Primitive War

Scott Holmes (sholmes@NETCOM.COM)
Tue, 4 Oct 1994 11:21:34 -0700

"Invention of War". The consensus I got pretty much agreed with
Mike Salovesh's definition that war means "... organized intergroup
violence WITH A PARTICULAR KIND OF PURPOSE --control of territory,
or control over a population, or control of (scarce ?) resources."

He, however, goes on to exclude "nomads" from the formula. I would
point out the the Mongol "hordes" put them right back in again. Every
description I've read of the Mongol horsemen uses the term "nomad".
It may be we need a new category for these raiders as to describe the
violence visited upon Europe as anything other that "War" makes the
argument nothing more than squabbling over semantics.

Perhaps we should add "predatory" or "parasitic" to our list of
culture types. These terms could be justified by arguing that the
Mongols, at least during their European adventures, existed exclusively
upon plunder. And, the "Golden Horde" seemed merely to sit in one
place and suck it dry.

To return to Warren Sproule's query: The use of writing to demarcate
societies capable of engaging in warfare removes all those pre-Sumerian
cities from the definition. It may be they did have a form of writing
but I have seen no evidence of this (please correct me if I am wrong as
I am not up on the latest research). I might suggest that the invention
of insurance (stockpiling a surplus) might be a better pre-condition
(please note the inherent sarcasm here).

I don't personally have a problem with describing the violent consolidation
of ancient cities into city-states as something other than warfare nor am
I adverse to defining the actions of the Mongols in Europe as something other
than "war" but I think the distinction would be lost on the victims.

----------- There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, ----------------
Scott Holmes <> Informix 4GL Applications
---------------- Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ------------------------