DATE: 7:20:00 AM
Extra-chronological Parallel History!
Caution: the following is rather boring, I suggest you don't read!
Does history repeat itself? We hear this phrase so often that it has become a cliche of all cliches. Can we in fact say that historical events tend to be repetition of some previous events. A strong argument against this very common belief is that "no two events are exactly alike", and how alike they are depends on how much of their details we are willing to overlook.
I am not sure what side to take in this argument, but I do have an idea myself, and that is that historical "environments" indeed seem to repeat themselves! If we accept that events are born of their environments, we should expect that similar events are born of similar environments as well.
When you read the history of Ancient and Antique times of the non-Western world, you see that many staple events and situations of Medieval and Pre-Modern Europe have parallels in those times. My example comes naturally from my own background in Iranian history, but they can certainly be better and more accurate examples found about this. In Iranian history, it is fascinating to see that the Parthian times (around 2nd century BC to 221 AD) remind us of the Medieval history of Western Europe: same patterns of land-holding, feudalism, soldier recruitment, loyalty to local lords, and lack of a strong and credible central authority. The era after that, the Sasanian times from 221 to around 700 AD, is very closely reminiscent of Late Medieval and Renaissance Europe. The formation of a strong central government, economic concentration, division of labour, economic growth, rise of knowledge and learning, and eventual fruition of new social ideas, and many other examples, are all points of similarities between these eras.
I call these similarities "Extra-chronological Parallel History". They are very similar in their formation, but their outcome is not at all similar. There is no way to say that if the Sasanian Iran was allowed to continue, it would have produced the same results as Renaissance Europe, but it certainly is true that in many points, they exactly match. I am sure these similarities exist in other places as well, maybe in Chinese industrialisation of 10th century and that of early industrial Europe. I also wonder that whehter if instead of studying isolated historical events, we start studying similar environments, we can have a better idea of both history and our future. Does anyone have further ideas about this?