Re: Torsten's novel

From: george knysh
Message: 66356
Date: 2010-07-21

--- On Sat, 7/17/10, Torsten <tgpedersen@...> wrote:

> GK: We don't know from Appian whether Mithradates realized that
> his plan for dynastic alliances with the Scythians and Sarmatians of
> the steppes etc.. (along the Italian route of #102) had been
> sabotaged before he died. In any case, I would agree that until
> everything fell apart for him and he decided to call it a life, he
> was determined to push on with the plan. Appian #110 suggests that
> one after another, all of Mithradates' army contingents wound up
> supporting Pharnaces' rebellion. We know of no unit which opposed
> this.

And absence of evidence etc.

*****GK: There is no reason to suppose that a plan concocted by a defunct King would have been continued by some dissident group of "Dandarians" et al. against the will of a new King. To suppose otherwise, and to imagine a campaign across the steppes of southern Ukraine and into eastern Poland by a small group of guerrillas intent on assaulting Rome for which there is not the slightest historical or archaeological proof is scientifically unacceptable, and has not in fact been accepted (or perhaps even mused in verifiable contexts)by anyone who matters in these disciplines. In political studies esp. (which happens to be my area of expertise). One can understand Mithradates and his plan. One cannot understand a hypothesis which involves continuation of that plan by unknowns, on the basis of equally unknown "plottings".*****

> > No one has written of any problems, so there aren't any? Word of
> > advice: don't apply for a job in the spy business; that kind of
> > carelessness in risk assessment can cause disasters.
> >
> > GK: You mean in the novel writing business. I'm not planning
> > to. The fact remains that in real history the "plan to invade
> > Italy" hinged on Mithradates.

Or on whoever supported him clandestinely from Rome.

*****GK: Or from China, or Parthia, or Jerusalem, or... as Burnham hinted, the center of the conspiracy may vary infinitely as long as the ideological committment to its existence persists.*****

> > With his demise there was no one to carry on.

Whoever might have supported him in Rome would still be there

*****GK: Or elsewhere. Ideology is infinitely flexible.****

> (Of course a novelist can "remedy" that easily (:=)).

Be my guest.

****GK: You're the novelist not me.****

> If you revert to dogmatically stating that the Pontic state was
> undivided and whole because you say so, I can argue against that, of > course.
> GK: There is nothing dogmatic about accepting the common
> consensus of all those who have studied the nature and history of
> the Bosporan State. (We're talking about the Bosporan kingdom BTW
> not about the "Pontic state"). It was a unified system, made up of
> Greek city states and non-Greek territorial units ruled by kings and
> chiefs (with the King of Bosporus as "king of kings" for these
> "barbarian" units since ca.438 if not earlier).

> GK: The Kingdom of Pontus was distinct from the Kingdom of the
> Bosporus. Mithridates was King of both units (from 110 BCE). He
> occasionally delegated Bosporus to sons.

> > Mithradates handed it over to Machares, and then took it away from
> > him, and then lost it to Pharnaces. The only "activity" of the
> > constituent parts was that of moving from one king to another.
> > There is no record of any irredentism in any of the Maeotian
> > tribes. So your ad hominems are irrelevant I'm afraid.
> 'They had their own kings, or dĂșnastai'
> 'The Dandaridae of Tacitus are subjects, apparently not very loyal,
> of another Mithridates of Bosporus'
> GK: This "other Mithradates" was a rival candidate for the
> Bosporan Kingdom as a whole.

You are dodging the evidence of the irredentism of the Dandarians.

*****GK: There is no such evidence to dodge, as any volume on the history of the Bosporan Kingdom would inform you. Try Gajdukevich for instance.[ GAJDUKEVICH, V. E. 1971: Das Bosporanische Reich (Berlin)]
He's the standard authority. The consensus of scholarship is complete and peaceful on this issue. If I'm not correct on this let's have the proof, i.e. the opinion of any reputable scholar who thinks otherwise.*****

> > > The Bosporan Kingdom was under Pontic kings 108 - 16 BCE
> > >
> > > Olthacus was a prince of the Dandarii, and the Bosporan kingdom
> > > was in civil war, so of course they would have their own policy
> > > at that time.
> > >
> > > GK: The only "policy" they would have was that of choosing
> > > which of the pretenders to the Bosporan throne they were ready
> > > to support. They weren't independent states as to foreign
> > > policy.
> >


> > > > GK: The plan to invade Italy died with Mithradates.
> > >
> > > You don't know that.
> > >
> > > GK: It was his plan. There is no record of anyone else having
> > > such a plan. And the Dandarii, subjects of Bosporus, did not
> > > have an independent foreign policy. There is no evidence that
> > > the Romans or anyone else wished to dismember the Bosporan
> > > Kingdom at any time.
> Or was it the Pontic kingdom?
> GK: No.
> There was no evidence anybody wanted to dismember the Soviet union, when it suddenly happened. And absence of evidence... etc. Why the fanatical repetition of this mantra?

