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 Things we really should know ...

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Things we really should know ...   Mon 17 Sep 2012, 14:56

We tend to presume as much knowledge as we acquire. So said Voltaire, though he didn't say whether he knew this or had simply presumed it.

But it is an apt aphorism all the same when we look at what we think we know about history, a subject which after all leaves its student at the almost complete mercy of what others have judged (as opposed to have necessarily known) to be true, or at least important. We can of course with reasonable certainty however conclude that most of what passes for the factual record is indeed that, or at least as factual as things get in this existential universe of ours. But there is always the niggling doubt - not that we have necessarily been fibbed to (though this does happen too), but that since history covers everything that's happened then there must be oodles of stuff that we don't know, can't know, and never will know.

Which of course leads us to the obvious question. Having said all that, is there actually stuff out there which is known to be historically true, and yet somehow gets omitted from history as it is taught? Stuff that, had we at least been told it by our teacher, might have given us a way clearer understanding from the off of how things really were and what really happened?

The answer of course is yes - loads of such stuff! Some examples spring readily to mind - anyone know any more?

FACT: Henry Kissinger, Yasser Arafat and Barak Obama have all won the Nobel Peace Prize. Gandhi never did.
FACT: When the American Civil War started, Confederate Robert E. Lee owned no slaves. Union general U.S. Grant did. Also, the constitution of the Confederate States of America banned the slave trade.
FACT: The last woman to be convicted of witchcraft in the UK was Jane Rebecca Yorke in July 1944 (she was fined £5).
FACT: Henry VIII had, at the most, four wives.
FACT: Arabic numerals are Indian.




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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Wed 19 Sep 2012, 05:59

Coming from a white European dominated place like Australia and with an education at religious schools, there is so much we simply weren't told (at best) or just lied to (at worst) that I couldn't begin to list it all.

But leaving the religious gumph aside, the first omission that springs to mind (and one of the most outrageous for me) is that Indigenous Australians fought with troops in both WWI and II. And that they were denied any pensions, housing or benefits to which returned soldiers were entitled. They were also denied the right to march in any commemorative parade such as the ANZAC Day marches. Never a word that they had fought, little on the rest of it, was spoken until recently.


Last edited by Islanddawn on Wed 19 Sep 2012, 11:43; edited 1 time in total
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Wed 19 Sep 2012, 09:13

I believe that Henry VIII had 6 marriages to 6 different women, as to the number of wives it depends on what one considers to be the retrospective effects of annulment.

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Wed 19 Sep 2012, 09:56

I think Henry might have had a thing or two to say to Rick Wakeman, Keith Michel, and anyone else who promoted the notion that he had six wives!

Which brings me to another royalty fact not so well known ...

FACT: King Louis I ruled England from 1216 to 1217. Initially he successfully saw off an attempt by the young pretender Henry (later Henry III), a kid who was backed by a small group of his father John Lackland's rather dubious mates, led by William Marshall the Earl of Pembroke. After a few setbacks, Louis decided to renounce the throne (for a fee) and let the kid have his day. Louis thus became "a pretender" in the history books and the barons who supported him became "the rebels" for posterity. Marshall's small group of cronies became "the nobles" and Henry became a backdated king.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Wed 19 Sep 2012, 09:59

@Tim of Aclea wrote:
I believe that Henry VIII had 6 marriages to 6 different women, as to the number of wives it depends on what one considers to be the retrospective effects of annulment.


It's a nice legal point, I suppose.

Of particular importance to Mary Tudor when she became queen was a bill reaffirming the validity of her father's marriage to Catherine of Aragon. This act - the first passed by Mary's parliament - ensured that Mary's legitimacy and, crucially, her claim to the throne, rested not simply on a papal edict, but also on English law. (Mary apparently was insistent on that, though Reginald Pole strongly resisted the implication that anything more than a decision from Rome was required.)

Elizabeth, on her accession, ignored the whole thing.

Presumably the Marian act is still valid (?), and Mary's mother was indeed married to Mary's father - at least according to English law. Henry VIII, then, had *five* wives, and Elizabeth lived and reigned, not just a virgin, but also a bastard.
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Wed 19 Sep 2012, 10:39

Surely King Louis not Louis I as we have not had any other Louis. We do not refer to John I, Anne I or Victoria I.

What valid claim did this Louis have to the English throne and to what extent did he ever really rule England even if he did control Reigate castle, London and some other places at one point.

By the treaty of 'Lambeth 'Louis 'annulled' any claim he had to the English throne and accepted that he was never the legitimate monarch. So my the treaty he was as much a non-king as were any of Henry VIII's wives non-wives. However, it could have been different if King John had not died when he did.

