r/history 10d ago

Discussion/Question Why was Marcus Aurelius loved by the people?

1.4k Upvotes

So Marcus was clearly a great man. His stoicism and worldview allowed him to succeed where other would have failed. He loved his people, and lived a life serving them. Still this is overshadowed by the wars, plauges and barbarian invasions during his reign. Now i imagine plenty of people did or should have found the person in power, the emperor at fault. Still the people at the time and after him loved him. Why?

r/history 23d ago

Discussion/Question Were muslim armies harder to maintain in the field?

1.8k Upvotes

I am currently reading Thomas Asbridge's Creation of the Principality of Antioch and while writing about the inability of Il Ghazi to capitalise on his victory at the Field of Blood, he mentions mentions that muslim armies were notoriously hard to maintain in the field, especially during sieges. How would they have been harder to maintain than a Western European force or even a 'frankish' force in the Levant? What was the system of mustering and why does asbridge think that it was inefficient at retaining troops during longer campaigns? The book's main focus is on the Principality of Antioch in the first three decades of the 12th century.

r/history 3d ago

Discussion/Question Bookclub and Sources Wednesday!

250 Upvotes

Hi everybody,

Welcome to our weekly book recommendation thread!

We have found that a lot of people come to this sub to ask for books about history or sources on certain topics. Others make posts about a book they themselves have read and want to share their thoughts about it with the rest of the sub.

We thought it would be a good idea to try and bundle these posts together a bit. One big weekly post where everybody can ask for books or (re)sources on any historic subject or timeperiod, or to share books they recently discovered or read. Giving opinions or asking about their factuality is encouraged!

Of course it’s not limited to *just* books; podcasts, videos, etc. are also welcome. As a reminder, r/history also has a recommended list of things to [read, listen to or watch](https://www.reddit.com/r/history/wiki/recommendedlist)

r/history 21d ago

Discussion/Question Simple/Short/Silly History Questions Saturday!

151 Upvotes

Welcome to our Simple/Short/Silly history questions Saturday thread!

This thread is for all those history related questions that are too simple, short or a bit too silly to warrant their own post.

So, do you have a question about history and have always been afraid to ask? Well, today is your lucky day. Ask away!

Of course all our regular rules and guidelines still apply and to be just that bit extra clear:

Questions need to be historical in nature. Silly does not mean that your question should be a joke. r/history also has a discord server where you can discuss history with other enthusiasts and experts

r/history 7d ago

Discussion/Question Simple/Short/Silly History Questions Saturday!

54 Upvotes

Welcome to our Simple/Short/Silly history questions Saturday thread!

This thread is for all those history related questions that are too simple, short or a bit too silly to warrant their own post.

So, do you have a question about history and have always been afraid to ask? Well, today is your lucky day. Ask away!

Of course all our regular rules and guidelines still apply and to be just that bit extra clear:

Questions need to be historical in nature. Silly does not mean that your question should be a joke. r/history also has a discord server where you can discuss history with other enthusiasts and experts

r/history 15d ago

Discussion/Question Did ancient Greeks think that observation prevented observation of the paranormal / paradoxa?

557 Upvotes

Hello everyone, I am interested in how the ancient Greeks viewed paranormal events, or what they called paradoxa.

I have been reading the work by the ancient Greek paradoxographer Palaephatus (possibly around 3rd or 2nd century BCE) On Incredible Things (Περὶ ἀπίστων (ἱστοριῶν); Incredibilia). This is one of the earliest account of "rationalization" that I have found with regards to strange paradoxa. For example, here is Palaephatus interpretation of the story of Actaeon being devoured by his own dogs.

Φασὶν Ἀκταίωνα ὑπὸ τῶν ἰδίων κυνῶν κατᾶ βωδῆναι. τοῦτο δὲ φευδές· κύων γὰρ δεσπότην καὶ τροφέα μάλιστα φιλεῖ, ἄλλως τε καὶ αἱ θηρευτικαὶ πάντας ἀνθρώπους σαίνουσιν. ἔνιοι δέ φασιν ώς Ἄρτεμις μὲν <εἰς ἔλαφον μετέφαλεν> αὐτόν, ἔλαφον δὲ ἀνεῖλον αἱ κύνες. ἐμοὶ δὲ δοκεῖ Ἄρτεμιν μὲν δύνασθαι ὅ τι θέλοι[wants] ποιῆσαι· οὐ μέντοι ἐστὶν ἀληθὲς ἔλαφον ἐς ἀνδρὸς ἢ ἐξ ἐλάφου ἄνδρα γενέσθαι· του]ς δε] μύθους τούτους συνέθεσαν οἱ ποιηταί, ἵνα οἱ ἀκροώμενοι μὴ ὑβριζοιεν εἰς τὸ θεῖον, τὸ δὲ ἀληθὲς ἔχει ὧδε. Ἀκταίων ἧν ἀνὴς τὸ γένος Ἀρκάς, φιλοκύνηγος. οὗτος ἔτρεφεν ἀεὶ κύνας πολλὰς καὶ ἐφήρευεν ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν, τῶν δὲ αὑτοῦ πραγμάτων ἠμέλει. οἱ δὲ τότε ἄνθρω | ποι αὐτουργοὶ πάντες ἦσαν οἰκέτας τε οὐκ εἶχον[, ἀλλ' ἑαυτοῖς ἐγεύργουν], καὶ οὖτος ἦν πλουσιώτατος ὃς [αὐτὸς ἐγεώργει καὶ] ἐργατικώτατος ὑπῆρχε. τῷ οὖν Ἀκταίωνι ἀμελοῦντι τῶν οἰκείων, μᾶλλον δὲ κυνηγετοῦντι, διεφθάρη ὁ βίος. ὅτε δὲ οὐκέτι εἶχεν οὐδέν, ἔλεγον οἱ ἄνθρωποι "δείλαιος Ἀκταίων, ὃς ὑπὸ τῶν ἰδίων κυνῶν κατεβρώθη," ὥσθερ καὶ νῦν ἐάν τις πορνοβοσκῶν ἀτυκήσῃ, λέγειν εἰώθαμεν "ὑπὸ τῶν πορνῶν κατεβρώθη." τοιοῦτον δή τι καὶ τὸ περὶ τὸν Ἀκταίωνα γέγονεν. (Palaephatus 1996, 104, 105)

