Overrated events in Ancient History?

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Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,393
Netherlands
I think it is fair, because if we can't say 'it collapsed as soon as he died', we basically can say that no empire collapses as soon as the leader dies, because Alexander's empire does indeed collapse in record time practically.
Qin, Angevin, Huns?
 
Jan 2014
12
washington
To say that the whole of Alexander's campaign in the East was over-rated shows little in the way of an understanding of it's history. The Macedonian army faced many oppents other than Persians. They fought Thracians, Illyrians, Greeks in the homeland, Persians, Bactrians, Phonecians, Sogdians, Indians, and a host of others. It most also be remembered that many armies retained Greek mercenaries as the back-bone of their fighting force. These were well-equiped, higly trained soldies whose profession was war. They were veterans of countless battles and wars.
It is in Sogdia and Bactria where the whole campaign nearly ground to a halt. Alexander lost more men and spent more time here than the entire rest of his conquests combined.
It is indeed correct to say that the Macedonian army was the finest force fielded in that day. Not only the phalanx but the Companion cavalry; considered the first shock force and the finest cavalry in the Ancient World. However, in many, many instances it was the generalship of Alexander himself that brought about victory. His uncanny ability to predict his enemies movements, many times before they themselves knew it, is well documented. This combined with his brilliance on the field is, in fact, why he gained the appelation "the Great". Alexander's persona is what drove Macedon to greatness. Following his death we see that none, no matter how able a general, was able to either hold the empire together nor to regain it's stature.
 
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Lord_of_Gauda

Ad Honorem
Nov 2009
8,402
Canada
Qin, Angevin, Huns?
Qin lasted for twice as long as Alexander's empire after him ( 4 years), angevins lasted a long time after king John, though in a diminished capacity. The Huns yes, but as i noted, I can't think of an empire collapsing as fast as Alexander's amongst settled civilization- nomadic ones did crumble nearly as fast or even faster, but not sedentary civilizations
 

Lord_of_Gauda

Ad Honorem
Nov 2009
8,402
Canada
But it didnt. Perdiccas murder is the earliest possible date one could place and even then nobody declared himself king and several commanders still proclaimed themselves regents until Alexander IV would come of age. The empires collapse was not really his fault anyway - how is he supposed to prevent it from his grave? The only solution to that would have been to massacre or exile his own generals once he returned to Babylon and that is not something he could have done in the timespan he had available.
It still doesnt change the fact that his empire did collapse in record time for empires of sedentary people and if you can think of another ruler, who is defining of a particular empire and within 2 years of his death, the empire is no more (not just diminished, simply vanishes as a state entity), be my guest. Ergo, if we cannot say that Alexander's empire collapsed instantly, relatively speaking, then we cannot say any sedentary empires collapse instantly.


He did have a succession policy, he appointed Perdiccas as regent. None of his commanders at the time of his death had shown any inclination of disloyalty to him, what reason did Alexander have to suspect they would murder each other for the throne?
Regency is not a succession policy. Regency is only valid if one has a child and Alexander died childless. As such, it dictates that he have a clearly appointed successor, not a regent, who by definition is of limited power. Plenty of rulers declared their brothers/cousins/member of the royal family heir assumptive, before the birth of their natural successor, which Alexander failed to do and as such, is a clear indictment on his part.


I disagree - not a lot of empires did it on the scale Alexander did, if at all. How many frontier cities with Persian colonists did the Achaemenids have, for instance?
The scale of it is often exaggerated, since archaeology proves that most of the cities 'founded' by Alexander were not founded by him, but simply renamed by him.


Read Hammond. His mint was specifically aimed at combating inflation by controlling the exchange rate between gold and silver.
So ? It still doesnt change the fact that the Persians before him(the predecessor empire) had a centralized mint system and Alexander kept it- just like almost all successful conquerors hold the monopoly of minting currency.

Because he did it in combination with the expeditions prepared for mapping out the Arabian coast.
That is extraordinary how exactly ? The Persians had been sailing up and down the Persian Gulf/Arabian coast before Alexander came around, hell, that is the singular oldest documented naval trade zone in the world, dating back to Indus Valley and Sumerian days. Just like every newcomer to a region, he explored it a bit more. Nothing that gets more than a passing merit for doing it.


He barely brought any Greek women with him and those he did bring were not of important station so why would he bother? It was his generals and soldiers he needed to intermarry.
Irrelevant. A policy is a matter of theory and practicality. We don't word policies strictly with practicality constraints, we accept the practicalities while keeping the theoretical possibilities open. If Alexander wanted a melding of the Greeks and the Persians, he would've made a general decree on intermarriage, which would've worked out mostly with Persian women and Greek men, since most of the Greek women were back in Greece. But the fact that he worded it as Greek men are decreed to marry Persian women, that is one hell of a PR disaster, as to ANY conquered population, it would come across as Sexual slavery. The wording of his decree is an example of poor statesmanship, as no competent statesman would miss the obvious implications of the wording.


That is the way you look at it. In the long run it would have been a better policy than what the later Hellenistic kingdoms did since they did not even try to intergrate.
No, that is the way everyone looks at it. when you make conquered women fair game for conquering men exclusively, the implications are sexual slavery and the result is hostility. Alexander was not the first, nor the last to do so and it is poor statesmanship to make it that way.


There was to my knowledge nothing and nobody stopping Persian men from marrying Greek women - its just that there were no Greek women of importance in Persia to marry. His decree was specifically aimed at intergrating his politically important Greeks - i.e. his generals and soldiers - into the local population.
There was no sanction of it officially like he gave to marrying Greek men with Persian women. At best, it would've been tolerable, but not sanctioned, which is a pretty big example of ordinary or poor statesmanship. Certainly not one of great statesmanship.
And this is what i mean- in the limited scope of Alexander's statesmanship resume, he mostly does under-par or average, which makes me think he was a classic 'Atilla the Hun/Tamerlane' type, i.e., military genius but ordinary to poor ruler.


I dont see why. Would you have preferred he segregated his Greek population and had them live above the conquered Persians?
No, i would've preferred he was a bit more of a statesman and officially endorse intermarriage between the Greeks and the Persians, not just Greek men and Persian women. The result would've been the same, but the intent would've been a lot more egalitarian, rather than one of sexual slavery of the conquered peoples.


Or it speaks for there already being widespread corruption since a lot of those satraps were there before Alexander. Likewise he was busy conquering and had to appoint people on the fly, it was only on his return that he had the time to take a closer look.
Plenty of conquerors appointed governors on the fly- Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Babur, etc. and they have a far better track record in not appointing embezzlers and corrupt ones. Whether they were there before him, is irrelevant- he still endorsed them and when the managers are corrupt, the fault lies with the CEO. Same applies here. The number of corrupt individuals he placed in power, is remarkable and points towards his lack of judgement of character in governance. That is not the hallmark of an above-average statesman for sure.


Did Greeks ever have succession wills and what difference would it have made? Everyone agreed that he had appointed Perdiccas as regent - they murdered him anyway. Likewise they murdered plenty of people because a piece of paper or a word wont stop ambitious people from claiming power. Alexander was neither the first nor the last to fall to that. There was even a clear division of power after his death, its just that the generals all decided to deviate from that and started fighting with each other despite having shown loyalty when Alexander was alive. Like it or Alexander was not a mindreader and could not foresee that Perdiccas would try to minimize Craterus position (which would alienate him), or that Ptolemy would steal Alexanders body, or like actions. Infighting was in fact common enough when a ruler died - including in the well organized Roman empire - its just that none of the generals ever proved themselves strong enough to conquer the entire empire so it permanently splintered.
Yes, and the fault lies with appointing a regent, not an heir presumptive. When you rebel against an heir presumptive, the implication is one of direct challenge to regal authority of that person. When one rebels against a regent, the system is a lot more forgiving, since the regent, technically, is a caretaker of power, not holder of the said power.


But the Hellenistic Wars is not something you can fault Alexander for - those were the products of his generals.
Starts with Alexander failing to have declared an heir presumptive. An heir is fundamentally superior to a regent, while a regent is not seen as fundamentally superior to the magnates/generals in most societies, leading to more direct and continuous challenges to power.
 
May 2015
718
Sweden
It still doesnt change the fact that his empire did collapse in record time for empires of sedentary people and if you can think of another ruler, who is defining of a particular empire and within 2 years of his death, the empire is no more (not just diminished, simply vanishes as a state entity), be my guest. Ergo, if we cannot say that Alexander's empire collapsed instantly, relatively speaking, then we cannot say any sedentary empires collapse instantly.
They could, if they collapsed the same year as the ruler died. Whether or not this has ever happened is irrelevant to the meaning of the term "as soon as".

Regency is not a succession policy. Regency is only valid if one has a child and Alexander died childless. As such, it dictates that he have a clearly appointed successor, not a regent, who by definition is of limited power. Plenty of rulers declared their brothers/cousins/member of the royal family heir assumptive, before the birth of their natural successor, which Alexander failed to do and as such, is a clear indictment on his part.
And who would he declare heir assumptive that was related to him by blood? His only legitimate relations were his unborn son and half-brother. Since the former was not born and the latter was a halfwit, neither was in a position to rule and so it would follow that a regent would be appointed. If he had actually appointed someone else, say one of his generals, as heir assumptive rather than regent, then he would only increase the risk of said general wanting to get his son and brother out of the way since said general would now possess legal title to the throne. Regardless of what followed, the safer choice at the time was a regent to watch over his son, not an heir that would want to murder him.

The scale of it is often exaggerated, since archaeology proves that most of the cities 'founded' by Alexander were not founded by him, but simply renamed by him.
Based on what? Those cities might have existed before Alexander but that does not mean they had Greek settlers in them.

So ? It still doesnt change the fact that the Persians before him(the predecessor empire) had a centralized mint system and Alexander kept it- just like almost all successful conquerors hold the monopoly of minting currency.
Well of course, but he improved it with that particular reform.

That is extraordinary how exactly ? The Persians had been sailing up and down the Persian Gulf/Arabian coast before Alexander came around, hell, that is the singular oldest documented naval trade zone in the world, dating back to Indus Valley and Sumerian days. Just like every newcomer to a region, he explored it a bit more. Nothing that gets more than a passing merit for doing it.
Yes but is hardly indicative of a careless or incompetent administrator.

Irrelevant. A policy is a matter of theory and practicality. We don't word policies strictly with practicality constraints,
Yes we do, because policies depend on the stated goal. Furthermore there was to my knowledge no theoretical hinderance for Persian men to marry Greek women, there was no need for a general decree since there were no legal barriers to begin with. Alexanders decree was entirely practical in nature i.e. as an incentive to make his men intermarry.

we accept the practicalities while keeping the theoretical possibilities open. If Alexander wanted a melding of the Greeks and the Persians, he would've made a general decree on intermarriage, which would've worked out mostly with Persian women and Greek men, since most of the Greek women were back in Greece.
Why would he need a general decree? To my knowledge there was no law in place forbidding intermarriage to begin with so where was the need for that? Furthermore it would have been an act that was totally alien to his culture and context, the fact that he even tried a limited form of practical integration was an act of good statesmanship on his part because he deviated clearly from what was the norm of his people, yet you fault him for not having a more cosmopolitan stance. Lets not forget that his own troops might not have reacted favorably to such an idea - they were already sceptical with regards to marrying local women, but to have Greek women marry Persian men would have struck them as insulting. Alexander had to balance two viewpoints against each other, so he chose a middle-way.

But the fact that he worded it as Greek men are decreed to marry Persian women, that is one hell of a PR disaster, as to ANY conquered population, it would come across as Sexual slavery. The wording of his decree is an example of poor statesmanship, as no competent statesman would miss the obvious implications of the wording.
Really? Because that did not seem to have happened. I am not aware of any Persian uprising in his empire. The rebellions appear to have instead started after the Hellenistic period when the populations got more segregated.

No, that is the way everyone looks at it. when you make conquered women fair game for conquering men exclusively, the implications are sexual slavery and the result is hostility. Alexander was not the first, nor the last to do so and it is poor statesmanship to make it that way.
No its not. The alternative would have been to segregate the conquerors directly from the conquered, how exactly would that be better?

There was no sanction of it officially like he gave to marrying Greek men with Persian women. At best, it would've been tolerable, but not sanctioned, which is a pretty big example of ordinary or poor statesmanship. Certainly not one of great statesmanship.
And this is what i mean- in the limited scope of Alexander's statesmanship resume, he mostly does under-par or average, which makes me think he was a classic 'Atilla the Hun/Tamerlane' type, i.e., military genius but ordinary to poor ruler.
Why sanction something which is of no practical importance? Why are you placing on him the obligation to have an official decree stating that he tolerates that which was already tolerated? That was never the point of his decree - it was practical in nature i.e. to actually make his generals and soldiers intermarry. It was never meant as a general statement since that was A) already allowed and B) not practically feasible unless he wanted to import Greek women into Persia.

No, i would've preferred he was a bit more of a statesman and officially endorse intermarriage between the Greeks and the Persians, not just Greek men and Persian women. The result would've been the same, but the intent would've been a lot more egalitarian, rather than one of sexual slavery of the conquered peoples.
There was nothing in place to hinder such intermarriage in the first place.

Plenty of conquerors appointed governors on the fly- Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Babur, etc. and they have a far better track record in not appointing embezzlers and corrupt ones.
You make it sound as if every satrap Alexander appointed was corrupt, which they were not. We are talking about very specific cases here.

