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Surname and Status in Florence Persist Since Donatello's Time
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Donatello’s St. George, c. 1420

From the WSJ, a somewhat overstated headline:

The Wealthy in Florence Today Are the Same Families as 600 Years Ago

Researchers compared data on Florentine taxpayers in 1427 against tax data in 2011 and found about 900 surnames still present in Florence

By JOSH ZUMBRUN

May 19, 2016 8:53 am ET

New research from a pair of Italian economists documents an extraordinary fact: The wealthiest families in Florence today are descended from the wealthiest families of Florence nearly 600 years ago.

The two economists — Guglielmo Barone and Sauro Mocetti of the Bank of Italy — compared data on Florentine taxpayers in 1427 against tax data in 2011.

Keep in mind that Florence 1427 was the most advanced placed in the Western world. Its residents at the time included the three friends Donatello the sculptor, Brunelleschi the architect, and Masaccio the painter. It’s fairly likely that as part of designing the famous dome of the cathedral of Florence, the first dome built in the West since Roman times, Brunelleschi worked out the science of perspective and showed his friends how to apply it to bas-relief and painting, respectively. This was the mega-discovery that, more than anything else, set off the artistic Renaissance. (A generation later in Germany came the giga-invention, printing.)

Because Italian surnames are highly regional and distinctive, they could compare the income of families with a certain surname today, to those with the same surname in 1427. They found that the occupations, income and wealth of those distant ancestors with the same surname can help predict the occupation, income and wealth of their descendants today.

As they wrote for the economics commentary website VoxEU, “The top earners among the current taxpayers were found to have already been at the top of the socioeconomic ladder six centuries ago.”

Their research was made possible by a fiscal crisis. In 1427, Florence was near bankrupt from an ongoing war with Milan and so the Priors of the Republic conducted a tax census of about 10,000 citizens. They took stock of the name and surname of the head of household, their occupation and their wealth.

… They find strong evidence that socioeconomic status is incredibly persistent. The wealthiest surnames in Florence today belong to families that, in 1429, were members of the shoemakers’ guild — at the 97th percentile of income. Descendants of members of the silk guild and descendants of attorneys — both at the 93rd percentile in 1427 — are among the wealthiest families today.

Some of the wealthiest families in Florence today had ancestors who were prosperous shoemakers in the 1400s. Here, Salvatore Ferragamo–who died in 1960 and thus was not in the scope of this report–shows off his Florentine workshop where he made shoes for celebrities.

Florentine cobblers might still be the best in the world. When actor Daniel Day-Lewis felt burned out from movies, he disappeared for a couple of years from show biz to apprentice under a master cobbler in Florence. The break appears to have done him good: he returned to win his second and unprecedented third Best Actor Oscars.

The effect isn’t huge: the two economists write:

More rigorous empirical analysis confirms this evidence. When regressing the pseudo-descendant’s earnings on pseudo-ancestor’s earnings, the results are surprising: the long-run earnings elasticity is positive, statistically significant, and equals about 0.04. Stated differently, being the descendants of the Bernardi family (at the 90th percentile of earnings distribution in 1427) instead of the Grasso family (10th percentile of the same distribution) would entail a 5% increase in earnings among current taxpayers (after adjusting for age and gender). Intergenerational real wealth elasticity is significant too and the magnitude of its implied effect is even larger: the 10th-90th exercise entails more than a 10% difference today. Looking for non-linearities, we find, in particular, some evidence of the existence of a glass floor that protects the descendants of the upper class from falling down the economic ladder.

But 589 years is a long time for anything to persist.

One persistent worry about surname analysis is whether there’s a history of name-changing up the social ladder. Perhaps, say, it’s not unknown for the master cobbler’s best apprentice to marry the boss’s daughter and take his father in law’s surname?

 
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  1. I (and probably numerous others) have hypothesized for a while that the Medici family, which hails from Florence, were of Jewish-convert stock.

    Medici means “medical doctor” and the Medicis went on to become mega-powerful bankers and carefully married into European noble stock (Catherine de Medici became Queen of France). Medicine and banking were two of the few professions Jews did in large percentages in the Middle Ages, partly due to Jewish ethnic networking; partly due to higher IQ; partly due to Christian-religious bans on usury and desecration of corpses/bodies; and partly due to the fact that Jews were literate via their religious practices, allowing them access to texts on banking and medicine.

    (Christians weren’t wholly illiterate, but it wasn’t required for Christians to know how to read, and most jobs of the time didn’t need literacy, so only wealthy Christians and Christians who had literacy-dependent jobs were literate).

    And of course the careful marrying practices of the Medici’s is stereotypical of Jewish practice of marrying into the 1% of gentiles (e.g. Donald Trump’s daughter marrying a Jewish man).

    The fact that little is known about the family before the banking rise of Giovanni always seemed a tip off to me. Jewish converts (known as conversos in Spain) still faced a lot of discrimination/suspicion despite the conversion, as Christian authorities recognized that many only converted in name only but kept Jewish practices at home (called crypto-Jews). A converso seeking to remove such discrimination would have tried to hide his family’s Semitic blood by various means: destroying/stealing documentation, paying government officials to keep quiet, moving to another region, etc. A rich banker or doctor would have had the means to cover up his past.

    All idle speculation, I know, but the fact that Giovanni’s banking talents emerged out of nowhere makes me think they really didn’t. Unlike the Borgias, however, I haven’t noticed any history of enemies charging the Medicis of being conversos.

    • Replies: @Mark Caplan
    @whorefinder

    A Jew married Donald Trump's daughter and Hillary Clinton's daughter.

    Replies: @Judah Benjamin Hur, @Reg Cæsar, @Oscar, @Wilkey

    , @Ed
    @whorefinder

    Doubtful the family's name predates its rise to prominence by about 200 years in Florence.

    Also the family's rise predates the Inquisition. Sure Jews were more mobile than the gentile population but they usually moved to new countries/empires when forced.

    , @sb
    @whorefinder

    Re The Jewish practise of marrying into the 1% of gentiles

    As well as the Trump daughter lets remember that it is highly probable that ALL the descendants of two - maybe three -(gentile ) US Presidents ( JFK and Clinton ) are likely to consider themselves Jewish

    As an aside it's nice to see a society where people with a respectable skilled trade -shoemaking - generally earn more than lawyers ( & I have a law degree )

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Lot

    , @Anonymous
    @whorefinder

    Whorefinder: the place we call Italy has produced so many giants of history why assume the local gene pool couldn't produce great doctors or bankers without them being crypto-Jewish?

    The talent from that region blows away any other place on earth in the period Ancient Rome to Renaissance.

    There is a weird syndrome evident on the alt-right where the afflicted assume all prominent gentiles are crypto Jews.

    , @Pseudonymic Handle
    @whorefinder

    There was no prescription against christians practicing medicine. Most famous doctors of the Middle Ages were venetians. Most medieval universities had medicine schools besides law and theology.
    I'm not sure when Ashkenazi started practicing medicine for gentiles, but I think that is much later than the rise of the Medici family. Until the enlightenment they largely stuck to money lending and some exotic trade.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    , @helena
    @whorefinder

    That's an interesting thought in light of the hypothesis about Ashkenazim. The 'Genetic evidence' section of the Wiki page on Etruscans is intriguing, if inconclusive - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etruscan_origins

    , @Anonymous
    @whorefinder

    Even if it were true that the Medici family started as conversos, by the time Catherine de Medici was born in 1519, 159 years after the birth and 90 years after the death of Giovanni de Bicci de Medici, she would have had very little Jewish ancestry, diluted mostly by the blood of great Italian non-Jewish families (among them Orsini, Tornabuoni, and Sanseverino in her case). Through her mother, Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, Catherine inherited the counties of Auvergne and Boulogne in her own right after her aunt Anne de la Tour d'Auvergne died in 1524.

  2. My maternal family was a modest Anglo-Norman baronial family with two manor villages named with our surname back into the mists of time in England and then Normandy. In the US various ancestors managed to attain political offices like Governor and Congressman, owned and ran plantations, managed several mega-construction projects, got a couple of mountains named after the family and a small university. I am a 6th generation college graduate and well inside the top 5% of family income for my age. I would call that persistence of family status over 1000 years. My paternal family cannot be traced as far, but in general they were prosperous and mobile independent German/Swiss farmers and mechanics and Protestant ministers and they continued as such in the US. My most distantly traced paternal ancestor hand built pipe organs in medieval Churches. But socio-economic status doesn’t come to each generation handed on a platter for free – it requires hard work and thrift and it is very easy to slip back down by just being a bit lazy.

    If poor people stay poor because of poor decision making and a lack of self-denial, which I think is true, the contrary is true for well-off people and families. Good decisions and personal discipline and thrift go a long way to producing and maintaining wealth and status to be handed down to later generations.

    • Replies: @Michelle
    @Andrew

    Yes, but with a few bad apples, black sheep, lowlifes, ne'er-do-wells and out-and-out scoundrels thrown in to balance out the fine, upstanding citizens. There are good and bad people in all income classes. Holding on to wealth may be an entirely different kettle of fish than the actual generation of wealth from an original idea carried to fruition. I think it is. A less than stellar offspring may be able to maintain the integrity of a company founded by a patriarch based on the reputation and original ideas of the founder. Continuing success may have little to nothing to do with the savvy, intelligence or work ethic of the heir. I see quite a few Mexicans who roam around with small ice cream carts. No doubt they are hard working and frugal, but they are not likely to ever become wealthy.

    , @unpc downunder
    @Andrew

    Wealth creation is positively correlated with conscientiousness and extroversion and negatively correlated with aggreableness and honesty-humility - which helps explain why people have such divided views about the wealthy.

    However, I'm not sure if extroversion is correlated with maintaining wealth. I'd suspect high energy extroverts are better at building wealth and thriftier introverts are better at consolidating the gains of their more extroverted ancestors.

  3. OT, but pretty interesting is the NY Times attempt at discrediting Trump’s proposals regarding The Wall and deportation:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/us/politics/donald-trump-immigration.html

    It’s pretty amazing to see the numbers trotted out to build The Wall, with the strong suggestion that it just couldn’t possibly be economically viable: Trump’s estimate is about $10B, and the Times scares someone up who claims it would be instead at least $25B. Meanwhile, of course, how much was spent on the idiot war in Iraq, which Trump opposed and Hillary supported? I’ve seen an estimate that, putting everything together, it comes to roughly 2 Trillion, give or take. Even if the Iraq war estimate is some greatly exaggerated spin job, how many fewer zeros could the true cost possibly have, realistically? And we got what for that expenditure? Greater insecurity, by any fair reckoning.

    These people in the media just aren’t serious. Everything they write is moronic, including “and” and “the”.

    • Agree: Bill
    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @candid_observer

    What is interesting is that since Trump is now the presumptive GOP nominee, the NY Times feels compelled to at least take his proposal of building the Wall more seriously. There's always a chance that he could win this thing and starting next year, decide that he really meant what he campaigned on and decide to go ahead and build it.

    If Mexico refuses to pay for it, perhaps he could always persuade some Italian bankers in Florence to help out.

    , @James O'Meara
    @candid_observer

    But...for Israel!

  4. So, smoothing out the ups and the downs of ~30 generations of regression toward the mean, each generation of these top families has displayed something like 90% of the economic prowess of the previous?

    • Replies: @SFG
    @Winthorp

    0.9 ^ 30 = 0.04, so that would fit with 'small but observable effect'.

    , @Boomstick
    @Winthorp

    But what's the mean they're regressing to? Did cobblers select for IQ? Sense of style? Business acumen? Are the skills that made 15th century cobblers successful both genetic and useful in today's world?

    Replies: @Winthorp, @reiner Tor, @Romanian, @Expletive Deleted

  5. “Perhaps, say, it’s not unknown for the master cobbler’s best apprentice to marry the boss’s daughter and take his father in law’s surname?”

    Common in Japan

    From the article
    “Since then, for nearly 1,300 years, the hotel and the name – Zengoro Hoshi – have been passed down the family for 46 generations.
    But in a country where a son usually inherits a family name, how have they always managed to have a boy?
    Well, there is a slight catch.”

    • Replies: @TK421
    @TK421

    Oops - forgot the link.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19505088

    , @Ivy
    @TK421

    Some Japanese breweries and sake firms have the same adopt-an-heir policy to demonstrate their 1300+ year histories.

    Swiss families in some towns have their local variation on preservation of family income. They own the best properties in a developed area, restrict further development and never sell. The unfortunate landless ones have the option of migrating or renting. Pick your parents well, and your grandparents, if you can!

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @Winthorp
    @TK421

    Marrying into the family name seems like less of a problem for the Clarkian model than strangers straight up adopting a classy name. With the former, there's still an accounting for additive genetics by way of the biological daughter and for shared culture by way of the parents and uncles. The latter's a more troublesome inheritance, but that's one of the advantages of looking at a single city - presumably the incumbents (and local norms in general) would have made it hard for new entrants to trade on their name.

    Replies: @Winthorp, @Lot, @Anonymous Nephew

    , @Frau Katze
    @TK421

    A fanous case is Oliver Cromwell, who by rights should have been Oliver Williams, a nondescript name from which one could only deduce that the male ancestor was a Welshman,

    His great-great-grandfather married Katherine Cromwell, sister of Thomas Cromwell. The family became wealthy taking over monastery property.

    The men used "Cromwell" as an "alias" for "Williams" but even the alias part was dropped by Oliver's time.

    It was simply a case of a more prestigious surname.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  6. The Paisan Also Rises

  7. @Winthorp
    So, smoothing out the ups and the downs of ~30 generations of regression toward the mean, each generation of these top families has displayed something like 90% of the economic prowess of the previous?

    Replies: @SFG, @Boomstick

    0.9 ^ 30 = 0.04, so that would fit with ‘small but observable effect’.

  8. “Trump Delegate Indicted On Child Pornography, Explosives, Machine Gun Charges”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-delegate-caleb-bailey-federal-charges_us_573dfc91e4b0aee7b8e951af

    • Replies: @candid_observer
    @Anonymous

    Wow.

    So a vote for Trump is a vote both for pedophilia and domestic terrorism.

