I’m not as educated as Edward Said by a long shot but I don’t take everything that people say on face value especially those with an agenda so I’m going to have to see some of Eddie’s research on those people slagging of the Orient in 8 BC I’m afraid.
Homer was born and died between 8 and 12 BC. I made a mistake and thought 400 BC but it doesn’t really matter for these purposes tbh it was a loooong time ago.
I didn’t say no one could read and write back then, I said not many could. After all only 12% of the people in the world could read and write in 1820 and it was only 42% in 1960. I think it’s fair to say literacy back in Homer’s time probably wasn’t too high and people wasn’t sending each other letters and postcards.
I didn’t say people didn’t travel, no-one has figured out how the Aboriginals got to Australia from Asia 30,000 years ago but they did. No-one wrote a diary apparently.
But back in Homer’s time people by and large never left their village let alone travelled to China in 8 BC. We live in a country here where people don’t leave their village now.
Also travelling took a long time and life expectancy back then was around 35. No I’m not saying everyone died at 35 but that was the average.
Did you actually read the article on Europeans in China you posted?
“Given textual and archaeological evidence, it is thought that thousands of Europeans lived in Imperial China during the period of Mongol rule. These were people from countries traditionally belonging to the lands of Christendom during the High to Late Middle Ages who visited, traded, performed Christian missionary work, or lived in China. This occurred primarily during the second half of the 13th century and the first half of the 14th century, coinciding with the rule of the Mongol Empire, which ruled over a large part of Eurasia and connected Europe with their Chinese dominion of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)”
So yes some people travelled to China a long time ago but we are talking a long long time ago.
I never said Marco Polo was the first person to travel to China between
1271 and 1295 AD but I said it wasn’t common. Had it had been common and everyone was commuting to China then tbh no one would have heard of Marco Polo. “Oh no not another travelogue about China....”
So we needed people to travel to China back in Homer’s time? How many people did that? 1000? 100? 10?
How many people do you know who have been to China even now? I can think of one friend who has been there. I have more friends from China than who have been there.
Of those who did go they would have needed to be able to write? So that chops it down a bit more with a literacy rate in low single figures.
Then of course the fact that they COULD write doesn’t mean that they DID write so chop it down even more.
By and large any people let alone busy adventurers didn’t have much time or inclination to keep a diary. That’s why everyone has heard of Samuel Pepys who’s only real claim to fame is he wrote a diary 1600 years after Homer.
A lot of the books written about famous people were written centuries after they died.
So how many records are there left of Europeans criticising the Orient? One? None?
But I guess “from the minimal records we have over the last few hundred years” doesn’t have the same ring as “Since the time of Homer.” Like I said it’s a BS soundbite.
I get it, Said is a respected left wing scholar and people think it carries weight quoting him but maybe read the quote first?
Ever think his agenda is to prove people have been xenophobic for years and he likes to throw out a soundbite?
You could clap like a seal or think that’s got the smell of BS so you are going to have to show me some proof. I’m sure we’ve all spent £5 and queued to look at some barely decipherable words written on a wall from back then so there shouldn’t be a wealth of conflicting accounts here.
But then I guess people quote Marx and repeat his theories on workers in factories etc and this is a guy who sponged off people and never worked a day in his life. After his parents gave up on him he was lucky enough to bump into a spoilt rich kid and ponce off of him.
He didn’t even visit a factory let alone work in one. He carried out his research in libraries. I’m not saying he wasn’t a clever and well educated man but I will say if I wanted a guide on how to get away without getting a job I’d certainly follow Marx.
Other stuff, not so much.