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Thread: Domestication in the Roman Empire and Medieval Europe

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    Default Domestication in the Roman Empire and Medieval Europe

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

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

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

    Frost explains:

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

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    Politics.ie Member Kevin Parlon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi019 View Post
    Anthropologist Peter Frost has written a couple of interesting articles proposing a process of genetic pacification of the populations in the Roman Empire with its Pax Romana and Medieval Europe.

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

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

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



    It seems to be coming along quite nicely.
    Last edited by Kevin Parlon; 21st May 2013 at 05:17 AM.
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    Fascinating idea...

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

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

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

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    Politics.ie Member LamportsEdge's Avatar
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    Same thing could be said about the Napoleonic Continental Code. Daft trying to make generalisations beyond evolutionary increments.

    As for the modern low-of-brow that generally brings its own evolutionary reward in the form of early death through the usual lifestyle accompaniments to social exclusion.
    Whenever understanding exists, accepting or rejecting is unnecessary. (Fundamentals of a Gnostic Education).

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    Politics.ie Member firefly123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LamportsEdge View Post
    Same thing could be said about the Napoleonic Continental Code. Daft trying to make generalisations beyond evolutionary increments.

    As for the modern low-of-brow that generally brings its own evolutionary reward in the form of early death through the usual lifestyle accompaniments to social exclusion.
    That's counteracted by breeding like rabbits from a very young age.
    Life is hard
    That's why no-one survives

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    Politics.ie Member LamportsEdge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefly123 View Post
    That's counteracted by breeding like rabbits from a very young age.
    Thats the only form of security for old age many on the lowest socio-economic scale can make in terms of pension provision.
    Whenever understanding exists, accepting or rejecting is unnecessary. (Fundamentals of a Gnostic Education).

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    Politics.ie Member eoghanacht's Avatar
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    I've said it before and I'll say it again the Pax Romano was the worst thing that ever happened to western Europe.

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

    Woe to the vanquished ~ Brennus



    Hunkers down and waits
    Britain operated death squads - ''97% of the Loyalists I interviewed were working directly for the State.'' - Nuala O'Loan. #FreeAhedTamimi

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    Politics.ie Member Nemesiscorporation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi019 View Post
    Anthropologist Peter Frost has written a couple of interesting articles proposing a process of genetic pacification of the populations in the Roman Empire with its Pax Romana and Medieval Europe.

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

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

    Frost explains:
    This is nonsense.

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

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    Politics.ie Member eoghanacht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LamportsEdge View Post
    Thats the only form of security for old age many on the lowest socio-economic scale can make in terms of pension provision.

    The original form of pension provision, something vital to the success of our species.
    Britain operated death squads - ''97% of the Loyalists I interviewed were working directly for the State.'' - Nuala O'Loan. #FreeAhedTamimi

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