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    Commenter Romanian calls our attention to this relevant passage from Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire about the decision of the Emperor Valens in 376 A.D. to permit -- and even assist -- the crossing of the Danube, until then the frontier of Roman civilization, by German barbarians. In the opinion...
  • […] Related: The evil of encouraging refugees. Related: The EU reveals its priorities. Related: Refugees in the Roman era. Related: Revenge of the rest against the west. Related: Immigration and absolution. Related: […]

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  • Please do not allude to germans being goths or huns scythians it is quite deceptive we have no idea who these people were? Thank you

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Forget about Rome. This happened recently in Africa. After the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, millions of refugees were allowed into the Democratic Republic of Congo. Within 12 years, 6 million (with an M) Congolese were killed in wars by the refugees and their opponents. The Congolese government was destroyed and it’s leader, Mobutu, died shortly afterwards. His successor, Laurent Kabila, was also killed by Rwandan agents. Till today, Congolese minerals and diamonds worth billions of dollars have been stolen by the refugees, their backers and their opponents.
    The same thing happened in Kosovo. The Albanians were originally refugees. Today, Serbia has lost a huge chunk of it’s history and territory. Sometimes it pays to be stone hearted. Listening to the UN is a recipe for disaster

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  • Chapter XXV Part V

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  • Quote from Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol. 2

    “The inaction of the negroes does not seem to be the effect either of their virtue or of their pusillanimity. They indulge, like the rest of mankind, their passions and appetites; and the adjacent tribes are engaged in frequent acts of hostility. But their rude ignorance has never invented any effectual weapons of defence, or of destruction; they appear incapable of forming any extensive plans of government, or conquest; and the obvious inferiority of their mental faculties has been discovered and abused by the nations of the temperate zone. Sixty thousand blacks are annually embarked from the coast of Guinea, never to return to their native country; but they are embarked in chains; and this constant emigration, which, in the space of two centuries, might have furnished armies to overrun the globe, accuses the guilt of Europe and the weakness of Africa”.

    Excerpt From: Gibbon, Edward. “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Volume 2. Pg. 4597-4599″ iBooks

    The Africans must have read this and realized Gibbon was right! They certainly can take over Europe and are out to prove it.

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  • This is the best illustration I’ve seen of Santayana’s aphorism, “Those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it.”

    Can we blame the Ivy League for this failure? History gets short shrift in the contemporary academy, which emphasizes critical thinking but requires few facts be learned upon which such thinking can be exercised. Knowledge good => ignorance bad.

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  • This is the best illustration I’ve seen of Santayana’s dictum, “Those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it.”

    Can we blame the Ivy League for this failure? World history gets short shrift in the contemporary academy, which emphasizes critical thinking but requires few historical facts be learned upon which such thinking can be exercised.

    Ignorance begets naivete.

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  • @Zach
    From "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heather (published 2005)

    "In the summer of 376, a vast throng of people – men, women and
    children – suddenly appeared on the north bank of the River Danube
    asking for safe haven in Roman territory. One source, not our best,
    reports that 200,000 refugees appeared beside the river; Ammianus,
    that there were too many to count.

    The Romans quickly learned what lay behind all the mayhem.
    Again in Ammianus’ words: ‘The seed-bed and origin of all this
    destruction and of the various calamities inflicted by the wrath of Mars,
    which raged everywhere with extraordinary fury, I find to be this: the
    people of the Huns.’

    Ammianus was writing nearly twenty years later, by which time the
    Romans had a better understanding of what had brought the Goths to
    the Danube. Even in the 390s, though, the full effects of the arrival of
    the Huns were far from apparent. The appearance of the Goths beside
    the river in the summer of 376 was the first link in a chain of events that
    would lead directly from the rise of Hunnic power on the fringes of
    Europe to the deposition of the last western emperor, Romulus
    Augustulus, almost exactly one hundred years later. None of this was
    even remotely conceivable in 376, and there would be many twists and
    turns on the way. The arrival of Goths on the Danube marked the start
    of a reshuffling of Europe-wide balances of power....."

    Heather concludes his book:

    "The west Roman state fell not because of the weight of its own ‘stupendous fabric', but because its Germanic neighbours had responded to its power in ways that the Romans could never have foreseen. There is in all this a
    pleasing denouement. By virtue of its unbounded aggression, Roman
    imperialism was ultimately responsible for its own destruction."

    Are radical Islamists the new Huns? If the moderate Muslim majorities will not fight for their rights, is it the West’s responsibility to take them in? I don’t think so. A people that will not help itself cannot be helped. That applies to us in the West just as much as to those in the Middle East.

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  • Demographic replacement is cultural suicide. Wasn’t that Auster’s thesis in a nutshell?

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  • @The Z Blog
    This policy or resettling barbarians into Roman territory did not start in the fourth century. In started in the third century. The political turmoil and warfare along the borders left vast swaths of land depopulated. The solution landed upon was to invite German tribes to resettle into these lands. The condition was they disarmed and became farmers.

    These economic migrants also made up the auxilia used to defend the frontier in what Edward Luttwak describes as defense-in-depth. By the end of the fourth century, Rome was depending entirely on non-citizens for defense. I'm sure that will not be an issue for Europe as all of these Arab Muslim will embrace multiculturalism and abandon Islam in favor of materialism.

    Sweet. That makes the 20th century wars Western Civilization’s “Crisis of the Third Century” analogue.

    My new favourite Roman/modern analogy.

    It has the flaws inherent in all such comparisons, but still a source of gratifying clarity.

    I wonder what figures of the recent past that would cast in such roles as Diocletian or Constantine. There is an oversupply of candidates for the roles of Valens, his lackeys, and of Honorius.

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  • It is interesting why Valens lost at Hadrianople. Constantine had broken the Legions into smaller units and posted them in urban areas to ensure regional loyalty. The frontiers were guarded by (in their modern-day formulations), national guard troops and special forces. As a result, the Legions ceased to train in and lost their ability to wage large-scale formation warfare. When the Legions assembled at Hadrianople, they were poorly led and poorly trained for the task at hand. When the Goths attacked their flank, the Romans could not “wheel” their formation to counter the attack. The Goths rolled up the Roman flank and, as at Cannae, surrounded and slaughtered the Romans.

    The analogy between the current mass migrations into the Anglo-Saxon Empire and the disaster at Hadrianople can be extended to current US military doctrine. Like the Romans, the United States has also altered is military doctrine to replace training to wage large-scale formation warfare with small unit actions by special forces chasing barbarian raiders around the periphery of the Empire. It is a good guess that the United Stats has also lost its ability to wage large-scale formation warfare. The Russians, however, continue to train to fight such wars.

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  • @unpc downunder
    I assume these migrants are aware that Western Europe is running out of welfare money, and more and more of what there is will have to go towards paying for old white people's pensions and hip operations?

    There's a looming battle between young immigrants and old whites, and even old white people can be dangerous when threatened by immigrants trying to steal their pensions.

    Too bad those old White people can’t be roused to defend their own White children though.

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  • I assume these migrants are aware that Western Europe is running out of welfare money, and more and more of what there is will have to go towards paying for old white people’s pensions and hip operations?

    There’s a looming battle between young immigrants and old whites, and even old white people can be dangerous when threatened by immigrants trying to steal their pensions.

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    • Replies: @Jason
    Too bad those old White people can't be roused to defend their own White children though.
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  • The only permanent destruction that civilizations suffer is from racial change.

    It is shocking to me that so many White parents are nonchalant about the misery they are leaving to their children just so they won’t be called “rayyyccisss”.

    There is a special place in Hell for cowards like that.

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  • anon • Disclaimer says:

    Why can’t we look back on 2015 with the same ironic detachment?

    Civilizations have been destroyed from within for many thousands of years.

    For people of White European descent that has worked out well because if all those previous civilizations hadn’t been destroyed we wouldn’t be here

    - France, Germany etc would just be part of Greater Sumeria, or Greater Babylonia, Egypt, Persia etc.

    I expect that it being our turn to have our civilization destroyed from within would be why it’s harder to be detached.

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  • Maybe someone should do a Classics illustrated Comic Book version of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? Then someone might make it into a movie and these stupid fuckers can see how this story is going to turn out.
    I think these idiots would welcome a Dalek Invasion if it kept another Hitler from being elected. If they think Mohammed is better than Hitler on the Jewish Question they must have the historical literacy of Goober on the Andy Griffith Show.

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  • @Hippopotamusdrome


    Sounds about right.
    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

     

    But could they field a modern army that could win a pitched battle against us? I don't think so.

    Do they have to? Look at Iraq, that recent past may become Europe’s not-too-distant future.

    I do not believe that Eurofor will be wiped out in some Cannaeesque Battle of the Rhineland or any such thing, but I could easily see bands of “warriors for Social Justice (and Islam)” pillaging town after town without an effective or organized military response. The drip and drab losses of such insurgencies will break what is left of the West’s military power as surely as losing a field campaign. After all, you can blow up an apartment building full of terrorists with artillery and drone strikes quite easily… when it is thousands of miles from your home in a country you give not one whit about. When it is half-filled with your own neighbors and family, that is a different story. Willpower, not fancy weapons is what wins wars. The weapons can only increase the effectiveness of a fighting nation’s will to win, not replace it.

    While I was digging through info on Western Rome’s fall, I discovered this play by Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Romulus the Great.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romulus_the_Great

    It is an ahistorical piece where the last Emperor of Western Rome deliberately allows his nation to be destroyed by the Germans because he believes it is too violent and morally compromised to be allowed to continue to exist. I’ll take a guess that if Frau Merkel ever read it, she was rooting for the Emperor, but not because she was proud of her German ancestors.

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  • From “The Fall of the Roman Empire” by Peter Heather (published 2005)

    “In the summer of 376, a vast throng of people – men, women and
    children – suddenly appeared on the north bank of the River Danube
    asking for safe haven in Roman territory. One source, not our best,
    reports that 200,000 refugees appeared beside the river; Ammianus,
    that there were too many to count.

    The Romans quickly learned what lay behind all the mayhem.
    Again in Ammianus’ words: ‘The seed-bed and origin of all this
    destruction and of the various calamities inflicted by the wrath of Mars,
    which raged everywhere with extraordinary fury, I find to be this: the
    people of the Huns.’

    Ammianus was writing nearly twenty years later, by which time the
    Romans had a better understanding of what had brought the Goths to
    the Danube. Even in the 390s, though, the full effects of the arrival of
    the Huns were far from apparent. The appearance of the Goths beside
    the river in the summer of 376 was the first link in a chain of events that
    would lead directly from the rise of Hunnic power on the fringes of
    Europe to the deposition of the last western emperor, Romulus
    Augustulus, almost exactly one hundred years later. None of this was
    even remotely conceivable in 376, and there would be many twists and
    turns on the way. The arrival of Goths on the Danube marked the start
    of a reshuffling of Europe-wide balances of power…..”

    Heather concludes his book:

    “The west Roman state fell not because of the weight of its own ‘stupendous fabric’, but because its Germanic neighbours had responded to its power in ways that the Romans could never have foreseen. There is in all this a
    pleasing denouement. By virtue of its unbounded aggression, Roman
    imperialism was ultimately responsible for its own destruction.”

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    • Replies: @Luke Lea
    Are radical Islamists the new Huns? If the moderate Muslim majorities will not fight for their rights, is it the West's responsibility to take them in? I don't think so. A people that will not help itself cannot be helped. That applies to us in the West just as much as to those in the Middle East.
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  • @Richard

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm – “relics thrown into the sea … Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows”) came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!
     
    In the last days of the Byzantine Empire, when the emperor was trying to tie together alliances for the sake of saving what was left of it from conquest by the Muslim Ottoman Empire, the Orthodox priests were notorious for their apathy and backbiting. "Better the Sultan's turban than the Pope's mitre" was their watchword. They got what they wanted and 600 years later Christians are virtually extinct in Asia Minor.

    Yes, it was a very strange, and if I may, Middle Eastern-like religious fanaticism, an obsession with being ‘Hellenes’, that throttled any rapprochement with the West, fractured any effort, and shrunk the Imperial horizon.

