How did the ancient Romans turn into Italians ?

RE:The Romans were very organised, disciplined, serious, rather stern and stoic, military-minded, cared little about family ties.

Those are not the characters the rulers of big empire should have first. The first one for the ruler to have is charismatic character. It seems to me that current italians have that one from the ancient Rome people. Not nowadays, but it was so usual that latin people swept the head position of international organizations.
Use the Reply With Quote button instead of "RE...". Much easier and we know who you are talking to.
 
sorry, however new member like me is not allowed to reply with quote until posting ten times.
 
Ancient Rome was a civilization, with a state, a citizenship, a capital, laws, and so on. Germanic and Celtic tribes had not yet reached the development stage of civilization. You cannot compare the two anymore than you could compare the maturity of a child and an adult. Celtic and Germanic societies have since reached adulthood, so now we can compare them more fairly with Italy.



There is little relation between wealth and organisation. The ancient Celts were utterly disorganised and tribal, yet extremely rich (far richer than the Romans until the conquest of Gaul by Caesar). In contrast the Chinese have always been a very organised nation, but that did not prevent them to face the most abject poverty and starvation of millions under Mao Zedong.

Like most Italians I do not regard Italy as a united culture or nation. Italy became a country by accident. Lombards and Venetians share precious little in common with Campanians or Sicilans. Even Tuscans contrast harply with the people of the Marches just across the Apennines.

If North Italy (or Padania as the Lega Nord calls it) were an independent country it would be the richest country in the EU after Luxembourg. So there is no denying that at least half of Italy is very rich. That doesn't make Italians, even Northerners, organised, disciplined, self-restrained and punctual people. How can you not see that wealth has nothing to do with organisation ?

Now the starvation the Mainlanders went through under Mao has nothing to do with organisation. I don't think whether a civilization is organised or not has anything to do with prevention of starvation and poverty.

Toward the end of the 18th century British ships began importing a more controversial item into China. Opium is an addictive narcotic, extracted from the poppy flower and usually taken through smoking. This turned into the opium war later on. - See more at: http://alphahistory.com/chineserevolution/foreign-imperialism-in-china/#sthash.6QumlItC.dpuf

With the doors to China thrown open, foreign diplomats, officials, traders and missionaries poured in through the second half of the 19th century. The more aggressive foreign imperialist powers – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Japan – negotiated with regional officials and warlords to construct their own ‘spheres of influence’ within China. Foreign merchants and agents came to exert strong influence, if not control, over government and commerce in these regions. The growth of these ‘spheres of influence’ created a patchwork of foreign enclaves that functioned almost as virtual colonies within China’s borders. The Qing rulers retained their sovereignty and control of the national government, though in reality much of China was under foreign control. Many observers believed China would eventually disintegrate into several discrete colonies, each controlled by a foreign power. - See more at: http://alphahistory.com/chineserevolution/foreign-imperialism-in-china/#sthash.6QumlItC.dpuf

To make matters worse, in 1894 China again found itself at war, this time with Japan. The First Sino-Japanese War, as it became known, began over disputed territorial control of the Korean peninsula. This war was another disaster for China. - See more at: http://alphahistory.com/chineserevolution/foreign-imperialism-in-china/#sthash.6QumlItC.dpuf

In 1899 yet another foreign power, the United States, entered the fray. Concerned that the European and Japanese carve-up of China threatened American commercial interests, US diplomats negotiated an ‘open door policy’ for American trade in China. These negotiations, however, were done with the other imperial powers in China – not with the Qing government. Beijing was informed rather than consulted, a measure of how impotent and irrelevant the Qing regime had become. As the 19th century came to an end, China found itself drug-addled, divided, exploited by foreign interests and plagued by corrupt officials. - See more at: http://alphahistory.com/chineserevolution/foreign-imperialism-in-china/#sthash.6QumlItC.dpuf
 
One of the great mysteries of European history in my eyes is the complete reversal in character between the ancient Romans and medieval or modern Italians.

The Romans were very organised, disciplined, serious, rather stern and stoic, military-minded, cared little about family ties (they frequently adopted people unrelated to them or murdered their blood relatives), and were unusually ready to sacrifice themselves for the common good of their nation (as legionaries).

The Italians are just the opposite in all these respects. ....


