Wednesday, March 03, 2010

An Exchange in the Times continued....

Following on from the last thread (which has now developed into a fascinating discussion on morality), the Times has published my letter in reply to Bryan Hammersley (lightly edited).

For some reason, the subeditor has added a headline "Why do we have to have stereotypes when talking about different genres of music and cultural tastes?" This question remains unanswered...

Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum

8 comments:

Humphrey said...

Here is a case study in how to make an ass of yourself

Note that I have posted a hostile comment despite the fact that no-one has disagreed with your letter. This is because I missed the whole thing about the subtitle being wrong and thought the comments were being sarcastic about the title 'Greek History'. In fairness, the last few discussions about this have been charged to say the least.

Humphrey said...

Ah, I speak too soon. Maybe my comment was really just an astute pre-emptive strike.

unkle e said...

I first read the comments in the order they appeared, not noticing the top one was latest, so your post (yes I recognised the thinly disguised pseudonym!) made perfect sense. It was one or two others that didn't!

It's nice to see you and James giving new life to an old concept - tag team historiography!

Humphrey said...

Sadly they seem to want to let one of my comments through. Everything else appears to have been moderated out of existence.

James said...

Mr Hammersley has commented on my letter (follow the link above). Nothing new but you will never guess what he has been reading. :)

Humphrey said...

Charles Freeman is all over the internet at the moment.

It would be better if Hammersley came here to debate the issue. The comments system on The Times is absolutely dreadful. They even managed to cut his reply off in mid flow. Lets hope he stumbles across the blog. We can even debate the Highgate planning issue.

Doctor Mirabilis said...

Greetings from Portugal, Dr. Hannam! Your book God's Philosophers has not been published here yet but I bought a copy from Amazon and for the past month I've been absolutely delighted reading it.

Now, in respect to this Bryan Hammersley letter, I'm always astonished by the level of ignorance that this people show towards the Byzantine Empire, for instance. At its height, Constantinople had larger aqueducts, larger basilicas, larger hippodromes, larger palaces, larger public baths, larger walls and larger libraries than Rome, Athens, Antioch and Alexandria put together!

Ok, I may be exaggerating but the truth is that old Constantinople was a city of superlatives and not some small pale copy of ancient Rome ruled by misologist Christian zealots who lost interest in Greek science and philosophy because they could only learn from the Bible and nothing else. What a joke! Yet, it seems that there is a certain type of "classicists" that actually believe this nonsense.

James said...

Welcome Doctor Mirabilis (or may I call you Roger). It's good to hear the book has reached Portugal, one of my favourite countries.

I agree that Byzantium has had a bad press since Gibbon in England. I'd really like to do some work on its intellectual life one day.

I did recently hear how a Byzantine bishop visited Charlemagne and told him that two solar eclipses had occurred in the previous year. This was true but neither were observable in Greece or Europe. Rather, even at this stage, Byzantine astronomers had enough mastery of the old material to make accurate predictions.