*****GK: The possibility of the Soviet Union's being "dismembered" was written into its Constitution, and there were plenty of people both within and without who entertained such thoughts. There is no analogical point to be made about the Bosporan Kingdom. You've misunderstood Tacitus. No scholar agrees with your contention that in 49 CE the Dandarians were independent actors in the civil war between two pretenders to the Bosporan throne.*****
> GK: I see you know even less about the constitution and history of the U.S.S.R. than you do about the Bosporan Kingdom.

Another non sequitur. I don't know what your sentimental attachment to the supposed unity of the Bosporan Kingdom is, but apparently it's impermeable.

*****GK: Don't confuse my attitude with yours. I have no "sentimental" attachments to the Bosporan Kingdom (like you have towards Snorri's fantasies). My view is based on scholarly consensus, which is impermeable to novelistic claptrap of your kind, though obviously infinitely permeable to scientific reassessments. You don't have any. Come back when you do. No one will hold their breath.*****

> Alright. A less flippant answer: what is it in the idea that
> Crassus' money had bought the equipment found in Germanic graves
> that is unacceptable to 'proper historians or archaeologists'?
> GK: Give me a proper description of these graves' inventory (as
> well as accurate dates) and then we'll see. Perhaps "Crassus' Money"
> could be disentangled from the unacceptable identification of
> Olthacus and Ariovistus, and from the unacceptable notion of some
> "Scytho/Dardanian" army invading Przeworsk (which is simply your
> reheated Odinist claptrap).

You persist in calling it 'Odinist' which proves that your non-acceptance of that idea is ideologically, not factually motivated.

*****GK: "Odinist" or "Snorrist", whatever. That's a laugh. An ideologized Snorrist novelist thinks that genuine mainstream historical and archaeological science is ideology and his own Snorrist ideology "factual".***

> > > > GK: The steppe nomads weren't drawn into the plan.
> > >
> > > As a group, yes. But what happened with various contingents
> > > after Mithridates' suicide, we don't know.
> > >
> > > > Appian is clear on this.
> > >
> > > No, he isn't.
> > >
> > > GK: You're consciously distorting my statement.

I am consciously distorting your 'No, he isn't' statement? I didn't know you could do that.

****GK: You've become so confused you've even forgotten that "No, he isn't" is your statement, not mine (:))).*****

> > > What I said is that Appian is clear on the fact that the steppe
> > > nomads weren't drawn into the plan.

No, he is clear on that they didn't buy the plan. As a negation of my 'But what happened with various contingents after Mithridates' suicide, we don't know' it doesn't work. It constitutes a change of subject.

****GK: Hardly. We know from Appian that everyone fell in line with the new Bosporan King's pro-Roman policy in 63 BCE.*****

> > > As to your words : "what happened with
> > > various contingents after Mithridates' suicide, we don't know",
> > > we can only draw (unless we are novelists when anything goes)
> > > the obvious conclusion all other scholars have: that
> > > Mithridates' Italian invasion plan died with him.

But that is not obvious at all, and you know that.

*****GK: Really? I see no evidence of any pro-Mithradates post-Mithradatian irredentism in 63 BCE, which would include continuation of his plan. Nobody else does. Only you. And your "evidence" is worthless.*****

Try something empirical next time, and I might accept it. What kind of mind thinks he can persuade his opponent to drop a proposal by flatly stating that it is 'obviously' not true?

****GK: A mind oriented towards known facts accepted by the scientific community. It is 'obvious' in that there is no credible evidence against it. The Heimskringla and novelistic fantasies do not constitute credible evidence. I do not consider you an opponent when you retreat into fantasy mode. I'm just reminding other readers that history and Snorrism are different intellectual endeavours.*****

> > > "The various contingents"

Don't forget that with nomadic societies those contingents are the people themselves; they don't cease to exist as a fighting force just because one plan is dropped.

****GK: The Bosporan State was not a nomadic society.*****

> > > were a part and parcel of that plan. When he died, the princes
> > > of the Bosporan kingdom recognized Pharnaces. End of story.
> Of course not. Kings have standing armies, and the Dandarians had
> kings.
> GK: But these kings were not endowed with the right to conduct
> their own foreign policy. They were subject to the Bosporan King,
> even though they possessed much autonomy in their lands. This is
> axiomatic for any student of the Bosporan Kingdom.

So it's axiomatic, not empirical. Well, that's probably as good a description of the problem as any.

