Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2012 September 13

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September 13[edit]

Hanging Gardens of Babylon[edit]

In the "Scholarship and controversy" section, there is a sentence: "There is also no mention of Nebuchadnezzar's wife Amyitis (or any other wives), although a political marriage to a Median or Persian would not have been unusual." If we didn't know if Nebuchadnezzar had a wife or not then why this article confirms Amytis of Media was indeed his wife. The article also gave a birth date and dead date of Amytis, I wonder if they are actual real information or made up.Pendragon5 (talk) 00:47, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

That refers to "lack of documentation in contemporaneous Babylonian sources", leaving open sources outside Babylon, and/or later sources. For example, later sources could have been based on "contemporaneous Babylonian sources", which have since been lost. Unfortunately, the farther back you go, the more difficult it is to tell fact from myth, and we must rely on second-hand or third-hand sources, or even worse. StuRat (talk) 01:17, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

This page summarises most of the sources that deal with the hanging gardens. Many of them are lost or fragmentary but the story was repeated by later historians. The whole period was a complicated mess of competing empires and it is likely there were several gardens including one by Semiramis 200 years before Nebuchadnezzar. Calling Amyitis the wife of Nebuchadnezzar seems to originate, long after, in Eusebius who got his information from Abydenus who in turn seems to use Berossus. The information from Berossus is quoted (probably via Polyhistor) by Josephus but the queen is not named. Ctesias on the other hand mentions Amytis (note single I) as the wife of Cyrus the Great and Ctesias is the one who places the garden earlier with Semiramis. Both Amyitis and Amytis could be the same person, a remarried widow, or two women confused. No idea where the dates come from, they seem little more than a plausible guess. The whole subject of the gardens is a romantic legend and any truth there may be is blurred behind the stories the later historians embroidered from it. The wikipedia article is just the latest in a long line of texts misusing sources and presenting conjecture as truth. meltBanana 15:28, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

You'd think some enterprising person would make hanging gardens, in a place they would call Babylon, just so they could say "Even if the original was a myth, we have the real thing now !". A Las Vegas casino named Babylon comes to mind. StuRat (talk) 21:56, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Personal attack removed
Thanks, i'd almost forgotten how moronic this site and its inhabitants were. meltBanana 22:31, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

compositional balance vs composition[edit]

What is the difference between "compositional balance" and "composition"?Smallman12q (talk) 00:59, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Context please ? StuRat (talk) 01:12, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Compositional balance is an aspect of composition -- it means having a composition that is balanced. Composition is the way that items in the scene are arranged -- balance means that they are distributed so as to create a center of interest, similarly to the way that massive objects can be distributed to create a center of mass. Looie496 (talk) 01:41, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Are you talking about photography, writing, or something else ? StuRat (talk) 01:46, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Resolved: I was thinking of art...Smallman12q (talk) 22:41, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Can I be Regarded as a Philosopher being an Autodidact?[edit]

close oft repeated req for opinion
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Please give a straight forward answer and seriously and briefly explain. Thank You very much!

Being an autodidact in philosophy while academically undertaking a Major in Political Science can I be considered and regarded as a philosopher not by just mere entitlement but by the notion that one creates and studies philosophical world view as anybody of such field does regardless of academic degrees? I am so disturbed with some comments that it is only through credentials that one becomes a philosopher I would would like to defy and counter this confined notion by proving that it is not the only means, thus I require supporting views of this topic so once again, can I be considered and regarded a philosopher being an autodidact. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BT-7A (talkcontribs) 02:33, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

This question has been posted repeatedly, the inquirer knows the consensus on this, but requests that we provide a different answer--we do not do opinion here. μηδείς (talk) 02:39, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Baja California and the Mexican-American War[edit]

