View Full Version : The European Core, the "Banana" and the Hajnal Line

Monday, December 20th, 2004, 08:29 PM
Despite its small size, common Christian heritage, and common racial heritage, a few places within Europe have been home to far more intense levels of human accomplishment than other places. This chapter describes what those places are for the different inventories at different points in Europe's history.

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 from Britain, France, and Germany dwarf those of everywhere else except Italy. The chart below shows the distribution.

The big four alone account for 72 percent of all the significant figures from 1400-1950. Add in Russia and the Netherlands, and 80 percent of all significant figures are accounted for. But countries are bulky and their borders change. Saying that a certain number of significant figures came from Italy obscures the reality that most of them came from specific parts of Italy surrounding Florence and Venice. For that matter, Italy did not even exist as a unified nation-state until 19C. Neither did Germany. Britain encompasses four distinctive linguistic and cultural entities. During the period when Russia accumulated its significant figures, it included within its borders parts or all of eight different countries on today's map. Even the French, who share a common language and have lived in a well-defined nation for several centuries, sprawl over a large and diverse geographic area. So let us put aside nations for a moment and consider how the map looks when more specific places of origin replace them. By origin I refer to the place where a significant figure spent the bulk of his childhood -- usually, though not always, his place of birth.

To prepare the breakdown that follows, I broke the map of Europe into 134 regions and 121 cities. Appendix 4 gives the details. Using these regions and cities rather than countries, let us reconsider the statement that Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the Netherlands accounted for 80 percent of the European significant figures. If we ignore national borders and instead create the most compact polygon (in terms of land area) that encloses 80 percent of the places where the significant figures grew up, it forms the shape in the figure below, with borders defined by Naples, Marseilles, the western border of Dorset County in England, a point a few miles above Glasgow, the northern tip of Denmark, and a point a few miles east of the city that used to be Breslau in German Silesia (now Wroclaw in Poland).

The new way of looking at the distribution of significant figures across Europe does not wholly contradict the dominating role of the big four shown in the chapter's initial chart, but it changes the emphases. All of the Netherlands is still in the new way of looking at Europe. Parts of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy are still in. Russia is out. Or you can think of it another way: 80 percent of all the European significant figures can be enclosed in an area that does not include Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Spain, Portugal, the Balkans, Poland, Hungary, East and West Prussia, Ireland, Wales, most of Scotland, the lower quarter of Italy, and about a third of France.

The next graphic zooms in the focus, demonstrating how much a few regions dominate even within the European core.

The colored regions in the European core (blue and black together) account for the origins -- not where they went to work when they grew up, but where they were born and raised -- of fully 50 percent of the total European significant figures. Just the five regions colored in black -- Ile de France, Southeast England, Tuscany, Belgium, and the Netherlands -- account for 26 percent of the European total. The other 24 percent come from (in order of their contribution) Bavaria, Venetia, Southwest England, Switzerland, Lowland Scotland, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Baden-Wurttemberg, Northeast Austria, the Italian Papl States, and Brandenburg.

The figures represent summaries. Now we turn to the distribution, significant figure by signficant figure, that lead to them.

Charles Murray, Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950 (New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2003), pp.295-299

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004, 12:45 AM
This interesting article of course provided by FadeTheButcher. Here is the map - it seems to primarily be little pockets in the area formerly known as the Holy Roman Empire (German Hohenstaufen Reich):


Sunday, October 2nd, 2005, 03:29 PM
From an older thread, the topic was the different development of Western-Central and Eastern Europe:

The beginning of Democratic and constitutional structures:

The big states, were not really democratic, but usually at least the aristocracy could decide certain things, there were many forms of councils. Not to forget the republics especially in Italy which survived for a certain time and their influence.

Furthermore the Catholic church was not only determined by the state power but a had power on its own and there were, at least in theory, certain forms of elections.

But the most important element of "democracy" or citizen rights was in the cities. The burgess had certain rights already in the medieval ages of Europe.

Just think about the German laws, both for cities and farmers. When the German colonization went to Poland, they brought with them the newest technology and "way of living" to Poland and all regions in which they came. But not only Germans but French, Flemish, Dutch and Walloons as well. This laws gave the burgess and farmer certain rights and made new, well ordered structures.

