I am just like Hulver now.
By extremely tedious HuSer (Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:10:40 AM EST) (all tags)
So, working from home today.

<poll>The Medicis</poll>

Injury
Done my ankle in yesterday, got to the hospital (UCH). They couldn't find my NHS record, but luckily UCH is where I went to college so they still have my old records from back then. What kind of a mickey mouse set up do they run, where a patient's record are all split amongst all the hospital's they've been to, and one hospital cannot access another's records? Note to self: always carry NHS card with me at all times.

Got seen within a couple of hours, which is good for a London  hospital. They told me ankle wasn't broken after all and sent me home with iboprufen and a walking stick. Walking sticks are the HuSi accessory of choice for summer of 2005, baby! Perhaps I should paint a cow on it and try to sell it on ebay when I'm done with it.

The Medicis
I have just finished reading a book on The Medici, the Florentine banking family. Wasn't my choice, someone lent it to me, usually I can't stand the reinassance (it reminds me of being dragged to far too many churches and museums with YAPOTFVMHASC[1]).

You can tell the author is a public school boy by his starry eyed attitude about the reinassance. I met a few people like that, they hear I am from Italy and then go on and on about the reinassance and the romans and all that stuff. It's all very interesting and good to know, of course, and thanks for all nice buildings they left behind, but it was a long time ago, and perhaps they shoudln't have bothered with all these  boring statues if you ask me.

A fair part of the book deals with homosexuality - the author is always eager to point out when someone famous was gay, whether we know for sure (Botticelli, Raphael, Leonardo) or not (Michelangelo, who 'struggled with his homoerotic feelings'. What-evaaaaa...). He details all the gay affairs everyone had, but none of the eterosexual ones. In fact, his only references to  eterosexual liasions are unhappy marriaged. I should len the book to this designer friend of mine who's convinced there is a gay art mafia in the UK.

I enjoyed reading about city states though. I always liked the city state idea, I think it's a much better set up than nation states, which is a very young and not so clever concept which only came about through the economics of printing, amongst other things. Hopefully it's one of those transient ideas future generations will look back on and say to themselves 'what the fucking hell were our ancestors thinking?' A bit like basing your economy on fossil fuels. I think it makes more sense for someone to say "I am a Milanese" or a "I am Londoner" than "I am British" or "I am Spanish" or whatever. Must read more on city states, both the Mediterraneans and the Hanseatic League.

Anyway, back to that Medici book. It is a mass-market book, well written in terms of pace and language, but not particularly good in terms of content - you often feel the author is making things up, or taking unproven theories as facts. The subject matter, however, made it very interesting. There is no denying a couple of the early Medicis were interesting figures who lived in an interesting time, even though, like all rulers, they ultimately lived off the people. There were a lot of trivia facts I didn't know about, like Savonarola and the bonfire of the vanities. Or the fact that interest in Greek learning was rekindled when they had a Orthodox/Catholic council in Florence and these freaks from the East turned up with their pet leopards and gold plated coats and strange parasols. Must have been a sight of behold.
Also, one of the last Medicis married a Saxe-Gotha (the Windsor's real name). She was describe as "a ugly, coars, unsophisticated woman who spent all of her time in the stables with her horses". It must through the family then.

Verdict: I'd buy a proper book on the subject, but this will do as an airport buy on your way to a beach holiday.

[1] Yet Another Picture Of The Fucking Virgin Maray Holding A Small child

That's all.
Thank you very much, and have a good day.

I am just like Hulver now. | 48 comments (48 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Ah by hulver (4.00 / 3) #1 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:15:40 AM EST
You're part of the in crowd now.
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Cheese is not a hat. - clock
What colour is yours? by extremely tedious HuSer (3.33 / 3) #2 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:18:29 AM EST
Mine is a darkish beige, with a PC-grey rubber thing stuck on the tip.

[ Parent ]
Dark wood colour by hulver (3.33 / 3) #5 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:39:55 AM EST
With a shiny metal handle.

I'm don't need it at the moment though (thank fuck).
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Cheese is not a hat. - clock

[ Parent ]
Glad to hear you don't need it. by extremely tedious HuSer (4.00 / 3) #6 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:46:10 AM EST
If you ever want to run a competition here at HuSi, there's an idea for a 1st prize.

[ Parent ]
Renaissance by nebbish (4.00 / 3) #3 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:27:00 AM EST
Did you learn about it all the time at school? I'd find it boring if I did. Like the fucking Tudors and Stuarts in this country.

As it is, coming to learn about it later in life, I find it pretty interesting. Still don't know much about it though - a couple of books down the line I could be as bored of it as you are. There's no way I'm going to read a book about a family of bankers though, no matter how important they were.