They say that Actaeon was devoured by his own dogs. But the story is false, for a dog is most affectionate toward its master and provider, and hunting dogs in particular fawn on everyone. Some, however, say that Artemis changed Actaeon into a deer, and that it was this deer that the dogs killed. Now it seems to me that Artemis can do whatever she wants, yet it is not true that a man became a deer or a deer a man. It is the poets who have made up such myths, so that people who hear them will not commit outrageous acts against divinity.

The truth is as follows. Actaeon was an Arcadian who was especially fond of hunting. He always kept a large pack of dogs and hunted with them in the mountains, disregarding his own affairs. Now all the people of those days were dependent on their own labor. They had no servants to do their work, and whoever was the most industrious became the wealthiest. But in the case of Actaeon, his preference for hunting and his lack of attention to his own circumstances causes his livelihood to waste away. When he no longer had anything left, people said: "Alas for Actaeon, who has been devoted by his own hunting dogs." So even today, if a man is unlucky enough to waste his fortune on prostitutes, we are in the habit of saying that he has been "devoured by whores." And this is what happened in the case of Actaeon.

(Palaephatus 1996, 30)

Socrates also makes reference to such efforts on in the Phaedrus:

ἀλλ᾽ εἰ ἀπιστοίην, ὥσπερ οἱ σοφοί, οὐκ ἂν ἄτοπος εἴην, εἶτα σοφιζόμενος φαίην αὐτὴν πνεῦμα Βορέου κατὰ τῶν πλησίον πετρῶν σὺν Φαρμακείᾳ παίζουσαν ὦσαι, καὶ οὕτω δὴ τελευτήσασαν λεχθῆναι ὑπὸ τοῦ Βορέου ἀνάρπαστον [229δ] γεγονέναι—ἢ ἐξ Ἀρείου πάγου: λέγεται γὰρ αὖ καὶ οὗτος ὁ λόγος, ὡς ἐκεῖθεν ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐνθένδε ἡρπάσθη. ἐγὼ δέ, ὦ Φαῖδρε, ἄλλως μὲν τὰ τοιαῦτα χαρίεντα ἡγοῦμαι, λίαν δὲ δεινοῦ καὶ ἐπιπόνου καὶ οὐ πάνυ εὐτυχοῦς ἀνδρός, κατ᾽ ἄλλο μὲν οὐδέν, ὅτι δ᾽ αὐτῷ ἀνάγκη μετὰ τοῦτο τὸ τῶν Ἱπποκενταύρων εἶδος ἐπανορθοῦσθαι, καὶ αὖθις τὸ τῆς Χιμαίρας, καὶ ἐπιρρεῖ δὲ ὄχλος τοιούτων Γοργόνων καὶ Πηγάσων καὶ [229ε] ἄλλων ἀμηχάνων πλήθη τε καὶ ἀτοπίαι τερατολόγων τινῶν φύσεων: αἷς εἴ τις ἀπιστῶν προσβιβᾷ κατὰ τὸ εἰκὸς ἕκαστον, ἅτε ἀγροίκῳ τινὶ σοφίᾳ χρώμενος, πολλῆς αὐτῷ σχολῆς δεήσει. ἐμοὶ δὲ πρὸς αὐτὰ οὐδαμῶς ἐστι σχολή: τὸ δὲ αἴτιον, ὦ φίλε, τούτου τόδε. οὐ δύναμαί πω κατὰ τὸ Δελφικὸν γράμμα γνῶναι ἐμαυτόν: γελοῖον δή μοι φαίνεται

If I disbelieved, as the wise men do, I should not be extraordinary; then I might give a rational explanation, that a blast of Boreas, the north wind, pushed her off the neighboring rocks as she was playing with Pharmacea, and [229d] that when she had died in this manner she was said to have been carried off by Boreas. But I, Phaedrus, think such explanations are very pretty in general, but are the inventions of a very clever and laborious and not altogether enviable man, for no other reason than because after this he must explain the forms of the Centaurs, and then that of the Chimaera, and there presses in upon him a whole crowd of such creatures, Gorgons and Pegas, and multitudes [229e] of strange, inconceivable, portentous natures. If anyone disbelieves in these, and with a rustic sort of wisdom, undertakes to explain each in accordance with probability, he will need a great deal of leisure. But I have no leisure for them at all; and the reason, my friend, is this: I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous,

(Plato 1925, “Plat. Phaedrus 229.”)

