Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Zama: The Battle That Never Was?
#31
Quote:The reason for the sudden collapse of British power was the attitude of the government of the USA. Britain bankrupted itself to pay for the war. Immediately hostilities ceased the USA unexpectedly revoked the Lease-Lend agreement and as a result Britain had to negotiate a further huge loan. The British government then concentrated the whole national effort into exporting manufactures in order to pay off the debt to the USA. As a result the late 1940s and early 1950s were dreary and pinched in Britain. Food rationing extended into the 1950s and bread, which had not been rationed during wartime, became a rationed foodstuff in peacetime! While West Germany was being rebuilt by American dollars, the US's erstwhile ally was contracting under swingeing economies. The drive to export meant that little was reinvested in updating the infrastructure and manufacturing plant in Britain. This is why Germany won the peace; its industry had been flattened, but US dollars ensured that what was rebuilt was modern. The last payment by Britain to the US was made on 29 December 2006.

US/UK relations have always been, and will always be, purely a marriage of convenience, nothing more.
Reply
#32
Quote:As I stated in a previous thread, my mistake is to try and make a case out of contradictions.
This is the exact opposite of what an investigator should do. If you get a dozen eye witness statements even today, they will all give a different account of what happened. They aren't lying. There isn't a grand conspiracy. It is just how the human brain works. Everyone sees things differently. Everyone interprets things differently. Everyone recalls things differently. A decent investigtor should be looking for the commonalities in those statements, not picking apart the discrepancies.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply
#33
I do think there is a difference between eye witness. And a few writes who have time to sit down ad decide exactly what they write down.
Thomas Aagaard
Reply
#34
Quote:A decent investigtor should be looking for the commonalities in those statements, not picking apart the discrepancies.
A 'decent investigator' will ignore discrepancies at his peril. If he fails to recognise that there are weaknesses in his arguments, he will find those weaknesses exploited by those who disagree with him and his thesis undermined, if not destroyed. If he is any good at his job, he will look at the issue from both sides and will consider how any discrepancies might be explained. If they cannot be explained, he should own up to the fact. Ultimately, he may conclude that the case that he seeks to put forward does not stand up to close examination.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
#35
Quote:
Dan Howard post=363080 Wrote:A decent investigtor should be looking for the commonalities in those statements, not picking apart the discrepancies.
A 'decent investigator' will ignore discrepancies at his peril. If he fails to recognise that there are weaknesses in his arguments, he will find those weaknesses exploited by those who disagree with him and his thesis undermined, if not destroyed. If he is any good at his job, he will look at the issue from both sides and will consider how any discrepancies might be explained. If they cannot be explained, he should own up to the fact. Ultimately, he may conclude that the case that he seeks to put forward does not stand up to close examination.
There is a difference between the testimony of a suspect and that of a witness. A suspect's testimony should be analysed and picked apart. Doing the same to a witness statement is a waste of time. It should be treated simply as one piece of evidence and allowances for imperfect recall be taken into account.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply
#36
Quote:There is a difference between the testimony of a suspect and that of a witness. A suspect's testimony should be analysed and picked apart. Doing the same to a witness statement is a waste of time. It should be treated simply as one piece of evidence and allowances for imperfect recall be taken into account.
With respect, there is no difference in the way in which the testimony of a suspect (or complainant, for that matter) and a witness should be treated. A suspect or a complainant may lie to bolster their case; in my experience (40 years as a defence lawyer), impartial witnesses rarely do but they can be mistaken. Consequently, the statements of both have to be closely analysed and, if appropriate, picked apart. Making 'allowances for imperfect recall' is just another way of saying that inreliable testimony should be rejected.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
#37
No eyewitness testimony is very reliable. The human brain just doesn't work the way courts need it to. It has been demonstrated time and again how easy it is to plant false memories.

http://ilahikitabi.com/Video/VIDEOIDWFRi...ony-Part-2

Eye-witness testimony is far less reliable than lie detectors. The only reason it is permitted in court is because of a centuries-old precedent, not because of any evidence of its efficacy.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply
#38
Quote:Eye-witness testimony is far less reliable than lie detectors. The only reason it is permitted in court is because of a centuries-old precedent, not because of any evidence of its efficacy.
I cannot agree with this. Eye-witness testimony is admitted because it attempts to describe what took place, which nothing else can do except CCTV footage and that does not include sound, where that is relevant. Lie detectors can do nothing except suggest that a person may be lying or is displaying the symptoms of lying (not necessarily the same thing). Where I do agree is that eye-witness testimony must be considered with care and I have long held the view (expressed by you in an earlier post) that, where there are several witnesses to an incident, you are likely to get as many versions of what took place as there are witnesses. Nevertheless, there is often nothing else and the courts (or, in our case, historians) must make the best of what they have. Naturally, corroboration will be sought in different witnesses recounting the same details and, the more there are, the stronger the corroboration. That said, consideration must be given to contradictory evidence and, if this is neglected, miscarriages of justice can occur.

I can give an example from my own experience. I was once involved in a murder trial in which I am convinced the wrong person was convicted (not my client, I am happy to say). There is no doubt that the defendant hit the victim; there was plenty of evidence of that. However, I believe that the fatal blow was struck by someone else. One witness alone saw it and that from a distance but there were other features of the evidence that support my interpretation. This is not the place to go into the details, although I will, if anyone is sufficiently interested. Suffice it to say that, in my opinion, insufficient attention was paid to this at the trial. The prosecution presumably did not attach the same importance to it as I do, otherwise the second person would have been the one prosecuted, and I believe that the defendant instructed his legal team not to take the point, as to do so would have involved accusing one of his friends of the murder. In short, it is my firm opinion that, in that case, the evidence of the one witness is to be preferred to the verdict of the jury.

