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Old 2012-09-08, 03:25   Link #181
Ridwan
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While it was perhaps mundane to bring up the "Mongols reach Rhine" talks which is ASB by nature, I felt the need to warn everyone here about the mistake of assuming either a reason for a united front, most likely a direct threat to everyone, where there isn't. People just do that too much too often, and I'm not doing this thread half-heartedly.

But perhaps this time I'm might be a quite bit too wholehearted , but this conversation is just beyond awesome you guys should be informed about :

Spoiler for Title : Ancient Gunpowder:


I'm now regreting my ignorance on everything ancient period oTL||||

I don't know much about Bronze weaponry other then it was rarer and weaker then iron. Then again, arguably more interesting then Bronze cannon would be the possibility of more variable application of gunpowder in warfare besides cannonery since cannons will be rare (but long-lasting) here. Anti-cavalry portable rocket propellers are just fucking awesome, but also it can cause further consequence of battle formation evolution down the line, if not warfare as whole (and eventually that'll be the case)
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Old 2012-09-08, 03:34   Link #182
Sumeragi
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Well..... There are some strange artifacts in Manchuria that makes people ponder. For example, iron arrowheads from around BC 4000, and records of gunpowder-like substance around 0 AD Silla.
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Old 2012-09-09, 05:39   Link #183
Ridwan
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Gunpowder is that kind of invention that is perhaps the closest thing to "not bound by time". All it takes are simply the right ingredients happening to mix in an experiment, or just a spot, that then explodes in your face. And pretty much the only way to find it is through an accident like that. It is quite safe be sure that before it finally sticked into Chinese records, it had been encountered by the Chinese at least several times, but its accidental nature should've tended to discourage people away. And it's also safe to ponder that other places had also experienced the encounter as well.
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Old 2012-09-09, 20:21   Link #184
erneiz_hyde
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Btw speaking about gunpowder let's skip a bit to a period where muskets are starting to be used regularly. As I understand it, it took quite a long time for military tactics to develop volley fire by rank to maintain relatively constant barrage. It took even longer time for the light infantry doctrine to take root. Though, I only knew about this by playing Total War

Does anyone know the details about the evolution of musket warfare such as this? Is there any other possible route the musket warfare evolution could take?
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Old 2012-09-10, 01:12   Link #185
Ridwan
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As far as I know, carried firearm was an evolution from cannon. Hand guns are basically portable cannons. IOTL, it looks like that the level of iron casting necessary for cannons had already been reached quite a while in the western hemisphere before gunpowder weaponry started being used, but it was regarded of little use prior. Only through briefly heightened exchange with the east facilitated by Mongol expansion did gunpowder actually spread westward. Evolution of gunpowder warfare that we are now familiar with began with that starting point, developed within the frame of western(as in, Europe and Middle East) political realities.

The role of Ottoman Empire was rather crucial here, being the first state ever to employ mass gunpowder warfare. They pretty much singlehandedly accelerated the process of gunpowder warfare evolution through their efficient autocratic-motored military expansion in their heydays which forced everyone around them to emulate.

Evolution of military technology depends unconditionally to the corresponding geopolitical realities. Change a bit of the later and you'll get a quite different kind of the former. Absence of Mongol factor will make western military evolve differently from OTL, and not necessarily for the better or worse, though in this context of gunpowder warfare it seems tempting to assume for slower pace in general.
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Old 2012-09-10, 11:53   Link #186
LeoXiao
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That's true about the "firearm=small cannon" thing. The first "rifles" were longer than a man is tall and had to be carried by two men. I think they first appeared in the 1500s. In China, the first firearms were essentially short-ranged harpoons, so things were slightly different there.
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Old 2012-09-12, 21:54   Link #187
Ridwan
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Quoted this from a friend in facebook. I think it's an excellent thought meal for us all :

Quote:
I think one of the biggest failures of OTL historiography is the attempt to shoehorn the peculiar pattern of Western Europe into a global one, and as such attempting to ham-handedly force patterns of history that may actually be Sui Generis into a European model. East Asia is to me the most obvious example of where this analysis would actually fail quite solidly as far as any evidence-based aspect to historical analysis.

In East Asia China is simultaneously an imperial overlord, cultural originator/culture source, and a civilization that evolved and changed dramatically in its own right, with its changes likewise drastically affecting its neighbors. From a European POV, China had far earlier than Europe most of the ingredients of modern science, including a rationalistic apatheistic view of natural causes, the absence of a prevailing orthodoxy to limit scientific inquiry, a technological focus, but China has its own set of historical issues to confront. First among them the major weakness of the Imperial system in the form of the eunuch and harem problems, which repeatedly destabilized the imperial system from within. Second, poor geography where the tribal confederacies to the north were concerned, meaning a pattern of repeated conquest by said same Confederacies, which whether they assimilated or not was a devastating experience at the time. Third and finally, China had the issues that its imperial-dynastic structure, while suited to expand, had no rivals equivalent to itself, creating the long term issue that is most relevant to issues of Chinese 'stagnation'.

