where do clans come from?

in “Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations,” stanford economist avner greif wrote [pgs. 308-09]:

“There is a vast amount of literature that considers the importance of the family as an institution. Little attention, however, has been given to the impact of the family structure and its dynamics on institutions. This limits our ability to understand distinct institutional developments — and hence growth — in the past and present. This paper supports this argument by highlighting the importance of the European family structure in one of the most fundamental institutional changes in history and reflects on its growth-related implications.

“What constituted this change was the emergence of the economic and political corporations in late medieval Europe. Corporations are defined as consistent with their historical meaning: intentionally created, voluntary, interest-based, and self-governed permanent associations. Guilds, fraternities, universities, communes, and city-states are some of the corporations that have historically dominated Europe; businesses and professional associations, business corporations, universities, consumer groups, counties, republics, and democracies are examples of corporations in modern societies….

“In tracing the origins of the European corporations, we focus on their complementarity with the nuclear family. We present the reasons for the decline of kinship groups in medieval Europe and why the resulting nuclear family structure, along with other factors, led to corporations. European economic growth in the late medieval period was based on an unprecedented institutional complex of corporations and nuclear families, which, interestingly, still characterizes the West. More generally, European history suggests that this complex was conducive to long-term growth, although we know little about why this was the case or why it is difficult to transplant this complex to other societies….

“The conquest of the Western Roman Empire by Germanic tribes during the medieval period probably strengthened the importance of kinship groups in Europe. Yet the actions of the church caused the nuclear family — consisting of a husband and wife, children, and sometimes a handful of close relatives — to dominate Europe by the late medieval period.

The medieval church instituted marriage laws and practices that undermined kinship groups…. The church … restricted marriages among individuals of the same blood (consanguineous marriages), which had historically provided one means of creating and maintaining kinship groups….

“European family structures did not evolve monotonically toward the nuclear family, nor was their evolution geographically or socially uniform (Greif, 2006, chap. 8).** By the late medieval period, however, the nuclear family was dominant. Even among the Germanic tribes, by the eighth century the term ‘family’ denoted one’s immediate family and, shortly afterwards, tribes were no longer institutionally relevant. Thirteenth-century English court rolls reflect that even cousins were as likely to be in the presence of nonkin as with each other. The practices the church advocated (e.g., monogamy) are still the norm in Europe. Consanguineous marriages in contemporary Europe account for less than 1 percent of the total number of marriages, in contrast to Muslim and Middle Eastern countries where such marriages account for between 20 and 50 percent per country (Alan H. Bittles, 1994). Among the anthropologically defined 356 contemporary societies of Euro-Asia and Africa, there is a large and significant negative correlation between the spread of Christianity (for at least 500 years) and the absence of clans and lineages; the level of commercialization, class stratification, and state formation are insignificantly correlated (Andrey V. Korotayev, 2003).”
_____

the presence (or absence) of clans in societies is somehow connected to the mating patterns of societies. in fact, it seems to be that a whole range of kinship-based societal types is somehow connected to a whole range of mating patterns: the “closer” the mating patterns in a society, the more “clannish” it tends to be — the more distant the mating patterns, the less “clannish.”

so we see a spectrum of “clannish” societies ranging from the very individualistic western societies characterized by nuclear families and, crucially, very little inbreeding (cousin marriage, for instance) to very tribal arab or bedouin societies characterized by nested networks of extended families and clans and large tribal organizations and having very high levels of inbreeding (specifically a form of very close cousin marriage which increases the degree of inbreeding). falling somewhere in between these two extremes are groups like the chinese whose society is built mostly around the extended familiy but in some regions of china also clans — or the medieval scots (especially the highland scots) whose society for centuries was built around the clan (h*ck, they even coined the term!). these “in-betweener” groups are, or were, characterized by mid-levels of inbreeding (typically avoiding the very close cousin marriage form of the arabs).

furthermore, not only do the degrees of extended family-ness/clannish-ness/tribal-ness in societies seem to be connected to the degrees of inbreeding in those societies, the degrees of “clannism” also seem to be connected to the degree of inbreeding — the more inbreeding, the less civicness, the less democracy, the more corruption, and so on.

it’s not clear what exactly the mechanism(s) behind this inbreeding-leads-to-clannishness pattern is, but since mating patterns are involved, and mating is a very biological process, it seems likely (to me anyway) that the explanation is something biological — i.e. some sort or sorts of evolutionary process/es — like natural selection — resulting in different/different degrees of behavioral traits related to “clannism” in different populations with inbreeding acting as a sort of accelerant for those processes.

clans and clannism, then, are not things that peoples “fall back on” in the absence of a state as mark weiner suggests in The Rule of the Clan [kindle locations 106-108]:

“[I]n the absence of the state, or when states are weak, the individual becomes engulfed within the collective groups on which people must rely to advance their goals and vindicate their interests. Without the authority of the state, a host of discrete communal associations rush to fill the vacuum of power. And for most of human history, the primary such group has been the extended family, the clan.”

rather, people’s attachments to their extended families/clans/tribes — and, more importantly, their tendencies towards clannish behaviors — are likely innate behaviors. and those behaviors likely vary, on average, between populations since (long-term) mating patterns have varied — and, indeed, still vary — between populations.

such innate behaviors cannot be changed overnight — certainly not within a generation or even two (evolution does take some amount of time — but not, necessarily, extremely long amounts of time either) — and definitely not by simply changing a few laws here and there in the hopes of encouraging individualism. as avner greif grasped, although probably not fully because he’s likely missed the underlying biology of what he’s noticed, family structures need to be altered in order to effect changes to larger societal structures (again, all via tweaks to innate behavioral tendencies). and, again, that can’t be done overnight — as greif pointed out, the process in europe began in the early medieval period (with the church’s bans on cousin marriages) and didn’t really start to take hold until the late medieval period — i.e. a 500 year (or, conservatively, a ca. 25 generation) timeline.
_____

see also: Cousin Marriage Conundrum by steve sailer and Why Europe? by michael mitterauer (in particular chapter 3) and Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy: Lessons from Medieval Trade by avner greif.

**see “mating patterns in europe series” in left-hand column below ↓ for further details.

(note: comments do not require an email. busy clan members.)

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116 Comments

  1. “a bit broken-record-ish maybe”

    No i think a post like that every now and then is a good idea to catch wandering browsers.

    Reply

  2. Why did the church ban cousin marriage? And how did they get people to go along with it? If the Europeans were as tribal as, say, the modern day Arabs, it seems unlikely they would suddenly change just because some pope told them to.

    Reply

  3. Melykin

    “Why did the church ban cousin marriage?”

    People like St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas thought it would make the world a nicer place.

    https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/st-augustine-and-st-thomas-aquinas/

    Others may have seen the opportuinity to make money – as you could pay for dispensations.

    .
    “And how did they get people to go along with it?”

    They mostly didn’t :)

    .
    “If the Europeans were as tribal as, say, the modern day Arabs, it seems unlikely they would suddenly change just because some pope told them to.”

    They mostly wouldn’t :)

    The idea is that it didn’t take off fully until much later i.e. with the beginnings of manorialism from around 800-ish.

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  4. @melykin – “Why did the church ban cousin marriage?”

    well, that’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it?

    the anthropologist jack goody says the church banned cousin marriage — along with other things like divorce, adoption, and the remarriage of widows — as a way of getting the people to bequeath gifts to the church rather than to their family members (iow, it was a tactic by the church to enrich itself). if there was no cousin marriage, then connections between distant family members would be rather weak (which is, in fact, what happened) and then a dying person would be less likely to leave something to, say, their second cousin-once-removed and more likely to leave that something to the church.

    maybe. it’s a good and interesting argument.

    otoh, saints augustine and thomas aquinas argued that stopping people from marrying close kin would, again, cut extended family ties and people would become tied to other members of their community. in that way, a more christian society in which everybody cared for everybody else would be created. i think they were on to something!

    the reason(s) was probably a mixture of both — and some other things besides that i haven’t thought of.

    @melykin – “And how did they get people to go along with it? If the Europeans were as tribal as, say, the modern day Arabs, it seems unlikely they would suddenly change just because some pope told them to.”

    that’s even tougher to answer, and i don’t fully understand it myself.

    the process was definitely a long and drawn out one. the earliest bans on cousin marriage from the church came in (iirc) the 500s, but the church probably couldn’t enforce those bans very well because at that point in time people didn’t get married in a church. that didn’t happen until much later (sometime in the 1000s/1100s) — so it wasn’t until later in the medieval period that the church could really enforce its bans — although it certainly put a lot of pressure on kings and princes, threatening them with excommunication if they were caught marrying a cousin.

    additionally, another historian/anthropologist by the name of giorgio ausenda points out that secular authorities (kings and princes) also became interested in banning cousin marriages because they, too, found clans to be a nuisance (since they were often warring with one another). so you get a lot of kings passing laws against cousin marriage in medieval europe starting really early in the period. see the last couple of paragraphs in this post for more on this.

    i don’t know whether or not the pre-christian northern europeans were as tribal as modern day arabs, but i suspect not. pre-christian germanic society, anyway, was based around kindreds (see here and here) and kindreds seem to be looser familial connections than the clans/tribes you see in arabia.

    i agree, though — it’s hard to comprehend how these people went from thinking cousin marriage was the way to go to accepting the bans on such marriage, but they did. if you think about it, though, it’s hard to comprehend how and why they converted to christianity at all, but they did that, too. i mean, if some guy had come into my community and chopped down my sacred tree and the sacred tree of my ancestors, i would’ve chopped his head off! (but i guess that’s just me. (~_^) ) but many of the germanics and other north european populations eventually did accept christianity — and the cousin marriage bans — either willingly or under duress.

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  5. @melykin & g.w. – oh, yes — and there’s the dispensations, too, like greying wanderer mentioned. forgot about those! good money in that racket. (~_^) but that system wasn’t established until later in the period, so it wouldn’t have been one of the founding reasons for the cousin marriage ban.

    Reply

  6. @melykin – “Why did the church ban cousin marriage?”

    btw, other societies have also made attempts to ban cousin marriages — or at least one other society, namely, china. probably for the same reason as the secular authorities in medieval europe, i.e. that clans are a nuisance. the thing with china, though, is that they don’t seem to have ever enforced their cousin marriage bans. not even nowadays (maybe).

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  7. My first thought was that avner greif had been reading you. But clearly that was impossible. I wonder if he reads you now? In any case and in no case should you stop playing your record: it can play out in many different ways. You’ve only scratched the surface!

    As for why people accepted Christianity, a better question might be why people accepted servitude? All the great world religions (all four?) are responses to servitude. Each one made a virtue of necessity in its own particular way.

    Reply

  8. Readers might be interested in this paper by avner grief, “The Clan and the City: Sustaining Cooperation in China and Europe”

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2101460

    grief postulates that clannishness is a natural predisposition, which, presumably, means genetic, and he offers some evidence for its persistence among second generation Chinese immigrants in Canada. So score a point for hbd*chick’s more pessimistic view of the situation.

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  9. “Among the anthropologically defined 356 contemporary societies of Euro-Asia and Africa, there is a large and significant negative correlation between the spread of Christianity (for at least 500 years) and the absence of clans and lineages”

    Within Europe it’s my impression that the first commercial states (Holland and England) are the exception to the above generalization. I think extended family and nepotism are far more important in Italy (including N. Italy) and other Med states than in England. Should that kind of clan-type tendency not be weaker where the Church was strongest earliest? I mean the England and the NETHERLANDS became Christian FAR later than med countries. Moreover Engand was the first protestant country which hardly suggests the Church influence was ever strong there. Of course the local lords and may have been powerful and wanting to supress clans. Holland ‘s Calvinism was a movement by the economically succesful middle classes, not the aristocracy. It seems to me that the first modern European states were in the countries where the Church and clans had always been weakest.

