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Thread: Smart ancient people

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    Smart ancient people



    How come ancient Phoenicians/Carthaginians, Greeks and Romans were so smart? At least at the beginning and the height of their times. Basically they invented and laid down all the building blocks of sciences, literature, arts, architecture, finances etc. And we are talking about a million of citizens in each country, not 50 million as right now.
    High national average IQ?
    Smart elite?
    Pure luck?

    Then when their civilizations collapsed, there was a big mess in Europe. The rest of European peoples couldn't grow or even continue on Romans and Greeks achievements, and Europe went into dark ages for next 1 000 years. Why was that? Was the rest of Europe not smart enough? Low average IQ?
    One could assume that through disasters/bottlenecks of middle ages they did smarten up finally.
    Last edited by LeBrok; 08-07-14 at 09:13.

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    2 members found this post helpful.
    I don't think they were smarter than average, and certainly not smarter than smart people today. Great achievements have more to do with political stability, good economy, and a favourable cultural setting. The main reason Europe fell unto the Dark Ages is Christianity. The Dark Ages didn't start after the fall of the Roman Empire, but in the 4th century when Christianity became the state religion. The Byzantines remained independent for a thousand years after the fall of Rome, but were just a bleak shadow of the pre-Christian Roman Empire.

    Christianity made people wait for a better after-life paradise instead of trying to improve society. It strongly discouraged sciences, innovations and any philosophical questioning of how Nature works. Furthermore the Church acted as an absolute monarchy of divine right, and encouraged a feudal system in which the European aristocracy was subjugated to the Pope's will. The Roman Catholic Church saw itself as the heir of the Roman Empire. It was like a virus taking over a healthy body and turning it into a zombie.

    Europe managed to extricate itself from the grip of the Church little by little from the 15th to the 18th century. Once educated people stopped being Christian a new era of progress was born, known as the Enlightenment. Our modern society was basically founded by the 18th-century Enlightenment (except for some religious zealots who couldn't stand it and migrated to America, notably in the south-eastern US states where the Enlightenment still hasn't reached most of the population).

    People have been smart for thousands of years. It's just that they are not always free to use their potential because of oppressive religions. The two most intellectually oppressive religions in history are Christianity and Islam.
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    I'm pretty sure the process was slow in scale of couple of thousands of years, with few bottlenecks to speed up the process, before we started seeing, big populations, building big cities, organized political systems, big variety of specialized trades, growing economies, monetary/exchange systems, and beginning of sciences.

    I know it's not very scientific of me to say that, but I wonder sometimes how on scale of today's standardized IQ tests, smart they were on average. I think the bottom must be around 85 or 90, of early Egypt of Babylon and others from that time. I think it's hard to imposible to run a succesful country with population IQ lower than 80, at least for longer time.
    I'm really at awe with ancient Greeks. They invented so many things or improved borrowed ideas intensively, and we are talking about populations of no more than one million people, probably less. It's much easier to be born into well running system and learn the ropes, but it's 10 times more difficult to invent and implement new things and ideas. How smart were the Greeks? 110? How about Romans at the height of their empire? I think the Phoenicians belonged to this (ancient hi-tech) group too. It would be interesting to know if average IQ in Europe fluctuated with centuries and if it was related to high and low points in European history.
    If in future we'll be able to estimate IQ from genetic material we might find the answers to few mysteries.

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    I'm sorry but I wanted to add something to the thread about spanish celts and the colour of our hair and the thread is closed, I hope you dont mind, by the way I'm new here, so a big Hello to everyone from Asturies.

    The question should have been made the other way round... WHY ARE BRITISH CELTS SO BLOND ?

    The answer is very very simple, Indo-europeans come from a place between Kazajstan and Mongolia..British celt tribes shouldn't be so blond, the only reason why british celts are blond is because they were invaded so many times by Vikings (specially in the north of the british isles) that they lost count...remember that vikings killed all men and boys and raped all women in order to implant their race (Viking race) ...Who is the awkward celt then ?. Please think about it.

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    If celts are R1b, as most Brits, Irish, French, Spanish, Belgian people are today, then they came from the steppes of Russia and then moved from there deep into Western Europe, and this some 30000-35000 years ago I believe. If this is true then they are not at all genetically similar to modern day Kazakhs or Mongolians you speak of, not at all. It's not because they passed by Kazakhstan or Central Asia several tens of thousands of years ago, that they're genetically similar to those people today. Are these celts you speak of genetically similar to middle easterners? No, but they came from there once. British are so blond because they're high in R1b y-DNA and H,V etc. mtdna which is European haplogroups predominantly. I1 is only about 10% of British males (Scandinavian/Viking gene). Eyre so blond because the members of their haplogroups spent time in some of the coldest/ most northerly distributed places + natural selection/personal preferences is why their so "white man", their DNA is European, and yet they vary from the Vikings (Norwegians/swedes, slightly more similar to Danes.) as they are very high R1b whereas Norwegians/Swedes are very high I1 ( but also have R1b AND R1a which is very very rare in Western Europe.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    How come ancient Phoenicians/Carthaginians, Greeks and Romans were so smart? At least at the beginning and the height of their times. Basically they invented and laid down all the building blocks of sciences, literature, arts, architecture, finances etc. And we are talking about a million of citizens in each country, not 50 million as right now.
    High national average IQ?
    Smart elite?
    Pure luck?

    Then when their civilizations collapsed, there was a big mess in Europe. The rest of European peoples couldn't grow or even continue on Romans and Greeks achievements, and Europe went into dark ages for next 1 000 years. Why was that? Was the rest of Europe no smart enough? Low average HQ?
    One could assume that through disasters/bottle necks of middle ages they did smarten up finally.
    I think the Norse felt the way of life under Roman civilization was stifling and dishonorable. I'm guessing they avoided it for as long as possible. Don't think it was a lack of intelligence, probably the exact opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adamo View Post
    If celts are R1b, as most Brits, Irish, French, Spanish, Belgian people are today, then they came from the steppes of Russia and then moved from there deep into Western Europe, and this some 30000-35000 years ago I believe. If this is true then they are not at all genetically similar to modern day Kazakhs or Mongolians you speak of, not at all. It's not because they passed by Kazakhstan or Central Asia several tens of thousands of years ago, that they're genetically similar to those people today. Are these celts you speak of genetically similar to middle easterners? No, but they came from there once. British are so blond because they're high in R1b y-DNA and H,V etc. mtdna which is European haplogroups predominantly. I1 is only about 10% of British males (Scandinavian/Viking gene). Eyre so blond because the members of their haplogroups spent time in some of the coldest/ most northerly distributed places + natural selection/personal preferences is why their so "white man", their DNA is European, and yet they vary from the Vikings (Norwegians/swedes, slightly more similar to Danes.) as they are very high R1b whereas Norwegians/Swedes are very high I1 ( but also have R1b AND R1a which is very very rare in Western Europe.)
    I1 varies from less than 10% to 25-30% depending on where you go.
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    2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by nordicquarreler View Post
    I think the Norse felt the way of life under Roman civilization was stifling and dishonorable. I'm guessing they avoided it for as long as possible. Don't think it was a lack of intelligence, probably the exact opposite.
    Im not sure how much contact the Norse had with Roman Civ. (prob. close to none) .......... but its always the same old question........what have the Romans ever done for us..........


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    Quote Originally Posted by nordicquarreler View Post
    I think the Norse felt the way of life under Roman civilization was stifling and dishonorable. I'm guessing they avoided it for as long as possible. Don't think it was a lack of intelligence, probably the exact opposite.
    This was true with all non-Roman subjects. You typically don't adopt a new culture, you are subjugated by it becoming Romanticized against your own will. Celts had no interest in being Roman, until Rome forced itself on them. It took many generations to make the switch to a Romanticized Celtic culture. Roman influence ended on the Rhine, and subjugation didn't occur further north. I seriously doubt that most people even knew beyond the Rhine who Rome was. All they knew was these items traded along northern routes came from the south.