But because China was both so large and an innovator relative to its neighbors, Chinese influence in China's vincinity was extremely pervasive. Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and even Indonesia all adopted heavy influence from Chinese culture, albeit Confucian ideology limits the degree in official sources to which the reality of independence and independent systems of government/cultural history could be acknowledged.

Indochina, as the name indicates, and Indonesia became overlaid by both Indian and Islamic influences, creating a hybrid of East Asian, Hindu, and Muslim cultures that makes this region the most distinctive aspect of East Asia, though in Indonesia and in the Malyasia region Chinese influence was all out of proportion to Chinese numbers. In the case of the Indochinese societies, any strong Chinese dynasty worth its salt tried conquering them with various degrees of success.

In the cases of Korea and Japan, the power of both systems fluctuated and both adapted very different elements of Confucianism. Choson built a Korean system that was powerful but intact and inwardly focused, albeit in the long term helping Korea into the problems that enabled the conquest of the Japanese. Choson did this, however, on the basis of a longer-term cultural/civilizational history where the unenviable geographic location between China and Japan was a continual problem.

In Japan's case alone among the countries in question, the dynasty never (officially) fell, but it still degenerated in the vein of Confucian thinking. This is where the Bafuku/Shogunates stepped in, adopting the concept of autocracy and dynamism in a new form, meaning Japanese politics, while still seeing the occasional Imperial resurgence instead had a Shogunate dynastic cycle instead of a monarchical one.

For all of East Asia, thus, the 19th Century becomes a turning point, but it's one in different ways. China meets the concept of nationalism, and as like all these states it's de facto multi-ethnic and in practice run by a dynasty of another nationality, it starts having nationalistic issues where Chinese nationalism is strongly opposed to the dynastic structure, this ultimately combining with civil war and defeat in foreign wars to topple the dynasties. In Japan the collapse of the Tokugawa system sees the rise of a military system patterned on that of the German Empire, significantly because this exempted the military altogether from civilian control, thus continuity more than change (not that this worked well for Germany or Japan in the long term). Indonesia and Indochina, however, are conquered by Dutch, French, and British in various parts of each.

The 20th Century saw this imperial era collapse as bloodily as it begins, and the rise of Communism reflects a means for systems that originated with authoritarian politics to accomplish a Bismarckian goal of industrialization without sacrificing much of the older system in practice if at all possible. In this regard the Korean War for China is a moment of national rebirth as a military power, screws over Korea into a Forever War and Japan loses WWII but becomes one of the richest countries on the planet afterward. Vietnam, of course, defeated all comers in a military sense in the 20th Century, earning the most consistent win streak out of all of them.

The thing is that this is not a Western European pattern, it's something in its own right, it's got its own weaknesses and strengths, and European influence to a great extent as I see it has been greatly exaggerated. East Asia did not imitate Europe, it took from Europe the parts it wanted and neglected the rest. This is why from an AH POV, the difficulty of writing PODs for non-European societies is that it should be treated from the POV of what are in actual fact more separate histories with sui generis patterns than is generally the case. The countries in this part of the world all have their own separate histories, but as with Europe nationalism is still as much nonsense here in terms of history and anachronism as it is in a European context.

Thus to me the greatest weakness of how East Asia can be treated in AH discussions is to treat Western Europe as the norm and to judge East Asia/SE Asia on the basis of Europe. In reality such histories should be viewed in their own rights, as their own tales. Your thoughts?
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Old 2012-09-12, 22:08   Link #188
Sumeragi
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I seem to remember the above logic of "Europe-American" standard being the baseline for membership ideology in a Certain AH Forum. Why I was permanently banned from it.
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Old 2012-09-12, 23:06   Link #189
willx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegir View Post
Quoted this from a friend in facebook. I think it's an excellent thought meal for us all :
Ah, this is an excellent point that we should all remind ourselves of! Although only tangentially related, it reminds me of two things:

1) Map Projections - Atlantic / Pacific focus: interesting how an altered centric focus can so radically alter how people perceive how the world works, what's important and where the "fringe" is..

2) An anecdote from way back in my highschool days.. where in a history class I was exposed to some blatantly racist, but somewhat insightful study about how different cultures think. It showed graphical representations about how different cultures approached problem solving. Westerners thought in a straight line (of course). Asians thought in a spiral pattern, narrowing focus to get to the answer. I believe Russians were on there too and was some weird zigzag pattern..
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Old 2012-09-12, 23:51   Link #190
erneiz_hyde
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Speaking of maps...

Does anyone here have experience in an Alternate Earth projects? Things like "what if Earth was tilted in a different axis than in otl" or "what if the world map is upside down of OTL" things like that? Then simulating how humanity would spread and how would culture and civilization form in said worlds.
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Old 2012-09-13, 00:48   Link #191
Ridwan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
I seem to remember the above logic of "Europe-American" standard being the baseline for membership ideology in a Certain AH Forum. Why I was permanently banned from it.
And also why me and a few others have set up 'exile communities' elsewhere in facebook and other forums.

I generally agree with this friend of mine. However I've got to point up something that is, frankly, only indirectly-related here, but nevertheless worth noting : Western-centrism isn't exclusively western problem. Owing to the pressure to counter western advances since colonialism, there has been this tendency to "be west", roughly called, as the way to equal the west. That is, of course, natural, since emulating successes of the winning party is natural. While of course influences that were received were partial, and it definitely gave birth to some extent of reactionary attitude confronting them, it also gave birth to the line of thought that calls for more thorough incorporation of modern (western) influences as the way deemed necessary to progress immediately (and of course, there are the moderates and pragmatics between them). Ultimately, the result was as the post above pointed out : taking whatever that fits and more or less neglected the rest. But intellectual ferment is something that is continual, non-monolithic, and ultimately indeterminative. And the unfollowed calls for "becoming west" within non-western countries, especially east Asians, definitely occured, eventhough it seldom being described as such, especially nowadays when the geopolitics are in general shift, and thus so is the perspective history is being viewed from, but the remains are still around. The phenomenon of Christianity in China and Cultural Revolution under Mao are one of the biggest examples of this symtomp. Certainly however, this has been pretty much sidelined by the ultimate result on the ground since only the ideas that can work that stick there. But the point is, moderate emulation of western success isn't overall as conscious and as completely bared of "westernism" as the post above seems to be implying.

Sorry if I've come across as a bit OCD-ish with this post Not in the best shape to deliver this less wordily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willx View Post
Ah, this is an excellent point that we should all remind ourselves of! Although only tangentially related, it reminds me of two things:

1) Map Projections - Atlantic / Pacific focus: interesting how an altered centric focus can so radically alter how people perceive how the world works, what's important and where the "fringe" is..

2) An anecdote from way back in my highschool days.. where in a history class I was exposed to some blatantly racist, but somewhat insightful study about how different cultures think. It showed graphical representations about how different cultures approached problem solving. Westerners thought in a straight line (of course). Asians thought in a spiral pattern, narrowing focus to get to the answer. I believe Russians were on there too and was some weird zigzag pattern..
1) Many cultures often put the south in higher respect then the north for various reasons, and among them who have produced maps, it was done with south-north projection. Muslim world, East Asia and India were the primary culprits of this, and had any of them remained a dominant world player to this day, south-north maps would've become common enough to encounter, if not the norm..

2) It is definitely a trap of cultural determinism. History is a much more coincidental affair. But you should already know that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erneiz_hyde View Post
Speaking of maps...

Does anyone here have experience in an Alternate Earth projects? Things like "what if Earth was tilted in a different axis than in otl" or "what if the world map is upside down of OTL" things like that? Then simulating how humanity would spread and how would culture and civilization form in said worlds.
My first encounter with that genre was this site : http://www.worlddreambank.org/J/JAREDIA.HTM
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Last edited by Ridwan; 2012-09-13 at 01:30.
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Old 2012-10-02, 11:09   Link #192
Ridwan
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Bumping this with an obscure topic related to my enthusiasm for obscure and extinct religions, like Manichaeism for example. I don't know much about it though in my defense not that much is known about it in the first place, but should there be anything I get it wrong below, (in hope that there will be anyone sufficiently informed running into this post) then please do tell.

Spoiler for Post-Muhammad Manichaeist revival:


Thoughts ?
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Old 2012-10-06, 10:57   Link #193
LeoXiao
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Hm... I can't say I know much about the context of the rise of Islam, so I'm afraid I'd be hard-pressed to make any sensible commentary.

_________________________________

I'm going to venture out of my normal 20th-century comfort zone. In North Korea and fringe areas of Manchuria there was a kingdom called Kogoryo that I read a book about a couple days ago. It lasted from like 100 BC (or something) to 680 AD when the rising Tang Dynasty messed it up. Let's say for some reason or another the Tang instead decides (perhaps they have more important things to deal with further west) to be content with this kingdom existing and it survives at least until after the fall of the Tang dynasty, with amiable or at least peaceable relations between the two entities.

How would things turn out? Would Koguryo unite Korea? From the map the book provided, there were two more states in Korea, that Koguryo never managed to finish off. If they didn't have to deal with China (at least not directly), would these states have fallen? Would this kingdom have become the defining dynasty of Korea (Kogrea, anyone?)? Is it plausible for it to avoid being crushed by this or that Chinese/Mongol dynasty to be able to last until the 20th century?

