Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 November 9

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November 9[edit]

Bush statement to Musharraf[edit]

"You can't be the president and the head of the military at the same time," George Bush said to Pervez Musharraf, according to Reuters. But isn't George Bush the commander in chief of the American military? F 01:02, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

That's right, he's the decider, and he can do anything he needs to wage his war! But in a less snarky answer, technically he is a civilian, not a commissioned officer. Does that matter in a world of unitary executive theory? Is it yet again a statement made only about the present situation, not generalizable? Who knows. Are you really expecting Bush to be making statements about the limits of one guy's power that he would also apply to himself? I mean, come on, that's not his deal—he's the decider! -- 02:33, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
I heard the same speech and had the same thought. He's just plain given up on trying not to look like a hypocrite. It does not matter that Bush is not an officer and does not wear a uniform. The highest general answers to Bush. —Nricardo 04:31, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, he also said that "free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction", so what can you do? --Sean 16:07, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Under the Constitution of Pakistan, The President is the head of the Armed Forces, similar to the situation in the US. The problem with Musharraf is that he has also (unconstitutionally) retained his post of Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army, and Chiefs of Staff can issue direct orders to the military, whereas Presidents can't. This isn't just Bush making random criticisms; it's been a major issue of Musharraf's presidency. He's said he's going to resign his Army post several times, but never has. FiggyBee 05:59, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Are you asserting that a *US* president can't make a direct order? I've never heard that--Sean 16:07, 9 November 2007 (UTC) before. --Sean 16:07, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
The US is unusual amongst republics in that the President is in the Chain of Command, while the Chiefs of Staff aren't. So no, apparently the US President can. Sorry. FiggyBee 05:01, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Six Questions to your favorite author[edit]

If,you could ask six questions to your favorite author,what would they be. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:06, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Q.1. Dear Edward de Vere, how do you feel about an illiterate nobody gaining the credit for your works? -- JackofOz 01:20, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Q.1. Dear Ayn Rand, what do you think of how the world is today? Marlith T/C 02:22, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Q.1 Dear Thomas Hardy, how are you getting on with the President of the Immortals? Xn4 04:20, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Q.1 Dear Shakespeare, don't you think that this farce is funnier than anything you ever wrote? —Kevin Myers 09:31, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
I rather suspect, Kevin, that he will be too busy laughing to give you an answer, especially when you tell him who the contenders for his crown are! Stat magni nominis umbra. Clio the Muse 23:07, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Q.1 Dear Terry Pratchett, where do you get your ideas? (authors love answering this question, it's their favourite). 09:42, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Schenectady, of course... AnonMoos 11:06, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Q.1 Dear Robert Jordan don't you wish you had wrapped up the last two books a bit quicker and gotten the last one finished? (Not my favourite, favourite author, but the question I would most like to ask). Lanfear's Bane | t 16:38, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Women on the stage[edit]

When did women first perform on the stage in Britain? I know that they were excluded during the late 16th Century, but was this a permanent or cyclical thing? Does this exclusion explain all the gender-bending plots in Shakespeare's plays? And, JackofOz, are you serious or just having a stir? LuckyThracian 01:33, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Most certainly not having a stir. See Shakespeare authorship question for starters. Whether it was de Vere or someone else, imo it sure as hell wasn't Will Shakspere from Stratford. "As far as is known and can be proved, Shakspere never wrote a complete sentence in his life" (Mark Anderson, "Shakespeare by Another Name", Gotham Books, 2005; p. xxxii) -- JackofOz 01:40, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Coming soon on the Reference Desk: why Paul is dead, why the moon landings never happened, and how Diana was killed by Prince Philip in a white Fiat Uno... Malcolm Starkey 07:27, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
This isn't the place to debate this, but I'll happily do so elsewhere with anyone who is interested enough to read the literature and make intelligent comment on it, whether for or against. -- JackofOz 10:48, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Mary Saunderson was the first woman to play female Shakespeare roles professionally. Wrad 02:37, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Puritan attitudes (and fear of political satire) saw all theatre banned under the Commonwealth. That seems to be the divide; before the Civil War, there are no actresses; after the Restoration, there are. FiggyBee 05:40, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Okay, thanks Jack, I believe you're in earnest. As to what you believe, I'll look at the references you gave. As the cops say (but rarely practice): Your mind is like a parachute - it works best when it's open.

