"Ethnogenesis and the Biosphere"
The Phases of
an Upsurge of Drive
The birth of an ethnos.
The simplest version of the beginning of ethnogenesis is the rise of a new
ethnos on the background of a described static state that cannot alter of
itself. (1) None of the members of the ethnos want such a change; (2) none of
them can even imagine it; (3) in order to change the character of the process a
powerful, purposive energy impulse is needed that no self-awareness can
create because that would contradict the law of the conservation of energy.
Nevertheless ethnoi do arise from time to time. Let us see how.
Several ethnoi with different systems of economy and
a different culture five alongside one another in one territory. They are
habituated to each other; there are constant but insignificant conflicts between
them and, as a rule, these pass without marked consequences. Since the
fluctuations occur within quite regular limits there is homeostasis.
But now the population of the region passes into a
dynamic state, i.e. begins to develop. The first stage of development is a
breaking of the established relationships, like an explosion. That always
happens as follows: a certain number of persons appear in one or two generations
who are not resigned to the limitations that their grandfathers willingly put up
with. They demand a place in the sun corresponding to their talents, energy,
feats, and successes, but not previously accorded them, and determined only by
accidents of birth in some one family. The first of them perish because the
collective resists them, but if the process goes on long enough, there proves to
be a sufficient number of these hothead, desperate, foolhardy, reckless
malcontents to rally and impose their will on people of the old disposition. The
foundation of the old temple rests on the bones of martyrs and victims. So it
was with the founding of Rome, when the Latin emigrants gathered on the seven
hills for war with the kings of Alba Longa; such were the 'faithful' of the
robber-shepherd David, who united the remnants of the twelve much battered
Jewish tribes in a strong kingdom with a centralized authority, religion, and
ethnic self-awareness. In both cases the slaveowning formation was
preserved. The above-listed did not differ in any way from the companions
of Muhammed, the Mohajeers and Ansars, and the Zulus, the heroic soldiers of
Chaka, Dingaan, and Cetywayo, and the Matabele on the banks of the Zambezi. To
them all were similar not only the war bands of the Vikings but also the barons
of the early Carolingians, Charlemagne's counts, and the knights who were the
prototypes of the literary images of the knights of the Round Table; they after
all also broke with the accustomed way of life and regarded that not as a sin
but as a feat.
Here is a brilliant example of drive and change of
the ethnic stereotype of behaviour. In the twelfth century the Great Steppe was
inhabited by various peoples whose social life was regulated by tribal and clan
norms and standards of life that had arisen after the disintegration of the
military-democratic formations, the hordes. More than half of the nomads
professed Nestorian Christianity, but the Mongols in Transbaikalia and Eastern
Mongolia had their own religion. In this initial condition there gradually took
place a process of the isolation of so-called 'men of long will' from the
tribes, i.e. of those with most drive who did not accommodate themselves to
tribal life. At first they sought sustenance in the hills and steppes, but
inevitably had to resort to robbery, and then their death was decided in
advance. Later they began to form small bands, and finally rallied around
Temujin, an impoverished member of the noble clan of Borjigins, who had been
orphaned at the age of nine. In the second half of the twelfth century Temujin,
thanks to skilful, artful diplomacy and organizing talent, succeeded in creating
first a small horde and then uniting the whole Great Steppe up to the Urals, and
in reconciling the tribes conquered by force of arms to his authority, so that
they took part in distant campaigns on equal terms with the Mongols.
The direction of their dominant was suggested by the
need to react to an extremely difficult and all the time worsening situation.
The Chinese and Central Asian Muslims were behaving toward the Turks and Mongols
in the same way as the North American colonists did toward the Indians. The
Chinese and Muslims systematically attacked the nomads with the aim of
physically exterminating them, sparing only the small children, whom they sold
into slavery. Therefore the nomads, guided by clan categories of blood feud and
collective responsibility, had an instinctive but conscious need to fight the
The steppe, united by Temujin, proved strong enough,
answering blow by blow, to defeat their perennial enemies and (what is
especially impressive) Christians and pagans acted hand in hand. The later
campaigns of Genghis-khan's heirs were provoked by exceptionally hostile
acts by the Chinese national Sting Empire, the splinter groups of the broken
Khorezmites of Jelal ud-din, the Russian dukes who took the side of the
Kipchaks (Polovtsy), and the Hungarians, who wiped out a Mongol embassy. The
Mongols kept part of the conquered lands thanks to the fact that there were
groups among the local population who considered an alliance with the Mongol
khans salutary for themselves. Such were the Armenians in the Near East, who
were under pressure from Muslims, and Alexander Nevsky in Russia, who was
defending the Russian land against Catholics (Swedes, Germans, and their
allies). The vast territories and diverse populations could not constitute a
single whole, and broke up into several states in which the local population
gradually assimilated the small bands of Mongol conquerors, creating new ethnoi
with a different social system and a different culture: the Tatars of the Golden
Horde, i.e. the Volga urban population, of various tribes, of course, united by
loyalty to the Genghisite khans; the steppe Nogai in the west and the eastern
nomads united in Kazakh tribal unions (juses); the Uzbeks, Oirats , Buryats, and
remnants of the Khalkha Mongols and Berguts.
These examples of' the rise of an ethnic system are
clear because they are simple. The cruel drought of the tenth century A.D.
depopulated the Great Steppe for a century, which was peopled again during the
next moistening of the arid zone in the eleventh century. The process of
readaptation led to an increase in the population of the steppes but not to
integration of it. Only a drive impulse rallied the isolated tribes of the
Pacific maritime taiga and the Transbaikalian steppe into two powerful creative
ethnoi, the Jurchens in the cast and the Mongols in Transbaikalia. Integration
proceeded relatively easily since it arose on the basis of a homeostatic state
of the primordial ethnic substrata. The expansion of the new ethnoi was resisted
in the main by foreigners. In spite of their immense preponderance in number and
technique they were defeated. That does not mean, of course, that victory of the
Mongols was preordained, because the Aztecs and the Zulus suffered defeat in
similar situations. The Mongols simply knew how to exploit the opportunity for
victory, but that is already not ethnogenesis but political history.
The case is rather more complicated when a new
dynamic state arises not from a static one but from a dynamic one that has
already covered a considerable stretch of evolution. Such a situation occurred
in the first century A.D. when, on the limes of the Roman Empire, at the
junction of the Hellenic, Hebrew, and Syrian ethnoi there arose a population
equally similar and equally foreign to all those listed above. This was a
Christian community that gave 'unto Caesar the things that are Caesars', did not
distinguish in its milieu between Greek and Jew, and was hated by everyone
around it because its ethnic dominant was foreign and incomprehensible to them.
From the tiny Christian community of the first
century A.D. arose later the huge ethnos and culture we call Byzantine. The
mechanism of the forming of the Christian ethnos differs outwardly from those
considered above, but wits identical with them in essence30. The preachers and
martyrs, apologists and contemplators, behaved just like Roland who died in the
gorge of Roncesvalles, Leonidas of Sparta at Thermopylae, and many other heroes.
The tactics of behaviour were changed, but the psychological pattern was the
same, and also the results – the creation of a new collective of people
with an original culture, i.e. a new ethnos that three hundred years later,
having supported the leprous tyrant and murderer Constantine, gave him victory
and the diadem, contenting itself only with getting the right to legal
existence. And then, front A.D. 313, the new ethnos 'Romaic Christians' became
fact of' world historical importance.
The upsurge of
'dynamic' phase of ethnogenesis is always linked with expansion, just as heated
gas expands. The Byzantine Christians were no exception. But preaching monks
rather than soldiers and merchants carried their invincible energy beyond their
i native land. Egyptian hermits had already in the third century A.D. left the
Thebaid and gone preaching in the west through pagan Rome and Druidic Britannia
to the green island of Erin whose inhabitants never knew Roman despotism and
In the fifth century A.D. an independent Christian
church arose in Ireland that categorically did not recognize either the Pope of
Rome or the western Church calendar, because their tradition had been brought
from the east where a new formation – Byzantium had arisen.
The Byzantine ethnos had no ancestors. That does not
mean, of course, that the people who comprised it were not descended from Pithecanthropus,
but an ethnos is not a stock of people but a dynamic system arising in
historical time, with an impulse of drive as a necessary component in the
initial moment of ethnogenesis, a process that smashes an old culture.
In the Mediterranean there was a single Hellenistic
culture in antiquity that had absorbed in the process of its development Latium
and the Phoenician cities. Ethnically it resembles the WestEuropean because the
main Hellenic core did not exhaust all the variants of the diverse Hellenistic
culture. Rome, Carthage, and Pella, of course, had their own local features and
were independent ethnoi, but in the superethnic sense came within the orbit of
Hellenistic culture. There is nothing new in that, incidentally, but it is
important for me as a starting point. Roman domination encouraged ethnic
levelling but the equalizing of Greek and Latin led to almost the whole
population of the Mediterranean merging into one ethnos. But in the first
century A.D. new people appeared in the Roman Empire who formed a new entity in
the next two centuries. They counterposed themselves to the 'pagans', i.e. to
all the rest, and in fact distinguished themselves from them by the character of
their behaviour. Obviously the common denominator was not an ideological or
political attribute, but an ethnological, i.e. a behavioural one, which was
really new and unaccustomed for the Hellenistic culture. It was foreign to the
Jews, too, incidentally, who had not by any means merged with the Romans and
Greeks, but were not persecuted for their faith.
Members of the Christian communities constituted the
nucleus of the 'Byzantine' ethnos, and how that came about we shall now see.
In A.D. 330 the Emperor Constantine transferred his
capital to the little town of Byzantium and converted it into luxurious
Constantinople. People with drive flowed there from all over the place. Many
Goths settled in Thrace on the pretext of service in the armies. Slavs broke the
Danubian line of fortifications and settled in the Balkan Peninsula, including
the Peloponnese. Syrians were spread from the valley of the Po to the bends of
the Huangho. By the sixth century a multi-lingual, multi-tribal but
monolithic ethnos had been created to which I arbitrarily attach the name
Byzantine. Greek – a heritage of antiquity – was only the state and
generally accepted language, but at home everyone spoke his mother tongue. Very
soon this 'Byzantine' ethnos became a superethnos because its charm conquered
Armenians and Georgians, Isaurians and Slavs, Alans and Crimean Goths.
The history of Byzantium has been interpreted either
as a continuation of the history of the Roman Empire (Gibbon), or as the
creation of a Christian 'Greek Empire' (Uspensky, Kulakovsky), or as an
East-European version of the feudal formation. All these aspects
illuminated various aspects of Byzantine history, but the problem of the
originality of Byzantine culture remained unsolved. My point of view also does
not pretend to a universal description of Byzantium as an entity, but it fills a
lacuna in the ethnic history of Europe.
I shall give the name 'Byzantium' to the phenomenon
that arose after the impulse of drive of the first and second centuries A.D. in
Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor, which took shape as a church, with all its
deviations and currents, and found a stereotype of relationships with the
secular authorities. This integral entity was much broader than the boundaries
of the Eastern Roman Empire and survived it by many centuries. One may dispute
the title, but it is not worth the trouble, because it is comprehensible and
settles the problem by a posing of the matter that is constructive for further
argument and discussion.
Rome or Anti-Rome? If we were to describe the descending limb of the curve of
ethnogenesis, the task would be easy. We would establish a progressing
simplification of the ethno-social system, a lowering of its resistivity
and infiltration by foreign elements. But when we have to describe the ascending
limb, then it is much more complicated. With mounting drive the dominant is not
found immediately. Certain directions of development begin, struggling more
fiercely with one another than with their natural opponent, the departing
traditions of the dying superethnos.
But, in spite of that, all resisting systems operate
the same as regards the previous one, even when they take on its defence. Julian
the Apostate tried to restore the Roman faith, and replaced Christ by Mithra.
But Mithraism was a religion as foreign to the Romans as Christianity; these
religions penetrated Rome at the same time, under Nero; the devotees of
Mithraism were not the Roman nobili but the Illyrian soldier emperors; and
mainly legionaries torn from their homes and native lands, and more often
foreigners, were initiated into Mithraic mysteries. Even if Julian had been
victorious and had rooted out Christianity, he would have consolidated, not the
posterity of the god Quirinus and the she-wolf, but a system that would be
more correctly understood as Anti-Rome, only in another style than that
created by the Christian communities.
They worked away gradually over three centuries,
uniting elements with drive that had fallen out of the decrepit system, which
did not give them an outlet in creativity for their unruly passions. The
Christian communities were the most impulsive force in the Empire.
But since the Roman Empire was a single
cultural-social political entity, even with the administrative division in
'East' and 'West', regional populations with both drive and sub-drive
coexisted in it that exchanged entropy and negative entropy with one another. In
other words, bearers of the tradition of the antique decline of morals lived
side by side with vigorous myth-creators, initiators of new traditions.
Territorial division would have been good for them, but there was nowhere for
them to go, because Rome so offended the surrounding ethnoi that they began to
detest all Romans. That is why the superseding of one ethnos, the Roman, by
another, the Byzantine, took place over the whole territory of the Roman Empire
and was such an agonizing process.
Therefore one can only arbitrarily suggest a date as
the 'beginning' of the new process of ethnogenesis and the first phase of its
In the middle of the first century A.D. the preaching
of the Apostle Paul laid the beginning of consortia that had not yet emerged
from the initial ethnic substrata, but the Romans already saw some sort of
entity in them, though they perceived it as a variety of Judaism.
In the middle of the second century, thanks to the
activity of St. Justin Martyr, the Christians emerged as a special subethnos
categorically dissociated from Judaism; contemporaries counted the gnostics as
In the early fourth century the Christians were an
ethnos within the Roman superethnos that Constantine was forced to recognize.
