the rules of evidence

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Is this a case of double standards?

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agesilaos
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the rules of evidence

Post by agesilaos »

30th Aug
Meanwhile I note that in his recent post,[Thurs Aug 28] he refers to me as "Herr Bartlett" - a reference to the character 'Big X', as played by the late Lord Richard Attenborough in "The Great Escape". This is a clear, if a little indirect, reference to the Nazis. As such it must run perilously close, if not an actual, transgression of 'Godwin's law'....

For those not familiar with it, it states : "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." ( i.e. certainty).

I confess that as I observed the increasing stridency of Agesilaos' posts, it did occur to me that he might be heading for a breach of the Law. .....and sure enough!!

Falling foul of Godwin's law causes the individual making the comparison to automatically lose his argument or credibility.

" This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin's law", but is not in fact ( see above). Rather it is a corollary.
Strictly speaking therefore, this debate is arguably over, with Agesilaos forfeiting !!
Yet 17th March
Godwin’s law refers to comparisons with Hitler or Nazism, and I referred to neither, but rather Goebbels in his capacity as founder of modern propaganda and ‘spin’.....so no breach there, then !!
Goebbels wrote, "The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly...it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over."
Has this law, or corollary is one likes been subject to change? If a reference to a fictional Englishman is a breach yet to an actual Nazi , unless the claim is that Goebbels was not a Party Member since 1924, one never knows with Xenophon, he really ought to change his nom de Forum to Aristophanes.

Let’s ask the people, don’t worry , you silent masses, this is all anonymous. from the cantankerous 'Taktike' thread
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by Xenophon »

Both posts were intended to be humourous, of course, and are consistent.

As I said, since Agesilaos mentioned neither Hitler nor Nazis directly, his joke was not a direct transgression simply "perilously close".

Similarly, I did not directly reference Hitler or the Nazis either. The reference to Dr Goebbels was in his capacity as 'Father of Modern Propaganda', and the first modern 'spin-doctor', and Agesilaos' use of one of his techniques.

In neither case were any comparisons with Hitler or Nazis made.

QED
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by agesilaos »

Goebbels was a Nazi .. QED! If you consider calling people liars humourous, why do you whine so loudly when the epithet is applied to your own totally unsubstantiated views?

Godwin's corollary is tosh, IMHO, the Third Reich is simply the most readily recognised analogy available to a popular culture where every third TV programme is about the Nazis. Had I a tattoo on my arm I might take real umbrage, as it is since the charge of using 'The Big Lie' applies much more to your own line of deception as can be seen clearly by those following the arguments (and that is more people than you think unless you access the threads 60 or so times a day, which I doubt.)
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by Xenophon »

Here you go again! More personal insults and offensive language.....

My views are substantiated by references and logic, unlike yours. [e.g your totally unsubstantiated assertion that Xenophon's 'dekad' in respect of a file can only mean a file of ten, for which you can produce not a scintilla of evidence, as I have pointed out more than once. It is simply your conviction, which you attempt to try and have prevail by constant repetition.]

And it seems you fail to understand the point I was making, namely that you seek to push these views, even without evidence or when they are obviously wrong, by continuous repetition over and over, which is a common propaganda technique now used by politicians everywhere. :roll:
Goebbels was a Nazi .. QED!
So what ? I was not comparing you to him in any way 'qua' Nazi, and it does not logically follow. If I said you used tricks, that would not mean I was comparing you to Loki !

As I said, you were using Goebbels methodology.



I also referred to the fact that this technique was invented by him, the "Father of Modern Propaganda" ( a.k.a 'spin'). I quoted him as follows:

"The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly...it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over."

If you think that breaches Godwin's law or its corollary, then clearly you don't understand its meaning !

Nor did I call you a 'liar', ever, not even by implication - that nasty slur is something you repeatedly call me, and now seek to unjustly tar me with.Guilty conscience? Very doubtful ! :lol:

Nor do I seek to deceive, another oft repeated personal insult.

