mating patterns in medieval eastern europe

i said i would start taking a look at the mating patterns of eastern europe after christmas, so here i am! (^_^) hold on … here we go …

first of all, eastern europe is a big place, not to mention the medieval period, so consider this a premlinary view of things (which it is).

the second thing to note is that, except for the southern areas of eastern europe that were part of the byzantine empire, christianity arrived later in eastern europe than in western — for instance, the serbs converted between the seventh and ninth centuries, while the rus not until the ninth and tenth. so, whatever the pre-christian mating practices of all these slavs were — no doubt quite endogamous since we’re talking about slavic tribes here — they probably continued with those practices for several hundred years longer than western european populations did. the catholic church had put a ban on cousin marriage as early as the 400s; and the germanic franks and visigoths, for example, already had complimentary civic laws banning cousin marriages by the 500 and 600s. (not all western europeans stopped inbreeding so early. see the “Inbreeding in Europe” series down below ↓ in the left-hand column for more details.) so, eastern europeans were probably inbreeding for at least a couple of hundred years longer than (north)western europeans.

now, eve levin in Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700 describes how both pre-christian southern slavs and the rus lived in extended familiy communal groups called zadruga or obshchina in russian. these family groups were patrilinear and patrilocal and often consisted of up to four generations of an extended family living together with great-grandpa in charge. most slavs continued to live in such extended-family households post-conversion, too.

levin says that the pre-christian slavs were concerned about inbreeding within the zadruga, so it’s likely that they avoided first- and second-paternal cousin marriage. i would guess that maternal cousin marriage was the norm since that is the most common form of cousin marriage globally, but that is only a guess on my part. (see the paragraph about the south slav trebnici in the excerpts below, tho.) the christian church in the east banned first- and second-cousin marriage, which coincided well with slavic family structure, and in addition also, of course, banned both paternal and maternal cousin marriage.

in russia specifically, the canon laws regarding marriage varied over time (they did so in western europe, too). between the 1100s and 1400s, there were no specific bans on cousin marriage, only a ban on “marriage within the clan.” levin claims that during this time period, the russians did not consider mating by cousins to be incestuous, so you would think there would’ve been a good deal of cousin marriage during these centuries amongst the russians. so that’s another four hundred years or so of close mating practices by the russians as compared to western europeans. recall that during the 1000s and 1100s in western europe, the church had banned marriages up to and including sixth cousins. after 1215, it was up to and including third cousins. by the end of the 1400s in russia, marriage with persons up to fourth cousin was banned by the orthodox church.

levin also points out that the serbs seemed to, overall, have more regulations about cousin marriage than either the russians or bulgarians. the serbian church had heavy penances for even second cousin marriage, so perhaps the serbs have been outbreeding for longer than the russians.

here are some excerpts from Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700. more on this part of europe anon! pages 136-144 (links added by me):

“The Slavs abhorred incest long before the introduction of Christianity. Authors condemned outsiders, usually unjustly, for their incestuous customs. The traditional definition of incest, however, seems to have been a sexual relation between members of a family living as a unit. In-laws were included, but not more distant relatives who did not share the same household, especially through the female line. Thus Slavic notions of propriety in matters of consanguinity did not coincide in all respects with the dictates of canon law….

“Orthodox canon law recognized four types of consanguinity: by blood, by marriage, by adoption, and by spiritual bond. Slavic hierarchs recognized restrictions on intermarriage and extramarital intercourse for all four causes. The Byzantine sources — the nomocanon, the syntagma, and secular codes — offered a wide variety of rules to chose from on consanguinity and affinity. For example, Byzantine canons prohibited marriage among distant cousins and families of in-laws, while civil law labeled as incestuous a narrow range of relations: between parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, brothers and sisters, uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, and first cousins. The adoption of laws governing consanguinity roughly matched the dominant family structure….

“Among the South Slavs [bulgarians, serbs, croats, macedonians, slovenes, bosniaks & montenegrins], the extended communal family (zadruga) was established as the basic social unit. The zadruga commonly included the patriarch and his wife (who directed the other women in the household), his sons and their wives and children, and even those children’s grandchildren. The family house could contain four generations at a time, and persons as distantly related as second or third cousins. The Slavic zadruga was almost exclusively patrilinear and patrilocal. Descent was traced through the father, and inheritance of land passed primarily through the male line. Sons brought their brides into the parental household, while daughters were married out into other families.

“When the family became too numerous to live together comfortably, or a dispute arose over shares of property, the zadruga would dissolve itself into nuclear families. In time, through marriage and the birth of children, each nuclear family would again become an extended zadruga….

“The canon law’s ban on the marriage of third cousins thus coincided with the South Slavs’ conception of the family unit. Relatives in the male line to four generations would be living in the same household; marriages between them would fall under the nearly universal incest taboo. Relatives in the female line, other than the mother’s immediate family, might well be strangers. Thus South Slavic trebnici raised questions concerning marriages among bratucedi, literally ‘brother-children,’ but rarely mentioned the question of sestricni, or ‘sister-children.’ The traditions of Orthodox canon law, on the other hand, required equal observance of degrees of consanguinity in both male and female lines.

“Changes in Russian versions of canon law on incest coincided with changes in family structure. The proto-Slavic zadrga fell into disuse as a residential system in twelfth-to-fifteenth century Russia, although landholding continued to be communal. There the residential household usually consisted of a nuclear family, occasionally joined by an elderly parent or a young bride…. The rules on incest in the Code of Jaroslav reflect this familial arrangement. They prescribe fines for relations between parents and children or children’s spouses, brothers and sisters, and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. More distant relatives are not named specifically, but are subsumed under the vague category of ‘marriage within the clan.’ This categorization implies that marriage was forbidden if a familial relationship was known to exist, but the exact degree of kinship was not an issue.

“More extensive rules on incest appeared toward the end of the fifteenth century. Marriages between persons more closely related than fourth cousins were prohibited. If a union was contracted unknowingly between third cousins, it was allowed to stand only with great resistance. This alteration may be explained in part by the influx of South Slavic clerics who fled the Turkish takeover of the Balkans, bringing with them the canons and outlook of their homelands. Yet the availability of an alternative set of rules on incest does not explain its acceptance. The reemergence of the extended family in late-fifteenth-century Russia made expanded incest regulations pertinent. Land cadasters, especially from Novgorod, reveal that peasants had switched to extended family living units akin to the South Slavic zadruga….

“According to most ecclesiastical authors, consanguinity up to the eighth degree [russian calculation, which equals third cousins] precluded marriage, although some would permit a marriage between relatives in the seventh degree [second-cousins once-removed, i think], contracted unknowingly, to stand, albeit with a penance. Relationships through the male and the female lines were treated identically….

“Ignorance of kinship did not constitute grounds for complete exoneration of the offending couple. Their marriage still offended God and endangered the welfare of the community. In order to prevent incestuous unions contracted out of ignorance or deceit, priests were instructed to question prospective brides and grooms carefully, and their parents as well, in order to ascertain that marriage did not violate canon law. Observance of canons on marriage probably underlay the law in the Code of Stefan Dusan requiring all Serbs to go to their own priests to be married….

“Fewer codes of canon law and penitential questionnaries included questions about more distant relatives by blood [than parents or siblings], with the exception of first cousins. Instead, they included general prohibitions on ‘incest’ and ‘marriage within the clan’ (v rodou). The severity of the recommended penances indicate that close relatives were intended. Although Byzantine law available in Slavic translation included provisions against sexual relations with an aunt or a niece by blood or marriage, very few native codes mention these transgressions. Because the Slavic family tended to be exogamous and patrilocal, it would be unusual for an adult aunt or niece by blood to live in the same household as nephew or uncle. First cousins, however, frequently shared the same dwelling, at least as children, and their relationship was viewed as nearly as close as that between siblings or half-siblings. For that reason, analogous penances were recommended, ranging from two to sixteen years of fasting; a ten-year penance was the most common.

“Specific prohibitions on sexual intercourse between distant relatives by blood appeared only sproadically. Incest with cousins was more likely to be mentioned in Serbian penitential questions and trebnik nomokanony than in Russian or Bulgarian ones. Regulations against incest between second cousins listed a penance of nine or ten years’ exclusion from communion, which could be shortened under the rules of St. John the Penitent to one year and four months or two years of fasting. For incest between third cousins, the basic penance was eight years, but few codes included a specific provision regarding this relationship.

“Russian codes earlier than the sixteenth century tended to omit specific regulations concerning illicit intercourse or marriage between second and third cousins, although descriptions of degrees of kinship forbade intermarriage between individuals so closely related. Apparently Russians from the eleventh century to the fifteenth did not regard unions between cousins as incestuous. Even clerics who tended to be exacting in regard to the letter of the law, such as the Greek-born metropolitan Ioann II, had to make concessions to native attitudes. Ioann permitted marriage between third cousins, with a penance. The terms in which he outlawed marriage between second cousins make clear that such unions took place. The late-fourteenth-century explication of degrees of kinship in the Sofijskaja Kormcaja permitted marriages among blood relatives related in the sixth degree: a man could marry his first cousin’s granddaughter.

“Cousin marriages had a practical application: reconsolidation of ancestral lands. Because the Slave practiced partible inheritance, the ancestral lands became fragmented after a few generations. While communal ownership by the zadruga mitigated the effects of partible inheritance for a time, eventually holdings became subdivided. When a daughter-heir could be married to her male cousin, the ancestral estate could be reconstituted, at least in part….

“It was possible to contract an incestuous union unknowingly … because lineage was popularly traced more through the male line than through the female. Canon law had to make provisions for the accidental incestuous marriage of third cousins before the relationship was discovered. Clerics disagreed about marriages arranged out of ignorance between persons related in the seventh or eight degree [russian calculation]. Some ordered such unions dissolved, and the husband and wife undergo the penance for cousin incest (ten years); others permitted the couple to remain married, though with a penance.”

previously: whatever happened to european tribes? and big timeline of european mating patterns (as yet incomplete…)

(note: comments do not require an email. the obshchina.)

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101 Comments

  1. christianity arrived later in eastern europe than in western — for instance, the serbs converted between the seventh and ninth centuries, while the rus not until the ninth and tenth. so, whatever the pre-christian mating practices of all these slavs were — no doubt quite endogamous since we’re talking about slavic tribes here — they probably continued with those practices for several hundred years longer than western european populations did.

    This is true of Scandinavians and some other northern Europeans as well. Parts of Scandinavia/N. Europe weren’t Christianized until the 11th and 12th centuries. You should look into them next.

