random notes: 06/01/13

pretty much only medieval europe today…

from East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500 [pgs. 87-89, 91]:

In some parts of medieval East Central Europe animal herding was the primary means of livelihood. In Albania the inhabitants of the coastal districts evidently lost their connection with agriculture in the 6th and 7th centuries in the wake of the Slavic invasions. Adopting a pastoral life-style, they survived by tending sheep in the mountains, migrating twice annually between winter and summer pastures. These mountaineers regularly raided the plains settlements, supplementing their incomes with plunder. The Magyars had been herders on the Ukrainian steppes prior to invading Central Europe; and even in Hungary, stock raising was their principal means of support. They avoided the thick beeach and pine forests which could not be used as pasture, leaving these to Slavic, German, or Vlach peasants. Travelers of the 12th century described Hungary as one vast grazing area, interrupted only occasionally by patches of cultivated land. The Magyars spent their winters in villages set alongside riverbanks, often in shelters hollowed out of the earth. In spring they sowed their seed, then moved on to the grasslands where they lived in tents. At harvest time they returned to their villages. Their winter habitats were usually near a fortress, while summer residences were located in the vicinity of pastures.

Similarly the early Serbs lived primarily from stock raising, an occupation well suited to their hilly country. (The region known as Serbia in the 12th century faced the Adriatic and included the rough terrain of Hercegovina and Montenegro.) The chronicler William of Tyre, passing through Serbia in 1168 on his way to the Holy Land, described the local people as warlike mountaineers, rich in milk, cheese, butter, meat, honey, and wax. The Serbs that he observed lived entirely from the products of their herds, although we now know that they also practiced a moderate agriculture in the valleys. Hog raising was a primary activity in medieval Serbia just as in modern times, thanks to an abundant supply of acorns for pigs to feed upon in the thick oak forests. Hunting was also important: bears, wolves, stags, boars, rabbits, martens, and foxes were abundant. Fishing was carried on everywhere in the lakes and streams….

Stock raising continued to be widely practiced in East Central Europe long after agriculture had become the dominant economic activity. Many animal herders were Vlachs (ancestors of the modern Romanians), who spoke a language derived from Latin. Subsisting on the products of their flocks, they lived in the mountainous regions of southern Poland, Transylvania, and the Balkan Peninsula….

“Whether a free agricultrual population — consisting neither of serfs bound to the land nor of slaves who were owned outright — existed in the early medieval period is a question not easily answered. Conditions varied widely from country to country, and even within a single regions. Nevertheless, it is clear that when the great Slavic migrations came to an end in the 6th-7th centuries and the tribesmen settled down to agriculture, serfdom was unknown. Settled areas were held in common by the clans or tribes….

Hungary in the 11th and 12th centuries was still largely a pastoral country, where members of the tribes remained free people subject only to their sovereign. The class of true peasants, as opposed to herders engaging in occasional agriculture, was for a long time relatively small. The spread of serfdom was hindered at first by the fact that so much of the land still belonged to communities of herdsmen….. [A]s agriculture gradually replaced herding, the property of the clans was broken up into private estates which were held mainly by nobles and churchmen. Gradually the free Magyar clansmen were transformed into serfs.”

who knew? previously: the flatlanders vs. the mountain people and more on albanians.
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how to put a stop to a feud the early medieval way (the following event happened in the 500s a.d.) — from Family, Friends and Followers: Political and Social Bonds in Early Medieval Europe [pg. 33]:

“[K]inship ties were immensely important to the status and rank of this nobility. This may be seen, for instance, from Gregory of Tours’ report of a bitter feud between two Frankish kin-groups. In this case offence had been given when a man from one kin-group was accused of associating with prostitutes and being unfaithful to his wife, who belonged to the other kin-group. This provoked the woman’s brother to attack his brother-in-law, leading to a series of fights in which both men, and most of their supporters, were killed. The fathers of the two dead men then took up the feud. The Merovingian queen, Fredegund, brought an end to the fighting: she invited the leaders of both warring factions to a meal and, when these men and their *pueri* had become drunk, she had them all killed. There can be little doubt that the two kin-groups involved were extremely powerful because the remaining *parentes* were still strong enough to force the queen to flee.”

so, the merovingian franks were still clannish and feuding. previously: early medieval bavarians and feuds & honor killings.

here, btw, is fredegund … attempting to kill her daughter! (no idea if she was successful or not):

fredegund
_____

finally, khan krum — krum the horrible — of bulgaria after his defeat of the byzantine emperor nikephoros i being served some wine by a (very nervous looking) servant. the wine has been poured into a skull cup made from nikephoros’ cranium!:

krum the horrible

(note: comments do not require an email. nineteenth century tibetan skull cup.)

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23 Comments

  1. HBD Chick,

    Regarding the visual trichotomy of the Dark Enlightenment, here is a great visual of the theonomists:

    This is being sent around on various email lists.

    Reply

  2. @nathan – “Regarding the visual trichotomy of the Dark Enlightenment, here is a great visual of the theonomists….”

    thanks, but … meh.

    Reply

  3. People from the former Yugoslavia compose the second largest immigrant group in Sweden (after Finns), at approximately 157,350. Perhaps their presence might impart a sense of realism to the Swedes, e.g., that it’s not pragmatic to extend your trust beyond your in-group. I like the Slavs, in part because they seem to have very unromantic and grounded views regarding the motivations of others. It’s hard to square that the embrace of Bolshevism, but I’ve always had the impression that the citizenry was always fairly cynical regarding that experiment, although they obviously had certain incentives to play along with it as long as they needed to.

    Reply

  4. When I first went to Transylvania in 1998 there was still a lot of sheepherding. My sons, in fact, were not sent to school but to herding in Derna (near Marghita) when they were 6-8 years old (early 90’s). By 2005 there was a lot less of this.

