Gobbets

GOBBET 1: BORDER ENCOUNTERS (seminars w/b 12 October)

(PERIOD: Medieval, WORLD REGION: Asia)

NB. For further reading related to this gobbet, see the bibliography for Border Encounters.

The Treaty of Shanyuan 澶 淵 (1005) between the Liao dynasty (907-1125) and the Song dynasty (960-1276)

Background:
The Chinese-speaking Song (or Sung) dynasty controlled the largely agricultural people and lands within the line of the Great Wall of China (which did not then exist as a physical object), excluding
modern Beijing and the western territories of what is now the People's Republic of China. The Liao emperors and nobility were primarily from a group called the Kitan (or Khitan), whose language was probably related to Mongolian. The Liao predated the Song. Beginning as a confederation of pastoral nomadic people living in present-day Mongolia and the northeast of China, the Liao had extended its control over farmers living around what is now Beijing and northern China. Having no experience of ruling and taxing agriculturalists, the Liao rulers borrowed methods from the political systems of their neighbours, but also came up with innovations of their own.

Liao and Song had conducted several military campaigns against each other, indirectly and then directly, since the early years of the Song. The main battleground was a handful of districts south of modern Beijing, which the Song wanted to take from the Liao and which the Liao were equally determined to retain. In 1004 a huge Liao invasion reached Shanyuan (or Shan-yŁan or Chanyuan) on the Yellow River and seemed poised to overrun the entire Song realm, but the Liao were anxious for peace. They had captured a Song general in 1003, and he had taken service with the Liao emperor. This general now led the Liao negotiating team, and the two sides agreed terms after just ten days of talks. The treaty they made was to last well over a century.

The surviving texts are both written in Classical Chinese, although the Liao had a language and script of their own. The exact wording of the treaty was crucial. Each emperor claimed to be the one true holder of the Mandate of Heaven (which gave a ruler not the right, but the responsibility to rule), and as such expected all other rulers to acknowledge his superiority. Accordingly, both found it hard to countenance treating their neighbour as an equal. Pastoral nomadism and agriculture are two very different methods of exploiting the environment which produce some strong cultural differences, and there was a long history of conflict between nomads and states based on agriculture; but the relationship also entailed a great deal of peaceful contact between people in the borderland who exhibited an enormous and diverse range of cultural beliefs and practices.

The treaty took the form of a pair of letters exchanged between the two emperors, which were almost – but not quite – identical. You should compare the two letters carefully to identify the differences. Do they tell us anything about the different approaches (cultural? political? religious?) of the two sides, or are they inconsequential? Then you should think about the significance of the terms of the treaty itself. What concerns are expressed? Do you think the two sides are equal? What evidence can you cite from the gobbet itself to support your views?

The question you should aim to answer in the gobbet you bring to class is this:

Which aspect of the relationship between the two sides is given most emphasis under the terms of the treaty?

Aiming to answer the question will help you to focus your gobbet on what is most important about this passage. You must cite the evidence for your claims about the passage, but you do not have words to waste on peripheral issues or lengthy discussion. You must be brief and to the point.

An obvious point: before you start, find a MAP that shows Beijing and the Yellow River; for more detailed maps try the reference section of the Robinson Library. For further reading see main Borders bibliography (later in this handbook) or browse books on the relevant section of the library shelves (around 951.02). Several relevant books are in the Student Texts Collection; additional copies of some material is available to you in the Open Access Centre or on Blackboard.

At the end of your gobbet, include ONE SENTENCE identifying a comparable example taken from a different time and different world region, and provide a full and correct REFERENCE to the secondary work in which you found out about this example.

Text of the oath letter sent from the Song emperor Zhenzong (or Chen-tsung) (r. 997-1022) to the Liao emperor Shengzong (or Sheng-tsung) (r. 982-1031)

On this the seventh, or bingxu day of the first half of the twelfth, or gengchen month of the inaugural year of the Jingde reign period (19 January, 1005), the Emperor of the Great Song respectfully transmits this oath deposition to His Majesty the Emperor of the Kitan:

Neither side shall make requests outside this oath deposition. We must work together so that this oath can endure far and long. Henceforth we shall preserve the peace for the worthies among the common people and carefully maintain the boundaries. This we pledge before the deities of heaven and earth and declare at the ancestral temples and to the spirits of the land and grain. May our posterity abide by this oath and transmit it in perpetuity.

Whosoever shall repudiate this oath shall be unable to enjoy the reign over his state, for this oath is clearly manifested to all and scrutinised by Heaven, which along with the offended state shall surely destroy him.

From a distance I have prepared this document now opened and spread before you. With singleness of heart I await your reply. I say no more.


