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How about a history thread? Anyone up for a history thread? I feel like a history thread. Any history!

The other day I was thinking about how disappointing it is that California doesn't have a recorded history that goes much further back than, like, 400 years or so. And I started thinking about how cool it'd be if a Mesoamerican civilization like the Mayans, the Aztecs, or the Olmecs had a colony in Southern California that was like over 1,000 years old and had ancient hieroglyphs describing the Mesoamericans' encounters with the native Californian populations. Would've been neat to have an ancient pyramid site somewhere here in Los Angeles that people could visit like the sites they have over in Mexico City.


What the Mayans and Aztecs had was something, but it certainly wasn't a civilization.


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I'm guessing you don't consider Sumer to have been a civilization, either?


Yeah its weird to think that the Americas had a medieval and ancient history when we usually just think about it from 1491.

The etymology of California is kinda interesting it comes from Kalifa, a romanticized female Caliph from a Spanish epic.


I largely agree with Gibbon's thesis on Christianity being a prime cause of the Fall of Rome. I feel like pop history wants to make a morality tale out of Rome losing its morals and being punished with fall. When Caligula was only the 3rd Emperor, and Nero the 5th. While the last century of Emperors were concerned with hammering out the correct definition of The Trinity. Reading any primary sources from the last 150 years, and Christianity is the giant elephant in the room. This was a cultural revolution in value-systems and societal organization.

It just feels like people already have the narrative they want, before even bothering to look at the data of the Roman Empire.

I admit when I was in high school, I had a similar narrative although for me the loss of virtue came with the fall of the Republic, in that sense it would make sense that Caligula was only the 3rd Emperor. But I'm not a teenager anymore. And the more I study history, instead of heroes and villains, the only lesson I can take from it is "it's complex".

It's like the more I study history, the less it teaches me. Those of us passionate about history we want to argue that it has so many lessons, and it's more than just a bunch of dates and facts. And yet when all I can say about history is "it's complicated", then yes in some sense history is just dates and facts, not a morality tale. Even if those facts are now understood in complex sociological statistical trends. Well I got a little carried away from my original point, but point is history isn't a morality tale to teach us virtue.


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Damn, man. You got me.

Have some Bronze Age Near East stuff.


Both takes are stupid and simplistic. You can have lessons from history but you need the correct mindset and not apply dumb modern morals.


In _The collapse of complex societies_, Tainter mentions three different such societies in the area near California: Casas Grandes, the Chakoans, and the Hohokan.


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Yeah it surprised me to find out less than five years ago that the regions above Mesoamerica are called "Aridoamerica" and "Oasisamerica" and that they were inhabited by peoples that spoke Uto-Aztecan languages but for the most part would seem to have had very limited contact with the Aztec empire. They also lacked their own writing system but were surprisingly better-developed compared to the cultures further to the north like those of the Great Plains.


What I find kinda funny is "widely rejected" language families for most world regions are like these gigantic super-families linking Basque and Chinese or something absurd.

And yet for Native American languages just linking all the tribes of Texas together is considered an overreach. I guess things really fragmented.




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>when people use "mudhuts" to describe the structures of the cultures they perceive to be inferior while ignoring that adobe-style, rectangular mudbrick dwellings are some of the most common, most basic type of buildings throughout the world and that most peoples also constructed large mounds, ziggurats, and/or pyramids and that the Anu ziggurat in Iraq was also constructed using mudbrick and remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for about a thousand years until the pyramid of Djoser in Egypt


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I hate how hard it is to find decent maps of Sumer. The flat, beige map here is probably the best one I've seen anyone make and it is still lacking. So I asked AI to create a better map and it made these two poorly-labeled cartoonish maps of Iraq with a giant river that looks like a sea running in between Iran and Iraq. There's no river that big that goes through there. It should just be the Zagros mountains and a few small rivers leading into the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that run through the middle of Iraq.

Getting hands wrong is one thing, but how can AI get geography so wrong?


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I sometimes like to entertain the idea that Paleo-Indians and Solutreans migrated into North America at roughly the same time due to climate change and there were probably multiple migrations across Beringia perhaps going back over 40,000 or even 100,000 years and that many, most, if not all of the earlier populations died out.


