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Re: Braveheart

Xavier writes:
>The stasistical method was not meant literally but figuratively.

I'm sorry, milord, but that was not clear from your previous post.
 Over-reliance on "empirical data" in history is all too common these days,
and rather a touchy subject for me.  History, medieval history in particular,
is not a hard science, and far too often people try to make it into one.  The
use of words like "statistical" is dangerous, because unless the metaphorical
sense is made *very* clear, someone will try to quantify patently
unquantifiable material.  As the adage goes, there are lies, damned lies, and
statistics.  And as my old historiography prof. insisted, *we owe history the
truth*.  Quantitative history has its place and it has been extremely
enlightening (see some of the modern research on the Salem witch trials), but
it's not the best tool all the time, and it can be dangerously misleading.

>[Oscar Wilde's statement] neglects ideological movements

Milord, I'm not entirely sure what it is you're driving at here.  Ideologies
are important, but they are also shaped by people.  The dominant figures of
any era are those who shape and re-shape ideologies, not those who are simply
shaped by them.  I know I'm setting myself up to get accused of promoting the
"great man" theory of history at the expense of the common folk (which is
terribly un-PC of me), but the interplay of personalities and ideologies is
not a one-way affair.  It's a dialectic, and that requires movement from both
sides.  Ever studied Hegel?  If so, you're familiar with the concept of
thesis and antithesis, which conflict and ultimately come together to form a
synthesis.  Personality and ideology interact in the same way.