Friday, May 19, 2006

Historical Gazetteer of Burma-Yunnan-Bay of Bengal

Today I came across this Gazetteer of the Roman World.

Would have been better with more focus.

For example, photos of the Punic Wars, especially the Second Punic War, could help support the purely textual descriptions you get in Livy and Polybius.

The historical geography of mainland Southeast Asian (c. 1350-1600) is even more needful of support.

For example, while Tais were fighting off the Ming from 1382 to 1388 the Burmese chronicle has them raiding Ava and the Burmese heartland. Were two different Tai groups involved or was it one group that moved between the two different places? You're putting together two different historical text traditions here also, the Chinese Ming Shi-lu and the Burmese Chronicle. Both being composed far from the Tai-Yunnan frontier, they could have mistakenly attributed all their problems to one group. There could just of well been multiple Tai groups in both places engaging in raids, offensive attacks, and defensive warfare. There is no reason to assume a priori that it was unified state, particularly given the terrain.

Actually going over this territory with horses and visualizing how they traversed this ground the problems they would have encountered, even though the terrain may have changed since then, would inject geographical reality into what is now a purely textual world.

I got this link from the now defunk The Ancient World Web weblog.