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By Mark Levene
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Additional info for Genocide in the Age of the Nation State: Volume 2: The Rise of the West and the Coming of Genocide
The obvious model was Rome, whose advance implied both subjugation and/or enslavement of defeated peoples but also the possibility of being inducted as citizens into the realm of a law-based pax Romana for whoever among the remainder complied. The empire, of course, brooked no opposition, whether external, as famously from Carthage, or from the imperial peripheries as with Judea, Dacia, or the British confederates of the Iceni. But even displaced peoples from beyond the imperial frontiers, including clearly ‘barbarian’ and potentially very threatening Goths, Huns, Vandals and Suevi were given admittance on the premise that they could be assimilated to civic society and made to settle down.
100 They were the descendants of peoples who had crossed the sea from Africa, possibly beginning in the second millennium BC, but who, certainly from the early centuries of the Christian era, had been isolated from broader human contact or developments except for whatever ships may have ephemerally strayed across their path. The Guanches, therefore, were a unique branch of the human family, having retained a highly individual Neolithic culture which, had it survived, would have provided social anthropologist and palaeoethnographer alike with an endless source of research and delight.
The explanation for the specificity, and with it exceptionality, of their destruction is partly circumstantial, partly a matter of the contradictory nature of their strength and weakness. The Prus stood as an obstacle to an unbending and militant church at a juncture when the threat of Mongol invasion from the east gave to its apocalyptic mindset a particular crisis-ridden edge. The fact that Prus religion helped give to their political resistance a dynamic vigour with which to ride out the initial crusader onslaughts of the EUROPEAN CONQUERORS AND SUNDRY ‘ SAVAGES ’ 33 1230s, thus, would have had the Teutonic Knights redoubling their projection of them as savage devils.