Greatest conquerors in history

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Salmoneus
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Salmoneus » Tue 11 Mar 2014, 17:30

I am baffled by how anyone could read anti-semitism into a pretty bald statement of fact, and find the comparison to Hitler unflattering.

Here's how this argument works:
Someone else: "Trajan was a great conqueror"
You: "Trajan was a horrible person. In Jewish tradition, he's given an epithet reserved for the very worst people, and even Hitler didn't get given it, so think how horrible Trajan must have been"
Me: "Actually, in Jewish tradition that epithet was generally employed for historical figures seen as having been enemies of the Jewish people / Israel / Judea / Judaism. Being an enemy of the Jewish people, state or religion does not automatically make someone a horrible person, so this epithet tells us nothing about anyone's morality, only about their politics."
You: "You're Hitler too!"

Here are some quotes from Maimonides displaying the use of this epithet:

"Ever since the time of Revelation, every despot or slave that has attained to power, be he violent or ignoble, has made it his first aim and his final purpose to destroy our law, and to vitiate our religion, by means of the sword, by violence, or by brute force, such as Amalek, Sisera, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Titus, Hadrian, may their bones be ground to dust, and others like them."

"Jesus the Nazarene, may his bones be ground to dust... he impelled people to believe that he was a prophet sent by God to clarify perplexities in the Torah... the sages, of blessed memory, having become aware of his plans before his reputation spread among our people, meted out a fitting punishment to him."

and of course:
"For Jeroboam, son of Nebat, may his bones be ground to dust, was chastised not only for the sin of worshipping the calves and inciting Israel to do the same, but also for his failure to construct a booth on the Feast of Tabernacles. This is one of the fundamental principles of our religion!"

Yeah, that Trajan, eh? Forget the peace and the plenty, the public investment, the anti-corruption, the stablisation of the borders, the infrastructure investment, the personal philanthropy and the social welfare programs... fuck, that guy's as evil as... as... well, I mean it's almost as bad as if he failed to construct a booth on the Feast of Tabernacles or something! Shit, fuck him!
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Shemtov » Tue 11 Mar 2014, 21:21

Salmoneus wrote:I am baffled by how anyone could read anti-semitism into a pretty bald statement of fact, and find the comparison to Hitler unflattering.

Here's how this argument works:
Someone else: "Trajan was a great conqueror"
You: "Trajan was a horrible person. In Jewish tradition, he's given an epithet reserved for the very worst people, and even Hitler didn't get given it, so think how horrible Trajan must have been"
Me: "Actually, in Jewish tradition that epithet was generally employed for historical figures seen as having been enemies of the Jewish people / Israel / Judea / Judaism. Being an enemy of the Jewish people, state or religion does not automatically make someone a horrible person, so this epithet tells us nothing about anyone's morality, only about their politics."
You: "You're Hitler too!"

Here are some quotes from Maimonides displaying the use of this epithet:

"Ever since the time of Revelation, every despot or slave that has attained to power, be he violent or ignoble, has made it his first aim and his final purpose to destroy our law, and to vitiate our religion, by means of the sword, by violence, or by brute force, such as Amalek, Sisera, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Titus, Hadrian, may their bones be ground to dust, and others like them."

"Jesus the Nazarene, may his bones be ground to dust... he impelled people to believe that he was a prophet sent by God to clarify perplexities in the Torah... the sages, of blessed memory, having become aware of his plans before his reputation spread among our people, meted out a fitting punishment to him."

and of course:
"For Jeroboam, son of Nebat, may his bones be ground to dust, was chastised not only for the sin of worshipping the calves and inciting Israel to do the same, but also for his failure to construct a booth on the Feast of Tabernacles. This is one of the fundamental principles of our religion!"