    I'm so glad Al Gore invented the Internet.

    Replies: @Anonymous

  9. @TK421
    "Perhaps, say, it’s not unknown for the master cobbler’s best apprentice to marry the boss’s daughter and take his father in law’s surname?"

    Common in Japan

    From the article
    "Since then, for nearly 1,300 years, the hotel and the name - Zengoro Hoshi - have been passed down the family for 46 generations.
    But in a country where a son usually inherits a family name, how have they always managed to have a boy?
    Well, there is a slight catch."

    Replies: @TK421, @Ivy, @Winthorp, @Frau Katze

  10. Ivy says:
    @TK421
    "Perhaps, say, it’s not unknown for the master cobbler’s best apprentice to marry the boss’s daughter and take his father in law’s surname?"

    Common in Japan

    From the article
    "Since then, for nearly 1,300 years, the hotel and the name - Zengoro Hoshi - have been passed down the family for 46 generations.
    But in a country where a son usually inherits a family name, how have they always managed to have a boy?
    Well, there is a slight catch."

    Replies: @TK421, @Ivy, @Winthorp, @Frau Katze

    Some Japanese breweries and sake firms have the same adopt-an-heir policy to demonstrate their 1300+ year histories.

    Swiss families in some towns have their local variation on preservation of family income. They own the best properties in a developed area, restrict further development and never sell. The unfortunate landless ones have the option of migrating or renting. Pick your parents well, and your grandparents, if you can!

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Ivy


    Some Japanese breweries and sake firms have the same adopt-an-heir policy to demonstrate their 1300+ year histories.
     
    My paternal family history goes back 1400 years (7th Century AD), and I can trace my ancestry with exact specificity from the 13th Century - I am a direct father-to-son, father-to-son descendant of an East Asian military figure of that time.

    My father was also a naval officer in his country, and a large majority of my ancestors were "men on horseback" (many died young in wars, thankfully with heirs alive at home). So it was not surprising at all to my parents that ever since I was a baby I was drawn to guns, swords, bows, and horses. I took to horse riding easily and I was picked to be on the (air) rifle team as a child. My own children all loved horses and guns since they were little kids. One of my kids, in particular, refused to ride a pony since age 4 and insisted on being on a big horse instead. Even for me it was a bit nerve-racking seeing that little thing on a horse, but the kid was a champ!

    Replies: @AndrewR

  11. The study only found a 5% increase income. It’s not that big of a difference overall things considered.

    Reading into this too much isn’t that meaningful.

  12. Was Caddy Shack a prophetic foretelling of Trump’s takeover of the Republican party?

    Rodney Dangerfield is a REAL ESTATE developer who takes over the stuffy country club headed by Ted Knight. The members are outraged by the uncouth, ORANGE-clad Dangerfield, who is rude to women and club members, and who ends up beating Ted Knight at his own game (golf).

    Coincidence? Or eerily accurate prophetic prophecy? You decide!

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    @FactsAreImportant

    Nah, too Jewish.

    Or is it?

  13. @TK421
    "Perhaps, say, it’s not unknown for the master cobbler’s best apprentice to marry the boss’s daughter and take his father in law’s surname?"

    Common in Japan

    From the article
    "Since then, for nearly 1,300 years, the hotel and the name - Zengoro Hoshi - have been passed down the family for 46 generations.
    But in a country where a son usually inherits a family name, how have they always managed to have a boy?
    Well, there is a slight catch."

    Replies: @TK421, @Ivy, @Winthorp, @Frau Katze

    Marrying into the family name seems like less of a problem for the Clarkian model than strangers straight up adopting a classy name. With the former, there’s still an accounting for additive genetics by way of the biological daughter and for shared culture by way of the parents and uncles. The latter’s a more troublesome inheritance, but that’s one of the advantages of looking at a single city – presumably the incumbents (and local norms in general) would have made it hard for new entrants to trade on their name.

    • Replies: @Winthorp
    @Winthorp

    "uncles" - whoops, scratch that

    , @Lot
    @Winthorp

    It matters depending on your method. Clarke defined his old elite based on over-representation in list of elites versus list of commoners, and then looked a modern elite lists to see how the old elites were doing percentage-wise.

    The "unnatural" preservation of elite surnames by men marrying up and taking their wives' surnames meant that a lot of upwardly mobile men named Smith and Johnson had sons named Granville and Fitzroy, distorting the results when looking at the percentage of modern elites with old elite surnames.

    If you are just looking at the average income of old elite surnames, then this does not matter so much because Mr. Fitzroy's grandson through his daughter has just as much of his genes as his grandson through his son.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @PV van der Byl, @Winthorp, @Crawfurdmuir

    , @Anonymous Nephew
    @Winthorp

    The family tree of the Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes clan shows a lot of surname-collecting, though it seems to have been about keeping the names of illustrious forebears. IIRC they mostly married in their own class, excepting a Twisleton who married his parlourmaid.

    Similarly the Spencer family (descended from Marlborough's daughter) added the name Churchill when inheriting Blenheim Palace and the dukedom.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes_family
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Spencer-Churchill,_5th_Duke_of_Marlborough

    Alas, this all probably has little relevance to Florentine practice.

  14. Florentine cobblers might still be the best in the world.

    Never! Northampton will always remain the world capital of fine dress shoes.

    http://www.edwardgreen.com/

    • Replies: @Daniel H
    @Twinkie

    I'm quite happy with my Johnston & Murphy's. Best bang for the buck with footwear.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @dearieme
    @Twinkie

    "Northampton will always remain the world capital of fine dress shoes." Perhaps so, but I must say they make fine leather handbags in Florence.

  15. @Winthorp
    @TK421

    Marrying into the family name seems like less of a problem for the Clarkian model than strangers straight up adopting a classy name. With the former, there's still an accounting for additive genetics by way of the biological daughter and for shared culture by way of the parents and uncles. The latter's a more troublesome inheritance, but that's one of the advantages of looking at a single city - presumably the incumbents (and local norms in general) would have made it hard for new entrants to trade on their name.

    Replies: @Winthorp, @Lot, @Anonymous Nephew

    “uncles” – whoops, scratch that

  16. @Twinkie

    Florentine cobblers might still be the best in the world.
     
    Never! Northampton will always remain the world capital of fine dress shoes.

    http://www.edwardgreen.com/

    Replies: @Daniel H, @dearieme

    I’m quite happy with my Johnston & Murphy’s. Best bang for the buck with footwear.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Daniel H


    I’m quite happy with my Johnston & Murphy’s. Best bang for the buck with footwear.
     
    Some people are also happy with Skechers.

    Most mass-manufactured shoes are complete rubbish (even most "brand" names). They are corrected-grain leather slapped together with glue.

    Replies: @kaganovitch

  17. I have always thought of signing up for a class with these guys.

    http://www.bootmaker.com/dwswb.htm

  18. @Anonymous
    "Trump Delegate Indicted On Child Pornography, Explosives, Machine Gun Charges"

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-delegate-caleb-bailey-federal-charges_us_573dfc91e4b0aee7b8e951af

    Replies: @candid_observer

    Wow.

    So a vote for Trump is a vote both for pedophilia and domestic terrorism.

    I’m so glad Al Gore invented the Internet.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @candid_observer

    All kidding aside, is anyone really surprised about this?

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Reg Cæsar

  19. @Ivy
    @TK421

    Some Japanese breweries and sake firms have the same adopt-an-heir policy to demonstrate their 1300+ year histories.

    Swiss families in some towns have their local variation on preservation of family income. They own the best properties in a developed area, restrict further development and never sell. The unfortunate landless ones have the option of migrating or renting. Pick your parents well, and your grandparents, if you can!

    Replies: @Twinkie

    Some Japanese breweries and sake firms have the same adopt-an-heir policy to demonstrate their 1300+ year histories.

    My paternal family history goes back 1400 years (7th Century AD), and I can trace my ancestry with exact specificity from the 13th Century – I am a direct father-to-son, father-to-son descendant of an East Asian military figure of that time.

    My father was also a naval officer in his country, and a large majority of my ancestors were “men on horseback” (many died young in wars, thankfully with heirs alive at home). So it was not surprising at all to my parents that ever since I was a baby I was drawn to guns, swords, bows, and horses. I took to horse riding easily and I was picked to be on the (air) rifle team as a child. My own children all loved horses and guns since they were little kids. One of my kids, in particular, refused to ride a pony since age 4 and insisted on being on a big horse instead. Even for me it was a bit nerve-racking seeing that little thing on a horse, but the kid was a champ!

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    @Twinkie

    Lol. The word you're looking for is "patrilineal."

    Replies: @Twinkie

  20. I know of at least 2 distinct cases where the husband took on (one fully – the other hyphenated) the wife’s hugely prestigious surname.

  21. Pat Casey says:

    Well Rimini 1450, bet you didn’t know to catch this wonder when you were back packin, Steve:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempio_Malatestiano

    In the Quattrocento marble came by water to Rimini, and other marble by land, bootlegged from Classe, for Agostino di Duccio to incise with incomparable reliefs. That stone too was gotten against the time’s current of powers, as was the money the stonecutters were paid with, their patron at one time drawing his pay in a squabble “over a ten acre lot.” Those were barbarous times, all Italy embroiled, government conducted by assassination, and a prince of the church dealing in stone he had no title to, for the men from Rimini to cart off by night. But San Francesco in Rimmini, also known to the distress of its clergy as the Tempio Matatestiana, contains carving after carving, relief after relief, a stone tomb supported by stone elephants, Diana on her moon barge clutching the crescent, “pale eyes as if without fire,” stone musicians incised as if breathing, stone putti playing in water, a tranquil vivid astonishment of stones. Pass through five centuries refinement of values, five centuries’ synergetic augmentation of communal wealth, and observe Henri Gaudier vaccinated against small pox, and enfranchised if that pleased him, and the railway train and the fountain pen placed at his disposal, and to effect the renovation of scultpture some broken clunks of marble no one else wanted, plus just one stone a child could not have lifted: this latter thanks to a poet living by journalism who had seemed worth sculpting because he had written “Altaforte” (“Damn it all…”), and had then spent two months income rather than be scultped in what Gaudier could afford, plaster. And the gift of a bullet, finally. This was the sort of thing that made Pound feel that something was wrong with the system. The Pound Era, Hugh Kenner

  22. @candid_observer
    @Anonymous

    Wow.

    So a vote for Trump is a vote both for pedophilia and domestic terrorism.

    I'm so glad Al Gore invented the Internet.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    All kidding aside, is anyone really surprised about this?

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    @Anonymous

    Why don't you say what you mean instead of asking that question? That kind of question is about on par with "Trump is Hitler"--it let's you imply all sorts of things without referencing anything. Are you suggesting that there is a correlation between pedophilia and support for Trump?

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Anonymous


    All kidding aside, is anyone really surprised about this?
     
    Hey, the opposition candidate this year was once First Lady. Which never would have happened had the top of the ticket been properly vetted.

    These two guys are at the bottom, and were caught. So things have improved in the last 24 years.

  23. @Winthorp
    So, smoothing out the ups and the downs of ~30 generations of regression toward the mean, each generation of these top families has displayed something like 90% of the economic prowess of the previous?

    Replies: @SFG, @Boomstick

    But what’s the mean they’re regressing to? Did cobblers select for IQ? Sense of style? Business acumen? Are the skills that made 15th century cobblers successful both genetic and useful in today’s world?

    • Replies: @Winthorp
    @Boomstick

    Prediction: in five years time we will know the genes for cobbling.

    No, insofar as it's genetic, I would guess it's mostly selection for bourgeois virtues like prudence, diligence, cooperation, continence, with which intelligence is positively correlated to varying degrees. Basically an above-average ability to keep your head, resist temptation, not overextend yourself, but not withdraw into self-defeating miserliness either. Those are the kinds of traits it seems a line would need to propagate in order to not blow its socioeconomic advantage over centuries of life in a constantly commercial, periodically fractious city.

    Replies: @Boomstick

    , @reiner Tor
    @Boomstick

    Well, I guess you had to be patient, willing to learn, hardworking, working with focus and precision, not tolerating errors, have low time preference, etc. All of which requires, or at least correlates well with, among other things, high IQ.

    Replies: @Boomstick

    , @Romanian
    @Boomstick

    Nicolae Ceausescu, the Romanian dictator, was a cobbler. But he was an apprentice to one. His family was full of peasants, not tradesmen. I don't know if his shoes were any good, because he started his political activity with the Communists right around the time he started to make shoes.

    Maybe there's something about making shoes that destines one for greatness.

    Replies: @PV van der Byl, @Almost Missouri

    , @Expletive Deleted
    @Boomstick

    I suspect that being selected for "owning outright a great big eff-off shop and apartments in the middle of a Yugely expensive and fashionista European city, and not paying the local rents like even those who manage to worm their way in as burghers later" is a corker of an inherited characteristic.
    OK OK, I'm working on it, I'm working on it, honey.

    I wonder what happened to the other thousands of co-descended Ferragamos? Army and an early death, if my family are any guide.

  24. Surname changes could easily be screened for by looking at Y-DNA of male Florentines with the same surnames. If there were say three unrelated Grassos in Florence in 1430 then today’s Grassos should be found in at most three different Y-DNA clusters. A Grasso whose DNA is well outside any of the clusters is not a biological descendant of the medieval Grassos and can be excluded from the study.

    • Replies: @JayMan
    @Jean Cocteausten


    Surname changes could easily be screened for by looking at Y-DNA of male Florentines with the same surnames. If there were say three unrelated Grassos in Florence in 1430 then today’s Grassos should be found in at most three different Y-DNA clusters. A Grasso whose DNA is well outside any of the clusters is not a biological descendant of the medieval Grassos and can be excluded from the study.
     
    Yup. That same method was used to establish that historic cuckoldry rates in the West were low, and would also detect this phenomenon. Hence, it's not really an issue.
  25. this study proves nothing. women regularly change surname after marriage.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    @fox

    Obviously but status and wealth historically have tended to be handed down to sons. And even daughters tend to marry in a similar social class. So even after centuries it can be useful to compare data by surname.

