The other day my husband and I were discussing history, more specifically history lessons and how you can trace events back in history. It started out as a fairly serious discussion about how I blame most of the revolutions of the late 1700s and early 1800s on the Seven Years War. I started ticking off about half a dozen revolutions that happened as a result of it. Jeff countered with, “There’s about 50 years worth of history between those events, so I don’t think you can draw a direct line of causality.”
I, of course, responded back with the super serious answer of, “You’re right, it’s actually all because the Trojans lost the Trojan War. That’s what really caused the revolutions.”
He, of course, wanted me to back up that answer.
Which I did:
How the Trojans losing the Trojan War is really responsible for the American Revolution
1. The Trojans lost the Trojan War, and according to the Aeneid one man fled from there and went to Italy where he founded the Roman Empire.
2. The Romans conquer the Italian peninsula, thus establishing the idea of their being a conquering empire. They then go on to conquer the entire Mediterranean and large parts of Europe.
3. These same Romans then go on to conquer Britannia. This starts an eons long rivalry between France and Britain as they go back and forth over who is the strongest empire.
4. A bunch of time passes, the Roman empire collapses, and the French take over England via the Norman invasion and the Battle of Hastings. We now have really messed up spelling because they bring their language over.
5. The British become slightly more British with Henry VIII. He angers large portions of Europe by deciding he is no longer Catholic so he can divorce his wife.
6. The King of France doubles down as being very very Catholic, and this starts a couple hundred years worth of proxy wars going on between different people.
7. The most recent proxy war is the Seven Years War. It all starts when the King of Prussia wanted Silesia from Austria. Everyone started taking different sides, and France and Britain got into the mix because they wanted an excuse to fight each other.
8. War ends and as a result, France and Britain are in a bunch of debt. Also, all the land all over the world has been split up in whole new and inventive ways.
9. Britain tries to solve its debt problems by taxing the colonists, that didn’t go over so well.
10. France tries to solve its problem by ignoring it, and publishing a very large book of their so-called budget and say, “Look, we’re not in debt at all.” That also didn’t go over so well, as the King of France and several thousand other people who fell to the revolution will attest.
Points 11-15 my even more ridiculous extension all the way to World War 2
At some point, you would think I would back down, but no I just doubled down and said, let’s keep going. Of course the Romans aren’t just to blame for the American revolution, no they’re also to blame for the French Revolution, and World War 2 and a whole host of other things.
11. The French Revolution eventually led to Napoleon’s rise, actually, most people put the end of the French Revolution as when Napoleon becomes First Consul (and if that doesn’t say “I’m trying to become the Roman Emperor all over again, then you need to learn about Julius Caesar).
12. Caesar, I mean Napoleon goes in and conquers the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire, but that’s an old joke), and says “This is a stupid set-up, let me create this thing called the Rhine Confederacy.”
13. The Rhine Confederacy outlasts Napoleon, who loses control of everything in 1815. Fast forward a few years and Metternich, who is the ultimate puppet master, basically creates the country of Germany from whole cloth and convinces everyone Germany is a super-power to be reckoned with, and he’s right because he’s that much of a political genius. Now Germany becomes obsessed with getting some land, and a few other things because they are a landlocked country that could be easily smashed on all sides. So they decide to start….
14. World War 1, but that doesn’t go so well for them. As a matter of fact, it goes so poorly that it becomes the whole reasons for….
15. World War 2 and that is how the Trojans losing the Trojan War is ultimately responsible for World War 2 and Hitler.
But that may be a slight exaggeration and there might be a few things that happened in between. This is also a great example of how you can massage history to tell the story you want. Take a look at Hamilton that is so popular now on Broadway. They’ve created a masterpiece implying Hamilton to be a voice for the people who fought to create our government. He is that, but he’s also an incredibly ambitious man who couldn’t keep his temper and that usually got in the way of him doing all that he wanted to.