Text of the oath letter sent from the Liao emperor Shengzong to the Song emperor Zhenzong, arriving at the Song encampment on 30 January, 1005

On this twelfth, or xinmou day of the first half of the twelfth, or gengchen month of the twenty-second, or jiachen year of the Tonghe reign period (24 January, 1005), the Emperor of the Great Kitan respectfully transmits this oath deposition to His Majesty the Emperor of Great Song:

While our two states were conducting discussions together for laying down our weapons and were again negotiating for amicable relations, I was honoured to receive also your kindness and consideration in specially making known the following oath deposition:

Neither side shall make requests outside this oath deposition. We must work together so that this oath can endure far and long. Henceforth we shall preserve the peace for the worthies among the common people and carefully maintain the boundaries. This we pledge before the deities of heaven and earth and declare at the ancestral temples and to the spirits of the land and grain. May our posterity abide together by this oath and transmit it in perpetuity.

Whosoever shall repudiate this oath shall be unable to enjoy the reign over his state, for this oath is clearly manifest to all and scrutinised by Heaven, which along with the offended state shall surely destroy him.

Although I am not gifted, I shall presume to abide by this agreement and shall respectfully announce it to heaven and earth. I shall place my posterity under oath that if they repudiate this accord, they shall be destroyed by the deities. I have prepared this communication with singleness of heart. I say no more.

Translated by David C. Wright, From war to diplomatic parity in eleventh-century China: Sung's foreign relations with Kitan Liao (Leiden: Brill, 2005), Ch. 2.


GOBBET 2: PERSUASIVE ENCOUNTERS (seminars w/b 26 October)

(PERIOD: Antiquity, WORLD REGION: Mediterranean)

NB. For further reading related to this gobbet, see the bibliography for Persuasive Encounters.

Gobbet text: sections 78-80 from Cicero’s speech In Defence of Murena (Pro Murena), sections 78-80.

Background:

In 63, Cicero is one of the (two) consuls of Rome (the two consuls were the chief civil and military magistrates in Rome; they held office for a year). In November of that year, he defends the consul-elect Lucius Licinius Murena, who is due to take over one of the consulships on 1 January 62, when Cicero and his colleague will have completed their year of office. Murena is on trial on a charge of using bribery to gain his victory in the consular elections. In Defence of Murena is Cicero’s speech in this trial. Between the elections and the trial, the so-called Catilinarian conspiracy has come to a head (this was an attempted coup headed by Catilina or Catiline, a nobleman who was one of the unsuccessful candidates in the elections). Catiline has left Rome with a band of supporters to join forces with an insurrection in Etruria (north of Rome).

The main question to be answered in the gobbet you bring to class is
:

What is Cicero’s main strategy seen in this passage for securing Murena’s acquittal, and how does he use persuasive techniques (including arguments and suggestions, structure and style) in this passage to further that strategy?

Other aspects may also deserve some mention, of course, and these might lead to more general questions; but avoid being side-tracked, and focus mainly on the above question, and on citing evidence from the passage itself to support your analyses and claims.

At the end of your gobbet, include ONE SENTENCE identifying a comparable example taken from a different time and different world region, and provide a full and correct REFERENCE to the secondary work in which you found out about this example.


Text, as translated by Berry (reference below), with some alterations:

(78) ... What I am doing, members of the jury, I am doing partly because of Lucius Murena’s position and my friendship with him, but I also declare and proclaim that I am doing it for the sake of peace, tranquillity, concord, freedom, security, and the lives of all of us. Listen, listen to a consul, gentlemen – I shall not be presumptuous, I shall only say a consul who spends all his days and nights thinking about the national interest!

Lucius Catilina did not so scorn and despise our country as to think he could destroy the state merely with the forces he took out with him. The infection of his criminality is spread more widely, and more people are implicated in it, than anyone realizes. The Trojan Horse is within our walls, within our walls I tell you – but it will never overwhelm us as we sleep so long as I am consul. (79) You ask me whether I have any fear of Catiline. I have none, and I have taken steps to ensure that no one else need fear him either. But his forces I see here, these, I tell you, are very much to be feared; and it is not so much the army of Lucius Catilina of which we should now be afraid as those men who are said to have deserted that army. For they have not in fact deserted it at all. Posted by him on the look-out and in ambush, they remain behind, poised above our heads and necks. These people want to use your votes to dislodge an honest consul, a fine general, and someone by nature and personal circumstances bound up with the security of this country, and to topple him from his guardianship of the city and his protection of the state. Their weapons and treachery I have rebuffed in the Campus Martius, undermined in the forum, and frequently thwarted even in my own home, gentlemen; and if you hand over one of the consuls to these men, they will have achieved far more through your votes than by their own swords.

It is very important, members of the jury, that there be two consuls in place on the first of January, and I have worked hard in the face of considerable opposition to bring this about. (80) You should not imagine that they are using ordinary plans or routine methods. It is not a mischievous law that these men are aiming at, or a pernicious distribution, or some damage to the state that has at some point been rumoured. No; in this very country, gentlemen, plans are under way for the destruction of the city, the massacre of the citizens, and the obliteration of the name of Rome. And it is Roman citizens, Roman citizens I tell you – if it is right to call them by that name – that have plotted and are still plotting these actions against their own country. Every day I counter their plans, undermine their treachery, and resist their crimes. But I warn you, gentlemen: my consulship is now coming to an end. Do not take away from me the man whose diligence should succeed mine! Do not remove the man to whom I am eager to hand over the country unharmed, for him to defend against these terrible dangers!

