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Post 1

Skankyrich [?]

Hi Leo!

I'm working on a Uni project at the moment about the History of Spain. Basically, I'm trying to avoid a really dry fact-by-fact-history, so I was hoping you'd take a look at a couple of first drafts for me and let me know if it's actually readable?

They're at A27771348 and A27808545; forget all the spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, as it's been written mostly late at night and I haven't gone through it properly yet. If you could see if the tone and style is ok, though, I'd be really grateful. I just want to know I'm on the right lines before I go too far...

smiley - smiley

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Post 2


It would be my pleasure! Just a bit of advice:
Give me a deadline. "Now" and "Yesterday" are most likely to produce the most rapid results, closely followed by "before I get up tomorrow" and "ASAP".

smiley - ok

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Post 3


OK - just one thing I'm noting, beyond the "This is an entry about" which you probably know I consider inelegant...

>>Atapuerca is a largely unremarkable village. It's just few miles east of the city of Burgos in Castilla y Léon, but there are few visitors other than pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago. To the peregrinos it is little more than somewhere to stop for coffee on their great journey, yet somewhere in the low hills of the Sierra de Atapuerca to the east lies something at least as remarkable as St James's shrine.<<

Absolutely crammed paragraph. Crammed with names and references, I mean. Can you take it slower, I wonder? Or maybe it's just the jolting unfamiliarity with the words and names. I gather the St James shrine must be in Camino de Santiago?

Also, I'm not sure when this first paragraph exists. Could be I'm just an ethnocentric American, but Spanish pilgramages have a very medieval place in my mind. But I'm not positive. The fact that the next paragraph refers to the 20th century by name suggests to me that perhaps we weren't in the present previously. But again, I'm not positive.

Beyond that, it's drawn me in already. I'm visualizing, to best of my untravelled ability, Spanish looking folk sipping coffee at little tables under awnings next to dusty roads.

But you might want to insert a line into the second paragraph about how the area's history goes waaay back, or that it's the site of the oldest found human remains - I mean just state it point blank before going into the details so we know where you're headed, and how it ties in exactly.

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Post 4


Further along: you're giving the pre-history history, but not how I suspect you want to. Now you can't really start telling the story of GrOg and his wife Glug, but I suspect neither do you want to talk about what happened back then from our point of view.
To illustrate what I mean:

>>The contours of the rock have been incorporated into the paintings to give muscles three dimensions, and the paint itself, a mixture of blood, ochre and animal fat, applied with primitive brushes.
- a modern analysis of what happened back then

A rough rescribble:
The painter mixed his colors using blood, ochre, and animal fat, and used a brush made of whatever it is that primitive brushes are made of. In an extra bit of artistic flair, he considered the contours of the rocky wall he was painting on, incorporating the bumps and insets into his design to give the figures 3 dimensional muscular bulges.
- a more narrative description of what happened

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Post 5


>>With them arrived farming, animal husbandry, copper-working, boat-building and permanent dwellings.

Didn't you ever have a high school teacher rant about the evils of passive language? eg: "it arrived with them" vs "they brought it"
Compare to "They brought cutting edge technology like farming, animal husbandry, copper-working..."

Continuing in the theme of last post:
>>The most stunning are those at Antequera, where 30 huge boulders and three giant pillars support an impressively weighty roof.

- where they arranged 30 huge boulders and three giant pillars to support and impressively weighty (I assume stone?) roof.

got to do some w*rk work. Will be back...smiley - run

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Post 6


Tut - you can do better than this:

>>Tarsettos was known by the Greeks, who wrote that it was an empire of 200 cities, and some believe it to have been founded by survivors from Atlantis - Plato put the date of Atlantis's demise at 1,500 BC and the location somewhere near the Straits of Gibraltar. Another theory holds that Jonah was travelling to Tarsettos - Tarshish in the Bible - before being swallowed by the whale.

The Greeks wrote that Tarsettos was an empire of 200 cities, but then again, some also claimed it was founded by survivors from Atlantis. The bit about Plato should be paranthetical if not footnoted, since it is just supportive and doesn't add directly. Also, it wouldn't be a theory about Jonah, would it? More like "Tarsettos is thought to be the Biblical Tarshish; Jonah's destination before he wound up in a fish" because it was a fish, not a whale, if you do the translation correctly.

>>that the Greeks and Tartessians told of the same mythological cattle-baron, Geryon

- eh? who's he? is that the only thing the two cultures have in common (to our knowledge)?

>>Among their introductions was wheat beer, and the introduced a word known to every British visitor to Torremolinos - cerveza.

- you're casually mentioning in passing something as important as BEER?!
- and, for the non-British non-visitor-to-Torremolinos: what's cerveza?

