February 13, 2012

Was Beowulf an empty nester?

HBD Chick has had some great posts. Here's one on French anthropologist Emmanuel Todd's seven types of family systems:

This is enormously complicated just for Europe alone. That's one problem with cultural anthropology that isn't really the anthropologists' fault: the subject matter is endlessly convoluted. (Of course, cultural anthropologists don't help by resisting all attempts at reductionism.)

So let's just focus on the yellow area, home to what Todd calls the "absolute nuclear family:"
1. Absolute Nuclear Family:  
a. Spouse selection: Free, but obligatory exogamy.  
b. Inheritance: Indifference - no precise rules, frequent use of wills.  
c. Family Home: no cohabitation of married children with their parents.  
d. Representative Nations, Peoples, Regions: Anglo-Saxon world, Holland, Denmark.  
e. Representative Ideology: Christianity, Capitalism, `Libertarian' Liberalism, and Feminism. 

For example, being an empty nester is a popular goal in Anglo-Saxon cultures, while striking lots of other peoples as sad and lonely.

The yellow area (southern Norway, Denmark, coastal Netherlands, England and Edinburgh) corresponds closely to the old Anglo-Saxon lands. (I don't know about Brittany, though). And, indeed, this is the system dominant in what Todd calls the Anglo-Saxon countries today. One interesting question is: When did this start? I don't think it's visible yet in Beowulf, but I could be wrong. But it seemed to get going close to 1,000 years ago.

All this ties into Tory Cabinet minister David Willetts' portrait of the Deep Structure of being English:

"Instead, think of England as being like this for at least 750 years. We live in small families. We buy and sell houses. … Our parents expect us to leave home for paid work …You try to save up some money from your wages so that you can afford to get married. … You can choose your spouse … It takes a long time to build up some savings from your work and find the right person with whom to settle down, so marriage comes quite lately, possibly in your late twenties. "

The long-standing English aversion to arranged marriages reflects this distinction. It's noteworthy that Shakespeare and his English audience sided with Romeo and Juliet against their kinfolk. Willetts theorizes:
"A small, simple family structure not driven by the need to pass on an inheritance or to sustain ties with brothers and cousins in a clan can be more personal, intense, and emotional—a clue to England's Romantic tradition."

Willetts points out that most other languages have "specific words for particular types of uncles, grandparents, and cousins", but the English apparently never needed to develop these terms. As far back as 1014, he says, Bishop Wulfstan of London "expressed regret that vendettas were not what they used to be as family members just would not join in". (In contrast, the more clannish Scots kept alive kin-spirit, transmitting it down to their Scots-Irish descendants, such as the Hatfields and McCoys who waged a famous feud in Appalachia.)

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brittany has been considered Celtic for most of its history. It maintained a precarious independence from France until the mid-16th century and was the lair of pirates who roamed the seas around Britain, fighting British and Flemish pirates when they weren't conveniently allied with them.

commentor said...

I'd say all of the UK is largely yellow, apart from some families with a family business.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the single most important family structure division in Europe between the peoples who let oldest sons inherit and the ones that divided estates between surviving sons?

Douglas Knight said...

A better version of that link to HBD Chick on Todd.

Anonymous said...

Commentator, "I'd say all of the UK is largely yellow, apart from some families with a family business."

That doesn't explain the level of animosity between the green and yellow parts over the last few hundred years.

Gilbert Pinfold.

hbd chick said...

h/t to m.g. miles over @those who can see who drew the map in the first place. (^_^) i just added the hajnal line to it 'cause i thought that might be interesting.

hbd chick said...

@anonymous - "Brittany has been considered Celtic for most of its history. It maintained a precarious independence from France until the mid-16th century...."

yes. the crucial point might be that brittany remained outside the frankish/carolingian empire.

perhaps they -- and the anglos and the scandinavians who were also not a part of that empire -- missed out on something essential in manorialism that was so characteristic of the carolingian regions and that lead to todd's authoritarian family? the frisians, too, never experienced manorialism and they're yellow on this map.

hbd chick said...

@commentator - "I'd say all of the UK is largely yellow, apart from some families with a family business."

well, these are traditional families. the western fringes of britain for a long time had family systems where one child and his/her spouse and kids would remain living with grandma & grandpa. that's todd's authoritarian family (the green bits).

Reg Cæsar said...

That yellow spot in France overlaps Brittany (otherwise dark green), Normandy (otherwise blue) and Loire (otherwise blue and light green.)

So this 'yellowness' could be the result of the three elements mixing. Just as England is the result of such mixes. (And perhaps Holland and Denmark as well.)

commentor said...

My point is that the map doesn't reflect reality, certainly the area that I know about. Perhaps it's meant to refer to the situation a few generations ago.
As for Gilbert's random outburst - huh?

Volksverhetzer said...

I wouldn't really trust this guy, as he has missed Norway/Denmark completely.

A farm, and only the farm, was strictly inherited to oldest son, but for everything or everybody else in society, the inheritance was shared equally among children.


As far as I know, this system was common for Norway, Sweden and Denmark for as long as we have written history, so that the different colors we see on the map for Scandinavia reflects if the majority in an area were self owning farmers or worked as something else, and not differences in culture.

An example of this, is where married parents and married children cohabit on a farm, they usually live/lived in separate houses. The big house for the parents, and a smaller one for the grandparents.

If we go back to Beowulf, I would not be surprised if you find that the non-farming people, like rich traders, shipowners, smiths, etc, even then were forced to split their inheritance equally* by law, so that the farmers/nobility would not be challenged by rich trading families.

*Women inherited half, IIRC

To sum it up, for Scandinavia at least, the norms never changed, but the percentage of the population living on self-owning farms has changed.

Anonymous said...

Frisia/Friesland is still a Dutch outsider province today. They cling to their own language (no dialect), customs and habits until this day. The province is also remarkable for being populated very scattered. There are hardly any villages of >40k people there. Most people live in small towns and quite a few on (former) farms. They like it that way.

It's nice, provincial, orderly, egalitarian and ethnocentric.

Anonymous said...

lovely, just proves that hbd is a signaller for the lesser whites.

Anonymous said...

According to that map adult children don't live with their parents in southern Italy. I'm not Italian, but I've always assumed that they do.

dearieme said...

"Edinburgh"? The map shows it spreading north of Aberdeen.

It looks to me as if Britanny is split between the predominantly Celtic-speaking bit and the Frankish/Latin bit which the Celts had conquered.

Anonymous said...

I think it may be a combination of layers
- Catholic cousin-ban
- manorialism acting as the enforcement mechanism of the ban
- population density: if you're avoiding near cousins then the limit to exogamy is the size of the breeding pool, a region with a low pop. density means you'll probably still marry a cousin, just not as close a cousin. In this period pop. density is mostly a function of fertile terrain and climate type and the green and yellow parts of the map - in the UK not neccessarily elsewhere - largely map to pre-modern population density.

However the neatness of the Beowulf overlap is interesting also so maybe there is another earlier component that increased the effect of the cousin ban - the unusual status of women?

///

Didn't Brittany receive lots of refugees from Britain during the Saxon invasions?

Anonymous said...

"I'd say all of the UK is largely yellow, apart from some families with a family business."

It probably is now. I think Todd's map derives from Le Play who was around in the 1850s (could be mixed up on that).

///

"Isn't the single most important family structure division in Europe between the peoples who let oldest sons inherit and the ones that divided estates between surviving sons?"

That's the dark green vs blue parts of the map. However there's also a division between "weak" and "strong" family types. I guess the simplest model is the yellow is the weak family zone and the blue and dark green parts represent two distinct versions within the strong family zone.

I think most of the rest of the world is red or purple or was for most of their history.

The yellow people are (almost) uniquely odd - although some similarities with Ethiopians apparently.

Bill said...

It's a result of ecclesiastic law regarding marriage as much as anything. The Western world (after about the 10th cent.) was practically the only place on earth where divorce was prohibited, which allowed relative security for absolute nuclear families, and reduced the need for consanguineous "guarantees" (also outlawed such marriages) that kept the wealth in the family rather than dispersing it through marital dissolutions.

Jeff said...

My impression of the Hatfields and the McCoys is that they followed the Anglo-Saxon family and inheritance customs, but joined with other kin for fighting.

Fighting was their entertainment, their vocation, and their core competence.

Luke Lea said...

@ - "An example of this [for Norway, Sweden and Denmark], is where married parents and married children cohabit on a farm, they usually live/lived in separate houses. The big house for the parents, and a smaller one for the grandparents."

Hey, this is what I have been advocating as a new model family in America -- a way to to reduce childcare and eldicare expenses among other things. How did it work out in Scandinavia? I'm almost afraid to ask.

International Jew said...

Even where married children moved out, they stayed nearby. Long-distance dispersal like we have in today's USA was rare. So was the whole family getting squeezed out by demographic revolution; what we call "white flight" was what happened if your side was defeated in war.

Anonymous said...

Which ones of these different familial systems are currently "replenishing" themselves (i.e., have a high fertility rate)? I am not talking about immigration. Let's exclude foreign immigrants.

How does the Anglo-Saxon model fare in comparison to other models in terms of population growth? I know France is doing well.

RFactor said...

Here are two other issues you could potentially explore on this topic.

1) Is the Anglo-Saxon family model responsible for the unique prosperity and democracy of the Anglosphere? In other words, is the reason why the Anglosphere is currently the strongest, most prosperous set of countries in the world, precisely because they are uniquely indifferent toward nepotism (i.e., a tight kinship system with a preference for relatives)? Whereas on the Continent, nepotism runs rampant and results in bribes, corruption, and prevents a merit-based civil society from emerging?

2) I've noticed that the 'yellow' countries have the most simplified, straightforward grammar of all European languages. In other words, they've dropped the complex declension systems of the proto-European language ("cases"). In the East, and also in Germany, the languages are conservative and have kept their declension cases for nouns and/or verbs. Even French still has some verb inflections. Does language conservatism have anything to do with this issue?

dearieme said...

"Didn't Brittany receive lots of refugees from Britain during the Saxon invasions?" Yes, that's why it's called Brittany. Though it may have been Irish invaders they were fleeing as well as German, since many of the Britons came from SW England.

P.S. My Irish grandfather didn't refer to the families he grew up amongst as "authoritarian", his adjectives were priest-ridden, drunken, violent and dishonest. That reminds you that there can exist different forms of authoritarian.

Anonymous said...

The Hatfields weren't Scotch-Irish, at least not entirely, in the paternal line they were Quakers. While extended kinship in Appalachia is important, one never had the extended family residences typical of the Serbs, or the enforced collectivity of the Slavs such as the peasant commune. Also, surname isn't necessarily a good indicator of social affiliation.

I'd recommend Altina Waller's study of the feud before attributing atavistic clannishness to the Appalachian people. Economic patronage was as important a factor in Devil Anse's support network as kinship, as one had McCoys who sided with the Hatfields.


On the English lack of clannishness, the English extended family as a legal unit and collective legal responsibility has been under assault by the centralizing Monarchy for centuries.

Perhaps, though, landform might have something to do with it. Lowland England and Lowland Denmark are nuclear, whereas Highland England, the Celtic Fringe, and most of Norway are not.

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting point about Romeo and Juliet coming out of a specifically English context. The interesting thing, though, is how well this Anglo-American ideal plays in cultures where it's alien-- I think it speaks toward a universal human desire for romantic love, even in cultures where it's frowned on. There's a reason why the most popular movie in the history of Afghanistan is Titanic, with the Taliban taking to beating young men they caught wearing their hair like Leonardo diCaprio.

Anonymous said...

May I ask my fellow bloggers here in the paleo-sphere:

Wouldn't there be a massive benefit to reproductive fitness from the family model in which parents choose a spouse for their children at a young age and then gift the newly married couple with a house?

As we all know, this leads to increased fertility.

May I ask, why didn't this model win out all over Europe?

Anonymous said...

May I ask my fellow bloggers here in the paleo-sphere:

Wouldn't there be a massive benefit to reproductive fitness from the family model in which parents choose a spouse for their children at a young age and then gift the newly married couple with a house?

As we all know, this leads to increased fertility.

May I ask, why didn't this model win out all over Europe?

Anonymous said...

We already know that certain families have more control over the spouse selection process than other families.

Given the demonstrated poor judgement of most people with an IQ under 105, ie the propensity of people with an IQ under 105 to choose the wrong spouse, isn't a model of family control superior?

Putting it another way, what advantage could the anglo saxon system have provided that would let it succeed over the past thousand years

Anonymous said...

We already know that certain families have more control over the spouse selection process than other families.

Given the demonstrated poor judgement of most people with an IQ under 105, ie the propensity of people with an IQ under 105 to choose the wrong spouse, isn't a model of family control superior?

Putting it another way, what advantage could the anglo saxon system have provided that would let it succeed over the past thousand years

Anonymous said...

Steve, let's look at this from another perspective

Valentines day is a good day to debate, from an HBD standpoint, the advantages of allowing young people to choose their own spouses vs having a more mature authority do that job.

For example, the evidence is that up until 100 years ago, weddings in the Ashkenazi community were negotiated between the patriarchs of the two involved families. These patriarchs made eugenic decisions, by for example insuring that the young men with the genetic material for super high IQ were matched up with young women who had the physical fitness to bear more than a dozen children and the large financial inheritance to support more than a dozen children

At the same time, in the Anglo Saxon countries, the non Ashkenazi community relied mainly on young men and women to make their own choices in this area.

The results were massively eugenic for Ashkenazi and not eugenic for Christians. Indeed certain enclaves with 100% anglo saxon christian ancestry resemble the movie idiocracy.

Putting it another way, what advantage could the anglo saxon Christian system have provided? Why did it persist even in the face of evidence that there was a much better model?

I'm not trying to debate what system works best today, in 2012. Charles Murray has demonstrated that a father with real wealth has a spectacular eugenic effect on future generations by buying his son and daughter a place at an ivy league University. If he sends them to an ivy, chances are very good that they will marry and reproduce with a super high IQ spouse.

But from perhaps 1000 years ago to 100 years ago, what was the most eugenic tradition for a family to have? I would argue the Ashkenazi tradition was the eugenic one.

Contrast that with the tradition among catholics in Anglo countries - the highest IQ boys were sent in to the priesthood. Could this have produced catholic populations with much lower IQs than their protestant neighbors?

Steve, if you go to the violent neighborhoods of Glasgow where Protestant gangs are at war with Catholic gangs (go to the wikipedia entry on sectarianism in Glasgow for more details) do you find a substantial difference in the average IQ of the Catholics vs the Protestants?

Can we blame the problems of the anglo saxon world on the decision to allow young people to select their own spouses?

crawfurdmuir said...

Primogeniture was the predominant system of inheritance in England for freehold land and the incorporeal hereditaments attached thereto, while gavelkind prevailed for personal property not connected with the land. Some peasant populations had a custom whereby the youngest son inherited the copyhold of his parents' tenant farm while the elder sons went out to seek their fortunes. This was probably a result of the early disappearance of villeinage (unfree tenancy) in England. The "patriarchal" or "community family" system prevailing in Russia is, on the other hand, a reflection of its long persistence there. Under villeinage, the elder sons would not have been permitted to leave.

Bear in mind that Scots law is a system of modified Roman law, quite distinct from English common law. There are noteworthy differences between the Roman law of inheritance and the common law, and this probably accounts for some of the difference shown between England and Scotland.

Primogeniture applied in Scotland, as well, but so did the rules of clanship, so properties and titles as a rule descend in Scotland to heirs general and not just to heirs male in the direct line. Special rules apply to name and arms. A good example of the effect is seen in the inheritance of the children of Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk and Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll (a peeress in her own right). Their first-born son, Martin Sereld Victor Gilbert, Lord Hay, inherited the Earldom of Hay and the chiefship of Clan Hay. Their second-born son, Perergine David Euan Malcolm Moncreiffe of that Ilk, inherited the barony of Easter Moncreiffe and the chiefship of Clan Moncreiffe.

Anonymous said...

That Europe allowed the children to choose their own mates is the reason that 95% of super-models are white. They selected for beauty and the beautiful mated with the beautiful. Of course, the less beautiful were left with the less beautiful so we get a curve with the ultra-beautiful at one end.

Anonymous said...

Just as a follow up to the last point about beauty, when parents arrange marriages they choose for wealth, or power, or connections, so you don't get the same selection for beauty in those places as a good looking person might end up with an ugly one and end up with a wash.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't there be a massive benefit to reproductive fitness from the family model in which parents choose a spouse for their children at a young age and then gift the newly married couple with a house?

As we all know, this leads to increased fertility.




Until recently, you would probably run into Malthusian limits, i.e., your children wouldn't be able to afford to buy homes for your grandkids. The times are right for such a strategy now, however.

These things are probably package deals, though. If the parents are paying for the home, they're going to want more say in whom their kid marries and how their kid runs things.

M.G. said...

My point is that the map doesn't reflect reality, certainly the area that I know about.

The map was made by French writer Thierry Medynski (with whose permission I modified the text to French and added Todd's family descriptions). It is based on French anthropologist Emmanuel Todd's original map published in L'Explication de l'Idéologie. Todd's source for at least part of the data was French sociologist Frédéric Le Play, especially his 1855 work Les Ouvriers Européens. Todd claims the family systems represented were the dominant ones in Europe from 1500-1900.

--M.G. Miles

M.G. said...

Sorry, meant 'modified the text to English.'

Jim said...

Beowulf was neither a Saxon nor an Angle. He was a Geat.

Anonymous said...

That Europe allowed the children to choose their own mates is the reason that 95% of super-models are white. They selected for beauty

And not intelligence, like the Jews and East Asians...

Halvorson said...

People in Jutland spoke a West Germanic language related to English until the 6th century, when they were largely replaced by Scandinavians moving into the country from southern Sweden (southern Sweden was actually considered Danish until 1658). Because the old Anglo-Saxon culture was exterminated there, it is fairly unlikely that there is an ancient English-Danish nuclear family connection.

Difference Maker said...


Putting it another way, what advantage could the anglo saxon Christian system have provided? Why did it persist even in the face of evidence that there was a much better model?


Europeans are individualistic, and their instincts served them well in the ancestral environment. It produced a great people, but not an invincible one

Anonymous said...

