history(or pseudo history)

artificial accounts of history which are accepted as the “truth” which don’t make much sense when you dig at their root, really “grind my gears” :stuck_out_tongue:

things that don’t make sense for example the indo european theory of lingusitics, the fact that there is no solid archaelogical evidence or sources that prove that alexander “the great” even existed( i would be extremely grateful if you could find me an account or source that described the macedonian invasions during the time they happened, and not what some roman greek historian wrote 4 centuries after his existence at the time when rome was expanding towards the east)

i can rant about this for pages and pages but i’ll let someone else contribute :smiley: then i can provide more examples

You can add other people to the list Augustus Caesar, Napoleon etc…

We do have some reliable evidence though. Alexander, for example, left destroyed and created cities behind. We have buildings, libraries and cities, such as Alexandria, left in his name. We have treaties, and even a letter from Alexander to the people of Chios, engraved in stone, dated at 332 B.C.E

Sure it could all be made up. So could many things but we have no reason not to believe.

“The past is under construction” -Peter Hessler (from “Oracle Bones”)

First, what does the Indo-European theory of linguistics have to do with Alexander the Great?

Second, there’s more than enough “proof” of his existance for anyone. But aside from “proof,” why would anyone make up his existance in the first place?

livius.org/aj-al/alexander/a … _pics.html

Third, while exact contemporary accounts have been (not surprisingly) lost, many of these accounts are quoted by later sources - Meaning that the surviving sources quoted what THEY read.


it has much to do with alexander the great( firstly because it is a sieve of a theory that is used to support certain “civlizations’” positions). i need to calm down a bit before i post more on this topic :wink:

…historical fact is always debatable: which would then have a domino effect on the history that precedes it…

Many times I’ve heard debunking theories of how history gets written. There are important germs of truth in all of them. Was this or that historical figure the villain or the hero, or something inbetween?

But history is far more than whether Julius Ceasar was good or bad. We know that he existed and that during his life span the Republic gave way to the Empire. We can look backwards to the social forces that made this possible, and look forwards to the result of the end of the Republic. Does it matter then if he was “good” or “bad?”

We know that the City States of Greece ceasced to have historical importance after Alexander. Once again, we can look backwards to see the impact of the social forces that rendered Greece impotent and look forward to the forces that rendered them irrelevant.

Is history bunk?

No, only it’s presentation as being a gigantic series of biographies of “Great men.”


The past is accessible through the present.

Then end result reveals the historical becoming.

To a point. Everyone who reads the introduction that Thucydides gives to the “Peloponesian Wars” is struck by these words:

The first time I read this book I was only a kid, and they resonated with me. Even after re-reading it a number of times, they still send a chill up my spine.

Some books of history “ring true” no matter how old they are. And indeed, what he described has much to teach us about our own times.


I have my own personal views on history, Chato, but thanks for sharing yours…

thucydides? :unamused: herodotus! :unamused:

let’s all read how glorious greek civlization was and then use the speculations of men and use it as “fact” for future textbooks

Thucydides doumented the war which ended Greek Classical civilisation. The great war between Athens and her allies and subjects, against Sparta and her allies and subjects. You might learn something from that book, as it teaches about class war… :smiley:

It’s true that Herodotus makes a big deal of Greece beating Persia. And in my opinion, the triumph of fress institutions over a Slave state.

But Herodotus, unlike many of his contemporaries did not think that Greeks were “superior” to other people. Most of his book is a sympathetic travelogue of the ancient world.

How do we know if Thucydides was accurate? We can compare his words with established contemporary inscriptions. For example, The Atheneian tribute lists were discovered, carved in steles. His description of the Athenian Empire and it’s ups and downs, matches these lists.

His description of battles, match inscriptions done all over Greece. So, while much of his work can never be checked, a lot can, and we discover that his “facts” were always accurate. And if every fact we can check turns out accurate - Should we arbitrarily declare the rest false?

What interpretation we make of these facts is another thing.

But most of all, I think you believe that these ancient Greeks were as chavanistic as people today are who “glorify” ancient Greece. Why should we condemn these ancient Greeks, for the false praise they get today?


a different class system existed back then, not really relevant to today’s power structures

i have read thucydides and herodotus( in greek too, although not ancient greek :p)

my problem is more with herodotus is as you’re right due to the obvious exaggerations, and that this is overlooked and used as “fact”

True, but then again, do you recall his description of the revolution on Corcyra?

Herodotus actually made very few wild claims that did not turn out true IF he said he saw it with his own eyes.

For example he devotes a chapter to telling us the reason that the nile floods in the dry season, and yet he tells a story, which he makes fun of, which proves his own explanation false.