>>This ethnic mix was completed by the Phoenicians
- mm. Diversity. smiley - laugh Sorry - it just struck me because of the modern business of making a fuss about being diverse.

>>and named the peninsula i-schephan-im, meaning either 'remote' or 'full of rabbits'.
- smiley - laugh

>>As they settled in Andalucía, they clashed with the Tartassians, destroying their fleet and taking over many of their trading routes. The Iberians were more welcoming, readily adopting the new Mediterranean culture.

- Meaning, the Trata-wossits objected to their arrival, so they crushed them and made them redundant? Whereas the Iberians were more welcoming (or decided tobe, after witnessing the alternative)...?
I think I'm getting hung up on semantics here: "they clashed with the Tartas" sounds like they initiated. But "The Iberians were more welcoming" suggests that the Tartas were the ones who created the problem.

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Post 7


smiley - yikes
>>While the people around the coast happily drank wine like the traders from the east, tribes in the interior rejected them and carried on brushing their teeth with urine.

- Are you KIDDING?!

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Post 8

Skankyrich [?]

This is great, Leo! I'm really glad I asked smiley - smiley I was really asking what you thought of the style - I'm trying to go for a blend of travelogue and narrative, in a way - but this is even better.

>>Atapuerca is a largely unremarkable village... - your comments here are really valuable. To me, it's a nice, succinct paragraph; but I've been a pilgrim, walked the Camino de Santiago and seen the remains of St James in Santiago. To me it flows between the two points of interest quite nicely, but if you don't know anything about St James or the Camino it won't. That's an important point I can bear in mind right through the project.

Tartessos is trickier, and I think I've phrased the whole thing very badly. Plato is relevant directly, because he's our leading source on Atlantis, and the dates he gives and the locality mean give more credence to the theory that Tartessos was founded by Atlantis survivors. I think I've presumed the reader can work this out rather than explaining it. It is a theory about Jonah as well, as most scholars believe Jonah's destination was the city of Tarsus in Turkey. I've gone for brevity rather than explaining it properly, though, and it sounds confusing. The same with the arrival of the Phoenicians, too - I'll have a really good look at this when I go through it again.

>>While the people around the coast happily drank wine like the traders from the east, tribes in the interior rejected them and carried on brushing their teeth with urine.

I was particularly proud of that line. Mostly because it's absolutely true... smiley - smiley

Keep up the good work here - I need it done by yesterday, please smiley - winkeye

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Post 9


You do have a blend of narrative and travelogue. Now if you'd have told me that before I started... smiley - tongueout

Alright, I'll give you a proper job here. Disclaimer: compliments and positive feedback are rarely given during "a job" no matter how much they might be deserved. So don't take anything too personally.


Oh wait - first - what sort of quackery led people to believe that it was beneficial to brush their teeth with urine?

Back to our regular programming:

>>First the Assyrians, then the Babylonians inflicted heavy defeats on them,

- Inflicted heavy defeats on them? You sound like you've been reading a history book. They beat them up. They knocked the stuffing out of them repeatedly. They trounced them on the battlefield numerous times. They proved their military superiority in a way entirely detrimental to Phoenician morale and life insurance policies. Well... whatever. Inflicting defeats seems an odd conjunction of words, though. Inflict is when you impose something on someone else. One doesn't inflict defeat, they just defeat. It's not like: "Behave or I'll defeat you." Or anyway, not totally like that.

Rest of paragraph is quite good, except for punctuation that makes my skin crawl. Now I shall have to fetch it out from under my bed, which hasn't been dusted in years, and it's all because you wrote this late at night.

>>destroyed Tartessos for good bit their new technology - the battering ram

- maybe make that a "permanently". "for good" can be awkward in type.

>>This tactic worked for a while until he assassinated,

smiley - laugh They liked him until they didn't like him, and then they killed him? Or was it internal politics that killed him? Just curious.

>>Hannibal Barca had arrived in Gadir with his father Hamilcar with a virulent hatred of Rome and a sworn oath to destroy it.

- too many "with"s. And why did he hate them so much?\

>>he had his chance to fulfil his destiny.

- Oh come. He had a chance to take action on his grudge. Destiny be hanged. Unless an angel told him one night that he was destined to sack Rome? (Did he? Something from 5th grade history is telling me he didn't, in which case it definitely wasn't his destiny.) What I mean is: you make it sound like he was tootling around Carthage hating Rome when suddenly - bing! Two family members drop dead and he realizes it's his chance to fill his destiny... Not a likely scene. (Which doesn't make it impossible - to the contrary. But perhaps you can be more specific.)

