but what about the english?

i said over here that the fact that the greeks are as corrupt and nepotistic as they are prolly has something to do with their endogamous mating practices — i.e. it seems that for quite some time, rural greeks have been marrying individuals locally — from their own villages, often preferentially their third-cousins.

now, i know what you’re gonna say: “but hbd chick — traditionally, MOST people everywhere prolly married people locally!”

eh — not really. not northwestern europeans — and especially not the english. first of all, north europeans quit marrying their cousins quite early on in the medieval period. and on top of that, because of the structure of feudal society (so this doesn’t apply to areas of europe that weren’t feudal), many north europeans didn’t stay down on the farm. instead, they went off and became servants elsewhere. and they often married other servants that they met … who were from elsewhere.

here from mitterauer’s “Why Europe?: The Medieval Origins of Its Special Path” on the situation in northern europe during the middle ages (when he says europe, he means northern europe, esp. the lands of the carolingian empire) [pgs. 93-95]:

“The loosening of lineage ties created some leeway for striking up new social relationships beyond the family circle. Ties to people other than one’s kin played an important part in European social history and made a major contribution to Europe’s social dynamics. The weakening of lineage ties also meant a diminution in the way kin and family related socially. We can characterize the two aspects of this process as a trend toward individualization and toward singularization.

“This trend had a particularly strong effect upon a certain phase of the life cycle: young adulthood. The European marriage pattern [i.e. late marriage a la the hajnal line] extended the phase of one’s youth for a relatively long time, if we view it from a cross-cultural perspective. The pattern itself was determined by looser lineage ties: marrying late could only exist where there was no pressure to continue the patriline. Many people left home when they were young, primarily to work as a servant in another household. That, too, presupposed a relaxing of lineage ties. Working as a life-cycle servant in one of the many paths possible — as a hand or a maid on a farm, as an apprentice or journeyman in a trade, as a nobleman’s page — seems to have been a defining experience for European youth. To work as a servant implied mobility, especially true in regional terms, but also in part in the sense of a change of social milieu. All this transformed the world young people lived in. Not only males were affected; girls too changed their surroundings by serving in another household. As a rule, the movement of servants from place to place wouldn’t end with a return to the parents’ home. The great mobility of young people — qualified by the institution of the life-cycle servant — was therefore an important precondition for European migration and colonization…. Finally, working as a servant implied a particularly radical form of separation from the home. The biological parents were often not the definitive socializing authority for the child from a very early age. The model of separating from one’s parents acquired more significance in the history of European youth for young people leaving their family home to become life-cycle servants; it also became a common goal, especially for young males. The extended young adult phase of life in the time covered by the European marriage pattern, along with the increase in extrafamilial contacts during this time, seem to have been preconditions for making this phase of life in Europe a crucial phase of individualization.

“The comparatively high age at marriage for men but mainly for women finds a counterpart in ways of looking for a spouse. There is little self-determination in this regard in cultures where marriage follows close upon sexual maturation. In Europe, the search for a spouse is a critical component of youth culture, which seems to be especially well developed there — probably because it is a characteristic of horizontal societies [i.e. as opposed to vertical societies where the lineage is important and maybe even, for example, ancestor worship occurs]. Although the choice of a marriage partner was surely substantially codetermined by family interests and concerns in older European societies, we must not overlook the fact that, given the relatively large age gap between generations, the bride’s or bridegroom’s parents would no longer be alive in a high percentage of marriages. In addition, being employed as a servant took many young people far away from home. We can generally assume that a particularly high degree of self-determination in choosing a partner was to be found in the lower levels of society, where the age at marriage was especially high. The principle of marriage by consent, endorsed by the Christian Church, enhanced the trend to increased self-determination that was linked to marriage later in life. The Western Church’s concept in the High Middle Ages of marriage as a sacrament was based on the view that each partner offers the sacrament to the other. The idea of consent is an essential, fundamental principle of the conjugal family, where the relationship between the couple is central, not ties of descent. What rested on the principle of consent — seen in the long term — was the ideal of marrying for love, but the obverse did as well: the particular vulnerability of a type of relationship based on personal inclination and the freedom to decide for onself.”

this is quite different from greece in the 1970s where marriages were still arranged!

meanwhile, in england specifically [from alan macfarlane]:

“There is little evidence that this central feature of Hajnal’s European marriage pattern [i.e. late marriage] was absent in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and some evidence that it was present. It is certainly the case that women did not marry in their early or mid-teens as in many tribal and peasant societies. Likewise, it is clear that from at least the fourteenth century there was a selective marriage pattern, with large numbers of women, particularly servants, never marrying. Nor is there any evidence of a dramatic shift in the rules, positive or negative, about whom one should or should not marry. No substantial evidence has yet been produced to show that there was ever a set of strong positive rules, based on kinship, as to whom one must or should marry. The negative rules were reduced at the Reformation, and have stayed unaltered since then except for the late nineteenth century allowing of marriage to deceased wife’s sister. The only strong rule throughout the period was that the young couple should be independent from both sets of parents after marriage, setting up a separate, neolocal, residence. This led to those simple, nuclear, househoulds which have been a feature of northwestern Europe and particularly England from at least the fifteenth century….

Throughout the period, for the vast majority of the population (the top few hundred families are often an exception) marriage was ultimately a private contract between individuals. The parents had some say, but ultimately a marriage could occur without their consent or even knowledge. On the other hand, marriage could not occur without the consent of the partners. These were very old rules, from before 1300, and lasting through to the present. They emphasised that the central feature of marriage was the conjugal relationship, the depth of feeling and shared interests of the couple. Marriage was not a bridge artifically constructed as a form of alliance with another group, in which the partners and children became the planks upon which political relations were built. It was a partnership between two independent adults who formed a new and separate unit, cemented by friendship, sex and a carefully defined sharing of resouces.”

this is really, really different from the mating patterns in greece — and italy, too, for that matter. the greeks don’t marry too close — the orthodox church mostly bars them from marrying first- and second-cousins — but, at least up until very recently, they married primarily within their village, often preferentially third-cousins. marrying within the village is still endogamous marriage in greece since most people in rural greece didn’t move around a lot and, so, villages were (are) just really extended families. and in italy — southern italy, especially — there have been very high numbers of close marriages (first-cousin marriages) during the last couple of centuries.

in contrast to this, mating patterns in northern europe have been very exogamous for a loooooong time. no cousin-marriage since the early medieval period (at some points as far out as sixth cousins) AND now we see also since the medieval period — since before 1300 in england — large numbers of people not even marrying locally.

is it any wonder that northern europeans, in particular the english, are strongly individualistic and have wacko ideals like universalism and everyone is created equal? northern europeans have very weak genetic ties to their families compared to many other peoples in the world — we are in actuality individuals (from a genetic p.o.v.) more than other peoples — and it shows in our attitudes and social structures and norms.

edit: boilerplate and boilerplate 2.0

previously: more on inbreeding in germanic tribes and ελλάδα and il risorgimento and italian inbreeding? and “hard-won democracy”

(note: comments do not require an email. d*mn commie-footed boobies!)


  1. What about the ultimate Northern Europeans, the Scandinavians? Were they slightly more inbred, not being quite part of the Carolingian feudal mainstream?


  2. @ihtg – that i don’t know, yet. haven’t come that far in my reading.

    christianity certainly arrived pretty late in sweden and norway (ca. 1000 a.d.), so right there you’ve got to assume that they didn’t follow the church’s don’t-marry-your-cousin! rules until that time or later. and, like you say, scandinavia was (from my understanding) not really feudal — not like on the continent, anyway.

    on the other hand, there was quite a bit of migration northwards by germans into scandinavia after the black death and even afterwards, so they might have brought some of their individualistic practices with them. dunno.

    edit: ooo, i forgot that i do know that the state church of sweden (protestant church) banned cousin marriage in 1680 and you needed a dispensation to marry your first-cousin in sweden up until 1844. and, once the ban was dropped, there was an increase in cousin-marriage. can’t remember the rate, but it was well below 10% — i think something like 4-5%.


  3. Yes, it’s obvious that rates of cousin marriage in Scandinavia in the past 500 years have been quite low – just look at how they behave. I’m more interested in “Dark Age” Norsemen.


  4. HBD chick: Have you ever done any research on cousin marriage in the former united states? Specifically I am wondering if there is any historical truth to southerners marrying cousins higher rates than yankee scum.


