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The Mother Of All Civilizations (Caral, Peru)
Times OF India ^ | 12-16-2007 | Shobhan Saxena

Posted on 12/16/2007 8:19:48 AM PST by blam

The mother of all civilisations

16 Dec 2007, 0001 hrs IST,Shobhan Saxena,TNN

The ruins were so magnificent and sprawling that some people believed that the aliens from a faraway galaxy had built the huge pyramids that stood in the desert across the Andes.

Some historians believed that the complex society, which existed at that time, was born out of fear and war. They looked for the telltale signs of violence that they believed led to the creation of this civilisation. But, they could not find even a hint of any warfare. It was baffling. Even years after Ruth Shady Solis found the ancient city of pyramids at Caral in Peru, it continues to surprise historians around the world. It took Ruth Shady many years and many rounds of carbon dating to prove that the earliest known civilisation in South Americas—at 2,627 BC–was much older than the Harappa Valley towns and the pyramids of Egypt.

Solis, an archaeologist at the National University of San Marcos, Lima, was looking for the fabled missing link of archaeology— a ‘mother city’—when she stumbled upon the ancient city of Caral in the Supe Valley of Peru a few years ago. Her findings were stunning.

It showed that a full-fledged urban civilisation existed at the place around 2700 BC. The archaeologist and her team found a huge compound at Caral: 65 hectares in the central zone, encompassing six large pyramids, many smaller pyramids, two circular plazas, temples, amphitheatres and other architectural features including residential districts spread in the desert, 23 km from the coast.

The discovery of Caral has pushed back the history of the Americas: Caral is more than 1,000 years older than Machu Picchu of the Incas. They built huge structures in Caral hundreds of years before the famous drainage system of Harappa and the pyramids of Egypt were even designed.

But, it was not easy for Ruth Shady to prove this. It was only in 2001 that the journal Science reported the Peruvian archaeologist’s discovery. And, despite the hard evidence backing her, she is still trying to convince people that Caral was indeed the oldest urban civilisation in the world.

"There were many problems, many of them in my own country," says Ruth Shady, on a visit to India to discuss her discovery with other historians. "The discovery of Caral challenged the accepted beliefs. Some historians were not ready to believe that an urban civilisation existed in Peru even before the pyramids were built in Egypt," she says.

Basically, there were two problems. First, for decades archaeologist have been looking for a ‘mother city’ to find an answer to the question: why did humans become civilised?

The historians had been searching for this answer in Egypt, Mesopotamia (Iraq), India and China. They didn’t expect to find the first signs of city life in a Peruvian desert. Secondly, most historians believed that only the fear of war could motivate people to form complex societies. And, since Caral did not show any trace of warfare; no battlements, no weapons, and no mutilated bodies, they found it hard to accept it as the mother city.

That’s when Ruth Shady stepped in with her discovery. "This place is somewhere between the seat of the gods and the home of man," she says, adding that Caral was a gentle society, built on trade and pleasure. "This great civilisation was based on trade in cotton. Caral made the cotton for the nets, which were sold to the fishermen living near the coast. Caral became a booming trading centre and the trade spread," she says.

Caral was born in trade and not bloodshed. Warfare came much later. This is what this mother city shows: great civilisations are born in peace. Ruth Shady continues to battle for this great truth.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; caral; civilization; godsgravesglyphs; peru; pyramids
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Caral may have the oldest pyramids in the world.

Voyages Of The Pyramid Builders

1 posted on 12/16/2007 8:19:51 AM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv
GGG Ping.

Many pictures here

2 posted on 12/16/2007 8:22:22 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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sounds like post flood migration builders....


3 posted on 12/16/2007 8:26:35 AM PST by raygunfan
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bookmark


4 posted on 12/16/2007 8:28:47 AM PST by federal
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To: blam

Thanks blam, good stuff as usual!

