Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

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Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:21 am

This is an idea that has been current for some time among archaeologists and other scholars of ancient history, though has fallen into disrepute to a certain extent through being politicised. While there are many variations in detail, the basic concept is that ancient agricultural societies tended to be matriarchal in structure, but changed to a patriarchal system with the advent of metal working and warfare.

http://www.mother-god.com/matriarchal-history.html

+++It is remarkable that the many varied and highly expert author-archaeologists in the excellent series Ancient People and Places express their wonder at the evidence they have found that women were once pre-eminent in each of their areas of research, from the Near East to Ireland. Each writes as if this ancient dominance of women were unique and peculiar to his archaeological province. Yet taken all together these archaeological finds prove that feminine pre-eminence was a universal, and not a localised, phenomenon.+++ (Elizabeth Gould Davis)

As a Pagan I find this idea quite compelling, though I also think its politicisation by certain factions of the feminist movement has been very damaging to its credibility.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Aventador » Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:30 pm

There have been several, and many of them not so ancient.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Aventador » Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:46 pm

Also, I am unsure why you would think matriarchal societies would be any less warfaring.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:00 pm

Aventador wrote:There have been several, and many of them not so ancient.


One example is Kvenland (literally Queenland), recorded in Alfred the Great's Orosius in the 9th century, and described, very precisely, as being located in what is today the northern part of Sweden.

In Tacitus's Germania, from the 1st century, is the following.

+++Upon the Suiones, border the people Sitones; and, agreeing with them in all other things, differ from them in one, that here the sovereignty is exercised by a woman. So notoriously do they degenerate not only from a state of liberty, but even below a state of bondage.+++

https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/tacitus1.asp

Since the Suiones are known to be the Swedes, it seems that the Sitones, ruled by a woman, are the same as the Kvens of nearly a thousand years later, ruled by a queen.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:02 pm

Aventador wrote:Also, I am unsure why you would think matriarchal societies would be any less warfaring.


The ones that survived into historical times would have had to adopt warfare. Another well known example are the Amazons of Greek history, who were certainly very warlike.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Aventador » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:34 pm

I won't point out any specific cultures, but,

one conjecture, which you might find interesting, is that patriarchal societies started existing when enough men didn't die in war to become the majority in domestic life, and that male Gods started ruling pantheons in an effort to civilize peoples and allow for greater cooperations, even between peoples, for more complicated, grander scale projects.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Aventador » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:36 pm

I do find, today, that as women gain greater ascendancy, outlooks become much more uncompromising, the passions against enemies much more violent. When men rule, enemies are considered to have the right in any case to exist. With women in power, enemies are considered not to have that right. Extermination becomes an alternative.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Aventador » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:37 pm

Hitler was famously very womanly, with his constant screeching and hysterical gesticulating. Perhaps he was channeling something matriarchal in German society. And, indeed, German society had until much more recently than its neighbours been involved in constant internal and external warfare.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:42 pm

Aventador wrote:I won't point out any specific cultures, but,

one conjecture, which you might find interesting, is that patriarchal societies started existing when enough men didn't die in war to become the majority in domestic life, and that male Gods started ruling pantheons in an effort to civilize peoples and allow for greater cooperations, even between peoples, for more complicated, grander scale projects.


That's certainly a possibility, though if we go back to the Neolithic period, which is thought by some archaeologists to have been wholly matriarchal, warfare was very rare, judging by the remains that have been found, compared to the later Bronze Age, and certainly the Iron Age, which was definitely partriarchal.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:43 pm

Aventador wrote:I do find, today, that as women gain greater ascendancy, outlooks become much more uncompromising, the passions against enemies much more violent. When men rule, enemies are considered to have the right in any case to exist. With women in power, enemies are considered not to have that right. Extermination becomes an alternative.


Those matriarchal societies that survived into historical times had to become very warlike, probably outdoing the patriarchal societies.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:45 pm

Aventador wrote:Hitler was famously very womanly, with his constant screeching and hysterical gesticulating. Perhaps he was channeling something matriarchal in German society. And, indeed, German society had until much more recently than its neighbours been involved in constant internal and external warfare.


Ancient Germanic society had matriarchal elements, and in earlier times was probably wholly matriarchal. But by the time of Hitler it had become extremely militaristic and patriarchal.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Aventador » Tue Jun 22, 2021 4:01 pm

Probably the most civilized matriarchal societies in recent history have been the ones where the Virgin is worshiped, and pain over the loss of a child is a constant knowledge of matriarchs, and all wars are entered with this pain in mind. Compassion and mercy, not for the enemy, but for her own fallen children.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Tue Jun 22, 2021 4:05 pm

Aventador wrote:Probably the most civilized matriarchal societies in recent history have been the ones where the Virgin is worshiped, and pain over the loss of a child is a constant knowledge of matriarchs, and all wars are entered with this pain in mind. Compassion and mercy, not for the enemy, but for her own fallen children.