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  • @Kamran
    Dude, relax. I'm not blaming. Just remarking, I haven't come across something so unusual on the web in a while. It was hard to follow his writing in some of his rants.

    I was going for a different tone. More like African-American commiserations :p

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  • @Romanian
    Man, I was just looking for an okay translation of Galba's end by Tacitus. This guy was the first in the list that was ok. It's my fault that few mainstream sites have digital versions of Tacitus that show up on Google? It's like Dylann Roof finding out about interracial crime from some small fry group's website, instead of the CNN or MSNBC website.

    Dude, relax. I’m not blaming. Just remarking, I haven’t come across something so unusual on the web in a while. It was hard to follow his writing in some of his rants.

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    • Replies: @Romanian
    I was going for a different tone. More like African-American commiserations :p
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  • The more videos and pictures of “refugees” I see, the more I think Europe needs to reaquaint themselves with the fable of the scorpion and the turtle.

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  • @Kamran
    Holy fuck that guys website is insane. Every single link links to another of his conspiracies. He must be an autistic psycho of some sort.


    Here he repudiates Edwin Hubble's theory of the expansion of the universe and presents his own theory instead: http://www.ourcivilisation.com/thacker/bigbang.htm

    Man, I was just looking for an okay translation of Galba’s end by Tacitus. This guy was the first in the list that was ok. It’s my fault that few mainstream sites have digital versions of Tacitus that show up on Google? It’s like Dylann Roof finding out about interracial crime from some small fry group’s website, instead of the CNN or MSNBC website.

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    • Replies: @Kamran
    Dude, relax. I'm not blaming. Just remarking, I haven't come across something so unusual on the web in a while. It was hard to follow his writing in some of his rants.
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  • Bangladeshi muslim girl, shot by Indian border guards, during attempt to climb over Indian border fence

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  • @Romanian
    The Murder of Emperor Galba

    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/tacitusc/histries/chap2.htm

    Otho wanted to depose Galba, who was the first Emperor in the year of Four Emperors, so he hatched a conspiracy with some soldiers. Galba was eventually murdered, but not before fate had given the Romans a few chances to thwart the evil plan.

    "27. On 15 January, Galba was offering sacrifice in front of the Temple of Apollo (7). The soothsayer Umbricius pronounced the entrails of the victim to be ill-omened, and predicted the imminence of a plot and the presence of a traitor within the palace. As Otho was standing next to Galba, he overheard this and gleefully interpreted it in the contrary sense as favourable to his own designs. A few minutes later, his freedman Onomastus brought him a message: the architect and builders were waiting for him. This was the pre-arranged code indicating that the troops were already assembling and the plot ripe. ..... Here twenty-three members of the bodyguard gave him the imperial salutation. Otho was appalled that they were so few in number, but they quickly placed him in a chair, drew their swords and hurried him off. Roughly the same number of soldiers joined the party on the way — some privy to the plot, many bewildered, a proportion shouting and flourishing their swords, others again maintaining silence, with the intention of suiting their reaction to the event.

    28. The duty-officer at the barracks was the tribune Julius Martialis. It is hard to say whether he was overwhelmed by the mere idea of such an immense and wicked enterprise, or whether he feared that the rot went deeper among the men and that resistance on his part might spell death. In any case, he gave many people the impression that he was in the plot. The other tribunes, and the centurions, also preferred the advantage of the moment to the incalculable risks of honour. Their mood may be summed up thus: a shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.

    Swords were drawn to deal with recalcitrants. Near the Basin of Curtius, the panic of his bearers caused Galba to be flung sprawling from his chair. His last words are variously recorded by the conflicting voices of hatred and admiration. Some say that he grovelled, and asked what he had done to deserve his fate, begging a few days' grace to pay the bounty. The majority of the historians believe that he voluntarily bared his throat to the assassins, telling them to strike and be done with it, if this was what seemed best for the country. Little did the murderers care what he said.

    45. A complete transformation seemed to have taken place in both senators and people. They were now a mob stampeding in the direction of the barracks, each man trying to outstrip his neighbour in the race and catch up with those who led the field. They cursed Galba, complimented the soldiers on their choice, and covered Otho's hand with kisses. These demonstrations were multiplied in proportion to their insincerity. Otho for his part welcomed even single individuals who came up to him, and restrained the greed and menaces of his men by word and look. The consul-designate Marius Celsus had shown Galba affection and loyalty to the bitter end. For this the soldiers now demanded his head, for they resented his energy and high principle as if they were faults of character. It was only too obvious that they were looking for an excuse to set about bloodshed and plunder and the annihilation of every decent Roman. But Otho was not yet in a position to prevent outrage-though he could already command it. So he pretended to be angry, and by ordering Celsus to be put in irons and undertaking that he would receive a heavier punishment later on, rescued him from immediate death.

    46. After that, the troops got their way in everything. They chose their own pretorian prefects.
    There was a demand for the remission of the payments traditionally made to centurions to secure exemption from duty. This was a kind of annual tax payable by the other ranks. As much as a quarter of a company's strength would be scattered high and low on leave or loitering in the actual barracks, so long as they squared the company commander. The extent of these exactions and the methods employed to meet them were nobody's business. Highway robbery, theft or taking on jobs as servants were the means by which they paid for their time off. Besides this, the richer a soldier was, the more he was subjected to fatigues and ill-treatment until he agreed to purchase exemption. Finally, when his money had given out and he had got into an idle and unhealthy state, he would return to his unit, reduced from affluence to poverty and from vigour to sloth. This process was repeated interminably; and the same destitution and indiscipline ruined man after man, driving them herd-like down the slope that leads to mutiny, dissension and, in the last resort, civil war. 47. The long day of villainy drew to its end. There remained the last horror — a mood of jubilation. The senate was summoned by the urban praetor, the other magistrates surpassed each other in feats of flattery, and the senators hurried hot-foot to the meeting. A decree was passed giving Otho the tribunician power, the title 'Augustus' and all the imperial prerogatives. Everybody made a desperate effort to obliterate the taunts and insults which had been freely bandied about; no one was actually made to feel that they rankled in Otho's mind, and whether in fact he had renounced revenge or merely postponed it was a question which remained unanswered owing to the shortness of his reign.

    49. The body of Galba lay disregarded for many hours, and under cover of night marauders offered it repeated outrage. Finally his steward Argius, an old retainer of his, buried it in a humble grave in the grounds of Galba's private villa. The head fell into the hands of army sutlers and servants, who were responsible for impaling and mutilating it. It was only on the following day that it was found in front of the tomb of Patrobius, a freedman of Nero who had been sentenced by Galba. It was then laid with the ashes of the body, which had already been cremated.

    Such was the fate of Servius Galba. In the course of seventy-three years he had lived a successful life spanning the reigns of five emperors — reigns which proved luckier for him than his own. He came of a family that could boast ancient nobility and great wealth. His own personality was something of a compromise: he had good qualities and in equal measure bad. Having won a reputation, he neither despised nor exploited it. He harboured no designs upon other people's property, was thrifty with his own, and where the state was involved showed himself a positive miser. A tolerant attitude towards courtiers and officials attracted no censure when they happened to be honest; but his lack of perception if they were not was quite inexcusable. However, distinguished birth and the alarms of the time disguised his lack of enterprise and caused it to be described as wisdom. In the prime of life he attained military distinction in the Rhineland; as proconsul, he administered Africa with moderation, and his control of Nearer Spain in his latter years showed a similar sense of fair-play. Indeed, so long as he was a subject, he seemed too great a man to be one, and by common consent possessed the makings of a ruler — had he never ruled. "

    Holy fuck that guys website is insane. Every single link links to another of his conspiracies. He must be an autistic psycho of some sort.

    Here he repudiates Edwin Hubble’s theory of the expansion of the universe and presents his own theory instead: http://www.ourcivilisation.com/thacker/bigbang.htm

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    • Replies: @Romanian
    Man, I was just looking for an okay translation of Galba's end by Tacitus. This guy was the first in the list that was ok. It's my fault that few mainstream sites have digital versions of Tacitus that show up on Google? It's like Dylann Roof finding out about interracial crime from some small fry group's website, instead of the CNN or MSNBC website.
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  • As the New York Times explained this week, mass migration across the Danube offers the receiving country “an opportunity to rejuvenate its aging demographics and ensure its economic prosperity …”

    This is one of my pet peeves about demographic commentary.

    If you are bringing in lots of foreigners, and/or if those foreigners are having lots of children, it’s not your demographics that are being rejuvenated. It’s theirs. It’s like how some American commentators brag about how, unlike Europe, “we” in America have replacement-level fertility.

    No, “we” don’t, unless you think that a nation has no a priori relationship with the people who created and settled it.

    Can you imagine elites in Israel saying, “The Arabs are rejuvenating our demographics, hooray!” But that’s par for the course in every other Western country. If terms like “cuckservative” and “Cultural Marxist” didn’t exist, we would have to invent them.

    Is it too much to ask for an elite media establishment that doesn’t regard the European peoples as demographically expendable?

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  • The Ottoman Empire often looked at itself as being the true successor to the Roman Empire and referred to the city of Rome as the “red apple,” something to be reach for and plucked. The Ottoman sultans also were the self-proclaimed caliphs of the Muslim world. Perhaps when the smoke clears, we’ll look back and say ISIS was a first attempt to re-establish both the caliphate and a Muslim empire stretching over Asia and Europe.

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  • Bulgaria is encompasses old Thrace and Moesia, the provinces which the Goths devastated. As such, they know better. Ottoman oppression helped too.

    http://front.bg/analizi/u-nas/znam-kakvo-shte-stane

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Steve,

    Did Jews (those either identifying as such or identifying as Christians) have any influence on Roman decisionmaking as to immigration and citizenship in the Empire? I am thinking in particular of the Valens decision as to the Goths, but perhaps there are other examples of specific instances or more general policies and philosophies.

    Jews often say of their presence in Europe, “We came with the Romans,” so they must have at least had some presence and interaction.

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  • […] You can find out how well this strategy worked out, personally, for Valens here. […]

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  • @anony-mouse
    Much more relevant for the United States:

    Your forgetting another mistake from Valens' time.

    From wikipedia:

    Valens inherited the eastern portion of an empire that had recently retreated from most of its holdings in Mesopotamia and Armenia because of a treaty that his predecessor Jovian had made with Shapur II of the Sassanid Empire.

    Lesson: Avoid making deals with Sassanids-although I assume most people here, ignorant of history, would disagree.

    “Lesson: Avoid making deals with Sassanids-although I assume most people here, ignorant of history, would disagree.”

    I haven’t noticed that people here are ignorant of history. Quite the contrary. You are, perhaps.

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  • @Haploid
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    “salvo says:

    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.”

    It isn’t in this respect. Arabs aren’t Germans. In the last 1500 years or so, the descendents of those barbarians (and others like them) created modern Europe. During that same interval, the Arabs created modern Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States. Notice any differences?

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  • @SPMoore8
    What's actually relevant to the United States is the ongoing Latinization of our country, making deals with modern day "Sassanids" (Iran) is much less of an issue for us, although it appears to be a big issue with Israel.

    Basically, to Americans, what happens in the Middle East is irrelevant as long as the oil flows. The US has already fought to long wars in the region (not counting things like Libya) and has done so with very little popular support and nothing in the way of distributing the burden in terms of taxes or conscription.

    Not being ignorant of history, I also know it's a bad idea to give blank checks to allies.

    The US is a major oil producer. Chinese demand will rebound but unlikely to 2009-2013 levels. Iran needs oil at around $200 a barrel or so to keep men with guns paid.

    Thus their only recourse is to suppress or eliminate Gulf AND US oil production.

    Thus we will get war, or simply surrender to Iran and live like its 1899.

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  • @David
    Gibbon comments on World War T too: "We may observe that the use and value of those effeminate slaves [eunuchs] gradually rose with the decline of the empire."

    There was one heroic eunuch in Roman history:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narses

    He reconquered much of Italy from the Goths on behalf of the Eastern Roman Empire in a series of brilliant battles, then defended it from a Frankish invasion.