    TO Willetts, the key to Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism is the nuclear family structure. “When it comes to families, England was the first nuclear power,” Willetts quips.

    In his important first chapter, to which he gives the unapologetic title “Who We Are,” Willetts explains the “deep features” that have distinguished England, and its overseas offshoots, from the rest of the world.

    England has been “not just different from Papua New Guinea or Pakistan; it is also quite different from France and Italy and most of Continental Europe,” except for Holland and Denmark.

    And this difference dates to at least 1250—and perhaps back to (or beyond) the Dark Age days of King Canute.

    Following Cambridge anthropologist Alan Macfarlane, Willetts attributes this northwestern European model to the folkways of the ancient Germanic tribes. As Ben Franklin noted, “Britain was formerly the America of the Germans.”’

    And this difference dates to at least 1250—and perhaps back to (or beyond) the Dark Age days of King Canute.

    Following Cambridge anthropologist Alan Macfarlane, Willetts attributes this northwestern European model to the folkways of the ancient Germanic tribes. As Ben Franklin noted, “Britain was formerly the America of the Germans.”

    Reply

  10. In line with what others have already said it seems like the Church was a catalyst rather than a ultimate cause. Perhaps they simply capitalized on the weakness of the European clans or kindred groups? Ultimately it may be that this goes back to agriculturalism/pastoralism or even earlier differences due to living in different climates.

    It’s very hard to distinguish between cause and effect; there is probably a back and forth interplay going on here. It seems to me you need more planning to be an agriculturalist than to be a pastoralist. This would select for things like intelligence and traits like conscientiousness, introversion. In the agricultural sphere the need for these qualities, especially IQ, would put a limit on the inbreeding – the children of the stupid farmer would starve.

    Then you have the climate. The harsh northern climate is harder to survive in. And maybe that’s where this divide between tribals and individualists started. Regardless of your livelihood, the climate means you have smaller margins and the change of seasons means you need more planning. You have to think ahead, be smarter, less impulsive and more conscientious.

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  11. Holland and England made the breakthrough to a commercial state first, and they didn’t have that much in common. Doesn’t that narrow it down?

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  12. @sean – “Holland and England made the breakthrough to a commercial state first, and they didn’t have that much in common.”

    once again you haven’t done your reading, and you’ve got the wrong idea.

    as i’ve said many, many times here on the blog, the netherlands (minus frisia) and england together seem to be the heart of outbred “core” europe. the netherlands was a part of austrasia where manorialism started, and by very early in the medieval period, there is very good evidence (court records) showing that both the english and folks in the netherlands (minus frisia) — and belgium — were outbreeding extensively.

    so, yes, indeed — holland and england made the breakthrough to a commercial state first — and they (along with probably some belgians and northeastern french) have the longest history of outbreeding in europe.

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  13. @luke – “My first thought was that avner greif had been reading you.”

    no, i first found out from greif — from that paper — that the church had banned cousin marriage in europe. in fact, i quoted him in that original post: whatever happened to european tribes? (^_^)

    i owe a big debt to greif! (or, alternatively, now you know who to blame…. (~_^) )

    Reply

  14. @luke – “grief postulates that clannishness is a natural predisposition, which, presumably, means genetic, and he offers some evidence for its persistence among second generation Chinese immigrants in Canada.”

    oh! i have to go back and look at that paper again — i don’t remember that. thanks! i did reference that paper in this post, btw.

    Reply

  15. @sean – “I think extended family and nepotism are far more important in Italy (including N. Italy) and other Med states than in England.”

    absolutely. less so in northern italy than in the south, though.

    @sean – “Should that kind of clan-type tendency not be weaker where the Church was strongest earliest?”

    no. it should only be weaker where the populations actually outbred — if they actually followed the church’s (and various secular authorities’) cousin marriage bans. if they didn’t — like in italy — it doesn’t matter one jot how long the church had been there. (don’t forget the effects of manorialism, too. this is a sort-of double-barrelled process, afaict.)

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  16. @sean – “It seems to me that the first modern European states were in the countries where the Church and clans had always been weakest.”

    where clans had always been weakest, yes, possibly (probably). i’ve already discussed that at some length here and here and here and here.

    Reply

  17. @staffan – “In line with what others have already said it seems like the Church was a catalyst rather than a ultimate cause. Perhaps they simply capitalized on the weakness of the European clans or kindred groups?

    well, germanic populations, anyway — not all european groups. it seems as though the cousin marriage bans were taken to heart/had the most impact upon germanic populations, and there are a couple of likely reasons for this which i’ve discussed in several previous posts (here and here and here and here).

    several of us have, for some time now, been mulling over the question: was there something different/special about the pre-christian germans? the two things that i’ve found out are (and maybe there are others — we’ve been wondering about personality types, too!): 1) they had bilateral kinship, and 2) their society was structured around kindreds and not clans per se (see those posts i linked to above). kindreds seem to me to be looser familial groups than clans — your kindred are all your relatives on both sides of your family usually out to your second cousins. so, unlike clans where everyone is typically descended from a single, patrilineal apex ancestor, everyone’s kindred is different (siblings share the same kindred). it’s a kinda floating system. it’s still “clannish,” but to me it seems less clannish than an actual clan system — which is what you find in places like medieval scotland and ireland, the balkans, etc. clans are more rigid.

    so it may have been that the pre-christian germanic societies were more easily broken apart by outbreeding because they were already relatviely loosely connected. more connected than the english or the dutch or germans today, but less connected than, say, albanians today.

    other pre-christian western european groups seem to have been more clannish than the germans and stuck to their clannishness for longer: the irish, the scots, the spanish, the italians (esp. the southern italians) (see mating patterns in europe series below in left-hand column). mind you, i don’t know how the pre-christian gaulish or pre-christian iberian societies were structured. i still need to find that out!

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  18. @staffan – “Then you have the climate. The harsh northern climate is harder to survive in. And maybe that’s where this divide between tribals and individualists started. Regardless of your livelihood, the climate means you have smaller margins and the change of seasons means you need more planning. You have to think ahead, be smarter, less impulsive and more conscientious.”

    well, then you’d think there’d be more clannishness or tribalism up north than down south, but in europe today it’s the other way around. and middle eastern farmers are very tribalistic and they’ve got a nice climate, too.

    there’s definitely a pastoral-agricultralist divide: pastoralists tend to inbreed more and are usually clannish/tribal. but plenty of agriculturalists inbreed and are clannish/tribal, too — think anyone in the middle east like egyptians for instance. or the chinese.

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  19. Sean
    “Holland and England made the breakthrough to a commercial state first, and they didn’t have that much in common. Doesn’t that narrow it down?”

    Yes, one of the things they had in common was outbreeding earliest.

    There are couple of possible explanations as to why the church’s cousin ban may have taken off where it did, when it did
    1) The Germanics were already susceptible to it for some reason
    2) Heavy plow.

    If you imagine it as a battle of power. In an old settled clannish village you might have the priest saying no cousin marriage and the whole village saying go to hell, we’ll carry on with out traditional way and if the priest argues too much he gets thrown in a swamp.

    However in a *new* settlement with a knight, his men at arms and the priest all saying no cousin marriages and with the villagers all coming from *different* villages anyway then the balance of power would be very different.

    The invention of the heavy plow and the subsequent spread of lots of *new* manorial settlements cut out of the northern forests provides that shift in the balance of power imo.

    (Could be both as well.)

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  20. Geographical isolation of a population seems to be one of the main issues in preserving the clan system in certain parts of Europe. Rugged terrain is a key factor. The regions in which populations practiced feuds or vendettas until very recently all fall into these categories, eg Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, southern Italian peninsula, Balkans, Scottish Highlands, etc. These type of environments were less able to support agriculture and more suited to pastoralism. Populations were less mobile over larger areas and became more territorial and hostile to outsiders, and less likely to engage in trade but rather to attack neighbouring groups and steal their resources. On the other hand in the regions of Europe which we know abandoned the clan system earlier, large areas of terrain are flatter, there are long coastlines and wide river valleys, land is more navigable and accessible, soils are more fertile and better suited to agriculture. Populations therefore are more mobile and also the environment is able to support greater population densities. As a result trade and intermarriage between neighbouring groups would be more likely practiced to a greater extent. In my opinion this helped weaken the clans in these regions long before the Church ban on cousin marriage. Whereas this was not the case in the geographically isolated and mountainous regions of Europe. I suspect that the English Channel region, Seine basin, Rhineland, Low Countries and South East England experienced greater population mobility, intermarriage, trade, agriculture and higher population density from early on in the post-Neolithic peroid and this had already weakened the clans to a much greater extent, and in turn made them more amenable to the cousin marriage ban.

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  21. ” it should only be weaker where the populations actually outbred — if they actually followed the church’s (and various secular authorities’) cousin marriage bans. if they didn’t — like in italy — it doesn’t matter one jot how long the church had been there. (don’t forget the effects of manorialism, too. this is a sort-of double-barrelled process, afaict.”

    The Norman Conquest has to be an important factor making England different. (From Holland) I wonder about clan groupings of the pauperised Saxons daring to be bothersome enough for the Church and state or lord of the manor stopping them marrying consanguineously after the conquest when Norman lords of the manor were not challenged by locals.. I also wonder how much property was left to 2nd cousins. Nieces and nephews I can believe.

    Around 1500 in Europe births increased, some say because of a 1484 ruling by Pope Innocent VIII r decreeing the death penalty for practising birth control and abortion. However the rise began in England and Holland first. Laws by the the Church rulings seem to explain things, but was the church stronger in England and Holland?

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  22. Kindreds melt into the air (like smoke) with each passing generation. Especially if you have lots of children. That’s just an intuition; I haven’t done the math.

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  23. @sean – “Ancient Roman (pre Christian) ban on consanguineous marriage here.”

    yes. but do note two things: 1) those are ROMANS and NOT other europeans, in particular not northern europeans, and 2) the ban was on second cousin marriages, not all consanguineous marriages.

    quoting from macdonald (your source) [pgs. 370-71]:

    “In marked contrast, there was a long tradition favoring exogamy at Rome. The ancient law prohibited marriage with second cousins (e.g., Gardner 1986; von Unger-Sternberg 1986; Thomas 1980; Watson 1975), or, indeed all relatives [i.e. more distant than second cousins because >>], since the Romans did not count beyond second cousins (Watson 1975). Practices regarding incest became more relaxed later in the Republic and during the Empire, and, indeed, Thomas (1980) shows that first-cousin marriage was sometimes used by the aristocracy as a marriage strategy aimed at consolidating resources and power beginning near the end of the third century B.C…. Similarly, Saller (1991, 342) concludes that “[s]ome Romans of the pre-Christian era did marry cousins, but not with enough regularity that the late-fourth century law of Theododius can be said to have taken away a significant inheritance strategy.”
    _____

    there is a lot of debate amongst the historians/scholars as to whether or not cousin marriage was banned in ancient rome, and/or to what degree, and if so during what time periods.

    see, for example, jack goody pages 50-53, in which he concludes: “The is therefore no reason to suggest that the preferred marriage of the Arab world … was forbidden in the Roman world, any more than it was in Ancient Greece, where it was actually prescribed for an heiress, an epiklerate…. Certainly, as the writings of Livy show, by the year 171 B.C. there was no question of any disapprobation of it (Liv. XLII. 34).”

    also The Roman Family pg. 82: “In earlier Roman law, marriages between close kin had been subject to sanctions, but it is not clear that it was ever illegal in the sense that it was a crime. There was a tradition that cousin marriage had been illegal or discountenanced in archaic Rome, but it seems to have been acceptable from an early period. Livy has the long-serving and highly decorated old citizen soldier Sp. Ligustinus, a model of antique virtue, speak of his marriage to this undowered cousin, apparently towards the end of the third century B.C. Authors of the late Republic and early Empire certainly seem to find nothing worthy of comment in the marriage of cousins. St. Augustine claimed that cousin marriage was rare in his day….”
    _____

    i haven’t spent much time looking into the mating patterns of rome (i will do one of these days!), so i don’t know what the full story is. but one thing is certain, whatever system or systems they had in rome do NOT apply to other areas of europe — especially those areas that remained outside the empire.