Nevertheless, the Eastern Roman Empire created by him was not yet Byzantium in
the ethnological sense of the term; it should rather be understood as a field of
the rivalry of Church Christianity and the Mithraists, Neoplatonists, Donatists,
Arians, and other subdivisions of the new ethnic element being created before
the eyes of the historian and becoming obvious to contemporaries.
Once the warlike, and later on freedom-loving
ethnoi of the West, after their conquest by the Romans, supplied brave horsemen
and skilled archers to the legions, but by the fourth century A.D. even that was
finished. Everything was swept away by irreversible processes of 'drive entropy.
Not only the Gallo-Romans and the Britons, but also the Batavians,
Frisians, Iberians, and Numidians, in spite of the existence of personal
qualities like courage, physical strength, hardiness and endurance, etc., did
not have the additional quality that would have enabled them defend their
property, families, and life from enemies. The rich, cultured Alans behaved the
same way on the eastern frontiers of the region, which enabled them to be
conquered by the savage, but not numerous Hunni.
The 'last Romans', who were still encountered in
blessed Italy, settled by newcomer Asiatics, were the most craven of all.
The valiant Thracians and Illyrians had already
squandered their drive in the third century A.D. The mechanism of that was
simple. Courageous, energetic youths had joined the legions for 'careers and
fortune', while the passive types had started families in the homeland. So the
extreme attribute was separated from the population.
In the fourth century the most efficient and
disciplined Roman troops consisted of members of Christian communities. Even
Julian the Apostate was compelled to employ them. But they categorically refused
to fight against their fellow-believers for example the Bagaudae rebels in
Gaul at the end of the third century. Such principledness is sometimes
inconvenient, but it made the legionaries, brought up in the strict rules of the
Christian communities, more reliable than the demoralized citizens of the Roman
world who did not believe in Jupiter and Mars and had long ago lost any notion
of fidelity and conscience.
It is a waste of time to try and find an explanation
of the difference that arose between the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman
Empire in social system. It had been quite unified already in the second century
A.D. And (he racial composition of file population could not have been of any
significance because tile inhabitants of Greece and Syria were already regarded
in Rome in the first century as degenerate descendants of once powerful
ancestors. And that was justified.
It is a waste of time to try and find an explanation
of the difference that arose between the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman
Empire in social system. It had been quite unified already in the second century
A.D. And (he racial composition of file population could not have been of any
significance because tile inhabitants of Greece and Syria were already regarded
in Rome in the first century as degenerate descendants of once powerful
ancestors. And that was justified.
But in the fourth century the inhabitants of the
towns, but not of the villages, of the East took the initiative. Indeed, people
with drive, oppressed by the tedium of village life, gathered in the towns, The
results of the impulse of drive told in the same fourth century. In the place of
citizens of the Roman Empire, in Asia Minor, the Balkans, and Syria, where the
new ethnos had taken shape that I arbitrarily call Byzantine – barbarians
were repulsed, a vast city, Constantinople, was built, crafts were established,
trade was organized not only with neighbours but even with China, and
main point – the landscape of Syria, Asia Minor Thrace, and Macedonia was
preserved. The extensive economy obviously curbed to some extent the tendency to
despoliation inherent in migrants, who proved in Byzantium to be subject to
existing laws and customs.
Even in the capital of the Empire, Constantinople, in
spite of its population exceeding a million, nature was not annihilated. The
city was buried in the greenery of gardens, carefully watered, which fed the
families of the inhabitants. The Black Sea and the Sea of Marmora supplied the
population with fish; grain was imported from Egypt, where the soil was annually
renewed by the floods of the Nile, and from black-earth 'Scythia' (the
steppes of the northern coast of the Black Sea). It was proved that a culture
could be created, crafts developed, and magnificent structures erected without
despoiling nature. That was achieved because the surplus energy (drive) of the
Byzantines was expended on theological disputes and dissensions, which did them
much harm, but were harmless as regards the surrounding nature.
and regeneration. But everything happened differently in the West. The development of
engineering (roads, aqueducts, gigantic galleys) made it possible to ensure
supplies for the two-million population of Rome. Grain was brought there
from Sicily and North Africa, wine from Greece and Provence, wool from Spain.
Only fresh meat and flowers were then not amenable to transportation, therefore
Italy was turned into a pasture for cattle, and plantation of violets, because
ladies have always loved flowers. Rome produced nothing, only consumed. But
whereas the Roman officials in the first and second centuries A.D. had known how
to organize the exploitation of the provinces and to reward their fleeced
population by establishing a firm order and certain rule of law (far from always
observed), in the third and fourth centuries it was no longer a matter of that.
The soldier emperors converted the country into an arena of civil war for power.
And because the legionaries had to be rewarded, there was a general confiscation
of the rich latifundists and squeezing of money from the poor landworkers. The
latter in turn ravished the land of the parcels , trying to subsist today,
because it was terrible and senseless to think of tomorrow's punishments. The
population steadily declined in numbers, and those who remained alive lost the
will to resist. It was not the vital forces of an ethnos but the social
structure and state traditions that held together the grandiose structure of the
Roman Empire at that time. It could not long continue.
The weakened West easily submitted to the booming
East; after the last attempts at resistance in A.D. 393-394, led by the
Frank Arbogast, it was converted into a periphery of Byzantium, already
administratively formed into an Orthodox empire. That measure was carried out by
Theodosius and had most important consequences: the ethnos formed on the ideas
of Christ expanded so far that it became a superethnos, and the currents of
Christian thought became a symbol of self-asserting ethnoi, hostile to
centralized authorities, lay and spiritual.
The Goths retained Arianism, condemned in A.D. 381 by
the Oecumenical Council of Constantinople. By that they distinguished themselves
from the Byzantine entity. The Berbers of Numidia supported the Donatists not
even as heretics but simply as schismaties – and Africa passed out of the
hands of the Emperors of Rome. But the descendants of the pagans of Gaul and
Spain appealed to the Oecumenical Church for the support and expected aid from
the imperial authorities – alas, without success. The East, too, lacked
In that super-difficult situation there lived,
conquered, and died Actius Flavius, son of a Roman and a German woman, who
defended Gaul against the hordes of the Huns and Germans, but was murdered by
the Emperor Valentinian personally during a business talk. Neither Aetius nor
Valentinian had anything of the Roman about them, but the former was courageous
and clever, while the latter was an envious take and lecher. There are various
people in any superethnos, but there proved to be more like Actius in the East
than in the West. That is why vile crimes, which were also frequent in
Constantinople, did not ruin that city, while Rome was sacked by the Vandals
immediately after the death of Actius in A.D. 455. If there had been real Romans
there they would have defended their Eternal City.
Some people suggest that 'the barbarians, having
destroyed the Roman Empire, did not annihilate the Roman people but merged with
them'. Is that so? Look at the demographic facts: in the first century A.D. the
population of Italy was seven or eight million, and around 600 A.D. four or rive
million, a halving in spite of the influx of Langobards, Heruli, Rugi, Goths,
and immigrants from Syria and Asia Minor, i.e. Christian Semites. It was the
last-named who constituted the bulk of the population of the towns of
Northern Italy (Milan, Verona, Padua, Ravenna, and Aquileia) when the Latin
population of Italy had been steeply reduced because the majority of the male
population belonging to the lower orders had served in the legions after the
reforms of Marius and returned so exhausted that they did not acquire families.
The rich, the nobili and the equites, had concubines from the
slave women or went in for unnatural practices. The Roman matrons, too, were not
behind them in that. So the almost halving of the population, together with the
recorded immigration from the north and the east, indicates a change of ethnos
in Italy in the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. The old ethnos disappeared and in
its place an ethnic conglomerate appeared.
When the Goths and the Langobards conquered the
Apennine Peninsula, it was sparsely populated. That is why they succeeded in
subordinating it. I have dwelt on this example in such detail so as to explain
the whole complexity of the problem of ethnogenesis, which cannot be answered
without studying history.
It was not like that on the eastern frontiers of the
former empire, where the Christian stream proved viable and gave rise to an
entity that had no name for itself. On the basis of the early Christian
communities (which had grown rapidly by the fifth century A.D. over the whole
extent of the Roman Empire and a number of neighbouring countries) an ethnos was
created that called itself by the old word 'Romaic' (but I have already spoken
about this in detail above). From the sixth century Macedonia, Thrace, and the
Peloponnese had been settled by Slavs, the Epirus by Albanians, the south of
Asia Minor by Isaurians, its centre by Galatians, the north by Lazi (Georgians),
the east by Assyrians, and Syria, although it had a Greek substratum, but only
in the towns, and it was not numerous. The native Greek population held out for
a longer time on the islands, but Crete and Cyprus were conquered by Arabs in
the eighth century, and their Greek population was sold on the slave markets. So
there remained the urban population of Constantinople, which had a very motley
population but employed Greek as the generally spoken and literary language.
So, can one consider the Byzantine ethnos a
continuation of the Roman or Hellenic, although it had received a rich cultural
heritage (languages with a rich literature, towns with water mains, gardens, and
fortresses on the boundaries)? The new people used some of these goods; some
they scorned, and some they lost with sorrow. But the whole mood of the
Christians – was different than that of the Greeks and Latins. And the
chief thing is that, with the cardinal change of tire ethnic dominant, the
system's tense of drive grew and did not fall.
The new ethnos, which arose from Christian
confessional consortia, displayed an energy quite lost, it would seem, in the
Roman Empire. This energy pushed Egyptian monks of the Thebaid, and Syrian
dogmatists from the banks of the Orontes and Euphrates, to Ireland, India,
Central Asia, and even China. It was a spiritual-intellectual expansion,
the more surprising that it was not supported and reinforced by the force of
weapons, and did not pursue any practical aims or material interests. The
reasons for this activity lay in it itself. It was an act for the sake of the
self-satisfaction of being aware of doing one's duty. This sincerity
affected the hearts of the people addressed, and ensured the preachers of the
new religion a success that immeasurably surpassed the actual expenditure of
energy from the preachers' high drive.
But within the Empire that same feature impelled
people to religious disputes that passed into political discord. Why was it
necessary for a dispute about the relation of God the Father and God the Son to
entail bloody excesses that yielded no real benefit for either the Orthodox or
the Arians? On the contrary, the Byzantines of the fourth to sixth centuries
sacrificed economic and political benefits for the sake of principles,
most of which proved unviable and disappeared.
But a certain part was preserved, and that seemingly
the most valuable. These were principles that antiquity had not known, that the
Christian West did not master, and that the Muslim East altered to its own key.
Byzantium included spiritual elements, especially conscience, in its
constitutional system, elements without which it was very difficult to build
internal relationships, and found means of combining them with the needs of the
state. The state did not lose by that.
Byzantium did not know the ulcer that corroded
Western Europe, viz., the struggle of the secular and spiritual powers.
Beginning with Constantine the Great, the emperor, on succeeding to the throne,
received the rank of deacon I hanks to which he could take part in Church
councils and dictate decisions to them that were considered binding because 'the
emperor is the supreme master of the creeds for the churches'.31 That
put the Patriarch in second place, but gave him opportunities the Pope of Rome
did riot have. For the emperor wits not just a sovereign autocrat but also a
man, sinful and weak. The Patriarch, as confessor, could impose a church penance
on him, forbid him to enter a church, refuse a marriage or a divorce. The
emperor, true, commanded the army but it could not go into battle without the
blessing of the Patriarch. And if the emperor had a bureaucratic administration,
the Patriarch was obeyed by an army of monks and theologians. The forces –
spiritual and secular – counterbalanced one another, so that the new ethnic
entity was strong. But culture?
Both trends of antique thought, the natural philosophy that gave rise to
Hellenistic geography, and the ethics of the Socratics, Stoics, and Epicureans,
had ceased to be actual for people who believed in resurrection of the dead.
Existence beyond the grave was considered just as incontestable as real life;
consequently a concern arose for saving one's soul after death. That seemed more
important than preserving the present short life, because the afterlife was
represented as eternal, and there was practical sense in ensuring happiness for
oneself in it. Eternal salvation from the griefs and sorrows of the world was
best ensured by a martyr's death, so that some African Donatists, called 'circumcellions'
(i.e. 'vagrant monks'), formed bands of fanatics who, encountering a solitary
wayfarer, would demand that he kill them for the glory of Christ. A person could
beg to be spared from this obligation, because it was terrible for him, say, to
kill even a chicken, but they gave the unfortunate the choice of killing them or
being killed himself. For the circumcellions could commit any deed because a
martyr's death atoned all sins. And the poor creature was forced to take a
cudgel from them and bash their brains out in turn. And they died in expectation
of eternal bliss.
That movement was wiped out by the persecutions of
St. Augustine, the bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa.
In Syria and Egypt fanaticism took less acute forms –
monasticism. People subjected themselves to tortures, deprivations,
fasting, and celibacy, for the sake of eternal bliss. Those who stayed in the
desert – hermits – did not cause anyone trouble, but the vagrant
monks, of whom there were many, were a constant worry for the governors of the
provinces, and even the emperors, because they were afraid of nothing and no
one, depended on no one, and acted extremely impetuously by instinct, not always
without harm for neighbours. This was an extreme degree of drive that did not
submit either to true reason or to the force of circumstances. The monks
therefore rapidly perished, but that was what they wanted.