They say it is not clear why mankind started using agriculture instead of keeping a nomadic lifestyle. This is what I think.
First off, the changing, now warmer, climate stimulated a great deal of diversity, which in turn encouraged a growth in human populations. This growth in turn put a lot of stress on that same diversity that made it possible, the megafauna, such as mammoths and sabertooths was hunted to extinction. There was a world filled with humans everywhere, but whereas in summer they covered all latitudes, in winter they moved towards warmer lands, crowding them and pressing them further for resources.
Several forms of cultivation already existed, both of annuals and perennials, but here some groups noticed that where a river once flooded, very rich, fertile, clear and well irrigated soil remained, and grains were particularly fit for this disturbed soil which was flooded annually and so annuals were the best option to grow in this environment.
The next step was made possible by the capability to store grain, and because grain was easily stored and relatively abundant, especially because humans had other food sources such as fishing, hunting, and foraging, they could save such grains for the winter. This encouraged them to settle permanently near these alluvial plains, to require them to build granaries, and eventually to build walls to keep nomads from taking their grain, as well as long-term armed forces to defend from such nomads.
The abundance of food increased the populations of these people, which was also encouraged by the amount of labour that agriculture started to require, leading to large households to work the fields, a natural division of labour based on family hierarchy, and so on.
Eventually the growing population was itself pressed for cultivable land, which lead to clearing land for more grains, and to seek the expansion of the now aggregated households that made up the first proto-states, which had to vie with others for cultivable land, or to seek alliances that grew into more powerful states, and eventually kingdoms and empires.
This seems likely, on the grounds of the current ideas on civilization growth. This is probably close to the more or less accepted view. But I do wonder, given this, how come the origin of agriculture is so widely disputed? I know my understanding is limited, so I may be missing something.


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My own goofy, simple little theory about the development of agriculture and civilization is that once the peopling of the Americas had been completed when humans reached the furthest parts of South America–humans had run out of space to migrate to… this coincides with the development of agriculture c. 10000 BCE!


I constantly ponder about pre-Columbian transatlantic contact. Did the Vikings really only get as far as Newfoundland? Did other old world cultures such as the Celts, Romans and Phoenicians visit or even colonize the new world? Does the Solutrean hypothesis have any merit? We know that Polynesians visited South America and in doing so contributed to the genetic makeup of the areas they visited. What if the Americas is the story of the combination of many different populations coming together and forming a more or less homogenised new race.


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I like to believe that the landmass of the Earth was originally a single round dome as you can see in this recreation of Pangaea, if you fill the Tethys sea (with sunken continents) in you would have a rough circle. This is just how the Bible describes the depiction of the Earth by God during creation.

If you notice that in the centre is roughly where Israel is today and to the east would be the dead centre where Eden supposedly was meant to be located.


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I'm more fond of the idea that the Earth has been hollowing itself out while expanding.


Remember, the "Out of Africa theory" is just that, a theory. It's losing steam too as more ancient human remains are found high in the northern hemispheres.

The earth is indeed getting bigger every day. not just from the expansion of its core materials but by the fact that several tonnes of minerals get sucked in to its orbit every day, sometimes landing in tangible weights.


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I am sometimes amused by the realization that the wheel wasn't exactly invented by cavemen during the Stone Age. The earliest known wheel used for vehicles is from like 3000 BCE and was found in Slovenia. By that point–there were already decently large Bronze Age cities like Uruk in Iraq which had anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people. I also used to think that the invention of the wheel necessitated the domestication of horses, but horses didn't become particularly widespread until much, much later. Some of the earliest depictions of wheeled vehicles pulled by asses are from around 2600 BCE whereas those pulled by horses are from circa 1400 BCE I think.


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Obviously in reference to the era before the one that began when the Romans introduced a new lunisolar calendar or whatever


No, it's Judic rejection of Christ


We're in the 2029th year since his birth.


without roads, wheels aren't terribly useful

you also need an axle, tools to shape all this stuff, further joinery to make something of a cart on top of the wheels

and even after all that brainpower, the wheels cant turn, really it makes sense no one made a wheel for a long time


by the wheels cant turn i mean like the cart cant turn or steer, the wheels are fixed

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