RTFU

The History of Europe – Ranger Up Style

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Updated: July 15, 2013

By Mr. Twisted

Due to requests for a European version of the Middle East history we did a couple weeks ago (and because we don’t need much of an excuse to poke fun at Europe), it seemed appropriate to give a quick run-down of what shaped places like England, France, Germany, and everyone’s favorite vacation spot, Holland, into what they are today.

Several thousand years ago: BRONZE! It’s a metal alloy. They used it to make plates, statues, and, if my historical knowledge serves me correctly, cheap plaques given out at retirement parties.

1000 B.C.: The Mycenaeans, lacking a trained chemist, cleaned all their tools with ammonia, subsequently bringing the Bronze Age to a screeching halt.

1000-500 B.C.: The Greeks picked up where the Mycenaeans left off, but we don’t know much about what they did so we call this period “dark,” which implies that it was kind of scary. In reality it’s believed that they didn’t write anything down because these five centuries were spent mostly trying to decide how, exactly, to pronounce “gyro.”

sparta480 B.C.: THIS. IS. SPARTA! A bunch of dudes with spray-painted abs fight to the death trying to hold off Persians. They failed, but an Athenian general named Themistocles “whooped dat ass” on Xerxes in an epic game of Battleship.

431-404 B.C.: The Spartans go to war with the Athenians in a 27 year battle that reshapes Europe and proves that the whole “infantry” thing isn’t just a fad.

356-323 B.C.: Alexander the Great kills everyone. Seriously. He actually killed more Greeks than the Persians did in over a hundred years of fighting. But he was devilishly handsome and spoke with an Irish brogue just like Colin Farrell so it’s all good.

216 B.C.: Hannibal, B.A. Baracus, The Face, and Murdock use a welding torch and their super sweet van to kick the Roman Army right in the jewels.

49 B.C.: Julius Caesar “crossed the Rubicon” and became the leader of the Roman Empire. No, really. That’s not a metaphor. He’s the first guy to do it and so they made the saying after him. I just put it in quotation marks because it looked cool.

49 B.C.-450 A.D.: The Roman Empire is in control of pretty much everything, including Boardwalk and Park Place. The modern soap opera was born during this time, along with the first incarnation of the UFC, which included lions and Christians.

330-1453 A.D.: Christianity rises to the top, Charlemagne makes it tougher and smarter, and then the Church starts a new fight promotion simply called “the Crusades” with varying degrees of success. The Roman Empire, much like the sun, rises in the East but falls in the West because someone forgot to lock the back door.

1452-1519 A.D.: Leonardo da Vinci pens his bestselling autobiography using Tom Hanks as the protagonist and invents a ton of stuff that doesn’t work.

1517 A.D.: Martin Luther puts down his beer stein, marches on Washington D.C., and posts a giant picture of a middle finger on the Pope’s door in response to them charging money to get into heaven.

1543 A.D.: Changing the course of history, Copernicus makes the earth revolve around the sun instead of the other way around like it had been doing for several millennia.

1564 A.D.: Some dude named Shakespeare is born, causing frustration among all college students who are not theater majors.

1650-1750 A.D.: John Locke and Voltaire invent freedom; Isaac Newton invents gravity to keep them in check.

1756-1763 A.D.: The “French and Indian War” was fought for seven years all over the world but mostly on American soil and won by the British, making the name choice for the conflict utterly confusing.

1775 A.D.: King George: “Hey ol’ chap, what say we tax those Colonist buggers to fund the war we just fought, eh?”

1781 A.D.: King George: “Blimey! Quite the guns they have! Let’s have a spot of tea and we will just wait to invade them with the Beatles in a couple hundred years.”

1803 A.D.: Napoleon sells Louisiana, which he doesn’t really own, to the Americans, who don’t really know what it is, so that he can fight a bigger war in Europe which he can’t win. Strategy!

1831 A.D.: Charles Darwin funds his famous expedition by selling millions of metallic fish with feet and his name in the middle for people to put on their wagons.

marxism-groucho-marx1848 A.D.: The Communist Manifesto by Groucho Marx and Freddy Krueger is published, bringing absolute peace and prosperity to all of Europe for the next hundred and fifty years.