Incidently, what you are doing now is an example of a 'red herring' - veering off on another and irrelevant topic as a distraction. It is also an example of irrelevant reasoning, because what you are saying - your allegation of breach of Godwin's law - simply doesn't follow from what I wrote, also called a 'non sequitur'.
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by agesilaos »

If you said I used Loki's tricks you clearly would be comparing me to him; I don't think anyone has made up a law about mentioning the Norse Gods however, maybe on a Game of Thrones site.
My views are substantiated by references and logic, unlike yours. [e.g your totally unsubstantiated assertion that Xenophon's 'dekad' in respect of a file can only mean a file of ten, for which you can produce not a scintilla of evidence, as I have pointed out more than once. It is simply your conviction, which you attempt to try and have prevail by constant repetition.]
Maybe, in your topsy-turvy world someone does have to prove that 'dekas' means ten and its genitive case '[a group] of ten', Anderson saw it and he had Greek, it is your view that is unsubstantiated in every way as has been demonstrated; that you do not accept the demonstration nor any contrary evidence is not a function of your self-proclaimed expertise in the field, but of the 'confirmation bias' which bests your reasoning. I wonder how you would react if any other member had to defend a point by rubbishing all the ancient authors, - Arrian, Asklepiodotos and Aelian all insert Roman cavalry nomenclature into their descriptions of Hellenistic infantry, Polybios probably never saw a phalanx in action (which renders any manuals going back to him somewhat redundant don't you think?) and on the thread you have started, you could not resist stating your theory , which is totally contrary to Polybios' evidence, that the Macedonian line at Kynoskephai was 16 deep all along and that this is 'double depth' - or is that an instance of you 'trolling'? :lol:

You only needed to proceed from the, now, agreed final attack frontage, it is meant to be a geographical exercise is it not? And why call the feature in question 'the Kynoskephale feature', rather prejudices things, don't you think? I am sure you, just like Rumpole, would object to 'the burglar, Mr Timson' being called to the witness-box. :shock:
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
Maybe, in your topsy-turvy world someone does have to prove that 'dekas' means ten and its genitive case '[a group] of ten', Anderson saw it and he had Greek, it is your view that is unsubstantiated in every way as has been demonstrated; that you do not accept the demonstration nor any contrary evidence is not a function of your self-proclaimed expertise in the field, but of the 'confirmation bias' which bests your reasoning.
So, you insist your assertion that ‘dekad’ as used by Xenophon can only mean ‘file of ten’, despite there being no evidence at all of this, and overwhelming evidence that it did not ? No-one agrees with you, and no-one disputes that the word had its etymological roots in the number ‘ten’ but words change meaning, especially over a period of hundreds of years ( and I gave examples ).
ALL the reputable translators translate ‘dekad’ as meaning generic file/squad, not a file specifically of ten. In the Cyropaedia, Cyrus’ hoplites are organised in companies/taxeis of 100, split into four platoons/lochoi, consisting of two files/dekads of 12. Xenophon can’t have meant ‘10’ or the arithmetic doesn’t work. Not to mention that the only times X. expressly refers to depth, it is specifically 12 deep ! Equally, since Greek cavalry files were never 10 deep, but always something less, Xenophon’s cavalry ‘dekadas’ also were not 10 deep. I’m not going to repeat all the evidence here; for a full discussion of same see my post Dec 13 on the “Taktike” thread. Agesilaos’ assertion is an unsubstantiated impossibility held by a minority of one.
I wonder how you would react if any other member had to defend a point by rubbishing all the ancient authors, - Arrian, Asklepiodotos and Aelian all insert Roman cavalry nomenclature into their descriptions of Hellenistic infantry, Polybios probably never saw a phalanx in action (which renders any manuals going back to him somewhat redundant don't you think?)...
To point out anomalies in the sources is not “rubbishing” them, and there is no actual evidence that Polybius ever saw a battlefield, or a phalanx in action – or a Roman army for that matter. ( In his famous description of Roman organisation he does not mention ‘centuries’ despite these being the very building blocks of the Roman army organisation, and doesn’t appear to have heard of them.) Nor need lack of field experience be an obstacle to writing a 'tactical manual'. Ascepiodotus and Aelian were not military men, and there are plenty of civilian 'armchair generals' who pontificate about military matters today, despite having no experience. :wink:
.... and on the thread you have started, you could not resist stating your theory , which is totally contrary to Polybios' evidence, that the Macedonian line at Kynoskephai was 16 deep all along and that this is 'double depth' - or is that an instance of you 'trolling'?
You only needed to proceed from the, now, agreed final attack frontage, it is meant to be a geographical exercise is it not?
I have not 'restated my theory', but shown the deployment as we all agreed it. The original deployment – 16 deep in ‘open/normal order’ was agreed by all of us, just as I have shown it, so why do you criticise me for showing it that way on my map ? It is indeed a geographical exercise, and I deliberately made no mention of how Philip’s phalanx got from 16 deep in ‘open/normal order’[the red line] to 16 deep in ‘close order’ [the magenta line], the part on which we all disagree.
I have often had the thought that you would argue black was white, just so long as you could oppose anything I might say and this would seem to prove it as you contradict yourself, for in your very first post you had Philip deploying 16 deep in open order, just as my map shows:
“...and at sixteen deep on the same interval they have a frontage of 3,750 feet ; the rearmost section, then, have to move 18,750 feet once the first files begin deploying. We are told that Philip set off at the double so allowing them to move at 4mph (352 feet per minute) we can say that this phase would take about 55 minutes. To convert this into an eight deep fighting line, the even numbered soldiers in each file step diagonally to the left and the ranks close up.”
..And this was your position throughout, for you repeated it several times e.g.
“..I posit that they arrived as you both say {i.e. 16 deep in open order of 6 ft intervals] but then stepped down to eight to cover the ground in a fighting formation and that from there they doubled their depth to sixteen and closed up to arrive at the same final formation as Xenophon but with a ‘doubling of depth actually having occurred.”
...the fatal flaw in which is that this would have prevented the light troops from being ‘received’ through the phalanx...

