Early State in Cross-Cultural Perspective: A Statistical Re-Analysis of Henri J. M. Claessen's Database
In this paper we re-analyze Claessen's dataset on the "Early States". Our factor analysis shows that Claessen’s Early State typology is more or less justified, though we suggest some corrections and amendments to his typologization and his model of Early State evolution. For example, we show that the development of personal ownership of land correlates rather weakly with the political development of the Early State, and that political development might just as easily be accompanied by the strengthening of communal ownership. We also examine the correlation between Early State political development and ruler sacralization. Though this correlation is insignificant for the whole sample (Rho = +0.01; p = 0.48 [1-tailed]), its insignificance is accounted for by two distinct evolutionary patterns. The first is observed among the cultures of the “Axial Age” zone (the belt of the high civilizations of Eurasia and North Africa) and is characterized by a strong negative correlation between political development and ruler sacralization (Rho = – 0.57). The second is observed throughout the rest of the world and is characterized by a strong positive correlation between the two variables (Rho = + 0.55). We discuss possible causes of this impressive difference.