Not to forget rennaissance which did not really happen in the East, but that has nothing to do with "democracy" and law only...

From the Frankish centre was a certain way of living spread to many parts of Europe, mainly were Western colonists were present.
Not just by normal settlers, but by the church, to be precise, by monks, also.

Just think about the clearing and settlements of the Zisterzienser and the clerical reforms of Cluny.

In the end we see that certain family structures persisted beyond this cultural border. Best visible in names. In the early medieval age the Western farmer was nothing, he lost even his clan and bloodline structure, only the Christian or better Catholic moral was in charge. Most people in the West have names of their job, of their place or something like that wereas traditional European societies were patrillinear and had the names of a male ancestor.

That's true both Scots, Scandinavians and Eastern Europeans. Just think about -son, -ic, etc.

This means the West had no longer the traditional family structure, could be used in different places, was not bound to a family and mainly loyal to the state or in the early times the church. Thats in my opinion even today a reason because traditional societies tend to be more corrupt, because they have more loyalty to everything else but the state.

The Hajnal line is the obvious border for this early European division.

I would say that the Turks and Mongols had a very strong impact, but even as important or more important was that they came much later in the sphere of influence of this "Frankish centre" (Northern France, Benelux states and Northwestern Germany) which adopted first new social structures, farming, technology, burgers and farmer rights etc...

There is in Europe, to this day, the "banana", the centre of Europe which is more "developed" than the rest. This part of Europe goes from the "Frankish centre" to Northern Italy. Even today most production and industry of the European Union is concentrated there.
This region was under total control of the Empire, had a surviving Roman-antique tradition and under control of the Catholic church with a very high density of churches, monasteries and medieval cities.

Certain structures in Europe are older than the 1000 years.

But of course, thats no excuse or something fixed, but so far it never changed since this region was developed. Even before the 2nd world war, ever you go further away from this centre, you will see on all demographic and economic charts the difference to other regions. Not to forget that this region is now one of the most densely populated of the world. (Just think about Northern France, Benelux and North West Germany)

Region under the influence of this Frankish centre like Great Britain or Scandinavia developed much faster than regions outside of this sphere of influence.

Here are some good links with further information, first for the Hajnal line:

http://dmo.econ.msu.ru/Data/mitterauer.html (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdmo.econ .msu.ru%2FData%2Fmitterauer.html)

To the "banana":

"Between the industrial and the fifty years younger post-industrial map, there is a striking simularity. The central core has moved westwards on its eastern flank, with the postwar system of industrial socialsism in Eastern Europe, and eastwards on its western side, taking some notice of the decline of the old industrial heartland of the English Northwest. The RECLUS/DATAR "urban tissue" map [so heißt die auf der Folie wiedergegebene Karte] gives the most thoroughly researched formulation of the EC "banana", the bent, drawn-out economic and cultural centre region stretching from Lombarday and Milan to the Greater London area. The basic stretch of the "banana" is the medieval city belt of Europe, along the North-South trade routes from Germany to Italy, with a bend towards the modern imperial City of London."
"The European backbone is characterized by weak centre formation and a strong network of cities. It runs North-South along old trade routes, gridging the cultural divides between Latin and Germanic Europe, between Catholic and Protestant Europe. From the Hanseatic cities on the Baltic, downthrough the Rhineland, what is now the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg, old Lothringa, Switzerland, across the Alps down onto the Italian peninsula. By and large, the city belt corresponds to the short lived Kingdom of Lothar of the Treaty of Verdun, 843."

http://ig.cs.tu-berlin.de/oldstatic/...014/index_html (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fig.cs.tu-berlin.de%2Foldstatic%2F...014%2Findex_h tml)

My theory would be like that:

Better survival of antique traditions and different social organization from the beginning lead to another form of social organization, especially through the Catholic church.

This social organization and the destruction of the extended family made a total rule of the church and aristocracy possible, especially with the religious and mental control.

Whereas in the cities certain traditions of burgess, citizen rights and law survived.

In the rural area the new agrarian technologies lead to growth of population. In the medieval ages there was for a short time a maximum of population and agrarian structures in Western, Central Europe.

