blind spot

#1
This has nothing to do with Tarot, but more about my personal blindness, and I wonder, who else parted in my blindness.

Probably everybody with some history background has heard of the great plague 1348-50 and its devastating effects.
Possibly even some made considerations, how this effected the distribution of playing cards in Europe.

Also probably everybody did heard of a general intellectual and factual fall of European culture after the wandering of the nations (4th - 5th century), causing a far spread inability of reading and writing during a long period, actual a strong drop against the former state in Roman times.

But ... who has ever heard of the plague of Justinian in 541-542 ??????? ... and as in 1348-50 the plague returned in following decades.

... and who, if he knew about the plague, connected it as a logical condition to the general fall of culture in and after this time?

I personally didn't, and I wondered a few months ago, when I detected it, if this was my "private error" or a general problem in Western history education

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_of_Justinian
other material elsewhere, search "plague" "Justinian"

"Some historians such as Josiah C. Russell (1958) have suggested a total European population loss of 50% to 60% between 541 and 700."
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: blind spot

#2
I heard of it but never studied it or thought of the implications.

I don't think it is an error or omission in Western history education, it's just that people study more what really happened then what might have happened if such and such hadn't happened.
Image

Re: blind spot

#3
Well ... recently I became aware, that the plague of 1348-1350 had only minor impacts on Milan and of Bohemia ...



... and comparing it to that, what happened politically in the following decades, then we a very successful next 50 years for Milan (nearly a new Italian kingdom in 1402 with Giangaleazzo Visconti) and in Bohemia we've the center of a successful German Empire for 30 years (Bohemia had then in 1381 a heavy local plague, which later was followed by the circumstance, that King Wenzel was abdicated in 1400).

So in some logical manner "understanding the plague of 14th century" means to understand the larger context of the 14th century.
In the case of the Justinian plague (and its later following plagues) we see the surprising storm of Islamic troops through Middle East and Northern Africa till Spain, which in short time revolutionized the medieval world.



If one assumes, that the region around Mekka and Medina was somehow good isolated against outside traffic (and so against the plague), then the after-plague-weakness of the other regions explains, why the Islamic progress happened so easy.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: blind spot

#4
What I found most interesting when studying the plague in England was how it was actually an economic and social boon for the survivors, or at least, the working and merchant classes. Because land became available, and workers were now in demand, people who before the plague had no hope of social mobility found themselves living better, eating better, working less, and being paid more than they had been before. There was geographical and economic mobility, and It was actually a time of great prosperity for a lot of people.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: blind spot

#5
robert wrote:What I found most interesting when studying the plague in England was how it was actually an economic and social boon for the survivors, or at least, the working and merchant classes. Because land became available, and workers were now in demand, people who before the plague had no hope of social mobility found themselves living better, eating better, working less, and being paid more than they had been before. There was geographical and economic mobility, and It was actually a time of great prosperity for a lot of people.
Even catastrophes know winners. Plagues kill persons, but not objects or possessions. If of 100% population 1/3 die, then everybody surviving has in average increased his possessions by 50% ... For the mobility I don't think, that it was raised, cause traveling became dangerous and the plague reappeared. 6 major plagues are recorded for 14th century.
But surely there was a movement to "fill empty places" - if we want call this mobility. If many in the social hierarchy got a higher rank, there were few left at the bottom .. which improved the conditions at the bottom and gave problems to the higher positions in the society, who missed their cheap servants.
But in the comparison between states ... states without plague should have prospered (expansive phase) and states with plague should have suffered with good chances to be diminished or taken by competing others.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: blind spot

#6
Huck wrote:then the after-plague-weakness of the other regions explains, why the Islamic progress happened so easy.
I did an interesting study with a tarot card and book where the Battle of Talas came up. The Chinese were defeated by Islamic forces in 751, thus ensuring that Islamic rather than Chinese civilization dominated in the region.

Chinese captives from this battle brought the knowledge of paper-making as well as other skills. The first paper mill was operating in Baghdad by 794. However, the Crusades and the subsequent takeover of Spain by Islam stopped the trade of such information and paper-making didn't start up in the West again until about 1120 in Islamic Spain and of course still wasn't shared with the rest of Europe.

So, Islam probably would have taken over much, much earlier, and if not for the Crusades, Islamic printing presses and texts would have been freely printed and circulated, rather than Latin texts and manuscripts on animal skins, and Islam rather than Christianity would have predominated in Europe.

It's so interesting when you get into these subtleties of history. Islamic progress was stopped long before the plague years of the 14th century. However, if the Justinian Plague hadn't weakened the Roman Empire maybe the Islamic world would not have had a foot at all in Europe? Or maybe there wouldn't have been the Crusades and Islamic growth into the region would have surged and taken hold so that the plagues of the 14th century would have ensured Islamic dominance forever or killed it off depending on who was there to die?

Spooky reverberations.

Alternate history novels are interesting in the way they can turn things like this about in the mind. Thanks for the link on the Justinian Plague! Never heard of it.

(p.s. to Robert - I've always wanted to make a pilgrimage to the Hagia Sophia too. So we can do Canterbury, Mont St. Michel, and the Hagia Sophia on the world tour.)

Re: blind spot

#7
How odd to see the plague mentioned here .. I just finished reading "The Doomsday Book" this week ...
You should never hesitate to trade your cow for a handful of magic beans.
Tom Robbins

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