    The early church needed to solitify it's rule, and that meant rejecting pagan Roman virtues and practices (theater, science, et.). I agree with Maciamo the church was a major road block for progress after the collapse of the Roman empire. A lot of knowledge was suppressed and forgotten.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    I think trade routes are an important aspect, in all of this;

    Egypt and Mesopotamia were the first high civs. (excluding China and whatever went on in the far east); due the high fertility (Nile delta / Euphrat / Tigris) and extensive trade routes [from Punt - Indus valley];

    All knowledge came from the East, - Agriculture, Metallurgy, Alphabet, Astronomy etc.

    Let not forget EUROPA is a Phoenician princess, and the Greeks adopted their Alphabet from the Phoenicians;


    the flow of knowledge: very simplistically

    Phoenicians & Minoans > Greeks > Etruscans > Italics (Roman society) > Spread by the Roman sword across Europe

    re-discovery of knowledge: very simplistically

    Carolingian Dynasty > Crusades > Renaissance

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    Quote Originally Posted by nordicquarreler View Post
    I think the Norse felt the way of life under Roman civilization was stifling and dishonorable. I'm guessing they avoided it for as long as possible. Don't think it was a lack of intelligence, probably the exact opposite.
    Sure, it was the clash of cultures. It is pretty much typical thing that we like most what we grew up with and tend to hate everything that's different, even cultures of others. It is very apparent in every western country how much we like muslim culture, and vice versa. Everybody's feeling a better human with superior culture at same time. I don't think it was a different story with Norse.


    Then when their civilizations collapsed, there was a big mess in Europe. The rest of European peoples couldn't grow or even continue on Romans and Greeks achievements, and Europe went into dark ages for next 1 000 years. Why was that? Was the rest of Europe no smart enough? Low average HQ?
    One could assume that through disasters/bottle necks of middle ages they did smarten up finally.
    I've managed to find an answer to this. The collapse of Rome was mostly due to little ice age, which caused failed crops, diseases, decline of population, and collapse of economy which was 80% based in agriculture back then. On other hand the pick of Rome power falls into the warmest period of that era, around year 0.
    I was hoping to find time and do a little project showing relations between past empires and climate change in Europe. So far not much time for a hobby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ebAmerican View Post
    Roman influence ended on the Rhine, and subjugation didn't occur further north. I seriously doubt that most people even knew beyond the Rhine who Rome was. All they knew was these items traded along northern routes came from the south.
    i would double check that,
    Hermann der Cherusker was educated in Rome, so at least he would have known; and of course not to be forgotten, the Extensive trade and contact of the Augustus and Tiberius reign; Roman expedtions into Free Germania and Germanic raids into Roman Territory also brought us closer;


    and dont confuse the Roman decadency of the Emperors,
    with the strict, pragmatic and organised Roman systems (Urban centers, Military etc);
    plus Rome was a care free society regarding Religion; and Roman was a right not an ethnicity;

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    OnceI really don't remember in which thread I mention the antikythera mecanism.

    The first mecanical computer of the world was probably made in Syracuse or Corinth or Alexandreia



    remember that time Greeks did not know eclipse as geometrical shape at that time , but use roling circles, a circle that its center is moving gives also a good estimetion of an eclipse as the rotation of the radius runs with stable velocity and the center is moving, the shape that the end of the radius is almost an eclipse,

    Κωνικες τομες (conics, the surface of a sharp cone with a level) were searched later at Θεωνας time (theon of Alexandreia) asnd his Daughter Υπατεια (hypateia) which cristian mood stone her,

    so i do not think that modern people were smarter than before 2000,
    THE SAVED KNOWLEDGE WAS LESS,
    SCHOOLS WERE EXPENSIVE OR DID NOT EXIST,
    THEY LEARN WITH A STICK IN SAND, OR WITH CALCIUM STONE (chalk) UPON BLACK SURFACE.


    after Alexandreia's BIBLIOTETHEKE writers, it was Gutenberg that help in saving and pass knowledge.

    remember Archimedes παλιμψηστα palipsest were exting in West (burned?) and were erased in East with lemon to write prayers to God.
    (thank gods pergamene was expensive)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3IP_FmGams

    so if the first mechanical computer was made before christ, why we needed >2000 to make one?

    why since aristoteles and ptolemy state about flat Erth but also put an argue, we needed > 15 centuries?