Now, many defenders of the paranormal, or of the efficacy of magic, argue that magic fails to work when it is seen by certain people, like a skeptic. For example, the occultist Isaac Bonewits says that there is "Catapsi", a kind of psychic " 'static' that cancels out regular psi powers within its range" (Bonewits 1989, 55).

I was wondering if there was an analogous belief or statement in the ancient world. Did anyone in the ancient world believe that observation by human mortals disrupted any sort of magical or paranormal operation?

Personally, I think I have found one example, from the Hymn to Demeter. In this episode, the goddess Demeter tries to bestow immortality upon the young Demophoon via some sort of secret ritual. However, the ritual was viewed by the handmaid Metaneira. Metaneira saw the ritual, and screamed, disrupting the ritual and preventing Demophoon from achieving immortality.

ὣς ἄρα φωνήσασα θυώδεϊ δέξατο κόλπῳ

χείρεσσ᾽ ἀθανάτῃσι: γεγήθει δὲ φρένα μήτηρ.

ὣς ἣ μὲν Κελεοῖο δαΐφρονος ἀγλαὸν υἱὸν

Δημοφόωνθ᾽, ὃν ἔτικτεν ἐύζωνος Μετάνειρα,

[235] ἔτρεφεν ἐν μεγάροις: ὃ δ᾽ ἀέξετο δαίμονι ἶσος,

οὔτ᾽ οὖν σῖτον ἔδων, οὐ θησάμενος [γάλα μητρὸς

ἠματίη μὲν γὰρ καλλιστέφανος] Δημήτηρ

χρίεσκ᾽ ἀμβροσίῃ ὡσεὶ θεοῦ ἐκγεγαῶτα

ἡδὺ καταπνείουσα καὶ ἐν κόλποισιν ἔχουσα:

νύκτας δὲ κρύπτεσκε πυρὸς μένει ἠύτε δαλὸν

[240] λάθρα φίλων γονέων: τοῖς δὲ μέγα θαῦμ᾽ ἐτέτυκτο,

ὡς προθαλὴς τελέθεσκε: θεοῖσι γὰρ ἄντα ἐῴκει.

καί κέν μιν ποίησεν ἀγήρων τ᾽ ἀθάνατόν τε,

εἰ μὴ ἄρ᾽ ἀφραδίῃσιν[[heedlessness]] ἐύζωνος Μετάνειρα

νύκτ᾽[[by night]] ἐπιτηρήσασα[[kept watch]] θυώδεος ἐκ θαλάμοιο

[245] σκέψατο: κώκυσεν[[ shriek; wail ]] δὲ καὶ ἄμφω πλήξατο μηρὼ

δείσασ᾽ ᾧ περὶ παιδὶ καὶ ἀάσθη μέγα θυμῷ

καί ῥ᾽ ὀλοφυρομένη ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα:

τέκνον Δημοφόων, ξείνη σε πυρὶ ἔνι πολλῷ

κρύπτει, ἐμοὶ δὲ γόον καὶ κήδεα λυγρὰ τίθησιν.

[250] ὣς φάτ᾽ ὀδυρομένη: τῆς δ᾽ ἄιε δῖα θεάων.

τῇ δὲ χολωσαμένη καλλιστέφανος Δημήτηρ

παῖδα φίλον, τὸν ἄελπτον ἐνὶ μεγάροισιν ἔτικτε,

χείρεσσ᾽ ἀθανάτῃσιν ἀπὸ ἕθεν ἧκε πέδονδε,

ἐξανελοῦσα πυρός, θυμῷ κοτέσασα μάλ᾽ αἰνῶς,

[255] καί ῥ᾽ ἄμυδις προσέειπεν ἐύζωνον Μετάνειραν:

νήιδες ἄνθρωποι καὶ ἀφράδμονες οὔτ᾽ ἀγαθοῖο

αἶσαν ἐπερχομένου προγνώμεναι οὔτε κακοῖο:

καὶ σὺ γὰρ ἀφραδίῃσι[[heedlessness]] τεῇς νήκεστον ἀάσθης.

ἴστω γὰρ θεῶν ὅρκος, ἀμείλικτον Στυγὸς ὕδωρ,

[260] ἀθάνατόν κέν τοι καὶ ἀγήραον ἤματα πάντα

παῖδα φίλον ποίησα καὶ ἄφθιτον ὤπασα τιμήν:

νῦν δ᾽ οὐκ ἔσθ᾽ ὥς κεν θάνατον καὶ κῆρας ἀλύξαι:

τιμὴ δ᾽ ἄφθιτος αἰὲν ἐπέσσεται, οὕνεκα γούνων

ἡμετέρων ἐπέβη καὶ ἐν ἀγκοίνῃσιν ἴαυσεν.

[265] ὥρῃσιν δ᾽ ἄρα τῷ γε περιπλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν

παῖδες Ἐλευσινίων πόλεμον καὶ φύλοπιν αἰνὴν

αἰὲν ἐν ἀλλήλοισιν συνάξουσ᾽ ἤματα πάντα.

εἰμὶ δὲ Δημήτηρ τιμάοχος, ἥτε μέγιστον

ἀθανάτοις θνητοῖς τ᾽ ὄνεαρ καὶ χάρμα τέτυκται.

[270] ἀλλ᾽ ἄγε μοι νηόν τε μέγαν καὶ βωμὸν ὑπ᾽ αὐτῷ

τευχόντων πᾶς δῆμος ὑπαὶ πόλιν αἰπύ τε τεῖχος

Καλλιχόρου καθύπερθεν ἐπὶ προὔχοντι κολωνῷ.

ὄργια δ᾽ αὐτὴ ἐγὼν ὑποθήσομαι, ὡς ἂν ἔπειτα

εὐαγέως ἔρδοντες ἐμὸν νόον ἱλάσκοισθε.

When she had so spoken, she took the child in her fragrant bosom with her divine hands: and his mother was glad in her heart. So the goddess nursed in the palace Demophoon, wise Celeus' goodly son whom well-girded Metaneira bare. [235] And the child grew like some immortal being, not fed with food nor nourished at the breast: for by day [236a] rich-crowned Demeter would anoint him with ambrosia as if he were the offspring of a god and breathe sweetly upon him as she held him in her bosom. But at night she would hide him like a brand in the heart of the fire, [240] unknown to his dear parents. And it wrought great wonder in these that he grew beyond his age; for he was like the gods face to face. And she would have made him deathless and unageing, had not well-girded Metaneira in her heedlessness kept watch by night from her sweet-smelling chamber and [245] spied. But she wailed and smote her two hips, because she feared for her son and was greatly distraught in her heart; so she lamented and uttered winged words:

“Demophoon, my son, the strange woman buries you deep in fire and works grief and bitter sorrow for me.”

[250] Thus she spoke, mourning. And the bright goddess, lovely-crowned Demeter, heard her, and was wroth with her. So with her divine hands she snatched from the fire the dear son whom Metaneira had born unhoped-for in the palace, and cast him from her to the ground; for she was terribly angry in her heart. [255] Forthwith she said to well-girded Metaneira:

“Witless are you mortals and dull to foresee your lot, whether of good or evil, that comes upon you. For now in your heedlessness[[ἀφραδίῃσι]] you have wrought folly past healing; for —be witness the oath of the gods, the relentless water of Styx — [260] I would have made your dear son deathless and unaging all his days and would have bestowed on him everlasting honor, but now he can in no way escape death and the fates. Yet shall unfailing honor always rest upon him, because he lay upon my knees and slept in my arms. [265] But, as the years move round and when he is in his prime, the sons of the Eleusinians shall ever wage war and dread strife with one another continually. Lo! I am that Demeter who has share of honor and is the greatest help and cause of joy to the undying gods and mortal men. [270] But now, let all the people build me a great temple and an altar below it and beneath the city and its sheer wall upon a rising hillock above Callichorus. And I myself will teach my rites, that hereafter you may reverently perform them and so win the favour of my heart.”

(Anon 1914, "HH 2.")

I was wondering if anyone had any other examples. I am looking for any other references where mortal observation disrupted or ruined magic, or some sort of paranormal phenomena. If there is some reference, then please let me know. Thank you. =).

Works Cited:

Anon. 1914. "HH 2." The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Homeric Hymns. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann Ltd. Online. Perseus Digital Library. Tufts University. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0138%3Ahymn%3D2.

Palaephatus. 1996. On Unbelievable Tales: Peri Apiston : With Notes and Greek Text from the 1902 B.G. Teubner Edition. Translated and Edited by Jacob Stern. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers.

Plato. 1925. “Plat. Phaedrus 229.” In Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 9 translated by Harold N. Fowler. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. Online. Perseus Digital Library. Tufts University. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0174%3Atext%3DPhaedrus%3Apage%3D229.

r/history Dec 29 '22

Discussion/Question Did Italy made a mistake by joining the Entente in 1915 during World War One?

886 Upvotes

So, a little background: in 1882, the newly formed Kingdom of Italy joined the alliance between the German Empire and Austria-Hungary, thus making the Triple Alliance. However, this alliance was a defensive one. It stipulated that Germany and Austria-Hungary were to assist Italy if it was attacked by France without provocation. In return, Italy will support Germany, if attacked by France. In case of war between Austria-Hungary and The Russian Empire, Italy promised to remain neutral.

Although, interestingly enough, in 1902 Italy signed a secret treaty with France, in which both nation promised to not go to war against each other.

In 1914, when World War One began, Italy declared their neutrality. There were two main reasons: the first reason was that The Triple Alliance was a defensive pact and Italy saw Austria-Hungary as the aggressor that started World War One by declaring war on Serbia and launching an offensive war, thus Italy was not obligated to enter the war and the second was the discontent of Italy in 1908 when Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia. This discontent resulted from the fact that Italy and Austria-Hungary promised to do not change the status quo in the Balkans without consulting each other (to which, Austria-Hungary did exactly the opposite in 1908).

In between 1914 and 1915, both the Central Powers and The Entente tried to pursue Italy: the Central Powers tried to keep Italy neutral and the Entente tried to make Italy joined the war on their side. In the end, the Entente won, due to Italy signing the Treaty of London and joining the war on May 23, 1915.