Paralus too agreed:
“ and it is just as likely that there is something in the order of 800-1,000 or more metres of width across that ridge. As the text stands, Philip certainly thought he could deploy both halves of the phalanx - in whatever frontage - eventually. Now, I agree with Xenophon in that the phalanx will have deployed "to the shield" in open order and I would claim, given the rushed deployment, in its normal drill. That is, sixteen deep.”
...and....
“This seems rather odd as this formation, in open order, would occupy some 2,300 metres - far more than the ridge seems to give. This also is not the usual deployment and, had Philip meant to fight eight deep in close order, there still seems not enough room.”
...and...
“In general, I also agree with Xenophon that the light armed were received via the phalanx when in open order. This is all the more so when a phalanx wide screen of lights are placed before the phalanx.”
..and...
“Polybios says that the phalanx mounted the ridge and deployed "into line by the left (ἀσπίδος παρενέβαλε), and occupied the range of high ground".
...and...
“We agree that the light armed withdrew through the 'open order' phalanx deployed in its standard sixteen deep files. This is even more likely as 9,000 - 10,000 will have completely occupied the the ridge line and these troops will have withdrawn immediately rearward. This is somewhat confirmed by Philip, having received them, gathering them to the right flank of the phalanx.”
In other words, we all three agreed Philip initially deployed 16 deep in ‘open/normal order’ and that is what I have shown. ( the red line on the ridge line). Of course Paralus later changed his mind and adopted Walbank’s invented formation of 8 deep in ‘open/normal order’ which as Paralus himself pointed out [ see above] would be an impossible 2,300 metres or so long. This would not fit on either mine or Hammond’s location, nor anywhere else in the vicinity - and I won’t repeat all the reasons this scenario is quite impossible.

Paralus can’t quite seem to grasp the arithmetic of formations and drill, and sometimes gets confused, for instance he said:
“ The phalanx, closed up thirty-two deep, needs only the same number of yards per file as sixteen in open order.”
...which of course, as we both pointed out to him, is completely wrong.

Agesilaos wrote:
And why call the feature in question 'the Kynoskephale feature', rather prejudices things, don't you think? I am sure you, just like Rumpole, would object to 'the burglar, Mr Timson' being called to the witness-box.
Not at all. I posited that the feature in question was called ‘kynoskephale’/the dogs head [singular], the ‘ridge’[singular] as Polybius and our other sources refer to it in the narrative part of their accounts, and as we have all done. This conveniently distinguishes it from Hammond’s ‘kynoskephalae’/the dogs heads[plural]. I notice you don’t criticise Hammond for referring to his proposed site as ‘Cynoscephalae’ [ e.g. his fig 4] – do different rules apply to me ?

This is yet another example of you getting 'personal' and nit-picking only me.
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by agesilaos »

Once again your tirade is undone by the quote which precedes it ; my ‘assertion is unsubstantiated impossibility held by a minority of one’ and J K Anderson, of course quoted in extenso or is it your contention that as you judge him to be in error he does not count? As for ‘ALL the reputable translators, E C Marchant, Loeb ‘Hipparchos’ p261 note 1 to ‘half-file leaders’ in the translation, pempadarchoi in the text ‘These form the sixth rank’ thus the file is ten strong, and your assertion gets even worse when we look at the Kyrou Paideia; H G Dakyns for Everyman’s consistently translates ‘squads of ten’ for ‘Dekas’, ‘squads of five’ for ‘pempadoi ‘ and captains of the relevant number including ‘captains of twelve and captains of six’ at III 3 xi; Walter Miller for the Loeb version clarifies his point of view in a footnote to II 1 xxii
2 The divisions of Cyrus's army were as follows: 5 men to a corporal's squad πεμπάς); officer: corporal (πεμπάδαρχος); total men: 5. 2 corporals' squads to a 1 sergeant's squad δεκάς; officer: sergeant δεκάδαρχος; total men: 10. 5 sergeants' squads to a platoon λόχος; officer: lieutenant λοχαγός; total men: 50. 2 platoons to a company τάξις; officer: captain ταξίαρχος; total men: 100. 10 companies to a 1 regiment χιλιοστύς; officer: colonel χιλίαρχος; total men: 1,000. 10 regiments to a brigade μυριοστύς; officer: general μυρίαρχος); total men: 10,000.
Maybe these are not ‘reputable translators’, maybe they were until it turns out that they do not support your assertion at all. No discussion can be described as ‘full’ when it is conducted from one, unsupported point of view. This is not nit-picking or knee-jerk contradiction, it is just that you are wrong by such a degree and so very often; are you alone meant to be spared correction?

To me saying that the sources do not know what they are talking about is ‘rubbishing’, but maybe the views of our sources should be subordinated to the opinions of people who have certainly never seen a phalanx and barring more defence cuts are never likely to. We are continually told that depth and compactness ‘add force to the charge’ that the men in the phalanx push with their sides and such, but it gets pooh-poohed by moderns who think they know better; it is to be regretted that no one has got sufficient numbers of volunteers together willing to sign the necessary Health and Safety waivers to give reconstructive archaeology a meaningful tilt at the problem, 256 would be about a minimum to reproduce unit level command problems and real drill, 512 to have a phalanx (sarissa) v phalanx combat.

We agree that they arrived in marching order sixteen deep but then you have them stand around in open order and I have them close down to eight which is necessary for them to double their depth to sixteen, as once again you have in the quotes; these are different; the lights did not go ‘through’ the phalanx, for one so fond of logic you seem perfectly willing to abandon it; again, in order to be sixteen deep after ‘doubling by depth’ the line must have been eight deep (that is what the Greek means), you rule this depth being likely in open order QED they were in close order and the lights and cavalry did not ‘pass through’, the Greek does not demand it and the situation precludes it, no matter how you fudge it. Supporting evidence only comes from an ancient author of doubtful repute but in his account of Magnesia, one of the few battles where and extensive skirmish screen is detailed, Appian says
The Macedonian phalanx, which had been stationed between the two bodies of horse in a narrow space in the form of a square, when denuded of cavalry on either side, had opened to receive the light-armed troops, who had been skirmishing in front, and closed again
So these troops had closed into ‘pyknosis’ even though they knew that the lights would have to return. Of course if Philip’s phalanx were already in fighting formation, the ‘eight deep in close order’ you continually assert, then why would they double their depth? The answer is that the usual depth was sixteen as implied by Arrian’s Taktike and stated by Polybios.

Paralus’ ideas develop which is to be encouraged as far as I can see, as for Hammond he is not posting a thread trying to determine where the battle site might be. It is customary to leave the conclusion until the end of a discussion. The detail I will post on the thread in question, though it will undoubtedly be ‘nit-picking’ and since I disagree with you ‘personal’.
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by Paralus »

As "your chum" Agesilaos, perhaps the poll is little provocative?? In any case, the "Godwin's Law" claims are a largely meaningless irrelevancy.

It would seem the debate regarding both threads has resumed here rather than on the threads themselves. I'd suggest it might be better on those threads but then there is the matter of Xenophon's declaration not to post there or reply to Agesilaos on the Taktike thread. If some of those matters are to be taken up here it might be best to start from a fresh slate and on the 'right foot'. Taking matters out of context (a refrain on threads elsewhere) might be a good start.
Xenophon wrote:In other words, we all three agreed Philip initially deployed 16 deep in ‘open/normal order’ and that is what I have shown. ( the red line on the ridge line). Of course Paralus later changed his mind and adopted Walbank’s invented formation of 8 deep in ‘open/normal order’ which as Paralus himself pointed out [ see above] would be an impossible 2,300 metres or so long. This would not fit on either mine or Hammond’s location, nor anywhere else in the vicinity - and I won’t repeat all the reasons this scenario is quite impossible.

Paralus can’t quite seem to grasp the arithmetic of formations and drill, and sometimes gets confused, for instance he said:
“ The phalanx, closed up thirty-two deep, needs only the same number of yards per file as sixteen in open order.”
...which of course, as we both pointed out to him, is completely wrong.
It is alleged I "can’t quite seem to grasp the arithmetic of formations and drill"; a questioning of competence to be certain. Immediately apparent is the maths in the quote which follows below - maths that have been consistent throughout. Nevertheless, my alleged mathematical incompetence is only occasional. What is missed in that quote is its context. Agesilaos was arguing that doubling the depth to thirty-two could not help the deployment of the left which had to march behind the deployed right. My claim was that the movement described - each second file stepping into its righthand neighbour - resulted in a doubling of depth and each file being rendered in compact order by depth. Thus each file would occupy a depth of some thirty metres which is exactly the same as a sixteen deep file in open order depth (it is explained here in reply to Agesilaos and here). It might have been expressed better but Agesilaos seems to have well enough understood.