That Europe allowed the children to choose their own mates is the reason that 95% of super-models are white. They selected for beauty

And not intelligence, like the Jews and East Asians...


I think you are getting a little carried away on this. Yes quote your statistics showing those groups with higher average IQs than Euros, but remember you are living in a modern world mostly driven and built by Europeans and those living in European influenced areas. The Europeans have been pretty significant going all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. So if anything you might feel a little embarrassed that your favored groups with their slightly higher IQ have not fared as well.

edgy gurl said...

You people play fast and loose with facts, don't you:

English, not many of 'em are beauties, lots have brains.

Germanic & Scandinavian types are known for both.

I've seen plenty of otherwise dull people with the appropriate mate, vice versa for the higher IQ crowd. (I'd explain why this might be easier for the dumber if you people weren't such dolts!)

I hope you commenters with the most outrageous assertions realize you merely want what you say to be true.

Anonymous said...

"Wouldn't there be a massive benefit to reproductive fitness from the family model in which parents choose a spouse for their children at a young age and then gift the newly married couple with a house?"

I think gifting a newlywed couple a house would have a big impact no matter how the spouses were chosen.

.
"Putting it another way, what advantage could the anglo saxon system have provided that would let it succeed over the past thousand years"

Most people don't have 3-4 spare houses to gift to their children so the only sensible comparison is with the standard alternatives.

Volksverhetzer said...

I have now looked at few Germanic law codices (1200's and older), and it seems to have been ancient customary law then, both to marry outside the extended family, and to split their non-allodial inheritance equally among siblings, the burghers were thus forbidden to build up capital over the generations trough family networks or primogeniture, and thus needed to work for a living.

In the city, the dominant social network were however not the extended family or neighbors, but the guilds.

It was the guild that supported widows or helped in conflict with customers. Social gatherings and feast were often held at the guildhall,etc.

The guilds had another agenda than the extended family though, in that they needed to regulate the number of masters, journeymen and apprentices in a given city, so that they all earned a livable wage. A strong extended family bond could easily come in conflict with the other local guild members.

One thing often overlooked, is the conflict dampening effect of living in a nuclear family contra an extended one.

If you say work for somebody you hate, you can talk about it with your family and you change workplaces or perhaps takes revenge. If everybody lives and works with their extended family, all this is very difficult. In addition comes the problem that your relative becomes your competitor.

Today the State, school and labor unions have taken over many of the roles of medieval guilds, while capitalism have created a new nobility that don't care about our long term survival.

In stead of leaving our individualism and nuclear families, I much rather go back to being member of a guild, than living with my extended family.

When it comes to revenge, it is much better to have the guild take it, as it's less danger to your extended family.

Anonymous said...

Contrast that with the tradition among catholics in Anglo countries - the highest IQ boys were sent in to the priesthood. Could this have produced catholic populations with much lower IQs than their protestant neighbors?

I have recently seen this line of thought on several blogs and it is used to suggest Catholics hurt themselves because the smart boys and girls were sent to become priests and nuns instead of having smart children.

You do realize that these priests and nuns came from large families with multiple brothers and sisters? The fact is if a guy was smart enough to become a priest, his brothers and sisters were probably smart too. From my experience smarts run in the family. It is not like the kid who becomes a priest had an IQ of 140 and his brothers and sisters had IQs of 100.

I would imagine that a lot of priests and nuns were not the brightest of the family's children. The eldest or most capable males would probably inherit the family's property. The clerical field probably served as a way out for children further down the pecking order who might not stand to inherit anything.

Back then large families could afford to cough up a kid or two to the church and this also provided relief for families who had too many kids to support. But to suggest that only the kids sent to the Church were smart given their shared DNA with their brothers and sisters is not logical.

Anonymous said...

OT, but for the last week or so whenever I try to post a comment, I get this script error.

Script: http://www.gstatic.com/bg/-z6JtFcBS8MO901pC5cgJMJbZnvdAAlIGb0xf_6vyQU.js:1

Does anyone know what this is and why now is this script wanting to run? It never ran before. What has changed?

hbd chick said...

@commentor - "My point is that the map doesn't reflect reality, certainly the area that I know about. Perhaps it's meant to refer to the situation a few generations ago."

yes, exactly. that's what i meant by "traditional." sorry, shoulda been more clear.

see m.g.'s explanation of the map above.

hbd chick said...