But then came the pest and a total breakdown, we could say this was a "check". In the later centuries technology goes further and social discipline as well, based on the disciplined individual, disciplined by state and church. The base for the industrial developments were the already medieval agrarian structures and the colonies.

Because for an industrialization you need masses of relatively disciplined people and an effective supply with food. Just look at Japan which had not too much of an advantage if its about ressources etc, but they had a disciplined, state oriented society with masses of people and an effective agrarian system.

To discipline the individual you must, with ideology, religion or pure force of the state, take the individual in a greater structure first and out of the family-clan structures. This was done in Western and Central Europe in the medieval age, in the East and South East in special it was mainly done in the 19th century and by the Communism.

So today the original structures mainly survived, though with its own features, in Kosovo and Albania, parts of Bosnia and Romania "more or less".

But of course the centuries of development, agrarian forms of live, the medieval social discipline, extended family destruction, later law reforms, rennaissance, absolute state, early industrial revolution etc. cannot be catched up that easy. And even the natural conditions are not that optimal, a dense population like in the Netherlands or North Western Germany would be just absurd in many parts of Eastern and South Eastern Europe.

Both the East of Europe, the South East in particular didnt had for a very long time. Probably there was an influence of the Ottoman empire.

So if the Holy Roman Empire would have had more influence on this region and not the Ottoman Empire for centuries, probably the South East would have looked different even in the 19th century.

Anyway, the influence of Western, antique-Catholic structures and the centre of development of the "banana belt" is so eminent that it cant be ignored. Because even inside of Germany or inside of France and Italy, you can see the difference between this centre and the periphery of economic and social development.

Its just explains the different stages and pace of development which cannot be explained by Communism alone. It's f.e. no wonder that the Baltic states and the Czechs f.e., which were integrated in the past are now more successful economically and are more adapted to what the "banana belt" wants now than other regions of Europe.

"Mafia" f.e. is something which mainly works on the ground of clan structures or the remains of it. So you had Mafia f.e. in Southern Italy (not fully integrated) and now in many parts of Eastern and South Eastern Europe.

Sure, the economic conditions are important for such criminal groups as well, but not only, because they are too often based on traditions of extended family, clan and blood. Just watch the movie "The Godfather". Sure, its just a movie, but a good one and you can learn from it.

So its no matter in which direction you go away from this centre, South or East, the penetration with this structures is not as strong.
And where is none, you see older structures, more problematic for development and based on traditional, oftentimes pre-Christian or non-Christian ways of living.

In fact the West made many mistakes as well because after the elmination of the extended family, clan structures and the value of blood, with the exception of aristocracy of course, only the state was there to look for the biological and racial needs, at least mainly.
Christianity is a big failure in that way as it doesnt recognize the importance of blood and kinship.

It was good to deny the importance of clans before all, that was necessary to form a disciplined society, but they should have applied "rules of blood".

Of course thats something we did, but the Christian extremists, the Anglo-Saxons and Calvinists, destroyed this approach.

Now after the protecting state is destroyed, there is nothing left, no family, no clan, nothing... And everything about blood is denied.

That's the big failure of the West and the sin of Christianity.

So if its about that we should learn from each other. Clan structures have no future if we want a developed and modern state, but on the other hand "rules of blood" must be applied which are rational and efficient.

Therefore if Europe has any future at all, it will be neither the Western past nor the Eastern one but something new based on the best of the old traditions but without the bad.

Link for the general topic: Demographic Structures and Cultural Regions in Europe (http://www.alanmacfarlane.com/TEXTS/EUROPE.pdf)

About the Hajnal line:

This has been brilliantly demonstrated by John Hajnal, who locates it roughly as 'a line running roughly from Leningrad to Trieste.'5 To the east of this line there has for at least four hundred years, between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, been a
pattern of early and universal marriage and hence, in the absence of contraception, very high fertility. To the west, there has been a pattern of delayed marriage, for women in the mid-twenties, and with perhaps ten to fifteen per cent of the women never marrying. Hajnal has cautiously refrained from speculating on the reasons for a contrast which must have been related to many other features of the economic and social patterns of the respective areas. At a later point we shall hazard a guess as to why the division between two systems was located along this line.

