Culture and Nationhood in the World of Herodotus: An Evolutionary Analysis, Part 4

Guillaume Durocher


Maladaptive Culture: Herodotus on Luxury, Effeminacy, and Decadence

The ancients considered the maintaining of martial virtue and hardiness to be a supreme imperative—not surprising given that if any frailty led to defeat, one’s people could not only lose their self-government, but their very existence. Like Homer and Plato, Herodotus has much to say on the perils of luxury, effeminacy, and decadence. Herodotus is acutely aware of the fragility of nations and civilizations. He says at the beginning of the Histories:

I will cover minor and major human settlements equally, because most of those which were important in the past have diminished in significance by now, and those which were great in my own time were small in times past. I will mention both equally because I know that human happiness never remains long in the same place. (1.5)

Herodotus suggests a cycle of rise and fall of civilizations: as one becomes wealthy and powerful, one tends to lose over the generations the manly virtue which made this possible, becoming at once effeminate and arrogant. This cycle of decadence, which was later famously analyzed by the Andalusian historian Ibn Khaldun, is a common feature of human history. Moderns are apt to forget that until quite recently primitive and nomadic virile barbarians periodically conquered more culturally advanced but decadent sedentary civilizations. One need only mention the ancient Germans, Huns, Vikings, Arabs, Turks, and Mongols.

Herodotus’ characters repeatedly comment on the debilitating effects of luxury and effeminacy, in a word, of being over-civilized. The Persians’ rise to power in the century prior to Herodotus’ writing is explained by their initial Spartan-like ruggedness and simplicity, while their decline is due to their indulgence in comfort and wealth since the passing of Cyrus the Great in 530 BC. Overly rich and arrogant empires seeking ever-more land repeatedly come to grief by attacking impoverished but still-manly free peoples.[1]

The Greeks are famously said to be a free people though “poverty” is always with them, overcoming their enemies through courage, intelligence, and adherence to law (7.102). The Spartans, who had an extremely simple diet whose staple was a black broth, are said to have laughed upon being shown a magnificent Persian meal. The Spartan king Pausanias is supposed to have said: “how stupid the Persian king is. Look at the way he lives and then consider that he invaded our country to rob us of our meager portions!” (9.82). For the Greeks, freedom was synonymous with the manly virtue necessary to ensure secure against hostile powers. Conversely, the Ionian Greeks under Persian rule are repeatedly shamed for their supposed effeminacy, making them fit to be slaves rather than free men.

Interestingly, Herodotus explicitly mentions a case of a hostile ruling elite consciously promoting maladaptive, feminizing culture among their subjects in order to reduce their power of resistance. Fearing that Cyrus would completely destroy his rebellious Lydian subjects, their former king, Croesus, advised the following:

You can be lenient towards the Lydians and still issue them a directive to ensure that they never rebel and are no threat to you. Send a message that they are forbidden to own weapons of war, that they are to wear tunics under their coats and slippers on their feet, to raise their sons to be retailers. Before long, my lord, you will see them become women instead of men, and so there will be no danger of them rising up against you. (1.155)

Cyrus agreed to these measures. Thus, the conqueror might not necessarily exterminate the conquered biologically, but ruin them culturally.

Significantly, Herodotus concludes his Histories with a flashback warning from Cyrus the Great. The King was advised to move away from his current rugged territory to one of the more gentle regions of the Persian Empire. Herodotus says:

Cyrus was not impressed with the proposal. He told them to go ahead—but he also advised them to be prepared, in that case, to become subjects instead of rulers, on the grounds that soft lands tend to breed soft men. It is impossible, he said, for one and the same country to produce remarkable crops and good fighting men. . . . they chose to live in a harsh land and rule rather than to cultivate fertile plains and be others’ slaves. (9.122)

The message could not be clearer: a prosperous and civilized people is precisely the most vulnerable to creeping weakness—a message that resonates today as the West is suffering population replacement by Africans, Muslims, and Mestizos as a result of the treason of our hostile elites. Herodotus says elsewhere, though admittedly in a context referring to oracles and religious omens: “There are invariably warning signs given when disaster is going to overwhelm a community or a race” (6.27).

