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 ...


35

tl; dr There were certainly laws requiring that adulterers had to wear the letter 'A' stitched upon their garments in the late seventeenth century. The letter was not required to be scarlet - just a different colour from the clothes themselves, so it would stand out. The law also applied to both men and women. However, during the time in which Nathaniel ...


27

I have to recommend the recent book Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying by a historian and social psychologist here, as there isn't are more objective source for understanding the mindset of those German soldiers during WWII as their own conversations: A trove of previously unpublished, transcribed conversations among German POWs—secretly recorded ...


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 ...


16

Not every thesis has a single antithesis or opposite. However, we can highlight a few trends or schools of thought in historiography (the study of history) that contrast most sharply with the Great Man Thesis. One such answer is implicitly given in the question itself: historical sociology. The early sociologist Herbert Spencer directly critiqued the Great ...


15

The simple answer (and here I agree with @Evan Harper's comment) is deference to authority and careful planning by Nazis to hide the truth of what they were doing. Deference To Authority The most easily understood example of this it the Milgram exmperiment. This experiment was especially motivated by Holocaust trials. A summary from Milgram of the ...


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 ...


8

The opposite view holds that extra-human dynamics govern the courses of events. This is a recurring theme of Tolstoy's War and Peace, a fundamental principle of Marx's dialectical materialism; it is also regurgitated by Jared Diamond in his Guns Germs & Steel. People who believe in governing dynamics would argue that the Renaissance was caused by ...


8

The gas chambers were intentionally chosen to make it easy to kill lots of people. The Germans tried shooting gypsies and disabled people (the first victims) but their soldiers wouldn't be able to do it for long. It upset them. The Nazi party needed an easier way to kill lots of people. The gas chamber was easy for their soldiers because one group of ...


7

I'm looking at "The Good Old Days" The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders, and at the Police Battalion studies, and I'm still thinking functionalism is more explanatory than intentionalism. Ordinary Germans, including the vast majority of the Wehrmacht, shared a racialist politics and during the circumstances of the war shared a common ...


6

Here's a couple quotes from a 1932 article in Foreign Affairs called "Hitler: Phenomenon and Portent". This was written by Paul Scheffer, the Washington correspondent of a German newspaper called Berliner Tageblatt. The newspaper was shut down by the Nazis in 1939. Hitler's adversaries are right in charging that such an audience can easily be misused. ...


6

This would have varied by region and culture. Medieval Europe Dueling has its roots in trial by combat. Presumably, if you refused such a duel, you were conceding your wrongness in the case, and the penalty would be whatever the judge decreed based on the crime and whether you were the accuser or accused. Renaissance The church frowned on duels, and ...


5

It's called "History from Below". I justify this by quoting Herbert Spencer: You must admit that the genesis of a great man depends on the long series of complex influences which has produced the race in which he appears, and the social state into which that race has slowly grown.... Before he can remake his society, his society must make him. -- Herbert ...


4

There may have been 1.7 million people in England, but 50% were women, who were non-combatants, so we're down to 0.8m (arguably; scaly llama exceptions apply) 33% of the remainder were over fighting age and 33% below fighting age; we're down to just over 0.2M Of the remainder, probably 95% of them had no military training (remember that Harold Godwinson ...


4

There is a difference between "control" and sovereignty. After the Battle of Hastings it was clear William had the most powerful force, so he became sovereign. When he marched to London there was noone to oppose him, so the town capitulated to him. He took hostages in London and then went around demonstrating his power. This activity which took place for ...


4

I usually don't share my family history, but here it goes: my grandfather was Waffen SS. My understanding is he wanted to be the best first and foremost. The Waffen SS was just that. Second, he actually believed what he was doing was right for Germany (I disagree). Third, as the war dragged on and many of his comrades were killed, he fought not so much for ...


4

Green units might break, retreat or even desert without any deaths. For example, mass surrender of Germans in the west at the end of WWII, or Iraqi army at the end of the Gulf War. While other units fight to death, specially if their culture does not allow surrender or retreat. For example Spartans on Thermopylae or Japanese on Tarawa, where survival rate ...


4

Yes, there is (was?) such a custom in the Eurasian steppes (i.e. Mongols, focus of the question). I don't know it terribly well because this one is certainly within social anthropology+, not really my interest and reading. But, I'm going to try to explain it. Selective raiding and pillaging between tribes is -- within their context -- a practise that seems ...


4

I am not an expert on the Mongols, but what you describe seems similar to the Irish Tain Bo Cualinge, or the Norse Viking around the period of the Great Heathen Army (that's not the best reference, but it is the one I could find quickly - I'm thinking more of Rollo, and possibly of the Normans in Sicily (I think there is a podcast by Lars Brownnworth, but I ...


3

This aesthetic relativism is also confused by the fact that for most of the history of Western art, women weren't able to model so the artist often just changed male bodies (from his/her model) into female bodies by adding breasts or extra fat or whatever. Here's a source: https://renresearch.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/men-with-breasts-or-why-are-...


3

A more "normal" ratio of military to population might be something like 1%. That ratio would imply 17,000 men for the Norman conquerers instead of 7,000. There was one other factor in the Normans' favor. In modern times, guns are a great "equalizer." Not "everyone," but a large part of the population can be taught to use a gun in a short period of time. ...


3

The "common knowledge" of human anatomy in medical circles during medieval times and the renaissance was severely hampered by prohibitions on dissections and the reliance on medical authorities, from sometimes quite early times. The medical community was rather small compared to witches, midwives, barbers and surgeons. Surgeons listed separately, as ...


2

Jews were (and in many placed in East Europe still are) very much hated by the population mostly because it is believed that they are guilty in killing Jesus Christ. In Russian Empire for instance there were multiple bloody anti-Jewish pogroms. The only reason why the Jews were not killed by the non-Jewish population at the time was that the state mostly ...


2

From 1290 to roughly 1655 it was probably illegal to marry someone who was Jewish. But that's only because it was illegal to be Jewish. That is a special case answer to the question, mostly because I was looking for an example that didn't involve Roman Catholics.


2

In Hitler's time in Vienna, there's evidence that Hitler had close relationships with some Jews and at least one Czech (his landlord), and the only eye-witness accounts we have of xenophobia in Hitler's early Viennese period come after the proliferation of anti-Czech rhetoric in the 1890s by the Pan-German Party, among others. From this, it's arguably clear ...


2

While this question is way too broad, we have a really good example in terms of the international working class movement. EP Thompson's "Time, work-discipline and industrial capitalism" Past and Present, discusses the change from fields and craft times, including Saint Monday (the unofficial extension of the Sunday weekend forced by workers), into ...


2

As a Chinese-American, I feel that the status of such people has become more "equal" in my lifetime (which began shortly after the middle of the twentieth century). And there seems to have been a correlation that and the way that Americans looked at CHINA. When my parents came to the United States around 1950, China was considered a "backward" or "Third ...


1

This answer is more political that purely historical; it should have been a comment but I needed the extra space. I believe you are thinking in modern terms: the state-nation, where the people is sovereign and can elect its own form of government. This concept, stablished as it seems, is relatively new (Age of Enlightment, American Declaration of ...


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