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  • #16
    Still, I could see a group of 15th century (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoplatonism) Neo-Platonists decide that the Pagan Gods were real and that they had once been human. The theory that the gods had been human was common enough from the Classical period right up to the 18th century. A group of Philosophers becoming the gods of the Enlightenment. A later generation might become the gods of the Romantics. These new gods would be at war with each other's factions over different visions of the just,
    Last edited by Astromancer; 02-28-2019, 05:00 PM.

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    • #17
      The large issue with doing so is essentially that this is essentially a colonialist view, especially as things moved into the Enlightenment. It took the religions of a lot of cultures and went 'oh clearly they were just making up stories about actual people and then forgot about it" with an extremely loud (but unspoken) "not like us European Christians, who are right" that has been and remains a huge issue in dealing with anthropological study.

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      • #18
        Like you can do it but you're gonna want to walk real carefully.

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        • #19
          Some Greek philosophers didn’t believe in the gods, but in the powers of nature. They treated the nature as something magical or divine, that would accept offers and worship and return good harvests and fair weather. Those were probably among the people that believed the gods were humans with the powers of storytelling on their favor.

          It was common too among Romans, many of the more learned didn’t believe in the gods, keeping the traditions just to keep the power over the people. Even some of the priests were there for the mundane power, not for religion (I am talking about Romans, not modern priests... the modern ones are really good people that do believe in what they are talking about... yeah...)

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          • #20
            Originally posted by MorsRattus View Post
            The large issue with doing so is essentially that this is essentially a colonialist view, especially as things moved into the Enlightenment. It took the religions of a lot of cultures and went 'oh clearly they were just making up stories about actual people and then forgot about it" with an extremely loud (but unspoken) "not like us European Christians, who are right" that has been and remains a huge issue in dealing with anthropological study.

            Fun Fact: The story of Jesus is actually the most recent in a shockingly long list of "remakes" about the life, death and resurrection of a sun god. Although the names of the characters involved changed many times throughout the ages, they have the curious trait of starting with the same letter / pronunciation as each other.

            Players who are looking to create their own custom pantheon might be able to use that story as a source of inspiration!
            Last edited by Nyrufa; 02-28-2019, 07:55 PM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by MorsRattus View Post
              The large issue with doing so is essentially that this is essentially a colonialist view, especially as things moved into the Enlightenment. It took the religions of a lot of cultures and went 'oh clearly they were just making up stories about actual people and then forgot about it" with an extremely loud (but unspoken) "not like us European Christians, who are right" that has been and remains a huge issue in dealing with anthropological study.

              I'm curious, how where those reforming European culture and thought "colonialist" when they weren't focused on overseas expansion? The scholars of the Enlightenment were among the first to challenge Colonialism/imperialism, racism (including some very racist people who recognized the evil of racism), Slavery (even slave owners among the followers of the Enlightenment saw slavery as something that needed to end, Romantic slave owners demanded slavery be seen as a positive good), and Sexism (Thomas Paine was the first person to say that women needed equal rights to vote and hold office). Do you consider the Turks, who wanted to conquer Europe and regularly took Europeans caught in slave raids to sell in their capital, throughout the period normally called the Enlightenment, colonialist for wanting to conquer and enslave Europe? Or is colonialism a sin only Europeans and European descended people are capable of? If so how do you describe China's treatment of Tibet? And how would you describe Usman dan Fodio's ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usman_dan_Fodio ) brutal conquest and enslavement of the Hausa States ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hausa_Kingdoms)?

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              • #22
                Colonialist attitudes extend far beyond the simple expansion of Empire and conquering of indigenous cultures... It is also found in the twisting of square native beliefs into round foreign holes. Steven Spielberg may not be leading expansions into India but his portrayal of Indian culture in general and Hinduism in particular was extremely colonial in its attitude, especially in its forcing of a stereotypical Abrahamic God/Satan divide onto figures with significantly more complex relationships.
                Last edited by Samudra; 03-01-2019, 07:13 AM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post


                  Fun Fact: The story of Jesus is actually the most recent in a shockingly long list of "remakes" about the life, death and resurrection of a sun god. Although the names of the characters involved changed many times throughout the ages, they have the curious trait of starting with the same letter / pronunciation as each other.

                  Players who are looking to create their own custom pantheon might be able to use that story as a source of inspiration!
                  ​...nooooot quite. This is conflating two different things. First: Mithras, a Roman god who pretty clearly originated in the Persian Mithra, who MIGHT be related to the Indian god Mitra, but the connections and documentation of all this is fragmentary. Describing any one of them as a "sun god" is fairly reductionist, and while we know Mithras himself had some connection to Sol, we don't actually know much of anything about Mithras personally because his mystery cult didn't really document much, so we are going entirely off artistic depictions and how they were talked about by outsiders. Now, are any of these guys connected to Jesus? ...maybe? It's hard to say because there is very little evidence but it is definitely a theory some folks have floated.