Regards


5 posted on 12/16/2007 8:31:03 AM PST by ARE SOLE (Agents Ramos and Campean are in prison at this very moment.. (A "Concerned Citizen".)
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To: blam
why did humans become civili[z]ed?

Sometimes I think we're still waiting...

6 posted on 12/16/2007 8:31:50 AM PST by econjack (Some people are as dumb as soup.)
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To: blam
Caral is more than 1,000 years older than Machu Picchu of the Incas.

True enough. Actually about 4,000 years, but who's counting millenia?

7 posted on 12/16/2007 8:33:03 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: blam
Sounds to me like someone is jumping to some pretty wild conclusions based on sketchy evidence. Unless the wealth of this elusive "city" was evenly distributed, there would be those who coveted the belongings of others, and who tried to take them by force. Either they were resisted by force -- and showed the signs of it -- or their victims were laid low -- and would show the signs of it. If the wealth WERE shared equally among all the citizens, then the signs of force would come from the government, as it strove to undo the inequities nature created.

The very absence of any violent indicators makes this whole edenic premise suspect. Violence and war are an inescapable reality of human nature.

8 posted on 12/16/2007 8:37:50 AM PST by IronJack (=)
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To: blam
Caral was a gentle society, built on trade and pleasure.

This meme has been announced many times, from the Polynesians to the Maya to the Anasazi. Every time, as knowledge of the ancient people grows, it is found that they were as bloody-minded as anybody else.

Might even be true this time, but that's not the smart way to bet.

Leftists have an insatiable urge to believe in a primeval Garden of Eden, from which we fell only by the Original Sin of our ancestors, the development of private property. Usually white male ancestors.

Since we fell from a state of peace, harmony and equality, we can return to it if we just assign all power to the Annointed.

9 posted on 12/16/2007 8:39:27 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: econjack

I, myself, go with the hydrology theory.


10 posted on 12/16/2007 8:48:50 AM PST by 3AngelaD (They screwed up their own countries so bad they had to leave, and now they're here screwing up ours)
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To: blam

How old are the Chinese pyramids? No one seems to have dated them yet.


11 posted on 12/16/2007 8:52:35 AM PST by Eternal_Bear
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To: Sherman Logan

Well said. The Maya-as-peaceful-loving-farmers theorists got their rear ends handed to them on a platter. Turns out they were as blood-thirsty as the rest of us. The hilarious part was that the Kumbaya crowd kept asserting that the Mayas were peace-loving several decades after the entire world saw the paintings at Bonampak. Complete denial. Oh, and I also enjoyed the huge fuss that was raised when it turned out the Anasazi were cannibals.


12 posted on 12/16/2007 8:54:25 AM PST by 3AngelaD (They screwed up their own countries so bad they had to leave, and now they're here screwing up ours)
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To: 3AngelaD

They finally deciphered the Maya script and most of the inscriptions turn out to read like something left by the Assyrians.

I toured Mesa Verde 25 years ago, and the story was put forward by the guides that the Anasazi had moved into the uncomfortable, cramped and dangerous cliff dwellings for some sort of solar energy reason. Since they had previously lived for many centuries in mesa top villages much more convenient to their fields, it seemed obvious to me that they moved into the cliff dwellings because they were scared to death. The neighbors turning into cannibals will do that!

I’ve often wondered if some Meso-American religious influence may not have been involved in the apparent change in the Anasazi way of life. Refugees from the Toltec, perhaps, who certainly had trade relations with the Anasazi.


13 posted on 12/16/2007 9:06:38 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: 3AngelaD
You would probably enjoy the book War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage by Lawrence H. Keeley. Pretty conclusively proves that almost all ancient and modern "primitive" peoples were far more violent than any societies of today.
14 posted on 12/16/2007 9:08:36 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan

Arf! I was told the same tale at Mesa Verde, which I love and have visited several times, back in the late 80s. They never give up. The Toltecs certainly did a number on the religious practices of the Maya when they arrived in the Yucatan, so I think your theory might hold water. One interesting link between Central Mexico and the Four Corners area is that both the Ute language and nahuatl are closely related linguistically , and come from a separate line of development from the other pre-columbian languages. Perhaps the nahuatl-speakers were break away Utes who traveled south. Have you ever visited Paquime in Chihuahua? Very interesting site, and strangely New Mexican.