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006, 09:52 PM
Since this topic is important for understanding many of todays problems of modernisation and Europe, I add some texts which should be of general interest and food for thoughts:
http://www.uni-muenster.de/Geschichte/hist-sem/SW-G/personen/fertig/hajnal.pdf (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uni-muenster.de%2FGeschichte%2Fhist-sem%2FSW-G%2Fpersonen%2Ffertig%2Fhajnal.pdf)

Especially the Neolocal character of a lot of European marriages inside of the European marriage pattern is crucial, since that wasnt always the case in other patterns in which f.e. more married sons (patrilocal) lived close together and formed the base of the extended family.

And an excellent text: Marriage in Theory and Law
Some highlights:

A very different attitude is apparent among the early Christians. The Judaic tradition held that the sexual act polluted those who engaged in it, making ritual purification necessary before participating in sacred rites, but it did make a virtue of fecundity, and was at ease with the thought that husband and wife might actually enjoy sexual intercourse. During its development from a Jewish sect to a religion in its own right, Christianity retained the Hebraic notion of sex as pollutant, and in addition absorbed the Stoics’ and Gnostics’ suspicion of sensual pleasure. Some of the Church fathers built these beliefs into an asceticism that verged on the condemnation of all sexual activity as sinful. Such a view threatened the very idea that marriage (as a formal relationship between male and female sexual partners) could be compatible with salvation, a position that represented a radical break with classical and Judaic culture.
Against this opinion stood St Augustine, the most influential of the church fathers. Augustine proposed that from Christian marriage flowed three positive results, or ‘goods’. The three goods of marriage are offspring, fidelity and ‘sacrament’, or inseparability:

In fidelity the focus is on the exclusion of intercourse with another woman or man outside the marriage bond. In offspring the focus is on loving reception, kind nurture, and religious upbringing. In the sacrament the focus is on the inseparability of marriage, and [on the requirement] that a man or woman, if dismissed, does not join with another for the sake of offspring. This is the rule of marriage by which the fruitfulness of nature is crowned, or the depravity of incontinence is regulated.

This formulation provided the bedrock for most medieval discussions of Christian marriage. In contrast to Jerome’s emphasis on virginity, Augustine welcomes fruitfulness within a Christian family. He also sees marriage as having an important social function in binding together families, thereby increasing harmony within the Christian community. Nevertheless, Augustine does not eschew the notion that marriage is a remedy for lust, a safety valve whereby extramarital fornication may be avoided. The superiority of total sexual abstinence remains unchallenged.

The Germanic barbarians had institutions of marriage that were not wholly alien to late Roman practice. Formal marriage involved three
stages: betrothal, the settlement of property, and the delivery of the bride from her father’s authority to her husband’s. The Germans
practised a system of ‘reverse dowry’, whereby the bride – or her family – received property from the groom’s family, with only a token offering given to the groom. The bride also received a ‘morning gift’ after her wedding night. However, the Germans also practised polygyny: the Merovingian King Dagobert was reported to have had numerous wives and concubines, ‘like Solomon’. Husbands could readily divorce their wives, but wives could not divorce their husbands. Another Germanic custom frowned upon by the Church was the informal marriage, which did not involve the transfer of property or of authority over the bride,but required only the consent of bride and groom; such ‘free’ marriages were the ancestors of the clandestine unions which so troubled the medieval canon lawyers.

While the Church never condemned the married state as incompatible with salvation, for centuries it was content to allow marriage to
remain a largely civil affair, an arrangement made between the parties, regulated by secular authorities and contracted without the necessity of religious ceremony. In England, the process whereby the Church developed its separate jurisdiction over marriage began with William I’s edict of about 1072, designed to separate episcopal jurisdiction from that of the local secular courts, and reached its fulfilment in the Compromise of Avranches of 1172. During this 100 years the Church took over marriage jurisdiction from the Crown and other secularauthorities, leaving the latter’s competence in family matters largely restricted to questions of inheritance. The English experience was one of the earliest and most complete examples of a general phenomenon occurring throughout Christian Europe, whereby the Church assumed authority over marital questions.14 Why did the Church want this jurisdiction, tainted as it was with carnality?

