What are some quality books from reliable authors on the early Jews in Palestine and their subsequent evolution as a culture and religion?

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It’s entirely fiction, but The Source by James A. Michener is a great read that follows a Jewish family line from tribal life to the present. I’m under the impression it is well researched and based off archeological evidence through the periods.


The Story of the Jews – Finding the Words, the first part of Simon Schama’s Jewish history is worth a look imo


Theological scholar Karen Armstrong’s Book “A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam” is a great book that details the evolution of the three major monotheistic traditions to modern day. Very illuminating and a great author.


**Jews in Palestine**

Interesting way of putting it.

Palestine was a name given to the region by Romans after they took it over. It was called Israel before the Romans, and it is now called Israel again.




Who are all the Kings that led their army from the frontline?

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It was relatively common for monarchs and other political leaders to also be military leaders so that list would be quite large.

King Frederick I Barbarossa and King Richard I Lionheart are examples of kings that went into war themselves. I don’t know exactly how much they fought though.

Gustav II Adolf of Sweden fell at Lützen. He was known for leading his troops from the front.


Alexander the great actually inspired many Greek generals to fight as he did, such as Pyrrhus of Epirus or Euthydemus, the first king of Bactria. If I’m not mistaken, Julius Caesar also took personal charge of battles in some desperate instances.


Henry V sustained several injuries while fighting in the thick of it at Agincourt, not even on his horse, but on his feet in the middle of the slogging melee, sword in hand. He also personally directed sieges and was almost shot many times. There’s a good reason he was so glorified and romanticised by Shakespeare and other Englishmen.


In the Hundred Years War, the King of Bohemia charged at Edward, the Black Prince along with some fellow men at arms. Since the King had been blind for 10 years, he had to tether himself to his men (and their horses). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the King died.

However, the Black Prince was so awed by this display of courage that he took the King of Bohemia’s heraldic badge for his own. This badge remains the Prince of Wales’s to this day and explains why his motto is in German (Ich dien), meaning “I serve”.

EDIT: Per Mr_Papayahead’s comment below, the King John of Bohemia Wikipedia page ascribes the badge transfer portion of my post to legend. Note, I was notified of this part of the story reading Desmond Seward’s “The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1453”, page 66, but I have no way to adjudicate the evidence.

Thanks for the catch Mr_Papayahead! If anyone has any more background on badge story, let’s hear from you.


William, Duke of Normandy (at the time known colloquially as “The Bastard”)

Led several charges up the hill at Hastings towards the Anglo-Saxon shield wall, only to be rejected each time. Supposedly he was struck (though not wounded) and had to retire to change horses. A rumor spread that he was wounded (and even died) and his army began to fall back so that William removed his helmet and mail coif (hood) and rode up and down his line shouting that he was William and he still lived. His men rallied, and by the end of the day had won the battle and slain the Anglo-Saxon King and nearly his entire family.

From that day forth, William would be known as King William of England, The Conqueror.


Why did Hitler declare war on the United States?

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Hi Everyone, it’s that time again!

So, I just got to bring down the hammer on a host of folks, so let’s just take a moment and remember:

* Rule 1: **Be Nice**, Don’t wish death on the people you disagree with, don’t call them names, if someone does such to you please use the **report button.**

* Rule 2: **No current politics or soapboxing.** Nobody alive is literally Hitler, and that is also true for everyone dead say one notable exception.

So, please let’s keep this focused on the topic and on history.



Germany and Italy had a number of reasons to declare war on the US. First, Hitler actually thought that Japan was going to invade the eastern shore of Russia as they had done in 1905. Needless to say, this didn’t happen. Second, the US was supplying an enormous amount of materiel to the UK by sea on American flagged ships. By declaring war on the US, U-Boats could now sink American flagged vessels in American waters without violating international law. This resulted in what the U-Boat crews referred to as the “happy time.” Shipping losses were so great in 1942 that the UK was down to a few weeks of food supply. This is actually the closest the UK came to being knocked out of the war, and it was called the “Battle of the Atlantic.” Eventually the tide turned through a combination of new techniques and technologies (e.g. Asdik, convoys) and the fact that American shipyards, throught the prefabricated “Liberty Ships,” were building ships faster that the Germans could sink them. It was all a huge gamble for Hitler, and bill started to come due in 1943 with the surrenders at Stalingrad and Tunisa, the disastrous battle of Kursk and Admiral Doenitz having to withdraw much of the U-Boat fleet from patrol because the losses had become unsustainable. But there were very good reasons for declaring war on the US–it was not the act of a madman.


> Hitler didn’t want the United States in the war in the first place, for obvious reasons.

Hitler was extremely dismissive of the capabilities of the US. Possibly even more so than the Japanese. His opinion, likely encouraged by his own views on racial superiority, was that the mix of races in the US would cause unmanageable divisions in the US and that they would be unable to conduct an effective war.

The US had been ‘interfering in the Battle of the Atlantic for months and the German Navy had been asking for permission to engage USN warships to counter this. One USN destroyer (the USS Reuben James) had already been sunk and another torpedoed (USS Kearny) in October 1941. Hitler had been reluctant to accede to these requests because at the time the US was not militarily distracted.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor Hitler was overjoyed. He felt now that victory was assured. As noted, he had no regard for the fighting capabilities of the US. He expected the Japanese to win within months. With the USN distracted in the Pacific the way was open for the German u-boats to fully engage those ships left in the Atlantic. Far from bringing the wrath of the United States into Europe he wanted in on the kill.


The US had been fighting an undeclared naval war against German U Boats even as Germany bent over backwards to avoid engaging with the US Navy.

I imagine this rankled Hitler and he saw the declaration as a way to finally strangle Britain by cutting off its’ supplies, with an unrestricted U boat campaign, while the US was distracted by Japan.


Despots always discredit the capabilities of democratic societies, as being weak and divided. They fail to realize the strength of people who engage willingly, rather than with a muzzle in their own backs from their leaders.


Were there differences between typical names in Sparta or Athens during the Peloponnesian War?

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It is really hard to tell. We know names of the protagonists in said wars, but we know nothing of naming conventions in general (*as in relation to this event*). There is also no way to deduce this as we don’t have records concerning the birth of children, no civil registry like lists that allow any such deductions. We have less than scant information on the Jane and John Doe’s of the era.


There definitely was. Sparta spoke Doric Greek, while Athens spoke Attic. Even basic words would have been completely different. It caused folklore in Sparta that they weren’t “really” Greeks, but foreign invaders. The native Greeks were supposedly the slave class.

Unfortunately, I can’t answer with specifics. Even if I knew a whole bunch of Greek names, I’d know their modern English translations, which doesn’t help.


The best I can offer you is a two big lists of Athenian names and Spartan names from Thucydides history of the Peloponnesian War.

Lacedaemonius, son of Cimon
Diotimus, Son of Strombichus
Proteas, son of Epicles
Glaucon, son of Leagrus
Andocides, son of Leogoras
Archestratus, son of Lycomedes
Callias son of Calliades
Phormio son of Asopius
Carcinus son of Xenotimus
Proteas, son of Epicles
Socrates son of Antigenes
Cleopompus son of Clinias
Cleippides son of Deinias
Asopius son of Phormio
Paches son of Epicurus
Diodotus son of Eucrates
Nicias, son of Niceratus
Nicostratus, son of Diitrephes
Charoeades son of Euphiletus
Procles son of Theodorus
Nicias son of Niceratus
Aristotle son of Timocrates
Hierophon son of Antimnestus
Pythodorus son of Isolochus
Sophecles son of Sostratides

Archetimus son of Eurytimus
Isarchidas son of Isarchus
Melesippus son of Diacrtus
Brasidas son of Tellis
Styphon son of Pharax
Tantalus son of Patrocles
Pagondas son of Aeolidas
Clearidas son of Cleontmus
Pasitelidas son of Hegesander
Pleistoanax, son of Pausanias


I’m not familiar with names from entirely different roots, but there would certainly be differences in names due to the linguistical differences between their respective dialects themselves.

For example, in Attic a long /a:/ becomes /ɛ:/ except right after I, E or R.
So for example Doric Sparta, Damater, Leonidas, Aphrodita appear in Attic as Sparte, Demeter, Leonides, Aphrodite etc

That’s the simplest and most common difference between the two dialects but there are many more. For example Poseidon was known as Pohoidan in Sparta, which has a bunch of differences with Attic due to a bunch of different reasons.


There is no notable difference.

Most known ancient Greek names simply end in, ας, ης , ων, ος , ευς

Spartan, Athenian, Corinthian or Macedonian, doesn´t matter.


Did Japanese Samurai ever fight abroad?

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Actually, yes. Christian samurai were used as mercenaries in the Philippines by the Spanish and Portuguese, to fight other Japanese pirates! Piracy was endemic during this time period, and pirate forces often had semi-official sponsors from the southern daimyo, as well as large numbers of ronin and former soldiers. Wakou pirates could be found through as far south as Vietnam and Indonesia, but were most notorious for raiding the Chinese coastline in great numbers. The raids eventually became so bad that much of the coastline was ordered to be abandoned, rather than provide further opportunities for pillaging. It wasn’t until the rise of the Tokugawa that piracy was suppressed in the region.


