Thursday, January 27, 2005

Back, with "Barbarians"

Hey, I'm finally back! I haven't had much time to work on this site lately. But now that I'm here, I will post up a quick general history blog. Also, I've decided to always keep a short header for every post, which will be news about the blog. I'm still working on the current historical news bit, it is hard to separate history from archaeology, in my opinion, historical finds are made in some indoors area by a guy studying all the materials provided by archaeology.

The "barbarians", have been some of the most feared and misunderstood people in history. The idea of hordes of screaming, bloody, and vicious warriors bearing down on you is rather intimidating. Unfortunately, the picture I just gave is inaccurate to the extreme. The only people who gave detailed written accounts of these people were often at war with them. Imagine trying to get unbiased info about the Soviet Union in a Western library and vice versa. If you really want to understand the groups of people who periodically attacked the "civilized" world, you either have to claw away all the bias and opinion of historical accounts, or get your sources directly from the traces and artifacts of these people. If you do that, you find that the "barbarians" were actually quite well developed ethnic groups who simply had to endure the hardships of lacking any luxuries of the "civilized" world. They were basically molded with hammers by the tough conditions surrounding them. For example, the Vikings of Scandinavia had to endure bitter cold and constant civil war and violence over limited resources. The Huns who came from the steppes to invade the Roman Empire lived on vast grass plains, constantly on the move to avoid using up resources. They had to fight for their food from the moment they could feed themselves. Still, if we study these and all the other so-called barbarians we see well-developed cultures with many customs and traditions. They had their own ideas about society, government, and individuals, which seem to us crude. That is because their is no need to build enormous government buildings and have complex legal systems if what you really have to do is live comfortably. Also, technologically, they were often as, if not more, superior than their "civilized" counterparts; well advanced in metallurgy, horsemanship, sea travel, or whatever else was important to them. Finally, I have nearly always believe that these people are the "custodians" of the world. When the Germanic and Hunnic tribes attacked Rome, the once-great empire was already in deep decay, with corruption, crime, and no real justice and order whatsoever, mainly caused by excessive luxury. The invading tribes brought to real, harsh world back to these spoiled brats. In fact, during the Middle Ages when the Mongol horses swept through Asia and into Europe, they encountered quite a few floundering countries whose leaders were spoiled and too extravagant, while a few brave soldiers tried to hopelessly resist the Mongols. When the conquests were finished these "savages" instituted astoundingly efficient government, making travel between Europe and Asia possible safely. In fact, Genghis Khan, their superb general and administrator, laid down a list of laws and rules, called the Yasa, very similar to a modern constitution. He even established freedom of religion. While it is true that these people often caused great destruction and cruelty, too many books, web sites, and people have already dwelt far too long on that. Since this topic is so huge, follow-ups will come. But in conclusion, I think we should all really study these people and see who they really were. We have a lot to learn from what they have taught us.

1 comment:

jomama said...