random notes: 06/30/15

further to the point of when did the arabs start marrying their fathers’ brothers’ daughters (fbd marriage), from kudelin (2005) – “Family-Matrimonal Relations in the 5th-7th Centuries Arabia and Their Reflection in the Early Arabic Poetry” [pgs. 8-9]:

“According to one point of view, in the 5th-7th century Arabia there was a decay of the communal-clan system which was reflected, in particular, in the ‘tendency towards isolation of a consanguine group by regulating family and matrimonial relations’ with the transformation of such group from an exogamic into an endogamous one. At that period the exogamic form of marriage was gradually losing its ‘oneness and ubiquity’ and edogamy was becoming firmly established. Obviously, during some period of time both forms of marriage coexisted simultaneously….

“Consistent introduction of paternal relations and the distribution of endogamy lead to such well-known form of matrimonial relations as [fbd] marriage which prevailed on the Arabic Peninsula from the 6th-7th century. In the conditions of the growing role of endogamy in this period the most suitable spouses in the Arabic society were ‘a son of an uncle on the father’s side’ (*ibn ‘amm*) and ‘a daughter of an uncle on the father’s side (*bint ‘amm*). If a girl did not have a first cousin, the right to marry her passed to the patrilineal cousins of further degrees. Usually the right did not pass further than the girl’s cousins of the third or fourth degrees…. In case of divorce, the right for the woman passed to other patrilineal cousins, beginning from the closest degree of kinship. An agnatic cousin had the right not to marry his relative, while she could not marry anyone else without his consent. An exterior competitor had to ask a patrilineal cousin for his permission and even pay him ‘compensation’….

“The coexistence of the exogamic and the endogamous forms of marriage in the 5th-7th century Arabia was reflected in the early Arabic poetry and determined its uniqueness.”

so it looks as though that, thanks to a quirky twist of history (the fall of the roman empire, perhaps?), the arabs adopted the form of cousin marriage that leads to the most inbreeding (fbd marriage) at just around the same time that europeans (especially northwest europeans) began to abandon cousin marriage altogether. how’s THAT for a clash of civilizations?!

there should be more on this here in robertson smith’s Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, which i haven’t looked at yet.

around three or four hundred years after europeans started taking the medieval church’s cousin marriage bans seriously (ca. the 800s judging by the franks — ymmv), european languages shifted to reflect this change in mating patterns. a general term for “cousins” (and aunts and uncles) became the norm, replacing the older terms which specified “mother’s brother’s daughter” or whatever. it was no longer necessary to distinguish the “bint ‘amm” (father’s brother’s daughter in arabic) or “biǎo” cousins (cousins other than those descended from the father’s brother in chinese [mandarin?]) because all cousins were now off limits as far as marriage was concerned. this linguistic shift occurred between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries in german and also happened in english, french, etc. (interestingly, a similar linguistic shift happened in ancient greek, indicating…?)

the funny thing is, though, that the same linguistic shift also happened in italian, even though plenty of (especially southern) italians kept right on marrying their cousins — up until, like, yesterday. well, now i’ve stumbled across some historic regional differences in kinship terminology in italy. from “Land, Kinship, and Consanguineous Marriage in Italy From the Seventeenth To the Nineteenth Centuries” [pgs. 532-533]:

“In a rural town of Calabria in the province of Catanzaro, patrilateral parallel cousins were called *cugini giusti* (right cousins), or *surrea* and *frateu* in the case of the patrilateral parallel female and male cousins, respectively….

“At Prodo, in Umbria, we find virtually the same terminology as in Calabria. The strongest bond was between the males; patrilateral parallel cousins were called ‘brother-cousins,’ while others were simply called cousins….

“In Desulo, first cousins through brothers were known as *karrales*, and even second cousins, the sons of *karrales*, were referred to as *ermanos primargios*.”

so there you go. and there’s only something on the order of a million and one dialects in italy, so who knows how many different terms there might be for cousins in “italian” (and how those terms might differ regionally)?

from anglo-saxon england, from the laws of wulfstan (d.1023), apparently the punishment (or one of the punishments) for violating the incest laws was a fine — a fine reckoned based upon how closely you were related to your partner in crime. sounds like it was a bit like applying some sort of wergeld calculation in order to try to enforce the cousin marriage bans. never heard this before [pg. 227]:

“There is particular concern and precision in the laws associated with Wulfstan: ‘if anyone commits incest, he is to pay compensation according to the degree of relationship, whether by wergeld or by fine or by all his possessions. It is not equal whether a man has intercourse with his sister, or with a more distant relation.’ Laws composed by Wulfstan prohibited marriage ‘within the sixth degree of relationship, that is within the fourth knee [*cneowe*]’, thus prohibiting marriage to fourth cousins, or marriage ‘with the widow of a man as nearly related to him as this’.”