Unfortunately for the Italians, their campaign didn't go as planned. Fighting against Austria-Hungary, they suffered a great loss (in fact, they're greatest lost in the war) at the battle of Caporetto. However, Italy's luck was the fact that Austria-Hungary was their main opponent (an empire that, little to be said, did not performed as expected) and after the battle of Vittorio Veneto in the late 1918 the Austro-Hungarian army basically collapsed, ending Austria-Hungary participation in the war. 

In the end, Italy was on the winners side, but with a high cost: according to Wikipedia, the Italians suffered as many as 1,052,400 to 1,243,400 deaths (3% to 3.5% of total population). And, to add, Italian's economy was in total ruin. Sadly for the Italians, this is not the end: at the Peace Conference, some of the territories promised to Italy after the war and stipulated in the Treaty of London were given to the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Obviously, this angered and upsetted the Italian population and this deception will be known as the "Vittoria Mutilata" ("The Mutilated Victory"). The "Vittoria Mutilata" will mark the Postwar Italy and the rise of fascism marked by the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini (which will influence the rise of Hitler in Germany and will mark the first steps to World War Two).

Now, my question is: did Italy make a mistake by joining the Entente?

Well, given the circumstances in the year 1915, no. The Entente promised Italy much more territories than the Central Powers, who weren't so keen on Italy joining the war. Given the fact that, at the time, this was the biggest war of all times, the potential of territories that could be "acquired" was immense and Italy really couldn't say no if what they wanted was to be one of the most powerful nations, if not of the world, then maybe in Europe. Adding to the fact that maybe if they have refused to participate in the war now (in any of the sides they wanted), later the war situation may not have been so favorable, Italy seemed to do the right thing. I mean, they couldn't have known that their allies will not give the territories they promised.

And now, there are two options: Italy stays neutral or Italy joins the Central Powers. In my opinion:

  1. Italy stays neutral - For me, this is not really a possibility. Why? "Given the fact that, at the time, this was the biggest war of all times, the potential of territories that could be "acquired" was immense and Italy really couldn't say no if what they wanted was to be one of the most powerful nations, if not of the world, then maybe in Europe."
  2. Italy joins the Central Powers - Again, pretty improbable: let's not forget the fact that Italy was still upset after the annexation of Bosnia, the fact that the territories that were promised to Italy were "extremely wanted" by them, because of the number of Italians inside the borders of Austria-Hungary (in 1910, there were roughly 800,000 Italians in Austria-Hungary). Of course, let's not forget the secret treaty with France. So, I think, at the time for Italy it was a lot more easy and a lot more conveniently to join the Entente.

    For me, the story of Italy in the First World War is a very dramatic one. Motivated to enter a terrible war (in fact, the most terrible war at that moment when it comes to the victims and the impact it had on the world at the time and in the future) by the prospect of gaining more territories and the status of "one of the most powerful countries in the world", Italy ends up as the most unlucky of the winners. Cheated at the Peace Conference, with a general dissatisfaction among the population, a ruined economy, the weak government that tried to maintain the power was quickly changed with an authoritarian one led by the first European dictator of the XX century: Benito Mussolini. He will guide Italy to an even more terrible and devastating war.
    Maybe things would have looked different (in a better way) if Italy joined the Central Powers. It's difficult to say if the Central Powers would have won the war with Italy by their side. All we can do is to imagine scenarios that are just possibilities. Certainly, France would have had an even more difficult task to defend their country (as it happened in the Second World War). Maybe, if France was conquered, Italy would have gained more territories and the Second World War would have never happened. But this are just speculations and all we have is history and what really happened.

r/history Dec 25 '22

Discussion/Question What did the public actually want in the Iranian revolution of 1979?

677 Upvotes

A while ago I read the first part of the comic Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, in which she describes her experience growing up in Iran during it's 1979 revolution and following war with Iraq.
Something I noticed was that her parents were protesting against the ruling Shah, in hopes to see the country adopt democracy, and from the sounds of it so were many of their friends and acquaintances as well. However the outcome of the revolution was instead the creation of an Islamic republic lead by Ruhollah Khomeini after a national referendum. In the comic Marjanes parents say they didn't vote for the Islamic republic and neither did any of their friends, implying that the referendum was illegitimate.

As far as I can tell Ruhollah Khomeini was genuinely a very popular figure, as he was welcomed back into the country by cheering crowds, but was that entusiasm extended to his ideas on governance? I can't seem to find any sources talking about what the people of Iran truly wanted. Persepolis makes it seem like the populace wanted a democracy but the referendum says otherwise. It did seem like Marjanes family was fairly wealthy and well educated which would explain their more liberal views, but considering the resistance to the new regime lasting for decades and all the way to present day, I can't be sure if people wanted it as much as the referendum says they did.

I don't know if this is the right place to ask this, but I just want to see if anyone out there has the answers to this question; what did the people of Iran want in the revolution of 1979?

r/history 10d ago

Discussion/Question Bookclub and Sources Wednesday!

75 Upvotes

Hi everybody,

Welcome to our weekly book recommendation thread!

We have found that a lot of people come to this sub to ask for books about history or sources on certain topics. Others make posts about a book they themselves have read and want to share their thoughts about it with the rest of the sub.