Why did the U.S. choose to draw the line at the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the point that it did? Why not attempt to go a little farther, and say, ask for Baja California or other Mexican territories? Futurist110 (talk) 05:32, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Once again with the "Why didn't" questions. The terms of the treaty are explained in quite some good detail in the article you describe. The article states that the U.S. had considered asking for Baja California, but when one considers that the ultimate goal of the treaty was to secure a workable Pacific coastline for the U.S., there wasn't much impetus to get Baja California: there weren't any good ports or mineral resources the U.S. coveted. The line was picked somewhat arbitrarily, but the mechanism for picking it is described exactly in the article: The U.S. wanted San Diego. Through Arizona, the Gila River made a convenient natural boundary, but west of where the Gila empties into the Colorado, there's not a convenient boundary, so the just dropped a ruler on the map and drew one giving the U.S. the port of San Diego. After the Mexican War, there were some putative attempts to grab additional Mexican territories, essentially by soldiers of fortune who had no connection to the U.S. government. See William Walker and Republic of Sonora. Nothing much came of that. But to your original counterfactual question, what about Baja California did the U.S. Government really want or need? They wanted San Diego and San Francisco, and they got that. There's just nothing in Baja that they needed. --Jayron32 05:52, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Baja California had a huge amount of coastline which would be used for vacation resorts as well as for secure military base locations. Futurist110 (talk) 06:26, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Part of the debate in congress (I studied it years ago) was population, even though New Mexico and California had some Mexican population you had American (white) immigrants in NM and Cali as well as present day Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Part of the debate in congress was the feasibility of somehow assimilating and governing huge wide swaths of territory in the mid 1840s, Baja had virtually no white or American immigrant factor and the the extreme southern parts of it actually had larger Mexican populations then NM and Cali combined at that time. Though not in the Congressional debates per se Bajas long and very close coastline to large population centers (relative to back then) in Mexico may not have been desirable, I say this because it was a common theme in the congressional speeches to place the border west of Texas in the middle of "no mans land" basically to draw the line in desert parts away from natural population centers or potential population centers as much as possible. Remember this is an era where the Southern politicians with slavery as the norm thought in terms of racial politics and even purity and northern politicians were weary of taking more and more Mexican territory that could one day out vote the north on issues concerning slavery and abolition, this actually was a local issue in Arizona and New Mexico even parts of southern California in the late 1850s and early 1860s and is the reason Nevada was redrawn to include its southern tip (most maps had Nevada's southern border aligned with Utah's and present day Clark County etc. in Arizona). Arizona had some pro-slavery rumblings in the 1850s so free slave state controlled Congress shrunk it down. Imagine Bloody Kansas and the Missouri Compromise being compounded with Baja North and Baja South or even other Mexican border states seeking admission as "slave states". Was this really a realistic fear for northerners? Was the lack of any history or tradition of "white" immigration into Baja like there was in 1830s and 1840s Cali and NM really a realistic "race mixing" fear of Southern politicians? Doesn't really matter except that it was the pressure cooker and the real "ends" to the annexation "means" that these decisions were hammered out in. Plus after the Louisiana Purchase in the 1810s, East and West Florida in the 1820s, Oregon and now Texas and the Southwest, you would have been laughed off Capitol Hill if you suggested we wouldn't be taking over Mexico, Cuba, etc. in the next 50 years anyway, who knew then that it was pretty much the last major expansion (aside from non-contigious Alaska, Hawaii, PR, VI, Guam).Marketdiamond (talk) 07:57, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Good summation. Thanks for providing that insight. Directly answering Futurist's questions regarding the vacation and military significance of Baja. To put it simply: in the 1840s, neither was a concern at all. People didn't take vacations, at least in the modern sense, so having a place for spring breakers to go and get drunk and laid just wasn't in the thinking. And there also wasn't anything like a "standing army" that the U.S. maintained in times of peace. The modern practice of establishing permanent military bases, either at home or abroad, is a 20th century innovation. Marketdiamond hints at the race politics issues involved in dealing with the Mexican cession, a good read regarding that particular issue is Wilmot Proviso, and the long debate over how to handle the Mexican Cession was one of the direct political causes of the civil war. --Jayron32 12:01, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I wrote a thesis on the Mexican-American war. MarketDiamond's got the main issue, the North did not want to spend lives and money on territory which would presumably be settled by Southerners and increase the slave state vote. See also Manifest Destiny and History_of_Cuba#The_possibility_of_annexation. μηδείς (talk) 18:54, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Thank you very much for all your responses. Yeah, the distance from large population centers, the fear of more slave states, and the lack of whites in Baja California combined seem to make sense and be good factors for this. Futurist110 (talk) 06:44, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