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  2. @wilmer – “This is true of Scandinavians and some other northern Europeans as well. Parts of Scandinavia/N. Europe weren’t Christianized until the 11th and 12th centuries. You should look into them next.”

    absolutely! they are on the list. i did take a quick look at the sveeeeedes in these two posts here and here, but obviously there’s more digging to be done. (^_^)

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  3. Fascinating, but
    levin also points out that the serbs seemed to, overall, have more regulations about cousin marriage than either the russians or bulgarians

    This clearly has no relation with the behavior of these ethnies in modern times.

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  4. @ihtg – “This clearly has no relation with the behavior of these ethnies in modern times.”

    no? ¿por qué? explain, please! (^_^)

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  5. Russians built a multi-ethnic, ideological empire that rivaled the West throughout the 20th century.
    Yugoslavs went tribal to the extreme in the 90’s and are widely known to be fractious ultra-nationalists to this day.

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  6. I’ve been think a lot about this lately. I’ve noticed that between your posts here and here, “communal” living—that is, multiple generations living together—appears to be rule in Eurasia east of the Hajnal line; i.e., nuclear families appear to be unique to NW Europeans (and the Inuit I suppose).

    Looking at the World Values Survey Cultural Map, one notices that both axes are partial geographical axes, the vertical axis being a north-south axis and the horizontal axis an east-west one.

    The axes measured rationalism against self-expression. But rationalism, considered here as the opposite of religiosity, is also correlated with average IQ. As well, a desire for self-expression can be said to be the opposite of “conformity,” so really these axes also measure IQ against conformity! That the vertical axis is a north-south one is to be expected then, but that there is an east-west axis in conformity is interesting (which I suppose starts to reverse somewhat by the time you reach Japan). But this also seems to correlate with the family/breeding patterns you explore here. The key factor is communal vs nuclear families, it seems. As you and others had discussed, nuclear families promote individuality since one often had to stand and succeed on one’s own, rather than depending on the family for support and guidance (probably also very important for men seeking mates as well).

    But in communal societies, individuality was not so important. Indeed, it may have been a detriment, as this may have made living in the communal home difficult. Perhaps Eastern peoples are so accepting of authority because most spent much or all of their adult lives under the yoke of the patriarch, and this may have selected for different traits than in the west. Indeed, as I’ve talked about at my blog, parents don’t have a lasting impact on their children’s behavioral traits, but this is from studies done mostly in Western (often Scandinavian) countries. I wonder if one would find the same pattern in Eastern Europe and Asia.

    What I also find interesting—as we’ve seen from both the map of the Hajnal line and consanguinity rates in Europe—is that the level of inbreeding is correlated with IQ. And as Ireland demonstrates, perhaps this is more important than climate in its relationship to IQ. Your blog post seems to indicate that Russians are somewhat more inbred than NW Europeans, and indeed, SE Europeans are also fairly outbred, yet Russia and the other North Slavic nations seem to have average IQs comparable to the NW European ones, while SE Europe seems to have an average IQ approaching Middle Eastern levels. I had thought that perhaps the Turkish occupation had something to do with that (indeed, I’ve heard the phrase “500 years of Turkish rule, what do you expect” as a generic excuse that SE Europeans use for the problems they face), and that perhaps under Muslim rule they adopted Muslim breeding patterns, but your post makes it appear that that is not the case. Of course there is the “locogamy” of Greece that might have also been the pattern with the South Slavs. And perhaps the lower IQ of SE Europeans is due to Middle Eastern admixture.

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  7. BTW Lithuania was a huge place back in the 14th century, one of the largest, if not the largest, state in Eastern Europe:

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  8. Upon further inspection it is not at all clear how large the pagan part of Lithuania was in the 14th century. The Teutonic Knights seem to have conquered large parts of it in the early 13th century, forcing conversion to Christianity. But what do I know?

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  9. Interesting side note, the Cardassians from Star Trek apparently have a tradition of communal family living, such that “in some households, four generations eat at the same table.” The Cardassians are also a very authoritarian species, though I would say more like facists than communists. Just a note… ;)

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  10. @ihtg – “Russians built a multi-ethnic, ideological empire that rivaled the West throughout the 20th century.”

    meh. that doesn’t signify much. anybody can build a multi-ethnic, ideological empire — think the muslim caliphates, or the ottoman empire (maybe the ottoman wasn’t so ideological).

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  11. @jayman – “That the vertical axis is a north-south one is to be expected then, but that there is an east-west axis in conformity is interesting (which I suppose starts to reverse somewhat by the time you reach Japan).”

    cool observations! but i don’t know that the conformity thing starts wane towards japan. my impression is that the japanese are very conform.

    @jayman – “The key factor is communal vs nuclear families, it seems. As you and others had discussed, nuclear families promote individuality since one often had to stand and succeed on one’s own, rather than depending on the family for support and guidance (probably also very important for men seeking mates as well).

    But in communal societies, individuality was not so important.”

    i have chicken-and-egg thoughts about all this. which comes first? the individuality or the nuclear families? (presumably they both feed back into each other.)

    are people (we westerners) more individualistic because of our mating patterns in the west? and then do nuclear families follow kinda naturally from that? i think so, but it’s more complicated than that, too, i’m sure. like you said…

    “Perhaps Eastern peoples are so accepting of authority because most spent much or all of their adult lives under the yoke of the patriarch, and this may have selected for different traits than in the west.”

    feedback, again. and that makes a lot of sense!

    @jayman – “Your blog post seems to indicate that Russians are somewhat more inbred than NW Europeans, and indeed, SE Europeans are also fairly outbred, yet Russia and the other North Slavic nations seem to have average IQs comparable to the NW European ones….”

    well, but inbreeding can sometimes be a problem wrt iq, then again it doesn’t have to be. think about ashkenazi jews.

    thnx for these thoughtful comments! i’m gonna go mull them over some more. (^_^)

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  12. @luke – “Lithuania wasn’t Christianized until the 14th century…. Upon further inspection it is not at all clear how large the pagan part of Lithuania was in the 14th century. The Teutonic Knights seem to have conquered large parts of it in the early 13th century, forcing conversion to Christianity.

    interesting bunches of kooky peoples the baltics (and i mean kooky in the best sense of the word (~_^) ). will definitely have to take a look at their breeding patterns. i read somewhere ages ago (at least five years ago) that latvia, lithuania and estonia have the highest murder rates in europe — like, rivalling africans. don’t know if that still holds true or not.

    @luke – But what do I know?

    heh. me, neither! (^_^)

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  13. @jayman – “Interesting side note, the Cardassians from Star Trek apparently have a tradition of communal family living, such that ‘in some households, four generations eat at the same table.'”

    very interesting, indeed! any idea if they marry their cousins? (~_^) (i suppose i could just ask my dad that … i’m sure he’d know. (^_^) )

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  14. @eric – “Reproductive success reaches its peak between Icelandic cousins of the 3rd and 4th degree.

    Perhaps an evolutionary drive towards tribalism?”

    interesting thought! perhaps.

    keep in mind that the icelanders then were farmers/shepherds (fishermen), so maybe what applies in that environment wouldn’t apply elsewhere. i guess i mean that maybe different tribalisms might be better suited to different environments/circumstances.

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  15. As I read the text I understood that the slavs were exogamous from the beginning:

    “The Slavs abhorred incest long before the introduction of Christianity. Authors condemned outsiders, usually unjustly, for their incestuous customs. The traditional definition of incest, however, seems to have been a sexual relation between members of a family living as a unit.”

    It means they were exogamous patrilinear.

    “The Slavic zadruga was almost exclusively patrilinear and patrilocal. Descent was traced through the father, and inheritance of land passed primarily through the male line. Sons brought their brides into the parental household, while daughters were married out into other families.”

    It means the slavs were exogamous. Sons brought their brides from other families and daughters were married out.
    Daughters were becoming parts of other zadrugas.

    “Relatives in the female line, other than the mother’s immediate family, might well be strangers. Thus South Slavic trebnici raised questions concerning marriages among bratucedi, literally ‘brother-children,’ but rarely mentioned the question of sestricni, or ‘sister-children”

    Slavs did not care about female line. Not caring about female points that the slavs did not care much about bringing cousin brides back to zadruga.
    Rather the brides were exogamous because nobody cared that they are related.
    If the brides were related, than only by chance.

    “Because the Slavic family tended to be exogamous and patrilocal, it would be unusual for an adult aunt or niece by blood to live in the same household as nephew or uncle”

    They Slavs were exogamous. The females in the zadruga were unrelated. And related females were married out to other families.

    “It was possible to contract an incestuous union unknowingly … because lineage was popularly traced more through the male line than through the female. “

    The slavs did not care about female line. So they were exogamous in female line.
    If the brides were related, than only by chance.

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  16. The key factor is communal vs nuclear families

    This does seem key. Emmanuel Todd (re-interpreting Le Play) remarked upon the difference, on this map the red parts are where patri-local / communal-inheritance families dominated. But why? Inbreeding seems to have been roughly similar in East and West.

    Fauve-Chamoux and Ochiai in The Stem Family in Eurasian Perspective talk about a Romanian zadruga-style family system (p. 255):

    ‘Property was legally considered tied as a whole to the family or to blood-relations and was not subject to the will of the person leaving the inheritance.’ The structure was ’embedded in a rural communal system: village territory would be divided among the households and each family branch in the village had a right to equal shares of the various land categories. […] It was the village community and not the individual owner that took charge of distributing the land.’

    I’ve often wondered why Communism was able to latch on and survive for so long in the Slavic lands. Perhaps it has more to do with their very old, peculiar system of dividing property–communally, not individually. But why did that system come about there, while the extremely atomized nuclear family came about in England? (yellow parts on this map) Why do some out-bred places stay highly clannic while others dissolve into a bunch of atomized nuclear individuals?

    Still endlessly interested in and puzzled by the Slavs. Thanks for this post.

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  17. Slavs were patrlinear, patri local and exogamous.

    Funny thing as I understood exactly opposite as you from the text. Everybody sees what he wants.
    And I could add that:
    „It explains the social values and political systems of Slavic nations after fall of communism.” :)

    Every country chose its own path, but they all ended the same.
    (Communism was short lived accident of history. As Slavic nations became free they all rejected communism).

    And the Slavic nation are hierachical, have oligarchical capitalism, authoritarian government.
    These are countries were you receive tax deductible invoices for racket from Mafia, and pay bribes on bank account.
    And Mafia and bribe takers pay taxes on them.

    The countries are ruthless with no mercy for the losers.

    Big oligarchical companies dominate economies. Compare it to Greece and Italy with plethora of small family owned companies.

