Ch 01 Tribes and Legions

Tribes and Legions




Human intelligence  controlled nature by material instruments in the Old and New Stone Age, through the workings of the groups in traditional and ritual practice.

The basics of mechanics and physics had been established in making and using implements.

The basics of chemistry and the use of fire and that of biology was required to understand animals and plants.

Social knowledge was implicit in language and the arts and had been systemised in totemism with the beginning of formal education in initiation ceremonies .

The character of the society, determined by its dependence on hunting and food gathering, was essentially communal, without any marked specialisation and without class divisions.

The essential weakness of the hunting society is that it is parasitic on the animal it hunts. It can kill them but cannot feed or make them breed. Climate also played a part. Large animals soon disappeared.

Today, primitive societies of this level of material culture are rare today


The food revolution changed everything.

The search for roots and seeds of wild grasses led to the invention and technique of agriculture, ranking with the utilisation of fire and of power as one of the three most momentous inventions in human history.

It was not a single act but step by step accumulation of interlocked inventions all subservient to essential achievement.

The cultivation of seed giving grasses transformed society to control the environment and the first step in the achievement of a fully productive economy.

Originally animals may have been attracted by extra fodder left by the grain growers and tamed.

 Domestication was not new. The dog had been tamed.

One small clue is the universal means of cutting grain – the sickle – is clearly, from its shape and teeth with which it was originally furnished, a substitute for jaw of a sheep or other ruminant which is a very effective grass cutter.

Without supplies of fodder it is usually impossible to keep an adequate number of cattle in a restricted area.

Further, the market for meat, skins and wool provided an extensive pastoral economy.

Nomadic tribes of sheep or cattlemen on the open ranges needs as much land as if it were hunting the same animal wild, while without a market from which weapons, ornaments and supplementary food can be got, there would be little incentive to exchange the excitement of hunting animals for the trouble of herding them.

(We can see in Thailand the herding of cattle, free roaming, still.

No attempt is made for cultivating grasses for cattle and supplies of fodder are few.

Most cattle ‘starve’ during the dry season and only gain weight when the rains arrive.

Herdsmen spend all day in a most unproductive way tending their cattle, when enclosures and cultivations would enable them to take their productive economy to the next level.

In some respects societies do still practice primitive systems.

Thailand is one)

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