Conclusion: King Nomos’ Children

The Histories deliver a bounty of information on the ancient world eminently compatible with an evolutionary perspective. We comfortable moderns can never be reminded enough of the violence and desperation of the struggle for existence in past times. A man’s livelihood was his land, and stability and law were often nowhere to be found. In this brutal environment, one lost battle against foreign invaders could make the difference between freedom and slavery, life and extermination. If one were not exterminated, being conquered meant, at the least, the end of a people’s self-determination, their ability to decide their own way of life.[2] In this context of constant struggle, one would expect peoples with maladaptive cultures—cultures which do not promote the survival and reproduction of the individual and the group—to be gradually replaced by peoples with adaptive cultures.

What, however, are the traits of an adaptive culture? I propose that an adaptive culture must:

  • Hold a powerful sway over the society;
  • Be able to maintain itself in the face of both time and foreign influence;
  • Put a supreme value on kinship, both familial and ethnic, as reflecting relative genetic similarity;
  • Create a solidary in-group (with eventual assimilation of genetically-close, reciprocating, and compatible out-groups);
  • Promote reproduction;
  • Promote martial prowess and manliness.

By this definition, many of the traits of traditional cultures can be identified as evolutionarily adaptive. Reverence for ancestral tradition, cultural chauvinism, in-group loyalty, familial and ethnic solidarity, a religious duty of reproduction, and the shaming of effeminacy in males are extremely common among traditional cultures across the world, not least in the cultures described by Herodotus. Much of what liberals and Marxists condemn as purely arbitrary and oppressive is revealed to have an evolutionary logic in that much in these cultures clearly promoted the survival and flourishing of the peoples who bore them.

With Herodotus, we see that circumstances change but certain fundamental laws remain. Tribalism and love of kin are as old as humanity itself. The history of the human species is that of the rise and fall of nations and civilizations—more prosaically, the spread and recession of genetic and cultural memes. At the very beginnings of recorded history, Herodotus himself is acutely conscious that values and habits of weakness can lead to the fall of one’s people. The struggle within a people’s soul between manly virtue and luxurious decadence goes back at least to the dawn of civilization.


[1] Examples include:

  • The kingdom of Lydia was quite wealthy and decided to attack the virtuous Persia of Cyrus’s early reign, whose food consisted “of what they can get, not what they might want, because of the ruggedness of their land” (1.155).
  • The Persian attack on the Massagetae, a Scythian people who would defeat and behead Cyrus: “a Persian-style good life and anything approach real luxury is, I hear, something with which the Massagetae have no acquaintance or familiarity” (2.207).
  • During Cambyses’ failed invasion of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian king gave the Persian king a longbow saying: “When the Persians can draw bows of this size as easily as I do now, then he can march against the long-lived Ethiopians” (3.21).

[2] The Jews and the Gypsies are of course spectacular exceptions in this respect, having proven capable of maintaining their identity, culture, and in-group loyalty as minorities in other societies. Most human populations, however, evidently require sovereignty over their own territory to maintain their way of life and identity.

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16 Comments to "Culture and Nationhood in the World of Herodotus: An Evolutionary Analysis, Part 4"

  1. Michael Adkins's Gravatar Michael Adkins
    July 11, 2017 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Perhaps, it’s time to reread:

    What’s Wrong With White Men?

    http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/articles/MacDonald-Men.html

  2. Franklin Ryckaert's Gravatar Franklin Ryckaert
    July 11, 2017 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    “…The Jews and the Gypsies are of course spectacular exceptions in this respect, having proven capable of maintaining their identity, culture, and in-group loyalty as minorities in other societies. Most human populations, however, evidently require sovereignty over their own territory to maintain their way of life and identity…”

    They are successful because they have the ethos of nomads, and besides a strong sense of identity they developed a double in-group out-group morality. This formula works equally well for the high IQ-group of the Jews as for the low IQ-group of the Gypsies.

    • Ger Tzedek's Gravatar Ger Tzedek
      July 11, 2017 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Gypsies are successful with a runaway birthrate that cannot be sustained forever. Some say that Gypsies don’t need a country, Bulgaria will naturally become a Gypsy country. Besides, Bulgaria has some very weird procreation laws. It requires people a truckload of costly certificates before they can marry. This is an impediment only for Whites, Gypsies don’t give a damn about it.

      Both Gypsies and Jews have paid a very heavy toll for being what they are. Jews are very conscious that their position is not eternally sustainable, whence they created Israel. Netanyahu said that if Israel weren’t created, Jews would have disappeared. Gypsies are disappearing in another modality. They are disappearing through the sex libertine attitude of the Gypsy women. They have a crush on Whites, and Gypsy women sleep very often with White men. Gypsies are losing their genetic makeup very fast. Same for Jews, but because they are assimilating high in the societies that they dominate.

