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Thread: Some professors are idiot savants

  1. #1
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar I am your sovereign now
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    Default Some professors are idiot savants

    The rest of his lecture seems fine and I'm sure he makes many valuable contributions to his field as a worthy professional, but I was simply blown away by the jaw-dropping ignorance and inanity of the opening statement here by Dr. Matt Stolper for the Oriental Institute. I think it's a good case of someone being an idiot savant, i.e. being incredibly gifted or talented in one area, while lacking in others, in this case apparently never opening a book covering the basic universal history of the world.



    While the Persian Achaemenid Empire did encompass a huge portion of the literal, civilized, urbanized people of the world from the 6th to 4th centuries BC, to suggest it was merely missing one other literate, civilized, urbanized people is just bonkers. What a breathtakingly bad statement.

    I really wanted to enjoy the rest of the video, but right out of the gate this is just an unnecessary, disappointing albatross anchoring the entire lecture down towards the bottomless pits of the sea. He specifically mentions Greece as the "holdout" missing piece, but the larger colonial Greek world included ancient Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova (Pontic & Bosporan region), Bulgaria (Thrace), Albania & FYROM (Illyria), Libya (Cyrene), Sicily and southern Italy (Magna Graecia, or Megale Hellas), Sardinia, Corsica, southern France (Gaul), eastern Spain (Iberia, Hispania), etc.

    That doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of other contemporary Classic civilizations in the Western Mediterranean, namely Carthage and Rome, as well as the Etruscans. That doesn't even include Hellenized Illyrians and Thracians who became literate in Greek arts due to colonization, along with urbanized native Iberians influenced by Carthaginians and Greeks. His statement is even dumber considering that Warring States China existed to the east of the Achaemenids, which would be unified in the 3rd century BC into one large empire under the Qin dynasty, then the Han dynasty (which would bring the practice of writing to northern Korea and northern Vietnam). The previous Shang and Zhou dynasty Chinese of the Bronze Age had Oracle Bone and Bronze Script writing at the same time Greek Mycenaeans had Linear B and centuries before the Greek alphabet even existed. While solid evidence for writing in the Indian subcontinent is shaky before the 3rd century BC, the Edicts of Ashoka created under that king of the Mauryan Empire contain a fully developed Brahmi script that likely existed beforehand given the Vedic tradition. Then we have the ancient Zapotecs and Olmecs of Mesoamerica, an urbanized people who certainly had writing by about 500 BC if not earlier judging by the evidence of the Cascajal Block dated to roughly 900 BC.

    So according to Dr. Matt Stolper, all of India, China, Mesoamerica, the northern Black Sea region (Pontic Steppe), and Western Mediterranean region didn't exist until Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire? I want to say this is what happens to your brain when you sniff the smug farts of ancient Classical Greek historians all day, but even they acknowledged the very existence of Carthage, Rome and important western Greek colonies like Massalia (France) and Syracuse (Sicily).

  2. #2
    Gigantus's Avatar You should always listen to your inner voice! - Agreed, but which one?
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    Default Re: Some professors are idiot savants

    Sheldon Cooper comes to mind.




  3. #3

    Default Re: Some professors are idiot savants

    Show us the minute in the video, and transcribe the exact words he said. We're not all native english speakers.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Some professors are idiot savants

    "It incorporated almost every literate complex society of the ancient world." While he displays a map of the ancient near east, which makes it obvious what he is talking about.

    Honestly your statement that "Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Albania, Libya, Southern France, Eastern Spain" were part of a "larger colonial greek world" is far worse than anything he said. In Spain for instance, you can throw a stone from the walls of emporium and that is how far the greek colonists got. And the only hellenised iberians lived right under the walls.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Some professors are idiot savants

    I think we should cut this professor some slack for accidentally making an incorrect statement outside of his field of expertise. This happens a ton with older people who haven't touched certain areas of expertise since their childhoods. I mean, how many professional American adults can still recite the first 16 presidents of the United States? If they accidentally include George W Bush as one of them that doesn't make them an idiot savant, it just means it's been a really long time since their more holistic primary and secondary educations.

  6. #6
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar I am your sovereign now
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    Default Re: Some professors are idiot savants

    Quote Originally Posted by Hellenikon View Post
    "It incorporated almost every literate complex society of the ancient world." While he displays a map of the ancient near east, which makes it obvious what he is talking about.
    You're being a bit too charitable in my opinion, especially since he did not even couch his statement in the phrasing of the "known world" to the Greeks. Perhaps he simply meant the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East, but it's still a ludicrous statement and it's his fault if he was being that deliberately vague about it.

    Honestly your statement that "Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Albania, Libya, Southern France, Eastern Spain" were part of a "larger colonial greek world" is far worse than anything he said. In Spain for instance, you can throw a stone from the walls of emporium and that is how far the greek colonists got. And the only hellenised iberians lived right under the walls.
    No, the Iberian natives up and down the entire coast of Spain were clearly entangled with the Greeks and Carthaginians culturally, and this doesn't just include the existence of writing, but also Classical and Hellenistic inspired artworks produced by the natives for religious sculptures. For instance, the famous "Lady of Elche" from Alicante, which is way further south of Emporion (Catalonia). Quite honestly I'm embarrassed for you if you weren't aware of this, especially considering the urban nature of Iberian settlements like the one that kickstarted the Second Punic War with Hannibal's siege of Arse (Sagunto/Saguntum). They didn't just have writing like the Greco-Iberian script and others, they minted their own coinage in imitation of Carthage (a practice originally influenced by the Greeks of Sicily, for that matter).

