77

Art does not exist in a vacuum, but is rather only one part of the historical record. Just as people comment on our modern standard of beauty today, so does early modern writers on theirs. Fortunately, Baroque art dates from a recent enough period that the historical record is extensive. For example, a 17th century commentary on a Van Dyck portrait of a ...


59

The Roman Empire routinely enslaved fair skinned Germans and Celts, and referred to those people derogatively as barbarians. Pretty much all the ancient Mediterranean and Near East empires including Egypt, Mesopotamia, etc. practiced slavery, and like the Romans might also have drawn from more northerly, fairer skinned peoples. However, we should be ...


44

When the Moors conquered and ruled Spain, most Spanish were lighter-skinned than the ruling Moors. Moors denied education, at least to Christian Spaniards, in the part of the country they controlled, and Granada was considered "too beautiful for Christian eyes." Also, the Mongols conquered and oppressed large parts of the former Soviet Union (especially the ...


44

The film said this un-extraordinary working man had the vote, my calculations show it was possible he had the vote. But the 1918 act gave "working men the vote". So one of these 2 statements must be wrong, why didn't working men already have the vote in 1918? These statements are not as contradictory as you seem to think. The key here is that "working men" ...


41

The Ainu people come to mind, an ethnic minority in Japan. Wikipedia says "Full-blooded Ainu are lighter skinned than their Japanese neighbors", and talks about "the long history of the oppression of the Ainu people by Japan's majority".


31

Oppression is all about political power, so really its just a matter of one group conquering another. Which of the two groups happens to do the conquering is just a matter of historical luck. One good example of a darker-skinned group happening to do the conquering is the ancient civilization of Kush. The Kushites were a Nubian people, speaking a Nilo-...


29

The Barbary Pirates raided as far north as Iceland and Scotland to capture slaves. While still Caucasian, North Africans typically have darker skin than northern Europeans.


25

A lot of the paintings were commissioned as portraits, why would people pay for themselves to be depicted in an ugly way? Wealth nowadays is associated with a slim, tanned, and shaped body because those are traits of people who have enough free time, and money to achieve it. In that period, it would be the reverse, being more on the fat side would require ...


20

Marxist Theory Marxism, as taught and practiced in the USSR, claims that human society consists of base: economic structure (ownership of means of production, relationships between the owners and workers, technology envolved &c) superstructure: "culture" (politics, laws, rituals &c) and the base determines the nature of the superstructure. ...


19

In his book "A Social History of the Navy 1793-1815", Michael Lewis gives the following breakdown of the background of Navy officers based on their parents' social status. Social Status of R.N. Officers' Parents, 1793-1815* A. Titled People Total Percentage 1. Peers 131 7.3% 2. Baronets 85 4.7% B. ...


18

Well here is an African example of the darker the better. Southern Africa was invaded from the north by black tribes (intentionally no names as there were a number) who then oppressed the lighter skinned San, Koisan etc. The conquering tribes were agriculturalists while the indigenous people were mainly hunter gatherers. The black tribes also worked metal ...


14

Wikipedia documents the present day persecution of people with albinism in parts of East Africa. "Persecution of people with albinism (sometimes abbreviated PWA[1]) is based on the belief that certain body parts of albinistic people can transmit magical powers. Such superstition is present especially in some parts of the African Great Lakes region, it ...


13

From Maid-of-all-work: Historically many maids suffered from Prepatellar bursitis, an inflammation of the Prepatellar bursa caused by long periods spent on the knees for purposes of scrubbing and fire-lighting, leading to the condition attracting the colloquial name of "Housemaid's Knee". It was a common condition caused by the hard physical labor ...


13

It was more. In 2006 Walter Schiedel wrote an interesting working paper on Roman incomes ("New ways of studying incomes in the Roman economy") which you can find on the web. However, Schiedel's paper just scratches the surface. When Cicero, a very frugal and honest man, ruled as governor of Cilicia, a relatively poor province, he made 2.1 million sesterces, ...