As a matter of interest should Lady Jane Grey considered as monarch and why is Edgar Atheling not included in the list of English kings?

Tim
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Wed 19 Sep 2012, 10:54

Louis did everything right except actually be crowned by the Archbish, who had conveniently extended his welcome over in the Pope's gaff so he could avoid having to plump for one side or the other. Mind you, little Henry didn't get "properly" crowned either until three years after Louis had been sent home with a redundancy package.

If not being crowned is what decides these things then of course Edward V (and poor Lady Jane) should also be expunged from the rolls.
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Wed 19 Sep 2012, 13:16

Henry could at least claim to be the eldest son of the previous king of England as well as trace a line to the Anglo-Saxon kings. I am not sure what the basis of Louis' claim was, part from being asked by some of the English nobility to replace John. However by the treaty that Louis signed he agreed that he had not done everything properly.

The boy Henry, even if his coronation had to be repeated on the order of the pope, did have papal support from the start in the shape of the Papal legate Guala who turned the war against the French and their supporters a holy war.

By the way I believe that the war marks the furthest south that a Scottish army has ever penetrated into England.

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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 22:02

I meant to comment on this ages ago but was a bit busy. I suppose Nobel prizes aren't taught in history exactly, but anyone who is unaware of who has won their Peace prizes hasn't been paying much attention to the news. They do get very good coverage. The Nobel prizes for science and mathematics and others are less well known since the recipients are generally not known in the community at large and their topics are usually outside the ken of ordinary people. And the literary prizes are often won by people readers have barely heard of.

But the Peace Prizes go to people who are generally in the news quite a bit, are known to the outside world, and for activities easily understandable.

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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Mon 24 Sep 2012, 22:32

Which gives me another opportunity to quote the sublime Tom Lehrer, "Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel peace prize."
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Tue 25 Sep 2012, 00:14

That must be the sort of reason we don't have political satire here anymore. MMP has been wonderful for throwing up the sort of event and behaviour that is quite stunning in its ridiculousness. Especially one little (getting littler) right-wing party who brings its very few MPs in with a vow to bring ethics into politics. So far we have had people who have claimed a new identity using a dead baby's records, a 'perk-buster' taking big trips overseas ("Well, everyone else does"), two MPs who have 'forgotten' they knew donations were coming from respectively the weird Destiny Church and a rather odd German NZ resident Kim Dotcom. Our MPs have not remembered having meals at huge gated mansions with colourful residents or with cult leaders. And then they take part in Dancing With The Stars.

It certainly beats most fiction for imaginative scenarios.
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Gran
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Tue 25 Sep 2012, 04:01

Oh dear Caro I was trying so hard to keep quiet about our politics, its a joke.
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Tue 25 Sep 2012, 08:53

I wasn't going to mention Henry's wives but something I read today reminded me of them. Seems to me if you marry 6 times you have six wives and it doesn't matter whether the marriages are legal or not. Bigamists have two wives and are accused of having two marriages - if they didn't there would be nothing illegal to charge them with. If you do something that is not legal you have still done it.

And today I was reading an article about trepanning and specifically about Phineas Gage, who had an accident which wiped out his left frontal lobe. The article said, "The orthodox story is that after the accident he was a changed man...Where he was previously considered diligent and honest, he reportedly became self-conscious, impulsive and untrustworthy. He spent much of his time drunk and also beat his wife." The article then says there are a few problems with this orthodoxy. "For a start, he never married."

My first thought about that statement was "that doesn't mean he didn't have a wife, though, whom he could have beaten." There are common-law wives and passing women that are thought of as wives, or people might have assumed the woman was his wife. It probably does mean he didn't have a wife, but it certainly isn't proof positive in anything except a strictly legal sense.

(Research does show that his peronality was not affected in the way commonly thought - though why in that case did people say it was? "They have now painted a pircture of a man who recovered seocially surprisingly well, and who worked productively up until the start of trauma-related seizures around 1860. He died soon after." The accident happened in 1848.)
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PostSubject: Re: Things we really should know ...   Wed 26 Sep 2012, 22:14

@Tim of Aclea wrote:
By the way I believe that the war marks the furthest south that a Scottish army has ever penetrated into England.

Yes. It's pretty difficult to get further away from Scotland in England than Dover Castle.

As well as King Louis and Queen Jane let's not also forget King Philip who reigned from 1553-8 in conjunction with his wife Mary Tudor. Philip & Mary were a sort of 16th Century equivalent of the 17th Century's William & Mary only in reverse.
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