13 Comments
May 25Liked by Lorenzo Warby

This is an excellent post, Lorenzo, thoroughly enjoyed it.

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May 24Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Two comments: first, as a Christian, I tend to look at the influence of Athens and Rome and Alexandria as “providential”. Maybe it really was the “fullness of time”.

Second, do you know the books by Toby Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West and Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution: A Global Perspective?

Both wonderful.

Thanks for your work.

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I was not aware of Toby Huff’s work, thanks for the tip and for your appreciation. In the hands of a deeply Christian thinker such as Martin Luther King, the notion of the arc of history bending towards justice makes sense. Stripped of its religious roots, it becomes a much more disastrous idea.

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A very keen point.

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May 26Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Bravo! Great set of dots being connected.

And once again it brings out just how Hellenized the Middle East was after Alexander, something that was not apparent upon my initial introduction to this history as a child, so I have been playing "catch up" ever since. Early impressions are hard to overcome.

From my initial exposure some years ago to the ideas on consanguinity rules breaking the tribal and kin restrictions, this further amplifies on that. That also seems to be common knowledge among historians, but somehow it has only gained wider exposure in the last few decades as a central tenant of Western development vs. elsewhere. And "Just as Greek and Roman city-states had previously broken up kin-groups by replacing identity-from-lineage with identity-by-location..." was new to me. Perhaps I better finish reading the last few chapters of The Ancient City.

:-(

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Both Rome and Athens turned ‘tribe’ from lineage to location (area of the city). Other cities must have done similar things because it is clear from linguistic and other evidence that kin groups vanish from the city states.

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May 26Liked by Lorenzo Warby

I get the impression from The Ancient City that families would try to stay close to each other geographically as much as possible, but presumably as they grew in number, they had to find new land outside of the areas already claimed by other clans/ tribes. Once that happens, people end up with common interests concerning irrigation from the common sources, keeping the rowdy neighbors under control, access to good common roads to market, etc. And presumably your brother or other in-laws are no longer as nearby to help in the shop or market stall, etc.

But would the status of women, as transferring from the control of their father to that of their husband have been altered as part of this social shift, too? Would cross kin relations become more important than within kin groupings? It would seem so - especially if it took half a day to travel to or find your third cousin to get his assistance. And you might not like him all that much personally anyway. [We can pick our friends, but not our relatives!]

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While getting rid of kin groups is presumptively good for women — their wombs are no longer kin group assets and their choices may matter more — it hugely depends on context. Sparta was known for high status women (men away issues). Athens was highly misogynist.

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May 25Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Your mention of the Germanic tribes and their contribution, especially chosen fealty and the round table was enlightening for me. Very interesting

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Likewise the downside to the Celtic kin-affinity, which despite fostering upheld clan ties.

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May 25Liked by Lorenzo Warby

Very interesting. Good up the good work, much appreciated.

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That, is an understatement!

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Brilliant!

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