Anachronism - what do you do?

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,677
#31
Using Turkey for Asia Minor and France for Gaul helps a high school student understand better what is being talked about, so I like it. Talking about Napoleon invading the Soviet Union with the capital at Moscow is just wrong though.

I listened to a Great Courses lecture where the professor referred to Rome and Carthage as democracies rather than republics. He knew better, but was trying to simplify to make a point. However, IMO that is also going way to far.

He was saying that some of the most prolonged wars have been between republics, like Rome and Carthage, Athens and Sparta, and the US Civil War. He said without a monarch or dictator, it was harder to make peace. The point was interesting, but the terminology too simplistic.
 
Dec 2016
152
Utah
#32
I think you're overly-sensitive about such technical geographical misnomers made by students.

Using modern-day names for the various nations and/or city-states helps that geographical location be more recognizable to those reading the students' report or essay. I mean, if read an article that says "Mumbai" and its referring to Bombay in the 1950's, I am totally fine with it. I have been given the information I need and can extrapolate, and then get onto the gist of the article.

Of course a mention of the former name of the area would be nice added information, and would help anybody reading the article know that term for such time when they encounter it again in historical reading. But I still would not get upset or even irritated about somebody using a modern name that technically was not the same during the time period of the essay.

Just me, though. I am not a scholar or a history professor, just a history buff, so if I find the article otherwise enjoyable and informative it's all good.
Using France for Gaul and Turkey for any previous civilization in Asia Minor promotes a complete misunderstanding of people's and time. Saying "modern-day ......" is fine. The Lydia's, Ionians, Aeolians, and the bunch of others who inhabited Asia Minor were not Turks and did not know what Turkey was.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,677
#33
Using France for Gaul and Turkey for any previous civilization in Asia Minor promotes a complete misunderstanding of people's and time. Saying "modern-day ......" is fine. The Lydia's, Ionians, Aeolians, and the bunch of others who inhabited Asia Minor were not Turks and did not know what Turkey was.
The current Turks aren't mostly Turkish either. Asia Minor became Greekified then Turkified. Saying modern day is best, but for a high school student, using the modern term leads to a better understanding than using a term like Asia Minor. I would stress that they should say "modern". I also wouldn't make this a major issue in grading or comments. Terminology is not the most important thing. The teacher should clearly explain what Asia Minor is and was, and what the correct terminology is.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2014
149
California, USA
#34
Just to preface...I'm not a history teacher. I'm a history loving former English teacher who is now a homeschool mom.

In our homeschool I teach about the modern countries at the same time I teach about the ancient areas, because I think it helps my son connect the dots and remember the geography better, and it's fun to know the history of an area when learning about a country.


By the way I hate that they use the term "modern" for things that happened more than 100 years ago. Another term really needs to be used for those eras (though, alas, I know it's hard to change that). Modern is always going to mean "the most recent period" in common vernacular, and common vernacular is not going to bend to academia. It's just confusing for everyone to call something modern that's not recent, and it's unreasonable to expect our language to come up with a new term for "modern" whenever a period passes.
 
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betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,677
#35
I just have the image of some teacher writing -5 points. It's Asia Minor, not Turkey. It seems like a gotcha some teachers like to do. The terminology is not the main issue.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,424
#36
I just have the image of some teacher writing -5 points. It's Asia Minor, not Turkey. It seems like a gotcha some teachers like to do. The terminology is not the main issue.
I agree, so long as the student understands that Asia Minor is not Turkey. Losing points for something like 'The Hittites originated in what is now northern Turkey' would seem to be a cheap gotcha.

I think a student would have a legitimate cause for complaint if points were deducted because he or she used Turkey, when the phrasing indicates that the student is using a modern country for a geography reference, but understands the country didn't yet exist in that era.
 
Jul 2017
29
London
#37
I have a pet peeve. Students using false geography terms in history work bugs me to no end.

There is no Saudi Arabia in Muhammad's day.
There was no Turkey during the Greek or Roman hey day.
Julius Caesar did not conquer the French. Etc.

It is not the fault of the students much of the time.

What do you do to correct this bad habit?
Patience and good council.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,675
Las Vegas, NV USA
#38
How would I better say the Ojibway lived in northeastern Minnesota (in a time before the state existed)? Do I have to say modern northeastern Minnesota?
 

oshron

Ad Honorem
Jun 2009
3,690
western Terranova
#39
Using terms like Saudi Arabia, France, and Turkey helps one to understand what is being discussed. It would be better to qualify them with "modern" though.
were i in a position to encourage change concerning that, i'd tell people to just slightly alter their use of those terms to include "the area of modern..." or "what is now..." and then whatever modern state. not that this isn't uncommon--almost every time i've heard Gaul introduced in any historical context but as a small part of the work itself (such as in a school textbook covering all the history of Ancient Rome but not going into huge detail on their contemporaries) it's almost always been referred to as "Gaul, in what is now France..." or similar. most people probably hear that and think, "oh, so all of France used to be called Gaul" which isn't accurate but at least it's a starting point
If they don't know it theselves by the time they are students it's kind of late telling them. You don't teach the teenages how to write and read... or do you?
your point is still valid, but you do teach someone to read and write when they're teenagers or older if they're genuinely illiterate. that's how most people learned throughout history, if they ever did at all.
 

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