RE: On the origin of .... war

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Sep 10 2001 - 16:26:18 BST

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    Subject: RE: On the origin of .... war
    Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 16:26:18 +0100
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    Hi Philip & Ted,

    I think one straightforward environmental reason for the presumed lack of
    war prior to 12,000 (I'll come back to the definitional problem of that in a
    moment), has to do with how humans lived back then.

    IIRC c12,000 years ago is about the time estimates suggest farming began.
    Prior to farming there were only hunter-gatherers living in relatively small
    bands, so the notion of war in hunter-gatherer terms probably would mean
    little more that terratorial conflicts between small groups. Great apes
    occasionally go on raiding parties to neighbouring troops (some have
    suggested the parallels to war in those raids), so one might imagine raids
    of one group on another, but nothing of the scale of war.

    A few thousand years after farming appeared pretty sizeable conglomerations
    of people had begun to emerge in the first cities, and here one has both
    the critical mass of people, and probably the kind of resources that people
    would fight in large numbers to take/protect, and as such war.

    Of course, we need to define 'war' properly, and I suppose the presumption
    being made is of large scale conflict, of mass battles of hundreds/thousands
    of people. It is very unlikely given the small size of hunter-gatherer
    groups that such things as war occured. But again, terratorial conflicts do
    occur, must have occured, and occur in other species also.

    Of course some, like Graham Hancock, would argue that there was a great
    global civilisation c12,000 years ago that some call Atlantis (not Hancock
    though), and maybe that's why there were no wars because it was a time of
    great peace, blah, blah, blah....

    But of course we don't take newage ideas seriously on this list.

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