****GK: Now you're retreating into pablum mode. "Axiomatic" in the sense that it has been thoroughly proved by all available empirical evidence, and there is none other to consider in the present state of research.****

> They did in Mithridates Eupator's time and in the time of 'the
> other Mithridates, Tacittus Annals 12, 15-16:
> 'Meanwhile, Mithridates of Bosporus, a wanderer since the loss of
> his throne, learned that the Roman commander Didius had departed
> with the main body of his army, leaving the young and simple Cotys
> in his novel kingdom, with a few cohorts under the Roman knight,
> Julius Aquila. Scornful of both, he proceeded to raise the tribes
> and attract deserters: finally, mustering an army, he ejected the
> king of the Dandaridae, and seized his dominions. When this had
> become known and his invasion of Bosporus was expected from day to
> day, Aquila and Cotys diffident of their own strength, as the
> Siracene prince Zorsines had resumed hostilities followed his
> example, and sought outside support by sending envoys to the
> powerful Aorsian prince, Eunones. An alliance presented little
> difficulty, when they could exhibit the power of Rome ranged against
> the rebel Mithridates. It was arranged, therefore, that Eunones
> should be responsible for the cavalry fighting, the Romans
> undertaking the siege of all towns.
> They then advanced with combined forces, the front and rear held by
> the Aorsi, the centre by the cohorts and by Bosporan troops armed on
> our model. In this order they inflicted a reverse on the enemy and
> reached Soza, a town of Dandarica evacuated by Mithridates, which,
> in view of the doubtful sympathies of the population, it was thought
> advisable to secure by leaving a garrison. They next advanced on the
> Siraci, and, crossing the stream of the Panda, invested Uspe, a city
> built on a height and fortified with walls and moats the drawback
> being that, as the walls were not of stone but of wickerwork hurdles
> with soil between, they were too weak to sustain an attack, while
> our siege towers, with their greater elevation, threw the garrison
> into disorder by discharges of firebrands and spears. In fact, if
> the struggle had not been interrupted by night, the beginning and
> end of the attack would have fallen within the limits of one day.'
> No reason to believe some other 'subject peoples' didn't.
> GK: Didn't what? Support one pretender against another?

Have kings and
> 'Bosporan troops armed on our model'?

****GK: The Dandarians (and other subjects of Bosporus) had rulers and armies, but they were subject to the overriding will of the King of Bosporus. If you want analogies, the "king" of the Dandarians was to the King of Bosporus like the Hetman of Left-Bank Ukraine was to the Czar of Russia (between ca. 1667 and 1764). With the difference that Ukrainian irredentism is a documented fact whereas Dandarian irredentism is unknown to us.*****

> Plin. qui DANDARIDAE Tac. Ann. l. 12. c. 15.
> Circa Caucasum habitare videntur. regionem eorum Dandaricam vocat,
> Tacit. ibid.

> BTW, who is is Brotier
> 'Brotier says that some vestiges of the nation, and its name, still
> exist at a place called Dandars.'
note 31
'The Dandaridae, Siraci, and Aorsi, were Sarmatian tribes

****GK: The Dandaridae/Dandarians were not Sarmatian but Maeotian. A theory (not shared by all) has also been propounded that their language was not Iranic but Indic (like the Sindi). Nor were they nomads.****

between the Caspian and Sea of Azov, with the Don and Caucasus as northern and southern limits.'
but note this
search for 'Dandaridae' here
p. 411
'Dandaridae (Dandarii) N. of lower Kuban'
If so, the 'golden cemetery' on the Kuban was of the Dandarii and whoever ruled them.

*****GK: Certainly not as a complex even though some (Sarmatized)Dandarians might have been buried there. One would need to read the book's specifics. In any event Dandarian territory in the first c. CE continued to be part of the Bosporan Kingdom.*****

> >
> > 'After the death of Mithridates (63 BC), this Pharnaces (63 BC -
> > 47 BC) made his submission to Pompey, then tried to regain his
> > dominion during the civil war, but was defeated by Caesar at Zela
> > and later killed by a former governor of his.'
> >
> > GK: Note that his "dominion" refers to the Kingdom of Pontus
> > and its Asia Minor dependencies, not the Bosporan Kingdom. Cf.
> > e.g.
> >

> Yes I noticed. And everybody in his overseas province of the former
> kingdom of Bosporus was fine with that?
> GK: I don't understand your question. What "former kingdom of
> Bosporus"

The kingdom of Bosporus had ceased to exist in 108 BCE when Mithridates conquered it, and never regained its independence. Cf.
Here's the sentence before the one I quoted: 'Subsequently the Bosporans again rose in revolt under Pharnaces, another of the old king's [Mithridates'] sons.' Apparently Pharnaces' dominion included the terrritory of that former kingdom of Bosporus.

*****GK: Mithradates became King of the Bosporus after Peirisades V. The union was personal, not territorial or administrative, i.e. the Dandarians etc. were not subjects of Mithradates as King of Pontus but of Mithradates as King of Bosporus. The Bosporan Kingdom continued to exist until the 4th c. (it is last mentioned in 362 CE). Axiomatic history (read the literature). The only remaining issue is whether the Bosporan Kingdom actually continued even longer, under the Huns. There is some discussion that the Bosporan cities were not fully destroyed until the time of the Byzantine intervention in the early 6th c. I tend to support the view that Bosporus became subject to the Huns in the 370's though it had "local rulers" under the Huns (on the analogy of the Bactrian situation between ca. 130 BCE and ca. 30 CE). The Huns lost Bosporus to the Byzantines (Eastern Romans: Justinian) in 533.*****