The Emergence of Multi-agent Polities of the Northern Central European Plains in the Early Middle Ages, 600–900 CE

Author: Lozny, Ludomir L.
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 10, Number 1 / March 2011


Supra-tribal polities have been confirmed archaeologically, and by historic sources, in the northern part of the Central European Plains for the tenth century CE. However there is no archaeological evidence from the 600 – early 800s CE of socioeconomic conditions suitable to support complex political systems. I suggest that in the apparent absence of critical internal economic and political stimuli, societies of the Northern Central European Plains showed emergent capacity to organize spontaneously in the context of outside socioeconomic pressure and the multi-agent polities of the 800–900s CE are examples of transient political dissipative structures. I discuss both, how multi-agent, short-lived, intermediate forms of sociopolitical organization emerge in a nonequilibrium context, and the rise of social complexity as a multilineal mixture of randomness and regularity caused by a combination of spontaneous processes and deterministic patterns. Elements of systems theory and control theory are used to explain dissipative structures in reference to human societal capacity for self-organization.