Saturday, July 05, 2008
Frederick Teggart´s Theory
Teggart attributed the successive waves of Northern Asian (Hun, Mongol, Manchu) invasions of Europe and China to the unanticipated consequences of Roman and Han foreign policy. Essentially, he argued that the Romans and Han kept pushing tribes in Central Asia back and forth between them. To escape the Roman and Han military pressure the tribes pushed into the territory of tribes to the north, and in a cascading domino fashion tribal pushing went all the way to the German and Hungarian area frontiers precipitating the invasions of Roman and the fall of the Roman Empire.
In this interpretation, the fall of the Roman and the Chinese empires was not a consequence of a centrifugal force arising from Northern Asia, but on the contrary, the consequence of stress between these very faraway entities.
All world-systems exhibit cyclical processes of change. There are two major cyclical phenomena: the rise and fall of large polities, and pulsations in the spatial extent and intensity of trade networks. "Rise and fall" corresponds to changes in the centralization of political/military power in a set of polities. It is a question of the relative size of and distribution of power across a set of interacting polities. The term "cycling" has been used to describe this phenomenon as it operates among chiefdoms (Anderson 1994).
I think history has been too short and we do not have enough experience to test this cycling theory.