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  24. @luke – “Kindreds melt into the air (like smoke) with each passing generation.”

    absolutely. once you die, your kindred dissipates. your kindred is unique to you (and your siblings) [pg. 164+].

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  25. @sean – “The Norman Conquest has to be an important factor making England different. (From Holland)”

    sure. different from holland and everywhere else on the continent.

    @sean – “I wonder about clan groupings of the pauperised Saxons daring to be bothersome enough for the Church and state or lord of the manor stopping them marrying consanguineously after the conquest when Norman lords of the manor were not challenged by locals.”

    both phillpotts and lancaster say that anglo-saxon “clans” (really kindreds, because the germanics didn’t have clans) were gone (or almost gone) in england BEFORE the arrival of the normans. they differ in the dating: phillpotts says 600-700s; lancaster says 1000s.

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  26. @sean – “Around 1500 in Europe births increased, some say because of a 1484 ruling by Pope Innocent VIII r decreeing the death penalty for practising birth control and abortion. However the rise began in England and Holland first.”

    that’s interesting. do you have a reference?

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  27. @chrisdavies09 – “Geographical isolation of a population seems to be one of the main issues in preserving the clan system in certain parts of Europe. Rugged terrain is a key factor. The regions in which populations practiced feuds or vendettas until very recently all fall into these categories, eg Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, southern Italian peninsula, Balkans, Scottish Highlands, etc. These type of environments were less able to support agriculture and more suited to pastoralism. Populations were less mobile over larger areas and became more territorial and hostile to outsiders, and less likely to engage in trade but rather to attack neighbouring groups and steal their resources. On the other hand in the regions of Europe which we know abandoned the clan system earlier, large areas of terrain are flatter, there are long coastlines and wide river valleys, land is more navigable and accessible, soils are more fertile and better suited to agriculture. Populations therefore are more mobile and also the environment is able to support greater population densities. As a result trade and intermarriage between neighbouring groups would be more likely practiced to a greater extent.”

    absolutely! yes, to all of that!

    there does seem to be a general trend that peoples in mountainous (or other difficult-to-access) terrains inbreed and are clannish more so than peoples who live on the flat (see here and here). and the anthropologists have been noting for some time that pastoralists really tend to marry closely, many of them practicing the closest form of cousin marriage, father’s brother’s daughter’s marriage.

    along with the church’s (and secular authorities’) bans on cousin marriage, the new agricultural system in medieval europe — the manorial system — also seems to have helped in breaking down the kindreds/clans, since those who ran manors didn’t want to deal with clans or kindreds but just nuclear families (this didn’t apply with the manors in eastern europe, btw — see chapter 2 in mitterauer’s Why Europe? for more on this). as greying wanderer said above:

    “The invention of the heavy plow and the subsequent spread of lots of *new* manorial settlements cut out of the northern forests provides that shift in the balance of power imo.”

    @chrisdavies09 – “In my opinion this helped weaken the clans in these regions long before the Church ban on cousin marriage.”

    i don’t think that can be the whole story, though, because if it were, why were the early medieval eastern slavs so much more clannish than the germanics? they didn’t have kindreds, but, rather, patrilineal extended families and clans. and similarly why were the medieval irish so much more clannish than the germanics? they also didn’t have kindreds, but, rather, patrilineal clans. neither of these groups lived in particularly mountainous areas — however both groups married closely (see here and here).

    another group to compare/contrast the germanics to is the chinese: literally millennia of farming, but also literally millennia of close marriage. and they are just as “clannish” as ever (see here and here and here).

    the pre-christian germanics had a “clannish” sort of society in that it was based around kindreds — and those kindreds were, for instance, entitled to weregild payments if one of their members was murdered and were also entitled to engage in a blood feud if they didn’t receive that payment. in that way (and in others) pre-christian germanic society was “clannish” — but it was a society less clannish than those societies actually based around clans. perhaps that has to do with them living on the flat. alternatively, or perhaps also, teh anthropologists have suggested that societies have bilateral kinship (like the pre-christian germanics) have that system because they live in a harsh environment. maybe. dunno.

    in any event, i think the subsequent (post-christian) outbreeding of northern europeans changed their societies dramatically. the push for this outbreeding came from the church and tptb, and the manor system further helped to break down kindreds and clans. the germanics seem to have been the most, and most quickly, affected of all the european groups (with some notable exceptions like the frisians) probably because they already had a comparatively loosely structured kinship system (and maybe for other reasons, too — some personality traits that made them adopt the outbreeding quickly and enthusiastically?). other europeans with tighter kinship groups were also affected though — like the irish and the scots — only at a later point in time, probably both because they started outbreeding later and because they started off from a more inbred, more clannish point. other populations, like the albanians, have barely shifted out of tribalism at all — because they haven’t really been outbreeding at all (see also here).

    (sorry if this comment sounds like a broken record, too. i was just enjoying thinking through the argument again! (^_^) )

    Reply

  28. hbd chick – I hope that Robin Fox book, Kinship and Marriage, is good because I just ordered a copy. $3.89 shipping included, Abebooks

    Reply

  29. @luke – ” I hope that Robin Fox book, Kinship and Marriage, is good because I just ordered a copy.”

    oh, well — you tell me! i’ve only poked around in it on google books. (^_^) ($3.89 was a good price!)

    Reply

  30. chrisdavies
    “Geographical isolation of a population seems to be one of the main issues in preserving the clan system in certain parts of Europe”

    Agree but i think if northern europe was still mostly one giant forest that would apply to northern europe also.

    .
    “On the other hand in the regions of Europe which we know abandoned the clan system earlier, large areas of terrain are flatter, there are long coastlines and wide river valleys, land is more navigable and accessible, soils are more fertile and better suited to agriculture.”

    Before the heavy plow? My understanding is that all of that is true but only after the heavy plow was invented and spread. Before that the heavy soils of the valley bottoms couldn’t be farmed and settlements were greatly restricted to patches of loess soils along the rivers and the lighter soils higher up.

    .
    “and similarly why were the medieval irish so much more clannish than the germanics? they also didn’t have kindreds, but, rather, patrilineal clans. neither of these groups lived in particularly mountainous areas”

    I think in Ireland’s case it’s less that the land was marginal and therefore pastoralism was practised as a substitute but that the land was particularly suited to cattle and so pastoralism was practised in preference (or maybe it was marginal for crops for the same reason it was good for cattle i.e. very heavy rainfall.

    -heavy rainfall
    — lush grass
    — fat cattle
    —- pastoralism
    —– clans

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  31. @g.w. – “Before the heavy plow? My understanding is that all of that is true but only after the heavy plow was invented and spread.”

    yes, i think this is right.

    @g.w. – “I think in Ireland’s case it’s less that the land was marginal and therefore pastoralism was practised as a substitute but that the land was particularly suited to cattle and so pastoralism was practised in preference….”

    probably. it’s definitely true that the iron age and early medieval — and late medieval — irish were cattlemen. i can’t remember why mitterauer said they didn’t adopt the new farming techniques, including adopting rye (they stuck to the old barley) — i’ll have to go look it up.

    @g.w. – “i.e. very heavy rainfall”

    sheesh! it’s a wonder the island isn’t under water! (^_^)

    Reply

  32. hubchik
    “i can’t remember why mitterauer said they didn’t adopt the new farming techniques”

    My guess would be the cost/benefit wasn’t as good because of the climate i.e. the returns on the new crops weren’t as good because of the latitude / rain / wind while at the same time the return from cattle was higher.

    Just a guess though.

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  33. Interesting that pastoral societies are the most clannish because it has been speculated more than once (Veblen among others) that early civilizations began when pastoral tribesmen overran (conquered) settled agricultural areas. In Ancient Iraq (and elsewhere too very often) the earliest agricultural societies (so-called horticultural societies) had matrilineal kinship systems, including matrilocal residence, and worshiped female fertility goddesses. I’m not sure how such systems played out (the women weren’t actually in control, at least not “officially” in matters of defense) and don’t recall anything about cousins marrying cousins. They were certainly not organized for military offense and, to judge by the results, not well organized for military defense either. Maybe the men got lazy with not much hunting to do?

    Malinowski describes in great detail such a society in his classic ethnography, The Trobriand Islanders, and also in The Sexual Life of Savages (catchy title!) which I read almost fifty years ago. One thing I remember is that the discipline of children was not in the husband’s hands but rather the wife’s brothers. In fact the Trobriand Islanders didn’t believe husbands were biologically related to their children. Women were impregnated by spirits in the woods. When Malinowski explained to them the facts of life (intrusive fellow he) they just laughed in his face. There are women in the village so ugly that no man would sleep with them, they explained, and yet they get pregnant! Not sure how he responded to that. There were ranks in Trobriand society, though nothing extreme, with much attention given to the competitive trading of beautiful shell bracelets with other tribes on surrounding islands (the so-called kula ring). If there was warfare it was not the conquering kind.

    Anyway, back on the mainland, once conquered free horticulturists become not-so-free peasants with a considerably longer working day (he he). We see images of men working in the fields for the first time and, whether gradually or suddenly, matrilineal kinship systems disappear. Then Patriarchy begins! Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t recall a single fully developed civilization that did not practice patriarchy. It is true the Iroquois were still matrilineal at the time of first European contact, and their confederation of five tribes, which was militarily aggressive, looked like it might have been on the way to conquering its neighbors. But they didn’t get there so we don’t really know what would have happened next.

    Now try to imagine a society that is both matrilineal and matrilocal and in which it is the custom for sisters’ children to marry each other. Supposing men still had final say in matters of war and peace, would it have the same problems as its pastoral opposite?

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  34. Sorry, but I’m switching feet here to argue the exact opposite of what I was previously about the Normans. If Anglo-saxon kindreds were almost gone BEFORE the arrival of the Normans (who were licenced by the Pope to attack England) then the alien post Norman conquest manorialism was largely irrelevant to Saxon kindreds dissappearing. I have trouble believing the Norman Conquest had so little effect.

    Gunnar Heinsohn interview A Continent of Losers is the ref. He says everything – especially political unrest – boils down to birthrates producing a younth bulge . He predicted the Arab spring. He predicts European nations’ birthrates mean THAT

    Gregory Clark says violent males are rewarded with reproductive success in simple clan-based societies. It would be interesting to know whether consanguineous marriage influences the overall birthrate.

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  35. “well, then you’d think there’d be more clannishness or tribalism up north than down south, but in europe today it’s the other way around. and middle eastern farmers are very tribalistic and they’ve got a nice climate, too.”

    No, I’m thinking like this: a warmer climate would mean more food and less exposure to the environment, less need to plan for the winter. It would be easy to survive and the population would expand until you bump into the neighboring tribe. Up north there will be less population growth and for that reason less intergroup competition. Survival will be more about how to get food and shelter and plan for the changing seasons.

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  36. @staffan – “No, I’m thinking like this: a warmer climate would mean more food and less exposure to the environment, less need to plan for the winter. It would be easy to survive and the population would expand until you bump into the neighboring tribe. Up north there will be less population growth and for that reason less intergroup competition. Survival will be more about how to get food and shelter and plan for the changing seasons.”

    i see what you’re saying. but that wouldn’t explain why the early medieval slavic populations to the east were more clannish than the early medieval germans, despite the fact that they lived in a harsher climate. and if you look away from the agriculturalists, all bets are off: eskimos are nearly as clannish as the yanomamo — and then the semai of malaysia are not.

    i agree, though, that in areas that are densely populated, clannish behaviors can be exacerbated. a lot!

