Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

May 14, 2009

Best Strategy: Don't Go

There's nothing quite so funny as watching a bunch of impractical geeks fantasize about time travel into their favorite "romantic" era of the past. If any of them were to try this stunt (assuming it was even possible), I predict they'd be dead within hours.

It's simply not possible for a modern American to pass themselves off as a medieval European. I doubt that most modern Americans could pass themselves off as 19th century Europeans. There's just too much to know, and the most important things are the ones that are the least documented.

There's nowhere on the planet now (not that I can think of, anyway) that would be a comparatively hostile environment. You'd be up against an utterly alien culture where most people would have little or no compunction about killing you once they discovered that you were literally nobody. Not a good situation. Not a good situation at all.


Ɓukasz Sz. said...

... unless you're an European and have learned something in history lessons.
I find many of the comments in the mentioned post amusing, but some of them are quite insightful.
Anyways - the mentioned time period is High Middle Ages. Those were not the worst, mind you.
In addition - as the language barrier would be hard to tackle, if you know any European language other than English in it's current version, you should be fine (if you land in a region where that language is spoken... therefore German would be the best bet I think).
The hardest part would be posing as one of noble blood.
Anyways - just my 2 cents.


Jennifer Snow said...

It wouldn't work. English isn't the only language that is drastically different from its roots, and I don't care how much you think you know, you don't know enough. Communicating is not the difficult part, and knowing the language is worse than *not* knowing it, because you'd get cocky thinking you understood what was going on.

Passing as a noble would not be possible for more than a few days--it would be orders of magnitude more difficult than passing as, say, a traveling peddler. The trouble with European nobility is that they were all *related* to each other. You're a noble? Who's your father? Who's your mother? Where do they live? Where are their country estates? City properties? Where do they spend the summer/winter? How many siblings do you have? How old are they? How many of them are dead and how did they die? What type of horse does your uncle breed?

The list goes on and on and on, and just about anyone could very easily be in a position to catch you out.

Plans that revolve around an unpenetrated fraud are always bad plans to risk your life on.