I know how it can be explained. I am not sure what the genetic studies say, but my theory is as follows: When the Eastern Romans (so called Byzantines) wanted Italy back and waged war in sixth century under Emperor Justinian - that was a very devastating war and Italy as it was then, NEVER RECOVERED from that time 6th century. Many of the high quality Romans of that day from Italy FLED, EMIGRATED (as Syrians and other come to Europa now) to the northern Germanic lands - and those Germanic lands, now Germany, Austria, Switzerland are now the true successor states of the Romans... which ofcourse later actually became the Holy Roman Empire - those ideas came as having people of roman decent in their population.

Italy as is now is diluted, Greece the same, Romania the same, Portugal, Spain the same.

The true spirit of the Romans and their best genetics (educated families, rich families) had to survive by emigrating to the north during the war of Justinian.

Just my two cents,

Best regards
 
ok ok

But I do not see someone mentioning the corruption of society, and the economical class destruction, etc etc,

When Rome started was major a country of patrcians, patricians tend to be more patriotic with land and traditions, and stable
at the end was more plebeians, crowd, plebeians tend to gather money and rich, create bigger things, like many and bigger legions, palaces and empire buildings, etc etc, but the idea of homelend and patriotism drops to second degree,
by bringing many ΜΕΤΟΙΚΟΙ mutatio, new ideas, religions pass to ground, so the Rome of early empire, was not the Rome of late empire,
Same happened to many states, From Athenean Koinon to East Roman empire where Rum (Greco-Romans) were minority in an Army that had mercenairies, Varaggians, Slavs, Goths etc etc.
at the decline of East Roman empire, young prefer to become monks and priests, than to serve country,
same at Rome, at the start of Roman empire Senates and generals and emperrors, were stronger than every religious officer,
At the End, the High principle of Rome and Italy generally was the Pope,

At the end of Roman empire, all military, majors, politicians, etc etc were at the mercy of pope,
same happened at East Roman empire, many times,
1rst was with John Chrysostom
2nd) with Julian and Basileios of Caesareia
3rd was the Beginning of Schisma, cause what ever the differences among East and West by changing a Patriarch by an emperror is the ultimate deny of religious authorities
For First time emperrors change the high priest at 858 AD
That time West Rome already was weak,
But the change of Patriarch gave breath, oxugen, and life to East Roman empire.

same things we also see at the West Europe,
for example at England, where the head of the church is not a pope or a patriarch but a King or a Queen,
the degradation of high priest under Political persons might be the reason that Britain manage to make its huge british empire.

The difference among Patrician and Plebeians in how they think of state, country, patriotism, capital, is recently seen in Brexit


London like ancient Rome is more plebeians, full of Mutatio residence, they wanted to stay at EU which support banking and money capital system, sending at second degree the nationality and nativity,
But England's country side is full native british, means more patricians, who still give respect to nationality nativity and ethnicity, than money and banks,
so the Brexit results show that UK is at the same dilemas that Roman empire had before milleniums,
by understanding that, and that history is repeating her shelf, you can predict the next problems at England,
I do not know how or with what, But if England did not solve soon her problem, we might be eye-witnesses of repeating the history of Roman empire decline.

PS
the balance among patricians and plebeians is a must,
if that ballance is lost, the chain reaction of collapse is certain,
 
The same transition of cultural character can be observed in any great fallen Empire as the surviving inhabitants try to culturally distance themselves from the perceived evils of the previous regime. Britain for example - at it's 19th Century imperial peak the national character was: sexually repressed, reserved, an iron sense of benign superiority and a love of amateurism. Today the British character is more stereotypically sexually promiscuous, hedonistic, self-deprecating and devoted to professionalism. Almost a total volte-face as a people attempt to disassociate themselves from the perceived evils of the British Empire. No doubt Christian Italians of the last 1500 years have experienced similar rejections of the fundamentals of the Roman character of discipline and so on (although this was almost completely absent by the time of the Fall). Modern Italy, furthermore, seems to be a stark divide between the north - a Germanic and highly industrious people - and south - a largely Mediterranean/North African people more accustomed to corruption and so on who arrived, it seems, as the Aragonese tried to pump as much money as they could from their Italian kingdoms while they could. There are, therefore, probably very few Romans left anywhere - more likely to show up in pockets of France and Spain than in Italy, if anywhere.
It is even apparent in the Italian language - a language of revolt against Latin. We know that while Italian is structurally closer to Latin than French, for example, the pronunciation of Italian words is wilfully incorrect. In fact, the Latin root words in German and English are closer to true Latin pronunciation as the popular languages in those countries were never Latin based. So 'vincere' in Italian is all wrong as Latin pronunciation. 'Victoire' in French is closer, with a hard 'c'. The truncated 'win' in English is also close. The Latin would have been 'winkere', phonetically. Same with 'kaiser'/'caesar' in German. The Germans never adopted a Latin replacement for 'Sieg' though...probably as they were more accustomed to saying it than hearing it than the French and British tribes. The same decimation of R.P. is happening in British English now - anyone who speaks that way these days is seen as a figure of ridicule, and British English is on direct course to become an American English dialect with Carribbean/Middle Eastern inflections. So this explains the phenomenon - cultural pride in 'anything but the past' far outweighs any notions of a genetic predisposition to logistics and discipline. The Italians will always be the least Roman people of all, in this respect.
 
