Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2013 January 5

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Humanities desk
< January 4 << Dec | January | Feb >> January 6 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Humanities Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

January 5[edit]

Hair and grooming in historical Venice, Italy[edit]

I need references to how people of historical Venice (very broad, C17 to C18) referred to hair and grooming - did the popolani go to hairdressers? Was makeup done by servants? Was there a special servant/maid? Was there a guild of hair and beauty craftspeople?

Thanks Adambrowne666 (talk) 01:55, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Maurice Andrieux's Daily life in Venice in the time of Casanova (ISBN 0049450107) may be a place to start. Zoonoses (talk) 04:39, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

I don't know anything about Venice specifically, but in much of Europe during most of the 18th century, middle-class and upper-class people (and even some servants) wore powdered wigs. AnonMoos (talk) 08:15, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, both; Casanova sometimes talks about 'wearing his own hair' in his texts on Gutenberg. Was there a barbers' guild in Venice, does anyone know? Adambrowne666 (talk) 17:08, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
I remember reading that, at the time wigs were widely worn, the term for someone who looked after them was "parrucchiere" which is Italian in origin. So maybe searching for that word will help. I have done this myself and haven't found anything in the UK, and if I just do a generic websearch I just get Italian pages (which I can't read). Just thought the term might help. --TammyMoet (talk) 19:33, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Tammy - probably related to [perruque] Adambrowne666 (talk) 21:26, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Did Figaro cut hair, or only shave beards? --ColinFine (talk) 22:16, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Relation between William Perry and Matthew C. Perry[edit]

Is William Perry related to Matthew C. Perry? Google got me nothing so far. Someone online claims they are related so I'm trying to do a little myth-busting here. Dncsky (talk) 03:26, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

If you knew who his parents were, I might be able to find them on ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:04, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
There does not seem to be a direct or close relationship. I traced William Perry's line in back to the Revolutionary War era. Around the time of the Revolutionary War, his family moved from Delaware, where they lived in the 18th century, into the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, near the Maryland and Delaware state lines. During the 19th century, his ancestors gradually migrated west to western Pennsylvania, where William Perry was born. By contrast, Matthew C. Perry was born in Rhode Island, as was his father. There was not a lot of migration in colonial between New England and Delaware. If there is a relationship, it is probably a remote one involving common ancestors in early modern or medieval England or Wales. Marco polo (talk) 00:37, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Thank you very much!Dncsky (talk) 01:49, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Classical vs. medieval armies[edit]

Before the development of firearms, were medieval era European armies actually any superior technology-wise vis-à-vis classical era European armies? For example, suppose 11th-century medieval armies battled 1st-century Roman armies of equal size, with equally skilled commanders on both sides. Would the medieval armies actually win more battles because of superior military technology, or was the technology still close enough that the two sides would more or less split the battles? —SeekingAnswers (reply) 07:48, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

It might have been fairly close in terms of fighting out in the open (with the medieval army a bit ahead on technology and tactics and the Romans a bit ahead on discipline), but medieval fortifications seemed superior to Roman-era equivalents. So, the medieval army might fare better against a siege by Roman soldiers than vice-versa, especially if the medieval soldiers attacked the Roman fortification with a trebuchet. StuRat (talk) 07:54, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Great Stirrup Controversy is relevant.
For a very long time, Roman infantry did not make use of pikes; but later European armies used them extensively. This wasn't because the technology was unknown to the Romans, though.
It would be interesting to know whether the technology for manufacturing weapons would make a significant difference, but Ferrous metallurgy doesn't provide many answers. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 08:07, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Probably medieval cavalry would have been superior to Roman (especially Roman cavalry of the pre-cataphract era), but the discipline and esprit of Roman infantry would have often far exceeded that of medieval infantry (which in many cases was made up of awkward peasant levies, or mercenaries who could be quick to change sides if their side wasn't winning)... AnonMoos (talk) 08:23, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

The Roman army didn't have anything as good as the English longbow or the crossbow, although their big shield walls and plate armour would have been a reasonably effective defence. Alansplodge (talk) 10:54, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
The Romans had crossbows. There's some problems with the yew for longbows at higher temperatures than normal in England. Dmcq (talk) 15:04, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
You're right, although a quick Google suggests that it wasn't a major weapon in their inventory, but nobody knows for sure.[1] As for yew wood " Interestingly English yew was not considered suitable to make bows and the staves were imported, largely from Italy and Spain."[2] Our Longbow article states that versions were made from " cheaper hard woods, including elm, oak, ash, hazel and maple". Alansplodge (talk) 15:53, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
I was meaning that I read somewhere that yew longbows were particularly sensitive to temperature and were nowhere near so effective even in the south of France during the Summer, and this is why composite bows were generally more popular despite the problems making them. Dmcq (talk) 03:42, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
One thing to keep in mind is that Roman armies (at their best, i.e. after the Marian reforms - let's say Cesar's legions) were not only good at disciplined fighting, but also extremely strong in logistics and field fortifications. And they usually had the equivalent of field artillery attached or embedded - Ballistae, Scorpios and Onagers. For ranged skirmish weapons, Balearic slingers are nothing to ignore easily. Of course, one of the major reasons for Roman successes was the economic power, based on a large population. Consider Hannibal, Spartacus, or Mithridates - in all cases, the Romans lost several major battles, but would not go down, and just keep raising yet another army. So comparing equal-sized armies is only half the truth. Finally, to go back to reliable sources, GURPS Imperial Rome gives a 6000 man legion (of Cesar or Augustus) a Troop Strength of 37000, and a 2000 man dark ages cataphract army a TS of 10000. Since RPGs never are wrong, the Legion is stronger man for man even compared to an early medieval all-cavalry elite force. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:50, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Once King Abdullah dies, can a young Prince become King?[edit]

