User:NorwegianBlue/refdesk/history

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Trying to remember a person (History)[edit]

A while ago, I stumbled upon a Wikiquote article (there was one on Wikipedia, too) on a really interesting man. I think he was an officer in the American civil war who supported equal rights for women, was anti-slavery, very progressive. He was asked to run for governor of Illinois and refused because he was told he would have to pretend to be religious (he wasn't). A lot of his really interesting quotes were about religion and how belief in Hell was contrary to belief in a benevolent god. Does anyone know who he was? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Emmett5 (talkcontribs) .

You could look through Special:Whatlinkshere&target=Governor_of_Illinois and see if any of the article titles ring a bell for you.-gadfium 03:53, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
Would that be Robert Green Ingersoll? --NorwegianBlue talk 13:04, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it is. Thank you very much! Emmett5 19:02, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Celts and Germans[edit]

When did celts stop being celts and start being germans? Joneleth 10:33, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Who told you that celts were Germans? Aren't celts a group of people that were all over Europe, not just Germany? Think outside the box 11:37, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
When they stopped supporting the 'hoops' (celtic football culb) and started supporting rangers football club(sometimes called 'the huns')- bad football joke Perry-mankster 11:41, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Ah, a joke! I love jokes. Think outside the box 11:50, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Ah, sarcasm! I love sarcasm.Perry-mankster 12:34, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Joneleth, you might as easily have asked when an elephant stopped being an elephant and started to be a dove! The answer, of course, is that the Celts and the Germans are two quite different peoples. Once widspread across Europe, the Celts today are largely confined to Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Brittany, and Galicia in north-west Spain. Their cultural and linguistic roots bear no relation at all to that of the Germans. If you are interested in obtaining some more in-depth information on the subject I would recommend The Celts: a History from the Earliest Times to the Present by Bernhard Meier. Clio the Muse 13:17, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I hate to contradict, but the archaeological and genetic evidence do not support the identification of Celts as "a people". What exist instead are peoples speaking Celtic languages and peoples speaking Germanic languages. The former group (Celtic speakers) includes some minorities in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Brittany, and arguably the Isle of Man and Cornwall (where dead languages are being revived). There are currently no Celtic-speaking peoples in northwest Spain, although the ancestors of some people in northwest Spain spoke Celtic languages in ancient times. Germanic-speaking peoples include the national group we know as the Germans. Germanic-speaking peoples also include the English, most other inhabitants of the British Isles, and most Americans of all races. About 2,500 years ago, peoples across northwestern, central, and even parts of southwestern Europe and in Asia Minor spoke Celtic languages. Peoples living in parts of present-day Germany, including the area around the Rhine and Mosel valleys and much of southern Germany, spoke Celtic languages 2,500 years ago. The archaeological and genetic evidence suggests that those peoples' descendants still live in those regions today, although they now speak German, or dialects of German. We lack written records documenting this social and linguistic change, but archaeological evidence and fragmentary written references in Roman records suggest that the change took place over several centuries from around 200 B.C. to around 700 A.D. In many cases, the change happened in two stages: 1) The local warrior elite was defeated by the Romans, and the local Celtic-speaking population was subjected to a Latin-speaking elite; 2) Germanic-speaking warriors defeated the Romans several centuries later and gradually imposed their languge and other elements of their culture on the local population, which may by then have been speaking a form of Vulgar Latin. In some areas in central Germany, there is evidence that Germanic-speaking tribes conquered and intermarried with formerly Celtic-speaking peoples, who then adopted Germanic speech, even before the arrival of the Romans or outside the area under Roman control. Marco polo 14:56, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Do not hate to contradict, Marco; do it, and do it boldly! Clio the Muse 15:05, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Looking for decent maps throughout (modern) history[edit]

Hello,

does anyone know a site (or an article here?) where you can either type in a year (like 1925) and find a world map, or at least find many maps categorized by time?

I am asking because yesterday I was watching a documentary about de Gaulle and his relations with other leaders, and when planning a campaign in Africa, he was looking at a completely different map. So I understand now how weird it is to look at my world map when trying to understand history.

If for instance, I were to to understand international politics in 1963 or whatever, a world map of that year would be extremely useful.

