Biggest misconceptions in history, ancient and new.

Aug 2012
1,554
#5
Mostly when the Native American nations are portrayed as simplistic, nature-loving, peaceful utopias where the citizens are just somehow more spiritual and wholesome than the evil empires who oppressed them.
I don't disagree with recounting whatever oppression they faced, of course, but rather the fanciful and patronising depiction of them as a people utterly without ambition or politics. It depicts them less as complex nations and societies, and more as perpetual victims, which is just about the most insulting thing I can imagine.
Thankfully, this is not an idea most historians hold, and is rather confined to the "history" peddled by Hollywood.

Oh, and when famous women from history are seen as victims of patriarchal systems rather than actors in that system, with their own ambitions. This is especially notable in the case of Anne Boleyn, who too often is victimised at the expense of her actual motivations and beliefs.
 
Jun 2017
143
UK
#7
Mostly when the Native American nations are portrayed as simplistic, nature-loving, peaceful utopias where the citizens are just somehow more spiritual and wholesome than the evil empires who oppressed them.
I don't disagree with recounting whatever oppression they faced, of course, but rather the fanciful and patronising depiction of them as a people utterly without ambition or politics. It depicts them less as complex nations and societies, and more as perpetual victims, which is just about the most insulting thing I can imagine.
Thankfully, this is not an idea most historians hold, and is rather confined to the "history" peddled by Hollywood.

Oh, and when famous women from history are seen as victims of patriarchal systems rather than actors in that system, with their own ambitions. This is especially notable in the case of Anne Boleyn, who too often is victimised at the expense of her actual motivations and beliefs.
I have felt this at times. pocohontas, while a Disney movie. makes the white man, and woman. less of a human being because they don’t live in tents? it is an insult to empires, and countries that are just as interesting and human as the natives.
 
May 2018
672
Michigan
#8
Mostly when the Native American nations are portrayed as simplistic, nature-loving, peaceful utopias where the citizens are just somehow more spiritual and wholesome than the evil empires who oppressed them.
I don't disagree with recounting whatever oppression they faced, of course, but rather the fanciful and patronising depiction of them as a people utterly without ambition or politics. It depicts them less as complex nations and societies, and more as perpetual victims, which is just about the most insulting thing I can imagine.
Thankfully, this is not an idea most historians hold, and is rather confined to the "history" peddled by Hollywood.

Oh, and when famous women from history are seen as victims of patriarchal systems rather than actors in that system, with their own ambitions. This is especially notable in the case of Anne Boleyn, who too often is victimised at the expense of her actual motivations and beliefs.
This is absolutely the case. At best, it is intellectual laziness, at worst, it is a deliberate deception tailored to suit an agenda.
 
Mar 2016
1,106
Australia
#9
That the Crusades (specifically the First Crusade) was somehow morally worse than any of the other countless wars of aggression fought by both Christians and Muslims in the Medieval Era just because they were of a different religion and often different ethnicity. The Christians and Muslims viewed each other with as much disdain as they viewed heretics of their own religion (and in some cases the Christians despised heretics more than Muslims). The Crusades were an enormous multi-century conflict that involved hundreds of leaders with very different ambitions and attitudes. It's highly regressive and inaccurate to assume that all of them were motivated purely by religious fanaticism and intolerance.
 
Nov 2016
82
Serbia
#10
There is a tendency to portray Ottoman empire as a tolerant meritocracy, which it might have been in its heyday only compared to some states in the West. In reality, it was Sharia based tyranny whose alleged tolerance was varying from place to place and time to time depending on political circumstances.

Some revisionistic Anglo historians often present Austria-Hungary as multi-culti heaven based on some important achievements in Vienna and few other cities. In reality, outside of metropolis (Vienna), it was obsolete feudal society worse than Russia those same historians like to bash.

Lately, as West is losing hegemony in the world, there is a growing bitter sentiment about WW1 which is for good reason seen as starting point of decline. In lame attempt to downplay responsibility of Western rulers for destruction of their own "belle epoque" in the "Europes last summer", some influential historians try to put blame on Gavrilo Princip, Serbia, Russia again, etc. That is childish rubish and such attitude is one of the reasons for decline.
 
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