The History and Significance of Walls and Borders

TLDR This episode explores the history and significance of walls and borders throughout time, from the fortification system of Byzantium to the modern-day hardening of borders. Walls and borders have served as expressions of power, territorial divisions, and attempts to control migration, but they cannot completely keep out ideas or resolve underlying issues.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The episode discusses walls and borders, including the effectiveness of the Berlin Wall and the distinction between walls and fences.
04:16 The city behind the Theodosian Walls in Byzantium is famous for its incredible fortification system that can still be seen today.
08:45 Walls and borders are often expressions of autocracy and power, built with the bones of those who constructed them, and they can represent both strength and weakness.
13:05 Borders have historically been fluid and constantly contested, but in modern history, there is a sense of solid and definite borders, although the concept of borders has evolved over time and can vary depending on the region and period.
17:30 Borders and walls are important for nation-states to maintain a sense of inviolability and control over migration, as seen in the case of Ireland and Northern Ireland, where walls and borders separate Catholics and Protestants. Enclaves, such as the city of Kaliningrad, are also interesting examples of territorial divisions.
21:47 The hardening of borders and the increase in border controls can be attributed to the rise in migration and the ability of states to use technology to monitor and enforce border restrictions.
26:12 The rise in border controls and the use of technology to enforce restrictions is a response to anxiety about migration, but walls and borders cannot completely keep out ideas or resolve underlying issues.
30:37 Borders have a long history in the Near East and are often associated with the sacredness of the land, but the exact point at which borders became definite lines on a map is unclear.
35:08 Borders in South America often follow the administrative divisions of the Spanish Empire, and the idea of borders is taken for granted in Western countries due to their preponderance of power in the 20th century.
39:26 The purpose and function of ancient walls, such as Hadrian's Wall, are highly debated among archaeologists, with some arguing that they served a defensive purpose while others believe they were more symbolic expressions of power.
Categories: History

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