Our common royal background

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Our common royal background

Postby tomgosse » Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:57 pm

Bonjour mes cousins,

This morning I started rereading Easy French Reader at the section that tells the stories of Vercingétorix, Clovis, and my ancestor Charlemagne. What! Tom claims Charlemagne, Charles the Great, the Holy Roman Emperor as an ancestor? Yes I do! And, if you are a European, so can you! It seems that almost all people of European ancestry are descendants of Charlemagne.

It all has to do with the fact that as we calculate our ancestors and go back forty-one generations, about 1,000 years, we end up with 2,199,023,255,552 people. The problems is that there weren't over two trillion people alive then. And, there aren't that many people alive today. So, what gives? The answer lies in pedigree collapse, that is when cousins marry cousins. This article from National Geographic and The Atlantic explain this in more detail. They conclude that everyone of European descent is descended from all the people who were alive then and have living descendants today. And, all human beings have a common ancestor no more than four thousand years ago (UC Davis).

So I wish all of you, my royal cousins, a good weekend.
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Re: Our common royal background

Postby Brun Ugle » Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:16 pm

I remember Stephan Fry talking about that on QI. Of course, logically, we must all be related if you go back far enough. And I like the idea of us all being one big, happy family.

So, have a good week, cousins!
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Re: Our common royal background

Postby Montmorency » Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:59 pm

I'm just reading one of the Hilary Mantel novels about Thomas Cromwell, who was Henry VIII's "Mr Fixit" for many years. It seems that Henry, after his initial break from the Church of Rome, was still somewhat in fear of both the Pope (who at the time could command an army) and the Holy Roman Emperor. Much of the action takes place "at court", which tends to move around a lot, at the whim of Henry, who was afraid of plague in London, and so tended to do the rounds of his outlying palaces or the houses of rich noblemen (who just basically had to put up with it, at great expense).

Both Henry and Thomas were fairly ready to condemn anyone who got in their way to the axe (or worse).
So I'm not sure I want to have too much connection to royalty really!

(By the way, Mantel's prose style is ...er, "interesting". I assume it's an attempt to convey the historic period, without recourse to the actual language of the period; it takes some getting used to).
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