So if anyone has any useful links or whatever, I will be very interested.

Evilbu 19:50, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

And we could have pages here like "Political world in 1925", &c. Very nice request (no ideas, though). -- DLL .. T 19:55, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Try Ancient world maps and Library of Congress Map collections. There are a lot more links on Maps that will probably get you what you need. Nowimnthing 20:22, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
My all-time favorite online map collection is the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection from UTexas. It's a truly amazing resource - maps of all types from all parts of the worlds throughout history - and well organized, too. For instance,here is their section on historical maps of Africa. They also have an excellent links section at the bottom of all the map lists. Lots of other good sites. --Bmk 21:29, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
About seven years ago I saw a professor used some commercial software which would allow you to view political maps of the world (or just of Europe?) for any point in time (you could run it like a movie). It was pretty neat stuff. Searching around, I think it was Centennia Historical Atlas Software, which is limited only to Europe and the Middle East (and not cheap, and from the screenshot doesn't look like it has been worked on lately), if you're interested. --Fastfission 22:55, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Historical person obsessed with synchronizing clocks[edit]

I vaguely remember a story about a person, I think a historical person, possibly a king, who in his old age spent most of his time trying to keep all the clocks in his palace/residence in sync. The story fits nicely into a presentation that I'm working on, if only I were able to remember who this person was. Does the story ring a bell with anyone? --NorwegianBlue talk 15:45, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Probably not the historical figure you are looking for, but Doc Brown in Back to the Future seemed obsessed with syncing clocks. Googlemeister (talk) 16:15, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
There are the monks and Jeremy Clockson in Thief of Time, but that is definitely fiction, and more about balancing time than synchronising it. // BL \\ (talk) 16:31, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks both! I don't think it was fiction, but if it were, the story would be a lot older than these. --NorwegianBlue talk 18:13, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Douglas Adams touches on this idea in one of the Dirk Gentley books. Can't remember which book was which, but it was the one with Reg, the time-traveller. Reg mentions that George IV (I think!) was obsessed with making sure time kept going forward as his past was so horrible he didn't want to revisit it. No idea if there's a historical basis for that, but that may be where you picked up the idea. Matt Deres (talk) 18:38, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Mad king ludwig Ludwig II of Bavaria immediately springs to minds - but does seem to be the one, then there is King George III who was mad, and introduced a tax on all clocks, then there is Charles II of England and Louis XVI of France both possibly fond of clocks - at a time when clocks where new scientific instruments, both having quite a few clocks. These might be it.77.86.47.174 (talk) 19:47, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
There is an anecdote that Immanuel Kant was a perfectionist about time. When going for his daily walk at a certain hour the inhabitants of the town set their watches accordingly. It is said that he was always on time. Another anecdote, however, tells the story of Kant reading a book by Hume, which kept him indoors for several days. Unsurprisingly, when Kant stopped showing up on his daily walk, the people of the town became worried of Mr Kant's health status.Ostracon (talk) 09:39, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I remember the anecdote as saying that it was when Kant departed from his rigid daily schedule that the inhabitants of Koenigsberg first knew that the French revolution might be really serious... AnonMoos (talk) 10:15, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Found the source -- that's how it's told in Chapter 3 of The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848 by E.J. Hobsbawm... AnonMoos (talk) 10:26, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
George III, I believe. Rhinoracer (talk) 10:43, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks everyone. I've done a bit of googling based on the alternatives offered, without finding references to the story I'm looking for. I'm pretty sure it wasn't Kant. Ludwig rang a bell with me, but I've found no reference to the story itself, i.e. a person trying to syncronize the clocks just for the sake of it, doing a difficult but pointless task. Given that the story appears to be less well known that I thought, does anyone have suggestions for alternatives? A historical person doing a laborious meticulous task, just for the sake of getting it exactly right, even though it's pretty obvious that getting it exactly right is unimportant? --NorwegianBlue talk 12:50, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I suppose Sisyphus wouldn't count, since his is not a voluntary task? TomorrowTime (talk) 13:28, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Correct. Moreover, the task should be meticulous, with pointless attention to detail. --NorwegianBlue talk 19:09, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Edward VII famously went in the other direction. --Sean 14:08, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Found it! The person was Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, after his abdication in 1556. The story is mentioned here. Quote: There, he spent his last days fishing or trying to synchronize his sizeable collection of clocks (he is said to have exclaimed once, "How could I have united all my dominions if I cannot even make these clocks strike the hour together?"). --NorwegianBlue talk 17:48, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Resolved