I think that for the last bit, it may just be possible for the peninsula to become united under the Koguryo, and then after some series of half-hearted and failed Chinese invasions, it would become, to any normal Chinese dynasty, "one of those places we don't really care that much about". Perhaps in this sense, freed from major Chinese military interference it could become more like Japan, with a more continuous and stable civilization.
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Old 2012-10-06, 11:08   Link #194
Sumeragi
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Both Goguryeo and Baekje fell because of internal problems hindering what would otherwis have been a robust military response to the Silla-Tang invasions. My guess is that if we change the political situation slightly, there was a high chance that Silla would have been pounded upon by Goguryeo, Baekje, and Yamato, thus removing the main threat and allowing the allied countries (at the time the northern Nomads and the three countries mentioned) would have been able to withstand the Tang invasions.

As for unification, I'm not quite sure. Goguryeo, Baekje, and Yamato were all linked by either having the ruling families be directly related (Goguryeo's founder was the stepfather of Baekje's father) or having extremely strong influence through immigration (Goguryeo/Baekje to Yamato). While unification might be difficult, a strong bond might be formed.
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Old 2012-10-06, 11:17   Link #195
LeoXiao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
As for unification, I'm not quite sure. Goguryeo, Baekje, and Yamato were all linked by either having the ruling families be directly related (Goguryeo's founder was the stepfather of Baekje's father) or having extremely strong influence through immigration (Goguryeo/Baekje to Yamato). While unification might be difficult, a strong bond might be formed.
But one would think that having defeated the Tang-Silla invasion, that "strong bond" between Koguryo (or Goguryeo, damn, don't know which romanization is better) would eventually lead to Baekje being absorbed politically and culturally. Then Silla would be in the same situation as the ROK when it only controlled that little bit around Busan, and also end up assimilated at some point.

But if you say that internal problems caused the kingdom to collapse, I guess that makes things harder. It seems that almost all dynasties have this issue, they are fine until a crappy king (or series of crappy kings) comes along.
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Old 2012-10-06, 11:39   Link #196
Sumeragi
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It's difficult to think that Baekje would have been absorbed, given that the population of the proto-Koreans in both countries were around the same level (three million) with Baekje having an additional one million or so in Yamato (never mind the pro-Baekje Yamato people). With Goguryeo's population being around five~six million at the time due to the various non-proto-Koreans (who contributed to the later northern nomad population), there was no real way Gogoryeo would have been in a definite position to absorb Baekje. Rather, I would see Goguryeo being the shield with Baekje providing the economic backup and Yamato providing the resources.
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Old 2012-10-06, 18:07   Link #197
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But between them the conquest and annexation of Silla surely must've been possible.
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Old 2012-10-24, 22:08   Link #198
Ridwan
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Bumping this thread after quite a while....



One of my favorite periods for divergence would be the period between 7 Years War and Napoleonic Wars since frankly, unlike most people, I actually like seeing a more succesful France That is, aside from how many possible alternative discourses of new imperialism that can be explored while still maintaining a Europe similar enough to OTL's.

For now, I'll forward a Napoleonic what if : one of the most crucial weakness of Napoleonic Empire is that its leader wanted to become the next Alexander. Until a certain point, the other players of Europe would've been willing to give France Rhine border, had Napoleon decided to stop there. Changing Napoleon's personality will only create too much butterflies, but on the other hand, replacing him with someone else before it becomes too late could've saved France from submitting to actual defeat. The man always personally led his troops far in the frontlines, a habit that could've killed him anytime.
Supposed that he actually succumbed in one of his personal campaigns before the invasion to Russia happens, it doesn't seem that Continental System will outlast him for too long. However, it'd be likely that France could've retained better position in negotiating table under a more negotiable leadership. Let's say that France would retain Rhine Border and Italy and Netherlands as satelites. Let's broadly speculate about how will Europe and colonialism broadly develop from then on.

Some points :
> With Netherlands still under French thumb, Indonesia will remain British
> Germany has been deprived from Rhineland and its resources and economy, while in Italy, Piedmont remains French.
> Algeria has been saved from spiralling down into effective anarchy from sudden loss of trading revenues with France due to collapse of Napoleonic regime. Altogether, this should prevent the later souring of relationship between two countries and ultimately French conquest of Algeria.

Specifically, let's discuss about the futures of Germany, Africa and South East Asia departing from this rough divergence. Thoughts ?
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Old 2012-10-24, 22:47   Link #199
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My personal choice is Napoleon being incapacitated during the Battle of Austerlitz, somehow leading to a more lenient peace Treaty of Pressburg (due to Talleyrand). That would most likely have kept Austria from joining the Fifth Coalition and butterfly a few things to prevent the Fourth from starting in the first place.
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Old 2012-10-25, 07:36   Link #200
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Come to think of it.... What would have happened if Napoleon managed to cross the English Channel?
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