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  37. @sean – “If Anglo-saxon kindreds were almost gone BEFORE the arrival of the Normans (who were licenced by the Pope to attack England) then the alien post Norman conquest manorialism was largely irrelevant to Saxon kindreds dissappearing. I have trouble believing the Norman Conquest had so little effect.”

    oh, i’m sure the norman conquest had a huge effect on english society — obviously. but as far as the anglo-saxon kindreds go, they were gone, or very much on their way out, before the normans got there. see my previous posts (linked to in my above response to you) where i discuss the evidence presented by both phillpotts and lancaster. (ftr, i think lancaster’s later date is probably correct. she looked at court/legal records [like wills] in addition to the laws and tales that phillpotts looked at.)

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  38. @g.w. – “My guess would be the cost/benefit wasn’t as good because of the climate i.e. the returns on the new crops weren’t as good because of the latitude / rain / wind while at the same time the return from cattle was higher.”

    yes. sounds right.

    mitterauer is kinda vague about why the irish didn’t adopt the new crops/manorialism: he says the “ecology” (which must be all the rain, etc.), but also talks about how the prevailing social structures — the clans — blocked the adoption of the bipartite manor system. which is, of course, what he would say, ’cause he’s the one from whom i got the argument that the manor system helped to break down clans, i.e. which is why tptb banned cousin marriage (to get rid of the troublesome clans) … which didn’t happen in early medieval ireland … yada, yada, yada.

    from mitterauer [pgs. 42-43]:

    “The situation in early medieval Ireland can shed light on the inter-connections between the predominance of cattle breeding and lordship over the land and its people. Structures analogous to the Frankish manorial *system* did not emerge there, but manorial *forms* certainly did. Irish lords distributed arable land to unfree, homeless people, the so-called *fuidri.* In general, slaves and serflike unfree people were an essential part of Irish rural society. Unlike ther *servi casati* on the Frankish estates, the Irish *fuidri* did not have to perform plowing service on the demesne; they did not possess the necessary draft animals, so they did not become plowmen. Grain was not grown in Ireland on a grand scale. The *fuidri* might be compared to the *servi cottidiani* of the Frankish Empire, who also kept huts on manorial land and became cottagers, small farmers (Seldner), hut dwellers, and so on.

    “The groups ranking socially higher among the dependents of a great lord were not given land as a fief but cattle, which they herded along with their own. There was no way a ‘classic manorial system,’ in the sense of a bipartite division of land, could have been established in an economy based on the loaning of livestock. Even if oxen for plowing happened to be included among the animals loaned by the lord, this did not also mean that the lord’s land would be farmed. Those who received animals in fief were classed as the lord’s clients. A distinctions was drawn between base clientship (*doer cheilsine*), and a free clientship (*soer cheilsine*). Base clients had to provide their lord with dues from animal husbandry, such as meat, sausage, or bacon, as well as from crops. They carried out farm labor, which was classed as servile. Free clients paid for loaned cattle with calves and assisted the lord further by building fortifications, taking part in military campaigns, and helping with the harvest — duties that apparently did not imply a lowering of one’s status. These patron-client relations did not generate a *familia* as they did on Frankish estates; social structuring was still maintained through kinship…. Because of these agrarian contexts and the aligning of its social structures with kinship, the organization of power developed very different in early medieval Ireland than in the Frankish Empire.”

    Reply

  39. @sean – “Gunnar Heinsohn interview A Continent of Losers is the ref.”

    there’s nothing there about the populations of england and holland rising first in the 1500s.

    Reply

  40. I’m having trouble retrieving the reference, it may be in the NYT article HERE but it’s behind a paywall now. Peter Frost refers to Holland and England being first and gives an explaination which dovetails with why Holland and England became the first commercial states here . And the post makes an telling point about wich maleso get reproductive success in clan societies

    Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that though a great increase in population was subsequent to the Church banning birth control, it is not that clear cut because England and Holland were protestant and presumably not inclined to follow the Pope’s ruling. I was realy trying to draw a parrallel with reading too much into any Church ruling on consanguineous marriage.

    On the other hand there does seem to be a youth bulge in Catholic Portugal at about the right time. See here

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  41. Just thinking out loud here. England Holland and Denmark (the Anglo Saxon homeland) have similar family structure as well as soils and they were ethnically similar too. So the key factor lies in the heavy plough. The heavy plough seems to have been a Danish invention. So at bottom, it was their inherent inventiveness which enabled Anglo Saxon countries to have a nuclear family based society. And there was more innovation, as Holland and England were able to move to being commercial states. Then England started the industrial revolution.

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  42. @sean – “I’m having trouble retrieving the reference, it may be in the NYT article HERE but it’s behind a paywall now.”

    there is no link there.

    @sean – “Peter Frost refers to Holland and England being first and gives an explaination which dovetails with why Holland and England became the first commercial states here.”

    at that link, peter frost said:

    “The surge in birth rates was actually strongest in Protestant England and Holland.”

    STRONGEST. not earliest, which is what you said.

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  43. @sean – “Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that though a great increase in population was subsequent to the Church banning birth control, it is not that clear cut because England and Holland were protestant and presumably not inclined to follow the Pope’s ruling.”

    peter frost said at that very link that you provided that the population increase had nothing to do at all with the church’s ban on birth control but, rather, a switch to cottage industry, so your example is … nonsensical … at best.

    @sean – “I was realy trying to draw a parrallel with reading too much into any Church ruling on consanguineous marriage.”

    the parallel doesn’t hold because: 1) your example is nonsensical, and 2) the church’s (and tptb’s) cousin marriage bans very much reduced cousin marriage in europe. READ the historians to which i have referred you … over and over and over again … mitterauer. goody. ausenda.

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  44. Among the anthropologically defined 356 contemporary societies of Euro-Asia and Africa, there is a large and significant negative correlation between the spread of Christianity (for at least 500 years) and the absence of clans and lineages

    I’m thinking either “negative” should be removed/replaced with “positive” or “absence” should be replaced with “existence/presence” here, right?

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  45. @the awesome epigone – “I’m thinking either ‘negative’ should be removed/replaced with ‘positive’ or ‘absence’ should be replaced with ‘existence/presence’ here, right?”

    heh! yes, you are right. i’d better go back to the original and make sure i’ve quoted him correctly (i just cut-and-pasted, so i must’ve…).

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  46. Historians like Goody have found Church rullings against marriage coinciding with fewer marriages between relatives in the same way Heisohn has found church rulinjgs against birth control. But in both rulings the strongest effect seems not to have been in countries where the church was strongest, like Italy or Spain, but in 3 anglo saxon countries where the church was relatively weak (and which later became protestant). I don’t think the Church rulings were at all important in changing marriage patterns in Saxon England. Manorialism, often with the aid of the heavy plough, was far more important.

    How the heavy plough changed the world ‘The heavy plough turned European agriculture and economy on its head. Suddenly the fields with the heavy, fatty and moist clay soils became those that gave the greatest yields,” explains Professor Thomas Barnebeck Andersen of the University of Southern Denmark. “The economy in these places improved and this sparked the growth of big cities with more people and more trade. The heavy plough started an upward spiral in new areas.”’

    THE JUMP-START OF THE HOLLAND ECONOMY DURING THE LATE MEDIEVAL CRISIS, C. 1350 – C. 1500 “Between 1000 and 1300 Holland had been a frontier-economy, a nearly uninhabited region, in which large-scale reclamations were undertaken. Large numbers of peasants were induced to settle in the new lands, attracted by the favourable conditions for settlement offered by the entrepreneurs of these reclamation projects, the locatores …In this frontier-economy, labour was scarce and land relativelyabundant, which must have pushed up nominal wages”

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  47. @sean – “Historians like Goody have found Church rullings against marriage coinciding with fewer marriages between relatives in the same way Heisohn has found church rulinjgs against birth control. But in both rulings the strongest effect seems not to have been in countries where the church was strongest, like Italy or Spain, but in 3 anglo saxon countries where the church was relatively weak (and which later became protestant).”

    do you have any evidence — any evidence at all — for the church having been weaker in england, the netherlands, and/or denmark? no, i didn’t think so.

    as i’ve said to you over and over and over and over and over and over again … and now i’m BEGGING you … please, please, pleeeeeeeaaaaaase read the sources i’ve given you. mitterauer. goody. ausenda. etc. these are all available on google books for free (clear your cookies every now and again in order to load more pages), or you can go to your local library and borrow them.

    all of them are in agreement that BOTH the church AND secular authorities largely eliminated cousin marriage in europe, mostly northwestern europe. for various reasons, the peripheral countries of europe started on this outbreeding project later than “core” europe and/or had that process interrupted (like the muslim invasion in southern spain — they just encouraged cousin marriage there, of course — so cousin marriage in spain is, partially, a legacy of there having been an islamic state there, not so much because a “strong” catholic church somehow failed to stop cousin marriage there). see my “mating patterns in europe series” in left-hand column below for some more details on what happened in these peripheral regions.

    yes, manorialism was important, but not in stopping cousin marriage, but rather in breaking down clans/extended families into nuclear ones. (some ecclesiastical manors, however, may have policed cousin marriages, though.)

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  48. @sean – “‘How the heavy plough changed the world ‘… ‘THE JUMP-START OF THE HOLLAND ECONOMY DURING THE LATE MEDIEVAL CRISIS, C. 1350 – C. 1500′”

    NEITHER of these sources says ANYTHING about the heavy plow having been invented in denmark.

    again, you are imagining things or having MAJOR reading comprehension problems … or you are a troll making sh*t up.

    stop it. stop posting things that aren’t true.

    Reply

  49. “The heavy plough seems to have been a Danish invention.”

    The heavy plough may well have had the biggest impact along the north european plain from the eastern half of England to the western half of Poland but so far i haven’t found anyone who seems to know where it was invented – possibly because it wasn’t as dramatically useful where it was invented? If i had to guess i’d say probably China.

    .
    “I don’t think the Church rulings were at all important in changing marriage patterns in Saxon England. Manorialism, often with the aid of the heavy plough, was far more important.”

    I think this discussion is missing one of the points from some of hubchik’s early posts which IIRC showed that both southern and northern europe had dramatically lower levels of consanquinity than elsewhere. This could be taken as evidence of the effect of the cousin ban.

    The north-south division needs at least one additional factor – which the heavy plough and manorialism provides however the effect of manorialism could have come in two ways, firstly through some direct effect to do with aspects of manorialism itself or secondly the new manors may have created the conditions for more social control thus allowing the church to *enforce* the ban more easily in the north rather than the south. One of the key facets of the new manors is how they seem to have been laid out in advance with the church and manor around a central village green. A priest telling a peasant he can’t marry his sister probably goes better when he has a six foot knight standing behind him looking menacing.

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  50. Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology here.The type of heavy plough that enabled manorialism (wheeled mouldboard, and adjustable to control penetration into the ground, was developed around 1000 AD. Heavy ploughing is tracable back to Denmark.The ethnically Danish Saxons may have improved on a type of plough common in Denmark Not unreasonable to say it was a Danish invention; why use a bigger team of oxen and heavier plough than you need?

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  51. hbd chick, my comment wasn’t tightly argued or coherent, but the point of the link was about the history of Holland was to support the importance of manorialism as shown by the special type enabled by Holland having peat soil suitable for new settlement (ie manorialism). Holland had manorialism without the heavy plough.;Holland attained extremely high population density; subsequently it became the first civil-commercial state. The heavy plough was important because it enabled manorialism, Holland shows how important the new settlements of manorialism were. If admitting you are right about the overwhelming importance of manorialism is trolling then I must plead guilty.

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  52. @sean – “Heavy ploughing is tracable back to Denmark.”

    no.

    from your source [pg. 52]:

    “There is further evidence that the fully developed heavy plough was a Danish introduction to Britain.”

    introduction from. not invention of.