                  ​I don't really buy it myself, and indeed Jesus was part of a cultural trend in Judaism of the time in...well, messiahs. He was very far from the only self-proclaimed messiah of the period, just the most successful one and the only one to spawn what would end up being a lasting and widespread new religion.

                  ​As for the idea that the dying-and-returning god, that's an idea put forth in the 1890s in The Golden Bough, which has essentially been entirely discredited. Even the guy who put it forth, James Frazer, never cited Mithras, Mithra or Mitra in it, because...they aren't gods that die and return. At all. The ones he cited are still iffy (his picks are Tammuz/Dumuzid, Osiris, Adonis, Attis, Dionysus and Jesus; of these, most of those picks are faulty and poorly chosen in one way or another and have very little relation to each other at all) and the entire category of dying-and-returning gods has largely been abandoned.


                  ​e: and I am just straight up not getting involved in this other weirdass whataboutism about who is most colonialist and non-European colonialism meaning European colonialism is less bad and...just, y'know, that's bait and I'm not playing this game.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Samudra View Post
                    Colonialist attitudes extend far beyond the simple expansion of Empire and conquering of indigenous cultures... It is also found in the twisting of square native beliefs into round foreign holes. Steven Spielberg may not be leading expansions into India but his portrayal of Indian culture in general and Hinduism, in particular, was extremely colonial in its attitude, especially in its forcing of a stereotypical Abrahamic God/Satan divide onto figures with significantly more complex relationships.
                    Wouldn't that make any thought by anyone about other cultures colonialist? Thus if a public intellectual of influence in India were to condemn a fad in America because he interprets it in terms of his cultural and religious norms with no understanding of what's going on, would you say he's being colonialist? Many Bollywood films are being set in the USA, they often show less knowledge and understanding of the USA than Spielberg had of India, and unlike Spielberg, there aren't even gestures of respect toward the society depicted. Is Bollywood colonialist?

                    My original idea, a group of scholars in Renaissance Italy become Denizens and then seek Godhood as a means to get the power to make a better world, and then coming into conflict with a similar group with radically different ideas isn't colonialist. I was accused of colonialism. Accusation, especially silly accusations out of nowhere, aren't proof of guilt. A game representing the struggle of two factions of gods in 19th century Central Europe wouldn't need to even touch on colonialism. And it would be the Enlightenment faction, the people Bell Hooks and the Culture Studies crowd would hate that would be Anti-Colonial and pioneering serious academic studies of Non-Western cultures. The Romantics, the spiritual ancestors of the Culture Studies crowd, were all about "Blood and Soil," Empire, Racial "Science," "Home, Church, and Children," and Antisemitism. Left-wing Romantics are an Anglosphere thing.

                    Now, can we get back to discussing game possibilities?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Astromancer View Post

                      Wouldn't that make any thought by anyone about other cultures colonialist? Thus if a public intellectual of influence in India were to condemn a fad in America because he interprets it in terms of his cultural and religious norms with no understanding of what's going on, would you say he's being colonialist? Many Bollywood films are being set in the USA, they often show less knowledge and understanding of the USA than Spielberg had of India, and unlike Spielberg, there aren't even gestures of respect toward the society depicted. Is Bollywood colonialist?

                      My original idea, a group of scholars in Renaissance Italy become Denizens and then seek Godhood as a means to get the power to make a better world, and then coming into conflict with a similar group with radically different ideas isn't colonialist. I was accused of colonialism. Accusation, especially silly accusations out of nowhere, aren't proof of guilt. A game representing the struggle of two factions of gods in 19th century Central Europe wouldn't need to even touch on colonialism. And it would be the Enlightenment faction, the people Bell Hooks and the Culture Studies crowd would hate that would be Anti-Colonial and pioneering serious academic studies of Non-Western cultures. The Romantics, the spiritual ancestors of the Culture Studies crowd, were all about "Blood and Soil," Empire, Racial "Science," "Home, Church, and Children," and Antisemitism. Left-wing Romantics are an Anglosphere thing.