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Education is wasted on the young by extremely tedious HuSer (4.00 / 2) #4 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:37:34 AM EST
I did learn about the reinassance at school, and yes it's just like the tudors and stuarts here. It's the school excursions to museums etc that put me off though. Right now I like history very much, it's probably my favourite subject.

I wouldn't have chosen that particular book myself, a friend from Switzerland left it around the house when she came over.

[ Parent ]
I love history now too by nebbish (3.00 / 2) #7 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:48:11 AM EST
It is wasted on the young, but why should you care about history when you're having to cram essential life skills at the same time?

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[ Parent ]
IAWTP by extremely tedious HuSer (4.00 / 2) #8 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:50:29 AM EST
They should teach finance, and marketing and media (for self protection) instead of history, until A Level age at least.

[ Parent ]
came about through the economics of printing'' by lm (4.00 / 3) #10 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:59:37 AM EST
Interesting hypothesis. The lack of printing never held back the formation of empires, so why should it hold back the formation of nation-states?

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Empires were ruled by city states by nebbish (3.33 / 3) #12 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:18:45 AM EST
Hence Romans

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[ Parent ]
Not the British one by extremely tedious HuSer (3.50 / 4) #16 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:31:33 AM EST
or was it?

[ Parent ]
Heh by jump the ladder (4.00 / 4) #17 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:34:27 AM EST
I think the UK is still a city state...

[ Parent ]
Totally by extremely tedious HuSer (3.33 / 3) #19 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:36:32 AM EST
People should have to show their passport before coming into London

[ Parent ]
Yeah by nebbish (3.33 / 3) #20 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:40:01 AM EST
coming from the north, I'm pretty convinced of the UK's London-centric media and politics and just how much it gets on everyone else's nerves.

Economically on the other hand you'd be surprised how much money there is up there.

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[ Parent ]
s/else//; # maybe by motty (2.00 / 0) #42 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:15:01 AM EST
I can't stand it either and I'm a Londoner.

Don't know how many other Londoners feel the same way though.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T

[ Parent ]
China wasn't (nt) by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #38 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 06:18:34 AM EST

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[ Parent ]
Which China? by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #39 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 06:36:55 AM EST
There have been many over the last 4 millenia.

[ Parent ]
Doesn't really matter, does it? (nt) by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #40 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 06:40:38 AM EST

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[ Parent ]
Well yes and no by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #41 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:14:08 AM EST
They were all different - each tried to overcome the pitfalls that had caused previous dynasties to fail. Chinese native (as opposed to Manchu or Mongol) Emperors rarely travelled though and ruled from usually one royal city.

[ Parent ]
Well... by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #43 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:17:43 AM EST
Tony Blair runs the country from London, but I'd hardly call it a city-state...

But then, I'd argue that Rome wasn't really a city-state either.
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[ Parent ]
But Romans didn't all live in Rome by lm (4.00 / 1) #44 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 12:31:09 PM EST
The concept of Romans spread throughout the entire empire which is why the Romanians (The Dacian-Romans) were considered to be just as Roman as Romans born in Africa, Asia Minor, Greece or elsewhere in the empire. Being Roman meant being ethnically and geographically from Rome for a relatively short period prior to the collapse of Constantinople.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I'm following McLuhan on that one by extremely tedious HuSer (3.33 / 3) #14 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:24:08 AM EST
His theories on the effects of media on people. Would there have been a concept of 'France' if people in certain part of Western Europe hadn't been able to read books and newspapers printed in whatever local  dialect evolved into French?

[ Parent ]
That could very well be the case for France by lm (2.00 / 0) #45 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 12:34:00 PM EST
But history has shown many empires that had no trouble forming a self-identity without books and newspapers in local dialects. Consider the Islamic empire as but one example, the Graeco-Roman empire as another.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I think you are misreading me by extremely tedious HuSer (2.00 / 0) #46 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 12:40:21 PM EST
I am not saying it is not possible to have large centrally administrated political entities without prints. I am saying that print had a big influence in the creation the modern nation states, as we have it today and as developed in the West. Just like safe roads and manuscripts had for ancient empires and the radio had for the nazis.

[ Parent ]
But, it's more than just administration by lm (2.00 / 0) #47 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 01:51:08 PM EST
If you would have taken a random Greek speaking citizen of the Decopolis in Asia Minor back in 100AD, he or she would have proclaimed his or her self to be a Roman. Now, if you meant something other than that type of self-identification throughout a geographical area that extends far past a mere city or a city and its immediately surrounding regions, I don't know what you mean.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
clearly, yes by martingale (4.00 / 1) #48 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 05:22:29 PM EST
Would there have been a concept of 'France' if people in certain part of Western Europe hadn't been able to read books and newspapers printed in whatever local dialect evolved into French?
I think you picked a bad example. The concept of France evolved from the turn of the first millenium, and was pushed by the French king as part of an expansionist move.