15 posted on 12/16/2007 9:15:36 AM PST by 3AngelaD (They screwed up their own countries so bad they had to leave, and now they're here screwing up ours)
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To: 3AngelaD

Oddly, I’ve never actually been into Mexico, although I’ve been in border towns quite a few times.

There is certainly a linguistic link between the Utes, Comanches and Aztecs, among others.

Very diverse cultures among these peoples, of course. The legends of the Aztecs indicate that they were dirt-poor nomads when they entered Mexico, much like the Utes or Comanches were before they got horses.

I have backpacked over much of the Four Corners area, and I suspect few people realize how widespread the Anasazi ruins are. There are only a few spectacular cliff dwellings or pueblo ruins, but less dramatic remains are scattered widely. It has been estimated that a lot more people lived in the area in 1000 than today.


16 posted on 12/16/2007 9:24:32 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: 3AngelaD
"I also enjoyed the huge fuss that was raised when it turned out the Anasazi were cannibals. "

They still hate Christy Turner for that one.

Did cannibalism kill Anasazi civilization?

17 posted on 12/16/2007 9:25:22 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: 3AngelaD; Sherman Logan
The Zuni Enigma

"For many years, anthropologists have understood the Zuni in the American Southwest to occupy a special place in Native American culture and ethnography. Their language, religion, and blood type are startlingly different from all other tribes. Most puzzling, the Zuni appear to have much in common with the people of Japan. "

18 posted on 12/16/2007 9:28:40 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: 3AngelaD

Didn’t some American once say that “If you want peace be prepared for war”.


19 posted on 12/16/2007 9:30:46 AM PST by fella (The proper application of the truth far more important than the knowledge of it's existance."Ike")
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To: blam
Billman discovered one other significant item, a coprolite - a pile of preserved human fecal matter - in the center of a fireplace. He concluded that after the fire had died, someone had squatted over the hearth and defecated. The coprolite has become a key part of the cannibalism puzzle. It has been analyzed for the presence of human protein, which would prove the ingestion of human flesh. The results are expected to be published this year.

The results showed that it contained human proteins. The defecator was a cannibal.

20 posted on 12/16/2007 9:35:35 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: fella

That would be the American Flavius Vegetius Renatus, around 375 AD. LOL

Why any Roman should be considered an authority on peace is beyond me.


21 posted on 12/16/2007 9:37:35 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
Exactly. It is Rousseau's spin and at bottom a garden of eden story. And has never withstood objective evidence. But every corner of crevice of absence of evidence is taken as evidence of abscence, by the same ideologues who cannot give it up. They have way too much invested in it.

That part of the tale is almost certainly buncomb. That there was an urban civilization in ancient Peru, on the other hand, is perfectly believable. It is even believable that there was more seagoing contact between old and new worlds than most historians think - 5000 years is an awful long time and lots happens in a stretch that long.

There is no "first" involved, however. There are urban civilizations in the near east back to the dawn of agriculture, 10000 years ago.

22 posted on 12/16/2007 9:38:01 AM PST by JasonC
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To: JasonC

I’m not sure why the article considers 2,627 BC to be the world’s oldest urban civilization, since Sumer had many good-sized walled cities with massive temples by 5000 BC at the latest.


