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To ask whether Homer's people are determinists or libertarians is a fantastic anachronism.
More recently a farmer of York, Pennsylvania, was killed by two boys whose crops and cattle had been blighted and whose families had sickened. It was claimed that the victim was a witch doctor, or "hexer" as the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect has it, and that he had been bringing misfortune on the whole neighborhood by his sorcery. The trial revealed that an elaborate traffic in witchcraft was firmly established in the midst of what is in many ways one of the most progressive farm communities of the country, among people who tune their radios to station WJZ or WEAF, New York.
Such incidents seem fantastic anachronisms, and yet we find the vestiges of magical practices persisting even in the commercial centers of our big cities.
If there was ever any doubt as to the age of Genesis, the fantastic anachronism of camels in the patriarchal age would suffice to prove that it was written centuries after the death of Moses, to say nothing of Isaac and Jacob.
As Dodds says in his introduction to the Gorgias:
The Menexenus is unique among the dialogues in containg, thanks to a deliberate and fantastic anachronism, direct and uncontrovertible evidence of its date. Since "Aspasia's" oration carries the history of Athens down to the King's Peace, it cannot have been composed before 386; and since it stops there, it is unlikely to have been composed very much later.
The anachronism is, of course, compound: Socrates is made to recite a speech mentioning historical events that occurred thirteen years after his death, while the supposed authoress of the speech had presumably been dead even longer. (Aspasia had a son by Pericles who was old enough to be a general at Arginusae in 406.)
Neither Suwa' nor Ya'uq seems to occur in the theophorous proper names. It is hardly necessary to remark that the transferring of all these Arabian deities to the age of Noah was a fantastic anachronism due to Muhammad himself.
The world of Achilles and Ulysses never existed. Homer crafted an artificial setting meant to appear ancient and yet familiar to his audience—a literary effect. The innumerable difficulties of this undertaking were compounded by the fact that his only source of knowledge about this half-mythical past was epic poetry itself. From the conjunction of a vague memory of Bronze Age Mycenaean civilization and the 8th century polis, we get such fantastic anachronisms as heroes riding chariots to and from the battlefield, yet dismounting before joining the fight.
Much of what Gertrude Bell recorded in Persian Pictures has long since changed, almost beyond recognition; her impressions are thus all the more valuable, for she recaptures as few others have done the fantastic anachronisms and inconsistencies of a dying dynasty, the last remnants of medieval Persia.
If we believe in the theory that the Homeric epics were stitched together out of small songs, we are met by this difficulty: that the processes of such a man as Lönnrot are no argument for early Greece; that such a method as his, in the age of Onomacritus, is a fantastic anachronism. If we believe in an original Iliad or Odyssey, of say 4000 lines, to which, in three or four centuries later, great poets made additions, subordinating their work duly to that of their great dead master, we must ask ourselves, where and when are great poets known and proved to have been so humble?
Why not read Herodotus as if he were a disciple of Braudel's? The emphasis on geography, the epic sweep across time and space, the enslavement of men to grand historical forces: are these not sufficient correspondences? Consider the elements Herodotus emphasizes in his description of Babylon (1.193): geography, transportation, crop yields, the minutiae of every-day material life.
For the entire Babylonian territory, just as in Egypt, is crisscrossed by channels. The largest of these channels is navigable by ships and flows toward the winter sun. From the Euphrates it flows into the Tigris River, on whose banks is situated the city of Nineveh. Of all lands known to us, this one is by far the best in producing the crops of Demeter. It does not at all support the growth of trees such as the fig, grape, or olive, but it bears such good crops of Demeter that it gives a 200-fold return, and when it yields its best, it produces a 300-fold return. The stalks of wheat and barley here easily measure four fingers in width. I know how large the returns from growing millet and sesame are but will not mention them: I am well aware that even the account of the crops already described meets with great incredulity from those who have not visited the territory of Babylon themselves. The Babylonians use no olive oil but make oil from sesame instead. They have palm trees growing throughout the entire plain; the majority of these bear fruit from which food, wine, and honey are made.
Does this passage not exemplify every virtue of the Annales school? But the Greek goes beyond his spectral master: whereas Braudel simply ignores the human element in history, Herodotus recognizes the power of people and their cultures, and incorporates them into the "complex order" of "economies, societies and civilizations". This is not merely a fantastic anachronism, but a necessary step toward understanding the history of historiography.
Fantastic neo-slave narratives use such devices as haunting (Morrison's Beloved and Gayl Jones's Corregidora ), time travel (Kindred), possession (Phyllis Perry's Stigmata ), fantastic anachronism (Ishmael Reed's Flight to Canada ), and space opera (Samuel R. Delany's Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand ) to explore the experience of slavery.
Goa gripped the attention of foreign governments and newspapers. Sober newspapers supported the Indian stand in. principle, though many of them did not agree with the methods and manner or time for a solution. The Portuguese colonial rule in Goa was considered a fantastic anachronism, a relic of an age of Western domination which had ended almost everywhere else in Asia. World opinion had no doubt about Goa’s future.
The sidenotes script is taken from gwern and was originally written by Said Achmiz.
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