    Example of farming company

    http://www.astartaholding.com/?id=396

    “These units consist of sugar plants and agricultural companies with 240 thousand hectares under lease, as well as one mixed fodder plant. The Ukrainian parent company provides centralized sales.”
    This company manages 240 000 ha and is not that big at all. There are plenty of companies like this in eastern Europe.
    Compare to Portugal farmers.

    Regarding the Slavic tribes. Every medieval historian is looking for them and they are hard to find. Nobody found the Czechs and Polans – tribes that created Czechia and Poland.

    From the Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polans_(western)

    “The Polans were a hypothetical West Slavic tribe.”

    They were invented and named in XIX centry. Exactly like the second most important polish tribe Vistulans that was also invented and named in XIX century.

    Now some say that there were no Slavic tribes rather local non-tribal areas called Opole – just like Greek city states.

    One argument is that when nations were created the tribes disappeared at once so that nobody remembered them. And the Slavic states were nationalist from the beginning, more unitary and there were not that many separatist movements as in western Europe. It seems to be true till today anyway.

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  18. @m.g. – “Inbreeding seems to have been roughly similar in East and West.”

    errrrrr, no. i think this first little batch of info (and it’s just a first batch, i know) starts to indicate that mating patterns (inbreeding vs. outbreeding) have not been roughly similar in east and west:

    – eastern europeans kept inbreeding for longer compared to western ’cause of the later conversion to christianity;
    – wrt russians, specifically, there was a large period during the middle ages where they reverted back to/or continued to marry very closely;
    – easterners don’t seem to have been so mobile as westerners — compare, for instance, the greeks (or any of those stem-family societies like spain) with the english — they stayed home well into adulthood and then, even if they didn’t marry cousins, they married very locally such as within the village or maybe the next village over. the english and other northwest europeans (including medieval northern italians) left home at a young age, travelled, and married usually of their own choosing someone from quite far away (several villages over, maybe).

    no. i think there are significant differences in the historical mating patterns between east and west.

    having said that, i think that the communal vs. nuclear families thing is also EXTREMELY important. (i’ve been thinking that the mating patterns and family structures are connected. haven’t figured out what, exactly, those connections are, tho. still working on it. (~_^) )

    like you say, centuries of communal living in extended families in which products and land are distributed between family members probably predisposed slavs to like or prefer — or at least not to object — to communistic systems. it really makes sense and i think todd and you guys are right.

    @m.g. – “But why did that system come about there, while the extremely atomized nuclear family came about in England?”

    i think the atomized nuclear family came about in england ’cause that’s where outbreeding happened to it’s fullest extent and extreme outbreeding leads to extreme individualism, i think. and vice versa.

    but, mating patterns are responses to the environment and circumstances. i’ve got a post knocking around in my head which will go something like this:

    – medieval period in nw europe (starting with the franks and spreading to england and also throughout nw europe): outbreeding (church rules) + manorialism (because of new farming techniques & crops) = breakdown of extended family ties, leaving these societies with outbred nuclear families.

    – medieval period in eastern europe: outbreeding (church rules) starts later & inconsistent + no manorialism (no new farming techniques or crops) = maintenance of extended family ties, leaving those societies with somewhat inbred extended families (probably not as inbred as pre-christian slavic tribes, though).

    sorry. hope that makes some sense. i’m trying to get it to make sense in my head before writing a post on it! (*^_^*)

    btw, i really, really, really recommend mitterauer’s “Why Europe?: The Medieval Origins of Its Special Path.” i think he really answers a lot of the questions we’re asking here (just he doesn’t get the biological underpinnings of it all — but that’s ok. i’ll forgive him since he seems to be otherwise so very clever. (~_^) )

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  19. @germansheepf*cker – “As I read the text I understood that the slavs were exogamous from the beginning:

    “The Slavs abhorred incest long before the introduction of Christianity. Authors condemned outsiders, usually unjustly, for their incestuous customs. The traditional definition of incest, however, seems to have been a sexual relation between members of a family living as a unit.”

    It means they were exogamous patrilinear.”

    exogamous outside the zadruga, so exogamous beyond paternal second cousins (kinda like the greeks traditionally).

    @germansheepf*cker – “Slavs did not care about female line. Not caring about female points that the slavs did not care much about bringing cousin brides back to zadruga.”

    the chinese don’t care about the female line either (they’re patrilineal as well), but they had long traditions of marrying their maternal cousins. just ’cause you focus on the paternal line, doesn’t mean you automatically marry willy-nilly outside of it. mother’s brother’s daughter’s marriage is the most common form of cousin marriage in the world and probably one of the most common forms of marriage in the world full-stop. thus my guess that the pre-christian slavs married their mbds (not 100% of the time, of course — just as a sorta regular practice). like i said, tho, that’s just a guess on my part.

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  20. @germansheepf*cker – “Every country chose its own path, but they all ended the same.”

    you’re kidding, right?

    @germansheepf*cker – “One argument is that when nations were created the tribes disappeared at once so that nobody remembered them.”

    that’s upside-down and backwards, afaiac. (~_^)

    so, i gotta ask — are you german, or are the sheep german? (^_^)

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  21. IHTG
    “Russians built a multi-ethnic, ideological empire that rivaled the West throughout the 20th century.”

    I think that’s the natural state though. If you look at most of human history it seems the standard case is a slow rise from forager band to the large tribe / city-state level – i assume for reasons relating to the practical limits of ethnic and cultural cohesion – and then those tribes and city-states fight and the winner creates an empire out of the separate pieces but they remain pieces. France could still be a collection of regional tribes /city-states e.g. Provence, Brittany, Normandy etc, held together in what was effectively a royal empire run from the Ile de France.

    I think the “national” state is the aberation that needs explaining
    – Jews, odd history?
    – NW Europe, outbreeding?
    – East Asia, millenia of urbanization?

    .
    M.G
    “Perhaps it has more to do with their very old, peculiar system of dividing property–communally, not individually. But why did that system come about there, while the extremely atomized nuclear family came about in England?”

    I read a long time ago, so may have been revised, that the Anglo-saxons had a similar system of dividing fields into family strips in which case they might have been similar to eastern europe until the conquest – which leads to hbdchick’s theory about manorialism.

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  22. @g.w. – “…which leads to hbdchick’s theory about manorialism.”

    mitterauer’s theory — very much so! he just hasn’t dwelt on the biology of it ’cause he’s a historian. i’m just regurgitating his ideas — and poorly at that! (~_^)

    edit: oh, i guess i’ve thrown in the “individualism” part, but mitterauer is very much “church regulations on consanguineous marriages + manorialism = the nuclear family.”

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  23. hbd chick:

    “interesting bunches of kooky peoples the baltics (and i mean kooky in the best sense of the word (~_^) ). will definitely have to take a look at their breeding patterns.”

    Please do. I know comparatively little about the Balts and would love to see more about how they fit into the scheme of things. The IQ scores from that region are suspect, only one or two studies the reported anomalously low results.

    hbd chick:

    “i read somewhere ages ago (at least five years ago) that latvia, lithuania and estonia have the highest murder rates in europe — like, rivalling africans. don’t know if that still holds true or not.”

    That is correct. (Here I go with more troublesome links! ;)) Lithuania and Latvia have some of the highest murder rates in Europe, though in both countries it has fallen considerably as of late. Even at its peak the rate was considerably less than rates from Africa and Black Caribbean states though, more comparable to Latin America (and Russia).

    As well, they have some of the highest suicide rates, with Lithuania coming in at #1!, far ahead of Sweden. ;P

    My gf seems to have Baltic ancestry (her paternal grandfather’s folks emigrated from Lativa), so I’m naturally interested about these people and their history. ;)

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  24. @g.w. – heh. (^_^)

    actually, i feel very much like i’m (we’re!) just putting the pieces of a puzzle together, one that has been largely assembled already by lots of scholars.

    jack goody, robin fox, and others have written extensively on the connection between the transformation of the family and society (tribes to city-states to nations). mitterauer has got the medieval environmental context right, i think (church + manorialism + new crops). emmanuel todd and others have put in all the pieces about family structures (nuclear vs. extended). macfarlane has written about how the english became so bloody obstinate individualistic (~_^).

    i feel like i’m (we’re!) coming along with the last little center piece of the jigsaw to complete the picture. (^_^) and none of those ideas are mine, either — william hamilton, et. al. plus smart folks like cochran, hardy & harpending who have pointed out that human evolution did not stop 50,000 y.a.

    i always liked jigsaw puzzles as a kid! (^_^)

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  25. @jayman – “Here I go with more troublesome links!”

    i’m gonna change that setting right now! (and then i’m gonna go have my dinner — which is getting cold. (~_^) )

    edit: ok. now you should be able to include up to 10 links in a comment without it getting stuck in moderation. (^_^)

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  26. @GermanSchaffficker Interesting post. Are you German or Slav or Hungarian nationality? I do not find such a pure opinions from Westerners. They usually do not care.

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  27. “It means they were exogamous patrilinear.”

    “exogamous outside the zadruga, so exogamous beyond paternal second cousins”

    “Slavs did not care about female line. Not caring about female points that the slavs did not care much about bringing cousin brides back to zadruga.”

    “the chinese don’t care about the female line either (they’re patrilineal as well), but they had long traditions of marrying their maternal cousins.”

    i’m thinking this is the key distinction between the kin-marriage system and the conjugal-marriage system.

    kin-marriage, patrilineal, incest is only measured along the male line so a man’s sister marries out and then her daughter can marry the man’s son – because it doesn’t count.

    in the conjugal system imposed by the Catholic Church the line is checked both ways.

    so – unless my brain is scrambled
    – the pastoralist / islamic system tries to create a closed lineage along both lines
    – the chinese, russian, almost everywhere else system tries to create a closed lineage but only on one side
    – the catholic conjugal system aimed for open lineages on both sides (but maybe with only partial success in the upland / pastoral parts of europe that didn’t suit manorialization?)

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  28. @g.w. – “kin-marriage, patrilineal, incest is only measured along the male line so a man’s sister marries out and then her daughter can marry the man’s son – because it doesn’t count.”

    exactly. mbd marriage = ok in a patrilineal system.

    @g.w. – in the conjugal system imposed by the Catholic Church the line is checked both ways.

    yes, but only up to a certain degree (second or fourth or, for a while, sixth cousins). if the ban is up to second cousins, you could marry your third cousin on your father’s side — i.e. you would share a paternal great-great-grandfather in common (i think i have that right). with the chinese system, you could never, ever do that. dunno what the implications of that vs. the catholic system might be — haven’t thought through them.