@Volksverhetzer - "I wouldn't really trust this guy, as he has missed Norway/Denmark completely."

todd's green bits on the map refer to his authoritarian "stem" family system, whereas the yellow bits are absolute nuclear families.

here are the differences:

authoritarian "stem" families (green team)

- patrimony to one of the sons
- cohabitation of the married heir with his parents (scandinavian farms with two houses fits)
- little/no marriage between children of brothers

absolute nuclear families (yellow team)

- no precise inheritance rules, frequent use of wills
- no cohabitation of married children with parents
- no marriage between children of brothers

he's got sources for both norway and denmark. here and here for denmark, for example. and for noway here and here.

hbd chick said...

@anonymous - "if you're avoiding near cousins then the limit to exogamy is the size of the breeding pool, a region with a low pop. density means you'll probably still marry a cousin, just not as close a cousin."

yes, that makes sense on an intuitive level, and certainly it has been true in a lot of places -- the greeks, for instance, have avoided marrying up to second-cousins, but have married very locally otherwise (i.e. with the village endogamously, probably to "cousins" of some sort) -- however, in some places people have tried to avoid both cousin marriage and local, endogamous marriages. northern italians in the medieval period -- rural folks -- married across surprisingly long distances given the time period.

so, you never know.

@anonymous - "However the neatness of the Beowulf overlap is interesting also so maybe there is another earlier component that increased the effect of the cousin ban - the unusual status of women?"

yes, there could be something pre-christian affecting this. the germanics also seem to have had a bilateral kinship system in which both sides of the family "counted." maybe that has something to do with the developments in anglo-saxon family structures? dunno.

hbd chick said...

@rfactor - "In other words, is the reason why the Anglosphere is currently the strongest, most prosperous set of countries in the world, precisely because they are uniquely indifferent toward nepotism (i.e., a tight kinship system with a preference for relatives)?"

yes. (^_^)

(i think it has to do even more with outbreeding and the evolution of altruism in nw european populations, but that's just me.)

hbd chick said...

@anonymous - "That Europe allowed the children to choose their own mates....

they haven't always. a large part of the reformation had to do with the fact that the germans wanted to have a say as to whom their kids married. the newly founded protestant church(es) and the updated civic codes reflected just that -- you couldn't just go marry anyone you chose. had to get your parents' permission (but they couldn't force you, either). dunno when this was reversed.

hbd chick said...

@volksverhetzer - "In the city, the dominant social network were however not the extended family or neighbors, but the guilds. It was the guild that supported widows or helped in conflict with customers. Social gatherings and feast were often held at the guildhall, etc."

yes. "corporate" europe which didn't exist until after europe's conversion to christianity and nw europeans started to outbreed, thus breaking all the clan/tribal ties, and setting europeans down a new, evolutionary track.

corvinus said...

I don't know if the map is accurate. In theory, we tend toward the yellow Anglo-Saxon model, but in my dad's (German, English, Scotch-Irish) and my brother's wife's (Sicilian and German) case, all their brothers and sisters live in the same town as their parents, and my dad and brother's wife, being more adventurous, are the only ones in their respective families to break that mold. I expect that this "living in the same town less than five miles from your parents" is the American version of the red setup.

Back then large families could afford to cough up a kid or two to the church and this also provided relief for families who had too many kids to support. But to suggest that only the kids sent to the Church were smart given their shared DNA with their brothers and sisters is not logical.

Agreed. You also have to remember that these are young men we're dealing with. The vast majority would not want to give up their right to carnal knowledge through marriage. The priesthood would appeal more to the more spiritually devout, not the smarter.

Luke Lea said...

@ Volksverhetzer - "Today the State, school and labor unions have taken over many of the roles of medieval guilds, while capitalism have created a new nobility that don't care about our long term survival"

Chilling thought.

DiverCity said...

I love Appalachia!

Anonymous said...

"used to suggest Catholics hurt themselves because the smart boys and girls were sent to become priests and nuns instead of having smart children."

Also priests and monks had lots of kids which makes me wonder if the areas around monasteries were significantly over-represented as centres of innovation - MIT plus peasant girls.

Also i read somewhere the girls packed off to nunneries were often the most sexually promiscuous ones rather than the cleverest so maybe that helped select for monogamous traits.

dearieme said...

"English, not many of 'em are beauties, lots have brains.

Germanic & Scandinavian types are known for both."

Except in Berlin, obviously.

Anonymous said...

"My point is that the map doesn't reflect reality, certainly the area that I know about. Perhaps it's meant to refer to the situation a few generations ago.
As for Gilbert's random outburst - huh?

I will confess to a non-starter of a non sequitur there. Sometimes there is less to my sweeping one liners than meets the eye.

As someone in a 'mixed marriage' I suppose I am too close to the subject. My point was really only that that there are decidedly two tribes in the great United Kingdom, and there is enough in their subtle differences to see why they have been at each other's throats so much in the past. But in my experience, the green lot has become much more yellow in recent times, as you point out.
Gilbert P

Volksverheter said...