  26. @whorefinder
    I (and probably numerous others) have hypothesized for a while that the Medici family, which hails from Florence, were of Jewish-convert stock.

    Medici means "medical doctor" and the Medicis went on to become mega-powerful bankers and carefully married into European noble stock (Catherine de Medici became Queen of France). Medicine and banking were two of the few professions Jews did in large percentages in the Middle Ages, partly due to Jewish ethnic networking; partly due to higher IQ; partly due to Christian-religious bans on usury and desecration of corpses/bodies; and partly due to the fact that Jews were literate via their religious practices, allowing them access to texts on banking and medicine.

    (Christians weren't wholly illiterate, but it wasn't required for Christians to know how to read, and most jobs of the time didn't need literacy, so only wealthy Christians and Christians who had literacy-dependent jobs were literate).

    And of course the careful marrying practices of the Medici's is stereotypical of Jewish practice of marrying into the 1% of gentiles (e.g. Donald Trump's daughter marrying a Jewish man).

    The fact that little is known about the family before the banking rise of Giovanni always seemed a tip off to me. Jewish converts (known as conversos in Spain) still faced a lot of discrimination/suspicion despite the conversion, as Christian authorities recognized that many only converted in name only but kept Jewish practices at home (called crypto-Jews). A converso seeking to remove such discrimination would have tried to hide his family's Semitic blood by various means: destroying/stealing documentation, paying government officials to keep quiet, moving to another region, etc. A rich banker or doctor would have had the means to cover up his past.

    All idle speculation, I know, but the fact that Giovanni's banking talents emerged out of nowhere makes me think they really didn't. Unlike the Borgias, however, I haven't noticed any history of enemies charging the Medicis of being conversos.

    Replies: @Mark Caplan, @Ed, @sb, @Anonymous, @Pseudonymic Handle, @helena, @Anonymous

    A Jew married Donald Trump’s daughter and Hillary Clinton’s daughter.

    • Replies: @Judah Benjamin Hur
    @Mark Caplan


    A Jew married Donald Trump’s daughter and Hillary Clinton’s daughter.
     
    He must be really busy.
    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Mark Caplan


    A Jew married Donald Trump’s daughter and Hillary Clinton’s daughter.
     
    Busy guy. And they said gay marriage wouldn't lead to polygamy...

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @Oscar
    @Mark Caplan

    Bigamy!

    , @Wilkey
    @Mark Caplan

    Yes, and now both Chelsea and Ivanka have father-in-law who have been to prison for fraud.

  27. JayMan says: • Website
    @Jean Cocteausten
    Surname changes could easily be screened for by looking at Y-DNA of male Florentines with the same surnames. If there were say three unrelated Grassos in Florence in 1430 then today's Grassos should be found in at most three different Y-DNA clusters. A Grasso whose DNA is well outside any of the clusters is not a biological descendant of the medieval Grassos and can be excluded from the study.

    Replies: @JayMan

    Surname changes could easily be screened for by looking at Y-DNA of male Florentines with the same surnames. If there were say three unrelated Grassos in Florence in 1430 then today’s Grassos should be found in at most three different Y-DNA clusters. A Grasso whose DNA is well outside any of the clusters is not a biological descendant of the medieval Grassos and can be excluded from the study.

    Yup. That same method was used to establish that historic cuckoldry rates in the West were low, and would also detect this phenomenon. Hence, it’s not really an issue.

  28. @candid_observer
    OT, but pretty interesting is the NY Times attempt at discrediting Trump's proposals regarding The Wall and deportation:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/us/politics/donald-trump-immigration.html

    It's pretty amazing to see the numbers trotted out to build The Wall, with the strong suggestion that it just couldn't possibly be economically viable: Trump's estimate is about $10B, and the Times scares someone up who claims it would be instead at least $25B. Meanwhile, of course, how much was spent on the idiot war in Iraq, which Trump opposed and Hillary supported? I've seen an estimate that, putting everything together, it comes to roughly 2 Trillion, give or take. Even if the Iraq war estimate is some greatly exaggerated spin job, how many fewer zeros could the true cost possibly have, realistically? And we got what for that expenditure? Greater insecurity, by any fair reckoning.

    These people in the media just aren't serious. Everything they write is moronic, including "and" and "the".

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @James O'Meara

    What is interesting is that since Trump is now the presumptive GOP nominee, the NY Times feels compelled to at least take his proposal of building the Wall more seriously. There’s always a chance that he could win this thing and starting next year, decide that he really meant what he campaigned on and decide to go ahead and build it.

    If Mexico refuses to pay for it, perhaps he could always persuade some Italian bankers in Florence to help out.

  29. @Mark Caplan
    @whorefinder

    A Jew married Donald Trump's daughter and Hillary Clinton's daughter.

    Replies: @Judah Benjamin Hur, @Reg Cæsar, @Oscar, @Wilkey

    A Jew married Donald Trump’s daughter and Hillary Clinton’s daughter.

    He must be really busy.

  30. @Anonymous
    @candid_observer

    All kidding aside, is anyone really surprised about this?

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Reg Cæsar

    Why don’t you say what you mean instead of asking that question? That kind of question is about on par with “Trump is Hitler”–it let’s you imply all sorts of things without referencing anything. Are you suggesting that there is a correlation between pedophilia and support for Trump?

  31. @whorefinder
    I (and probably numerous others) have hypothesized for a while that the Medici family, which hails from Florence, were of Jewish-convert stock.

    Medici means "medical doctor" and the Medicis went on to become mega-powerful bankers and carefully married into European noble stock (Catherine de Medici became Queen of France). Medicine and banking were two of the few professions Jews did in large percentages in the Middle Ages, partly due to Jewish ethnic networking; partly due to higher IQ; partly due to Christian-religious bans on usury and desecration of corpses/bodies; and partly due to the fact that Jews were literate via their religious practices, allowing them access to texts on banking and medicine.

    (Christians weren't wholly illiterate, but it wasn't required for Christians to know how to read, and most jobs of the time didn't need literacy, so only wealthy Christians and Christians who had literacy-dependent jobs were literate).

    And of course the careful marrying practices of the Medici's is stereotypical of Jewish practice of marrying into the 1% of gentiles (e.g. Donald Trump's daughter marrying a Jewish man).

    The fact that little is known about the family before the banking rise of Giovanni always seemed a tip off to me. Jewish converts (known as conversos in Spain) still faced a lot of discrimination/suspicion despite the conversion, as Christian authorities recognized that many only converted in name only but kept Jewish practices at home (called crypto-Jews). A converso seeking to remove such discrimination would have tried to hide his family's Semitic blood by various means: destroying/stealing documentation, paying government officials to keep quiet, moving to another region, etc. A rich banker or doctor would have had the means to cover up his past.

    All idle speculation, I know, but the fact that Giovanni's banking talents emerged out of nowhere makes me think they really didn't. Unlike the Borgias, however, I haven't noticed any history of enemies charging the Medicis of being conversos.

    Replies: @Mark Caplan, @Ed, @sb, @Anonymous, @Pseudonymic Handle, @helena, @Anonymous

    Doubtful the family’s name predates its rise to prominence by about 200 years in Florence.

    Also the family’s rise predates the Inquisition. Sure Jews were more mobile than the gentile population but they usually moved to new countries/empires when forced.

  32. @Boomstick
    @Winthorp

    But what's the mean they're regressing to? Did cobblers select for IQ? Sense of style? Business acumen? Are the skills that made 15th century cobblers successful both genetic and useful in today's world?

    Replies: @Winthorp, @reiner Tor, @Romanian, @Expletive Deleted

    Prediction: in five years time we will know the genes for cobbling.

    No, insofar as it’s genetic, I would guess it’s mostly selection for bourgeois virtues like prudence, diligence, cooperation, continence, with which intelligence is positively correlated to varying degrees. Basically an above-average ability to keep your head, resist temptation, not overextend yourself, but not withdraw into self-defeating miserliness either. Those are the kinds of traits it seems a line would need to propagate in order to not blow its socioeconomic advantage over centuries of life in a constantly commercial, periodically fractious city.

    • Replies: @Boomstick
    @Winthorp

    I don't know if cobbling is g-loaded or bourgeois value loaded. Maybe some of both.

    Maybe it's urban-loaded. Cobbling seems like a profession best done in towns or cities, and those are places where things are usually hopping. Smart people with high value-add labor are there. The cobblers sons are around the smart and clever daughters of the other urban professions. A slight positive IQ bump results.

    Replies: @Lot

  33. sb says:
    @whorefinder
    I (and probably numerous others) have hypothesized for a while that the Medici family, which hails from Florence, were of Jewish-convert stock.

    Medici means "medical doctor" and the Medicis went on to become mega-powerful bankers and carefully married into European noble stock (Catherine de Medici became Queen of France). Medicine and banking were two of the few professions Jews did in large percentages in the Middle Ages, partly due to Jewish ethnic networking; partly due to higher IQ; partly due to Christian-religious bans on usury and desecration of corpses/bodies; and partly due to the fact that Jews were literate via their religious practices, allowing them access to texts on banking and medicine.

    (Christians weren't wholly illiterate, but it wasn't required for Christians to know how to read, and most jobs of the time didn't need literacy, so only wealthy Christians and Christians who had literacy-dependent jobs were literate).

    And of course the careful marrying practices of the Medici's is stereotypical of Jewish practice of marrying into the 1% of gentiles (e.g. Donald Trump's daughter marrying a Jewish man).

    The fact that little is known about the family before the banking rise of Giovanni always seemed a tip off to me. Jewish converts (known as conversos in Spain) still faced a lot of discrimination/suspicion despite the conversion, as Christian authorities recognized that many only converted in name only but kept Jewish practices at home (called crypto-Jews). A converso seeking to remove such discrimination would have tried to hide his family's Semitic blood by various means: destroying/stealing documentation, paying government officials to keep quiet, moving to another region, etc. A rich banker or doctor would have had the means to cover up his past.

    All idle speculation, I know, but the fact that Giovanni's banking talents emerged out of nowhere makes me think they really didn't. Unlike the Borgias, however, I haven't noticed any history of enemies charging the Medicis of being conversos.

    Replies: @Mark Caplan, @Ed, @sb, @Anonymous, @Pseudonymic Handle, @helena, @Anonymous

    Re The Jewish practise of marrying into the 1% of gentiles

    As well as the Trump daughter lets remember that it is highly probable that ALL the descendants of two – maybe three -(gentile ) US Presidents ( JFK and Clinton ) are likely to consider themselves Jewish

    As an aside it’s nice to see a society where people with a respectable skilled trade -shoemaking – generally earn more than lawyers ( & I have a law degree )

    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    @sb


    As an aside it’s nice to see a society where people with a respectable skilled trade -shoemaking – generally earn more than lawyers

     

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." (Except you, of course)
    , @Lot
    @sb


    Re The Jewish practise of marrying into the 1% of gentiles
     
    Not just the money 1%. My gentile parent was working class and first to attend college in the family, but valedictorian of a high school graduating class of ~400.

    The IQ genes we skimmed away from the gentile pool benefited me, but the economic benefits go the other way, I've probably given my gentile working class relations $50,000 over the years, mostly to pay their college living expenses, but also any random car or medical issues that pop up.
  34. I like the 7 Byzantine Rulers podcast theory that the Romans escaped to Byzantine at Rome’s destruction . Then at Byzantine’s destruction, those same people flooded west to fuel the renaissance.

    That’s definitely a hand theory.

  35. They did this with Norman vs Anglo-Saxon names in Britain and found the same thing.

  36. I think there may be a problem with doing this at a city level if cities’ have an income distribution featuring a relatively small elite and a relatively large lower class (this would need to be checked). Middling children of elites would fall in the income distribution by moving to a small town or the suburbs (middling children of the plebs would also rise by leaving town). New plebs would be continually entering the population from the country-side.

  37. @Boomstick
    @Winthorp

    But what's the mean they're regressing to? Did cobblers select for IQ? Sense of style? Business acumen? Are the skills that made 15th century cobblers successful both genetic and useful in today's world?

    Replies: @Winthorp, @reiner Tor, @Romanian, @Expletive Deleted

    Well, I guess you had to be patient, willing to learn, hardworking, working with focus and precision, not tolerating errors, have low time preference, etc. All of which requires, or at least correlates well with, among other things, high IQ.

    • Replies: @Boomstick
    @reiner Tor

    Could be. Maybe bourgeois values (correlated with IQ) are what's really driving it.

    HBD'ers tend to focus on IQ because that's pretty much the only measuring stick we have for psychometrics, and one should always be alert for the looking-under-the-streetlight-because-the-light-is-better-there effect. Steve has speculated in the past about Northern Italian excellence in visual design, for example.

    Since there are no streetlights other than IQ on offer maybe it's the best that can be done.

  38. @TK421
    "Perhaps, say, it’s not unknown for the master cobbler’s best apprentice to marry the boss’s daughter and take his father in law’s surname?"

    Common in Japan

    From the article
    "Since then, for nearly 1,300 years, the hotel and the name - Zengoro Hoshi - have been passed down the family for 46 generations.
    But in a country where a son usually inherits a family name, how have they always managed to have a boy?
    Well, there is a slight catch."

    Replies: @TK421, @Ivy, @Winthorp, @Frau Katze

    A fanous case is Oliver Cromwell, who by rights should have been Oliver Williams, a nondescript name from which one could only deduce that the male ancestor was a Welshman,

    His great-great-grandfather married Katherine Cromwell, sister of Thomas Cromwell. The family became wealthy taking over monastery property.

    The men used “Cromwell” as an “alias” for “Williams” but even the alias part was dropped by Oliver’s time.

    It was simply a case of a more prestigious surname.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Frau Katze

    Thanks.

    Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII's chief minister during the crucial years of the English Reformation. Mark Rylance plays him in the TV series "Wolf Hall."

    Replies: @Veracitor, @Lot

  39. “Second, we find evidence of dynasties in certain (elite) professions – the probability of belonging to such professions (lawyers, bankers, medical doctor or pharmacist, goldsmiths) today is higher the more intensely the pseudo-ancestors were employed in the same professions.”

