78 – It’s Only Natural

Ok, so I’m going to wrap up the discussion of the development of regional cultures with a talk on an omnipresent (yet often ignored) influence on all of human development. This subject is often ignored in most disciplines, and it is definitely undervalued (unfairly) in many treatises on history. I speak, of course, of Nature.

Sure, you can push back against the forests with the axe and the plough. You can create farmland and settlements. You can eliminate local vegetation and create grazing lands for your herds. But the environment is there… waiting… and will come racing right back to retake it the second that you let your guard down.

In the Roman period we saw some fair extensive economic exploitation of the environment, with roads, large industrialized farmlands, Roman style towns, quarries, mines, and all manner of necessities for Roman life. The land, which was already transformed into an agrarian landscape under the Celts and the prehistoric britons, had pushed even farther towards the human end of the spectrum.

  6 comments for “78 – It’s Only Natural

  1. The earth Spirit
    March 4, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Yes, even though humans are shaping nature now, it was nature that shaped us first

  2. June 9, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    what time period is this?

  3. January 17, 2014 at 5:19 am

    I’m playing catch up with your podcasts and got as far as this one this morning, short but sweet. This is probably the most interesting/thought provoking of your episodes so far IMO.

    The concept of natural “islands” isolating cultural memes and leading to the evolution of cultural identity, and even “ethnic” identity and ultimately nationhood, is fascinating. It strikes me as analogous to the process of speciation in genetics and a worthy field of research in itself. Someone get Steven Pinker to write a book!

    • January 17, 2014 at 9:41 am

      I’m so pleased! Thanks for listening!

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