The ecocultural perspective on cultural transmission: The family across cultures
Demographic transition theory is developed highlighting cultural transmission pattern as a key driver. Individuals maximize cultural fitness, i.e. the rate of own cultural type absorption by future generations. With low population density, one’s culture can be picked up only by own children, and so cultural fitness equals genetic fitness, individuals allocate all energy surplus to reproduction, and the Malthusian regime occurs. With rising population density, cultural transmission between non-relatives accelerates; knowledge production by an individual makes his culture more attractive. Individuals reallocate some of energy surplus from reproduction to knowledge production, causing technological growth. The model fits observed demographic transition patterns.
That there were contacts between Byzantium and the Viking world is well-known in outline, and many scholars have published work on particular aspects of those contacts. But our literary sources offer very few narratives of these contacts, beyond Byzantine accounts of Rus attacks and the Rus’ Primary Chronicle’s materials on Russo-Byzantine trade-agreements and the conversion of Prince Vladimir c.988. Not only are narrative sources lacking for contacts between Byzantium and the wider Viking world: we also lack a conceptual framework within which to place the numerous and disparate items of evidence of contacts. As a result, modern works of synthesis on the subject are exceedingly rare, and seldom very effective. The book that we aim to publish soon should amount to an illuminating, authoritative synthesis. Among the contributors are archaeologists and specialists in runes, numismatics, sagas, and Byzantine literary sources.