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History - Favourite Time Periods


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#1
Raithe

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For the totally random Interest - What are peoples favourite time periods/places and why?

Are we going to focus on a decade in the 20th century, or ancient history? Various Empires or just periods of growth and mythology?

In the midst of my assorted science and related matters and courses, I took Classics at college and wound up with a wide range of Ancient Greek and Rome battering around in my brain (that and too many years role-playing has scattered my interests all over the place).

I've travelled through Cairo and walked around the Sphinx, even taken entrance into one of the Great Pyramids (they're suprisingly cool on the inside) which has helped expand my Ancient Civilisation interests.. (that and probably playing waay too much Civilisation as I grew up...). Hell, take the slide into the early Phoenicians, the ruins at Crete - If you ever get to look at Knossos Palace and the likelihood that it's behind the early stories of the Labyrinth... Even the wanderings into Mesopotamia and the growth of Sumeria, Babylon...

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire - Politics, Intrigue, Treachery, Warfare, Lies, Sex and an amazing amount of letters and firm records of it all going on... Even the split of the East/West Roman Empire. Byzantine Rome turning more Greek and the battles they had with the Persians..

I've also enjoyed the wanderings around the Topkapi Palace (the treasure rooms and harem are amazingly fun) and that expanded my enjoyment of the Ottoman period..

Ever since reading Shogun, I've had a certain love interest in medieval Japan - combined with interest in philosophy and martial arts its just interesting to see how a culture develops and wars.. In a similar manner, the Warring Period of early China and the unification of the Warring States.. hell, if you can't enjoy the period in which Sun Tzu gave us the Art of War...

Or to sidestep onwards.. Renaissance Italy. The Artists, the Politicians, The Clergy, The Moneylenders and the Scientists...

"You know what the fellow said in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

(Although technically - and to be pedantic - the Swiss never made a cuckoo clock, that's a Bavarian thing)

For the random Trivia - Leonardo Da Vinci made incredible leaps and advances in science and engineering. But he never told anyone and he encrypted his notes. By the time they were decoded about 200 years later? Other folks had made those discoveries and publicly announced them. Just imagine where we might have been if we'd had those 200 years of his discoveries to begin with....

Victoria - one of the longest ruling monarch in the known history of the world. (Also the reason why God made England so small. Otherwise we would have conquered the whole bloody planet.. :dancing: ) - But yes, the sudden jump in technologies, the explosion of travel. A major period of adventure and exploration.. Social upheaval and the beginning of the "modern world" as it were.. And one of th e last points in time you could get away with wearing a cravat easily...

Yes, I have my "historical nut" merit badge there. My personal quirks and interests are a bit too wide ranging to easily narrow down..but hey, that's part of why I'm curious what's out there for other folks..
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#2
Gorth

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Not really into the stone age stuff, but various civilizations when they reached the bronze age. The Archaic (pre-classical) Greek, the Hittittes, the Assyrians and the Sumerians and so forth. Then there is a jump up to the time around the transition from Roman Kingdom to Roman Republic (and later Empire), the history of the various Germanic tribes before they crossed the Rhine, the history of the Celts and the history of the Byzantine Empire,

Then another jump up to the time of the 100 year war in Europe, it's causes and effects. Then my interest mostly stops and picks up again around WWII, but that is because it was a time period with consequences and effects that directly affects us to this day.

Never got as much into the South Asian and Far Eastern cultures as I would have liked. Not for lack of interest, but lack of material when I actually had the time to study history in my spare time.

#3
Rosbjerg

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Much like you I've had affairs with almost every time period and much like you reading "Shogun" and playing the original Shogun (both events collided) really kindled my love for medieval Japan (and I was heartily disappointed by how industrial and commercial it has become)

My biggest love is Rome however, just prior to the fall of the republic - the impact of that civilization (right down to the words I'm writing now) is just so profound that it still marvels me.

#4
Hurlshot

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Well I'm really a fan of all history, so it's hard to choose a specific one. Right now I'm teaching about the Mesoamerican civilizations like the Mayan and Aztecs. The fascinating thing about this unit is how independently they develop. Even Japan, which was fairly isolated, still had some cultural diffusion with the mainland.

There are also so many mysteries left about groups like the Mayan. We really need a time machine to answer some of the questions left behind here.

#5
Tigranes

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I tend to like little bits that I latch on to. Alexander is great because we have some nice records of different forms of ancient warfare, but also a window into different interpretations of the psyche re. the man in ancient times, and of course the political/cultural collisions. E.P. Thompson makes Victorian England rather interesting, too.

For big time periods, I'd have to say the Byzantine Empire, and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms era China. Anthropological accounts, especially of Southeast Asian groups, is also interesting.