23 posted on 12/16/2007 9:44:54 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
I’ve read that book. Although stress on resources has caused warfare throughout the ages, as it continues to do, war was more personal than political in the past. The book gives examples of how even today Papuians wage war individually, as one warrior calls out another, or a lone warrior charges a an opposing line to demonstrate his fierceness. You cannot say this ceased abruptly when civilization appeared because personal glory, or Kleos and Time’ (if I have that spelled right), seemed to motivate the Greeks in the Iliad, but it did change at some point. Consider the famous quote of General Sherman that “An Army is a collection of armed men obliged to obey one man. Every change in the rules which impairs the principle weakens the army.”; there is no room for personal glory in that. But politics and military efficiency has not lead to greater casualties, as you might think; death in pursuit of Kleos, and the ancient form of warfare, was so deadly I’ve read that it accounted for 25% of all males in most civilizations before modern times.
24 posted on 12/16/2007 9:48:26 AM PST by PUGACHEV
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To: PUGACHEV
The 20th century, considered so bloody, resulted in 100M to 200M war deaths, depending on how you figure them.

Keeley showed pretty conclusively that if the average death rate from primitive warfare in ancient and modern societies had been in effect during the century, the actual deaths from war in the 20th would have been at least 1B to 2B. 10 times as much.

Some primitive societies were far more violent than even this would indicate.

25 posted on 12/16/2007 10:02:51 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: blam
And, despite the hard evidence backing her, she is still trying to convince people that Caral was indeed the oldest known urban civilisation in the world.

I admire and respect Ruth Shady for her lifetime of dedication and work, but my usual skepticism persists:

The search for the definitive history of civilized man will never end. There are too many unknowns. Many people don't realize that dinosaurs were not "known" until the 19th century.

What about the shoreline civilizations which are now under 300 of seas? How many might have disappeared permanently into subduction zones?

I do plan to read more about this lady's work. Sounds fascinating.

26 posted on 12/16/2007 10:59:47 AM PST by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: Publius6961

you bring up an interesting point here...a lot of these yaheys seem to assume that Earth’s geology has always taken place at the same rate that it currently does. How do we know that in the past continents did not drift more quickly? or how did those sea levels rise so much to engulf these cities off India without EEEEEEEEEVIL CO2 emissions from EEEEEEEEEEEVIL Western societies?


27 posted on 12/16/2007 11:11:27 AM PST by stefanbatory
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To: blam; Vom Willemstad K-9

btt


28 posted on 12/16/2007 11:44:04 AM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: fella
It's as old as Rome Si Vis Pacem, Para Belum

Old Roman saying inscribed in tombs, meaning, if you wish peace, prepare for war. Used by Mussolini on many an occasion in his speeches.

29 posted on 12/16/2007 11:54:18 AM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: blam
...why did humans become civilised?

Science doesn't ask or answer 'why' questions.

30 posted on 12/16/2007 12:00:44 PM PST by Rudder
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To: Sherman Logan
Why any Roman should be considered an authority on peace is beyond me.

Perhaps because the Pax Romana lasted longer than any other similar period in history?

But that's just a wild stab in the dark guess from me.

31 posted on 12/16/2007 12:12:39 PM PST by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: Sherman Logan

Amazing how things change. I toured Mesa Verde as a child 50+ years ago and the guides said the Indians (they were called Indians then) moved into the cliff dwellings to protect themselves against their enemies.


32 posted on 12/16/2007 12:25:33 PM PST by Ditter
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To: Publius6961
Perhaps because the Pax Romana lasted longer than any other similar period in history?

Depends on your definitions. The Pax Romana is variously defined as lasting from 80 to about 200 years. Leaving aside the fact that such rather dramatic events as the Jewish War and Bar Kochba's rebellion occurred during this period, I'll go for the 200 year definition.

Similar periods of relative peace and prosperity are found for at least two Chinese dynasties, the Han and Tang, which controlled an equivalent stretch of territory and probably an even larger population and wealth.

I'll grant you that such periods have been darn rare in history.

My reference was more to the growth periods of the Roman Republic and Empire, during which they had at least one foreign war going almost continuously for many centuries. And of course, after 180 the history of the Empire is a constant succession of foreign and civil wars.