    @g.w. – “- the pastoralist / islamic system tries to create a closed lineage along both lines
    – the chinese, russian, almost everywhere else system tries to create a closed lineage but only on one side
    – the catholic conjugal system aimed for open lineages on both sides (but maybe with only partial success in the upland / pastoral parts of europe that didn’t suit manorialization?)”

    yes! perfect summary. except for a couple of tweaks:

    – chinese vs. russian system — in the chinese system you can’t marry any paternal cousin, even a very distant one. in the russian system, you could marry one beyond second cousin.
    – like i said above, the catholic system didn’t ban marrying a relation ad infinitum — at some degree it was ok to marry a distant cousin. in the chinese system, you couldn’t at all marry an even very distant paternal cousin. interesting.

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  29. “yes, but only up to a certain degree”

    yes, now you mention it, it’s not immediately obvious what the overall effect might be

    (none along male line + any on thefemale line) vs (either line but only beyond 2nd cousin)

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  30. As I mention elsewhere in your other post , most of Slavic states had not been communistic because of their values, since in almost all those countries communism was imposed by invading army, accompanied with wholesale destruction of traditional soeciety, mass deportations and wholesale slaughter of the middle-class (plus several years of armed resistance, which in Poland resulted in 100.000 people from the resistance killed or deported to Siberia). As such, the question e.g. “can Polish communism be explained by Slavic familiy relationships” is absurd. No, it can’t, since without soviet armies Poland would not be communist. In the initial period communism had almost no support and could be maintained only because of foreign armies stationing in Poland. When only soviet support failed, communist state fall immediately.

    Also, IIRC ZAdruga was not pan-slavic custom. I remember I read in some book about ancient slavs, that Zadruga was idea popular some 50-60 years ago.

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  31. @szopeno – “most of Slavic states had not been communistic because of their values, since in almost all those countries communism was imposed by invading army….”

    that’s a very good point, but it’s interesting (i think) that the invading armies which imposed communism did not come from france or england or even italy. they came from the east. hmmmm.

    the idea of there being a connection between family types and ideologies comes from emmanuel todd, btw. i think he’s on to something, but i’m not sure what yet. i don’t think poland is a great fit with the rest of eastern europe in todd’s system since poland is catholic and not orthodox. something doesn’t quite fit with poland and my guess is that something different happened in poland as compared to the other slavic countries. again, i’m not sure yet what that was.

    don’t think you’re right about the zadrugas being a recent invention, btw. they are well documented going back to at least the middle ages. maybe not everywhere in eastern europe or at all times, but it is definitely an eastern europe tradition.

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  32. It’s not just Poland: Czechs are catholics/protestants, just as are Slovaks, Slovenians, Croats. Note that communistic revolutions happened in Germany, Russia, and Hungary — only one of those countries is Slavic/orthodox.
    As for zadruga, maybe I was not clear. I said that modern Polish historians think, that Zadruga was not Panslavic custom, not that it was not ancient. My intention was to write, that 50-60 years ago it was common thinking that zadruga was panslavic, but nowadays historians mainly think it was limited to southern Slavs.

    Polish wikipedia states that Zadruga was present _mostly_ in Southern Slavic states, as amongst non-Slavic Balkan people such as Volokhs.

    The WIEM Encyclopedia even does not say “mostly”, but claims that it is a system specific for Southern Slavs.

    I think I read once that theory of “Zadruga” was mostly common amongst western historians, mainly because they don’t know newest Polish and Russian literature on the subject :)

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  33. And some readings on that:
    (At the bottom of the page)

    http://books.google.pl/books?id=YbS9QmwDC58C&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&dq=slavs+zadruga+institution&source=bl&ots=e1Kq24WfB-&sig=wUOBkOxqdGLPNtcPmjeeMx7oRcA&hl=pl&sa=X&ei=n9-KT8eZNMLD0QX6renWCQ&ved=0CCIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=slavs%20zadruga%20institution&f=false

    http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/OP%2019.pdf

    It argues that zadruga was created as effect of ottoman and serb taxation policies, or even could be XIX century innovation, a reaction to rise of the population.

    Anyway, describing “Zadruga” as proto-slavic is stretching the evidence much too far, just as claming that “most slavs” lived in similar institutions. Even for Balkans, there were region where most most of people lived in nuclear families, not in zadrugas.

    Similar extended families appeared also in France, so maybe they are not reflection of distant past, but rather a common reaction to reappearing problem (external dangers, scarcity of resrouces etc). As such, it’s dangerous to try to base theories on conception, that they are something inherent to eastern Europe and appeared in distant past.

    And finally, while it’s true that there were no prohibition against marrying the cousins, early slavs usually were quite promiscuous… promisc.. eee anyway they had the different social events, quite similar to hippies drinking parties :). They went to capture their wives from outside their own people — there are documented social traditions in which young man had a custom to “kidnap” a wife, during wedding young man were very often armed etc. They were armed themselves, making a trap etc. In Russia sometimes in villages it was a duty to take a wife from another village. This definetely would reduce any effect of inbreeding.

    Anyway, just this set of loose notes. Very interesting blog, BTW.

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  34. @szopeno – “It’s not just Poland: Czechs are catholics/protestants, just as are Slovaks, Slovenians, Croats.”

    right. well, todd places emphasis on the family typeideology connection (and for eastern europeans he says the traditional family type from 1500-1800 was the exogamous community family).

    i say family types are important, but they are rooted in mating patterns, which are even more important (i think) in the evolution of altruistic behaviors — and the differences in altruistic behaviors underpin the differences between, for example, indvidualistic vs. more collective societies.

    the important thing to know is not if a population is roman catholic, protestant or orthodox, capitalist or communist, but what its mating patterns are and the history of its mating patterns (i.e. how long has a population been inbreeding or outbreeding).

    so what i want to know about eastern europeans — and like i said in this post, eastern europe is a big place! so i’m sure there must be regional differences — is if they’ve been in- or out-marrying and how closely and for how long.

    interesting that the zadruga was mostly a southern slavic institution and not really a western slavic one. it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that western slavs were more outbred than southern (and maybe even eastern) slavs since manorialism, which i think contributed to the breaking down of close marriages in europe, did reach parts of poland and places like slovakia during the middle ages — only much later than in western europe. manorlialism pretty much didn’t reach southwards (towards the balkans) at all, so i’d guess southern slavs (like the greeks) have a longer history of inbreeding. that would explain the zadruga traditions in those populations.

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  35. @szopeno – “And some readings on that….”

    excellent! thanks for the references. i love references! (^_^)

    @szopeno – “Similar extended families appeared also in France….”

    really? when and where? (or is that in one of the references you linked to?)

    communal extended families are not at all unusual around the world, but they usually occur in conjunction with some form of inbreeding or exogamous marriage practices.

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  36. @szopeno – “1) communist revolution in Germany”

    eeehhh, i dunno if i would call the german revolution of 1918-19 a communist revolution. certainly there were a lot of communists involved, but there were also all the socialists (lefties who didn’t want to have anything to do with bolshevism) — prolly more of them than hard-core communists since, when the sdp pulled their support from the communists, they (the communists) pretty much lost out altogether. also, the outcome of of this revolution was a republic — a parliamentary democracy (for what that was worth) — not a soviet state.

    but there are definitely socialistic tendencies amongst the germans which requires explanation.

    @szopeno – “yes, it’s about that in one of these references, iirc in poorer parts of central france.”

    ok! thanks. i’ll check out the reference.

    that is correct, though. todd also found extended communal families (exogamous community families) in parts of southern and central france. my guess is that has something to do with a lack of manorialism in the middle ages in that part of france; if correct, that lack is prolly related to the geography of the area, i.e. not suitable for manor-style farming (credit to greying wanderer for that idea which can be found somewhere in the comments on this blog, lord knows where just now!).

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  37. @szopeno – if you look at the map of emmanuel todd’s historic (1500-1800) family systems of europe, you’ll see some red bits in france which indicate exogamous community families (by that he means that married sons live with their parents and the children of brothers do not marry).

    what todd found in the 1968 election results for those regions was a good percentage of the population voting for the communist party. he found similar trends for other red bits in other countries on the map.

    here what he had to say — from The Explanation of Ideology [pgs. 46-47]:

    “In Tuscany (where the communist vote is approximatley 45 per cent of votes cast), in Finland (where it is 20 per cent), and in the Nivernais, Berry and Bourbonnais regions (25 to 30 per cent), the traditional family structure is indisputably of an exogamous community type. Le Play’s own research shows this for central France. A number of recent studies on seventeeth- and eighteenth-century village censuses suggest that the community type came from Morvan to the Dordogne, following a north-east/south-west line which marks the frontier between the authoritarian family areas of the south-west and the nuclear, egalitarian region centered on Paris. The implantation of the French Communist Party follows this line faithfully….

    “The examples of Emilia (where over 45 per cent of the vote is communist), of Alentejo in Portugal (where it is over 40 per cent), and of Provence and coastal Languedoc (25 to 30 per cent), are more difficult to analyse. A look at the national census shows that community-type households are more numerous there than in nuclear family regions; but the evidence is not as clear as in the examples of Tuscany, Nivernais or Finland, regions for which there is good historical and ethnological material.”

    so i think todd is on to something. there does seem to be a connection between family types (and, i think, mating patterns) and the types of political (and perhaps religious) ideologies of populations. what that connection is remains to be seen.

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    1. “what that connection is remains to be seen.”

      My thought is that the selective pressures in such a household favors thinking for equal division of the spoils. In the typical community family, first borns and/or the more capable siblings are typically able to set out on their own and prosper, so they don’t necessarily benefit from communal inheritance. But they are outnumbered by all the later siblings that depend on their allotted inheritance of land and other commodities from the parents. Since the bulk of the grandchildren would come from the later-borns/”loser” children, this would have selected for people who firmly believe in division of the spoils, since a big part of their survival would depend on making sure that that happens.

      This is in stark contrast to those in regions without equal inheritance; the successful broods would have overwhelmingly come from those able to make it on their own. These individuals would be more individualistic and have the “pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps” mentality (likely being more true in the true nuclear families than those who practiced stem families).

      Reply

  38. @jayman – “Since the bulk of the grandchildren would come from the later-borns/’loser’ children, this would have selected for people who firmly believe in division of the spoils, since a big part of their survival would depend on making sure that that happens.”

    that could make sense. also, there’s the inclusive fitness side of things from the p.o.v. of the first-borns/more capable siblings — if these families are inbred, it might pay genetically speaking to help out the extended family members even if you’re a more capable sibling.

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  39. Oh absolutely. I think in the former Eastern Bloc there is a communal living X inbreeding interaction. I don’t know how clannish Russians and other Eastern Slavs are, but they sure do seem to have a lot less of the reciprocal altruism genes than NW Euros have. I know that the South Slavs appear to be very tribal/nationalistic. Maybe all these groups practiced various degrees of inbreeding, perhaps ranging from some form “locogamy” to a preference for marriage between certain neighboring communes?

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  40. @jayman – “I don’t know how clannish Russians and other Eastern Slavs are, but they sure do seem to have a lot less of the reciprocal altruism genes than NW Euros have.”

    i think russians, southern slavs … h*ck, all of the slavs … are quite clannish. they vie only with the arabs/middle easterners in being nearly devoid of civic spirit, so i’m guessing there’s been a long history of inbreeding/endogamous matings/extended family-ness all across eastern europe — not that there’s anything wrong with that. (~_^)

    @jayman – “Maybe all these groups practiced various degrees of inbreeding, perhaps ranging from some form ‘locogamy’ to a preference for marriage between certain neighboring communes?”

    exactly. i’m gonna guess (and this is a pretty easy guess) that there’s a longer and more recent (probably ongoing) history of closer marriages amongst the southern slavs and less/shorter history of inbreeding amongst the eastern slavs, with the russians falling somewhere in between.

    that’s just a guess for now. don’t have much data on mating patterns for the slavs … yet. (^_^)

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  41. chick, jayman: you still forgot about the effect of the communism and nazism. The current attitudes have nothing to do with inbreeding etc — just look at the data. In Poland, most of lawyers, doctors, enterpreneurs were executed by nazis, and the rest was killed/deported by soviets. In USSR for generations all those, who were individualistic were executed, escaped to the west etc. Just look at the uprising in Siberia, were individualistic farmers were fighting against communists and were forced only after military operations with the use of poison gasses. Millions, literally millions of people died. Just after 1981 one million of Poles was forced to escape to the west, and most of them were higher educated than average. Most never returned. Things like that cannot have no consequences. Just look at the number of civic organizations in Poland NOW, and before the war: the differences are staggering. Just look at the differences between participation of Poles in social organizations in the west, and in the Poland. Heck, if the thing would be biological, you would have to have differences in civic participation in Ruhr area (huge influx of Polish immigrants, all assimilated before WWI) and the neighbouring areas.

    You have a generations of living in system, were everyone could be your enemy, when you couldn’t talk freely with strangers, when state was your enemy. This had profound effects on psychology (e.g. sayings like “all volunteers died in Lenino”, “don’t go outside, if they want you they will find you” etc), and anyone ignoring this and instead focusing on “inbreeding” is simply misguided. If the effects (low civic activity level) are due to misbreeding, why then we had in the past highly democractis institutions in Poland, Hungary, and even in medieval Russia (novgorod republic)?

    BTW, I don’t know for Russia, but in Poland there was equal inhertiance.

    As for the rest, I think I could find for the attitude test in different populations of world, and urban Poles, urban Russians and urban Americans have more in common than urban Russians and country-side Russians.

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  42. @szopeno – “you still forgot about the effect of the communism and nazism.”

    no, i didn’t forget about the effects of communism or nazism at all! (ok, maybe a little. (~_^) )

    that the intelligensia was killed/sent to the gulag (same thing =/ ) and that millions of people were killed and that many more emigrated are all, undoubtedly, very important (biological!) factors that have shaped polish society into what it is today.

    but i think the question still has to be asked: how did you guys get to that point in the first place? why did communism (or, really, a certain form of totalitarianism) flourish in eastern europe (perhaps less so amongst the western slavs) at all?! why not in western europe? or even southern europe for that matter? what’s the difference?

    two things (amongst many) that i can think of are:

    1) different peoples — eastern europeans=mostly slavs, other parts of europe≠slavs;
    2) different patterns of relatedness which i happen to think can affect how members of a population will treat one another/outsiders.

    these two factors don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    @szopeno – “Just look at the uprising in Siberia, were individualistic farmers were fighting against communists and were forced only after military operations with the use of poison gasses.”

    well, siberia was rather recently settled by russians, wasn’t it? kind-of like the united states. unless russians migrated there as extended families/clans (i don’t think that was the case), there was probably some selection there for “individualistic” individuals migrating eastwards. (i do understand that populations do not, necessarily, remain static forever. genes/gene frequencies change in populations. that’s the whole point of evolution, after all!)

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  43. @szopeno – “Just look at the number of civic organizations in Poland NOW, and before the war: the differences are staggering.”

    well, we really need some numbers for before the war. any ideas on where to get those? that would be an interesting comparison.

    @szopeno – “Heck, if the thing would be biological, you would have to have differences in civic participation in Ruhr area (huge influx of Polish immigrants, all assimilated before WWI) and the neighbouring areas.”

    that would also be interesting! i just might be able to do that with the world values survey data. not sure. i will have to investigate. sounds like about 3% of the ruhr area population today is of polish descent. i wonder if that would be enough to produce any noticeable difference in attitudes or whatever you want to call it?

    @szopeno – “As for the rest, I think I could find for the attitude test in different populations of world, and urban Poles, urban Russians and urban Americans have more in common than urban Russians and country-side Russians.”

    might also be possible to break down the world values survey data according to urban/rural. not sure. i will check. that would be interesting, too!

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  44. @szopeno – “You have a generations of living in system, were everyone could be your enemy, when you couldn’t talk freely with strangers, when state was your enemy. This had profound effects on psychology….”

    i don’t buy this pschological bunk (unless there’s something epigenetic to it). you also had a couple of generations of germans living under psychologically difficult circumstances — wwi, horrible economic times, wwii and nazism — and they seem to be doing ok civic-wise.

    what about the arab world? they didn’t live through the pschological stresses of totalitarian communism and yet they also have little to no civic spirit. what the arab world AND eastern europe have in common is a looong history of inbreeding (the arabs more so than eastern europeans, i think), and a looong history of strong extended-families and patriarchal systems.

    given the right circumstances (i.e. strong enough selective pressures), inbreeding can contribute to higher frequencies of “genes for altruism.” these “genes for altruism” can lead to individuals feeling and acting more strongly in favor of their close relatives, while at the same time feeling and acting more strongly against non-relatives. in such a population, it becomes difficult to build a civic society.

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  45. @szopeno – “why then we had in the past highly democractis institutions in Poland, Hungary, and even in medieval Russia (novgorod republic).”

    i don’t think you’ve really had that. not highly democratic institutions anyway. it’s definitely debatable about the novgorod republic apparently.

    there have been democratic elements in all sorts of societies — including arab tribes, for example — it’s hard not to let people have their say after all.

    what hasn’t been found in many places is a liberal democracy which is a system [pgs. 60-61]:

    “…whereby political factions could compete for votes and, most amazingly, the losers would voluntarily cede power [fox’s emphasis]…. But far from being a fact of human nature, this voluntary ceding of power after elections, this basic feature of liberal democracy, actually flies in the face of nature.”

    it flies in the face of nature because most populations are composed of extended family groups or clans or tribes who adamantly do NOT want to cede power to another family/clan/tribe.

    i’m not saying that liberal democracy is the best thing in the world. eveh. but it’s an odd thing that requires explanation. i think differences in inbreeding and outbreeding between different populations partly explains it.

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  46. I have a numbers for Greater Poland, in my library, from book written by a German called Rudolf Jaworski. Under Prussian occupation IIRC we had roughly 1/3 of manufacturers, traders etc participating in the civic organizations. Compared to the number o 7% above, the difference is huge.

    Also,this is not “psychological bunk”. You tend to forget that most of people in range of 30-40 years still remembers communism. Not to mention many people who ruled there, are still wealthy and powerful now. You need at least one more generation to pass.

    You seem not to understand that — e.g. you compared Germans, who have totally different experiences. E.g. in the link I see no data comparing East and West Germany. Germans lived under THEIR government; the hardships of poor economy and war have nothing to do with what I am saying. DO Germans massively conspired against their government? Was nazism imposed by foreign forces? Does it falsified history, and does people had two different histories: one known from family experiences, and second teached in school? Do they beleived that government is not to be trusted, that it is US vs THEM, and almost everyone was hating this government? What has WWI, WWII and al to do with that? This is totally different experience. I am not saying civic pariticpation is low because Poland was poor. I am saying it has low participation because all elites were murdered or deported, the system promoted corrupt people, and created widespread distrust. Refusing to participate in civic organizations was seen as something good. “Społecznik”, that is someone who is member of civic organization was considered offensive.

    Just one example: my grandfather was AK soldier. I find out about it ten years after communism collapsed– before that, my parents decided it’s better not to talk about that with me, since I could tell about that to someone else.

    I will post more in a moment, have to go.

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  47. You know what, I am analysing the data from world vlues series, comparing Germany, Russia, Poland. I see not much differences in labour union membership (active. i nRussia, inactive membership is LARGER than in both Poland and Germany). Religious organizations (Germany and Poland 12.9%, Russia really low), political parties (almost nonexisting in all countries, Germany slightly better for active membership 2,3%, Poland 1,1% slightly better for inactive), the same for professional organizations (Germany 3,8% active membership, Poland 2,6%, Russia 1.6%), charitable organizations, any other organizations.

    Or do I read wrong data? Because for me, remembering large genetic distance between Poland and Germany in comparison to distance between Russia and Poland (actually, those distances are not large at all, but nevertheless in comparison Poles and Russians genetically are more similar than Poles and Germans), this differences are negligible and IMHO can be easily explained by non-genetical factors. And if there will be genetic factors, then effects would be rather because of our experiences in last century (really not comparable to Germanics), not because of inbreeding[*]

    Especially, since the timeframe is too small to produce any lasting effects.

    I deeply respect your professional knowledge, and I hope I have not sound aggressive. I read and heard many opinions that we Poles behave aggressively during discussions, but this is just function of different culture, not our innate jerkness caused by inbreeding practices.

    [*] In fact, I suspected that communism and slaughter during war should hae strong dysgenic factors and I am surprised to see there is almost none.

    As for our democratic institutions, if you think were haven’t, then nobody have it in the world until XIX century or even later.

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  48. Actually, there is something strange here, contradicting my claim about atmosphere of distrust: “most people can be trusted” Poland 81%, German 63%. Especially with next question “do you think most people would take advantage of you”. The same with distrust to government, almost no differences between Poland and Germany. Huh.

    Thanks a lot for your answers. I am reading through your and Jayman’s blog (in fact, I first saw jayman’s and saw yours via links from his blog), and you have a lot of great insights. But I think you put too much effort in trying to explain rather small differences in attitudes by biological basis.

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  49. @szopeno – “I have a numbers for Greater Poland, in my library, from book written by a German called Rudolf Jaworski.”

    ah ha! ok. what’s the title of the book? (“jaworski” doesn’t sound like a very german name, btw. (~_^) )

    @szopeno – “Under Prussian occupation IIRC we had roughly 1/3 of manufacturers, traders etc participating in the civic organizations.”

    ok. but what about ordinary folks?

    @szopeno – “You tend to forget that most of people in range of 30-40 years still remembers communism.”

    fair enough. i’ll keep that in mind. (and if i don’t, call me on it again! (^_^) )

    @szopeno – “E.g. in the link I see no data comparing East and West Germany.”

    that i can do! i can break down the world values survey for germany according to the federal states. what i can’t do, unfortunately, is break down the data for narrower areas like the ruhr area. dr*t! that would’ve been interesting.

    @szopeno – “I am saying it has low participation because all elites were murdered or deported, the system promoted corrupt people, and created widespread distrust.”

    it’s interesting, though, that you get societies where corrupt people are promoted and distrust is widespread (and civic engagement low) precisely in nations where inbreeding is (or was) rampant: eastern europe, italy, greece, the arab world.

    Reply

  50. @szopeno – “remembering large genetic distance between Poland and Germany in comparison to distance between Russia and Poland (actually, those distances are not large at all, but nevertheless in comparison Poles and Russians genetically are more similar than Poles and Germans)”

    what i’ve been thinking about and writing about on the ol’ blog here is not so much genetic differences between populations (although there’s that, too) as differences in genetic relatedness within populations.

    if you think about inclusive fitness and altruistic behaviors and how it can “pay” an individual, genetically speaking, to help out a relative more than it will pay him to help out a genetically unrelated stranger, then how much more does it pay inbred individuals to help out their relatives as compared to outbred individuals? if there is a genetic payoff to helping related individuals, then the payoff must logically be greater if the related individuals are even more related than in, say, a randomly mating population.

    it’s easily seen, i think, in very inbred societies like the arab world. there, all the strong inbreeding has resulted in a tribal society where one tribe will barely cooperate with another and you almost have to force everyone to get along by having a strong king and some very strict laws. and i think you see these uncooperative attitudes to a lesser extent in other areas of the world where there has been some inbreeding (southern italy) or endogamous mating (eastern europe) for long periods.

    steve sailer explained it better than i can in his Cousin Marriage Conundrum essay. i’ve just been exploring his ideas further around here.

    Reply

  51. @szopeno – “I deeply respect your professional knowledge…”

    well, don’t respect it too much because all of this is just a hobby! (~_^)

    @szopeno – “…and I hope I have not sound aggressive.”

    not at all! i’m enjoying our discussion! (^_^)

    Reply

  52. @szopeno – “As for our democratic institutions, if you think were haven’t, then nobody have it in the world until XIX century or even later.”

    i agree!

    Reply

  53. @szopeno – “But I think you put too much effort in trying to explain rather small differences in attitudes by biological basis.”

    well, i think they’re rather big differences in attitudes, but i do admit that more data is required.

    i ought to explain that i am a hopeless reductionist who’s mostly interested in the utimate explanations for human behaviors. maybe i should put some sort of disclaimer on the blog explaining that to folks. (~_^)

    Reply

  54. 1) Rudolf Jaworski: he is son of German settlers from Bukowina (Now Romania, I think), who was then resettled to Poland during war. Book in POlish is “Swój do Swego, Studium o kształtowaniu się zmysłu gospodarności wielkopolan 1871-1914”, translation from German: “Handel und Gewerbe im Nationalitatenkampf. Studien zur Wirtschaftsgesinnung der Poland in derProvinz Posen 1871-1914”

    For ordinary folks: I have only percentage data, without numbers, though Jaworski in some cases shows that such and such organisation had X members. That;s why it is hard to estimate, but just one example, with union of enterpreneurs (actually, związek spółek, so mor elike union of businesses). I am not sure whether this data is relevant. The union had 105793 members, Greater Poland (provinz posen) in this time had I think some 600-700 thousand Poles. This would made membership of 14-16% of population (As it was purely economical organisation of one type it doesn’t seem realistic). Other organization, “Guard” (Straż) had 22.000 member in 1907, this was purely ideological organisation, which would be I think equivalent to membership in political parties. There were also other organisations, like Sokol,

    I would have to go to the library to get more numbers for pre-war Poland, since I read the data a long time ago and this is not seem to be present in the web.

    2) I am not sure whether you can drive such conclusions basing on this differences. Especially since I am not sure how you made the numbers: have you just averaged all forms on activity, in all states? because It would make no sense e.g. In the example with religious organizations, where in Poland we have 12.9%, the same as in Germany, and in Russia almost non-existent.

    Also, There is another danger: just look. There are three times more active members of political partiesin Germany than in Russia. This looks impressive until you will realise that this is just 3% vs 1%.

    3) I must say, after reading several papers and inspecting WVS, that my initial expectations were wrong. I confused my personal experiences with overall pictures. E.g. I have a lot of troubles to convince my neihgbours to do anything together, since they ‘don’t give a f*”. However some of the papers paint different image: e.g. grzegorz ekiert, roberto foa, “civil society weakness in post-communist europe” argue that there is no substantial differences in civic activity between western europe and central Europe, and former communist states are divided in roughly three, distinctly different areas in terms of civic participation (Central Europe, South-East and Eastern).

    4) Are you trying to argue, that communism was imposed in central and eastern europe because people there were somehow better predestined to live within communism? Or that communism became corrupt here, because people were corrupt to begin with?

    5) You shown that Slavs considered cousin marriages as possible. But we know also, that Slavs often also wed outside their own villages, trying to take wifes from more distant areas. The question is then, how many people were in fact wedding with cousins: was that sporadic? Or common?

    Reply

  55. @szopeno – “Rudolf Jaworski: he is son of German settlers from Bukowina … who was then resettled to Poland during war.”

    huh. am i right in guessing that at some point the family changed their name to something more polish or slavic sounding? i always thought the “-ski” ending was a good indicator of someone being polish. never heard of any german names ending in “-ski.” ??

    thanks for the book reference! don’t see it anywhere online (but i didn’t look all that hard), but i’ll file the reference away in my “poland” files. (^_^)

    @szopeno – “The union had 105793 members, Greater Poland (provinz posen) in this time had I think some 600-700 thousand Poles. This would made membership of 14-16% of population….”

    interesting! is that the number for just one year, though, or a total for the range of years that the book covers (1871-1914)?

    @szopeno – “I would have to go to the library to get more numbers for pre-war Poland….”

    oh, don’t go to all that trouble!! i should take a good look at what’s been written about pre-war polish (civic) society first. haven’t done that, yet!

    Reply

  56. @szopeno – “Especially since I am not sure how you made the numbers: have you just averaged all forms on activity, in all states?”

    i wrote two posts on the “civic-ness” of different nations/regions using the world values survey data from 2005-08:

    civic societies
    civic societies ii

    first i looked at each of the different civic activities — active membership in the following:

    – Church or religious organization
    – Sport or recreation organization
    – Art, music or educational organization
    – Labour union
    – Political party
    – Environmental organization
    – Professional association
    – Charitable organization
    – Any other voluntary organization

    i posted the results for all of those for each country and region in the first post — i got the totals/averages for both the countries and the regions from the world values survey site.

    in the second post i discussed the results a bit and threw in some bar charts to illustrate the differences in the numbers.

    @szopeno – “because It would make no sense e.g. In the example with religious organizations, where in Poland we have 12.9%, the same as in Germany, and in Russia almost non-existent.”

    but that’s the whole point. to look for similarities/differences and try to explain them. (~_^)

    @szopeno – “Also, There is another danger: just look. There are three times more active members of political partiesin Germany than in Russia. This looks impressive until you will realise that this is just 3% vs 1%.”

    that comes out in the bar charts, i think.

    one thing i probably should have done was to look at weighted averages than just averages since the sample/population sizes are different. and the other thing i should’ve done (two things!) is to leave out some of the data ’cause the sample sizes are too small in some cases. next time.

    Reply

  57. @szopeno – “However some of the papers paint different image: e.g. grzegorz ekiert, roberto foa, ‘civil society weakness in post-communist europe’ argue that there is no substantial differences in civic activity between western europe and central Europe, and former communist states are divided in roughly three, distinctly different areas in terms of civic participation (Central Europe, South-East and Eastern).”

    that’s a really interesting looking paper! thanks for the reference! i will definitely be reading that.

    don’t discount personal experience entirely, though. the fact that you can’t get your neighbors to work together is probably indicative of something. the question is what? does it tell you something about the population on the whole? i mean, does everybody in poland experience that it’s difficult to get (presumably unrelated) neighbors to work together? or do you just unfortunately happen to have a set of loser neighbors?

    i happen to live in an area where we have many unattended vegetable stands — bags of vegetables of different weights are left out, you take the one(s) you want and leave the money in the box. the honor system. it works because the population is mostly white and no one is dirt poor. this honor system just wouldn’t work in other societies or areas of the country, and the question is — why?

