more on mating patterns from deutschland (and switzerland)

well, i’m working on filling in the blanks for mating patterns amongst the germanics (and other european populations, too). it’s just a small gap from ca. 400 a.d. to … oh … 2011. (~_^) so, this is an ongoing project — i suggest you don’t hold your breath waiting for the final product.

the problem with the germanics and all the other protestant groups in europe is that, once they’d left the catholic church, no one kept any records of cousin marriages. dr*t! the catholic church kept records because cousin marriages were verboten; but as of the 1500s, cousin marriage was generally ok with protestant groups — not always, but generally — so they didn’t bother to record them anymore. at least that’s the picture i’ve gotten from what i’ve read so far, but see below.

the other major changes to marriages laws in the protestant churches were: 1) that the clergy no longer had to remain celibate (whew!), and 2) that persons wishing to marry also had to get permission from their parents. as of the twelfth century in the catholic church, permission to marry wasn’t required from anybody — just the consent of the two individuals marrying. the germanics changed that as of the 1500s.

now, from “Reordering marriage and society in Reformation Germany” [pgs. 85-86]:

“The canonical impediment system, harshly attacked from all sides, was the first part of the indissoluble definition to be put to the scriptural test. Most early Evangelicals initially proposed basing the entire marriage impediment system on Mosaic prohibitions, particularly Leviticus 18. The practical limitations of the relevant passages, however, and the need for extensive interpretation soon became apparent. Once again, reformers were presented with an opportunity — comparable with that of their twelfth-century predecessors — that might have resulted in a radical reformation of the entire marriage legal system; the fact that it did not is just one more sign of their conservatism.

“Rather, most theologians and jurists chose to treat impediments as ‘indifferent’ matters, rejecting only those restrictions explicitly in conflict with Scripture and otherwise rely on the discretion of the pastor or secular authority involved. Like their canonical predecessors, all the reformers accepted Leviticus’s second-degree [uncle-niece, first cousins] prohibition as absolute and indispensable. Many (including Luther, Melanchthon, and Osiander) also favored maintenance of the canonical third-degree [second cousins] limitation, while others, most notably Brenz and Calvin, even proposed keeping the traditional fourth-degree [third cousins] prohibition. Similarly, on the subject of affinity [in-laws] restrictions, few Protestant leaders eliminated all traditional impediments, and none but Luther mentioned reform of ‘public honesty’ and ‘illegitimate affinity….’

Forbidden degrees of consanguinity had in fact already returned to the fourth degree [third cousins] in the 1533 diet of the Swiss Confederation (Zurich, Bern, Basel, Schaffenhaussen, and Saint Gallen participating), with many other cities and principalities following suit. Kohler attributes the Confederation’s return to canonical consanguinity standards in 1533 to immediate Catholic political pressure, but throughout the rest of the century in Protestant Germany the unmistakable trend remained a return to the previous canonical standards. Some Protestant marriage codes, such as those of Zurich and Strasbourg, maintained the forbidden degree of consanguinity at the third [second cousins] or even second level [uncle-niece, first cousins], and eliminated affinity [in-laws] prohibitions altogether. Others, most notably Geneva and the Duchy of Wurttemberg, never deviated from the Canon law definition of either in the first place (at the urging of Calvin and Brenz, respectively). By the end of the sixteenth century, the only canonical impediments unanimously rejected by Protestant jurists and marriage codes were those of spiritual affinity [godparents] and public honesty (both simultaneously redefined by the Council of Trent and frequently dispensed in Catholic areas). Impediments of affinity [in-laws] in general were limited to the second degree [uncle-niece, first cousins-in-law] and consanguinity to the third [second cousins-in-law], with the remainder of pre-Reformation restrictions (condition, person, etc.) preserved intact.”

so, neither the germans nor the swiss really started inbreeding more immediately after the reformation. it seems that, generally, they kept on marrying beyond second cousins.