Fortunately for young Byzantium, the fanatics were in
the minority for all that. The leading role in the Church and state was taken by
people with drive but who had not lost their reason. For them, too, the doctrine
of salvation was important, but they wanted to understand it. While the Church
was hunted and persecuted, and Christians lived under threat of death, they
stuck to each other. But when they were permitted to profess their faith freely,
it turned out that its main principles were perceived and understood
differently. And the flame of drive, burning the hearts of people of that time,
caused fires quenchable by a now of blood instead of friendly disputes and
From my standpoint, new consortia embodied in social
forms should have arisen, with the development and increase of drive, 300 years
after the impulse and by the end of the incubation period. In Byzantium these
forms were sects formed as the profession of certain theses in Christianity. In
each sect there was a nucleus of sincere devotees, an envelope of those who
outwardly shared an opinion and sympathized with it, and a milieu of indifferent
people who used the collisions for personal ends. The latter included almost all
the emperors, with the exception of Julian the Apostate, a sincere Mithraist.
But Julian was a subtle politician. fie did not carry out any religious
persecutions, giving the representatives of the various trends of religious
thought full opportunity to fight one another, but not against his power.
It will readily be noticed that neither the drive of
monasticism nor the masses of sub-drive could be employed for the needs of
the state. But since the position on the frontiers was extremely acute, the need
for soldiers and officials was great. They continued to take on foreigners for
these duties, most of all Goths, since they were rather more tactful than the
Vandals, Gepidae and Heruli.
Gothic youths willingly entered service in
Constantinople, made careers up to the rank Of general, and often carried out
coups d'etat enjoying the support of fellow-Goths. They also created
natural consortia in the urbanized countryside of the capital, adopted
Christianity without fail, and joined some confession, undoubtedly without going
into the theological fine points, but knowing firmly that their opponents were
wrong in the supreme sense – why, the theologians knew.
A counterweight to the Germans were the savage
Isaurians, descendants of the Cycladean pirates. Defeated by Augustus they had
freed themselves from any influence of the Roman authorities during the troubles
of the third century, and had resumed robbery and pillage on land and sea. Their
savage courage assured them careers in Byzantium, where one of their chiefs,
Zeno, became emperor (A.D. 474-491), and another, Leo III Isaurian,
founded a dynasty in A.D. 717. Being rivals of the Goths, the Isaurians
supported another creed, again irrespective of its content.
At the beginning of the fourth century a dispute
began in Alexandria between the presbyter Arius, a learned and irreproachable
man, and the Bishop of Alexandria, who was supported by the deacon Athanasius,
an ascetic and sincere fighter for his convictions. They were not thinking about
the Goths and the Isaurians, but their dispute became a symbol of the struggle
and an indicator of the processes of ethnogenesis.
Exactly the same craving for independence and
originality was manifested by Egypt and Syria with Mesopotamia. Here and there
consortia arose with confessional nuances and subtleties, the consequences of
which determined the history and cultural development of Asia and North Africa
for many centuries. But I must speak about the forming of the tension of force
or drive in ethnic refraction in more detail.
poetry of concepts. The need for knowledge and understanding is no less strong than the
need for food or a woman. It is more variable, and is manifested in different
people now as a craving for creation and now as a thirst for blind faith, but it
is always directly proportional to drive, and its vector is determined by the
presence of actual, pressing problems.
In the fourth century Monarchianism, according to
which Christ was God the Father, and the doctrine of Paul of Samosata who taught
that Christ was a man inspired with divine wisdom, had already been rejected.
But the question remained. Presbyter Arius waged the polemic. He argued that
Christ was file divine Word incarnate (Logos), but since lie was the Son of God,
there was consequently a time when he did not exist. The Word was from the
beginning but was not everlasting; it was 'less' than the Father, because it had
a beginning. If the Word was not born, it meant that God the Father was not the
father and God the Son was not the son.
No, Bishop Alexander and Deacon Athanasius argued
against Arius, the Father and the Son co-exist, but the Son was born as a
ray of light from the source of light. The words 'Father' and 'Son' were just a
metaphor; in actual fact the Word was one person (hypostasis) of the Holy
Let met make the problems more precise. Arius
affirmed the likeness of the Son to the Father, Athanasius the consubstantiality
of the Father and the Son. In Greek these words differ in only one letter. Was
it worth killing so many people for the sake of one letter over nearly three
hundred years? Of course not, but if they were killed it was not for the sake of
it, and not because of it, but simply under cover of it.
But the choice of excuse or pretext indicates that
not only Church thinkers but also the masses of illiterate people were capable
of inscribing philosophical symbols on their banners and going into battle under
them. At that time thought was respected.
The poetry of philosophical concepts drew the whole
eastern half of the Empire into its, circle. Both the learned clergy and
the people took equal part in the disputes. In A.D. 321 a council held in
Alexandria condemned the teaching of Arius. The Oecumenical Council in Nicea in
A.D. 325 decided the matter in favour of Athanasius. Arius was exiled, and his
In A.D. 335, the defamed Athanasius was exiled in
turn, and a year later the Emperor Constantine tile Great rehabilitated Arius,
who then and there died, either by being poisoned or from nervous shock.
Nevertheless the Arians triumphed at the Council in Antioch in A.D. 341. They
were protected and patronized by the Emperor Constantius. But, as always
happens, the victors quarreled. Some sought a compromise with the Nicean Creed,
others went further than Arius, demanding that all the dogmas be clear to
reason, while another group still proposed evasive formulations in order to
avoid a reproach of error.
The Council of A.D. 359 in Rimini worked out the
official doctrine of Arianism. During the past period Goths, Burgundians,
Vandals, and Langobards had been baptized. They constituted the guard of
Constantius, who ruled a very turbulent country.
And the Niceans were exiled. Only the pagan Julian
defended them, granting freedom of religion so that file Christians would fight
Only in A.D. 381 did the Spaniard I Theodosius
convene the Second Oecumenical Council in Constantinople, which anathematized
Arians and Macedonians.32 From that time on Arianism became the confession of
Germans but not of Romans. The philosopheme passed from the poetry of concepts
Conflicts sometimes arose on the soil of
misunderstandings that had no relation at all with underlying theological
reasons, rather than on matters of principle of dogmatics. In A.D. 430 Nestorius,
born a Persian, a very strict and learned man, became the Patriarch of
Constantinople. Both aspects wounded tile capital's clergy, who were not foreign
to worldly temptations, against which St. John Chrysostom had also struggled
unsuccessfully in A.D. 397-404. In the theological debate Nestorius had
pronounced a phrase that was canonically unimpeachable: 'God has no Mother'. His
enemies there and then misinterpreted that thesis as detraction of the Virgin
Mary. And they got rid of Nestorius, condemning him at the Council of Ephesus in
It might have seemed a good moment to establish
peace, but the Egyptian monks came out for denial of the human element of Christ
and, in A.D. 449, representatives of all the churches of the Empire and also of
other trends came to an Oecumenical Council, again at Ephesus. The issue was
whether there was a human substance in Christ as well as the divine. The
question was not an idle one at that time. If the Egyptian Monophysites were
right, then not a man but God suffered on the cross, God who could easily suffer
the ordeal and torment and even not feel them. But if so, then he was not an
example for us people because we are weak and are susceptible to pain. But on
the other hand, was recognition of human nature in Christ not a belittling of
him? Therefore the Monophysites shouted: 'Cut in two those who recognize two
natures!'. The Council promised to be stormy.
The doctrine of the two natures was supported by the
Greeks and the Italians (the Patriarch and the Pope); the Egyptians opposed
them. During the session a crowd of a thousand Egyptian monks, unkempt and
bearded, in hair-shirts, and wielding big axes, broke into the premises
where the Council was meeting. The monks began to beat up the bishops, broke the
fingers of the scribes, and stamped on the Patriarch. And the guard sent by a
suborned grandee did not interfere, because the soldiers lacked elementary drive
and consequently initiative.
Now let me try to analyze the situation. The Syrian
peasants were dissatisfied with the Byzantine officials both before Nestorius'
ascension to the patriarchal throne and during his reign in Constantinople, and
after his exile. But their dissatisfaction had no connection with the Immaculate
Conception and Nativity. But the population of Syria supported the views of
Nestorius, apparently, because they were closer to them and understandable. But
when students of the Ephesus divinity school and certain Ephesian hierarchs
(opponents of the Monophysites) emigrated to Persian Mesopotamia, the popular
movement in Syria died out. Those dissatisfied with the oppression of the
Constantinople government remained, of course, but after the edict of the
Emperor Zeno (Henoticon, the Reconciler) in A.D. 482, which compromised with the
Monophysites, they united with the Egyptians, i.e. changed their ideological
position by 1800 so as to maintain their socio-political position.
The sincere supporters of Nestorius, who honoured him
as a righteous man tormented in exile, founded a Christian university in Nisibis,
spread Christianity as far as China, and were faithful subjects of the Shah of
Iran, i.e. political opponents of Constantinople. But they remained Byzantines
in their way of thought, mentality, and stereotype of behaviour. Byzantium thus
overflowed its state frontiers like a boiling liquid splashes out of the vessel
After that there followed a duel between
Constantinople and Alexandria, or between the Egyptian Church and the Greek
Patriarchate. Their strengths were almost equal. The position of the secular
authorities, who were afraid of the growing influence of the Church, decided the
In A.D. 451 a new council was held in Chalcedon,
presided over by the Emperor Marcian. The Council of Chalcedon abrogated the
decision of the Robber Council of Ephesus of 449. The Egyptians replied to this
by a schism, did away with Greek in the divine service, and elected a special
Coptic Patriarch. A second patriarchate was founded in Antioch by Jacobus
Baradaeus; its followers were subsequently called Jacobites.
The attempt of the Emperor Heracleonas to put an end
to the split by adopting a compromise decision only led to the rise of yet
another current in the seventh century, which took shape as the sect of
Maronites, who established themselves in the mountains of Lebanon. The Byzantine
ethnos, united in the fourth century A.D., thus split up into four mutually
hostile subethnoi. That led to factual separation of the Roman Patriarchate, and
consequently of the whole West, emigration of the Nestorians to the East, and
passage of the Monophysites under the authority of the Arab Caliphs. In the
seventh century the Eastern Roman Empire was converted into a Greek kingdom.
Who won in the confessional disputes? Only the
enemies of Orthodoxy and Byzantium. The Arian Langobards conquered the greater
part of Italy; the Muslim Arabs conquered Syria, Egypt, Carthage, Armenia, and
Georgia; the pagan Slavs ravaged the Balkan Peninsula and settled in it as far
as the Peloponnese. Byzantium needed unity, but that proved unachievable. The
drive of the urban population rose and compelled its bearers to manifest
themselves by uniting in competing consortia. And those in turn grew into
stibethnoi, and after separation from the Empire into ethnoi. Sometimes the
heretical communities were founded oil ancient tribes that had held out against
Hellenistic levelling, but more often they were consortia that arose in big
towns, genetically heterogeneous, and united only by behavioural dominants and
complementariness. In other words, this was an intensive process of ethnogenesis
in which dogmas played the role of symbols for those involved in the events, and
of indicators for historians.
of drive. In
the seventh century A.D. it appeared that the attempt to resurrect the Roman
Empire had failed. Justinian had overestimated the forces of his people and
underestimated the strength of the eastern enemy. It is difficult to blame him
for that. He supposed that the only serious opponent of Byzantium was Persia.
But that state had been weakened by the reforms of the Vizier Mazdak (A.D.
488-529), and the liquidation of their consequences, and also by the
uprising of Bahram Cobin (590-591), which killed the best part of the
regular army. The war of 604-628, however, was won by Byzantium with
extreme efforts and thanks to the aid of Turkuts based in Khazaria.
Both Byzantium and Iran overstrained themselves in
that war, so that the appearance of a new ethnos the Muslim Aral), composed of
relict tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, proved a tragedy for both the Persians
and the Greeks. Iran was completely conquered and plucked clean. Byzantium lost
Syria, Egypt, Carthage, and the Cilician plain, and only in A.D. 718 were the
Arabs beaten at the walls of Constantinople, after which the war being waged on
the territory of Asia Minor was converted into a series of plundering raids and
Byzantium also suffered losses in the Balkan
Peninsula. Bulgarians, fleeing from the Khazars, crossed the Danube in 679 and
occupied the country between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains. The Eastern
Roman Empire had become a Greek kingdom which did not care a fig for
half-wild Western Europe, which had been converted from a hub (if world
power into an object of plundering raids by Arabs from the south, Avars from the
cast, and Scandinavian Vikings from the north. The exhaustion of drive was even
more disastrous than its rise.
But the forces of Byzantium were so great that after
the loss of these lands whose population wanted to separate the Constantinople
government subdued the Slavonic tribes in the Balkan Peninsula (A.D. 689), and
beat off the Arabs from the walls of the capital in 718. The warlike Isaurians
took on the initiative in the war with the Muslims, but they, too, were very
different from the Greeks. The ethno-cultural differences, weakly felt at
a low level of drive, sharpened in the eighth century when the Byzantine ethnos
entered a violent phase of collapse expressed in the iconoclasm of the Emperors
of the Isaurian dynasty.
That was a time, perhaps, rather worse than the
preceding phase of upsurge, when the mounting drive of the whole region
dismantled the golden ring of the Empire's frontiers and threw Syria, Egypt,
Africa, and Armenia into the arms of the Ommiad Caliphs, and Italy under the
heel of" Langobard kings. The division (hen arose naturally. The Arians,
Monophysites, and Nestorians claimed that they were not such ignoramuses as the
Orthodox because they understood the Holy Scriptures better. The Chalcedonites
replied to them the same way, after which ethnic divergence set in, with
ethno-psychological motives of confessional declarations. But the
quarrelers could be separated, which was the natural outcome, but with
iconoclasm everything was unnatural, and therefore terrible.
The Orthodox emperor, victor over the impious Muslims
and pagan Bulgars, in fact suddenly banned religious art on the pretext of the
need to separate speculative philosophy and the emotional element of art, and
even, using his official position, wanted to leach the monks, specialists in
their affairs. But who supported
him? The martinets and the grandee toadies of both secular and spiritual rank.