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  53. @sean – i’m tired of … whatever it is you’re doing when you comment here, whether it be laziness or comprehension problems or trolling.

    your comments will now (once again) be going into the moderation queue before being posted here. your comments will always, forever more, go through the moderation queue, so that i can check them for your screwy inaccuracies. i’ll post them, but i just want to have time to double-check your references and comment myself on them if necessary. if you don’t have any references, i may not post your comment at all. i would prefer to be able to. double-checking your comments will not be my first priority here on the blog, so it may take some time before your comments are posted. i’ll try to be as quick as i can about it, though.

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  54. What I’ve been up to is synthesis, i.e. combining material from multiple sources to support my conclusion although it’s not stated in any source. My assertion that the perfected effective heavy plough was invented by Danes (maybe in England) based on the date in one source, and the evidence for location of early versions of a less effective heavy ploughing the other, was synthesis. I didn’t realize you were asking for formal references which I was going to be held to the fire with; I assumed you were using the word in a more plastic sense. Perhaps, when you’ve asked for references I should have said ‘I do not have a reference for that statement. Here are all the sources I’ve synthesised from to reach my position’.
    _____

    h.chick edit: yes. when someone says…

    “The heavy plough seems to have been a Danish invention.”

    …and then i ask for a reference, i mean i want a reference for why the heavy plow seems to have been a danish invention.

    giving me a reference showing that historians think that the heavy plow was imported to britain from denmark does not support at all the notion that the heavy plow may have been invented in denmark.

    if that’s an idea you have, that’s fine — that’s great, in fact — i like new ideas. but then you have to make the argument for it … point by point.

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  55. I do have an annoying habit of stating my opinion as if it was an established fact though; you’re not the first person to lose patience with me on that account
    _____

    h.chick edit: yes, you do. and since you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (i’m not saying that you’re OLD, but i think you must be an adult and … we are who we are …), we now have a workaround to deal with this quirk of yours — i’ll doublecheck your facts before they’re posted here. because my personality quirk (one of many!) is that i can’t stand things that are not facts being stated as facts. at least not on my blog.

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  56. @sean – “If admitting you are right about the overwhelming importance of manorialism is trolling then I must plead guilty.”

    i’ve never said that manorialism was of overwhelming importance. it is secondarily important after the medieval changes in mating patterns in europe.

    in some parts of europe where there were manors — mostly in the regions where the manor system took hold the earliest, i.e. northeastern france/belgium/holland (i.e. austrasia), the s.w. corner of england (according to mitterauer in Why Europe?), and germany after the ostsiedlung — manorialism served to break down the physical presence of kindreds. people were forced, to a large extent, to cease living alongside kindred members and, rather, live in nuclear familiy units.

    this in and of itself would not necessarily, imho, have gotten rid of “clannishness” in europeans had not the mating patterns been altered as well. for an example of what happens when you have close marriage but nuclear family (stem family) living arrangements, see northern china (in the south there was more clan-based living arrangement, i think, but don’t quote me on that until i check into it further).

    manor systems in other regions of europe, like eastern europe (as in poland and parts of russia), did not break down clan systems but, rather, worked with them. and oftentimes the lords of those manors kept their laborers on their manors and didn’t let them marry out. different system — different mating patterns — and different results in the end, i think.

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  57. @g.w. – “I think this discussion is missing one of the points from some of hubchik’s early posts which IIRC showed that both southern and northern europe had dramatically lower levels of consanquinity than elsewhere. This could be taken as evidence of the effect of the cousin ban.”

    yes. thanks! (^_^)

    except for southern italy and sicily which, at least in modern times, have had cousin marriage rates rivaling those seen in the middle east/arab world. -!-

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  58. Sean
    “I do have an annoying habit of stating my opinion as if it was an established fact though”

    I have a habit of doing that myself. When i was looking for references to where the heavy plough came from i found some saying it was Slavic but without any backup and one i think saying the earliest reference in europe was in northern Italy – but not neccessarily invented there – and taken back to the rhineland from there (Charlemagne?)

    It’s odd how obscure it is given the possible ramifications.

    Some of the extensions to the efficiency of the heavy plough e.g. using horses not oxen, involved things that apparently originally came from China like the horse-collar

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_collar

    That doesn’t prove anything about the plough of course.

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  59. @g.w. – “When i was looking for references to where the heavy plough came from i found some saying it was Slavic but without any backup….”

    the reference that sean gave above, Medieval Technology and Social Change (which looks like a very interesting book, btw — thanks, sean!), discusses that possible slavic origin of the heavy plow (scroll back a bit to page 49). the evidence is apparently linguistic. so, not definitive, but interesting.

    (what the book doesn’t say is that the heavy plow was invented in denmark. (~_^) keep in mind that the book was also published in 1964, so it might be a bit dated.)

    it IS weird that we don’t know where the heavy plow came out of when it was so important!

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  60. hubchik
    “it IS weird that we don’t know where the heavy plow came out of when it was so important!”

    yes, which is what makes me think it was invented somewhere where it was of only minor importance e.g. somewhere it made 2-3% of previously unfarmable land, farmable, so useful but nothing to make a big fuss about.

    it mentions horse-shoes coming from or via the steppe tribes, the heavy plough maybe coming from or via the Slavs and the horse-collar is first seen in China – so an eastern slant in each case

    “which looks like a very interesting book, btw”

    yes, very. page 67 about villages “balling” up as isolated hamlets formed into bigger villages as a consequence of the changes is interesting and page 54 about the quadrupling of the population.

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  61. @g.w. – “page 67 about villages ‘balling’ up as isolated hamlets formed into bigger villages as a consequence of the changes is interesting and page 54 about the quadrupling of the population.”

    ooo, i didn’t see any of that! guess i’ll have to go back and read the whole thing (or as much as possible on google books (~_^) )! (^_^)

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  62. The heavy plough was first invented in the near East. Originating from a digging stick drawn by two oxen. Since rainfall was quite frequent in northern Europe, there grew an importance in the need to drain the soil rather than to retain water. A larger, heavier plough was required : it required wheels for better mobility, and two extra oxen to pull it.

    Since it took so much time to turn such a big team of oxen around, the field eventually acquired the shape of a long strip.

    The scythe was symbolic of the harvest … it could cut the stalk with ease, and was less likely to shatter the grain head. This tool indicated that peasants were concerned with feeding livestock in winter. The introduction of oat grain in Northern Europe was essential, because it enabled peasants to replace the ox with the domesticated horse. Although oats were expensive, the horse was able to work for longer hours.

    At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the horse was generally used for battles or sports, because the yoke was unsuited to their anatomy. Once the horse was recognized for efficiency and speed, 800 new forms of horse harness began to appear in Europe; composed of breast straps and rigid collars. ; by the 9th century, horseshoes appeared, . By 1095, plough horses became so common that Pope Urban II placed these horses under the peace of God.
    http://members.tripod.com/med_food/farming.html

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  63. “so we see a spectrum of “clannish” societies ranging from the very individualistic western societies characterized by nuclear families and, crucially, very little inbreeding (cousin marriage, for instance) to very tribal arab or bedouin societies characterized by nested networks of extended families and clans “

    Surely the degree of monogamy is also very relevant to why nuclear families are found in Europe. Polygyny, even without consanguineous marriage, would rule out the nuclear family. Seignorialism is not incompatible with polygyny.

    The puzzle of monogamous marriage
    “The anthropological record indicates that approximately 85 per cent of human societies have permitted men to have more than one wife (polygynous marriage), and both empirical and evolutionary considerations suggest that large absolute differences in wealth should favour more polygynous marriages. Yet, monogamous marriage has spread across Europe, and more recently across the globe, even as absolute wealth differences have expanded. Here, we develop and explore the hypothesis that the norms and institutions that compose the modern package of monogamous marriage have been favoured by cultural evolution because of their group-beneficial effects—promoting success in inter-group competition”

    In Holland manorialism was weak and there were many small towns , that was also true of Suffolk, East Anglia. See here. But the demographics were quite different.

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  64. I feel that – presumably because of Christianity – we are constantly being referred back to the Mid-East as ‘the source’. But the more I learn about ancient Europe, the more things I learn were _adapted_ from the original ‘source’. This appears to be true about cattle breeding. Domestication took place in the Mid-East, breeding took place in north Europe. The same could be said about naval exploration. Greek science came to Europe _via_ the Mid-East but what Europeans did with it……….one only has to look at Rippon Cathedral, or America. But admittedly the gulf stream, north European plain and luscious rain were welcome assets.

    I’ve been watching Andrew Graham Dixon on art of the Low Countries – Holland it seems really was the first commercial-civic state with a flourishing multicultural trade center in Haarlem, having seceded from Spanish occupation. But after 100 years of world domination the neighbours made a hostile bid and poor Holland had to re-flood their land to protect themselves and that ended the Dutch Golden Age.

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  65. Perhaps “ GROUPS that practice polygamy marry their cousins with greater frequency partly because the individuals in those societies have more cousins.”

    Another way to look at it is BECAUSE men want wives, … high status males … hoard large numbers of women for themselves. …men have to leave the group to search for wives elsewhere .

    Anyway, without polygyny there will be less consanguinity. So the Church’s battle to impose monogamy (dead against the immediate interests of the Kings and the nobles in every way), may have been a key event in suppressing consanguinity. But then “Socially imposed monogamy was first established in ancient Greece and Rome, centuries before Christianity even existed”.

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  66. Kate, Holland was like Suffolk like Suffolk . I suppose you could say both have sandy soils, maybe that makes for less stifling of commerce by seignorialism. On the other hand Suffolk was settled by people from Holland and nearby areas.

    The Highland clans may have had consanguinity, but they didn’t have polygyny and consanguinity, like the Chinese did.

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  67. Just to add to the points made in the referenced book, the section starting “Rural settlements and nucleation” in this

    http://www.le.ac.uk/users/grj1/asl.html

    makes some similar points about settlement patterns changing around the time of the heavy plow

    “Settlement patterns as well as village plans in England fall into two great categories: scattered farms and homesteads in upland and woodland Britain, nucleated villages across a swathe of central England. The chronology of nucleated villages is much debated and not yet clear. Yet there is strong evidence to support the view that nucleation occurred in the tenth century or perhaps the ninth”

    and that the nucleated villages took two forms, pre-planned

    “nucleated villages have either a regular form, planned in one or more rows fronting streets, or are polyfocal, like frogs-spawn, possible agglomerations of farms which had moved in together from their previous locations elsewhere in the district or landed unit. That nucleation was accomplished by lordly power seems to be supported by the numbers of villages where the church is sited so as to appear as an appendage of the manor house – which indeed is how thousands of churches originated.”

    or muddled

    “What of the remaining villages where the church site does not fit so neatly into the overall plan? It is possible that in some cases of nucleation at least, the choice was made to found the new central village at the site of a pre-existing church or cemetery or some other sacred site.”

    i.e. new settlements planned out in advance with the manorhouse and church central to rows of houses or pre-existing homesteads and hamlets moving to cluster around their local church so they could adopt the new open-field agriculture.

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  68. Thanks for all the interesting answers to my earlier questions!
    I have another question: How does emigration affect clannishness?

    I think clannishness must have been preserved, to an extent, in some early emigration from Scotland to Canada, at least among people who settled on Prince Edward Island. Or maybe new clannishness arose after emigration. This is based on reading the diaries and novels of L.M.Montgomery, who was born on Prince Edward Island in 1874. (But I don’t think clannishness among Scots in Canada ever extended to the point of sending to the old country for cousins to marry, as the Pakistanis currently do in the UK.)

