren't very powerful, in fairness, but still. Switzerland is a complex case... they often have a guise of neutrality, but what they do underhandedly can be seen as very partisan in many cases.
Jul
26
comment Which country traces its roots back to the oldest civilization?
Cultural heritage? Again, extremely hard to discern, but they certainly left legacies of epic literature, book-keeping & accountancy, and many other things that influenced later civilisations, in particular via the Assyrians again. You'd have to ask an expert on Sumerian culture to get a real answer about this though.
Jul
26
comment Which country traces its roots back to the oldest civilization?
As for linguistic descent, there are no living descendent of Sumerian, although a number of loanwords entered Assyrian and other Semitic languages, and have been passed down into modern languages. See e.g. "cane" in England (etymonline.com/index.php?search=cane). I'm sure Syriac (which still exists as a liturgical language) has a number of Sumerian loanwords, though I can't list them off the top of my head.
Jul
26
comment Which country traces its roots back to the oldest civilization?
@Mr.Bultitude: In brief summary of a very complex issue: technological heritage was immediately the Assyrians (who later conquered the region), the entire Middle East, the Mediterranean and Indian civilisations, then the whole world in time. Ethnic? Very hard to tell, although there's nothing to suggest the Sumerians were wiped out. They lost their identity over time thanks to the Assyrians & Babylonians, but I'm sure many modern Iraqis, Syrians, Jordanians, and people far wider afield have a little Sumerian ancestry if you go back far enough!
Jul
8
comment Julius Caesar's view on Celts and Germans
Sure, as Rome used barbarian troops through its history (especially in cavalry). I'm afraid I have to disagree though; it does seem like he actively scorned their culture... he considered them even more barbaric and threatening than the Celts, on account of what appeared to him like an unbridled warlike aggression. I believe there is a well-cited quote saying he wished to eradicate them completely (though perhaps I'm getting this muddled with Marcus Aurelius in his Marcomannic Wars).
Apr
29
comment Julius Caesar's view on Celts and Germans
And these excerpts do at least provide evidence that Caesar himself deplored and generally held in scorn the Germanic tribes, even while he respected the threat they posed militarily.
Apr
29
comment Julius Caesar's view on Celts and Germans
Indeed, it's worth noting that one of the larger causes of Rome's eventual fall was the 'softening' of the Roman population itself. First to a point where true Romans (of the city of Rome) eschewed war (around 2nd to 1st century BC), then where all native Italians eschewed war (2nd century AD) and finally when virtually all Roman citizens in the Empire shunned it (except some Illyrians/Thracians), and basically left all fighting to be done by Germanic and other foederati. So it's a good point, for sure.
Apr
29
comment Julius Caesar's view on Celts and Germans
Yeah, I've effectively covered most of the Gallic Wars anyway through other books, though you make a good suggestion. In any case thank you for your answer. Caesar, and the Romans in general, actually make a fair and veracious comment when they say the tribes further from the Mediterranean are the most warlike and least civilised. As Pieter's answer above suggests, the Celts used to match or exceed the Germans in war, but were notably inferior by Caesar's own day. Since they had far more of the Roman influence, it's perhaps no surprise they softened and gave less attention to war...
Apr
29
comment Julius Caesar's view on Celts and Germans
Interesting. Thanks for this Pieter. I believe there is another remark by Caesar (not sure whether it's in the Gallic Wars, though it was cited properly), that states he believed the Germans too large a threat to new Roman territories, and too warlike and barbaric to leave alone, hence he recommended effectively wiping them out.
Apr
29
comment What were the Nazi racial views on Hungarians and the Japanese?
@Anixx: This does not seem to be the general consensus of scholars. "Sclavus" is definitely Late Latin or Medieval Latin, so it would have originated about the time the older European cultures first encountered the Slavs. I'm not sure that linguistic argument works, since it could well have been Germanic people coining this Latin term...
Apr
29
comment What were the Nazi racial views on Hungarians and the Japanese?
@Anixx: Regarding "slave" however, I don't believe that's true. All the etymological sources I've read, including the OED, Merriam-Webster and other prominent ones, have the ultimate source of "sclavus" and thus "slave" as "Slav", do to the thraldom of some early Slavic peoples under Germanic ones, e.g. Eastern Slavs under Varangians. For reference, see etymonline.com/index.php?term=slave&allowed_in_frame=0, oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/slave merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slave