The Ionian Mission

I have have had famous people ask me how the Ionian Greeks became so smart (in Classical times, natch). In Classical times, the Greeks – particularly the Ionian Greeks – gave everybody this impression – in everyday experience, and certainly in terms of production of outstanding intellects. Everybody thought so. Nobody said this about the Persians – and nobody said it about the Jews, who never said it about themselves.

It’s an interesting question: perhaps there was some process analogous to that which we have proposed as an explanation for the high intelligence of the Ashkenazi Jews. Or maybe something else happened – a different selective process, or maybe it was all cultural. It’s hard to know – the Greek Dark Ages, the long period of illiteracy after the fall of Mycenaean civilization, is poorly understood, certainly by me.

Suppose that your biological IQ capacity (in favorable conditions) is set by a few hundred or thousand SNPS, and that we have identified those SNPS. With luck, we might find enough skeletons with intact DNA to see if the Ionian Greeks really were smarter than the average bear, and how that changed over time.

More generally, we could see if civilization boosted or decreased IQ, in various situations. This could be a big part of the historical process – civilizations falling because average competence has dropped, science being born because the population is now ready for it…

I think we’ll be ready to try this in a year or two. The biggest problems will be political, since this approach would also predict results in existing populations – although that would probably not be very interesting, since we already know all those results.

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105 Responses to The Ionian Mission

  1. rzg says:

    “More generally, we could see if civilization boosted or decreased IQ, in various situations.”

    Do I understand correctly that you’re thinking of Clarke-style eugenics/dysgenics, whereby civilization boosted or decreased genetic IQ?

  2. I, too, have long wondered that about the Ionians.

  3. History will be re-written, a fascinating process, though I wonder whether that door will be opened within two years. Tracking the relevant SNPs may take a long time, and much larger samples than currently available

    • I think so as well. But however long it takes the end result of these findings isn’t a bunch of HBDers with I told you so smirks, or a rewriting of history.

      The end result is a world as unimaginably different to us as our world would be to folks living around 1800. Because we all know this information doesn’t stop there. When parents have the choice of giving junior an IQ boost of a couple of standard deviations, they are going to take it. Sure their will be amish types, but you can’t stop progress.

  4. j says:

    More than civilization (urbanization?) per se, the Greek form of self-government by public assemblies may have favored those with rhetorical capabilities. Ionians talked endlessly, in contrast to Lacedonians.

  5. Jacob says:

    Sailing back then probably took some brains not to get yourself killed. If the Greeks were better sailors- because of geography- they might also have been just smart enough to have an advantage in trade; and if trade becomes linked to fitness, then you can start telling a story like your Ashkenazi paper.

    • dearieme says:

      Then why not the Phoenicians? Or the Polynesians?

      • If the classical greeks were smarter, and we have every reason to believe they were, there must have been a boiling off process of the dumber folk that lasted for many centuries, just as occurred with the Ashkenazi. People can speculate but they don’t know, we are pushing into human prehistory when we know very little about the people.

        • melendwyr says:

          Poor reasoning: you’re assuming that, if the Classical Greeks were smarter, it had to be because of heredity. There are plenty of other possible explanations of varying degrees of plausibility that would need to be ruled out before your conclusion would work.

          A diet high in certain kinds of fatty acids might have had something to do with it.

      • Jacob says:

        I don’t think the Phoenicians were dumb- Aristotle praised the Carthaginian governing institutions, and some Greek guy was duly impressed with the monuments when he visited, which apparently was unusual for Greek travelers. The Polynesians are/ were another story, which I don’t know much about, but I assume that the distances they were traveling were too great for much economic integration or trade.

        • Jacob says:

          Consulting that reliable tome, A Little History of the World (written for children in 1935 and translated by the author sometime in the 90s) here’s Ernst Gombrich’s opinion:
          “Greece was not so much a kingdom as a collection of small fortified cities, each with its own palace and king. The people were mostly seafarers, like the Phoenicians, only they traded less and fought more. They were often at war with one another, but on occasion would gang together to plunder other shores. And as their fortunes grew bigger, they grew bolder – and not just bolder, but braver, because to be a sea raider takes courage as well as cunning. So sea raiding was a task which fell to the nobility.
          The rest of the population were simple peasants and shepherds. Now, unlike the Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Assyrians,these noblemen weren’t interested in preserving the ways of their ancestors. Their many raids and battles with foreign peoples had opened their eyes to new ideas and taught them to relish variety and change. And it was at this point, and in this part of the world, that history began to progress at a much greater speed, because people no longer believed that the old ways were best. From now on, things were constantly changing. And this is why, nowadays, when we find even a fragment of pottery – in Greece, or anywhere else in Europe – we can say: ‘this dates from roughly this or that period.’ Because a hundred years later a pot like that would have
          gone out of fashion, and nobody would have wanted it.” (http://library.atgti.az/e-books/history/A%20Little%20History%20of%20the%20World_030014332X.pdf )
          So I guess the hypothesis is that innovation became high status because the aristocrats were pirates rather than landowners.

          (The same author on the Medieval Jews, in basic agreement with Cochran/Harpending: “Forbidden to own fields, they couldn’t be peasants, let alone become knights. Nor were they allowed to practise any craft. The only occupation open to them was trade. So that is what they did. Even then they were only permitted to live in specified parts of the town and only allowed to wear certain clothes. Yet, in time, some of them were able to earn a lot of money which knights and burghers borrowed and were often unable to repay.”)

  6. JayMan says:

    “More generally, we could see if civilization boosted or decreased IQ, in various situations. This could be a big part of the historical process – civilizations falling because average competence has dropped, science being born because the population is now ready for it…”

    Well, it’s as I said earlier:

    “It’s hard to know – the Greek Dark Ages, the long period of illiteracy after the fall of Mycenaean civilization, is poorly understood”

    HBD Chick will also be quite interested in this topic. There is this (from reverse renaissance? | hbd chick:

    “in Innate Social Aptitudes of Man: An Approach from Evolutionary Genetics [pdf], william hamilton suggested that, perhaps, one gets a renaissance by (re-)introducing barbarian altruism genes into a too outbred population, letting the mixture ferment for ca. 800 years or so, and then enjoying the fruits of everyone’s labors. he’s talking here, of course, about the european renaissance of the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries…and classical greece/athens after the dorian invasion of ca. 800 years earlier? i *think*. if it happened at all (link inserted by me):

    “‘The incursions of barbaric pastoralists seem to do civilizations less harm in the long run than one might expect. Indeed, two dark ages and renaissances in Europe suggest a recurring pattern in which a renaissance follows an incursion by about 800 years. It may even be suggested that certain genes or traditions of pastoralists revitalize the conquered people with an ingredient of progress which tends to die out in a large panmictic population for the reasons already discussed. I have in mind altruism itself, or the part of the altruism which is perhaps better described as self-sacrificial daring. By the time of the renaissance it may be that the mixing of genes and cultures (or of cultures alone if these are the only vehicles, which I doubt) has continued long enough to bring the old mercantile thoughtfulness and the infused daring into conjunction in a few individuals who then find courage for all kinds of inventive innovation against the resistance of established thought and practice

    There do seem to be many parallels between Ionian Greece, Rome, and Northwestern Europe of the last 500 years. Maybe it’s not an accident but a set of similar evolutionary processes that occurred each time. Now if only with this knowledge we can avoid going the way Rome did this time.

