Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

> "Christian Western Europe" is not a particularly large or important chunk of the Greco-Roman world, relatively speaking.

Importance is I guess in the eye of the beholder, but it's pretty hard to argue that Christian Western Europe isn't a particularly large part of the Greco-Roman world.




it's pretty hard to argue that Christian Western Europe isn't a particularly large part of the Greco-Roman world.

The argument was that it wasn't particularly large or important.

It's pretty easy to make this argument: In terms of the known world during Greco-Roman times, most of the known world was to the South and East. Persia and Carthage were major empires, and writings from those parts and beyond were known in Rome. Compare that to Western Europe: The Romans barely knew that Britain existed before Julius, and it was so unimportant that they abandoned it. Gaul was geographically a large part of the empire, true, but wasn't particularly important. Note that land grants to legionaries were given in Romania, because Rome wanted to control that area rather than in Gaul.

Counter-factual histories are endless of course, but it can be worthwhile thinking about them occasionally. We live in a world where the Mongols stopped before Vienna (at least partly because they didn't see anything rich enough in Europe to bother with). If they hadn't stopped, or if they hadn't destroyed the Islamic world and inland trading empires like they did it is entirely possible that Western Europe would still be considered a backwater.


Thanks for the extra lecture, but none of it is remotely pertinent. The land that became Western Christian Europe (the England-ish part of Britain down through France to southern Italy) is in fact a large part of the Greco-Roman world. It doesn't magically become not-large by including "or important," any more than it would be truthful to say Western Christian Europe "wasn't a particularly northwesterly or important part of the Greco-Roman world."

> Note that land grants to legionaries were given in Romania, because Rome wanted to control that area rather than in Gaul.

This isn't really true at all. By the time Trajan conquered Dacia (and distributed land to his veterans there) Gaul was a settled, integrated part of the empire.


Right on. Guessing many who are reading this have already come across it, but "The Years of Rice and Salt" by KSR is a great counter factual history in this vein. I'm going to use it as a "textbook" of sorts next time I teach a world history survey.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: