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Thread: Just Passed GCSEs, Still Never Heard 'Holy Roman Empire' or 'Byzantine Empire/ERE'

  1. #1
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    Just Passed GCSEs, Still Never Heard 'Holy Roman Empire' or 'Byzantine Empire/ERE'

    Exactly what the title says. I'm 15, approaching 16, and I have just finished my GCSEs, the qualifications for finishing high school in the UK. I have gone throughout the entirety of Primary and Secondary school, and never even ONCE has ANY mention at all EVER been made to the Holy Roman Empire or the medieval-era Byzantines. Or the Seljuks, for that matter, or any of the Islamic caliphates. Or the Ottoman Empire. AT ALL. All my History classes have been (at set 1 level, the top level in high school) focused on, at primary school the Magna Carta and the Roman Empire (before the collapse), then in secondary school the mythology surrounding the foundation of Rome, the Feudal system and the Magna Carta in Year 7 (seriously? Mythology in History?), the Punic Wars, the Crusades and the native american tribes in Year 8, the build-up to WWI in Year 9, nothing in Year 10 (I took an option block wherein I did Geography in Year 10 and History in year 11 as my 'options' (beginning now in year 9 but orginally in year 10, some subjects are dropped and students are given choices on what classes to take although some are mandatory)) and America in the 1920s, America and race relations in the 50s and 60s, and Hitler's road to dictatorship in Year 11. But the HRE was never mentioned, despite being the main political entity in Europe during much of the medieval era. The Eastern Roman Empire and the split between East and West was never mentioned despite significant emphasis on the Romans in the education program. Muhammad's warlording-it-up and the ENORMOUS spread that Islam achieved in its early years never earned a passing mention. The Seljuk turks never even got a sniff. The entire unit about the leadup to WW1 managed to miraculously avoid the Ottoman Empire altogether. The Mongols were mentioned about twice, and got talked about more in my English class than in History. I mean, these nations/political entities changed the course of History massively, and most of my classmates have walked out of History forever not knowing a thing about them. Damn, one classmate said that at one time, the British empire spanned 'one third of the world', despite the complete implausible-ness of it. I'm just shocked that the state of education in the subject of History is so awful... *shudder*
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  2. #2
    The school program is not designed for history freaks but for the average person. Most of those will never have anything to do with history anymore in their life and will forget most of what they have studied. There are choices to be made and it looks like your school program focuses on a handful of major thematics relevant to the history of Britain : the Magna Carta, Britain in the Middle Ages, the colonization of America, the 1st and 2nd World wars. Those seem objectively more relevant to a British than the HRE in my opinion.

  3. #3
    You could complete a doctorate in history without ever encountering the HRE or Byzantines. There are several thousand years of recorded history, and more we've learnt through archaeology. That history spans the world. You can't learn all of it, and so there are going to be omissions. Some will seem glaring. Have you covered the history of India or China? It's crucial to billions of today's population, key to so many of the developments in the west, after all. But what would you drop to learn about that instead?

    And get used to high school not even covering the basics. Your whole year of GCSE studies might cover the introduction paragraph of a 100 level university paper

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  4. #4
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    Sounds like a good thing to me. The Byzantines are pretty boring. Did you ever hear the word 'Chartist'?

    Just trying to imagine someone complaining: "Just passed GCSEs, still never heard 'Orhan Pamuk'!"
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    Officially ancient Gordy's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by PineconeKing View Post
    Damn, one classmate said that at one time, the British empire spanned 'one third of the world', despite the complete implausible-ness of it.
    ?

    That's about right. One third of the world (by area) and one quarter of humanity.
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    Officially ancient Gordy's Avatar

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    I remember both the HRE briefly being mentioned and also the Ottomans (in WW1 briefly) but neither is massively relevant to the UK.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordy View Post
    ?

    That's about right. One third of the world (by area) and one quarter of humanity.
    Not really, about 22% of the world (by area) would be more accurate (Canada and Australia would together account for roughly 50% of that).

  8. #8
    History is a niche hobby.
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  9. #9
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    If you've been taught about the crusades, I am a bit surprised that they did not mention the ERE. Or was it all about Lionheart ?

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    I assure you, if you choose early modern history at A-level, you will hear more than you ever wanted to know about the HRE. When I did GCSE, we covered the rise of Hitler, Medicine through time, Northern Ireland and a local history project on Kenilworth Castle

  11. #11
    One thing I appreciate about my history lessons in school is that attention was paid to the historical geopolitical evolution in Europe. Like the splintering of the Frankish realm or the fate of the Byzantine empire after the fall of the western empire.

    Of course there were some blind spots, like the existence of the Polish-Lithuanian kingdom wasn't covered but this is more of a historical footnote anyway.
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  12. #12
    Better than Royalty (ABB) DoomBunny's Avatar
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    GCSE's are, generally speaking, rewards given for turning up at a test and smearing the paper with ink in something that vaguely resembles English. You can go the entire course without paying attention, not do any work whatsoever and still come out with great grades simply by using common sense.

    You'll like A level history more, though it's still a bit on the basic side.
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  13. #13
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    All I ever got to study before college were Jews Tudors and Nazis.

  14. #14
    I Germany we have.
    French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution

    Thats the whole history of mankind, this and a few words on Nazi cruelties.
    You ask for steak, I bring you fish. You say that you think steak is better than fish. I say that fish is much more popular than steak so obviously it's better. You say that no matter how good the fish is it can't be better at being steak than the actual steak we used to serve. I say that's just your perception and you're entitled to it but you should accept that fish is the future and that's good. You begin to say something but I stab you in the eye with a fork and run into the kitchen.

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    Better than Royalty (ABB) DoomBunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graf Zeppelin View Post
    I Germany we have.
    French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution French revolution

    Thats the whole history of mankind, this and a few words on Nazi cruelties.
    French Revolution, Napoleon and the Third Reich at war kinda sounds like heaven to me.
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by DoomBunny View Post
    French Revolution, Napoleon and the Third Reich at war kinda sounds like heaven to me.
    After all this endless French revolution stuff I nailed my teacher and insisted on making a presentation about Napoleon. I was a creepy teenager I guess.

    In Geography our new teacher wanted to expose me and challenged me to show England on the map. No kidding.
    You ask for steak, I bring you fish. You say that you think steak is better than fish. I say that fish is much more popular than steak so obviously it's better. You say that no matter how good the fish is it can't be better at being steak than the actual steak we used to serve. I say that's just your perception and you're entitled to it but you should accept that fish is the future and that's good. You begin to say something but I stab you in the eye with a fork and run into the kitchen.

  17. #17
    Funny, I went to school in France and in junior school we did study the Arabs and the Eastern Roman Empire in reasonable detail, along with lots of other things(the birth of civilization, Egypt, the biblical Jews, Greece, Rome, the typical feodal Middle Ages, the Great Discoveries, the French Revolution, and the both world wars). I do not remember going over the HRE in great detail but in the German classroom hang a gigantic map of the HRE in its full glory, with captions written in gothic letters, probably printed back in the Kaiserreich days. And in high school we again went through the whole of history, now focusing more on the social/political side of things(Greek democracy, industrial revolution...). We did the XXth century in detail, but without particular focus on "the nazis", instead we did stuff like how the official history/remembrance of WWII was constructed and reconstructed after the war(from post-war glorification to the questionings and criticism of the 70', then the rise of the Holocaust thematic in the 80'). All in all it looks like it wasn't the worst lot.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Amallric View Post
    Funny, I went to school in France and in junior school we did study the Arabs and the Eastern Roman Empire in reasonable detail, along with lots of other things(the birth of civilization, Egypt, the biblical Jews, Greece, Rome, the typical feodal Middle Ages, the Great Discoveries, the French Revolution, and the both world wars). I do not remember going over the HRE in great detail but in the German classroom hang a gigantic map of the HRE in its full glory, with captions written in gothic letters, probably printed back in the Kaiserreich days. And in high school we again went through the whole of history, now focusing more on the social/political side of things(Greek democracy, industrial revolution...). We did the XXth century in detail, but without particular focus on "the nazis", instead we did stuff like how the official history/remembrance of WWII was constructed and reconstructed after the war(from post-war glorification to the questionings and criticism of the 70', then the rise of the Holocaust thematic in the 80'). All in all it looks like it wasn't the worst lot.
    God I would have loved that.
    You ask for steak, I bring you fish. You say that you think steak is better than fish. I say that fish is much more popular than steak so obviously it's better. You say that no matter how good the fish is it can't be better at being steak than the actual steak we used to serve. I say that's just your perception and you're entitled to it but you should accept that fish is the future and that's good. You begin to say something but I stab you in the eye with a fork and run into the kitchen.

  19. #19
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    Hmm, I think we had something like stone age -> Egyptians -> Rome -> Dutch golden age / 80yw (some vague musings about Spanish inheritance, nothing about HRE) -> getting Indonesia -> WW2 -> losing Indonesia.

    I never heard about Dutch control of Ceylon or chunks of India before playing Europa Universalis (but we did hear about Nieuw Amsterdam, of course)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amallric View Post
    Funny, I went to school in France and in junior school we did study the Arabs and the Eastern Roman Empire in reasonable detail, along with lots of other things(the birth of civilization, Egypt, the biblical Jews, Greece, Rome, the typical feodal Middle Ages, the Great Discoveries, the French Revolution, and the both world wars). I do not remember going over the HRE in great detail but in the German classroom hang a gigantic map of the HRE in its full glory, with captions written in gothic letters, probably printed back in the Kaiserreich days. And in high school we again went through the whole of history, now focusing more on the social/political side of things(Greek democracy, industrial revolution...). We did the XXth century in detail, but without particular focus on "the nazis", instead we did stuff like how the official history/remembrance of WWII was constructed and reconstructed after the war(from post-war glorification to the questionings and criticism of the 70', then the rise of the Holocaust thematic in the 80'). All in all it looks like it wasn't the worst lot.
    Sounds like my high school.

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