#6
Malcador

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Mostly military history, so nice flashy stuff like the Greco-Persian Wars, Alexander's campaigns, Rome's war with Carthage, etc. Really did enjoy my Modern Western history course back in high school, covered lead up to the French & American Revolutions then up to pre-WW1. That way, came to learn about Tallyrand, have to love that guy. :p

#7
Zoraptor

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Mainly military history for me too, though I don't have a favourite period. I've always liked military spectaculars like Cannae or Russia 1812 and interesting or underrated characters.

I have a particular fondness for Thucydides for being a better historian 2000+ years ago than most historians are today with all the benefits of modern technology.

#8
pmp10

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My historical interests are mostly focus on impact and misrepresentation in modern culture.
No practical favorite period but I tend to follow trends of appearances in pop-culture.

I have a particular fondness for Thucydides for being a better historian 2000+ years ago than most historians are today with all the benefits of modern technology.

Definitely this.
Realpolitik made almost 2500 year ago show you how little our nature has really changed.

#9
Humodour

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Any time period when humans weren't ****ing this planet into oblivion is fairly appealing.

#10
Gorth

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I'm afraid Pangea has come and gone Krezack... ;)

Another interesting period, although mostly for understanding how related dinosaur fossils can be found on different continents today.

#11
Walsingham

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For all our problems, I'm pretty keen on right now. Mainly because I think we're going to look back on now as a golden age.

#12
Guard Dog

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I was sort of fond of a period, just a few years ago when Krezzie wasn't such an angry and bitter dude!

My favorite I guess was the Age of Exploration that began with Columbus. But I'd bet Juan Sebastian El Cano would be ticked to know his greatest accomplishment is universally attributed to a man who could not keep his nose of of things that did ot concern him.
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#13
LadyCrimson

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Roman era, Alexander, Greece....basically any of those older "empire" periods.
Medieval, mostly for their castle tactics and designs.
US Civil War. Other civil wars are interesting too.
Feudal Japan.

...largely, military history here as well. The reasons, the tactics, structures, weapons and sometimes the social culture/psychology that developed because of them. Artistic culture can be intriguing as well, but as a whole doesn't tend to interest me much.

#14
Humodour

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For all our problems, I'm pretty keen on right now. Mainly because I think we're going to look back on now as a golden age.


All too true.

#15
Gorth

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US Civil War. Other civil wars are interesting too.

I once accidentally ended up on a wikipedia page about the English civil war (checking descendants of the Plantagenets and House of Anjou). It's almost as bad as tvtropes when you start exploring further links. Anyway, an interesting time in English history when it ceased to be a monarchy.

#16
Nonek

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Always had a slight hankering for the viking era, when men were berserk and monasteries were nervous. Seems to be an age of strange contradictions, the northmen were undoubtedly vicious foemen but they had equal rights for women, divorce, freedom of religion and a flourishing interest in poetry and verse despite being virtually illiterate. In many ways they seem to have had more freedom than the majority of christendom, and yet they took thralls and had great markets for the slave trade such as the old settlement at Hedeby.

Strange beggars.

#17
Rosbjerg

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Yeah the viking era is interesting, especially how we northerners are today compared to our ancestors. :)

I've never heard of the vikings interest in poetry however. Unless you mean songs and stories?

#18
Pidesco

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Roman Republic and Empire.

#19
Raithe

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Yeah the viking era is interesting, especially how we northerners are today compared to our ancestors. :)

I've never heard of the vikings interest in poetry however. Unless you mean songs and stories?


Well the oratory tradition of the Sagas is generally considered a form of poetry. Or at least, prose. From what I've heard, when properly told in Old Norse there's a real rythm and cadence that works with the story... Quite often forms of stanza and alliterative verse as part of what's going on..

#20
Nonek

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Egil Skallagrimsson was a famous poet according to his saga, he'd oft make use of kenning poetry. That is elaborate metaphor that challenged the listeners knowledge of saga and history, that would seem nonsensical to the casual listener.

For instance the sea could be the whale road, a sword might be called a woundweaver and a warrior might be Tyr's first son so we have something like:

Across the whale road Tyr's first son ventured,
the oaken Fafnir steady under his feet.
At Stamford bridge his woundweaver rose one last time,
and of saxon heartwine it drank deep.

A warrior went across the sea on a dragon ship, and shed saxon blood at stamford bridge. Really rather wonderful form of description if you ask me, Egil was a violent man who killed his first opponent at the age of eight supposedly and yet he was also a fine poet and a runemaster. Contradictory fellow.

Edited by Nonek, 04 May 2012 - 02:41 PM.





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