    In retrospect, it would have been preferable for the Eastern Empire to have made peace with the Goths in Italy. The hundreds of years of war between the increasingly civilized Germanics and the Eastern Romans left Italy devastated and depopulated. The Byzantines after these wars were unable to defend their eastern frontier from the Muslim conquests, and likewise the Gothic kingdoms of Northern Africa and Spain were also conquered.

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  • @MEH 0910
    Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times: Refugees Who Could Be Us

    WATCHING the horrific images of Syrian refugees struggling toward safety — or in the case of Aylan Kurdi, 3, drowning on that journey — I think of other refugees. Albert Einstein. Madeleine Albright. The Dalai Lama.

    And my dad.

    In the aftermath of World War II, my father swam the Danube River to flee Romania and become part of a tide of refugees that nobody much cared about. Fortunately, a family in Portland, Ore., sponsored his way to the United States, making this column possible.

     

    I replied somewhere else that I read that article and his father appears to have been a Polish Armenian from the part of Poland that was incorporated by Ukraine. He merely passed through Romania after escaping prison, didn’t like what he saw (the beginnings of Communist rule), and went to greener pastures. Notably, he passed on France because he doubted that they would think of his future children as being entirely French, even though he was French educated and fluent in the language. Basically, he started out as a refugee, then became a migrant.

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  • @Alastair Trumpington

    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

     

    Somewhat off topic: I have a theory that a large proportion of the current wave of Syrians comes from the Alawite upper class, who have thus far managed to avoid personally taking part in the conflict but can no longer avoid it. They are essentially draft dodgers who would understandably rather go to Germany than face death at the hands of ISIS.

    Why would the Alawites leave when Assad is keeping the others in check and Western Syria is relatively safe and prosperous? The little kid that died was a Kurd, for instance. I’m sure most refugees are Sunni who hate Assad’s guts.

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  • @Anonymous
    Thank you for this post, Romanian. And that was a nice acknowledgment you made of another poster.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    “A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”


    What crime was Tacitus referring to?

    The Murder of Emperor Galba

    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/tacitusc/histries/chap2.htm

    Otho wanted to depose Galba, who was the first Emperor in the year of Four Emperors, so he hatched a conspiracy with some soldiers. Galba was eventually murdered, but not before fate had given the Romans a few chances to thwart the evil plan.

    [MORE]

    “27. On 15 January, Galba was offering sacrifice in front of the Temple of Apollo (7). The soothsayer Umbricius pronounced the entrails of the victim to be ill-omened, and predicted the imminence of a plot and the presence of a traitor within the palace. As Otho was standing next to Galba, he overheard this and gleefully interpreted it in the contrary sense as favourable to his own designs. A few minutes later, his freedman Onomastus brought him a message: the architect and builders were waiting for him. This was the pre-arranged code indicating that the troops were already assembling and the plot ripe. ….. Here twenty-three members of the bodyguard gave him the imperial salutation. Otho was appalled that they were so few in number, but they quickly placed him in a chair, drew their swords and hurried him off. Roughly the same number of soldiers joined the party on the way — some privy to the plot, many bewildered, a proportion shouting and flourishing their swords, others again maintaining silence, with the intention of suiting their reaction to the event.

    28. The duty-officer at the barracks was the tribune Julius Martialis. It is hard to say whether he was overwhelmed by the mere idea of such an immense and wicked enterprise, or whether he feared that the rot went deeper among the men and that resistance on his part might spell death. In any case, he gave many people the impression that he was in the plot. The other tribunes, and the centurions, also preferred the advantage of the moment to the incalculable risks of honour. Their mood may be summed up thus: a shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.

    Swords were drawn to deal with recalcitrants. Near the Basin of Curtius, the panic of his bearers caused Galba to be flung sprawling from his chair. His last words are variously recorded by the conflicting voices of hatred and admiration. Some say that he grovelled, and asked what he had done to deserve his fate, begging a few days’ grace to pay the bounty. The majority of the historians believe that he voluntarily bared his throat to the assassins, telling them to strike and be done with it, if this was what seemed best for the country. Little did the murderers care what he said.

    45. A complete transformation seemed to have taken place in both senators and people. They were now a mob stampeding in the direction of the barracks, each man trying to outstrip his neighbour in the race and catch up with those who led the field. They cursed Galba, complimented the soldiers on their choice, and covered Otho’s hand with kisses. These demonstrations were multiplied in proportion to their insincerity. Otho for his part welcomed even single individuals who came up to him, and restrained the greed and menaces of his men by word and look. The consul-designate Marius Celsus had shown Galba affection and loyalty to the bitter end. For this the soldiers now demanded his head, for they resented his energy and high principle as if they were faults of character. It was only too obvious that they were looking for an excuse to set about bloodshed and plunder and the annihilation of every decent Roman. But Otho was not yet in a position to prevent outrage-though he could already command it. So he pretended to be angry, and by ordering Celsus to be put in irons and undertaking that he would receive a heavier punishment later on, rescued him from immediate death.

    46. After that, the troops got their way in everything. They chose their own pretorian prefects.
    There was a demand for the remission of the payments traditionally made to centurions to secure exemption from duty. This was a kind of annual tax payable by the other ranks. As much as a quarter of a company’s strength would be scattered high and low on leave or loitering in the actual barracks, so long as they squared the company commander. The extent of these exactions and the methods employed to meet them were nobody’s business. Highway robbery, theft or taking on jobs as servants were the means by which they paid for their time off. Besides this, the richer a soldier was, the more he was subjected to fatigues and ill-treatment until he agreed to purchase exemption. Finally, when his money had given out and he had got into an idle and unhealthy state, he would return to his unit, reduced from affluence to poverty and from vigour to sloth. This process was repeated interminably; and the same destitution and indiscipline ruined man after man, driving them herd-like down the slope that leads to mutiny, dissension and, in the last resort, civil war. 47. The long day of villainy drew to its end. There remained the last horror — a mood of jubilation. The senate was summoned by the urban praetor, the other magistrates surpassed each other in feats of flattery, and the senators hurried hot-foot to the meeting. A decree was passed giving Otho the tribunician power, the title ‘Augustus’ and all the imperial prerogatives. Everybody made a desperate effort to obliterate the taunts and insults which had been freely bandied about; no one was actually made to feel that they rankled in Otho’s mind, and whether in fact he had renounced revenge or merely postponed it was a question which remained unanswered owing to the shortness of his reign.

    49. The body of Galba lay disregarded for many hours, and under cover of night marauders offered it repeated outrage. Finally his steward Argius, an old retainer of his, buried it in a humble grave in the grounds of Galba’s private villa. The head fell into the hands of army sutlers and servants, who were responsible for impaling and mutilating it. It was only on the following day that it was found in front of the tomb of Patrobius, a freedman of Nero who had been sentenced by Galba. It was then laid with the ashes of the body, which had already been cremated.

    Such was the fate of Servius Galba. In the course of seventy-three years he had lived a successful life spanning the reigns of five emperors — reigns which proved luckier for him than his own. He came of a family that could boast ancient nobility and great wealth. His own personality was something of a compromise: he had good qualities and in equal measure bad. Having won a reputation, he neither despised nor exploited it. He harboured no designs upon other people’s property, was thrifty with his own, and where the state was involved showed himself a positive miser. A tolerant attitude towards courtiers and officials attracted no censure when they happened to be honest; but his lack of perception if they were not was quite inexcusable. However, distinguished birth and the alarms of the time disguised his lack of enterprise and caused it to be described as wisdom. In the prime of life he attained military distinction in the Rhineland; as proconsul, he administered Africa with moderation, and his control of Nearer Spain in his latter years showed a similar sense of fair-play. Indeed, so long as he was a subject, he seemed too great a man to be one, and by common consent possessed the makings of a ruler — had he never ruled. “

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    • Replies: @Kamran
    Holy fuck that guys website is insane. Every single link links to another of his conspiracies. He must be an autistic psycho of some sort.


    Here he repudiates Edwin Hubble's theory of the expansion of the universe and presents his own theory instead: http://www.ourcivilisation.com/thacker/bigbang.htm
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  • @Romanian
    The coveted shout-out, mine at last. But I have to confess something - someone else from this site, in one of his comments, attracted my attention to the parallels with Gibbon's Decline of the Roman Empire and also provided many of the same quotes. In truth, I stand on the shoulders of giants.

    History was always one of my favorite subjects and it leads me to despair when I see how closely it repeats itself and how blind modern people are to the wisdom a little Classical education can bring them. Everybody acts as if everything is new, when nothing really is new where human nature is concerned. All that changes is the window dressing. And this thing, with the refugees, especially in the final quotes of the article, and the doomed hopes that they would morph into upstanding Romans when the Romans themselves were scarcely fit to remember the glory of their ancestors, just depresses me and makes me wonder about the future.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    "A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all."

    One from Horace:

    "Time corrupts all. What has it not made worse?
    Our grandfathers sired feebler children; theirs
    Were weaker still - ourselves; and now our curse
    Must be to breed even more degenerate heirs"

    Thank you. It was here:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-camping-trip-of-the-saints/#comment-1084547

    We all owe Gibbon for his work. He was one of the greatest minds of his era, and devoted two decades to the book at the expense of his health and career.

    The best way to get a taste for Roman history though is Caesar’s Gallic Wars, which is short, well written, and very exciting:

    http://classics.mit.edu/Caesar/gallic.mb.txt

    An annotated version in book form could be better if you need some background info. For example, when he says “our Province” in the first paragraph, a note would say this refers to the area of NW Italy and SE France that was already under Roman control.

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  • These discussions comparing the modern Western situation to that of imperial Rome are great, and I salute the contributors with the depth of knowledge to post extensively.

    That said, in the minds of the social justice warriors who largely determine the tone of media coverage, the frame of reference for such a comparison is different from that of most people here. They think the fall of the Roman Empire was a good thing. The Romans were oppressors, so it’s good that they were defeated. What followed is irrelevant. From the POV of the SJW’s, it only matters that the bad, evil Romans received their comeuppance.

    Rejoicing more in the defeat of the enemy than in a successful long-term outcome seems to be a trait those on the social justice left.

    Anyway, in my observation, leftists generally hate the Romans and quite seriously believe that they were far worse than their contemporaries.* Suggesting that the current invasion of Europe has any parallels in late antiquity generally elicits comments along the lines of “so? Your point is …?”

    *In fairness to the lefties, this is not new. In Western popular culture, Rome has generally been seen as the Big Bad since at least the early 20th century, probably because of that whole feeding Christians to the lions thing. (Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christwas published in 1880.) For some reason, the Christian West prefers to remember the lions in the Colosseum rather than the fact that there would be no “Christian West” without the Romans.

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  • @andy
    But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians - ten centuries lost to Western Civilization

    But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians – ten centuries lost to Western Civilization

    Nonsense. By the tenth century Europe was completely civilized. There were about two centuries of chaos, roughly mid 6th to mid 7th. In 550 a boat of scholars landed at Cork. In 732 Charles Martel stopped Islam at Poitier.

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  • The deification of roman emperors had already been in vogue well before the eastern empire separated from the west. One must remember that Julius Caesar himself was Pontifex Maximus and Augustus later became the same. Some more clever authors remark on the progression of this deification with examples of currency stamped with the faces of the emperors as the empire aged.

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  • @MEH 0910
    Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times: Refugees Who Could Be Us

    WATCHING the horrific images of Syrian refugees struggling toward safety — or in the case of Aylan Kurdi, 3, drowning on that journey — I think of other refugees. Albert Einstein. Madeleine Albright. The Dalai Lama.

    And my dad.

    In the aftermath of World War II, my father swam the Danube River to flee Romania and become part of a tide of refugees that nobody much cared about. Fortunately, a family in Portland, Ore., sponsored his way to the United States, making this column possible.

     

    From that article:

    In Jordan, I once visited a refugee family hoping for settlement in the United States and saw a poster of Saddam Hussein on the wall; I wondered how that adjustment would go.

    Yea, I wonder.