This thread might be resolved, but I can't help adding a bit to it. As usual for me I want to draw on Donald W. Meinig's "geographical history" The Shaping of America (vol. 2 in this case, quotes from pp. 146-154). He devotes a good number of pages to the question of how much of Mexico to annex after Mexico's surrender. Baja California was definitely on the annexation table and desired by some. Early on "a large part of the American public", with "some vociferous supporters in Congress", wanted to annex all of Mexico, but this fizzled, as did the idea of establishing a military protectorate over the whole of Mexico. The main issues for Polk and his cabinet were the Nueces strip (required because the war began over who had sovereignty there), San Francisco Bay and "a broad Pacific frontage". There was no question about the bay, and Mexico yieled it in the first round of negotiations, proposing 37°N. The US wanted a lot more than that though.

  • "Polk and several of cabinet members wanted to annex both Californias and all of Mexico north of 26°N—a belt of territory more than a thousand miles wide north to south and embracing four Mexican territories, three states, and parts of four others. Latitude 26°N was chosen as a simple geometric boundary west from the mouth of the Rio Grande... There were strong supporters for even more..." [such as all of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, and parts of four other states]

Other cabinet members, however, focused on Alta California and "argued for a separation along the Rio Grande to the southern boundary of New Mexico and thence westward to the Pacific", which was soon clarified as 32°N.

  • "The maps they relied on showed such a line intersecting the head of the Gulf of California, giving the United States access to that sea whether or not the whole peninsula was taken. In the end Polk gave way to this 32°N line as the minimum acceptable, with Baja California as desirable but not essential."

For its part Mexico gave up Alta California early on but tried hard to keep New Mexico. When that failed Mexico tried for a boundary along the Gila River to a point on the coast just north of San Diego (approximately 33°N). The US demanded San Diego, correctly pointing out the traditional boundary between Alta and Baja California was south of San Diego.

Finally, Baja California was believed by some to contain rich mineral deposits, as was Sonora. Even after the boundary was settled "many fortune seekers" explored and schemed over Baja California (and Sonora). William Walker, "the restless Tennessee adventurer, sailed from San Francisco with a small force, seized La Paz, the capital of Baja California, and tried to detach that territory and Sonora from Mexican rule..." By that time the US government was trying to acquire the Gadsen Purchase and adventures like Walker's were "an embarrassment". Anyway, point being, the Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty line was a kind of compromise between Polk and some of his cabinet, who wanted a lot more, and others in his cabinet, other politicans and interests, and Mexico itself. Of the question of how much to annex Meinig writes: "No national government had ever faced such a range of apparent possibilities for extending its territory and reshaping itself on such a scale (the nearest precedent, Louisiana, was huge in size but presented in one piece for a simple decision: take it or leave it)." Pfly (talk) 22:30, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Does Anyone remember his Name ?[edit]

Eleven years ago I recall my late Father telling me about a guy he had just read of in the paper who had died. There was an article on him, with the obituary. This guy was alleged to have carried out a payroll robbery in 1969, of the Aulesbrooks biscuit factory here in Christchurch New Zealand, ( our version of the Brinks Job ), but his involvement was never proven. This factory one of the places my Father had worked at in the off seasons from the Freezing Works over the years.