Taken from: Cicero, Defence Speeches, trans. Dominic H. Berry (Oxford World's Classics; Oxford 2000), sections 78-80.


GOBBET 3: SOCIAL ENCOUNTERS (seminars w/b 9 November)

(PERIOD: Modern; WORLD REGION: Europe)

NB. For further reading related to this gobbet, see the bibliography for Social Encounters.

The Blackleg Miner

This is a local folk song that was transcribed in the 1950s but stretches back much further than that, certainly into the nineteenth century. It is part of an oral culture of song passed between generations and thus is different from the types of historical documents that were traditionally used to write history with. Historians have come to rely much more on cultural evidence of this sort since the 1970s. Such songs were used in particular in the pioneering work: Robert Colls, The Collier's Rant : Song and Culture in the Industrial Village (London: Croom Helm, 1977).

Question:
In terms of its form (folk song) and content, what insights does the ‘Blackleg miner’ give into the views inside mining communities, and can other forms of historical evidence provide such insights?

At the end of your gobbet, include ONE SENTENCE identifying a PRIMARY SOURCE providing a comparable example taken from a different time and different world region, and provide a full and correct REFERENCE to the primary source.

The Blackleg Miner

It's in the evening after dark,
When the blackleg miner creeps to work,
With his moleskin pants and dirty shirt,
There goes the blackleg miner!

Well he grabs his duds and down he goes
To hew the coal that lies below,
There's not a woman in this town-row
Will look at the blackleg miner.

Oh, Delaval is a terrible place.
They rub wet clay in the blackleg's face,
And around the heaps they run a foot race,
To catch the blackleg miner!

So, dinna gan near the Seghill mine.
Across the way they stretch a line,
To catch the throat and break the spine
Of the dirty blackleg miner.

They grab his duds and his pick as well,
And they hoy them down the pit of hell.
Down you go, and fare you well,
You dirty blackleg miner!

Oh, it's in the evening after dark,
When the blackleg miner creeps to work,
With his moleskin pants and dirty shirt,
There goes the blackleg miner!

So join the union while you may.
Don't wait till your dying day,
For that may not be far away,
You dirty blackleg miner!


Reading: Robert Young, 'A Dialogue I'll Tell You as True as mee Life ...': Vernacular Song and Industrial Archaeology in Northern England’,
Industrial Archaeology Review, 24, 1 (May 2002), pp. 11-22. This article can be found at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/maney/iar/2002/00000024/00000001/art00003



GOBBET 4: TECHNOLOGICAL ENCOUNTERS (seminars w/b 23 November)


(PERIOD: Ancient; WORLD REGION: Mediterranean)

NB. For further reading related to this gobbet, see the bibliography for Technological Encounters.

The history of technology has traditionally placed the development (in the west) of waterpowered industry in the mediaeval period and later. This recently discovered carving of a Roman machine for sawing blocks of stone, powered by water, takes the history of such technology back around 1000 years. Read the short paper published in Journal of Roman Archaeology from which the illustrations were taken, and also Kevin Greene’s paper in a different issue of the same journal (Greene, K. 1994 'Technology and innovation in context: the Roman background to mediaeval and later developments', Journal of Roman Archaeology 7: 22-33. PER 913 JOU). This journal is in the Robinson library, and there are photocopies of the article in the Open Access Centre on the main University quadrangle, in a box-file labelled 'Encounters' on a shelf immediately around to the right of the entrance desk. The journal is not available electronically.

There is no specific question for this gobbet, as the main point is to consider how to use material evidence rather than documents (but don't forget the Greek inscription on the carving). The main point to be made on this topic is that an archaeological discovery, whether surviving pieces of a technical device or a carved representation of one that would be unlikely to survive in any other form, can have a major impact on the history of technology. While we have lots of documents and illustrations from the mediaeval period and later, such things either didn't exist or don't survive from the classical world. That does not mean that the technology didn't exist, however!

You can now find a lot of valuable information in this book: Oleson, J.P. (ed.) 2008 Handbook of engineering and technology in the classical world. New York: Oxford University Press. 609.38 OXF. There is a reference-only copy in the Robinson library. Another relevant article that is available electronically is: K. Greene, ‘Technological innovation and economic progress in the ancient world: M. I. Finley re-considered,’ Economic History Review, 53, no. 1 (February 2000): 29-59 (through JSTOR).

At the end of your gobbet, include ONE SENTENCE identifying a PRIMARY SOURCE providing a comparable example taken from a different time and different world region, and provide a full and correct REFERENCE to the primary source.

This is a visual gobbet. The images below were published in this journal article:

Ritti, T., Grewe, K. and Kessener, P. 2007, ‘A relief of a water-powered stone saw mill on a sarcophagus at Hierapolis and its implications’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 20: 138-163.

Tech 1

Tech 2

Tech 3



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