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Old 01-29-2019, 05:26 PM
 
Location: San Jose
1,651 posts, read 509,467 times
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What civilization do you think are overrated and underrated?

Metrics to be used:

1.) Are their contributions to science, engineering, culture, and religion overstated or understated by historians and the general public.

2.) The quantity of media and social attention these civilizations receive in relation to how important they were for the time or history in general.

For example I think the Vikings are overrated. In contrast to what has happening in Persia, the Middle East, China, India, Central America and Spain, the Vikings were a sparse backwater civilization. They generally had no scholar, engineer, scientist or writer of any note. Nor did they had no great architectural or engineering feat to their name.

From the same period of time I think the Byzantines were underrated. Great art and architecture. Preserved the heritage of Ancient Greece and Roman. Influence spread from the Middle East and Africa to Russia. Yet often overlooked and under appreciated in the historic sense.
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Old 01-29-2019, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
5,091 posts, read 1,682,406 times
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It can be pointed out that cultures that lived in climates that did not preserve their works tend to be undervalued against those that lived in desert climates that preserved even papyrus.

The Vikings, their predecessors and the tribes of the British Isles lived where most construction was wood and nearly everything they created (barring stone, ceramics and nonferrous metals) simply rotted away. We thus know far less about them than we do for cultures whose works of stone and masonry, and fired clay, still stand and whose writings and art were preserved by climate and sometimes isolation.

We know, for example, about the monolithic stone construction all across the Isles, but only faint glimpses of what may have been larger and more numerous wooden buildings.

Much the same is true of the US Native Americans who built substantial cities and structures, most of which have eroded into shapeless mounds and/or were destroyed by "settlers." And don't forget that nearly all Incan/Mayan written works were burned by the Church; is it four complete codexes that exist, out of many thousands or more?

Good question, but it's insanely difficult to make apple-to-apple comparisons without falling into some very old and not entirely valid prejudices about which civilizations matter.
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:24 PM
 
Location: San Jose
1,651 posts, read 509,467 times
Reputation: 1821
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
It can be pointed out that cultures that lived in climates that did not preserve their works tend to be undervalued against those that lived in desert climates that preserved even papyrus.

The Vikings, their predecessors and the tribes of the British Isles lived where most construction was wood and nearly everything they created (barring stone, ceramics and nonferrous metals) simply rotted away. We thus know far less about them than we do for cultures whose works of stone and masonry, and fired clay, still stand and whose writings and art were preserved by climate and sometimes isolation.

We know, for example, about the monolithic stone construction all across the Isles, but only faint glimpses of what may have been larger and more numerous wooden buildings.

Much the same is true of the US Native Americans who built substantial cities and structures, most of which have eroded into shapeless mounds and/or were destroyed by "settlers." And don't forget that nearly all Incan/Mayan written works were burned by the Church; is it four complete codexes that exist, out of many thousands or more?
Fair point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
Good question, but it's insanely difficult to make apple-to-apple comparisons without falling into some very old and not entirely valid prejudices about which civilizations matter.
The question is not whether a civilization matters or not. Its whether those civilizations contributions are overrated or underrated by us in the 21st century.
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
5,091 posts, read 1,682,406 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenFresno View Post
The question is not whether a civilization matters or not. Its whether those civilizations contributions are overrated or underrated by us in the 21st century.
I'm not sure there's a big difference. If a civilization matters to us in the 21st century, it should not be underrated. If it doesn't matter, it should not be overrated. It's all semantics.

I could make an argument that the Vikings have had a far greater impact on us than, say, the Byzantines, and thus matter a great deal more... at least, on a pop cultural level. I'd guess a great majority could write an accurate paragraph about the Vikings, and only a small minority could even place the Byzzies in the right general time frame, much less geographical area.

So what does "over/underrated" actually mean?

(I actually do get the gist of your question but I'm not sure there's anything but amusing argument to be had trying to answer it.)
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Old Yesterday, 02:10 AM
 
Location: Seattle WA, USA
3,750 posts, read 1,976,189 times
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Well I don’t think a civilization needs to have contributed to our modern society to be appreciated and valued. For instance the Mayans made extraordinary discoveries in astronomy and mathematics, but because they developed in complete isolation from the old world their findings didn’t contribute anything to us.
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Old Yesterday, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,180 posts, read 52,385,713 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenFresno View Post
What civilization do you think are overrated and underrated?

Metrics to be used:

1.) Are their contributions to science, engineering, culture, and religion overstated or understated by historians and the general public.

2.) The quantity of media and social attention these civilizations receive in relation to how important they were for the time or history in general.

For example I think the Vikings are overrated. In contrast to what has happening in Persia, the Middle East, China, India, Central America and Spain, the Vikings were a sparse backwater civilization. They generally had no scholar, engineer, scientist or writer of any note. Nor did they had no great architectural or engineering feat to their name.

From the same period of time I think the Byzantines were underrated. Great art and architecture. Preserved the heritage of Ancient Greece and Roman. Influence spread from the Middle East and Africa to Russia. Yet often overlooked and under appreciated in the historic sense.
You do know that the Normans who conquered Britain were Viking stock? Norman is a contraction of Norseman. That area of France had previously been invaded and the Vikings intermarried..
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Old Yesterday, 08:09 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
6,272 posts, read 10,342,893 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenFresno View Post
What civilization do you think are overrated and underrated?



For example I think the Vikings are overrated. In contrast to what has happening in Persia, the Middle East, China, India, Central America and Spain, the Vikings were a sparse backwater civilization. They generally had no scholar, engineer, scientist or writer of any note. Nor did they had no great architectural or engineering feat to their name.

From the same period of time I think the Byzantines were underrated. Great art and architecture. Preserved the heritage of Ancient Greece and Roman. Influence spread from the Middle East and Africa to Russia. Yet often overlooked and under appreciated in the historic sense.

In my view, the western European "renaissance" is way overrated; in parallel, way annoying is its attribution of "medieval" to the rest of the world when it is only applicable to themselves.

In my view, western Europe's greatest contribution is circumnavigation, followed closely by the industrial revolution, great, great achievements, no doubt, the implications of which are hard to exaggerate since then and going forward.

However they retrojected it (and still tend to do so) into the remote past; unsurprising in view of basic human nature since the year one, but with particularly disastrous consequences in terms of racism, industrial global wars not so long ago, and cultural narrow-mindedness, making it hard to breath sometimes.

If it weren't for that one-two punch, western Europe would still be a relatively obscure incestuous backwater on the extreme western tip of the Eurasian landmass.

At any rate, annoying retrojection or not, I'm glad to be living in its golden aftermath than at any other time in human history: the average person still enjoys unprecedented freedom and opportunity for self-discovery.
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Old Yesterday, 08:17 AM
 
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We tend to over-rate historical contributions of war and conquests (Alexander, Punic, Napoleonic, Civil, etc..) over long-standing cultural contributions.

Possibly because many of the surviving ancient texts tend to focus on the former or our brains are just drawn to single acts.
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Old Yesterday, 11:00 AM
Status: "Was it for this my life I sought?" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Posting from my space yacht.
7,267 posts, read 2,776,311 times
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So is it safe to say the theme of this thread is "white man overrated"?

I will remind that it was a man of European stock who invented the hamburger and for that I will ever be grateful.
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Old Yesterday, 12:13 PM
 
Location: San Jose
1,651 posts, read 509,467 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pogue Mahone View Post
So is it safe to say the theme of this thread is "white man overrated
How did you arrive at that conclusion?
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