Historical person obsessed with synchronizing clocks - request for references[edit]

I asked this question a week or two ago:

I vaguely remember a story about a person, I think a historical person, possibly a king, who in his old age spent most of his time trying to keep all the clocks in his palace/residence in sync. The story fits nicely into a presentation that I'm working on, if only I were able to remember who this person was. Does the story ring a bell with anyone?

Thanks to everyone who responded!

I knew who my source was (my 89 years old dad, an amateur, aficionado historian throughout his life). But I was reluctant to ask him, because I believed that he would be unable to remember the details, and I wanted to spare him the pain of facing his age-related loss of memory. Nevertheless, when I saw that the google-fu of myself and the rest of the RD-regulars was insufficient to solve the problem, I asked him. He was unable to answer directly, but gave me enough information about the time period and location to do a more targeted search, and I found that the person was Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, after his abdication in 1556. When I called my dad to tell him that his information had been sufficient to identify the person, he had remembered who it was too. The only mention of the story that I've been able to locate on the web, is this one: this one. I've checked with the history books that I have, which confirm that Charles V indeed had an interest in clocks, but they do not mention the synchronization story.

My question: I realize that the story may be apocryphal, but nevertheless, I would very much like references to sources which mention the story. So to anyone who would take a look in their bookshelf, and check it out, I'd be very grateful. Thanks. --NorwegianBlue talk 21:59, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

The story may well be apocryphal - it's also possible that you've conflated two charles V into one
From [1]

He spent much time, it is said, trying to make two clocks keep time with each other, and could not do it. At length, in despair, he cried out, "I cannot even make two clocks keep time together, and yet I set myself to force a million souls to conform to one belief." (Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall "History of Germany")

it might be worth researching Juanelo Turriano [2] "1535 - 1538 - Juanelo Torriano makes clocks for Emperor Charles V."
Just to confuse things there's a different Charles V
"In 1370, Charles V of France gave an order that all clocks were to be set by the magnificent clock in his palace; he was the ruler of lands and now would be ruler of time. " [3]
Also in another place the story is confirmed - it is said that Charles V tried to synchronise all clocks (of the realm presumably) the imperial clock, (also mentions may be a myth) [4] sources Jacques Le Goff, and Gerhard Dohrn-Van Rossum (rebuttal)
The potential for confusion is definately there...83.100.251.196 (talk) 22:40, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Mein gott! - here's another [5] quoted in non-historical paper

When Charles V retired in weariness from the greatest throne in the world to the solitude of the monastery at Yuste, he occupied his leisure for some weeks trying to regulate two clocks. It proved very difficult. One day, it is recorded, he turned to his assistant and said: “To think that I attempted to force the reason and conscience of thousands of men into one mould, and I cannot make two clocks agree!” (Havelock Ellis, The Task of Social Hygiene, Chapter 9)

83.100.251.196 (talk) 22:47, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

It now seems clear that what we need to do is synchronize our Charles V's! --Anonymous, 09:10 UTC, September 24, 2009.

Thanks a lot, 83.100! I see that there is indeed a potential for confusion. We have two Charles V's with an interest in clocks. Nevertheless, there's no doubt that my dad was referring to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and not to Charles V of France aka Charles the wise, who lived two centuries earlier, at a time when mechanical clocks had hardly reached infancy. Maybe this coincidence could have affected secondary sources themselves? Your sources Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall, "History of Germany" and Paul Krzyzanowski tell stories that fit well with the point that I would like to make, and I think I'll be pragmatically selective about my sources for the purpose of this talka. If anyone has access to authoritative sources that mention the story (whether it be Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor or Charles the wise of France), I'd love to hear about it. --NorwegianBlue talk 23:35, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
aI asked the original question because I wanted to use the story in a presentation that I'm working on. --NorwegianBlue talk 11:49, 25 September 2009 (UTC)