    I have speculated that the reason that orphans were so ill-cared for was that they had no network of others who might do them favors, offer them jobs, etc. The were non-persons, they added no value as friends or mates. In Romania, this was necessary to survival and is still strong, though not as strong as in former Yugoslavia.

    One conversation, which has no statistical backup but readers might find interesting was the declaration by an older Romanaian, who was explaining the agri festivals such as in the Apuseni mountains, that it was considered best to marry a woman from a nearby village, but not one’s own. People from greater distance (say, 30km) were considered suspect. Girls from one’s own village were acceptable, but not preferred mates. It sounds like a distant but not near-cousin marriage arrangement. This was true, the man told me, until Ceausescu started trying to close down the villages and make everyone work in the small industrial cities. Then everything got screwed up, because no one could trust anyone anymore. “People would lie about being your relative!”

    That was an angle I hadn’t thought of before: counterfeiting clannishness in the face of the destruction of non-state relationships.

    Reply

  5. Assistant Village Idiot: “That was an angle I hadn’t thought of before: counterfeiting clannishness in the face of the destruction of non-state relationships.”

    Is that simple mimicry of an animal that has a greater capacity for collective self-defense, or do you think there’s more to it than that?

    Reply

  6. @assistant village idiot ” People from greater distance (say, 30km) were considered suspect. Girls from one’s own village were acceptable, but not preferred mates.” Thank you. A number. That would be about eighteen miles. In Wessex a “hide” or enough land to support 100 families was about ten miles across. England is very fertile so I imagine a “hide” there would be a bit smaller than one in central Europe. So from what I can figure the arrangement you describe would be viable over millenia with ample but not excessive fertility.

    Reply

  7. @nathan – it’s stunning that christianity was exactly that from 30 CE to 1965 CE (churches had always been segregated, race mattered) then suddenly in the 1960s during the civil rights movement – christianity changed all at once – “oh look gang – we’ve been wrong for 1930 years” – & race was removed from the equation (only for the christian side of the judeo-christian um industrial complex)

    Reply

    1. @panjoomby “then suddenly in the 1960s during the civil rights movement – christianity changed all at once” Actually it was a bit earlier. During the 50’s the Methodist Church was up to its ears pushing integration.

      Reply

  8. nathan – “Regarding the visual trichotomy of the Dark Enlightenment, here is a great visual of the theonomists”

    Quote: Under traditional Christianity, one had obligations to God, race, and family.

    I think that is mistaken if, by obligations to race, one means special obligations to ones own race. Saving the souls of foreign races was one of the driving forces missionary colonialism throughout the world. Likewise, special family altruism was discouraged (unlike in Judaism) by interpreting “Love thy neighbor” to include members of other groups (the story of the good Samaritan).

    More generally speaking I think “the Dark Enlightenment” is a terrible self-description of a pretty pitiful group of born losers (with half a dozen or so notable exceptions — you know who you are).

    Reply

  9. hbdchick
    more confirming grist to the mill

    “One conversation, which has no statistical backup but readers might find interesting was the declaration by an older Romanaian, who was explaining the agri festivals such as in the Apuseni mountains, that it was considered best to marry a woman from a nearby village, but not one’s own. People from greater distance (say, 30km) were considered suspect. Girls from one’s own village were acceptable, but not preferred mates. It sounds like a distant but not near-cousin marriage arrangement.”

    That’s a very neat rule of thumb.

    Linton
    “In Wessex a “hide” or enough land to support 100 families was about ten miles across. ”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hide_(unit)

    A hide was originally land that would support one family and a “hundred” was 100 hides. Your point stands apart from the terminology.

    Reply

  10. Fredegund: evidence, along with Ivan the Terrible, that tyrannical monarchy can limit itself through family self-destruction.

    Reply

    1. @hbd chick “i really want to compile a list of all these funny sobriquets ” That sounds like fun. Do check out the rest of the family of Vlad the Impaler.

      Reply

  11. @avi – “I have speculated that the reason that orphans were so ill-cared for was that they had no network of others who might do them favors, offer them jobs, etc. The were non-persons, they added no value as friends or mates.”

    =(

    @avi – “Then everything got screwed up, because no one could trust anyone anymore. ‘People would lie about being your relative!’ That was an angle I hadn’t thought of before: counterfeiting clannishness in the face of the destruction of non-state relationships.”

    that’s just crazy! never heard about that before — or never imagined it, either. thanks!

    Reply

  12. hbd chick,

    One should not forget about the Ottoman occupation of the Hungarian Plain though. During that ca. 150 years most of the plains became very sparsely inhabited. After the defeat of the Ottomans settlers were invited to Hungary. The settlers were mostly Slavic or German. In contemporary Hungary you can hardly find the genetic legacy of the original Magyar tribes (even if some Hungarians are very proud of it )… So 11-12th century pastoralism is not too relevant. (Also, even after the Mongol invasion there were organized immigration to Hungary: Cuman and Jassic to the plains and German to Transylvania and contemporary Slovakia.) 17-18th century Habsburg rulers also settled many in Hungary. There is a list of the many waves of immigration and settlement to Hungary, alas in Hunagarian: immig.

    Reply

  13. @nador – “There is a list of the many waves of immigration and settlement to Hungary, alas in Hunagarian: immig.”

    excellent! thanks very much! (^_^) i’ll run it through google translate to see if i can make anything of it all. (^_^)

    thank you!

    Reply

  14. hbd chick,

    Well, I occasionally check how good Hungarian to English google translation is, and always have to say, not particularly good. So feel free to ask…

    Reply

  15. hbdchick
    “me! (^_^) (but a more girly version, obviously.) i wish the progress was more like this!”

    All good stuff :)

    Reply

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