Not like heresy, but loathsome.
I have deliberately left aside a historical analysis
of iconoclasm in its political, economic, and ideological aspects. Much has been
written about it, but not what is important for the ethnologist. The most
profound thoughts of the emperors and patriarchs cannot explain why an Isaurian
soldier cut down the image of the Mother of God with a sword, and why Greek
women, risking their lives, stoned the soldier and beat him with sticks. Indeed,
both the one and the other were illiterate both in theology and in politics, and
they were not thinking of such complicated subjects at such a moment.
There is a simple and true explanation of the
character of the events of that epoch. Iconoclasm was a phenomenon of Asia
Minor, icon-worship was Hellenic. For the Asian icons were a decoration of
the temple where one bad to exalt one's spirit to the throne of Truth as an
abstraction without a visible image. For the Greek icons were a window on the
other life; in them were depicted an image and not a mask, and even not a face.
Spiritual perfection therefore came through aesthetic perception. Truth was
discovered in that way.
In Byzantium, in the eighth century, drive was at its
acme, so that even unprincipled disagreements, developed into pretexts for
bloodshed, which did not do thing,, any good. Italy, where the Langobards took
Ravenna in A.D. 751, and a secular state of the Popes was founded in 756, fell
away front Byzantium. And the Emperor Constantine V Copronymus, instead of
reestablishing order in the lost region, avenged himself on the defenseless
lovers of fine art at home.
The Seventh Council of Nicea in A.D. 787 gave
temporary relief, bit during the period of troubles the Bulgars succeeded in
establishing themselves on the Danube. Only in Asia were indisputable successes
achieved, and those only because matters were even worse in the Caliphate, which
united the Arab-Muslim superethnos. Under the Abbasid dynasty the
Caliphate broke up, the ethnic principle, clothed in confessional form, being
decisive, as in Byzantium. in its demoralization the Caliphate outdid Byzantium,
which managed, in the next, inertial phase of ethnogenesis, to grow stronger
politically and economically, thanks to which it outlived the Caliphate. Now let
me draw a conclusion.
During the first three phases an ethnic system
overcomes external effects, since it is elastic.
There is always a basis, in an ethnos, usually
preponderant numerically, consisting of harmonious individuals whose drive and
instinct are balanced. These are serious people. When the people with
sub-drive among them begin to behave like scoundrels they resort to lynch
law, or organize the deportation of people they do not like to colonies. They
thus preserve the vital ethnic stereotype and I tradition, the basis of people's
It is more complicated with people with drive. They
arc needed and can defend themselves. They therefore enjoy broad opportunities
to kill both others and one another. But the very existence of people with drive
in a system makes it plastic and capable of resisting external influences,
because they know how to find a way out of the most complicated collisions. And
when equilibrium is established among the three types of members of an ethnos,
the system is almost invincible. But as soon as this equilibrium is disturbed
with a change of phase it is easy to strike from outside into the gap forming
between the phases. Then the ethnos may easily perish, through displacement.
is also a pattern in this. I have not described the actual aspect of global ethnogenesis but
rather its ideal pattern, which is constantly disrupted in fact by influences
external to a given ethnos. I have therefore had to take examples from world
history, because no one lives alone, but only among neighbours, and any ethnos
is constantly disturbed by neighbours, whether older and more experienced, or
younger and more ardent. But an ideal curve was necessary in order to interpret
the character of infringements of the process as such, because we usually, in
fact, see zigzags that cancel each other out over long stretches of ethnic
history. Now we know that the inertia of an impulse of drive is lost over 1200
years in any variant, even the most favourable; and only fortunate ethnoi
survive to their natural end. In history we see constant breaks of ethno-geneses
at different ages, but here too there is a statistical pattern.
An ethnos that is in the first phases of ethnogenesis
is practically ineradicable and unconquerable, because an expenditure of effort
is needed to conquer it such that no success will recoup. But an ethnos that is
changing phase of development is very vulnerable and may become the victim of a
neighbour if the latter has enough drive. Let me therefore draw attention to the
bends or kinks of an ethnos' curve of drive, the more so that they are always
smooth, with diffuse edges. The curves also have their imperatives.
The transition from a stable state to an upsurge is
marked by an imperative: 'It is necessary to reform the world because it is
bad'. That is always more or less motivated, but the risk is great. A newborn
ethnos that has not yet gathered strength may break against the strong
resistance of neighbours that do not want to be put right. That happened with
the Zulus in the nineteenth century when Chaka provided them with modernized
assegais, trained the formations, and led them to victories. But Chaka had not
taken the tactical progress of Europe into consideration. When
muzzle-loaded smoothbore guns were replaced by Stutzen guns, the Boers
defeated the Zulus in 1838 and founded the republic of Transvaal in the
A little longer another Zulu kingdom, the Matabele,
was holding out, which had broken away from Chaka in 1820. The commander of the
army sent to conquer the south, Moselekatse, did not return but made himself
king. In 1893 his son Lobengula was beaten by the English troops of Cecil
Rhodes. The Zulus' drive was drowned
in their own blood.
in their own blood.
There are so many similar examples that it is more
important to note the second danger for an ethnos that arises during the
transition from the phase of upsurge to the acme. Then the subordination of the
elements is disturbed; each wants 'to be himself', and for the sake of that
smashes the created organization, sacrificing the interests of (he ethnos to his
own. In I his case as a rule blood flows freely, but the culture does not
suffer, but rather flourishes.
A clear example of this variant is the disintegration
of the Arab Caliphate into emirates in the tenth century. The coincidence of the
political collapse and the flowering of Muslim polyethnic culture, noted by all
specialists was obviously not accidental. Recognition of the value of the unique
creative personality put scholars writing in Arabic in a special position.
Sultans and emirs did not see rivals in them, but valued their works, granting
them the right 'to be themselves' in the intellectual and aesthetic sphere. But
such 'displacement' sometimes yields tragic results, as I shall show below.
The third bend is much more dangerous for an ethnos,
viz., the transition from the acme to the inertial phase. The imperative 'We are
tired of the great' arises, on the basis of which not only the superfluous die,
but also needed people with drive, and sometimes even inoffensive cranks.
The Athenians, during the decline of drive, dealt
with Socrates and Alcibiades. The death of Socrates covered them with a shame
for centuries, which they could ignore, but the double exiling of Alcibiades
ensured defeat in the Peloponnesian War, with the troubles that stemmed from
that. The deplorable examples did not reform the Athenian demos. After it had
'shaken off' Plato and Aristotle, and a number of other active
fellow-citizens, who were deprived of their property by a vote (the
merchant who supplied Athens with Scythian grain was ordered to
pay for a theatrical performance or to build a shrine), Athens lost her
independence. Alexander the Great spared the beautiful city, but the next
conquerors, the Romans, behaved toward the Athenians according to the customs
of their time: some were killed, and the rest sold into slavery.
The antique Greco-Latin superethnos experienced
the inertial phase in the first and second centuries B.C. At that time Hellenic
people of drive could only serve the Republic, either as soldiers or as teachers
of literature, without hope of improving their position in life. But even for
the Romans it was not easy in the flexure of the first century A.D. Ovid died in
exile, and I Horace and Virgil were court toadies and bootlickers. Seneca
perished from tile envy of Nero; and the number of ordinary, but talented people
who drew attention to themselves and therefore perished is incalculable. The
character and direction of these reprisals against defenseless, innocent
fellow-countrymen were vividly described by Suetonius in his De vita
Caesarum (Lives of the Twelve Caesars) and by Gaston Boissier in his L'Opposition
sous lea Cesars (The Opposition of the Times of the Roman Caesars).
The system of murders of the best, not by nobility and wealth but by personal qualities, was a sign of the times, and normal facing of the process of ethnogenesis. Precisely the same symptoms, obviously of the same sickness, are to be seen in Byzantium under the Ducas dynasty (eleventh century) and in Iran of the end of the Mongol period (fourteenth century), and in Central Asia after the Timurids (sixteenth century). So this is a disease of aging. Having said that, let us return to Rome.
depletion and decline of drive. When the East of the former empire was seething,
the West was steadily cooling. At the beginning of the fifth century A.D. the
frontier on the Rhine and Danube was broken. In 402 the Visigoths burst into
Italy but were defeated at Verona. In 405 a horde of Suevi, Burgundians,
Vandals, and Alans invaded Italy, but were defeated at Florence in 406 and
withdrew. That showed the way into Gaul, where the Franks and Alemanni had
already conquered the banks of the Rhine. They broke the Vandals, but saved
themselves and not Gaul, which was laid waste. The Gauls did not defend
themselves, but only prayed. Who could imagine that these were the descendants
of the heroic Celts. The same happened in Spain, where the Suevi decided to
settle in Galicia, the Alans in Lusitania, and the Vandals in Beetles, which has
been called Andalusia since then. In 410 the Goths took Rome, pillaged it,
sparing only the churches, and in 412 occupied southern Gaul, in 419 drove the
Vandals from Spain into Africa, and received Aquitaine as a gift for that. The
Burgundians settled on the left bank of the Rhone, and the Alemanni on the left
bank of the Rhine. In 430-439 the Vandals, driven from Spain by the
Visigoths, occupied Africa, where they were supported by the Moors and Numidians,
and in 455 seized Rome and subjected it to senseless destruction. In 449 Angles,
Saxons, and Jutes appeared in Britannia, from which the Romans had withdrawn the
legions. The British Celts proved no better than the Gallic ones, and let
themselves be broken.
In 476 the Heruli, who were in the Roman service,
took power into their own hands and suppressed the Western Empire. Ten years
later the last islet of civilization, Soissons, was wiped out, conquered by the
savage Franks. The Burgundians settled in the valley of the Rhone.
In 489 the Ostrogoths left the banks of the Danube
and Lake Balaton, moved into Italy, and in 193 broke the
who defended it. All these Germans were subject to the effect of an impulse of
drive of the second century and were consequently in the upgrade phase.
But what is remarkable is that in the Western and
Eastern Empires there was the same social structure, same religion, and same
enemy, the barbarians, who were pressing with equal force. But the East repelled
the attacks, while the West fell, because it was in the phase of obscuration
That is what renewal of the ethnos due to the arising drive of the population
yielded, and that is why newcomers from the East (the Vandal Stilicho and the
half-German Aetius) defended Rome. People of that mentality were not known
in the West, but in the East they were famous, from Belisarius to Alexius
Murzuphlus and John Cantacuzene.
That short reminder was necessary in order to explain
how terrible the loss of drive is; without it it is impossible even to defend
oneself successfully. For the barbarians were very few; the Vandals, for
example, were only 80 000, 16 000 of them warriors. But they reduced Rome to
ashes. The lands conquered by the Germans were long considered a heavy loss.
In the sixth century Justinian adopted a policy of
resurrecting the Roman Empire. He succeeded in, wiping out the Vandal and
Ostrogoth kingdoms and wore down the Visigoths in Spain, but there was not
enough money, people, or ideas for the conquest of Constantinople – what
with the struggle with the Goths, when the Slavs and Persians were pressing at
home, and in place of the Goths had arrived the Langobards, behind whom there
were the even more ferocious Franks. Preaching worked better on the Franks than
weapons, but for intellectual pressure a clear awareness of aim, and internal
unity, ensuring mutual aid of the missionaries, were extremely necessary. But
there never was that in Byzantium, even having got rid of the Gnostics and
The Langobards' invasion of Italy, won back by
Byzantine generals from the Ostrogoths, occurred in A.D. 568. But the Langobards
seized only part of Italy. So a frontier was established between Byzantium and
the lost lands where Germanic kingdoms were located, and where Roman citizens
were converted into defeated peoples and oppressed classes.
The great migration of peoples is thus explainable as
a consequence of the drive which ruined the Dacians and Jews, having compelled
them to hurl themselves on Rome too soon, when it still had its own forces, and
which ensured victory of the Christian communities that created Byzantium. In
the East the potentials of the impulses of force were equal, and conquests
therefore were not made. But in the West, where the difference in the potentials
was considerable, Goths, Vandals, Burgundians, Suevi, Alans, Langobards, and
Franks flowed, spontaneously as it were, into the civilized regions. They were
not numerous but had drive, i.e. each one of them thought not only about his own
skin, but also about his tribe, family, leader, fame, and future. But having
conquered the beautiful coasts of the Mediterranean, the inhabitants of the
Baltic forests and the Black Sea steppes proved unadapted to the new conditions.
They themselves did not know how to farm but, being the victors, they took all
the very best. But even that was not feasible without involvement of the
aborigines. The barbarian kingdoms of the fifth and sixth centuries were
therefore converted into chimeric entities, rapacious but unstable. In the
seventh century the Arabs subjected Africa and Spain to themselves,
meeting resistance only from the hillmen of the Atlas and Asturias, i.e. where
the ancient landscape had been least influenced by Roman civilization. Ancient
ethnoi, Berbers and Basques, had survived there, living in tune with nature. The
nature of their land had thus protected them.
The descendants of the Roman colonists, who had cut
down the forests to build luxurious villas and temples, and who carried on
commercial sheep-farming on the devastated expanses of Spain, and who
trampled the thin humus layer by government herds in the southern foothills of
the Atlas Mountains, unrestored to this day, proved defenseless, however, in
face of fierce conquerors – northerners (Scandinavians), easterners (Avars),
and southerners (Arabo-Berber Muslims).
These unfortunate peoples no longer expected help
from the East. The Greeks and the Wallachians (people who spoke Latin, also
known as Vlachs) had ceased to look upon each other as fellow-countrymen.
