they are listed as Greek when they aren't really Greek


by jackson6612
Tags: greek, listed
jackson6612
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#1
Jul27-10, 10:33 PM
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Hi

I was just reading about Heron of Alexandria. One important question came to my mind which has recurred several times before. As you know there were many scientists and mathematicians of Egyptian origin, in particular from Alexandria. I couldn't recall any particular list of the persons at the moment. But I'm sure you are already aware of many of those ancient minds. What puzzles me is that they are listed as Greek when they aren't really Greek. It's just like calling some Indian of British Raj days an English. He could be called a British Raj Indian but not an English, not at all. Please help me with this.
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edward
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Jul27-10, 11:32 PM
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A few Greek mathematicians were born in Egypt. This could certainly confuse the issue.

http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/...ies/Egypt.html
Chi Meson
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Jul28-10, 12:02 AM
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Alexandria was a Hellenic city in Egypt. For hundreds of years, the occupants there were primarily Greek. They spoke Greek and followed Greek customs and worshiped Greek gods. Egyptian people at the time (something like 300 BC to AD 50-ish? You look it up) were a minority in the city. It was a Roman city for the next few centuries, and then an Arab city about AD 600.

Nationalities weren't as they are today.

jackson6612
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#4
Jul28-10, 04:38 AM
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they are listed as Greek when they aren't really Greek


Alexandria was a Hellenic city in Egypt. For hundreds of years, the occupants there were primarily Greek. They spoke Greek and followed Greek customs and worshiped Greek gods.
They were still Egyptians even if they spoke Greek, followed Greek culture etc. Perhaps, you could elaborate on your points. I believe there were persons of different faiths in Egypt at that time - some were more like Greeks in terms of culture, language, etc, and others were more like non-Greeks. They all were still residing in Egypt. A Jew who did some great work in Germany is a German Jew, or just German, not an Israeli.
arildno
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Jul28-10, 05:03 AM
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Quote Quote by jackson6612 View Post
They were still Egyptians even if they spoke Greek, followed Greek culture etc. Perhaps, you could elaborate on your points. I believe there were persons of different faiths in Egypt at that time - some were more like Greeks in terms of culture, language, etc, and others were more like non-Greeks. They all were still residing in Egypt. A Jew who did some great work in Germany is a German Jew, or just German, not an Israeli.
Hi, jackson!

You raise intersting points.

For example, was the Roman Emperor "Philip the Arab" "truly" a Roman, or "just" a romanized..Arab?

It really depends on developing proper, precise concepts!
But this can be very difficult to apply in practice, since the categories will overlap in non-trivial ways:

1. One such grouping could be a racial/tribal/ethnic grouping(s), where membership is determined by some degree of intermarriage and common lines of descent.

2. A second can be that of a <i>linguistic</i> community, where some maximal restraint is put upon dialectal variation within that "community"

3. A third can be a community with <i>shared acculturation</i>, where again, som maximal restraint upon intracultural variation is laid down as requirement for membership.

4. A fourth can be a subset of 3, say those belonging to the "same" religious faith group.

5. A fifth can be whatever community is within some geographical area, perhaps with meaningful units made on basis of the requirement on some minimal level of interaction between the people living there.

For each of these criteria, humanity will be divided in to different subsets, each representing a distinct type or grouping, according to that particular criterion..