We thought it would be a good idea to try and bundle these posts together a bit. One big weekly post where everybody can ask for books or (re)sources on any historic subject or timeperiod, or to share books they recently discovered or read. Giving opinions or asking about their factuality is encouraged!

Of course it’s not limited to *just* books; podcasts, videos, etc. are also welcome. As a reminder, r/history also has a recommended list of things to [read, listen to or watch](https://www.reddit.com/r/history/wiki/recommendedlist)

r/history Dec 31 '22

Discussion/Question Simple/Short/Silly History Questions Saturday!

287 Upvotes

Welcome to our Simple/Short/Silly history questions Saturday thread!

This thread is for all those history related questions that are too simple, short or a bit too silly to warrant their own post.

So, do you have a question about history and have always been afraid to ask? Well, today is your lucky day. Ask away!

Of course all our regular rules and guidelines still apply and to be just that bit extra clear:

Questions need to be historical in nature. Silly does not mean that your question should be a joke. r/history also has a discord server where you can discuss history with other enthusiasts and experts

r/history 9d ago

Discussion/Question What's the earliest case of iron-smelting with hard evidence?

53 Upvotes

Someone insists smelting iron wasn't invented until about the Roman era. There's various evidence that contradicts this, but nothing particularly primary or conclusive I could find.

His claim is that a lot of the iron works that existed were not smelted, but natural blooms of iron that were found (for example, from meteorites) and forged/wrought into shape. This appears to have been true at some point, the Hittites did go to trouble collecting large iron blooms. But there was also a record I recall reading of them getting iron from a people who had very iron-rich sand.... so it seems the only possibility is it was smelted? Don't know where that article I read is, anymore... so I was hoping someone more knowledgeable might be able to help me understand the early development of iron.

For example, one argument that was made, was that when iron smelting becomes possible... why wouldn't it rapidly replace bronze? Iron is more abundant and better than bronze, it seems. So that always confused me with evidence of iron smelting possibly a thousand years before iron became common. Was it a very flawed iron smelting, which improved over time?

r/history Nov 28 '22

Discussion/Question A summary of Ilya Ivanov's "humanzee experiments"

2.0k Upvotes

In the 1920s, a Soviet biologist named Ilya Ivanov tried to crossbreed humans with various other primate species. He was responsible for groundbreaking breakthroughs with artificial insemination. With Ivanov’s use of artificial insemination, he was able to use a stallion's sperm to fertilize up to 500 mares. Most stallions could only father 20–30 mares through natural mating.

This made him popular among horse breeders, who came all across the globe to work with him. He had more ambitions then just horse breeding, and his interests revolved around hybridization between species. More specifically, Ivanov wanted to see if humans could reproduce with their closest known relatives.

Ivanov decided the best route to take with his project was to inject several female chimpanzees and orangutans with human sperms. He started his experiments when they were green lighted by the Soviet Department of Scientific Institutions in 1926. None of his subjects succeeded in becoming pregnant.

Undeterred, Ivanov then tried to experiment with human women and ape sperms. However, he wasn't able to put his plans into motion from both opposition from his superiors and the death of his last orangutan "sperm donor." Any further tests were prevented when Ivanov was hit by a purge and ended up exiled and imprisoned in what is now Kazakhstan.

I heard some very sensationalist rumors that he was somehow trying to build "super soldiers" for the Soviet government (something that a History Channel "documentary" Monsterquest touched upon). However, evidence for this is nonexistent, and I've heard more plausible reports that Ivanov's intentions was to discredit religion.

Ivanov’s “Humanzee” experiments are one of the little known but fascinating stories of the dark side of science. His works sound like something out of B-graded horror movie. I find it fascinating about how different the ethics of science was during the 1920s then today. On a side-note, I wonder how the world would have reacted if Ivanov’s experiments successfully made a hybrid offspring?

Sources:

1.https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19926701-000-blasts-from-the-past-the-soviet-ape-man-scandal/

2.https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/primate-diaries/stalins-ape-man-superwarriors/

3.https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-russian-government-once-funded-a-scientists-quest-to-make-an-ape-human-hybrid-5043859/

r/history 23d ago

Discussion/Question What was the State of Arabic Language Literature in the Ottoman Empire?

373 Upvotes

In the introduction to "Desert Songs of the Night" Edited by Suheil Bushrui & James M Malarkey the editors state that under the Ottomans, "... Arabic literature was almost totally lost from view." They further state that, "Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798 provided the impetus for the Arab Renaissance," and that it, "breathed the air of Western Civilization into the virtual corpse of the Ottoman-dominated Near East."

Was Arabic culture/literature really in such an ossified state, and did Western Civilization really rescue it from the Turks, or is this just more Orientalism?

r/history Dec 24 '22

Discussion/Question Simple/Short/Silly History Questions Saturday!

227 Upvotes

Welcome to our Simple/Short/Silly history questions Saturday thread!

This thread is for all those history related questions that are too simple, short or a bit too silly to warrant their own post.

So, do you have a question about history and have always been afraid to ask? Well, today is your lucky day. Ask away!

Of course all our regular rules and guidelines still apply and to be just that bit extra clear:

Questions need to be historical in nature. Silly does not mean that your question should be a joke. r/history also has a discord server where you can discuss history with other enthusiasts and experts

r/history 17d ago

Discussion/Question Bookclub and Sources Wednesday!

