Posted by: ken98 | October 4, 2009

Lymph nodes, Illiteracy, and Beer

Germany at the time of Decius (250 CE)

So we start a longer chapter solely on Germany. Topics include: Geography, climate, origin of the Germans, a brief excursion into Olaus Rudbeck, German illiteracy (and lack of shame thereof), their arts (or lack of them), metals (or lack of them), their impressive laziness, their irritability and belligerence, their drunkenness, their general numbers of population, and their fierce defense of freedom. And the chapter’s not yet half done.

Temple at Uppsula - MidWinter Ceremony

Temple at Uppsula - MidWinter Ceremony


On Alaus Rudbeck

Better known for being one of the discoverers of the Lymphatic system in the early 18th century, the Swede Rudbeck also wrote a long historical treatise positioning Sweden as one of the most powerful civilizing forces in all of European history. This according to Wiki:
“Between 1679-1702, Rudbeck dedicated himself to contributions in historical-linguistics patriotism, writing a 3,000-page treatise in four volumes called Atlantica (Atland eller Manheim in Swedish) where he purported to prove that Sweden was Atlantis, the cradle of civilization, and Swedish the original language of Adam from which Latin and Hebrew had evolved.” Queen Christina was impressed with his Lymphatic research and gave him a place in the Swedish University system, in the Gustavianum.

Gustavianum - Uppsula Univ in Sweden - Olaus Rudbeck dissected under the dome

Gustavianum - Uppsula Univ in Sweden - Olaus Rudbeck dissected under the dome


On German Arts and Agriculture
“They passed their lives in a state of ignorance and poverty, which it has pleased some declaimers to dignify with the appellation of virtuous simplicity”. (DEF ix, p. 235).
On German Metals and Lack of Money
Money, in a word, is the most universal incitement, iron the most powerful instrument, of human industry: and it is very difficult to conceive by what means a people, neither actuated by the one, nor seconded by the other, could emerge from the grossest barbarism.” (DEF, ix p.237).
On German Indolence and Belligerence
“The sound that summoned the German to arms was grateful to his ear. It roused him from his uncomfortable lethargy, gave him an active pursuit, and, by strong exercise of the body, and violent emotions of the mind, restored him to a more lively sense of his existence. In the full intervals of peace, these barbarians were immoderately addicted to deep gaming and excessive drinking, both of which, by different means, the one by inflaming their passions, the other by extinguishing their reason, alike relived them from the pain of thinking.” (DEF ix 238-9).
On Their Taste for Strong Liquors
Enough said.
Gibbon himself
Although, yes, being an Anglo-Saxon, one would suppose that Gibbon would ratchet down his razor-sharp wit when writing of his Mittel-European brothers in Germany. But that is not the case. His withering criticisms of the Persians in the previous chapter pale in comparison to the relentless drive to nail down the thesis that the ancient Germans on the whole were pretty worthless. It’s amazing that ancient Germans even managed to get out of bed in the morning – and Gibbon hints darkly that they didn’t – not really (at least for many, many centuries). Gibbon also briefly touches on the fact that Scandinavia wasn’t even converted from paganism until well into 1000’s, 1100’s. But in the Gibbon book, thats a good thing, a very good thing.
Sacrifice to Thor-Offering by Lund

Sacrifice to Thor-Offering by Lund

more – tomorrow

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