    OK, but what’s the comparable probability of someone in elite profession X in the 15th century winding up in elite professions W, Y, and Z in the 21st century? That would be an interesting way to partially untangle the family business element.

    My hypothesis is that high IQ people do well in elite professions, so the descendants of smart 15th century bankers would tend to wind up in 21st century law and medicine in larger numbers, too, not just banking. I think the authors went looking for same-profession outcomes, but not for mobility within elite professions. So maybe the 15th century lawyer surnames are not just more prevalent in law offices, but also medical and banking offices.

    Of course this analysis could be undermined by the social entree provided by being in an elite profession to begin with. Maybe the goldsmith son gets hired at the law firm because his family introduced him.

  40. @Mark Caplan
    @whorefinder

    A Jew married Donald Trump's daughter and Hillary Clinton's daughter.

    Replies: @Judah Benjamin Hur, @Reg Cæsar, @Oscar, @Wilkey

    A Jew married Donald Trump’s daughter and Hillary Clinton’s daughter.

    Busy guy. And they said gay marriage wouldn’t lead to polygamy…

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Reg Cæsar


    Busy guy. And they said gay marriage wouldn’t lead to polygamy…
     
    Mormons are not victims. Can't be. Much too blonde and pale for that.

    A part of me - a small, non-Catholic part - would like to see just what would happen if polygamy were legalized ("consenting adults" is all that matters, right- why hatefully prevent "big love"?).

    It's the same part that wants to see it all crashing down. Then I remember that I've seen a society crumble somewhere else in the world and that destruction is not always "creative."

    Replies: @dearieme, @Charles Erwin Wilson

  41. @reiner Tor
    @Boomstick

    Well, I guess you had to be patient, willing to learn, hardworking, working with focus and precision, not tolerating errors, have low time preference, etc. All of which requires, or at least correlates well with, among other things, high IQ.

    Replies: @Boomstick

    Could be. Maybe bourgeois values (correlated with IQ) are what’s really driving it.

    HBD’ers tend to focus on IQ because that’s pretty much the only measuring stick we have for psychometrics, and one should always be alert for the looking-under-the-streetlight-because-the-light-is-better-there effect. Steve has speculated in the past about Northern Italian excellence in visual design, for example.

    Since there are no streetlights other than IQ on offer maybe it’s the best that can be done.

  42. @Anonymous
    @candid_observer

    All kidding aside, is anyone really surprised about this?

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous, @Reg Cæsar

    All kidding aside, is anyone really surprised about this?

    Hey, the opposition candidate this year was once First Lady. Which never would have happened had the top of the ticket been properly vetted.

    These two guys are at the bottom, and were caught. So things have improved in the last 24 years.

  43. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @whorefinder
    I (and probably numerous others) have hypothesized for a while that the Medici family, which hails from Florence, were of Jewish-convert stock.

    Medici means "medical doctor" and the Medicis went on to become mega-powerful bankers and carefully married into European noble stock (Catherine de Medici became Queen of France). Medicine and banking were two of the few professions Jews did in large percentages in the Middle Ages, partly due to Jewish ethnic networking; partly due to higher IQ; partly due to Christian-religious bans on usury and desecration of corpses/bodies; and partly due to the fact that Jews were literate via their religious practices, allowing them access to texts on banking and medicine.

    (Christians weren't wholly illiterate, but it wasn't required for Christians to know how to read, and most jobs of the time didn't need literacy, so only wealthy Christians and Christians who had literacy-dependent jobs were literate).

    And of course the careful marrying practices of the Medici's is stereotypical of Jewish practice of marrying into the 1% of gentiles (e.g. Donald Trump's daughter marrying a Jewish man).

    The fact that little is known about the family before the banking rise of Giovanni always seemed a tip off to me. Jewish converts (known as conversos in Spain) still faced a lot of discrimination/suspicion despite the conversion, as Christian authorities recognized that many only converted in name only but kept Jewish practices at home (called crypto-Jews). A converso seeking to remove such discrimination would have tried to hide his family's Semitic blood by various means: destroying/stealing documentation, paying government officials to keep quiet, moving to another region, etc. A rich banker or doctor would have had the means to cover up his past.

    All idle speculation, I know, but the fact that Giovanni's banking talents emerged out of nowhere makes me think they really didn't. Unlike the Borgias, however, I haven't noticed any history of enemies charging the Medicis of being conversos.

    Replies: @Mark Caplan, @Ed, @sb, @Anonymous, @Pseudonymic Handle, @helena, @Anonymous

    Whorefinder: the place we call Italy has produced so many giants of history why assume the local gene pool couldn’t produce great doctors or bankers without them being crypto-Jewish?

    The talent from that region blows away any other place on earth in the period Ancient Rome to Renaissance.

    There is a weird syndrome evident on the alt-right where the afflicted assume all prominent gentiles are crypto Jews.

  44. @Daniel H
    @Twinkie

    I'm quite happy with my Johnston & Murphy's. Best bang for the buck with footwear.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    I’m quite happy with my Johnston & Murphy’s. Best bang for the buck with footwear.

    Some people are also happy with Skechers.

    Most mass-manufactured shoes are complete rubbish (even most “brand” names). They are corrected-grain leather slapped together with glue.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    @Twinkie

    Until relatively recently J & M Aristocraft was an excellent USA made,goodyear welted shoe comparable to Allen Edmonds or Alden. Then they moved manufacturing to Mexico etc. etc. I have a pair I've worn weekly for almost 30 years and they still in good shape.

    Replies: @Brutusale, @Twinkie

  45. @Reg Cæsar
    @Mark Caplan


    A Jew married Donald Trump’s daughter and Hillary Clinton’s daughter.
     
    Busy guy. And they said gay marriage wouldn't lead to polygamy...

    Replies: @Twinkie

    Busy guy. And they said gay marriage wouldn’t lead to polygamy…

    Mormons are not victims. Can’t be. Much too blonde and pale for that.

    A part of me – a small, non-Catholic part – would like to see just what would happen if polygamy were legalized (“consenting adults” is all that matters, right- why hatefully prevent “big love”?).

    It’s the same part that wants to see it all crashing down. Then I remember that I’ve seen a society crumble somewhere else in the world and that destruction is not always “creative.”

    • Replies: @dearieme
    @Twinkie

    "if polygamy were legalised": I understood the modern American system to be sequential polygamy?

    , @Charles Erwin Wilson
    @Twinkie


    It’s the same part that wants to see it all crashing down. Then I remember that I’ve seen a society crumble somewhere else in the world and that destruction is not always “creative.”
     
    Yes, mostly it is just destructive. And the 'creative destruction' advocates never see their house, neighborhood, city, state or country as the destroyed. And certainly not their prospects, loved ones or lives.

    Beware the heralds of destruction. They sing a siren song, sonorous but sinister. And they profit from the suffering of others.

    Replies: @Twinkie

  46. @whorefinder
    I (and probably numerous others) have hypothesized for a while that the Medici family, which hails from Florence, were of Jewish-convert stock.

    Medici means "medical doctor" and the Medicis went on to become mega-powerful bankers and carefully married into European noble stock (Catherine de Medici became Queen of France). Medicine and banking were two of the few professions Jews did in large percentages in the Middle Ages, partly due to Jewish ethnic networking; partly due to higher IQ; partly due to Christian-religious bans on usury and desecration of corpses/bodies; and partly due to the fact that Jews were literate via their religious practices, allowing them access to texts on banking and medicine.

    (Christians weren't wholly illiterate, but it wasn't required for Christians to know how to read, and most jobs of the time didn't need literacy, so only wealthy Christians and Christians who had literacy-dependent jobs were literate).

    And of course the careful marrying practices of the Medici's is stereotypical of Jewish practice of marrying into the 1% of gentiles (e.g. Donald Trump's daughter marrying a Jewish man).

    The fact that little is known about the family before the banking rise of Giovanni always seemed a tip off to me. Jewish converts (known as conversos in Spain) still faced a lot of discrimination/suspicion despite the conversion, as Christian authorities recognized that many only converted in name only but kept Jewish practices at home (called crypto-Jews). A converso seeking to remove such discrimination would have tried to hide his family's Semitic blood by various means: destroying/stealing documentation, paying government officials to keep quiet, moving to another region, etc. A rich banker or doctor would have had the means to cover up his past.

    All idle speculation, I know, but the fact that Giovanni's banking talents emerged out of nowhere makes me think they really didn't. Unlike the Borgias, however, I haven't noticed any history of enemies charging the Medicis of being conversos.

    Replies: @Mark Caplan, @Ed, @sb, @Anonymous, @Pseudonymic Handle, @helena, @Anonymous

    There was no prescription against christians practicing medicine. Most famous doctors of the Middle Ages were venetians. Most medieval universities had medicine schools besides law and theology.
    I’m not sure when Ashkenazi started practicing medicine for gentiles, but I think that is much later than the rise of the Medici family. Until the enlightenment they largely stuck to money lending and some exotic trade.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Pseudonymic Handle

    The enlightenment didn't begin to influence the European Jewish population until the late 1700's. Long before then, the Jewish population had expanded beyond that niche out of necessity. The wealthier Jews were money lenders and managers of large estates, but there were large numbers of tradesmen, unskilled laborers, and even homeless luftmenschen who wandered from shtetl to shtetl.

    Jewish practice of medicine, however, predates the European Jewish enlightenment, especially among the Sephardim. Maimonides, for instance, was a physician.

  47. Lot says:
    @Winthorp
    @TK421

    Marrying into the family name seems like less of a problem for the Clarkian model than strangers straight up adopting a classy name. With the former, there's still an accounting for additive genetics by way of the biological daughter and for shared culture by way of the parents and uncles. The latter's a more troublesome inheritance, but that's one of the advantages of looking at a single city - presumably the incumbents (and local norms in general) would have made it hard for new entrants to trade on their name.

    Replies: @Winthorp, @Lot, @Anonymous Nephew

    It matters depending on your method. Clarke defined his old elite based on over-representation in list of elites versus list of commoners, and then looked a modern elite lists to see how the old elites were doing percentage-wise.

    The “unnatural” preservation of elite surnames by men marrying up and taking their wives’ surnames meant that a lot of upwardly mobile men named Smith and Johnson had sons named Granville and Fitzroy, distorting the results when looking at the percentage of modern elites with old elite surnames.

    If you are just looking at the average income of old elite surnames, then this does not matter so much because Mr. Fitzroy’s grandson through his daughter has just as much of his genes as his grandson through his son.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @Lot


    If you are just looking at the average income of old elite surnames, then this does not matter so much because Mr. Fitzroy’s grandson through his daughter has just as much of his genes as his grandson through his son.
     
    Yeah, but it will create an artificial over-representation for elite surnames that wouldn't otherwise exist. For example there will be one Smith less and also one Granville more in the sample.
    , @PV van der Byl
    @Lot

    Did those men marrying up simply adopt their wives' surnames or did they hyphenated the names? To create, for example, double-barreled names like Granville-Smith and Fitzroy-Johnson?

    Replies: @Old Palo Altan

    , @Winthorp
    @Lot

    The surname analysis method is just a convenient way to track the reproduction of social competence in every successive generation through choices and aptitudes shaped by some combination of genetic and environmental endowment. Unless there are crucial genes specific to the family Y chromosome, I don't see why occasionally recruiting a well vetted male would necessarily derail the underlying process that this method is trying to capture. Roughly all the same elements are there in the same proportion. It could introduce a subtly different dynamic for good or ill, but there are pitfalls inherent in female recruitment too. In contrast, unrelated emulators are definitely exogenous to the model and would compromise it.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @Crawfurdmuir
    @Lot


    The “unnatural” preservation of elite surnames by men marrying up and taking their wives’ surnames meant that a lot of upwardly mobile men named Smith and Johnson had sons named Granville and Fitzroy, distorting the results when looking at the percentage of modern elites with old elite surnames.
     
    There were (and still are) rather specific rules about this practice - it is not just done willy-nilly, as might be assumed from the suggestion that men marry up and take their wives' surnames.

    The "double-barreled" names common amongst the British gentry originate from the marriages of heraldic heiresses, i.e., the only daughters of armigerous parents who have no sons. Women who are not heraldic heiresses normally take the names of their husbands, but in order to perpetuate the name of an heiress's family (since there are no sons to do so), her surname is added with a hyphen to that of her husband. The husband may bear her arms "impaled" with his, and the children of the union quarter their parents' arms.

    In some situations when a childless person left lands or other possessions of value to a cousin or nephew, he might make a requirement that the heir take the decedent's name by deed poll. Also, in cases where a peerage has passed by remainder to an heir not of the same surname, he usually takes the surname as well as the title. Such an example was Sir Hugh Smithson, Bt., the son-in-law of Algernon Percy, Earl of Northumberland. After that nobleman' death in 1750, Smithson inherited the title and took the Percy name and arms. He was created Duke of Northumberland in 1766, and the present Duke is his descendant.

    Special situations arise when both husband and wife bear titles in their own right. When Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 11th Baronet, Chief of Clan Moncreiffe, and feudal baron of Easter Moncreiffe, married Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll, their first son, Merlin Sereld Victor Gilbert, took the surname Hay, and became the heir to both his father's baronetcy and his mother's earldom, as well as to the chiefship of Clan Hay. Their second son, Peregrine David Euan Malcolm, at birth surnamed Hay, inherited the barony of Easter Moncreiffe. After the death of his cousin Elizabeth Moncreiffe of that Ilk, he was recognized by the Court of the Lord Lyon as Chief of Clan Moncreiffe, and took the surname Moncreiffe of that Ilk.

    Replies: @PV van der Byl

  48. @Lot
    @Winthorp

    It matters depending on your method. Clarke defined his old elite based on over-representation in list of elites versus list of commoners, and then looked a modern elite lists to see how the old elites were doing percentage-wise.

    The "unnatural" preservation of elite surnames by men marrying up and taking their wives' surnames meant that a lot of upwardly mobile men named Smith and Johnson had sons named Granville and Fitzroy, distorting the results when looking at the percentage of modern elites with old elite surnames.