at some point those regulations were relaxed, but i don’t yet know when that happened. stay tuned!

as an aside, here’s a little note about the difficulties with the celibacy regulations before the reformation [pg. 35]:

“More sympathetic observers, usually clerics themselves, recounted the trials and tribulations of celibate life that led to such abuses. In ‘The Lamentations of seven pious but disconsolate priests whom no one can comfort’ (1521), one unhappy cleric relates his own unsuccessful attempts to conquer the sexual urge, resulting in masturbation, wet dreams, lechery (including an affair with the wife of a friend), and eventually a concubine who bears him seventeen children in twenty years. Though tolerated by his bishop (because of the ‘whore tax’) and his parishoners (‘like stableboys accustomed to dung’), the pastor himself is continuously tormented by his own conscience, regretting the moral harm done his flock almost as much as that done his own soul:

“‘Thus am I entagled: on the one hand, I cannot live without a wife; on the other, I am not permitted a wife. Thus, I am forced to live a publicly disgraceful life, to the shame of my soul and honor and to the damnation of many who have taken offense at me [i.e., who refuse to receive sacraments from his hands]. How shall I preach about chastity and promiscuity, adultery, and knavish behavior, when my whore goes to church and about the streets and my bastards sit before my eyes? How shall I read the Mass under such circumstance?'”

poor guy, but … SEVENTEEN CHILDREN?! whoa.

edit: boilerplate and boilerplate 2.0

previously: whatever happened to european tribes? and inbreeding amongst germanic tribes and more on inbreeding in germanic tribes and what about the franks? and early medieval germans … again!

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solution

sixteenth century germany!:

“For most polemicists, the only possible motivation of ecclesiastical authorities in creating and maintaining such a system [in which minors could marry without their parents’ permission] was sheer avarice. In addition to charging for the various dispensations (most commonly for cases of third- or fourth-degree consanguinity), bishops and officials made money from all related marital litigation, such as dissolution and separation cases. Outraged by such abuses, reformers attacked both the law and its enforcement with a brutality rivaled only by related anticlerical tracts on concubinage and simony. Luther castigated Church legal authorities as ‘[sellers] of vulvas and genitals — merchandise indeed most worthy of such merchants, grown altogether filthy and obscene through greed and godlessness.’ As far as he could see, the only purpose of creating the ‘snares’ of impediments was to ‘catch’ money — sentiments echoed by Johann Brenz: ‘Perhaps [the pope] had his eye on money and filling the coffers, and for that reason forbade certain degrees, so that they could be dissolved again if one had the money.'”

previously: guess when and where!

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to michael lewis – freudianism is bunk!

in yesterday’s linkfest i linked to a terrific article by michael lewis on the current economic state (pretty good!) of germany. he describes the germans and their ordnung ways in a series of anecdotes that reaffirm practically every stereotype of germans that you can think of — efficient, hard-working, loyal, trusting (to the point of being gullible) — and he doesn’t shy away from them. rather, he uses these to explain why germany, today, is practically the only solvent country in europe (the world?) and is maybe the only state in that union that will be able to bail all the others out. maybe. if they decide to.

lewis talks about how there was nearly no financial silliness in germany during the last decade (no sub-prime mortgage crisis and no housing bubble there!), mostly because the germans are not into being silly. they prefer to be responsible — and honest. the exception to the rule, he claims, were the bankers in some of the big private investment banks in places like frankfurt and the landesbanks. they happily dove into purchasing all sorts of dodgy cdos and what not from wall street and elsewhere. why?, he asks.

he comes up with two explanations: 1) a lot of the landesbank personnel were just naive — they never imagined that wall streeters would re-package cr*p and call it triple-a investment opportunities; and 2) well … here’s where he got all freudian.

lewis discusses at some length the german culture’s obsession with all-things-scheiße – your average johan’s endless discussions about his daily bowel movements to sexual fetishes to children’s fairytales. from this he concludes that there’s some sort of “dual nature” to germans: on the outside they like order and cleanliness, but subconsciously they’re just looking to get dirty. so they bought dirty assests … or something like that.