1864 A.D.: Despite constant nagging from his wife, Louis Pasteur proves that there was in fact a completely legitimate reason for leaving all the cheese out on the counter.

1905 A.D.: Albert Einstein reinvents gravity and ties it to space and time, thus providing countless platforms for 100-plus years of really crappy science fiction writing.

1914 A.D. Europe hosts “the War to End All Wars” but makes the egregious mistake of naming it “World War I,” ultimately guaranteeing a sequel.

1933 A.D. Much to everyone’s surprise, a mild-mannered boy named Adolph wins the Chancellorship of Germany by running an honest, clean campaign that spoke plainly and openly about his plans for Germany’s future.

1939 A.D. The Nazi-Soviet “non-aggression” pact signed, the Russians completely unaware that the Germans had their fingers crossed the whole time.

1939 A.D. (12 seconds later): Germany invades Poland on the grounds of “self-defense.”

1939-1950 A.D.: Proving that Marx’s book was obviously the answer to the world’s problems, Communist governments in China and Russia kill more people than any war had in the past 10 centuries combined.

1957 A.D.: The Soviet Union releases its first in a series of wildly successful but crudely made pornographic films entitled Sputnik.

1989 A.D. Soviet Union: “Everything is good here, Comrade! We are good! Nasha strana obrechena.

1991 A.D. Soviet Union: “Everything must go! Fire sale! We give you great deal!”

I suppose that there is more “history” after 1991, but honestly, I have a tough time referring to anything as “history” if it happened after I graduated high school. So we’re going to just stop there and leave Coldplay, the Mini Cooper, and Hugh Grant out of this because, let’s be honest, we don’t suck.

Comments

comments

8 Comments

  1. Sahal

    July 15, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    My prayers have been answered! Any chance if the US history version will be making a special appearance?

  2. patty

    July 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Actually Christians we7rent prosecuted in Rome to the extent they would have you believe. It was just a relative few years and it wasn’t as bad as it thought to be. And more often than not it wasn’t because of their religion. But some other reason, the whole Christian’s persecuted in Rome is a lie made by Christians. It was used that way in the same manner we use graphic novels or something similar today. .. just so you know.

    • Mr. Twisted

      July 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Patty,

      Just so you know…no.

      My guess is that you are using the argument put forth in Candida Moss’s book or one of the reviews for it (incidentally, a book that has almost as many 1 star reviews on Amazon as it does 5 star reviews). Unfortunately, Moss didn’t come to this argument by stumbling on any newly-found documents or uncovered historical account, but rather by dismissing some of the major historical sources we have from antiquity while essentially glossing over others in order to sell books.

      There are numerous academic sources in existence stating that yes, in fact, Christians were persecuted. While during certain times they were largely left alone (under Nero was probably much worse than the norm, for example), this was a very real thing. In fact, interestingly enough, some of the best sources we have about how poorly Christians were treated are from pagan/non-believer historians like Tacitus and Suetonius.

      Just so you know.

      • Joel Moore

        July 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm

        Never get why the mountains of NON-CHRISTIAN, contemporary documentation are ignored, or why anyone cares. Does the fact of persecution of early Christians rub athiests so wrong?

      • Jack

        July 23, 2013 at 12:38 am

        There are no historical records or physical evidence as to the use of the Colosseum, or any other amphitheatre, as a place of execution for Christians.
        In the Middle Ages, the Colosseum was clearly not regarded as a sacred site. Its use as a fortress and then a quarry demonstrates how little spiritual importance was attached to it, at a time when sites associated with martyrs were highly venerated. It was not included in the itineraries compiled for the use of pilgrims nor in works such as the 12th century Mirabilia Urbis Romae (“Marvels of the City of Rome”), which claims the Circus Flaminius – but not the Colosseum – as the site of martyrdoms. Part of the structure was inhabited by a Christian order, but apparently not for any particular religious reason.
        It appears to have been only in the 16th and 17th centuries that the Colosseum came to be regarded as a Christian site. Pope Pius V (1566–1572) is said to have recommended that pilgrims gather sand from the arena of the Colosseum to serve as a relic, on the grounds that it was impregnated with the blood of martyrs. This seems to have been a minority view until it was popularised nearly a century later by Fioravante Martinelli, who listed the Colosseum at the head of a list of places sacred to the martyrs in his 1653 book Roma ex ethnica sacra.

