Thursday, June 28, 2012

Picking My Battles

I finished reading "Masters of Command" and thoroughly enjoyed it. Barry Strauss does a great job of analyzing the leadership of Alexander the Great, Hannibal Barca, and Julius Caesar. Caesar definitely wins, because he is the only one who managed to set up a lasting empire (Augustus merely built on the foundation which he laid). That being said, he had an unfair advantage, since Alexander and Hannibal preceded him. However, two things about the book bugged me. First was the assertion that Hannibal was "probably not dark-skinned." This is ridiculous, because, although Hannibal's mother was Spanish (and yes, people from Spain are Caucasian, a fact unknown to many of my fellow Americans):

A) Carthage was a North African nation, and at this time period, North Africans were primarily black.

B) Carthage had begun as a Phoenician colony, and the Phoenicians were from modern-day Lebanon.

To say that a person with African and Lebanese blood in their veins was "probably not dark-skinned" is silly. History clearly indicates that Hannibal had a multi-racial background.

Another thing that annoyed me was that, when describing Caesar's campaigns, Egypt was considered separate from the rest of Africa. A first-grader can look at a map and tell that Egypt is in Africa. However, if there's one thing I learned about this book, it's about picking my battles.

The fact is that some people are so close-minded that they will ignore historical and geographical facts so that they don't have to face reality. It is generally a waste of time to try to reason with such people, as I have learned from experience. So instead of letting them get under my skin, I simply tell them to do the research themselves if they don't believe me and move on. I have more important things to worry about.

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