In other words, you have to read him carefully - But clearly, with only one or two exceptions, what he personally saw has been confirmed.

I for one am glad the Greeks whipped the Persians. :smiley:


I try to answer what is of value as objectively as possible but this is despicable. You might wanna read up on the basics of Persia and dig a bit more into the government system of the Greek city states as well before you use the simplified view of democracy vs slavery aka good vs bad. Herodotus: 2 million vs 300. Really?

it was more like 3 million and herodotus overlooked the cyborg dinosaurs and the weapons of mass destruction that the persians used :laughing:

Tsk, tsk. The battle of Platea as described by Herododus was more like 60,000 against 150,000.

There really is no doubt that the 1500 Greeks who fought at Thermopolea (spelling) were a wee bit outnumbered.

NB. Greece compared to Persia were Free States. Yes, yes, they had slavery, woman were treated as objects, etc, etc - But compared to Persia? Come on, get a grip.

Yes, Persians were ethnic cousins of the greeks and spoke their own version of Indo European.

But from an historical perpective, if Greece had lost, no Aristophanes, no Sophicles, no Euripedes. no nothing. What exactly did Perisa contribute to humanity?

Were the Persians as bad as some modern dictators and tyranies? No. They were in fact quite tolerant of different societies and made it policy to pay respect to local mores.

So what? If you think my opinions are formed by watching hollywoods latest movie, you are mistaken.

Damn right I’m glad Greece won. Damn right I laugh my ass off with Aristophanes, Cry with Sophakles and think with Euripedes, and appreciate that none of this would be possible if Persia had won.


I will quote Encyclopedia Britannica on this one since people seem obsessed with sources: “Leonidas remained to delay the Persians with 300 Spartans, their helots, and 1,100 Boeotians, all of whom died in battle”. 300 spartans. Herodotus says 2million Persians. Stonedkazak is more informed in Greek literature and sarcasm but the point is that it is taken for a fact that it was 300 ‘freedom fighters’ vs hundreds of thousands if not millions of slaves. A rational man will understand the fault in these figures but based on the general direction of your posts I’m assuming you’re well entrenched in Western mainstream ideals. It was 300 “free men” and their slaves. How do you see this as any more of a free society than one which abolished slavery and freed the slaves in countries it conquered (i.e. jews in Babylon) and did in all essence create the first charter of human rights? You are aware that they keep a replica of this cylinder in the UN headquarters in New York? I have a pretty good grip. You know little or nothing of Persian history and commenting on it based solely on the sources of their enemies is as sensible as trying to praise capitalism from a communist point of view.

As for Persian contribution to history, it is perhaps notable that the country was ravaged by 3 invaders, all of whom sought to destroy its culture and all of whom in turn became part of it. These invasions weren’t merely political, they were necessarily physical and the first source of eradicating a culture is always the destruction of its sources of knowledge and history. As it is with assimilating cultures, books are often burned. Surely you must know. I pity the weathering of this culture for what it offered and was never salvaged. An empire wasn’t based on blind progression.

If you’re going to quote Greek literature, I must insist that you read Khayyam, Hafez, Ferdosi and the Shahnameh, Molana among others. If it is science you’re going to quote, I suggest you read up on the polymaths of the world. A great number of them are Persian. Avicenna’s my favorite and perhaps the most mentioned. I can only imagine that you know nothing of these men. But what’s to be expected? You live in the west by western ethics. Much of western knowledge wouldn’t exist if not for Persia. Surely you are aware of the development as well as translations of Greek work by Persian men?

If Persia had won, you don’t know what would’ve happened. Perhaps Persian culture and history wouldn’t be muddied by those who are arrogant enough to comment on it without prior knowledge.

Herodotus’s numbers are rediculous, as are his claims that the Persians drank the rivers dry. All that being said, the Persian Army probalbly numered in the hundreds of thousands and the 1500 Greeks were indeed ournumbered.

But what puzzles me is your fixation on two million as opposed to a logical deduction of Persian numbers. Who cares?

Millions of slaves, hundreds of thousands of slaves, who cares?

How convenient.

This is an absolute crock. Quoting the Bible to me? Me who you say is a victim of “western mainstream ideals?” Sure it’s true that Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Judea. It was to his political advantage to do so. After all HE didn’t subgegate the Jews. And the Jews were NOT slaves. Like all those conquered by the Assyrians, they were a captive people, but not slaves. Cyrus freed NO slaves. Never. What fantasy world did this theory come from?

Other than reading twenty or thirty books on the ancient Middle East, you are correct.

The Persians were in many respects an admirable people. “Shoot the bow, and speak the truth.” Fine. But this crap about their “lost contributions” doesn’t ring true. No one states what these contributions were. And there’s good reason for that - There were none.

Perhaps Poetry? But I doubt that. Iranian poetry didn’t reach full flower until the Sassanian succession to the Persians.

I do believe we are talking about ancient Perisa contemporary with Greece? If you wish to bring up Persian literature of later times, that’s just fine. But you are being MORE than disingenious by mentioning these names, ALL of whom wrote LONG after this period.

Shame on you for even mentioning them, as if they were contemporaniouos.

And you claim this knowledge and compare those who wrote a THOUSAND years later with the Persians of Cyprus?

NB. Cyprus was an admirable man. And judeged in terms of the Middle East, he can be called “progressive.” But that wouldn’t be a leap of faith, with contemporaries like the Assyrians or the Medes. But the Persians of the time were nothing more than clever barbarbians who uniquely had the wisdom to accomodate themselves to the losers. But what happened to the vibrant intellectual life of Asiatic Greece?

It DISAPPEARED. Gone, wiped out, lost. The Persians made sure of that by installing hand picked tyrants who stifled every aspect of intellectual freedom. Ionia, which up until then held the intellectual leadership of Greece become a non-entity.

Rouzbeh, you seem to have a bug in your bonnet about Greece. Well, I don’t have to defend the FAULTS of ancient Greece to recognise their virtues. If they had many failings and contradictions; compared to the Persians OF THE TIME, they were paragons of intellectual progress.

Sorry no, the world would be profoundly different, and different for the WORSE of the Persians had conqured them.


I assume it is clear that since you’re discussing this with me, I would be the one that ‘cares’. The point was that his depictions are full of hyperbole and bias and yet because of your affinity with ancient Greek culture, you seem to revere the characters more than what is being said. He is our main source of Greco-Persian conflict afterall and if you don’t see why anyone would care, then this thread has lost its point.

I was trying to emphasise ‘freedom fighters’ and the incredulous nature of the figures. It seems pretty ridiculous to me but your missing it shows to me that it wasn’t worth mentioning, it wasn’t worth disputing. You must be joking if you think that is not the western mentality.

Are you familiar with Xenophon? Nevermind, just my fantasy. cais-soas.com/CAIS/History/h … mplete.htm

As I already stated, the loss of Persian works from those times were resulted greatly by the ravaging of that region by various invaders. The point I was making was that the pure numbers of these figures implies that it wasn’t some spontaneous event from the Sassanids onwards but that Persian science was itself ruined as a result of a number of conflicts. Persia had a highly developed taxation system, beauracracy, government, and infrastructure. The cities had basic piping and sewage systems, for example. Persia was also the first nation with a developed monotheistic religion, Zoroastrianism, which greatly influenced Christianity and Islam and while this was the state religion, it was not forced on their subjects, contrary to ‘the right of the conqueror’. There were ‘[no] contributions’ by the Persian Empire. I see. The Achaemenid empire was maintained for +200years based on… I agree. Yet Alexander built an empire with so many contributions.
Ultimately, history is kind to the Greeks throughout and Persian culture as a whole from the time of the Achaemenids to all the way up to the Saffavids is pissed on by those infatuated with Greek culture. As for Persian poetry, it is worth mentioning that Ferdosi made a collection of legends, myths and national epics not from the top of his head, but based on thousands of years of a thriving culture. Having observed and read a thing or two about modern/ancient history and politics, having travelled here and there, I find the null contributions of a 200+ year old empire difficult to take in.

Hehe, saying ‘Cyprus’ twice makes it hard to believe that was a typo. The Medes and Persians were similar people in origin and custom but the Assyrians were “progressive”? In the same post you mention the ‘captivity’ of various peoples by them? It should be noted that captivity in practical terms was slavery. Keeping a people just for that in within a particular border isn’t very practical.
The Persians stifled intellectual freedom in Greece when the Greeks were tolerant of all people? Alexander tried to make bring Greek culture into Persia, a couple years later these same Macedonians were in fact the ones who had blended into Parthian society. We’ve already gone through the slavery practice of Greece, don’t make one sided claims.
I don’t ‘have a bug in [my] bonnet about Greece’. I lived in the Greek part of Cyprus (which is one reason I found the Cyrus/Cyprus mistake amusing) for 5 years, I am familiar with Greek language and what literature I read and don’t doubt the virtues of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Xenophon etc but what I despise is when a man is so keen to praise one culture but is so blind to what is against the heroes of this culture. Books do give knowledge and it’s necessary that one reads them but knowledge is open to interpretation.
I was once talking about Greece vs Persia with an elderly Cypriot man (Cypriots consider themselves the REAL greeks) and I told him EbneSina, a post islam Persian scientist, discovered alcohol and he tells me the Greeks had been drinking wine for thousands of years. I see the same thing happening here.