• Yer Ma
    1512 days ago

    Power and prestige lay not in amassing wealth but in assuring that wealth was shared wisely, and leaders earned support in part by being good providers and wise distributors. Many polities established councils of elders and balanced power by pairing leaders, such as the war chief and the peace chief; setting up male and female councils; and operating under family-based clans that had members in multiple towns.

    I can only dream that we could learn to follow these ways now

  • @perestroika
    110 days ago

    That was some interesting reading, thank you. :)

    About the Little Ice Age - I feel like the article slightly mis-dates the period, placing it earlier than many sources suggest.

    As a side note, human-amplified mechanisms have been proposed to the Little Ice Age, aside from natural ones - from the conquests of Genghis Khan and his successors, to the Black Death, to the smallpox epidemic that Europeans brought into Americas… but the likely trigger, I think, was this:


    As for human societies taking different turns when facing difficulty - I would search for the cause in their world views, technologies and interactions. Europe had already put itself on a course to technical sophistication - techniques such as writing, number systems and methods of calculation enable a single ruler to boss around more people, and ever since the Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Chinese invented their versions, they had big bosses claiming divine mandate or origin.

    Everywhere in Eurasia, people also rode and transported cargo - horses, camels and elephants were used to transport goods and fight wars. Their existence enabled the use of wagons and carts, which enabled winches and cranes, siege engines, windmills, sawmills and watermills, to the point of having technology to equip armies and fleets…

    …and indeed, armies and fleets were a common problem everywhere in Eurasia. Some where Christian, some Islamic, some believed their own flavour of stories, but the elite having access to writing (without the common people having the same) enabled spread of ideology and top-down management.

    Genghis Khan added a key component - an efficient postal system. This enabled remote control of and fast-moving armies, allowing to manage supply chains, give strategic input to distant generals and subsequently - conquer pretty much the known world.

    He was not unique, though - Arab armies did a similar trick earlier, Europeans repeated the nasty trick later, enabled by technology from China (gunpowder, printing and compass)… the Ottoman empire grew between the two and took a bite of both, then Russia conquered Eurasia in reverse and Western kingdoms colonized the coasts of many seas.

    Eurasia was a considerably more fast-paced, violent and top-down place indeed, and the pace and violence probably had a role in shaping the thought landscape.