  7. Tolmides says:

    Clearly, the route to genetic success in this world is a boat and soft coastal raiding targets (a horse is just an alternative form of boat in some ages). Sitting still and adapting to a static situation is probably bad for you (in a generational, selection effect kind of way).

    Time to start marking up a map of the west coast.

  8. Greying Wanderer says:

    If coastal urban trading centers provided IQ selective niches you might get a situation where those centers eventually develop a significantly higher average IQ than their farming hinterland so in a conflict where those wealthy trading centers got massacred the hit to the average IQ of the whole region might be very disproportionate – having all your brains in one basket.

  9. Douglas Knight says:

    Do you recommend any particular source for the claim that Ionian Greeks were smarter than Peloponnesian and Italic Greeks? In particular, one that gathers the discussion of everyday interactions. For outstanding intellects, I could look them up myself: After Alexander, Ionia certainly dominates. And before the Classical period, we have Thales, Pythagoras, and Zeno. But the Classical period (500-300) seems dominated by Peloponnesians, particularly in the School of Athens. (But counts of outstanding intellects should be adjusted for population.)

    • gcochran9 says:

      The Athenians were Ionian.

      • Douglas Knight says:

        OK, so I can’t look this up myself.

        If I switch to this dialect map, that makes the Ionians dominate the Classical period and before, but I’m not sure they look so great in the Hellenistic period.

      • The Monster from Polaris says:

        Yes. But if I remember correctly what I was taught at school (long, long ago), a significant fraction of the philosophers who congregated in Athens came from elsewhere. Of course, they had to have some reason to migrate to Athens, so very likely the Athenians themselves may have been a smart enough lot to make their city a center of intellectual life, and the smart immigrants flocking to Athens then reinforced the city’s intellectual supremacy.

        • Douglas Knight says:

          I think it was about 50/50. That seems to me like a decisive win for Athens. And a lot of the foreigners were Ionian.

  10. Bla says:

    Gregory, just as a speculation, were there any other ancient peoples interesting to look into for the same reason?

    • gcochran9 says:

      The ‘black-headed’ people – Sumerians.

      • Bla says:

        Thank you for replaying. A reasonable guess, agree.
        Would also be interesting to know if there were some other differences (between Romans/some Italics and Gauls, or Phoenicians and other Levantine or NA peoples, for example) or some other factors were responsible for differences in development.

  11. iffen says:

    “I think we’ll be ready to try this in a year or two.”
    Civilization falling or science being born?

  12. Ilya says:

    JD Unwin made the case that civilizations collapsed when their internal cultural frameworks were no longer fit to sustain cohesion and fertility. Typically, it would be because of deviation from the pattern of, what he termed, “absolute monogamy” and sexual restraint. Most often, more rights to women would precede such a collapse.

    Of course, in the particular case of Mycenaean civilization’s collapse, it is more likely that natural, exogenous factors were the real culprit (part of the Bronze Age collapse).

    Broadly, I agree with Joseph’s stance about trade being instrumental. What I think bears mention here, is that not all trade is created equal. Historically, most of it was about supplying elites with status-granting items. However, the Mycenians were able to exploit their proximity to sea to build advanced technology (for the time), to transport items and people (slaves, warriors) in a very cheap manner, in higher volume, across huge distances. This trade was fundamentally higher scale and quality than what could be accomplished through more conventional, non-maritime routes. It also required great skill to sustain and expand it, along with various tangential enterprises endeavored by status-seekers of the polities that comprised Mycenae.

    This trade on mass scale enabled more labor specialization, helping to free up the talents of more citizens, for value-added endeavors, including intellectual ones.

    Also, I think that not only trade, but technologically involved , well-organized warfare played a huge part.

    I am not as convinced, however, that Mycenaean Greeks, on an individual basis, were more special, IQ-wise, than the Minoans. It’s just that the conditions were ripe for the former’s international acclaim. The Mycenaeans most likely were just a more Indo-Europeanized, more warfare oriented, version of Minoans. The Minoans were likely Anatolian derived, like LBK. We need invoke group-competition argument to understand Mycenaean success.

    As to Sumer, they were probably as special as the Elamites and the Harappans, probably very much related to them. Just, again, more access to productive land (enabling higher population capacity and more intense inter-group competition), water and rivers, somewhat better trade, labor specialization.

    All of these groups are, ultimately, descendants of Natufian people, from what I understand.

    • Ilya says:

      Sorry, meant “Jacob” instead of “Joseph”

      Also, this link supports the Anatolian-Natufian connection: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/06/gobekli-tepe/mann-text/2

      And, of course, the fact that you have to have respect for private property (which, possibly along with absolute monogamy, was mediated by a communal religion) before you can have large, stable farming societies, is explored here:

      http://www.pnas.org/content/110/22/8830.full

    • Jim says:

      Mycenaeans were certainly Indo-European, Minoans probably not. Culturally the two were very different. I doubt that either was a “version” of the other. They are not at all similar.

      The collapse of Mycenae was sudden, violent and total.

      • Ilya says:

        Yes, when I wrote “more Indo-Europeanized” what I meant was just “Indo-Europeanized”, without the “more.”

        Mycenaeans most likely were Minoan-like + Indo-Europeans-at-the-top

        • Jim says:

          Culturally there is very little resemblance between Mycenaeans and Minoans. For example in Mycenaean writing one can find the names of all kinds of gods that appear in Classical Greek mythology. Although one can’t always be sure that these gods played the same role as in the religion of Classical Greece there is no evidence of any great difference. Nothing in the remains of Minoan culture suggests anything like the Greek gods. The bull cult of Minos resembles nothing in Mycenaean culture. If Mycenae did consist of a Minoan-like population ruled by Indo-Europeans then that population substratum has left no trace in the archaeological record.

          Minoan art, architecture and dress are very different from Mycenaean. I’m baffled as to why you think they are closely related.

          • Ilya says:

            Where did I say that they are culturally similar? Did you not see me bringing up Mitanni? I did mention that Mycenaeans are, likely, genetically Minoan-like + Indo-Europeans.

            Culturally, it is obvious that it’s a completely different matter. The gods of Minoans/Etruscans were old agriculturalist gods. The Mycenaeans were culturally mostly Indo-European, because of elite replacement, which led to either complete expulsion of the old gods or their supplantation/subordination, as an imposition by conquerors.

            What happened with many Minoan people somewhat resembles the Hurrian Mitanni situation, though it’s possible that Minoans suffered more, at least culturally. Most of the bottom of the population remained intact, including their technological/occupational know-how. The elite warriors and, especially, ruling elites were probably mostly killed with some co-opted, including by intermarriage. The rulers, warriors, and priests became mostly or all Indo-Europeans. The Minoan-derived naval skills remained, which helped with a huge number of things including, eventually, the taking of Troy.

            Since Indo-Europeanization of the Aegean started happening in around 1900 BC, at least 1000 years after the Yamnaya invasion of Europe, the invaders were more agriculture friendly, more sensible and cultured when it came to conquest, killing, and perusing the spoils. They were also facing a (probably) better prepared, knowledgeable, naval based enemy in Minoans. This all greatly helped to preserve Minoan genes, at least the ones in Peloponnese.

            After a few hundred of years of coexisting, certainly by Bronze Age collapse, the elite priest-warrior Indo-European substrate and the Minoan worker/farmer one mostly merged genetically.

            It’s possible that there were different patterns and waves of Indo-Europeanization of Greece. For instance, I think that Dorians were purer, more inland, Indo-Europeans than earlier Mycenaean, at least the ones in the east (Anatolia).

      • Anonymous says:

        Btw, the “total collapse” assessment is problematic. We know that Achean tribes fought against Egyptians, and we also know that remnants of Mycenae went on to found Philistine cities/colonies, and Igor Lipovsky in his book “Ancient Israelites” says that Dan, an Israelite tribe that joined the Exodus, was actually an Indo-European (Achaean) one. Possibly and furthermore, other Mycenaen colonies either remained in some form or were established after the collapse in the Peloponnese — e.g. on the Anatolian coast.

        It is also interesting that the Ionians of post-Collapse period emerge with an alphabet that they, essentially, copied from Israel/Phoenicia.

        Either way, Mycenean civilization did not get erased, there is enough evidence to the contrary. The Ionean Greeks, according to their founding myth, the ones who ended up in Athens, were likely carrying with them those modified but living remnants.

        Going back to Athens, the land in Attica was high-acidity — i.e. not good for growing grain (but OK for olives). They depended on trade, to bring in grain. Hence, again, high degree of trade and conquest/colony establishment was both possible and paramount. Maybe they were a kind of ancient Singapore?

        • dearieme says:

          “Dan, an Israelite tribe that joined the Exodus…”: acuity of analysis will not be helped by mistaking Exodus as history.

          • Ilya says:

            Egyptian exodus, in one way, or another did happen, possibly in multiple waves, and under different circumstance and different times. Existence of mythology and probable invention around this issue, does not make it void. In the same way that we do not, should not, completely disregard Rig Veda and Avesta, just because they are full of mythologizing and were rewritten up to wazoo. What we do instead is we learn to read, interpret, and find correlations between fictionalized accounts and other evidence, written, archaeological, and (in our day) even genetic.

            We have non-Biblical sources indirectly affirming high likelihood of historicity of at least of some parts of Bible, both with regards to exodus, Hyksos/Apiru: Josephus citing Manetho, Amarna letters as well later developments, in the Monarchical Period, United and separated. I’ve both read and talked to some knowledgeable people (historians) who go by far more meaningful names than “dearieme” to improve my acuity in that matter.

            Due to Biblical record (which hints at Dan’s half-siblinghood; and secondary, if not tertiary status in tribal hierarchy), its preferred location near sea, particular hatred for Philistines (who were likely tribes comprising its old Achaean enemies), lack of action when it came time to help its Apiru/Northern tribal allies in war (Deborah’s song “And why did Dan remain on ships?”), Biblical to Achaean myth correspondence (Samson), “Dan” was very plausibly Achaean “Denyen”/”Danunu”. We have Egyptian papyri, and Hittite sources mentioning this Sea People/Achaean name.

            For more info, see “Ancient Israelites,” the book I referred to.

            And sure, there is no way I can prove it, like I can prove that “1+2=3”, based on commutativity of “+” and “3 is 2+1”, or like I can prove that if I release an apple now, it will fall towards the ground, or that your post was not typed by a goat: but the likelihood is there that Dan was an Achaean people.

          • Jim says:

            I wouldn’t be surprised if the tribe of Dan were in fact Danaoi but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t. Certainly to the extent that Exodus has a relation to actual history it would seem to fit into the time of the Sea Peoples and the near simultaneous collapse of Mycenae, the Hittite Empire and the Egyptian Empire.

          • I think the the most plausible attempt to take Exodus seriously as history (more specifically – as based on oral history of real events) is Barbara Sivertsen’s “The Parting of the Sea.” I summarize here argument here https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/2015/09/27/exodus/

          • dearieme says:

            “Egyptian exodus, in one way, or another did happen, possibly in multiple waves, and under different circumstance and different times.” In other words, it didn’t happen, it wasn’t history, but there might have been occasions when people moved from Egypt into the Levant. But none the less it is justified to speculate about the biblical tribe of Dan as part of this exodus which didn’t happen? Bonkers.

          • Jim says:

            dearieme – Speculation that the tribe of Dan is related to the Danaoi is admittedly a shot in the dark but it has a chance of being true. The Hebrews were not Sea Peoples as such but it seems likely that they were desert nomads who took advantage of the chaos following the onslaught of the Sea Peoples to conquer parts of the Eastern Mediterranean littoral . The Danaoi were one of the Sea Peoples and like the Philistines ( who were probably Mycenaean) they might well have wound up in the same general area as the invading Hebrews after being driven back by the Egyptians.

            Although it would be silly to regard the account in Exodus as the literal ltruth it is unlikely to be a pure fiction and probably does reflect actual history to some extent.

          • Ilya says:

            @logarithmichistory: thanks for the link. I’ve checked both your review and the Amazon page for Sivertsen’s book. From what I’ve read from these and from Lipovsky’s book, the story about the plagues can indeed be connected to natural disaster/volcanic eruption.