    • RoyAlbrecht's Gravatar RoyAlbrecht
      July 12, 2017 - 5:25 am | Permalink

      IMO, White Advocates do not quite understand Diaspora Jews well enough.

      As a lone Honest, Cursed-Jew denouncing, second generation German Refugee and Holocaust Whistle Blower,
      growing up in a sub-culture dominated by [redacted] Jews and Sniveling Limeys,
      I managed to sneak my way into a lot of homes that were occupied by people who had direct links to the likes of people like the Bronfman family (as in World Jewish Congress, Seagram’s Distilleries and Vivendi-Universal).

      Yes, these Jews were by and large naturally flat footed, pudgy, intellectually and athletically unremarkable (at least from a Nordic European perspective), effeminate, etc., etc…, animals.
      However, IMO, they had one thing which the Goyem lacked and that was a Talmudic Credo that instilled within them a group mission of dispossessing,
      through the deepest means of cunning that their feeble minds and past examples,
      both verbal and scriptural,
      could relay to their off-spring through rote memorization starting at the earliest age possible.

      Also, to further the above aims, they had the three-pronged advantage of having an adversary whom they had convinced that;

      1) there was no war being waged upon them,

      2) (((they))) were somehow Biblically destined by God to be “…Chosen…” and that to lash out against (((them))) constituted a grave Sin for which Hell Fire Damnation awaited the Lasher and,

      3) a plentiful supply of Stolen Wealth from Whites that they were able to “…easily…” (and therein lies their weakness) use in order to show their off-spring not only the value of every little scrap of material resource…,
      from a global perspective…,
      for the bent nail that was discarded by the average Canadian Worker was in fact a treasured resource by the Dalit (sp?) of the Fields of India but,
      also give their off-spring instruction in the method by which they could convert and/or reinvest every scrap of wealth into interest or dividend generating material.

      This dividend was then applied to the original credo of dispossessing the masses of the earth of their wealth and power.

      Jews take it for granted that they need not “…earn…” anything. They have it in their DNA that they “…deserve…” everything for the taking.
      The fact that (the remnants of?) White culture had laws against stealing from one’s Racial kinfolk constituted a mere formality for the Thieving, Usurious Jews,
      in that they merely needed to devise a method to change the laws or customs to allow them to have whatever it was they deemed necessary to have for free.
      And if that could not readily be accomplished they simply resorted to hiring,
      often through several degrees of separation,
      one of their proxy-controlled, Racial Minority Criminal Syndicates to steal it for them.

      This general pattern of behaviour produced in Jews,
      well at least the in Jews I had the temerity to infiltrate and get to understand,
      an outward appearance of unlimited wealth and opulence…, which they ostentatiously paraded about in public so as to gerrymander the minds of the masses into emulating their “…success…”,
      however inside their homes, one would often find that the square footage was being used as a storehouse for assets that would be later used to fleece the Goyem to an even greater degree.

      So on the one hand they were “…teaching…” the Goyem “…via braggadocio…” what to work for and on the other they were stealing this wealth from them whenever (((they))) required it.
      All the while under their own feet they were using their opulent mansions as store houses, warehouses, workshops, and private schools to further their own material ambitions.

      The upshot of all this is that while the Goyem are busy specializing their off-spring to become a cog in the industrial-revolutionary wheel of specialization,
      the Jew is busy giving his off-spring an all-round, global perspective on the value and reallocation possibilities of everything and anything so as to prepare him to recognize and prioritize the items that should be stolen from the Goyim so as to best obtain his/her share of (((their))) (coming?) Jew World Order.

      So to conclude, while the White man is earning his keep and thereby maintaining his genetic evolutionary propensity to evolve, the Jew is actually stealing his keep not realizing that it is these “…easy pickings…” that are turning (((their))) Mongrel Race of Hideous Usurers into the Grotesquely Recognizable Miscreants that they are.