    1. after 313 the knowledge was priviledge of the clerics
    2. Money were spend to buy indulegentiae or build churches or buy silk for bishops.
    3. all non cleric's signature knowledge was 'magic' 'paganism' (many Greeks and many ancient 'smart' philosophers were burned or stoned or crusified for paganism,
    4. you buy a book with hyms and prayers to save your soul, but not a math one,
    5, SCHOOLS WERE TEACHING ONLY "DIVINE' KNOWLEDGE"
    6, SO WE NEEDED illustratio, regenerationem, Αναγεννηση Διαφωτισμος (and maybe Arabs and crusaders!!) to restart all sciences.

    take a look at Quaker civilization,
    their love to God create a culture that deny's as Diavolic each invention and stay infront of ancient people but away from modern humans.
    But to be a quaker is a personal choice so I respect it,
    but to force you be an amish or a quaker is DARK TIMES

    The fantasy of the ancients was amazing,
    the fantasy of future is were the limits of a Nintendo or PS game ends.

    @ Nobody1
    Life of Brian is a fantastic movie,
    a radical thetrical movie equal to some great thetrical scenarios or ancient tragedies.
    But I was expecting the other scene, the one where women stone a person cause he call the name of God. (forbiden knowledge?)
    Blessed are the cheese makers.
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    I would question Arminius connection to Rome. Rome was known to make up stories to justify a defeat. The Arminius story could be an attempt to explain how a barbarian tribe could defeat three legions. I wouldn't call Roman artifacts in German and Scandinavian sites as trade, but more like raids and eventually gift exchange between Germanic chieftains. Some of the booty would have been acquired by reconquest west of the Rhine. Those who fought directly with the Roman soldiers would of known something of Rome, but I bet their knowledge was very limited. The full Romanization of Europe didn't happen until after the christianization of Rome itself. In Gaul Roman influence was restricted to the Roman cities founded, but in the rural areas they held on to their Celtic customs and language. When the Latin/Celtic aristocracy broke down during the 5th century they flooded the rural areas imposing their vulgar Latin and Christianity on the farming folk. Anglo Saxon raiders coming into England didn't reuse existing Roman towns, but settled alongside of them. The fact that these sites were not reused tells me they had very little knowledge of Roman architecture, and the up keep of such buildings. They used the old roman sites as grazing pastures. They may of known of them, but their knowledge was limited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody1 View Post
    Im not sure how much contact the Norse had with Roman Civ. (prob. close to none) .......... but its always the same old question........what have the Romans ever done for us..........

    Let's go with this line of thinking for a tad...

    The Native American Indians were defeated by the white man and his culture. Europeans brought education, science, advanced weaponry etc., etc. Similiar to what the Romans would have brought to the Norse (and Northern Celts for that matter).

    How did this new "improvement" in conditions pan out for these Native Americans? Please visit a reservation so you can see the conditions most Indians suffer through to this day.

    The Norse spoke openly of their eventual absorption into the more Southernly ways and it even played a part in their religious practices. They viewed it as sad but impossible to avoid.

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    Well, i dont think the Romans had muskets back than; or traded useless glass pearls with Germanic chieftains either;
    Let alone sell them alcohol and toxic blankets;

    And did Sitting Bull call upon the King of England and France and Netherlands and Spain to America?

    min 21:00 onward (especially min 26:00 onward)


    Verica wasnt the only ruler that called the Romans to help;
    The Massiliot Greeks called the Romans over the Alps when they were besieged by Ligures;
    The Gauls called the Romans to the Rhine when the [Germanic] Ariovistus raided their territory;
    and many other rulers......