The man in question could have been a good league player, but chose the other side of the tracks, getting involved, allegedly dare I say, in dodgy deals and drugs, from what I understand. There was a news item more recently about his daughter publicising his papers and people were keen on finding if he had had involvement in the robbery, but there was nothing there to indicate that. He may even have seemed a kind of DB Cooper type character locally as well, since in certain circles his reputation was known. Back in the sixties my Dad won a prize in a raffle this man had run, and went with a friend to collect a choice of prize. The friend said to my Dad, " What ever you do, Jim, take the money. If you choose the TV, he will know your address when he delivers it, and come later and burgle it back " - such was this man's reputation. Again, to be clear, I allege, as I am honestly not sure what is officially proven about him, and what is rumour. But now I simply cannot remember his name or find any other reference of him. I asked my Dad's older brother, who may have known even more, and he did recall who I was talking about, but not the man's name. If anyone has any ideas, that would be appreciated. Thank You.Chris the Russian Christopher Lilly 06:52, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Wayne Beri -- Futurist110 (talk) 07:00, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
And the suspected accomplice was Phil Brown. StuRat (talk) 07:01, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
BTW, you had all the info needed to do a Google search, which is what I, and presumably Futurist, did. The search term I used was:
1969 "Aulesbrooks biscuit factory" robbery Christchurch "New Zealand"
The first hit was that article. The quotation marks means those words must be kept together as one search term, in that order. StuRat (talk) 07:33, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Thank You so much. I will have a look at that. Then I will give his name a mention to my Uncle, which may jog his memory as well. We normally tried to keep away from that element of Society - not to suggest we are better than anyone else because we are not, but we made a consicious choice as to which side of the Law we prefer. My mother has told me though that one of the Bassett Road machine gun murderers ( or should I say alleged ? ) married a woman who was the sister of a man one of my mother's aunts had married. At the time Jorgensen disappeared in Dec 1984 near Kaikoura, I was not aware of that. I do believe he was spotted in Australia a few years later. Thanks again. Chris the Russian Christopher Lilly 02:23, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

You're welcome, I'll mark this Q resolved. BTW, why do all your posts have double spaces between every word (which Wikipedia, fortunately, does not display) ? StuRat (talk) 14:23, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

Cory Monteith and categories[edit]

Hi!, I'm fan of Canadian actor Cory Monteith, and I just love him because of his early life and his struggles with alcohol and substance abuse. I love the way he turned around his life and became a good person. But my question is, should he be regarded as Category:People self-identifying as alcoholics or Category:People self-identifying as substance abusers?. Thank you. Timothyhere (talk) 15:40, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Hi. This question would be more suitable for the Help desk, which answers questions about how to edit Wikipedia. Our article states (with a reference to an article in Parade Magazine) that he "began to drink, smoke pot, and skip school" and had a "drug and alcohol addiction". These statements would seem to suggest he could be considered in both categories, although given his subsequent 'drying out', maybe he would not necessarily self-identify as either any more. In any case, if you wish to edit Wikipedia to add or change a page's category, just go right ahead (although be aware that articles regarding living people must meet particular standards of verifiability). If you need assistance with editing, this can be found at the Help desk or by asking at the new editors' help page. - Cucumber Mike (talk) 17:27, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

How many Canada's and UK's soldiers have died in Afghanistan?[edit]

Thank you. Timothy. Timothyhere (talk) 16:38, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

"Since February 2002, 158 Canadian soldiers have died in the war in Afghanistan or in support of the war."[1]
"Between 2001 and May 2012 a total of 414 British military personnel have died on operations in Afghanistan."[2]
Though please note these numbers are out of date so the real figure will be slightly higher. A8875 (talk) 16:43, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
The official list is kept here — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:33, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
This list of UK military deaths in Afghanistan including the latest death on 09 September 2012 has a total of 427. This attachment breaks the figures down - 376 to hostile action, 33 in accidents and 18 "others", which includes 7 killed in "friendly fire" incidents. Alansplodge (talk) 19:41, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Shadowjams (talk) 11:12, 18 September 2012 (UTC)


What college or university in the United States teaches Ethiopian as a language?--The Emperor's New Spy (talk) 16:46, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

There is no "Ethiopian language". There are hundreds of languages spoken natively in Ethiopia, though the Amharic language is the official language for business and government purposes; and English is also widespread. Assuming you mean Amharic, this document lists several major American universities that have a course in Amharic. --Jayron32 17:02, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Best performance by a Communist party in a free election[edit]

"Thus, in the 1946 election, the KSČ won 38% of the vote. This was the best-ever performance by a European Communist party in a free election"[3]. Was this 38% record a world-wide record as well?A8875 (talk) 18:17, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Offhand, the country I can think of with the strongest Communist Party which is also generally held to have free elections is Greece, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE)'s best year was 1958, when they secured 24% of the vote, so your quote for the Czechoslovak election of 1946 may be the best I can think of. There aren't many democratic countries with a strong, truly Communist party. --Jayron32 19:03, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
A bit more: Wikipedia has an article titled List of communist parties which you could comb through to see if any such communist party has won better than 38% of the vote in a free election. --Jayron32 19:06, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Some more. In Cypriot legislative election, 2011 the Cypriot communist party won a plurality of the votes at 31%, roughly the same amount as in Cypriot legislative election, 2006 and in Cypriot legislative election, 2001 it was a little less than 35%. Looking back through the rest of the Cypriot election, the AKEL, their Communist party, consistantly polls between 30-35% as far back as Wikipedia has records for. Again, it doesn't beat your 38%, but it is another strong showing by a Communist party in an open election. --Jayron32 19:11, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
No contender for a single party, but four different communist parties together received some 52% of the votes in the Nepalese_Constituent_Assembly_election,_2008#Results. --Roentgenium111 (talk) 19:12, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
The Italian Communist Party got 34.4% of the vote in the Italian general election, 1976. --Viennese Waltz 19:15, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
  • The Sandanistas got a substantial majority in the 1984 Nicaraguan elections, which I believe most observers considered to be free and fair. Looie496 (talk) 20:17, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation got the most votes for a party in 1999 with 24.29% of the votes.
Sleigh (talk) 02:16, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
    • President Aleksander Kwaśniewski of Poland was a former communist who ran under the social democrat banner and was widely described in the West as a communist. He won with 51% of the vote and served two terms. μηδείς (talk) 02:57, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
The Left Democratic Front in the southern Indian state of Kerala is often successful in state elections. In the Kerala State legislative assembly election, 2011, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) won 45 of the 140 seats, while their LDF allies Communist Party of India won another 13 seats and the Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Socialist Party (India) won 2 seats - that's a total of 60 seats or 43% of the seats. The LDF took nearly 45% of the popular vote.
In the 2006 election the LDF took over 48% of the popular vote, winning 70% of the seats and led the State Assembly for the next 5 years. Astronaut (talk) 18:18, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) took 49.7% of the vote in the West Bengal state assembly election, 2006, as part of the Left Front. Actually, I suspect they will have got higher shares in the early 90s. Matt's talk 16:04, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
An even more impressive score for CPI(M) was the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council election, 2010, where the Left Front won all seats. --Soman (talk) 16:44, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

If we limit the query to Europe, then I think the Moldovan parliamentary election, 2001 is the highest percentage in a nationwide parliamentary poll. --Soman (talk) 16:46, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

EU border crossing rule[edit]

Poland–Russia border contains this tantalizing sentence:

More crossings are being built, as the EU standards require Poland to operate at least seven for that border.

Is there a rule that no point of a (non-Schengen!) land border should be more than 20 km from a crossing, or what? (The border in question is 232 km long.) —Tamfang (talk) 21:18, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Maybe this from the Conseil de l'Europe is useful:
"Therefore, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers... invite Poland... to establish an adequate number of border crossings at the international land border of the Kaliningrad Region, in particular with regard to small cross-border traffic including local trains and buses" and later "Border controls exist for decades at the common border with the Kaliningrad Region, but the limited number of border crossings does not correspond to the actual demand."
Seems it might be demand led - hardly an "EU standard" requiring such a thing, even if that is what the reference in Poland–Russia border says. Astronaut (talk) 18:04, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Looking for a novel[edit]

I read an excerpt of a novel over a year ago and I forgot its title. I think I read it on Google books? It's also well known enough to have its own Wikipedia article. As much as I can remember, it's about an alcoholic writer who pens a novel in a short amount of time and has a sexual obsession with a clay sculptor. Oh, and the cover is yellow. That's all I remember! Anyone with the title would receive a billion thanks! Also, sorry that's not much to go on! (talk) 22:48, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Could you be thinking of Charles Bukowski's novel Women (based in part on his real relationship with sculptor Linda King)? -- Finlay McWalterTalk 12:33, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Here is a picture of a book cover. Also article titled Women (novel). Bus stop (talk) 12:40, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

That's the novel! Thank you so much, guys. I really appreciate your assistance. :) (talk) 19:14, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

The "wandering Arabs and Tartar hordes" of 1869 Pennsylvania[edit]