A good example of that being the Vestal Virgins in Rome, and similar institutions in Greece, such as at Delphi. Although they had lost executive authority by the historical period, they still retained a great deal of power and prestige.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Aventador » Tue Jun 22, 2021 4:07 pm

One need not go so far back.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Aventador » Tue Jun 22, 2021 4:07 pm

It is, in any case, my opinion.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Fixed Cross » Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:29 pm

Minoan Crete is the most definitive example we have of a society that was clearly matriarchal. I got laughed at by my professor in ancient history for thesis I wrote on it, he read it aloud in class to put me to shame, which didn't work as it was a good thesis and the more gifted students told him that it was being made rather plausible by my presentation. The fact that he reacted so strongly is perhaps sign of the truth he wished was not so. He was one of those stiff brittle types, the faculty being largely composed of them being the reason I quit my studies in Greek and Latin there, as these types are antithetical to the Classical spirit; in high school I was more fortunate and had to actual Dionysians as teachers, as well as a number of very devoted women, the kind that had fallen in love with Catullus and Ovid in their youth. In any case, it is shown on the Minoan murals that men are basically pets, they basically show scantily clad muscled men like pool boys generally in service of, seemingly, taking care of the animals which represent the goddess. Such animals include the dolphin and the butterfly. The society is the oldest Greek root; it was eventually defeated by the Myceans, the earliest house of what became the archaic Greeks, which culminated in the extremely patriarchal house of Atreus.

It is sad to contemplate the war between Minos and Mycena. Note that Minos had a mythical king (Minos), which seems to refute the idea of its matriarchy, but I dont think that it does; as he is a mythical figure and it seems to me that the actual rule of the society was in the hands of woman who, I imagine, might have styled themselves or have actually been the lineage of king Minos' daughters. Minos was the son of Zeus and also beloved by Poseidon, which is not a common fate, as Poseidon generally is quite picky and not at all inclined to just help any old heroic man to anything but a very deep grave, and especially considering his rivalry with his brother Zeus, this king must have been quite the character. It is likely that it was simply impossible for any mortal man to follow him up as ruler, so that therefore his daughters were given the prerogative to make the culture flourish.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:47 pm

Fixed Cross wrote:Minoan Crete is the most definitive example we have of a society that was clearly matriarchal. I got laughed at by my professor in ancient history for thesis I wrote on it, he read it aloud in class to put me to shame, which didn't work as it was a good thesis and the more gifted students told him that it was being made rather plausible by my presentation. The fact that he reacted so strongly is perhaps sign of the truth he wished was not so. He was one of those stiff brittle types, the faculty being largely composed of them being the reason I quit my studies in Greek and Latin there, as these types are antithetical to the Classical spirit; in high school I was more fortunate and had to actual Dionysians as teachers, as well as a number of very devoted women, the kind that had fallen in love with Catullus and Ovid in their youth. In any case, it is shown on the Minoan murals that men are basically pets, they basically show scantily clad muscled men like pool boys generally in service of, seemingly, taking care of the animals which represent the goddess. Such animals include the dolphin and the butterfly. The society is the oldest Greek root; it was eventually defeated by the Myceans, the earliest house of what became the archaic Greeks, which culminated in the extremely patriarchal house of Atreus.

It is sad to contemplate the war between Minos and Mycena. Note that Minos had a mythical king (Minos), which seems to refute the idea of its matriarchy, but I dont think that it does; as he is a mythical figure and it seems to me that the actual rule of the society was in the hands of woman who, I imagine, might have styled themselves or have actually been the lineage of king Minos' daughters. Minos was the son of Zeus and also beloved by Poseidon, which is not a common fate, as Poseidon generally is quite picky and not at all inclined to just help any old heroic man to anything but a very deep grave, and especially considering his rivalry with his brother Zeus, this king must have been quite the character. It is likely that it was simply impossible for any mortal man to follow him up as ruler, so that therefore his daughters were given the prerogative to make the culture flourish.


Crete is a very interesting example of the phenomenon, not least because of its connections with the legend of Atlantis. Although Plato describes Atlantis as partriarchal and warlike, it's possible to detect an earlier, matriarchal element to the story. The Atlantides were the daughters of Atlas, and the most famous among them were the Pleiades, companions of the virgin huntress, Artemis.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Fixed Cross » Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:01 pm

Maia wrote:Crete is a very interesting example of the phenomenon, not least because of its connections with the legend of Atlantis. Although Plato describes Atlantis as partriarchal and warlike, it's possible to detect an earlier, matriarchal element to the story.

Yes, it is.

I find it interesting to compare Atlantis to Thule, of which stories go around that it was matriarchal as well. "The Golden Fleece of Thule" is an interesting Dutch childrens book, part of a trilogy that presents the island of Greenland in a different time and climate, as a protectorate of a rather stern and to a boys eyes even unreasonable matriarchy.

In general I wonder if not perhaps the earths atmosphere was at one point more fluid, that beings lived in a slightly less solid state, and that the great floods that have clearly occurred occurred as this atmosphere shed much of its waters to become the air it is now.

The Atlantides were the daughters of Atlas, and the most famous among them were the Pleiades, companions of the virgin huntress, Artemis.

Who in turn is still very much a living deity. She is perhaps the strongest presence in the basic pagan theater.

I am sure we are heading to more matriarchical forms on Earth in this time. Perhaps then as before, under the auspices of a mythical king.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:15 pm

Fixed Cross wrote:
Maia wrote:Crete is a very interesting example of the phenomenon, not least because of its connections with the legend of Atlantis. Although Plato describes Atlantis as partriarchal and warlike, it's possible to detect an earlier, matriarchal element to the story.

Yes, it is.

I find it interesting to compare Atlantis to Thule, of which stories go around that it was matriarchal as well. "The Golden Fleece of Thule" is an interesting Dutch childrens book, part of a trilogy that presents the island of Greenland in a different time and climate, as a protectorate of a rather stern and to a boys eyes even unreasonable matriarchy.

In general I wonder if not perhaps the earths atmosphere was at one point more fluid, that beings lived in a slightly less solid state, and that the great floods that have clearly occurred occurred as this atmosphere shed much of its waters to become the air it is now.

The Atlantides were the daughters of Atlas, and the most famous among them were the Pleiades, companions of the virgin huntress, Artemis.

Who in turn is still very much a living deity. She is perhaps the strongest presence in the basic pagan theater.

I am sure we are heading to more matriarchical forms on Earth in this time. Perhaps then as before, under the auspices of a mythical king.


Thule is indeed a fascinating subject, and that book sounds very interesting. Thule is perhaps related to the mysterious island somewhere north of Britain called Frisland, described in an account of a voyage there by the Zeno bothers in the 14th century. By this time, however, it was ruled by a king, but in previous times was presumably matriarchal, if it's the same place as Thule. Celtic legends also mention similar islands, ruled by women.

I certainly agree that Artemis, under her many names, is very much a living deity among modern Pagans.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby promethean75 » Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:35 pm

This thread is feminist propaganda.

I can see through the veil of the Maia.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Fixed Cross » Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:34 pm

That's interesting, I see it is also called Fixland.
Beckman may be worth a read, she's officially a writer for children above 14 or so, but she holds up to a pretty high standard in terms of her storytelling skills, imagination and seriousness. I reread them when I was in my 20s.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:12 pm

Fixed Cross wrote:That's interesting, I see it is also called Fixland.
Beckman may be worth a read, she's officially a writer for children above 14 or so, but she holds up to a pretty high standard in terms of her storytelling skills, imagination and seriousness. I reread them when I was in my 20s.


Has it been translated into English? I couldn't find anything.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Fixed Cross » Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:24 am

Hm, Im not sure, my internet is acting up as it often does, and doesnt allow me a search.
If you cant find it it would seem there's no translation. I thought I saw a link before, it may just have been someone who translated the name in a conversation.

Would be too bad. Im almost tempted to translate them myself.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Fixed Cross » Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:38 am

Another, more brilliant writer, Tonke Dragt, has been translated I think, but it may only be her knight-stories and not the story about Venus Id recommend in this context. Its about a future society that has completely integrated spacefare and colonies on several planets including Venus, societies under thick artificial glass domes, in the boiling acid heat, and a solitary astronaut who deserts the base to go explore the planets aggressive psychic forests, a seething feminine force. Its pretty pretty damn good, I cant search as I said, the dutch title is Torenhoog en Mijlen Breed.
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Re: Was there an ancient matriarchal civilisation?

Postby Maia » Wed Jun 23, 2021 8:50 am

Fixed Cross wrote:Another, more brilliant writer, Tonke Dragt, has been translated I think, but it may only be her knight-stories and not the story about Venus Id recommend in this context. Its about a future society that has completely integrated spacefare and colonies on several planets including Venus, societies under thick artificial glass domes, in the boiling acid heat, and a solitary astronaut who deserts the base to go explore the planets aggressive psychic forests, a seething feminine force. Its pretty pretty damn good, I cant search as I said, the dutch title is Torenhoog en Mijlen Breed.


Thanks. I had a look but couldn't find any English version. And it would have to be in an accessible format, too.
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