    Here is a quote from the beginning of one of L.M. Montgomery’s novels (A Tangled Web):
    —————————————-

    “Legally, the jug was the property of Aunt Becky Dark, née Rebecca Penhallow. For that matter, most of the Darks had been née Penhallow, and most of the Penhallows had been née Dark, save a goodly minority who had been Darks née Dark or Penhallows née Penhallow. In three generations sixty Darks had been married to sixty Penhallows. The resultant genealogical tangle baffled everybody except Uncle Pippin. There was really nobody for a Dark to marry except a Penhallow and nobody for a Penhallow to marry except a Dark. Once, it had been said, they wouldn’t take anybody else. Now, nobody else would take them. At least, so Uncle Pippin said. But it was necessary to take Uncle Pippin’s speeches with a large pinch of salt. Neither the Darks nor the Penhallows were gone to seed as far as that. They were still a proud, vigorous, and virile clan who hacked and hewed among themselves but presented an unbroken front to any alien or hostile force.”

    ———————————————
    You can read the entire novel online here:
    http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0201011h.html

    Now this is just a novel, but L.M.Montgomery tended to write her novels based on what she knew of the communities she grew up in. I don’t think she would make something like this up out of thin air. She didn’t marry a cousin herself, but she may have known families like this on P.E.I.

    I am theorizing that Scottish emigrants who headed further west in Canada (west of Ontario) tended to do so as nuclear families. They scattered far and wide, and this would have tended to stop clannishness in its tracks. I have lived in several smaller towns in British Columbia, and have noticed that many people in these towns have no relatives living anywhere nearby except for their immediate family. In the east, however, you are more likely to get several generations of a family living in the same town.

    My own grandparents came from the north of Scotland just before WW I and settled in western Canada. Apparently several of my grandfather’s brothers also came to Canada, but I don’t know anything about them. The nuclear family I grew up in was non-clannish to an extreme. I rarely met any extended family and barely knew they existed. But maybe I have clannish genes because I would love to find some of them and track them down now!

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  69. Is it possible that some people tend to yearn for a clan, in some ways? I have pug dogs, and on Facebook I have made friends with some other people only because they also have pugs. There seem to be a lot of online groups based around dog breeds. People post cute pictures and videos, and other people respond by saying things such as “must be my dog’s long lost cousin!”. Specific dog breeds tend to have specific personalities, and dog owners love to laugh and talk affectionately about this with others who own dogs of the same breed. It is a harmless and enjoyable past time. But is it a remnant of clannishness?

    Check out Humphrey the Pug’s Facebook page, and read some of the comments on the cartoons.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Humphrey-Pug-Cartoon/273276202694614

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  70. Ancient DNA, Strontium isotopes, and osteological analyses shed light on social and kinship organization of the Later Stone Age: “In 2005 four outstanding multiple burials were discovered near Eulau, Germany. The 4,600-year-old graves contained groups of adults and children […] A direct child-parent relationship was detected in one burial, providing the oldest molecular genetic evidence of a nuclear family. Strontium isotope analyses point to different origins for males and children versus females. By this approach, we gain insight into a Late Stone Age society, which appears to have been exogamous and patrilocal, ”
    _____

    hbd chick edit: and the rest of that sentence reads: “and in which genetic kinship seems to be a focal point of social organization.”

    nice cut-off of a quote, sean. =/
    _____

    another hbd chick edit: from the research article [pdf]:

    “[T]he females clearly fall outside this range [of where the children and men picked up their strontium isotopes], and must have spent their early lives elsewhere. This indicates the practice of exogamy and patrilocality; the females moved to the location of the males, where they had their offspring. Without detailed mapping of Sr isotopes over a wide area, it is impossible to say where the females grew up. The closest location that is likely to give similar, more radiogenic, strontium isotopes would be the Palaeozoic deposits in the Harz mountains, some 60 km to the northwest of Eulau, although we cannot rule out an origin much further afield.”

    just because the females came from elsewhere does not, of course, mean that they were unrelated to the males — chinese women, for example, are (or were) regularly transferred between villages when they married (and they frequently married their cousins). these stone age european women could have been cousins to their husbands: either mbd or fbd (because the males and females did not share the same mtDNA). could have been.

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  71. @sean – “The Highland clans may have had consanguinity, but they didn’t have polygyny and consanguinity, like the Chinese did.”

    the chinese, historically (which is a very long time in china), did not practice much polygamy — not outside the upper classes.

    edit: and there’s evidence for some amount of polygamy in the highlands and islands during the medieval period, which would fit with neighboring, and culturally/genetically related, medieval ireland.

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  72. @sean – “Seignorialism is not incompatible with polygyny.”

    yes, it is. bipartite manorialism, the form in northern europe, is. READ MITTERAUER! (yes, i am shouting at you.)

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  73. @big nose kate – “The heavy plough was first invented in the near East.”

    i need a reference.

    edit: oh, never mind! you already gave a reference. (duh!)

    i wonder where the guys who created that site got their info from. they have a bunch of references on their bibliography page, but i don’t feel like going through it right now.

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  74. Droit du seigneur? I’m not saying it ever actually existed in feudal NW Europe, but in theory it could have.

    hbd chick edit: you used the word seignorialism which is another word for manorialism, not droit du seigneur.
    _____

    I think monogamy was a norm in north Europe since the Ice Age and polygyny was something of an exception.

    another hbd chick edit: you may think all you want that monogamy was the norm in north europe since the ice age, but do you have any proof? with references?

    _____

    I do accept there was quite a lot of consanguinity in Europe, I’ve been surprised.

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  75. Melykin
    “How does emigration affect clannishness?”

    If the same group – or part of one – move en masse to a new location then the clannishness could move with them. Some immigrant groups in Europe are like that – they have arranged marriages with people from their old village on another continent. However unless it was culturally reinforced in an extreme way like that i’d expect it to break down over time except in particulaly remote spots or small islands.

    .
    “Is it possible that some people tend to yearn for a clan, in some ways?”

    I’d be surprised if they didn’t. I think there’s probably an optimal level which northenified euros passed through at some point but have since gone past. Taking the cue from the fertility peak i’d guess the optimum might be an environment where the bulk of the people surrounding you are around the 3rd to 4th cousin level.

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  76. @melykin – “How does emigration affect clannishness?”

    good question! i think that might depend upon a few different factors including: 1) how many members of a clan(s) emigrate (greying wanderer talks about this above) — the more that emigrate together, the more they can remain clannish; 2) ease of travel/communications — back in the early medieval period when the anglo-saxons migrated to england, they couldn’t go back and forth very easily to visit with the extended families that they left behind — not like, say, sikhs in canada today. phillpotts suggested that this distance created between anglo-saxon extended family members probably helped to break down the kindreds in anglos-saxon england. i think that makes sense.

    so it depends, i think, on what the emigration looks like — is it individuals emigrating or extended families or whole clans? can they keep in touch with their families “back home” easily or not (btw, i think things like email and facebook and twitter are probably helping clans to stick together more than ever — i know that i can keep in touch with all of my cousins kids much more easily than i could keep in touch with my cousins when we were all younger).

    @melykin – “I think clannishness must have been preserved, to an extent, in some early emigration from Scotland to Canada, at least among people who settled on Prince Edward Island.”

    have a look sometime at this book (i must, too!):

    The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855 : Glengarry and Beyond

    some scottish clans seem to have left scotland en masse and settled all together in one or another region of canada. some clans really stuck to their old ways, too — there were large areas of canada where for a long time the people spoke gaelic … and married amongst themselves (don’t know if it was to cousins or not). other groups weren’t so introverted — i’m not sure why.

    check out also this article about a bunch of clans who migrated from scotland to canada and then on to new zealand, all en masse — and they didn’t lose their clannishness at all (and they also married their cousins). the quote “no inclination to mix with strangers” is something one of the clan members said (~_^):

    “No Inclination To Mix With Strangers”: Marriage Patterns Among Highland Scots Migrants To Cape Breton and New Zealand, 1800-1916
    _____

    btw – sorry for the tardy response to your questions. i was busy over the weekend (a long weekend) with … family! (~_^)

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  77. @melykin – “I am theorizing that Scottish emigrants who headed further west in Canada (west of Ontario) tended to do so as nuclear families. They scattered far and wide, and this would have tended to stop clannishness in its tracks.”

    yes, that makes sense. i think this might be a general pattern in north america with nineteenth and early-twentieth century european settlers. i found in this previous post what looks to be a pattern of less familism the further west you go in the united states. i could believe the same to be true in canada since the settlement patterns were roughly the same (i.e. east to west).

    it might also be, too, that individuals who felt or were the least clannish are the ones who headed west. there could’ve been a sort-of self-sorting that happened with the settling of western north america with the least clannish individuals moving west, away from their families back east.

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  78. @melykin – “Is it possible that some people tend to yearn for a clan, in some ways? I have pug dogs, and on Facebook I have made friends with some other people only because they also have pugs…. It is a harmless and enjoyable past time. But is it a remnant of clannishness?”

    maybe! i think most people want to belong to a group of some sort. we all do have a default setting of “tribalism” like staffan talks about.

    perhaps, though, someone from a clannish background who has been separated from his clan for some reason would feel even more driven to join some sort of group than a non-clannish person. i dunno. i haven’t thought about it. interesting idea! (^_^)

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  79. @melykin – “Check out Humphrey the Pug’s Facebook page….”

    ha! (^_^) i don’t know much about pugs, but i’m a big animal fan, so that was fun!

    @melykin – “…save a goodly minority who had been Darks née Dark or Penhallows née Penhallow.”.

    heh! that sounds like just the novel for me! you know, one of my great-aunts, my grandmother’s sister, married a man that had the same surname as herself. everybody in the family has always insisted that in no way were they related to one another. yeah, right. they were neighbors and grew up not five miles away from one another … and they weren’t related somehow? don’t believe it! (~_^) (their kids are all a bit “special,” too….)

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  80. “it might also be, too, that individuals who felt or were the least clannish are the ones who headed west. ”

    Or who left their homelands in the first place. Let us hope this is so in the case of our many new immigrants from clan lands overseas.

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  81. @Luke Lea
    “it might also be, too, that individuals who felt or were the least clannish are the ones who headed west. ”

    Or who left their homelands in the first place. Let us hope this is so in the case of our many new immigrants from clan lands overseas.

    ————————————————————————–

    I worry that emigrating might not break up clans for the new arrivals. The ones from the Middle East are probably more clannish than the Scots ever were. Furthermore as HBD Chick mentioned it is easier for the new arrivals to keep in touch with their clans and to visit back home. A hundred years ago most emigrants arriving from Britain probably never went back nor ever saw or spoke to the relatives they left behind again.

    The family re-unification is NOT a good policy since it encourages people to stay in clans.

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  82. Melykin
    “I worry that emigrating might not break up clans for the new arrivals. The ones from the Middle East are probably more clannish than the Scots ever were. …The family re-unification is NOT a good policy since it encourages people to stay in clans.”

    That’s exactly what’s happening at least among non-professionals. It happens a lot with professionals too but not to the same extent.

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  83. The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots invention of the Modern World) by Arthur Herman (also published as How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The true story of how western Europe’s poorest nation created our world & everything in it) Page 116- 118:- “Many myths abound about the Highland clans. The oldest and most persistent is that the rising of Bonnie Prince charlie in 1745 symbolised a cultural clash between a Celtic ‘Jacobite’ Highlands steeped in primeval loyalties, and a proto-industrial ‘Whig’ lowlands. […]

    The clans were an anachronism, all right, except that they were a holdover from Scotland feudal , not tribal past. The bonds that held the clan together were land and landholding. Their origins had as much to do with French-speaking Normans as with ancient celts. If we want to identify the true prototypes of the Highland warriors …we should look to not to the ancient Picts or Britons but to the followers of William the Conqueror.