                      Now, can we get back to discussing game possibilities?
                      You know, as a historian of exactly the period you are talking about (Renaissance to Enlightenment, 15th-18th Centuries), I have to say that your ideas of these intellectual movements are ... very wrong in some places. These philosophers not only wrote extensively (both positively and negatively) about colonialism, the very flowering of their schools was based in the riches Europe exploited from its colonies abroad. You can't pick and choose the figures you like, all of them are part of a picture. Those like Sepulveda who waxed poetical over how slavery was a natural thing were just as much a part of the Renaissance as your heroes, and the very defintion of what a race is in contrast to a confession or nation is an idea developed by Enlightenment thinkers. Mors wasn't accusing you of being colonialist, but Enlightenment thinkers, which was no more than a factual statement on his part. We never needed to be told to get back to discussing game possibilities, I think it was just a slight misunderstanding on your part feeling that this historical evaluation was directed at you personally and your politics. One needs to be aware of the fact, however, that colonialism is everywhere, that neither the modern day nor 19th-Century Central Europe can in any way be understood or depicted without seeing the marks left by colonialism. And these marks dug into history by Europe (and, in a different way, the USA) are what makes the fundamental difference between the inaccurate depiction of India by a White American and the inaccurate depiction of America by an Indian. India is to this day shaped by the exploitation it suffered at the hands of the European colonial powers; its very existence in the shape and form we know is a colonial product. The depictions of barbarism, human sacrifice, and general depravity we see in Spielberg's second Indiana Jones flick are rooted in and reinforce ideas Western people have about India and which Indian people inside and outside the subcontinent suffer from every day in manifold ways. Meanwhile, a tongue-in-cheek play on clichés in a Bollywood film about the USA, the most prosperous and powerful of Western powers, has no power at all over people in America, is probably not even known to most of them, and is not connected to any historical scenario of colonial domination of US-Americans by Indians or any country related to modern India.

                      I'm also not sure one can say that an entire academic field, like Culture Studies, hates anyone in particular. Because that field consists of individuals who love and hate individual things. What poor bell hooks has to do with the Enlightenment and the Romantics is sadly lost to me. Connecting any modern academic movement to the poetic cultural trend of Romanticism (which wasn't even a philosophical school in any way, as far as I am aware), seems very misguided to me, and your whole argument there in the second part seems to have a slight chronology issues. One doesn't really speak of Left-wing and Right-wing politics before the parlamentarisation and constitutionalisation that got its biggest impetus from the 1843 revolutions. Thus, speaking of "Left-wing Romantics" when Romanticism as a poetic movement had already ended at this point makes little sense. Neither was Romanticism "nationalist", though its focus on the Medieval past when nations were thought to have arisen definitely fed into that political ideology without me knowing of any major Romantic poets who were also politically active in that way. In the same vein, it wasn't Enlightenment thinkers that were the "opponents" of the Romanticists, but the Neo-Classicists, themselves a good way removed from the Enlightenment that happened in the first part of the 18th Century. Roughly, Neo-Classicism was a flight into a safer, seemingly pan-European past in the face of a fractured Europe shaken by the French Revolution; Romanticism was a product of the peace following the defeat of Napoleon.

                      In reference to your earlier comment, I'd like to point out some further historical inaccuracies you stumbled over in your argument: The Ottoman Empire, while it can certainly be discussed in terms of colonialism especially in its control of North Africa and the Balkan, was no longer a great power and no longer capable of warfare in Europe by the time the so-called Enlightenment began. Your overemphasis of Muslim piracy and slave-taking in the Mediterranean makes me think you might have fallen into the pitfall of older, obviously racist scholarship and publication that went nuts over that aspect, yet completely swept Christian-on-Muslim slavery under the rug; in fact, the numbers of North African Muslims taken as slaves by Europeans and the other way around are roughly equal for most of the Early Modern period. China has definitely been colonialist in its expansion since at least the Han Dynasty, and has been discussed by scholars as such; I can point you to some articles, if you'd like. The last question of your paragraph there I'm not sure I can answer - how would one describe the Fulani Jihad? Well, I mean, as balanced and detailed as possible, I guess, but what else do you mean? Certainly not as colonialist.

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                      • #26
                        MorsRattus Well, the sun god I was referencing is rooted more in astrology, than any particular culture. There is a star that passes through the sky until it comes into alignment with a constellation that resembles a cross. At this time, the star vanishes from sight for three days, before appearing again. And it is believed that this was the source of the original crucifixion story, as the various cultures throughout history began to adapt it into their own mythos.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          MorsRattus Well, the sun god I was referencing is rooted more in astrology, than any particular culture. There is a star that passes through the sky until it comes into alignment with a constellation that resembles a cross. At this time, the star vanishes from sight for three days, before appearing again. And it is believed that this was the source of the original crucifixion story, as the various cultures throughout history began to adapt it into their own mythos.
                          Where is that from? Both the star part and the "different cultures like crosses" part. ^^'

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                          • #28
                            Skipping your first two paragraphs, although they are rich in error.