    Reply

  58. @szopeno – “Are you trying to argue, that communism was imposed in central and eastern europe because people there were somehow better predestined to live within communism? Or that communism became corrupt here, because people were corrupt to begin with?”

    my idea — which is not really my idea, i’ve just picked up the ball and run with it — is that, since mating patterns affect the genetic relatedness of individuals within populations, different populations will exhibit different types and degrees of social behaviors, like altruism and nepotism, since different population have different mating patterns.

    a population that regularly practices inbreeding (close cousins marrying) or even endogamous mating (cousins further out marrying) will have closer degrees of genetic relatedness between certain individuals (i.e. family members) than in a population that has greater outbreeding. in other words, family members in an inbreeding population will share more genes with each other than in an outbreeding population.

    if you then consider the theory of inclusive fitness which says that an individual can increase his biological fitness (i.e. the number of genes he passes on to the next generation) by helping not only his own offspring but also other individuals that share his genes (siblings/nephews/nieces/cousins) — AND then add to that inbreeding which means that inbred individuals are more related to their siblings/nephews/nieces/cousins than outbred individuals are to their family members — THEN we should expect to see more altruistic behaviors directed towards family members and behaviors like nepotism in an inbred population than in an oubred one. (we’re talking here, of course, about the evolution of human behaviors, so i mean that these behaviors develop over time.)

    if you look, for example, at how syrian society works, you’ll get an idea of what i am talking about. middle easterners have been marrying very closely for millennia, and it shows. almost all their altruistic behaviors are directed towards family (including extended family) members. they don’t trust outsiders — and why should they, since their fellow “syrians” also direct all their altruistic behaviors towards their own family members. nepotism is the normal practice in syria. corruption is rampant because individuals are driven to look after their own and not unrelated individuals.

    this is all, i think, a product of their mating patterns. plus, of course, the circumstances in which they live — but their society would look different under any circumstances if they had different mating patterns.

    eastern europe’s mating patterns don’t appear to be as extreme as middle easterners’ — no one’s is! — but eastern europeans don’t seem to have abandoned inbreeding the way northwest europeans did around the start of the medieval period. my impression so far — and i haven’t finished digging into the history of mating patterns in eastern europe yet — in fact, i’ve just got started! — is that there was a lessening of cousin marriage in the east, but not until quite late (compared to nw europe). and even after that, in many places, endogamous marriage seems to have been the norm. the southern slavs appear to have hung on to inbreeding for much longer than the rest of you guys — some of them even until today (esp. those who converted to islam in the middle ages, like the albanians).

    so, since eastern europeans have retained quite close genetic relatedness between family members, society behaves more like syrian society than anglo society. there is more corruption (and nepotism, i’m guessing) because people are more inclined to look after their own family than share and cooperate with unrelated individuals. this biological “pressure” to take care of one’s own is probably the least strong amongt the anglos and some other northwest europeans who have strongly outbred since the early medieval period.

    (cont….)

    Reply

  59. @szopeno – “@szopeno – “Are you trying to argue, that communism was imposed in central and eastern europe because people there were somehow better predestined to live within communism? Or that communism became corrupt here, because people were corrupt to begin with?””

    (contiuned from above…)

    on top of the mating patterns (inbred vs. outbred) we’ve got family types. me and a couple of other folks — including m.g. @thosewhocansee and jayman — got interested in emmanuel todd’s ideas on the connections between family types (different types of nuclear vs. extended families) and the prevailing ideologies of different nations. i think todd has noticed something quite interesting, but that he’s missed the evolutionary side of all of this, i.e. that having a certain type of family type for many (many) generations might have a biological effect on the members. jayman offered an eloquent example of how this might work above.

    todd’s conclusion is that there’s something about exogamous community families that predisposes a society towards communism (by exogamous he means that the children of brothers do not marry, but that other cousins might). his example countries are: russia, yugoslavia, slovakia, bulgaria, hungary, finland, albania, central italy, china, vietnam, cuba and north india — so not all slavs are included (poland is not!).

    i haven’t thought as much about family systems and the evolution of human social behaviors as i have about mating patterns and social behaviors, so i haven’t yet made up my mind about todd’s conclusions. i think he’s pointed out something very interesting, but i’m not quite sure what it is. (^_^)

    todd argues that the poles rose up and overthrew the totalitarian communist regime because it was not in their (your) nature to live that way — because of their (your) tradition of having nuclear families (egalitarian nuclear families). i think he’s fudged some of his data to try to explain why the poles overthrew communism, but i still think there is probably something different about the history of polish mating and family patterns as compared to, say, russia that makes poles more oriented toward the whole society rather than their own individual families. in other words, poles — i think — have less of that family-directed altruism, so there is less corruption and so on and so forth in poland than in russia or any slavic country in the balkans and waaay less than somewhere like syria.

    poland seems to be just on the eastern border of the spread of manorialism in europe, and manorialism helped to break down the extended family and inbreeding (although sometimes the manor system encouraged endogamous matings). places like russia, on the other hand, didn’t experience manorialism at all and so extended families and inbreeding/endogamous mating remained central to society — for much of the time anyway. if there is anything to any of my arguments at all, then i think the poles were not predisposed to communism not just because of your (relatively recent) tradition of having nuclear families, but rather because of the changes to the mating patterns that happened in your population beginning in the middle ages.

    Reply

  60. @szopeno – “You shown that Slavs considered cousin marriages as possible. But we know also, that Slavs often also wed outside their own villages, trying to take wifes from more distant areas. The question is then, how many people were in fact wedding with cousins: was that sporadic? Or common?”

    pre-christian slavs? i don’t know and it’s difficult to know for sure without written records, of course. do we know that pre-christian slavs married outside their own villages?

    Reply

  61. Uff, Thanks a lot for you answers. As for the questions:
    1) Jaworski’s data is for the 1892, I think. I am not sure about percentage, because I can’t remember exactly how many Poles lived (numerically) at that time in Posen. Also, Since WVS measure, I think, percentage of those surveyed )and I to not think they surveyed children), the percentage of children would be important too. Anyway I think the activity level would be higher.

    It’s quite interesting book, though a bit dry. Jaworski for example argues, that Germans living in Posen later started to mimic Polish activities and even some slogans were translated word-to-word. Also he quotes some that said, that because of Prussian state help, Germans living in Posen were lazy and not-autonomous :)

    2) -ski ending is popular in whole Slavic world. It’s the adjective ending. E.g. blue “niebieski” (niebo-sky), koń-horse, koński-of horse. In Poland it was popular because it was thought to be typical of gentry, and then eveyone aspiring to be noble changed his ending to -ski. It was popular also amongst Eastern Germans, until some XIX/XX century, when they started to change their names to avoid suspicion, that they have Slavic roots. Bach-Zalewski comes to mind.

    3) Pre-christian Slavs: we do not almost nothing. But we have clues, based on folk customs, traditions, and some villages. Seems they may vary between the tribes:

    Old book from 1890, but I think still valuable:
    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Folk-Lore/Volume_1/Marriage_among_the_Early_Slavs
    e.g:

    ““Another Slavonic tribe, the Drevlians,” according to the same chronicler, “lived like beasts; they killed one another, they fed on things unclean; no marriage took place amongst them, but they captured young girls on the banks of rivers.””
    “three other Slavonic tribes, the Radimich, the Viatich, and the Sever, had the same customs; they lived “in forests, like other wild animals, they ate everything unclean, and shameful things occurred amongst them between fathers and daughters-in-law. Marriages were unknown to them, but games were held in the outskirts of villages; they met at these games for dancing and every kind of diabolic amusement, and there they captured their wives, each man the one he had covenanted with. They had generally two or three wives.””

    Polians (near Kiev)
    “They seem to have been an exogamous tribe like the Radimich, Viatich, and Sever, their wives being brought to them from outside their own gens”

    Now, such meetings, as I mentioned before, probably would reduce interbreeding, since probably some girls would have become pregnant.
    “Both speak of the existence of certain yearly festivals at which great licence prevailed. According to the last-named author, such meetings were regularly held on the borders of the State of Novgorod on the banks of rivers, resembling, in that particular, the annual festivals mentioned by Nestor. Not later than the beginning of the sixteenth century, they were complained of by the clergy of the State of Pscov. It was at that time monk Pamphil drew up his letter to the Governor of the State, admonishing him to put an end to these annual gatherings, since their only result was the corruption of the young women and girls. ”

    However, here is what confirms the ideas, that Slavs were also not affraid to take wives from their cousins:

    “Another feature of the matriarchal family, the lack of any prohibition as to marriages between persons who are sprung from the same father or grandfather, is also mentioned more than once by early Slavonic writers. Such marriages were not prohibited by custom among the old Bohemians or Czechs”

    “Endogamous marriages still occur in a few very remote parts of Russia. Such is the case in certain villages in the district of Onega, and especially in that of Liamika, where the peasants do their best to infringe the canonical prescriptions which disallow marriage between blood relations to the fourth degree inclusively. ”

    Taking wives from foreign villages:
    “in some parts of Russia, as for instance in the government of Simbirsk, in certain villages of the government of Olonizk, and of the district of Schadrinsk, inhabited by the Cossacks of the Don, the bride is always taken from another village than the bridegroom’s. Even in provinces in which no similar custom is known to exist, the remembrance of the time when exogamy was considered a duty, is preserved in the fact that the bridegroom is constantly spoken of as a foreigner (choujoy, choujaninin), and his friends and attendants are represented as coming with him from a distant country, in order to take away the future spouse.”

    Ufff… I will continue on the new entry in your blog

    Reply

  62. @szopeno – “Uff, Thanks a lot for you answers.”

    heh. (^_^) yeah, sorry — guess i got a little carried away there. (^_^)

    @szopeno – “Jaworski’s data is for the 1892, I think.”

    ok! thanks.

    @szopeno – “Also, Since WVS measure, I think, percentage of those surveyed (and I to not think they surveyed children), the percentage of children would be important too.”

    i think i’d have to disagree with you there. if we’re looking at civic behaviors, we usually think of responsible citizens as being adults, so under-18s — or maybe under-16s — don’t really count here.

    @szopeno – “Also he quotes some that said, that because of Prussian state help, Germans living in Posen were lazy and not-autonomous.”

    hand-outs never seem to be a good thing! only in case of emergency, i’d say.

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  63. @szopeno – “Old book from 1890, but I think still valuable:

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Folk-Lore/Volume_1/Marriage_among_the_Early_Slavs

    thanks!

    @szopeno – “Now, such meetings, as I mentioned before, probably would reduce interbreeding….”

    absolutely. the trick here, though, is to try to figure out how much of each (inbreeding and outbreeding) for any given population at any given time. gets harder to work out, obviously, the further back in time we go. (until the day, perhaps, when we have full genome scans of all skeletal remains found by archaeologists. ever! (^_^) )

    Reply

  64. […] lived in a family system that was vastly different than that of westerners, as hbd* chick discusses here.  This caused Easterners to go down a considerably different social and political trajectory than […]

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  65. Hi there!
    @ jayman, I find it kinda unfair to use IQ (or any other type of test) to define how clever one nation(or people from some area) in total is. IQ tests are made to challenge one on the field of logic and these test mainly follow western Europe and US (“modern”) way of logical thinking. In these tests tribe from Africa or South America would score as stupid which they definitely are not. If u take that into account, there is allways possibility that IQ test will have “mistakes” when u compare them on such a large scale.

    @hbd chick, u mentioned in one post how vegetable stands are unattended and how this type of “shoppping” probably wouldn’t work somewhere else… Only valid condition for this to work is that everyone in comunity has money (regardless of skin colour), and with that I mean enough money to buy everything they need to have a normal life. pure people are desperate and make desperate moves. No one is thief becouse it is fun. Second thing is, there should be no richies either- power and money makes people greedy and also they care less for common people around them (there was some paper about social skills i.e. lack of the same when it comes to very rich and/or powerfull people).