    There's really no defending what the guy said other than maybe saying he had a temporary brain fart. I'm not trying to crucify him for it, but it is alarming that this is an idea projected to the public by a credited academic.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Some professors are idiot savants

    You do realize there is only 4% truth in our hitory bokks do you ? People need to do their own research nowadays just opening Aryan made history books is not enough I m afraid ;p

  8. #8

    Default Re: Some professors are idiot savants

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    You're being a bit too charitable in my opinion, especially since he did not even couch his statement in the phrasing of the "known world" to the Greeks. Perhaps he simply meant the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East, but it's still a ludicrous statement and it's his fault if he was being that deliberately vague about it.



    No, the Iberian natives up and down the entire coast of Spain were clearly entangled with the Greeks and Carthaginians culturally, and this doesn't just include the existence of writing, but also Classical and Hellenistic inspired artworks produced by the natives for religious sculptures. For instance, the famous "Lady of Elche" from Alicante, which is way further south of Emporion (Catalonia). Quite honestly I'm embarrassed for you if you weren't aware of this, especially considering the urban nature of Iberian settlements like the one that kickstarted the Second Punic War with Hannibal's siege of Arse (Sagunto/Saguntum). They didn't just have writing like the Greco-Iberian script and others, they minted their own coinage in imitation of Carthage (a practice originally influenced by the Greeks of Sicily, for that matter).

    There's really no defending what the guy said other than maybe saying he had a temporary brain fart. I'm not trying to crucify him for it, but it is alarming that this is an idea projected to the public by a credited academic.
    What idea is so alarming? You make it sound like the guy is arguing for aryanism. He is just saying that the achemenids incorporated the ancient settled (urban) peoples around them into their empire, and how much of achievement it was to rule all that land with the technology available.

    Sounds like you are backtracking on what the "larger greek colonial world" is, you said something very different in the OP. I disagree with your premise that there is a larger greek colonial world that involves everyone who ever was influenced by greek culture.

    The world colony is very specific, and colonial does not equal having trade relations and incorporating cultural influences. Colony means sending colonists and exerting control over the area. There were no greek colonies in Spain outside of Emporium, which was itself a colony of Massalia.

    If you simply go by cultural influence then half of the continent of europe is part of a large greek colonial world, simply because they used greek pottery or adopted some of their aesthetics (like the Dama you mentioned), or even weapon making (falcatas are greek influenced). I actually teach history and related subjects for a living, so don't really care if you want to feel embarassed for me.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Some professors are idiot savants

    The fact that many cacademics are morons is not new and surprises few.

  10. #10
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar I am your sovereign now
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    Default Re: Some professors are idiot savants

    Quote Originally Posted by Hellenikon View Post
    Sounds like you are backtracking on what the "larger greek colonial world" is, you said something very different in the OP. I disagree with your premise that there is a larger greek colonial world that involves everyone who ever was influenced by greek culture.
    Not at all, I was merely addressing your specific, if not obnoxiously false, choice of words: "And the only hellenised iberians lived right under the walls."

    That's just patently false, as I've explained and I'm glad to see you realize that. I never said the native Iberians themselves were Greeks or Greek colonists (although they did sometimes intermarry). And my statement still stands that the professor seemed to ignore the entire literate, civilized, urbanized Classical (and then Hellenistic) Greek colonial world that stretched all the way to Emporion. Your statement is even more absurd when we look at native Iberian sites like Tivisa on the Ebro River, which had 4th century BC Greek-style fortifications, tons of Greek pottery and inscriptions.

    The world colony is very specific, and colonial does not equal having trade relations and incorporating cultural influences. Colony means sending colonists and exerting control over the area. There were no greek colonies in Spain outside of Emporium, which was itself a colony of Massalia.
    Oh, and by the way, you're wrong about Emporion being the only Greek colony in Iberia, albeit the largest one by far. You are clearly ignorant of other archaeological sites like Rhode, now Rosas in Girona, Spain, which was founded not far from Emporion by the same Massalians. Another site was Hemeroskopeion in Alicante, the exact location of which is still disputed but there is evidence for it. Much is the same for Kallipolis, a possible small trading settlement which some historians believe existed near Barcelona. Mainake, described by Strabo and Pausanias of Damascus, has a somewhat firmer archaeological confirmation, located near modern Malaga in Andalusia. It was already a ruin by the time Strabo wrote his geography (no later than 23 AD), but we have found evidence for its ruins alongside landings for a seaport nearby as explained by Maria Eugenia Aubet ("Mainake: the legend and the new archaeological evidence", 2005, Proceedings of the British Academy, 126: 187–202).

    If you simply go by cultural influence then half of the continent of europe is part of a large greek colonial world, simply because they used greek pottery or adopted some of their aesthetics (like the Dama you mentioned), or even weapon making (falcatas are greek influenced). I actually teach history and related subjects for a living, so don't really care if you want to feel embarassed for me.
    You're obsessed with this one idea when all I said in the OP regarding native Iberians was the following: "That doesn't even include Hellenized Illyrians and Thracians who became literate in Greek arts due to colonization, along with urbanized native Iberians influenced by Carthaginians and Greeks."

    How is that an objectionable statement? You even seem to agree with it, at least partially, and it's entirely based in fact given the artworks, material culture, and written language using a Greco-Iberian alphabet that were all left behind by the native Iberians. You're also ignoring the main premise, which was not about the Greeks in particular, but about all civilized, literate peoples outside the Near East. This didn't just include Romans, Etruscans, and Carthaginians (should have also mentioned some Numidians), but also freaking Indians, the Chinese, and Mesoamericans like the Zapotecs and Olmecs of ancient Mexico.

    Again, quit trying to defend the indefensible. The professor above is probably a superb academic in every other regard, but he made a serious blunder here, which I hope is just a slip of the tongue or temporary brain fart rather than what he actually believes.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Some professors are idiot savants

    check Robert Sepehr channel on youtube. He is an american anthropologist if you want the truth.

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