13

Q How do we know baroque art depicted obese ladies because of a different ideal of beauty? Do we really? We don't. The anthropological constant to be observed is: "women are considered 'attractive' if: young and healthy" (both more or less relating to fecundity; Whether socio-biological, evolutionary, or just cynical): Differences in the historical record ...


12

Scholars have noted that pre-agricultural societies often have more egalitarian gender norms than agricultural societies. This had led to theories that agriculture led to the development of inegalitarian gender norms, because it privileged men's body strength. A more refined version of thesis was first posited by Ester Boserup in "Woman's Role in Economic ...


12

In his momentous study L'origine des systèmes familiaux, Emmanuel Todd notes that, to the best of a rather sparse archival knowledge, first, the status of women in Eurasia in the 5000BC-1500CE interval seems to historically follow a lowering trajectory, second, this lowering trajectory seems to proceed in a top/down fashion and, third, the adoption of anti-...


11

I'm quite sure white people have been the target for lynch mobs and even ethnic cleansing in certain African nations. Zimbabwe and Uganda comes to mind, but I am quite certain white people are looked down on in many places in Africa, mostly due to a history of imperialism. (Sadly, I don't have time to find sources right now).


10

Ancient Greece isn't as cohesive as Ancient Rome, each city-state had its own social structures. I'll concentrate this answer to Athens only, and try to give you at least another answer for Sparta. The earliest known division of the Athenian society is ascribed to Theseus, the city's legendary founder, with three basic classes: Eupatridae The nobility, ...


10

In China, there were warriors similar to ronin - the xia. As a link, I found only those regarding their philosophy or literature about them. GURPS Martial Arts (it's no solid historical work and I didn't manage to find any better source) states they were more like Robin Hood than Lancelot - they were not upper class like samurai. Korean Hwarang are ...


8

It's important to remember that the concept of "white people" (or fair-skinned people) as a single, all-encompassing term for Caucasians is a fairly recent development. As recently as a hundred years ago (or even today, in super-conservative areas), "white people" meant Anglo-Saxons, exclusively. People as closely-related as Irish or Germans may not have ...


8

There is a Chinese saying (in pinyin), "Hao tie bu da ding, hao ren bu dang bing." (Good iron is not used to make nails. Good men do not become soldiers.) For most of Chinese history, soldiers were vilified, rather than honored. Hence, they would not generally be regarded as members of the upper class, which was occupied by landowners and philosophers. ...


8

I remember a British TV episode where someone sarcastically remarked on the majestic equality of English law, where the millionaire and homeless man are equally forbidden to sleep under bridges. That is similar to the Marxist view expressed in "class basis of law" that the laws in Capitalistic society are more for the benefit of the upper classes than the ...


7

The first problem is that you're reading a textbook. Textbooks are not ways in which historical research is reported; they're primarily teaching tools and are highly criticised and considered bad for teaching in some systems. Your textbook gives us some clues about how the authors are using "class," a complex theoretical tool. as Marx stressed…middle-...


7

The slaveholding colonies and states of the American South are one such example, where the slaveholding class used illiteracy as a way to make it easier to control the enslaved population. An act from South Carolina of 1740 made it a fineable offense to teach slaves to read or write: Whereas, the having slaves taught to write, or suffering them to be ...


7

In the 19th century U.S., there were basically two types of "gentlemen." The first was the landed gentry. Obvious enough, the idea came from England and Europe generally. This may have represented 1% of the population. The second type was "professional" men; doctor, lawyer, scientist, all with university degrees. These were expensive in terms of money and "...


7

All men over 21, with no property restrictions, and women over 30 or some property owning women. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representation_of_the_People_Act_1918


6

The upper classes who stayed wealthy did so because of their economic practices. The global economy today is a recent invention; economies tended to have less interaction on a broader scale in the past. Thus, there was an even more immediate feel of the zero-sum game (my gain comes from your loss) in ancient times. One way for a person to make the initial ...


6

At that time yes. The Roman Empire was weak and receding and the vacuum that created fueled a struggle between groups looking to fill it. Hypatia wasn't just killed by accident being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was targeted and assasinated by Christians involved in a violent three way struggle for control of the city of Alexandria with Jews ...


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