A Sloppy Cut-n-Paste Job

I have mentioned that over the past seven months, on and off, I have been rewriting the first chapter of my Russian history series.  Specifically the section summarizing the years before the first Russian state was founded, called “Before the Russians.”  When I am done that section will be a whole new chapter, a “prequel” of sorts to what I have written already.

Yesterday I finished the part of the new chapter that will discuss the Goths.  No, not the pale young people who dress in black and put on creepy makeup, but the German barbarians who lived in Europe more than 1,500 years ago.  Among them was a powerful but almost forgotten king named Ermanaric, who ruled the Ostrogoths from 342 to 372 A.D.  I did a quick search online to see if there was any information on Ermanaric, besides the bit I knew already.  There wasn’t, but while searching I stumbled upon this webpage, that is selling an Ermanarich action figure.

I could have sworn the real Ermanaric was twice as old as that.  Perhaps this is how he looked before he became king.

What really got my attention was the descriptive text, which gave a brief history of the Goths, without mentioning Ermanaric:

Goths (150 A.D.-372 A.D.): This tribe was Germanic in origin, and migrated to the steppe from the west instead of the east. The migration started late in the second century, when population pressure caused them to move from Germany down the Danube river, until they reached the Black Sea. Here they acquired boats and used them to raid Greece and Asia Minor, Roman provinces that had not experienced an invasion in centuries. Around 270 more population growth caused the Goths to split into two smaller tribes, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths. The Visigoths stayed in Romania, while the Ostrogoths settled the Ukraine, obtained horses and wagons, and adopted the lifestyle of previous nomads The Ostrogoths later challenged the Huns; the Huns reacted explosively, sweeping away the Ostrogoth kingdom. The surviving Ostrogoths and Visigoths migrated into the Roman Empire during the last years of the fourth century. Includes all accessories shown. Not recommended for small children. FREE SHIPPING.

Now here is what I had on the Goths until recently, in Chapter 1:

Goths (150 A.D.-372 A.D.): Unlike the other nomads, this tribe was Germanic in origin, and migrated to the steppe from the west instead of the east. The migration started late in the second century, when population pressure caused them to move from Germany down the Danube river, until they reached the Black Sea. Here they acquired boats and used them to raid Greece and Asia Minor, Roman provinces that had not experienced an invasion in centuries. Around 270 more population growth caused the Goths to split into two smaller tribes, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths. The Visigoths stayed in Romania, while the Ostrogoths settled the Ukraine, obtained horses and wagons, and adopted the lifestyle of previous nomads. Under a little-known king named Ermanarich (342?-372) Ostrogothic power grew rapidly, not stopping until it stretched over all territory between the Baltic and Black Seas. Ermanarich was a great warrior, but he met his match when he reached the Volga and challenged the Huns; the Huns reacted explosively, sweeping away the Ostrogoth kingdom. The surviving Ostrogoths and Visigoths migrated into the Roman Empire during the last years of the fourth century.

Yes, I’ve been plagiarized!  The text, word for word, is the same, only they took out the sentences mentioning Ermanaric, which doesn’t make sense.  If you’re selling an action figure representing somebody most of us haven’t heard of, why talk about the figure’s nation and not about the figure himself?  If you had a picture of a famous American, like George Washington, would you put a brief American history lesson under the picture without explaining what part that person had in it?

They should have at least given me credit for composing that paragraph.  However, I don’t believe I have grounds for a lawsuit, and whoever created that page ought to be thankful for it.  First of all, they didn’t copy and paste right, when they lifted a paragraph from my website and left out the part that mattered.  I bet they aren’t selling too many copies of that figure!  Second, I wasn’t making any money off that text.  It wasn’t in my textbook, for instance.  Third, as mentioned above, the text is no longer on The Xenophile Historian.  Let’s see what happens when the upcoming chapter goes up, and the replacement text (now three paragraphs) appears.

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