            Also, interestingly, Lipovsky and Sivertsen are in agreement regarding the Exodus being actually a two-wave set. However, Sivertsen connects both of these waves to natural disaster. Lipovsky connects only the second wave to a volcanic event (possibly, part of the Bronze Age pattern of collapse).

            Lipovsky writes that the first wave was composed of, formerly, the Hyksos. The Hyksos were, actually, the Northern Tribes (what later became the northern Kingdom of Israel): what constituted the Semitic “House of Joseph,” they came into Egypt during 18th, and were kicked out in the 15th BC. The “House of Joseph” (Menashe, Ephraim, mainly). They occupied a privileged position in the Lower Egypt, having founded a pharaoh dynasty in the Nile Delta (in fact, the Nile Delta was an old “hang-out” place for Semitic Canaanites, http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=36&Issue=02&ArticleID=06.) But the Hyksos/House of Joseph were defeated, and subsequently, when they fled to Saruhen, their elite was utterly annihilated within a year or so and almost all of the Egyptian records about them were purged by the native pharaohs.

            Although Hyksos were decapitated at Saruhen, many (likely the poorest, least urbanized segment) still survived and became a set of wandering tribes in the northern region of Israel (their land before they came to Egypt, actually). The Amarna letters refer to them as Apiru/Habiru, and local rulers complained to pharaohs about them. It’s quite possible that they etymology of “Hebrew” stems from “Habiru” / “Haverim” — i.e. Friends. They were a confederation of Semitic tribes sharing common descent (“Joseph”).

            The House of Joseph was the first wave of exodus.

            “House of Jacob” were the Southern Tribes (roughly, what much later came to be the southern, Judeah Kingdom). They came into Egypt during 17th, and left in the 12th century BC, led by Moses of the Levites and Aaron of Judah. Although they were related and on good terms with the Hyksos, they were of a different Semitic branch. In fact, Lipovsky argues that, Edomites, Moab, and Ammon were more closely related to Southerners/Judeans than the Northerners to Judeans. Yet House of Jacob allied with House of Joseph/Israel.

            House of Jacob occupied lower position, socially, in the Nile Delta, being mostly pastoralists. Egyptians didn’t have problem with them all the way till 12th century, until the Bronze Age Collapse, when they were escaping slavery, indeed.

            Anyway, there is much more in this book, I don’t have time to describe. Going back to the tribe of Dan, being part of the Sea People, it eventually allied itself with the northern tribes, who were on the way to getting established in Israel and needed help. Most of the Southerners were still wandering the desert, for geopolitical reasons (all explained in the book).

          • Jim says:

            The Hyksos don’t seem to have been a single people. Some of the names of Hyksos rulers are Aramaic, others Hurrian and some Aryan.

          • Ilya says:

            @jim: no, this is outdated knowledge. Based on material culture of Avarice, we now know that the predominant culture of the Hyksos was Amorean.

            Also, keep in mind that we know only so many pharaoh names from the 14th/15th/16th Dynasty (the Hyksos one). The names were seriously distorted: first, Egyptionalized, and later, Hellenized. Hence, some of them now sound very different from what they were originally.

            We see many instances of that with Biblical names being so distorted in Russian/Slavic languages (by way of Greece), that we barely recognize their Hebraic origin.

            My Biblical name is Eliyahu, btw.

            So, what “Salitis” sounded like in 17th century BC — we don’t know.

          • Ilya says:

            “predominantly Amorean”–>”Amorite”

        • Jim says:

          Virtually total collapse was what happened in Peloponnese and in Mycenae itself, not necessarily elsewhere although there is massive destruction nearly everywhere in the Eastern Mediterranean. Egypt almost alone escaped destruction although invaded twice by Sea Peoples (“Sea Peoples” is a modern term. the Egyptians themselves referred to them as “Peoples of the Islands”.)

          Refugees from Mycenae and Crete such as the Philistines ( who were said by the Egyptians to have come from Crete) were certainly a component of the Sea Peoples but there were a lot of other people as well.

      • Ilya says:

        Btw, the “total collapse” assessment is problematic. We know that Achean tribes fought against Egyptians, and we also know that remnants of Mycenae went on to found Philistine cities/colonies, and Igor Lipovsky in his book “Ancient Israelites” says that Dan, an Israelite tribe that joined the Exodus, was actually an Indo-European (Achaean) one. Possibly and furthermore, other Mycenaen colonies either remained in some form or were established after the collapse in the Peloponnese — e.g. on the Anatolian coast.

        Either way, Mycenean civilization did not get erased, there is enough evidence to the contrary. The Ionean Greeks, according to their founding myth, the ones who ended up in Athens, were likely carrying with them those remnants.

        As a side remark, not only do they emerge alive and speaking Greek, they also, essentially, enrich their knowledge with Hebraic alphabet, and modify it to suit their needs (i.e written Greek, as we know it, emerges, and a bit later, Latin alphabet, and all the others emerge, eventually, too).

        Going back to Athens, the land in Attica was high-acidity — i.e. not good for growing grain (but OK for olives). They depended on trade, to bring in grain. Hence, again, high degree of trade and conquest/colony establishment was both possible paramount.

        Maybe we could think of Athens as an ancient, militarized, high-fertility version of Singapore.

    • Ilya says:

      From what I’ve read and analyzed, Ionians were Indo-Europeanized relatives of Minoans (Anatolian farmer-descendant people). A situation somewhat paralleled by Hurrian Mitanni. Although I’d imagine the original, pre-Indo-Europeanized Hurrians had darker hair and different features than the Minoan-like 2000 BC Mycenea. Due to infusion of European hunter-gatherer DNA into Minoan farmers’ ancestors, genes they acquired via their interactions with them, and the millennia separating Hurrians and Minoans, the pre-Indo-Europeanized Mycenaeans were probably very light already.

      • Jacob says:

        Culturally, the Minoans were quite close to Egyptians, right? But not linguistically or genetically?

        • Jim says:

          There was quite a bit of trade and contact between Minoans and Egyptians but culturally they seem totally different. In what ways were they culturally close?

        • Ilya says:

          I’m inclined to agree, in terms of genetics. The ancestors of Egyptians came from the Levant/Anatolia, same region as the ancestors of Minoans, around 5000 BC. The Minoans’ ancestors came to Crete around 5500-6000 BC.

          Also, more likely, the Minoans’ Anatolian farmer ancestors intermixed to some extent with the light-complexioned hunter-gatherer populations that lived in Southern Europe at the time.

          The Egyptian ancestors, pre-2000 BC possibly had mixtures with hunter-gathering populations that were more local to North Africa, including being exposed to mixing with various agro-pastoralists that went back and forth throughout the Nile Delta, including what we can probably classify as proto-Semites.