I mean, a 19 or 20 year old, and I mean Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Excuse English spelling mistakes, not my native language. Thank you. Kyxx (talk) 14:59, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, announced in June 2012 who has just turned 78 years old (if I've done the maths correctly). The throne would seem to pass to the King's many brothers, see Succession to the Saudi Arabian throne. In western monarchies, a king or queen can accede to the throne as an infant, although an adult regent (or a council of regents) is appointed to make any constitutional decisions on their behalf, until they are legally adult (18 in the UK). The most recent example that I can think of is Peter II of Yugoslavia, who came to the throne at 11 years-old in 1934. However, it seems as though an awful lot of princes would have to die before this happened in Saudi Arabia. Alansplodge (talk) 15:27, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Another example is Mswati III of Swaziland, who became King at the age of 14, while he was a pupil at Sherborne School in England. He had a number of regents. Alansplodge (talk) 15:40, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Salman, who is not young, is next in line. Salman has a number of (half-) brothers who are five or more years younger than him but all over 65 years old. Unless he outlives them all, one of them is likely to succeed him. When his generation dies out or has no more sound-minded able-bodied members left, then the Allegiance Council would be likely to name one of the older members of the next generation as successor. The most prominent of these (see House of Saud) are well into their 60s and will probably be in their 70s before one of them reaches the throne. So, essentially, Saudi Arabia is a gerontocracy. Marco polo (talk) 22:04, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Famous actors, musicians or artists who have received the Order of Canada[edit]

Apart from Michael J. Fox whom I know received it. Excuse my English spelling mistakes, not my first language. Thank you. Kyxx (talk) 19:19, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

You can quickly scan our category Category:Order of Canada and its sub-categories for such names. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 19:28, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
And, you can use a tool like WP:CATSCAN to find intersections of the above categories with, say, the Actors categories. --Jayron32 19:36, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Catholicism, priests, and reproduction[edit]

The reference desk does not answer requests for opinions
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

From what I was taught in my Catholic religion class, homosexuality is "contrary to the natural law" and "[homosexuals] close the sexual act to the gift of life." Along with their stances on abortion and contraception, I find it obvious that the Church encourages (marital) sexual relations in order to be "fruitful and multiply". Though, the same Church restricts priests and people of the clergy from marriage and therefore sex, and a priest having sexual relations is sinful... Doesn't this seem counterintuitive? As a (straight, for the record) Greek Orthodox-born who is just being introduced to the Catholic Church, what's the reason for this? (talk) 19:29, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia has an article titled Clerical celibacy (Catholic Church). There isn't really much else to say here. This forum is not the correct place for people to decide what is or is not "counterintuitive" about the doctrine of religious denominations, or give their opinions as to whether or not such doctrine is or is not correct or sound. --Jayron32 19:38, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
There could be an endless list of doctrines, from all religions, that might be considered "counterintuitive". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:53, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
I've always thought that bit about banning homosexuality "because it's non-reproductive sex" was just an excuse. They don't ban sex between married people where the woman is past menopause, after all, and that's non-reproductive sex. And it's also entirely possible for homosexuals to reproduce, as well, either via a heterosexual encounter of via a "donation". Then there's the final flaw, that we have entirely too high of a population on Earth already, so it's not like we need to find ways to increase it further. StuRat (talk) 21:02, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Democratic elections where one party wins all the seats[edit]

I would like to know if Wikipedia has a list of legislative elections which were conducted on a generally democratic, multi-party basis, but one party still wound up winning all the seats in the legislature. The New Brunswick general election, 1987 would be one example of that. The Hawaii Senate elections, 2012 came close, but the Democratic Party won 24 seats compared to the Republican Party's 1 seat -- so it almost qualifies. Are there other examples, or a list of them? (Note that I am only looking for elections involving partisan elections, and specifically those in democratic governments.) --Metropolitan90 (talk) 21:33, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

