This is a truly awful response, citing Bohemian paintings of figures from the Bible (including the Queen of Sheba, who lived around 1000BC as well as the Magi present at the birth of Christ) as evidence there was a major black population in Bohemia in the 1400s. The two books listed also have very little to do with the argument and the second one is there to cite the absorption of the Cuman people (literally translates to “blonde hair” in German) into Eastern Europe as relevant to the argument. My goodness. What is going on here
^ Ohhhhhh, so that’s where that particular line of complete crap came from.
So I’m guessing you’re one of the reasons I keep getting messages from people who seem to think I made claims about the “massive Black population” of Medieval Bohemia.
I swear, it’s like people have no idea what “nuance” or “complexity” or “movement of human populations documented by multiple disciplines” even MEAN.
Moreover, it’s entertaining (or possibly ironic) that your blog title implies a lot more judgement on the content that you post (yourkickstartersucks), where I have said over and over again that people read TOO much into the idea that I make a “claim” whenever I post something, merely by posting it.
Also, people are apparently extremely convinced that people of color can’t have blonde hair, which isn’t true at all. Melanesian people have blonde and red hair for the same reason some white people do-an independently mutated gene. Hmong, Laotian, and Mongolian people can have blonde, light brown and red hair, too. It’s not even uncommon.
Native American peoples can and often do have light or blonde hair OR eyes, leading to various Europeans academics through the years trying to scramble for some kind of “explanation” for it, especially for peoples like the Mandan, who more commonly did/do have blonde hair. Here’s a primary quote for that.
The results, says Myles, help deconstruct a Eurocentric view of the world in thinking about where blond hair comes from. He hopes the paper will draw attention to the bigger issue of other novel genes that scientists may be missing by concentrating on the genomes of Europeans. "If you can find a gene for blond hair that exists in Melanesia and nowhere else," Myles says, "then there’s no reason why those sorts of genes don’t exist all over world in underrepresented populations, and affect not only hair pigmentation, but also disease-related traits."
Now that we’ve hopefully established that white Europeans do not have some kind of exclusive claim to traits like blonde hair, which is essentially not relevant here other than to try and address the apparently MASSIVE assumption that they do, let’s look at the whole “Cumans assimilated into Europe” thing.
I do have a post regarding that, from Hungary, as has already been discussed. Here’s a full-page miniature set from The Legend of Saint Ladislas ( c.1330s):
^ These are the Cumans being discussed, you know, the ones whose name means “The Blonde Ones”. As you can see, in the 1330s there is still a great deal of racial othering in art happening, which reflects the artist’s ideas of how people looked.
The Cumans were originally from China, near the Yellow River (István Vásáry (2005) Cumans and Tatars, Cambridge University Press, p. 6). The Other Europe: Avars, Bulgars, Khazars and Cumans by Florin Kurta and Roman Kavalev actually dicusses how the influx of peoples from Asia moved West in rather large numbers during the Medieval era and how this entire field has been massively neglected in Medieval Studies. You can even look at page 436 and see yet another reiteration of William of Rubrick’s account of various Cuman people living in Central and I believe Western Europe too.
If you want a genetic study, here’s one specifically about the Cumans and assimilation in Hungary, but that ALSO demonstrates that this is also something that happened in other, more Western parts of Europe, actually farther west than even Bohemia, or the current Czech Republic.
This isn’t even bringing people of Mongolian descent into it, although their presence was impactful enough to be pretty standard in just about anyone’s education in world history? I hope??? After all, they were often depicted in Italian art in various religious scenes for no apparent reason other than to just be, you know, people:
A related people, the Kalmyk, are another ethnic group, but in Russia. It wasn’t until the early 1600s, however, that they were a large enough presence to form a significant political impact on the area. Here’s a portrait of a Russian Kalmyk girl from the 1700s:
Now, geography’s not my strong suit by any means, but unless the entirety of what is now Slovakia was actually an electric or barbed wire fence in the 13th and 14th centuries, somehow human beings must have moved around slightly in 200-300 years…?
As a last note, there’s also a lot of people who keep saying stuff like, “Oh, well, I live or have been to the Czech Republic/Hungary/Poland/ Austria and I saw very few people of color, including this little nasty dropping in my inbox (and once again, still seeming to think “people of color” and Black people” are synonyms):
I have to say…do I really need to point out what reason there might be for there to actually be FEWER people of color in this area NOW than there were say, before the 1930s? Slavic people with “Asiatic features” were specifically singled out for the genocidal policies of the Nazis, including the dispensation of Slavic POWs. I’m talking about the Commissar Order:
The Commissar Order read: “The originators of barbaric, Asiatic methods of warfare are the political commissars…. Therefore, when captured either in battle or offering resistance, they are to be shot on principle.”
And I still haven’t even gotten into the History of the Roma in Bohemia/Morovia and/or the Czech Republic. In 2013 there were some 30 or 40 anti-Romani marches in the Czech republic by right-wing parties and Neo-Nazis, as well as violent anti-Romani riots.
So, stop pretending that history is some kind of linear progression from “bad” to “better” to “hey we’re all equal now so shut up your face!!!!”
But, the bottom line is really, none of what I can say here is going to matter to a lot of people. They already decided I was wrong long before they knew this blog existed, to be honest. The long, long list of people who will continue to bleat that “none of this is relevant!!!!” just demonstrates that you don’t WANT it to be relevant, so it’s not.
"Convincing" any of the people whose knickers are currently in a rather massive twist over this video game, or who are convinced I’m leading some kind of "attack" is not really a priority of mine. It’s just tiresome to have constant messages from people who obviously haven’t read anything I’ve written on the history, art or otherwise, of the area in discussion, and there’s really nothing controversial about yet another Medieval video game being sold on "Historical Accuracy" in which whiteness isn’t just the default, it’s your only option. These games have been made, are being made, and will continue to be made for the people who want that, or even just the people who "never really thought about it". The manufactured "controversy" over this has really done nothing but help fund the game, and I get the hatemail for it.
What I am saying is, I am really, truly, stick-a-fork-in-me DONE.
To the OP: have fun picking sides in an entirely invented and hyperbolic situation.
Does anyone actually know what you have to do when people are singing happy birthday to you.
Generally speaking, books don’t cause much harm. Except when you read them, that is. Then they cause all kinds of problems.
Pseudonymous Bosch, The Name of This Book Is Secret (via upperrubberboot)
The writer’s job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.
Vladimir Nabokov (via elucipher)