Frankly, I think the 80 year definition is more fair, as prior to this point the Empire had been expanding, although at a slower pace than under the Republic. Even during the true 2nd century Pax, Trajan fought major wars of expansionism against the Dacians and the Parthian Empire. The last 20 years of the Pax, under Marcus Aurelius, was taken up with major wars against Germania and Parthia, so I'm not even sure whether it should be included, which brings us down to about 60 years.

I realize the Pax Romana looked wonderful to people in the Dark Ages and its constant fighting, but it wasn't that long a stretch and it wasn't all that peaceful. If you define it as internal peace, the US has had it since 1815 (or 192 years), with the notable exception of that little sectional disagreement in the 1860s.

33 posted on 12/16/2007 12:54:10 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
If you define it as internal peace, the US has had it since 1815 (or 192 years), with the notable exception of that little sectional disagreement in the 1860s.

It was a good run but I expect that internal peace to shatter in the next 30 years.

34 posted on 12/16/2007 1:20:08 PM PST by Centurion2000 (False modesty is as great a sin as false pride.)
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To: Centurion2000
"It was a good run but I expect that internal peace to shatter in the next 30 years."

Yup. Idiversity will prove to be our weakness.

35 posted on 12/16/2007 1:44:11 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

Oh my, another book to add to my purchase list! Thanks for calling attention to this book By Schoch.


36 posted on 12/16/2007 2:00:04 PM PST by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: MHGinTN
"Oh my, another book to add to my purchase list! Thanks for calling attention to this book By Schoch."

Buy this one first:

Eden In The East

Book Description

This book completetly changes the established and conventional view of prehistory by relocating the Lost Eden—the world's first civilisation—to Southeast Asia. At the end of the Ice Age, Southeast Asia formed a continent twice the size of India, which included Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Borneo. In Eden in the East, Stephen Oppenheimer puts forward the astonishing argument that here in southeast Asia—rather than in Mesopotamia where it is usually placed—was the lost civilization that fertilized the Great cultures of the Middle East 6,000 years ago. He produces evidence from ethnography, archaeology, oceanography, creation stories, myths, linguistics, and DNA analysis to argue that this founding civilization was destroyed by a catastrophic flood, caused by a rapid rise in the sea level at the end of the last ice age.

37 posted on 12/16/2007 2:12:14 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

What’s this ‘before’ ... you toss two feasts for the mind out and expect me to eschew one to buy the other? HAH! Now I have to buy both at the same bookstore visit. I mkae lists because I don’t go that often. At lats count—before you added more—I have seven books to find. Now I have nine and if you dare bring up any more ... well, just don’t name any Graham Hancock stuff with great photos from his lovely wife’s cameras.


38 posted on 12/16/2007 2:19:24 PM PST by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: Sherman Logan

I don’t read your post very well. Are you actually saying we haven’t had a war since 1815?


39 posted on 12/16/2007 2:20:20 PM PST by purpleraine
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To: Sherman Logan
Oh I see, "Internal Peace."

Indian Wars, Mexican American War very peaceful.

40 posted on 12/16/2007 2:29:52 PM PST by purpleraine
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To: blam
Caral was born in trade and not bloodshed. Warfare came much later. This is what this mother city shows: great civilisations are born in peace. Ruth Shady continues to battle for this great truth.

This woman has an agenda. I wouldn't expect her to recognize the truth.

41 posted on 12/16/2007 3:01:16 PM PST by knuthom
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To: knuthom
"This woman has an agenda. I wouldn't expect her to recognize the truth. "

Showdown At OK Caral

42 posted on 12/16/2007 3:10:55 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Sherman Logan
No fair interjecting the Orient into the conversation.
It was like in a difference universe until the 14th century, and played no direct role in our (western) history until much later.

In the world of today, no such distinctions are any longer possible and in the context of and, for purposes of discussing the inate tendency of humans to fight, the orient is a valid point.
For some reason, most of us today still see the orient as an exotic, different world, and are ever conscious of the simple fact that, whatever peace was enjoyed in China and elsewhere, it was always in a highly stratified feudal society with iron-fisted monarchies of one kind or another. Even to this day.