Whether they were there before him, is irrelevant- he still endorsed them and when the managers are corrupt, the fault lies with the CEO. Same applies here. The number of corrupt individuals he placed in power, is remarkable and points towards his lack of judgement of character in governance. That is not the hallmark of an above-average statesman for sure.
Well of course he endorsed them, its not like he had the time to look at their individual qualifications. Thats why he dealt with them when he returned.

Yes, and the fault lies with appointing a regent, not an heir presumptive. When you rebel against an heir presumptive, the implication is one of direct challenge to regal authority of that person. When one rebels against a regent, the system is a lot more forgiving, since the regent, technically, is a caretaker of power, not holder of the said power.
Who would his heir be? His unborn son? His halfwit brother? Because other than those two I am not aware of any legitimate successors, and beyond that Alexander had no interest. What does he care about who rules the empire if it is not his bloodline? Besides if he had appointed an heir presumtive the way you suggest, that would just pave the way for said heir to eliminate his son and brother and take the throne. A regent cant do that, since he has no claim to the throne.

Starts with Alexander failing to have declared an heir presumptive. An heir is fundamentally superior to a regent, while a regent is not seen as fundamentally superior to the magnates/generals in most societies, leading to more direct and continuous challenges to power.
Look above, no its not. An heir gains an actual legal title to the throne which he can use after he eliminates Alexanders son. Such a measure would only risk increasing the incentive to kill his wife and unborn child.
 
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Lord_of_Gauda

Ad Honorem
Nov 2009
8,402
Canada
They could, if they collapsed the same year as the ruler died. Whether or not this has ever happened is irrelevant to the meaning of the term "as soon as".
So your definition of collapsing 'as soon as' is within the same calendar year ? That is rather arbitrary to me- why not the next day ? whats the difference between 1 calendar year and 2 ?
The term 'as soon as' is a relative one, it is not a 'dy/dt of rate of change' term. It is applicable in this case, since it does collapse in record time.


And who would he declare heir assumptive that was related to him by blood? His only legitimate relations were his unborn son and half-brother. Since the former was not born and the latter was a halfwit, neither was in a position to rule and so it would follow that a regent would be appointed. If he had actually appointed someone else, say one of his generals, as heir assumptive rather than regent, then he would only increase the risk of said general wanting to get his son and brother out of the way since said general would now possess legal title to the throne. Regardless of what followed, the safer choice at the time was a regent to watch over his son, not an heir that would want to murder him.
These are all invalid suppositions. The British crown has heir presumptives going down to cousins and such before an actual heir is born, this does not lead to brutal family bloodshed amongst the Brits. The practice of declaring an heir presumptive is common amongst many, many rulers who have ascended to power without having an heir in place- many Indian dynasts did this, many European ones did too. Who to appoint ? go down the extended family tree. Pyrrhus of Epirus was related to Alexander himself (cousin or something) and Alex could easily have done so.

Having a regent is not a safer choice, it is actually a more tumultuous choice, because regents can be defied far easier than an actual heir in place.


Based on what? Those cities might have existed before Alexander but that does not mean they had Greek settlers in them.
That all those cities had Greek settlers in them too is an assumption- Just because alexander renamed an older city as 'Alexanderia in Arachosia' does not lead one to believe that it was inhabited by Greeks.

Well of course, but he improved it with that particular reform.
I see no evidence of 'improvement'.

Yes but is hardly indicative of a careless or incompetent administrator.
Yes, it is because it is a wasted exercise. There is nothing Alexander found with his navy sailing into the Persian gulf that he wouldn't have found from mercantile centers on the coast of Persian gulf itself. Logistically, this exercise was unnecessary, it was good for PR and thats it.


Yes we do, because policies depend on the stated goal. Furthermore there was to my knowledge no theoretical hinderance for Persian men to marry Greek women, there was no need for a general decree since there were no legal barriers to begin with. Alexanders decree was entirely practical in nature i.e. as an incentive to make his men intermarry.
Which makes it a divisive policy, since it sends the message that Persian women are fair game but Greek ones are not. A more generalized policy would've been hallmark of a good administrator- his more practical approach is precisely why i consider him narrow-minded and an ordinary administrator, since he does not consider the implications of the said rule on the native population.