One answer is that the Church may have been reacting to what today might be called ‘consumer demand’: the laity increasingly wanted their unions blessed by the Church, and the necessity of deciding which unions were fit to be blessed inevitably dragged the Church into the regulation of marriage and family relations.15 However, it was not drawn unwillingly into this area, but actively sought a greater role in the regulation of marriage. At this time the Church was fighting heretical movements whose common characteristic was the condemnation of the physical world, including human sexuality, as evil. As we have seen, there had long been a strong suspicion of all forms of sexual activity within orthodox Christianity, and this was a crucial factor in the Church’s reluctance to involve itself with marriage, but now, in order to distance itself from the heretics’ extreme views on carnality, the Church had to accommodate itself to marital sex. One consequence of this accommodation was the final acceptance, after much debate, of marriage as one of the Seven Sacraments. Its inclusion was controversial because it linked sex with the sacred, and it would be the only sacrament administered not by a priest, but by the laity: the bride and groom created the sacrament through their loving consent, following the
example of Adam and Eve before the Fall.

Perhaps, too, the Church’s new-found interest in marriage was part of a campaign for the ‘reformation of manners’, an attempt to improve standards of behaviour and combat sin through closer surveillance andcontrol of everyday life. This campaign was not just aimed at the laity; during this same period the Church was attempting to suppress clerical marriage or concubinage. Since at least the fifth century there had been a generally relaxed attitude towards clerical cohabitation with partners as man and wife, but from the early eleventh century the leaders of the Church insisted on clerical celibacy. By the beginning of the thirteenth century, prohibition of marriage for those who had taken religious vows was generally accepted and enforced, even if actual celibacy for all clergy remained an unattainable ideal. George Duby has argued that, once the mechanisms had been established for the suppression of clerical concubinage, the Church found it a relatively easy step to extend its jurisdiction over lay marriages. This process has also been seen as part of the so-called ‘Investiture Contest’, the Church’s great struggle to free itself from secular lordship, symbolized in English
history by the fatal conflict between Henry II and Thomas Becket. The advantages won by the Church in this contest drew it into the
entanglements of the secular world to an unprecedented degree, but this time largely on its own terms, through its panoply of courts
exercising canon law, combined with continuing involvement in secular government, administration and politics.

The growth of clerical jurisdiction over marriage is therefore an integral part of the general intrusion of ecclesiastical power into lay
society in the twelfth century. But this is not simply a story of the Church snatching power from resistant lay authorities. While emperors, kings and princes fought bitterly over other rights, in the case of marriage jurisdiction the demarcation lines were drawn largely by a process of agreement. Duby has described the process as it occurred in northern France as a struggle between an ecclesiastical and a lay aristocratic model of marriage, with the latter being gradually worn down by a process of attrition. However, some doubt has been cast on this interpretation. David Herlihy has questioned the existence of a competing aristocratic model of marriage, suggesting that what Duby took as an alternative system was, in fact, nothing more than a series of departures from the clerical ‘model’, to which all members of the elite at least paid lip service, and there seems a greater likelihood that prelates and nobles – drawn largely from the same class, after all – worked together to extend ecclesiastical control over the recalcitrant lower orders, recognizing a common interest in the use of religion and canon law as a form of social control...

Before the twelfth century, the Church did not even have an agreed answer to the most basic question of what constitutes a valid marriage. Roman law and Germanic custom had long held the simple giving of consent between bride and groom as the essential act in the formation of a valid marriage, but this raised problems, since what could so easily be made might all too easily be denied or rescinded. In an effort to impose greater regularity over the couplings of the laity, the Church sought additional, or alternative,
means of marking entry into a valid marriage. The main contender was the sexual act itself, combined with consent. However, Christians had a problem with this. Christ’s mother had been a virgin at the time of his birth: Mary and Joseph had not, therefore, had sex. To accept sexual intercourse as a necessary constituent of a valid marriage meant that Jesus was the child of an unmarried mother, and this was obviously unacceptable. By the twelfth century, opinion had crystallized around the pronouncements of two contending theologians and canon lawyers, Gratian of Bologna, and Peter Lombard of Paris. Both accepted consent as a necessary precondition to a viable marriage, but whereas Peter Lombard saw consent alone as sufficient, Gratian believed that it had to be followed by sexual intercourse before a marriage could be created.