    Roman history (Roman era Europe) is very complex - Mommsen has a good book on it
    def. not a split between Stupid Savage Barbarians and Noble Smart Civilized;

    I tend to view it in a Broader Indo-European context;

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    Quote Originally Posted by ebAmerican View Post
    I would question Arminius connection to Rome. Rome was known to make up stories to justify a defeat. The Arminius story could be an attempt to explain how a barbarian tribe could defeat three legions. I wouldn't call Roman artifacts in German and Scandinavian sites as trade, but more like raids and eventually gift exchange between Germanic chieftains. Some of the booty would have been acquired by reconquest west of the Rhine. Those who fought directly with the Roman soldiers would of known something of Rome, but I bet their knowledge was very limited. The full Romanization of Europe didn't happen until after the christianization of Rome itself. In Gaul Roman influence was restricted to the Roman cities founded, but in the rural areas they held on to their Celtic customs and language. When the Latin/Celtic aristocracy broke down during the 5th century they flooded the rural areas imposing their vulgar Latin and Christianity on the farming folk. Anglo Saxon raiders coming into England didn't reuse existing Roman towns, but settled alongside of them. The fact that these sites were not reused tells me they had very little knowledge of Roman architecture, and the up keep of such buildings. They used the old roman sites as grazing pastures. They may of known of them, but their knowledge was limited.
    Doubtful;

    ---

    As for Britannia check out Saxon Shore,
    The Saxons raided Roman Britain for a good 100-150 years before their total Invasion and Conquest
    (beginning ~410 AD / 16th regnal year of Honorius);

    Eutropius - Book IX
    XXI, During this period, Carausius, who, though of very mean birth, had gained extraordinary reputation by a course of active service in war, having received a commission in his post at Bononia, to clear the sea, which the Franks and Saxons infested, along the coast of Belgica and Armorica, and having captured 'numbers of the barbarians on several occasions, but having never given back the entire booty to the people of the province or sent it to the emperors, and there being a suspicion, in consequence, that the barbarians were intentionally allowed by him to congregate there, that he might seize them and their booty as they passed, and by that means enrich himself, assumed, on being sentenced by Maximian to be put to death,", the imperial purple, and took on him the government of Britain.

    Franks landed south / Saxons landed north of the channel;
    But safe to say even the Saxons knew the Romans very well;

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody1 View Post
    Well, i dont think the Romans had muskets back than; or traded useless glass pearls with Germanic chieftains either;
    Let alone sell them alcohol and toxic blankets;

    And did Sitting Bull call upon the King of England and France and Netherlands and Spain to America?

    min 21:00 onward (especially min 26:00 onward)


    Verica wasnt the only ruler that called the Romans to help;
    The Massiliot Greeks called the Romans over the Alps when they were besieged by Ligures;
    The Gauls called the Romans to the Rhine when the [Germanic] Ariovistus raided their territory;
    and many other rulers......

    Roman history (Roman era Europe) is very complex - Mommsen has a good book on it
    def. not a split between Stupid Savage Barbarians and Noble Smart Civilized;

    I tend to view it in a Broader Indo-European context;
    Yikes. You're completely missing my point.

    Let's stay focused on our conversation and avoid all the glitter (ie. 49 minute videos). The Norse aren't less intelligent because the Dark Ages happened after the collapse of the Roman Empire. It's my position the Norse weren't crazy about adopting this "new and improved" way of civilized life because they knew they had a more noble existence and were bummed about losing it.

    When the yoke of modern living was finally placed over their collective heads, they proved how intelligent/cooperative/industrious they could be. I don't see how anyone could argue any differently. No evidence of inferior intelligence from the Northerners in my view.

    And I tend to view history in a broader HUMAN context.
    Last edited by nordicquarreler; 19-06-13 at 13:33.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nordicquarreler View Post
    Yikes. You're completely missing my point.

    Let's stay focused on our conversation and avoid all the glitter (ie. 49 minute videos). The Norse aren't less intelligent because the Dark Ages happened after the collapse of the Roman Empire. It's my position the Norse weren't crazy about adopting this "new and improved" way of civilized life because they knew they had a more noble existence and were very bummed about losing it.

    When the yoke of modern living was finally placed over their collective heads, they proved how intelligent/cooperative/industrious they could be. I don't see how anyone could argue any differently. No evidence of inferior intelligence from the Northerners in my view.