Remember that originally, France's kingdom was not much more than the area occupied by Paris. But by the time of Louis XIV, the natural expected boundaries of France were famously the Atlantic/Channel/Mediterranean seas, the Pyrenean and Alp mountain ranges, and the Rhine. Most wars waged by France were fought to achieve or preserve these boundaries.

Moreover, France as such has never meant the people, but the king first and foremost, and perhaps a bunch of nobles, until the revolution.

The populist idea of nations as large groups of people in a geographical area is an after the fact romantic addition, borne out of the same thinking that fomented the revolution, and largely pushed by German philosophy to justify the unification of thousands of small city sized kingdoms into a German state.

Frankly, I doubt that the appearance of books and newspapers had any other role in this than as an enabling technology for mass communication.
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

[ Parent ]
IAWTP by Dr H0ffm4n (3.33 / 3) #25 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:57:45 AM EST
Or would if you could name a sizeable empire that did not have any form of printing.

[ Parent ]
Rome? by Vulch (3.33 / 3) #26 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 03:05:44 AM EST

No prinTing

[ Parent ]
Did too by Dr H0ffm4n (3.33 / 3) #30 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 03:14:31 AM EST
Common misconception. Augustus is known to have widely used printing of propoganda and laws.

[ Parent ]
What form of printing? by extremely tedious HuSer (3.33 / 3) #31 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 03:16:06 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Potato by Dr H0ffm4n (3.33 / 3) #33 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 03:23:52 AM EST
No, actually lead. It was also adopted by the Greeks. Printing was seen as evil by the oppressed Jews and Christians though - a tool of The Man.

[ Parent ]
Maybe you meant moveable type printing by georgeha (3.33 / 3) #34 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 04:03:57 AM EST
much more efficient than sculpt/cast the whole page printing.

[ Parent ]
The Incans? n/t by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #37 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 06:06:30 AM EST

[ Parent ]
funny thing that by martingale (4.00 / 2) #11 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:07:27 AM EST
I met a few people like that, they hear I am from Italy and then go on and on about the reinassance and the romans and all that stuff.
Usually when those kinds of people meet someone from France, they go on and on about snails and frogs legs and all that stuff. Funny world isn't it?
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
Yeah, it's weird by Evil Cloaked User (4.00 / 5) #13 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:20:49 AM EST
When they meet me and find out I'm Irish, well, I'm generally drunk at the time so I don't remember.

[ Parent ]
If it's British public schools... by extremely tedious HuSer (3.33 / 3) #18 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:34:30 AM EST
They'd probably have nothing nice to say

[ Parent ]
I thought they'd go on by extremely tedious HuSer (3.33 / 3) #15 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:29:40 AM EST
about Matisse, Rimbaud, and all that.

[ Parent ]
bwahahaha by martingale (3.33 / 3) #21 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:42:22 AM EST
Heh. Bwahaha. Hihi. Heh. Aaah.

Yeah, it happens sometimes. There's also football.

Few people strike up a conversation on the arts and poetry in my experience.
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

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Maybe not starting a conversation by extremely tedious HuSer (3.66 / 3) #22 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:46:10 AM EST
But three glasses of wine down the line, just watch them.

[ Parent ]
I love Rimbaud by Dr H0ffm4n (3.33 / 3) #32 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 03:16:33 AM EST
He's my besht mate he is.

[ Parent ]
WIPO: == vampires by Rogerborg (4.00 / 4) #23 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:54:04 AM EST
Wouldn't that have been so totally neat?

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
that's VAMPYR by martingale (3.33 / 3) #28 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 03:12:56 AM EST
Back to Buffy Season 101 for you.
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
Sadly, no. by extremely tedious HuSer (4.00 / 3) #29 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 03:13:21 AM EST
Lesbian vampires is one thing, but ugly male homosexual vampires.... yuck!

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 3) #24 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 02:56:08 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky

I didn't forget. by extremely tedious HuSer (4.00 / 3) #27 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 03:09:49 AM EST
That's why I said the first couple of Medicis were interesting people. The rest were quite crap.

I half believe the reformation would have happened anyway. Can it be a coincidence that protestant is the dominant religion wherever the genepool is predominantly germanic? Anyway I see nothing wrong with the reformation.

As for the sacking of Rome, being from Milan, I have no trouble with that concept either ;-)

And Macchiavelli, his cynism is a beacon of light to all those who think monarchy is flawed.

[ Parent ]
Ahem by Phage (4.00 / 1) #35 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 05:20:39 AM EST
Scary rating. Why ?
Ducks barrage of zeroes.

(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #36 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 05:25:24 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky

[ Parent ]
YAPOTFVMHASC by monkeymind (2.00 / 0) #49 Tue Jun 21, 2005 at 08:24:21 PM EST
It does get repetitious...