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  • Steve,

    A quote from Aristotle’s Politics is also germane here:

    Another cause of revolution is difference of races which do not at once acquire a common spirit; for a state is not the growth of a day, any more than it grows out of a multitude brought together by accident. Hence the reception of strangers in colonies, either at the time of their foundation or afterwards, has generally produced revolution; for example, the Achaeans who joined the Troezenians in the foundation of Sybaris, becoming later the more numerous, expelled them; hence the curse fell upon Sybaris. At Thurii the Sybarites quarrelled with their fellow-colonists; thinking that the land belonged to them, they wanted too much of it and were driven out. At Byzantium the new colonists were detected in a conspiracy, and were expelled by force of arms; the people of Antissa, who had received the Chian exiles, fought with them, and drove them out; and the Zancleans, after having received the Samians, were driven by them out of their own city. The citizens of Apollonia on the Euxine, after the introduction of a fresh body of colonists, had a revolution; the Syracusans, after the expulsion of their tyrants, having admitted strangers and mercenaries to the rights of citizenship, quarrelled and came to blows; the people of Amphipolis, having received Chalcidian colonists, were nearly all expelled by them.”

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  • Would evolutionary theory predict that women would be aroused by the sight of groups of military men, especially when such groups are seen moving into new territory? It could explain why women seem to tend to be so supportive of current mass immigration patterns.

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  • Gibbon comments on World War T too: “We may observe that the use and value of those effeminate slaves [eunuchs] gradually rose with the decline of the empire.”

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    • Replies: @Lot
    There was one heroic eunuch in Roman history:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narses

    He reconquered much of Italy from the Goths on behalf of the Eastern Roman Empire in a series of brilliant battles, then defended it from a Frankish invasion.

    In retrospect, it would have been preferable for the Eastern Empire to have made peace with the Goths in Italy. The hundreds of years of war between the increasingly civilized Germanics and the Eastern Romans left Italy devastated and depopulated. The Byzantines after these wars were unable to defend their eastern frontier from the Muslim conquests, and likewise the Gothic kingdoms of Northern Africa and Spain were also conquered.
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  • “But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians – ten centuries lost to Western Civilization.”

    Considering the machinations of Western Civilization societies, past and present, they are no different than “barbarians” of yesteryear.

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  • @anony-mouse
    Much more relevant for the United States:

    Your forgetting another mistake from Valens' time.

    From wikipedia:

    Valens inherited the eastern portion of an empire that had recently retreated from most of its holdings in Mesopotamia and Armenia because of a treaty that his predecessor Jovian had made with Shapur II of the Sassanid Empire.

    Lesson: Avoid making deals with Sassanids-although I assume most people here, ignorant of history, would disagree.

    What’s actually relevant to the United States is the ongoing Latinization of our country, making deals with modern day “Sassanids” (Iran) is much less of an issue for us, although it appears to be a big issue with Israel.

    Basically, to Americans, what happens in the Middle East is irrelevant as long as the oil flows. The US has already fought to long wars in the region (not counting things like Libya) and has done so with very little popular support and nothing in the way of distributing the burden in terms of taxes or conscription.

    Not being ignorant of history, I also know it’s a bad idea to give blank checks to allies.

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    • Replies: @Whiskey
    The US is a major oil producer. Chinese demand will rebound but unlikely to 2009-2013 levels. Iran needs oil at around $200 a barrel or so to keep men with guns paid.

    Thus their only recourse is to suppress or eliminate Gulf AND US oil production.

    Thus we will get war, or simply surrender to Iran and live like its 1899.
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  • @Steve Sailer
    By 3500 A.D., everything should be fine.

    “The Time Traveller smiled round at us. Then, still smiling faintly, and with his hands deep in his trousers pockets, he walked slowly out of the room, and we heard his slippers shuffling down the long passage to his laboratory…”

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  • @Busby
    I tend to think that the involvement of the emperor with the church was more harmful than not. The emperors became enmeshed in theological debates we would now characterize as "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?". Debates that created fault lines around the empire. In retrospect the greatest fault in their strategy was ignoring the rise of Islam while exhausting their resources in achieving a Pyrrhic victory against the Persians.

    Also, the Church was not nearly as subordinate as Sean makes out. Monasteries resisted iconoclasm fiercely and eventually won against the heretical emperors: the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day commemorates the restoration of icons on the first Sunday of Lent every year.

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  • This Gibbon/Rome discussion is fruitful. Something that was on the mind of Gibbon as well as Ferguson (quoted elsewhere) was the effects of luxury (i.e., consumerism) on national virtue and vigor. Nobody today considers consumerism as anything but an unalloyed good, and the decline in vigor and virtue aren’t even on the radar.

    Anyone arguing for self-sacrifice today would be characterized as a victim of false consciousness imposed by the shadowy plutocracy, meanwhile, all the hard and difficult work is farmed out to strangers, on the presumption that the privileged natives will continue to live luxurious lifestyles forever, because, after all, isn’t that what life is all about? Our current generations might be able to get away with this shell game or Ponzi scheme, but our descendants will probably not be so lucky.

    A couple more quotes from Ferguson — Adam, not the home of the Gentle Giant:

    The fact is, that men are perpetually exposed to the commission of error in this article [that is, luxury], not merely where they are accustomed to high measures of accommodation, or to any particular species of food, but wherever these objects, in general, may come to be preferred to their character, to their country, or to mankind; they actually commit such error, wherever they admire paultry distinctions or frivolous advantages; wherever they shrink from small inconveniencies, and are incapable of discharging their duty with vigour. The use of morality on this subject, is not to limit men to any particular species of lodging, diet, or cloaths; but to prevent their considering these conveniencies as the principal objects of human life. And if we are asked, Where the pursuit of trifling accommodations should stop, in order that a man may devote himself entirely to the higher engagements of life? we may answer, That it should stop where it is.

    This was the rule followed at Sparta: The object of the rule was, to preserve the heart entire for the public, and to occupy men in cultivating their own nature, not in accumulating wealth, and external conveniencies. It was not expected otherwise, that the axe or the saw should be attended with greater political advantage, than the plane and the chisel. When Cato walked the streets of Rome without his robe, and without shoes, he did so, most probably, in contempt of what his countrymen were so prone to admire; not in hopes of finding a virtue in one species of dress, or a vice in another.

    Luxury, therefore, considered as a predilection in favour of the objects of vanity, and the costly materials of pleasure, is ruinous to the human character; considered as the mere use of accommodations and conveniencies which the age has procured, rather depends on the progress which the mechanical arts have made, and on the degree in which the fortunes of men are unequally parcelled, than on the dispositions of particular men either to vice or to virtue.

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  • Much more relevant for the United States:

    Your forgetting another mistake from Valens’ time.

    From wikipedia:

    Valens inherited the eastern portion of an empire that had recently retreated from most of its holdings in Mesopotamia and Armenia because of a treaty that his predecessor Jovian had made with Shapur II of the Sassanid Empire.

    Lesson: Avoid making deals with Sassanids-although I assume most people here, ignorant of history, would disagree.

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    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    What's actually relevant to the United States is the ongoing Latinization of our country, making deals with modern day "Sassanids" (Iran) is much less of an issue for us, although it appears to be a big issue with Israel.

    Basically, to Americans, what happens in the Middle East is irrelevant as long as the oil flows. The US has already fought to long wars in the region (not counting things like Libya) and has done so with very little popular support and nothing in the way of distributing the burden in terms of taxes or conscription.

    Not being ignorant of history, I also know it's a bad idea to give blank checks to allies.
    , @Mr. Anon
    "Lesson: Avoid making deals with Sassanids-although I assume most people here, ignorant of history, would disagree."

    I haven't noticed that people here are ignorant of history. Quite the contrary. You are, perhaps.
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  • @Haploid
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    Do we actually know who are the present-day descendants of the Barbarians? Of the Goths?

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  • @Sean
    Byzantium lasted several hundred years longer, but they had the Theodosian Walls, and more importantly , according to Peter Frost "In the East, the Church was made subordinate to the Empire at an early date. In the West, the Church became a rival center of authority"

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm - "relics thrown into the sea ... Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows") came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!

    An essay on the history of civil society: Ferguson, Adam, 1723-1816.

    THE boasted refinements, then, of the polished age, are not divested of danger. They open a door, perhaps, to disaster, as wide and accessible as any of those they have shut. If they build walls nd ramparts, they enervate the minds of those who are placed to defend them; if they form disciplined armies, they reduce the military spirit of entire nations; and by placing the sword where they have given a distaste to civil establishments, they prepare for mankind the government of force
     

    I tend to think that the involvement of the emperor with the church was more harmful than not. The emperors became enmeshed in theological debates we would now characterize as “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”. Debates that created fault lines around the empire. In retrospect the greatest fault in their strategy was ignoring the rise of Islam while exhausting their resources in achieving a Pyrrhic victory against the Persians.

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    • Agree: jtgw
    • Replies: @jtgw
    Also, the Church was not nearly as subordinate as Sean makes out. Monasteries resisted iconoclasm fiercely and eventually won against the heretical emperors: the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day commemorates the restoration of icons on the first Sunday of Lent every year.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Romanian
    The coveted shout-out, mine at last. But I have to confess something - someone else from this site, in one of his comments, attracted my attention to the parallels with Gibbon's Decline of the Roman Empire and also provided many of the same quotes. In truth, I stand on the shoulders of giants.

    History was always one of my favorite subjects and it leads me to despair when I see how closely it repeats itself and how blind modern people are to the wisdom a little Classical education can bring them. Everybody acts as if everything is new, when nothing really is new where human nature is concerned. All that changes is the window dressing. And this thing, with the refugees, especially in the final quotes of the article, and the doomed hopes that they would morph into upstanding Romans when the Romans themselves were scarcely fit to remember the glory of their ancestors, just depresses me and makes me wonder about the future.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    "A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all."

    One from Horace:

    "Time corrupts all. What has it not made worse?
    Our grandfathers sired feebler children; theirs
    Were weaker still - ourselves; and now our curse
    Must be to breed even more degenerate heirs"

    Thank you for this post, Romanian. And that was a nice acknowledgment you made of another poster.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    “A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”

    What crime was Tacitus referring to?

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    • Replies: @Romanian
    The Murder of Emperor Galba

    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/tacitusc/histries/chap2.htm

    Otho wanted to depose Galba, who was the first Emperor in the year of Four Emperors, so he hatched a conspiracy with some soldiers. Galba was eventually murdered, but not before fate had given the Romans a few chances to thwart the evil plan.

    "27. On 15 January, Galba was offering sacrifice in front of the Temple of Apollo (7). The soothsayer Umbricius pronounced the entrails of the victim to be ill-omened, and predicted the imminence of a plot and the presence of a traitor within the palace. As Otho was standing next to Galba, he overheard this and gleefully interpreted it in the contrary sense as favourable to his own designs. A few minutes later, his freedman Onomastus brought him a message: the architect and builders were waiting for him. This was the pre-arranged code indicating that the troops were already assembling and the plot ripe. ..... Here twenty-three members of the bodyguard gave him the imperial salutation. Otho was appalled that they were so few in number, but they quickly placed him in a chair, drew their swords and hurried him off. Roughly the same number of soldiers joined the party on the way — some privy to the plot, many bewildered, a proportion shouting and flourishing their swords, others again maintaining silence, with the intention of suiting their reaction to the event.

    28. The duty-officer at the barracks was the tribune Julius Martialis. It is hard to say whether he was overwhelmed by the mere idea of such an immense and wicked enterprise, or whether he feared that the rot went deeper among the men and that resistance on his part might spell death. In any case, he gave many people the impression that he was in the plot. The other tribunes, and the centurions, also preferred the advantage of the moment to the incalculable risks of honour. Their mood may be summed up thus: a shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.

    Swords were drawn to deal with recalcitrants. Near the Basin of Curtius, the panic of his bearers caused Galba to be flung sprawling from his chair. His last words are variously recorded by the conflicting voices of hatred and admiration. Some say that he grovelled, and asked what he had done to deserve his fate, begging a few days' grace to pay the bounty. The majority of the historians believe that he voluntarily bared his throat to the assassins, telling them to strike and be done with it, if this was what seemed best for the country. Little did the murderers care what he said.