  5. @ihtg – ah! the pre-christian scandis.

    well, like the other germanic peoples, since there are no pre-christian written records, it’s difficult to tell. i think it would be safe to assume that the norsemen were prolly pretty similar to the rest of the germans — with tribes or clans before the arrival of christianity — and that seems to have, indeed, been the case. what sort and what degree of inbreeding occurred is anybody’s guess, really. maybe there are indications in some of the sagas? that i don’t know.

    like i said, tho, you’d think that the late arrival of christianity to the area would’ve meant that regular inbreeding occurred for longer than amongst the other germanic peoples further to the south.


  6. @wu – “…is any historical truth to southerners marrying cousins higher rates than yankee scum.”

    now, now. don’t talk about your superiors in that way. (~_^)

    i haven’t read much about cousin-marriage here in this country, but from what i understand there hasn’t been much research done on the topic, so there’s not much data out there. so, i’m afraid i can’t really answer one way or the other. sorry.


  7. I think that Steve Sailer and others have argued that most English people are descended from the upper class since they had more resources than less affluent English people. This may mean that the modern English are less diverse than you think since they are descended from a relatively small gene pool i.e. the aristocracy.


  8. @joe – yes. that’s the “Farewell to Alms” argument (yes, yes — i’m READING it! (~_^) ).

    good point about the english possibly not being very diverse genetically speaking. they’re still not very inbred, tho.

    and, how does it work in tribal societies? how does (did) it work in saudi arabia, for instance?

    what i know happens there is that you get new tribes when large tribes segment (’cause they’re too large for the environment to sustain them). so, shouldn’t the fittest clans/tribes survive in a tribal society and create lots of little offspring clans/tribes, just like the members of the upper-class english were the fittest and left behind the most offspring? then you would have a similar base relatedness situation in tribal societies, no?

    i really don’t know. haven’t thought about it before.


  9. > so, shouldn’t the fittest clans/tribes survive in a tribal society and create lots of little offspring clans/tribes, just like the members of the upper-class english were the fittest and left behind the most offspring? then you would have a similar base relatedness situation in tribal societies, no?

    Something like that. The burden of deleterious mutations has to be in dynamic equilibrium – at least in the long run. There has to be purifying selection against those with more/worse mutations, and a corresponding advantage for those with a lesser burden. Perhaps the equilibrium can be broken for a while, but certainly not for long.

    I haven’t mentioned new adaptation, which can also be an issue. But even without new adaptation – or over timescales that are perhaps too short for it to be salient – you still have to at least have outflow of deleterious mutations.


  10. FWIW, just read a reference to the “cousinocracy” that ruled in colonial Virginia. Hadn’t heard the term before. No doubt an elite or, rather, an aristocratic phenomenon — the elite as a tribe. Might bear looking into.


  11. @rs – “There has to be purifying selection against those with more/worse mutations, and a corresponding advantage for those with a lesser burden.”

    right. ok! thnx, rs!


  12. @luke lea – huh! cousinocracy. i haven’t heard that before either. just googled it and saw a bunch of references. will definitely have to read more about it! thnx! (^_^)


  13. What could potentially change, is which group of hypo-mutated and/or new-adaptation-bearing people is the one to gradually replace the rest through higher levels of reproduction. In one age military aristocrats might do this, and then you might transition to having commercial elites fill that role. That could certainly change the character of a nation.

    I understand Clark finds that military elites in the modern centuries of England were not notably prolific, rather it’s “kulaks” and prosperous merchants and tradesman (or whatever) that were. But I wonder how well his methods address illegitimate reproduction by way of courtesans and servants etc.


  14. @rs – “What could potentially change, is which group of hypo-mutated and/or new-adaptation-bearing people is the one to gradually replace the rest through higher levels of reproduction.”

    sure. that’ll depend on circumstances — and a bit of luck, too. (i’m thinking of the dreaded stochasticy thingies that can happen.)

    @rs – “I wonder how well his methods address illegitimate reproduction by way of courtesans and servants etc.”

    dunno. i was wondering about kids w/servants, too. i’m reading the book now, so i’ll keep an eye out for what he has to say — if anything — about them.


  15. […] This is explained here.  The country that gave us modern democracy, modern capitalism, and the Industrial Revolution, England, had embraced the modern nuclear family early on.  In such a system, where all were related through extensive outbreeding, and each person needed to make it on their own abilities, and where the voice of every man was important, did the attitudes and beliefs that were the founding principles our modern society emerge (including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) (https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/but-what-about-the-english/, https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/english-individualism/, https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/english-individualism-ii/, https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/and-so-my-next-question-naturally-is/). […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s