Conflict in Historical Context (Part Two)
15 December 2015
From an anthropological point of view perhaps one of the earliest conflict
would have been between the hunter gatherers and the early farmers. The
agricultural revolution in human society would have enticed the
agriculturalists to attain ever greater fertile lands, especially along river
banks. These lands would also have been the one's cherished most by the
hunters since that is exactly where they could find large game that went to
these areas to quench their thirst.
Thus the competition between the hunters and farmers would have been both
natural and inevitable. As the farmers encroached ever closer along the
riversides it would have sparked imminent conflict with the hunters and the
success of the famers in the conflict has had profound consequences for the
evolution of human society.
The discovery of iron and the domestication of horses was another great step
in the advancement of human society. While historical accounts are few and
far in between a group of historians believe that the Aryan race were the
first to forge swords from iron and to employ an army on horseback. Their
innovation was so successful that emerging from their steppes in Central Asia
they swept south as far as the Indian Ocean before marching west into the
heartlands of Europe going as far as the Iberian Peninsula.
The human society's organization to the highest degree first manifested
itself in the forms of city-states. The advent of cities proved to be a great
advancement in human societies since it freed many of its dwellers from the
strife of daily life. Instead humans to devote their energies to new sciences
such as architecture, astronomy, mathematics and so on. Cities proved to be
the catalyst for human advancement in the fields of the abstract sciences.
The foremost amongst such cities emerged around the Nile delta, between the
rivers Euphrate and the Tigris as well as around the Yellow river and the
However, as the cities could not feed their over-sized populations they
naturally looked to the countryside to supply them with the necessary food.
As the cities grew ever larger, they naturally looked outward, conquering
more and more distant lands to fulfill its insatiable demands. The rise of
the greatest historic empires – such as the Mesopotamian and Babylonian
Empires, the Egyptian Empire, the Greek, Carthaginian and the Roman Empires –
can all be attributed to this impulse.
While these empires rose as the natural consequence of human societal and
scientific advancements, other historical empires rose to quench humanity's
thirst for scientific or moral advancement. The Arab-Islamic armies burst out
of the Arabian Peninsula conquering most of the known world not due to any
material advantage over its rivals but due to its fervent belief in elevating
humanity to a higher moral order.
Similarly the European Renaissance to a high degree was attributed to the
desire for further knowledge driven in part by its natural rivalry with the
Islamic Empire lying to its east. This desire for knowledge naturally led to
greater scientific advancements that proved to be critical in subduing their
rivals. In the next part of this article we will look at the turmoil
surrounding the rise of Europe and how this is comparable to the current
political chaos that surrounds us.