      • pterodactyl's Gravatar pterodactyl
        July 18, 2017 - 2:42 am | Permalink

        RoyAlbrecht “in that they merely needed to devise a method to change the laws or customs to allow them to have whatever it was they deemed necessary to have for free”
        To be fair they also have other characteristics that enable them to accumulate wealth – (1) they are very law abiding in terms of never going to prison (whilst readily sponsoring others who are not eg facilitating the mass immigration of criminals), and (2) they think of tomorrow and not the present and never waste money on the unnecessary such as sports cars – eg I knew some who owned a huge building worth millions in the city centre. They sat in a tatty office at the top and made no effort at all to look after the building or even to buy themselves decent furniture. They had all this money and were accumulating more merely by doing nothing whilst the property went up and up in value – for the next generation. In gentile societies (including the upper class) there is a saying – one generation makes the wealth, the next one saves it, the next one spends it. This does not apply to Jews – every generation saves it.

  3. Gilbert Huntly's Gravatar Gilbert Huntly
    July 11, 2017 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The modern, contemporary situation to compare with this is peril of the populace softened by modern conveniences, such as air conditioning, convenience foods, digital technology, and easy labor. Many young men don’t even know how to change a flat tire on their automobile… We have become a society of “dependents”.

  4. T. J.'s Gravatar T. J.
    July 12, 2017 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Japanese Samurai: on origin of jews and evil of race mixing

    part one

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9jajP3bi58#t=88.894875

    part two

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL6vco_e4gE

    part three

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbA1d0RAEOk

    part four

  5. July 12, 2017 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    Jewish culture differs from all others in that its earliest history is based on the fabled “Diaspora,” brought forth by Moses, and their “sacred” bloodline.

    Jews have been rootless since the very beginning of their culture and have therefore evolved the necessary adaptations to ensure their racial survival through the means of their religious/blood bindings. One does not have to search far to see just how intricately bound Jews are to the cultural foundations of their religion.

    Even when claiming to be atheists (as is the case with communist Jews) and agnostics, Jews lean heavily on their Old Testament heritage. Leading religious Jews know they invented the god of their Tanakh, therefore they are firmly convinced they alone control their cultural destiny through the auspices of the mythical god “YHVH,” a god they created.

    However, it is not god that is important, but the lessons imparted in the Tanakh that are critical to the Jew’s survival. Bowing to the god YHVH is nothing more than paying lip service to the religious figurehead invented by their mythical cultural founder, Moses.

    The concept of Jewish monotheism was stolen from the Egyptian king, Akhenaten. This served as the basis for the Biblical myths, products of an early Judaic priesthood that, profiting from the Egyptian’s religious invention, allowed them to live parasitically off the labors of the other members of their tribes.

    Since earliest time of Moses to Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and John Hagee, nothing has changed with the religious leaders of the Judaic based religions.

    • David Ashton's Gravatar David Ashton
      July 13, 2017 - 4:27 am | Permalink

      @ Arch Stanton

      Re your last paragraph, what about the authors of the Fourth Gospel & 1 Thessalonians, and of the Quran, and e.g. John Chrysostom and Luther?

      US Protestant Zionism is a small, albeit influential, part of the “Abrahamic” religious global collection, and for the most part takes a literal fundamentalist view of the New Testament, which many Jews, Zionists and non-Zionists alike, plus liberals, Christian and non-Christian alike, claim – ironically – to be the chief source of medieval and modern “antisemitism” in Europe and “therefore” the Nazi “Holocaust”.

      Members of the (largely) “Judaic based” religion of Islam – Moses (Musa) is seen as a predecessor of Muhammad – are in the forefront of attacks on Zionism and its “Crusader” allies (not excluding today Jared Kushner’s father-in-law).

      • July 13, 2017 - 10:09 am | Permalink

        The last paragraph was intended as a summation of the previous paragraph, i.e. that religious leaders have always used their religious power to live off the labor of others.

        As for opposition within the ranks of Judaism and her two ugly, much hated daughters, that has always been the status quo among these religions, offshoots and sects.

        Jesus ministry nothing more than total opposition to first century, Temple Judaism. His mission was to expose and destroy the sacrificial system oppressing first century “Jews”.

        Paul was a Jewish opportunist who saw the chance to usurp the power of the fallen Temple by replacing the Temple’s YHVH with Jesus. Paul stood direct opposition to Jesus teaching as his teaching demonstrate in Matthew 10:6

        “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

        “Lost sheep of Israel” is a clear euphemism for first century, Temple Jews. Here Jesus is specifically telling his disciples not to address the gentiles, but focus on Temple Jews. Paul does exactly the opposite and in doing so creates the “gentile’s” enmity to the Temple regime that, to this day, remains supported by orthodox Jews.