          Their languages and cultures were probably sufficiently different, due to accumulated time distance, and despite some Bronze Age trade. Again, most of the trade around that time was between elites. Given how subsistence-oriented most societies were at the time, land distance, and how small the populations pre-3200 BC or so (before Bronze Age), the exchange was minimal.

          Trade probably expanded thereafter, with emergence of larger organized societies. We see emergence of Egypt’s first dynasty (possibly, they had to agglomerate into larger societies, to both defend and trade against/with the proto-Semitic/Hurrian tribes that settled in what essentially became Canaan at the time and also because intra-Egyptian trade made it an attractive and doable proposition to do so).

          Still, trade was not a huge factor.

        • Jim says:

          Minoans and Egyptians were well aware of each other. Pictures of Minoans are common in Egypt and evidence of trade with Egypt has been found in Crete. But looking at the material remains of both civilizations shows very little resemblance between them.

    • Hellene says:

      It could be that the Ionians were Nordic

      No it couldn’t:

      http://dienekes.awardspace.com/articles/hellenes/

  13. MawBTS says:

    Most of the notable Ionians cluster around a single location (Athens) and a relatively small window of time (the 5th to 3rd century BCE).

    In this location and period we have Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides, etc.

    A modern counterpart might be Liverpool, which in the space of 10 years had huge clustering for musical talent. Liverpudlians have produced 56 number one singles, more than any other city in the world.

  14. Although its a popular viewpoint – it dates back to at least Francis Galton – there are no particular grounds to attribute amazingly high average IQ levels (as in 1 S.D.+ over contemporary peoples let alone moderns) to the ancient Greeks either in Ionia or elsewhere.

    In reality, just the combination of three factors:

    (1) It was the first major society to achieve “craftsman” level literacy rates of ~10%, which in turn was enabled by the adoption of the alphabet (previously the limit had been 1-2%, or so called “priestly” or at best “aristocratic” literacy) – see Ancient Literacy by William Harris for the detailed arguments behind this. Obviously you need to be literate as a minimum to make any sort of scientific contribution, if you are an illiterate sheepherder no amout of IQ would enable you to do that;

    (2) A significant but not all that cardinal IQ advantage due to the Ancient Greeks stem/authoritarian family structure (at the time most other peoples were communitarian) and surprisingly good auxological indicators – they had surprisingly good average heights of ~172cm (males) for a Malthusian society (how and whythey achieved this I haven’t quite figured out;

    (3) An initially low IQ threshold for discovering new concepts in the arts and sciences. To be frank, brilliant as they were, the sort of work Archimedes or Aristotle did was significantly less intellectually demanding than even what 17th century Europeans had to contend with to move the frontiers of science forwards.

    … would be quite sufficient to account for the achievements of ancient Greece, without having to posit superhuman IQ levels and having to explain how they could have evolved in the first place and why they vanished.

    For more details, see the theory of Apollo’s Ascent: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/intro-apollos-ascent/

    • Douglas Knight says:

      (3) Sure, eventually Europe overtook the Greeks. But it took 1600 years. That is pretty far ahead of their time. If they picked the low-hanging fruit and it stalled for that long, it doesn’t look so good for the people in between: Rome, Byzantium, Persians, Renaissance Italy. And it didn’t just stall, but regressed: the Romans never understood Eratosthenes’s measurement of the circumference of the Earth. You say that the difference between mastery and discovery is 2σ. So do you conclude that the Greeks were 2σ smarter than the Romans?

      • The Ancient Greeks reached a critical mass of aggregate mindpower previously unseen anywhere in the world and this enabled them to make a ton of discoveries in a short period of time. Under the Romans, there was a plateau – hence the rate of discoveries slackened (but certainly didn’t disappear!).

        That is because merely to maintain scientific progress at a constant pace you need to be constantly adding to your aggregate mindpower (since new discoveries are generally harder to make).

        From the crisis of the 3rd century, and accelerating in the 5th, literacy waned in a really major way in the classical world. And to be sure, that is when you actually got technological stagnation and even regression in some instances. When literacy falls from 10% to 1-2%, the efforts of those cognitive elites that remain should naturally be devoted to at least preserving knowledge (which is what happened).

        What distinguished Renaissance Italy, and even more so the North-West Europe of the Scientific Revolution, is that for the first time the peaks in aggregate mindpower achieved under the Greeks were not only matched but comprehensively superceded. Whereas the Ancient Greeks and Romans had a literacy rate of ~10%, that of north/central Italy during the Renaissance was closer to 25% (enabled partially by much cheaper paper, always a big constraint in classical times), and they also got to enjoy the benefits of newly discovered eyeglasses which practically doubles the effective working life of many intellectuals and skilled workers (see David Landes on that).

        This allowed tons more discoveries to be made in a process that has continued until today.

        • gcochran9 says:

          In Classical times, there’s wasn’t much technological progress. There was much more in Medieval times.

          • The Dark Ages in Europe if anything saw a regression.

            There was a pickup in technological progress from around 1100, incidentally when literacy in large parts of Europe began to spread back from the priestly realm to the aristocratic and craftsman spheres. Two centuries later, the Renaissance began, and accelerated after the Black Death (perhaps in part thanks to superior nutrition after the population losses from plague).

            Of course during the main parts of the medieval period the main locus of progress was in the east, under Islam (science) and China (tech). That is of course entirely congruent with AA theory.

        • benespen says:

          The Renaissance proper didn’t produce much scientific progress at all. Even if you expand the Renaissance to include everything from Oresme to Galileo, which I think is rather too long, little changed. The work of Galileo looks like a direct continuation of Oresme. Technological progress was different.

    • What?!?!

      Well that’s great news. We need to start isolating groups of 30,000 people right away. We can’t give them the slaves and completely imitate the culture of the Golden Age of Athens but we can give them the same basic ingredients and then enjoy all the great art, plays, and original philosophy that comes bubbling out.

      Good work over at Unz Anatoly. Yea I’m being sarcastic, but only to prove a point. There were 250,000 people living at Athens, but only 30,000 were citizens. Ain’t no way no how that bunch was of average intelligence, sorry Anatoly, you’re wrong. We can skew the numbers anyway you like, make it a population of 5,000,000 it you like, it doesn’t matter, you’re wrong. The average IQ of that small population was very high, can it be proved? Nope. Is it highly probable? Yes

      • Paris was responsible for something like 75% of France’s eminent figures according to Charles Murray. Parisians have an average IQ of 150 QED. /s

        Basic neglect of (1) cognitive clustering and (2) the demographic reality that the overall population of the Greek-speaking world during Classical and Hellenistic times was actually rather substantial at around 8 million.