Gratian lost the argument. After much discussion, Pope Alexander III (1159–81) adopted consent as the sole requirement for a valid marriage: the Church was forced to admit that it had no better answer to the problem than the Romans or Germanic barbarians, and resolved to live with the consequences. In England, this decision was promulgated in 1175 at the ecclesiastical Council of Westminster. Henceforth, marriage needed no more than the exchange of vows between man and woman; neither witnesses, priest, nor ceremony were required. There were two kinds of vows. By the exchange per verba de presenti the couple made themselves man and wife from the moment the words were spoken. Vows made per verba de futuro constituted a promise to marry at some point in the future. This promise was only binding if followed by sexual intercourse.

The Church’s adoption of consent as the sufficient constituent of a valid marriage has been regarded by Sheehan, among others, as a turning point in the history of western civilization, freeing individuals from the control of fathers and lords, and making a vital contribution towards the emergence of the modern companionate marriage. As such, it might be possible to see the Church’s adoption of consent not only as an attack on the secular powers, but also as inviting social anarchy, with binding unions being entered into without any effective regulation.

This was not the case. Far from being an ecclesiastical imperative, the principle of marriage made by consent was more a reluctant concession which, having been made, was as far as possible ignored in favour of the admonition to obey one’s lords and elders. The degree to which real freedom of choice in marriage was available is the subject of much debate.21Even if not fully realised immediately, it set a new moral standard (!).

Hajnal’s pioneering work had to rely on a relatively small number of studies and available sources. Since its appearance a great deal more work has been done on the sources he used, new sources have been found, and new methods of analysis have been developed. Inevitably, his model has not escaped unscathed. Some of the most important contributions to the debate have been made by Richard M. Smith. Revisiting the 1377 and 1381 poll tax evidence, and supplementing this with the analysis of further manorial court records and comparison with continental European studies and sixteenth-century evidence, Smith has concluded that Hajnal’s ‘European marriage pattern’ is characteristic of most levels of English society from at least the 1370s. His conclusions are borne out by detailed studies of particular latermedieval communities such as the Lincolnshire manors of Spalding Priory, the manor of Kibworth Harcourt, Coltishall in Norfolk, the parishes of central and north Essex, York and Yorkshire, and Coventry, which all show at least one of the characteristics of late and companionate marriage and relatively large numbers who never married. In addition, a large sample of wills from the period 1430– 80 shows that 24.2 per cent of male testators died unmarried.45 There are two exceptions to this general picture. One is provided by the work of Zvi Razi on the manor of Halesowen in Worcestershire from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century; the other arises from a consideration of elite marriage patterns. Both appear to show low ages at first marriage, consonant with a ‘non-European’ marriage pattern...

The second exception is perhaps more significant. Examples of early marriage among the gentry and nobility are not difficult to find.
... Taken together, these figures put propertied society on the borderline between Hajnal’s ‘European’ and ‘non-European’ marriage patterns, but demonstrate conclusively that child marriages were not the norm.

Purely on the basis of family strategy, upper-rank parents should have tried to arrange matches for their daughters and eldest sons at the earliest possible opportunity. With the ever-present fear of early death hanging over them, it was wise to marry off the heir apparent quickly, thereby preventing control of his marriage from passing to the family’s feudal lord in the event of his father dying before he had attained his majority, and increasing the likelihood that he would produce a son of his own and so preserve the family line for one further generation.

Daughters who remained at home unmarried were a drain on resources and, in terms of family advancement, a wasting asset. The longer a daughter remained unmarried, the greater the likelihood of her being abducted, coerced or seduced into an unsuitable marriage.56 It is likely that many abductions were in fact elopements, and even when not manifested in such extreme acts of disobedience, there was the danger that post-pubescent sons and daughters would follow the stirrings of their hearts rather than the guidance of their parents. As Sir John Oglander put it in the seventeenth century: ‘Marry thy daughters betimes [early], lest they marry themselves.’57 However, the fact that there were not more marriages of children and adolescents suggests that other factors were at play. Some parents may have held out until the ideal match came along. The expense of providing dowries may have forced others to leave some time between marrying off their daughters. There is even the possibility that personal inclination, if not full-blown love, was allowed its say.