Why would he need a general decree? To my knowledge there was no law in place forbidding intermarriage to begin with so where was the need for that? Furthermore it would have been an act that was totally alien to his culture and context, the fact that he even tried a limited form of practical integration was an act of good statesmanship on his part because he deviated clearly from what was the norm of his people, yet you fault him for not having a more cosmopolitan stance. Lets not forget that his own troops might not have reacted favorably to such an idea - they were already sceptical with regards to marrying local women, but to have Greek women marry Persian men would have struck them as insulting. Alexander had to balance two viewpoints against each other, so he chose a middle-way.
So if it is insulting to the macedonians to think of Greek women marrying Persian men, why would not the opposite hold true ? If you wish to propagate the idea that he wanted to integrate the Persians and the Greeks, it would be helpful if you could point out decrees that is a mutual give-and-take between Greek and Persian peoples, not imposition of Greek wants on the Persian ones.

To decree that his soldiers and Greek men are allowed to marry Persian women and not the other way round is not good statesmanship and integration of cosmopolitan rights, its official sanction towards sexual slavery of the conquered people. Plenty of invaders allowed their men to marry subjugated women of the conquered and plenty of invaders are depicted very negatively for that purpose. Yet, when it comes to Alexander, it is a positive!


Really? Because that did not seem to have happened. I am not aware of any Persian uprising in his empire. The rebellions appear to have instead started after the Hellenistic period when the populations got more segregated.
The fact that rebellions sprang up pretty much instantly after Alexander's death is indicative of how deeply unimpressed the Persians were with Alexander. The hellenistic periods of segregation did not happen overnight, it took years to see the full effect of such segregation. Obviously one will be a bit more circumspect in raising the banner of rebellion against an accomplished war leader vs another run-of-the-mill type.


No its not. The alternative would have been to segregate the conquerors directly from the conquered, how exactly would that be better?
The alternative would have been what Seleucus Nicator did with the Indians, a general decree of epigamia, not one where men of one people are allowed to marry women of another people. The fusion culture of Greco-Bactrians were a direct consequence of Seleucus being a far greater administrator than Alexander and sponsoring a true blending of cultures instead of legitimizing a dominant force over the conquered.


Why sanction something which is of no practical importance? Why are you placing on him the obligation to have an official decree stating that he tolerates that which was already tolerated? That was never the point of his decree - it was practical in nature i.e. to actually make his generals and soldiers intermarry. It was never meant as a general statement since that was A) already allowed and B) not practically feasible unless he wanted to import Greek women into Persia.
Seleucus officially sanctioned inter-marriage without gender qualifications with the Indians, even though the result is the same- mostly Greek men made it out that far and few, if any Greek women went to the other side of Afghanistan. But the result was one of a show of tolerance, mutual acceptance and a flourishing of culture. It is no coincidence that two of the most culturally prolific Diadochi era kingdoms - the Ptolemaics and Greco-Bactrians were the two that allowed intermarriage between the peoples unqualified.


There was nothing in place to hinder such intermarriage in the first place.
But it was not officially endorsed either. Its like saying there was nothing in place to hinder white and black people marrying in USA 100 years ago too.

You make it sound as if every satrap Alexander appointed was corrupt, which they were not. We are talking about very specific cases here.
And a far larger number of cases than most rulers have encountered during far greater span of ruling.

Well of course he endorsed them, its not like he had the time to look at their individual qualifications. Thats why he dealt with them when he returned.
Regardless, it makes him a poor judge of administrative character and makes him culpable for being poor at appointing satraps.


Who would his heir be? His unborn son? His halfwit brother? Because other than those two I am not aware of any legitimate successors, and beyond that Alexander had no interest. What does he care about who rules the empire if it is not his bloodline? Besides if he had appointed an heir presumtive the way you suggest, that would just pave the way for said heir to eliminate his son and brother and take the throne. A regent cant do that, since he has no claim to the throne.
Cousins, members of the Argead clan.

Look above, no its not. An heir gains an actual legal title to the throne which he can use after he eliminates Alexanders son. Such a measure would only risk increasing the incentive to kill his wife and unborn child.

Except in history, that is clearly not the case- many heir presumptive have ruled briefly and stepped aside for the natural successor or have completed their rule and have the rule revert to the natural successor, skipping over his own line. The Persian dynasties were particularly notable for this practice.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
Also, I changed my mind about Han era water-powered trip hammer waterwheels being horizontal, seems like they are vertical just like Song ones. Translation of relevant quote:

First the three hammers don’t have guardrails, which caught the attention of the author. Because as of present time all excavated mingqi pottery trip hammers, there were precious little shown without guardrails. Naturally, because in actual work the hammer is relatively heavy, usually one needs a pair of feet to lift the hammer, and then use the supporting power of a pair of hands to alleviate the force from the hammer and then to let the hammer smash down. Thus is the grain processing operation completed. But these three trip hammers have no guardrails and thus the process cannot be completed, which is somewhat odd.
Also, toward the front and back wall of the trip hammer, there is a half circle gap on each wall. And having a line connecting the two gaps would perfectly fit the terminal upper end of the trip hammers. Even more worthy of attention, is that behind the back wall, there is another half circle support structure, and these three gaps just happens to form one straight line between each other. This shows that these three gaps shared one lateral axis, and this axis is the lateral axis for a waterwheel. The waterwheel would be located in between the two gaps of the outer wall, and there should be boards on the axis or else the trip hammer would not be operable. However when the artifact was being excavated or changed hands, the waterwheel and axis were lost. If we look at the location of the gaps on the front and back wall, one can still see small amounts of adhesives, which provides further evidence that an axis was placed here. Past the back door’s guardrail, there is a board that can open/close so that water can stream through. The passage of the water should be from left to right, powering the waterwheel. As the waterwheel turns it drives the axis, moving the boards on the axis to cause the trip hammers to lift and drop. 汉代水确的考古证据
http://www.cssn.cn/kgx/zmkg/201503/P020150330542431112140.pdf




This should be enough evidence for Bart Dale (unless he changes goalposts again, which won't surprise me) as he only demands evidence for the foundation of the wheel, not the wheel itself. And because he wanted a picture, what I provided is even better because you can look at it in all directions whereas for a picture the viewpoint is stuck in one direction only. After all Bart Dale himself said: "Granted, the wood woood have rotted away, but the founsations should have remained, and isn't there a single ancient picture of one".
As HackneyScribe well knows, I pointed out that such clay or carved figures are precisely the kind of object that is most easily faked and counterfeited. You could make them in any high school potter class. The wheels that were lost are the exactly the objects that would have been been most difficult for forgers to duplicate.

Tt is an interesting fact that the kind of evidence HackneyScribe provides is the kind of evidence that is most easily forged and faked, and the kind of evidence he refuses to supply is the kind of evidence that is virtually impossible to forge and fake. . Water wheels like the ones the clay (stone?) model he shows should have left evidence, even if the wheel themselves would have vanished:


Counterfeiters in southern China are producing copies of 2,000-year-old pottery soldiers, horses and dancing ladies with such skill and sophistication these days that experts say they are finding it increasingly difficult to detect the fake from the real.

By reusing bits of ancient clay found at excavation sites throughout China, forgers are producing objects that not only look convincing but also pass a scientific test widely used to date the pottery. ....
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Doreen Stoneham, director of Oxford Authentication, a leading company in the field of dating pottery and ceramics, says the modern forgers are "very, very much more skillful." ...Sophistication of Chinese Counterfeits Makes Them Harder to Detect - Can You Tell the Fake From the Real? - NYTimes.com
A museum in China has a problem. It seems to have a few fakes in its vast collection. Well, as many as 40,000. Everything it owns may be nothing more than a mass of crude forgeries.

Wei Yingjun, a consultant to the Jibaozhai Museum in Jizhou, about 150 miles south of Beijing, insists the situation is not that bad. He is "quite positive" that 80 or even more pieces out of tens of thousands in the museum are authentic.

In spite of this sterling defence, regional authorities in Hebei province have closed the museum amid a national scandal driven by some very free speech on China's internet. ...Scandal in China over the museum with 40,000 fake artefacts | Culture | The Guardian
Even China's greatest modern artist, Zhang Daqian, was an acknowledged forger, some very famous allegedly ancient famous art pieces are now acknowledged to be modern forgeries by him, such as "The Worthies of Wu". It is difficult to spot the modern forgies by Chinese forgers like Zhang. They are quite skilled:

However, dating a piece using formal analysis is not always so simple. For instance, Zhang Daqian often utilized ancient materials to create his modern day fabrications ....https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1794/17918/Menton_oregon_0171N_10895.pdf?sequence=1


Even among the most famous of Chinese paintings, the "Along the Riverbank" atributed to Song artist Don Yuang, is suspected of being a modern forgery by Zhang Daqian. Chinagate: Symposium at the Metropolitan Museum on Chinese Paintings Dec. 11, 1999

Given the epidemic of Chinese forgery, unprecedented, and the engraied tradition of forgery, it is only proper to be suspicious to rely soley on items that are among the most easily forged.

As I noted, even if the waterwheels themselves would rot away, there should be traces of the wather channels and other parts of the water wheels left behind. We find that evidence in multipe areas of the Roman empire. That HackneyScribe, despite repeated opporunities, can't produced similiar evidence, raises serious questions as to the authenticity of the assertions the ancient Chinese had such devices. That modern Chinese, in fit of national pride, would fabricate such evidence would not be surprising - Ming sholars rewrote ancient writings to make it seem certain western inventions were invented earlier by the Chinese, as Needham in Science and Civilization showed in Volume 4.1 page 118-119.

Even if we accept the Chinese the authenticity of hte objects, the lack of remains of waterwheels in China, while we find multiple remains in Roman areas, may indicate that the waterwheels weren't as numerous as they were in Roman areas, otherwise we would have similar examples from China as we have from Barbegal watermills in France and the Janiculum watermills in Rome.

The fact we have actual remains of advance Greco-Roman machinery like the Antikythera mechanism but none for similar Chinese devices, might not just be due to luck chance. If,for example, Antikythera mechanisms were common devices in the Greco-Roman world, and nearly every large commercial ship carried such a mechanism, then it would have been an inevitability, not lucky chance, that we woudl eventually find the remains of such a device. The Chinese lack might not prove they didn't have similar devices, but it does indicate they had fewer of them.
 

Pyrrhos The Eagle

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
3,075
New Jersey
These are all invalid suppositions. The British crown has heir presumptives going down to cousins and such before an actual heir is born, this does not lead to brutal family bloodshed amongst the Brits. The practice of declaring an heir presumptive is common amongst many, many rulers who have ascended to power without having an heir in place- many Indian dynasts did this, many European ones did too. Who to appoint ? go down the extended family tree. Pyrrhus of Epirus was related to Alexander himself (cousin or something) and Alex could easily have done so.
Bares will probably point this out in his reply, but Pyrrhus of Epirus was born in 319 and Alexander died in 323. He could not have named the baby his heir because he was clearly already dead.

Having a regent is not a safer choice, it is actually a more tumultuous choice, because regents can be defied far easier than an actual heir in place.
I don't think this completely works one or the other. Both efforts can be carried out successfully and can fall flat.

Whatever we say about the speed of the collapse this was a new empire and the creator was dying. That must be a recipe for opportunism and civil war. With the list of candidates available from his family such fighting seems likely regardless. Comparisons to the British and others with longer standing empires, successions and, in some ways, traditions, is unfair.
 

HackneyedScribe

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
6,494
As HackneyScribe well knows, I pointed out that such clay or carved figures are precisely the kind of object that is most easily faked and counterfeited. You could make them in any high school potter class. The wheels that were lost are the exactly the objects that would have been been most difficult for forgers to duplicate.



Even China's greatest modern artist, Zhang Daqian, was an acknowledged forger, some very famous allegedly ancient famous art pieces are now acknowledged to be modern forgeries by him, such as "The Worthies of Wu". It is difficult to spot the modern forgies by Chinese forgers like Zhang. They are quite skilled:
Bart Dale, do you have any evidence that THIS particular pottery is a forgery, or are you just going to lump all Chinese together based on the actions of a few? Do you have any idea what racism means?

Also, the same article I provided stated very clearly that "forgeries tend to copy, but do not create anything original". Which means original pieces such as those I've shown are unlikely to be faked.

Also, the artifact is in Honkong, not Mainland China. Are you going to say Hongkongers are fakers too?


You asked of me, word for word in post 203: "Now site just one actual example of an ancient Chinese watermill, or even a medieval one. Granted, the wood woood have rotted away, but the founsations should have remained, and isn't there a single ancient picture of one? How about a a pre-Ming picture of a Chinese watermill? (I recall seeing Ming era pictures, just curious if we have them from the song.)" -http://historum.com/ancient-history/96402-overrated-events-ancient-history-21.html#post2363664?postcount=203

So if you think pictures, and by extension pottery figurines, are not evidence enough, then why did you ask for them? Not only do you change the goalpost for the N-th time, why insultingly accuse me of presenting EXACTLY what you asked for? This is just plain juvenile and insulting.
Tt is an interesting fact that the kind of evidence HackneyScribe provides is the kind of evidence that is most easily forged and faked, and the kind of evidence he refuses to supply is the kind of evidence that is virtually impossible to forge and fake. .
YOU were the one who asked ME for stuff like pictorial evidence. Now you blame me for providing just those types of evidence. If you are going to insult me for providing EXACTLY what you asked for, then you shouldn't have asked for them. This is just rich.

Plus there are forgeries of even giant corpses, so even if I brought a Han era waterwheel(despite that wood would have corroded long ago), you would say it's a fake anyway. Just like how you asked for pictorial evidence but is now accusing me of providing exactly that.

