axel kristinsson's web

axel kristinsson

I am an independent historian, attached to the Reykjavik Academy, with an interest in macro-history, complexity theory and an evolutionary approach.

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contact information

I mostly work from home and my address is:

Axel Kristinsson
Grundargerði 9
IS-108 Reykjavík

Phone: (+354) 588 8709
Cell phone: (+354) 892 8709

Click here to email me


This is my personal website, dedicated to my own particular brand of macro-history. Below you will find information about my new book. Above are links that take you to different parts of this website.


My book, Expansions: Competition and Conquest in Europe Since the Bronze Age, was published by the Reykjavik Academy in 2010.

It is a discussion of several expansion cycles that have occurred in Europe over the last three thousand years or more.


The book can now be downloaded free of charge by clicking the links below

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Societies sometimes expand through population growth, military conquests and migrations. Why does this happen and in what way are expanding societies different from others? Examples of such episodes are many in European history and, to name but a few, include Archaic Greece, the Germanic barbarians and modernizing Europe of the 19th and 20th centuries. The present work is an attempt to construct a model that explains these expansions and others.

At the same time it is an experiment in using some principles of the biological and social sciences in the study of history. Social scientists have discovered general laws that apply to human societies. Sociologists are most often concerned with modern and recent societies and anthropologists with simple ones. In between are the agrarian civilizations that dominate most of documented history and they rarely receive much attention from anyone except historians. Unfortunately, historians are usually not much interested in general laws and, therefore, the laws that explain the evolution of agrarian societies are largely unknown. Perhaps it is time for this to change.

This is macro-history where evolution and complexity theory are involved in illuminating certain principles of competitive systems. Competitive systems are cultural conglomerations where many related polities compete and the study shows that if these systems survive long enough they will go through expansion cycles characterized among other things by population growth, conquest and egalitarianism.

Bibliographic information:
Axel Kristinsson, Expansions: Competition and Conquest in Europe Since the Bronze Age. ReykjavíkurAkademían (Reykjavik) 2010. 371 pp. 16x23 cm. ISBN 978-9979-9922-1-9.

book reviews

Professor David Christian, author of Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History and other books, has written a review of Expansions in Cliodynamics, a peer-reviewed open access journal of theoretical and mathematical history. Professor Christian concludes: "This is a fascinating book that should provoke much interesting debate even among historians not entirely persuaded by its central arguments."

The book has also been reviewed in Saga, the Journal of the Historical Society of Iceland, by the historian Guðmundur J. Guðmundsson who says:

Expansions is an important work that should be on the shelves of anyone interested in history or historical studies. I hope that the radical and provocative theories that it presents will serve to waken a fertile and widespread debate among everyone interested in the subject. (Transl. by Rab Christie)


The book is available internationally through See also the publisher's web page.

The book is also available on Amazon's Kindle.

preview at google books

Below is a preview of the book. To view it in a larger window visit Google Books (opens in a new window).