        • 10 million Chicagoans (my home town) ain’t doin’ shit culturally, Classical Athenians would call us tards (Greek translation necessary) and they would be right.

          • That you make such a simplistic argument demonstrates you don’t understand the most basic principles of AA.

            (Hint: The discovery threshold today is about 2 S.D. higher than it was in Greece. And besides Chicago’s output isn’t even all that trivial – University of Chicago anyone?).

          • Yes I was too simplistic, you are right. But it is a blog post, I try to be brief and by doing so i risk being too simplistic. Jews have won 22 % of the nobel prizes ever awarded, 29% since !950. They are 0.2% of the worlds population. Why this is so is most easily explained by their average IQ (at least in the Ashkenazi Jews) in the112 to 115 range. Why they haver a higher IQ is best explained in The 10,000 year Explosion. A small increase in average intelligence makes for a very large increase in the number of people with geniuses level IQ’s.

            We will have to agree to disagree as to why the classical Greeks were such high achievers in multiple areas. My best guess is a number of factors converged to make the average IQ of those Greek contributing to the classical age far higher and that is why they left the amazing contribution that they did.

            I listen to grand theory builders such as yourself wander far away from the hard evidence. I don’t think this is constructive, it never proves much. We have a question. Were the classical greeks of exceptional intelligence. Cochran has proposed a means to prove it one way or the other. We don’t know yet.

          • You are comparing apples and oranges when you talk about discovery thresholds in 2015 as compared to classical Greece. My comment was too glib and simple, you are right. Let me end with this and call is a day. Ashkenazi Jews are less than 0.2% of the worlds population yet they have won 29% of the nobel prizes since 1950. A large part of that has to do with their IQ in the 112 to 115 range. We both know that a small increase in IQ creates a far larger percentage of true geniuses. Was their some group of factors that caused a similar increase in IQ among classical Greeks? My guess is yes, your guess is no. We aren’t going to know until the particular test that Cochran proposes exists and is applied to Greeks from that time and place.

    • Oomph says:

      I agree that you don’t need to credit them with an extraordinary IQ but even a slightly higher mean compared to their immediate contemporaries, at least, can have big effects as you’ll agree.

      Also, to repeat Douglas Knight’s points: Europe only overtook the Hellenistic world (which seems much more fruitful to me than classical Greece) in every area only by around the 17th century (imo), a good deal after the much earlier 12th century translation movements, and the ancient Roman West frequently couldn’t, or at least didn’t care that much to, understand much of the intellectual output of the Greek-speaking Roman East and its immediate predecessors (the Pliny – Eratosthenes example DK mentions is an interesting one). A lot of reasons were responsible for all that but it’s interesting to consider.

      By the way, I dig your attempts (I don’t know how convincing I find them but they are interesting, nonetheless) to explain why, in Murray’s estimate and mine too, East Asia didn’t utterly dwarf (even the opposite, in some areas) the Hellenistic Mediterranean or the medieval Islamic world – until the modern West came along and killed everything that came before it.

      • dearieme says:

        “the sort of work Archimedes or Aristotle did was significantly less intellectually demanding than even what 17th century Europeans had to contend with to move the frontiers of science forwards.” Time to remember Newton’s remark about standing on the shoulders of giants.

    • Jim says:

      Your statement regarding Archimedes is simply not true.

  15. Rye says:

    “With luck, we might find enough skeletons with intact DNA to see if the Ionian Greeks really were smarter than the average bear, and how that changed over time.”

    Do we have any ancient Greek DNA data at all? Do we know to which degree modern Greeks are the descendants of ancient Greeks?

    • melendwyr says:

      IIRC modern Greeks are genetically pretty much Turks. Whether that was also the case in the ancient world is the big question. How much damage to the native population of Greece was caused by the Romans taking off so many conquered Greeks as slave-tutors? How much damage was done generally by applying the tall poppy rule to conquered populations?

  16. Pingback: Tuesday Assorted Links | Marginal Counterrevolution

  17. Oomph says:

    I agree that you don’t need to credit them with extraordinary IQ but even a slightly higher mean compared to their immediate contemporaries, at least, can have big effects as you’ll agree.

    Also, to repeat Douglas Knight’s points: Europe only overtook the Hellenistic world (which seems much more fruitful to me than classical Greece) in every area only by around the 17th century (imo), a good deal after the much earlier 12th century translation movements, and the ancient Roman West frequently couldn’t, or at least didn’t care that much to, understand much of the intellectual output of the Greek-speaking Roman East and its immediate predecessors (the Pliny – Eratosthenes example DK mentions is an interesting one). A lot of reasons were responsible for all that but it’s interesting to consider.

    By the way, I dig your attempts (I don’t know how convincing I find them but they are interesting, nonetheless) to explain why, in Murray’s estimate and mine too, East Asia didn’t utterly dwarf (even the opposite, in some areas despite having the highest IQs these days) the Hellenistic Mediterranean or the medieval Islamic world – until the modern West came along and killed everything that came before it.

    PS: sorry if this is a double post, had some trouble with posting.

  18. IC says:

    Reactionary idea.

    Merciless societies like feudalism or capitalism without benefit cause downward social mobility (eugenic process) lead to increased overal mental ability for the population. Darwin’s survival of the fittest fits naturally to this kind of societies. This long process (thousands years) sets up stage for later Classic Greek, Renaissance and industrial intellectual achievement.

    Increased material wealth and intellectual achievement leads to idea of equality which promote democracy or egalitarian societies. Upward social mobility (disgentic process) starts at expense of people with higher ability. Only after several hundred years (like Classic Greek democracy) of such devolution, the society melting down due to geneneral incompetence (or lower population IQ). Communism would be the worst form in term of disgenic effect. Dark age would come with reintallation of merciless societies.

    So downward social mobility is a good thing for population in general. (bad for individual who suffers from it). Free market capitalistic competition principle also applies to human evolution. Without fierce competition ridding off weaker ones, productivity would never increase.

    Cycle continues.

    • Ilya says:

      First of all, let me say that I’m completely for raising national IQ, both average and median. However:

      Egalitarian redistributionism, on a habitual basis, is something that was popularized during Karl Marx’s time, a development made possible by industrialization and deficit of labor relative to production (hence providing opportunity for labor leverage). Today, in the days of highly automated production and oversupply of low skill labor, leverage of the bottoms is still maintained via universal suffrage.

      Before then, of course, all attempts at redistribution were expressed as spikes of violent outburst, via rebellions of various kinds.