Are you guys on anthrofora feeling bored or something?

I probably shouldn't even bother to respond, but just for the record, northern Italians are not "Germanic", and southern Italians are not "North African". If you knew anything about uniparental markers you would know that. Just as one example, unless the Lombards and Ostrogoths carried more than I1 and R1b U-106, their impact was minimal. All Italians are carriers of a great deal of EEF ancestry from the Neolithic migrations upon which subsequent migrations from different directions has acted. Genetic variability is on a cline, and people of neighboring regions which have experienced similar gene flows have more similarity, but that doesn't make Northern Italians "Germanic" or southern Italians "North African". If you knew anything about autosomal genetics you would know that. Perhaps you should pick up a good introductory book on genetics like Jean Manco's Ancestral Journeys to clear these things up for you. It goes without saying that the combination(s) were fortuitous and designed to create the best possible outcome. :)

The "character" of the Romans of the Republic, not atypical of rather simple farming cultures of their era, had gone the way of the dodo bird by the time of Augustus.That's what happens when you become a sophisticated empire open to the influences of the world rather than some isolated, simple farmers. Plus, it may have escaped your attention, but the Etruscans who lived right next door to them were totally different. There would have been no "Romans" without the influence of the more sophisticated and advanced and life loving "Etruscans". They would have stayed in their little huts on top of their hills, and the world would have heard no more of them.

Since you seem to have skipped English history, there was nothing sexually repressed about the British of the Elizabethan Era, or the Restoration, or the Regency period. For goodness sakes', right before the ascension of Victoria women of the aristocracy, once they'd provided the "heir", went on to do as they liked, having numerous children by numerous fathers, all of them accepted and legitimated by the husbands. Read the biography of the Duchess of Devonshire and open your eyes. Heck, go all the way back to the Middle Ages and read some Chaucer. The British have always had a very bawdy streak. They seem to seesaw, for complicated reasons I won't go into here, between a rather sexually promiscuous and a more repressed profile. Much of the "repression" of the Victorian Era is down to Victoria herself and that self-righteous twit she married. She abhorred her loose living uncles and the atmosphere they created, and she swept it all away almost overnight. As for "loose living" today, the most promiscuous countries in Europe are in northern and eastern Europe; I personally find it rather abhorrent.

There's a whole field of study you may not have heard of: it's called linguistics. Languages change, pronunciation changes. None of that changes the fact that just knowing Italian I can read a great deal of Latin. Who cares if there were some sound changes? That means we "revolted" against Rome?

Now, take your longsword and put it...well, I'm sure you get the drift.

http://www.regencyhistory.net/2012/10/georgiana-cavendish-duchess-of.html

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17573854-ancestral-journeys
 
The same transition of cultural character can be observed in any great fallen Empire as the surviving inhabitants try to culturally distance themselves from the perceived evils of the previous regime. Britain for example - at it's 19th Century imperial peak the national character was: sexually repressed, reserved, an iron sense of benign superiority and a love of amateurism. Today the British character is more stereotypically sexually promiscuous, hedonistic, self-deprecating and devoted to professionalism. Almost a total volte-face as a people attempt to disassociate themselves from the perceived evils of the British Empire. No doubt Christian Italians of the last 1500 years have experienced similar rejections of the fundamentals of the Roman character of discipline and so on (although this was almost completely absent by the time of the Fall). Modern Italy, furthermore, seems to be a stark divide between the north - a Germanic and highly industrious people - and south - a largely Mediterranean/North African people more accustomed to corruption and so on who arrived, it seems, as the Aragonese tried to pump as much money as they could from their Italian kingdoms while they could. There are, therefore, probably very few Romans left anywhere - more likely to show up in pockets of France and Spain than in Italy, if anywhere..


