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Old 16th January 2012, 09:08 PM   #166 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

As much as I'd love to see something of the Vikings or the Renaissance or the 19th century 'spirit of the Age' (from zeitgeist to fin d' siecle) it's all about ancient history for me and in particular the period from 550 b.c to 479 b.c.

I want to see:

Cyrus lead the Persian tribe to arguably the greatest empire that's ever existed.

If Cambyses was really a mental case or merely the subject of Egyptian slander (or if maybe it was a bit of both).

Darius so spectacularly worm and lie his way to the top and yet manage to consolidate the empire amidst revolt after revolt.

The Lycurgus revolution that resulted in the "majestic yet murderous experiment in social engineering" (Tom Holland) that created the Spartans of the period.

Cleisthenes making his radical proposition of a 'demokratia' and how the people rose up against Isagoras and Cleomenes, and how the newborn Athenian democratic army so miraculously survived certain doom before annihilating their rivals.

The battle of Marathon, which may as well have turned the world on its head.

What the three Greek spies saw after being captured outside Sardis and given a royal tour of the seemingly limitless resources at Xerxes' disposal.

Themistocles deliver his speech to the Athenian council that resolved them to abandon Athens and take to the sea - apparently there's no record of that whatsoever, but suffice to say it must've been one of the greatest masterpieces of oratory given the level of resistance to be expected.

The Spartans fight in the way that made them "a horror to their fellow Greeks" (again, Holland).

Leonidas.

The look on Xerxes face (if he dared betray much) as he surveyed the carnage and scale of the estimated 20,000 Persian dead at Thermopylae.

The bravery of Siccinus acting as a double agent, being so bold as to approach the Persian high command and "betraying" the allied plans prior to the battle at Salamis. Talk about balls of steel.

The battle at Salamis, which as battles go, could be marked down as the single most significant day of fighting in human history.

The battle of Plataea, which, for all its awkwardness, saw the last of the Persian forces under Mardonius expelled from Greece.

And I wanna see the Acropolis and the statue of Athena, and in particular the Parthenon, in all their original glory.

Plus the golden age of Hellenism that would follow in the next couple of centuries. That would be nice too.

Oh, and Alexander's campaigns (granted, I've deviated from my original time scale a tad now).
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Old 16th January 2012, 09:34 PM   #167 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

The problem with most of these time-travelling jaunts is that it is highly unlikely that due to language barriers we would have any clue as to what was actually happening.

Also most battles - big or small, of huge historical importance or none at all - consisted of a bunch of men chopping each other's limbs off until one side ran out of men, limbs , or the will to fight on.

I'd love to be able to see the Pyramids again though - they would have looked amazing, and nothing like the (admittedly still impressive) sandcastles they now resemble.

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Old 24th January 2012, 04:10 PM   #168 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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Originally Posted by paranoid marvin View Post
The problem with most of these time-travelling jaunts is that it is highly unlikely that due to language barriers we would have any clue as to what was actually happening.

Also most battles - big or small, of huge historical importance or none at all - consisted of a bunch of men chopping each other's limbs off until one side ran out of men, limbs , or the will to fight on.

I'd love to be able to see the Pyramids again though - they would have looked amazing, and nothing like the (admittedly still impressive) sandcastles they now resemble.
If we are postulating the ability to time travel, it shouldn't be difficult to add in instant language acquisition.
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Old 24th January 2012, 04:16 PM   #169 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

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If we are postulating the ability to time travel, it shouldn't be difficult to add in instant language acquisition.
Mine's a Babel Fish.

My choice would probably be to meet the Venerable Bede or Samuel Pepys and actually meet the men behind the words.

So either early 700s or mid-late 1600s. However I'd rather bring them to me, part of me has no desire to see, smell, feel or experience the past. It all sounds pretty smelly and uncomfortable.
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Old 5th February 2012, 08:01 PM   #170 (permalink)
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Re: What period in history would you have loved to go back and see for yourself

I should probably have added the Library of Alexandria to that list - it's loss must count as one of the most truly disastrous events in history, setting civilisation back at least a thousand years according to many eminent minds.
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