    45. A complete transformation seemed to have taken place in both senators and people. They were now a mob stampeding in the direction of the barracks, each man trying to outstrip his neighbour in the race and catch up with those who led the field. They cursed Galba, complimented the soldiers on their choice, and covered Otho's hand with kisses. These demonstrations were multiplied in proportion to their insincerity. Otho for his part welcomed even single individuals who came up to him, and restrained the greed and menaces of his men by word and look. The consul-designate Marius Celsus had shown Galba affection and loyalty to the bitter end. For this the soldiers now demanded his head, for they resented his energy and high principle as if they were faults of character. It was only too obvious that they were looking for an excuse to set about bloodshed and plunder and the annihilation of every decent Roman. But Otho was not yet in a position to prevent outrage-though he could already command it. So he pretended to be angry, and by ordering Celsus to be put in irons and undertaking that he would receive a heavier punishment later on, rescued him from immediate death.

    46. After that, the troops got their way in everything. They chose their own pretorian prefects.
    There was a demand for the remission of the payments traditionally made to centurions to secure exemption from duty. This was a kind of annual tax payable by the other ranks. As much as a quarter of a company's strength would be scattered high and low on leave or loitering in the actual barracks, so long as they squared the company commander. The extent of these exactions and the methods employed to meet them were nobody's business. Highway robbery, theft or taking on jobs as servants were the means by which they paid for their time off. Besides this, the richer a soldier was, the more he was subjected to fatigues and ill-treatment until he agreed to purchase exemption. Finally, when his money had given out and he had got into an idle and unhealthy state, he would return to his unit, reduced from affluence to poverty and from vigour to sloth. This process was repeated interminably; and the same destitution and indiscipline ruined man after man, driving them herd-like down the slope that leads to mutiny, dissension and, in the last resort, civil war. 47. The long day of villainy drew to its end. There remained the last horror — a mood of jubilation. The senate was summoned by the urban praetor, the other magistrates surpassed each other in feats of flattery, and the senators hurried hot-foot to the meeting. A decree was passed giving Otho the tribunician power, the title 'Augustus' and all the imperial prerogatives. Everybody made a desperate effort to obliterate the taunts and insults which had been freely bandied about; no one was actually made to feel that they rankled in Otho's mind, and whether in fact he had renounced revenge or merely postponed it was a question which remained unanswered owing to the shortness of his reign.

    49. The body of Galba lay disregarded for many hours, and under cover of night marauders offered it repeated outrage. Finally his steward Argius, an old retainer of his, buried it in a humble grave in the grounds of Galba's private villa. The head fell into the hands of army sutlers and servants, who were responsible for impaling and mutilating it. It was only on the following day that it was found in front of the tomb of Patrobius, a freedman of Nero who had been sentenced by Galba. It was then laid with the ashes of the body, which had already been cremated.

    Such was the fate of Servius Galba. In the course of seventy-three years he had lived a successful life spanning the reigns of five emperors — reigns which proved luckier for him than his own. He came of a family that could boast ancient nobility and great wealth. His own personality was something of a compromise: he had good qualities and in equal measure bad. Having won a reputation, he neither despised nor exploited it. He harboured no designs upon other people's property, was thrifty with his own, and where the state was involved showed himself a positive miser. A tolerant attitude towards courtiers and officials attracted no censure when they happened to be honest; but his lack of perception if they were not was quite inexcusable. However, distinguished birth and the alarms of the time disguised his lack of enterprise and caused it to be described as wisdom. In the prime of life he attained military distinction in the Rhineland; as proconsul, he administered Africa with moderation, and his control of Nearer Spain in his latter years showed a similar sense of fair-play. Indeed, so long as he was a subject, he seemed too great a man to be one, and by common consent possessed the makings of a ruler — had he never ruled. "

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  • Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times: Refugees Who Could Be Us

    WATCHING the horrific images of Syrian refugees struggling toward safety — or in the case of Aylan Kurdi, 3, drowning on that journey — I think of other refugees. Albert Einstein. Madeleine Albright. The Dalai Lama.

    And my dad.

    In the aftermath of World War II, my father swam the Danube River to flee Romania and become part of a tide of refugees that nobody much cared about. Fortunately, a family in Portland, Ore., sponsored his way to the United States, making this column possible.

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    • Replies: @415 reasons
    From that article:

    In Jordan, I once visited a refugee family hoping for settlement in the United States and saw a poster of Saddam Hussein on the wall; I wondered how that adjustment would go.
     
    Yea, I wonder.
    , @Romanian
    I replied somewhere else that I read that article and his father appears to have been a Polish Armenian from the part of Poland that was incorporated by Ukraine. He merely passed through Romania after escaping prison, didn't like what he saw (the beginnings of Communist rule), and went to greener pastures. Notably, he passed on France because he doubted that they would think of his future children as being entirely French, even though he was French educated and fluent in the language. Basically, he started out as a refugee, then became a migrant.
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  • @Sean
    Byzantium lasted several hundred years longer, but they had the Theodosian Walls, and more importantly , according to Peter Frost "In the East, the Church was made subordinate to the Empire at an early date. In the West, the Church became a rival center of authority"

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm - "relics thrown into the sea ... Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows") came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!

    An essay on the history of civil society: Ferguson, Adam, 1723-1816.

    THE boasted refinements, then, of the polished age, are not divested of danger. They open a door, perhaps, to disaster, as wide and accessible as any of those they have shut. If they build walls nd ramparts, they enervate the minds of those who are placed to defend them; if they form disciplined armies, they reduce the military spirit of entire nations; and by placing the sword where they have given a distaste to civil establishments, they prepare for mankind the government of force
     

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm – “relics thrown into the sea … Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows”) came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!

    In the last days of the Byzantine Empire, when the emperor was trying to tie together alliances for the sake of saving what was left of it from conquest by the Muslim Ottoman Empire, the Orthodox priests were notorious for their apathy and backbiting. “Better the Sultan’s turban than the Pope’s mitre” was their watchword. They got what they wanted and 600 years later Christians are virtually extinct in Asia Minor.

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    • Replies: @Difference Maker
    Yes, it was a very strange, and if I may, Middle Eastern-like religious fanaticism, an obsession with being 'Hellenes', that throttled any rapprochement with the West, fractured any effort, and shrunk the Imperial horizon.
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  • Assabiyah at work as least diverse (and populated) European country makes Euro 2016

    Iceland reach Euro 2016 but Lars Lagerback insists: ‘Nelson Mandela is a hero, I am not’
    There were celebrations throughout the night in Iceland as the country, which has only 21,508 registered players, qualified for its first tournament but the coach was keen to downplay his own role

    There were celebrations throughout the night in Iceland as the country, which has only 21,508 registered players, qualified for its first tournament but the coach was keen to downplay his own role (the roster might be more than 1% of Icelandic players which includes good amateurs.)

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/sep/07/iceland-qualify-euro-2016-lars-lagerback

    Only one one player does not have a standard Icelandic name, Jóhann Laxdal.

    http://www.uefa.com/worldcup/season=2014/teams/team=58/index.html

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  • @Bill Jones
    Sounds about right.
    All the "migrants" are, of course, young men of what the US deems as "Military-age"
    http://www.cfr.org/drones/does-recent-shift-us-drone-policy-impact-signature-strikes/p30885

    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

    Somewhat off topic: I have a theory that a large proportion of the current wave of Syrians comes from the Alawite upper class, who have thus far managed to avoid personally taking part in the conflict but can no longer avoid it. They are essentially draft dodgers who would understandably rather go to Germany than face death at the hands of ISIS.

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    • Replies: @Romanian
    Why would the Alawites leave when Assad is keeping the others in check and Western Syria is relatively safe and prosperous? The little kid that died was a Kurd, for instance. I'm sure most refugees are Sunni who hate Assad's guts.
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  • Actually, that map needs more lines going from various locations on the Mediterranean to Rome labeled “slaves”. Some of those lines would trace the current route from Syria to Rome. The latifundia with their imported slaves displacing native yeomen is a better analogy.

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  • This policy or resettling barbarians into Roman territory did not start in the fourth century. In started in the third century. The political turmoil and warfare along the borders left vast swaths of land depopulated. The solution landed upon was to invite German tribes to resettle into these lands. The condition was they disarmed and became farmers.

    These economic migrants also made up the auxilia used to defend the frontier in what Edward Luttwak describes as defense-in-depth. By the end of the fourth century, Rome was depending entirely on non-citizens for defense. I’m sure that will not be an issue for Europe as all of these Arab Muslim will embrace multiculturalism and abandon Islam in favor of materialism.

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    • Replies: @random observer
    Sweet. That makes the 20th century wars Western Civilization's "Crisis of the Third Century" analogue.

    My new favourite Roman/modern analogy.

    It has the flaws inherent in all such comparisons, but still a source of gratifying clarity.

    I wonder what figures of the recent past that would cast in such roles as Diocletian or Constantine. There is an oversupply of candidates for the roles of Valens, his lackeys, and of Honorius.
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  • All that is done shall be done, there is nothing new under the sun.

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  • @Bill Jones
    Sounds about right.
    All the "migrants" are, of course, young men of what the US deems as "Military-age"
    http://www.cfr.org/drones/does-recent-shift-us-drone-policy-impact-signature-strikes/p30885

    Sounds about right.
    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

    But could they field a modern army that could win a pitched battle against us? I don’t think so.

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    • Replies: @Cicero
    Do they have to? Look at Iraq, that recent past may become Europe's not-too-distant future.

    I do not believe that Eurofor will be wiped out in some Cannaeesque Battle of the Rhineland or any such thing, but I could easily see bands of "warriors for Social Justice (and Islam)" pillaging town after town without an effective or organized military response. The drip and drab losses of such insurgencies will break what is left of the West's military power as surely as losing a field campaign. After all, you can blow up an apartment building full of terrorists with artillery and drone strikes quite easily... when it is thousands of miles from your home in a country you give not one whit about. When it is half-filled with your own neighbors and family, that is a different story. Willpower, not fancy weapons is what wins wars. The weapons can only increase the effectiveness of a fighting nation's will to win, not replace it.

    While I was digging through info on Western Rome's fall, I discovered this play by Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Romulus the Great.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romulus_the_Great

    It is an ahistorical piece where the last Emperor of Western Rome deliberately allows his nation to be destroyed by the Germans because he believes it is too violent and morally compromised to be allowed to continue to exist. I'll take a guess that if Frau Merkel ever read it, she was rooting for the Emperor, but not because she was proud of her German ancestors.

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  • While many of the barbarians were Arian Christians, they were still duly impressed with the Empire they overran. Most of them attempted to govern as if they were a continuation of Roman rule, and there was even some semblance of normality in the 6th century AD. Over time though, social order, infrastructure, trade, and overall well-being decayed as the new elites did not possess a cultural identity which could maintain civilization. They played at being Roman elites, but the inner barbarian takes a long time to suppress.

    But I think there is another historical analogy we should concern ourselves with – the Arab conquest of the Middle East. The Arabs were for a long time a minority in the territories they conquered. They were content to rule and let their subjects continue life much as before, as that was the best way to make their Islamic rulers comfortable and wealthy.

    In the same way, the migrants arriving in Europe are not duly impressed with our culture. They like our gadgets and material things, but the rest they feel only contempt for, and they possess a religious belief that they should conquer for Islam. They also view Europeans as soft and weak. So I do not think they will try to adopt Western culture like the barbarians tried to adopt Roman culture and religion, but rather will attempt to rule over Europe as a minority population, as has been the pattern of Muslim invasions past. The process will not start out with an attempt at outright conquest, but with special privileges and autonomy achieved through a combination of the threat of mob violence and exploitation of Leftist multiculturalism. Over time that will evolve into more direct control.

    So in that sense, things could be even worse.