(note: comments do not require an email. wulfstan.)


my in-depth analysis of the u.k. elections

heh. no, not really, but…right…here’s what i’ve got. u.k. electoral map on the left taken from here, via anatoly — genetic ancestry map on the right which appeared in this previous post. [click on image for LARGER view.]:


any patterns that match?

well, obviously, there’s the english vs. scottish divide — the two groups are genetically distinct-ish, and now they’re electorally very distinct. up in scotland, it’s funny that the orkney islanders didn’t follow the lead of most of the rest of scotland — they stuck to the lib dems rather than go with the scottish national party — and they are genetically their own little unique viking group. and they’ve been sticking to liberals or liberal democrats since 1950, thank you very much.

there’s also the english vs. welsh divide — the farther west you go in wales, where the population is more genetically welsh, the less they went for conservatives (like the english in england did). until you get to pembrokeshire, that is, where the population of “little england beyond wales” — which is genetically distinct-ish from the rest of the population in wales (see the upside-down yellow triangles labeled “s. pembrokeshire”) — voted conservative like the rest of the english.

northern ireland? northern ireland is its own story, which i hope you can figure out on your own.

ignoring london (’cause all sorts of people/s have moved to london, from all over the u.k. and the world), i find it very tempting to match the pattern of the labour regions — up in the northeast and northwest and in yorkshire and even southern wales — with the northumbrians, cumbrians, w yorkshire, and s pembrokeshire/welsh border populations on the genetic ancestry map. to be honest, though, the labour regions really match up much better with the former coal-mining/industrial regions of britain (as well as with several large contemporary urban areas, obviously — manchester, liverpool, newcastle, etc.):


this coal-mining-labour pattern is even more pronounced if you look at the election results from 2010 and see the regions of scotland which voted in labour mps back then. the only outlier, really, is anglesey. dunno why they like labour so much. mind you, even though they won in anglesey, labour did get only 31% of the vote there this time ’round. plaid cymru (the welsh nationalist party) got 30%.

so, regional labour party voters = the descendants of miners/industrial workers? the ones that didn’t leave for greener pastures? maybe. and/or this pattern reflects the highland-lowland/tees-exe line divide in britain, and what we’re seeing is a divide between the more manorialized english of the lowlands versus the not-very-manorialized subpopulations of the highlands — and the fact that there was coal in the highland regions is just a coincidence. dunno!

from the bbc, the share of the vote won by the conservatives in each constituency:

uk-electoral-map-2015-conservatives 02

rural areas voted for the conservative party more than urban areas in england. in fact, the spread is fairly even right across the country, just like the even spread of the ethnic english on the genetic ancestry map above. this isn’t the case in either wales or scotland — or northern ireland for that matter. there’s more support for the conservatives in the welsh border regions, where greater numbers of english (including normans, of course) settled. in scotland, there’s greater support for the conservatives in the lowlands rather than in the highlands.


uk-electoral-map-2015-labour 02

again, most support in those former mining/industrial urbanized regions. plus london. (also: this. (~_^) )


uk-electoral-map-2015-ukip 02

a fair amount of support quite evenly spread across england, wales, and even northern ireland. what’d they get? thirteen percent of the vote? less overall support in scotland. and not so much in london, of course. they only got one seat in parliament, though — an mp from clacton — ukip got 44% of the vote there. i dunno anything about clacton-on-sea, so you tell me why there. the party got 30% of the vote in rotherham, which makes plenty of sense. there’s a hotspot of ukip support up there judging by the map. there’s another hotspot to the east there — 34% of the vote went to ukip in the boston & skegness constituency. lot of eastern european immigrants in that area of the country. lot of locales along the thames estuary also with rather high support for ukip. just outside london (where there’s a lot of immigrants).

lib dems:

uk-electoral-map-2015-libdem 02

the orkney islanders, again. and quite a lot of support from the scottish highlanders! that was a surprise to me. and the northern lowlanders. is this some viking trend? and where is that in cumbria? westmorland and lonsdale? i dunno anything about that area of the country, except i hear they got a lot of lakes.



quite a lot of support across the board in scotland. over 40% of the vote almost everywhere (38% in the orkneys & shetland). lower support in some of the border regions toward northumbria.

green party:

uk-electoral-map-2015-green party

generally low support everywhere, but fairly evenly spread (low) support. the people of dál riata aren’t interested, though. (~_^) more support in the south of england? maybe?

plaid cymru:

plaid cymru

again, more support for the welsh national party in the west where people are more welsh — except for in pembrokeshire where they’re not so welsh.

any other patterns?

previously: free cornwall now! and random notes: 07/30/13

(note: comments do not require an email. dunno how the monster raving loony party did….)