    The term clan, of course, comes from the Gaelic clann meaning ‘children’ it implied a kinship group of four of five generations all claiming decent from a common ancestor. And clan chieftains encouraged their followers to believe that they were bound together like family. Men such as the Duke of Argyll of the Campbells or Lord Lovat of the Frasers, routinely demanded a loyalty from their tenants not unlike that of children for a father. But it was entirely a fiction. The average clan – and there were over fifty of them in 1745 – was no more a family than a mafia ‘family’. The only important blood ties were those between the chieftain and his various caporegiemes the so-called tacksmen who collected his rents and bore the same name. Below them were a large nondescript and constantly changing collection of tenants and peasants who worked the land and owed the chieftain service in war and in peacetime. Whethern they cionsidered themselves Campbells , McPhersons or MacKinnons was a matter of indifference and no clan genealogist or bard, the seanachiadh, ever wasted breath keeping track of them. What mattered was they were on clan land, and called it home. […]

    Those clans that appear in the first written records were all extinct by the beginning of the sixteenth century.The ones that dominated the landscape in 1745 – Fraser, Cameron, Mackenzie, Stewart of Appin, and the most famous of all, the Campbells and MacDonalds, mostly date from the thirteenth or fourteenth century after Norman mercenaries had come to Scotland at royal invitation and established a pattern of feudal landholding across both the Highlands and Lowlands,”
    _____

    hbd chick edit:

    @sean – “‘The average clan – and there were over fifty of them in 1745 – was no more a family than a mafia “family”.'”

    we’ve been through this already, sean. this sort of nonsense is just another example of politically correct historians getting it wrong, probably because they’ve been reading too much eric hobsbawm.

    genetic studies have shown that scottish clan members were — are — indeed family members: see here and here for examples. anyone who tells you otherwise simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or they’re lying to you. this guy, herman, apparently can’t get anything right, since mafia members are largely family members, too. that’s why it’s called “the family.”

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  84. @sean – i’m sorry, but i don’t have time this evening to double-check all the references in the comment you left a little while ago — it will have to wait for tomorrow or another day i’m afraid. but i do want to respond to this that you said:

    “Like I’ve mentioned clans disappeared very fast when the terms of feudal landholding changed and chiefs got title to their land.”

    once again, yes, you’ve mentioned that highland clans disappeared fast when the terms of feudal landholding changed, but you have yet to demonstrate this in any way, shape, or form. more importantly, you haven’t demonstrated that the highland scots quit being clannish when this happened.

    please, don’t forgot the references.

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  85. @sean – also this:

    “I am a very timid person who is beginning to fear your apoplectic rejoinders.”

    if my responses to you seem a little crazed, it’s only because you make me more than a bit frustrated at your apparent lack of interest/willingness to read ANY of the sources i ever offer to you. have you ever read any of them? any one at all?

    scottish highland clans are/were based on genetic relatedness. the genetic studies on highland clans that have been coming out demonstrate this. i linked to them before for you, so there’s no reason in the world for you to be quoting this herman guy to me. he didn’t take the genetic research into account, so what he’s written is sheer and utter nonsense.

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  86. This kinship thing is getting out of hand.

    hbd chick: well, if that’s how you feel, perhaps you are hanging around on the wrong blogs. this blog is about human biodiversity, meaning that there are biological/genetic differences between different populations. and kinship is very important in hbd since people share most of their genes with their kin. and the more inbred a group is, the more genes they share with one another. kinship is important. in fact, kinship is crucial.
    _____

    Peter Frost is now citing Borderers gangs of bandits in tight kinship preying on each other. The Scots Irish are supposed to have retained associated atavistic characteristics due to Borders ancestry. I am a very timid person who is beginning to fear your apoplectic rejoinders. I’m nonetheless constrained to offer some context for the the picture of Scotland outside the Lowlands being a Hobbsian free for all due to ties of blood. Like I’ve mentioned clans disappeared very fast when the terms of feudal landholding changed and chiefs got title to their land.

    hbd chick: as i said above, although you’ve mentioned this, you haven’t demonstrated it.
    _____

    The boss of bosses of the Sicilian mafia did not and do not inherit their position in the way that a Scottish clan chief did. Neither do subsidiary bosses. Sure there are many from mafia families and married to women from mafia families. But Bagarella, Provenzano and Riina are not blood relatives. (Bagarella being Riina’s brother in law does not make him in a kinship group in my book).

    hbd chick: sure. but none of this means that the mafia is not based upon family. follow the link that i gave you above.
    _____

    I think people have the wrong idea about the Borderers and Highlanders. These were not the ‘bare arsed banditti’ alleged by the English, or men who came out on top in a free for all. They were hereditary chiefs. The Borders were only a few generations behind the Lowlands in abandoning that way of life. See Lowland Clearances.

    hbd chick: yes. but did they abandon being clannish?
    _____

    England’s Agricultural Revolution in England from 1500 onward must be an important part of the mix…

    hbd chick: but the english were already individualistic, i.e. not clannish, waaaaay before the 1500s.
    _____

    …along with inbreeding, Gregory Clark style natural selection and marriage practices. I go along with Kevin MacDonald here and here. Kinship is important but polygyny at least as much too.

    hbd chick: and your reasoning for that is…?
    _____

    Nathaniel Weyl concluded the Scottish in the US showed no difference in achievement between their areas of origin. here. And that Scots immigrants to the US were not as smart as the ones who stayed at home. It seems to me that considering the size of Scotland it has to be considered to have produced an exceptionally large number of high achievers in a period that started while Scotland was the poorest country in western Europe.

    Henry Ford was Scots Irish. The Scots Irish came from Ayrshire mainly. Ayrshire inventors William Murdoch(oscillating cylinder steam engine,gas lighting), John Boyd Dunlop tyres, John Loudon McAdam (modern road surfaces),
    Alexander Fleming (Lysozyme, penicillin).
    Also Robert Burns.

    Scottish Inventors: David Dunbar Buick (modern car engines), Robert Watson-Watt (radar), Robert Watson-Watt (television). The Everest of intellect: James Clerk Maxwell. Andrew Carnegie‘His first job at age 13 in 1848 was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a Pittsburgh cotton factory.’ Worth $298.3 billion in 2007 dollars.

    I’m not saying inbreeding is unimportant but it’s being given too much weight now, and Scots can be used to argue for extreme plasticity and potential of immigrants from inbred countries. By my way of thinking if Scotland really was so inbred compared to England it’s difficult to avoid seeing it as an example of how unimportant inbreeding actually is. Else how could Scotland modernise so quickly and produce far more exceptional achievers per head of population than England?

    hbd chick: yes. and all that is very interesting (thanks for the weyl link, btw) — but all that is about iq and NOT clannishness. the chinese are also clannish, and they have very high iqs, so the two things are not mutually exclusive.

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  87. Few people outside formal education (and not all that many within) follow up references. Your posts and comments give me a good summary of the sources you cite for your thinking. Not everyone reading those refs may see apodictic conclusions about inbreeding as the causative factor, I was thinking out loud.

    hbd chick: my blog, my rules. this is not a democracy. i make sure to give plenty of references in all of my posts, and i mean for them to be read. and when i ask a commenter for references, i want references.
    _____

    About the Highland Clans I was not questioning the overall idea at first, but just being persnickety about the Scots as an example because I was dubious about the relatedness of Highland clans. When I looked, there were sources for a high degree of relatedness among Scottish Highland clansmen; you were right and I was wrong.

    But it now seems to me Highland inbred kinship strikes at the heart of your reasoning on outbreeding, self-control and lethal violence far more than if Highlanders were not heavily inbred; why did the clans cease to operate like clans if relatedness was the cause of their violence, and they continued to be related?

    hbd chick: you still haven’t demonstrated this. and, more importantly, you still haven demonstrated whether or not the highland scots quit being clannish overnight.

    eventually, of course, the scots have quit being soooo clannish (there are no more clan battles in the highlands, at least none that i’ve heard of lately) precisely because they did eventually start to outbreed — just much later than the english, which is the point. also, the clearances did not help. in many ways that broke down the clan structure. i’m sure that, yes, that probably led to scots outbreeding more (just as manorialism had done for the nw continental europeans and the anglo-saxons).
    _____

    I think it was it because though it may have been in their inclusive fitness interests, the chiefs preferred the relative luxury of the the Lowland lifestyle to the obligations that went with heading a kinship group. And without the chiefs to get them at each others throats, the Scottish Highlanders were much like other Scots, even though Highlanders were a lot more inbred than other Scots.

    hbd chick: well, to back that up, you’d have to show me evidence of violence levels falling after the lairds headed to edinburgh … but before the clearances.
    _____

    Worship Industry or Starve: The Improvement Policy on the Sutherland Estate in Scotland, 1812-1820, compare Captain Rock: The Irish Agrarian Rebellion of 1821-1824 (BTW in the Scottish Lowlands ‘rockin’ was an old word for meeting or gathering). The Irish peasantry were vastly more dangerous, but it’s very difficult for me to believe they were anywhere near as inbred as Highland clansmen were.

    hbd chick: you’re 100% wrong about that (too). see my posts on the irish (start here) — and my upcoming post on the irish. the irish and the highland scots are very similar, actually.
    _____

    About the Borders being un-pacified – the whole of Scotland could be seen in that light. “England saw Scotland as a country where the kings were weak and local warlords followed their own interests. This was misleading. Unlike England and France, medieval Scotland avoided expensive foreign wars and taxed the nobility only lightly this allowed the kingdom to be governed by a loose but quite stable consensus” :- Stone Voices p. 269. Basically it was a case of a few Scots like Johnnie Armstrong raiding England with the connivance of local Scottish officials. Armstrong is said to have pleaded in mitigation that he had never killed a Scotsman.

    hbd chick: this is all interesting, but i fail to see how it’s relevant to the discussion of whether or not the highland scots were clannish. (which is a funny discussion to be having in the first instance, since the scots INVENTED the word!)
    _____

    There does seem to be more violence among the Scots Irish

    hbd chick: more? who said anything about more? do you have some data comparing the violence levels of the highland scots versus the scots irish, ’cause i don’t.
    _____

    This is said to stem from the Scots Irish coming from the Scottish borders. ButNot true. Scots Irish mainly came from Ayrshire and the west coast region The reasons being that It was closest and the Stuart monarchy was engaged in persecuting dissenters there.

    What was unusual about Ayrshire was religious zealotry. It was a stronghold of Calvinism. There was a “>low level war close to the Ayrshire coast; farms were visited by troops, mostly Highlanders. Those Covenantersdeclining to acknowledge the king as rightful ruler were shot on the spot. TV program (6 minutes).

    Reply

  88. Sean
    “while Scotland was the poorest country in western Europe.”

    The Lowlands were very different from the Highlands – almost the exact opposite in fact.

    .
    “By my way of thinking if Scotland really was so inbred compared to England it’s difficult to avoid seeing it as an example of how unimportant inbreeding actually is. Else how could Scotland modernise so quickly and produce far more exceptional achievers per head of population than England?”

    The Lowlands weren’t inbred.

    Reply

  89. Well GW it has been stated that the Scots Irish came from the Borders. My references show most of those Ulster settlers with Scots antecedents had ancestry from the western Lowlands but hardly any from the Borders.

    hbd chick: well, i can’t evaluate your references because you haven’t GIVEN any references. and from what i’ve read about the ulster plantations, i’m guessing your references must be completely imaginary ones.

    if you take a look at Making Ireland British — a real reference — you’ll learn that (as quoted in wikipedia):

    “By 1622, a survey found there were 6,402 ‘British’ adult males on Plantation lands, of whom 3,100 were English and 3,700 Scottish – indicating a total adult planter population of around 12,000.”

    3,100 is hardly “hardly any.” and, yes, most of the english settlers in ulster were from the borders.

    any further comments from you where you make a statement of “fact” like that without giving a reference will simply be deleted. (to be clear, you can state your opinion all you want — just make sure to be clear that it is your opinion.)
    _____

    So the attributes of the Scots Irish can’t be down to their (largely imaginary) ancestors from the Scots Borders. And the English Borders were rather efficiently policed. If the Scots Irish came from the Lowlands and the Lowlands were so different (from the Highlands not the Borders) then theories about the Scots Irish drawing on David Hacket Fischer’s work are mistaken.

    KINSHIP was thought to give a member of the clan a right to live on clan land. That changed only slowly. But the level of violence changed totally after the clan chiefs’s lands were forfeit after the ’45 rising. Government agents administering the clan land and collected rents in the aftermath of the rising. There was but one killing of an agent in the whole Highlands. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appin_Murder. In Ireland ten landlords were killed between 1837 and 1847 in Tipperary alone.

    hbd chick: the killing of government agents is not the issue. blood feuds and clan warfare is. tell me about those. THAT’S clannishness.
    _____

    I feel the occurrence of consanguineous marriage well above that expected from simple propinquity isolated rural areas would be less in Ireland than is the Highlands.

    hbd chick: you can feel all you want, but you are wrong.
    _____

    The link shows In Highland clans there was a motive for those with property (such as tacksmen or ‘gentry’, to marry in; keeping property within their line. There were many non-Catholic chiefs, and no local priests to tell the nominally Catholic Highlanders they couldn’t marry in. That system lasted into the 19th century in the Highlands.

    hbd chick: yup.
    _____

    I don’t doubt consanguineous marriage was intensively practiced In Ireland at one time, but I wonder if it was still common in the latter 17th century after Cromwell, when many of the local gentry were dispossessed especially in the north.

    hbd chick: yes, it was. see Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland and/or my upcoming post on mating patterns in ireland.
    _____

    Post Cromwell the Irish had a rather small propertied class and hence far fewer inheritances to keep in the family through consanguineous marriage. The influence of local priests was very strong and their disapproval would be no small matter. It may be relevant that Irish farms were inherited as the father saw fit (not primogeniture).

    Reply

  90. @sean – “About the Highland Clans I was not questioning the overall idea at first, but just being persnickety about the Scots as an example because I was dubious about the relatedness of Highland clans. When I looked, there were sources for a high degree of relatedness among Scottish Highland clansmen; you were right and I was wrong.

    But it now seems to me Highland inbred kinship strikes at the heart of your reasoning on outbreeding, self-control and lethal violence far more than if Highlanders were not heavily inbred; why did the clans cease to operate like clans if relatedness was the cause of their violence, and they continued to be related?”

    i suggest, sean, that you are taking all of this personally.

    first, as you say above, you argued with me for weeks that the highland scots were not inbred, did not marry cousins, and that clan members were not relatives — at least not most of the time — until you finally (i guess) looked at some of the references i gave you.

    now you are arguing and arguing and arguing that the highland scots quit being clannish in a very short period of time — and yet you offer no proof of this.

    i think you simply do not like the idea of the highland scots being clannish (which is crazy because they INVENTED the word), and that you really don’t like the idea that there could be something genetic underlying this clannishness.

    my working theory might not be right. but if you’re going to argue against it — and i’m glad to have such arguments — you’ve got to give me something to work with. some references supporting your claims.

    and you really shouldn’t take this personally. my people are as clannish as h*ll, and i’m not taking it personally. what can i do? that’s how my people are. gotta accept it and get on with it, that’s all. there’s certainly not very much to be gained by denying reality — at least i don’t think that there is (not in the long run anyway).

    Reply

  91. @sean – I stake my generalised skeptism on Nowak: ‘”RELATEDNESS is better explained as the consequence rather than the cause of eusociality,” they wrote. “Grouping by family can hasten the spread of eusocial alleles, but it is not a causative agent. The causative agent is the advantage of a defensible nest, especially one both expensive to make and within reach of adequate food.”‘ Supercooperators: “A nation,cult or a religion can be seen as a group that is bound by the way an individual makes sacrifices to help his brethren””

    well you’ve staked your skepticism on some very shaky science indeed since, as i’ve already explained to you, nowak, et al., apparently tried to disprove the importance of inclusive fitness without taking into consideration the genetic relatedness of the individuals with a population. that’s just dumb — as many other scientists have pointed out.

    please, note that it will be a while before i’m able to respond to the rest of your comment (check all your references) since i’m rather busy at the moment. i will get to it eventually, though.

    Reply

  92. hbd chick, I feel guilty about wasting your time with ill considered comments. I did make a serious effort with the last one to be coherent and reference good sources. It took time and made me appreciate the work you’re putting in with posts, finding interesting links, and on top of all that – graciously responding to things contrarians dash off instead of just banning them.

    There are plenty of Nowak- level qualified people like Henry Harpending who as far as I can make out don’t think Nowak’s analysis has altered the relevance of inclusive fitness calculations. See here. What I’m really skeptical about is not whether inclusive fitness is correct, but whether it’s the kind of thinking that could overcome the dominant anti-determinist worldview.

    For ‘Scots Irish’ in the US were in high proportion from Ulster’ (and ethnically Scottish): better reference.

    Reply

  93. @sean – “I feel guilty about wasting your time with ill considered comments.”

    please, don’t feel guilty! we all have our personality quirks (lord knows i have plenty!) — it’s just a matter of coming up with good “workarounds” to deal with them. (^_^)

    @sean – “…things contrarians dash off….”

    contrarians are good! there should be more contrarians in the world. (btw, are there a lot of contrarians in scotland? is it a particularly scottish trait, maybe? don’t take this as an insult, btw — like i said — i think contrarianism is a good thing!).

    Reply

  94. @sean – “What I’m really skeptical about is not whether inclusive fitness is correct, but whether it’s the kind of thinking that could overcome the dominant anti-determinist worldview.”

    well, i don’t know, but i don’t think it really matters one way or the other since the “anti-determinist” worldview has already been shown to be bunk, afaiac.

    first of all, i don’t like the expression “determinist” or “deterministic” when it comes to humans, their behaviors, and biology. the word makes it sound like the courses of human lives are written in stone or something beforehand by god or the fates or whatever. that’s not the point of understanding human behavior from a biological point-of-view.

    human behaviors are rooted in our natures (our genes). this has been more than convincingly shown, and is continually being shown, in a range of different disciplines from genetics to neuroscience to psychometrics to personality research and so on. but humans and our behaviors are more broadly rooted in biology, our natures/genes being just one part of that. so, of course, nuture matters. environment matters. circumstances matter. our lives are not 100% “determined” by our genetic makeup.

    however, we cannot escape our natures, so everything that we do is affected by them. there’s no getting away from that.

    Reply

  95. @sean – “If being clannish is defined as seeing the clan as one big family and everyone else as outsiders, then clans were were clannish for after the ’45 Jacobite rising , But if clannish is defined as being suspicious of and *dangerous* to those venturing on to clan land, then yes, the Highlanders stopped being clannish immediately after the failed 1745 Jacobite rising when inter-clan violence apparently did stop. I can’t find any references to post 1745 inter-clan violence at all and have to conclude there was virtually none.

    no, i’m sorry, sean. just because you can’t find any references to post 1745 inter-clan violence doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any. where did you search? how long did you search?

    and being clannish doesn’t only mean those two things you describe above. it doesn’t even have to include those things. it can mean being prone to nepotism or certain forms of corruption (i.e. the kinds that benefit your family). it can mean more familism than other societies. it doesn’t just mean being violent towards outsiders, although that is probably one of the most obvious forms (at least it’s the most obvious to me).

    @sean – “After the 1715 rising the Highlanders’ right to bear weapons was abolished but that had little effect as they just handed in junk and hid the good ones. The removal of the chiefs’ position as lord and master of all on clan land (right after the ’45) coincided with the end of clan feuding ..”

    again, you’d have to show me that the clan feuding ended exactly after 1745. i would think that since the highlands had been characterized by clan violence for so long that, if it had stopped overnight after 1745, that someone — some historian somewhere — would’ve commented on it!

    Reply

  96. @sean – “The Highlanders in a clan had thought they were a big family with each member having a right to live on the land held in trust by the chief but that was just a belief that suited the chiefs; they needed to mobilise armed men to defend the land. The clan chiefs had jurisdiction giving the power of life or death over those living on clan land, and there was supposed to be a reciprocal obligation to provide land for loyal clansman, especially blood relatives. However there are instances of clan chiefs borrowing money using the land as security so in practice the land was owned by one man who handed it down to his son Sons of clan chiefs inheritance rights were recognized by the Scottish crown.”

    instances. what instances? where are the references to these instances? how many were there? they might’ve just been “exceptions to the rule” for all i know.

    Reply

  97. @sean – “Inbreeding within the clan was on lines of inheritance.”

    yes, of course. it typically is — everywhere. that is part of the point of inbreeding in more complex societies (i.e. to keep the wealth in the family).

    @sean – “The chiefs rights were protected and in return they worked with the Scottish (Stewart) kings to impose the will of the monarchy on the rest of Scotland. In the interests of the chiefs landholding the clansmen were used to impose central authority by oppressing the Lowlanders. The was a need for the clans to enforce the Kings will because of the Covenanters.”

    the highland clans were battling it out with each other loooooong before the covenanters arrived on the scene.

    @sean – If only the inter-clan violence is relevant to theories about links between inbreeding and violence, then that is rather a circular argument in my humble opinion. I would suggest that the conflicts not between clans are a control for seeing what differences there were between ant-like genetic communities (clans) with altruism enhanced by inbreeding, and humans with explicitly thought out intellectual positions that invited death.

    no, i never said that. it’s just that the inter-clan violence is some of the most obvious.

    you can take the clansman out of the clan (it works best at a young age — like the janissaries) and use his altruism genes to get him to fight for his “team” even though he isn’t fighting for his family. also, you can get peoples to fight for their “religion” or whatever, but they might be really fighting for their family and their clan.

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  98. @sean – “It was the Covenanters scattered in and around Ayrshire who were the distinctive promulgators of armed conflict in Scotland. ‘THE southwest has been the Scotland of insurgency – in religion as in politics.'”

    only after they appeared on the scene, sean. before that, there was plenty of armed conflict in scotland (esp. in the highlands and islands).

    Reply

  99. @sean – “The low level war and the subsequent numerous summary executions of those preferring death to denying their beliefs was in no way related to a greater degree of inbreeding in that part of Scotland. It was intellectually justified:-

    “Stone Voices: ‘”WE were indeed amazed to see a poor commonality able to argue on points of government and on the bounds to be set on the matters of religion: upon all these topicks they had texts of scripture at hand; and were ready with their answer to any thing that was said to them; this measure of knowledge was spread even among the meanest of them, their cottagers, and their servants. They were, indeed, vain of their knowledge, much conceited of themselves, and were full of a most entangled scrupulosity; so that they found, or made, difficulties in every thing that could be laid before them.”
    (Gilbert Burnet, on the failure of his 1669 mission to calm religious zealotry in south-western Scotland)'”

    well, i don’t know whether or not inbreeding or outbreeding had anything to do with these battles, but just because somebody justifies some action or actions with some given reason does NOT mean that that’s really why they undertook that action. people rationalize their actions afterhand ALL THE TIME. cognitive biases. humans got ’em!

    Reply

  100. @sean – The ref for English settlers appears to be for the whole of Ireland in 1622. ‘Scots Irish’ in the US were in high proportion from Ulster.”

    nope. you are wrong. again. see page 2 here regarding the 1622 survey … of the plantation in ULSTER.

    that’s all i have time for this evening, i’m afraid. i’ll try to get to the rest of your comment soon.

    Reply

  101. Sean
    “I can’t find any references to post 1745 inter-clan violence at all and have to conclude there was virtually none.”

    If you read a lot of ancient history you’ll notice rebellions tend to be followed by long lulls – while the sons and grandsons of all the men killed in the rebellion grow up.

    Reply

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