Now, for any particular individual, it can be quite easy to associate him with a definite grouping using one particular criterion, but dreadfully difficult to find which sub-group he belongs to when trying to use another of those criteria.
Vanadium 50
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#6
Jul28-10, 05:23 AM
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Trying to impose the modern idea of the nation-state on civilizations of antiquity is doomed to failure. Using the modern boundaries makes even less sense. Alexandria was a city whose residents considered themselves Greek, and had no idea that in some time in the future the surrounding area would be called "Egypt" and that modern Greece would be limited to Epirus, Thessaly, points south and the Peloponnese.
Jimmy Snyder
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Jul28-10, 05:33 AM
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What about Jimmy the Greek? He was from Steubenville so he should have been called Jimmy the Ohioan by modern standards.
Danger
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Jul28-10, 05:46 AM
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There are innumerable examples of that still in play. Both Canada and the USA claim Alexander Graham Bell, even though he was born in Scotland. My father's friend and neighbour in Almont Ontario invented basketball. It consisted at that time, however, of him nailing a peach basket to his barn door and having people throw a soccer ball at it. It wasn't until he was on the athletic faculty of a New York university that he formalized the game. So is that a Yank invention or a Canuk one? The vast majority of highly-ranked NASA engineers were refugees from the Avro Arrow project when the moron-in-office scrapped it. Does that make the moon landing a Canadian achievement, even though the Yanks provided all of the money and infrastructure? Or a German one, since Werner von Braun introduced the entire concept of rockets to North America when he fled the Nazis? Or how about Ben Johnson... he moved here from Jamaica and ran for us in the Olympics. We were all immensely proud of him for being Canadian... until he tested positive for 'roids. Then it was "oh yeah... that guy from Jamaica."
As for the ancient cultures referred to in the OP, I honestly don't know how one would draw the lines. It's not as if they had GPS. The borders of a nation were pretty much defined by what extent of territory they could defend. Someone could be Egyptian one day and Persian the next, just because someone happened to stroll through the neighbourhood with more horses and archers than the current administration could muster. (Okay... that was just a top-of-my-head opinion; I have no education in history or geography or cultural anthropology. I'll just bow out now.)

edit: I didn't mean to step on your toes there, Vanadium. You sneaked your post in while I was still composing mine.
Danger
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Jul28-10, 05:48 AM
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Quote Quote by Jimmy Snyder View Post
What about Jimmy the Greek? He was from Steubenville so he should have been called Jimmy the Ohioan by modern standards.
I think that the argument is somewhat irrelevant. After all, I'm pretty damned sure that Freddy the Nose Minetti wasn't born through a nasal passage.

By the bye, Jimmy... aren't you sharing an entire name with him? Are you him?
arildno
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Jul28-10, 06:18 AM
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Quote Quote by Vanadium 50 View Post
Alexandria was a city whose residents considered themselves Greek, and had no idea that in some time in the future the surrounding area would be called "Egypt" and that modern Greece would be limited to Epirus, Thessaly, points south and the Peloponnese.
Some of Alexandria's population regarded themselves as "Greeks", others might well have vociferously regarded themselves as something different.

Some, for example, would think of themselves as Macedonians, rather than generally "Greek", others would not have regarded themselves as any of that, for example thinking of themselves as subjected native people of a "true" Egyptian stock.
Others would have thought of themselves as Nubians.
Jimmy Snyder
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Jul28-10, 07:28 AM
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Quote Quote by Danger View Post
Are you him?
Actually, he changed his name to Snyder from his birth name. I sued him at the time, (Snyder v Snyder) but the case never went anywhere due to confusion on the part of the attorneys, judge, and jury. We settled out of court and he took the name Jimmy the Ohioan. It was the governor of Ohio that suggested he use the name Jimmy the Greek.
Danger
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Jul28-10, 07:49 AM
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Quote Quote by Jimmy Snyder View Post
Actually, he changed his name to Snyder from his birth name. I sued him at the time, (Snyder v Snyder) but the case never went anywhere due to confusion on the part of the attorneys, judge, and jury. We settled out of court and he took the name Jimmy the Ohioan. It was the governor of Ohio that suggested he use the name Jimmy the Greek.
It never ceases to amaze me how much fascinating **** arises from what was intended to be a dumb-*** joke.
What, may I inquire, was the basis for the suit? The first thing that comes to mind would be some perceived damage to your reputation, but that doesn't ring true to me because there must be several hundred Jimmy Snyders in the US who were born with that name. You wouldn't be able to sue any of them for that same reason. (One of my legal difficulties, which was rapidly remedied, arose from the fact that there are 20 guys with my name currently incarcerated in Alberta... never mind how many are running around loose. A rookie cop checked my ID, immediately assumed that I had escaped from prison, and took me into custody. It was straightened out pretty quickly when the RCMP receptionist pulled the file up on her computer and noticed that the "escapee" had a different middle name, was born 30 years after I was, and lived in a town that I had never even visited.)
Jimmy Snyder
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#13
Jul28-10, 07:56 AM
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Quote Quote by Danger View Post
that doesn't ring true to me
Nothing gets past you Danger.
Quote Quote by Danger View Post
because there must be several hundred Jimmy Snyders in the US who were born with that name.
Five are semi-famous.
The driver who came in second in the 1939 Indy 500.
An actor with a bit part in Terminator III.
Winner of a Country Music Award (I don't recall which award it was)
One of the managers of the Minnesota Twins.
Jimmy the Greek. Actully famous, but not by the name Jimmy Snyder
I have not included James, no one ever calls me James.
Chi Meson
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Jul28-10, 08:09 AM
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Quote Quote by jackson6612 View Post
They were still Egyptians even if they spoke Greek, followed Greek culture etc. Perhaps, you could elaborate on your points. I believe there were persons of different faiths in Egypt at that time - some were more like Greeks in terms of culture, language, etc, and others were more like non-Greeks. They all were still residing in Egypt. A Jew who did some great work in Germany is a German Jew, or just German, not an Israeli.
Vanadium answered it well, but just one more point:
There was no country of "Greece" at the time. There were Greek people who lived in many places. The great Greek civilizations were mostly "City-states," where the nation was the city itself (Athens and Sparta being the most memorable of those). So to the residents of Alexandria, at least in the first few centuries, their city was a Greek city. If you asked a Greek Alexandrian if they were Greek or Egyptian, they would probably think you were crazy.

Again, our modern definitions of "Nationality" are very different nowadays, what with our passports and flags and anthems.
jackson6612
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#15
Jul28-10, 09:37 AM
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Again, our modern definitions of "Nationality" are very different nowadays, what with our passports and flags and anthems.
Perhaps, those Egyptian Greeks moved to Greece when it was founded! Most of the times we are prisoners of our own prejudices and tilts. Once you called Euclid an Egyptian, you have committed a crime in some sense. It would make him an Egyptian, not a Greek or European, which coincidentally would make him one of forefathers of Egyptian Muslims, further it would make him an Asian, further a Middle Easterner. I assure you some would prosecute you for this crime. If someone lived 1000 centuries ago in India and was following some culture of Chinese origin, he would still be an Indian to me. It's not entirely about the nationality. Likewise, telling someone that Babylonia once stood where Iraq is today may disturb him. Telling some people that many of the things discovered in the West after 15th century had already been discovered in India, or Indian Subcontinent to be precise, much earlier could make them uncomfortable.

Note: I'm not an English learner, and I mostly make poor choice of words. I intend not to offend anyone but it's my humble and personal opinion(s). Please take them lightly.
Danger
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Jul28-10, 10:24 AM
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Quote Quote by jackson6612 View Post
Note: I'm not an English learner, and I mostly make poor choice of words.

I'm quite picky about misuse of language, and it never occurred to me that you weren't a natural Anglophone. Your fluency in English exceeds that of most who were born into it.
jackson6612
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#17
Jul28-10, 10:41 AM
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Your fluency in English exceeds that of most who were born into it.
Thank you, Danger. It's one of the best complements I have received so for for my struggle to learn, master English. Once again, thanks for the encouraging words.
Evo
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Jul28-10, 10:43 AM
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Quote Quote by jackson6612 View Post
Once you called Euclid an Egyptian, you have committed a crime in some sense. It would make him an Egyptian, not a Greek or European, which coincidentally would make him one of forefathers of Egyptian Muslims, further it would make him an Asian, further a Middle Easterner.
No one knows where Euclid was born, we can only guess at a year, nothing is actually known, so your claim that he was Egyptian is without basis (see link). He lived under the reign of Ptolemy I. Ptolemy was Macedonian, he was the first Ptolemy to rule Egypt. (Cleopatra was a Ptolemy)

Euclid - http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/...es/Euclid.html

Ptolemy - http://www.notablebiographies.com/Pe-Pu/Ptolemy-I.html

I don't know where you are getting your information. You should have provided links to your sources with your posts, starting with your first post, unfortunately people had already responded before I got here.

Of course there will often be differing views where little is known, in these cases, we need to seek the most reputable sources. (now watch Arildno say I'm wrong )


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