On the ridge, I have argued above that Hammond's siting of the battle (on the Kremaste spur) - from his map - does not allow for more than 800 to 1,000 yards. At this stage this was the only map we were all working on as can be seen in my preceding post:
Now it is seemingly agreed that Hammond has got the battle site, in general, correct. His topographical map does not allow much much lateral space at the tops of these ridges. According to Polybios the phalanx deployed into line to the left and, later, Philip orders it to double its depth and close to the right. The left of the phalanx must then march up behind it from camp and to its left, again, one thinks, deploying ἀσπίδος παρενέβαλε. Presumably, had there been time, it too will have doubled its depth and closed to its right. It did not have that time (as might not have the entire right of the phalanx - below) and was caught on the march cresting the ridges.Hammond's map allows for some 700-800 metres across the identified ridges. This would fit a contracted and deepened phalanx. Philip desired his entire 18,000 on this field requiring some 2,060 metres in close order eight deep. The same number at sixteen deep would need some 1030. At thirty-two deep we have about 515 metres…
Thus what I am saying is that Hammond's map, and site, does not allow for this length of ridge. In that respect I agree. Hammond's map, though, excludes much outside his chosen site. My siting of the battle is to the east of the Kremaste spur - much of which does not appear on Hammond's map. That ridge runs from the high point of the Kremaste spur to the hilltop east of the modern road - over 2,300 metres. So, while there is not the room for the deployment of some 18,000, sixteen deep, in open order on Hammond's map, there most certainly is on the ridge outside of his chosen section. I shall watch the "Probable site" thread with some interest. The creator of that thread well knows my views having had an unedited copy of "The Dog's Heads" for some time. Needless to say only archaeology might determine the actual site though I do not see the necessity for Philip to march west about modern Krene. But that's for the other thread...
Last edited by Paralus on Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by agesilaos »

Provocative!!! Of course, but I did not anticipate the bare-faced cheek of a defense :lol: How little I have learned :roll: The written word is such a blunt instrument already the lack of tone has seen me think Xenophon was upset by 'blood-sucking' and he think I was serious about being 'driven to it'.

I was going toget a bit miffed with Xeno accusing me of not making any suggestions but you remind me above he has boycotted the thread on which I posted it, Doh!
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by Paralus »

Yes, we must all refrain from colloquialisms not readily accessible to those for whom English is not a first language. Something I'm often guilty of but in no way alone in that 'sin'. It is well to remember that many who visit are not native English speakers and references to Rumpole and other such "in-cultural" references might fall on deaf ears.
Xenophon wrote:I posited that the feature in question was called ‘kynoskephale’/the dogs head [singular], the ‘ridge’[singular] as Polybius and our other sources refer to it in the narrative part of their accounts, and as we have all done.
Interesting. I don't believe I've referred to "the feature" in the singular having written it as Kynoskephalai or its Latinised form throughout (unless I've erred). Also interesting is that you now claim that Philip's force ascended a ridge. Originally you asserted that his force marched up a pass in correcting my supposedly erroneous view that it ascended a ridge. An "organic" view indeed. Seems I'm not the only one to modify my view of this battle as a result of that thread.
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by sean_m »

Paralus wrote:Yes, we must all refrain from colloquialisms not readily accessible to those for whom English is not a first language. Something I'm often guilty of but in no way alone in that 'sin'. It is well to remember that many who visit are not native English speakers and references to Rumpole and other such "in-cultural" references might fall on deaf ears.
That is a hard one for sure, and subtle things like British humour are even harder to avoid. But I am certainly grateful to have a few Greeks (and perhaps people from other countries?) on this forum who can tell us about things in languages which I do not know.
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Re: the rules of evidence

Post by agesilaos »

It is important to be inclusive, naturally, and some have, on occasion, PM ed me for clarification; usually the problem has been one of missing text, sometimes the reply box develops a lag and drops text making the result unintelligible to even native speakers! I would have to make a stand about banishing Rumpole, it is one of the few subjects where Xenophon and I can swap jokes without fear of offence, and is a pretty worldwide brand readily wiki-able. I'd draw the line at characters from soaps, though that is sheer snobbery :lol:
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