On the other hand, the marriage of younger sons was not a priority for most landed parents. Many younger sons did not marry until they were into their late twenties, and some remained single. The nobility and gentry display a different pattern of marriage from those below them, and this can largely be explained by their greater wealth. With so much more at stake, and perhaps with a greater sense of lineage, the landed elite are likely to have arranged marriages at an earlier stage in the life-cycle, and to have left less to chance and personal choice, when compared with their social inferiors.

The correlation between wealth and age at first marriage can also be detected lower down the socioeconomic hierarchy. Among the
parishioners of later medieval Essex, for example, the incidence of marriage varied according to occupation and wealth. Those employed on the land tended to marry at an earlier age and to have had a greater chance of marrying overall than those involved in crafts and trade. Those for whom wage labour constituted their main or sole income tended to marry late or not at all. Frequent movement in search of work and a precarious economic condition made marriage difficult, while most of those labourers who did marry were probably able to do so only after many years’ saving to provide the basics of family life. Many were in this situation. Poos has calculated that 50 per cent of the post-Black Death Essex population were either totally or partially dependent on earning a wage.61 Apprentices and household servants were usually unmarried, and so the widespread employment of young people in these occupations until their early to mid-twenties tended to raise the average age of first marriage. Demand for female servants was probably higher in towns, leading to a slightly higher proportion of females to males in urban populations, and a marginally later age atfirst marriage for urban women than their rural counterparts, perhaps early to mid-twenties in towns and late teens to early twenties in the country.

Aristocracy kept old blood and line rules much better and longer - so was their marriage pattern. Same was true for so called inbreed, which was a lot for the church, in theory even non-biological "relatives", like the children of the godfather.

Coercion and Freedom of Choice

Accepting that most levels of society, in the later Middle Ages at least, conformed to Hajnal’s ‘European marriage pattern’ increases the possibility that most couples had some say in the decision to marry and in the choice of partner. The Church attempted to maintain a balance between acknowledging freedom of consent and insisting on the right of parents and lords to have a say in the decision to marry. The Church’s Family and Household in Medieval England teaching on consent was widely understood, but not always appreciated. In fifteenth-century Essex one father, John Corney, disapproving of his daughter Joanna’s intended, was alleged to have announced, ‘I love not the law, I will not let them.’ Johanna persisted for a while in the face of opposition, but by the second reading of the banns the pressure had proved too much for her, and ‘Johanna renounced [them], as is commonly said in that parish, at the instance of her father.’

Goldberg has proposed that urban couples had more freedom from parental and seigneurial supervision over their courtship and marriage than their country cousins. Children who had entered service or apprenticeship in urban households had exchanged parental control for the supervision of master and mistress; the latter, Goldberg suggests, had less incentive to determine their charges’ marital futures, since for most servants and apprentices marriage only came after the end of their term of service, and so their choice of partner had few material consequences for their erstwhile employers. In the countryside the
young had fewer opportunities for employment outside the parental household, and for many the influence of their lord was inescapable, so freedom of choice would tend to have been restricted. However, within this general pattern there were variations between different farming areas, between the free and unfree, between different tenurial and inheritance regimes, and there were changes over time. For example, employment opportunities for young women – and hence the chance to escape close parental supervision – may have been greater in pastoral than in arable regions.64
Peasant couples shared in the common expectation that their marriages would have parental blessing, but there were the inevitable clashes. A Yorkshire case from 1490 presents one rare instance of resistance to parental wishes. The news of Elena Couper’s betrothal to a bitter enemy of her parents provoked this furious reaction from her mother, ‘thou filth and harlot. Why, art thou handfast with John Wistow? When thy father knows he will ding thee and mischew thee.’ When she was eventually confronted by her father – in the neutral territory of a friend’s house, and only after her father had promised not to harm her – she would not relent: on her knees before him, she declared, ‘Sir, that I have done I will perform if the law will suffer it for I will have him whosoever say nay to it. And I desire no more of your goods but your blessing.’68 Significantly, even in the extremes of her defiance, Elena still sought her father’s blessing, indicating how deeply ingrained was the desire for parental approval, however grudgingly given.