    If you are just looking at the average income of old elite surnames, then this does not matter so much because Mr. Fitzroy's grandson through his daughter has just as much of his genes as his grandson through his son.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @PV van der Byl, @Winthorp, @Crawfurdmuir

    If you are just looking at the average income of old elite surnames, then this does not matter so much because Mr. Fitzroy’s grandson through his daughter has just as much of his genes as his grandson through his son.

    Yeah, but it will create an artificial over-representation for elite surnames that wouldn’t otherwise exist. For example there will be one Smith less and also one Granville more in the sample.

  49. Dear Steve,
    Don’t forget Brunelleschi’s friend, Pier Paolo Toscanelli, considered by some to be Europe’s finest mathematician at that time. He showed the largely self –taught Brunelleschi how to build the Duomo with geometric rope guides leading to the floor ‘Rose’ rather than erect 160 ft wooden scaffolding .
    Toscanelli ‘s family were spice merchants. He made a map
    (http://cartographic-images.net/Cartographic_Images/252_Toscanellis_World_Map.html)
    after talking with a Portuguese sailor who had returned after sailed round Japan. The sailor told him there appeared to be a large ocean to the East of Japan. Toscanelli theorized that his family could bypass the heavy tariffs from the Islamic countries of the East and get spices by sailing to the West to find the Spice islands.
    His map was given to Christopher Columbus. Columbus failed to find the Spice islands. Something got in the way….
    Ironically, Toscanelli’s genius led to Italy becoming eclipsed by the massive gold and silver profits flowing to Spain from the New World.

  50. @Twinkie
    @Daniel H


    I’m quite happy with my Johnston & Murphy’s. Best bang for the buck with footwear.
     
    Some people are also happy with Skechers.

    Most mass-manufactured shoes are complete rubbish (even most "brand" names). They are corrected-grain leather slapped together with glue.

    Replies: @kaganovitch

    Until relatively recently J & M Aristocraft was an excellent USA made,goodyear welted shoe comparable to Allen Edmonds or Alden. Then they moved manufacturing to Mexico etc. etc. I have a pair I’ve worn weekly for almost 30 years and they still in good shape.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    @kaganovitch

    As was Cole Haan until Nike ruined the brand.

    , @Twinkie
    @kaganovitch


    J & M Aristocraft
     
    We are dating ourselves here with this bit of trivia.

    ... an excellent USA made,goodyear welted shoe comparable to Allen Edmonds or Alden.
     
    Even Aristocrafts were never the equals of the finest of Northampton though.
  51. It would be interesting to see the same study done for England. I think one was sort of done similar, and the result was something about Norman names dominating. Could have been a fairly recent post of yours but I forget now.

    Btw, it’s the 4th anniversary of Robin Gibb’s death:

  52. Scaggs is an odd sort of name. Can’t find it in Surnamedb. First hit says it’s Saxon.

    One hit-album wonders, and what a hit it was!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jnowrxj_cbQ&feature=youtu.be

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    @Pat Hannagan

    Gibby Haynes and Paul Leary cover Donovan for possibly the greatest song ever (Anglo-Welsh-Irish convergence?)?:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76yWZcsgwF8

    , @PiltdownMan
    @Pat Hannagan


    One hit-album wonders, and what a hit it was!
     
    But a wonder for more than one hit, surely. This collaborative effort by Boz Scaggs deserves more than an honorable mention.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTFvAvsHC_Y

    Replies: @Pat Hannagan

  53. Similar effects – but hailing from more than 300 years earlier – are observed in the UK today with Norman aristocratic names; a legacy of the Norman conquest of 1066.

    People with Norman names wealthier than other Britons

    People with “Norman” surnames like Darcy and Mandeville are still wealthier than the general population 1,000 years after their descendants conquered Britain, according to a study into social progress.

    Read the whole thing.

  54. @Pat Hannagan
    Scaggs is an odd sort of name. Can't find it in Surnamedb. First hit says it's Saxon.

    One hit-album wonders, and what a hit it was!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jnowrxj_cbQ&feature=youtu.be

    Replies: @Pat Hannagan, @PiltdownMan

    Gibby Haynes and Paul Leary cover Donovan for possibly the greatest song ever (Anglo-Welsh-Irish convergence?)?:

  55. @FactsAreImportant
    Was Caddy Shack a prophetic foretelling of Trump's takeover of the Republican party?

    Rodney Dangerfield is a REAL ESTATE developer who takes over the stuffy country club headed by Ted Knight. The members are outraged by the uncouth, ORANGE-clad Dangerfield, who is rude to women and club members, and who ends up beating Ted Knight at his own game (golf).

    https://youtu.be/R8G-NHFELaw

    https://youtu.be/cMVvTl83gWg

    Coincidence? Or eerily accurate prophetic prophecy? You decide!

    Replies: @Pat Hannagan

    Nah, too Jewish.

    Or is it?

  56. @Winthorp
    @TK421

    Marrying into the family name seems like less of a problem for the Clarkian model than strangers straight up adopting a classy name. With the former, there's still an accounting for additive genetics by way of the biological daughter and for shared culture by way of the parents and uncles. The latter's a more troublesome inheritance, but that's one of the advantages of looking at a single city - presumably the incumbents (and local norms in general) would have made it hard for new entrants to trade on their name.

    Replies: @Winthorp, @Lot, @Anonymous Nephew

    The family tree of the Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes clan shows a lot of surname-collecting, though it seems to have been about keeping the names of illustrious forebears. IIRC they mostly married in their own class, excepting a Twisleton who married his parlourmaid.

    Similarly the Spencer family (descended from Marlborough’s daughter) added the name Churchill when inheriting Blenheim Palace and the dukedom.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes_family
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Spencer-Churchill,_5th_Duke_of_Marlborough

    Alas, this all probably has little relevance to Florentine practice.

  57. My vote for top ten album of the 1990s. Surnames: Jourgensen with guitarist Scaccia:

  58. Isn’t this just the the surnames are prestigious so even if men join the family they’d rather adopt the bride’s?

    So ambitious people all end up marrying into rich families and keeping the surname rich. But the original genes don’t remain any more than in any other family.

  59. “The effect isn’t huge”: allow me to commend you for your positively British level of understatement.

  60. @Twinkie
    @Reg Cæsar


    Busy guy. And they said gay marriage wouldn’t lead to polygamy…
     
    Mormons are not victims. Can't be. Much too blonde and pale for that.

    A part of me - a small, non-Catholic part - would like to see just what would happen if polygamy were legalized ("consenting adults" is all that matters, right- why hatefully prevent "big love"?).

    It's the same part that wants to see it all crashing down. Then I remember that I've seen a society crumble somewhere else in the world and that destruction is not always "creative."

    Replies: @dearieme, @Charles Erwin Wilson

    “if polygamy were legalised”: I understood the modern American system to be sequential polygamy?

  61. @Twinkie

    Florentine cobblers might still be the best in the world.
     
    Never! Northampton will always remain the world capital of fine dress shoes.

    http://www.edwardgreen.com/

    Replies: @Daniel H, @dearieme

    “Northampton will always remain the world capital of fine dress shoes.” Perhaps so, but I must say they make fine leather handbags in Florence.

  62. Was cobbler a high paying profession in the 1400s?

    I guess so, though I feel like that’s new information that I didn’t know,

    In Game of Thrones this past week the High Sparrow, who’s sort of an ascetic religious leader, went into his back story, apparently he was a cobbler, apparently it provided for a pretty luxurious life before he gave it up for his religion

  63. @Mark Caplan
    @whorefinder

    A Jew married Donald Trump's daughter and Hillary Clinton's daughter.

    Replies: @Judah Benjamin Hur, @Reg Cæsar, @Oscar, @Wilkey

    Bigamy!

  64. @whorefinder
    I (and probably numerous others) have hypothesized for a while that the Medici family, which hails from Florence, were of Jewish-convert stock.

    Medici means "medical doctor" and the Medicis went on to become mega-powerful bankers and carefully married into European noble stock (Catherine de Medici became Queen of France). Medicine and banking were two of the few professions Jews did in large percentages in the Middle Ages, partly due to Jewish ethnic networking; partly due to higher IQ; partly due to Christian-religious bans on usury and desecration of corpses/bodies; and partly due to the fact that Jews were literate via their religious practices, allowing them access to texts on banking and medicine.

    (Christians weren't wholly illiterate, but it wasn't required for Christians to know how to read, and most jobs of the time didn't need literacy, so only wealthy Christians and Christians who had literacy-dependent jobs were literate).

    And of course the careful marrying practices of the Medici's is stereotypical of Jewish practice of marrying into the 1% of gentiles (e.g. Donald Trump's daughter marrying a Jewish man).

    The fact that little is known about the family before the banking rise of Giovanni always seemed a tip off to me. Jewish converts (known as conversos in Spain) still faced a lot of discrimination/suspicion despite the conversion, as Christian authorities recognized that many only converted in name only but kept Jewish practices at home (called crypto-Jews). A converso seeking to remove such discrimination would have tried to hide his family's Semitic blood by various means: destroying/stealing documentation, paying government officials to keep quiet, moving to another region, etc. A rich banker or doctor would have had the means to cover up his past.

    All idle speculation, I know, but the fact that Giovanni's banking talents emerged out of nowhere makes me think they really didn't. Unlike the Borgias, however, I haven't noticed any history of enemies charging the Medicis of being conversos.

    Replies: @Mark Caplan, @Ed, @sb, @Anonymous, @Pseudonymic Handle, @helena, @Anonymous

    That’s an interesting thought in light of the hypothesis about Ashkenazim. The ‘Genetic evidence’ section of the Wiki page on Etruscans is intriguing, if inconclusive – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etruscan_origins

  65. @Boomstick
    @Winthorp

    But what's the mean they're regressing to? Did cobblers select for IQ? Sense of style? Business acumen? Are the skills that made 15th century cobblers successful both genetic and useful in today's world?

    Replies: @Winthorp, @reiner Tor, @Romanian, @Expletive Deleted

    Nicolae Ceausescu, the Romanian dictator, was a cobbler. But he was an apprentice to one. His family was full of peasants, not tradesmen. I don’t know if his shoes were any good, because he started his political activity with the Communists right around the time he started to make shoes.

    Maybe there’s something about making shoes that destines one for greatness.

    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    @Romanian

    I don't know if Germans with the name Schumacher, or Dutchmen named Schoonmaker, are relatively accomplished people but it would seem to be an interesting question for a researcher.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @Almost Missouri
    @Romanian

    Another name from the rolls of Cobblers Destined for Greatness:

    Jakob Böhme (Jacob Boehme to Anglophones)

  66. @Lot
    @Winthorp

    It matters depending on your method. Clarke defined his old elite based on over-representation in list of elites versus list of commoners, and then looked a modern elite lists to see how the old elites were doing percentage-wise.

    The "unnatural" preservation of elite surnames by men marrying up and taking their wives' surnames meant that a lot of upwardly mobile men named Smith and Johnson had sons named Granville and Fitzroy, distorting the results when looking at the percentage of modern elites with old elite surnames.

    If you are just looking at the average income of old elite surnames, then this does not matter so much because Mr. Fitzroy's grandson through his daughter has just as much of his genes as his grandson through his son.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @PV van der Byl, @Winthorp, @Crawfurdmuir

    Did those men marrying up simply adopt their wives’ surnames or did they hyphenated the names? To create, for example, double-barreled names like Granville-Smith and Fitzroy-Johnson?

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    @PV van der Byl

    Some did, some didn't.
    When Sir Hugh Smithson had the incredibly good luck to marry the heiress of the vast estates of the Percys of Northumberland in 1740, he simply (but legally) changed his name to Percy. Upon inheriting the Percy lands and castles, he was created Duke of Northumberland, and his descendants flourish impressively to this day.
    A Smith was even bolder. The son of a rich banker who was created Lord Carrington in 1797, he, upon succeeding to the title in 1838, changed his name within a year from Smith to ... Carrington.
    A descendant rose to the dizzy heights of a marquessate, another, still alive at nearly 97, was Margaret Thatcher's Foreign Minister at the outbreak of the Falklands War (he felt obliged to resign).

  67. @Romanian
    @Boomstick

    Nicolae Ceausescu, the Romanian dictator, was a cobbler. But he was an apprentice to one. His family was full of peasants, not tradesmen. I don't know if his shoes were any good, because he started his political activity with the Communists right around the time he started to make shoes.

    Maybe there's something about making shoes that destines one for greatness.

    Replies: @PV van der Byl, @Almost Missouri

    I don’t know if Germans with the name Schumacher, or Dutchmen named Schoonmaker, are relatively accomplished people but it would seem to be an interesting question for a researcher.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @PV van der Byl

    Scorsese's editrix is Theresa Schoonmaker. She doesn't work much for anybody else, so it's hard to divide up credit, but she probably belongs in the Hall of Fame of unassuming women who let great men be great.

  68. “Maybe there’s something about making shoes that destines one for greatness.”
    You may be on to something; My namesake , the late mass murderer layzer kaganovitch also got his start in a shoe factory.

  69. Apprentices taking on the name of the master, while not as common as Japan, is not unheard of in the West either. In Philadelphia there was a famous (now closed) 100 year old butcher shop in Reading Terminal Market run by one Harry Ochs, Jr. Except that Harry Ochs Jr.’s birth name was Harry Finocchio – he adopted the name of the previous owner, whom he had started working for as a teenager. I think what happened was that since he really was named Harry like the previous owner, all of the customers just assumed he was Harry Jr. and eventually he went with it – it was good business anyway.

    Of course the most common instance of a servant taking on a master’s surname is the case of the American black slaves.

  70. Presumably Thomas Hardy’s example of the Stoke-d’Urbervilles in Tess of the d’Urbervilles represents a real world name-changing-up-the-social-ladder pattern.