Water wheels like the ones the clay (stone?) model he shows should have left evidence, even if the wheel themselves would have vanished:
Trip hammers can be made completely out of wood, unlike mills. They wouldn't have left any evidence.

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Even among the most famous of Chinese paintings, the "Along the Riverbank" atributed to Song artist Don Yuang, is suspected of being a modern forgery by Zhang Daqian. Chinagate: Symposium at the Metropolitan Museum on Chinese Paintings Dec. 11, 1999

Given the epidemic of Chinese forgery, unprecedented, and the engraied tradition of forgery, it is only proper to be suspicious to rely soley on items that are among the most easily forged.

As I noted, even if the waterwheels themselves would rot away, there should be traces of the wather channels and other parts of the water wheels left behind. We find that evidence in multipe areas of the Roman empire. That HackneyScribe, despite repeated opporunities, can't produced similiar evidence, raises serious questions as to the authenticity of the assertions the ancient Chinese had such devices. That modern Chinese, in fit of national pride, would fabricate such evidence would not be surprising - Ming sholars rewrote ancient writings to make it seem certain western inventions were invented earlier by the Chinese, as Needham in Science and Civilization showed in Volume 4.1 page 118-119.

Even if we accept the Chinese the authenticity of hte objects, the lack of remains of waterwheels in China, while we find multiple remains in Roman areas, may indicate that the waterwheels weren't as numerous as they were in Roman areas, otherwise we would have similar examples from China as we have from Barbegal watermills in France and the Janiculum watermills in Rome.

The fact we have actual remains of advance Greco-Roman machinery like the Antikythera mechanism but none for similar Chinese devices, might not just be due to luck chance. If,for example, Antikythera mechanisms were common devices in the Greco-Roman world, and nearly every large commercial ship carried such a mechanism, then it would have been an inevitability, not lucky chance, that we woudl eventually find the remains of such a device. The Chinese lack might not prove they didn't have similar devices, but it does indicate they had fewer of them.
Chinese arcaheology is just starting in comparison to Western archaeology, of course they would find less things. It is YOU who asked for contemporary "pictures" as proof, and yet when contemporary pictures are provided you say pictures can be faked. If you are going to claim contemporary art as forgery, then why did you even ask for pictures in the first place? So Bart Dale is changing the goalpost again for the N-th time. Seems like you made up your mind already.

Again, do you have proof that the art and artifacts I showed is a forgery, instead of other art or artifacts that have nothing to do with the evidence at hand?

All I said was that the ancient Chinese used waterwheels for trip hammers. So far there has been Roman archaeological evidence of waterwheels for mines (because they are buried) or mills (because mills have nonperishable parts). Roman textual evidence say they have waterwheels for trip hammers (as they could be made by all perishable parts), but no excavation is found for it, despite western archaeology being a much older practice. So why do you expect the Chinese to find them? I provided evidence of a pottery which originally had waterwheel, do Roman evidence for watermills operating trip hammers have as much as that?


As I noted, even if the waterwheels themselves would rot away, there should be traces of the wather channels and other parts of the water wheels left behind. We find that evidence in multipe areas of the Roman empire. That HackneyScribe, despite repeated opporunities, can't produced similiar evidence, raises serious questions as to the authenticity of the assertions the ancient Chinese had such devices.
Oh give me a break, you asked for pictures of waterwheels, not ancient water channels. How do water channels by itself prove the existence of waterwheels anyway? What other parts of waterwheels would be left behind when they are all completely made out of wood? When I provided the very type of evidence you asked for, you changed your goalpost and demand other types of evidence. First you say textual evidence are fakes and demand pictorial evidence. When pictorial evidence is provided you say those are fakes and demand water channels as evidence. So basically the type of evidence you want is ever-shifting, depending on the type of evidence that were NOT provided. Most insulting of all, you accuse me for providing the exact type of evidence YOU asked me for. Classic.

That modern Chinese, in fit of national pride, would fabricate such evidence would not be surprising - Ming sholars rewrote ancient writings to make it seem certain western inventions were invented earlier by the Chinese, as Needham in Science and Civilization showed in Volume 4.1 page 118-119.
You speak untruly about the source. The Ming source said that the invention (spectacle) came form the "western regions", it did not claim that the Chinese invented them. The source is just a "collection of strange things", of course later versions would be updated with more things the Chinese considered strange added in. That is hardly the same thing as adding in things in history books claiming an invention they didn't invent. Again, read your own sources. That is why I ask for quotes that you repeatedly fail to give, because sources end up saying what you don't claim them to say. Don't accuse other groups of people as liars when you yourself twist the facts here.
 
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okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
We have several flags on the play.



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