@ hbd chick
"todd's green bits on the map refer to his authoritarian "stem" family system, whereas the yellow bits are absolute nuclear families."

After having looked at the sources, I still say that it is wrong to split up Scandinavia in different colors, since it does not reflect any real differences in culture.

As for the ban on marrying extended family, it is not the fault of the church in Scandinavia, since they eased the heathen rules.

When it comes to the supposedly Germanic tribes, I don't think they existed at all. Allodial land don't mix well with tribes.

I find it far more probable that what we today call Germanic tribes, like Angles and Saxons are like the English or the Boers of today, that is they are a conglomerate of immigrants from other Germanic areas, speaking a common language based on the dominant group.

What seems to have been important is that you were a member of the Volk, the "Tjod", that today is found in the words Deutsch, Dutch, and not one of the Wends, Welsh or Finns.

IIRC a Scandinavian or English could enter a German guild in a German city, but a Wend (slavic)could not.

Lastly there seems to have been a time when Denmark was Celtic as well. Not only artifacts have made archaeologists aware of this, but there is also DNA evidence for it.

"Abstract

The Roman Iron-Age (0-400 AD) in Southern Scandinavia was a formative period, where the society changed from archaic chiefdoms to a true state formation, and the population composition has likely changed in this period due to immigrants from Middle Scandinavia. We have analyzed mtDNA from 22 individuals from two different types of settlements, Bøgebjerggård and Skovgaarde, in Southern Denmark. Bøgebjerggård (ca. 0 AD) represents the lowest level of free, but poor farmers, whereas Skovgaarde 8 km to the east (ca. 200-270 AD) represents the highest level of the society. Reproducible results were obtained for 18 subjects harboring 17 different haplotypes all compatible (in their character states) with the phylogenetic tree drawn from present day populations of Europe. This indicates that the South Scandinavian Roman Iron-Age population was as diverse as Europeans are today. Several of the haplogroups (R0a, U2, I) observed in Bøgebjerggård are rare in present day Scandinavians. Most significantly, R0a, harbored by a male, is a haplogroup frequent in East Africa and Arabia but virtually absent among modern Northern Europeans. We suggest that this subject was a soldier or a slave, or a descendant of a female slave, from Roman Legions stationed a few hundred kilometers to the south. In contrast, the haplotype distribution in the rich Skovgaarde shows similarity to that observed for modern Scandinavians, and the Bøgebjerggård and Skovgaarde population samples differ significantly (P approximately 0.01). Skovgaarde may represent a new upper-class formed by migrants from Middle Scandinavia bringing with them Scandinavian haplogroups."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18046774

Volksverheter said...

@HBD_chick

"yes, there could be something pre-christian affecting this. the germanics also seem to have had a bilateral kinship system in which both sides of the family "counted." maybe that has something to do with the developments in anglo-saxon family structures? dunno."

If you don't live in an extended family, it is better to get help from people who share your genes, no matter if they are from your sword or distaff side. Helping relatives get their first job, getting an apartment, being babysitters, etc, is something we still do, even though we don't usually employ them ourselves or house them under our roof.

swimming swan said...

"Agreed. You also have to remember that these are young men we're dealing with. The vast majority would not want to give up their right to carnal knowledge through marriage. The priesthood would appeal more to the more spiritually devout, not the smarter."

Please. In the middle ages, even the popes used to have wives and children. It was probably those unfit for marriage and younger children who weren't going to inherit who became nuns and monks. I imagine it was quite the party.

I don't know exactly when the official decision on celibacy was made but the Church had long been in existence.

Miguel Madeira said...

I think the redness of southern Portugal a bit strange; if anything, in Portugal the usual steretype is that are the northerns who have strong bonds with the enlargend families (people who have relatives in both regions oftem says that the gatherings with northern cousins have much more people that the gatherings with southern cousins

Volksverheter said...

@anonymous - "However the neatness of the Beowulf overlap is interesting also so maybe there is another earlier component that increased the effect of the cousin ban - the unusual status of women?"

The cousin ban is way older than Christianity, and since the Germanic laws of the time was decided on the local Thing, it is not that hard to think they noticed that children from close relatives would often have consequences for the children mental ability.

From a private POV, your children would be become weaker, and since the farm went to the oldest regardless of ability, it was more rational to look for non-related spouses, so that you increased the chance that the oldest male were competent.

From a social POV, a local community would be richer the larger part of the producing children was healtier, meaning that the areas banning marrige with closer relatives fared better.

As for the status of women in heathen Scandinavia, they were the masters of the house and the household economy, they kept contact with other relatives, and they also stood for a large part of everyday religions worship together with homosexuals.