Thanks to Wrad and FiggyBee. As a clarification: I may have led the wrong way by mentioning "the stage" and Shakespeare. I had the idea that women performed in travelling troupes of players in Medieval times (in Passion plays, pantomimes, etc.). The Romans permitted actresses (didn't they?), so I'm trying to peg at which point and why they were prohibited. (And, by the way, was this a uniquely British thing?) LuckyThracian 00:55, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

The Crucible[edit]

Might you consider Book Burnings as a witch-hunt like that of Arthur Miller's The Crucible or the McCarthy hearings? Thanks! Marlith T/C 02:21, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Witch-hunts are generally attempts to get people to blame and people to incriminate others. Book burnings, by contrast, are just pure hate tactics and censorship. So I don't see them as being the same things, though the root causes—fear of others, fear of ideas, peddling of paranoia and hatred—are often the same. -- 02:35, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Do you know what Heinrich Heine said about book burning, Marlith? "Whenever books are burned, people also in the end are burned." Well, books were burned in his homeland. Where thought is attacked, where the heterodox, the unusual, the different are hunted down the end process is often the same; and in the modern world witches assume many shapes. Clio the Muse 03:37, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Boy Scout handshake[edit]

The BSA changed thier handshake in 1972 so as not to include the littel finger. Why? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dr Zog (talkcontribs) 02:39, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

I think it was to make it the same as the Scout handshakes in the rest of the world. As I recall, only the BSA did the handshake with a spread little finger at the time, the rest of the world didn't. RlevseTalk 11:27, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm a bit puzzled by this - how do they not include the little finger? In the UK the Scout handshake is the same as a normal handshake, but done with the left hand as a sign of trust. DuncanHill 11:29, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

From the 7th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook (1971):

To give the Scout handclasp, extend your left hand with the three fingers outstretched, the little finger and the thumb spread out. Interlock your fingers with your friends fingers and clasp his hand firmly

This replicated the three finger Scout salute and Scout sign.

The 8th edition of the Scout Handbook (1972):

It is made like a right handshake of greeting, except Scouts use the left hand. The little finger is not separated from the other fingers. The handclasp for Scouts in the United States is the same for Scouting in all the other countries of the world.

There were a huge number of changes in the BSA program in 1972 with the introduction of the Improved Scouting Program, somewhat similar to the UK changes in 1967. When I joined in 1974, I was taught the old-style handshake and probably used it for several years. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 12:46, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Fascinating stuff, thank you! Any idea when the BSA (I always think of motorbikes when I read that!) started using the little-finger-less handshake? DuncanHill 12:58, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
As noted above, the handclasp was changed in 1972. My 1933 edition notes that Scouts from other countries uses a standard left-handed clasp. The 1911 edition does not mention the handclasp at all, and sadly I do not have a 1927 edition in my library. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 14:32, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't make my question clear. I meant, when did BSA start using the handshake with the little finger spread out (which they stopped using in 1972)? DuncanHill 14:35, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
The handclasp appears in the 2nd edition of Handbook for Boys' in 1914. [1] It may have started before that, and may have started as a local practice. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 18:46, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Thank you again - fascinating link. DuncanHill 11:29, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
In the 1946 edition of the Boy Scout Handbook of the BSA, we have in our Scout Archive it is included, in "Wie man Jungpfadfinder wird" (6th edition,1970, Boy Scouts of Austria), also in "Unterwegs" (Boy Scouts and Girl Guides of Austria,2nd edition 1979) it is included,it is not included in THILO (Swiss Boy Scouts,19th edition 1980), Baden-Powell "Scouting for Boys"(18th edition), "Wie man Pfadfinder wird"(Scouting for Boys) (World Brotherhood edition (Weltbruderschaftsausgabe)1955, German edition by the Boy Scouts of Austria)-Phips (talk) 17:07, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Bellamy salute[edit]

A few years ago I looked up the "Bellamy salute" on and I saw a picture of a children in school saluting the US flag with the "Hitler salute". The only copy of the picture I can find now has all over the picture. Where can I find a clear picture of it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dr Zog (talkcontribs) 02:59, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

The Library of Congress has quite a few such as [2] and [3]. Foxhill 03:16, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
The link at the bottom of the Bellamy salute article has a low resolution version. [4]. Is this what you were thinking of? Keria 10:06, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
And many more versions in Googs [5]. Keria 10:08, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Winston Churchill[edit]

Is there anywhere possible for me to lay my hands on a collection of Winnies speeches throughout the second world war--Nhelm 06:13, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Not exactly what you asked for, obviously, but a collection of his speeches was published in 1941. It has appeared under various titles. The original title was Into Battle; in North America it was Blood, Sweat, and Tears; it has also been published as Their Finest Hour and Churchill in his Own Words. The second of these four titles is interesting, since the actual phrase in one of his best-known speeches, which must be in the book, was "Blood, toil, tears, and sweat". But in fact he had also used the form "blood, sweat, and tears" in a 1939 speech, about the Spanish Civil War. (Not haven't actually seen the book, I don't know if that one's in it.)
--Anon, 10:31 UTC, November 9, 2007.
There are around 20 of his wartime speeches here Гedʃtǁcɭ 10:33, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Haven't looked but I would think that Wikisource has many of them. Edit: Ah, yes, here is the entry: [6] Dismas|(talk) 16:47, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Nhelm, you might try His Finest Hour: the War Speeches of Winston Churchill ed. Graham Stewart (2007), which contains fifty of his speeches with background information and historical notes by the editor. There are other collections, including one edited by his own grandson, but these cover his political life more widely. Clio the Muse 00:19, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Greatest military campaigns in history[edit]

What do people think the two greatest military campaigns in history were? 11:25, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

No actual campaigning took place, but the Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years' War has to rank as one of the greatest wars in history, since in all that time not a single person was killed or even harmed. Algebraist 13:11, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
A personal favourite of mine is the War of Jenkins' Ear. Our article says "The war was also characterised by relatively indecisive naval operations and enormous privateering by both sides. The war eventually died down due to lack of troops as resources were diverted by war in Europe — many had succumbed to disease — without any gain of territory on either side." Makes it sound like one of those games of Monopoly that no-one can be bothered to finish. Gandalf61 16:12, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Not so much a campaign but a speed war - Anglo-Zanzibar War, 38 minutes for a war is terribly quick. You could fit three or four of those between lunch and dinner and still have time to watch Countdown. Lanfear's Bane | t 16:34, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Easy-Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign and the hit-and-run offensive carried out by Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck in East Africa during the Great War. Both made brilliant and imaginative use of limited resources, concentrating and dispersing as the occasion demanded. Clio the Muse 00:39, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

The re-capture of Rome by Belisarius? -SandyJax 21:57, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Prostitution in the middle ages[edit]

What was the attitude of the church and state towards prostitution in the middle ages? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:21, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

The same as it always is,'s a very old sin but one of society's necessary evils. Any town of reasonable size would have a brothel or two, but as long as they were tucked away in the bad part of town they were tolerated. I can't think of any examples of high-powered prostitutes like the classical Hetaira, although the Church was briefly accused of being ruled by prostitutes (the "Pornocracy"). For a canon law (i.e. religious) perspective, James Brundage's article "Prostitution in the Medieval Canon Law" will be useful (Signs, Vol. 1, No. 4, Summer, 1976, pp. 825-845), as will the books "Sexual Practices and the Medieval Church" by Vern L. Bullough and James Brundage, and "Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe" by Brundage. Off the top of my head I'm not sure where to look for a secular perspective, and I can't vouch for the accuracy of the rest of these, but they look useful as well, from a brief Google search: this article, the "Medieval Prostitution" by Jacques Rossiaud (1984, translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, 1988), "Prostitution in Medieval Society: The History of an Urban Institution in Languedoc" by Leah Lydia Otis, "Common Women : Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England" by Ruth Mazo Karras, etc. Adam Bishop 15:16, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

London's licensed brothels, located in a street known as Bankside, upstream from London Bridge, were all closed in 1546. Some of these establishments dated at least as far back as the fourteenth century, perhaps even all the way back to the twelfth century, to the reign of Henry II. Indeed, up to the Reformation, the whole practice of prostitution was tolerated and regulated, though brothels tended to be consigned to the fringes of town, along with the leper houses. The woman were usually supervised by some public functionary. In Paris he was known as le roi des ribauds-the king of the ribalds. In Geneva, in contrast, the women were allowed to regulate themselves, appointing their own la reine du bordel-queen of the brothel.

The Medieval Church certainly viewed fornication as a mortal sin-and people may remember Chaucer's Summoner, always on the quest for 'bawdy women'-though, in practice, the clerical authorities took a fairly liberal approach when it came to the whole question of enforcement. This involved acceptance of licensed brothels as an 'necessary evil', as Adam has said. Thomas of Chobham was prepared to allow that the closure of such establishments might lead to even greater offenses. Even St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the greatest of the Church Fathers, took the same pragmatic view, saying that "If you do away with harlots, the world will be consumed with lust." For Thomas Aquinas prostitution was likened to a sewer in a palace; take it away and the building would fill with pollution. As Thomas viewed it, a world without prostitutes was a world full of sodomites, by far the greatest offense!

