The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Why Did Rome Have So Little Influence on Albion?
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Marginal Revolution quotes a study of French vs. English cities:

Here is the amazing fact: today, 16 of France’s 20 largest cities are located on or near a Roman town, while only 2 of Britain’s 20 largest are.

In general, a few centuries of Roman rule had strikingly little long-term impact on England.

This difference existed even back in the Middle Ages. So who cares? Well, Britain’s cities in the middle ages are two and a half times more likely to have coastal access than France’s cities, so that in 1700, when sea trade was hugely important, 56% of urban French lived in towns with sea access while 87% of urban Brits did. … The fundamental factor for the shift in both places was that developments in shipbuilding in the early middle ages made the sea much more suitable for trade and military transport than the famous Roman Roads which previously played that role.

Maybe this is analogous to the recent shift from landline telephone networks to wireless telephone networks. Landline networks, like Roman roads, required a lot of social organizational capital to build and maintain, as Americans had in the AT&T era, but many other countries did not. Lots of cultures, such as the 20th Century Italians, had a hard time maintaining a landline system.

In contrast, cell phone networks don’t require a society to be good at cooperating, so even anarchic Somalia can have decent cell phone service. You just have to have a few people who knew what they are doing.

Similarly, medieval shipping networks required concentrations of technically advanced shipwrights here and there, but didn’t require a giant Roman-like state to keep the roads repaired. The ocean repairs itself.

It is striking how land-oriented Roman culture was despite emerging on the Italian peninsula where no place is very far from the sea, the land is mountainous, and the sea is relatively calm and warm. In contrast, England has fairly mild terrain and the Atlantic ocean is more tumultuous than the Mediterranean sea.

Maybe the explanation is that British rivers were better for transport than Italian rivers south of the Po due to more rain and less severe slopes, so it was easier to get started with inland shipping and then continue out into the ocean as your technique improved. But Italian rivers tended to be short and steep and go dry now and then, so they weren’t as good launching pads for eventual saltwater navigation.

 
Hide 182 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
    []
  1. This is on the wrong lines. First the medieval church, then the industrial revolution (which started in England) redrew the landscape.

    Of England’s *Medieval* cities there are only two (London and Newcastle upon Tyne, both merchant/ guild dominated ports – Newcastle sypplying London’s coal, and the first coal exporting city in the world)) that have remained major cities until now (Bristol also, of you count the Late-medieval/ Early modern era).

    Other major medieval cities (ie cities with cathedrals) declined to being more like Towns (York, Carlisle, Lichfiled, Canterbury…) or even more like large villages (Ely, Wells…). The organisation of the Church of England reflects medieval important – the senior bishops are Canterbury, York, London and Durham (nowadays a town in size and importance). The mercantile cities of Newcastle and Bristol lacked cathedrals until relatively recently.

    It was the industrial revolution – from the late 1700s and especially during the 1800s, that caused the growth of most major English cities from tiny beginnings as villages or small towns – especially Birmingham and Manchester (both of which have claimed to be England’s second city at different times), also Sheffield (the largest city in the North and East) and Leeds – none of which had cathedrals until relatively recently.

    Read More
    • Replies: @James Kabala
    I wonder if Cowen is really correct when he says that "the difference existed even back in the Middle Ages." It seems to me that most of the old cathedral cities and county towns (which I assume were the big cities then) either have the -chester ending (or a variant thereof) or (like London itself or York) do not have the ending but nonetheless do have histories going back to Roman times.

    I think the Industrial Revolution is the key, not any earlier history. But I could be wrong.

    , @Reg Cæsar

    The organisation of the Church of England reflects medieval important – the senior bishops are Canterbury, York, London and Durham (nowadays a town in size and importance).
     
    The Diocese of Sodor and Man isn't what it used to be, either.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    /isteve/why-did-rome-have-so-little-influence-on-albion/#comment-1992897
    More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. Bruce says:

    Imperial Rome was an iron age military junta, and its cities were military camps, and Roman Britain was a barbarous frontier. The walls up north may have just been death camps with the mass graves paved over. So maybe they weren’t building military camps at the economically sensible places.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  3. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Per this post on Roman cargo shipping, they didn’t sail the Med for 4 months a year during the winter. But when they did sail, their cargo ships were pretty big, on the order of 16th century carracks in terms of carrying capacity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Simon in London
    Take a look at this fascinating work on the speed of Roman & Greek merchant shipping - http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Journals/TAPA/82/Speed_under_Sail_of_Ancient_Ships*.html
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. Carneades says:

    Hey, I thought that this was The Unz Review not West Hunter!

    Read More
    • LOL: Grace Jones
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  5. I think (going mostly by Bryan Ward Perkins’ book) that Roman Britain was the only part of the empire invaded by Germanics that suffered a complete civilisational collapse. In most of the western empire Germanic invasion resulted in only a partial collapse, with Arab Muslim invasion finishing the job in North Africa several centuries later. Since most of France never had a total collapse, one would expect to see city continuity. In Britain/England the Roman cities were abandoned and unused by the Saxon/Jute/Angle invaders. Civilisation started afresh centuries later; by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest, which brought in the French medieval synthesis Romance/Frank civilisation to Britain. Until 1066 there was basically no Roman legacy in England & Britain outside the Church.

    I’m not sure if the total collapse in Roman Britain was due to larger numbers of Germanic invaders (seems doubtful considering the geography) or to the very extended lines of communication to core Europe. If you look at a map of the Roman empire you can see that Britain was a lot further from the metropole than the rest of the western Empire, and I think that’s significant. Or it may be Roman civilisation was always lighter here, that most of the Romano-British were never fully civilised – we really have very little evidence either way though, I think, but the pre-Arthurian culture of at least western Britain does not seem to have been a civilised one.

    Read More
    • Replies: @TheJester
    The remoteness of Roman Britain was one of the major reasons Rome pulled its Legions out in the 5th Century, leaving Roman Britain to the raiders and invaders from what are now Ireland, Scotland, and Greater Germania. The Legionnaires were needed elsewhere as the core of Western Roman Empire collapsed in the face of civil wars with the Eastern Roman Empire and Germanic invaders from the east and north.
    , @Jack D
    I think the Roman occupation in Britain was more in the nature of a colonial occupation. You had a few Romanized locals in the cities (Londinium) and maybe a few Roman style estates out in the countryside but for most of the locals the Romans were just occupiers and when the legions pulled out it was as if they had never been there. The Roman language - mostly gone. Think Vietnam after the French leave. The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). The Roman temples, baths, etc. - all useless to the locals. Roman law - they don't really understand it or try to practice it anymore.

    Whereas in continental Europe the Romans had been there longer and Roman civilization was more integrated into the population to the extent that when the Romans leave the locals keep speaking a sort of Latin pidgin or creole and the local rulers even fancy themselves in continuity with the Romans ("Holy Roman Emperor"). Some of the local infrastructure gets maintained - they keep some of the Roman temples and make them into churches. They keep the gladiator games (the church won't let them fight other humans but they can still fight animals - bulls) . Etc. They keep the Roman legal system. Roman civilization is mostly gone because they don't have the technology to maintain it but not consciously rejected as a colonial occupation.

    , @Ris_Eruwaedhiel
    The French, Spanish and Portuguese languages are Latin languages. English is Germanic, with a French admixture dating from the Norman Conquest.
    , @German_reader

    by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest
     
    That's not really true, Anglo-Saxon England in the first half of the 11th century was actually quite advanced in some ways compared to the continent. The administrative machinery based on shires was more efficient than that in the post-Carolingian successor states where royal power was quite weak and political power increasingly fragmented. And there was a flourishing literature in the vernacular (as well as its use for charters of all kinds). Culturally Anglo-Saxon England wasn't really more backwards than the continent, and indeed during the Carolingian era had sent such important figures as the missionary Willibrord-Bonifatius or Charlemagne's advisor Alcuin of York there.
    I agree though about late antiquity, in the 5th/6th centuries there really seems to have been a sharp break with the Romano-British past and massive discontinuity.
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "If you look at a map of the Roman empire you can see that Britain was a lot further from the metropole than the rest of the western Empire, and I think that’s significant. "

    Exactly. Which also means that in comparison to France and other parts of the Empire, there were very few Romans that settled in Britain at all for the long haul. I mean, it's simply not what the educated prosperous upper classes did back then. One simply can't imagine this scenario of a bored upper class family looking to settle someplace off the beaten track.

    "Man, the baths at Capri are getting awfully boring, Portia, what new thing can we do for excitement?"
    "Well, Petronius, the news from abroad is always mentioning how Londinium is the in place and ideal for raising families."
    "Are you daft? Nothing there but a bunch of howling savages. And the waters aren't very warm."
    "What about Southern Gaul?"
    "Excellent choice, Portia."
    , @Art Deco
    Try an anthropological or sociological hypothesis concerning the nature of social relations between localities and between lineages in the British Isles. You have five discrete territories populated by Celts. Cornwall was absorbed by England (by the 9th c), Wales remained a collection of local chieftaincies until it was absorbed by England in the 13th century, and Ireland was in much the same condition until the English conquest was complete in 1603. Warlords managed by the 9th century (in Brittany) and the 11th (in Scotland) to assemble a territorial realm that covered the whole. The least fractious collection of Celts in the British isles took 6 centuries to accomplish what the Anglo-Saxons accomplished in 4 and change.

    All this suggests that Roman Britain had very little in the way of a political society which transcended the (crucially military) bureaucratic apparatus.
    , @Anon
    What civilized the British was mainly the centuries of trade and cultural exchange that took place after the pull out of the Roman Legions but before 1066. Everyone tends to assume 'Yeah, the British were isolated from everything.' No, they weren't. There was plenty of coastal trade back and forth between the island and the continent. Britain's culture simply changed and progressed in parallel with the progression inside the cultures on the continent.

    Some of the roots of medieval culture, especially the material part of it such as tools, weapons, and clothing, actually existed among the wandering barbarian tribes during the Roman times, and the later versions of these things were merely refinements of what they'd already had for centuries. What these tribes needed was territory of their own, plus enough population increase to produce an X quanitity of genius-level minds, and enough peace and quiet (in other words, being left alone by Roman armies) to start along their own path of cultural progression.

    This is boring part of social history that tends to get missed. The British had enough potential to make the transition to a full-fledged medieval culture on their own without needing any particular help from the Romans, and that's exactly what they did.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. @Dave Pinsen
    Per this post on Roman cargo shipping, they didn't sail the Med for 4 months a year during the winter. But when they did sail, their cargo ships were pretty big, on the order of 16th century carracks in terms of carrying capacity.

    Take a look at this fascinating work on the speed of Roman & Greek merchant shipping – http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Journals/TAPA/82/Speed_under_Sail_of_Ancient_Ships*.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Interesting, thanks for sharing.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. Shimshon says:

    I remember reading in the last few years an article on just how far-reaching an effect Muslim piracy had on the Mediterranean-facing European coastline. The people close to the coast sound like they were in near-constant fear of raiding. That could explain some of the dichotomy.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  8. Eric says:

    The psychological impact of the Viking raids, and the fact that William the Conqueror was the great great great grandson of Rollo (Viking conqueror of Normandy), probably also had something to do with the British appreciation for the value of good ships.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  9. The Vikings had significantly more influence in Britain than in any other part of the former Roman Empire, and they traded primarily by sea. A possible corrolary would be the Hanseatic league.

    Yes, by our standards the Med is relatively calm and warm, but by the standards of the Romans the Med was still a hostile place run by capricious gods who would whip up tempests or fogs that would swallow ships, or even whole fleets, in a matter of moments: In those days you would prefer to stick to terra firma if given the choice. Even by our standards, the Atlantic, the North Sea, and the channel are still rather treacherous places: Imagine what they were like to the less nautically-advanced Romans.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  10. TheJester says:
    @Simon in London
    I think (going mostly by Bryan Ward Perkins' book) that Roman Britain was the only part of the empire invaded by Germanics that suffered a complete civilisational collapse. In most of the western empire Germanic invasion resulted in only a partial collapse, with Arab Muslim invasion finishing the job in North Africa several centuries later. Since most of France never had a total collapse, one would expect to see city continuity. In Britain/England the Roman cities were abandoned and unused by the Saxon/Jute/Angle invaders. Civilisation started afresh centuries later; by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest, which brought in the French medieval synthesis Romance/Frank civilisation to Britain. Until 1066 there was basically no Roman legacy in England & Britain outside the Church.

    I'm not sure if the total collapse in Roman Britain was due to larger numbers of Germanic invaders (seems doubtful considering the geography) or to the very extended lines of communication to core Europe. If you look at a map of the Roman empire you can see that Britain was a lot further from the metropole than the rest of the western Empire, and I think that's significant. Or it may be Roman civilisation was always lighter here, that most of the Romano-British were never fully civilised - we really have very little evidence either way though, I think, but the pre-Arthurian culture of at least western Britain does not seem to have been a civilised one.

    The remoteness of Roman Britain was one of the major reasons Rome pulled its Legions out in the 5th Century, leaving Roman Britain to the raiders and invaders from what are now Ireland, Scotland, and Greater Germania. The Legionnaires were needed elsewhere as the core of Western Roman Empire collapsed in the face of civil wars with the Eastern Roman Empire and Germanic invaders from the east and north.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. 22pp22 says:

    Some extra information from a proud Cotswold native that you might find interesting.

    British rivers could be and were used for transport, but they are small, and if the number of ships were at all large, there would be problems. In that respect, Britain is not much more favoured than Italy.

    The Thames and Severn are simply not in the same league as the Rhone, Seine, Rhine or Loire.

    The Thames is navigable as far as Oxford, but beyond Oxford, I do not believe the Evenlode or Cherwell could ever have been used to transport goods.

    Britain is also wet and the southern part of the country is extremely muddy. Stone-age drovers’ roads follow areas of dry land like the Cotswolds and the Chilterns. Driving a waggon across the country in 1300 would have been a slow and hellish experience.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drovers%27_road

    Drovers’ roads (I grew up next to the Salt Way) respect the geology and remained in use for literally thousands of years.

    http://www.charlbury.info/walking/3

    Roman roads cut through the geology and mainly fell into disuse as soon as the Roman Empire fell, but one or two remain in use today.

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

    France is also a larger country than Britain with a far less indented coastline. Britain is also accessible from the sea in all directions, France is not.

    The flow of trade in East Asia and the Mediterraneanis governed by relatively reliable seasonal winds. These do not exist in the north Atlantic meaning that mariners in that part of the world required more advanced shipbuilding ad navigational skills.

    Britian is also surrounded by major barriers to navigation that simply do not exist in the Mediterranean.

    Sailing round the Southwest of the country means negotiating the treacherous coasts of Cornwall and the Scillies. They deny it now, but unscupulous Cornishmen exploited this fact and tried to deceive seamen so that they could be forced onto the rocks and robbed. People in the Cotswolds would never do anything like that.

    https://www.amazon.com/Cornish-Wrecking-1700-1860-Reality-Popular/dp/184383555X

    The Dogger Bank in the North Sea is notorious as a graveyard for ships. It is so shallow that it was inhabited land until 8,000 years ago.

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

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "Driving a waggon across the country in 1300 would have been a slow and hellish experience." The landscape historian Oliver Rackham says that this is a myth. Have a look at his History of the Countryside - a marvellous work.
    , @Anonym
    Sailing round the Southwest of the country means negotiating the treacherous coasts of Cornwall and the Scillies. They deny it now, but unscupulous Cornishmen exploited this fact and tried to deceive seamen so that they could be forced onto the rocks and robbed. People in the Cotswolds would never do anything like that.

    Interesting. The accent of Cornwall is basically the "pirate" accent of film.

    https://youtu.be/tcMJWZBzYjU

    You will notice mention of Penzance in the video. Interesting.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pirates_of_Penzance
    , @TelfoedJohn
    With all the immigration to the Northern Europe, perhaps Doggerland should be raised to fit in all the people.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  12. kihowi says:

    That reminds me of Eothen. The author spends a good part of the book making fun of Turkish sailors on the Mediterranean who’d just hug the coast like it was a river. They had the whole sea but were so terrified of losing sight of land that they never used it. Some people just don’t have it in them for no good reason.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  13. 22pp22 says:

    It is also worth noting that Celtic Gaulish was completely dead by the time Rome fell and that the French continue to speak a Romance language. This would have helped to preserve the legacy of Rome.
    By contract, the Welsh language survived the Roman era and is very much alive today. It does include a large number of Roman Latin loan words, eg perigel = danger from Latin ‘periculum’.

    The Breton language is not directly descended from Gaullish, but was carried to Britanny by Welsh and Cornish settlers in the Dark Ages.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jake
    Celtic languages and Latin are at least double first cousins. Rather than there being a Latin/Romance family and a Celtic family, it makes more sense to label it one family: Italo-Celtic or Celto-Italic.

    French, like Spanish and Portuguese, grows not only out of Latin, but out of the interplay of Latin and native Celtic dialects.

    Germanic languages are an entirely different family.

    Your main point is correct. I just wanted to stress the way it is correct. Latinate 'replacing' Celtic is no more a huge change than French replacing Spanish. But any Germanic conquering and replacing any Italo-Celtic is a huge deal, a major change. As big as if Slavic replaced Germanic.

    And that goes for basic cultural patterns and attitudes as well as for language.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  14. Romans relied on sea and river transport for transport of goods to a huge extent. That’s why Pompey said “To navigate is necessary, to live is not.”
    All the stuff that kept Rome fed and clothed was coming by sea in ships much larger than the ones used in the Middle Ages to Ostia and the artificial harbour of Portus and from there were moved by smaller boats, up the Tiber to Rome.
    The famed roman roads were meant first and foremost for military, but even the military relied on the Rhine and the Danube as avenues for both supply and movement. As late as the times of Justinian we see the garrisons along the Danube supplied with grains from Egypt and olive oil from the Greek islands.
    That’s why the largest cities of the Roman Empire were sea ports on the Mediterranean (Alexandria, Constantinople, Carthage, Aquilea, Ephesus etc) or had easy river access to the Med (Rome, Antioch)

    The difference to the Middle Ages seems to be that Romans were never comfortable sailing the Atlantic. Their ships and navigation were made for the calmer waters and the shorter distances of the Mediterranean Sea. The only major roman city on the Atlantic seaboard was Gades (Cadiz) not far from the Gibraltar straits.
    There was not much of a reason to develop the skills and the technology required to sail the Atlantic when North Europe was not much of a trading partner and one could reach Britain easily from Italy by using the roman roads to supplement the Rhine and the Rhone. That was far harder in the Middle Ages not only because the roman roads were in disrepair and plagued by bandits but also because of political fragmentation. On the Rhine there was a castle every few miles where one had to pay custom duties.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    Cadiz was a Phoenician foundation. Maybe the Romans found it attractive not only for the trade on the Guadalquivir but also for their occasional jaunts down the Moroccan Atlantic coast and on to the Canaries.

    WKPD: "The Guadalquivir river is the only great navigable river in Spain. Currently it is navigable from the Gulf of Cádiz to Seville, but in Roman times it was navigable to Córdoba."
    , @TomSchmidt
    Romans did indeed sail the Atlantic. See
    http://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/10/world/rio-artifacts-may-indicate-roman-visit.html

    Haven't seen much of this lately.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. 22pp22 says:

    Completely off topic, but I live in Greek Cyprus and I have just made brief foray to the North.

    Famagusta is a please Venetian city with a cathedral/mosque that looks like Notre Dame will look in about ten years.

    http://www.cypnet.co.uk/ncyprus/city/famagusta/lala/index.html

    It’s got a minaret and everything.

    We had a good time, but we were there for Eid and the Kurdish family next to our guest house decided to slit a goat’s throat in front of another goat which went berserk.

    Not a good time to be a goat in North Cyprus.

    PS. Turkish T.V. is awesome. I really recommend Gonul.

    We tried watching a Western production for the first time in ages. It was an adaptation of a Stephen King novel called Mist. It took about five seconds before we got our first PC lecture about transgender acceptance.

    You do get a certain amount of Turkish ethnic pride from Turkish TV, but no PC and no sex scenes.

    We also watched a Turkish commedy Western. Such things exist, although perhaps they should not.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Cordoba in Spain also has a cathedral/mosque except that it went the other way - instead of putting a minaret on a church they stuck a cathedral into the middle of a giant mosque:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6c/Mezquita_de_C%C3%B3rdoba_desde_el_aire_%28C%C3%B3rdoba%2C_Espa%C3%B1a%29.jpg
    , @MBlanc46
    Thanks for the report.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  16. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    In ancient times much of England was under water. York and Cambridge were coastal cities:

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:England_878.svg

    The two most important Roman cities in Britain were York and London. The two most important Viking cities were York and Cambridge. All three had easy access to the sea.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  17. Bill P says:

    I think the reason’s pretty simple: France (especially its south) is more like Italy than Britain, so Roman works were more useful there, and this created more lasting settlements that remain today as cities.

    Take the Pont du Gare near Nimes, for example. Very impressive aqueduct. I’m sure it was useful in Nimes, but what good would it be in Britain? Same goes for Roman buildings and agricultural works. They were a pretty good fit for Gaul, but not Britain. So when the Romans evacuated Britain what they left behind no longer served any purpose.

    Read More
    • Replies: @22pp22
    The city of York still relied on Roman engineering for its water supply until only a few years ago.

    But in general, you are right. The British climate has destroyed most of Rome's legacy. Cirencester in the Cotswolds has a largish Roman amphitheatre, but the plant life got to it a long time ago.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  18. 22pp22 says:
    @Bill P
    I think the reason's pretty simple: France (especially its south) is more like Italy than Britain, so Roman works were more useful there, and this created more lasting settlements that remain today as cities.

    Take the Pont du Gare near Nimes, for example. Very impressive aqueduct. I'm sure it was useful in Nimes, but what good would it be in Britain? Same goes for Roman buildings and agricultural works. They were a pretty good fit for Gaul, but not Britain. So when the Romans evacuated Britain what they left behind no longer served any purpose.

    The city of York still relied on Roman engineering for its water supply until only a few years ago.

    But in general, you are right. The British climate has destroyed most of Rome’s legacy. Cirencester in the Cotswolds has a largish Roman amphitheatre, but the plant life got to it a long time ago.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  19. Jake says:
    @22pp22
    It is also worth noting that Celtic Gaulish was completely dead by the time Rome fell and that the French continue to speak a Romance language. This would have helped to preserve the legacy of Rome.
    By contract, the Welsh language survived the Roman era and is very much alive today. It does include a large number of Roman Latin loan words, eg perigel = danger from Latin 'periculum'.

    The Breton language is not directly descended from Gaullish, but was carried to Britanny by Welsh and Cornish settlers in the Dark Ages.

    Celtic languages and Latin are at least double first cousins. Rather than there being a Latin/Romance family and a Celtic family, it makes more sense to label it one family: Italo-Celtic or Celto-Italic.

    French, like Spanish and Portuguese, grows not only out of Latin, but out of the interplay of Latin and native Celtic dialects.

    Germanic languages are an entirely different family.

    Your main point is correct. I just wanted to stress the way it is correct. Latinate ‘replacing’ Celtic is no more a huge change than French replacing Spanish. But any Germanic conquering and replacing any Italo-Celtic is a huge deal, a major change. As big as if Slavic replaced Germanic.

    And that goes for basic cultural patterns and attitudes as well as for language.

    Read More
    • Replies: @22pp22
    I appreciate that Italo-Celtic were a sub-branch of Indo-European as are the Germanic languages, but they were already very different by the time of Caesar. Old Welsh and Latin do not have much more in common than any two of the othe European languages excepting Hungarian.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  20. NickG says:

    Nowhere in Britain is further than 70 miles from the Sea.

    This no doubt was part of the serendipitous mix of of circumstances that made for a great maritime nation, contributing to giving it the wherewithal to create the largest Empire the world has seen as well as being the wellspring of the Industrial Revoltuion.

    Others include, but are not limited to… being an island, stable borders, the genetic pre-dispositions of it’s people, Magna Carta, primogeniture, Henry 8ths conversion of the country to Protestantism – with the free thought explosion this catalysed and a relatively mild climate for such Northern latitudes – thanks to the Gulf Stream.

    Read More
    • Replies: @hyperbola
    Forget the Magna Carta and its silly "rights for aristocrats".

    The first modern democracy in Europe had a parliament and president elected by universal suffrage about 300 years before the Magna Carta. The Republic of Venice also had some other "regulations" that we might do well to reinstate. (1) All politicians and government functionaries are forbidden to specak to private interests except in open, public session of parliament, (2) the penalty for corruption is death, ....
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  21. Interesting thing about Somalia- its GDP per capita is somewhat lower than our estimates for the Roman Empire in the first century.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  22. Terry Pratchett was of the opinion that the English were particularly good at assimilating their conquerors.

    Alright, he said “Morporkians” but we all know what he meant.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  23. In literature, as well, the British tradition remembers very little of Roman culture, perhaps only a few dim echoes in Mallory’s ‘Mort d’ Arthur’, very unlike the situation in France, which maintained some continuity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    That the English consider Arthur a national hero is peculiar. This appears to have been the work of the Normans, who liked the Arthurian mythos very much.

    This was probably because William I had partial Breton ancestry, and so regarded himself as the true heir and successor of the ancient British kings - and the Saxon kings as usurpers. Praising Arthur (and deprecating rival English/Scandinavian heroes like Beowulf) was another way of legitimising Norman rule.

    All of this was turned up to 11 when a bona fide Welshman (Henry VII) became king of England.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  24. Jack D says:
    @Simon in London
    I think (going mostly by Bryan Ward Perkins' book) that Roman Britain was the only part of the empire invaded by Germanics that suffered a complete civilisational collapse. In most of the western empire Germanic invasion resulted in only a partial collapse, with Arab Muslim invasion finishing the job in North Africa several centuries later. Since most of France never had a total collapse, one would expect to see city continuity. In Britain/England the Roman cities were abandoned and unused by the Saxon/Jute/Angle invaders. Civilisation started afresh centuries later; by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest, which brought in the French medieval synthesis Romance/Frank civilisation to Britain. Until 1066 there was basically no Roman legacy in England & Britain outside the Church.

