Modeling Historical Dynasties

Modeling History


First published on March 13, 2019

“Can history be modeled?” The simple answer is “It depends.” A better question is “To what extent can historical phenomena be modeled?” There is so much in history to explore to answer this question. At any point of time in history, there are societies, governments, institutions, families and individuals. Each of these has physical and social aspects, as well as connections to each level and their peers.

There are many kinds of models. Many children and some adults have built models of airplanes or assembled small blocks into what houses and other structures either are or should be. Historical models can include physical reproductions of past objects. However, we will generally be referring to social, economic and psychological models of individuals and groups over periods of time. Our models will typically be on paper,  device screens or in computer memory.

One can just go ahead and make a model. Simply hypothesize that something will increase or decrease over time. However, for the purposes of advancing history as a field, it is more useful to create models that can be tested against real data, or at least as good of data as we can obtain.

In this course, we discuss how to use fast entropy and other methods described in this text to model historical dynasties.


[1](Note that dollar amounts are unadjusted for inflation — they reflect actual historical figures).

[2]See M. Ciotola, Journal of Physical History and Economics, Vol. 1, Is. 1 (1996).

Gibson, C. (1966) Spain In America. Harper and Row.

Smith, D. (1982) Song of the Drill and Hammer.


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