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When and why did we start staking out property?

When did it all start and why? Who was the first owner of land and what was the criteria for a person to do so?


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      Oct 27 2012: I have seen similar theories arise in works like Julian Jaynes' "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" and Robert R. Arthur's "You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos." I was surprised to find that female primates were originally larger creatures who had to be physically dominated by males in order to be mated with. Males often held on to the female primate or stalked her in order to scare down other males, once mated with, since she was free to mate as she wanted.

      In a bizarre switch, males, when in a settled people, institutionalized methods of keeping a woman unable to bear others' children: genital mutilation and marriage. And what had originally favored women swung dramatically to favor men, later: great male leaders accumulated concubines and harems to ensure massive progeny.
    • Oct 27 2012: Greetings

      As much as I must agree that the version of history we are fed today is mysoginistic, I cannot wholehertedly agree with your statement. While it is true that most ritual items we find from pre-civilization seem to venerate a female diety, we cannot know what status she held or domains she governed. The "woman of willendorf" a faceless pregnant icon than is common in european, middle eastern, and north african digs certainly seems to demonstrate a religious regard for women, specifically pregnant women, but as there are no written records or direct experience we are left with theories and supposition. We know absolutely nothing about the property values of these early peoples.

      The closest we could come would be the descriptions of the Scythians provided in Herodotus, some of whos outlandish claims have recently been archeologically validated. Ruled by a queen, at least in H.'s time, and with a femanine snake goddess these may be taken as prototypical matriarchal barbarians. And still, we dont know if women could inherit, or own property.

      Some have connected the rise of masculine "religious" iconography, ( how do you know something is holy, and not just art, or perhaps a toy, when you have no communication or context to understand the nature of the object?), which occured between 15 and 10 thousand years ago with the rise sedentary agrarian populations and organized conflict. 'Tis true that these early male votive statues and icons are almost universally depicted as fierce and beweaponed. Another explanation may lie in the growing understanding that men did contribute to conception, rather than it being a province of women alone.

      Likely, if there were strictly matriarchal populations in pre-history, they pre-dated the widespread development of property, as the iconography alters before the agrarian revolution, rather than after, There was no ownership of land, thus no matriarchal land ownership.

    • Oct 27 2012: A further thought....

      As an aside, women are dependent on others during the latter stages of pregnancy, and also during early child rearing. ( somehow I believe, without any historical or archeological evidence at all that men avoded parenting responsibilities as much then as they do now, call it my own bias.) Just as men were dependent on women for gathering and the propogation of the species.

      The only division of labor in modern hunter gatherer groups is by gender and age, not by social status.

      Thus I would argue that the idea of a female being dependent on males is not entirely manufactured, but rather blown out of proportion to the corallational dependence of males on females. Ideally this is a symbiotic relationship, with both parties contributing, and benifiting from the efforts of the other. Portraying it as parasitic or dominant, I think, reveals our modern bias about gender issues, not the actual past.


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