Historical fate or 'force of circumstances' had taken them along different
For a long time the victors (Teutons) and the conquered (Wallachians) coexisted
without merging, hating and despising each other. Western Europe was transformed
from a superethnos into a zone of ethnic contacts with all the negative
consequences of that. All the barbarian kingdoms that arose on the conquered
lands broke up with staggering rapidity, carrying away with them the culture of
Rome and the courage of the old Germans, which was converted by the seventh
century into ferocity and cruelty.33 With ethnic cross-breeding the
processes of destruction were equally accelerated for both conquerors and
In that same eighth century, when Byzantium was experiencing the violent internal change expressed in iconoclasm, and in Asia superethnoi were flourishing and expanding that had arisen in the seventh century – the Arab-Muslim, Tabghatch (mediaeval China), Turkic-Tibetan (they can be united by attributes of genesis and territory), Western Europe was experiencing a profound decline. It had become the object of expansion. The Arabs had reached the Loire, the Avars were raiding to the Rhine, Slavs had occupied the right bank of the Elbe, and even forced its lower reaches. The economic system inherited from Rome had completely broken down, and as a consequence virgin forest was restored in France,34 which indicates an exceptional lowering of drive, since the most conservative class, the peasantry, lowered the intensity of landworking to the minimum that enabled them simply not to die of hunger. The kings of the Merovingian dynasty, even then, were given the nickname of 'lazy, but their nobles vied with each other in wild licentiousness and unruliness, and neglect of traditions of fidelity and duty. The damage from the mixing of two superethnoi was reciprocal.
The policy of the first Carolingians (Pepin the Tall, Charles Martel, and Pepin the Short) who held the attack of the Arabs and entered into an alliance with the Pope of Rome, was a certain attempt to introduce order. The result of their efforts was the empire of Charlemagne, which broke up already under his grandsons. Everything in that empire was imported. The ideology was taken from Byzantium, education from Ireland, military technique (knightly cavalry) was borrowed from the Avars, medicine from the Spanish Arabs and Jews. Taken all together this is called the 'Carolingian renaissance'.
The empire of the Carolingians is treated as a French dynasty in traditional historiography, the counting of the kings beginning with Charlemagne. Thierry proposed a better founded conception, pointing out that the Carolingians exercised their dominion on the territory of modern France by brute force. Britanny, Aquitaine, Provence, and Burgundy only recognized their authority because they could not defend their own independence. The Eastern Franks, on the contrary, the ancestors of the Franconians, were inseparably united with the Carolingians. This dynasty, and the ethnos of the Franks supporting it, should thus be classed in the Germanic superethnos of the great migration of peoples. Which it was; and from that angle the Franks' military successes are readily explicable.
On the general background of the diminishing drive of the Germanic settlers mixing with the descendants of the Gallo-Romans, the handful of nobles gathered around Charles Martel, Pepin the Short, and Charlemagne were strong because their opponents were weaker. The Carolingians crushed the independence of Provence (A.D. 737-739), Aquitaine (760-768), Lombardy (774), Bavaria (788), and the Saxon tribes (797), took Barcelona from the Arabs (801), and defeated the Avars (802-803). But with the exception of the last two, these were victories over their own – 'Germans beat Germans'. And under the heirs of Charlemagne even these successes were reduced to nought. The valleys of the Danube and Elbe were conquered by Slavs, the 'Spanish Mark' separated off from the Empire and the latter broke up into its constituent parts.
It is thus justified to treat Charlemagne's Empire not as the beginning of a European mediaeval superethnos, but as the end of the inertia of the great migration of peoples.
Growth of a system as a rule creates an inertia of development, which is slowly lost through the resistance of the environment, as a consequence of which the descending branch of the curve of ethnogenesis is longer than the ascending one. Even when the vitality of an ethnos falls below the optimum, the social institutions continue to exist, sometimes outliving the ethnos that created them. Thus Roman law survived in Western Europe although ancient Rome and proud Byzantium became memories.
The socio-economic periodization – the beginning of the formation of feudalism – by no means coincides with the ethnological periodization. Early feudal states rose on the territory of Gaul in the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. under conquerors (Merovingians, Burgundians, and Bretons), who divided up this rich country. That means that the beginning of French ethnogenesis is separated from the beginning of the feudal formation by four centuries, and consequently that these processes are not linked together functionally.
Furthermore, the feudalism rising on this land was typologically different. Five types of feudalism correspond to the rive ethnic regions that arose there because of the invasions of the barbarians. The Franks established a harmonic mixture of barbarian and antique elements in the valleys of the Seine and Marne; the Burgundians, former allies of Rome, confiscated one-third of the serfs, half of the villas, and two-thirds of the arable land from the local inhabitants, and being Arians did not mix with the aborigines for a long time; Provence, where Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Arabs succeeded one another, preserved so many traditions of the antique cities that it resembles Byzantium and not the Western world; Aquitaine, again, where the Visigoths dominated for less than a hundred years (A.D. 418 to 507) differed markedly from neighbouring Provence and from the land of the Franks. Britanny, i.e. ancient Armorica, has a special place. It was conquered from the Romans in the middle of the fifth century by Bretons, and defended by them against the Frank expansion right up to 845, after which an independent Breton kingdom was founded, and a separate archbishopric of Dol.
So the contours of the processes of ethnogenesis peep through the tissue of social development.
Anomalies. Here I come to an exciting problem, viz., the relation between culture as an ideological and technical entity and ethnos as a phenomenon of the biosphere. The early Christian culture, a quite definite concept in the period under consideration, i.e. the fourth to eighth centuries A.D., embraced not only the whole territory of the former Roman Empire, but also neighbouring lands (Armenia, parts of Arabia, Abyssinia, Germany) and the emerald isle Erin. The fate of the last-named is particularly noteworthy. The Celts received the Christian tradition in A.D. 432-461 from Syria and Egypt, and not from Rome (about which I have already spoken above). The poor mendicant monks created a new Thebaid on the Emerald Isle, with the sole difference that they sheltered in reed huts instead of caves. With them a vapid, splendid church hierarchy did not arise, but the monks' influence on the people was immense. Nothing linked them with Rome. Even the celebration of Easter did not follow the Julian calendar but coincided with a definite date of spring. Until the end of the eleventh century Irish monks were the most cultured Christians in Western Europe and defended their independence from the Roman Popes just as steadfastly as their flocks from the Saxon and Norman kings of England.
Consequently, when examining the collision through the aspect of the history of culture, we should count the Celts as an Early Christian, i.e. Byzantine, entity, as one of its variants. The 'Carolingian renaissance' and Visigoth Spain, too, should be classed as such. That would be a logical and consistent solution of the problem. But every historian sees that it is not sufficient and is therefore unsatisfactory. And how could it be otherwise if we did not take into account that the bearers of this culture (as of any other) were people, and there is no person on Earth without an ethnos and no ethnos without a homeland, by which must be understood an original and unique combination of terrain and geobiocoenosis.
I have already remarked that the drive impulse embraced only the belt of Eastern Europe and the Near East from Sweden to Palestine. The Celts were consequently outside it; seemingly therefore the Britti, abandoned by the Romans in 406-407, lost the wars with the Picts and the Anglo-Saxons, who slaughtered all the male Celts. Only the western regions of Britannia held out for a long time against the fierce enemy. The Celts often passed to the counterattack, won minor victories and even migrated to the Continent, turning Romanized Armorica into Celtic Brittany independent of the Frankish kings and hostile to them.
Another Celtic tribe, the Scotti, had already in Roman times crossed from Ireland to the north of Britannia and spread terror among the Britons subject to Rome by frequent raids. They continued this struggle with the Anglo-Saxons and Normans down to the tenth century. In short the Celts seem to have acquired sudden force. But was it simply that? Let us look.
Wales, Cornwall, and especially Ireland were minimally sunk in Roman culture. They had preserved their own tribal traditions, and the relatively small reserve of drive left them from the epoch of the conquests. That reserve was too small for Gaul and Britannia to be able to successfully resist Roman and Germanic expansion, but when these lost their own drive, the Celts evened the balance of forces, the culture they had borrowed from Byzantium neither strengthening nor weakening their impulse. But it helped them define the ethno-psychological dominant, active, though negative: 'We are not Germans, and we don't want to be like them'. Such a counterposing proved sufficient for Wales (Cymru) to resist the English until 1283, and for Ireland much longer, in spite of complete loss of traditions of Byzantine culture.
The explanation I propose is tentative. It is possible that, at the beginning of our era, there was a special impulse of drive on the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean that passed south from Erin, across Vasconia, the Atlas, and the Sahara, to the Gulf of Guinea. In that case the outbursts of activity of the Tuaregs (Almoravids), Berbers (Almohads), and the beginning of the spread of the Bantu are explicable. But this proposition needs detailed checking and is suggested here as a working hypothesis.
The waning of youth. The fact that (lie young peoples of Europe conquered dilapidated Rome which infected them with its defects and brought them low, is not surprising. But when an ethnos that has reached the acme phase perishes from the hands of a weak opponent, it is strange. Any transition from phase to phase obviously entails a danger for the ethnos. Just as a snake is defenseless when shedding its skin, so an ethnos is powerless when it is changing its spirit, i.e. the stereotype of behaviour and social imperative.
There is a very common opinion that the Spanish conquistadors discovered an ancient civilization in Central and South Americas and made short work of it. And all who love Indians, and they include the author of these lines, bewail the Aztecs and the Incas, as the best representatives of their race and bearers of an age-old culture.
Fortunately, it has been possible in recent times to establish certain landmarks of American ethnogenesis. It has turned out that the ancient cultures of the Indians of Mexico and Peru became extinct not very long ago, but radically. The Olmecs, who lived on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, disappeared in the sixth century A.D., giving way to the arriving Totonacs. The Toltecs, creators of the culture of Anahuac, founded their state around A.D. 720, but what was before it? In Peru the ancient archaeological cultures of the Mochica and Tiahuanaco – the pre-Inca culture of the Aymara ethnos – disappeared in the eighth to tenth centuries A.D. The ethnic formations disappeared along with the archaeological, because wars were waged to the extermination of the enemy in America. The Incas were an exception, but they did not yet exist. The ancient American ethnoi related to the Incas and the Aztecs as the Romans related to the French and Spaniards, who inherited part of the traditions of linguistic culture from the Romans, part of the gene fund, the ruins of cities, and scraps of knowledge. But they were not Romans. Like them the Incas and Aztecs became new ethnoi after their migration.
But in the ninth and tenth centuries A.D. the French, Provencals, Spaniards (in Asturias), Germans, Lombards, and Piedmontese had already formed into ethnoi of a new type; but in America I he 'great migration of peoples' started later.
Only in the twelfth century, if we believe the legends, did the mythical first Incas (Manco Capac and Mama Ocly) appear, and then, too, around 1168 the ancestors of the Aztecs crossed the Rio Grande and moved south with a number of other tribes. In the twelfth century the Chichimecs (literally 'savages') conquered the remnants of the Toltecs, whose cultural tradition was broken, like the Roman in Gaul and Spain. Only in the fourteenth century did the Aztecs found Tenochtitlan (1325) and take up the remnants of the Toltecs' culture. In the same fourteenth century the Inca Viracocha founded the empire that the Spaniards conquered, but the historicity of Viracocha is doubtful. Only in 1437 did Pachacuti Inca defeat the Chanka, worthy enemies of the Incas, execute their ruler, and force the remnants of this ethnos to flee to certain death in the Amazon .35 Later he seized the throne, executed the scholars who knew the history of the Incas, banned I he study of writing, and introduced policing of moral%, by which lie established tile civilization of the Incas. But by their place in ethnogenesis or by the age of' the ethnos Viracocha was equivalent to Charlemagne and Pachacuti to St. Louis and Lothar who gave semi-savage Europe the possibility of the 'Carolingian renaissance', education, and creative thought.
Pachacuti's successor Topa Inca conquered the Chimu state (modern Ecuador) in 1476 and established a regime of brutal exploitation of the local Indians, forcing them to cultivate the state fields, and in winter to build roads in the Andes. There seems to be no doubt that anyone who sympathizes with the Indians should hate the Incas; it is only logical.
In the same fifteenth century when the epoch of the 'Renaissance' set in in Italy, the Aztec king Itzcoatl (1428-1440) and his counsellor the thinker Tlacateod revived the culture of the Toltecs. ItzcoatI and his successor Montezuma I (1440-1468) conquered Anahuac (Southern Mexico) and Tlacateotl introduced the 'cult of flowers', i.e. human sacrifices in order to save Earth from a future catastrophe. That was murder for the sake of murder, evil in pure form.
The local population defended itself as best it could. The Huaxfees and Tarascas defeated the Aztecs who were trying to capture youths from them for sacrifices. The Araucans repulsed the army of the Incas that was trying to impose the Inca civilization on them. Atahualpa, the semi-legitimate son of Topa Inca (by an Indian concubine) was used by the chiefs of tribes living around Quito (Ecuador) against the legitimate heir Huascar Inca. In 1527 the rebels won and killed all the Incas they took prisoner. The women and children were tortured especially cruelly. Few of the Incas survived. It was at that tragic moment that the Spaniards arrived. In 1532 Pizarro took Atahualpa prisoner, robbed the temples of their wealth, falsely claimed ransom, and executed the prisoner. And no one moved a finger.
But who would have stood up for him? For the Incas he was a tyrant and traitor, for the Indians a scion of the Inca oppressors. When the last great Inca, Manco Capac, called the Indians to a liberating war, only a few followed him, to defeat whom a few hundred Spaniards of Almagro's company were sufficient (1535).