      • Jack

        July 23, 2013 at 12:49 am

        In fact, “christianity” at the time of Nero was considered a heretical sect of Judaism, and christians of that age were mostly persecuted in connection with the Jewish civil uprising. Nero DID use them as human torches in his garden. But again, feeding to lions never occurred, and persecution based solely on religious grounds was sporadic. Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire began with the stoning of the deacon Stephen and continued intermittently over a period of about three centuries until the 313 Edict of Milan issued by Roman Emperors Constantine I and Licinius, when Christianity was legalized. Christians were persecuted by local authorities on a sporadic and ad-hoc basis, often more according to the whims of the local community than to the opinion of imperial authority. One should remember that just a few years later, in 380 AD, Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire. In fact, prior to Constantine, “christianity” as an independent religion was almost completely non-existent, so persecuting it would be rather difficult (it was, again, just a minor heretical sect of Judaism). It was Emperor Constantine who blended their beliefs with those of the Mithraic cult and other popular local religions to form what it is today- in fact, even the “virgin Mary” was meant to be a direct analogue to the maternal earth deities popular with farmers and rural peoples.

        • Mr. Twisted

          July 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm

          Jack,

          Great second comment (the first seems odd, given the length you went to regarding the Colosseum–an argument that didn’t need to be made).

          However, two points: One, the famed letter from Pliny the Younger to Emperor Trajan (and the response of the latter) would indicate both that it was more than just the “whims of the local community” as well as that Christianity was far from “almost completely non-existent.”

          These letters also indicate that Christians were not to be hunted down or searched for, thus dispelling some of the myths perpetuated by the Church later on. This does not mean, however, that it did not spread continually in popularity from the middle of the first century all the way until about 30 or 40 years ago when it has seen its first real decline (which is arguable in more of a philosophical sense, but that is another subject entirely). The writings of Ignatius of Antioch, for example, indicate that by the beginning of the second century, Christianity had grown quite a lot. The records of how the Bible came to be “canonized” would be yet another example of the rapid spread.

          Two, yes, under Constantine the religion of Christianity was legalized and later officially adopted by Rome. Yes, Mithraic and other pagan traditions were adopted (unfortunately, as moves such as those did far more harm to the Church that it did good, and turned it into something it was never intended to be). However, it was not Constantine only who blended these beliefs–the Christians themselves were guilty of doing the same (also, the missionaries who traveled north to Scandinavia centuries later would adopt many of the religious practices of the Vikings, showing once again that it is a human tendency to try and fit in). This was not necessarily an anti-Biblical concept, based on the writings of Paul, but that could be argued, as well.

          Although the concept of the Virgin Mary has been radically deified by Catholicism, the notion that it was invented as directly analogous to “maternal earth deities” ignores that the virgin birth was in fact part of the narrative of the original gospels. I would agree that Catholicism in general turned that into something it was never intended to be, but again, it was not invented by early Christians to make it sound more like the cult of Mithra or Attis or other, similar practices. That was a concept put forth in that awful Zeitgeist movie and has been soundly debunked by several ancient history scholars.

          The combining of Christianity with pagan cults is often misunderstood because some of the popular writing on the subject has ignored the facts that 1) the sources on cults like Mithraism and Attis are wildly differing in their accounts, 2) a great deal of what we know about them far post-dates Christianity’s formation (some even coming from Christian sources), and 3) the actual theology of the Bible is not rooted in these cults, regardless of more modern practices like Christmas and Easter having roots in paganism (those concepts are not Biblical).

  3. Virgil Hilts

    July 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    From The Article; “49 B.C.: Julius Caesar “crossed the Rubicon” and became the leader of the Roman Empire. No, really. That’s not a metaphor. He’s the first guy to do it and so they made the saying after him.” To elaborate…to ‘Cross The Rubiicon’ put Caesar in an untenable situation from which he was subsequently screwed. The term persists today as an action which yields the same results….Deep Shit!

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