        Again Jesus repeats the focus of his mission when addressing the issue of the Canaanite woman.

        “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel..”

        Note that Jesus initially would not even address the woman until his disciples finally goaded him into doing so. I always see a modern dialogue going something like this, Disciple: “Jesus H. Christ, do something about this bitch! She won’t stop nagging us about her kid. PLEASE! Do something, anything, but get rid of her; she’s driving us crazy!”

        Thus one finds, from the beginning, Jesus was oppositional to traditional Judaism. Paul seeing his opportunity to take control of the decaying Temple system, “took up the cross” to empower himself.

  6. Junghans's Gravatar Junghans
    July 13, 2017 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    The author mentions 6 primary ‘traits of an adaptive culture’, (which from a White-European perspective), has only been carried out once in modern times, and that was clearly by Hitler’s Germany.

  7. HK Wills's Gravatar HK Wills
    July 16, 2017 - 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Herodotus, and Mr. Durocher have a solid foundation in biology:

    “A tribe including many members who, from possessing in high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity , obedience, courage and sympathy, were always ready to aid one another, and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other tribes; and this would be natural selection”

    – Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871

  8. pterodactyl's Gravatar pterodactyl
    July 18, 2017 - 3:56 am | Permalink

    “the West is suffering population replacement by Africans, Muslims, and Mestizos as a result of the treason of our hostile elites. ”

    The consequence of this will inevitably be to follow the path that S.Africa is taking – ie the wealth and safety of the whites will disappear. When this happens, the whites might switch to another mode of thinking. If this ever happens, and hardship returns, they could easily stop and reverse all the nonsense. In practical terms this will be no problem at all once the will to do so is present. But there is currently no will for the West to defend itself, due to the 15% who hate their own being so strident and dominant, and most of the rest of the population cowering before them.

    The whites will surely have to separate out into two groups – those who follow the current globalist elite on the one hand, and patriots on the other. The two groups would end up different genetically in terms of the frequency of some genes that determine human thinking and behaviour. While the whites continue to remain as one group in each Western country and to carry the hostile 15% genetically disposed to be enemy within who gravitate to politics and the media and education, they are doomed. But I cannot see this happening as the people are not even aware that they have voted fro those who hate them to rule them.

    I regret to say that the current murder of white S.African farmers does not seem to concern other whites in the West. http://historyreviewed.com/ We see none of the sympathy that everyone had for blacks when they had, under white rule, no vote, but on the other hand had jobs, education, law and order and medical care. Perhaps this is because the far-left MSM have imposed a news blackout, I do not know. Take Holland for example – THEY DO NOT ALLOW BOERS to return to their ancestral homes, even as they are being slaughtered and their land in S.Africa stolen. And a person of English descent in S.Africa has NO PRIORITY in being allowed to enter Britain – in fact the opposite and a black African from Nigeria stands a better chance.

    Perhaps the lack of will amongst the whites in S.Africa to do anything about their impending demise (eg get stories in the Western media which they could do if they really tried) is partly because the rich and powerful whites in S.Africa are not interested in the plight of the other whites as their money has made them selfish, and, being so rich, they have decided that co-operation with the black racist tribes is the best way to keep their wealth intact for longer whilst they make provision to transfer their wealth abroad. They will personally be okay when it all kicks off, unlike the Kings and noblemen in the times of Herodotus, who had everything to lose if the enemy won. The modern extra wealthy can always pull levers to escape and emmigrate, unlike the extra wealthy in ancient times, whose wealth was linked to land and was very difficult to transfer (try fleeing with a load of gold in ancient times and see how far you get. Now the elite just get a Swiss bank account and jump on a plane). It is the same with white elites everywhere – they believe they can get away from any mess they cause – as George Clooney has just done by leaving London after supporting all the immigrants coming there. And probably made a profit on his properties at the same time.

    Thus we see whites do not care in the sense that they STILL vote for these politicians who are refusing to help their fellow countrymen as the black tribes are preparing for the final conquest of the white lands.

    • J's Gravatar J
      July 21, 2017 - 5:23 am | Permalink

      Netaniyahu (a Jew) said:

      “I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he said. “I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth – both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy toward Israel.”

  9. J's Gravatar J
    July 21, 2017 - 5:22 am | Permalink

    “I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he said. “I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth – both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy toward Israel.”

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