Also, you might want to get a drop more specific about where places are. Tartessos, for example, isn't located anywhere. I presume it's a city around today, but I don't know that. Just sticking "origins of" or "city of" would help. "Northern/southern Spain" might also help, but I won't be so demanding. Any place that isn't on a modern-day geography test, like Carthage, or even Iberia, should be placed on the map for the young, uneducated, or blissfully ignorant.

I skimmed commentaries around Jonah, but none of them seemed the slightest bit concerned about the location of Tarshish. Let the theories commence.

OK, Next Entry:

>>The last Entry in this series

- was the last entry in the series also, by any chance, the first entry in the series? Methinks maybe you should reconsider how you refer to past entries, lest you confuse.

>>ould have control of huge swathes of the European continent and control absolutely Mediterranean trade.

- is Absolutely Mediterranean a vodka spin-off? smiley - winkeye You're writing how you talk, Mr. Rich. At the very least, make it "Control Mediterranean trade absolutely."

Description of campaign is good. No - make that quite good. smiley - erm Now *I'm* typing the way I talk. (I get more effusive online than IRL.)

>>The Romans, so far subdued on the second front in Spain, decided to re-open hostilities in 210 BC under a new leader, Publius Cornelius Scipio who, eerily like Hannibal, had lost his father and uncle to the enemy.

- Q: How is that sentence like the duffel bag of a spoiled brat going to summer camp?
A: They're both long and overstuffed.

>>Rather than take land piece by piece, he dashingly went to the heart of Carthagian territory,

- Daringly. Unless he had a particular flair for getting to the heart of things.

>>Further victories came before Scipio brilliantly outmanoeuvred the last Cartaginian army at the Battle of Ilipa in 206 BC.

- Sorry, but this is going to have to be rewritten. Something is wrong, and I can't place my finger on what, possibly because it's something that's missing.

>>They presented an altogether different proposition for the Romans. Although the people of the coast adapted to their new masters readily, having got used to a succession of colonial rulers, the Celtiberians of the interior were an altogether different proposition.

A: Do you hear an echo?
B: An echo?
A: An echo.

>>They were a tough and warlike people who threw their criminals off cliffs and carried poisonous plants into battle, preferring suicide to surrender. They would not be easily subdued; even when facing overwhelming odds, their warriors would shake their long hair, scream and perform war dances, and one can only imagine what the well-disciplined Roman armies made of this.

- smiley - bigeyes

That's enough for now. Since I'm past deadline, another day late won't make a difference. smiley - tongueout

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Post 10

Skankyrich [?]

The Romans are well-known to have used urine to whiten the teeth, but they got the idea from Iberian tribes. It was supposed to whiten the teeth and make them stronger. Funnily enough, there isn't a good article on the Internet, so this will have to do for now:

Incidentally, the bit at the top of each Entry is a placeholder for now - it's where a proper introduction will go, as well as the University links bar. So you'll have to excuse the uncouthness of it for now; it's there in case anyone finds the unedited version by chance.

'You're writing how you talk, Mr. Rich.' Damn. So the conversational tone doesn't always work, then? Forgive the appalling spelling and punctuation, please; this is actually at the stage where it would normally be kept safely offline where no-one can see it, but now I'm back and being Peer Reviewed again I'm happy to show the warts-and-all version off. I came to you first because I respect your opinion utterly, and I know you'll tell me honestly where it sucks.

You know, when I first thought of this Uni project - a surprisingly long time ago, about the time when I finished the British Mammals project - I really wanted a Sub who knew a bit about European history and had perhaps worked on something similar. But I realise now that I don't really need the facts to be checked as much as the style. You really have an eye for querying the ambiguous points, and I think you could improve this project no end. Unaccustomed as I am to propositioning young ladies, I really would be honoured if you'd be my Sub...

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Post 11


Have you been taking diplomacy lessons from Disraeli? With that sort of preamble, of course I'll sub your project. smiley - rolleyes Just be sure to finish it off either before midterms or after finals. And do watch your language in front of the young ladies. smiley - shhhsmiley - tongueout

The trick about the conversational tone is to avoid the stuff you can get away with saying even though they're not perfectly clear because when you speak you have the benefit of waving your arms, making faces, and backtracking when you see puzzled expressions. When readers get puzzled, they express it through solitaire.

That said, you do have a good tone going there.

...and I have a project coming due at w*rk right now that I'm actually enthusiastic about, so I will try to get back to this today, but if not, then Monday, because the weekend is going to be a doozy.

smiley - run

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Post 12


>>First there was an eight-year revolt by the Lusitanians in response to a Roman massacre of 8,000 unarmed Celtiberians from which their leader, a shepherd named Viriathus, escaped. Viriathus was only killed when the Romans bribed three of his aides to murder him, and he was both Spain and Portugal's first national hero.

- Slightly muddled story. When was he assassinated, then? And why would the Romans want to kill a bunch of unarmed people led by a shepherd? (Though, come to think of it, being a shepherd seems to be the prereq for leading, according to many literary theories.)

...I've always wondered how revolts can last 20 years. 20 years of constant fighting for independence? Or do they succeed initially, and then it takes 20 years to get them subjugated again nicely? Or something in between?

>>Cervantes's finest play, La Numancia.

- is that your opinion or a literary one?

>>Having already forced the Romans into a treaty in a previous war between 153 and 151 BC, the Numantines rose up in 143 BC.

-you're stuffing the duffle again. Besides, I just plain don't like the sentence. It implied a connection between the two events. But if there is one, I can't imagine what it would be. If you got a treaty, why risk things by uprising?

>>While the tribes around them fell fairly swiftly, Numantia remained undefeated. Surrounded by barren hills, it was excellent country for guerilla warfare, but the 6,000 men, women and children stayed in their town, resolute against their fate.

- Does this mean that they could have fought but didn't? smiley - huh

>>Despite a long siege, they were unbroken, and even forced an army of 20,000 Romans into surrender.

- smiley - wow How?

>>they drank the last of their beer

- By Bob! They're starving and they still manage to waste good grain on beer?!

>>They also described girls from Gadiz dancing with castanets,

- Castanets?

>>They built some 15,000 miles of roads, enthusiastically mines its mineral wealth

- Parlez vouz English?
- Really, if you look at the structure of the sentence, it sounds like they mined the roads.

>>He probably never visited, though St Paul may have, but this didn't stop a good story, and soon tales of martyrdom were rife. They endured pain with a kind of beatific happiness, perhaps inspired by stories of St Vincent,

- Another not-quite-right: Tales of martyrdom were rife... They endured pain... the tales endured no pain, unless they were retold wrongly, and even then probably not.

>>It could be argued that they made a rod for their own back;

- You're implying that not only were they happy to die for their faith, but they were actually jumping over each other to do so. I'm skeptical.

>>The Jews suffered too; under Hadrian they were slaughtered and scattered after a revolt in Israel in 135 AD.

- After a revolt in 135, they were slaughtered and scattered...
- Dunno if this'll contribute, but the tales claim that nobody in Israel had to fertilize their land for years (20 yrs, I think...) after; there was enough blood in the soil to keep it rich.

>>Many chose Spain for their exile, forming new communities in the suburbs of more established towns.

- Is "more established towns" necessary? It sounds like more talking. I mean the "more" part.

smiley - ok Done for now.

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Post 13

Skankyrich [?]

You don't mind me appearing to ignore most things until I catch up on them, do you? I haven't changed a word as yet; I've got a busy weekend ahead so I'm trying to get as much down as I can while it's really fresh in my mind. Another bit is taking shape at A27875668, but I haven't even got to the main cut of the Entry yet. I think I've stopped waving my hands around, though smiley - smiley

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Post 14


Go ahead, ignore. I'm all for making changes in one go meself. smiley - ok How many entries is this going to be?

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Post 15

Skankyrich [?]

There are going to be at least seven. So much happened in the Moorish conquest/Christian Reconquest that I'm probably going to split that one into two. It's tricky to distil a whole nation's history into a few Entries, but I'm doing my best smiley - smiley

Just one thing I picked up:

'You're implying that not only were they happy to die for their faith, but they were actually jumping over each other to do so. I'm skeptical.'

I do overstate the point a bit, you're right, but martyrdom was something to aspire to. It's the same sort of religious fervour that drives suicide bombers.

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Post 16


Hullo. Just checked my calendar. Can you finish this by January 15th? That way I'll be able to knock it off during my brief winter break.

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Post 17

Skankyrich [?]

Hullo. Yes. No problem whatsoever smiley - ok

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Post 18


I just checked my calendar. Heh - what break? It's two whole days over the weekend, so much for that. That's what I get for transferring colleges. smiley - sadface

Either way, the beginning of a new term is usually an easy time, so in case you were so busy videoing and tape recording and so on, here's a little reminder that Spain awaits. smiley - ok January 15th sounds lovely, but finals begin the 10th, so I should have plenty of time then.

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Post 19

Skankyrich [?]

Coincidentally, I was revising about Spain again last night smiley - smiley I'm trying to get each era to the stage where I could usefully explain it to someone rather than try to refer to text all the time, because I hope it will read better that way. I am on the case, sort of smiley - smiley

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Post 20

Skankyrich [?]

I think the Visigoths should stand alone reasonably well:


No need for a full review; I haven't even read it back through yet and I'll need to change the title, but I thought I'd show willing smiley - winkeye

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