Sunday, May 29, 2016

Diffusion Part VIII
The Mystery of Disease

Picture of Disease ravaged Natives from
the Florentine Codex

In the past I have examined the usual arguments for contact between the Old and New World pre- Columbus. What I have concluded is that at best with the exception of the Norse (c. 1000 C.E.), the evidence is both very poor and at best indicates sporadic and intermittent contact between the Old and New World and further such contact had minimal influence on the development of New World civilization.1

Here I will discuss briefly one of the seminal problems about arguing for sustained contact between the Old and New World pre-Columbus. The lack of similar diseases.2

Monday, May 16, 2016

Right Policy
Bad Execution
Part I

Capture of Jean II at the Battle of Poitiers 1358 during the
Hundred Years War

In past history there is little that is more frustrating than politicians pursuing correct and / or sensible policy by inept and sometimes disastrous methods.

In previous postings I discussed various aspects of the Hundred Years war including the foolish and counterproductive efforts at political influence of Humphrey the Duke of  Gloucester.1 Now Humphrey was adamantly opposed to the peace policy of the government of Henry VI. However his opposition had little constructive in it and all Humphrey proposed was a redoubling of the war effort in order to get all of England's "rights" in France. That Humphrey's views were totally unrealistic and fantasy laden was obvious at the time and even more obvious now. Sadly the greater realism of Humphrey's opponents did not also translate into greater skill or realism in executing this more realistic policy.