To bring this back to topic, it is our task as historians to examine all the evidence presented to us by the authorities and to consider all its implications. This may result in some uncomfortable conclusions but better that than a slavish adherence to received wisdom, which can do nothing to advance historical knowledge. Of course, received wisdom may be right but it must be prepared to justify itself.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
#39
Quote: To bring this back to topic, it is our task as historians to examine all the evidence presented to us by the authorities and to consider all its implications. This may result in some uncomfortable conclusions but better that than a slavish adherence to received wisdom, which can do nothing to advance historical knowledge. Of course, received wisdom may be right but it must be prepared to justify itself.

Indeed!
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#40
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
Carl Sagan
Reply
#41
in that case we would have to throw away 95% of all info from that era.. even regarding Alexander the Great...
Jaroslav Jakubov
Reply
#42
Quote:in that case we would have to throw away 95% of all info from that era.. even regarding Alexander the Great...

Explain, please.
Reply
#43
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

we dont have any extraordinary evidence about a lot of things that is just assumed. For example, sole existence of Marcus Claudius Marcellus and his life is based on indirect mentions, while we dont have anything direct about him. and another fact worth to mention is the way how written mentions survived to these days, often just as translated texts of some unknown monks who made a lot of mistakes translating things they dont understood (military affairs) from latin, while we (usually) dont have any original sources.
Jaroslav Jakubov
Reply
#44
Quote:“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

we dont have any extraordinary evidence about a lot of things that is just assumed. For example, sole existence of Marcus Claudius Marcellus and his life is based on indirect mentions, while we dont have anything direct about him. and another fact worth to mention is the way how written mentions survived to these days, often just as translated texts of some unknown monks who made a lot of mistakes translating things they dont understood (military affairs) from latin, while we (usually) dont have any original sources.

Extraordinary means "very unusual or remarkable." So we're not discussing run of the mill historical accounts, like those about M. Claudius Marcellus.

You mentioned Alexander the Great before, so I'll touch on him. A historical claim would be that he existed, was a Macedonian warrior king, conquered Persia and further eastern lands, et cetera; all based off the evidence provided by those surviving sources which discuss his life. While many of the stories have contradictory descriptions in them, its still quite easy to get an overall historical picture of his life, enough that a historical consensus has been established. Is it completely accurate? Probably not, but like I mentioned before, its history, not math. We only have the evidence we have to work with.

Meanwhile, also using Alexander as an example, an extraordinary claim would be something like the recent discussions that he lost the Battle of the Hydaspes, which I've read quite a few times recently in various forums. While the ancient sources claim otherwise, the evidence used is mostly circumstantial, such as why Alexander turned back shortly after (fake mutiny to explain major defeat), the massive losses of soldiers while crossing the Gedrosian (explain away casualties incurred during failed battle), the lack of any mention of Alexander by existing India sources, etc. So in that case, an unusual and remarkable hypothesis was made but only negative evidence is used to support it. So its pure speculation with nothing to really back it up. In other words, extraordinary evidence was not provided to support the extraordinary claim.

Now let's compare that to this thread. Multiple ancient sources report a battle occurring between Hannibal and Carthage vs. Scipio and Rome, in which Hannibal/Carthage is defeated. I've even mentioned many of them in my previous post, other posters have as well. Meanwhile, the most tangible evidence to support the "No Zama" theory are the small discrepancies in the historical record, mainly from Polybius, as well as problems with the political biases of authors, etc. Which I find amusing since all historical accounts are filled will inconsistencies or contradictions, and no historical author is without bias. Find two sources regarding ancient Rome that agree on anything, from size of military units, to tactics, to census figures, to historical records, to anything, and I'd be amazed. In this case, the historical consensus is then questioned, which is fine. But no real evidence is provided, which is not fine, and certainly not historical research. Unless I'm totally missing something, as historians, we're supposed to use evidence to back our theories, not a lack of evidence.

Overall, I support outlandish claims that go against the historical record; its not like everyone from the 19th and 20th centuries had it all figured out. I think many modern historians are doing well by questioning some of the "established" fundamentals that have been presented in the past. But if someone is going to make a claim that counters the established consensus, they had better bring their "A game" to defend it, in a way that is easy understood by one and all. This goes not only for history, but for anything else. The person making the claims has the responsibility to defend it.

With the field of history being beaten and trod upon daily in the day and age of the internet discussion boards filled with commonly repeated falsities, or even worse, cable television 'documentaries' like Ancient Aliens, its understandable that some will get a bit crotchety when unsubstantiated claims are made.
Reply
#45
Regarding eye witness testimony. My first semester of law school, my crim law professor had a TA walk in the classroom to interrupt class to give him something and then had someone go through in a gorilla suit 5 minutes later.

Half the class could not remember seeing the TA. Those that remembered seeing her were all over the place when questioned about what she was wearing/how tall she was/ what color hair, etc.

Very powerful demonstration.
There are some who call me ......... Tim?
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Elephants and the battle at Zama Quintus Sertorius 17 4,357 03-19-2008, 06:58 PM
Last Post: PMBardunias
  Battle of Zama P. Clodius Secundus 8 3,055 02-21-2008, 02:07 PM
Last Post: philsidnell

Forum Jump: