Charlemagne is one of a handful of kings who gets awarded
the post-nominal accolade “the Great.” His early life
remains mysterious and the stories are assembled from
various sources, but it seems he was born around 742 B.C.
It’s the simplest explanation.
According to an unconfirmed 19th-century source, in the late 17th century the Vatican librarian Leo Allatius wrote an unpublished treatise entitled De Praeputio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Diatriba (A Discussion of the Foreskin of Our Lord Jesus Christ), claiming that the Holy Prepuce ascended, like Jesus himself, and was transformed into the rings of Saturn.
Not unless he had a time machine.
If your grandparents are still alive, I completely second the author's advice to talk to them about the family history. I'm in the process of recording podcasts (for family use only, never to be released publicly) with my parents while they still have sharp-ish minds. Assuming the AI apocalypse doesn't wipe us out, I think my kids will really treasure this, and their kids maybe more so.
My father made her sit down and tell us who the people in the photographs she had were, writing in the names on the pages they were glued to. She got about 50% of them, but given the bias toward more photos close family members, I think she could only identify about 25-30% of the people.
For instance, if the top 10% have four kids each, and the total population barely grows for 5 centuries (not implausible numbers, from memory) then this isn't a small effect.
If this sounds interesting you should read Gregory Clark:
We actually have surprisingly good records of such things, and digging them up demolished lots of commonly held beliefs. For instance Peter Laslett (The World We Have Lost) did exactly this for England.
The US frontier may well be different -- having almost infinite land meant it could sustain rapid expansion for a long time. I know that New England & Quebec had something like a doubling per generation in total a bit earlier, from say 1650-1800. Which was unprecedented, I don't think any other pre-industrial civilisation got close. (Mathus had the numbers and was suitably impressed.)
(Bear in mind that number of siblings looking backwards is a different measure to number of offspring looking forwards -- 2 kids/parent on average is perfectly compatible with everyone having 3 siblings, as long as they have some childless aunts.)
The change happened earlier in the Americas for the simple reason that due to recent settlement, population density did not yet match what the land could sustain.
For most of history, women weren't educated and there wasn't reliable contraception and hence they all had many babies.
Also, kings/nobility in the past had concubines and consorts who produced children as well.
> The poor traditionally have much larger families.
Also, wealth really doesn't factor into family sizes anywhere today. Poor educated women have less children than wealthy uneducated women.
For some reason, the more educated women are, the less likely they are to have many babies. This is a trend that holds in europe, the US, japan, south korea, etc across all wealth levels.
There is no better form of birth control for teenage girls and young women than career aspirations.
Source: am an educated woman from the US South, with lots of educated woman friends, few of whom had children before 30, and none of whom work full-time and have more than two - as well as many childhood acquaintances with only high school diplomas and more kids.
But this was not the historical pattern.
Firstly, it's my understanding that richer families started having fewer kids than poor ones in Victorian times -- about a century too early to be explained by women getting MBAs (or taking the pill).
Secondly, for poorer people before this, I think the main mechanism (in the west) was delayed marriage. (Not famine or disease etc.) Saving up enough money to decently start a household took time, and the community's definition of "decently" set the equilibrium population. See for instance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_European_marriage_patt... (and Laslett book above).
Although I'm not actually sure exactly what the time scale this is measuring. Data is from is here, I believe: http://www.pnas.org/content/115/1/151.abstract
You share about 0.5^n percent of your DNA with each member of generation n, where n = 1 are your parents, n = 2 your grandparents, and so on. The explanation that was given to me is that each of your parents contributes 50% to your genes. Depending on which of their parents' genes they gave you, you share anywhere from 0 to 50% of your DNA with each of your grandparents, but for simplicity's sake let's call it 25%.
The point is, most of the people we're trying to find out more about through ancestry websites and DNA tests are barely related to you. Searching for your great, great, great grandfather from the old country? Fine, you only share about 3% of your DNA with him.
My thoughts and beliefs have been greatly shaped by my dad, and I'm positive my dad is who is is at least partially because of his relationship with his grandfather. Carry that backward, and I'm only three degrees removed from a soldier in the Civil War -- it's not impossible to think, completely independent of genetic inheritance, that some of my personality quirks or principles worked their way straight to me from someone who was born in the 1840s.
But in this case, not actually as far away as you are thinking, because of something called pedigree collapse. For example, the second row in your family tree, your grandparents, has 4 people, 2^2. The 20th row, only about 500 years ago, has mathematically 2^20 = 1,048,576. In reality far fewer, because the same people fill multiple spots. Only 1,000 years ago, 2^40 = 1,099,511,627,776.
A trillion ancestors 1,000 years ago? Doubtful.
So you can see, this exponential explosion is not an accurate way of thinking about ancestry.
Pedigree collapse within a certain area is what leads to the various human races. The distinction of race is simply the description that someone is descended from some localized subset of the global population.
You're far more closely related to your g^40-parents, than the g^40-parents of someone half-way round the world because your g^20-parents are more closely related to your g^40 parents. And so it goes up and down the tree.
So yeah, maybe only ~3% at a certain level, but that is as closely related in terms of match-able DNA sequences that it is possible to be at that distance in time. You're still very closely related in terms of the overall DNA "color palette."
And it is likely somewhat more than 3%.
Many Ashkenazi Jews have a 'genetic relation' that is in fact higher than their 'genealogical relation' would suggest because there has been such a high degree of intermarriage among a small population over the years. This is the case for all races, just maybe more pronounced in Jews because of the smaller population.
There's something sad about such a statement, and it epitomizes a certain cause of present day problems in society.
Are your genes the only things that "has to do with you"?
What about the built environment and society in which you exist with all of it's inventions and innovations from a strictly primal state of affairs?
Who built that society and environment around you? If you're like most people, your ancestors.
What aspects of your ancestors guided their building and structuring of society? Their genes. Your ancestors have very much to do with you, and you have much to be grateful to them for.
p.s. As a corollary addendum, if your ancestors have nothing to do with you, what of your descendants? Why bother leaving an orderly and healthily functioning world to people "who have nothing to do with you"?
Safe to say, that we should pray for the well-being of future generations that most people today don't think this way, and be thankful that most people in the past didn't think this way.
Is that a population level statistic?
There are maybe 2-3 cross-over events per chromosome per generation in humans, e.g. https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/19005/how-many-r... .
Of course being 42 generations removed, he is only 1 of 4,398,046,511,104 potential direct ancestor paths back at that level.
That number made me realize that we don't have branches in a family tree, we have laurels in a family wreath.
>> You are of Viking descent, because everyone is.
No. The real vikings (not the TV ones) were almost universally blond or red-headed. If you are black, your ancestors were not vikings any more than my ancestors were Zulu warriors. The genetic lines merge further back than the existence of these named groups, making us at best related to them, not descended from.
I'm confused why you think "blond or red-headed" has anything to do with whether you have any viking ancestry. Just because my father is blonde does not mean I am. And the point of the article is that our lines merge much sooner than we intuitively believe.
If you are black in any society that has had a mix of European and African ancestry more than ~200 years ago, you are almost certainly partially of European descent. Unless somehow all of your 200+ descendents avoided any sexual contact with any colonial. If you're of Western European descent, you are almost certainly of Viking (i.e. Danish/Norse) descent: they spent centuries pillaging and colonizing different areas of Europe (including England). Therefore, if you're black in the Americas, you're almost certainly descended from both Vikings and the ancestors of the Zulu (considering the Zulu were a kingdom from the 19th century, so you're right, it's unlikely everyone with European ancestors, or even everyone with African ancestors, is). If you're from any country that was a European colony more than 300 years ago, this is likely true, too.
And remember, cross-continental trade is old. People from the African continent have been having children with people from the European continent for thousands of years.
One of these in no way implies the other. Do you have a shag with the baker every time you stop by the corner shop?
You've been indoctrinated with the multikulti propaganda, try to extract the poison, there are people who can help.
Asians and Europeans have admixtures with non-Sapiens human species, Neanderthals and Denisovans.
Africans also have non-Sapiens admixtures, but different species.
No Africans have Neanderthal admixture, and no Asians or Europeans have the African admixtures?
Why? How does this jive with your thinly sourced theories?
Whatever theoretical breeding patterns of this sort you want to propose,
it is in practice entirely negligible.
And like I said, I know it's not really you who is thinking and proposing it. You're just parroting your indoctrination. You can do better. We're here to help.
We've banned you for race war in the past and you're still posting such comments to HN, as well as using HN for ideological battle in general. If you keep doing this we're going to ban you again. It is an abuse of the site which destroys its core purpose. Neither we nor the overwhelming majority of the community want to see it here. Therefore, no more of this, please.
This kind of thing is thoroughly toxic to HN.
With the viking thing, mapping blond hair in the uk, along with family/place names, creates a diagram of the 1066 invasion.
What is your source for claims of trade?
There is no evidence for trade between Europe and Africa going back thousands of years.
Sub-Saharan Africans never developed a written language, this would seem to be a not quite vital, but certainly helpful thing when engaging in trade.
Thousands of years ago there was very little, if any, industry to speak of in sub-Saharan Africa. What was being traded?
The poster above referenced black Africans, a distinct population from north Africans, and "cross-continental" trade implying a great distance and regular contact between the African and European races.
While some could argue that it is technically cross-continental as we understand geography today, I don't believe a good faith interpretation(in this discussion) of 'cross-continental trade' includes trade conducted in ancient Mediterranean world.
The Nile river valley in Egypt and the coast of the Maghreb was very much a part of the Mediterranean sea network back to the beginning of recorded history. The Phoenician alphabet is actually the ancestor of basically every written language save Chinese and its descendant scripts.
But you're clearly ignoring North Africa. Even without North Africa, Africa was still very much connected to the wider Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese worlds. Musa I of Mali was the person who gave away so much gold on his pilgrimage from Mecca that he literally broke the economy. The crest of the Niger river was a major center of learning (Timbuktu, Djenne), and the geography was known as far back as Greek times. The Ethiopian highlands were early converts to Christianity, breaking off from "mainstream" Christianity circa 200. The Indian Ocean coasts provided one of the major sources of trading fleets for the vibrant Indian Ocean trade, again back at least to Greco-Roman times.
That's the stuff I know off the top of my head.
I take it you're not familiar with Phoenicia, Carthage, Macedonia, or the Roman empire?
> Thousands of years ago there was very little, if any, industry to speak of in sub-Saharan Africa. What was being traded?
Are you serious? As one example, thousands of years ago (2,350 years ago to be exact) Alexander the Great (a European) conquered Egypt (which is in Africa by the way).
Of course there was tons of trade going on between Egypt/North Africa and Europe for long before Alexander the Great. And, of course, there was tons of trade going on between Egypt and sub-Sahara Africa at the same time (what were they trading? Incense, myrrh, oils, gold, resins, ebony, ivory, animals, etc.)
As for your nonsense about sub-saharan languages:
That is far too strong a statement. Virtually all black Americans have some verifiable level of European descent, so they would definitely have Viking ancestors. For actual Africans, it's less certain, but it's at least plausible that an African would have some Viking ancestors.
The Byzantines recruited Norse soldiers starting in the 9th century. They would almost certainly have all had Viking ancestry since that was about two hundred years into the Viking age. There were some pretty significant Scandinavian settlements there by the 11th century.
Even by the 9th century, the Byzantines had a lot of trade with North Africa and North Africa had a lot of trade with sub-Saharan Africa. If even a bit of interbreeding happened and spread some Viking genes to sub-Saharan Africa that would be plenty of time for them to spread to most of the population.
Obviously, Zulu descent is much less common because the Zulu didn't show up until about a thousand years after the Vikings.
This seems to be disproving a statement the author didn't make. He was specifically talking about people of European descent.
"I'm descended from the guy who fell overboard on the Mayflower!"
I concluded pretty early on that the claim must be either dubious, or that any claims of ancestry become uninteresting past your grandfather.
Heck, if we are going back to pre-Colonial ages, the pool of people I am related to is likely in the millions. For a world that was much, much smaller than it is today. It seems so weird to me that people want to just follow occasional threads and tell you how special they are.
The Coalescent, from a book by John Wakeley: http://www.faculty.biol.ttu.edu/olson/Molecular_Ecology_and_...
a good intro to population genetics by Hartl & Clark: https://www.amazon.com/Principles-Population-Genetics-Daniel...
The point is: we consider ancestry a purely additive mechanism; in fact at each generation the amount of dna actually received from a specific ancestor halves, so that you can be of european, or asian or african descent and yet have practically no genes from that side.
I've always found it mildly disturbing, to know that anybody you could possibly mate with is related to you somehow.
As the article mentions, initially our ancestry is basically linear -- one mother and father, two grandparents per parent, etc. But the further back we go, the more our lineage begins to resemble a mesh web with certain ancestors reappearing at other points.
Could the same happen with the flow of time? Say we were to go back 10 years, maybe there is only a single possible 'timeline' between now and then. But is it possible that the further we go back, there are multiple 'nodes' which cross over, much like ancestry?
Is it possible there were two, or more, say, 1900ADs, which then every e.g. 1915 was descended from, splitting again into different timelines before recombining, in much the same manner as biological descent?
Largely off topic, but an interesting thought experiment.
The question of convergence then simply boils down to:
Are there any possible states of the universe that can arise from more than one prior state. Based on my limited quantum mechanics knowledge, it seems the only place this might be able to happen is in black holes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole_information_paradox
If there were two opposing forces, always exponentially self improving towards maximum efficiency in two opposite sides: 1) ordered/creative/perfectionist/preservative/etc, 2) chaotic/destructive/disruptive/etc... suppose our universe sits roughly in the middle of these two, does that not seem to explain where we are?
Also, given the seemingly limitless propensity of the universe towards balance, and its apparently limitless capacity in both regards, it would seem natural to infer that both forces keep going in ways beyond that which we can directly observe.
Intuitively, certainly, it seems very right. Of course, it also gels very well with countless esoteric/mystical beliefs going back eons as well.
More important is the issue of just what the multiverse theory exists to accommodate. Timeline splitting would be the result of nature not actually “choosing” one part of a superposition of probabilities over another; they both exist in probability space or something like that. Human events like choices are incredibly macroscopic compared to the events leading to a multiverse. Ten years of activity should, in theory, lead to uncountable branches.
Other than the laws of physics remaining constant, nothing else does in theory, and so were talking about massive and continuous divergence, and convergence. You’d have infinite universes, some existing along similar lines, others radically different, but there would be no one tendency to converge or diverge; it would be chaos, expressed physically.
Conversely, the remaining 80 percent are the ancestor of everyone living today.
This becomes more likely if you include genocides that may have quipped out large swaths of someones descendants.
You also have rather insular groups where a few thousand people may be largely segregated from the rest the world. That's not going to be particularly stable over hundreds of years, but you only need 1.
Charlemagne [...] your ancestor. I am making an
assumption that you are broadly of European descent,
which is not statistically unreasonable but certainly
It's also a good example of putting too much weight into statistical "reasonableness" when making generalizations about your audience. Even if the expected audience is just native-English-speaking countries, you've excluded millions of potential readers.
The article is mostly about Charlemagne, so fair enough to frame the intro using him, but "he's your ancestor, unless you are a statistical anomaly"? I find that depressing.
If you’re not, be patient, and we’ll come to your own very regal ancestry soon enough.