    I'm not sure if the total collapse in Roman Britain was due to larger numbers of Germanic invaders (seems doubtful considering the geography) or to the very extended lines of communication to core Europe. If you look at a map of the Roman empire you can see that Britain was a lot further from the metropole than the rest of the western Empire, and I think that's significant. Or it may be Roman civilisation was always lighter here, that most of the Romano-British were never fully civilised - we really have very little evidence either way though, I think, but the pre-Arthurian culture of at least western Britain does not seem to have been a civilised one.

    I think the Roman occupation in Britain was more in the nature of a colonial occupation. You had a few Romanized locals in the cities (Londinium) and maybe a few Roman style estates out in the countryside but for most of the locals the Romans were just occupiers and when the legions pulled out it was as if they had never been there. The Roman language – mostly gone. Think Vietnam after the French leave. The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). The Roman temples, baths, etc. – all useless to the locals. Roman law – they don’t really understand it or try to practice it anymore.

    Whereas in continental Europe the Romans had been there longer and Roman civilization was more integrated into the population to the extent that when the Romans leave the locals keep speaking a sort of Latin pidgin or creole and the local rulers even fancy themselves in continuity with the Romans (“Holy Roman Emperor”). Some of the local infrastructure gets maintained – they keep some of the Roman temples and make them into churches. They keep the gladiator games (the church won’t let them fight other humans but they can still fight animals – bulls) . Etc. They keep the Roman legal system. Roman civilization is mostly gone because they don’t have the technology to maintain it but not consciously rejected as a colonial occupation.

    Read More
    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Anonym
    I think the Roman occupation in Britain was more in the nature of a colonial occupation. You had a few Romanized locals in the cities (Londinium) and maybe a few Roman style estates out in the countryside but for most of the locals the Romans were just occupiers and when the legions pulled out it was as if they had never been there. The Roman language – mostly gone. Think Vietnam after the French leave. The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). The Roman temples, baths, etc. – all useless to the locals. Roman law – they don’t really understand it or try to practice it anymore.

    It seems like London is always the first to be colonized, even today. :(.

    The French had influence in terms of script on Viet Nam, but I guess the English use Latin script too.

    https://www.justlanded.com/english/Vietnam/Vietnam-Guide/Culture/History

    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    And of course post-Roman Empire the Roman Catholic Church becomes the one direct bureaucratic institution that continues to this very day that maintains the direct connection to the ancient world.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Lyrics from that Sting song, All This Time, come to mind:

    Teachers told us
    The Romans built this place
    They built a wall and a temple on the edge of the
    Empire garrison town
    They lived and they died
    They prayed to their gods
    But the stone gods did not make a sound
    And their empire crumbled
    Till all that was left
    Were the stones the workmen found
     
    , @james wilson
    Yes, the Roman occupation was colonial, and the Brits never were assimilated into it. Britain was invaded because the Romans had nothing else left to do. Their hearts were not in it, and there was no profit to it. When the Romans left the Brits had less than when they began because the old ways were lost and the new ways never took. This is a social experiment that has been often repeated in modern times.
    , @YetAnotherAnon
    "no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave"

    Not so, unless you have knowledge that Offa's gold coins were actually overstamped dinars from elsewhere, most accounts I've seen say an Abbasid die was used to strike the coins in the UK. Some Muslims (and the BBC IIRC) have used the existence of the coins (bearing 'God is great' in Arabic) as evidence that Offa was a Muslim!

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

    "Many surviving coins from Offa's reign carry elegant depictions of him, and the artistic quality of these images exceeds that of the contemporary Frankish coinage. Some of his coins carry images of his wife, Cynethryth – the only Anglo-Saxon queen ever depicted on a coin. Only three gold coins of Offa's have survived: one is a copy of an Abbasid dinar of 774 and carries Arabic text on one side, with "Offa Rex" on the other. The gold coins are of uncertain use but may have been struck to be used as alms or for gifts to Rome."
    , @Graham
    "The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). "

    Not true. Gold coins were minted by the Anglo-Saxons about 200 years after the Romans left: in the 'latter part of the 6th century' according to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coinage_in_Anglo-Saxon_England). Silver coins were used throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, and vast numbers of them have been found.

    Barter was probably always used in ancient times as an alternative to the use of coins, but there's no reason to suppose that when the Romans left, people suddenly stopped using the coins they had, which had an intrinsic value and didn't require the backing of a central bank.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  25. N-N says:

    Ahem: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/opinion/sunday/stephen-miller-immigration.html?mcubz=0

    Reads like a 12-year-old wrote it.

    Why are they never hot though?

    Read More
    • Replies: @candid_observer
    Reading the author's Wikipedia entry, it appears she bills herself as a comedian.

    Reading her op-ed, I would never have guessed.
    , @BB753
    "Reads like a 12-year-old wrote it."

    With a huge crush on bad boy altrighter Stephen Miller!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  26. Jack D says:

    In most of Italy no one wanted to live near the coast or rivers accessible from the sea for a long time after the end of Roman civilization. Too much threat of piracy. The Vikings or the Arabs or whomever would sail in and loot and take people away as slaves, never to be seen again. The locals moved up into defensible walled cities on hill tops and stayed away from the dangerous coast.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Logan
    I'm not sure Italy ever had the danger from pirates that Britain faced during the Viking Age.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  27. Jack D says:
    @22pp22
    Completely off topic, but I live in Greek Cyprus and I have just made brief foray to the North.

    Famagusta is a please Venetian city with a cathedral/mosque that looks like Notre Dame will look in about ten years.

    http://www.cypnet.co.uk/ncyprus/city/famagusta/lala/index.html

    It's got a minaret and everything.

    We had a good time, but we were there for Eid and the Kurdish family next to our guest house decided to slit a goat's throat in front of another goat which went berserk.

    Not a good time to be a goat in North Cyprus.

    PS. Turkish T.V. is awesome. I really recommend Gonul.

    We tried watching a Western production for the first time in ages. It was an adaptation of a Stephen King novel called Mist. It took about five seconds before we got our first PC lecture about transgender acceptance.

    You do get a certain amount of Turkish ethnic pride from Turkish TV, but no PC and no sex scenes.

    We also watched a Turkish commedy Western. Such things exist, although perhaps they should not.

    Cordoba in Spain also has a cathedral/mosque except that it went the other way – instead of putting a minaret on a church they stuck a cathedral into the middle of a giant mosque:

    Read More
    • Replies: @eD
    "Cordoba in Spain also has a cathedral/mosque except that it went the other way – instead of putting a minaret on a church they stuck a cathedral into the middle of a giant mosque:"

    Yes and Carlos I hated that. He must have found out about the project too late to stop that.

    It would have made a fine shopping mall.
    , @Cortes
    A couple of years ago I had the immense pleasure to see a group of Moslem tourists weeping at the Cathedral in Córdoba. Made my day.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  28. It is not true at all that Roman culture in general was “land-oriented”. Gaul was a backwater of the Roman Empire and hardly representative. The major cities of Spain and Portugal have pedigrees just as Roman as any French city, and are overwhelmingly ports – Lisbon, Valencia, Barcelona, Cartagena, Cadiz, etc. The interior remains underdeveloped to this day with the major exception of Madrid, which began as a centrally located Muslim military command post. The cultural and economic heart of the Roman Empire – North Africa, Greece, Anatolia, and Palestine – was overwhelmingly Mediterranean oriented. The important Roman towns in Germany and Central Europe (still major cities today – Cologne, Regensburg, Vienna, Budapest) were located on the Rhine and the Danube – navigable rivers.

    Cities in Roman Gaul were further from the ocean likely because most of France borders the Atlantic, and the Atlantic had very little to offer the Romans. The rest of the Roman world already had plenty of access to sea food and salt. What northern Gaul had in abundance was large expanses of well irrigated productive agricultural land and associated crafts. Investing in towns on the cold Atlantic coast to trade with underdeveloped Britains and maybe some weird Norse barbarians wouldn’t have made a lot of economic sense when you could grow grain, have productive orchards and raise dairy cattle. And value added industries – textiles, wood working, cheese and butter, fermented liquors from fruit, etc. – were already well developed by the Gauls before the Romans showed up.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JRB
    Roughly from 50 A.D until 275. A.D the economy of what are now the loess (löss) areas of southern Belgium and northern France were mainly specialized in supplying food (f.i Cambrai area), clothing (f.i. Samarobriva - Amiens) and weapons for the soldiers that were manning the forts along the limes (roughly from Lugdunum Batavorum (Katwijk) to Mogontiacum (Mainz). Apparently they used wagons to transport at least a major part of the necessary military supplies north since there were a number of roads going north-south from Southern Belgium to the Rhine frontier. The Romans were also not keen on sailing in the Channel and the North Sea (storms, unpredictable winds, currents due to the tides in shallow waters, danger of Saxon pirates).

    Before the major agricultural innovations in the early middle ages agriculture was only economically viable (in the sense of giving a surplus) in loess areas, that therefore were of great strategic importance. All important loess area in Southern Belgium, Northern France and the Rhineland are not coincidentally south of the main highway from Boulogne to Cologne (until the current day for a large part still the language frontier between the Dutch and the French language, The Romans reconquered the area south of this highway in the latter part of the 3rd century, after having lost it after the big Frankish invasion after 275 A.D, that was made possible when the Rhine army of Germania Inferior did not return north after the battle of Chalons in 274), giving especially the western Franks (the later Merovingians) their lucky break to escape likely annihilation between Saxon pressure form the north (Saxon tribes just before this period conquered some of the most fertile loess areas in Middle Germany (some of the Bördes) from proto-Frankish tribes) and the Roman limes.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  29. anonguy says:

    Because England is an island and Italy is not. That is a fundamental difference, you never have the overland option in England beyond a certain distance.

    Just ask the British, they know they are/were a seafaring people.

    This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
    This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
    This other Eden, demi-paradise
    This fortress built by Nature for herself
    Against infection and the hand of war,
    This happy breed of men, this little world,
    This precious stone set in the silver sea,..
    This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

    Next question?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  30. @Simon in London
    I think (going mostly by Bryan Ward Perkins' book) that Roman Britain was the only part of the empire invaded by Germanics that suffered a complete civilisational collapse. In most of the western empire Germanic invasion resulted in only a partial collapse, with Arab Muslim invasion finishing the job in North Africa several centuries later. Since most of France never had a total collapse, one would expect to see city continuity. In Britain/England the Roman cities were abandoned and unused by the Saxon/Jute/Angle invaders. Civilisation started afresh centuries later; by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest, which brought in the French medieval synthesis Romance/Frank civilisation to Britain. Until 1066 there was basically no Roman legacy in England & Britain outside the Church.

    I'm not sure if the total collapse in Roman Britain was due to larger numbers of Germanic invaders (seems doubtful considering the geography) or to the very extended lines of communication to core Europe. If you look at a map of the Roman empire you can see that Britain was a lot further from the metropole than the rest of the western Empire, and I think that's significant. Or it may be Roman civilisation was always lighter here, that most of the Romano-British were never fully civilised - we really have very little evidence either way though, I think, but the pre-Arthurian culture of at least western Britain does not seem to have been a civilised one.

    The French, Spanish and Portuguese languages are Latin languages. English is Germanic, with a French admixture dating from the Norman Conquest.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  31. There is no place in Britain that is more than 90 miles from the coast, but the distance is much less when you take into account navigable waterways such as the Ouse/Humber/ Trent river system, the Thames, and the Severn. You can certainly navigate as far inland as York.

    The Romans did have ports, like for example Chester in the northwest, but Chester is located on the River Dee whose estuary is now silted up and no good for a port. The port for that part of England is now at nearby Liverpool. Remember that the west coast of England has been silting up for hundreds of years,while the east coast has been disappearing under water, wiping out a few Roman ports along the way.

    This map shows the Roman roads of Britain:

    http://www.photographers-resource.co.uk/a_heritage/Roman/Roman%20roads.htm

    However most of the largest cities of Britain today were founded or grew exponentially in the Industrial Revolution and were located close to coal fields and water power, and soon were all connected by the canal network built in the 18th century that made it possible to get from London to Liverpool in the northwest and then on to Hull in the northeast without setting foot on dry land–in theory at least. From the 1840′s the canal network was supplanted by the railroad network that could move freight much faster with steam engines than barges towed by horses.

    While important Roman cities like Chester, Colchester, Bath, York, and so on gradually lost importance and become market or cathedral towns, the newer great cities like Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham grew up in the heat of the industrial revolution, with ports like west-facing Liverpool and Bristol located close to Chester and Bath rapidly expanding to serve the transatlantic empire, and Southampton a few miles from Winchester on the south coast.

    There are still numerous Roman settlements in England, but mostly they are small market towns at the center of agricultural areas, without heavy industries.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  32. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Interesting.

    Really, in actual fact, there is only one ‘big’ dominant city in England, which is, of course, London, which as we all know was the Roman Londinium.
    The next biggest city – which is most customarily held to be the solidly Anglo-Saxon named Birmingham – is a rather small affair compared to London. Manchester, whose Roman origin is betrayed by the suffix -cester, is a perpetual contender for the ‘second city’ slot – a lot depends on boundaries and whether certain suburbs are included or not.

    However, sans London, most of the big urban regions of England really only date their explosive growth from small market town, or even villages, to no earlier than the 18th century, or more usually the 19th century. They grew because of the location of industry, due to coal-fields, shipping, water-power etc.
    The ‘traditional’ leading towns of England, before the era of industrialisation bear a remarkable dissonance with contemporary population centres. Usually, these were the ‘county towns’ so-named as they were the seat of a particular county’s administration. Thus, Gloucestershire’s county town is Gloucester, Lancashire’s is Lancaster, Yorkshire’s is York etc.
    All of the aforementioned are Roman in origin. If not Roman, they are Anglo-Saxon or Norman.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  33. There were two Roman Britains: the Civil Zone and the Military Zone. The latter covered Cornwall, Wales, and the northwest of England. Roman influence was superficial there, and native social structures (family, clan, tribe) survived intact.

    In the Civil Zone, native British culture died out. There is good evidence that the population itself changed. The demographic impact of the Roman army was much greater there than elsewhere in the Roman Empire. By the second century, Britain had a garrison of ca. 50,000 men, which comprised between 10 and 12 percent of the entire imperial army. This was the heaviest density of troops in any part of the Empire. Veterans were settled on the land, intermarried with the local population, and created a new “propositional” society based not on ethnic identity but on adherence to Roman civilization.

    This can be seen in the disappearnce of the Celtic language.

    After A.D. 43, Latin advanced rapidly. No Celtic inscription occurs, I believe, on any monument of the Roman period in Britain, neither cut on stone nor scratched on tile or potsherd, and this fact is the more noteworthy because, as I shall point out below, Celtic inscriptions are not at all unknown in Gaul. […]

    The town site that we can best examine for our present purpose is Calleva or Silchester, ten miles south of Reading, which has been completely excavated with care and thoroughness. Here a few fairly complete inscriptions on stone have been discovered, and many fragments of others, which prove that the public language of the town was Latin. […]

    In the twenty years’ excavation of the site, no Celtic inscription has emerged. Instead, we have proof that the lower classes wrote Latin for all sorts of purposes. Had they known Celtic well, it is hardly credible that they should not have sometimes written in that language, as the Gauls did across the Channel. A Gaulish potter of Roman date could scrawl his name and record, Sacrillos avot, ‘Sacrillus potter’, on the outside of a mould. No such scrawl has ever been found in Britain. The Gauls, again, could invent a special letter Eth to denote a special Celtic sound and keep it in Roman times. No such letter was used in Roman Britain, though it occurs on earlier British coins. This total absence of written Celtic cannot be a mere accident. (Haverfield, 1912, pp. 10-12)

    Haverfield, F. (1912) The Romanization of Roman Britain, Second Edition, Oxford at the Clarendon Press.

    There is still much debate about the fate of the Romano-British. What we know for certain can be summarized as follows:

    1. Population decline had begun well before the end of the Empire. Urbanization and social atomization had led to a situation where many adults postponed family formation or never married. Fertility rates were well below replacement. Roman writers often commented on this, and also on the depopulation of rural areas.

    2. The Anglo-Saxon “invasion” was not, at least not initially, an invasion. It began during Roman times and often involved people who joined the Roman army and who were invited to stay afterwards and settle on the land. In time, more and more Anglo-Saxons began to invite themselves.

    3. Population decline of the Romano-British accelerated with the Plague of Justinian, which especially affected urban areas in what used to be Roman Britain:

    The Romano-British may have been disproportionately affected because of trade contacts with Gaul and other factors,[23] such as British settlement patterns being more dispersive than English ones, which “could have served to facilitate plague transmission by the rat”.[24] The differential effects may have been exaggerated. British sources were then more likely to report natural disasters than Saxon ones.[citation needed] In addition, “the evidence for artifact trade between the British and the English” implies significant interaction and “just minimal interaction would surely have involved a high risk of plague transmission”.[24] However, scholars (like L. Lester in their Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541–750), as evidence that the plague damage done on the Sub-Roman Britons was greater than the one suffered by the Anglo-Saxons, believe that the sudden disappearance around 560 AD of the important Roman town of Calleva[25] was probably due to the Plague of Justinian, which later created a kind of curse on the city “damned” by the Anglo-Saxons.[26]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_of_Justinian#cite_note-nev-24

    This was a big reason why the Anglo-Saxons avoided settling in Romano-British towns.

    4. The Romano-British were accustomed to living in a pacific society where only the State had the right to use violence. This social environment changed with the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons, among whom every young man had the right to use violence, and not only in self-defence. Many Romano-British fled to Brittany and the northwest Spain, not because they were expelled but because they could not adapt to this new social environment of frequent personal violence.

    Again, there is still much debate over the extent of population replacement/cultural disintegration in post-Roman Britain, but it was certainly much greater than in France, where we have good evidence of cultural continuity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @22pp22
    I am Southern English. According to Ancestry.com, I have a pretty normal British profile.

    Europe 100%
    Great Britain 44%
    Ireland 37%
    Europe West 10%
    Scandinavia 7%

    I would have thought that, even allowing for Justinian's plague, population replacement would show up in my DNA. Surely not all the soldiers came from Germany. I have no expertise in these things. Am I misinterpreting the result?

    Also Hadrian's Wall clearly had a Latin-speaking garrison and they were there for a very long time. Some of their letters survive. That is how we know that the Latin world for Limey or POM is Britunculus. I would have though that the majority of soldiers would have been based in the military zone.

    Also, you say that the Latin-speaking Romano-British often fled to Brittany and Spain. How come Brittany speaks Welsh rather than some form of Romano-British?

    I am not trying to be a smart-arse. I am genuinely interested.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  34. dearieme says:
    @22pp22
    Some extra information from a proud Cotswold native that you might find interesting.

    British rivers could be and were used for transport, but they are small, and if the number of ships were at all large, there would be problems. In that respect, Britain is not much more favoured than Italy.

    The Thames and Severn are simply not in the same league as the Rhone, Seine, Rhine or Loire.

    The Thames is navigable as far as Oxford, but beyond Oxford, I do not believe the Evenlode or Cherwell could ever have been used to transport goods.

    Britain is also wet and the southern part of the country is extremely muddy. Stone-age drovers' roads follow areas of dry land like the Cotswolds and the Chilterns. Driving a waggon across the country in 1300 would have been a slow and hellish experience.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drovers%27_road

    Drovers' roads (I grew up next to the Salt Way) respect the geology and remained in use for literally thousands of years.

    http://www.charlbury.info/walking/3

    Roman roads cut through the geology and mainly fell into disuse as soon as the Roman Empire fell, but one or two remain in use today.

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

    France is also a larger country than Britain with a far less indented coastline. Britain is also accessible from the sea in all directions, France is not.

    The flow of trade in East Asia and the Mediterraneanis governed by relatively reliable seasonal winds. These do not exist in the north Atlantic meaning that mariners in that part of the world required more advanced shipbuilding ad navigational skills.

    Britian is also surrounded by major barriers to navigation that simply do not exist in the Mediterranean.

    Sailing round the Southwest of the country means negotiating the treacherous coasts of Cornwall and the Scillies. They deny it now, but unscupulous Cornishmen exploited this fact and tried to deceive seamen so that they could be forced onto the rocks and robbed. People in the Cotswolds would never do anything like that.

    https://www.amazon.com/Cornish-Wrecking-1700-1860-Reality-Popular/dp/184383555X

    The Dogger Bank in the North Sea is notorious as a graveyard for ships. It is so shallow that it was inhabited land until 8,000 years ago.

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

    “Driving a waggon across the country in 1300 would have been a slow and hellish experience.” The landscape historian Oliver Rackham says that this is a myth. Have a look at his History of the Countryside – a marvellous work.

    Read More
    • Replies: @22pp22
    I have tried it. I don't think its a myth. In my childhood, I often helped people did their landrovers out of the mud.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  35. Logan says:
    @Jack D
    In most of Italy no one wanted to live near the coast or rivers accessible from the sea for a long time after the end of Roman civilization. Too much threat of piracy. The Vikings or the Arabs or whomever would sail in and loot and take people away as slaves, never to be seen again. The locals moved up into defensible walled cities on hill tops and stayed away from the dangerous coast.

    I’m not sure Italy ever had the danger from pirates that Britain faced during the Viking Age.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Lots of Muslim pirates raiding Italy.
    , @Almost Missouri
    From Robert C. Davis; Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters:

    Italy was among the most thoroughly ravaged areas in the Mediterranean basin. Lying as it did on the frontline of the two battling empires, Italy was known as ‘the Eye of Christendom’…Especially in areas close to some of the main corsair bases (western Sicily is just 200 kilometers from Tunis) slave taking rapidly burgeoned into a full-scale industry, with a disastrous impact that was apparent at the time and for centuries to come. Those who worked on coastal farms, even 10 or 20 miles from the sea, were unsafe from the raiders — harvesters, vine tenders, and olive growers were all regularly surprised while at their labors and carried off. Workers in the salt pans were often at risk, as were woodcutters and any others of the unprotected poor who traveled or worked along the coasts: indigents like Rosa Antonia Monte, who called herself ‘the poorest of the poor in the city of Barletta [in Puglia],’ and who was surprised together with 42 others, including her two daughters, while out gleaning after the harvest, 4 miles outside of town. Monasteries close to the shore also made easy targets for the corsairs.
     
    More at
    http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2009/05/europeans-as-victims-of-colonialism.html
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  36. It’s an interesting point you make in the first paragraph under the second quote, about the switch from landline to wireless telephone networks. Technological shifts can allow many things which in the past were necessary preconditions for development, to be wholly skipped.

    Probably the most notable example is the development of computers and the internet. It’s opened the door for a country like Israel, with third-world transport infrastructure, and which is banned from trading with most of its neighbours (both of which would have been essential for economic development in the 19th century), to become a hi-tech super-power. The reason is you can do most work in the hi-tech sector on a $500 desktop PC, with no further need of capital investment, without needing to transport any physical product, and without even needing to trade with anyone geographically close to you.

    As a result, I would say that in the future even third-world countries in regions like Africa, if they would invest sufficiently in education, should be able to develop their own hi-tech sectors – without having to go through all the traditional stages of development or industrialization.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    Israel is not a "high-tech super-power" by any sane measure, please don't be silly. (Maybe you are deliberately trolling?)
    , @Art Deco
    Israel has over 50-odd years gradually improved its relative position vis a vis other occidental countries, but its standard of living even in 1960 bore more resemblance to Europe than to the surrounding Arab countries.
    , @Jack D
    Yes, Africa can become a high tech superpower like Israel. All they need is a bunch of PC (and also for the power to stay on). There's no difference whatsoever between Africans and Israelis so this could surely happen. All they need is a little more education and the Gap will surely close any day now....

    It takes a special kind of stupidity and willful blindness to believe this.
    , @Johann Ricke
    In 1960, populated as it was from among the wiliest and most resilient in Europe (i.e. they survived where others were killed) and the most prescient in the Middle East (i.e. they left after selling their property before the Arab states began confiscating without compensation), Israel was among the highest income states in the region, with a GDP per capita similar to Europe. What probably sapped its growth rates - going forward - was a combination of European-style socialism along with massive, but necessary, expenditures on defense, relative to its total GDP. Likud's efforts at dismantling bits of the socialist and regulatory state appear to have paid off, such that Israel's output per capita has once again caught up with Europe. It had a period, from the 60's through the 70's, in the doldrums, presumably related to the existential wars in 1967 and 1973, punctuated by an upsurge in Palestinian terrorist activity, starting with the PLO's founding in 1964.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  37. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    France was settled by Latins to large measure. Many French look Latin.

    In contrast, Latins ruled over than settled Britain. Most Britons remained non-Latin.

    In France, the main invasions came on land, so the land had to be defended.

    In Britain, the main invasions came by sea, so the shores had to be defended.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  38. eD says:
    @Jack D
    Cordoba in Spain also has a cathedral/mosque except that it went the other way - instead of putting a minaret on a church they stuck a cathedral into the middle of a giant mosque:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6c/Mezquita_de_C%C3%B3rdoba_desde_el_aire_%28C%C3%B3rdoba%2C_Espa%C3%B1a%29.jpg

    “Cordoba in Spain also has a cathedral/mosque except that it went the other way – instead of putting a minaret on a church they stuck a cathedral into the middle of a giant mosque:”

    Yes and Carlos I hated that. He must have found out about the project too late to stop that.

    It would have made a fine shopping mall.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Supposedly Carlos (V) gave permission for the church to be built but when it was done he didn't like the way it turned out (not the 1st client to be dissatisfied , nor the last, though I don't know what he was expecting). But, when it was done and he saw it, he supposedly said "you have taken something unique in all the world and destroyed it to build something you can find in any city."

    Fortunately, they didn't really destroy most of the mosque - the original plan and structure is still surprisingly intact. They just stuck a church right in the middle of its vastness (it's big enough to hold 40,000 worshipers). Ironically, its protection by the Church is probably what helped to preserve it to this day, as with the Pantheon in Rome. It's true that the mosque as originally built would have lent itself more to secular re-use as a bazaar or whatever but it's always been the pattern for conquerors to take over the holy places of the conquered (which are presumed to have some special mojo) and rededicated them to the new gods. This goes back thousands of years.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  39. This struck me as a video Steve would enjoy: racial minorities in power:

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  40. George says:

    The failed British school system couldn’t teach the yobs latin.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  41. Moshe says:

    Mr. President…! We Must Not Allow a mineshaft gap!

    http://fxn.ws/2ezvPkP

    Stanley Kubrick was prescient.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  42. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    The Romans knew how to build huge ships:

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

    http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/caligula-nemi-ships-1932/

    For a sense of size, check out this pic:

    “Italians viewing antique Emperor Caligula’s Nemi ships, 1932″

    Sadly, destroyed in WWII.

    About the Nemi ships:

    “…Both ships featured technology thought to have been developed historically much later…

    …Both ships had several hand-operated bilge pumps… …oldest example of this type of bilge pump ever found…

    …Piston pumps… supplied the two ships with hot and cold running water via lead pipes.

    …caged bronze balls and is the earliest example of the thrust ball bearing…

    … closely matched the design of the Admiralty pattern anchor re-invented in 1841…”

    Perhaps wood, in particular oak, was more expensive? Perhaps they didn’t know how to make large quantities of sailcloth, or it was way too expensive? (Not enough sheep?) Many of those Roman ships seemed to be rowed barges, the sort of thing needed to move grain from North Africa to Italy or transport a lot of troops. Not the sort of thing for sailing on the rougher North Sea.

    About living on the coasts, malaria was a significant problem in many Mediterranean coastal area for a long time, including Italy. Presumably it wasn’t such a problem on North Sea coasts.

    “Short History of Malaria and Its Eradication in Italy With Short Notes on the Fight Against the Infection in the Mediterranean Basin”:

    “In Italy at the end of 19th Century, malaria cases amounted to 2 million with 15,000–20,000 deaths per year.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Deforestation for shipbuilding was problem in both Italy and England at various points. Italy lost a lot of forests during the Punic Wars. I suspect in England forests tended to grow back (e.g., New Forest).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  43. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  44. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  45. Davosbane says:

    Perhaps the English were inspired by the Vikings that came earlier?

    The Anglo Saxons, it seemed, largely ignored Roman culture until they were converted to Christianity.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  46. Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  47. Tarrou says:

    One wonders if it had anything to do with the cultural contributions of the seafaring danes and other Vikings, who colonized much of Britain after the Romans. The last Danish kings were barely replaced by natives when norse-descended Normans from France took over. The culture of sea-faring and sea-raiding might have taken more hold in these areas. One could compare the cities in the north of France to those in the south, where the Normans never penetrated. I suspect the cultural capital and practices that allowed the Vikings to raid all along the coasts of Europe were turned to slightly more peaceful uses once they settled down, intermarried and civilized. Being an island, Britain may have gotten the best of this tradition.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  48. Anonym says:
    @22pp22
    Some extra information from a proud Cotswold native that you might find interesting.

    British rivers could be and were used for transport, but they are small, and if the number of ships were at all large, there would be problems. In that respect, Britain is not much more favoured than Italy.

    The Thames and Severn are simply not in the same league as the Rhone, Seine, Rhine or Loire.

    The Thames is navigable as far as Oxford, but beyond Oxford, I do not believe the Evenlode or Cherwell could ever have been used to transport goods.

    Britain is also wet and the southern part of the country is extremely muddy. Stone-age drovers' roads follow areas of dry land like the Cotswolds and the Chilterns. Driving a waggon across the country in 1300 would have been a slow and hellish experience.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drovers%27_road

    Drovers' roads (I grew up next to the Salt Way) respect the geology and remained in use for literally thousands of years.

    http://www.charlbury.info/walking/3

    Roman roads cut through the geology and mainly fell into disuse as soon as the Roman Empire fell, but one or two remain in use today.

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

    France is also a larger country than Britain with a far less indented coastline. Britain is also accessible from the sea in all directions, France is not.

    The flow of trade in East Asia and the Mediterraneanis governed by relatively reliable seasonal winds. These do not exist in the north Atlantic meaning that mariners in that part of the world required more advanced shipbuilding ad navigational skills.

    Britian is also surrounded by major barriers to navigation that simply do not exist in the Mediterranean.

    Sailing round the Southwest of the country means negotiating the treacherous coasts of Cornwall and the Scillies. They deny it now, but unscupulous Cornishmen exploited this fact and tried to deceive seamen so that they could be forced onto the rocks and robbed. People in the Cotswolds would never do anything like that.

    https://www.amazon.com/Cornish-Wrecking-1700-1860-Reality-Popular/dp/184383555X

    The Dogger Bank in the North Sea is notorious as a graveyard for ships. It is so shallow that it was inhabited land until 8,000 years ago.

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

    Sailing round the Southwest of the country means negotiating the treacherous coasts of Cornwall and the Scillies. They deny it now, but unscupulous Cornishmen exploited this fact and tried to deceive seamen so that they could be forced onto the rocks and robbed. People in the Cotswolds would never do anything like that.

    Interesting. The accent of Cornwall is basically the “pirate” accent of film.

    You will notice mention of Penzance in the video. Interesting.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pirates_of_Penzance

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous
    Cornish is actually a Celtic language and as such is related to Welsh and Irish/Scots-Gaelic. Fascinating stuff!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  49. OT, but they are starting to realize that identity politics are a mistake, albeit, too late:

    https://www.salon.com/2017/09/02/time-to-give-up-on-identity-politics-its-dragging-the-progressive-agenda-down/

    Read More
    • Replies: @res

    OT, but they are starting to realize that identity politics are a mistake, albeit, too late:
     
    Don't get too excited. Take a look at the top rated comment:

    Elise Musings · Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Now let me get this straight. Now that we have an out racist, homophobic, transphobic and sexist in the White House, privileged white people are still writing about the left focusing too much on race? Don't blame the people trying to solve the problem. Blame the people perpetuating it. As a white person I choose not to pretend racism doesn't exist so I can brush it under the rug and feel comfy. This article just more B.S. to make privileged people feel relaxed. The term "Identity politics" assumes that we should ignore issues of race, LGBTQ and womens' issues in the hope that racism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism will just disappear if we don't talk about it. Like maybe if we think really hard during meditation in Yoga class it will all evaperate and we will be saved. Absolutely ridiculous.
     
    And the second highest (LOL!):

    Ed Lamb

    Quit pretending "white working-class man" is not a political identity. The far right commits by far the worst sins of identitarianism.

     

    And more of the same...
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  50. Jack D says:
    @eD
    "Cordoba in Spain also has a cathedral/mosque except that it went the other way – instead of putting a minaret on a church they stuck a cathedral into the middle of a giant mosque:"

    Yes and Carlos I hated that. He must have found out about the project too late to stop that.

    It would have made a fine shopping mall.

    Supposedly Carlos (V) gave permission for the church to be built but when it was done he didn’t like the way it turned out (not the 1st client to be dissatisfied , nor the last, though I don’t know what he was expecting). But, when it was done and he saw it, he supposedly said “you have taken something unique in all the world and destroyed it to build something you can find in any city.”

    Fortunately, they didn’t really destroy most of the mosque – the original plan and structure is still surprisingly intact. They just stuck a church right in the middle of its vastness (it’s big enough to hold 40,000 worshipers). Ironically, its protection by the Church is probably what helped to preserve it to this day, as with the Pantheon in Rome. It’s true that the mosque as originally built would have lent itself more to secular re-use as a bazaar or whatever but it’s always been the pattern for conquerors to take over the holy places of the conquered (which are presumed to have some special mojo) and rededicated them to the new gods. This goes back thousands of years.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonym
    Fortunately, they didn’t really destroy most of the mosque – the original plan and structure is still surprisingly intact. They just stuck a church right in the middle of its vastness (it’s big enough to hold 40,000 worshipers). It’s true that the mosque as originally built would have lended itself more to secular re-use as a bazaar or whatever but it’s always been the pattern for conquerors to take over the holy places of the conquered (which is presumed to have some special mojo) and rededicated them to the new gods. This goes back thousands of years.

    I think it must be in part a dominance display. Arabs have been masters of slavery and dominance for many centuries. Certainly the religions have emanated from there and not the other way around. Christianity and Islam were created relatively close to each other. And the ideology of Communism came from a Jew, which has been a lot like a religion.

    The cruelty of the Arabs was remarked upon by soldiers of WW2. A search about cruelty yielded this.

    http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/169704

    If you own a non-toy dog, if you desire it not to be a threat around your children you must establish a pack order with the dog at the bottom of the pack. There are videos on how this is done. It is not "nice". It cannot be done with only positive reinforcement. It appears cruel, and maybe, it is. But it is the reality of living with an otherwise dangerous dog around the family.

    If one is going to enslave humans, there are lessons you can draw from this. With the ties of slavery to Arabs, the cruelty they have is understandable. (Not that I like this or want to emulate it - my gut response is to respond just as cruelly myself but not to desire to use them as slaves.) I wonder if it is their close proximity to SSAs that has caused them to learn how to do this. The SSA is basically a dumb, dangerous human, midway between animal and human in a lot of ways. It makes sense that in areas where they are proximate, the tools to make use of such people were devised by Arabs. And they resemble how we treat dogs - castration and effective techniques to establish dominance.
    , @Charlotte Allen
    Actually the mosque at Cordoba was transformed into a Christian cathedral in 1236-- by King Ferdinand III of Castile after he captured Cordoba from the Almohad Caliphate.

    And the Christians didn't just plunk their religious paraphernalia into the mosque. They worked carefully for centuries to transform the mosque (built over the remains of a Visigothic Christian church that the Muslim invaders of 711 had destroyed) into a Christian structure, constructing a transept, for example, to give it a cruciform shape and adding Gothic stonework. It's true that Charles V didn't like the structure much, but he was speaking three centuries after the work began.

    The reason the Cathedral of Cordoba--or at least its interior--looks so much like a mosque today is that 19th- and 20th-century secular architects, encouraged by anticlerical local governments, deliberately stripped the building of its layers of Christian ornamentation in order to give the building a more "authentic" Islamic look. Romanticizing Muslims has been a preoccupation of secular intellectuals since the Enlightenment.

    But if you look at the Cathedral from the outside, it looks very much like..a Christian cathedral. As well it should, since it has been a Christian structure for many centuries more than it has been an Islamic one.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  51. Anonym says:
    @Jack D
    I think the Roman occupation in Britain was more in the nature of a colonial occupation. You had a few Romanized locals in the cities (Londinium) and maybe a few Roman style estates out in the countryside but for most of the locals the Romans were just occupiers and when the legions pulled out it was as if they had never been there. The Roman language - mostly gone. Think Vietnam after the French leave. The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). The Roman temples, baths, etc. - all useless to the locals. Roman law - they don't really understand it or try to practice it anymore.

    Whereas in continental Europe the Romans had been there longer and Roman civilization was more integrated into the population to the extent that when the Romans leave the locals keep speaking a sort of Latin pidgin or creole and the local rulers even fancy themselves in continuity with the Romans ("Holy Roman Emperor"). Some of the local infrastructure gets maintained - they keep some of the Roman temples and make them into churches. They keep the gladiator games (the church won't let them fight other humans but they can still fight animals - bulls) . Etc. They keep the Roman legal system. Roman civilization is mostly gone because they don't have the technology to maintain it but not consciously rejected as a colonial occupation.

    I think the Roman occupation in Britain was more in the nature of a colonial occupation. You had a few Romanized locals in the cities (Londinium) and maybe a few Roman style estates out in the countryside but for most of the locals the Romans were just occupiers and when the legions pulled out it was as if they had never been there. The Roman language – mostly gone. Think Vietnam after the French leave. The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). The Roman temples, baths, etc. – all useless to the locals. Roman law – they don’t really understand it or try to practice it anymore.

    It seems like London is always the first to be colonized, even today. :(.

    The French had influence in terms of script on Viet Nam, but I guess the English use Latin script too.

    https://www.justlanded.com/english/Vietnam/Vietnam-Guide/Culture/History

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  52. Wait, why didn’t Jared Diamond think of this magic dirt theory?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  53. @22pp22
    Some extra information from a proud Cotswold native that you might find interesting.

    British rivers could be and were used for transport, but they are small, and if the number of ships were at all large, there would be problems. In that respect, Britain is not much more favoured than Italy.

    The Thames and Severn are simply not in the same league as the Rhone, Seine, Rhine or Loire.

    The Thames is navigable as far as Oxford, but beyond Oxford, I do not believe the Evenlode or Cherwell could ever have been used to transport goods.

    Britain is also wet and the southern part of the country is extremely muddy. Stone-age drovers' roads follow areas of dry land like the Cotswolds and the Chilterns. Driving a waggon across the country in 1300 would have been a slow and hellish experience.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drovers%27_road

    Drovers' roads (I grew up next to the Salt Way) respect the geology and remained in use for literally thousands of years.

    http://www.charlbury.info/walking/3

    Roman roads cut through the geology and mainly fell into disuse as soon as the Roman Empire fell, but one or two remain in use today.

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

    France is also a larger country than Britain with a far less indented coastline. Britain is also accessible from the sea in all directions, France is not.

    The flow of trade in East Asia and the Mediterraneanis governed by relatively reliable seasonal winds. These do not exist in the north Atlantic meaning that mariners in that part of the world required more advanced shipbuilding ad navigational skills.

    Britian is also surrounded by major barriers to navigation that simply do not exist in the Mediterranean.

    Sailing round the Southwest of the country means negotiating the treacherous coasts of Cornwall and the Scillies. They deny it now, but unscupulous Cornishmen exploited this fact and tried to deceive seamen so that they could be forced onto the rocks and robbed. People in the Cotswolds would never do anything like that.

    https://www.amazon.com/Cornish-Wrecking-1700-1860-Reality-Popular/dp/184383555X

    The Dogger Bank in the North Sea is notorious as a graveyard for ships. It is so shallow that it was inhabited land until 8,000 years ago.

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

    With all the immigration to the Northern Europe, perhaps Doggerland should be raised to fit in all the people.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  54. BenKenobi says:

    OT: From the Demented Dominion we get some rather savoury iSteve bait:

    https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/canada-chechnya-gay-asylum/article36145997/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&

    Canadian government pairs with NGO to bring in Chechen transgenders. Steve’s BFF Ramzan even gets a name drop.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  55. The Romans left in 410 AD and the Anglo-Saxons took over Celtic Britain in 449 AD, thus what influence the Romans had or could have had was lost.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AM

    The Romans left in 410 AD and the Anglo-Saxons took over Celtic Britain in 449 AD, thus what influence the Romans had or could have had was lost.
     
    Apparently, most of the Latin based words in English are essentially badly pronounced French. The injection of Latin in English is was incoming from the French of the Normans.
    , @Carneades
    The Anglo-Saxons never completely took over Great Britain. The Cornish language wasn't completely dead until the 18th century and they still speak Welsh in Wales and Norsk in the Shetlands. Those friggin' road signs in Wales are crazy!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  56. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are”, Nov 2014, Michael Pye. From the dust jacket:

    “This is a story of saints and spies, of fishermen and pirates, traders and marauders – and of how their wild and daring journeys across the North Sea built the world we know.

    When the Roman Empire retreated, northern Europe was a barbarian outpost at the very edge of everything. A thousand years later, it was the heart of global empires and the home of science, art, enlightenment and money. We owe this transformation to the tides and storms of the North Sea.

    The water was dangerous, but it was far easier than struggling over land; so it was the sea that brought people together. Boats carried food and raw materials, but also new ideas and information. The seafarers raided, ruined and killed, but they also settled and coupled. With them they brought new tastes and technologies – books, clothes, manners, paintings and machines.

    In this dazzling historical adventure, we return to a time that is largely forgotten and watch as the modern world is born. We see the spread of money and how it paved the way for science. We see how plague terrorised even the rich and transformed daily life for the poor. We watch as the climate changed and coastlines shifted, people adapted and towns flourished. We see the arrival of the first politicians, artists, lawyers: citizens. From Viking raiders to Mongol hordes, Frisian fishermen to Hanseatic hustlers, travelling as far west as America and as far east as Byzantium, we see how the life and traffic of the seas changed everything.

    Drawing on an astonishing breadth of learning and packed with human stories and revelations, this is the epic drama of how we came to be who we are.”

    This books posits that the North Sea (and Baltic) was as important to the birth of the modern world as the Mediterranean to the ancient world.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    So it's magic water instead of magic dirt, eh?

    *Snicker*
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  57. @Simon in London
    I think (going mostly by Bryan Ward Perkins' book) that Roman Britain was the only part of the empire invaded by Germanics that suffered a complete civilisational collapse. In most of the western empire Germanic invasion resulted in only a partial collapse, with Arab Muslim invasion finishing the job in North Africa several centuries later. Since most of France never had a total collapse, one would expect to see city continuity. In Britain/England the Roman cities were abandoned and unused by the Saxon/Jute/Angle invaders. Civilisation started afresh centuries later; by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest, which brought in the French medieval synthesis Romance/Frank civilisation to Britain. Until 1066 there was basically no Roman legacy in England & Britain outside the Church.

    I'm not sure if the total collapse in Roman Britain was due to larger numbers of Germanic invaders (seems doubtful considering the geography) or to the very extended lines of communication to core Europe. If you look at a map of the Roman empire you can see that Britain was a lot further from the metropole than the rest of the western Empire, and I think that's significant. Or it may be Roman civilisation was always lighter here, that most of the Romano-British were never fully civilised - we really have very little evidence either way though, I think, but the pre-Arthurian culture of at least western Britain does not seem to have been a civilised one.

    by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest

    That’s not really true, Anglo-Saxon England in the first half of the 11th century was actually quite advanced in some ways compared to the continent. The administrative machinery based on shires was more efficient than that in the post-Carolingian successor states where royal power was quite weak and political power increasingly fragmented. And there was a flourishing literature in the vernacular (as well as its use for charters of all kinds). Culturally Anglo-Saxon England wasn’t really more backwards than the continent, and indeed during the Carolingian era had sent such important figures as the missionary Willibrord-Bonifatius or Charlemagne’s advisor Alcuin of York there.
    I agree though about late antiquity, in the 5th/6th centuries there really seems to have been a sharp break with the Romano-British past and massive discontinuity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Simon in London
    Thanks for the response; I probably focus too much on military technology, where the English seemed well behind the Normans at Hastings.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  58. Anonym says:
    @Jack D
    Supposedly Carlos (V) gave permission for the church to be built but when it was done he didn't like the way it turned out (not the 1st client to be dissatisfied , nor the last, though I don't know what he was expecting). But, when it was done and he saw it, he supposedly said "you have taken something unique in all the world and destroyed it to build something you can find in any city."

    Fortunately, they didn't really destroy most of the mosque - the original plan and structure is still surprisingly intact. They just stuck a church right in the middle of its vastness (it's big enough to hold 40,000 worshipers). Ironically, its protection by the Church is probably what helped to preserve it to this day, as with the Pantheon in Rome. It's true that the mosque as originally built would have lent itself more to secular re-use as a bazaar or whatever but it's always been the pattern for conquerors to take over the holy places of the conquered (which are presumed to have some special mojo) and rededicated them to the new gods. This goes back thousands of years.

    Fortunately, they didn’t really destroy most of the mosque – the original plan and structure is still surprisingly intact. They just stuck a church right in the middle of its vastness (it’s big enough to hold 40,000 worshipers). It’s true that the mosque as originally built would have lended itself more to secular re-use as a bazaar or whatever but it’s always been the pattern for conquerors to take over the holy places of the conquered (which is presumed to have some special mojo) and rededicated them to the new gods. This goes back thousands of years.

    I think it must be in part a dominance display. Arabs have been masters of slavery and dominance for many centuries. Certainly the religions have emanated from there and not the other way around. Christianity and Islam were created relatively close to each other. And the ideology of Communism came from a Jew, which has been a lot like a religion.

    The cruelty of the Arabs was remarked upon by soldiers of WW2. A search about cruelty yielded this.

    http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/169704

    If you own a non-toy dog, if you desire it not to be a threat around your children you must establish a pack order with the dog at the bottom of the pack. There are videos on how this is done. It is not “nice”. It cannot be done with only positive reinforcement. It appears cruel, and maybe, it is. But it is the reality of living with an otherwise dangerous dog around the family.

    If one is going to enslave humans, there are lessons you can draw from this. With the ties of slavery to Arabs, the cruelty they have is understandable. (Not that I like this or want to emulate it – my gut response is to respond just as cruelly myself but not to desire to use them as slaves.) I wonder if it is their close proximity to SSAs that has caused them to learn how to do this. The SSA is basically a dumb, dangerous human, midway between animal and human in a lot of ways. It makes sense that in areas where they are proximate, the tools to make use of such people were devised by Arabs. And they resemble how we treat dogs – castration and effective techniques to establish dominance.

    Read More
    • Agree: BB753
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  59. Lurker says:

    Britain was occupied later and abandoned earlier?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  60. Read More
    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    If we could just get more socialism this would be the norm and not the exception. Give all power to the socialist government. What could possibly go wrong?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  61. BiffSpiff says:

    Another reason Roman influence waned rapidly in Britain is that the Germanic tribes that took over Italy, France, and Spain had a long history of contact with the Romans, had served in Roman armies, and had adopted Roman customs long before the Fall of Rome. The Germanic tribes that invaded Britain were from further North and had very little prior contact with the Romans.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  62. @Simon in London
    I think (going mostly by Bryan Ward Perkins' book) that Roman Britain was the only part of the empire invaded by Germanics that suffered a complete civilisational collapse. In most of the western empire Germanic invasion resulted in only a partial collapse, with Arab Muslim invasion finishing the job in North Africa several centuries later. Since most of France never had a total collapse, one would expect to see city continuity. In Britain/England the Roman cities were abandoned and unused by the Saxon/Jute/Angle invaders. Civilisation started afresh centuries later; by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest, which brought in the French medieval synthesis Romance/Frank civilisation to Britain. Until 1066 there was basically no Roman legacy in England & Britain outside the Church.

    I'm not sure if the total collapse in Roman Britain was due to larger numbers of Germanic invaders (seems doubtful considering the geography) or to the very extended lines of communication to core Europe. If you look at a map of the Roman empire you can see that Britain was a lot further from the metropole than the rest of the western Empire, and I think that's significant. Or it may be Roman civilisation was always lighter here, that most of the Romano-British were never fully civilised - we really have very little evidence either way though, I think, but the pre-Arthurian culture of at least western Britain does not seem to have been a civilised one.

    “If you look at a map of the Roman empire you can see that Britain was a lot further from the metropole than the rest of the western Empire, and I think that’s significant. ”

    Exactly. Which also means that in comparison to France and other parts of the Empire, there were very few Romans that settled in Britain at all for the long haul. I mean, it’s simply not what the educated prosperous upper classes did back then. One simply can’t imagine this scenario of a bored upper class family looking to settle someplace off the beaten track.

    “Man, the baths at Capri are getting awfully boring, Portia, what new thing can we do for excitement?”
    “Well, Petronius, the news from abroad is always mentioning how Londinium is the in place and ideal for raising families.”
    “Are you daft? Nothing there but a bunch of howling savages. And the waters aren’t very warm.”
    “What about Southern Gaul?”
    “Excellent choice, Portia.”

    Read More
    • LOL: Carneades, TomSchmidt
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  63. MBlanc46 says:
    @22pp22
    Completely off topic, but I live in Greek Cyprus and I have just made brief foray to the North.

    Famagusta is a please Venetian city with a cathedral/mosque that looks like Notre Dame will look in about ten years.

    http://www.cypnet.co.uk/ncyprus/city/famagusta/lala/index.html

    It's got a minaret and everything.

    We had a good time, but we were there for Eid and the Kurdish family next to our guest house decided to slit a goat's throat in front of another goat which went berserk.

    Not a good time to be a goat in North Cyprus.

    PS. Turkish T.V. is awesome. I really recommend Gonul.

    We tried watching a Western production for the first time in ages. It was an adaptation of a Stephen King novel called Mist. It took about five seconds before we got our first PC lecture about transgender acceptance.

    You do get a certain amount of Turkish ethnic pride from Turkish TV, but no PC and no sex scenes.

    We also watched a Turkish commedy Western. Such things exist, although perhaps they should not.

    Thanks for the report.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  64. Art Deco says:
    @Simon in London
    I think (going mostly by Bryan Ward Perkins' book) that Roman Britain was the only part of the empire invaded by Germanics that suffered a complete civilisational collapse. In most of the western empire Germanic invasion resulted in only a partial collapse, with Arab Muslim invasion finishing the job in North Africa several centuries later. Since most of France never had a total collapse, one would expect to see city continuity. In Britain/England the Roman cities were abandoned and unused by the Saxon/Jute/Angle invaders. Civilisation started afresh centuries later; by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest, which brought in the French medieval synthesis Romance/Frank civilisation to Britain. Until 1066 there was basically no Roman legacy in England & Britain outside the Church.

    I'm not sure if the total collapse in Roman Britain was due to larger numbers of Germanic invaders (seems doubtful considering the geography) or to the very extended lines of communication to core Europe. If you look at a map of the Roman empire you can see that Britain was a lot further from the metropole than the rest of the western Empire, and I think that's significant. Or it may be Roman civilisation was always lighter here, that most of the Romano-British were never fully civilised - we really have very little evidence either way though, I think, but the pre-Arthurian culture of at least western Britain does not seem to have been a civilised one.

    Try an anthropological or sociological hypothesis concerning the nature of social relations between localities and between lineages in the British Isles. You have five discrete territories populated by Celts. Cornwall was absorbed by England (by the 9th c), Wales remained a collection of local chieftaincies until it was absorbed by England in the 13th century, and Ireland was in much the same condition until the English conquest was complete in 1603. Warlords managed by the 9th century (in Brittany) and the 11th (in Scotland) to assemble a territorial realm that covered the whole. The least fractious collection of Celts in the British isles took 6 centuries to accomplish what the Anglo-Saxons accomplished in 4 and change.

