I was listening to some political talk show or another - someone was talking about ISIL or ISIS or whatever you would like to call it - saying how they were still stuck in the Middle Ages.
To North American/European that is an immediate qualifier of them being backwards and quixotic, it’s not even worth looking at their point of view because it’s so out dated. Europe was backwards in the Middle Ages, the Middle Ages in the Middle East were not a decline. There was the invasion from the Turks and the Mongols, but at the time they were much more “civilized” than Europeans.
It leaves me to contemplate how words reflect very different meanings depending on who is listening to them, saying something is from the Middle Ages means something different to a fundamentalist Muslim than it does to a westerner. I would assume to them, the equivalent to saying that it came from the Golden Age of Greece.
In the west we always seem to scratch our heads about the Middle East and think they are war mongering idiots - the whole place is doomed because we don’t understand what the fight is all about, for someone who follows the news, I often feel that they are not giving me anything of substance because they assume that would be bad for rating. We are just as ignorant of what is going on - an it’s depressing hearing journalist writing something off just because it’s from “the middle ages”
This illustration is of the Mamluk Turks, who were ruling Egypt during the Mongolian invasion. I was listening to a podcast about the non-philosopher named Ibn-Taymiyya, a guy from the Middle Ages that all those fundamentalist Muslims look back to with admiration. I obviously don’t agree with ideology of fundamentalist Islam, but I do think it is worth while to know a little bit about what motivates these people, who are their role models.
Although, maybe it is just like camel meat on the top of a mountain, it’s there but not worth getting, at least that is what a fundamentalist Muslim might think.
pod cast on ibn-taymiyyahttp://www.historyofphilosophy.net/ibn-taymiyya
William Livingston 1723 - 1790; served as the Governor of New Jersey (1776–1790) during the American Revolutionary War and was a signer of the United States Constitution.
Crispus Attucks 1723 - 1770; was an American slave, merchant seaman and dockworker of Wampanoag and African descent. He was the first casualty of the Boston Massacre, in Boston, Massachusetts, and is widely considered to be the first American casualty in the American Revolutionary War.
Samson Occom 1723 - 1792; was a member of the Mohegan nation, from near New London, Connecticut who became a Presbyterian cleric. Occum was the first Native American to publish his writings in English, and also helped found several settlements, including what ultimately became known as the Brothertown Indians. Together with the missionary John Eliot, Occom became one of the foremost missionaries who cross-fertilised Native American communities with Christianized European culture.
John Witherspoon 1723 - 1794; was a Scots Presbyterian minister and a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Jersey. As president of the College of New Jersey (1768–94; now Princeton University), he trained many leaders of the early nation and was the only active clergyman and the only college president to sign the Declaration. He’s pissed.
Eliza Pinckey 1723 - 1793; changed agriculture in colonial South Carolina, where she developed indigo as one of its most important cash crops. Its cultivation and processing as dye produced one-third the total value of the colony’s exports before the Revolutionary War. Manager of three plantations at age 16, Pinckney had a major impact on the economy. She was the first woman to be inducted into South Carolina’s Business Hall of Fame.
Samuel Adams 1722 - 1803; The guy the beer is named after.
Peyton Randolph 1721 - 1755; was a planter and public official from the Colony of Virginia. He served as speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses, chairman of the Virginia Conventions, and the first President of the Continental Congress.
Roger Sherman 1721 - 1793; was an early American lawyer and politician, as well as a Founding Father of the United States. He served as the first mayor of New Haven, Connecticut, and served on the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence, and was also a representative and senator in the new republic. He was the only person to sign all four great state papers of the U.S.: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson said of him: “That is Mr. Sherman, of Connecticut, a man who never said a foolish thing in his life.”
Samuel Hopkins 1721 - 1803; was an American Congregationalist, theologian of the late colonial era of the United States, and from whom the Hopkinsian theology takes its name.
Thomas Thistlewood (1721 ‒ 1786) was a British citizen who migrated to western Jamaica where he became a plantation overseer and owner of land, property, and slaves. He is remembered for his diary, an important historical document chronicling the history of Jamaica and slavery during the 18th century. He was very cruel.
John Woolman 1720 - 1772; was a North American merchant, tailor, journalist, and itinerant Quaker preacher, and an early abolitionist in the colonial era. Based in Mount Holly, New Jersey, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he traveled through frontier areas of British North America to preach Quaker beliefs, and advocate against slavery and the slave trade, cruelty to animals, economic injustices and oppression, and conscription; from 1755 during the French and Indian War, he urged tax resistance to deny support to the military. In 1772, Woolman traveled to England, where he urged Quakers to support abolition of slavery.
Pontiac 1720 - 1769; was an Ottawa leader who became famous for his role in Pontiac’s War (1763–1766), an American Indian struggle against British military occupation of the Great Lakes region following the British victory in the French and Indian War. Pontiac’s importance in the war that bears his name has been debated. Nineteenth century accounts portrayed him as the mastermind and leader of the revolt, but some subsequent scholars argued that his role had been exaggerated. Historians today generally view him as an important local leader who influenced a wider movement that he did not command.
Sultan Mustafa III: 1717 – 1774 was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1757 to 1774.
An energetic and perceptive ruler, Mustafa III sought to modernize the army and the internal state machinery to bring his empire in line with the Powers of Europe.
Unfortunately the Ottoman state had declined so far that any general attempts at modernization were but a drop in the ocean, while any major plans to change the administrative status quo immediately roused the conservative Janissaries and imams to the point of rebellion. Mustafa III did secure the services of foreign generals to initiate a reform of the infantry and artillery. The Sultan also ordered the founding of Academies for Mathematics, Navigation and the Sciences.
Mustafa III assiduously avoided war and was powerless to prevent the annexation of the Crimea by Catherine II of Russia (1762–96). However this action, combined with further Russian aggression in Poland compelled Mustafa III to declare war on Russia shortly before his death.