Yeah, that Trajan, eh? Forget the peace and the plenty, the public investment, the anti-corruption, the stablisation of the borders, the infrastructure investment, the personal philanthropy and the social welfare programs... fuck, that guy's as evil as... as... well, I mean it's almost as bad as if he failed to construct a booth on the Feast of Tabernacles or something! Shit, fuck him!
I personally never studied Maimonides, so the only place I've encountered "may his bones be ground to dust" was in reference to Neuchanezzar, Titus, Vespasian, Trajan and Hadrian.
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Felbah » Fri 23 May 2014, 22:40

I don't mean to start anything, but I think that Hitler was quite a great conqueror. Yes, he killed manyeople, and will never be justified by that, but he was a good tactician, created a vast empire, invaded a good deal of Russia, and really made himself known throughout the world. Yes, he was a terrible man, and what he did would never be justified, but he managed to convince a group of people to make him their leader, and then commandeered one of Germany's greatest technological and infrastructural times. He was a clever man - delusional and mad, and very dictatorial, but for a while, he almost made it work.
Less controversial note: Alexander the Great's empire could be called even better however. For one, he didn't lose a single battle that we know of, and two, he founded so many cities that are still with us today.
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Xonen » Fri 23 May 2014, 23:37

Felbah wrote:I don't mean to start anything, but I think that Hitler was quite a great conqueror. Yes, he killed manyeople, and will never be justified by that, but he was a good tactician, created a vast empire, invaded a good deal of Russia, and really made himself known throughout the world.
He didn't personally command any armies in battle, though, nor was he primarily responsible for strategy. Or, as the ever-so-eloquent Cracked puts it:
Hitler simply gets too much credit for the decisions made by people around him. Germany's successful invasion of France, for example, had nothing to do with Hitler's planning. His contribution was the part where he let 300,000 Allies escape at the Battle of Dunkirk, and where he singlehandedly blew The Battle of Britain with every advantage going for him, canceling the invasion of Britain in what would be the first real turning point of the war.

In short, Hitler was that asshole who knows absolutely nothing about Texas Hold 'Em, yet kept winning every round because the bastard had more luck than brains. You never hear about the bumbling shenanigans he lucked his way out of for the same reason they never used Forrest Gump as a Bond-villain: It doesn't make for a good story.
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by sangi39 » Sat 24 May 2014, 00:43

I may be mis-remembering something from GCSE history, but doesn't the bombing of Dresden somewhat show us what Hitler was doing within Germany in terms of economy/militarisation. From what I can remember being taught, Dresden was a city that looked like a massive, centralised industrial centre of the Nazi-German war effort, but its destruction, based on that information, was minimal, pointing towards a more decentralised complex.

I admit that, at least as a student in the UK, WWII was really massively over-taught to the point where I got bored towards the end of Y11, but my history teacher in high school always seemed to point to the idea that Hitler kind of thrived on a weird balance of centralisation and internal competition.
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Salmoneus » Sat 24 May 2014, 02:22

Hitler was a monumentally bad tactician and strategist. Almost every direct intervention he made was wrong.

He was, on the other hand, a brilliant politician.
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Lambuzhao » Sat 24 May 2014, 11:39

Xonen wrote:
threecat wrote:I just meant that attitudes we Westerners would consider misogynist (the women may actually consider such attitudes to be normal)were byproducts of a conservative viewpoint of Sharia law, which in turn were a byproduct of Islam.
Uh, no. Misogynism was not in any way a byproduct of Islam; it has always existed in Arabia just like it has existed pretty much everywhere in the world. In fact, Islam actually improved the status of women in many Arabic tribes, considering that before its advent they pretty much had no status at all.

Of course, it's true that strict interpretations of Sharia law are quite misogynist by modern Western standards. But religious fundamentalists are quite capable of finding religious justifications for screwing over those they deem inferior, no matter what religion they're practising.
I don't know about misogynistic, but here's something for you that really surprised me.

Years and years ago, I dated a young woman who was a practicing Muslim. In the course of our deepening courtship, she taught me about Islam and the Koran.
Passages she showed me seemed to be pretty explicitly in favor of either a "yours mine ours" or
"50/50" or an otherwise pretty egalitarian way of treating women (and men, for that matter) within marriage. I was pretty impressed. :wat:

However, we were in for yet another surprise. We used to go and get a kind of "pre-marriage counselling" at my ex-girlfriend's Masjid (mosque). We went to the Masjid to talk about this "too good to be true" egalitarianism with the Imam (a nice, wizened old fellow from Pakistan). He just rolled his eyes, smiled, and said "Well, we know about all this, but we also know who is the one who must be in charge of all of the household and finances (looking directly at yours truly).
I dunno if that was genteel misogyny, chauvanism, or what, but in one fell swoop, the Koran seemed to get flushed down the toilet. [:S]

There may be practitioners of Islam that actually live that sort of egalitarian life, to which I say [+1]

However, in my little (infinitesimal) chunk of the Islamic experience, nobody believed in it, not even my intelligent, college-educated and pretty worldly-wise girlfriend, who was just willing to kowtow stoopidly.