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  • The coveted shout-out, mine at last. But I have to confess something – someone else from this site, in one of his comments, attracted my attention to the parallels with Gibbon’s Decline of the Roman Empire and also provided many of the same quotes. In truth, I stand on the shoulders of giants.

    History was always one of my favorite subjects and it leads me to despair when I see how closely it repeats itself and how blind modern people are to the wisdom a little Classical education can bring them. Everybody acts as if everything is new, when nothing really is new where human nature is concerned. All that changes is the window dressing. And this thing, with the refugees, especially in the final quotes of the article, and the doomed hopes that they would morph into upstanding Romans when the Romans themselves were scarcely fit to remember the glory of their ancestors, just depresses me and makes me wonder about the future.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    “A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”

    One from Horace:

    “Time corrupts all. What has it not made worse?
    Our grandfathers sired feebler children; theirs
    Were weaker still – ourselves; and now our curse
    Must be to breed even more degenerate heirs”

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Thank you for this post, Romanian. And that was a nice acknowledgment you made of another poster.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    “A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”


    What crime was Tacitus referring to?
    , @Lot
    Thank you. It was here:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-camping-trip-of-the-saints/#comment-1084547

    We all owe Gibbon for his work. He was one of the greatest minds of his era, and devoted two decades to the book at the expense of his health and career.

    The best way to get a taste for Roman history though is Caesar's Gallic Wars, which is short, well written, and very exciting:

    http://classics.mit.edu/Caesar/gallic.mb.txt

    An annotated version in book form could be better if you need some background info. For example, when he says "our Province" in the first paragraph, a note would say this refers to the area of NW Italy and SE France that was already under Roman control.
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  • @Haploid
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    The Dark Ages, although not as bad as commonly portrayed by 19th Century historians, were definitely a decline from the Roman Empire. The Goths were just the start; Avars, Magyars and Northmen (Vikings), Saracens and others followed. I remember reading that the sanitation standards of Roman cities were not achieved in most of Europe until the 19th Century. And given modern dependence on technology, a new Dark Ages will be even more cataclysmic.

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  • @Haploid
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians – ten centuries lost to Western Civilization

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    • Replies: @IA

    But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians – ten centuries lost to Western Civilization
     
    Nonsense. By the tenth century Europe was completely civilized. There were about two centuries of chaos, roughly mid 6th to mid 7th. In 550 a boat of scholars landed at Cork. In 732 Charles Martel stopped Islam at Poitier.
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  • @Haploid
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    By 3500 A.D., everything should be fine.

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    • Replies: @Anon7
    "The Time Traveller smiled round at us. Then, still smiling faintly, and with his hands deep in his trousers pockets, he walked slowly out of the room, and we heard his slippers shuffling down the long passage to his laboratory..."
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  • Byzantium lasted several hundred years longer, but they had the Theodosian Walls, and more importantly , according to Peter Frost “In the East, the Church was made subordinate to the Empire at an early date. In the West, the Church became a rival center of authority”

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm – “relics thrown into the sea … Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows”) came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!

    An essay on the history of civil society: Ferguson, Adam, 1723-1816.

    THE boasted refinements, then, of the polished age, are not divested of danger. They open a door, perhaps, to disaster, as wide and accessible as any of those they have shut. If they build walls nd ramparts, they enervate the minds of those who are placed to defend them; if they form disciplined armies, they reduce the military spirit of entire nations; and by placing the sword where they have given a distaste to civil establishments, they prepare for mankind the government of force

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    • Replies: @Richard

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm – “relics thrown into the sea … Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows”) came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!
     
    In the last days of the Byzantine Empire, when the emperor was trying to tie together alliances for the sake of saving what was left of it from conquest by the Muslim Ottoman Empire, the Orthodox priests were notorious for their apathy and backbiting. "Better the Sultan's turban than the Pope's mitre" was their watchword. They got what they wanted and 600 years later Christians are virtually extinct in Asia Minor.
    , @Busby
    I tend to think that the involvement of the emperor with the church was more harmful than not. The emperors became enmeshed in theological debates we would now characterize as "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?". Debates that created fault lines around the empire. In retrospect the greatest fault in their strategy was ignoring the rise of Islam while exhausting their resources in achieving a Pyrrhic victory against the Persians.
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  • Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    By 3500 A.D., everything should be fine.
    , @andy
    But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians - ten centuries lost to Western Civilization
    , @Diversity Heretic
    The Dark Ages, although not as bad as commonly portrayed by 19th Century historians, were definitely a decline from the Roman Empire. The Goths were just the start; Avars, Magyars and Northmen (Vikings), Saracens and others followed. I remember reading that the sanitation standards of Roman cities were not achieved in most of Europe until the 19th Century. And given modern dependence on technology, a new Dark Ages will be even more cataclysmic.
    , @Anonymous
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    Do we actually know who are the present-day descendants of the Barbarians? Of the Goths?
    , @Mr. Anon
    "salvo says:

    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this."

    It isn't in this respect. Arabs aren't Germans. In the last 1500 years or so, the descendents of those barbarians (and others like them) created modern Europe. During that same interval, the Arabs created modern Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States. Notice any differences?
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  • Sounds about right.
    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

    http://www.cfr.org/drones/does-recent-shift-us-drone-policy-impact-signature-strikes/p30885

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    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome


    Sounds about right.
    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

     

    But could they field a modern army that could win a pitched battle against us? I don't think so.
    , @Alastair Trumpington

    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

     

    Somewhat off topic: I have a theory that a large proportion of the current wave of Syrians comes from the Alawite upper class, who have thus far managed to avoid personally taking part in the conflict but can no longer avoid it. They are essentially draft dodgers who would understandably rather go to Germany than face death at the hands of ISIS.
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  • Over the past week there have been three posts which I've put up which are related. Two of them have a straightforward relation, Britons, English, Germans, and collective action and Britons, English, and Dutch. But the third might not seem related to the other two, We stand on the shoulders of cultural giants, but it...
  • AG says:

    Xiongnu were pacified by the Chinese through divide and conquer. Southern xiongnu became part of Chinese force to fight against northern xiongnu. Southern xiongnu elites were awarded with noble and military titles. At end of Jin dynasty (After Han and three kindoms), southern xiongnus were first rebel force uprising against Jin rulers since xiongus felt they had been treated like `slaves’.

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  • hi razib, thanks for the superberb post: do you have any nice reference on magyars/hungarian case?

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  • Nice, thick, nuanced analysis with excellent examples.

    Another interesting example to add to the mix would be the case of Mongol efforts to incorporate Koreans into their domains by forcing local notables to marry Mongol princesses and then giving those princesses real power politically with the Mongol elite and via religious patronage.

    While it made a dent, in the end it basically failed. When the Mongol war machine’s impact became less dominant, the Mongol princesses were purged, assassinated or marginalized by forces led by an emergent bourgeois and class of courtiers and lesser aristocrats that hated them with a passion. The religious institutions were looted and appropriated by the state. The Mongol princesses also didn’t manage to stay in power long enough (just a few generations) to consolidate Mongol culture and the fact that it was princesses rather than princes that were brought into the Korean culture may also have been too great a leap for the Korean society to accept even though the Mongols were somewhat more accepting of powerful women. The relatively small number of political subdivisions in Korea at the time and the peripheral location also probably helped.

    One can also look more recently at the persistence of Western institutions in newly independent colonial powers. British institutions survived in India after almost five hundred years of British colonial rule before independence (although arguably penetrated less deeply in Pakistan than in India or even Bangladesh), but places where colonial powers had ruled less long (e.g. much of Africa) seem not to have developed the critical mass necessary to make that approach work.

    Then again, that could be a function of the theory that political complexity must advance sequentially. India has a fairly well developed system of regional states in place when the British arrived and the British colonial rule relied on playing one regional state against another. In the African case, there were few full fledged states, more big man run villages and chiefdoms, when colonial powers arrived, so political units had to be built from the gound up, often without success.

    Put another way, while “barbarism” may reduce resistance to assimilation, it also means that the number of “chunks” of organized people who have to be assimilated one group at a time is greater if the society is too fragmented.

    Along the same lines, one important factor in Islamic expansion was rapid assimilation of existing elites. This was also the case in the rapid Nazi expansion where local business and political leaders were co-opted. (I’m not, by the way making an Islamo-Fascist suggestion, adoption of local elites, also Holy Roman Empire, is a general phenomena). The ideal state for assimilation may be one where the substate people are divided, but into chunks just a single level of political complexity below the one aspired to by the rulers.

    If the substate people are truly unified and do not have co-opted elites (as the Roman Catholic church did for the Irish in the face of British rule), it can be almost impossible even after a millenium to secure assimilation, while in the case where the elites are co-opted (e.g. Mary Queen of Scots), it can happen much more quickly.

    Tibetan assimiliation hasn’t been too effective without heavy handed demic replacement in part because the Tibetans have maintains political unity through a government in exile.

    The point that “unlike the Christians of Egypt the Zoroastrians of Iran almost disappeared”, of course, has at least one very obvious source: Islamic tolerates “People of the Book” (i.e. Jews and Christians) as a matter of religious doctrine (perhaps to defuse early resistance from these locally powerful groups), while it officially does not tolerate other religions (whose Mediterranean influence was already weak due to the active suppression of these religions by the late Roman emperors).

    The classic case of a superstate succumbing to a substate which also bears examination is the case of the Romans in the Eastern empire adopting the language and culture of the Greeks that they conquered (and the early Arabs as well, as noted).

    One way to think about it is that co-opted local elites may only be sincere in their adoption of superstate norms when the superstate can somehow demonstate that they have something that is worth emulating. Actual “barbarism” in the substate people may be less important than a self-perception that the leadership and culture of the conquered society is rotten. The cultural self-esteem of the elites may be at work as a powerful factor.

    The Sumerian replacement by Akkadian elites, the demise of Harappan culture that opened the door to Indo-Europeans, and the weakness of the C-T culture that opened the door to Indo-Europeans in the greater Balkans involved rather advanced cultures for their day, but elites that were discouraged about the value of their own traditions as a result of the climate setbacks of the drought/climate shift of ca. 2000 BCE.

    The climate shift producing leadership failures that accompanied Bronze Age collapse ca. 1200 BCE, may similarly have undermined the self-confidence of the Bronze Age elites of that time making them open to the new post-Bronze Age collapse regimes. For example, it appears that the megalithic culture saw a massive collapse in metal trade goods and trade in general before the way was opened for a Celtic replacement of that culture. Classes of leaders who can’t deliver lose confidence in themselves and are open to alternatives.

    Perhaps there is something to the unending cycles of self-doubt and condemnation of corrupt leadership regimes that pervade the Hebrew Bible. Perhaps it is that kind of self-image of one’s society (which is seen again in the hand wringing classical literature about the late Roman empire’s corruption), that cause existing substrate regime leaders to lose faith and become vunerable to momentarily militarily strong superstrate leader’s alternatives.

    Would the Spanish culture have become so dominant if the Aztecs and Incas hadn’t experienced such spectacular defeats that make the old rulers and culture look inferior to the new, even if culturally neutral germs may have been as important as guns and steel and cultural advantages in fact?

    Was the willingness of the elites of Britain to assimilate into Germanic culture, and the Hungarian to assimilate into Urgic culture, to a great extent a product of the fact that the Roman-Christian approach to which local elites owed residual allegiance been so deeply discredited by the fall of the Roman empire, rather than simply the loss of ties to it?

    The longest lived non-Indo-European societies of Europe (Basque and Etruscans) were also those that had the least to gain from conversion to Indo-European society because they had adopted many of the non-linguistic technological innovations (e.g. art technique, metal working, more advanced farming, architectural and military technologies) that their neighbors had not. Survivors and sustainers of old regimes tend to be those that are early cultural adopters than use their imitation to hold their own.

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  • The Saxon Shore forts don’t correspond well with the earliest anglo saxon pagan cemeteries in the Yorkshire Wolds, Sancton, Newbald etc. and the Upper Thames valley, eg. Berinsfield. These areas also show the highest frequencies of haplotypes judged to be of continental origin. The forts in Norfolk do correspond with early cemeteries and the area is similar in terms of genetic evidence but the majority of the forts are along the south east coast, from the Isle of Wight to Essex, where the genetic signal is weaker. I think it would be wrong to equate the shore forts with early settlement and a mechanism for achieving control. They may be, but only in some parts.