43 posted on 12/16/2007 3:24:42 PM PST by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: purpleraine

We haven’t had a war with conflict on American soil. Which is the criteria used for the Pax Romana, which saw continuous border warfare.


44 posted on 12/16/2007 4:37:25 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
I would say American territory and disputed territory would meet your criteria. What was the border dispute in new Mexico and California, that the border was too far north by hundreds of miles? LOL! Was fighting and rounding up Indian tribes a border dispute?

And your exception, the civil war was just brushed aside.

The point is your comment doesn't stand scrutiny.

45 posted on 12/16/2007 4:42:33 PM PST by purpleraine
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To: purpleraine

Again with the exception of the WBTS, America has been internally much more peaceful for almost 200 years than the Roman Empire was during its famous Pax Romana, which was a good deal shorter in duration.

We take the accomplishments of America and Western Civilization so for granted that we tend to forget how unusual they are, historically speaking.


46 posted on 12/16/2007 4:42:44 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan

If you define it as internal peace, the US has had it since 1815 (or 192 years), with the notable exception of that little sectional disagreement in the 1860s.


47 posted on 12/16/2007 4:44:35 PM PST by purpleraine
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To: Publius6961
the simple fact that, whatever peace was enjoyed in China and elsewhere, it was always in a highly stratified feudal society with iron-fisted monarchies of one kind or another.

Quite correct. Although Chinese society after the Han cannot be accurately referred to as feudal, and even under the Han the terms does't fit too well.

For that matter, iron-fisted monarchy and feudalism are in combo sort of an oxymoron. Feudalism means dispersed power, while monarchy means concentrated power.

However, your point is well taken that the East has never seen anything remotely resembling the freedom of Greek or Roman republics or of modern western republics or constitutional monarchies. That said, the absolute power of the monarchs was quite effectively limited in practice by somewhat more "informal" methods such as assassination, or just the practical difficulty of enforcing his will with inadequate communications.

No "absolute monarch" of the ancient world ever had anything remotely resembling the power over his people of a Stalin or Mao.

48 posted on 12/16/2007 4:51:03 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: purpleraine

The comparison was with the Pax Romana, which meant peace within the Roman Empire. During much of the Pax Romana, expansionistic war was waged, and throughout it border warfare and skirmishing with barbarian tribes was continuous. Rebellions such as that of Boadicea were also quite common, although seldom very successful.

Applying those same criteria, America has been internally peaceful, with no foreign wars affecting American soil, or directly affecting American citizens, for almost 200 years.

True, we had a major civil war in the middle of this period, but then the Romans had one too. After Nero was murdered, they had three emperors placed on the throne by their troops in a single year, ending with Vespasian on the throne. To be sure, the American Civil War was doubtless a great deal more destructive than this relatively short Roman one. Although the Roman civil wars of the late Republic and of the empire after the Pax were of a scale equivalent in destructiveness to the American WBTS.

During the “Pax Americana,” the US conquered and incorporated the present American Southwest in a major war.

During the “Pax Romana” the Romans conquered and incorporated Morocco, Switzerland, much of Germany, Austria, Hungary, England, Wales, part of Scotland, Thrace, Illyria, Romania, Serbia, Iraq and Armenia, among other areas. With the last two being quickly abandoned as more trouble than they were worth, which modern Americans can sympathize with.

During the course of the Pax Romana, the Romans also converted a great deal of territory from rule by client kingdoms and allies to direct rule by the Emperor.


49 posted on 12/16/2007 5:18:28 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
The year 69 was the year of four Emperors and AFTER the Pax Romana.

See my previous examples of two wars fought on all or partially on Amercian Territory.

Every war directly effected American citizens. I guess you didn't live on the coast during the early part of World War II.

I don't have time to correct the rest of your misconceptions.

50 posted on 12/16/2007 5:32:11 PM PST by purpleraine
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