Pennsylvania's voter ID law was recently upheld by an appellate court, which cited an 1869 precedent much after the spirit of the current legislation, in which the court further explained that to deny the tougher voting rules for Philadelphia voters "would be to place the vicious vagrant, the wandering Arabs, the Tartar hordes of our large cities, on a level with the virtuous and good man." [4]

But the thing is, I don't have much knowledge about vast numbers of Arabs and Tartars in 1869 Pennsylvania. Where did they come from? What happened to their descendants? Wnt (talk) 22:52, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

I believe the court was speaking metaphorically. Wrad (talk) 23:00, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, MEH-ta-PHOR. μηδείς (talk) 02:47, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't buy it. Metaphor for what? What meaning would "Arab" and "Tartar" be taken to indicate? How did they pick those two races? Doing some quick searching I'm finding that Tatars were described as "Russians" in old sources, [5] and though only 66,282 arrived from 1898 to 1909, 50% of them settled in Pennsylvania and New York.[6] Of course, that is not a good indication of what the situation was in 1869. It's hard for me to say (I'm not good with faces and such) but it seems to me like the woman on the top right in Tatars might remind me of the unique appearance of people from Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which, though I don't know what it is, seemed to have some unique recognizable local racial identity when I passed through some time ago. Indeed I see that article lists Russians as one of the nationalities who came there in the 1860s. I'm still way out of my depth on this, but I'm thinking it could be some kind of real reference. Wnt (talk) 06:19, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
In the second half of the 19th century down to Edwardian times, "street Arab" or "city Arab" could refer to street children (who weren't ethnically Arab at all of course; I would guess that it alluded to their being "nomadic" i.e. homeless). Tartars is probably a quasi-literary reference to ravaging medieval Mongol hordes (Gengis Khan etc.). AnonMoos (talk) 07:13, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
"Arab" also used to refer specifically to Bedouin, who were of course nomadic (and stereotypically thieving, etc). That's what T.E. Lawrence means when he says "my Arabs" for example, although in that case those are actual Arabs (and several decades later). I assume this also has something to do with 19th century interest in anything Middle Eastern or faux-Middle Eastern. Also from a few decades later, there was the belly-dancer(s) Little Egypt, and the song "The Streets of Cairo". Adam Bishop (talk) 09:28, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
By the way, here is an article from The Times in 1859, reprinted in Australia, that also refers to homeless people as "wandering Arabs". I doubt there were literal crowds of Arabs wandering the streets of London at the time. Adam Bishop (talk) 09:40, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "Tatar," or "Tartar," also refers to wandering thieves, criminals, and vagabonds, or people who are wild, uncivilized, and uncontrollable. Wrad (talk) 14:52, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

According to these articles: [7] [8], Arab immigration to the US doesn't really start until the 1870s, after this statement was made. Also, according to our own article, Russian American, fewer than 7,000 Russians immigrated to the US between 1820 and 1870. Again, the real influx didn't come until later (the 1880s). Wrad (talk) 15:00, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Seems to me they are talking about the homeless, both urban and rural, those "of no fixed address". Back in the day, some people led an itinerant rural existence, working now and then as "hired men" then moving on, or just living off the land in areas where they could get away with it. The Court does not seem to be talking about specific nationalities.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:37, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Is this a joke? Bedouins and Tatars are classic nomadic peoples who might, like the Tinkers and Gypsies be mistrusted by sedentary property owners as not having a settled address or being subject to a known jurisdiction. This has nothing to do literally with Tatars or something about their physical characteristics. It is called metaphor. μηδείς (talk) 17:18, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Ok, Wrad is pretty convincing. In my defense I can say only that it sounds like the author of the piece I cited was no more aware than I of this implication. Wnt (talk) 17:50, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
It's a similar metaphor to referring to people who destroy things as vandals, even though they aren't Vandals. (talk) 22:59, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
While in England, we had the Egyptians Act 1530: "Provided alwey that the egipcians nowe being in this realme have maneag to departe w[ith]in xvi daies aftre proclamacion of this estatute among theam shalbe made upon payn of Imprisonnement and forfaicture of theyr goodes and catalles."[9] The Egyptians in question were actually Romany gypsies. Alansplodge (talk) 00:47, 15 September 2012 (UTC)