For the propertied classes, marriage was the prime means of advancing the interests of the family. A successful match could provide an alliance with a family which had influence with the king or the nobility, standing and power in the locality, social status, money and lands, and it was through marriage that the family name and patrimony were maintained. At this level, marriage could not be simply a matter of love.

In a clan based society that would be, to a certain degree, true for all free members of the tribe etc.

Thursday, June 1st, 2006, 12:27 AM
Satellite maps show how world is choking in smog

Times Online
December 10, 2005

THE world’s first detailed daily global pollution maps have been put together by Dutch scientists, using a device called the ozone monitoring instrument (Omi).

They show how pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, cover the world, down to the scale of individual cities. It can be used to identify pollution hotspots and predict patterns of pollution with greater accuracy.


The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute built a daily picture of worldwide air quality using the Aura satellite, which belongs to the US and can look through the atmosphere to the troposphere — the ground level air in which we live. Nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide which leads to acid rain, small particles which lead to smog, and ground-level ozone can all be detected.

Pieternel Levelt, Omi’s principal investigator, told the BBC: “This is the first time that we have been able to follow pollution globally from day to day.” Presenting her findings at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, she said: “This will help us understand how pollution is formed and where it comes from — its sources — and where it goes to — its sinks.

“All this helps us understand the chemistry involved and that is important for us if we want to check our models.” Her team presented maps tracking nitrogen dioxide, which comes from car exhausts and industry. The gas can lead to ozone, a constituent of the photochemical smog — or “brown cloud” — that can hang over cities, blighting air quality and causing respiratory problems.

By following the spread of nitrous oxide, Omi can be used to make forecasts of where smog might develop, allowing authorities to take preventative action, such as restricting car use.

The team presented a map from earlier this year showing high emissions over some of Europe’s cities, particularly over the industrial belt from Antwerp in Belgium to Rotterdam in the Netherlands and across to the Ruhr in Germany. It also shows high levels of pollution over London and the rest of the South East of England.

Omi is one of four instruments on Aura that helps to provide a picture of the lower atmosphere. Its microwave limb sounder instrument has recently started providing images of the ice in clouds around the world, helping to improve the understanding and modelling of climate change.

[source (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1918798,00.html)]

Interestingly you can see on this map the historical "European banana" which can be identified as the cultural and especially economical centre of medieval and modern Europe. More or less the Frankish Empire part between later Germany and France, the kingdom of Lothar.

This centres of development from the Benelux, over Western Germany and the Isle de France, over Switzerland to Northern Italy is easy to spot on the maps if looking both at the agglomerations, or in this case, on the pollution. Not just single cities, but really city on city, basically from the Middle Ages on.

Your "European Banana" coincides with the areas of higher demography, something absolutely necessary for the development of a strong economy and industry. However a disaster in terms of quality of life for the people.

Something I noticed in countries like England or The Netherlands was the excess population per sq. km., which made me feel much uncomfortable and like a statistical number rather than as a person.

It can be better seen on this map of artificial night sky brightness in Europe.

You can see higher resolution maps here: http://www.lightpollution.it/dmsp/artbri.html

Population density:


Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 04:42 PM
Another corroborating source for Agrippa's thesis of a European cultural-civilisational core with Germany as its centre is "Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences" (2003) by Charles Murray.

Note the map of Europe below. The red hexagonal shape outlines where 80% of the European significant figures in human accomplishment grew up. Note that southern and far northern Europe fall outside the core. Note also that the heartland of Germany is at the very centre.


Over 97% of the most important scientists and 74% of the most important artists and authors were white. Almost all were males and most from only four countries:

-Great Britain.

The remainder were mostly Asian. None were African.

Source: "Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences" (Murray, 2003)

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017, 04:00 PM
Charles Murray placed the origins of the modern West within a triangle from the Scottish lowlands, to Italy, to Germanophone Prague. Such an area contains most of the Germanics (excluding Scandinavia) and a few neighbouring areas like Naples where Germanic was not the primary spoken language. Yes it has a correspondance of sorts to the Hajnal line.

I understand why the triumph of modernity might be a source of pride to some people here, and that Mydydd was an anti-white mud of sorts. However do heed what he says quoted by Agrippa about the Hajnal line and the "European banana" marking the epicentres of awful historical trends. Be careful what you are proud of.