There is very little Roman ancestry in Spain. Surely more in France than in Spain, but in France not more than in Italy. And in South Italy there is no more North African ancestry than in Spain or Portugal. You all forget that Italy, unlike Greece, continued to have a leading role in Europe even after the fall of the Roman Empire. Only with the birth of modern nations, around 1600, and with the Counter-Reformation, Italy gradually became a peripheral country because Italy was divided into many small states and this type of model struggled to keep abreast of modern nations. Italy has always been much more than the Roman Empire.


It is even apparent in the Italian language - a language of revolt against Latin. We know that while Italian is structurally closer to Latin than French, for example, the pronunciation of Italian words is wilfully incorrect. In fact, the Latin root words in German and English are closer to true Latin pronunciation as the popular languages in those countries were never Latin based. So 'vincere' in Italian is all wrong as Latin pronunciation. 'Victoire' in French is closer, with a hard 'c'. The truncated 'win' in English is also close. The Latin would have been 'winkere', phonetically. Same with 'kaiser'/'caesar' in German. The Germans never adopted a Latin replacement for 'Sieg' though...probably as they were more accustomed to saying it than hearing it than the French and British tribes. The same decimation of R.P. is happening in British English now - anyone who speaks that way these days is seen as a figure of ridicule, and British English is on direct course to become an American English dialect with Carribbean/Middle Eastern inflections


The whole truth is that the Germans have always had a big inferiority complex against the Romans. A so big inferiority complex that they called their empire the Holy Roman Empire. I doubt that nowdays a greater Latin heritage exists in languages such as German or English rather than in Italian or other Romance languages. All that you're talking about is called palatalization and took place in all the Romance languages. I don't doubt that without the Latin no Romance languages would exist, including the French and English and German have a great Latin heritage. But that's it.


So this explains the phenomenon - cultural pride in 'anything but the past' far outweighs any notions of a genetic predisposition to logistics and discipline. The Italians will always be the least Roman people of all, in this respect.


Roman ancestry is still there, in Italy. Mostly in North-Central Italy, but South Italy was never fully Roman and was always a bit different from the rest of Italy (but not North African!). Italians are still the most Roman people of all.


1eb86faa56a38b809e05dbeefdd2c2cb.jpg
Haplogroup-R1b-S28.gif
 
This thread starts from an assumption that sounds like a stereotype. Italy has always been much more than the Roman Empire. Leonardo da Vinci, Leonardo Fibonacci, Galileo Galilei, Amedeo Avogadro, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Nicolo Paganini, Antonio Vivaldi, Giacomo Puccini, Giovanni Domenico Cassini, Marcello Malpighi, Claudio Monteverdi, Guglielmo Marconi, Cristoforo Colombo, Amerigo Vespucci weren't ancient Roman. The Republic of Venice, Duchy of Savoy, Duchy of Milan, Duchy of Florence /Grand Duchy of Tuscany, Duchy of Urbino, Duchy of Parma, Ferrara, Modena... weren't less organised, disciplined, serious than their European counterparts. Only with the birth of modern nations, around 1600, and with the Counter-Reformation, Italy gradually became a peripheral country because Italy was divided into many small states and this type of model struggled to keep abreast of modern nations.


In his book Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 the American political scientist Charles Murray stated that Italy is part of the Big Four, and the Big Four alone (Britain, France, Germany and Italy) account for the 72 percent of all the European significant figures from 1450 to 1950. "The concentration of European accomplishment from 1400-1950 is easy enough to sum up if you don't worry about complications the numbers of significant figures (come) from Britain, France, Germany dwarf those from everywhere else except Italy". Even after the fall of the Roman Empire Italy (ok, more North-Central Italy -Venice and Florence - than the whole country) is part of European core. NB not all the modern European countries are part of the European core.


European accomplishment from 1400-1950




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In his book The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, the American political scientist Edward Banfield employed the phrase 'amoral familism' to describe the inability of modern (mostly southern) Italian villagers to 'act together for the common good, or indeed for any good transcending the immediate material interest of the family'. Interestingly this complete lack of attachment to the state and lack of identification to the wider community is found nowadays in societies that I would qualify of 'short-ranged collectivist' (in which the collectivity is the family or village) of the Balkans and southern Italy, as opposed to the 'wide-range collectivism' (where the collectivity is the whole nation) of East Asia.

That book is about a southern Italian village that hardly could represent all the country.