      The two are obviously different. Likewise, the basis of our economies is different (large professional warrior class+subsistence agro vs industrial agro+advanced machinery+”service industry”+etc).

      My thesis is this: Now that we are learning more and more about genetics, directly and via genomics, and learn to engineer it, it is outdated, preposterous to have social arrangements that directly target raising deme’s IQ. While understanding it is essential, putting too much emphasis on the mechanics of the evolution of IQ as it happened in the days of yore as a precise prescription for today is as dumb as practicing a cargo cult.

      Instead, what I want is a better society, holistically (even if IQ is an essential component underlying such entity). If you read Unwin’s elaborate survey, what should be targeted are arrangements that stimulate sexual restraint (eg institution of monogamous marriage, arranged marriage/limiting rights of women to work, prohibition of adultery and capricious divorce) and general population cohesion, including overall fertility. If it takes some pro-science religion to help to get there, that’s fine — we already have a de facto secular religion, and it is called “progressivism.” It might need to build on what’s accepted, with modifications, or may need to have the foundation utterly blown off, I don’t know.

      As to IQ: given inter-state competition in the economic and military spheres and availability of arranged marriage plus genetics knowledge (including, in future, engineering thereof), it will be taken care of by the population itself, no need for government taking baby-making into bureaucratic hands (it also will be much harder to implement in reality).

      Some form of redistribution is absolutely OK: ie from corporations with shorter term profit redirecting large portion of their profit into national programs with longterm potential. The government can create long-running engineering and scientific projects, employing the best and the brightest and giving them generous salaries (R Fisher proposed additional subsidy to high earners, to stimulate fertility; I further propose financial penalties on non-procreating high-earning individuals, to punish useless hedonism). Also, abolish Earned Income Credit. Then trickle-down effect will work out the rest.

      The point is that intergroup competition will put the upward pressure on the traits that are needed to win, including intelligence.

      That’s why the answer to the fertility and dysgenics crisis in the context of advanced economies is capitalist oriented nationalism, including strong trade protectionism. Ultimately, an autarchy is something worth striving for, especially for a country full of resources like the US.

      • IC says:

        Interesting point of view.

        Historically, any social engineering that is against nature will fail at end. Analogy is that building higher levee to combat flooding rivers would fail at end (mgiht work for short term). Successful strategy is to find natural terrain for likely route of flood water and turn it into new river path (involving relocating population to give way for future river route). Evolving with nature is always winning strategy.

        http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21679471-most-campaigns-against-foreign-plants-and-animals-are-pointless-and-some-are-worse

        This is an article with similar idea.

        However, your idea might not be wrong either. Only time will tell.

        • Ilya says:

          You know, people who were building Gobekli Tepe 12 KYA had ancestors that most likely were killing each other on a clan vs clan basis, possibly a thousand or so years earlier. And, yet “against nature,” Gobekli Tepe, an effort that took hundrends, if not thousands of people, exists. (http://www.amazon.com/Ultrasociety-Years-Humans-Greatest-Cooperators-ebook/dp/B0185P69LU)

          I think the article you linked is expounding the idea that diversity can be wonderful, and that ecosystems oftentimes may find new equilibria and thrive.

          I don’t necessarily disagree with the equilibrium idea. Based on this idea, the US can certainly find a new equilibrium that’s akin to Brazil’s, for example. And that’s totally fine, especially, if one is not a US citizen.

          Again, the fact remains: multilevel selection is working and will still be working. Let the US become New Brazil. Other, more organized, cohesive societies will come to own it and, eventually, either fully or mostly replace the inhabitants, possibly leaving some as museum relics, if they deem it of utility or are that nostalgic.

          That’s how nature works, too. And a country is neither a garden nor wildlife, though the former is closer to truth.

          Anyway, if you read what I wrote in my previous post, I didn’t even concern myself with forceful removal of anyone, much less on their “species identity.” It’s either mistaken or disingenuous to say that that’s what I implied. Being an anti-egalitarian nationalist, especially in a rich country, does not imply kicking out citizens. It does imply closing of borders, and being selective about whom to accept. It also implies all the things that I actually mentioned, regarding taxation, social, and fiscal policies.

          I agree with Martin Nowak’s and the host, Greg Cochran’s, views that group selection is pretty much cultural selection (i.e. selection targeting behaviors), as opposed to what many idiots think it is (i.e. selection directly on ethnicity/nationality). Stuff that appears outwardly one way may, in fact, be something else.

      • Lysander says:

        “If it takes some pro-science religion to help to get there, that’s fine — we already have a de facto secular religion, and it is called “progressivism.” It might need to build on what’s accepted, with modifications, or may need to have the foundation utterly blown off, I don’t know.”
        Mormonism in 50 years.

      • Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        leverage of the bottoms

        Tell me you didn’t really mean that.

        • Ilya says:

          In the old days, there was no sin in leveraging a young ass. In fact, sometimes, that ass could exert some useful leverage back:

          Modern bottoms, however, are not leveraged; instead, it is they who lever.

      • Fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        We should avoid a dependence on satellites for wartime purposes that is out of proportion to our ability to protect them. If we make ourselves dependent on vulnerable spacecraft for military support, we will have built an Achilles heel into our forces.

        Dr Ashton Carter, MIT, April 1984

        Probably OT for this posting …

        Quoted from here: There Will Be War, Vol X

        • Ilya says:

          Wise words, but not sure I’m following. Is it a statement against depending or depending inasmuch as putting all eggs in one basket? Something like fragility vs robustness? Is it regarding genetic improvement, genetic engineering, or something else?

  19. Greying Wanderer says:

    1) I don’t think the Greeks needed to have a mega IQ. They just needed the function of (average IQ, literacy, numbers) to have produced enough outliers close enough together to create an Athens.

    2) I don’t think you can count the totality of the Dark Ages as part of the time it took for the Greeks to be surpassed – things went backwards – and one of the things that went backward was trade (cos minimal and stagnant money supply) so if trade was a major part of the engine that period would count as null.

    3) There may have been others who hit similar peaks but records didn’t survive. If the Roman had been Mongols maybe there would be no written relics of Ancient Greece, just stone.

    #

    However assuming for the sake of argument
    – there was something special about the Ionian Greeks
    – they had an edge over Phoenicians that wasn’t just differential survival of written records
    – it was at least partially connected to trade
    and then looking at a map of the time.

    http://www.ancient.eu/uploads/images/108.jpg?v=1431030119

    The thing that jumps out to me is the density of coastal trade in the Aegean compared with the Levant.