-Ugh. [>_<]
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Salmoneus » Sat 24 May 2014, 12:29

Worth pointing out, maybe, that Islamic treatment of marriage 150 years ago was far more liberal and egalitarian than Western marriages were. In Europe, the wife's property became the husband's property, and remained with the husband after divorce - the wife got nothing, and had no right to ask for a divorce either, and while married had no legal status to be a party to contracts in her own right. Whereas wives under the Ottomans could conduct their own affairs, had sole ownership of property they inherited themselves (which they kept all of when they divorced), PLUS half-ownership of everything the man inherited or earned during marriage (which they kept when they divorced), and they could acquire a divorce whenever they wanted (without having to prove infidelity or the like). And had at least some rights to her children, whereas in Europe divorced wives were often banned entirely from seeing their children (in some cases even children from previous relationships).
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Yačay256 » Sat 02 Aug 2014, 02:12

Salmoneus wrote:Worth pointing out, maybe, that Islamic treatment of marriage 150 years ago was far more liberal and egalitarian than Western marriages were. In Europe, the wife's property became the husband's property, and remained with the husband after divorce - the wife got nothing, and had no right to ask for a divorce either, and while married had no legal status to be a party to contracts in her own right. Whereas wives under the Ottomans could conduct their own affairs, had sole ownership of property they inherited themselves (which they kept all of when they divorced), PLUS half-ownership of everything the man inherited or earned during marriage (which they kept when they divorced), and they could acquire a divorce whenever they wanted (without having to prove infidelity or the like). And had at least some rights to her children, whereas in Europe divorced wives were often banned entirely from seeing their children (in some cases even children from previous relationships).
While I'm not doubting all what you've said, I'd like to point out that, in Islam:
  • Women cannot divorce very easily: khula is only permitted when their husband (never a wife; homosexuality (and polyandry, but not polygyny) has not had sex with her for two months or more or if she is deprived of food and shelter; however, a male merely has to say "I divorce thee" thrice to divorce his wife
  • Also, note that there are many verses in the Qurʻān and the Ħadīth that show that women have an inferior status to men in Islam than in many other religions (yes the site is biased, but the translations are accurate and acceptably faithful to the best of my knowledge; if someone here knows Arabic, they are more then welcome to chine in with alternate translations)
  • Let's not forget that the Qurʻān of this world is - in Islam, at least - an EXACT copy of the Qurʻān of heaven: It is of the "dictation model" (as my Introduction to World Religions professor put it); see the Wikipedia article on the concept of waħy
  • While there may or may not be any scriptural justification for this belief, and while it may indeed have been true that the West was behind the Islamic world in terms of its treatment of women a couple centuries or more ago, I doubt that any secular state treats women worse relative to men than Saudi Arabia or Yemen; furthermore, we could see a glimpse of the difference between a secular state and a non-secular state in a short period of time in one country: Afghanistan
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Xonen » Sat 02 Aug 2014, 03:45

Yačay256 wrote:I'd like to point out that, in Islam
  • Women cannot divorce very easily: khula is only permitted when their husband (never a wife; homosexuality (and polyandry, but not polygyny) has not had sex with her for two months or more or if she is deprived of food and shelter; however, a male merely has to say "I divorce thee" thrice to divorce his wife
  • Also, note that there are many verses in the Qurʻān and the Ħadīth that show that women have an inferior status to men in Islam than in many other religions (yes the site is biased, but the translations are accurate and acceptably faithful to the best of my knowledge; if someone here knows Arabic, they are more then welcome to chine in with alternate translations
Nobody was claiming Islam can't be used to justify misogyny. Just that it hardly causes it.
[*] Let's not forget that the Qurʻān of this world is - in Islam, at least - an EXACT copy of the Qurʻān of heaven: It is of the "dictation model" (as my Introduction to World Religions professor put it); see the Wikipedia article on the concept of waħy
And the Bible is the literal word of God. And several other holy books claim equally divine authority. Doesn't mean the moderates among believers haven't found ways to interpret them that don't so blatantly favor heterosexual older men.
[*] While there may or may not be any scriptural justification for this belief, and while it may indeed have been true that the West was behind the Islamic world in terms of its treatment of women a couple centuries or more ago, I doubt that any secular state treats women worse relative to men than Saudi Arabia or Yemen; furthermore, we could see a glimpse of the difference between a secular state and a non-secular state in a short period of time in one country: Afghanistan [/list]
Again, nobody was saying, AFAICT, that fundamentalist theocracies tend to do better at equality and freedom and stuff than modern secular democracies. So I'm not quite sure what this has to do with anything. [:S]
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Kungavmorka » Tue 02 Dec 2014, 08:48