    The trading function of these forts at the end of the roman period is likely unimportant as the economy had collapsed. Their importance may be that they were garrisoned by germanic auxilliaries or that laeti, settlers who were granted land in return for miliary service in times of need, were relocated from the continent to these areas. This appears to have happened along the gallic saxon shore for example, around Boulogne.

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  • Magyars

    I’d suggest they remain culturally self-coherent because they were situated between a lot of not-especially coherent German populations and not-especially coherent Slavic populations (at least compared to themselves), neither of which had any particular cultural cachet, so a cultural tug in one direction is immediately counter-balanced by a tug in the other leaving them preserved in a default state of Magyar. Or is that just simplistic?

    Saxon Shore

    Perhaps not so much about defense as tax collecting and trade management and has the effect of instituting Saxon-Frisian as the default trade language of the entire coast of Britain and northwest Europe, so when the Romans collapse the Germans have these established business and family ties to fall back on and the language quickly filters over Britain as the standard in business opportunity. And Celts, who may be divided among themselves, then find it convenient to speak in Saxon rather risk a quarrel, with one another, over nothing.

    Perhaps Britain wasn’t so much conquered as bought.

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  • Southern american cotton slaves, in contrast, underwent population growth and were exported further into the south. Does anyone know to what extent that was a matter of the geographic location vs the crop?

    economics of scale rice ~ tobacco > cotton > sugar. IOW, sugar was more easily transformed into a factory cash crop where you needed to mix some capital with male replaceable labor.

    Your conclusion is not clear to me. Are you saying that the reason that the Britains assimilated to the Germans and not vice-versa is, most likely, that the Germans came with their families/women so were able to maintain their culture long enough to incorporate the locals? And that, in contrast, the reason that the Magyars and Turks assimilated to the local cultures was that they were basically victorious armies who, having conquered, settled down with local women and eventually assimilated into the local culture though of course they did so as a ruling caste?

    first, you can impose your culture without bringing women. to some extent you see this in latin america. but, latin american societies exhibit hybridization in some areas. e.g., mexican cuisine. presumably this seems lacking among the english. my model posits that there wasn’t an early period of hybridization where british elements leaked into the initial deme. that hybridization came later, but by that point the english had enough critical mass that they simply assimilated without hybridizing.

    also, part of my point is that the maygars did not assimilate. they assimilated the substrate into their language. the magyar connections to inner asia even persisted after their christianization. turks of all religions fleeing the mongols in the 13th century were allowed to resettle in hungary granted that they converted to christianity.

    i’m giving you an autosomal estimate. the Y would be german biased i think. some mtDNA i britain is rooted to the paleolithic. google cheddar man.

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  • I read on Wiki that the earliest male lineages in the British Isles now regarded as originating from a Balkan migration instead of an Iberian migration, as was earlier hypothesized. That hypothesis is based upon Y-DNA analysis though — I don’t know if there’s an estimate for ancestry percentage from autosomal DNA. Do you? You gave the 70 percent figure, but it would be interesting to see that disaggregated for the different waves of pre-Roman migration (e.g, Celts, Balkans, etc)

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  • It’s interesting how these theories correspond with those of John Morris’ The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650.

    This book emphasized a point that this modern American had not grasped which is the geography of Britain. The Southeast contains the high productive land, and the terrain of the island also offers key military advantages to control the core of the island. Thus, there is a tipping point where control of the Southeast will result in control of the island.

    Morris gives credence to the Anglo-Saxon story that German warriors were invited by a British lord to defend his lands from Pictish raids. In exchange they were given land for their people to settle along the Saxon shore. These were not large settlements, but created a productive base to which later Germans would be invited (I believe in response to British efforts to push out the Germans). In the ensuing wars, a tipping point was reached that reduced the native population to peasantry or into the hills of Wales or the North.

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  • The medieval mind may have attributed this to divine providence, but it was probably more a function of higher nutritional levels which very elite individuals could take for granted.

    Probably? You think? Any actual evidence to back up this statement? Until I see any, I’ll give equal weight to divine providence and higher nutritional levels!

    (Mild) apologies for the snark. This is very impressive. Trying to synthesize the genetics with other fields to make sense or figure out something about a part of history where the details are not clear is fascinating. Because of my greater familiarity with European history than that of Africa or East or South Asia, I find this very interesting.

    2 questions:
    1) In the 2nd paragraph from the end, you refer to an unadmixed German population. Does this mean one that has not (yet) crossed with another (e.g., Britain or Roman)?

    2) Your conclusion is not clear to me. Are you saying that the reason that the Britains assimilated to the Germans and not vice-versa is, most likely, that the Germans came with their families/women so were able to maintain their culture long enough to incorporate the locals? And that, in contrast, the reason that the Magyars and Turks assimilated to the local cultures was that they were basically victorious armies who, having conquered, settled down with local women and eventually assimilated into the local culture though of course they did so as a ruling caste?

    Thank you for this post and the massive effort behind it. I third Rowe.

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  • The small male dominated military elite model of the anglo saxon adventus model was formulated as the numbers required for a single event mass invasion are not credible. One to two million north germanics moving into England, where Millet estimated the population of Britain as 3.9 million, is simply too high a number. Yet Britons remain more or less archaeologically invisible in contrast to the ample evidence for germanic settlement in the east and the language is replaced. The question then arose, if a smaller number of germanic settlers came, what were the mechanisms by which their culture became dominant?

    Heinrich Härke proposed that Britons may be found in germanic graves and that we should not assume that all germanic grave assemblages imply the presence of germanic settlers. Furthermore he suggested that the presence of weapons in graves should not imply warriors, pointing out that these were often found in burials of infants, women and men too old to fight. They should therefore be seen as a badge of rank, an indication of the status of their family within the community.

    There are parts of England which do not produce germanic archaeology for the years 450 – 600 AD but which show virtually no evidence of Britons either. We don’t know why this is but it seems clear that production of goods, hair pins, ceramics, clasps etc either ceased or were made of of materials which were of poorer quality and which simply perished. In contrast, germanic settlements in the east show the presence of imported goods. These are not confined to jewellery or other metallic artefacts but include household items such as quernstones, sometimes imported from the Vulkaneiffel between the Mosel and Rhine and we also see differences in dietary practices.

    Identifying Britons living amongst the Germans is therefore difficult. We don’t have anything which is typically British to use an an indicator. Nor do we know the fate of Britons who were not living under germanic rule. With a few exceptions such as Tintagel in the far west, their situation appears to be one of complete social and economic collapse.

    Capelli’s 2003 study broadly confirmed Weale’s earlier study fregarding the high frequency of continental y chromosomal haplotypes in England, ie ~54% but showed that the distribution was far from even. The map in the article by Der Spiegel,has been redrawn by them but is based on one produced by Mark Thomas sometime around the publication of the Capelli study. The hotspots for continental haplotypes on this map are not, as often claimed, completely obscured by later Danelaw settlement as the most western hotspot is in the upper Thames valley, outside of the the Danelaw. Capelli’s admixture analysis suggested a presence of 70.8% of continental haplotypes for Chippenham. The map corresponds nicely with Page’s distribution of pre 650AD runic finds in England, again well before Danelaw settlement,
    If the question of how these early settlements led to a complete cultural transition remains unanswered, so too does the question of when these early settlements started. The sort of land apportionment Eurologist refers to above was not limited to high level officers but was given to large groups too:

    276 – 279 (Zosiumus): Probus defeats alemannic insurection around the Rhine and along with their leader Igillus “sent [them] to Britain, where they settled, and were subsequently very serviceable to the emperor when any insurrection broke out”.

    372 (Ammianus Marcellinus): Valentinian sends the Alamannic Fraomarius of the Bucinobantes [an alamannic canton], along with other Alamannic troops commanded by Bitheridius and Hortarius, to Britain.

    The Romans had started a policy of resettling tribal groups within the Limes and giving them land in return for military service during times of need, known as laeti. One of the better researched groups are the Saxonnes Biocassini, or the Saxons of Bayeaux. ‘Lats’ appear as a special grouping in the early law codes in Kent and may refer to Laeti whose priviledges and responsibilities were still recognised at the start of the 7th cent.

    Heinrich Härke is publishing an article entitled ‘Estimating demographic parameters in Early Anglo-Saxon England’ in the journal Medieval Archaeology towards the end of this year. It promises to be a good read especially as it will be published at around the same time as the first publication of the People of the British Isles genetic study.

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  • I like your description of a “warrior-farmer” elite. Coming back to my idea that perhaps there already was a foothold settlement to make it all work so smoothly in the beginning, one should note two things: firstly, it was very common in Roman times that higher-level officers were given land upon retirement, and secondly, soldiers from NW German/Frisian/Dutch “tribes” were often selected to lead difficult missions in adjacent regions, including the Isles. These people were known to be highly organized and were well-versed in Roman military and leadership know-how (which later enabled them to drive out the Romans and create the Frank empire). So, many of them were very familiar with the geography and country as a whole, and I don’t find it far-fetched that some of them settled there (were given land). And they probably clustered to remain in contact. I also agree that communication pathways across central Europe seem to have been very strong at the time.

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  • TGGP says: • Website

    I second Rowe.

    Janes Scott wrote in “The Art of Not Being Governed” that irrigated rice farming is ideal for labor exploitation, but his focus was on southeast asia and I doubt he had cane/cotton (which aren’t food staples) in mind as a comparison.

    Speaking of which, accounts I’ve read of cane planatations in the caribbean depict it as uncommonly harsh and involving a very high death rate that needed replenishment with slave importations. Southern american cotton slaves, in contrast, underwent population growth and were exported further into the south. Does anyone know to what extent that was a matter of the geographic location vs the crop?

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  • So, more or less what Bede said.

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  • Very informative and comprehensive article. I would love to read up more on how these dynamics were at play in other historical situations. In particular, I wonder what were the mechanics of Romanization in western Europe, as it is often assumed that everybody simply adopted the “superior” Roman culture and Latin language, though the truth was undoubtedly more complex. One detail which was off, though- Persia was already called “Iran” well before the Arab conquest.

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  • But can you give a rough percentage of what proportion of the current genes in England as a whole is from pre-Roman Britain and what proportion is from Germany?

    of english whites, 20 anglo-saxon, 10 post-anglo-saxon (dutch, danes, flemmish, french protestants, normans, etc.), 70 roman era or earlier. my key point is that this is an average, and there’s probably lots of variance.

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  • I think the difference between the Bulgars and the Magyars is that the Magyars were actually a large folk migration. I’ve read estimates of 400K. At the time of their migraion, they had been in the Pontic Steppes for 400-500 years and took on the general European characteristic that existed there. The elite warriors may that could have maintained a Uralic/Turkic element numbered only 20K.

    The Bulgars, on the other hand, were probably only a warrior elite.

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  • Well worth a long article, its a fascinating subject. You can see how “elite emulation” can work when people join a military ruling class, or when middle-easterners adopt islam for tax reasons, or when literacy starts to take off, but otherwise its very tricky. I’m always reminded of the lines in Holy Grail:

    “I am Arthur, King of the Britons!”
    “The Britons? Who are they?”
    “We all are, we are all Britons”

    In many periods the peasants will only have cared about the fact that every now and then a load of armed men (who claimed to “own” the land they farmed) would turn up and steal most of the food they’d grown. Whether these men had the same skin colour, the same religion or spoke the same language would have been a minor detail.

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  • Sorry I am probably being a bit slow, but I am finding it hard to get what your overall conclusion is. Are you saying that the majority of the ancestors of current English people date from pre-roman Britain? You say:
    “If my model is correct then the majority of the ancestry of the people in some eastern English localities should cluster with Frisians, while very little of the ancestry of English people in regions like Devon may be German at all.”
    But can you give a rough percentage of what proportion of the current genes in England as a whole is from pre-Roman Britain and what proportion is from Germany?