I vaguely recall having seen over at /r/askhistorians at some point that there were a handful of samurai sent out as ambassadors by some Christian(-friendly) Daimyo to either the Portuguese or Spanish who may have then done something in the new world.


Yes, they fought in the Imjin War, or the Japanese invasion of Korea, which is essentially the medieval Asian version of Napoleonic War. It’s a very interesting war to study which you can read the wiki article to learn a lot more about. They usually held superiority in land due to widespread use of muskets and far more experience in combat compared to Korean or Chinese troops, but held a significant disadvantage in the sea due to the lack of firepower. They also had some blunders in the land, such as Battle of Hangju, and were facing fairly large guerrilla forces that they were not accustomed to fighting against. I’ll write a basic summary of the war below though.


Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the retainers of Oda Nobunaga, rose to power after Nobunaga’s death. He essentially united the clans under the Hideyoshi banner (though it wasn’t perfect as rival clans such as it had plenty of dissenters such as the Tokugawa clan who were also loyal to the Oda clan) and decided to expand his rule abroad. His ultimate goal was to use his experienced army overseas to China, making him the one and only leader of East Asia. To do so, he demanded passage through Korea, which the Joseon Dynasty refused for various reasons (they were vassal of Ming Dynasty (China), thought Hideyoshi was a joke, etc.).

In response, Hideyoshi invaded Korea, prompting the 6 year war. At first, the well-experienced Japanese army with muskets were able to beat the fairly inexperienced southern Korean forces quickly, capturing the capital, Seoul, rapidly. However, there was a particular flaw in the strategy. In Sengoku Jidai, it was considered the leader’s duty to stay within his castle, the capital, and face the enemy head on no matter how hopeless the situation was. Capturing the capital was thus the end of the war. But, Korea didn’t have that kind of mindset. So when the King Seonjo left the capital safely, the Japanese were confused. In addition, because they bypassed a lot of the regions in the South to quickly reach Seoul, guerrilla forces started fighting against the Japanese on their own, disrupting the supply chain.

Another problem was that the Japanese were fairly inexperienced in naval battles due to their focus on land battles during the Sengoku Jidai. In addition, a Korean admiral by the name of Yi Sun-sin was quite a bit of military genius. He destroyed Japanese fleet time after time, never losing a single battle and never losing a single ship to the point that Hideyoshi ordered to avoid fighting Yi on sea at all costs. This had profound effect on the supply of Japanese Army as they had to transport everything by land, which took way too long for their armies now marching up north. In addition, at this time, the Ming dynasty sent their army and navy down to assist their vassal despite having their own trouble against the Later Jing (Qing). At the end, Hideyoshi died while the war was on the stalemate, prompting the pro-Hideyoshi clans that were the main forces in Korea in a rush to head back to protect the next Toyotomi clan head from the anti-Toyotomi clans such as the Tokugawa. The war ended in Japanese tactical defeat, though Korea and China both suffered a lot from the war.


Ahh you saw the samurais at the Sphinx yesterday on Reddit and wondered this didn’t you? Cuz I did


It depends how you define Samurai.. i assume you mean the traditional katana-wielding warlord/noble class individuals from early modern Japan

In which case I am not aware of the Samurai fighting as a cohesive group overseas in any kind of military campaign other than in Korea, the Japanese state was a very insular nation, But there are many accounts of individual Samurai leaving Japan and effectively becoming mercenaries, Yamada Nagamasa is a well known example who travelled from Japan to Thailand/Burma and was involved in the various conflicts going on in that region around the 16th century.

There was also the Wokou-pirate phenomenom in the 13th century where bad famines in Japan and Korea lead to huge numbers of Samurai turning to piracy for money by raiding along the Chinese/Korean/Japanese coasts, once the Mongol’s took Korea this piracy became one of the reasons for the Mongol attempt at invading Japan.

In 1586 the Spanish also attempted to invade China by mustering forces in the Phillipines and Taiwan (Spain had gained access to the Portuguese colony on Taiwan during the personal union period with Portugal starting 1580), this planned invasion force was intended to feature Samurai mercenaries.


Silly Questions Saturday, August 17, 2019

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What did people wipe their butts with before there was toilet paper?


What were the popular tourist destinations among rich west europeans in the ~14th century? If some bored French noble wanted to see the world, which locations would he mark as “must see” in his travel plan?


How did the first Hawaiians arrive on a small archipelago literally in the middle of nowhere?


What factors led technology to progress at different rates on different sides of the Atlantic? Why were the native Americans so outgunned (pun sort of intended) once Eurpoeans arrived?


How did the custom of handshakes upon meeting begin?