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Domestication in the Roman Empire and Medieval Europe


Chi019

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Anthropologist Peter Frost has written a couple of interesting articles proposing a process of genetic pacification of the populations in the Roman Empire with its Pax Romana and Medieval Europe.

Frost's argument is that the Roman State the government with courts and constabulary shaped a new version of human who was peaceful and law abiding and worked hard.

This is a similar argument to that made by Gregory Clark, an economist at UC Davis. Clark posted an essay several years ago titledGenetically Capitalist? in which he proposed that the stable social environment and institutions of Medieval England selected for a new kind of human who was less prone to violence, had an affinity for work, had low time preference, and was individualistic in several ways.

Frost explains:

States seek to pacify their territories by monopolizing the use of violence. With each passing generation, violent individuals are ostracized, imprisoned, or executed, their predispositions being thereby selected out of the gene pool. Has this “genetic pacification” made longtime State societies kinder and gentler places to live in? Frost Genetic Pacification in Medieval Europe
 


Kevin Parlon

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Anthropologist Peter Frost has written a couple of interesting articles proposing a process of genetic pacification of the populations in the Roman Empire with its Pax Romana and Medieval Europe.

Frost's argument is that the Roman State the government with courts and constabulary shaped a new version of human who was peaceful and law abiding and worked hard.

This is a similar argument to that made by Gregory Clark, an economist at UC Davis. Clark posted an essay several years ago titledGenetically Capitalist? in which he proposed that the stable social environment and institutions of Medieval England selected for a new kind of human who was less prone to violence, had an affinity for work, had low time preference, and was individualistic in several ways.

Frost explains:
If they are correct it bodes ill for how the west will develop over the coming centuries. This is what our soceity has been selecting for since the 1960's.



It seems to be coming along quite nicely.
 
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Sense 0f Wonder

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Fascinating idea...

It's also a question of how much environment affects genes and how to what extent (and with what resolution) 'experience' is encoded into our DNA and then passed on to subsequent generations. (And of course whether the social conditioning remains the same over time too...)
 

shutuplaura

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I am not sure this makes much sense to be honest. The societies that the Roman Empire incorporated had legal systems, civic virtues and knew extended periods of peace. The Empire could also be a brutal and violent place to live in and live next to. What actually makes societies more peaceful is quite complex. Education, wealth and increased economic interdependence I would guess.

And no, society hasn't been going down the jacks since the 1960's. People have been saying that since the days of the Roman Empire!
 

LamportsEdge

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Same thing could be said about the Napoleonic Continental Code. Daft trying to make generalisations beyond evolutionary increments.

As for the modern low-of-brow that generally brings its own evolutionary reward in the form of early death through the usual lifestyle accompaniments to social exclusion.
 

firefly123

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Same thing could be said about the Napoleonic Continental Code. Daft trying to make generalisations beyond evolutionary increments.

As for the modern low-of-brow that generally brings its own evolutionary reward in the form of early death through the usual lifestyle accompaniments to social exclusion.
That's counteracted by breeding like rabbits from a very young age.
 

LamportsEdge

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That's counteracted by breeding like rabbits from a very young age.
Thats the only form of security for old age many on the lowest socio-economic scale can make in terms of pension provision.
 

eoghanacht

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I've said it before and I'll say it again the Pax Romano was the worst thing that ever happened to western Europe.

To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace ~ Golgacus

Woe to the vanquished ~ Brennus



[sub]Hunkers down and waits[/sub]
 

Nemesiscorporation

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Anthropologist Peter Frost has written a couple of interesting articles proposing a process of genetic pacification of the populations in the Roman Empire with its Pax Romana and Medieval Europe.

Frost's argument is that the Roman State the government with courts and constabulary shaped a new version of human who was peaceful and law abiding and worked hard.

This is a similar argument to that made by Gregory Clark, an economist at UC Davis. Clark posted an essay several years ago titledGenetically Capitalist? in which he proposed that the stable social environment and institutions of Medieval England selected for a new kind of human who was less prone to violence, had an affinity for work, had low time preference, and was individualistic in several ways.

Frost explains:
This is nonsense.

All the Roman Empire brought was slavery, taxation and population reduction.
 

eoghanacht

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Thats the only form of security for old age many on the lowest socio-economic scale can make in terms of pension provision.

The original form of pension provision, something vital to the success of our species.
 

LamportsEdge

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It was an extremely sophisticated ruling system. Surprisingly tolerant as long as one did not challenge Rome or the Empire/Senate.

Very clever in its method of settling its Empire as well- bringing in obvious 'civilising' benefits in terms of infrastructure and technology and of course those Roman roads and aquaducts and so on, the effect of which cannot be overestimated.

A very clever political system lay behind the conquests of the Roman Empire and a very sophisticated philosophy of pacification after the conquest.
 

LamportsEdge

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Yeah. Pension provision. That's why they do it.
It is a very ancient instinct. Fear of poverty and being alone in old age with no bulwark against illness or no-one to take care of you in your dotage.

You can see that the average number of children in Ireland per family actually came crashing down with the advance of the welfare state.
 

firefly123

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It is a very ancient instinct. Fear of poverty and being alone in old age with no bulwark against illness or no-one to take care of you in your dotage.