    And I tend to view history in a broader HUMAN context.
    Well than we 100% agree with eachother,

    i thought this would be some Hollywood nonsense of the savage Germanics and than along came the gallant Romans.........

    Of course the Germanic people had there own structure of society [was it more sophisticated than Greece; def. not] but nobody admired them more than the Romans;
    Strabo records that the Romans viewed the GERMANI as genuine/pure (unlike the Gauls or themselves);

    Strabo - Book VII
    Now the parts beyond the Rhenus, immediately after the country of the Celti, slope towards the east and are occupied by the Germans, who, though they vary slightly from the Celtic stock in that they are wilder, taller, and have yellower hair, are in all other respects similar, for in build, habits, and modes of life they are such as I have said the Celti are. And I also think that it was for this reason that the Romans assigned to them the name "Germani," as though they wished to indicate thereby that they were "genuine" Galatae, for in the language of the Romans "germani" means "genuine."



    ---

    PS:
    watch the clip, espec. from 26 min onwards, it explains that the Romans had their provs. largely administrated by the natives and granted spiritual/mythological freedoms to all...........so the Roman empire was largely barbaric (but not free) to begin with. That was my point. Roman is a right not an ethnicity.

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    Okay, thanks for the clarification Nobody1. I hadn't heard of that quote from Strabo-- nice find.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by nordicquarreler View Post
    The Norse aren't less intelligent because the Dark Ages happened.

    I agree, I don`t think the Norse were at all stupid. They didn`t want Christianity either, they were very happy with their pagan beliefs.
    I also don`t think the Medieval period was really so dark as we are sometimes lead to think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nordicquarreler View Post
    Let's go with this line of thinking for a tad...

    The Native American Indians were defeated by the white man and his culture. Europeans brought education, science, advanced weaponry etc., etc. Similiar to what the Romans would have brought to the Norse (and Northern Celts for that matter).

    How did this new "improvement" in conditions pan out for these Native Americans? Please visit a reservation so you can see the conditions most Indians suffer through to this day.

    The Norse spoke openly of their eventual absorption into the more Southernly ways and it even played a part in their religious practices. They viewed it as sad but impossible to avoid.
    You are not necessarily comparing apples to apples. Norse were farmers so their ways were not that different from citizen of Roman empire, plus they were already acquainted with alcohol long time before that. On other hand Native Americans are hunter-gatherers who can't deal with alcohol. It is very crippling effect. They don't want to (or can't) follow their traditional ways, but have terrible time assimilating to mainstream culture.
    Norse didn't want to change their traditional ways, but when the right time came they settled down, accepted christianity and embraced main european culture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    I also don`t think the Medieval period was really so dark as we are sometimes lead to think.
    The darkest part for me is the lose of technological achievements, science, education and organization of Roman Empire. It took Europe something like 800 years to get beck to similar level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    You are not necessarily comparing apples to apples. Norse were farmers so their ways were not that different from citizen of Roman empire, plus they were already acquainted with alcohol long time before that. On other hand Native Americans are hunter-gatherers who can't deal with alcohol. It is very crippling effect. They don't want to (or can't) follow their traditional ways, but have terrible time assimilating to mainstream culture.
    Norse didn't want to change their traditional ways, but when the right time came they settled down, accepted christianity and embraced main european culture.
    Uhm LeeBrok, most Native Americans were farmers and not hunter-gatherers. The entire eastern United States was composed of various farming tribe confederations. But you are Canadian so I guess your individual experiences have created the illusion that most Natives were were Inuit-style people. For example the mound building people around the Mississippi basin had a flourishing agricultural civilization which reached a population size comparable to that of many European countries at that time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    I agree, I don`t think the Norse were at all stupid. They didn`t want Christianity either, they were very happy with their pagan beliefs.
    I also don`t think the Medieval period was really so dark as we are sometimes lead to think.
    Preach it, sister. Medievalists unite!

    Seriously though, the High-Late Middle Ages weren't that bad. Let's not forget that not everything that is good and pure comes from the Enlightenment. Many toxic ideas also sprang from it (e.g. nationalism).

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