The empire of the Muisca (or Chibcha) in modern Colombia was overthrown with the same case. That was the 'El Dorado' itself that the greedy, imaginative conquistadores were looking for. Success fell to the lot of Gonzalo Quesada in 1536, to whom the Muisea put tip a very weak resistance. They, it turns out, were also a relatively new ethnos, since the ancient cultures of' the northern Andes had disappeared only at the beginning of (lie second millennium A.D. Tribes invading from the north had exterminated the aborigines. The victor Spaniards found such humiliation of the lower orders by the high-ups as they themselves imitate even a half of it. An Indian, for example, who was considered of high rank among the Muisca, was thrown into an underground lake where poisonous snakes swam in utter darkness. The unfortunate man swam there until he bumped into a snake and died from its bite. And appellants were only allowed to talk to the authorities when sitting with their backs turned and their faces buried in their bended knees. It will readily be realized why the Indians did not take to defending their rulers.
And the southern Araucans (Manuche) exhibited such courage that the Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia fell in 1553 and his whole company perished. In 1598 the Araucans drove the Spaniards back across the Bio-bio, and in 1744 Spain recognized Araucania as an independent country and received its ambassador in Santiago de Chile. But the Araucans were not a 'civilized' people. They preserved their ancient traditions. That means that the impulse of drive of the thirteenth century, and the great migration of the peoples of America of the thirteenth century, did not affect them. Because in the early phases of ethnogenesis an ethnos is as weak as in the end ones.
In the same way Cortez, who had 1 000 Spaniards, defeated 30 000 brave Aztecs, because the Totonacs and Chichimecs from Tlaxcala mustered 50 000 warriors to crush the hegemony of the Aztecs. These Indians deliberately preferred the Spaniards, whom they saw as a tribe equal to themselves, to the Aztecs. Perhaps they miscalculated; for the Inquisition, which the Spaniards took to America, was an institution about which no good can be said. But one might not come before its court, because, in its idea, the Inquisition was created for defence and not for attack.
I shall explain. In 1529 the Turks captured Algeria. The coastline of Spain was open to landings by Muslims, and within the country there were many Moriscos and Jews who dreamed precisely of such a development of events. The Spanish government, justifiably doubting the loyalty of the heterodox, prohibited them from holding military and civil posts, but it could not forbid their being baptized. Since a baptized Moor or a Jew received the right to make a career on equal terms with a Spaniard, many accepted baptism hypocritically, and continued to observe the rites of their old faith. It was these that the Inquisition exposed and punished for apostasy. Which meant that in order not to have trouble with a tribunal, one could simply not adopt Catholicism.
In America the Inquisition strictly punished for making human sacrifices, especially for the killing of children. That, of course, violated the conscience of the Indians, but who then would protect their children? Am Indian who refrained from making sacrifices need not worry for his own life. But it was far more difficult to keep himself safe from the Aztecs. They dragged any prisoner who turned up to the altar, irrespective of what he did at home. And if fie was wise, brave, and handsome, the greater was his chance of coming under the obsidian knife. That is why the Spaniards took firm root in America for 300 years.
When we examine the history of Europe and America in the proposed diachronic aspect, we see that in America there was its own kind of 'great migration' and 'death of antique culture', but the impulse of drive that caused a new explosion of ethnogenesis occurred 500 years later, in the thirteenth century. The Aztecs and Incas, in creating their empires, were the same foreign conquerors for the local population as the Anglo-Saxons were for the Celts, and the Franks for the Gallo-Romans. Consequently, at the beginning of the sixteenth century the Aztecs and Incas were at the age at which the French, Spaniards and Italians were in the tenth century. But that was the epoch of the disintegration of the European culture inherited from Rome, and of a lowering of resistance to external blows! The Hungarians, Berbers, and Scandinavians pillaged the Carolingian Empire and the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms as effectively as the Spaniards and Portuguese robbed their future colonies in the sixteenth century. In short, the Aztecs and Incas were invaded at a turning point in their growth, during the transition from the phase of becoming to the acme of development, which did not set in because of interference from outside.
But as soon as the Spaniards ran into tribes that were in stable phases, they were beaten and passed to the defensive. Furthermore, the Comanches in the eighteenth century began to drive the Spaniards back over the Rio Grande, and the Seminoles conquered Florida, already settled by the Spaniards. In Mexico and the country of the Andes, inter-breeding of Spaniards and Indians was so intensive, with a great drive in both components, that new ethnoi arose, which won independence in 1810-1822. In place of 'New Spain' there arose an 'Anti-Spain', which carried out the conquest of the Indian ethnoi of Yucatan, Chile, Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego, which had been beyond the power of the conquistadors. The interrupted process was renewed, but only where it had been before the sixteenth century. In North America a zone of contact of ethnoi coming from Europe and Africa was created in place of the Indian superethnoi.
North America was populated by relatively old ethnoi that had returned to a state of homeostasis. Exceptions were the Iroquois, who had penetrated the region of the Great Lakes from the west not long before the coming of Europeans, and the Athabascans in the foothills of the Cordilleras. Only they were the fruit of an outburst of ethnogenesis and participants in the 'great migration of peoples' in America. Around the twelfth century some of the Athabascans drove the Eskimos into the tundra, while another part spread to the south, into Arizona. But they did not succeed in creating a powerful state in the south because the expanses of the prairies were inaccessible to hunters on foot. The Athabascans, like their eastern neighbours the Comanches, huddled along the banks of river valleys where there was little food, as a consequence of which the population stopped growing. But as soon as the Spaniards' horses, escaping to the prairies and becoming wild, became herds of mustangs, the prairie Indians mastered horsemanship. The names of the Navajos and Apaches became famous throughout the world.
But that was late. Squatters, trappers, and cowboys, descendants of the colonists who had succeeded in adapting themselves to the New World, surpassed the Indians in number and technique. That is another example of interrupted ethnogenesis. But, in contrast to the southern variant, the process was not renewed here. Mixed marriages did not shock the Spaniards, but the Anglo-Saxons, especially the women, boycotted the 'squaw men' and ostracized them, while their husbands were guided by the rule that 'a good Indian is a dead Indian'. The tragedy of the northern Indians ended in the wars of the 1870s, which became known as the 'Indian wars'. After that the Indian ethnoi in the U.S.A. remained relicts.
Recovered youth. Spain possessed colonies in South America and Mexico unhindered while she seemed invincible to the colonists. But when Napoleon arrested the Spanish royal family in Bayonne in 1808, and put his brother Joseph on the throne in Madrid, and began a war against the Spaniards who defended the traditions an independence of the fatherland, the colonies stood aside. From 1810 to 1821-1822 Spain tried to pacify the insurgents, but without success. Only some Indian tribes supported the colonial regime, and that only because they hated the insurgent Creoles more than the remote Spaniards. Let me draw attention to Mexico, because the revival of the process altered by the conquest proceeded most visibly there.
In the sixteenth century the Spaniards and Indians rapidly mixed, and it seemed that a local variant of the Spanish ethnos was arising in Mexico, but the opposite happened. By the end of the eighteenth century four ethnic groups had been formed instead of two, hating each other. It is suggested that this division was the result of unsuccessful administration, but the causes seemingly lay deeper; contact occurred at superethnic level, with a!! the consequences stemming from that.
The top social stratum, which concentrated all important posts and trade in its hands, consisted of' natives of Spain, who were called 'Gachupins' (men with spurs). Their numbers were fairly small, and the attitude to them was negative. But the Gachupins had control of the army and the clergy, which guaranteed their privileges quite effectively.
One social step lower there were the Creoles (around a million persons), natives of Mexico, descendants of the conquistadores, often with an admixture of Indian blood. They were wealthy owners of haciendas on which Indians worked. The Creoles lived in luxurious idleness, remaining loyal to the king and Church and hating the Gachupin bureaucrats.
But at the beginning of the nineteenth century individuals with drive appeared among the Creoles who were seeking to apply their energies. These people began to read French literature and adopted an aim in life that led many of them to a cruel death.
Three or four million Indians either worked on the haciendas as peons or in the mines, or lived in their villages under the rule of caciques (chiefs). In the sixteenth century their position had improved because the demands of the Spanish officials did not exceed those of the Aztecs, and there was no need to sacrifice children to Huitzilopochtli (the god of war). But in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Creole landowners began to encroach on the lands of the Indian tribes, and the corrupt Gachupin officials defended them poorly. The monks converted many Indians to Catholicism, but so weakly that the Indians retained their own customs and their idols. But Indian children often showed greater capacity in school than the Spaniards, and so it happened that descendants of the Aztecs became teachers, who taught the descendants of the conquistadores Latin and Catholic theology.
But the two million metises who had originated from mixed marriages in the sixteenth century lived worst of all. The Creoles pushed them out of their circle, and the Gachupins forbade them to live among the Indians so that they would not incite the latter to rebellion. Only hard labour or robbery were accessible to the metises, but a special police was organized against them, that killed them without trial. Yet the number of metises, like their drive, rose, because they had a mixture of the genes of the conquistadores and the Aztecs. They therefore did not die out, but became established as a special subethnic group with possibilities of development.
Thus, at the beginning of the nineteenth century Mexico returned to the phase of upsurge that had been cut short earlier by Cortez.
In 1808 all these ethnic groups began to fight both against the Gachupins and among themselves, because they hated each other. They were of one mind in one thing only they called themselves Americanos; in other respects, however, there was no agreement among them. The first uprisings of the Indians, in 1810-1817, led by the priests Hidalgo and Morelos, were therefore defeated by the regular army, in which the officers were Creoles and the soldiers metises and mulattos. But already in 1921, Colonel Iturbide, a Creole with a touch of the Indian, went over to the side of the advocates of independence, and withdrew Spanish troops from Mexico. The Gachupins left the stage, but their place was taken by Mexican conservatives, of which Iturbide was one.
The subsequent distribution of forces was as follows. The conservatives banked on the clergy and army; these were mainly Creoles and descendants of Spaniards. The moderate liberals – Creoles – wanted a liberal parliamentary republic and retention of their estates; the extreme liberals – metises – were enemies of the Church and the Army; the Indians wanted the whites to go away and leave them in peace. Civil wars and revolutions continued until 1920, and ended in victory of the metises, who adopted the social institutions of the Indians – caciquism. The Indians could not win as an ethnos because they did not represent an integral entity. As a matter of fact, each tribe was a separate ethnos. Therefore the Indians with drive, like Benito Juares, for example, by birth and upbringing a Sapotek, having received an education came close to the metises – the extreme liberals – and defeated the French regular soldiers.
American diplomats made fun of Mexico, saying it could not sort its affairs out. But in the acme phase their English forefathers had also fought the Wars of the Roses. Mexico was simply passing I through this phase with a lag of three centuries.
An overheating of drive usually makes many valuable memorials of art and elements of culture non-existent. Mexico was no exception. Magnificent temples with beautiful sculptures perished during the pronunciamento, which took place with a cruelty surpassing the European Middle Ages. The metises were enemies of everything European, including Catholicism. The Indians were pious; they needed the churches but not the clergy. They went to the churches for their festivals, decorating the statues of saints with garlands of flowers, like the old idols, and danced before them as before the gods. The Creoles took up the defence of the clergy, forming squads of 'Cristeros'. The rebellion was brutally suppressed, the innocent peasants suffering most.
Thus elements of material culture - the use of iron and changes in the flora and fauna (horses, cows, sheep, pigs, grapes, olives), remained as traces of the conquest of Mexico by Spain. But the direction of ethnogenesis returned to its own bed. It is more correct to see the three centuries of Spanish rule as a zigzag on the curve of ethnogenesis. I shall not be able to judge what happened later since the acme phase of the ethnogenesis of Latin America has still not ended, and one can only make a forecast when the general pattern of events becomes clear.
The Beginning of the Decline of Drive
Calamity from excess. We have already seen from the example of Byzantium that a rise in the drive of an ethnic system is far from always in its favour. For the Arab superethnos it proved tragic because the regions included in the Caliphate that had received a charge of drive from the Arab conquerors began to slip away from Baghdad. Sometimes these revolts were suppressed with a vast expenditure of military forces, like the defeat of Mukanna, for example, in Central Asia in A.D. 762, but more often they were successful. In 789 Morocco broke away, in 820 Khorasan, in 867 Seistan. Two years later there was the ghastly uprising of the Zindji (Zanzibar) slaves, which was led by an Arab. In 872 ibn Tulun proclaimed himself the independent ruler of Egypt; in 877 the Karmathians took the offensive in Bahrein, and in 903-909 the Fatimids in Tunis. Drive broke the shackles of the political system and in half-a-century converted a well-ordered, law-obeying state, with a thriving economy and developing culture, into a kaleidoscope of warring ethnoi, or of consortia striving to form themselves into ethnoi.
Blood flowed so profusely that the Arabs lost hegemony in their own country. In Africa the initiative passed to the Berbers and Tuaregs, in Iran to the Dailamites, a hill tribe that until then had kept aside from politics; in Central Asia the Tajiks gave way after a long struggle to Turks and Turkomans. The immense forces of the Muslim superethnos were burned out within its own system. The process of ethnogenesis initiated by the Arabs wiped out the ethnos that generated it, but left behind an inviolable unique culture and a tradition associated with it to which neighbouring ethnoi were attracted for a long time.
The process went rather differently in the Romano-German world. There it was less intensive, which was all to the good of the Europeans, although the features of the acme phase in Western Europe were expressed with maximum clarity.
Train of golden ages. When we examine the subsequent history of the West-European or Romano-German superethnos, it is readily noted that different ethnoi took the lead in it by turns, giving way to one another. This leadership was differently expressed, but when it is examined as a function of the drive of ethnoi comprising the superethnos the variety of forms ceases to puzzle the investigator.