    Maybe very large quantities of short distance trade have a denser effect than smaller quantities of longer distance trade – fewer captain/trader slots to fill maybe?

    If it’s particularly dense trade that has an uplifting effect then that might tie in with the idea of a very early back migration of OoA++ from SE Asia, the Italian renaissance and the NW science explosion.

  20. st says:

    Great topic, Prof. Cochran. Homer seems to favour the smart of Odysseus more than the strength of Achilles. If anything, Homer is Ionian and in the system of values he represents (Ionia, 8 century BC?) the military smart is already placed atop of the strenght – the perfect warrior fights with his head first – builds trojan horses, uses trickery and outsmarts the enemies – and survives, unlike Achilles or Ajax. For whatever reason ionians seem to put special value on human intelligence at least since homeric times. And on the seafaring as a lifestyle of choice. Pretty odd for an ethnic group which do not even have its own word for a “sea” – “thalassa” is a borrowing from another linguistic family. They must have been very adaptive. In their own tradition, Ionians believed that they had ancestral relationship to Achaeans and Mycenaeans, that were overran by the Dorians on the continental part except Atika and found refuge on the islands. Perhaps Dorians were less seafaring people. It was not all about trade – perhaps it is the other way around – the trade rose to prominence in Athens because Ionians might have been smarter than average bear. As an OT, both Strabo and Tacitus describe a wild caucasian tribe, well known to the romans, living on the shores of black sea and in the north-west of Caucasus mountains. They call them Achaeans, and describe them as pirates and vagabonds, who live from plunder, utilising their highly mobile boats to attack the roman and greek ships, taking their crews hostages for ransom and plundering everything on board. If under attack by a superior force, Strabo says, Achaeans would take their small, mobile boats with them and hit for the mountains, where would make living by robbing tradesman crossing the mountain passes. No clue if these caucasian achaeans were the predecessors or otherwise related to the Homeric achaeans and Hellenic Ionians.

  21. pyromancer76 says:

    Long time reader, new commenter. If you notice natural climate changes during the Holocene instead of IQ per se, increased warmth along with necessary cure for global drought brought about by cold periods (adequate rainfall returns) might go much further to helping the explanations. Then having a “good-enough” IQ, being in the right place at the right time, and being able to take timely initiative and advantage (mysterious qualities?) might go a long ways to explaining human cultural/civilization changes. Certainly, the end of almost every “civilization” occurred because of the end of a warm period (Mycaenians perhaps volcanic ending?).

    • IC says:

      Valid hypothesis or speculation. I am open-minded about all hypothesis based on objective information.

      Natural environmental change should always be considered in human history. Like bacteria colonies, different environments favor different kind of human societies. This might not be the sole explanation, but at least contributing factor.

      It is complicated.

    • Jim says:

      Not volcano. War.

  22. josh says:

    Boo! Less careful agnosticism, more wild speculation!

  23. melendwyr says:

    Any willingness to talk about active eugenics programs to possibly recreate what might have once arisen naturally?

    There’s the Chinese program, but for a variety of reasons I don’t think they’re going to have all that much luck. At least, I don’t think the results will be what they’re hoping for. Smarter conformists are conformists still, and they’re terrible at revolutions of any kind, scientific included.

    • Gary B Wong. says:

      “Smarter conformists are conformists still, and they’re terrible at revolutions of any kind, scientific included.”

      I don’t find the Chinese any more or less conformist than Northern Europeans, and their high culture would appear to extol a huge number of striking individualists (i.e. Zhuang Zi, Tao Yuanming, Li Bai, Ou Yangxiu, any of the Chan Buddhists or Neo-Confucian philosophers).

      As for lacking an aptitude for revolutions – China is probably the one nation/civilizational cohort that has seen the largest number of significant political upheavals/revolutions in its history. It’s not as though Qin Shihuang unified the country under a tradition of monarchic rulership that’s remained uninterrupted ever since.

  24. j says:

    Although infanticide was practiced regularly by all ancient peoples (except the Hebrews, which scandalized the Greeks and later the Romans), as far as I know, only the Greeks gave it an eugenic spin. Aristotle writes that malformed, sick, ugly newborn must be killed. Greeks systematically decreased their average mutational load and improved the quality of their population.

  25. Steve Sailer says:

    Maybe the Greeks were more encouraging of intelligence? Consider Zeno’s Paradoxes, for example. The Greeks were impressed and argued over them, even though they strike many people as obnoxious. In a lot of modern day high schools, Zeno would have gotten punched until he shut up about his stupid paradoxes.

  26. On the off change that anyone is still following this thread, I have a detailed article on why it is perfectly plausible that average Ancient Greek IQ was say 90.

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/ancient-greeks-not-geniuses/

  27. Bob says:

    It’s hard to know – the Greek Dark Ages, the long period of illiteracy after the fall of Mycenaean civilization, is poorly understood, certainly by me.

    I recall reading that many of the Ionians were descended from Mycenaean Greeks who had fled the collapse of Mycenaean civilization.

  28. Douglas Knight says:

    I made a list and estimated that 60% of Greek thinkers were Ionian; about the same restricting to scientists. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ionians were 60% of the population, with their colonies in Chalcedon, Thrace, and the Black Sea.

    The Aeolians are best known for poetry, but Theophrastus of Lesbos was a great scientist. The Achaeans are pretty thin: all I’ve got are the two Pythagoreans Hippasus of Metapontum and Philolaus of Croton. (Was Elis Achaean?) There are a lot of important Dorians, starting with Archimedes of Syracuse, Eratosthenes of Cyrene, and Hippocrates of Kos. But I may have misattributed colonies, especially in Italy and Africa. I was unable to assign tribes to the colonies in Cilicia, such as Perga.

    What kind of Greeks settled in Alexandria?

    • Douglas Knight says:

      I meant the region of Chalcidice, near Macedon, not the town of Chalcedon, across from Byzantium.

      As for Chalcedon itself, some say it was founded from Megara. I am uncertain how to assign Megara to a tribe. Different sources tie it to its neighbors of Athens, Corinth, and Thebes. It had many colonies, but Chalcedon was the only intellectually productive one.

  29. Cplusk says:

    Today avg iq in South Italy, Greece and Turkey (and maybe South Spain) are similar, around 90-95. I think a separate parallel iq decline is not likely for all these populations with Ancient Greek ancestry so avg iq in those areas were probably same during the ancient times. Maybe there was a small aristocratic ruling class with high iq (125?) and they were the high achievers.

  30. Those great Greeks do not exist anymore because the average Greeks killed them. Socrates, for example.

    There can of course still be a Greek minority with very high IQ living now…

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