                            Originally posted by Sacerdos View Post
                            In reference to your earlier comment, I'd like to point out some further historical inaccuracies you stumbled over in your argument: The Ottoman Empire, while it can certainly be discussed in terms of colonialism especially in its control of North Africa and the Balkan, was no longer a great power and no longer capable of warfare in Europe by the time the so-called Enlightenment began.
                            The Enlightenment as Johnathan Isreal has shown starts in the Dutch state in the early 17th century. As long as the Ottomans had a big trade advantage they were a major power and threat. Improvements in navigation in the early 18th century took this advantage away. But as late as the 1720s the Ottoman state was a serious threat to Europe.

                            Your overemphasis of Muslim piracy and slave-taking in the Mediterranean makes me think you might have fallen into the pitfall of older, obviously racist scholarship and publication that went nuts over that aspect, yet completely swept Christian-on-Muslim slavery under the rug; in fact, the numbers of North African Muslims taken as slaves by Europeans and the other way around are roughly equal for most of the Early Modern period.
                            Any knowledge of demography crushes that argument. The Corsair states never had the population to allow equal amounts of slave raiding. Even simply pumping the numbers up to the possible limits without evidence to back them can only get you one to four ratio of North Africans to Europeans. Also, both Arab and European accounts made it clear that Europeans took captives only from ships and the Corsairs raided the shorelines and sometimes far inland even as late as the 18th century.

                            China has definitely been colonialist in its expansion since at least the Han Dynasty, and has been discussed by scholars as such; I can point you to some
                            articles if you'd like.
                            I like academic history, my Masters is in history. I would like the articles. Thank-you.

                            The last question of your paragraph there I'm not sure I can answer - how would one describe the Fulani Jihad? Well, I mean, as balanced and detailed as possible, I guess, but what else do you mean? Certainly not as colonialist.
                            Andrew Clark, whom I got to take classes from, had his Ph.D. in African history. He spoke African languages and talked to the descendants of Hausa and the local Girots. Trust me the locals know an imperialist tyrant when he crushes their nations an enslaves them.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Astromancer View Post
                              Skipping your first two paragraphs, although they are rich in error.
                              Um, you know this is very far from corteous, right? And more than a little lazy, considering this was the main part of me engaging your arguments.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Astromancer View Post
                                The Enlightenment as Johnathan Isreal has shown starts in the Dutch state in the early 17th century. As long as the Ottomans had a big trade advantage they were a major power and threat. Improvements in navigation in the early 18th century took this advantage away. But as late as the 1720s the Ottoman state was a serious threat to Europe.
                                With this I think we are getting into a game of relative assessments. I disagree with Israel on Spinoza already being an Enlightenment philosopher; while I do think the Enlightenment started earlier than usually dated (already towards the end of the 17th Century, not only in the 18th) Spinoza is definitely too early. And I would say Ottoman Turkey loses its status as an acute threat towards the end of the 16th Century with the defeat and death of Suleyman the Magnificient and the later defeat of his heir at Lepanto. Afterwards, the Ottoman state increasingly stagnated, at least in its military potential. But I'll admit that I know the Habsburg side of that conflict better than the Ottoman side.

                                Any knowledge of demography crushes that argument. The Corsair states never had the population to allow equal amounts of slave raiding. Even simply pumping the numbers up to the possible limits without evidence to back them can only get you one to four ratio of North Africans to Europeans. Also, both Arab and European accounts made it clear that Europeans took captives only from ships and the Corsairs raided the shorelines and sometimes far inland even as late as the 18th century.
                                I was mostly thinking of the assessments made by Braudel here and especially of the countless cases of Muslim slaves I know from my own studies of Spain and the Knights of Malta, but you may be right about the numbers not entirely working out that way. In any case, conjuring up that old image of the Berbers one-sidedly stealing away people into "White Slavery" rings all of my alarm bells, because that was exploited propagandistically to no end.

                                Andrew Clark, whom I got to take classes from, had his Ph.D. in African history. He spoke African languages and talked to the descendants of Hausa and the local Girots. Trust me the locals know an imperialist tyrant when he crushes their nations an enslaves them.
                                That may be, but like I said, I'm not even sure what you were going for with your original point there. And imperialism doesn't automatically equal colonialism. The idea that the Hausa-Fulani Empire was colonial seems more than strange to me.
                                Last edited by Sacerdos; 03-01-2019, 03:18 PM.

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