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Fascinating. Could you give a reference to the course, or some of the teaching materials?
Ubuntu focuses on mobile devices
Posted Nov 4, 2011 0:55 UTC (Fri) by tshow (subscriber, #6411)
The reference texts were The Illiad, the Old Testament, Machiavelli's "The Prince", The Song of Roland, and (IIRC) Harald's Saga, with a few other sources thrown in as well.
It was an excellent course; it might as well have been called "Prof. Goering grinds all his axes while taking questions.".
The biblical stuff was fascinating in a lot of ways, mostly because if you actually sit down and read the sources some of the things that happen are nothing like the popular perception. The example that sticks in the mind is that of Moses and the Red Sea. If you actually read the source, what happens is this:
The Egyptians are on chariots, and are closing on Moses and his people. Moses says "There's a sea, and the tide is out, so let's stand on the mud flats waiting for the Egyptians." The Egyptians drive out into the mud flats, their chariots bog down in the mud, and Moses and crew attack.
That's much more interesting to me than the "Moses snapped his fingers and God fixed everything" Charlton Heston version.
One of the things Prof. Goering pointed out at that point was that Moses' people destroyed the chariots. They didn't keep them, they chopped them up and burned them despite the tactical advantage they offered in battle. His belief was that they recognized that a chariot-based military requires an aristocracy simply to support the maintenance burden, and they weren't interested in living in such a society.
There was a whole section on the course about the Song of Roland, which is kind of an odd story because the core of it is a real story (a battle between Basque rebels and some of Charlemagne's forces that went badly for the Carolingians), but the 11th century rewrite recasts it as part of the Reconquista and changes the Basques to Saracens.
Machiaveilli's work was interesting. He gets a bad rap, but given when he was operating, his heart was in the right place.
Harald's saga was a lot of fun, and fit with the theme of the course quite well. The bit where Harald meets Harold Godwinson is priceless. Harald and his forces are waiting for a parley with the English, and a messenger rides up from the English side. Harald tells the messenger to tell the English King that he is there for lands that are rightfully his. The messenger tells him "The King says you are to be granted only six feet of English soil, or as much more as you are taller than other men.", and then rides off.
Harald turns to one of his people and says something about how the messenger was pretty mouthy for a functionary, and someone says "Oh, didn't you know? That was King Harold."
Machiavelli the troll
Posted Nov 10, 2011 0:24 UTC (Thu) by man_ls (subscriber, #15091)
Posted Dec 3, 2011 0:44 UTC (Sat) by Pageofswords (guest, #81668)
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