    “When old Mr Simon Stoke, latterly deceased, had made his fortune as an honest merchant (some said money-lender) in the North, he decided to settle as a county man in the South of England, out of hail of his business district; and in doing this he felt the necessity of recommencing with a name that would not too readily identify him with the smart tradesman of the past, and that would be less commonplace than the original bald, stark words. Conning for an hour in the British Museum the pages of works devoted to extinct, half-extinct, obscured, and ruined families appertaining to the quarter of England in which he proposed to settle, he considered that d’Urberville looked and sounded as well as any of them: and d’Urberville accordingly was annexed to his own name for himself and his heirs eternally. Yet he was not an extravagant-minded man in this, and in constructing his family tree on the new basis was duly reasonable in framing his inter-marriages and aristocratic links, never inserting a single title above a rank of strict moderation.”

    OT: At the risk of setting off a Jew-alarm-fire, I’ve always wondered if in some of these details (the possible money-lender Simon obscuring his “smart tradesman” past) Hardy was implying that the Stokes, and therefore Tess’s (symbol of Olde England) seducer/destroyer, were Jewish.

    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    @Almost Missouri

    Great passage! The strategy is entirely plausible.

  71. @Romanian
    @Boomstick

    Nicolae Ceausescu, the Romanian dictator, was a cobbler. But he was an apprentice to one. His family was full of peasants, not tradesmen. I don't know if his shoes were any good, because he started his political activity with the Communists right around the time he started to make shoes.

    Maybe there's something about making shoes that destines one for greatness.

    Replies: @PV van der Byl, @Almost Missouri

    Another name from the rolls of Cobblers Destined for Greatness:

    Jakob Böhme (Jacob Boehme to Anglophones)

  72. @Twinkie
    @Ivy


    Some Japanese breweries and sake firms have the same adopt-an-heir policy to demonstrate their 1300+ year histories.
     
    My paternal family history goes back 1400 years (7th Century AD), and I can trace my ancestry with exact specificity from the 13th Century - I am a direct father-to-son, father-to-son descendant of an East Asian military figure of that time.

    My father was also a naval officer in his country, and a large majority of my ancestors were "men on horseback" (many died young in wars, thankfully with heirs alive at home). So it was not surprising at all to my parents that ever since I was a baby I was drawn to guns, swords, bows, and horses. I took to horse riding easily and I was picked to be on the (air) rifle team as a child. My own children all loved horses and guns since they were little kids. One of my kids, in particular, refused to ride a pony since age 4 and insisted on being on a big horse instead. Even for me it was a bit nerve-racking seeing that little thing on a horse, but the kid was a champ!

    Replies: @AndrewR

    Lol. The word you’re looking for is “patrilineal.”

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @AndrewR


    The word you’re looking for is “patrilineal.”
     
    Yes, I thought about using "patrilineal" instead of "father to son, father to son," but I thought the latter had more rhetorical flourish, like this: https://youtu.be/25lz_nD8AOo?t=1m2s
  73. @fox
    this study proves nothing. women regularly change surname after marriage.

    Replies: @AndrewR

    Obviously but status and wealth historically have tended to be handed down to sons. And even daughters tend to marry in a similar social class. So even after centuries it can be useful to compare data by surname.

  74. One persistent worry about surname analysis is whether there’s a history of name-changing up the social ladder. Perhaps, say, it’s not unknown for the master cobbler’s best apprentice to marry the boss’s daughter and take his father in law’s surname?

    Or like in the Hardy novel ‘Tess of the Durbevilles’, where Tess discovers that Alec Durbeville is from a family that has only recently come into their wealth, and has bought the titles and name of an old aristocratic family.

  75. @candid_observer
    OT, but pretty interesting is the NY Times attempt at discrediting Trump's proposals regarding The Wall and deportation:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/us/politics/donald-trump-immigration.html

    It's pretty amazing to see the numbers trotted out to build The Wall, with the strong suggestion that it just couldn't possibly be economically viable: Trump's estimate is about $10B, and the Times scares someone up who claims it would be instead at least $25B. Meanwhile, of course, how much was spent on the idiot war in Iraq, which Trump opposed and Hillary supported? I've seen an estimate that, putting everything together, it comes to roughly 2 Trillion, give or take. Even if the Iraq war estimate is some greatly exaggerated spin job, how many fewer zeros could the true cost possibly have, realistically? And we got what for that expenditure? Greater insecurity, by any fair reckoning.

    These people in the media just aren't serious. Everything they write is moronic, including "and" and "the".

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @James O'Meara

    But…for Israel!

  76. @Mark Caplan
    @whorefinder

    A Jew married Donald Trump's daughter and Hillary Clinton's daughter.

    Replies: @Judah Benjamin Hur, @Reg Cæsar, @Oscar, @Wilkey

    Yes, and now both Chelsea and Ivanka have father-in-law who have been to prison for fraud.

  77. @Boomstick
    @Winthorp

    But what's the mean they're regressing to? Did cobblers select for IQ? Sense of style? Business acumen? Are the skills that made 15th century cobblers successful both genetic and useful in today's world?

    Replies: @Winthorp, @reiner Tor, @Romanian, @Expletive Deleted

    I suspect that being selected for “owning outright a great big eff-off shop and apartments in the middle of a Yugely expensive and fashionista European city, and not paying the local rents like even those who manage to worm their way in as burghers later” is a corker of an inherited characteristic.
    OK OK, I’m working on it, I’m working on it, honey.

    I wonder what happened to the other thousands of co-descended Ferragamos? Army and an early death, if my family are any guide.

  78. Marc says:

    Our family in Sicily has reverted back to the mean over the last five generations. They went from landed gentry in in the early Twentieth century with income producing vineyards, live stock and a large hillside estate in a central province into teachers, lawyers and cheese/olive oil producers. Remaining vestiges of our Norman ancestry have been amalgamated into a Sicilian Heinz 57. After my first visit I had a new appreciation for the underlying friction between the Capuleti and Montecchi clans when their crazy kids decided to flout convention.

  79. I suspect that part of these multi-century persistences is that the name itself becomes a good. Companies want big-name people on their boards to show off to potential investors; women looking for husbands probably prefer famously-named men, too. So the names can be used to get higher salaries and better mates over time.

    One way to test this would be to compare whether people who happen by chance to have last names associated with wealthy families (but are not actually related to them,) do better than demographically-matched peers with ordinary last names.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @EvolutionistX

    Ferragamo, for example, is an old Florentine cobbler's name that is now a global brand name for expensive shoes.

  80. @EvolutionistX
    I suspect that part of these multi-century persistences is that the name itself becomes a good. Companies want big-name people on their boards to show off to potential investors; women looking for husbands probably prefer famously-named men, too. So the names can be used to get higher salaries and better mates over time.

    One way to test this would be to compare whether people who happen by chance to have last names associated with wealthy families (but are not actually related to them,) do better than demographically-matched peers with ordinary last names.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Ferragamo, for example, is an old Florentine cobbler’s name that is now a global brand name for expensive shoes.

  81. @Lot
    @Winthorp

    It matters depending on your method. Clarke defined his old elite based on over-representation in list of elites versus list of commoners, and then looked a modern elite lists to see how the old elites were doing percentage-wise.

    The "unnatural" preservation of elite surnames by men marrying up and taking their wives' surnames meant that a lot of upwardly mobile men named Smith and Johnson had sons named Granville and Fitzroy, distorting the results when looking at the percentage of modern elites with old elite surnames.

    If you are just looking at the average income of old elite surnames, then this does not matter so much because Mr. Fitzroy's grandson through his daughter has just as much of his genes as his grandson through his son.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @PV van der Byl, @Winthorp, @Crawfurdmuir

    The surname analysis method is just a convenient way to track the reproduction of social competence in every successive generation through choices and aptitudes shaped by some combination of genetic and environmental endowment. Unless there are crucial genes specific to the family Y chromosome, I don’t see why occasionally recruiting a well vetted male would necessarily derail the underlying process that this method is trying to capture. Roughly all the same elements are there in the same proportion. It could introduce a subtly different dynamic for good or ill, but there are pitfalls inherent in female recruitment too. In contrast, unrelated emulators are definitely exogenous to the model and would compromise it.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Winthorp

    Spelling the name "Sailer" instead of the old "Seiler" (ropemaker) was an innovation by a social climbing ancestor who had become mayor of his little village in Switzerland. It's like Smythe versus Smith.

  82. @Winthorp
    @Lot

    The surname analysis method is just a convenient way to track the reproduction of social competence in every successive generation through choices and aptitudes shaped by some combination of genetic and environmental endowment. Unless there are crucial genes specific to the family Y chromosome, I don't see why occasionally recruiting a well vetted male would necessarily derail the underlying process that this method is trying to capture. Roughly all the same elements are there in the same proportion. It could introduce a subtly different dynamic for good or ill, but there are pitfalls inherent in female recruitment too. In contrast, unrelated emulators are definitely exogenous to the model and would compromise it.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Spelling the name “Sailer” instead of the old “Seiler” (ropemaker) was an innovation by a social climbing ancestor who had become mayor of his little village in Switzerland. It’s like Smythe versus Smith.

  83. Right, and it’s not clear to me how one figures out how many mayors of Sailertown there were in history so this approach can adjust accordingly. These kind of findings are mounting up, but without getting a handle on this kind of contingency, how do we know it’s not robust because it’s tautological: successful people are successful and advertise themselves accordingly, because that’s what successful people do. As I stated above thread, I think focusing on smaller localities rather than countries adds more confidence because incumbents presumably guard against unrelated emulators. In your case, one would want to keep the focus on that canton. The name change was an expression of making it – now let’s see how slowly or quickly the Sailer prestige dwindles. Though obviously there are limitations to that approach, not least because it brackets out you yourself. You end up measuring transgenerational skill at hanging on, rather than capturing adventurous daring or really really successful climbing. Which I guess suggests that it’s better to look at major metropolises.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Winthorp

    Gregory Clark did a few checks on the name-changing issue, but I'm still concerned about it.

  84. @Winthorp
    Right, and it's not clear to me how one figures out how many mayors of Sailertown there were in history so this approach can adjust accordingly. These kind of findings are mounting up, but without getting a handle on this kind of contingency, how do we know it's not robust because it's tautological: successful people are successful and advertise themselves accordingly, because that's what successful people do. As I stated above thread, I think focusing on smaller localities rather than countries adds more confidence because incumbents presumably guard against unrelated emulators. In your case, one would want to keep the focus on that canton. The name change was an expression of making it - now let's see how slowly or quickly the Sailer prestige dwindles. Though obviously there are limitations to that approach, not least because it brackets out you yourself. You end up measuring transgenerational skill at hanging on, rather than capturing adventurous daring or really really successful climbing. Which I guess suggests that it's better to look at major metropolises.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Gregory Clark did a few checks on the name-changing issue, but I’m still concerned about it.

  85. The laws of perspective were discovered in Flanders sometime before Jan van Eyck, most modern historians would agree. Masaccio, van Eyck’s contemporary, paints largely in a mediaeval manner. Van Eyck is entirely Renaissance.
    The Italocentric view of the Renaissance originated with Vasari and was developed by 18th and 19th Century writers. In many instances, it does not accord with the facts.

  86. @Andrew
    My maternal family was a modest Anglo-Norman baronial family with two manor villages named with our surname back into the mists of time in England and then Normandy. In the US various ancestors managed to attain political offices like Governor and Congressman, owned and ran plantations, managed several mega-construction projects, got a couple of mountains named after the family and a small university. I am a 6th generation college graduate and well inside the top 5% of family income for my age. I would call that persistence of family status over 1000 years. My paternal family cannot be traced as far, but in general they were prosperous and mobile independent German/Swiss farmers and mechanics and Protestant ministers and they continued as such in the US. My most distantly traced paternal ancestor hand built pipe organs in medieval Churches. But socio-economic status doesn't come to each generation handed on a platter for free - it requires hard work and thrift and it is very easy to slip back down by just being a bit lazy.

    If poor people stay poor because of poor decision making and a lack of self-denial, which I think is true, the contrary is true for well-off people and families. Good decisions and personal discipline and thrift go a long way to producing and maintaining wealth and status to be handed down to later generations.

    Replies: @Michelle, @unpc downunder

    Yes, but with a few bad apples, black sheep, lowlifes, ne’er-do-wells and out-and-out scoundrels thrown in to balance out the fine, upstanding citizens. There are good and bad people in all income classes. Holding on to wealth may be an entirely different kettle of fish than the actual generation of wealth from an original idea carried to fruition. I think it is. A less than stellar offspring may be able to maintain the integrity of a company founded by a patriarch based on the reputation and original ideas of the founder. Continuing success may have little to nothing to do with the savvy, intelligence or work ethic of the heir. I see quite a few Mexicans who roam around with small ice cream carts. No doubt they are hard working and frugal, but they are not likely to ever become wealthy.

  87. @PV van der Byl
    @Romanian

    I don't know if Germans with the name Schumacher, or Dutchmen named Schoonmaker, are relatively accomplished people but it would seem to be an interesting question for a researcher.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Scorsese’s editrix is Theresa Schoonmaker. She doesn’t work much for anybody else, so it’s hard to divide up credit, but she probably belongs in the Hall of Fame of unassuming women who let great men be great.

  88. @Andrew
    My maternal family was a modest Anglo-Norman baronial family with two manor villages named with our surname back into the mists of time in England and then Normandy. In the US various ancestors managed to attain political offices like Governor and Congressman, owned and ran plantations, managed several mega-construction projects, got a couple of mountains named after the family and a small university. I am a 6th generation college graduate and well inside the top 5% of family income for my age. I would call that persistence of family status over 1000 years. My paternal family cannot be traced as far, but in general they were prosperous and mobile independent German/Swiss farmers and mechanics and Protestant ministers and they continued as such in the US. My most distantly traced paternal ancestor hand built pipe organs in medieval Churches. But socio-economic status doesn't come to each generation handed on a platter for free - it requires hard work and thrift and it is very easy to slip back down by just being a bit lazy.

    If poor people stay poor because of poor decision making and a lack of self-denial, which I think is true, the contrary is true for well-off people and families. Good decisions and personal discipline and thrift go a long way to producing and maintaining wealth and status to be handed down to later generations.

    Replies: @Michelle, @unpc downunder

    Wealth creation is positively correlated with conscientiousness and extroversion and negatively correlated with aggreableness and honesty-humility – which helps explain why people have such divided views about the wealthy.

