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  1. #1
    NapperTandy NapperTandy is offline
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    Map showing where the 'heart of Europe' is




    22 - Europe: core and peripheries
    Filed under: Uncategorized — strangemaps @ 9:39 pm




    Post #12 shows a map identifying three core areas of Europe with transition zones in between. This map here has a different approach to European cultural diversity.

    On the one hand, it posits a contiguous cultural core - roughly correspondent, coincidentally with Charlemagne’s empire (plus a swathe of England and Scandinavia) - and with the original European Community (the three Benelux countries, West Germany, France and Italy).

    On the other hand, it describes some parts of Europe as less ‘European’ than this core by quoting several writers, artists and thinkers (from the ‘core’, obviously):

    Ireland: “That savage nation” (Edmund Spenser)
    Brittany: “Wild and primitive” (Paul Gauguin); “Frankly pagan” (J. Cameron)
    Spain: “Africa begins at the Pyrennees” (Alexandre Dumas); “Outside the southern door of Europe proper” (James Michener)
    Corsica: “Still savages” (Alexandre Dumas)
    Sardinia: “Rejected European civilisation” (P. Nichols)
    Sicily: “Stagnant and backward” (L. Barzini)
    Mezzogiorno (southern Italy): (L. Barzini)
    Albania: “Savage character” (Lord Byron)
    Bulgaria: “A mongrel east” (A. Symons)
    Greece: “All the Turkish vices” (Lord Byron)
    Istanbul: “Damn her, the whore! Sleeping with the Turks” (A. Kazantzakis)
    Cyprus: “East in west and west in east” (P. Geddes)
    Ukraine: “A decided Oriental kink in their brains” (British Foreign Office)
    Poland: “Advanced outpost of Western civilisation” (Joseph Conrad)
    Russia: “Scratch a Russian and you will wound a Tartar” (Napoleon)
    Finland: “Fierce and uncivilised” (M. Pitts)

    Sadly, as I’ve downloaded this map a long time ago and (again) didn’t make a note of the origin, I can’t say much about the context. However, the use of highlighter seems to indicate that it was made in a school environment…
    The ‘present core’ of Europe (”Where defining traits are strongest”) is highlighted in red. Green is used to highlight some boundaries of these traits - and it all seems to boil down to the limits of Christianity versus Islam and paganism (Arab rule in Spain, Turkish rule in the Balkans, Christianity in the north about 1030, Christianity in the south at present) - making the point that ‘European’ actually is synonymous with ‘Christian’. Which is a controversial point - recall the debate about the EU Constitution not mentioning Christianity as a ‘core European trait’.
    22 - Europe: core and peripheries Strange Maps

    An interesting map showing where the heart of Europe is. No matter how many times people say "let's be at the heart of Europe", it is not going to make Ireland any closer to the heart of Europe. All the key decisions in Europe are made in this central core.
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  2. #2
    20000miles 20000miles is offline
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    A savage nation, eh?

    Anyway, strange maps is fast becoming a favourite blog of mine. Very esoteric.
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  3. #3
    drbob1972 drbob1972 is offline

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    i love maps could look at them for hours and hours....... thanks for the site hadn't seen it before
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  4. #4
    Al. Al. is offline

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    Politically and geographically? This is the heart of Europe.

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  5. #5
    reknaw reknaw is offline

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    Very interesting, especially for the prejudices it reveals.

    There is no indication of when the map was drawn, but the borderlines on it indicate that it was post-1991, before which Latvia, Lithuania and several other countries did not exist as separate sovereign entities.

    It may have been produced as an illustration of what various commentators said at various times about different countries. That is a fascinating subject in itself, especially what Victorian British commentators had to say about all the inferior peoples they encountered once they left Dover and arrived in the world of wogs at Calais.

    A book I'd warmly recommend to anyone if they can find a copy in an antiquarian store is "Through Finland in Carts" written in 1896 by a Mrs. Alex Tweedy. She combined an amazing eye for observation of detail with a powerful propensity to interpret all of it through the distorting lens of her supremacist Victorian prejudices. The result is hilarious reading. The book, which naturally contains an "Irish joke" as well, is dedicated to her father, husband and brother, all of whom, she reports, died within months of reading it. Small wonder!

    Her other landmark tomes include "A Girl's Jaunt in Iceland" and "Danish vs English Buttermaking".

    What a pity that the stereotypes such works create are so persistent.

    This is how she describes Finnish men (boldfacing mine):

    "The Finns, though intellectually most interesting, are not as a rule attractive in person. Generally small of stature, thickset with high cheek-bones, and eyes inherited from their Tartar-Mongolian ancestors, they cannot be considered good-looking; while the peculiar manner in which the blonde male peasants cut their hair is not becoming to their sunburnt skins, which are generally a brilliant red, especially about the neck where it appears below the light, fluffy, downy locks. Fat men are not uncommon; and their fatness is too frequently of a kind to make one shudder, for it resembles dropsy, and is, as a rule, the outcome of liqueur drinking, a very pernicious habit, in which many Finlanders indulge to excess. There are men in Suomi -dozens of them- so fat that no healthy Englishman could attain such dimensions; one of them will completely occupy the seat of an isvoschtschik, while the amount of adipose tissue in his wrists and cheeks seems absolutely incredible when seen for the first time, and one wonders how any chair or carriage can bear such a weight. Inordinately fat men are certainly one of the least pleasing of Finland’s peculiarities."
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  6. #6
    sauntersplash sauntersplash is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by drbob1972 View Post
    i love maps could look at them for hours and hours....... thanks for the site hadn't seen it before
    So do I. I thought I was a bit weird and my girlfriend laughs at me when I mention it.

    Still doesn't stop me getting lost though.
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  7. #7
    sauntersplash sauntersplash is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by reknaw View Post
    ...A book I'd warmly recommend to anyone if they can find a copy in an antiquarian store is "Through Finland in Carts"...
    Its in the public domain...
    Internet Archive: Free Download: Through Finland in carts

    Gonna have a goo when I get a minute later. Cheers.
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  8. #8
    reknaw reknaw is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by sauntersplash View Post
    Its in the public domain...
    Internet Archive: Free Download: Through Finland in carts

    Gonna have a goo when I get a minute later. Cheers.
    Thanks for that info, Sauuntersplash. I have a paper copy, but access to an electronic version is handy.

    Here's another delightful insight into Victorian British thinking (boldfacing mine):

    "As the Finns are Russian subjects,
    it is a most extraordinary thing that a Finn should require
    a passport to take him in or out of Russia. Such, however,
    is the case, and if a man in Wiborg wishes to go to St.
    Petersburg to shop, see a theatre, or to spend a day with a
    friend, he must procure a passport for the length of time of
    his intended visit. This is only a trifle ; nevertheless it is a
    little bit of red-tapism to which the Finlander might object.
    But it has its advantages, as the passport rigorously keeps
    anarchists, socialists, Jews, and beggars out of Suomi
    ."


    I bet some of Mrs. Tweedie's genes are still around - for sure in Kevin Myarse.
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  9. #9
    fiannafailure fiannafailure is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by sauntersplash View Post
    So do I. I thought I was a bit weird and my girlfriend laughs at me when I mention it.

    Still doesn't stop me getting lost though.
    Sat Nav ? makes more time available for giving lady friends a better reason to laugh
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  10. #10
    LowIQ LowIQ is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by reknaw View Post
    The book, which naturally contains an "Irish joke" as well, is dedicated to her father, husband and brother, all of whom
    ... were the same person?
    * sorry, couldn't resist *
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