Why Did the Bronze Age Allow the Patriarchy to Rise?
Bronze, Horses, and Ships

If depictions of what matriarchal cultures were like in pre-history (aka pre-writing) are accurate, human beings lived in mostly egalitarian societies for millennia.

Women, the only gender capable of giving birth, were usually respected, if not revered, because of this one seemingly magical or divine ability. In some of these cultures, the concept of marriage was foreign, since most people only guessed about men’s contributions to gestation.

Those who view history through the lens of the patriarchy might believe that “prostitution,” men paying women for sexual favors, is the oldest profession, when, from a matriarchal point of view, motherhood is the oldest profession. Because women were the gatherers of hunter-gatherer societies, they knew how to gather food in scarce times better than most men did, so the idea that men would have the resources to trade food for sexual favors demonstrates a lack of comprehension of what such societies are really like.

Some pre-writing cultures, in fact, encouraged sexual promiscuity in order to ensure fertility and the continuity of their people. The majority of these cultures traced their lineage through the mothers, who were always known, and most of the cultures, including those that still exist, considered these “houses” or “clans,” which is why the man who was “bonded” or “tied” by marriage to one of these houses was the hus-band, i.e. the house bond. To become such a bondsman to a matriarchal house often meant that the man had to prove himself as necessary to the family in some capacity, such as by being a good hunter, a good craftsman, or a good trader.

Many megalithic cultures—those that build large structures with huge rocks, such as at Malta or Golbecki Tepé—were also matriarchal, at least matrilineal.

However, many scholars assume that cultures which depict cattle heads are worshipping bulls, not cows, because they don’t know enough about cattle to know that most cattle breeds have horns for both genders. The symbolism they often miss, then, is that the horns mimic fallopian tubes, and the cow head is shaped like the uterus and vagina. Cultures, like Minos and Malta, that utilize these images the most were most likely matrilineal, if not full on matriarchal. At least originally.

However, as people domesticated animals, their closer observations of animal sexuality, gestation, and birth, enabled them to realize that men have a role in gestation, thus fertility, too.

Three things helped push men's egos to the point where they believed they owned and controlled everything, from resources to people, and these three things--Bronze, Horses, and Ships--changed human societies around the world from matriarchal to patriarchal, often in such oppressive ways that the Patriarchy allowed and even encouraged Toxic Masculinity.


BRONZE—metal working

Many pre-historical cultures revered women for shamanistic skills, especially those who learned to control the elements—such as fire, water, and earth, elements that the original ceramists controlled. In fact, we probably have the first image of the first known inventor from circa 28,000 BCE—a ceramicist at Dolni Vestonici, who was a young woman whose burial is also located there, accompanied by two young males.

Archaeologists are lucky to find ceramics among ruins, since many different cultures seemed to prefer different types of pottery and ceramic figurines.

By the beginning of the Bronze Age, circa 3000 BCE, human beings were much wiser about many things, but they still clung to many superstitious ideas. Cultural mythologies began to assert more masculine attributes as being powerful enough to overpower any magical or spiritual power women possessed. So, if women who could make ceramics and build kilns, ovens, temples out of tremendous rocks, men probably learned from them how to melt some rocks into malleable metals, like copper, and then bronze.

Many cultures around the world describe the sacred qualities of metal smiths—who were possibly seen as magicians who could transmute one kind of material object into another that shines and glitters.

While most of the early copper and bronze items were probably mostly decorative, humanity seems to jump straight from smelting copper to creating bronze. We have no Copper Age.

Bronze became an important element to the rise of the patriarchy because this combination of copper and tin (highly coveted raw materials in most cultures during the Bronze Age) could be easily transformed into sharp objects. So, while the rock mace was an important face-to-face weapon in the Stone Age, bronze adds thinner axe heads, sharper, lighter arrows, sturdier armor, including shields and helmets. These changes, alone, must have seemed like a huge leap in terms of warfare technology, so that conflicts changed from occasional conflicts over territory or trade to actual massacres where hundreds of people—people less protected than the attackers—were slaughtered where they lived.


HORSES

Early humans ate horses. While many people believe horses of the Steppes were the first to be domesticated, there is some compelling evidence that horses were tamed at about the same time in eastern Europe and western Asia.

Since men were the primary hunters in the early cultures, most people assume men were the first “horse whisperers,” who first tamed horses instead of killing and eating them.

However, we must not overlook the possibility that it was women, gathering food amidst the grasses which horses ate, who first befriended horses. In fact, they could have “rescued” a new born foal in hiding, raising it on goat’s milk. Once people learned such a process could create a friendly, if large, friend for the clan, it is possible that many of the people began befriending horses, who proved useful for carrying things, including people.

Once humans learned they could shoot arrows from horseback (even Etruscan women shot arrows from horseback), their ability to “hit and run” opponents became much easier.

While many of the armies, arguably first created in the Bronze Age, fought on foot still, the development of the chariot was an additional war improvement over the archers on horseback. While riding a horse, the horse might stumble, ruining the archer’s aim. Chariots, on the other hand, became tools for two riders, both of whom were armed for one-on-one combat, into a much faster, better controlled lightning attack with one driving while the other shot.

By the end of the Bronze Age, warfare had changed drastically from mostly defensive to clearly offensive with the intent changed from intimidation and teaching opponents a lesson about who they were dealing with to the desire to kill, to rape, and to pillage.


SHIPS

Most hunter-gatherer groups followed specific herds of their favorite prey, or moved from place to place when the gatherers knew certain foods would be ripe for harvest. Some people with common languages often gathered periodically to trade goods and to look for new spouses.

However, when humans began being more sedentary, living in specific places for prolonged periods of time, travel to hunt or to gather certain substances or to trade goods became a necessity. To carry goods back home, those who lived along rivers (most people) or along sea shores developed boats to carry the goods.

Once the bronze age created sharper axes and adzes for shaping wood more easily, the boats began to become larger and more intricate, so could carry more and could travel further—even out of the sight of land.

Actual navies, however, took longer for form for several reasons. Boats large enough to carry fifty men, as in the Iliad, for a long distance took time to build. Additionally, for the fleet to be at the ready for sending on a mission, the people who sailed them had to be dedicated to living their lives on or very near the boats. Because it was too expensive to pay fighters to be at the ready to sail, most of the warriors transported to fight also had to row the oars.

Yet, without the boats capable of traversing sometimes rough seas, trade across the Mediterranean would never have been as extensive as it was.

However, that extensive trade might just have been what stimulated the increased warfare during the Bronze Age, with some people crossing the seas to steal raw materials to make their own goods, including the women who possessed the skills to make those goods.

As their testosterone began to flow more heavily with the thoughts of their military power, men also began to view women as slaves to do their bidding, not just in making goods for them—everything from ceramics and linen to silver and gold jewelry, wine, and olive oil—but also as their sex slaves.

Rape has always been about power, not sex, and many men, unfortunately, still take the view that they have “earned” sexual favors from women, clearly demonstrating that the patriarchal toxic masculinity is still alive and well.

  Copyright 2017