In his book, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy the American political scientist Robert D. Putnam evaluated the differences between Northern-Central Italy and Southern Italy and stated that the North-South divide dates back to medieval times.
 
Southern Italy's tragedy is that the cultural and economic advancements of Sicily during the Middle Ages,including a vernacular poetry much admired and copied by the Tuscans, and of Amalfi on the mainland were followed by centuries of total misrule which kept them out of the mainstream of European advancement. The same thing happened to Greece and the Balkans under the Ottomans.

In the north, on the other hand, large areas were able to free themselves of the yoke of the German Emperors and to form communes which allowed the intelligence, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit of the Italian people to flourish. These were the first areas where we see actual capitalism, and they were not, a la Weber, Protestant. Those areas under the strict control of these large autocratic entities stultified, and that includes not only the south under centuries of French and Spanish misrule, but the areas in the center, like Umbria and parts of the Marche, areas where genetically the people are not all that different from the Tuscans or northern Italians, but which were under the control of the Popes.

These large countries then severely curtailed that flowering by the Habsburg/Valois Wars of the late 15th and 16th centuries.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Wars

Invasions from over the Alps usually spell disaster for Italy.

History matters.

For those unfamiliar with Italian history you can read here about what Sicily was like during the time of the Norman French and even into the rule of Frederick II, and then see what the following centuries of misrule did to it. Why on earth would any people pay allegiance to foreign overlords who grabbed all the land and then let the countryside go to ruin, stifled any innovation or economic growth, and squeezed all the peasants and middle class natives of everything they owned through taxes or confiscation. You would have to be mad.
http://www.bestofsicily.com/history2.htm

The Kingdom of Amalfi:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchy_of_Amalfi
 
Italians?

If Italy was not formed in 1860 their would have been no italian ethnic people NOR any Italian language today

The term Italian prior to 1860 is the same level as the terms of Britsh, Iberian or scandinavian.
we have no ethnic british, we do have ethnic, welsh, english, scottish and irish though

we have no ethnic scandinavian, we do have ethnic norwegians, danish and swedish though
 
Yes, well, then there are no Germans either, and no Germanic ancestry for me to have supposedly inherited. They weren't unified until very late either, and there are language and other differences between the people of northern Germany and southern Germany even if the genetic differences aren't as large as those between northern Italy and southern Italy.

No French, either, because up until the 20th century a lot of the southern French weren't speaking standard French, and were still referring to the northern French coming down to buy property as "the French".

Yet because of the process of Germanification, all Germans consider themselves German. A similar process went on in France. Breton, Norman, Poitevin, Alsatien, Gascon, Provencal, you name it, they were French and they were expected to speak French, and no nonsense. Italy, on the other hand, has always given a lot of deference to people who want to hang on to their dialects, and even their dreams of secession, never mind whether or not it makes any sense. Maybe Italy would have been better off if it had taken a hard line initially too, but it didn't, so no use crying over spilt milk.

I'm just tired of people applying one rule to Italians and another rule to everyone else.
 
there are language and other differences between the people of northern Germany and southern Germany even if the genetic differences aren't as large as those between northern Italy and southern Italy.

It seems that the difference between North Germans and South Germans is also large, check for example these PCA graphs. It looks like the average difference is almost as large as between North and South Italians, but there is more overlap on individual level:

north-south.png


In some GEDmatch calculators I'm much closer to North Germans than to South Germans. In PuntDNAL K15 North Germans are my 4th population and South Germans only 20th (this indirectly implies that there is a large difference between these two groups):

Single Population Sharing:

# Population(source) Distance

1 Polish 2.06
(...)
4 North_German 6.79
5 Belarusian 7.58
6 Slovenian 7.94
(...)
8 Austrian 8.36
(...)
12 Hungarian 9.25
(...)
20 South_German 13.53
 
North Germans are more Germanic but they are also Slavic-admixed (especially North-East Germans).

South Germans are probably to a large extent descended from Celts etc. who became Germanized.
 
Each tool gives slightly different results. One shouldn't rely on just one measure.

In terms of fst, the fst between north and south Germany is .000. North Italy to South Italy is .005, North Italy to France (not South France), which might presumably be closer, is .003, and to Spain is also .003. Oh, and North Italy to south Germany is .004, and to northern Germany is .005.
 
Roman ancestry is still there, in Italy. Mostly in North-Central Italy, but South Italy was never fully Roman and was always a bit different from the rest of Italy (but not North African!). Italians are still the most Roman people of all.

