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Assimilation prior to the enlightenment and the rise of nationalism

Posted: 2019-04-21 11:16pm
by Dominus Atheos
Several nations in Europe are amalgamations of a half dozen different cultures that existed in or prior to the middle ages, but that concept seems to have hit a brick wall at some point in the latter half of the 1000s.

How are the English a mostly homogeneous race descended from among others, Celts, Romans, Germanic Saxons, Norse, and French Normans; and the Spanish a slightly less but still surprisingly homogeneous synthesis of Celtiberians, Romans, Visigoths, and even Muslims; meanwhile the Yugoslavians can't be one country without murdering each other?

And how the hell are the Czechs not German 700 years after Bohemia helping to found the Holy Roman Empire?

I don't get it.

Re: Assimilation prior to the enlightenment and the rise of nationalism

Posted: 2019-04-22 12:49am
by Elheru Aran
Quick note re Yugoslavia: geographical barriers plus the Ottoman Empire. All the little Balkan states were principalities, duchies, whatever, little noble holdings/tribal conglomerations paying tribute first to the Byzantines and then the Ottomans or the Austro-Hungarian side of the HRE, but more or less independent in their personal affairs. It wasn't until the 20th century or so that people started trying to consolidate all those little Balkan principalities into a larger country. So the concept of 'Yugoslavia' is a pretty recent development.

Re: Assimilation prior to the enlightenment and the rise of nationalism

Posted: 2019-04-22 04:30am
by madd0ct0r
And the united kingdom is slowly unwinding.

Not just with the celtic fringe ratcheting towards independence, but the mayors of city states, and attempting to split functions up by region.


Edit. And come to think of it. So is Spain

Re: Assimilation prior to the enlightenment and the rise of nationalism

Posted: 2019-04-22 05:18am
by Lord Revan
The Holy Roman Empire wasn't really a nation in a way we see it now, while technically there was a single monarch the elector counts were quite independent, In fact germans didn't really unify as single people until the 19th century (same with the Italians) instead the various nations that made up the Holy Roman Empire were culturally and politically fairly independent.

In contrast by the 15th century the concept of the English people as single entity had already formed, same with french and a bit later the spanish, as these were rule by essentially a single monarch with the nobles seen as servants of the throne rather then independent rulers in their own right.

Re: Assimilation prior to the enlightenment and the rise of nationalism

Posted: 2019-04-22 07:02pm
by Dominus Atheos
madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-04-22 04:30am
And the united kingdom is slowly unwinding.

Not just with the celtic fringe ratcheting towards independence, but the mayors of city states, and attempting to split functions up by region.


Edit. And come to think of it. So is Spain
The non-English parts of the UK, actual England is looking pretty solid. Maybe London wants to stay in the EU for purely economic reasons that have nothing to do with "culture".

Only the part of Spain that doesn't consider themselves Spanish want independence, all the Spanish parts of Spain are fine.

Re: Assimilation prior to the enlightenment and the rise of nationalism

Posted: 2019-04-22 07:24pm
by Dominus Atheos
Elheru Aran wrote:
2019-04-22 12:49am
Quick note re Yugoslavia: geographical barriers plus the Ottoman Empire. All the little Balkan states were principalities, duchies, whatever, little noble holdings/tribal conglomerations paying tribute first to the Byzantines and then the Ottomans or the Austro-Hungarian side of the HRE, but more or less independent in their personal affairs. It wasn't until the 20th century or so that people started trying to consolidate all those little Balkan principalities into a larger country. So the concept of 'Yugoslavia' is a pretty recent development.
That's a very good description of England in the Early Middle Ages under the Anglo-Saxons and the Danelaw. They amalgamated pretty peacefully after the country was unified, but almost no one else did after about the 1500s.

But the two Ur examples that stick out in my mind are the constituent parts of the Austrian Empire and Ottoman Empire, and what makes those Empires different from Spain, France, and England besides that those nations did most of their consolidating (not Britain) before the the enlightenment stated, and the ottomans\hapsburgs did it after.

What changed?

Re: Assimilation prior to the enlightenment and the rise of nationalism

Posted: 2019-04-23 02:39am
by Lord Revan
Dominus Atheos wrote:
2019-04-22 07:24pm
Elheru Aran wrote:
2019-04-22 12:49am
Quick note re Yugoslavia: geographical barriers plus the Ottoman Empire. All the little Balkan states were principalities, duchies, whatever, little noble holdings/tribal conglomerations paying tribute first to the Byzantines and then the Ottomans or the Austro-Hungarian side of the HRE, but more or less independent in their personal affairs. It wasn't until the 20th century or so that people started trying to consolidate all those little Balkan principalities into a larger country. So the concept of 'Yugoslavia' is a pretty recent development.
That's a very good description of England in the Early Middle Ages under the Anglo-Saxons and the Danelaw. They amalgamated pretty peacefully after the country was unified, but almost no one else did after about the 1500s.

But the two Ur examples that stick out in my mind are the constituent parts of the Austrian Empire and Ottoman Empire, and what makes those Empires different from Spain, France, and England besides that those nations did most of their consolidating (not Britain) before the the enlightenment stated, and the ottomans\hapsburgs did it after.

What changed?
It wasn't so much what changed as what was different to begin with. England doesn't really have any major mountain ranges or similar terrain features that would limit interaction, not mention as former roman province it would have some of roman roads left futher increasing the interaction between communities.

All threr nations (England, France, Spain) were former roman provinces and thus benefited from the remaining infrastructure. Where as area of the HRE did not benefit from that.

My point is that England, benefited from a greater interaction between communities and thus greater sense of unity between those communities. With Spain what helped with their unity is the crusade against the Moors and with France the concept of the "french people" was born during the 100 years war.

Essentially there wasn't major radical shift that prevented nations from amalgamating peacefully after 1500s but rather nations that had a realistic potential to do so had done so by 1500s and nations that formed after that had several reason typically why they couldn't amalgamate.