    All this suggests that Roman Britain had very little in the way of a political society which transcended the (crucially military) bureaucratic apparatus.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Carneades
    Installing warlords to rule fractious and piratical peasants by force is hardly what should be characterized as "absorbed." Cornish wasn't thoroughly eliminated as the native tongue until the late 18th Century and they still speak Welsh in Wales. Eire was never truly conquered as its bloody history and current sovereignty attests to today. And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  65. @Jack D
    I think the Roman occupation in Britain was more in the nature of a colonial occupation. You had a few Romanized locals in the cities (Londinium) and maybe a few Roman style estates out in the countryside but for most of the locals the Romans were just occupiers and when the legions pulled out it was as if they had never been there. The Roman language - mostly gone. Think Vietnam after the French leave. The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). The Roman temples, baths, etc. - all useless to the locals. Roman law - they don't really understand it or try to practice it anymore.

    Whereas in continental Europe the Romans had been there longer and Roman civilization was more integrated into the population to the extent that when the Romans leave the locals keep speaking a sort of Latin pidgin or creole and the local rulers even fancy themselves in continuity with the Romans ("Holy Roman Emperor"). Some of the local infrastructure gets maintained - they keep some of the Roman temples and make them into churches. They keep the gladiator games (the church won't let them fight other humans but they can still fight animals - bulls) . Etc. They keep the Roman legal system. Roman civilization is mostly gone because they don't have the technology to maintain it but not consciously rejected as a colonial occupation.

    And of course post-Roman Empire the Roman Catholic Church becomes the one direct bureaucratic institution that continues to this very day that maintains the direct connection to the ancient world.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  66. After reading this post, it definitely suggests that Mary Beard doesn’t fully grasp the nature and non-lasting influence of the Roman Empire upon Britain. Superficial at best, and at worst non-existent within a couple centuries once the legions pulled out.

    Read More
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    Churchill would have disagreed.

    "If a native of Chester in Roman Britain could wake up to-day he would find laws which were the direct fulfilment of many of those he had known. He would find in every village temples and priests of the new creed which in his day was winning victories everywhere. Indeed the facilities for Christian worship would appear to him to be far in excess of the number of devotees. Not without pride would he notice that his children were compelled to learn Latin if they wished to enter the most famous universities. He might encounter some serious difficulties in the pronunciation. He would find in the public libraries many of the masterpieces of ancient literature, printed on uncommonly cheap paper and in great numbers. He would find a settled government,and a sense of belonging to a world-wide empire. He could drink and bathe in the waters of Bath, or if this were too far he would find vapour baths and toilet conveniences in every city. He would find all his own problems of currency, land tenure, public morals and decorum presented in a somewhat different aspect,but still in lively dispute. He would have the same sense of belonging to a society which was threatened, and to an imperial rule which had passed its prime. He would have the same gathering fears of some sudden onslaught by barbarian forces armed with equal weapons to those of the local legions or auxiliaries. He would still fear the people across the North Sea,
    and still be taught that his frontiers were upon the Rhine. The most marked changes that would confront him would be the speed of communications and the volume of printed and broadcast matter. He might find both distressing. But against these he could set chloroform, antiseptics, and a more scientific knowledge of hygiene. He would have longer history books to read, containing worse tales than those of Tacitus and Dio. Facilities would be afforded to him for seeing “regions Cæsar never knew”, from which he would probably return in sorrow and wonder. He would find himself hampered in every aspect of foreign travel, except that of speed. If he wished to journey to Rome, Constantinople, or Jerusalem, otherwise than by sea, a dozen frontiers would scrutinise his entry. He would be called upon to develop a large number of tribal and racial enmities to which he had formerly been a stranger. But the more he studied the accounts of what had happened since the third century the more satisfied he would be not to have been awakened at an earlier time."
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  67. Rome was chiefly a Mediterranean power. Places like Britain and Gaul were merely among Rome’s farthest outposts. But Gaul was a continental outpost adjacent to Italy and it also shares a southern coast ajdacent to the Tyrhennian Sea, while Britain was and is an island apart from the continent. It was thus natural that France now has more urban centers at Roman sites while insular Britain has fewer such (plus, the French language derived almost entirely from Latin, while English had its own source to which it later added further Germanic, plus Latin and Norman-French accretions; and Britain’s insularity guaranteed the survival of its Welsh, Scots, and Cornish Celtic dialects, while in France only coastal Brittany preserved its Celtic dialect, as well as a lingering bit of the Basque tongue in the Pyrenees).

    The Romans settled towns chiefly on France’s ample network of strategic navigable rivers or on then-viable land trade routes, while Britain was small enough to traverse afoot or on horseback, so the Romans laid down fewer riverside settlements there. Britain also lacked rivers navigable by larger (larger capacity) vessels and more than a few of Britain’s rivers are navigable only by small, shallow draft barges, forming yet another disincentive to Roman riverside settlement.

    Moreover, as a power on the continental landmass, France’s focus in trade, agriculture, culture and politics was on the continent and in the Mediterranean, while insular Britain looked naturally more to the sea for domestic sustenance and foreign trade.

    Also, up to the Age of Discovery, most European-Mediterranean-Baltic maritime commerce was coastal, which produced vessels suited to Mediterranean and Baltic coastal sailing but not to long deep sea voyage. Atop all that, until the Age of Discovery navigation aids necessary for voyages beyond coastal routes did not exist, and for the few that did exist, few coastal mariners were schooled in their application as they less often sailed out of sight of land or of familiar archipelagos.

    The sole pre-Age of Discovery Western outlier was Viking seafaring – the Vikings alone had vessels – the long ships – optimal for most sea state conditions, and Scandinavia’s northerly location put the Vikings nearer to Iceland, Greenland, and North America (look where the Great Circle Route across the Atlantic lies: outside of Europe and with its eastern terminus only at Britain’s northernmost ports). European powers other than the Viking kingdoms had vessels suited to plodding coastal commerce but not to blue water voyaging. It was only at the cusp of the Age of Discovery that European continental powers and Britain developed the sort of ship and the advances in sail rig and the introduction of the stern post rudder (such as in the caravel) suited to blue water navigation. Even then the Portuguese stuck often to coastal voyages, as in their voyages round the African coast to reach the lucrative Asian subcontinental trade – not least to circumvent Mohammedan pirates who plundered Mediterranean trade routes to the Middle East and took European voyagers into slavery.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  68. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Very interesting piece , iSteve. I have never thought of Rome as a maritime power (notwithstanding the famous Battle of Actium in 31 BC when Marc Antony met his fate at the hands of Octavian). Compared to Rome, Athens was possibly a more formidable naval power–and in keeping with that analogy, Rome might be best compared to Athens historic rival, Sparta, a land power of the first order (as the Persians found out at Thermopylae).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  69. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Simon in London
    Take a look at this fascinating work on the speed of Roman & Greek merchant shipping - http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Journals/TAPA/82/Speed_under_Sail_of_Ancient_Ships*.html

    Interesting, thanks for sharing.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  70. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Jack D
    I think the Roman occupation in Britain was more in the nature of a colonial occupation. You had a few Romanized locals in the cities (Londinium) and maybe a few Roman style estates out in the countryside but for most of the locals the Romans were just occupiers and when the legions pulled out it was as if they had never been there. The Roman language - mostly gone. Think Vietnam after the French leave. The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). The Roman temples, baths, etc. - all useless to the locals. Roman law - they don't really understand it or try to practice it anymore.

    Whereas in continental Europe the Romans had been there longer and Roman civilization was more integrated into the population to the extent that when the Romans leave the locals keep speaking a sort of Latin pidgin or creole and the local rulers even fancy themselves in continuity with the Romans ("Holy Roman Emperor"). Some of the local infrastructure gets maintained - they keep some of the Roman temples and make them into churches. They keep the gladiator games (the church won't let them fight other humans but they can still fight animals - bulls) . Etc. They keep the Roman legal system. Roman civilization is mostly gone because they don't have the technology to maintain it but not consciously rejected as a colonial occupation.

    Lyrics from that Sting song, All This Time, come to mind:

    Teachers told us
    The Romans built this place
    They built a wall and a temple on the edge of the
    Empire garrison town
    They lived and they died
    They prayed to their gods
    But the stone gods did not make a sound
    And their empire crumbled
    Till all that was left
    Were the stones the workmen found

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  71. 22pp22 says:

    The Celtic langauges only survived in Britain. I do no know why . Breton was introduced from Britain. Romanian is a Latin language and yet Dacia was Roman for only a short periof before being abandoned.

    I do not know why Latin should have taken over in Dacia and not in Britain. Britain was Roman for almost four hundred years, one hundred and thirty years more than the United Stsates has existed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AM

    I do not know why Latin should have taken over in Dacia and not in Britain. Britain was Roman for almost four hundred years, one hundred and thirty years more than the United Stsates has existed.
     
    Why hasn't Germany taken up speaking English yet? We have a significant military presence in Germany.

    Generally speaking, for a language to take hold, you need to colonize, not just conquer. Mothers teach their children their language. No intermarriage, no families -> no language changes.

    , @Anon
    It's worth noting that even though William the Conqueror and his offspring spoke French, and the Plantagenets spoke French along with their entire courts, the native language of English wasn't replaced like of the languages of so many other conquered peoples, e.g. the way the Romans spread Latin over a lot of Europe, and the Spanish and Portugese spread their languages over Mexico and South America.

    But the main bulk of the German tribes never adopted Latin despite having many cultural exchanges with the Romans, and their language relatives, the English, never adopted French despite having French-speaking overlords for few hundred years. I suspect there was either something in the language itself--maybe it was a better language for practical everyday life--or something in the mentality of the Germano-English that was unusually resistant. The English, Americans, and the Germans are not particularly known for their ability to learn other languages.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  72. Why so little influence? Maybe the Romans were good and Albion perfidious?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  73. 22pp22 says:

    The Celtic languages only survived in Britain. I do no know why. Breton was introduced from Britain. Romanian is a Latin language and yet Dacia was Roman for only a short period before being abandoned.

    I do not know why Latin should have taken over in Dacia and not in Britain. Britain was Roman for almost four hundred years, one hundred and thirty years more than the United States has existed.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  74. @anonymous
    The Romans knew how to build huge ships:

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

    http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/caligula-nemi-ships-1932/

    For a sense of size, check out this pic:

    "Italians viewing antique Emperor Caligula's Nemi ships, 1932"

    Sadly, destroyed in WWII.


    About the Nemi ships:


    "...Both ships featured technology thought to have been developed historically much later...

    ...Both ships had several hand-operated bilge pumps... ...oldest example of this type of bilge pump ever found...

    ...Piston pumps... supplied the two ships with hot and cold running water via lead pipes.

    ...caged bronze balls and is the earliest example of the thrust ball bearing...

    ... closely matched the design of the Admiralty pattern anchor re-invented in 1841..."

     

    Perhaps wood, in particular oak, was more expensive? Perhaps they didn't know how to make large quantities of sailcloth, or it was way too expensive? (Not enough sheep?) Many of those Roman ships seemed to be rowed barges, the sort of thing needed to move grain from North Africa to Italy or transport a lot of troops. Not the sort of thing for sailing on the rougher North Sea.

    About living on the coasts, malaria was a significant problem in many Mediterranean coastal area for a long time, including Italy. Presumably it wasn't such a problem on North Sea coasts.


    "Short History of Malaria and Its Eradication in Italy With Short Notes on the Fight Against the Infection in the Mediterranean Basin":


    "In Italy at the end of 19th Century, malaria cases amounted to 2 million with 15,000–20,000 deaths per year."

     

    Deforestation for shipbuilding was problem in both Italy and England at various points. Italy lost a lot of forests during the Punic Wars. I suspect in England forests tended to grow back (e.g., New Forest).

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "Deforestation for shipbuilding was problem in ... England": another of those preposterous historical myths. It just ain't so. Literary chaps, who don't know what they are talking about, repeat the tale as written by earlier literary chaps - literary chaps who haven't the first idea of how much work is involved in clearing broadleaf woodland in Britain; literary chaps who don't take the elementary precaution of checking the price of timber across the centuries; literary chaps who don't bother to check old estate maps, nor walk the ground. Nor, in modern times, bother to check the pollen records.

    Next you'll tell me that English and Scottish woodland was destroyed to feed the ironmaking industry and that Irish woodland was destroyed to make barrels for Guinness. Spare me! People believe the most absurd things and are capable of repeating them uncritically for centuries.
    , @Anonymous
    Actually, the British government/Royal Navy had a system in which 'select' oak trees from all around the country were 'earmarked' for naval shipbuilding use until the tree reached maturity.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  75. @Jack D
    I think the Roman occupation in Britain was more in the nature of a colonial occupation. You had a few Romanized locals in the cities (Londinium) and maybe a few Roman style estates out in the countryside but for most of the locals the Romans were just occupiers and when the legions pulled out it was as if they had never been there. The Roman language - mostly gone. Think Vietnam after the French leave. The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). The Roman temples, baths, etc. - all useless to the locals. Roman law - they don't really understand it or try to practice it anymore.

    Whereas in continental Europe the Romans had been there longer and Roman civilization was more integrated into the population to the extent that when the Romans leave the locals keep speaking a sort of Latin pidgin or creole and the local rulers even fancy themselves in continuity with the Romans ("Holy Roman Emperor"). Some of the local infrastructure gets maintained - they keep some of the Roman temples and make them into churches. They keep the gladiator games (the church won't let them fight other humans but they can still fight animals - bulls) . Etc. They keep the Roman legal system. Roman civilization is mostly gone because they don't have the technology to maintain it but not consciously rejected as a colonial occupation.

    Yes, the Roman occupation was colonial, and the Brits never were assimilated into it. Britain was invaded because the Romans had nothing else left to do. Their hearts were not in it, and there was no profit to it. When the Romans left the Brits had less than when they began because the old ways were lost and the new ways never took. This is a social experiment that has been often repeated in modern times.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  76. @Logan
    I'm not sure Italy ever had the danger from pirates that Britain faced during the Viking Age.

    Lots of Muslim pirates raiding Italy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cortes
    They got much further than Italy:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_of_Baltimore

    Pale skinned children fetched high prices at market.
    , @Anonymous
    No change there, then :-)
    , @Logan
    Quite right. In medieval and early modern times. However, the article compared the Roman Empire to medieval Britain.

    Muslim pirates never raided Rome! Well, not the western empire. The Eastern Roman Empire had a real problem with them.

    Republican Rome had a real problem with pirates for a while, till Pompey Magnus turned them into paste.

    In retrospect I should not have used the word "ever," but should instead have made it clear I was referencing classical Italy.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  77. res says:
    @Peripatetic commenter
    OT, but they are starting to realize that identity politics are a mistake, albeit, too late:

    https://www.salon.com/2017/09/02/time-to-give-up-on-identity-politics-its-dragging-the-progressive-agenda-down/

    OT, but they are starting to realize that identity politics are a mistake, albeit, too late:

    Don’t get too excited. Take a look at the top rated comment:

    Elise Musings · Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Now let me get this straight. Now that we have an out racist, homophobic, transphobic and sexist in the White House, privileged white people are still writing about the left focusing too much on race? Don’t blame the people trying to solve the problem. Blame the people perpetuating it. As a white person I choose not to pretend racism doesn’t exist so I can brush it under the rug and feel comfy. This article just more B.S. to make privileged people feel relaxed. The term “Identity politics” assumes that we should ignore issues of race, LGBTQ and womens’ issues in the hope that racism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism will just disappear if we don’t talk about it. Like maybe if we think really hard during meditation in Yoga class it will all evaperate and we will be saved. Absolutely ridiculous.

    And the second highest (LOL!):

    Ed Lamb

    Quit pretending “white working-class man” is not a political identity. The far right commits by far the worst sins of identitarianism.

    And more of the same…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson

    And more of the same…
     
    You have missed the point entirely. ID politics is not supposed to be mentioned, much less deprecated. That its deleterious effects have been written about is notable.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  78. okie2 says:

    the bodies of water explanation isnt it, i believe it is the same reason the US is a settler colony and latin america is a mexisto society.
    in LA the spaniards were thin on the ground but completly reworked the language , and a lot but not all of the culture, due to the power of patriarchy and some settler family, but many more half spanish bastards. The angles and saxons replaced the romanized celts whole (more maternal germanic dna in east anglia than celto-brittanic, the opposite in cornwall or northumbria) in the south and east. Those were the areas that were most romanized, like anglo settlers replaced indians in NA. On the continent, whether franks, visigoths in spain or vandals in north africa it was a thin veneer of conquerer males over a native romanized christian popuation that stayed in place. In the future latin america style, the norman conquest was this style of conquest and while it changed the culture greatly, the norman faded into the english matrix after a few centuries. the roman style occupation of Britan or the Spanish -Portuguese occupation of latin america is much richer for the adventurers and the natives back home, but the Anglo way creates stronger cultural ties and a stronger culture overall,
    the celtic fringe was evangelized but never conqured by romans and it took them centuries to re-evangelize the anglos after the conquest. the continental conquerers weren’t even pagans, mostly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Flip
    I've wondered about inbreeding in Mexico. There really weren't all that many Spaniards there, so Mexicans must share a lot of their paternal DNA with each other.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  79. @N-N
    Ahem: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/opinion/sunday/stephen-miller-immigration.html?mcubz=0

    Reads like a 12-year-old wrote it.

    Why are they never hot though?

    Reading the author’s Wikipedia entry, it appears she bills herself as a comedian.

    Reading her op-ed, I would never have guessed.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  80. @German_reader

    by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest
     
    That's not really true, Anglo-Saxon England in the first half of the 11th century was actually quite advanced in some ways compared to the continent. The administrative machinery based on shires was more efficient than that in the post-Carolingian successor states where royal power was quite weak and political power increasingly fragmented. And there was a flourishing literature in the vernacular (as well as its use for charters of all kinds). Culturally Anglo-Saxon England wasn't really more backwards than the continent, and indeed during the Carolingian era had sent such important figures as the missionary Willibrord-Bonifatius or Charlemagne's advisor Alcuin of York there.
    I agree though about late antiquity, in the 5th/6th centuries there really seems to have been a sharp break with the Romano-British past and massive discontinuity.

    Thanks for the response; I probably focus too much on military technology, where the English seemed well behind the Normans at Hastings.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  81. 22pp22 says:
    @dearieme
    "Driving a waggon across the country in 1300 would have been a slow and hellish experience." The landscape historian Oliver Rackham says that this is a myth. Have a look at his History of the Countryside - a marvellous work.

    I have tried it. I don’t think its a myth. In my childhood, I often helped people did their landrovers out of the mud.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  82. 22pp22 says:
    @Jake
    Celtic languages and Latin are at least double first cousins. Rather than there being a Latin/Romance family and a Celtic family, it makes more sense to label it one family: Italo-Celtic or Celto-Italic.

    French, like Spanish and Portuguese, grows not only out of Latin, but out of the interplay of Latin and native Celtic dialects.

    Germanic languages are an entirely different family.

    Your main point is correct. I just wanted to stress the way it is correct. Latinate 'replacing' Celtic is no more a huge change than French replacing Spanish. But any Germanic conquering and replacing any Italo-Celtic is a huge deal, a major change. As big as if Slavic replaced Germanic.

    And that goes for basic cultural patterns and attitudes as well as for language.

    I appreciate that Italo-Celtic were a sub-branch of Indo-European as are the Germanic languages, but they were already very different by the time of Caesar. Old Welsh and Latin do not have much more in common than any two of the othe European languages excepting Hungarian.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jake
    That is not correct.

    The way I had the point made to me was at a conference many years ago. The linguist speaker saw that some of the audience seemed unsure of what he was saying, and he slowed to make his point. He said he wanted us to imagine that there are 5 men living in what today we call northwestern France in the year 800AD. Each man speaks a different language as his first tongue. One is a speaker of a northern form of Gaulish Celtic. One a speaker of a central form of Gaulish Celtic. One a speaker of Breton Celtic (brought from Britain by Celts fleeing the Germanic onslaught). One a speaker of primitive French. And one a speaker of Latin.

    The linguist said that while none of those languages were truly mutually intelligible, their close ties could be seen in a large number of words. He said that example would be the word 'sing,' which for each of the 5 languages would be spelled 'cant' and pronounced (roughly) 'kahnt.' None of the five languages borrowed that word from any of the other. It came to each from the exact same source.

    Germanic languages have similar examples, but within the Germanic family and not with the Italo-Celtic group. Ditto Slavic languages within Slavic.

    By the way, Hungarian is NOT an Indo-European language. Hungarian is Uralic, like Finnish and Estonian.
    , @BB753
    Old Welsh as we know it was first written down in the Middle Ages. When Celts and Romans first met, in early republican times, their languages were very close in grammar and vocabulary, though not mutually intelligible. Thus making the transition from Celtic languages to Latin easier.
    , @Andrew
    This article discusses the linguistic closeness of Gaulish and Latin.

    http://www.orbilat.com/Encyclopaedia/G/Gaulish_language.html
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  83. 22pp22 says:
    @Peter Frost
    There were two Roman Britains: the Civil Zone and the Military Zone. The latter covered Cornwall, Wales, and the northwest of England. Roman influence was superficial there, and native social structures (family, clan, tribe) survived intact.

    In the Civil Zone, native British culture died out. There is good evidence that the population itself changed. The demographic impact of the Roman army was much greater there than elsewhere in the Roman Empire. By the second century, Britain had a garrison of ca. 50,000 men, which comprised between 10 and 12 percent of the entire imperial army. This was the heaviest density of troops in any part of the Empire. Veterans were settled on the land, intermarried with the local population, and created a new "propositional" society based not on ethnic identity but on adherence to Roman civilization.

    This can be seen in the disappearnce of the Celtic language.


    After A.D. 43, Latin advanced rapidly. No Celtic inscription occurs, I believe, on any monument of the Roman period in Britain, neither cut on stone nor scratched on tile or potsherd, and this fact is the more noteworthy because, as I shall point out below, Celtic inscriptions are not at all unknown in Gaul. […]

    The town site that we can best examine for our present purpose is Calleva or Silchester, ten miles south of Reading, which has been completely excavated with care and thoroughness. Here a few fairly complete inscriptions on stone have been discovered, and many fragments of others, which prove that the public language of the town was Latin. […]

    In the twenty years' excavation of the site, no Celtic inscription has emerged. Instead, we have proof that the lower classes wrote Latin for all sorts of purposes. Had they known Celtic well, it is hardly credible that they should not have sometimes written in that language, as the Gauls did across the Channel. A Gaulish potter of Roman date could scrawl his name and record, Sacrillos avot, 'Sacrillus potter', on the outside of a mould. No such scrawl has ever been found in Britain. The Gauls, again, could invent a special letter Eth to denote a special Celtic sound and keep it in Roman times. No such letter was used in Roman Britain, though it occurs on earlier British coins. This total absence of written Celtic cannot be a mere accident. (Haverfield, 1912, pp. 10-12)

     

    Haverfield, F. (1912) The Romanization of Roman Britain, Second Edition, Oxford at the Clarendon Press.

    There is still much debate about the fate of the Romano-British. What we know for certain can be summarized as follows:

    1. Population decline had begun well before the end of the Empire. Urbanization and social atomization had led to a situation where many adults postponed family formation or never married. Fertility rates were well below replacement. Roman writers often commented on this, and also on the depopulation of rural areas.

    2. The Anglo-Saxon "invasion" was not, at least not initially, an invasion. It began during Roman times and often involved people who joined the Roman army and who were invited to stay afterwards and settle on the land. In time, more and more Anglo-Saxons began to invite themselves.

    3. Population decline of the Romano-British accelerated with the Plague of Justinian, which especially affected urban areas in what used to be Roman Britain:


    The Romano-British may have been disproportionately affected because of trade contacts with Gaul and other factors,[23] such as British settlement patterns being more dispersive than English ones, which "could have served to facilitate plague transmission by the rat".[24] The differential effects may have been exaggerated. British sources were then more likely to report natural disasters than Saxon ones.[citation needed] In addition, "the evidence for artifact trade between the British and the English" implies significant interaction and "just minimal interaction would surely have involved a high risk of plague transmission".[24] However, scholars (like L. Lester in their Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541–750), as evidence that the plague damage done on the Sub-Roman Britons was greater than the one suffered by the Anglo-Saxons, believe that the sudden disappearance around 560 AD of the important Roman town of Calleva[25] was probably due to the Plague of Justinian, which later created a kind of curse on the city "damned" by the Anglo-Saxons.[26]
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_of_Justinian#cite_note-nev-24

    This was a big reason why the Anglo-Saxons avoided settling in Romano-British towns.

    4. The Romano-British were accustomed to living in a pacific society where only the State had the right to use violence. This social environment changed with the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons, among whom every young man had the right to use violence, and not only in self-defence. Many Romano-British fled to Brittany and the northwest Spain, not because they were expelled but because they could not adapt to this new social environment of frequent personal violence.

    Again, there is still much debate over the extent of population replacement/cultural disintegration in post-Roman Britain, but it was certainly much greater than in France, where we have good evidence of cultural continuity.

    I am Southern English. According to Ancestry.com, I have a pretty normal British profile.

    Europe 100%
    Great Britain 44%
    Ireland 37%
    Europe West 10%
    Scandinavia 7%

    I would have thought that, even allowing for Justinian’s plague, population replacement would show up in my DNA. Surely not all the soldiers came from Germany. I have no expertise in these things. Am I misinterpreting the result?

    Also Hadrian’s Wall clearly had a Latin-speaking garrison and they were there for a very long time. Some of their letters survive. That is how we know that the Latin world for Limey or POM is Britunculus. I would have though that the majority of soldiers would have been based in the military zone.

    Also, you say that the Latin-speaking Romano-British often fled to Brittany and Spain. How come Brittany speaks Welsh rather than some form of Romano-British?