The men OTOH were masters outside the house, with a primary goal to earn enough to support the wife and children. Just like in the Viking ages, religious men is still seen as effeminate.

A couple of funny facts about this, is this is how it still is in most Norwegian families, where the wife decides what is to be bought, and that we are reverting back to females and homosexuals priests, as it was before Christianity.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 11:01 a.m. said: Given the demonstrated poor judgement of most people with an IQ under 105, ie the propensity of people with an IQ under 105 to choose the wrong spouse, isn't a model of family control superior?

Hunsdon replied: It takes a powerful lot of smarts to double-tap two creepy controlling posts in a row.

Given the heritability of intelligence, why do you assume that the parents of these poor drooling morons would do a better job of mate selection?

Anonymous said...

Also i read somewhere the girls packed off to nunneries were often the most sexually promiscuous ones rather than the cleverest so maybe that helped select for monogamous traits.

Also lesbians, who could practice their "sin" in secret in a male-free environment.

David said...

It's a good wager the yellow bits are necrotic. "Back to Blood," as Tom Wolfe might say. (It's out in late Oct. and here's hoping Steve will review.)

Simon in London said...

Well, this 'authoritarian family' vs 'nuclear family' thing sort-of explains why my spinster sister who grew up in Ulster lives with our parents, why my Ulster uncle lived with my Ulster grandparents, and why I have no desire to kick my son out when he turns 18. Whereas my English father pretty well expected me to not come home once I turned 21.

Theo Nelson said...

The Scots-Irish are neither Scots nor Irish; they are Anglish, Danish, and Norwegian.

The yellow part of Britanny has not been inhabited by Bretons for 700 years

If you are going to moderate comments, please expunge the Dan Brown type anti-Catholic libels.

hbd chick said...

@volksverheter - "...since it does not reflect any real differences in culture."

i don't know what you mean by this. can you, please, explain? thanks.

@volksverheter - "When it comes to the supposedly Germanic tribes, I don't think they existed at all.... they are a conglomerate of immigrants from other Germanic areas, speaking a common language based on the dominant group."

huh? there were lots of germanic tribes: burgundians, goths, vandals, alamanni, franks, frisii, etc., etc. -??-

@volksverheter - "IIRC a Scandinavian or English could enter a German guild in a German city, but a Wend (slavic)could not."

guilds come much later in the medieval period. i'm talking about the pre-christian period wrt germanic tribes.

@volksverheter - "If you don't live in an extended family...."

the pre-christian germans lived in extended family settings.

hbd chick said...

@volksverheter - "The cousin ban is way older than Christianity, and since the Germanic laws of the time was decided on the local Thing...."

nope. see here and here for starters.

Anonymous said...

Miguel Madeira
"I think the redness of southern Portugal a bit strange"

Yes i wondered about that. Unless it was a side-effect of Moorish occuparion it seems a bit odd. However it may be related to Le Play's work in the 1850s - did they have big landed estates there in 1850 or some othee system which changed dramatically in the last 100 years?

Anonymous said...

"Also lesbians, who could practice their "sin" in secret in a male-free environment."

Ah, i think i saw a film about that.

Anonymous said...

Not wishing to disagree with either David "Two Brains" Willetts or the equally clever Steve Sailer but speaking as a former English literature grad I was always taught that, in fact, Shakespeare and his audience sided with Romeo and Juliet's families and not the star-crossed lovers. Only modern, post-romantic audiences (i.e. us) do that.

swimming swan said...

"Ah, i think i saw a film about that."

Naughty Nuns after Nones?

Anonymous said...

"Naughty Nuns after Nones?"

*koff*

David said...

>why do you assume that the parents of these poor drooling morons would do a better job of mate selection?<

Two heads are better than one. Oft-observed: a committee of idiots makes better decisions than one idiot by himself. Before you reject this, ask yourself if you want to reject out of hand the theory of democracy.

Anonymous said...

Before you reject this, ask yourself if you want to reject out of hand the theory of democracy.

There is a difference between democracy and mob rule.

Anonymous said...

"Also lesbians, who could practice their "sin" in secret in a male-free environment."

Ah, i think i saw a film about that.


I meant it seriously. Maybe I am wrong, maybe some historian will have facts and figures on hand to contradict me, but the idea is reasonable enough.

Lesbians are not the same as male homosexuals; better able to "keep it in the closet", and can easily substitute cloisters for closets. A gay monastery is difficult to imagine. A lesbian nunnery, quite easy.

As for Biblical proclamations, at the time they specifically referred to "sodomites", i.e. male homosexuals, not female.

David said...

>There is a difference between democracy and mob rule.<

Yes: Latin and English.