    However, I’m not sure if extroversion is correlated with maintaining wealth. I’d suspect high energy extroverts are better at building wealth and thriftier introverts are better at consolidating the gains of their more extroverted ancestors.

  89. @kaganovitch
    @Twinkie

    Until relatively recently J & M Aristocraft was an excellent USA made,goodyear welted shoe comparable to Allen Edmonds or Alden. Then they moved manufacturing to Mexico etc. etc. I have a pair I've worn weekly for almost 30 years and they still in good shape.

    Replies: @Brutusale, @Twinkie

    As was Cole Haan until Nike ruined the brand.

  90. @sb
    @whorefinder

    Re The Jewish practise of marrying into the 1% of gentiles

    As well as the Trump daughter lets remember that it is highly probable that ALL the descendants of two - maybe three -(gentile ) US Presidents ( JFK and Clinton ) are likely to consider themselves Jewish

    As an aside it's nice to see a society where people with a respectable skilled trade -shoemaking - generally earn more than lawyers ( & I have a law degree )

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Lot

    As an aside it’s nice to see a society where people with a respectable skilled trade -shoemaking – generally earn more than lawyers

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” (Except you, of course)

  91. @Twinkie
    @Reg Cæsar


    Busy guy. And they said gay marriage wouldn’t lead to polygamy…
     
    Mormons are not victims. Can't be. Much too blonde and pale for that.

    A part of me - a small, non-Catholic part - would like to see just what would happen if polygamy were legalized ("consenting adults" is all that matters, right- why hatefully prevent "big love"?).

    It's the same part that wants to see it all crashing down. Then I remember that I've seen a society crumble somewhere else in the world and that destruction is not always "creative."

    Replies: @dearieme, @Charles Erwin Wilson

    It’s the same part that wants to see it all crashing down. Then I remember that I’ve seen a society crumble somewhere else in the world and that destruction is not always “creative.”

    Yes, mostly it is just destructive. And the ‘creative destruction’ advocates never see their house, neighborhood, city, state or country as the destroyed. And certainly not their prospects, loved ones or lives.

    Beware the heralds of destruction. They sing a siren song, sonorous but sinister. And they profit from the suffering of others.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Charles Erwin Wilson


    Beware the heralds of destruction. They sing a siren song, sonorous but sinister. And they profit from the suffering of others.
     
    Yes, sir, breaking a society is much easier than re-building one. I think even those who seek to profit from a society's destruction don't realize how damaging (to themselves) a societal disintegration can be. They seem much to giddy to unlease forces, which they will not be able to rein in later.
  92. @Frau Katze
    @TK421

    A fanous case is Oliver Cromwell, who by rights should have been Oliver Williams, a nondescript name from which one could only deduce that the male ancestor was a Welshman,

    His great-great-grandfather married Katherine Cromwell, sister of Thomas Cromwell. The family became wealthy taking over monastery property.

    The men used "Cromwell" as an "alias" for "Williams" but even the alias part was dropped by Oliver's time.

    It was simply a case of a more prestigious surname.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Thanks.

    Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII’s chief minister during the crucial years of the English Reformation. Mark Rylance plays him in the TV series “Wolf Hall.”

    • Replies: @Veracitor
    @Steve Sailer

    And Leo McKern played Cromwell in A Man For All Seasons (thus anticipatorily playing the anti-Rumpole, a pretty clever way to round out his achievements).

    , @Lot
    @Steve Sailer

    I just finished watching Wolf Hall last month, it was great.

    If you liked it too, don't rule out The Tudors just because it is also marketed towards women with hunky male leads and romance plot lines. It is really well written, produced, and acted, and the women are all very hot too. Here's Catherine Howard:

    http://www.diariodocentrodomundo.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/376_0_0_c-2148_1024x512.jpg


    Cromwell is portrayed as cool and evil and constantly reminds me of Paul Ryan.

  93. @Steve Sailer
    @Frau Katze

    Thanks.

    Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII's chief minister during the crucial years of the English Reformation. Mark Rylance plays him in the TV series "Wolf Hall."

    Replies: @Veracitor, @Lot

    And Leo McKern played Cromwell in A Man For All Seasons (thus anticipatorily playing the anti-Rumpole, a pretty clever way to round out his achievements).

  94. @Pat Hannagan
    Scaggs is an odd sort of name. Can't find it in Surnamedb. First hit says it's Saxon.

    One hit-album wonders, and what a hit it was!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jnowrxj_cbQ&feature=youtu.be

    Replies: @Pat Hannagan, @PiltdownMan

    One hit-album wonders, and what a hit it was!

    But a wonder for more than one hit, surely. This collaborative effort by Boz Scaggs deserves more than an honorable mention.

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    @PiltdownMan

    Thank you. Excellent.

  95. @Winthorp
    @Boomstick

    Prediction: in five years time we will know the genes for cobbling.

    No, insofar as it's genetic, I would guess it's mostly selection for bourgeois virtues like prudence, diligence, cooperation, continence, with which intelligence is positively correlated to varying degrees. Basically an above-average ability to keep your head, resist temptation, not overextend yourself, but not withdraw into self-defeating miserliness either. Those are the kinds of traits it seems a line would need to propagate in order to not blow its socioeconomic advantage over centuries of life in a constantly commercial, periodically fractious city.

    Replies: @Boomstick

    I don’t know if cobbling is g-loaded or bourgeois value loaded. Maybe some of both.

    Maybe it’s urban-loaded. Cobbling seems like a profession best done in towns or cities, and those are places where things are usually hopping. Smart people with high value-add labor are there. The cobblers sons are around the smart and clever daughters of the other urban professions. A slight positive IQ bump results.

    • Replies: @Lot
    @Boomstick

    Professionally made shoes were a luxury good. The serfs made do with home-made shoes and hand-me-downs to the extent they did not just go barefoot.

  96. AG says:

    Without assortative mating/arranged marriage, such pattern is not biological plausible. If mating is random across social class/wealth, regression to average is the outcome.

    We human must arrange our mating according to social economical status( SES) in order to create this human breed for SES.

    In domesticated animal breeding, for example dog, you only match the animal with similar trait in order to preserve the similar trait in next generation.

    Like I said before, selective breeding is deliberate effort to reduce genetic variance to increase genetic odd for specific trait in next generations.

    If SES persists over such long time, there must be deliberate mating effort to preserve such trait genetically. It is very likely that people of high SES are more selective on their mate’s SES than middle or lower classes.

  97. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “…much later than the rise of the Medici family…”

    I believe if you look up their early history the Medici wealth was built on wool. They were in the wool and mohair business, which led naturally to being in the banking business as the industry grew. The wool&mohair and textile business was one of the first major industries of “the West” and was one of the first where “modernizing” paid off. For a long time it was one of the most important businesses in a nation’s economy.

    Wool, history:

    “…In Roman times, wool, linen, and leather clothed the European population; cotton from India was a curiosity of which only naturalists had heard, and silks, imported along the Silk Road from China, were extravagant luxury goods. …

    The wool trade developed into serious business, a generator of capital. In the 13th century, the wool trade became the economic engine of the Low Countries and central Italy. By the end of the 14th century, Italy predominated…

    …based on the export of English raw wool, …rivaled only by the 15th-century sheepwalks of Castile and… a significant source of income to the English crown, which in 1275 had imposed an export tax on wool called the “Great Custom”. The importance of wool to the English economy can be seen in the fact that since the 14th century, the presiding officer of the House of Lords has sat on the “Woolsack”, a chair stuffed with wool.…”

    …Before the flowering of the Renaissance, the Medici and other great banking houses of Florence had built their wealth and banking system on their textile industry based on wool, overseen by the Arte della Lana, the wool guild: wool textile interests guided Florentine policies…”

    Arte della LanaArte della Lana:

    “…the Arte della Lana directly employed 300 workers and indirectly about a third of Florence’s population, and produced 100,000 lengths of cloth annually… the Arte served only to coordinate the activities of its own members, who did not generally own the means of production or directly manage the processes. Its syndics ensured that quality standards were met and contracts were honored…”

  98. Lot says:
    @sb
    @whorefinder

    Re The Jewish practise of marrying into the 1% of gentiles

    As well as the Trump daughter lets remember that it is highly probable that ALL the descendants of two - maybe three -(gentile ) US Presidents ( JFK and Clinton ) are likely to consider themselves Jewish

    As an aside it's nice to see a society where people with a respectable skilled trade -shoemaking - generally earn more than lawyers ( & I have a law degree )

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Lot

    Re The Jewish practise of marrying into the 1% of gentiles

    Not just the money 1%. My gentile parent was working class and first to attend college in the family, but valedictorian of a high school graduating class of ~400.

    The IQ genes we skimmed away from the gentile pool benefited me, but the economic benefits go the other way, I’ve probably given my gentile working class relations $50,000 over the years, mostly to pay their college living expenses, but also any random car or medical issues that pop up.

  99. Lot says:
    @Steve Sailer
    @Frau Katze

    Thanks.

    Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII's chief minister during the crucial years of the English Reformation. Mark Rylance plays him in the TV series "Wolf Hall."

    Replies: @Veracitor, @Lot

    I just finished watching Wolf Hall last month, it was great.

    If you liked it too, don’t rule out The Tudors just because it is also marketed towards women with hunky male leads and romance plot lines. It is really well written, produced, and acted, and the women are all very hot too. Here’s Catherine Howard:

    Cromwell is portrayed as cool and evil and constantly reminds me of Paul Ryan.

  100. It’s fairly likely that as part of designing the famous dome of the cathedral of Florence, the first dome built in the West since Roman times, Brunelleschi worked out the science of perspective and showed his friends how to apply it to bas-relief and painting, respectively.

    That implies that the Romans understood perspective drawing/viewing to some extent.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @David Davenport

    I'm under the vague impression that the Romans probably understood perspective, but maybe more as a trade secret, so it got lost. Or something ...

    The invention of printing in the middle of the 15th Century meant that fewer and fewer innovations were ever lost. That's a huge change in human history. Before Gutenberg, there was almost as much regress as progress. For example, libraries periodically burned down. Over enough time, that type of entropy could wipe out the last remaining written copy of an idea. After Gutenberg, there were too many copies here and there for that to happen very often.

  101. @Boomstick
    @Winthorp

    I don't know if cobbling is g-loaded or bourgeois value loaded. Maybe some of both.

    Maybe it's urban-loaded. Cobbling seems like a profession best done in towns or cities, and those are places where things are usually hopping. Smart people with high value-add labor are there. The cobblers sons are around the smart and clever daughters of the other urban professions. A slight positive IQ bump results.

    Replies: @Lot

    Professionally made shoes were a luxury good. The serfs made do with home-made shoes and hand-me-downs to the extent they did not just go barefoot.

  102. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @whorefinder
    I (and probably numerous others) have hypothesized for a while that the Medici family, which hails from Florence, were of Jewish-convert stock.

    Medici means "medical doctor" and the Medicis went on to become mega-powerful bankers and carefully married into European noble stock (Catherine de Medici became Queen of France). Medicine and banking were two of the few professions Jews did in large percentages in the Middle Ages, partly due to Jewish ethnic networking; partly due to higher IQ; partly due to Christian-religious bans on usury and desecration of corpses/bodies; and partly due to the fact that Jews were literate via their religious practices, allowing them access to texts on banking and medicine.

    (Christians weren't wholly illiterate, but it wasn't required for Christians to know how to read, and most jobs of the time didn't need literacy, so only wealthy Christians and Christians who had literacy-dependent jobs were literate).

    And of course the careful marrying practices of the Medici's is stereotypical of Jewish practice of marrying into the 1% of gentiles (e.g. Donald Trump's daughter marrying a Jewish man).

    The fact that little is known about the family before the banking rise of Giovanni always seemed a tip off to me. Jewish converts (known as conversos in Spain) still faced a lot of discrimination/suspicion despite the conversion, as Christian authorities recognized that many only converted in name only but kept Jewish practices at home (called crypto-Jews). A converso seeking to remove such discrimination would have tried to hide his family's Semitic blood by various means: destroying/stealing documentation, paying government officials to keep quiet, moving to another region, etc. A rich banker or doctor would have had the means to cover up his past.

    All idle speculation, I know, but the fact that Giovanni's banking talents emerged out of nowhere makes me think they really didn't. Unlike the Borgias, however, I haven't noticed any history of enemies charging the Medicis of being conversos.

    Replies: @Mark Caplan, @Ed, @sb, @Anonymous, @Pseudonymic Handle, @helena, @Anonymous

    Even if it were true that the Medici family started as conversos, by the time Catherine de Medici was born in 1519, 159 years after the birth and 90 years after the death of Giovanni de Bicci de Medici, she would have had very little Jewish ancestry, diluted mostly by the blood of great Italian non-Jewish families (among them Orsini, Tornabuoni, and Sanseverino in her case). Through her mother, Madeleine de la Tour d’Auvergne, Catherine inherited the counties of Auvergne and Boulogne in her own right after her aunt Anne de la Tour d’Auvergne died in 1524.

  103. @PV van der Byl
    @Lot

    Did those men marrying up simply adopt their wives' surnames or did they hyphenated the names? To create, for example, double-barreled names like Granville-Smith and Fitzroy-Johnson?

    Replies: @Old Palo Altan

    Some did, some didn’t.
    When Sir Hugh Smithson had the incredibly good luck to marry the heiress of the vast estates of the Percys of Northumberland in 1740, he simply (but legally) changed his name to Percy. Upon inheriting the Percy lands and castles, he was created Duke of Northumberland, and his descendants flourish impressively to this day.
    A Smith was even bolder. The son of a rich banker who was created Lord Carrington in 1797, he, upon succeeding to the title in 1838, changed his name within a year from Smith to … Carrington.
    A descendant rose to the dizzy heights of a marquessate, another, still alive at nearly 97, was Margaret Thatcher’s Foreign Minister at the outbreak of the Falklands War (he felt obliged to resign).