    I am not trying to be a smart-arse. I am genuinely interested.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "How come Brittany speaks Welsh rather than some form of Romano-British?" Welsh is Romano-British.
    , @Grace Jones
    Mainly southwest + northern English.
    Europe 100%
    Great Britain 72%
    Europe West 10%
    Scandinavia 9%
    Ireland 5%
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  84. Flip says:
    @okie2
    the bodies of water explanation isnt it, i believe it is the same reason the US is a settler colony and latin america is a mexisto society.
    in LA the spaniards were thin on the ground but completly reworked the language , and a lot but not all of the culture, due to the power of patriarchy and some settler family, but many more half spanish bastards. The angles and saxons replaced the romanized celts whole (more maternal germanic dna in east anglia than celto-brittanic, the opposite in cornwall or northumbria) in the south and east. Those were the areas that were most romanized, like anglo settlers replaced indians in NA. On the continent, whether franks, visigoths in spain or vandals in north africa it was a thin veneer of conquerer males over a native romanized christian popuation that stayed in place. In the future latin america style, the norman conquest was this style of conquest and while it changed the culture greatly, the norman faded into the english matrix after a few centuries. the roman style occupation of Britan or the Spanish -Portuguese occupation of latin america is much richer for the adventurers and the natives back home, but the Anglo way creates stronger cultural ties and a stronger culture overall,
    the celtic fringe was evangelized but never conqured by romans and it took them centuries to re-evangelize the anglos after the conquest. the continental conquerers weren't even pagans, mostly.

    I’ve wondered about inbreeding in Mexico. There really weren’t all that many Spaniards there, so Mexicans must share a lot of their paternal DNA with each other.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  85. Philip Neal says: • Website

    Bruce Charlton is right. All but a few of the large cities were once villages which expanded in the Industrial Revolution, and plenty of second-rank cities like Chester have been there since Roman times. The Roman road network also persists. Until the motorway network was begun in the 1950s, most of the main routes across the country (the now secondary A-roads) were of Roman origin.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  86. dearieme says:
    @Pseudonymic Handle
    Romans relied on sea and river transport for transport of goods to a huge extent. That's why Pompey said "To navigate is necessary, to live is not."
    All the stuff that kept Rome fed and clothed was coming by sea in ships much larger than the ones used in the Middle Ages to Ostia and the artificial harbour of Portus and from there were moved by smaller boats, up the Tiber to Rome.
    The famed roman roads were meant first and foremost for military, but even the military relied on the Rhine and the Danube as avenues for both supply and movement. As late as the times of Justinian we see the garrisons along the Danube supplied with grains from Egypt and olive oil from the Greek islands.
    That's why the largest cities of the Roman Empire were sea ports on the Mediterranean (Alexandria, Constantinople, Carthage, Aquilea, Ephesus etc) or had easy river access to the Med (Rome, Antioch)

    The difference to the Middle Ages seems to be that Romans were never comfortable sailing the Atlantic. Their ships and navigation were made for the calmer waters and the shorter distances of the Mediterranean Sea. The only major roman city on the Atlantic seaboard was Gades (Cadiz) not far from the Gibraltar straits.
    There was not much of a reason to develop the skills and the technology required to sail the Atlantic when North Europe was not much of a trading partner and one could reach Britain easily from Italy by using the roman roads to supplement the Rhine and the Rhone. That was far harder in the Middle Ages not only because the roman roads were in disrepair and plagued by bandits but also because of political fragmentation. On the Rhine there was a castle every few miles where one had to pay custom duties.

    Cadiz was a Phoenician foundation. Maybe the Romans found it attractive not only for the trade on the Guadalquivir but also for their occasional jaunts down the Moroccan Atlantic coast and on to the Canaries.

    WKPD: “The Guadalquivir river is the only great navigable river in Spain. Currently it is navigable from the Gulf of Cádiz to Seville, but in Roman times it was navigable to Córdoba.”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  87. @Jack D
    I think the Roman occupation in Britain was more in the nature of a colonial occupation. You had a few Romanized locals in the cities (Londinium) and maybe a few Roman style estates out in the countryside but for most of the locals the Romans were just occupiers and when the legions pulled out it was as if they had never been there. The Roman language - mostly gone. Think Vietnam after the French leave. The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). The Roman temples, baths, etc. - all useless to the locals. Roman law - they don't really understand it or try to practice it anymore.

    Whereas in continental Europe the Romans had been there longer and Roman civilization was more integrated into the population to the extent that when the Romans leave the locals keep speaking a sort of Latin pidgin or creole and the local rulers even fancy themselves in continuity with the Romans ("Holy Roman Emperor"). Some of the local infrastructure gets maintained - they keep some of the Roman temples and make them into churches. They keep the gladiator games (the church won't let them fight other humans but they can still fight animals - bulls) . Etc. They keep the Roman legal system. Roman civilization is mostly gone because they don't have the technology to maintain it but not consciously rejected as a colonial occupation.

    “no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave”

    Not so, unless you have knowledge that Offa’s gold coins were actually overstamped dinars from elsewhere, most accounts I’ve seen say an Abbasid die was used to strike the coins in the UK. Some Muslims (and the BBC IIRC) have used the existence of the coins (bearing ‘God is great’ in Arabic) as evidence that Offa was a Muslim!

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

    “Many surviving coins from Offa’s reign carry elegant depictions of him, and the artistic quality of these images exceeds that of the contemporary Frankish coinage. Some of his coins carry images of his wife, Cynethryth – the only Anglo-Saxon queen ever depicted on a coin. Only three gold coins of Offa’s have survived: one is a copy of an Abbasid dinar of 774 and carries Arabic text on one side, with “Offa Rex” on the other. The gold coins are of uncertain use but may have been struck to be used as alms or for gifts to Rome.”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  88. @Bruce Charlton
    This is on the wrong lines. First the medieval church, then the industrial revolution (which started in England) redrew the landscape.

    Of England's *Medieval* cities there are only two (London and Newcastle upon Tyne, both merchant/ guild dominated ports - Newcastle sypplying London's coal, and the first coal exporting city in the world)) that have remained major cities until now (Bristol also, of you count the Late-medieval/ Early modern era).

    Other major medieval cities (ie cities with cathedrals) declined to being more like Towns (York, Carlisle, Lichfiled, Canterbury...) or even more like large villages (Ely, Wells...). The organisation of the Church of England reflects medieval important - the senior bishops are Canterbury, York, London and Durham (nowadays a town in size and importance). The mercantile cities of Newcastle and Bristol lacked cathedrals until relatively recently.

    It was the industrial revolution - from the late 1700s and especially during the 1800s, that caused the growth of most major English cities from tiny beginnings as villages or small towns - especially Birmingham and Manchester (both of which have claimed to be England's second city at different times), also Sheffield (the largest city in the North and East) and Leeds - none of which had cathedrals until relatively recently.

    I wonder if Cowen is really correct when he says that “the difference existed even back in the Middle Ages.” It seems to me that most of the old cathedral cities and county towns (which I assume were the big cities then) either have the -chester ending (or a variant thereof) or (like London itself or York) do not have the ending but nonetheless do have histories going back to Roman times.

    I think the Industrial Revolution is the key, not any earlier history. But I could be wrong.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  89. dearieme says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Deforestation for shipbuilding was problem in both Italy and England at various points. Italy lost a lot of forests during the Punic Wars. I suspect in England forests tended to grow back (e.g., New Forest).

    “Deforestation for shipbuilding was problem in … England”: another of those preposterous historical myths. It just ain’t so. Literary chaps, who don’t know what they are talking about, repeat the tale as written by earlier literary chaps – literary chaps who haven’t the first idea of how much work is involved in clearing broadleaf woodland in Britain; literary chaps who don’t take the elementary precaution of checking the price of timber across the centuries; literary chaps who don’t bother to check old estate maps, nor walk the ground. Nor, in modern times, bother to check the pollen records.

    Next you’ll tell me that English and Scottish woodland was destroyed to feed the ironmaking industry and that Irish woodland was destroyed to make barrels for Guinness. Spare me! People believe the most absurd things and are capable of repeating them uncritically for centuries.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  90. dearieme says:
    @22pp22
    I am Southern English. According to Ancestry.com, I have a pretty normal British profile.

    Europe 100%
    Great Britain 44%
    Ireland 37%
    Europe West 10%
    Scandinavia 7%

    I would have thought that, even allowing for Justinian's plague, population replacement would show up in my DNA. Surely not all the soldiers came from Germany. I have no expertise in these things. Am I misinterpreting the result?

    Also Hadrian's Wall clearly had a Latin-speaking garrison and they were there for a very long time. Some of their letters survive. That is how we know that the Latin world for Limey or POM is Britunculus. I would have though that the majority of soldiers would have been based in the military zone.

    Also, you say that the Latin-speaking Romano-British often fled to Brittany and Spain. How come Brittany speaks Welsh rather than some form of Romano-British?

    I am not trying to be a smart-arse. I am genuinely interested.

    “How come Brittany speaks Welsh rather than some form of Romano-British?” Welsh is Romano-British.

    Read More
    • Replies: @22pp22
    Romano-British was the form of Latin spoken in Britina, not Welsh.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Latin
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  91. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “The sole pre-Age of Discovery Western outlier was Viking seafaring – the Vikings alone had vessels – the long ships – optimal for most sea state conditions, and Scandinavia’s northerly location put the Vikings nearer to Iceland, Greenland, and North America (look where the Great Circle Route across the Atlantic lies: outside of Europe and with its eastern terminus only at Britain’s northernmost ports). European powers other than the Viking kingdoms had vessels suited to plodding coastal commerce but not to blue water voyaging.”

    Extract from old comment, March 4, 2017 at 10:41:

    Wool was as much a part of that life as the sea and the ships. The Vikings were great sailors and fearsome warriors, but they couldn’t have left port without wool. It provided the raw material for their clothes, their blankets, even the sails that harnessed the wind for their ships…

    …the ones the Vikings kept: northern European short-tailed sheep.

    …Outfitting a single warship… and its crew might have required the wool of 1,000 sheep or more.

    Textile archaeologist Jørgensen says the introduction of sails must have greatly increased the demand for wool and grazing land

    …by the mid-11th century, the Viking fleet… carried roughly one million square meters of sail, requiring the equivalent of all the wool produced in one year by about two million sheep

    “It’s actually more time-consuming to produce the textiles than to produce the boat,”…”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  92. BB753 says:
    @N-N
    Ahem: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/opinion/sunday/stephen-miller-immigration.html?mcubz=0

    Reads like a 12-year-old wrote it.

    Why are they never hot though?

    “Reads like a 12-year-old wrote it.”

    With a huge crush on bad boy altrighter Stephen Miller!

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  93. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    After reading this post, it definitely suggests that Mary Beard doesn't fully grasp the nature and non-lasting influence of the Roman Empire upon Britain. Superficial at best, and at worst non-existent within a couple centuries once the legions pulled out.

    Churchill would have disagreed.

    “If a native of Chester in Roman Britain could wake up to-day he would find laws which were the direct fulfilment of many of those he had known. He would find in every village temples and priests of the new creed which in his day was winning victories everywhere. Indeed the facilities for Christian worship would appear to him to be far in excess of the number of devotees. Not without pride would he notice that his children were compelled to learn Latin if they wished to enter the most famous universities. He might encounter some serious difficulties in the pronunciation. He would find in the public libraries many of the masterpieces of ancient literature, printed on uncommonly cheap paper and in great numbers. He would find a settled government,and a sense of belonging to a world-wide empire. He could drink and bathe in the waters of Bath, or if this were too far he would find vapour baths and toilet conveniences in every city. He would find all his own problems of currency, land tenure, public morals and decorum presented in a somewhat different aspect,but still in lively dispute. He would have the same sense of belonging to a society which was threatened, and to an imperial rule which had passed its prime. He would have the same gathering fears of some sudden onslaught by barbarian forces armed with equal weapons to those of the local legions or auxiliaries. He would still fear the people across the North Sea,
    and still be taught that his frontiers were upon the Rhine. The most marked changes that would confront him would be the speed of communications and the volume of printed and broadcast matter. He might find both distressing. But against these he could set chloroform, antiseptics, and a more scientific knowledge of hygiene. He would have longer history books to read, containing worse tales than those of Tacitus and Dio. Facilities would be afforded to him for seeing “regions Cæsar never knew”, from which he would probably return in sorrow and wonder. He would find himself hampered in every aspect of foreign travel, except that of speed. If he wished to journey to Rome, Constantinople, or Jerusalem, otherwise than by sea, a dozen frontiers would scrutinise his entry. He would be called upon to develop a large number of tribal and racial enmities to which he had formerly been a stranger. But the more he studied the accounts of what had happened since the third century the more satisfied he would be not to have been awakened at an earlier time.”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  94. AM says:
    @Iosue Andreas
    The Romans left in 410 AD and the Anglo-Saxons took over Celtic Britain in 449 AD, thus what influence the Romans had or could have had was lost.

    The Romans left in 410 AD and the Anglo-Saxons took over Celtic Britain in 449 AD, thus what influence the Romans had or could have had was lost.

    Apparently, most of the Latin based words in English are essentially badly pronounced French. The injection of Latin in English is was incoming from the French of the Normans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Logan
    Mostly correct, but some Latin got into English earlier as a consequence of Christianization.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  95. AM says:
    @22pp22
    The Celtic langauges only survived in Britain. I do no know why . Breton was introduced from Britain. Romanian is a Latin language and yet Dacia was Roman for only a short periof before being abandoned.

    I do not know why Latin should have taken over in Dacia and not in Britain. Britain was Roman for almost four hundred years, one hundred and thirty years more than the United Stsates has existed.

    I do not know why Latin should have taken over in Dacia and not in Britain. Britain was Roman for almost four hundred years, one hundred and thirty years more than the United Stsates has existed.

    Why hasn’t Germany taken up speaking English yet? We have a significant military presence in Germany.

    Generally speaking, for a language to take hold, you need to colonize, not just conquer. Mothers teach their children their language. No intermarriage, no families -> no language changes.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  96. Cortes says:
    @Jack D
    Cordoba in Spain also has a cathedral/mosque except that it went the other way - instead of putting a minaret on a church they stuck a cathedral into the middle of a giant mosque:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6c/Mezquita_de_C%C3%B3rdoba_desde_el_aire_%28C%C3%B3rdoba%2C_Espa%C3%B1a%29.jpg

    A couple of years ago I had the immense pleasure to see a group of Moslem tourists weeping at the Cathedral in Córdoba. Made my day.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  97. Jake says:
    @22pp22
    I appreciate that Italo-Celtic were a sub-branch of Indo-European as are the Germanic languages, but they were already very different by the time of Caesar. Old Welsh and Latin do not have much more in common than any two of the othe European languages excepting Hungarian.

    That is not correct.

    The way I had the point made to me was at a conference many years ago. The linguist speaker saw that some of the audience seemed unsure of what he was saying, and he slowed to make his point. He said he wanted us to imagine that there are 5 men living in what today we call northwestern France in the year 800AD. Each man speaks a different language as his first tongue. One is a speaker of a northern form of Gaulish Celtic. One a speaker of a central form of Gaulish Celtic. One a speaker of Breton Celtic (brought from Britain by Celts fleeing the Germanic onslaught). One a speaker of primitive French. And one a speaker of Latin.

    The linguist said that while none of those languages were truly mutually intelligible, their close ties could be seen in a large number of words. He said that example would be the word ‘sing,’ which for each of the 5 languages would be spelled ‘cant’ and pronounced (roughly) ‘kahnt.’ None of the five languages borrowed that word from any of the other. It came to each from the exact same source.

    Germanic languages have similar examples, but within the Germanic family and not with the Italo-Celtic group. Ditto Slavic languages within Slavic.

    By the way, Hungarian is NOT an Indo-European language. Hungarian is Uralic, like Finnish and Estonian.

    Read More
    • Replies: @22pp22
    I know that Hungarian is non-Indoeuropean as I said in my post.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  98. BB753 says:
    @22pp22
    I appreciate that Italo-Celtic were a sub-branch of Indo-European as are the Germanic languages, but they were already very different by the time of Caesar. Old Welsh and Latin do not have much more in common than any two of the othe European languages excepting Hungarian.

    Old Welsh as we know it was first written down in the Middle Ages. When Celts and Romans first met, in early republican times, their languages were very close in grammar and vocabulary, though not mutually intelligible. Thus making the transition from Celtic languages to Latin easier.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  99. Cortes says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Lots of Muslim pirates raiding Italy.

    They got much further than Italy:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_of_Baltimore

    Pale skinned children fetched high prices at market.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Logan
    I'll see your Ireland and raise it to Iceland.

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

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  100. J1234 says:

    Lots of cultures, such as the 20th Century Italians, had a hard time maintaining a landline system.

    Yep. Same in Ireland. When we were there in ’98, we were amazed by the high percentage of Dubliners with cell phones. Higher than anywhere I’d been in the US by that time.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  101. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Brian D'Amato
    In literature, as well, the British tradition remembers very little of Roman culture, perhaps only a few dim echoes in Mallory's 'Mort d' Arthur', very unlike the situation in France, which maintained some continuity.

    That the English consider Arthur a national hero is peculiar. This appears to have been the work of the Normans, who liked the Arthurian mythos very much.

    This was probably because William I had partial Breton ancestry, and so regarded himself as the true heir and successor of the ancient British kings – and the Saxon kings as usurpers. Praising Arthur (and deprecating rival English/Scandinavian heroes like Beowulf) was another way of legitimising Norman rule.

    All of this was turned up to 11 when a bona fide Welshman (Henry VII) became king of England.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  102. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Another extract of an earlier comment, March 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm GMT, comment 158:

    “Viking woollen square-sails and fabric cover factor”, Bill Cooke, Carol Christiansen, Lena Hammarlund, The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, (2002) 31.2: 202–210:

    “…In the 1060s… Roskilde Fjord… remains preserved the entire process of shipbuilding… down to the placing of the woollen luting and the insertion of each and every treenail… The dendro-date for its construction is 1042

    …It is now known that high cover factor woollen square-sails could beat at 66 degrees into the wind and most likely out-perform linen and hemp sails. Furthermore it has been proved conclusively that the process of smorring enables the properties of the wool sail to be improved and ‘trimmed’ during use…” …”

    Unlike later ships, the planks that made up the hulls in Viking ships formed a watertight vessel by overlapping the planks and using wool dipped in pine resin (tarheels?) as a caulk between them (luting). Watertight and flexible. No sheep, no Vikings, no further developments in long range sea voyages?”

    The quote in the earlier comment (185?) on wool and sails is from:

    “No Wool, No Vikings”: The fleece that launched 1,000 ships”, Claire Eamer, Hakai Magazine, February 23, 2016.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  103. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Simon in London
    I think (going mostly by Bryan Ward Perkins' book) that Roman Britain was the only part of the empire invaded by Germanics that suffered a complete civilisational collapse. In most of the western empire Germanic invasion resulted in only a partial collapse, with Arab Muslim invasion finishing the job in North Africa several centuries later. Since most of France never had a total collapse, one would expect to see city continuity. In Britain/England the Roman cities were abandoned and unused by the Saxon/Jute/Angle invaders. Civilisation started afresh centuries later; by Continental standards England was still very primitive at the time of the Norman conquest, which brought in the French medieval synthesis Romance/Frank civilisation to Britain. Until 1066 there was basically no Roman legacy in England & Britain outside the Church.

    I'm not sure if the total collapse in Roman Britain was due to larger numbers of Germanic invaders (seems doubtful considering the geography) or to the very extended lines of communication to core Europe. If you look at a map of the Roman empire you can see that Britain was a lot further from the metropole than the rest of the western Empire, and I think that's significant. Or it may be Roman civilisation was always lighter here, that most of the Romano-British were never fully civilised - we really have very little evidence either way though, I think, but the pre-Arthurian culture of at least western Britain does not seem to have been a civilised one.

    What civilized the British was mainly the centuries of trade and cultural exchange that took place after the pull out of the Roman Legions but before 1066. Everyone tends to assume ‘Yeah, the British were isolated from everything.’ No, they weren’t. There was plenty of coastal trade back and forth between the island and the continent. Britain’s culture simply changed and progressed in parallel with the progression inside the cultures on the continent.

    Some of the roots of medieval culture, especially the material part of it such as tools, weapons, and clothing, actually existed among the wandering barbarian tribes during the Roman times, and the later versions of these things were merely refinements of what they’d already had for centuries. What these tribes needed was territory of their own, plus enough population increase to produce an X quanitity of genius-level minds, and enough peace and quiet (in other words, being left alone by Roman armies) to start along their own path of cultural progression.

    This is boring part of social history that tends to get missed. The British had enough potential to make the transition to a full-fledged medieval culture on their own without needing any particular help from the Romans, and that’s exactly what they did.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  104. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @22pp22
    The Celtic langauges only survived in Britain. I do no know why . Breton was introduced from Britain. Romanian is a Latin language and yet Dacia was Roman for only a short periof before being abandoned.

    I do not know why Latin should have taken over in Dacia and not in Britain. Britain was Roman for almost four hundred years, one hundred and thirty years more than the United Stsates has existed.

    It’s worth noting that even though William the Conqueror and his offspring spoke French, and the Plantagenets spoke French along with their entire courts, the native language of English wasn’t replaced like of the languages of so many other conquered peoples, e.g. the way the Romans spread Latin over a lot of Europe, and the Spanish and Portugese spread their languages over Mexico and South America.

    But the main bulk of the German tribes never adopted Latin despite having many cultural exchanges with the Romans, and their language relatives, the English, never adopted French despite having French-speaking overlords for few hundred years. I suspect there was either something in the language itself–maybe it was a better language for practical everyday life–or something in the mentality of the Germano-English that was unusually resistant. The English, Americans, and the Germans are not particularly known for their ability to learn other languages.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    And in modern times, they really haven't needed to, the world has adapted to speaking English.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  105. Carneades says:
    @Iosue Andreas
    The Romans left in 410 AD and the Anglo-Saxons took over Celtic Britain in 449 AD, thus what influence the Romans had or could have had was lost.

    The Anglo-Saxons never completely took over Great Britain. The Cornish language wasn’t completely dead until the 18th century and they still speak Welsh in Wales and Norsk in the Shetlands. Those friggin’ road signs in Wales are crazy!

    Read More
    • Replies: @JerseyJeffersonian
    Some years back, I was traveling with my then wife in Western Scotland. We drove a bit up a hill above a town looking for a place to eat (and to drink some of that wonderful Scottish ale), and we found a lively pub full of locals. After a little bit, it became clear that they were all holding converse in Scots Gaelic. As Americans, we were well received, but I wonder if it would have been otherwise had we been English. You know, the ones who tried their best to stamp out Gaelic as a spoken language. Yet it still lived, and was obviously relished by these local people. This experience, and the warmth of those people still sticks in my memory. God bless them, and may their culture and language still flourish.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  106. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @anonymous
    "The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are", Nov 2014, Michael Pye. From the dust jacket:


    "This is a story of saints and spies, of fishermen and pirates, traders and marauders - and of how their wild and daring journeys across the North Sea built the world we know.

    When the Roman Empire retreated, northern Europe was a barbarian outpost at the very edge of everything. A thousand years later, it was the heart of global empires and the home of science, art, enlightenment and money. We owe this transformation to the tides and storms of the North Sea.

    The water was dangerous, but it was far easier than struggling over land; so it was the sea that brought people together. Boats carried food and raw materials, but also new ideas and information. The seafarers raided, ruined and killed, but they also settled and coupled. With them they brought new tastes and technologies - books, clothes, manners, paintings and machines.

    In this dazzling historical adventure, we return to a time that is largely forgotten and watch as the modern world is born. We see the spread of money and how it paved the way for science. We see how plague terrorised even the rich and transformed daily life for the poor. We watch as the climate changed and coastlines shifted, people adapted and towns flourished. We see the arrival of the first politicians, artists, lawyers: citizens. From Viking raiders to Mongol hordes, Frisian fishermen to Hanseatic hustlers, travelling as far west as America and as far east as Byzantium, we see how the life and traffic of the seas changed everything.

    Drawing on an astonishing breadth of learning and packed with human stories and revelations, this is the epic drama of how we came to be who we are."

     

    This books posits that the North Sea (and Baltic) was as important to the birth of the modern world as the Mediterranean to the ancient world.

    So it’s magic water instead of magic dirt, eh?

    *Snicker*

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  107. @Peripatetic commenter
    OT, but Democratic mayors indicted by the FBI:

    http://thegoldwater.com/news/5694-While-You-Were-Distracted-2-Democratic-Mayors-From-PA-Arrested-By-FBI-Today

    If we could just get more socialism this would be the norm and not the exception. Give all power to the socialist government. What could possibly go wrong?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  108. It seems to me that most of the old cathedral cities and county towns (which I assume were the big cities then) either have the -chester ending (or a variant thereof)

    Sort of. The ending -chester or -cester or -caster indicates that the place was originally a camp or garrison town, probably surrounded by a wall or rampart. Of course the word castle comes from the same root as castle, as does ‘castro’ in Spanish.

    The county towns were not necessarily all that big by modern standards in times of much smaller populations, but they usually served a population that lived within a day’s travel on foot as market towns, and were places where annual fairs and assizes were held, so centers of law enforcement and tax collection.

    If there was a cathedral, it was usually by far the largest and highest building in the area. No doubt the huge cathedrals served as a useful reminder that God was omnipotent and that his representatives such as the King and government officials appointed to ensure that his will was done on earth had his unreserved backing.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  109. @res

    OT, but they are starting to realize that identity politics are a mistake, albeit, too late:
     
    Don't get too excited. Take a look at the top rated comment:

    Elise Musings · Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Now let me get this straight. Now that we have an out racist, homophobic, transphobic and sexist in the White House, privileged white people are still writing about the left focusing too much on race? Don't blame the people trying to solve the problem. Blame the people perpetuating it. As a white person I choose not to pretend racism doesn't exist so I can brush it under the rug and feel comfy. This article just more B.S. to make privileged people feel relaxed. The term "Identity politics" assumes that we should ignore issues of race, LGBTQ and womens' issues in the hope that racism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism will just disappear if we don't talk about it. Like maybe if we think really hard during meditation in Yoga class it will all evaperate and we will be saved. Absolutely ridiculous.
     
    And the second highest (LOL!):

    Ed Lamb

    Quit pretending "white working-class man" is not a political identity. The far right commits by far the worst sins of identitarianism.

     

    And more of the same...

    And more of the same…

    You have missed the point entirely. ID politics is not supposed to be mentioned, much less deprecated. That its deleterious effects have been written about is notable.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  110. Andrew says:
    @22pp22
    I appreciate that Italo-Celtic were a sub-branch of Indo-European as are the Germanic languages, but they were already very different by the time of Caesar. Old Welsh and Latin do not have much more in common than any two of the othe European languages excepting Hungarian.

    This article discusses the linguistic closeness of Gaulish and Latin.

    http://www.orbilat.com/Encyclopaedia/G/Gaulish_language.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    This article discusses the linguistic closeness of Gaulish and Latin.
     
    I can't believe you had the Gaul to post that!
    , @22pp22
    Thank you for hte article. It was interesting.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  111. @Anon
    It's worth noting that even though William the Conqueror and his offspring spoke French, and the Plantagenets spoke French along with their entire courts, the native language of English wasn't replaced like of the languages of so many other conquered peoples, e.g. the way the Romans spread Latin over a lot of Europe, and the Spanish and Portugese spread their languages over Mexico and South America.

    But the main bulk of the German tribes never adopted Latin despite having many cultural exchanges with the Romans, and their language relatives, the English, never adopted French despite having French-speaking overlords for few hundred years. I suspect there was either something in the language itself--maybe it was a better language for practical everyday life--or something in the mentality of the Germano-English that was unusually resistant. The English, Americans, and the Germans are not particularly known for their ability to learn other languages.

    And in modern times, they really haven’t needed to, the world has adapted to speaking English.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  112. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “What civilized the British was mainly the centuries of trade and cultural exchange that took place after the pull out of the Roman Legions but before 1066.”

    North Sea Empire:

    “… Cnut the Great as king of England, Denmark, Norway and parts of what is now Sweden between 1016 and 1035. …

    “…Canute was, with the single exception of the Emperor, the most imposing ruler in Latin Christendom…

    …his position among his fellow-monarchs was truly imperial…

    …he held in his hands the destinies of two great regions: the British Isles and the Scandinavian peninsulas. His fleet all but controlled two important seas, the North and the Baltic. He had built an Empire.”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  113. Carneades says:
    @Art Deco
    Try an anthropological or sociological hypothesis concerning the nature of social relations between localities and between lineages in the British Isles. You have five discrete territories populated by Celts. Cornwall was absorbed by England (by the 9th c), Wales remained a collection of local chieftaincies until it was absorbed by England in the 13th century, and Ireland was in much the same condition until the English conquest was complete in 1603. Warlords managed by the 9th century (in Brittany) and the 11th (in Scotland) to assemble a territorial realm that covered the whole. The least fractious collection of Celts in the British isles took 6 centuries to accomplish what the Anglo-Saxons accomplished in 4 and change.

    All this suggests that Roman Britain had very little in the way of a political society which transcended the (crucially military) bureaucratic apparatus.

    Installing warlords to rule fractious and piratical peasants by force is hardly what should be characterized as “absorbed.” Cornish wasn’t thoroughly eliminated as the native tongue until the late 18th Century and they still speak Welsh in Wales. Eire was never truly conquered as its bloody history and current sovereignty attests to today. And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters.

    Read More
    • Agree: Hibernian
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters." British Westminster government - probably there ought to be an English parliament, but there isn't.
    , @Art Deco
    Installing warlords to rule fractious and piratical peasants by force is hardly what should be characterized as “absorbed.” Cornish wasn’t thoroughly eliminated as the native tongue until the late 18th Century and they still speak Welsh in Wales. Eire was never truly conquered as its bloody history and current sovereignty attests to today. And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters.

    Scottish particularism was politically inconsequential as recently as 40 years ago and Scots Gaelic is spoken only by a tiny population in the Shetland and Orkney Islands. And, yes, Ireland was successfully conquered and governed from London for over 300 years. Ireland was an integral part of the British state represented in Parliament and its secession from the United Kingdom wasn't generally foreseen even a decade before it happened.

    One of the other commenters quoted a lengthy excerpt from an early 20th century history which contended that the Celtic culture had largely disappeared in Roman Britain. You have to ask why it was that Celtic languages continued to be spoken (and have 300,000 native speakers in Wales right now) while no vernacular Romance language developed in either the Anglo-Saxon or Celtic territories in Britain. That thesis seems fishy.

    , @Hibernian
    Eire will never be conquered.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  114. @Pseudonymic Handle
    Romans relied on sea and river transport for transport of goods to a huge extent. That's why Pompey said "To navigate is necessary, to live is not."
    All the stuff that kept Rome fed and clothed was coming by sea in ships much larger than the ones used in the Middle Ages to Ostia and the artificial harbour of Portus and from there were moved by smaller boats, up the Tiber to Rome.
    The famed roman roads were meant first and foremost for military, but even the military relied on the Rhine and the Danube as avenues for both supply and movement. As late as the times of Justinian we see the garrisons along the Danube supplied with grains from Egypt and olive oil from the Greek islands.
    That's why the largest cities of the Roman Empire were sea ports on the Mediterranean (Alexandria, Constantinople, Carthage, Aquilea, Ephesus etc) or had easy river access to the Med (Rome, Antioch)

    The difference to the Middle Ages seems to be that Romans were never comfortable sailing the Atlantic. Their ships and navigation were made for the calmer waters and the shorter distances of the Mediterranean Sea. The only major roman city on the Atlantic seaboard was Gades (Cadiz) not far from the Gibraltar straits.
    There was not much of a reason to develop the skills and the technology required to sail the Atlantic when North Europe was not much of a trading partner and one could reach Britain easily from Italy by using the roman roads to supplement the Rhine and the Rhone. That was far harder in the Middle Ages not only because the roman roads were in disrepair and plagued by bandits but also because of political fragmentation. On the Rhine there was a castle every few miles where one had to pay custom duties.

    Romans did indeed sail the Atlantic. See

    http://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/10/world/rio-artifacts-may-indicate-roman-visit.html

    Haven’t seen much of this lately.

    Read More
    • Replies: @whoever
    Thanks for the link!

    Here are the last two grafs from "The Roman Amphora: Learning from Storage Jars" by Elizabeth Lyding Will, published in the Jan/Feb 2000 edition of Archaeology Odyssey:

    Just how far did the Romans go? Is there a Roman ship off the Azores, as some say? Are there thousands of Phoenician and Roman amphora fragments on Salt Island in the Cape Verdes, as reported by the underwater salvor Robert Marx? Is the "Rio Wreck," at the bottom of Guanabara Bay near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a Roman ship that in ancient times was blown off course?

    Twice a year London's Sunday Times phones me to ask if I know anything more about the Rio Wreck. The highly publicized amphoras Robert Marx found in the ship are in fact similar in shape to jars produced in kilns at Kouass, on the west coast of Morocco. The Rio jars look to be late versions of those jars, perhaps datable to the third century A.D. I have a large piece of one of the Rio jars, but no labs I have consulted have any clay similar in composition. So the edges of the earth for Rome, beyond India and Scotland and eastern Europe, remain shrouded in mystery.

    Bolding is mine.
    Pretty cool.

    , @Carneades
    Archeological evidence from Lapland, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland in the form identically worked ivory fishhooks, stone spearpoints etc. is fairly strong evidence of circumpolar technology difusion in the Neolithic.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  115. @Bruce Charlton
    This is on the wrong lines. First the medieval church, then the industrial revolution (which started in England) redrew the landscape.

    Of England's *Medieval* cities there are only two (London and Newcastle upon Tyne, both merchant/ guild dominated ports - Newcastle sypplying London's coal, and the first coal exporting city in the world)) that have remained major cities until now (Bristol also, of you count the Late-medieval/ Early modern era).

    Other major medieval cities (ie cities with cathedrals) declined to being more like Towns (York, Carlisle, Lichfiled, Canterbury...) or even more like large villages (Ely, Wells...). The organisation of the Church of England reflects medieval important - the senior bishops are Canterbury, York, London and Durham (nowadays a town in size and importance). The mercantile cities of Newcastle and Bristol lacked cathedrals until relatively recently.

    It was the industrial revolution - from the late 1700s and especially during the 1800s, that caused the growth of most major English cities from tiny beginnings as villages or small towns - especially Birmingham and Manchester (both of which have claimed to be England's second city at different times), also Sheffield (the largest city in the North and East) and Leeds - none of which had cathedrals until relatively recently.

    The organisation of the Church of England reflects medieval important – the senior bishops are Canterbury, York, London and Durham (nowadays a town in size and importance).

    The Diocese of Sodor and Man isn’t what it used to be, either.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  116. @Andrew
    This article discusses the linguistic closeness of Gaulish and Latin.

    http://www.orbilat.com/Encyclopaedia/G/Gaulish_language.html

    This article discusses the linguistic closeness of Gaulish and Latin.

    I can’t believe you had the Gaul to post that!

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  117. 22pp22 says:
    @Andrew
    This article discusses the linguistic closeness of Gaulish and Latin.

    http://www.orbilat.com/Encyclopaedia/G/Gaulish_language.html

    Thank you for hte article. It was interesting.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  118. @22pp22
    I am Southern English. According to Ancestry.com, I have a pretty normal British profile.

    Europe 100%
    Great Britain 44%
    Ireland 37%
    Europe West 10%
    Scandinavia 7%

    I would have thought that, even allowing for Justinian's plague, population replacement would show up in my DNA. Surely not all the soldiers came from Germany. I have no expertise in these things. Am I misinterpreting the result?

    Also Hadrian's Wall clearly had a Latin-speaking garrison and they were there for a very long time. Some of their letters survive. That is how we know that the Latin world for Limey or POM is Britunculus. I would have though that the majority of soldiers would have been based in the military zone.

    Also, you say that the Latin-speaking Romano-British often fled to Brittany and Spain. How come Brittany speaks Welsh rather than some form of Romano-British?

    I am not trying to be a smart-arse. I am genuinely interested.

    Mainly southwest + northern English.
    Europe 100%
    Great Britain 72%
    Europe West 10%
    Scandinavia 9%
    Ireland 5%

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  119. whoever says: • Website
    @TomSchmidt
    Romans did indeed sail the Atlantic. See
    http://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/10/world/rio-artifacts-may-indicate-roman-visit.html

    Haven't seen much of this lately.

    Thanks for the link!

    Here are the last two grafs from “The Roman Amphora: Learning from Storage Jars” by Elizabeth Lyding Will, published in the Jan/Feb 2000 edition of Archaeology Odyssey:

    Just how far did the Romans go? Is there a Roman ship off the Azores, as some say? Are there thousands of Phoenician and Roman amphora fragments on Salt Island in the Cape Verdes, as reported by the underwater salvor Robert Marx? Is the “Rio Wreck,” at the bottom of Guanabara Bay near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a Roman ship that in ancient times was blown off course?

    Twice a year London’s Sunday Times phones me to ask if I know anything more about the Rio Wreck. The highly publicized amphoras Robert Marx found in the ship are in fact similar in shape to jars produced in kilns at Kouass, on the west coast of Morocco. The Rio jars look to be late versions of those jars, perhaps datable to the third century A.D. I have a large piece of one of the Rio jars, but no labs I have consulted have any clay similar in composition. So the edges of the earth for Rome, beyond India and Scotland and eastern Europe, remain shrouded in mystery.

    Bolding is mine.
    Pretty cool.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    It's a statistical certainty that ancient Mediterranean peoples reached the Americas, because the currents off northwest Africa would have pushed storm-tossed ships naturally in that direction.

    The problem would have been coming back. Those same currents would have made it difficult to return the way they came. They would need proper sailing ships (not galleys), as well as knowledge of how to sail into the wind. I don't think ancient navigators had those skills or technology.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  120. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  121. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Steve Sailer
    Deforestation for shipbuilding was problem in both Italy and England at various points. Italy lost a lot of forests during the Punic Wars. I suspect in England forests tended to grow back (e.g., New Forest).

    Actually, the British government/Royal Navy had a system in which ‘select’ oak trees from all around the country were ‘earmarked’ for naval shipbuilding use until the tree reached maturity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Tree_Riot
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  122. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Steve Sailer
    Lots of Muslim pirates raiding Italy.

    No change there, then :-)

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  123. In “The fall of Rome and the end of civilization” by Ward Perkins I read, “Like wheel-turned pottery, coinage, once common, had effectively disappeared from fifth- and sixth-century Britain.”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  124. @Dmitry134564
    It's an interesting point you make in the first paragraph under the second quote, about the switch from landline to wireless telephone networks. Technological shifts can allow many things which in the past were necessary preconditions for development, to be wholly skipped.

    Probably the most notable example is the development of computers and the internet. It's opened the door for a country like Israel, with third-world transport infrastructure, and which is banned from trading with most of its neighbours (both of which would have been essential for economic development in the 19th century), to become a hi-tech super-power. The reason is you can do most work in the hi-tech sector on a $500 desktop PC, with no further need of capital investment, without needing to transport any physical product, and without even needing to trade with anyone geographically close to you.

    As a result, I would say that in the future even third-world countries in regions like Africa, if they would invest sufficiently in education, should be able to develop their own hi-tech sectors - without having to go through all the traditional stages of development or industrialization.

    Israel is not a “high-tech super-power” by any sane measure, please don’t be silly. (Maybe you are deliberately trolling?)

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  125. Graham says:
    @Jack D
    I think the Roman occupation in Britain was more in the nature of a colonial occupation. You had a few Romanized locals in the cities (Londinium) and maybe a few Roman style estates out in the countryside but for most of the locals the Romans were just occupiers and when the legions pulled out it was as if they had never been there. The Roman language - mostly gone. Think Vietnam after the French leave. The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). The Roman temples, baths, etc. - all useless to the locals. Roman law - they don't really understand it or try to practice it anymore.

    Whereas in continental Europe the Romans had been there longer and Roman civilization was more integrated into the population to the extent that when the Romans leave the locals keep speaking a sort of Latin pidgin or creole and the local rulers even fancy themselves in continuity with the Romans ("Holy Roman Emperor"). Some of the local infrastructure gets maintained - they keep some of the Roman temples and make them into churches. They keep the gladiator games (the church won't let them fight other humans but they can still fight animals - bulls) . Etc. They keep the Roman legal system. Roman civilization is mostly gone because they don't have the technology to maintain it but not consciously rejected as a colonial occupation.

    “The British stop using money and go back to barter (no gold coin is minted for another 1,000 years after the Romans leave). ”

    Not true. Gold coins were minted by the Anglo-Saxons about 200 years after the Romans left: in the ‘latter part of the 6th century’ according to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coinage_in_Anglo-Saxon_England). Silver coins were used throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, and vast numbers of them have been found.

    Barter was probably always used in ancient times as an alternative to the use of coins, but there’s no reason to suppose that when the Romans left, people suddenly stopped using the coins they had, which had an intrinsic value and didn’t require the backing of a central bank.

    Read More
    • Agree: Carneades
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  126. dearieme says:
    @Carneades
    Installing warlords to rule fractious and piratical peasants by force is hardly what should be characterized as "absorbed." Cornish wasn't thoroughly eliminated as the native tongue until the late 18th Century and they still speak Welsh in Wales. Eire was never truly conquered as its bloody history and current sovereignty attests to today. And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters.

    “And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters.” British Westminster government – probably there ought to be an English parliament, but there isn’t.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    probably there ought to be an English parliament, but there isn’t.

    You could get along passably with 5-8 regional assemblies for England. You've got ample population as well as sophisticated 2d tier settlements everywhere but East Anglia. Northwest (Manchester, Liverpool), Northeast (Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield), West Midlands (Birmingham), East Midlands (Nottingham), West Country (Bristol), Home Counties & c. (Brighton / Southampton). The thing is, were Scotland no longer Special, it's a reasonable wager they'd leave.
    , @Carneades
    Yes I know, it was my attempt at sarcasm. Parliament is British but the Tory party is English. The SNP constituencies that were formerly safe Labor seats are the reason that both David Cameron and now Theresa May achieved the premiership.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  127. Cortes says:

    One of the sources of Scots Law is the Jus Commune of the Roman Civil Law. A grounding in Civil Law was still a requirement for those who aspired to becoming advocates (Scots version of what barristers are in English Law – writing opinions on legal issues, practice in the higher civil and criminal courts and eventually, for some, service as judges) when I was a law student in the early 1990s. Even more broadly, the development of master-slave law in Rome over the centuries produced myriad examples in Justinian from which jurists in the developing industrial economy of the UK could mine for precedent in areas such as employment law and negligence through vicarious liability.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  128. JRB says: • Website
    @Peter Akuleyev
    It is not true at all that Roman culture in general was "land-oriented". Gaul was a backwater of the Roman Empire and hardly representative. The major cities of Spain and Portugal have pedigrees just as Roman as any French city, and are overwhelmingly ports - Lisbon, Valencia, Barcelona, Cartagena, Cadiz, etc. The interior remains underdeveloped to this day with the major exception of Madrid, which began as a centrally located Muslim military command post. The cultural and economic heart of the Roman Empire - North Africa, Greece, Anatolia, and Palestine - was overwhelmingly Mediterranean oriented. The important Roman towns in Germany and Central Europe (still major cities today - Cologne, Regensburg, Vienna, Budapest) were located on the Rhine and the Danube - navigable rivers.

    Cities in Roman Gaul were further from the ocean likely because most of France borders the Atlantic, and the Atlantic had very little to offer the Romans. The rest of the Roman world already had plenty of access to sea food and salt. What northern Gaul had in abundance was large expanses of well irrigated productive agricultural land and associated crafts. Investing in towns on the cold Atlantic coast to trade with underdeveloped Britains and maybe some weird Norse barbarians wouldn't have made a lot of economic sense when you could grow grain, have productive orchards and raise dairy cattle. And value added industries - textiles, wood working, cheese and butter, fermented liquors from fruit, etc. - were already well developed by the Gauls before the Romans showed up.

    Roughly from 50 A.D until 275. A.D the economy of what are now the loess (löss) areas of southern Belgium and northern France were mainly specialized in supplying food (f.i Cambrai area), clothing (f.i. Samarobriva – Amiens) and weapons for the soldiers that were manning the forts along the limes (roughly from Lugdunum Batavorum (Katwijk) to Mogontiacum (Mainz). Apparently they used wagons to transport at least a major part of the necessary military supplies north since there were a number of roads going north-south from Southern Belgium to the Rhine frontier. The Romans were also not keen on sailing in the Channel and the North Sea (storms, unpredictable winds, currents due to the tides in shallow waters, danger of Saxon pirates).

    Before the major agricultural innovations in the early middle ages agriculture was only economically viable (in the sense of giving a surplus) in loess areas, that therefore were of great strategic importance. All important loess area in Southern Belgium, Northern France and the Rhineland are not coincidentally south of the main highway from Boulogne to Cologne (until the current day for a large part still the language frontier between the Dutch and the French language, The Romans reconquered the area south of this highway in the latter part of the 3rd century, after having lost it after the big Frankish invasion after 275 A.D, that was made possible when the Rhine army of Germania Inferior did not return north after the battle of Chalons in 274), giving especially the western Franks (the later Merovingians) their lucky break to escape likely annihilation between Saxon pressure form the north (Saxon tribes just before this period conquered some of the most fertile loess areas in Middle Germany (some of the Bördes) from proto-Frankish tribes) and the Roman limes.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  129. @Jack D
    Supposedly Carlos (V) gave permission for the church to be built but when it was done he didn't like the way it turned out (not the 1st client to be dissatisfied , nor the last, though I don't know what he was expecting). But, when it was done and he saw it, he supposedly said "you have taken something unique in all the world and destroyed it to build something you can find in any city."

    Fortunately, they didn't really destroy most of the mosque - the original plan and structure is still surprisingly intact. They just stuck a church right in the middle of its vastness (it's big enough to hold 40,000 worshipers). Ironically, its protection by the Church is probably what helped to preserve it to this day, as with the Pantheon in Rome. It's true that the mosque as originally built would have lent itself more to secular re-use as a bazaar or whatever but it's always been the pattern for conquerors to take over the holy places of the conquered (which are presumed to have some special mojo) and rededicated them to the new gods. This goes back thousands of years.

    Actually the mosque at Cordoba was transformed into a Christian cathedral in 1236– by King Ferdinand III of Castile after he captured Cordoba from the Almohad Caliphate.

    And the Christians didn’t just plunk their religious paraphernalia into the mosque. They worked carefully for centuries to transform the mosque (built over the remains of a Visigothic Christian church that the Muslim invaders of 711 had destroyed) into a Christian structure, constructing a transept, for example, to give it a cruciform shape and adding Gothic stonework. It’s true that Charles V didn’t like the structure much, but he was speaking three centuries after the work began.

    The reason the Cathedral of Cordoba–or at least its interior–looks so much like a mosque today is that 19th- and 20th-century secular architects, encouraged by anticlerical local governments, deliberately stripped the building of its layers of Christian ornamentation in order to give the building a more “authentic” Islamic look. Romanticizing Muslims has been a preoccupation of secular intellectuals since the Enlightenment.

    But if you look at the Cathedral from the outside, it looks very much like..a Christian cathedral. As well it should, since it has been a Christian structure for many centuries more than it has been an Islamic one.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Romanticizing Muslims has been a preoccupation of secular intellectuals since the Enlightenment.

    It was not until the creation of modern Israel that secular historians somehow stopped romanticizing Muslims. Father of Netanyahu made some contribution in this revision process. One should ask the question what was the purpose of romanticizing Muslims in the first place?
    , @Anonymous

    Romanticizing Muslims has been a preoccupation of secular intellectuals since the Enlightenment.
     
    Because the Catholic church has historically been the main persecutor of Muslims in Europe.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  130. 22pp22 says:
    @dearieme
    "How come Brittany speaks Welsh rather than some form of Romano-British?" Welsh is Romano-British.

    Romano-British was the form of Latin spoken in Britina, not Welsh.

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

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  131. Art Deco says:
    @Carneades
    Installing warlords to rule fractious and piratical peasants by force is hardly what should be characterized as "absorbed." Cornish wasn't thoroughly eliminated as the native tongue until the late 18th Century and they still speak Welsh in Wales. Eire was never truly conquered as its bloody history and current sovereignty attests to today. And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters.

    Installing warlords to rule fractious and piratical peasants by force is hardly what should be characterized as “absorbed.” Cornish wasn’t thoroughly eliminated as the native tongue until the late 18th Century and they still speak Welsh in Wales. Eire was never truly conquered as its bloody history and current sovereignty attests to today. And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters.

    Scottish particularism was politically inconsequential as recently as 40 years ago and Scots Gaelic is spoken only by a tiny population in the Shetland and Orkney Islands. And, yes, Ireland was successfully conquered and governed from London for over 300 years. Ireland was an integral part of the British state represented in Parliament and its secession from the United Kingdom wasn’t generally foreseen even a decade before it happened.

    One of the other commenters quoted a lengthy excerpt from an early 20th century history which contended that the Celtic culture had largely disappeared in Roman Britain. You have to ask why it was that Celtic languages continued to be spoken (and have 300,000 native speakers in Wales right now) while no vernacular Romance language developed in either the Anglo-Saxon or Celtic territories in Britain. That thesis seems fishy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted

    Scots Gaelic is spoken only by a tiny population in the Shetland and Orkney Islands.
     
    Art, you mean the Western Isles, and the Outer ones at that. The Northern Isles went Pictish (Brythonic) > Brythonic-Gaelic calques or even creole late on (7th-8th AD? with tantalizing monumental inscription suggestions of an Old Norse (Christianized!) introgression very late on) > totally Vikangzed by other, very un-Christian, Norsemen. Exterminated, according to Brian Smith. Replaced by Norn till C18th, Scots-English ve-e-ry gradually supplanting it from C15th.
    , @Hibernian
    "And, yes, Ireland was successfully conquered and governed from London for over 300 years. Ireland was an integral part of the British state represented in Parliament and its secession from the United Kingdom wasn’t generally foreseen even a decade before it happened."

    The Downton Abbey version of Irish history.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  132. Art Deco says:
    @dearieme
    "And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters." British Westminster government - probably there ought to be an English parliament, but there isn't.

    probably there ought to be an English parliament, but there isn’t.

    You could get along passably with 5-8 regional assemblies for England. You’ve got ample population as well as sophisticated 2d tier settlements everywhere but East Anglia. Northwest (Manchester, Liverpool), Northeast (Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield), West Midlands (Birmingham), East Midlands (Nottingham), West Country (Bristol), Home Counties & c. (Brighton / Southampton). The thing is, were Scotland no longer Special, it’s a reasonable wager they’d leave.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
    Scotland already has its own implicit internal secession baked in, along the Highland Boundary Fault, and the very North of England has more in common with the neighboring Scottish hill country over the Border, they could easily fall back into their bad old ways as the Marcher Lands vs. the rest of Britain, north and south.
    , @Almost Missouri
    If it would stop the immivasion, it might be worth it.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  133. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @whoever
    Thanks for the link!

    Here are the last two grafs from "The Roman Amphora: Learning from Storage Jars" by Elizabeth Lyding Will, published in the Jan/Feb 2000 edition of Archaeology Odyssey:

    Just how far did the Romans go? Is there a Roman ship off the Azores, as some say? Are there thousands of Phoenician and Roman amphora fragments on Salt Island in the Cape Verdes, as reported by the underwater salvor Robert Marx? Is the "Rio Wreck," at the bottom of Guanabara Bay near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a Roman ship that in ancient times was blown off course?

    Twice a year London's Sunday Times phones me to ask if I know anything more about the Rio Wreck. The highly publicized amphoras Robert Marx found in the ship are in fact similar in shape to jars produced in kilns at Kouass, on the west coast of Morocco. The Rio jars look to be late versions of those jars, perhaps datable to the third century A.D. I have a large piece of one of the Rio jars, but no labs I have consulted have any clay similar in composition. So the edges of the earth for Rome, beyond India and Scotland and eastern Europe, remain shrouded in mystery.

    Bolding is mine.
    Pretty cool.

    It’s a statistical certainty that ancient Mediterranean peoples reached the Americas, because the currents off northwest Africa would have pushed storm-tossed ships naturally in that direction.

    The problem would have been coming back. Those same currents would have made it difficult to return the way they came. They would need proper sailing ships (not galleys), as well as knowledge of how to sail into the wind. I don’t think ancient navigators had those skills or technology.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  134. Art Deco says:
    @Dmitry134564
    It's an interesting point you make in the first paragraph under the second quote, about the switch from landline to wireless telephone networks. Technological shifts can allow many things which in the past were necessary preconditions for development, to be wholly skipped.