Northern Italy was never fully Roman too. There were Celts and 'Etruscans'.
 
We can't just outright say which italians are closest to Romans without testing actual ancient roman samples. Doesn't help that Rome was a melting pot so finding those valuable corpses that are 100 percent original roman stock doesn't sound easy
 
In the north, on the other hand, large areas were able to free themselves of the yoke of the German Emperors and to form communes which allowed the intelligence, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit of the Italian people to flourish. These were the first areas where we see actual capitalism, and they were not, a la Weber, Protestant. Those areas under the strict control of these large autocratic entities stultified, and that includes not only the south under centuries of French and Spanish misrule, but the areas in the center, like Umbria and parts of the Marche, areas where genetically the people are not all that different from the Tuscans or northern Italians, but which were under the control of the Popes.

the same thing happened in Flanders already in the 11th century when the count of Flanders ruled more or less independent from the French king
commerce and industry florished
Flanders became so rich it was invaded several times by the French in the 14th century to subjugate Flanders again
then, Antwerp just outside of Flanders started to develop
then, by inheritance Flanders and Antwerp came under Spanish Habsburg rule and the inquisition
many merchants fled to Holland which then developped very quickly into an overseas trading nation
there were close ties between the famous Flemish and North Italian painters

there was a free spirit already before protestantism
protestantism developped in Holland and Germany, I guess as a reaction against inquisition and Catholic fundamentalism
the Spanish Habsburgs used inquisition to tighten their grip
as so often there was a mix between religion and politics

and what does it make of the Flemish people genetically?
are they the dumb, underdevelopped class who didn't emigrate to Antwerp, Holland or Italy?
 
There's a tendency among not only geneticists, but people interested in genetics, imo, to become very deterministic about it and attribute 100% of any differences between groups to genetic causes. I think that leads to sometimes false conclusions.

Does genetic inheritance matter? Yes, I think it does, but environment, and not, according to the studies I've seen, the "home" environment so much, but the "outside" environment, does have an impact. How a country is ruled impacts behavior, certainly economic behavior. As I said above, "history matters".

My take away is that since the Middle Ages those areas in Europe which either had local rulers who promoted trade and innovation, or local communes which did the same, and also had access to trade routes along rivers, seas, etc., where the people had the wit to take advantage of these circumstances, and where the local government basically then got out of the way and let capitalism flourish, were the areas which saw the most economic development, the most prosperity, and the ensuing flourishing of the arts, science, literature, etc.

It started in Italy, partly, perhaps, because there was more memory of commerce and urbanization, where some urban centers still existed, if in much reduced circumstances, and because the sea routes were not totally forgotten, nor the routes using the Po and then over the Alps. I think another important factor was that they were ruled by the "Holy Roman Emperors", who weren't, after all, the representatives of a unified, monolithic, authoritarian nation state, but of fractious and competing small states, and which emperors often maintained a rather tenuous hold on power themselves. As a result, the Italian cities were able to free themselves relatively easily, although at some cost, and form relatively free communes. The combination led to the rebirth of trade and commerce and then all the other advancements.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_commune
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_city-states

It then spread quickly to the low countries, where, as you explained, some of the same conditions existed. Amalfi, by the way, suffered much the same fate as you describe in Flanders. They were on the losing side of history and their flowering came to a relatively quick end.

Does that mean that they suddenly became stupid? Obviously not. There's a limit to what you can accomplish given certain circumstances. I do think it's true, however, that certain areas can experience a sort of "brain drain" when this happens. I worry about it in terms of Italy, I have to tell you. I see all these Italian names on genetics papers, but they're at foreign universities.

Anyway, this is all still operating to a certain extent, in my opinion. I saw the following map of GDP per individual in purchasing power posted on Razib Khan's twitter feed. He then wrote a blog post on it.

Average GDP in purchasing power in EU by region.jpg

The data is from 2014. If my memory serves, it was even higher for Italy a couple of years ago.

In his Unz blog post on it he makes the "Habsburg Empire" connection, as did Peter Turchin, but they're not getting it quite right, in my opinion, as the fact that Spain/Portugal, also under their rule, lag behind, shows. It's not the greatness of the Habsburgs or the Carolingians and their policies that is important; it's the laxness of their rule in the "central corridor" which provided the freedom necessary for capitalism, added to the access to established trade routes and areas of high agricultural yield.

See:
http://www.unz.com/gnxp/

Turchin, leftist that he is, will probably never acknowledge this.
 

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