You may want to specify a minimum number of seats up for grab, since, otherwise, special elections to replace 1 or 2 legislators would qualify. StuRat (talk) 21:46, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
But that would not mean that one party still wound up winning all the seats in the legislature.
This outcome is not unknown in British local council elections, Newham Council election, 1998 being one example. Incidentally, in the next election in that London borough, the Christian Peoples Alliance became the second party and hence the official opposition. Sussexonian (talk) 22:05, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Sixty council members — for a borough! Who is left outside of government, to do any actual work? --Trovatore (talk) 22:14, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Hopefully being on the council isn't a full-time job. Ideally, I'd like to see everyone on the council, so we get direct democracy that way, rather than relying on "representatives" who just enrich themselves at the cost of the taxpayers' interests. StuRat (talk) 22:36, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Membership of a London Borough Council is not intended to be a full-time occupation. The majority of cabinet members are not full-time. Most council leaders (although not all) do work full-time on council business. Councillor allowances are not set at a level which allows councillors to live in London without an alternative sources of income. Oh, and I can tell you that I have never found any example in any party of someone who went into local government for the money. If you want to make money in London, being a councillor would be a very silly way of choosing to do so. Sam Blacketer (talk) 23:31, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
And each London Borough has more than 200,000 people. The Borough is split into about 20 Wards each electing 3 part-time councillors. So each councillor represents more than 3,000 people in their spare time (I know one who is a lawyer and one who is a train driver). D'oh! I've just realised that Sussexonian has said about the same thing below! Alansplodge (talk) 23:45, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Still seems like a lot to me. Los Angeles has 15 councilcritters for more than 3M people. Granted, that's a highly paid (and presumably full-time) job. --Trovatore (talk) 23:58, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
I would dispute whether an authority covering the whole of Los Angeles could accurately be described as being 'local' government. The London equivalent is the London Assembly which has 25 members (14 constituencies and 11 London-wide). But note that council members in the US are not merely full time but also have offices and can employ assistants. US local government has a far wider range of powers and responsibilities, of an extent which British local government can only dream of having. Sam Blacketer (talk) 00:23, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

List of landslide victories is the only list I can find but it is mostly about state- and country-wide elections which are less likely to produce a single party outcome. Oh and the councillors are not expected to be full-time politicians, although I expect the 'leader of the opposition' (!) claimed some sort of extra responsibility allowance. I don't know if you know Newham has 300k residents so 1 part time representative per 5000 has plenty to do. There are not multiple layers of local government in most of GB unlike many other countries. - Sussexonian (talk) 22:27, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Here's another council example, very recent: Barking and Dagenham Council election, 2010. Notable for the utter collapse of the British National Party's vote. --Dweller (talk) 22:34, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

The Rhodesian Front won all the constituencies in the 1965 general election, and all the European Roll seats at the general elections of 1970, 1974 and 1977 and all byelections in between. There were however other seats in the Legislative Assembly. Sam Blacketer (talk) 23:31, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

I can't find any information online after some searching, but I would imagine that in the U.S., during the period known as the Solid South that there may have been a time when certain Southern states had every seat in their state legislatures held by a Democrat. --Jayron32 05:55, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

There are currently no Republicans on the Council of the District of Columbia, but there are two independents. --Jayron32 05:58, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
The Chicago City Council is 100% Democratic Party. --Jayron32 06:05, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
I thought about the Chicago City Council as a possibility, but those elections aren't held on a partisan basis, at least not in recent decades. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 06:17, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
In the UK it is quite possible for local authority elections to result in single-party councils. Barnsley, South Yorkshire is one such place: overwhelmingly Labour for decades (with just the odd one or two blips). (Interestingly our page on it only goes back to 1998. Elections have been taking place there for many years before that!) --TammyMoet (talk) 10:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
One party winning all the seats seems to have happened in Seychelles in 2011. [3] I also recall it was the case in one Caribbean nation in the late 1980s, but I can't remember which one (St. Lucia ?) and can't find it through a quick google search. Perhaps someone else could confirm. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xuxl (talkcontribs) 11:38, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

The Left Front won all 28 seats up for election in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council election, 2010. --Soman (talk) 11:55, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

The Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors records council composition in the UK on an ongoing basis (link to personal website of one of its members):

There are currently 3 councils in the UK with one political party holding all of the seats; Barking & Dagenham, Newham and Knowsley. They're all urban and Labour controlled.

Dalliance (talk) 13:07, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Barking and Dagenham was entirely Labour at the time of the last council elections, but is no longer. One councillor defected to the Conservatives and another is now a member of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (sitting as an Independent). An up to date list of council compositions, maintained every week, can be found here: See also the related blog and iphone app which explain the changes. Sam Blacketer (talk) 16:50, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
In Providence, Rhode Island (and, I think, Boston, Massachusetts), municipal elections are conducted on a partisan basis and now usually return all Democrats to the City Council. The same is true of many other towns. (In Providence, when David Segal was the only Councillor from the Green Party of Rhode Island [2003-2007] he also ipso facto became Minority Leader, as the other 14 members were all Democrats.) Many California cities (e.g. Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland. Los Angeles) often have Councils whose members are all Democrats, but California's local elections, like Chicago's, are conducted on a non-partisan basis. In other times and/or other places (e.g. many Northern towns in the late 19th century), the same would hold true for the Republican Party. To see the composition of U.S. state legislatures in recent years, visit the web site of the National Conference of State Legislatures. —— Shakescene (talk) 08:21, 8 January 2013 (UTC)