    Probably the most notable example is the development of computers and the internet. It's opened the door for a country like Israel, with third-world transport infrastructure, and which is banned from trading with most of its neighbours (both of which would have been essential for economic development in the 19th century), to become a hi-tech super-power. The reason is you can do most work in the hi-tech sector on a $500 desktop PC, with no further need of capital investment, without needing to transport any physical product, and without even needing to trade with anyone geographically close to you.

    As a result, I would say that in the future even third-world countries in regions like Africa, if they would invest sufficiently in education, should be able to develop their own hi-tech sectors - without having to go through all the traditional stages of development or industrialization.

    Israel has over 50-odd years gradually improved its relative position vis a vis other occidental countries, but its standard of living even in 1960 bore more resemblance to Europe than to the surrounding Arab countries.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  135. So the issue has become why did England not develop a Latinate language like French or Spanish that is directly descended from Latin? Modern Italian and Spanish are so similar that they are almost mutually intelligible at times. Mama mia!

    And the answer is clearly that it was superseded by Germanic languages used by Anglo-Saxons and, in the northern part of the country, Vikings, which gradually evolved from Old English, which is a kind of German, into Middle English, then modern English after the Normans joined in, bringing many French words and bastardized Latin words.

    There are also a number of linguistic laws known to specialists, such as Grimms Law, which show that the German word ‘fisch’ became English ‘fish’, whereas Latin ‘pisces’ becomes Spanish ‘pesces’ or French ‘poisson’. But it is all good, and we still have words like ‘piscine’ and ‘pescatorial’ in English if we want to use them.

    In fact one of the reasons why English has such à large vocab is that we have so many words in both Germanic and Latinate forms to indicate shades of meaning. For example we have hounds (from German Hund = dog) , but we also have what the police call ‘canines’ from the Latin ‘canis’, not to mention regular dogs, whose linguistic derivation is a mystery. We have cats, just like German ‘Katze’ or Spanish ‘gato’, but we also have ‘felines’ like Felix, the Latin cat, and Germanic ‘pussy-cat’ too.

    English, as a recognizable language to modern readers evolved roughly around the time of Chaucer b. 1343 or a little before. Chaucer established the vernacular English as a written language at a time when the predominant literary languages were French and Latin, and Latin was the official language of the Church.

    After that, there was no looking back.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cortes
    Shame that the survival of Welsh kind of fucks up your theory.

    And. Hey!

    My wife's sister in law from west Wales explained to me the links between Brythonic Celtic and Goidelic Celtic and the Italic languages.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  136. Logan says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Lots of Muslim pirates raiding Italy.

    Quite right. In medieval and early modern times. However, the article compared the Roman Empire to medieval Britain.

    Muslim pirates never raided Rome! Well, not the western empire. The Eastern Roman Empire had a real problem with them.

    Republican Rome had a real problem with pirates for a while, till Pompey Magnus turned them into paste.

    In retrospect I should not have used the word “ever,” but should instead have made it clear I was referencing classical Italy.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  137. Logan says:
    @AM

    The Romans left in 410 AD and the Anglo-Saxons took over Celtic Britain in 449 AD, thus what influence the Romans had or could have had was lost.
     
    Apparently, most of the Latin based words in English are essentially badly pronounced French. The injection of Latin in English is was incoming from the French of the Normans.

    Mostly correct, but some Latin got into English earlier as a consequence of Christianization.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  138. Chester the capital of Cheshire (Chester-shire) still retains Roman work at the base of its walls. The local stone is utter dross and they needed constant rebuilding and patching for at least a thousand years. Leicestershire’s admin centre (Ratae Corieltauvorum>Caer Lerion>Leicester) has some fairly high-status Roman remains in it but doesn’t seem to have been all that impressive, although it definitely had urban aspects. Dorchester (Dorset[-shire]) has a neolithic henge converted to a small amphitheatre (like Stonehenge, it’s a lot tighter and smaller than photographers care to make it look) when it was called Durnovaria. Bits of the town walls, the aqueduct, hypocausts and mosaic floors turn up occasionally.
    There’s more continuity than appears at first glance. OK the newly-minted Cymri and then the invading English may not have had much use for urban living, but the eternal round of farming life needed safe, defensible central places to exchange goods and services and store any surplus (e.g. wool fleeces and textiles) at least temporarily, particularly if the rural microvillages (all those trefs, tyddyns, tuns and hams) couldn’t afford to engage their own smiths, tanners and other craftsmen. And the the whole world should be taxed, no matter who was in charge. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. Then the local warlord (ethnicity variable) and/or his stewards tooled round the towns, trousering the assembled tithes. Safer than wandering off into the boonies with a treasure-laden column to collect a cheese-round, a cask of ale and a side of bacon from each hillbilly homestead. Armies march on peasants’ stomachs, not their own.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  139. Logan says:
    @Cortes
    They got much further than Italy:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_of_Baltimore

    Pale skinned children fetched high prices at market.

    I’ll see your Ireland and raise it to Iceland.

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

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cortes
    Thanks.

    Live and learn.

    I believe that one redhead captured in Ireland pre puberty ended up by dominating the harem into which she was inducted.

    In one of the later Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian has a couple of children saved from Algeria during the Napoleonic period.

    If memory serves, there were also regular raids in SW England.
    , @Logan
    Correct. Muslim raiders made it into the outskirts of Rome and had ourposts in the Alps.There was a time there when Europe was afflicted by Vikings raiding from the North, Magyars from the East, and Muslims from the South. The areas they raided all overlapped.

    Which brings up the interesting idea of Magyars, Viking and Arabs bumping into each other during raids.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  140. @Art Deco
    probably there ought to be an English parliament, but there isn’t.

    You could get along passably with 5-8 regional assemblies for England. You've got ample population as well as sophisticated 2d tier settlements everywhere but East Anglia. Northwest (Manchester, Liverpool), Northeast (Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield), West Midlands (Birmingham), East Midlands (Nottingham), West Country (Bristol), Home Counties & c. (Brighton / Southampton). The thing is, were Scotland no longer Special, it's a reasonable wager they'd leave.

    Scotland already has its own implicit internal secession baked in, along the Highland Boundary Fault, and the very North of England has more in common with the neighboring Scottish hill country over the Border, they could easily fall back into their bad old ways as the Marcher Lands vs. the rest of Britain, north and south.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  141. Jack D says:
    @Dmitry134564
    It's an interesting point you make in the first paragraph under the second quote, about the switch from landline to wireless telephone networks. Technological shifts can allow many things which in the past were necessary preconditions for development, to be wholly skipped.

    Probably the most notable example is the development of computers and the internet. It's opened the door for a country like Israel, with third-world transport infrastructure, and which is banned from trading with most of its neighbours (both of which would have been essential for economic development in the 19th century), to become a hi-tech super-power. The reason is you can do most work in the hi-tech sector on a $500 desktop PC, with no further need of capital investment, without needing to transport any physical product, and without even needing to trade with anyone geographically close to you.

    As a result, I would say that in the future even third-world countries in regions like Africa, if they would invest sufficiently in education, should be able to develop their own hi-tech sectors - without having to go through all the traditional stages of development or industrialization.

    Yes, Africa can become a high tech superpower like Israel. All they need is a bunch of PC (and also for the power to stay on). There’s no difference whatsoever between Africans and Israelis so this could surely happen. All they need is a little more education and the Gap will surely close any day now….

    It takes a special kind of stupidity and willful blindness to believe this.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  142. hyperbola says:
    @NickG
    Nowhere in Britain is further than 70 miles from the Sea.

    This no doubt was part of the serendipitous mix of of circumstances that made for a great maritime nation, contributing to giving it the wherewithal to create the largest Empire the world has seen as well as being the wellspring of the Industrial Revoltuion.

    Others include, but are not limited to... being an island, stable borders, the genetic pre-dispositions of it's people, Magna Carta, primogeniture, Henry 8ths conversion of the country to Protestantism - with the free thought explosion this catalysed and a relatively mild climate for such Northern latitudes - thanks to the Gulf Stream.

    Forget the Magna Carta and its silly “rights for aristocrats”.

    The first modern democracy in Europe had a parliament and president elected by universal suffrage about 300 years before the Magna Carta. The Republic of Venice also had some other “regulations” that we might do well to reinstate. (1) All politicians and government functionaries are forbidden to specak to private interests except in open, public session of parliament, (2) the penalty for corruption is death, ….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    I like number (1) (no speaking to private interests except in public fora), but how do you define and enforce that? Any conversation not in a public forum is potentially with a "private interest". And since any private conversation is by definition private, how do you know that it happened? Seems like it might be an invitation to a million honeypot traps with much lower legal threshold (mere conversation) and much higher stakes (death).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  143. @Art Deco
    Installing warlords to rule fractious and piratical peasants by force is hardly what should be characterized as “absorbed.” Cornish wasn’t thoroughly eliminated as the native tongue until the late 18th Century and they still speak Welsh in Wales. Eire was never truly conquered as its bloody history and current sovereignty attests to today. And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters.

    Scottish particularism was politically inconsequential as recently as 40 years ago and Scots Gaelic is spoken only by a tiny population in the Shetland and Orkney Islands. And, yes, Ireland was successfully conquered and governed from London for over 300 years. Ireland was an integral part of the British state represented in Parliament and its secession from the United Kingdom wasn't generally foreseen even a decade before it happened.

    One of the other commenters quoted a lengthy excerpt from an early 20th century history which contended that the Celtic culture had largely disappeared in Roman Britain. You have to ask why it was that Celtic languages continued to be spoken (and have 300,000 native speakers in Wales right now) while no vernacular Romance language developed in either the Anglo-Saxon or Celtic territories in Britain. That thesis seems fishy.

    Scots Gaelic is spoken only by a tiny population in the Shetland and Orkney Islands.

    Art, you mean the Western Isles, and the Outer ones at that. The Northern Isles went Pictish (Brythonic) > Brythonic-Gaelic calques or even creole late on (7th-8th AD? with tantalizing monumental inscription suggestions of an Old Norse (Christianized!) introgression very late on) > totally Vikangzed by other, very un-Christian, Norsemen. Exterminated, according to Brian Smith. Replaced by Norn till C18th, Scots-English ve-e-ry gradually supplanting it from C15th.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cortes
    What a load of expletive deleted.


    The Northern Isles of Scotland have been mainly Norwegian for about 700 years.

    People from the Western Isles of Scotland were known as Gall-Gaels in Ireland because they were mixtures of Irish and Vikings and were used as mercenaries (gallowglasses - channel your Shakespeare - or preferably "Scots Mercenary Forces In Ireland by Professor McNeill) and some Irish names like O'Donnell derive from the nickname of a Hebridean warlord called Somerled "ruler of the World".

    Donald = Vladimir btw.

    :)

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  144. The Republic of Venice also had some other “regulations” that we might do well to reinstate. (1) All politicians and government functionaries are forbidden to specak to private interests except in open, public session of parliament,

    Actually Florida has this law or something pretty similar. The Florida Government in the Sunshine Law decrees that all meetings that include two or more government officials who serve on the same board or committee must be open to the public, although not actually outdoors or in daylight as the name of the Act seems to imply.

    Like Venice of old, Florida also has many canals, is prone to flooding, and has bankers who demand their pound of flesh.

    This law occasionally creates problems when elected officials become enamored of each other and are theoretically expected to live stream their intimate moments, but they are usually OK as long as they promise not to discuss public business while on the job. Yeah, right!

    Also this law does not apply to federal agencies in Florida, so, for example, the President can come to Florida and be sure that his golf scores will be kept confidential.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  145. 22pp22 says:
    @Jake
    That is not correct.

    The way I had the point made to me was at a conference many years ago. The linguist speaker saw that some of the audience seemed unsure of what he was saying, and he slowed to make his point. He said he wanted us to imagine that there are 5 men living in what today we call northwestern France in the year 800AD. Each man speaks a different language as his first tongue. One is a speaker of a northern form of Gaulish Celtic. One a speaker of a central form of Gaulish Celtic. One a speaker of Breton Celtic (brought from Britain by Celts fleeing the Germanic onslaught). One a speaker of primitive French. And one a speaker of Latin.

    The linguist said that while none of those languages were truly mutually intelligible, their close ties could be seen in a large number of words. He said that example would be the word 'sing,' which for each of the 5 languages would be spelled 'cant' and pronounced (roughly) 'kahnt.' None of the five languages borrowed that word from any of the other. It came to each from the exact same source.

    Germanic languages have similar examples, but within the Germanic family and not with the Italo-Celtic group. Ditto Slavic languages within Slavic.

    By the way, Hungarian is NOT an Indo-European language. Hungarian is Uralic, like Finnish and Estonian.

    I know that Hungarian is non-Indoeuropean as I said in my post.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  146. Carneades says:
    @dearieme
    "And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters." British Westminster government - probably there ought to be an English parliament, but there isn't.

    Yes I know, it was my attempt at sarcasm. Parliament is British but the Tory party is English. The SNP constituencies that were formerly safe Labor seats are the reason that both David Cameron and now Theresa May achieved the premiership.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  147. Carneades says:
    @TomSchmidt
    Romans did indeed sail the Atlantic. See
    http://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/10/world/rio-artifacts-may-indicate-roman-visit.html

    Haven't seen much of this lately.

    Archeological evidence from Lapland, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland in the form identically worked ivory fishhooks, stone spearpoints etc. is fairly strong evidence of circumpolar technology difusion in the Neolithic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Not Raul
    There has probably been a fair amount of traffic across the Bering Strait during the last 10,000 years. The Bering Strait isn't much of a barrier, and there are similar cultures on both sides.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  148. @Dmitry134564
    It's an interesting point you make in the first paragraph under the second quote, about the switch from landline to wireless telephone networks. Technological shifts can allow many things which in the past were necessary preconditions for development, to be wholly skipped.

    Probably the most notable example is the development of computers and the internet. It's opened the door for a country like Israel, with third-world transport infrastructure, and which is banned from trading with most of its neighbours (both of which would have been essential for economic development in the 19th century), to become a hi-tech super-power. The reason is you can do most work in the hi-tech sector on a $500 desktop PC, with no further need of capital investment, without needing to transport any physical product, and without even needing to trade with anyone geographically close to you.

    As a result, I would say that in the future even third-world countries in regions like Africa, if they would invest sufficiently in education, should be able to develop their own hi-tech sectors - without having to go through all the traditional stages of development or industrialization.

    In 1960, populated as it was from among the wiliest and most resilient in Europe (i.e. they survived where others were killed) and the most prescient in the Middle East (i.e. they left after selling their property before the Arab states began confiscating without compensation), Israel was among the highest income states in the region, with a GDP per capita similar to Europe. What probably sapped its growth rates – going forward – was a combination of European-style socialism along with massive, but necessary, expenditures on defense, relative to its total GDP. Likud’s efforts at dismantling bits of the socialist and regulatory state appear to have paid off, such that Israel’s output per capita has once again caught up with Europe. It had a period, from the 60′s through the 70′s, in the doldrums, presumably related to the existential wars in 1967 and 1973, punctuated by an upsurge in Palestinian terrorist activity, starting with the PLO’s founding in 1964.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  149. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Anonym
    Sailing round the Southwest of the country means negotiating the treacherous coasts of Cornwall and the Scillies. They deny it now, but unscupulous Cornishmen exploited this fact and tried to deceive seamen so that they could be forced onto the rocks and robbed. People in the Cotswolds would never do anything like that.

    Interesting. The accent of Cornwall is basically the "pirate" accent of film.

    https://youtu.be/tcMJWZBzYjU

    You will notice mention of Penzance in the video. Interesting.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pirates_of_Penzance

    Cornish is actually a Celtic language and as such is related to Welsh and Irish/Scots-Gaelic. Fascinating stuff!

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  150. Cortes says:
    @Logan
    I'll see your Ireland and raise it to Iceland.

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

    Thanks.

    Live and learn.

    I believe that one redhead captured in Ireland pre puberty ended up by dominating the harem into which she was inducted.

    In one of the later Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O’Brian has a couple of children saved from Algeria during the Napoleonic period.

    If memory serves, there were also regular raids in SW England.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  151. Not Raul says:
    @Carneades
    Archeological evidence from Lapland, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland in the form identically worked ivory fishhooks, stone spearpoints etc. is fairly strong evidence of circumpolar technology difusion in the Neolithic.

    There has probably been a fair amount of traffic across the Bering Strait during the last 10,000 years. The Bering Strait isn’t much of a barrier, and there are similar cultures on both sides.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  152. Cortes says:
    @Jonathan Mason
    So the issue has become why did England not develop a Latinate language like French or Spanish that is directly descended from Latin? Modern Italian and Spanish are so similar that they are almost mutually intelligible at times. Mama mia!

    And the answer is clearly that it was superseded by Germanic languages used by Anglo-Saxons and, in the northern part of the country, Vikings, which gradually evolved from Old English, which is a kind of German, into Middle English, then modern English after the Normans joined in, bringing many French words and bastardized Latin words.

    There are also a number of linguistic laws known to specialists, such as Grimms Law, which show that the German word 'fisch' became English 'fish', whereas Latin 'pisces' becomes Spanish 'pesces' or French 'poisson'. But it is all good, and we still have words like 'piscine' and 'pescatorial' in English if we want to use them.

    In fact one of the reasons why English has such à large vocab is that we have so many words in both Germanic and Latinate forms to indicate shades of meaning. For example we have hounds (from German Hund = dog) , but we also have what the police call 'canines' from the Latin 'canis', not to mention regular dogs, whose linguistic derivation is a mystery. We have cats, just like German 'Katze' or Spanish 'gato', but we also have 'felines' like Felix, the Latin cat, and Germanic 'pussy-cat' too.

    English, as a recognizable language to modern readers evolved roughly around the time of Chaucer b. 1343 or a little before. Chaucer established the vernacular English as a written language at a time when the predominant literary languages were French and Latin, and Latin was the official language of the Church.

    After that, there was no looking back.

    Shame that the survival of Welsh kind of fucks up your theory.

    And. Hey!

    My wife’s sister in law from west Wales explained to me the links between Brythonic Celtic and Goidelic Celtic and the Italic languages.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  153. Nick Diaz says:

    The British Islands were one of the last conquests of the Romans, and Britannia was one of the first provinces they lost. Also, Britain, although a part of Europe, is separated from it by the ocean. Because of that, the logistics of supplying the legions with supplies was more complicated. Furthermore, although southern Britain, like France, has a temperate maritime climate, the British Islands are not as rich in terms of fertile soil as the latter. In those days, wealth was mostly related to agriculture and mining. Therefore, the geology of the soil was of paramount importance in determining the value of a territory.

    Basically, Britain was not very valuable to the Romans. The reason why Roman influence is lesser there is simply because the Romans invested less in developing the land in Roman ways.

    To the Romans, their two most valuable provinces were the two Gauls, Gallia Cisalpina and Gallia Longobarda(long-haired Gaul, refering to the fact that Celtic Gauls, including the males, had long hair). The stretch of land that goes from central Italy from the Apennines passing by Cahors in France to southern Normandy was considered by the Romans to be the “crowning jewel” of their empire. It was the land they invested the most in, and fought the hardest to keep as part of their empire. The reason is the combination of fantastic weather with amazing soil.

    There are two climates that are considered ideal for human habitation: a mediterranean and temperate oceanic climate. These two climates are rare throughout Earth. The westernmost tip of Eurasia is the only place on Earth where these two climates predominate. Even most of Germany has milder winters and cooler and drier summers than most of North America. Western Europeans don’t have much land, but the little they have is of unusually high quality and amazing weather.

    The reason why Rome influenced less Britain is the same reason why Europe in general has influenced less Britain than they did to each other: there is 25 miles of water between the British Islands and Europe. Britain is, at the same time, part of Europe and not a part of it. It is a part of it because it is so close, but at the same time it is, geographically, a separate entity. In fact, the Brits and their cultural descendants, such as Americans and Australians, often refer to Europe as a foreign land. The Brits refer to Europeans as “continentals”, and their cultural lackeys, the Americans, follow suit. You can also see this in that there is an “English” breakfast, and then a “continental” breakfast. Diners and hotels until this day make this distinction, which began around the XVIIth century..

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    I think you are getting Gauls and Lombards mixed up. AFAIK, there never was a place called Gallia Longobarda. Regno Longobardo (the Kingdom of the Lombards) came much later Also, the provinces were like children - they were each (maybe with the exception of the red-headed stepchild Britain) equally precious though the closer you got to Rome the more precious they were. I don't know why Cisalpina in particular would be #1 in their book other than it was closer to Rome than most other provinces. Cisalpina corresponds roughly to modern Northern Italy. From 42BC onward it was no longer a province at all but merged into the mother country. It certainly didn't go as far as Normandy - cis alpina means "on this (the Roman) side of the Alps"

    Western Europe does have some good land but as you say not much of it. Rome lived mainly off of grain imported from Egypt and North Africa (I assume the climate was a little wetter back then). That was their "Kansas". Having a fine Mediterranean climate is great for growing grapes and olives and vegetables but to sustain a large population what you need most is raw acreage that is good enough to grow grain.

    England has great weather for growing sheep. In the Middle Ages, the wool industry was a major source of wealth. The Romans valued Britannia for its mineral resources such as its tin mines.

    A "continental" breakfast is not a meal at all, just some bread and coffee.
    , @Logan
    "To the Romans, their two most valuable provinces were the two Gauls, Gallia Cisalpina and Gallia Longobarda(long-haired Gaul, refering to the fact that Celtic Gauls, including the males, had long hair)."

    There were originally three Gauls, not two: Gallia Cisalpina (this side of the Alps), mostly the Po Valley, Gallia Transalpina (the other side of the Alps), and Gallia Comata, the rest of Gaul.

    Gallia Cisalpina was conquered by the Romans in the 220s BC and gradually assimilated into Roman/Italian society. In 43 BC it was simply made part of Italy and was no longer ruled as a "foreign province."

    Gallia Transalpina was conquered 100 years later in 121 so Rome could get better communications with its Spanish provinces. It was basically what is now Provence.

    Gallia Comata was conquered by J. Caesar. "Comata" means long-haired. "Longobarda" means long-bearded.

    During the time of the Empire there was originally two Gauls, Transalpina and Comata. But both were constantly being broken up and recombined to make various provinces over the four centuries of imperial rule, and the names for the provinces changed frequently.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  154. Hibernian says:
    @Carneades
    Installing warlords to rule fractious and piratical peasants by force is hardly what should be characterized as "absorbed." Cornish wasn't thoroughly eliminated as the native tongue until the late 18th Century and they still speak Welsh in Wales. Eire was never truly conquered as its bloody history and current sovereignty attests to today. And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters.

    Eire will never be conquered.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  155. Hibernian says:
    @Art Deco
    Installing warlords to rule fractious and piratical peasants by force is hardly what should be characterized as “absorbed.” Cornish wasn’t thoroughly eliminated as the native tongue until the late 18th Century and they still speak Welsh in Wales. Eire was never truly conquered as its bloody history and current sovereignty attests to today. And Scotland has a strong independence movement which has accomplished home rule from the English Westminster government in many matters.

    Scottish particularism was politically inconsequential as recently as 40 years ago and Scots Gaelic is spoken only by a tiny population in the Shetland and Orkney Islands. And, yes, Ireland was successfully conquered and governed from London for over 300 years. Ireland was an integral part of the British state represented in Parliament and its secession from the United Kingdom wasn't generally foreseen even a decade before it happened.

    One of the other commenters quoted a lengthy excerpt from an early 20th century history which contended that the Celtic culture had largely disappeared in Roman Britain. You have to ask why it was that Celtic languages continued to be spoken (and have 300,000 native speakers in Wales right now) while no vernacular Romance language developed in either the Anglo-Saxon or Celtic territories in Britain. That thesis seems fishy.

    “And, yes, Ireland was successfully conquered and governed from London for over 300 years. Ireland was an integral part of the British state represented in Parliament and its secession from the United Kingdom wasn’t generally foreseen even a decade before it happened.”

    The Downton Abbey version of Irish history.

    Read More
    • LOL: Carneades
    • Replies: @Cortes
    Add my LOL.

    Nearly as good as "dark haired Irish are descendants of survivors of the Spanish Armada."

    (NB: The Symposium on The Spanish Armada edited by Professor Gallagher in 1988 has a beautiful translation of the account of a REAL survivor of the Armada).

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  156. Logan says:
    @Logan
    I'll see your Ireland and raise it to Iceland.

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

    Correct. Muslim raiders made it into the outskirts of Rome and had ourposts in the Alps.There was a time there when Europe was afflicted by Vikings raiding from the North, Magyars from the East, and Muslims from the South. The areas they raided all overlapped.

    Which brings up the interesting idea of Magyars, Viking and Arabs bumping into each other during raids.

    Read More
    • Replies: @TB
    "I have seen the Rus as they came on their merchant journeys and encamped by the Itil. I have never seen more perfect physical specimens, tall as date palms, blond and ruddy; they wear neither tunics nor kaftans, but the men wear a garment which covers one side of the body and leaves a hand free. Each man has an axe, a sword, and a knife, and keeps each by him at all times. Each woman wears on either breast a box of iron, silver, copper, or gold; the value of the box indicates the wealth of the husband. Each box has a ring from which depends a knife. The women wear neck-rings of gold and silver. Their most prized ornaments are green glass beads. They string them as necklaces for their women."
    Ibn Fadlan, on the Rus merchants at Itil, 922.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  157. Andrew says:

    Still surprised how little play Stephen Oppenheimer’s suggestion that Saxon English was a pre-Roman language in Britain gets in the debate on why Rome didn’t leave an impression in England.

    Recounting the evidence again: Belgian tribes present in both Belgium and SE England; Romans like Tacitus and Caesar comments on the obvious relationship and racial proximity of the Belgians to the English based on their common appearance.

    Old English’s closest relation, Old Frisian, was originally spoken from Bruges to the Cimbrian Peninsula, exactly opposite most of Saxony in England.

    Roman military leader of SE England was the “Comes Litoris Saxonici” – “Count of the Saxon Shore”; i.e. the Romans already called the coastline of Essex, Sussex, and Wessex ‘The Saxon Shore” a couple hundred years before the supposed Saxon invasion.