meh, i say.

the real explanation is prolly more along the lines of: there is variation within the german population (as there is in any population) with regard to personality type and, prolly, the more sociopathic/psychopathic wound up working in private investment banks (who else works in those places?) where they could operate in more dodgy ways than in other areas of german society — especially since they were dealing mostly with dodgy foreigners. (also, some of the dodgy “german” bankers might not have been german at all.)

why the german obsession with scheiße (which, knowing quite a few germans, i know to be the case!)? my guess is that more of them simply have a hard time taking a dump than other peoples ’cause they’re still not fully adapted to grains! think of the distribution of crohn’s disease and celiac disease — very frequent in northwest europe — some of the last places where the neolithic farming revolution hit. (that’s my theory and i’m sticking to it!)

anyway — here are some fun quotes from lewis:

“I have arrived about three minutes late, but the German deputy minister of finance [Jörg Asmussen] runs a full five minutes later, which, I will learn, is viewed by Germans almost as a felony. He apologizes a lot more than he needs to for the delay…. His desk is a template of self-discipline. It is alive with implied activity—legal pads, Post-it notes, manila folders—but every single object on it is perfectly aligned with all the others, and with the edges of the desk. Every angle is precisely 90 degrees….

“Jörg Asmussen offers the first hint of an answer—in his personal behavior. He is a type familiar in Germany but absolutely freakish in Greece — or for that matter the United States: a keenly intelligent, highly ambitious civil servant who has no other desire but to serve his country. His sparkling curriculum vitae is missing a line that would be found on the résumés of men in his position most anywhere else in the world — the line where he leaves government service for Goldman Sachs to cash out. When I asked another prominent German civil servant why he hadn’t taken time out of public service to make his fortune working for some bank, the way every American civil servant who is anywhere near finance seems to want to do, his expression changed to alarm. ‘But I could never do this,’ he said. ‘It would be illoyal!’

“Asmussen agrees and then addresses the German question more directly. The curious thing about the eruption of cheap and indiscriminate lending of money during the past decade was the different effects it had from country to country. Every developed country was subjected to more or less the same temptation, but no two countries responded in precisely the same way. The rest of Europe, in effect, used Germany’s credit rating to indulge its material desires. They borrowed as cheaply as Germans could to buy stuff they couldn’t afford. Given the chance to take something for nothing, the German people alone simply ignored the offer. ‘There was no credit boom in Germany,’ says Asmussen. ‘Real-estate prices were completely flat. There was no borrowing for consumption. Because this behavior is rather alien to Germans. Germans save whenever possible. This is deeply in German genes. Perhaps a leftover of the collective memory of the Great Depression and the hyperinflation of the 1920s.’ The German government was equally prudent because, he went on, ‘there is a consensus among the different parties about this: if you’re not adhering to fiscal responsibility, you have no chance in elections, because the people are that way….’

“The drive from Berlin to Düsseldorf takes longer than it should. For long stretches the highway is choked with cars and trucks. A German traffic jam is a peculiar sight: no one honks; no one switches lanes searching for some small, illusory advantage; all trucks remain in the right-hand lane, where they are required to be. The spectacle, sparkling Audis and Mercedeses in the left lane, and immaculate trucks neatly rowed up in the right lane, is almost a pleasure to watch. Because everyone in it obeys the rules, and believes that everyone else will obey them, too, it moves as fast as it can, given the circumstances….

“If the deputy finance minister has a sign on his wall reminding him to see the point of view of others, here is perhaps why. Others do not behave as Germans do: others lie. In this financial world of deceit, Germans are natives on a protected island who have not been inoculated against the virus carried by visitors. The same instincts that allowed them to trust the Wall Street bond salesmen also allowed them to trust the French when they promised there would be no bailouts, and the Greeks when they swore that their budget was balanced.”

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