123 Upvotes

Hi everybody,

Welcome to our weekly book recommendation thread!

We have found that a lot of people come to this sub to ask for books about history or sources on certain topics. Others make posts about a book they themselves have read and want to share their thoughts about it with the rest of the sub.

We thought it would be a good idea to try and bundle these posts together a bit. One big weekly post where everybody can ask for books or (re)sources on any historic subject or timeperiod, or to share books they recently discovered or read. Giving opinions or asking about their factuality is encouraged!

Of course it’s not limited to *just* books; podcasts, videos, etc. are also welcome. As a reminder, r/history also has a recommended list of things to [read, listen to or watch](https://www.reddit.com/r/history/wiki/recommendedlist)

r/history Dec 26 '22

Discussion/Question Death of Vercingetorix

555 Upvotes

I understand that the parading of ones enemies and ritual strangulation was part of a Roman triumph, but it was not allows followed. After the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC and his being led through the streets of Rome in Scipio's triumph, Hasdrubal was permitted to live a life of luxury in Italy. Zenobia was similarly allowed to retire peacefully to Italy. The name of another, perhaps a Gallic chieftain who fought Rome, escapes me, but he too retired to the Italian countryside after I believe giving a speech on the Senate floor. So why was Vercingetorix, who surrendered peaceably (after a time) strangled, and by the so often magnanimous Caesar no less?

r/history Dec 08 '22

Discussion/Question Conflict in Central Europe leading to Bronze Age Collapse

1.3k Upvotes

I was recently looking into the events that caused the collapse of most Bronze Age civilizations, and I found this map that shows invasion/migration patterns.

https://www.worldhistory.org/image/15310/the-late-bronze-age-collapse-c-1200---1150-bce/

Looking at the map I see there was a substantial amount of movement from Central Europe. Looking into various sources such as the Metropolitan museum in NYC I found there was a major culture shift at the same time in Europe as well, including a change in burial practices and religious beliefs, as well as a massive increase in metal working and advanced weaponry. To me it seems that whatever happened in Europe to drastically alter their culture led to migration and the "sea people" that contributed to the collapse of Bronze age civilizations. Does anyone have more information about what specifically occurred in Central Europe around 1200 BCE, and is there a correlation between the two as I am lead to believe?

As a bonus question is there a list or map out there that shows the order and probable dates each city collapsed? Much appreciated.

r/history Nov 22 '22

Discussion/Question How likely was it (in the 19th century) for an ocean liner to simply disappear?

1.0k Upvotes

A new Netflix release (1899) opens with the mysterious disappearance of The Prometheus, an Atlantic ocean liner, with over a thousand people on board. At first, I found this quite unlikely, but then I wondered, what if there were no other ships within broadcast range of The Titanic to pick up the survivors? Could its disappearance have become a complete mystery? How likely that would that have been? Maritime history is full of disappearances but to my knowledge I can't think of a case of a ship so large and modern just disappearing. I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this.

P.S. For those of you that are unsure, I'm NOT asking about the accuracy of the series. I'm asking about the history of ships disappearing without a trace.

r/history 14d ago

Discussion/Question Simple/Short/Silly History Questions Saturday!

48 Upvotes

Welcome to our Simple/Short/Silly history questions Saturday thread!

This thread is for all those history related questions that are too simple, short or a bit too silly to warrant their own post.

So, do you have a question about history and have always been afraid to ask? Well, today is your lucky day. Ask away!

Of course all our regular rules and guidelines still apply and to be just that bit extra clear:

Questions need to be historical in nature. Silly does not mean that your question should be a joke. r/history also has a discord server where you can discuss history with other enthusiasts and experts

r/history Dec 22 '22

Discussion/Question How did the Romans manage to arm most of their soldiers with swords?

219 Upvotes

Ok, I'm not a historian, just a history enthusiast, and not a pretty knowledgeable one at that, so correct me if I say anything wrong. Anyway, I always heard that one of the reasons why swords are so iconic in pop culture is the fact that they were really expensive to produce and tended to be more useful as backup weapons, specially in the middle ages. That's probably one of the reasons the weapon became so associated with the archetype of the noble knight, which helped it become so iconic.

I understand that, in the time of the Roman Empire, swords would be much more useful as a main weapon, because armor wasn't so advanced, but that doesn't explain how did they manage to outfit most of their soldiers with gladii. I mean, they're still swords, they still require a lot of material and a lot more work to be made than, say, a spear, which is already an amazing weapon.

r/history Nov 30 '22 Silver Wholesome

Discussion/Question Why did so few Roman emperors have biological children?

1.7k Upvotes

At least of the early period. It seems like very few emperors had any luck siring biological children, even though they very much did try. Pregnancies seem to have been few and far between, even though many emperors were married to multiple women in succession, with a great number of stillbirths and miscarriages.

One professor of mine believed that it was because of the large amount of lead that the wealthy Roman unwittingly had in their diet, particularly from the consumption of wine, as wine was sweetened with grapes boiled in a lead pot. The toxic element contributed to a plethora of health problems, infertility being only one of many.

I am very curious, what do others think of this subject?

r/history Dec 18 '22

Discussion/Question Greek Hinduism - any surviving legacy?