Awesome; does 'come' work as a double-entendre in Latin, or is it just a fortuitous coincidence when used with English? Do/did Latin verbs have gender, though?
Definitely not. Come doesn't mean "cum" in anyway, but latin did have hundreds of words to describe sexual acts and every body orifice (namely the ones you can shove your love stick in). As for gender, definitely yes. Three of them. Feminine masculine and neuter. I studied latin grammar for a few years. I never was too great with vocabulary, but i still have all my books, including a good sized dictionary. Latin also has "declensions" (i don't know if its called something else in linguistic terms or if its universal but my latin books described it that way) that were often defined by the genitive plural (i think). Each declension was for different scenarios: the first; feminine (mostly), the second; masculine (mostly), the third; neuter, the 4th, 5th and 6th were special for cases were the first three didn't cut it, the 5th was pretty much irregulars and hardly used, but useful. The 6th was for greek loan words. Its a pretty clever system in retrospect. Curious how this developed as no one consciously created it until it was later observed, but the system was also a bit too much (except for Romanian interestingly) and vulgar latin became the result which lead to the creation of the romance languages we know and love today! However, they dropped the neutral for some reason.
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Re: Greatest conquerors in history

Post by Kungavmorka » Tue 02 Dec 2014, 09:17

Xonen wrote:
Yačay256 wrote:I'd like to point out that, in Islam
  • Women cannot divorce very easily: khula is only permitted when their husband (never a wife; homosexuality (and polyandry, but not polygyny) has not had sex with her for two months or more or if she is deprived of food and shelter; however, a male merely has to say "I divorce thee" thrice to divorce his wife
  • Also, note that there are many verses in the Qurʻān and the Ħadīth that show that women have an inferior status to men in Islam than in many other religions (yes the site is biased, but the translations are accurate and acceptably faithful to the best of my knowledge; if someone here knows Arabic, they are more then welcome to chine in with alternate translations
Nobody was claiming Islam can't be used to justify misogyny. Just that it hardly causes it.
[*] Let's not forget that the Qurʻān of this world is - in Islam, at least - an EXACT copy of the Qurʻān of heaven: It is of the "dictation model" (as my Introduction to World Religions professor put it); see the Wikipedia article on the concept of waħy
And the Bible is the literal word of God. And several other holy books claim equally divine authority. Doesn't mean the moderates among believers haven't found ways to interpret them that don't so blatantly favor heterosexual older men.
[*] While there may or may not be any scriptural justification for this belief, and while it may indeed have been true that the West was behind the Islamic world in terms of its treatment of women a couple centuries or more ago, I doubt that any secular state treats women worse relative to men than Saudi Arabia or Yemen; furthermore, we could see a glimpse of the difference between a secular state and a non-secular state in a short period of time in one country: Afghanistan [/list]
Again, nobody was saying, AFAICT, that fundamentalist theocracies tend to do better at equality and freedom and stuff than modern secular democracies. So I'm not quite sure what this has to do with anything. [:S]
If i may chime in, the middle east is extremely misogynistic. Whoever claims it is in anyway comparable to the west, i think you (not the person in the quote specifically) need to take a trip to saudi arabia. My grand mother actually lived there a few years. The men got to eat at a table, while they threw the left overs on the floor and the women ate with the dogs. Women have the same value as simple house pets and have no basic human rights. So to compare that to the west where they can do what they want, basically have equal pay (guaranteed by law so don't tell me though don't) the fact that they can have a job let alone leave the house or actually eat food that isn't table scraps is leagues better than saudi arabia and much of the middle east. And this is certainly due to islamic radicalism. Women can't dress how they want or marry who they want. Not to say there aren't things we need to work on, but they're far less than the highly patriarchal islamic societies.
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