The Germans took first place after the break-up of the Carolingian Empire. Their kings Henry the Fowler and Otto the Great held the Hungarian raids, which ensured economic growth of Germany on both banks of the Rhine. The frontiers of the domain were the Elbe and the Rhone; and in Italy they inherited the iron crown of the Langobards. Otto II tried to conquer Byzantine Southern Italy but did not succeed. Later the French Normans followed up his initiative, but they, too, became the victims of the Germans in 1194.
During that time dynasties succeeded one another in Germany, the Saxon, Franconian, and Swabian (Hohenstaufen), and in the thirteenth century the Germans began to lose their position. The French took Languedoc from the German Empire and part of Lorraine, while the Italians were able in general to separate themselves from the 'animal race'. Politically this was a war of the emperors with the Popes; socially it was a struggle of the feudal barons with the towns; historically and culturally it was a rivalry of lawyers and prelates; and ethnically it was the loss of reserves of drive by the leading tribe of the Germans, the Swabians, and a peeling off of outliers associated with that.
In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the Italians were the leading ethnos of Catholic Europe. Profiting from the Crusades, the pillaging of Byzantium, the trade with the East, and moneylending, they simultaneously supplied all the kings of Europe with lawyers, diplomats, theologians, poets, artists, builders, and navigators. The Venetians, no less flexible and unscrupulous than the Florentines, the venal Romans, the cunning Bolognese, the hypocritical Sienese, and the cut-throat Calabrians, successfully competed with the Florentines, but the right to first place on the road to I fell, according to Dante, belonged to the Genoese, who had insinuated themselves not only into the Golden I Horde, but also into Rus for the sake of their trade deals; but, true, they failed in that.
During the flourishing of the city republics of Italy, the other countries of Europe suffered hard times.
England and France were at each other's throats, the English being supported by the Gascons, and the French by the Scots. That war lasted a hundred years, tied up the forces of both countries and bled them white. And even after it, as the English left 'la belle France' (except for Calais), they switched the points of their indefatigable passions against each other and began the Wars of the Roses. These barons were so used to fighting and were so incapable of doing anything else that 'Old England' knew no peace.
And then the hitherto little countries, the Czech Hussites and Swiss mountaineers, bled Germany, Austria, and Burgundy. In short, almost all the forces of Western Europe were closed on themselves and destroying each other. Overheated drive made the 'Christian world' powerless, which very favourably influenced the strengthening of Turkey and Russia, i.e. countries that had begun their ascent in the fourteenth century and were consequently young in relation to Europe.
A similar flourishing of drive is traceable in the eastern half of the European superethnos, where the Slavs came into contacts with the Germans. In the fifteenth century the Czech Hussites took the first step of the Reformation, bleeding both Bohemia and neighbouring regions of Germany white. In the sixteenth century first place passed to Poland, which had absorbed Lithuania and become a pillar of the Counter-Reformation. It was that that ruined her, because it deprived her of the possibility of establishing contact with Orthodoxy.
In the middle of the seventeenth century the Ukrainian Cossacks inflicted several devastating defeats on the Polish troops; later the Swedes walked right over the Poles and plucked them clean; and finally the Turks captured Podolia. The heroic victory of 1673 saved Austria, but finally exhausted Poland, whose decline in the eighteenth century is well known.
Sweden had the greatest successes in the seventeenth century, but that thinly populated country drained its drive with Gustavus Adolphus in Germany, with Charles X in Poland, and with Charles XII in Russia, and did not make good the loss through growth of population. Enough children were born, but not of the sort they used to be in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Here we must note that neither an economic nor a cultural decline was observed in the Scandinavian and Slavonic lands, as also in the western duchies of Germany, and in Austria and I Holland. In the eighteenth century almost all European countries, having overcome the overheated drive of the acme phase, developed their economics, built fine cities, traded with the whole world, making vast profits, and patronized writers, artists, and scholars, i.e. gifted people but not ones with extreme drive. That was the so-called age of the Enlightenment. The optimum level of drive was reached in Europe through the people with drive going to colonies and playing havoc there, without recalling Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant, and Goethe.
Nevertheless, there was one country in Europe in the eighteenth century where drive was rising. Doesn’t that contradict the conception I have been expounding? Let us go into it.
Germany suffered more than the other countries from the horrors of the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, and the Thirty Years' War. That was due to drive having begun to fall there already in the thirteenth century (about which I have written above); and because of that this rich and civilized country became the victim of ethnoi with a high level of drive. Croats, Spaniards, Walloons, Danes, Swedes, and French trampled Germany from end to end, while the Germans, both Lutherans and Catholics, either suffered the violence of the landsknechts or themselves joined their bands. Faith played no role in that; they joined the commanders who paid best.
Since the Catholics were victorious in 1618 at the White Mountain, the Protestants from Bohemia were compelled to seek safety by emigrating. Many of them found asylum in the neighbouring Margravate of Brandenburg. There, too, French Huguenots willingly settled, and also Polish 'Arians'. Berlin became a refuge for persecuted, principled Protestants who brought drive with them.
The Brandenburg Mark had been founded on the land of the Slavonic tribe of the Lyutichi (Veleti) and its population in the eighteenth century was mixed (Germano-Slav). The import of drive had entailed a mixing of these ethnoi like that which happened in England in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries. Brandenburg, which became the Kingdom of Prussia, thus remained a phase of ethnogenesis behind in relation to Western Germany and Austria. While everyone around was 'enlightened', the Prussians still wanted to fight. They therefore won the War of the Austrian Succession, the Seven Years' War, the war with Napoleon I, and finally with Napoleon III, after which Prussia rose to head a united Germany, excluding Austria and Luxembourg from it.
At the end of the fifteenth century Castile and Aragon were united, Grenada was conquered by the Spaniards, and America (1492) and India (1498) discovered. The forces of Spaniards and Portuguese with drive found application and the tension of drive in the Iberian Peninsula fell to the optimum. That gave the Hapsburgs, who had inherited the Spanish crown, an immense advantage. The whole of the sixteenth century Spanish infantry went from victory to victory, Spanish gold decided complicated matters of diplomacy, and the Spanish navy ruled the waves. The brilliance of victory over the Turks at Lepanto (1571) softened the bitterness of losing the war, especially since it was compensated by the defeat of Venice. But the defeat of the Invincible Armada (1585) and the loss of Holland (1,581), showed that the forces of Spain were not growing but were diminishing. In the seventeenth century Spain suffered defeat after defeat. She did not have the people either to reinforce the army and navy, or for the needs of industry, or to defend her American possessions against French and English pirates. And that was not because depopulation had set in Spain, but because Spaniards simply fought worse and worked less. In 1048 the Spaniards resigned themselves by the Peace of Westphalia to loss of hegemony in Europe, which passed to France, and on the sea to Holland. But the Dutch domination did not last long, since England was emerging. And then a new century of wars with France began for England, which culminated in the Battle of Waterloo (1915), after which the palm of Western Europe passed to her.
All the ethnoi known to ethnology have passed through this phase of ethnic development, with the exception of those that perished in the preceding phases. In Europe this phase coincided with the age of the Great Discoveries, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Counter-Reformation. In Rome it was the time of the conquests of Marius, Sulla, Pompeius, and Caesar, and also of the civil wars. In Byzantium an analogous and hard period was the victories of the Isaurian dynasty and iconoclasm. In the Arab Caliphate this age proved fatal; the Caliphate fell apart, Spain and the Maghreb, Mavera-un-nahr (Central Asia) and Khorasan broke away, and it lost connection with Egypt. Negro Zindji, highcheekboned Turks, and desperate Dailarnites were fighting around Baghdad for real power. The Arab were left only the. sphere of culture, but they prospered considerably in it.
In China. In ancient China this was the age of the seven 'Warring States'. For clarity let me employ an illustrative analogy. Let me compare China of the fourth century B.C. with Europe of the sixteenth century. The Ch'in kingdom, which included the warlike Di tribes that inhabited the loess valleys of Shensi and the jungles of Szechuan and which subjected them to the harsh discipline of the doctrine of legalism (the School of Law), an analogue of the Jesuit order, was the analogue of aggressive Spain, imbued with the Mauritanian spirit. To France corresponded the rich, cultured, gay Chu country, covered in the north by the blue Yangtse-kiang and in the south by impenetrable jungles. Chu was Ch'in's most dangerous rival, counterposing the charm of luxury, art, and freedom to the cruel soldiers' system. The heart of China, the territory of the former Jin kingdom, and of the successor of the Chou empire, broke up into three smallish kingdoms, Han, Wei, and Zhao. They corresponded to the territory of Germany, also disunited and the heiress of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. The Eastern Qi kingdom, located in Shantung, easily compares with England, and the neglected Yan kingdom in Liaotung with Sweden or Denmark. The situations with such a distribution of forces were analogous: Spain, heading the Counter-Reformation, wanted to subordinate all Europe to herself, but fortunately for herself, was not successful; Ch'in, with its doctrine of legalism, conquered all China in the third century B.C., unluckily for itself.
Imagine for a minute that Philip II had succeeded in such a conquest of Europe. What would have happened? The Inquisition throughout Europe, Spanish garrisons in Paris, Geneva, London, Stockholm, and Venice, for which all the youths of Spain would have been insufficient. Vast outlays on army and police, because it would have been necessary to hold the front against Turkey, and that would have meant exhausting taxes, which would have evoked universal popular hatred. And at the first convenient moment a universal uprising of the peoples, who would not have spared the conquerors. Spain avoided such a fate, but that was precisely what happened with the Ch'in kingdom in 207 B.C. Ch'in never revived (lien, and China, bled white, was easily united by the first capable pretender. Such proved to be the peasant Liu Pang who gave tile empire built on the ruins the name of I Han. There can be different outcomes in similar situations.
Mediaeval China, which arose on the ruins of the old, just as the ‘Christian world’ of Western Europe arose on the ruins of ancient Rome, took shape as an ethnic entity in the sixth century A.D. and reached an analogous phase in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. A different fate befell it. The brilliant culture of the Sung epoch became the prey, under a loathsome administration and a demoralized government, of foreigners (Tanguts, Jurchens, and Mongols). In contrast to the Arab Caliphate and the Arabic-speaking Muslim ethnos, China revived under the Ming dynasty, but that was already another phase of ethnogenesis.
As it is clear from these examples, and all the others do not contradict them, it is difficult to consider the acme phase of drive 'flourishing'. In all known cases the sense of the phenomenon consists in a squandering of the wealth and glory accumulated by ancestors. Yet, in all textbooks, in all surveys, in all the multi-volume 'histories' of art or literature, and in all historical novels, the descendants glory precisely in this phase, knowing full well that, alongside Leonardo da Vinci, Savonarola spread terror, and Benvenuto Cellini himself shot the traitor and vandal the Constable Bourbon.
Obviously, a broad range of deeds, from feats to crimes, work on the aesthetic strings of the spirit of the investigator or novelist, and it is characteristic of a man to remember the bright bands of the spectrum and forget the dark patches. It is for this reason that they call these terrible epochs 'flourishing'.
Victims of blossoming. In the early sixteenth century and in the seventeenth the percentage of people with drive in Europe fell, and that of people with sub-drive rose, through destruction of the conservative part of the population, the harmonious persons, the most industrious and law-abiding. The system of the superethnos lost stability, because the individual people with drive could easily enlist mercenaries from the people with sub-drive. Which they did; now as preachers (Luther, Calvin, Savonarola, John of Leyden), now as condottieri (Maurice of Saxony, Mansfeld, Wallenstein), and now as kings who broke the laws of their kingdoms (the Tudor, Henry VIII). Whereas such attempts had previously immediately came up against the resistance of others with drive, now, when these had become fewer, a broad field opened before each, and also, consequently, an opportunity to gather inertia. The clashes of (lie epoch of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation therefore acquired great scope and cost even more victims The single system broke apart and people began to seek friends so as not to fall into the clutches of enemies. And since it was senseless to appeal to the rulers for aid, the principle of complementariness came into force, according to which sincere friends were sought who were recompensed with sincerity because that was the most reliable insurance.
But these unhappy people could not help seeking unity for self-defense, after the Duc de Guise burned a barn where Huguenots sang psalm, and Joan of Navarre threw Catholics who went to mass into an underground dungeon, and the English king Henry VIII hanged a Catholic (because he held the Pope in esteem) and a Calvinist (because he denied the sanctity of the mass) on one gibbet. Cynical rulers were more terrible than infidels because they had at their disposal executioners and informers without faith, honour, and conscience (people with sub-drive).
But the rulers could not get along without sincerely true servants, which meant they had to go along with one of the two unifying ideologies, Protestantism or reformed Catholicism, because only a memory remained of traditional Catholicism. So the Catholic League and the Protestant Union were formed, and the Thirty Years' War was fought that cost Germany three-quarters of its population. Other countries suffered less, but also considerably. But, alas, not only ideological or political opponents of secular and spiritual rulers died in this phase of ethnogenesis.
During the Renaissance manslaughter was an everyday occupation of the inhabitants of Western Europe and on a mass scale moreover. It was not so much thinkers, poets, and philosophers who were the object of persecution then, though they too came in for it (Michael Servetus was burned in Geneva and Giordano Bruno in Rome) as ordinary, innocent people with imagination. They were declared sorcerers and witches and pitilessly burned. And here is what is worthy of note. Training in witchcraft and magically induced illness was already considered superstition among the Germans in the eighth and ninth centuries A.D. Therefore the laws of the Langobard kings treated accusing a woman of flying on a broomstick as a slander for which the informer was punished and put into prison.36 Under Charlemagne even the death penalty was proposed for such a denunciation. In the ninth century the witch's sabbath was declared an illusion of informers at a council, although certain bishops, like Isidore of Seville, Rabanus Maurus, and Hincmar, the Archbishop of Reims, accepted the idea of lamias.
