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Cliodynamics (/ˌkldˈnæmɪks/) is a transdisciplinary area of research that integrates cultural evolution, economic history/cliometrics, macrosociology, the mathematical modeling of historical processes during the longue durée, and the construction and analysis of historical databases.[1]

Cliodynamics treats history as science. Its practitioners develop theories that explain such dynamical processes as the rise and fall of empires, population booms and busts, and the spread and disappearance of religions.[2][3] These theories are translated into mathematical models. Finally, model predictions are tested against data. Thus, building and analyzing massive databases of historical and archaeological information is one of the most important goals of cliodynamics.[4]

Clio—detail from The Allegory of Painting by Johannes Vermeer

The word cliodynamics is composed of clio- and -dynamics. In Greek mythology, Clio is the muse of history. Dynamics, most broadly, is the study of how and why phenomena change with time.[5]

The term was originally coined by Peter Turchin in 2003,[6] and can be traced to the work of such figures as Ibn Khaldun,[7] Alexandre Deulofeu, Jack Goldstone, Sergey Kapitsa, Randall Collins, John Komlos, and Andrey Korotayev.

Mathematical modeling of historical dynamics

Many historical processes are dynamic, in that they change with time: populations increase and decline, economies expand and contract, states grow and collapse, and so on. As such, practitioners of cliodynamics apply mathematical models to explain macrohistorical patterns—things like the rise of empires, social discontent, civil wars, and state collapse.[4][8][9&#

Cliodynamics treats history as science. Its practitioners develop theories that explain such dynamical processes as the rise and fall of empires, population booms and busts, and the spread and disappearance of religions.[2][3] These theories are translated into mathematical models. Finally, model predictions are tested against data. Thus, building and analyzing massive databases of historical and archaeological information is one of the most important goals of cliodynamics.[4]

The word cliodynamics is composed of clio- and -dynamics. In Greek mythology, Clio is the muse of history. Dynamics, most broadly, is the study of how and why phenomena change with time.[5]

The term was originally coined by Peter Turchin in 2003,[6] and can be traced to the work of such figures as Ibn Khaldun,[7] Alexandre Deulofeu, Jack Goldstone, Sergey Kapitsa, Randall Collins, John Komlos, and Andrey Korotayev.

Mathematical modeling of historical dynamics

Many historical processes are dynamic, in that they change with time: populations increase and decline, economies expand and contract, states grow and collapse, and so on. As such, practitioners of cliodynamics apply mathematical models to explain macrohistorical patterns—things like the rise of empires, social discontent, civil wars, and state collapse.[4][8][9]

Cliodynamics is the application of a dynamical systems approach to the social sciences in general and to the study of historical dynamics in particular. More broadly, this approach is quite common and has proved its worth in innumerable applications (particularly in the natural sciences).

The dynamical systems approach is so called because the whole phenomenon is represented as a system consisting of several elements (or Peter Turchin in 2003,[6] and can be traced to the work of such figures as Ibn Khaldun,[7] Alexandre Deulofeu, Jack Goldstone, Sergey Kapitsa, Randall Collins, John Komlos, and Andrey Korotayev.

Many historical processes are dynamic, in that they change with time: populations increase and decline, economies expand and contract, states grow and collapse, and so on. As such, practitioners of cliodynamics apply mathematical models to explain macrohistorical patterns—things like the rise of empires, social discontent, civil wars, and state collapse.[4][8][9]

Cliodynamics is the application of a dynamical systems approach to the social sciences in general and to the study of historical dynamics in particular. More broadly, this approach is quite common and has proved its worth in innumerable

Cliodynamics is the application of a dynamical systems approach to the social sciences in general and to the study of historical dynamics in particular. More broadly, this approach is quite common and has proved its worth in innumerable applications (particularly in the natural sciences).

The dynamical systems approach is so called because the whole phenomenon is represented as a system consisting of several elements (or subsystems) that interact and change dynamically (i.e., over time). More simply, it consists of taking a holistic phenomenon and splitting it up into separate parts that are assumed to interact with each other. In the dynamical systems approach, one sets out explicitly with mathematical formulae how different subsystems interact with each other. This mathematical description is the model of the system, and one can use a variety of methods to study the dynamics predicted by the model, as well as attempt to test the model by comparing its predictions with observed empirical, dynamic evidence.

Although the focus is usually on the dynamics of large conglomerates of people, the approach of cliodynamics does not preclude the inclusion of human agency in its explanatory theories. Such questions can be explored with agent-based computer simulations.

Cliodynamics relies on large bodies of evidence to test competing theories on a wide range of historical processes. This typically involves building massive stores of evidence.[10] The rise of digital history and various research technologies have allowed huge databases to be constructed in recent years.

Some prominent databases utilized by cliodynamics practitioners include: