A year or so, nearing the end of our free 30-part summer series on The Romans, so it would have been September 2020 probably, a Turkish club member who I’d got quite friendly with via email, became upset and flounced off, swearing never to darken our door again.
My offence was that one of the articles referred to the Ottomans, who overran what was Constantinople until 1453, as ‘barbarians‘.
Now obviously, who is or isn’t a barbarian is entirely a matter of perspective. I recall a class of Japanese children that I once taught very politely explaining that as far as they were concerned people from Britain like me barely even qualified as human, and certainly couldn’t be called civilised in any significant way.
I laughed. But then I have a sense of humour, at least sometimes, which my erstwhile Turkish friend, whose language I speak and whose culture and religion I understand passably well, clearly lacked.
Anyway, the newest episode of our Summer Series is now live, and it’s about CATHOLIC BARBARIANS, so any Muslim club members remaining should please consider the score levelled.
The group of hairy, blood-splattered, greasy-fingered foreigners in question are the Franks, who it turns out weren’t French as I’d always assumed, but a Germanic tribe.
The Franks distinguished themselves by having the foresight to pick the winning side in the Arian-Catholic parting of ways, back in the first millennium CE (= ‘common era’ – what they say these days instead of A.D. See the interesting article here.)
Oh, and be careful not to confuse ‘Arian’ and ‘Aryan’, as I was doing until a few minutes ago.
The previous seven episodes, and this one, are linked to from our History page (scroll down past the Romans…) And the History page itself is in the menu of the club website, so even if you lose this email, you’ve no excuse.
Apologies are due: when I published the last couple of episodes, I forgot to activate the ‘comments’ section at the bottom of the pages. I was wondering why it had gone rather quiet!
Anyway, if you have a question, want to report a mistake, or simply have something to say to the wider world, the comments form is available on this new one (scroll to the bottom of the page) and now on the previous two as well.
And for future reference, if you’re ever looking for the comments section and can’t find it, that’ll be because I’m sleep-deprived and forgot to switch it on. In which case, do drop me an email to remind me. We have twenty-two more appointments with the Middle Ages, and it’ll be much more fun if there’s some chat.
Gotta run, as I’m due to do some official stuff in an Italian bank this morning. Think ‘Alice in Wonderland’, with me as Alice, and you’ll have a good idea how that’s likely to go.