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

    It’s notable the adjacent leaders of the military fortifications in Gaul are named for the regions they are in: Dux Belgicae Secundae and Dux Tractus Amoricani et Nervicani.

    The Irish and Welsh languages refer to the English as Saxons (Sasana/Sasanach), not Angles/English.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  158. utu says:
    @Charlotte Allen
    Actually the mosque at Cordoba was transformed into a Christian cathedral in 1236-- by King Ferdinand III of Castile after he captured Cordoba from the Almohad Caliphate.

    And the Christians didn't just plunk their religious paraphernalia into the mosque. They worked carefully for centuries to transform the mosque (built over the remains of a Visigothic Christian church that the Muslim invaders of 711 had destroyed) into a Christian structure, constructing a transept, for example, to give it a cruciform shape and adding Gothic stonework. It's true that Charles V didn't like the structure much, but he was speaking three centuries after the work began.

    The reason the Cathedral of Cordoba--or at least its interior--looks so much like a mosque today is that 19th- and 20th-century secular architects, encouraged by anticlerical local governments, deliberately stripped the building of its layers of Christian ornamentation in order to give the building a more "authentic" Islamic look. Romanticizing Muslims has been a preoccupation of secular intellectuals since the Enlightenment.

    But if you look at the Cathedral from the outside, it looks very much like..a Christian cathedral. As well it should, since it has been a Christian structure for many centuries more than it has been an Islamic one.

    Romanticizing Muslims has been a preoccupation of secular intellectuals since the Enlightenment.

    It was not until the creation of modern Israel that secular historians somehow stopped romanticizing Muslims. Father of Netanyahu made some contribution in this revision process. One should ask the question what was the purpose of romanticizing Muslims in the first place?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Charlotte Allen
    You seem to be confusing "secular intellectuals" with "Jooz."

    Unfortunately for you, no Jews among the Enlightenment crowed of philosophes, who were mostly interested in finding handy sticks with which to beat the Catholic Church. Muslims were among the sticks.

    And believe me, romanticizing Muslims continues unabated among secular intellectuals to this very day. Read Yale professor Maria Rosa Menocal's Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain for some real wet kisses bestowed on Islam.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  159. TB says:
    @Logan
    Correct. Muslim raiders made it into the outskirts of Rome and had ourposts in the Alps.There was a time there when Europe was afflicted by Vikings raiding from the North, Magyars from the East, and Muslims from the South. The areas they raided all overlapped.

    Which brings up the interesting idea of Magyars, Viking and Arabs bumping into each other during raids.

    “I have seen the Rus as they came on their merchant journeys and encamped by the Itil. I have never seen more perfect physical specimens, tall as date palms, blond and ruddy; they wear neither tunics nor kaftans, but the men wear a garment which covers one side of the body and leaves a hand free. Each man has an axe, a sword, and a knife, and keeps each by him at all times. Each woman wears on either breast a box of iron, silver, copper, or gold; the value of the box indicates the wealth of the husband. Each box has a ring from which depends a knife. The women wear neck-rings of gold and silver. Their most prized ornaments are green glass beads. They string them as necklaces for their women.”
    Ibn Fadlan, on the Rus merchants at Itil, 922.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Opinionator
    Were the Rus Vikings or Magyars?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  160. Logan says:

    Interesting. But that of course is in Khazaris on the lower Volga.

    I was thinking more of all three meeting up somewhere like central France.

    The Magyar raids have really fallen down the memory hole,, but they got as far as central Spain and southern Italy, which was hit by all three groups at verious times.

    https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/muslim-and-magyar-raids-in-western-europe-during-the-ninth-and-tenth-centuries/

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  161. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Charlotte Allen
    Actually the mosque at Cordoba was transformed into a Christian cathedral in 1236-- by King Ferdinand III of Castile after he captured Cordoba from the Almohad Caliphate.

    And the Christians didn't just plunk their religious paraphernalia into the mosque. They worked carefully for centuries to transform the mosque (built over the remains of a Visigothic Christian church that the Muslim invaders of 711 had destroyed) into a Christian structure, constructing a transept, for example, to give it a cruciform shape and adding Gothic stonework. It's true that Charles V didn't like the structure much, but he was speaking three centuries after the work began.

    The reason the Cathedral of Cordoba--or at least its interior--looks so much like a mosque today is that 19th- and 20th-century secular architects, encouraged by anticlerical local governments, deliberately stripped the building of its layers of Christian ornamentation in order to give the building a more "authentic" Islamic look. Romanticizing Muslims has been a preoccupation of secular intellectuals since the Enlightenment.

    But if you look at the Cathedral from the outside, it looks very much like..a Christian cathedral. As well it should, since it has been a Christian structure for many centuries more than it has been an Islamic one.

    Romanticizing Muslims has been a preoccupation of secular intellectuals since the Enlightenment.

    Because the Catholic church has historically been the main persecutor of Muslims in Europe.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Charlotte Allen
    Actually it was more like fighting Muslim armies.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  162. @utu
    Romanticizing Muslims has been a preoccupation of secular intellectuals since the Enlightenment.

    It was not until the creation of modern Israel that secular historians somehow stopped romanticizing Muslims. Father of Netanyahu made some contribution in this revision process. One should ask the question what was the purpose of romanticizing Muslims in the first place?

    You seem to be confusing “secular intellectuals” with “Jooz.”

    Unfortunately for you, no Jews among the Enlightenment crowed of philosophes, who were mostly interested in finding handy sticks with which to beat the Catholic Church. Muslims were among the sticks.

    And believe me, romanticizing Muslims continues unabated among secular intellectuals to this very day. Read Yale professor Maria Rosa Menocal’s Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain for some real wet kisses bestowed on Islam.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cortes
    The wet dream of the Muslim influx can be seen best in Granada.

    No visit should be complete without a stroll through the Albaicin.

    A saddening experience.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  163. @Anonymous

    Romanticizing Muslims has been a preoccupation of secular intellectuals since the Enlightenment.
     
    Because the Catholic church has historically been the main persecutor of Muslims in Europe.

    Actually it was more like fighting Muslim armies.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  164. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Slightly OT, but I highly recommend the latest Hardcore History podcast, “The Celtic Holocaust”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  165. jim jones says:

    It is the policy of the EU, as stated in the Barcelona Declaration, to respect Islam:

    http://balder.org/avisartikler/Barcelona-Declaration-Euro-Mediterranean-English.php

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  166. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Anonymous
    Actually, the British government/Royal Navy had a system in which 'select' oak trees from all around the country were 'earmarked' for naval shipbuilding use until the tree reached maturity.
    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  167. Jack D says:
    @Nick Diaz
    The British Islands were one of the last conquests of the Romans, and Britannia was one of the first provinces they lost. Also, Britain, although a part of Europe, is separated from it by the ocean. Because of that, the logistics of supplying the legions with supplies was more complicated. Furthermore, although southern Britain, like France, has a temperate maritime climate, the British Islands are not as rich in terms of fertile soil as the latter. In those days, wealth was mostly related to agriculture and mining. Therefore, the geology of the soil was of paramount importance in determining the value of a territory.

    Basically, Britain was not very valuable to the Romans. The reason why Roman influence is lesser there is simply because the Romans invested less in developing the land in Roman ways.

    To the Romans, their two most valuable provinces were the two Gauls, Gallia Cisalpina and Gallia Longobarda(long-haired Gaul, refering to the fact that Celtic Gauls, including the males, had long hair). The stretch of land that goes from central Italy from the Apennines passing by Cahors in France to southern Normandy was considered by the Romans to be the "crowning jewel" of their empire. It was the land they invested the most in, and fought the hardest to keep as part of their empire. The reason is the combination of fantastic weather with amazing soil.

    There are two climates that are considered ideal for human habitation: a mediterranean and temperate oceanic climate. These two climates are rare throughout Earth. The westernmost tip of Eurasia is the only place on Earth where these two climates predominate. Even most of Germany has milder winters and cooler and drier summers than most of North America. Western Europeans don't have much land, but the little they have is of unusually high quality and amazing weather.

    The reason why Rome influenced less Britain is the same reason why Europe in general has influenced less Britain than they did to each other: there is 25 miles of water between the British Islands and Europe. Britain is, at the same time, part of Europe and not a part of it. It is a part of it because it is so close, but at the same time it is, geographically, a separate entity. In fact, the Brits and their cultural descendants, such as Americans and Australians, often refer to Europe as a foreign land. The Brits refer to Europeans as "continentals", and their cultural lackeys, the Americans, follow suit. You can also see this in that there is an "English" breakfast, and then a "continental" breakfast. Diners and hotels until this day make this distinction, which began around the XVIIth century..

    I think you are getting Gauls and Lombards mixed up. AFAIK, there never was a place called Gallia Longobarda. Regno Longobardo (the Kingdom of the Lombards) came much later Also, the provinces were like children – they were each (maybe with the exception of the red-headed stepchild Britain) equally precious though the closer you got to Rome the more precious they were. I don’t know why Cisalpina in particular would be #1 in their book other than it was closer to Rome than most other provinces. Cisalpina corresponds roughly to modern Northern Italy. From 42BC onward it was no longer a province at all but merged into the mother country. It certainly didn’t go as far as Normandy – cis alpina means “on this (the Roman) side of the Alps”

    Western Europe does have some good land but as you say not much of it. Rome lived mainly off of grain imported from Egypt and North Africa (I assume the climate was a little wetter back then). That was their “Kansas”. Having a fine Mediterranean climate is great for growing grapes and olives and vegetables but to sustain a large population what you need most is raw acreage that is good enough to grow grain.

    England has great weather for growing sheep. In the Middle Ages, the wool industry was a major source of wealth. The Romans valued Britannia for its mineral resources such as its tin mines.

    A “continental” breakfast is not a meal at all, just some bread and coffee.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Logan
    The eastern Roman Empire was always wealthier than the west. One of the reasons Constantine moved the capital to Byzantium.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  168. Cortes says:
    @Hibernian
    "And, yes, Ireland was successfully conquered and governed from London for over 300 years. Ireland was an integral part of the British state represented in Parliament and its secession from the United Kingdom wasn’t generally foreseen even a decade before it happened."

    The Downton Abbey version of Irish history.

    Add my LOL.

    Nearly as good as “dark haired Irish are descendants of survivors of the Spanish Armada.”

    (NB: The Symposium on The Spanish Armada edited by Professor Gallagher in 1988 has a beautiful translation of the account of a REAL survivor of the Armada).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  169. Cortes says:
    @Charlotte Allen
    You seem to be confusing "secular intellectuals" with "Jooz."

    Unfortunately for you, no Jews among the Enlightenment crowed of philosophes, who were mostly interested in finding handy sticks with which to beat the Catholic Church. Muslims were among the sticks.

    And believe me, romanticizing Muslims continues unabated among secular intellectuals to this very day. Read Yale professor Maria Rosa Menocal's Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain for some real wet kisses bestowed on Islam.

    The wet dream of the Muslim influx can be seen best in Granada.

    No visit should be complete without a stroll through the Albaicin.

    A saddening experience.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  170. @Logan
    I'm not sure Italy ever had the danger from pirates that Britain faced during the Viking Age.

    From Robert C. Davis; Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters:

    Italy was among the most thoroughly ravaged areas in the Mediterranean basin. Lying as it did on the frontline of the two battling empires, Italy was known as ‘the Eye of Christendom’…Especially in areas close to some of the main corsair bases (western Sicily is just 200 kilometers from Tunis) slave taking rapidly burgeoned into a full-scale industry, with a disastrous impact that was apparent at the time and for centuries to come. Those who worked on coastal farms, even 10 or 20 miles from the sea, were unsafe from the raiders — harvesters, vine tenders, and olive growers were all regularly surprised while at their labors and carried off. Workers in the salt pans were often at risk, as were woodcutters and any others of the unprotected poor who traveled or worked along the coasts: indigents like Rosa Antonia Monte, who called herself ‘the poorest of the poor in the city of Barletta [in Puglia],’ and who was surprised together with 42 others, including her two daughters, while out gleaning after the harvest, 4 miles outside of town. Monasteries close to the shore also made easy targets for the corsairs.

    More at

    http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2009/05/europeans-as-victims-of-colonialism.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Logan
    Quite right. Did not mean to say medieval and early modern Italy didn't have a major problem with Muslim pirates. I was actually speaking of classical Italy, which of course had no Muslim pirates, though pirates were at various times a big problem. But still nothing like the very near conquest of England by the Vikings.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  171. @Carneades
    The Anglo-Saxons never completely took over Great Britain. The Cornish language wasn't completely dead until the 18th century and they still speak Welsh in Wales and Norsk in the Shetlands. Those friggin' road signs in Wales are crazy!

    Some years back, I was traveling with my then wife in Western Scotland. We drove a bit up a hill above a town looking for a place to eat (and to drink some of that wonderful Scottish ale), and we found a lively pub full of locals. After a little bit, it became clear that they were all holding converse in Scots Gaelic. As Americans, we were well received, but I wonder if it would have been otherwise had we been English. You know, the ones who tried their best to stamp out Gaelic as a spoken language. Yet it still lived, and was obviously relished by these local people. This experience, and the warmth of those people still sticks in my memory. God bless them, and may their culture and language still flourish.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  172. Cortes says:
    @Expletive Deleted

    Scots Gaelic is spoken only by a tiny population in the Shetland and Orkney Islands.
     
    Art, you mean the Western Isles, and the Outer ones at that. The Northern Isles went Pictish (Brythonic) > Brythonic-Gaelic calques or even creole late on (7th-8th AD? with tantalizing monumental inscription suggestions of an Old Norse (Christianized!) introgression very late on) > totally Vikangzed by other, very un-Christian, Norsemen. Exterminated, according to Brian Smith. Replaced by Norn till C18th, Scots-English ve-e-ry gradually supplanting it from C15th.

    What a load of expletive deleted.

    The Northern Isles of Scotland have been mainly Norwegian for about 700 years.

    People from the Western Isles of Scotland were known as Gall-Gaels in Ireland because they were mixtures of Irish and Vikings and were used as mercenaries (gallowglasses – channel your Shakespeare – or preferably “Scots Mercenary Forces In Ireland by Professor McNeill) and some Irish names like O’Donnell derive from the nickname of a Hebridean warlord called Somerled “ruler of the World”.

    Donald = Vladimir btw.
    :)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cortes
    Somerled (the name developed to Sorley) was nicknamed Donald "Ruler of the World."

    Exactly the same as.... Vladimir.

    FYI.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  173. Cortes says:
    @Cortes
    What a load of expletive deleted.


    The Northern Isles of Scotland have been mainly Norwegian for about 700 years.

    People from the Western Isles of Scotland were known as Gall-Gaels in Ireland because they were mixtures of Irish and Vikings and were used as mercenaries (gallowglasses - channel your Shakespeare - or preferably "Scots Mercenary Forces In Ireland by Professor McNeill) and some Irish names like O'Donnell derive from the nickname of a Hebridean warlord called Somerled "ruler of the World".

    Donald = Vladimir btw.

    :)

    Somerled (the name developed to Sorley) was nicknamed Donald “Ruler of the World.”

    Exactly the same as…. Vladimir.

    FYI.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  174. Logan says:
    @Jack D
    I think you are getting Gauls and Lombards mixed up. AFAIK, there never was a place called Gallia Longobarda. Regno Longobardo (the Kingdom of the Lombards) came much later Also, the provinces were like children - they were each (maybe with the exception of the red-headed stepchild Britain) equally precious though the closer you got to Rome the more precious they were. I don't know why Cisalpina in particular would be #1 in their book other than it was closer to Rome than most other provinces. Cisalpina corresponds roughly to modern Northern Italy. From 42BC onward it was no longer a province at all but merged into the mother country. It certainly didn't go as far as Normandy - cis alpina means "on this (the Roman) side of the Alps"

    Western Europe does have some good land but as you say not much of it. Rome lived mainly off of grain imported from Egypt and North Africa (I assume the climate was a little wetter back then). That was their "Kansas". Having a fine Mediterranean climate is great for growing grapes and olives and vegetables but to sustain a large population what you need most is raw acreage that is good enough to grow grain.

    England has great weather for growing sheep. In the Middle Ages, the wool industry was a major source of wealth. The Romans valued Britannia for its mineral resources such as its tin mines.

    A "continental" breakfast is not a meal at all, just some bread and coffee.

    The eastern Roman Empire was always wealthier than the west. One of the reasons Constantine moved the capital to Byzantium.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  175. Logan says:
    @Almost Missouri
    From Robert C. Davis; Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters:

    Italy was among the most thoroughly ravaged areas in the Mediterranean basin. Lying as it did on the frontline of the two battling empires, Italy was known as ‘the Eye of Christendom’…Especially in areas close to some of the main corsair bases (western Sicily is just 200 kilometers from Tunis) slave taking rapidly burgeoned into a full-scale industry, with a disastrous impact that was apparent at the time and for centuries to come. Those who worked on coastal farms, even 10 or 20 miles from the sea, were unsafe from the raiders — harvesters, vine tenders, and olive growers were all regularly surprised while at their labors and carried off. Workers in the salt pans were often at risk, as were woodcutters and any others of the unprotected poor who traveled or worked along the coasts: indigents like Rosa Antonia Monte, who called herself ‘the poorest of the poor in the city of Barletta [in Puglia],’ and who was surprised together with 42 others, including her two daughters, while out gleaning after the harvest, 4 miles outside of town. Monasteries close to the shore also made easy targets for the corsairs.
     
    More at
    http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2009/05/europeans-as-victims-of-colonialism.html

    Quite right. Did not mean to say medieval and early modern Italy didn’t have a major problem with Muslim pirates. I was actually speaking of classical Italy, which of course had no Muslim pirates, though pirates were at various times a big problem. But still nothing like the very near conquest of England by the Vikings.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Yes, classical Italy didn't have a problem with Muslim pirates at least in part because Islam did not exist yet. :-D

    But Ancient Italy had a surprisingly significant pirate problem, which is now largely forgotten, overshadowed by other events, I suppose. Julius Caesar himself was captured by Cilician pirates and held for ransom in 75BC. He was insulted by the low ransom price the pirates set on him and demanded that they more than double it. He then partied with the pirates until the ransom money arrived, even while occasionally reminding them that he would eventually kill them all, which the pirates apparently took as juvenile haughtiness on Caesar's part. After being ransomed, Caesar raised a small fleet and captured the pirates. He turned them over to the local Roman governor for punishment, but the governor was slow to act, so Caesar took the pirates from prison and crucified them himself. This was back when men knew how to get things done.

    According to Plutarch, the pirates were "Cilician", which is what the Romans called people on the south coast of Asia Minor. What ethnicity these ancient Anatolian pirates were is hard to say. Maybe some kind of Hittite or Luwian, which I think are both Indo-European tribes.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  176. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “In the Middle Ages, the wool industry was a major source of wealth.”

    In the US the place where the Industrial Revoultion started (Lowell, MA), is where it was because of the waterpower for water-powered textile mills. Those Lowell mills were originally all about wool. So to in Britain, where the early textile mills were water-powered, pre-steam. The textile industry was a critical factor in the industrial revolution, along with iron and steam:

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

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  177. Logan says:
    @Nick Diaz
    The British Islands were one of the last conquests of the Romans, and Britannia was one of the first provinces they lost. Also, Britain, although a part of Europe, is separated from it by the ocean. Because of that, the logistics of supplying the legions with supplies was more complicated. Furthermore, although southern Britain, like France, has a temperate maritime climate, the British Islands are not as rich in terms of fertile soil as the latter. In those days, wealth was mostly related to agriculture and mining. Therefore, the geology of the soil was of paramount importance in determining the value of a territory.

    Basically, Britain was not very valuable to the Romans. The reason why Roman influence is lesser there is simply because the Romans invested less in developing the land in Roman ways.

    To the Romans, their two most valuable provinces were the two Gauls, Gallia Cisalpina and Gallia Longobarda(long-haired Gaul, refering to the fact that Celtic Gauls, including the males, had long hair). The stretch of land that goes from central Italy from the Apennines passing by Cahors in France to southern Normandy was considered by the Romans to be the "crowning jewel" of their empire. It was the land they invested the most in, and fought the hardest to keep as part of their empire. The reason is the combination of fantastic weather with amazing soil.

    There are two climates that are considered ideal for human habitation: a mediterranean and temperate oceanic climate. These two climates are rare throughout Earth. The westernmost tip of Eurasia is the only place on Earth where these two climates predominate. Even most of Germany has milder winters and cooler and drier summers than most of North America. Western Europeans don't have much land, but the little they have is of unusually high quality and amazing weather.

    The reason why Rome influenced less Britain is the same reason why Europe in general has influenced less Britain than they did to each other: there is 25 miles of water between the British Islands and Europe. Britain is, at the same time, part of Europe and not a part of it. It is a part of it because it is so close, but at the same time it is, geographically, a separate entity. In fact, the Brits and their cultural descendants, such as Americans and Australians, often refer to Europe as a foreign land. The Brits refer to Europeans as "continentals", and their cultural lackeys, the Americans, follow suit. You can also see this in that there is an "English" breakfast, and then a "continental" breakfast. Diners and hotels until this day make this distinction, which began around the XVIIth century..

    “To the Romans, their two most valuable provinces were the two Gauls, Gallia Cisalpina and Gallia Longobarda(long-haired Gaul, refering to the fact that Celtic Gauls, including the males, had long hair).”

    There were originally three Gauls, not two: Gallia Cisalpina (this side of the Alps), mostly the Po Valley, Gallia Transalpina (the other side of the Alps), and Gallia Comata, the rest of Gaul.

    Gallia Cisalpina was conquered by the Romans in the 220s BC and gradually assimilated into Roman/Italian society. In 43 BC it was simply made part of Italy and was no longer ruled as a “foreign province.”

    Gallia Transalpina was conquered 100 years later in 121 so Rome could get better communications with its Spanish provinces. It was basically what is now Provence.

    Gallia Comata was conquered by J. Caesar. “Comata” means long-haired. “Longobarda” means long-bearded.

    During the time of the Empire there was originally two Gauls, Transalpina and Comata. But both were constantly being broken up and recombined to make various provinces over the four centuries of imperial rule, and the names for the provinces changed frequently.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  178. @Art Deco
    probably there ought to be an English parliament, but there isn’t.

    You could get along passably with 5-8 regional assemblies for England. You've got ample population as well as sophisticated 2d tier settlements everywhere but East Anglia. Northwest (Manchester, Liverpool), Northeast (Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield), West Midlands (Birmingham), East Midlands (Nottingham), West Country (Bristol), Home Counties & c. (Brighton / Southampton). The thing is, were Scotland no longer Special, it's a reasonable wager they'd leave.

    If it would stop the immivasion, it might be worth it.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  179. @hyperbola
    Forget the Magna Carta and its silly "rights for aristocrats".

    The first modern democracy in Europe had a parliament and president elected by universal suffrage about 300 years before the Magna Carta. The Republic of Venice also had some other "regulations" that we might do well to reinstate. (1) All politicians and government functionaries are forbidden to specak to private interests except in open, public session of parliament, (2) the penalty for corruption is death, ....

    I like number (1) (no speaking to private interests except in public fora), but how do you define and enforce that? Any conversation not in a public forum is potentially with a “private interest”. And since any private conversation is by definition private, how do you know that it happened? Seems like it might be an invitation to a million honeypot traps with much lower legal threshold (mere conversation) and much higher stakes (death).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  180. @TB
    "I have seen the Rus as they came on their merchant journeys and encamped by the Itil. I have never seen more perfect physical specimens, tall as date palms, blond and ruddy; they wear neither tunics nor kaftans, but the men wear a garment which covers one side of the body and leaves a hand free. Each man has an axe, a sword, and a knife, and keeps each by him at all times. Each woman wears on either breast a box of iron, silver, copper, or gold; the value of the box indicates the wealth of the husband. Each box has a ring from which depends a knife. The women wear neck-rings of gold and silver. Their most prized ornaments are green glass beads. They string them as necklaces for their women."
    Ibn Fadlan, on the Rus merchants at Itil, 922.

    Were the Rus Vikings or Magyars?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  181. So, to sum up, the Marginal Revolution article arguably suffers from a category error inasmuch as it confuses a count of each country’s largest cities (which largest cities in England are due to industrialization) with Roman influence fifteen centuries later.

    So here’s another theory: England’s path to modernity was based on sea trade and industrialization, which entailed new industrial cities, different and separate from whatever went before: Roman, Celtic, Germanic, Norse or Norman. France’s path to modernity was based on land trade and finance, which did not entail building new cities. So it’s not that England discarded its Roman past; it’s that England’s industrialization discarded all past, whether Roman or not. As it happens England was less influenced by Rome than was Gaul (France) anyway, primarily because England (Angle-land) is a German colony-state, not a Roman legacy state, but that’s more a less a coincidence since either a German colony or a Romano-Gallic legacy state could have industrialized fifteen centuries later.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  182. @Logan
    Quite right. Did not mean to say medieval and early modern Italy didn't have a major problem with Muslim pirates. I was actually speaking of classical Italy, which of course had no Muslim pirates, though pirates were at various times a big problem. But still nothing like the very near conquest of England by the Vikings.

    Yes, classical Italy didn’t have a problem with Muslim pirates at least in part because Islam did not exist yet. :-D

    But Ancient Italy had a surprisingly significant pirate problem, which is now largely forgotten, overshadowed by other events, I suppose. Julius Caesar himself was captured by Cilician pirates and held for ransom in 75BC. He was insulted by the low ransom price the pirates set on him and demanded that they more than double it. He then partied with the pirates until the ransom money arrived, even while occasionally reminding them that he would eventually kill them all, which the pirates apparently took as juvenile haughtiness on Caesar’s part. After being ransomed, Caesar raised a small fleet and captured the pirates. He turned them over to the local Roman governor for punishment, but the governor was slow to act, so Caesar took the pirates from prison and crucified them himself. This was back when men knew how to get things done.

    According to Plutarch, the pirates were “Cilician”, which is what the Romans called people on the south coast of Asia Minor. What ethnicity these ancient Anatolian pirates were is hard to say. Maybe some kind of Hittite or Luwian, which I think are both Indo-European tribes.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS
PastClassics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
A simple remedy for income stagnation