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  • Yes, very impressive. Thank you so much for spelling it all out in such great detail. It fits in with much that I’ve read in the past but really illuminates and adds to it.

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  • Nothing useful to add. But this is very impressive, Razib.

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  • Quite often rather amusing articles which operate in the malleable zone between genetics and nationalism pop into my RSS feed (thanks to google query alerts). But this piece from Spiegel Online article, Britain Is More Germanic than It Thinks, actually appeals to some legitimate research in making a tongue-in-cheek nationalistic argument that the affinity between...
  • The situation with the written languages in England is complex and it is not very helpful to generalise. We have graffito and other inscriptions, written in the early runes of the Elder Futhark followed by the new additions reflecting sound changes and the resultant Anglo Frisian Futhorc from roughly the mid 7th cent.

    Earlier than that however, 602-603, we have the Laws of Æthelberht written in a Jutish dialect. Caedmon, a british name for the herdsman at the abbey in Whitby, composed his Hymn in Old English, 660 – 680 but this was passed down as an oral tradition until recorded, in classical Latin, by Bede in the 8th century.

    The 7th century Law Codes, Æthelberht, Hlothhere, Eadric, Ine and Withred are written in a germanic language. Much that comes via the Church is of course written in latin. Land grants and charters tend to be written in latin but can also be written in germanic. Unfortunately we don’t have celtic texts for the early period and much of our knowledge of it is simply a back projection from early welsh or name or placename evidence.

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  • We do know that identifiably Celtic missionaries, fluent in Latin, had an enormous impact on civilization there, and indeed this influence was felt on the continent. Civilization never really stopped totally in the British Isles in the Dark Ages. There is a pretty good record of the fact that Christian-Latin civilization was passed to the English from Celtic men who were local to the British Isles.

    i acknowledged the continuity in celtic britain. did i not make that clear enough for you? that’s one reason i tried to use the term ‘england,’ to differentiate it from the more general term.

    Concerning the Franks in France, again I think we do not have a great amount of evidence, but I think for example certainly in the generation of Charlemagne the French elite could speak Frankish, and indeed probably saw it very often as their first language, as would be the case by Charlemagne himself. They would be an identifiable sub-population in France for some time. By the way, one man associated with him is Alcuin, a Germanic Englishman in a thoroughly celtic Christian tradition.

    again, did i not make it clear that the austrasian families, like the pippinids, did speak a german dialect as their first language? the realm of the franks at this time spanned much of germania, as well as the old gaulish province. and even during the time of charlegmagne lineages were relocating from austrasia, which was relatively poor, to neustria (the capetians are from just such a lineage).

    you make some valid general points. but i’m kind of curious and frankly irritated that you address issues that i already alluded to. i don’t spend time adding qualifiers without a rationale. it’s so that you can address my specific points. a lot of your arguments are valid, but i tried to acknowledge them already in my posts. if you’re going to repeat points i gestured to, you need to elaborate on them. i’ve read a fair number of books on the period between the 6th and 8th centuries in the frankish lands, so i’m not too interested there. but dark age ‘england’ i don’t know as much about, but part of that is due to the overwhelming concentration on archaeological monographs, which are often impenetrable to me.

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  • I do not think we really know how much Celtic or Latin/Romance was spoken in England before 1066, but assuming zero would be a big call. I believe I have seen it suggested somewhere that British may have been spoken in SE England in pockets right up until 1066.

    We do know that identifiably Celtic missionaries, fluent in Latin, had an enormous impact on civilization there, and indeed this influence was felt on the continent. Civilization never really stopped totally in the British Isles in the Dark Ages. There is a pretty good record of the fact that Christian-Latin civilization was passed to the English from Celtic men who were local to the British Isles.

    Concerning the Franks in France, again I think we do not have a great amount of evidence, but I think for example certainly in the generation of Charlemagne the French elite could speak Frankish, and indeed probably saw it very often as their first language, as would be the case by Charlemagne himself. They would be an identifiable sub-population in France for some time. By the way, one man associated with him is Alcuin, a Germanic Englishman in a thoroughly celtic Christian tradition.

    BTW I do not mean to make an absolute points with all this, just consider the details. I think that in parts of Eastern and southern England the record at least implies that Germanic speaking immigrants were the dominant population from an early time in a way which is not true for as many parts of what we call France. (Both France and England were of course fragmented geographically and stratified in many ways. They were nothing like the relatively homogenous states of even the Middle Ages.)

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  • Andrew,

    Good point.

    Again remember that Latin and Celtic are related languages – like Russian and Serbian – in that a good portion of the vocabulary was the same, so learning or transitioning from one to the other should have been relatively easy.
    Plus the learned elite at the time in Britain were Irish monks, who wrote and maybe spoke Hiberno-Latin.
    So that the shift from Celtic to Latin should be seen like the shift from Aramaic to Hebrew. So that much of the so called “Latin” influence on English is really Celtic, by another name.

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  • 1. I think you are saying that in England we see signs that a Germanic language quickly became a major written language, whereas we do not see this in France and Spain.

    no, i didn’t really have writing in mind. the issue is that by the time “civilization” takes root in england in the early 7th century it was a predominantly german speaking land. in contrast, neustria across the water was ruled by franks, but unless they had recent austrasian origins (like the pippininds) they didn’t speak german much, to my knowledge. also, unlike in england, the frankish realm never lost total continuity with its roman past. gallo-roman elites were dominant in the church, and continued down outside of the church down to the medieval era in an unbroken cultural line in the south of france.

    i’d be curious how much latin was in old english. i don’t have a good idea.

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  • Andrew: What is your evidence for saying that assimilation in England was slower than in those other places

    Razib: i didn’t say that. don’t restate something i said in your own words, it just muddies things up. i’m kind of confused by the rest of your comment. be a little clearer if you will.

    Reply: OK, my apologies. I got this impression from the words I quoted which were: “the Germans were not assimilated in Britain as they were in France and Iberia”. So I guess my error is the word “slower” and you are just asserting that there was less assimilation. Correct?

    I guess what you are saying is that you would see England as having been Germanized in a more complete way than France and Spain, during all periods including the Dark Ages, and not only linguistically. This might be correct, but I am actually not so sure we really know this, even though much later we do know that England, France and Spain all became more or less mono-lingual.

    I will try to explain the whole post differently, as requested.

    1. I think you are saying that in England we see signs that a Germanic language quickly became a major written language, whereas we do not see this in France and Spain.

    2. However, actually Latin was a major written language in France and Spain, but also in Germany and England.

    3. What is special about English in the Dark Ages, when English came, is the written standard which developed, but this was a unique local event possibly influenced by local Celtic languages having some written form. The virtual lack of Germanic records in France and Spain is similar to the lack of Germanic records in Germany. But we do not say Germany was Latin speaking.

    4. Linguists and historians of this period therefore look at scraps of documentary evidence, plus things like loanwords, placenames, personal names, etc. And this type of evidence shows that Germanic languages must have been used in a widespread way, particularly concerning military and nautical subjects. Germanic people were apparently common in large parts of Spain and France, as they were in England.

    5. You may be looking more at evidence of what happened later. In other words, in Germany, in the high middle ages we later find only German, and in France and Spain we later find no Germanic. And in England we find no Latin language surviving. I see problems with this approach of using later national languages to extrapolate back to genetic origins much earlier, in the so called Dark Ages, when the Germanic speakers moved around Europe.

    6. The medieval written languages, Spanish, French, German, etc are much later developments. We should be asking what are the local causes of those medieval languages, which were presumably (looking at the amount of loaning) originally lingua franca’s, languages of convenience, to be used by speakers of many different languages and dialects.

    7. What we then see in England is that as English becomes a lingua franca is absorbed a lot of Latin, and later Norse, and later French and more Latin. Latin was a massive influence on English. Isn’t that a kind of assimilation? But, Germanic was also a massive influence on modern Romance languages like French and Spanish, and that is also a kind of assimilation.

    8. Latin was an obvious front runner for eventually becoming a standard spoken language on much of the continent, but not so obvious in England, which was a neighbour to many other languages. We do not know how many Celtic languages, were being spoken before the Germanic settlements started, nor how common they remained. There is simply very little information, but we know these languages were around. But we can be reasonably confident that Latin would not have had anything like the natural tendency to become a standard language there.

    So concerning the medieval standard languages, from which our modern languages come,

    Is it better to think of them as initially having been lingua franca’s developed from many competing languages of the Dark Ages, under the influence of many factors?

    Or should we consider them of “pure” ancestral source languages (Germanic, Vulgar Latin) which simply either won or lost?

    I think it is at least worth questioning the second approach.

    Also note my comments about Turkish – a subject Dienekes often blogs well about.

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  • The Celts may have left a rather visible/audibe mark on English culture if John McWhorter is right in suggesting that some of the peculiarities of the language are the result of its interaction with Celtic tongues. When a community of people learns a foreign language, they tend to bend the rules and apply templates from their native language. Although less likely, it is also conceivable that the dominant (socio-economically if not numerically) invading language borrows patterns from the indigenous one, just as linguistic novelty can bubble up from subcultures today.

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  • So unlike these last two regions, an invading elite would likely find a linguistically and culturally fragmented Britain upon invasion. Same applies to the Balkans (where probably existed large numbers of mutually unintelligible Indo-European languages at the time of Slavic intrusion).
    The Romanisation of Britain and the Balkans likely lagged behind the same processes in Iberia and Gaul.

    don’t over-state the lack of romanization of the balkans. in the later empire the balkans was the source of most of the imperial power blocs which dominated the political and military order. justinian himself seems to have come from a balkan latin background. and latin didn’t disappear, it persisted in the form of the vlachs and romanians. the major issues seem to be that between ~400 and ~900 there were multiple points at which the imperial “limes” basically receded all the way to the coastal littoral. this weakened the power of latin and to a lesser extent greek ethno-linguistic identity, and eventually slavic seems to have solidified at some point after ~600. the byzantine restoration of the 10th century integrated the slavic order as a subordinate, and did not assimilate it, for whatever reason.

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  • What is your evidence for saying that assimilation in England was slower than in those other places

    i didn’t say that. don’t restate something i said in your own words, it just muddies things up. i’m kind of confused by the rest of your comment. be a little clearer if you will.

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  • I’m not sure you need to postulate significant population replacement as a cause for relative lack of Celtic and Latin influence in pre-Norman Old English.
    Britain and the Balkans have some similarities that may explain these phenomena: they were both regions linguistically fragmented at the periphery of Romanisation within the Late Empire.
    Unlike Gaul and Iberia, Britain was likely still largely Latin-influenced-Celtic speaking in the countryside then. And although we don’t have much evidence, I find it likely that the Romance spoken in Late Empire Britain in towns was much more Celtic influenced than the Romance of Gaul or Iberia. So unlike these last two regions, an invading elite would likely find a linguistically and culturally fragmented Britain upon invasion. Same applies to the Balkans (where probably existed large numbers of mutually unintelligible Indo-European languages at the time of Slavic intrusion).
    The Romanisation of Britain and the Balkans likely lagged behind the same processes in Iberia and Gaul.

    In such a divided scenario, an elite language is much more attractive in order to maintain trade links and other connections within regional economic units. The language shift might thus be much faster- especially if the Germans had the opportunity for a slow bridgehead-movement into East Anglia.

    One interesting exception in the Balkans appears to support somewhat this hypothesis. Dalmatian survived in coastal Croatia until much later than in the hinterlands. Important trade links across the Adriatic, surviving the end of the Empire might explain why. Dalmatian became extinct without significant population replacement- both by assimilation into mostly Slavic Croatian but also Romance Italian in some towns- perhaps when greater security of land-based economic ties versus across the sea made such a linguistic conversion advantageous.

    Slowish language shift with absorption of local substrate is a rule which may only apply in cases where the majority population is linguistically unified versus the intruders- maybe if Claudius had never invaded Britain, we would now have a strongly Celtic influenced Germanic language there. And maybe if German tribes had invaded some centuries earlier, when Romanisation was already significant but still incipient, we would now have Germanic languages in Iberia and Gaul.

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