    Reply

    1. @ang_li:

      “I find it kinda unfair to use IQ (or any other type of test) to define how clever one nation(or people from some area) in total is. IQ tests are made to challenge one on the field of logic and these test mainly follow western Europe and US (“modern”) way of logical thinking.”

      An old argument against IQ tests. Unfortunately, it’s very wrong:

      The Only Game in Town | West Hunter

      “u mentioned in one post how vegetable stands are unattended and how this type of “shoppping” probably wouldn’t work somewhere else… Only valid condition for this to work is that everyone in comunity has money (regardless of skin colour), and with that I mean enough money to buy everything they need to have a normal life. pure people are desperate and make desperate moves. No one is thief becouse it is fun.”

      You sure about that?

      Reply

  66. @and now finally something about the subject :)
    There is issue that slavs do not have civic spirit.. well yeah, we are a bit lazy but there are also some other issues. As szopeno said there is legacy of socialist times and all that it goes with that one..
    One big thing you all forgot is that all these countries are poor-which is most important part of the puzzle. When you have enough money (but not rich!) you can be civic active, you can also be altruistic and help people you don’t know and of course politician can’t so easily convince u that war in your country is such a good idea..

    but when people are poor they have to rely on their family- no one else can’t help you. money means you’re independent and then of course u can be individual as much as u like- but until that you are forced to live with your parents until 30 or 40 and act as member of comunity
    but question still remaines: was zadruga first or difficult times which enforced its formation..

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  67. @ang_li – “u mentioned in one post how vegetable stands are unattended and how this type of ‘shoppping’ probably wouldn’t work somewhere else… Only valid condition for this to work is that everyone in comunity has money (regardless of skin colour), and with that I mean enough money to buy everything they need to have a normal life. pure people are desperate and make desperate moves. No one is thief becouse it is fun.”

    sure. poor people are gonna be more desperate than someone with enough money, but also, i know — i know — that the “honor system vegetable stand” would never, ever work back in the european country where my (clannish) people are from and most of them are not poor. all of the vegetables would be gone in a flash along with the vegetable stand, any money that some fool happened to leave there, and the box for leaving the money.

    let me put it another way — in the u.s. of a. we have newspaper vending machines (at least we used to when printed papers were the thing) — drop in the price of a paper and take one. ONE.

    one of my relatives was visiting once from europe, and we stopped to get a paper, and he commented that if that had been back “home” there’d never be any papers in the machine ’cause the first person would empty it. i know he was right!

    it’s more than just poverty. it’s an attitude thing.

    Reply

    1. ” i know — i know — that the “honor system vegetable stand” would never, ever work back in the european country where my (clannish) people are from and most of them are not poor. all of the vegetables would be gone in a flash along with the vegetable stand, any money that some fool happened to leave there, and the box for leaving the money.”

      That those things existed in the first place was quite surprising to me when I first saw one. I first came across one in Hawaii (on Maui, on the road to Hana), selling banana bread. Growing up in New York City, the first thing that came to my mind was why would anyone do this? There’s nothing to stop someone from taking all the bread and all the money, or the whole stand even if they were feeling energetic. But my companions (all White) all seemed like it was perfectly normal…

      Reply

  68. @ang_li – “When you have enough money (but not rich!) you can be civic active, you can also be altruistic and help people you don’t know….”

    undoubtedly you are right. the wealthier you are — as a nation or as a people — the more civic and altruistic, etc., you can probably afford to be.

    but that is not the whole picture.

    africans are very civic — much more than eastern europeans — and, last time i checked, most african nations were pretty poor. at the same time, the middle east as a whole scores at the bottom of most civicness categories — when it’s not the eastern europeans at the bottom — and middle easterners are not that poor.

    there’s more to it than wealth vs. poverty, and the various histories of mating patterns in the various populations seem to be a better explanation for the differences.

    @ang_li – “was zadruga first or difficult times which enforced its formation.”

    yes, that is an important question, but again … if zadrugas are a response to difficult times, why don’t we see them popping up in other areas of the world during difficult times? the united states or england or germany or france during the great depression, for instance?

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  69. @jayman – “Growing up in New York City….”

    heh! yeah, i love nyc for many things, but an honor-system anything just wouldn’t work there. (~_^)

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  70. @jayman
    “An old argument against IQ tests. Unfortunately, it’s very wrong.”

    It is not science but you could check malcolm gladwells book “outliers” -has some nice examples how asian (I think chinese) people have lower average IQ but on average their students/pupils are best mathematicians in the world… (my point, if they are “stupid they wouldn’t be able to understand mathematical logic)
    and for link about IQ- same book- another example with R. Oppenheimer shows how not only high IQ is what makes one clever & successful :)

    “no one is thief because it is fun”

    there are always exceptions-what so ever the reason, but my starting thought is that people in general are not mean. :)

    p.s. what is with you guys always pointing out that some group or people are white… it sounds racist-a lot. just to let you know :)

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  71. @hbd chick

    “undoubtedly you are right. the wealthier you are — as a nation or as a people — the more civic and altruistic, etc., you can probably afford to be. there’s more to it than wealth vs. poverty ”

    you are right, but it is also not only because of way we lived- it is mixture of different things- social, econimic, geografical etc.

    maybe I didn’t elaborate that in my post about civic activities – we are 100% lazy when it comes to sports ;) but there is more gonig on behind the scenes- we are not members of different (official) groups etc. but we invest a lot of time on things like getting together with friends and family- and usually circle of relatives & friends is huge (that is point to zadruga’s legacy(?)) I am not sure how to explain this in a way that it makes sense..aha, I konw, recently I was on a scientific workshop in Germany. We were 20 participants from different parts of Europe (only 4 from slavic country). real group formed after 2-3 days- it was consisting of South Europeans. So the real line to seperate different behavioural pattern is North- South. yup, people from south make friends more easily and I’ll assume more social. point is- when you already are that social you don’t need extra civic activity. :)) Now u will say what about africans… I am not informed about that subject- so I’ll stay quiet :)
    bottom line is that u can’t use only one (very simple) explanation for something so complex- if one wants real answer- it is in interdisciplinar approach :))

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  72. WHY did all the slavic nations become totalitarian communistic nations in the first place?
    this one is very simple:
    first check the history- how it started- with revolution in russia. Killing of royal family was done by small group of comunists but this put everything else in movement. Russian pesants were in veeeeery bad condition-to put it mildly, they still had some type of feudalism and majority of population was hungry. and comunists were offering hope for better future, where there will be equal rights for everyone. So this is how comunists got lot of people following them and gaind power. now the problems started- first lenjin and then staljin even more- both killed all capable people who could realy make comunism work and turned it into totalirian regime under strict control of uncle staljin. in staljins hands every type of regime (including capitalism) would go that way.
    so now russia is comunistic- WWII was in Europe, staljin changed sides after hitler attacked so in the end sssr was standing with US and UK as winner. in order to crash nazis sssr and alies were fighting in all countries occuppied by germans- sssr was coming from east and alies from west. countries “fred” by sssr were under russia’s “protectorate” and comunism was enforced- russia military was present until things were not the way stalin wannted plus secret police was always active. not to think people liked this- who ever tried to do something ended dead. check on Prague spring or Nicolae Ceaușescu. to your disappointment it didn’t have nothing to do with family types in those countries :)

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  73. I have somehow feeling you have problems with socialism. i am not expert but idea of economic regime in which everyone has equal rights, from the lowest worker to engeneer. that people have public social insurance which will cover high expenses even for the poor, where whole education is free for everyone, where the rich have to pay more taxes in order to help poor.. what is wrong with that :)) of course there are other parts of this ideology which are not so nice or just can’t work in real life (i.e. if some company is “everyones” it means it is actually no ones- so no one cares and people were just working less and less. we still have a saying from those times, “they can’t pay me as low salary as how less I am capable of not working).
    and socialism is alive (in moderate form) in whole europe- look scandinavian countries- nice health ensurance, rich paying higher taxes, unemployment money… than france- new prseident is from social party… or how someone put it: social states (up to some degree) with free (capitalstic) open market.

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  74. @ang_li – “It is not science but you could check malcolm gladwells book ‘outliers'”

    very true. gladwell’s book “outliers” is definitely NOT science. (~_^)

    @ang_li – “how asian (I think chinese) people have lower average IQ….”

    nope.

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  75. @ang_li – “we are not members of different (official) groups etc. but we invest a lot of time on things like getting together with friends and family- and usually circle of relatives & friends is huge….”

    exactly — EXACTLY! — my point.

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  76. @ang_li:

    It is not science but you could check malcolm gladwells book ‘outliers’

    You’ve got that right.

    I’ve actually read Outliers, and in criticizing the case for innate IQ differences, Gladwell builds a pretty decent case for their existence.

    “has some nice examples how asian (I think chinese) people have lower average IQ but on average their students/pupils are best mathematicians in the world… (my point, if they are “stupid they wouldn’t be able to understand mathematical logic)”

    But, that’s wrong. East Asians test higher than Westerners on IQ, although this is mostly in mathematic/visuospatial ability.

    “and for link about IQ- same book- another example with R. Oppenheimer shows how not only high IQ is what makes one clever & successful :)”

    High IQ is not a prerequisite for success (just ask most professional athletes), but is a prerequisite for cleverness, almost by definition…

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  77. There is evidence that the extended family is an effective institution for survival but an obstacle to development.

    ->> but we are somehow stucked in this survival part :))

    and about russian late feudalism- I would search in history :)) maybe family types did/do play a role- but they do not exclude all other (more important) factors :))
    I think I’ll stop here since my knowledge on sociology & Co is based mainly on common knowledge and high school education.
    so, keep on rolling :)

    Reply

  78. @anonymous – “I would search in history….”

    but history (the record of human actions and behaviors) is (or ought to be) just a sub-discipline of biology. haven’t you heard? (~_^)

    Reply

  79. […] the time Finland had passed from Swedish to Russian control). The Slavs, apparently, especially the Eastern and Southern Slavs, seem to have continued marrying their cousins for quite awhile longer—and hence remain clannish. The obvious unknown is—despite the age of […]

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  80. Level of hate towards Slavs on west is just insane, Slavs actually never marry first cousins, you have medieval records about that, and churches keep birth records to prevent cousin marriage( at least in ex- YU , both churches Catholic and Orthodox one) reason why there was inbreeding is rise of Islam in medieval time. Still it was relatively small among Slavic Muslims compared to Turks, because thing you call zadruga is actually also known as rod, and you’re forbidden to marry “rod”. Rod is a thing inherited from old Slavic religion btw.

    Reply

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