no war no more--hah

Tue, 28 Jun 1994 10:43:24 -0600

I have to agree that laying the claim or blame of warfare on
pastoralists may be unsupportable cross culturally. Many
urban centers, as Scott pointed out himself, built walls not
so much for protection of attackers but because they live in
flood plains (Ur is also one of those). And also, too many
places in the world do not support pastoralism at all, such
as tropical zones (which is why Yanomano horts fight other
Yanomamo horticulturalists--the Amazon forests only support
foragers and horticulturalists, without destroying the
ecosystem). Several parts of Africa also don't support
pastoralism (partly due to tsetse flies). Pastoralists that
do commit warfare tend towards raiding and blood feuds (such
as the ancient Celts and Beduoin). Raids on settlements were
part of foraging one could say.

My theory is not so much what subsistence level started warfare
but why. The reasons can be simplistically and therefore,
dangerously, (meaning probably over-simplified) boiled down to
"you ain't us and you got something we want/need." And we
have the capabilities to take it. Certainly technological
abilities have to be there, but even pacifistic horticulturalists
have been known to beat digging sticks into "swords" er clubs.
The origins of many Asian weapons such as nunchucka were originally
used in rice harvesting. Usually developed in response to an
oppressor (not pastoralists).

Civilization just means cities which implies a hierarchy of people
and specialists. War can be anything from feuding and raiding to
World War II. Scott's parameters are workable. But finding the
"first war" may be the impossible task. I vaguely remember in
my readings of ancient pre-pharaonic Egypt, more about warfare
between Neolithic Lower Egyptians attacking Upper Egyptians
for expanisionist reasons, but not much of anything on nomadic
invasions. Egypt had a certain amount of isolationist natural
features. Anyway, this is an interesting discussion, since
understanding how it all began could lead to prevention.
But I always had an optimistic streak. And I don't believe
that much in instinct in humans.
Lee Bradley