  104. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Pseudonymic Handle
    @whorefinder

    There was no prescription against christians practicing medicine. Most famous doctors of the Middle Ages were venetians. Most medieval universities had medicine schools besides law and theology.
    I'm not sure when Ashkenazi started practicing medicine for gentiles, but I think that is much later than the rise of the Medici family. Until the enlightenment they largely stuck to money lending and some exotic trade.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    The enlightenment didn’t begin to influence the European Jewish population until the late 1700’s. Long before then, the Jewish population had expanded beyond that niche out of necessity. The wealthier Jews were money lenders and managers of large estates, but there were large numbers of tradesmen, unskilled laborers, and even homeless luftmenschen who wandered from shtetl to shtetl.

    Jewish practice of medicine, however, predates the European Jewish enlightenment, especially among the Sephardim. Maimonides, for instance, was a physician.

  105. @Lot
    @Winthorp

    It matters depending on your method. Clarke defined his old elite based on over-representation in list of elites versus list of commoners, and then looked a modern elite lists to see how the old elites were doing percentage-wise.

    The "unnatural" preservation of elite surnames by men marrying up and taking their wives' surnames meant that a lot of upwardly mobile men named Smith and Johnson had sons named Granville and Fitzroy, distorting the results when looking at the percentage of modern elites with old elite surnames.

    If you are just looking at the average income of old elite surnames, then this does not matter so much because Mr. Fitzroy's grandson through his daughter has just as much of his genes as his grandson through his son.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @PV van der Byl, @Winthorp, @Crawfurdmuir

    The “unnatural” preservation of elite surnames by men marrying up and taking their wives’ surnames meant that a lot of upwardly mobile men named Smith and Johnson had sons named Granville and Fitzroy, distorting the results when looking at the percentage of modern elites with old elite surnames.

    There were (and still are) rather specific rules about this practice – it is not just done willy-nilly, as might be assumed from the suggestion that men marry up and take their wives’ surnames.

    The “double-barreled” names common amongst the British gentry originate from the marriages of heraldic heiresses, i.e., the only daughters of armigerous parents who have no sons. Women who are not heraldic heiresses normally take the names of their husbands, but in order to perpetuate the name of an heiress’s family (since there are no sons to do so), her surname is added with a hyphen to that of her husband. The husband may bear her arms “impaled” with his, and the children of the union quarter their parents’ arms.

    In some situations when a childless person left lands or other possessions of value to a cousin or nephew, he might make a requirement that the heir take the decedent’s name by deed poll. Also, in cases where a peerage has passed by remainder to an heir not of the same surname, he usually takes the surname as well as the title. Such an example was Sir Hugh Smithson, Bt., the son-in-law of Algernon Percy, Earl of Northumberland. After that nobleman’ death in 1750, Smithson inherited the title and took the Percy name and arms. He was created Duke of Northumberland in 1766, and the present Duke is his descendant.

    Special situations arise when both husband and wife bear titles in their own right. When Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 11th Baronet, Chief of Clan Moncreiffe, and feudal baron of Easter Moncreiffe, married Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll, their first son, Merlin Sereld Victor Gilbert, took the surname Hay, and became the heir to both his father’s baronetcy and his mother’s earldom, as well as to the chiefship of Clan Hay. Their second son, Peregrine David Euan Malcolm, at birth surnamed Hay, inherited the barony of Easter Moncreiffe. After the death of his cousin Elizabeth Moncreiffe of that Ilk, he was recognized by the Court of the Lord Lyon as Chief of Clan Moncreiffe, and took the surname Moncreiffe of that Ilk.

    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    @Crawfurdmuir

    Henry Campbell-Bannerman (British PM 1905-1908) is a non-aristocratic, 20th century example of the same. Bannerman was the name of a childless uncle (mother's brother) who bequeathed an English estate to his nephew Henry Campbell with the condition he change his surname to Campbell-Bannerman.

    Replies: @Crawfurdmuir

  106. @David Davenport
    It’s fairly likely that as part of designing the famous dome of the cathedral of Florence, the first dome built in the West since Roman times, Brunelleschi worked out the science of perspective and showed his friends how to apply it to bas-relief and painting, respectively.

    That implies that the Romans understood perspective drawing/viewing to some extent.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    I’m under the vague impression that the Romans probably understood perspective, but maybe more as a trade secret, so it got lost. Or something …

    The invention of printing in the middle of the 15th Century meant that fewer and fewer innovations were ever lost. That’s a huge change in human history. Before Gutenberg, there was almost as much regress as progress. For example, libraries periodically burned down. Over enough time, that type of entropy could wipe out the last remaining written copy of an idea. After Gutenberg, there were too many copies here and there for that to happen very often.

  107. For example, libraries periodically burned down.

    And perhaps more frequently, libraries were burned down…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_destroyed_libraries#Human_action

  108. @kaganovitch
    @Twinkie

    Until relatively recently J & M Aristocraft was an excellent USA made,goodyear welted shoe comparable to Allen Edmonds or Alden. Then they moved manufacturing to Mexico etc. etc. I have a pair I've worn weekly for almost 30 years and they still in good shape.

    Replies: @Brutusale, @Twinkie

    J & M Aristocraft

    We are dating ourselves here with this bit of trivia.

    … an excellent USA made,goodyear welted shoe comparable to Allen Edmonds or Alden.

    Even Aristocrafts were never the equals of the finest of Northampton though.

  109. @AndrewR
    @Twinkie

    Lol. The word you're looking for is "patrilineal."

    Replies: @Twinkie

    The word you’re looking for is “patrilineal.”

    Yes, I thought about using “patrilineal” instead of “father to son, father to son,” but I thought the latter had more rhetorical flourish, like this:

  110. @Charles Erwin Wilson
    @Twinkie


    It’s the same part that wants to see it all crashing down. Then I remember that I’ve seen a society crumble somewhere else in the world and that destruction is not always “creative.”
     
    Yes, mostly it is just destructive. And the 'creative destruction' advocates never see their house, neighborhood, city, state or country as the destroyed. And certainly not their prospects, loved ones or lives.

    Beware the heralds of destruction. They sing a siren song, sonorous but sinister. And they profit from the suffering of others.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    Beware the heralds of destruction. They sing a siren song, sonorous but sinister. And they profit from the suffering of others.

    Yes, sir, breaking a society is much easier than re-building one. I think even those who seek to profit from a society’s destruction don’t realize how damaging (to themselves) a societal disintegration can be. They seem much to giddy to unlease forces, which they will not be able to rein in later.

  111. @Almost Missouri
    Presumably Thomas Hardy's example of the Stoke-d'Urbervilles in Tess of the d'Urbervilles represents a real world name-changing-up-the-social-ladder pattern.

    "When old Mr Simon Stoke, latterly deceased, had made his fortune as an honest merchant (some said money-lender) in the North, he decided to settle as a county man in the South of England, out of hail of his business district; and in doing this he felt the necessity of recommencing with a name that would not too readily identify him with the smart tradesman of the past, and that would be less commonplace than the original bald, stark words. Conning for an hour in the British Museum the pages of works devoted to extinct, half-extinct, obscured, and ruined families appertaining to the quarter of England in which he proposed to settle, he considered that d'Urberville looked and sounded as well as any of them: and d'Urberville accordingly was annexed to his own name for himself and his heirs eternally. Yet he was not an extravagant-minded man in this, and in constructing his family tree on the new basis was duly reasonable in framing his inter-marriages and aristocratic links, never inserting a single title above a rank of strict moderation."
     
    OT: At the risk of setting off a Jew-alarm-fire, I've always wondered if in some of these details (the possible money-lender Simon obscuring his "smart tradesman" past) Hardy was implying that the Stokes, and therefore Tess's (symbol of Olde England) seducer/destroyer, were Jewish.

    Replies: @PV van der Byl

    Great passage! The strategy is entirely plausible.

  112. @Crawfurdmuir
    @Lot


    The “unnatural” preservation of elite surnames by men marrying up and taking their wives’ surnames meant that a lot of upwardly mobile men named Smith and Johnson had sons named Granville and Fitzroy, distorting the results when looking at the percentage of modern elites with old elite surnames.
     
    There were (and still are) rather specific rules about this practice - it is not just done willy-nilly, as might be assumed from the suggestion that men marry up and take their wives' surnames.

    The "double-barreled" names common amongst the British gentry originate from the marriages of heraldic heiresses, i.e., the only daughters of armigerous parents who have no sons. Women who are not heraldic heiresses normally take the names of their husbands, but in order to perpetuate the name of an heiress's family (since there are no sons to do so), her surname is added with a hyphen to that of her husband. The husband may bear her arms "impaled" with his, and the children of the union quarter their parents' arms.

    In some situations when a childless person left lands or other possessions of value to a cousin or nephew, he might make a requirement that the heir take the decedent's name by deed poll. Also, in cases where a peerage has passed by remainder to an heir not of the same surname, he usually takes the surname as well as the title. Such an example was Sir Hugh Smithson, Bt., the son-in-law of Algernon Percy, Earl of Northumberland. After that nobleman' death in 1750, Smithson inherited the title and took the Percy name and arms. He was created Duke of Northumberland in 1766, and the present Duke is his descendant.

    Special situations arise when both husband and wife bear titles in their own right. When Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 11th Baronet, Chief of Clan Moncreiffe, and feudal baron of Easter Moncreiffe, married Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll, their first son, Merlin Sereld Victor Gilbert, took the surname Hay, and became the heir to both his father's baronetcy and his mother's earldom, as well as to the chiefship of Clan Hay. Their second son, Peregrine David Euan Malcolm, at birth surnamed Hay, inherited the barony of Easter Moncreiffe. After the death of his cousin Elizabeth Moncreiffe of that Ilk, he was recognized by the Court of the Lord Lyon as Chief of Clan Moncreiffe, and took the surname Moncreiffe of that Ilk.

    Replies: @PV van der Byl

    Henry Campbell-Bannerman (British PM 1905-1908) is a non-aristocratic, 20th century example of the same. Bannerman was the name of a childless uncle (mother’s brother) who bequeathed an English estate to his nephew Henry Campbell with the condition he change his surname to Campbell-Bannerman.

    • Replies: @Crawfurdmuir
    @PV van der Byl


    Henry Campbell-Bannerman (British PM 1905-1908) is a non-aristocratic, 20th century example of the same.
     
    I suppose it depends upon how one defines aristocratic. He was an armiger, having borne a suitably differenced Campbell coat of arms until he took the additional name Bannerman on inheriting his Bannerman uncle's estate in Kent, whereupon he quartered Campbell with Bannerman. The blason is:

    Quarterly, 1st and 4th, per pale Gules and Sable a Banner displayed bendways Argent thereon a Canton Azure charged with a Saltire of the Third (Bannerman); 2nd and 3rd, Gyronny of eight Or and Sable on a Chief engrailed Argent a Galley her oars in action between two Hunting Horns stringed all of the Second (Campbell of Belmont)

    These are Scottish arms. Scots heraldic law regards all armigerous persons as belonging to the "noblesse of Scotland" - albeit untitled - and until recently Scottish grants contained verbiage to that effect.

    Replies: @PV van der Byl

  113. @PiltdownMan
    @Pat Hannagan


    One hit-album wonders, and what a hit it was!
     
    But a wonder for more than one hit, surely. This collaborative effort by Boz Scaggs deserves more than an honorable mention.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTFvAvsHC_Y

    Replies: @Pat Hannagan

    Thank you. Excellent.

  114. @PV van der Byl
    @Crawfurdmuir

    Henry Campbell-Bannerman (British PM 1905-1908) is a non-aristocratic, 20th century example of the same. Bannerman was the name of a childless uncle (mother's brother) who bequeathed an English estate to his nephew Henry Campbell with the condition he change his surname to Campbell-Bannerman.

    Replies: @Crawfurdmuir

    Henry Campbell-Bannerman (British PM 1905-1908) is a non-aristocratic, 20th century example of the same.

    I suppose it depends upon how one defines aristocratic. He was an armiger, having borne a suitably differenced Campbell coat of arms until he took the additional name Bannerman on inheriting his Bannerman uncle’s estate in Kent, whereupon he quartered Campbell with Bannerman. The blason is:

    Quarterly, 1st and 4th, per pale Gules and Sable a Banner displayed bendways Argent thereon a Canton Azure charged with a Saltire of the Third (Bannerman); 2nd and 3rd, Gyronny of eight Or and Sable on a Chief engrailed Argent a Galley her oars in action between two Hunting Horns stringed all of the Second (Campbell of Belmont)

    These are Scottish arms. Scots heraldic law regards all armigerous persons as belonging to the “noblesse of Scotland” – albeit untitled – and until recently Scottish grants contained verbiage to that effect.

    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    @Crawfurdmuir

    My definition of aristocratic or, at least, "upper class", may not agree with Scottish criteria but I would say that someone listed in any of the following would qualify:

    1. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage
    2. Burke's Landed Gentry
    3. Debrett's (similar to #1)

    And I understand that any number of Scottish Lairds and armigerous families would not be listed in the above.

  115. @Crawfurdmuir
    @PV van der Byl


    Henry Campbell-Bannerman (British PM 1905-1908) is a non-aristocratic, 20th century example of the same.
     
    I suppose it depends upon how one defines aristocratic. He was an armiger, having borne a suitably differenced Campbell coat of arms until he took the additional name Bannerman on inheriting his Bannerman uncle's estate in Kent, whereupon he quartered Campbell with Bannerman. The blason is:

    Quarterly, 1st and 4th, per pale Gules and Sable a Banner displayed bendways Argent thereon a Canton Azure charged with a Saltire of the Third (Bannerman); 2nd and 3rd, Gyronny of eight Or and Sable on a Chief engrailed Argent a Galley her oars in action between two Hunting Horns stringed all of the Second (Campbell of Belmont)

    These are Scottish arms. Scots heraldic law regards all armigerous persons as belonging to the "noblesse of Scotland" - albeit untitled - and until recently Scottish grants contained verbiage to that effect.

    Replies: @PV van der Byl

    My definition of aristocratic or, at least, “upper class”, may not agree with Scottish criteria but I would say that someone listed in any of the following would qualify:

    1. Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage
    2. Burke’s Landed Gentry
    3. Debrett’s (similar to #1)

    And I understand that any number of Scottish Lairds and armigerous families would not be listed in the above.

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