1.1k Upvotes

I've been interested in the overlap between Hellenistic philosophy and Buddhism for a while. Some of the parallels are coincidental in that humans happened to have come up with the same ideas at different times - but some are direct. Greek Philosophers such as Pyrrho really did bring back eastern ideas to Greece and wrote extensively about Buddhism. Alexander the Great founded a number of Greek states in the far east occupying territory as far east as what is today Pakistan, and parts of India. A number of Greek elites such as Heliodorus actually converted to Hinduism, while Menander I converted to Buddhism. The first-ever statues of Buddha were commissioned by Greek converts, as this had not been an eastern practice prior to that (look up some of the examples if you're not familiar, it's really interesting to see Hellenistic depictions of Buddha).

As far as I understand, the Greeks added the Hindu gods and mythology to their own existing pantheon of gods, and this whole belief system collapsed along with the greek states a few decades/centuries later. What I wonder is whether any of the cross-pollination went the other way - could there be any traces of greek mythology or greek gods within the many demigods and deities of contemporary Hinduism? or did any survive for a while afterward?

r/history Dec 04 '22

Discussion/Question How did Native American tribes indigenous to Yellowstone National Park (e.g., Shoshone, Blackfeet, Crow, etc.) perceive the land (e.g., thoughts on geothermal activity) and what was their relationship like with white/European trappers and explorers entering the region in the early 1800s?

1.6k Upvotes

I’ve recently become interested in the history of Yellowstone National Park and am curious to learn about Native American perspectives on the land and their earliest known associations with white/European trappers and explorers in the region.

In particular, I'd like to learn about any prominent Native American creation stories involving what is now Yellowstone NP, how various tribes historically used and valued the land (for hunting, lodging, etc.), and what their thoughts were on the geysers and the other geothermal activity in the area. From my cursory research on the subject, tons of tribes have ties to Yellowstone with some of the most prominent being the Shoshone, Blackfeet, and Crow. What are the earliest accounts of contact between these tribes (and/or others) and the white/European trappers and explorers such as John Colter, who were entering the region in the early 1800s?

PS ~ I made a similar post yesterday in the subreddit r/AskHistorians but it hasn't received any comments yet. I hope okay that I re-phrased my question for this subreddit.

In lieu of a response, if anyone can point me to any good books or other resources to help give me a better understanding of the Native American tribes indigenous to Yellowstone NP, their different perspectives on the land, and/or their early dynamic with white/European trappers and explorers in the region I'd very much appreciate it.

r/history 21d ago

Discussion/Question I think that the term Byzantines is rightly used for adressing the Eastern Roman Empire.

33 Upvotes

So right now I am actually studying Byzantine history and I am starting to understand why the term Byzantines was invented. First of all, the Eastern Roman Empire wasn’t even speaking Latin. They spoke in the beginning, but after Heraclius they started to speak Greek which really cannot be a Roman Empire. Romans and Greeks are totally different things. The culture wasn’t even near Roman culture. Yes the problem was the middle ages by themselves, but paintings, monuments and overall culture are nowhere close to what the Romans had. Another big thing is they were always in some sort of a fight with the West. Whether it is the religion or even politics, they never shared the same opinion as the West, and while that is ok and fair, where is the respect towards the ever lasting Roman empire from the western states? We are always thought that the West wanted to bring back the Roman empire and they missed it a lot, but how can you say that and think about invading or destroying the Eastern part of it? For me, it really looks like that the people of that age didn’t really think that the Eastern Roman empire was even Roman, otherwise I think they would have given it a bit more respect. The religion aswell differed, and Constantinopole always wanted to be one step ahead of Rome, which I think really puts a nail in the coffin in terms of why Eastern Roman Empire during the Middle Ages cannot be fully roman. They always were an outsiders to the Westerners, and I think throughout centuries they just lost their authority over the western part of the Europe in terms of being the real descedents of Rome, hence why we see two times where a new Roman Empire was formed (Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire). I think people from those times even knew that the Byzantines are different from them and wanted to correct that by trying to establish a new Rome on the West. After the 11th century, almost every western state was against the Byzantines and tried on multiple occassions to conquer it. Even the pope itself during the reign of Michael VIII issued an ultimatum againts the Byzantines, where if they don’t accept Catholicism they were going to be attacked. And of course, the really last nail in the coffin from the westerners was the year 1204. How can you even do something like that to the “descedent” of Rome? For me, that really shows that the medieval people had no thoughts about Byzantines being the Romans and the true descedents of Rome, so yeah, I think the term Byzantines is justified and should be used when talking about the Eastern Roman Empire because they weren’t Romans in the slightest way, they lost eveything Roman possibly already in the 7th century CE.

r/history 10d ago

Discussion/Question Russian political parties after Feb 1917?

57 Upvotes

I'm about 140 pages into Trotsky's history of the Russian Revolution, and I find it very confusing to figure out exactly who the big players are. Partially because the names are so similar: executive committee, provisional government, fourth Duma, etc...

I get the broad brushstrokes: politicians like Kerensky, Chkheidze and Rodzianko end up in senior positions within various organisations, despite having either tsarist or very bourgeois sympathies.

but I get tangled up in the difference between the 'Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet', the 'provisional government', the 'fourth Duma' and so on. It seems like a total clusterfuck of confusion.

If anyone wants to attempt a simple breakdown of who's on what side after February 27, 1917, I'd greatly appreciate it.