This humane legislation was not inherited from civilized Rome, which was nearing the phase of obscuration. There sorcerers had either been exiled or executed. No, this was the common sense of people with drive who were building a life for their descendants. It would have been stupid, if they had not been concerned that their grandsons should not become the victims of slanders and tyranny.
But why did persecution of sorcerers arise in imperial Rome? In republican, still semi-barbarian Rome they were not interested in witchcraft, but when the wave of luxurious civilization arrived from the conquered East, hatred of intellect streamed in together with it. Jewish rabbis of the first century A.D. prescribed destruction of sorcerers (the Talmud). In the middle of the second century Apuleius popularized a psychosis of fear of Thessalian sorceresses. And persecution of fortune-tellers had already developed at the end of the second century simultaneously with the persecution of Christians. That period in Rome coincided with the inertial phase of ethnogenesis on the eve of the transition to obscuration. Europe outdid Rome. Trials of witches began in the fifteenth century; and no one, moreover, accused these unfortunate women of heresy and righting the Church. They were burned because they were not like others.
Thus, in the 'dark years of the Middle Ages' defenseless creative people, dreamers, and naturalists could live quietly in peace time; during the feudal wars they undoubtedly suffered, but in common with fellow-citizens. But as soon as the epoch of humanism set in, the epoch of religious and philosophical quest, the epoch of great discoveries – what then? The sixteenth century came, the High Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Second Inquisition, which struggled not against Cathars, enemies of the Church, but against defenseless romancers and dreamers and people who knew folk medicine. In this Catholics and Protestants made a common front. However strange it may seem, the most burnings over an equal interval of time were in New England rather than Spain. This shows that the reason for executions lay not in the dogmas of faith but in a psychological shift, a lowering of the level of drive of the superethnic system. As soon as an inflection of the curve of ethnogenesis was completed, the execution of witches began to be an anachronism to the Philistines. And so everywhere where the ethnos reached this change of phase.
The fervor of the Philistine is usually fruitless because it comes up against a well-ordered legal procedure under which a critical attitude to denunciations is obligatory. But the inquisitors Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Institoris themselves were Philistines in their psychological pattern, endowed with extraordinary authority. They knew very well that it was fraught with unpleasantness for themselves if they accused a noble person of witchcraft. They therefore seized, tortured, and burned defenseless women denounced by neighbours. There came about a kind of genocide; honest people, with an aversion to the trade of denunciation, and talented people who evoked envy, were destroyed, while morally unscrupulous dunces multiplied, who gave rise to the generation of European Philistines characteristic of the nineteenth century. That was a statistical process and therefore irreversible.
Splitting of the ethnic ‘field’. At the end of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), there was weariness. But that did not result in unity. For 150 years both Protestants and Catholics developed different stereotypes of behaviour which could only be combined through tolerance. The latter was proclaimed as a principle but was very inconsistently realized. Only in the eighteenth century were old scores forgotten and Europe again acquired a unity, which was called the 'civilized world' rather than the 'Christian'. But even that equilibrium was achieved at the price of a lowering of the drive of the superethnos, which came about relatively painlessly for Europe itself: the people with drive and those with sub-drive (mercenaries) were sent to overseas colonies.
Three Catholic countries (Spain, Portugal, and France) and two Protestant ones (England and Holland) carried on an active colonial policy. For clarity, let us agree on terms. When peasants who wanted to work with their own hands in the new land seized by them went from these countries, that was colonization. When soldiers, officials, and traders went, aspiring to make a fortune from the subordinated country, that was colonialization.
Which was worse for the local population is another question. The consequences of the split in the single field of the European superethnos that was manifested in the religious wars of the Protestants and Catholics affected that. During the colonization of America it was noted that the Spaniards and French entered into contacts with the Indians relatively easily, though not with all of them, while the Anglo-Saxons did not know how to establish relations, except purely diplomatic ones (for example, with the Iroquois in the seventeenth century) and organized scalp-hunting, paying bounties for dead Indians. Allow me to suggest a theoretical answer.
The Spaniards, French, and English were ethnoi that were and had hitherto been part of the Romano-German superethnos. But within that entity they were very unlike one another in their ethnopsychological dominant. The colonization of America coincided with the Reformation, i.e. with a complete reorganization of the psychological structure in the phase of the historical existence of the superethnos. The structure was simplified and the energy thereby liberated gushed out beyond the limits of the West-European geobiocoenosis, within which the separate variants of the culture were isolated from one another. Not only Protestants but also Catholics after the Council of Trent, became unlike their ancestors, because Savonarola, Piccolomini, and Loyola did no less for ethnocultural deformation than Martin Luther or Calvin. The isolation of nations is thus a natural product of ethnogenesis, but the divergence of stereotypes of behaviour is its inevitable consequence.
Different stereotypes determined the different attitude of the European colonists to the Indians.
The Spaniards saw the caciques of the local tribes as nobles, and after baptism gave them the title 'Don'. As a consequence, a significant part of the Indians in Mexico and Peru were assimilated. The French in Canada were attracted by the Indian way of life, and by the nineteenth century they had borrowed much from the Indian tribes. During the Riel rebellion the metises and the Indians acted together. The Anglo-Saxons drove the Indians into reservations except for those who agreed to the American way of life.
With application of my proposed conception it may be supposed that there was a consonance in the rhythms of the Catholic ethnoi with the Indians, but not with those who chose Protestantism in Europe. And indeed, in the sixteenth century, almost all the nations of Europe were divided into Catholics and Protestants, and each, moreover, chose the stereotype suitable for it.
Let us check. Great Russians mixed with Tatars and Buryats who adopted Russian culture to a significant extent, and easily dissolved among the Yakuts, but the Ugrian peoples preserved their distinctiveness in spite of long, close, friendly intercourse with Slavs. But the Russians did not come to an understanding with the Indians in Alaska and in California, and were unable to consolidate themselves there in spite of the support of the Aleuts and Eskimos. And it was not by chance that during the Thirty Years' War Russia supported the Protestant Union against the Catholic League, took Protestant Germans into her service, and traded with Holland. Yet Catholicism was closer in dogmas and rituals to Orthodoxy than Protestantism. The ethnic element evidently predominated over the ideological here too.
The Protestants who went to South Africa (Dutch, French Huguenots, and Germans) took shape as an ethnos called 'Boers'. These were most intolerant to the aborigines. Slavery was abolished in the Transvaal only in 1901. But the French in Haiti taught the Negro slaves French and the Catholic religion. The Negro cur6s interpreted the latter in their own way. In 1792, when the British navy was blockading revolutionary France, the Negroes rose in rebellion against the French planters, motivating their attitude to them as follows: 'God came to the whites, but the whites killed God. We shall avenge God – we shall kill the whites'. And they killed all the Frenchmen on the colony.
All the same that was not estrangement, but a form of ideological contact at superethnic level. Now the Haitian Negroes revived the Dahomeyan cult of Voodoo, serpent-worship, among themselves, but admitted only Catholics, including Europeans, to the mysteries.
One can conclude from these observations that the Reformation was not so much a revolt of an idea as a phase of ethnogenesis, a break that was formed during the transition from the acme phase to the inertial.
The break and its significance. It follows from what I have said that the phases of ethnogenesis differ only in degree of variety and diversity determined by the level of drive. There are always people of the sub-drive characteristic of homeostasis, but with the rise of several generations of people with drive they lose their exceptional significance in the established system, and are then simply not noticed. During the upward swing the role of harmonious people who conscientiously do their duty grows. And they do not disappear in the acme phase when, with an overheating of drive, the individuals with most drive perish one after another. After this, the significance of harmonious individuals again rises in the inertial phase, but diminishes rapidly in the phase of obscuration when, together with quiet people of sub-drive inherited by the ethnos from its substrata, there appear violent mercenaries ('wandering soldiers'), a product of the residue of the acme phase. These types easily make short work of the harmonious individuals and simplify the system right to loss of resistance. Then they themselves perish, and, as a result of the collapse of the ethnos, its inimitable culture is forgotten and homeostasis sets in.
This ethno-social pattern is traceable as well in the ethno-geographical material. The characteristics of the phases coincide.
An ethnos, during its creation, hews the landscape to its needs and at the same time adapts itself to the conditions of the terrain; in short, the principle of feedback operates here, by which nature suffers minimally. In the acme phase, when the ethnic system swells with energy, a time of conquests and migrations sets in, the former being limited by the resistance of neighbours, and the latter as well by the natural conditions. Nature suffers doubly. In their native land it is boring for the people with drive to till the soil. They prefer more difficult but also more attractive modes of existence and flourishing. The pressure of civilization on nature is reduced but, since a negative growth of population is often associated with these stormy periods, the economy also falls into a decline, as a consequence of which there is a restoration of the natural landscapes (forests, steppe, and marshes) and also of the population of wild animals.
But on the other hand countries conquered by people with drive suffer very heavily. Those ethnoi become victims of conquest, as a rule, in which the level of drive is low, which prevents them from organizing an effective defense. They themselves, therefore, and the wealth of their countries, including the products of nature, become the booty of the victors.
Suffice it to recall the 'gold fleets' of the Spaniards, carrying gold from Mexico and Peru, or the silver mines of Potosi (Bolivia), which became the grave of countless numbers of Indians. And the Portuguese plantations in Brazil can only be compared with the Dutch colonies in Java and the other Sunda Islands. In both thousands of Malays and Negro slaves perished so as to convert luxurious groves on the hills of Portugal and the meadows of the Netherlands into the estates of businessmen and magnates who were not afraid of risk for the sake of this splendour and glitter, and did not spare either others or themselves. The fur companies of Canada almost completely exterminated the beavers, to save which it has been necessary to create game preserves. In East Africa elephant hunters wiped out whole herds just to get money for the ivory tusks sold on the London market.
It was the same in antiquity. In China the rhinoceros was wiped out; in Khotan the surface deposits of nephrite were worked out. But enough of examples. Let us look at the matter from the other side.
However ferocious conquerors with drive showed themselves to be, they did limited harm to nature. They took only what lay on the surface, what they had to fight for but not to work for. Therefore, after their victorious campaigns, there remained restorable biocoenoses, and heavily battered but not exterminated tribes of Indians, Negroes, Polynesians, and Papuans. The people with drive themselves risked their lives eve minute.
The social imperative with a change of phases from an upsurge of drive to a lowering of its level in an ethnos can be formulated as follows: 'We are tired of the great'. The standard of brilliance of ethnic populations is therefore lowered artificially, it not entering anyone's head that the power of the state and the ethnos' degree of resistance were being lowered thereby.
We have already seen that, in a number of cases, this led to disastrous consequences, but it was useful to the Romano-German integrity of Western Europe. Western Europe was a peninsula of the Eurasian continent. The sea defended it on three sides. There was danger only in the south-east where the Turks, having broken Byzantium carried out a broad offensive in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Hungary fell. It was the turn of Italy and Germany next. And then heroic Poland, the most backward37 of the countries of Western Europe, and therefore preserving comparatively large dose of drive, sacrificed herself. Jan Sobieski's hussars saved Vienna in 1683. By shedding their blood for Germany, the Poles prepared the partition of their own country. When the reverse bend in Germany finished, and the inertial phase set in with national consolidation, Europe again became invulnerable and aggressive, but very little like herself in the preceding period. She had been converted from 'chivalrous' into 'commercially-minded', and I must speak specially about that. But now let us return to Jaspers' conception, or rather to the views of West-European philosophers of history. They all, beginning with St. Augustine, have seen a direction and sense in history. All oriental thinkers saw rises and falls in history, in other words, considered the processes as an end in themselves, and believed the sense to be personal improvement with history only a background.
The difference was evidently not a chance one. In my view, it is that Westerners talk about progress created by human hands, i.e. the technosphere, in which one must also include philosophy, also the product of human activity, while oriental sages talked about living nature, of which people are a part, and technique the background. Let me translate that into scientific terms: in the West they studied socio-cultural history, in the East ethnic history, often simply genealogy. And one cannot say that the one is more important than the other. Both are necessary. It is bad only when the methods of sociology are applied to the study of natural phenomena. It is good that the reverse does not happen.
I could end the dispute with Jaspers and other teleological systems of religion and progress on that. Two leading factors are involved in ethnic processes, viz., loss of the inertia of the initial impulse, i.e. aging, and the forceful, violent effect of neighbouring ethnoi or other forces of nature,38 i.e. displacement. The latter always deforms the ethnogenesis programmed by nature herself, but displacement can only be catastrophic at moments of reverse or downward bending.
Christian community has been regarded in various aspects: as a social movement
of slaves, as a sect, as a formation of the 'internal proletariat' (Toynbee). I
propose an ethnological aspect as throwing light on the problem from another
Charles Diehl. Les grands problemes de l'histoire Byzantine. Libraire Armand
Colin, Paris, 1947, p 59.
Macedonius taught that the Holy Ghost was not a person of the Trinity but had
This has been excellently described by Augustin Thierry in his Recits des Temps
See: Jean Dorst. Avant que Nature meure. Pour une 4cologie politique. Delachaux
et Niestle, Newchatel, 1978, p 56.
The heroic Chanka survived in this green hell. Their descendants were discovered
in the upper reaches of the Amazon after I wrote these lines.
36 An edict of Rothari of A.D. 643 forbade belief in striges and lamias (vampires), and did not
permit 'the murder of women accused by madmen of witchcraft'.
Since all ethnoi are subject to an entropic process of the dispersion of energy,
i.e. drive, the word 'backwardness' means that an ethnos is still quite rich in
this energy, just as a hot object has not yet managed to cool.
38 By the forces of nature I subsume here grandiose
changes of relief, for example transgressions of the sea, eruptions of volcanos
on islands, age-long drought, an epidemic caused by an emergent or carried
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