So, for both Church and State, the message was disapproval but acceptance. The Reformers brought disapproval and suppression, part of a more general attack of the lax moral standards of the old Catholic world. Prostitution survived, of course, but under increasingly adverse conditions. But the old world had ended; the world of Falstaff, of the Merry Wives of Windsor, of Nell Quickly, swept away by a new puritanism, depicted by Shakespeare at the end of Henry IV Part II, when Henry V decides to clear the whores from Cheapside. Clio the Muse 01:35, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Not strictly apropos to the discussion, but Gropecunt Lane may be of interest if you're reading aroud the topic :) GeeJo (t)(c) • 17:53, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Enforcement of UK Company Law[edit]

Who or what institution in the UK would enfore company law in cases of submitting false accounts, failing to inform creditors of insolvency and wrongful trading if the violations are unde £100,000? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Acjwd (talkcontribs) 16:05, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

That would be the county constabulary for the area in which the company had its registered office, and specifically the Fraud squad within it. For an office in London (not the City of London), it would be the Economic and Specialist Crime Command (SCD 6) in the Specialist Crime Department of the Metropolitan Police. Sam Blacketer 11:35, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

First Century BC history question[edit]

Who were the children of Alexander Maccabeus and Alexandra Maccabeus? Apparently they had at least a half dozen children - what was their names? This married couple were cousins with Alexander Jannaeus being their grandfather. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:40, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Mariamne (second wife of Herod) says that she was one of their children. No others are mentioned, but you might want to read Antiquities of the Jews (the book, not the article) to see if Josephus mentions others. Corvus cornix 01:23, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the excellent lead on Antiquities of the Jews, (the book). Meanwhile looking online (the articles) it appears to be two, Mariamne and her brother Aristobulus III. This is based on the Jewish Encyclopedia (1903) article on Mariamne where her mother sent Cleopatra pictures of "her two children" to persuade Marc Anthony to make Aristobulus the new king. However there appears to be a dating problem with the article Mariamne (second wife of Herod). It shows her father and mother being born in the year 63 B.C., making each then 9 years old when Mariamne was born (54 B.C.), is that correct? Mariamne married Herod the great in 37 B.C. Then apparently between 36 B.C. and 30 B.C. Mariamne had 4 or 5 chidren. Wikipedia says 4 and articles say 5 (3 boys and 2 girls, with one boy dying at a very young age with no name known). Apparently Mariamne's father (Alexander) was also known by the name "Aristobulus", could that be correct? Are they the same? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:51, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Any reading of the history of the descendants of the Hasmoneans is doomed to the horrors of repetitive / ambiguous names. Rather you than me; you're a brave soul... but the article I just linked to might help you find some other sources. --Dweller 10:57, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Global Society[edit]

How will globalization effect the preservation of local cultures and customs? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:54, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

A good book for this is The World is Flat by Thomas Freidman. He claims that modern technology allows a globalized world to coexist with localized customs without destroying them. Wrad 19:07, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Tyler Cowen has written two very good books on this, reaching the same sort of conclusion as Freidman but more scholarly: Creative Destruction: How Globalization Is Changing the World's Cultures and (more of a case study) Markets and Cultural Voices: Liberty vs. Power in the Lives of Mexican Amate Painters. --zenohockey 03:36, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Holy Crowns[edit]

Holy Roman emperors were crowned four times, in the four capitals of the empire. Why, when the imperial title gave them authority over all? 19:20, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

The answer is simply this: there was always something transcendent about the Imperial title, something beyond the regal, and limited, crowns of Germany, of Burgundy, of Italy. To understand the difference is to understand both the nature, and the illusion, of the Holy Roman Empire. The Emperor was not just another ruler: he was, in theory, the universal monarch, the temporal equivalent of the Pope. The paradox was that the title did not carry the same substantive rights over territory as the lesser titles. In a discussion with some leading jurists Frederick Barbarossa is alleged to have asked if it was really true that, as Emperor, he was 'lord of the world', to which reply was given by one, 'Not as respects ownership.' In other words, his dominion was over men, not land. But in the feudal world land was everything, hence the importance of the lesser titles, even though they only served to undermine the universal ideal. Clio the Muse 02:13, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Understand also that the nature of the Emperor changed over time. Charlemagne's Empire was rather more centralised and firmly based than poor old Charles V's. By Charlie V, the Emperor title was perhaps the grandest of a clutch of titles he possessed, but one of the emptiest. He had far more power, if not prestige, through being King of Spain than Emperor of any notional Empire. The title had a lot to do with Papal aspirations and societal yearnings for dimly (arguably incorrectly) -remembered Roman ideals of imperium and stability. --Dweller 10:54, 12 November 2007 (UTC)


What was a major anthropological find in the year 1856? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:59, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

See 1856 in archaeology Rmhermen 21:20, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

They said anthropological, not archeological. I don't have an answer. Sorry. 14:09, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

The two are often grouped together, with arch. being a part of anth. The answer to your question is indeed on the list as it is not properly an archaeological find, but rather a palaeo-anthropological one. Hint hint. Matt Deres 15:42, 12 November 2007 (UTC)