You can see that the average number of children in Ireland per family actually came crashing down with the advance of the welfare state.
But the modern system means pensions are somewhat secure. The reason why certain elements of society have lots of kids is the instant gratification of a flat or a house or whatever other benefits go with it. It's not a long term pension thing.
God I hate how that makes me sound but I deal with this minority on a daily basis.
 

eoghanacht

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Yeah. Pension provision. That's why they do it.

Well it is when you cut past the loving relationships tribal structures were built on that premise, the elders provide a store of knowledge, the means to hunt the best places to hunt etc that stitching your clothing gives you a better chance of surviving the winter etc etc when these elders had imparted all that knowledge and with age acting against them they shifted from a role as the main providers of food to a support role (child minding) whilst still retaining their role as keepers of tribal knowledge.


This structure was honed over generations and the only major change it underwent came with the advent of farming when these tribal groups found they were producing a surplus and a population explosion occurred.
 
D

Dylan2010

the welfare system and drug laws etc are undoing all the good work. I calculate that in a hundred years the population of Ireland will be 40% travellers, 30% single mothers under the age of 20 , 25% other welfare dependants. The remaining 5% will have moved to a new walled city within Dublin called Dfournia and will have separated from the Republic :D
 

parentheses

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Anthropologist Peter Frost has written a couple of interesting articles proposing a process of genetic pacification of the populations in the Roman Empire with its Pax Romana and Medieval Europe.

Frost's argument is that the Roman State the government with courts and constabulary shaped a new version of human who was peaceful and law abiding and worked hard.

This is a similar argument to that made by Gregory Clark, an economist at UC Davis. Clark posted an essay several years ago titledGenetically Capitalist? in which he proposed that the stable social environment and institutions of Medieval England selected for a new kind of human who was less prone to violence, had an affinity for work, had low time preference, and was individualistic in several ways.

Frost explains:
I think its an interesting and plausible argument. Part of the process he attributes to the culling of violent men by execution in the middle ages.

I read somewhere before that part of the reason why Britian was conquered by the Saxons was because the population had been so thoroughly dominated and pacified by the Romans. Only the wilder areas such as Pictland and Wales were able to resist the wild Saxon invaders.
 

LamportsEdge

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But the modern system means pensions are somewhat secure. The reason why certain elements of society have lots of kids is the instant gratification of a flat or a house or whatever other benefits go with it. It's not a long term pension thing.
God I hate how that makes me sound but I deal with this minority on a daily basis.
No one has lots of kids for 'gratification'. Something less 'gratifying' can hardly be imagined. Having a large family is what makes people old before their time and you can ask any parent about that.

I agree that there are people who manipulate the social welfare system to their advantage. But if you are going to reform society you have to reform it visibly from the top down. Why should some 16 year old girl stand on honour when she lives on a dead end estate and can't get work so can never envisage anywhere of her own unless she gets knocked up and gets on the housing list?

What good example is she being set by Ireland's great and good? The pocket fillers of that strand of society fill our newspapers every day with their golden pension, bonuses for time-serving and so on.

The Romans and the Ancient Greeks had various laws against conspicuous consumption at various times- 'luxury' was illegal purely because of the poor example it set for society.

Let's see those at the top in the 'Independent' social pages trim their aspirational sails when it comes to getting their claws on large sums of public money. And THEN assume the right to moralise at a 16 year old girl on a dead end housing estate.
 

derryman

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No one has lots of kids for 'gratification'. Something less 'gratifying' can hardly be imagined. Having a large family is what makes people old before their time and you can ask any parent about that.

I agree that there are people who manipulate the social welfare system to their advantage. But if you are going to reform society you have to reform it visibly from the top down. Why should some 16 year old girl stand on honour when she lives on a dead end estate and can't get work so can never envisage anywhere of her own unless she gets knocked up and gets on the housing list?

What good example is she being set by Ireland's great and good? The pocket fillers of that strand of society fill our newspapers every day with their golden pension, bonuses for time-serving and so on.

The Romans and the Ancient Greeks had various laws against conspicuous consumption at various times- 'luxury' was illegal purely because of the poor example it set for society.

Let's see those at the top in the 'Independent' social pages trim their aspirational sails when it comes to getting their claws on large sums of public money. And THEN assume the right to moralise at a 16 year old girl on a dead end housing estate.
It was inevitable that i would agree with you some time.
However i am unable to think that empires ,roman or otherbrought benevolence to humanity.
 

LamportsEdge

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It was inevitable that i would agree with you some time.
However i am unable to think that empires ,roman or otherbrought benevolence to humanity.
Well it would have been better if various tribes had been allowed to go on with their development without tyranny and being subjected to rule by an external empire of course because those tribes had cultures of their own.

Then again we know all about the pervasive power of external invaders both physical and psychological and also that a strand of culture remains untouched beneath the surface in any oppressed society.

I'm no lover of Empire whether physical or psychological and it is an interesting subject. Hard to know which way to go on this one as Carthage was destroyed by Rome but then Rome definitely built on Greek principles. Good and bad I suppose.
 

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