Culture of war at the dawn of history
The earliest known writings, coming from empires that arose more or less independently in the different continents (China, India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Central America), paint a picture of a fully-developed culture of war with the following characteristics:
1. armies and armaments
2. authoritarian rule associated with military leadership
3. control of information through secrecy and propaganda
4. identification of an "enemy"
5. education of young men from the nobility to be warriors
6. religious institutions that support the government and military
7. artistic and literary glorification of military conquest
8. male domination
9. wealth based on plunder and slavery
10. economy based on exploitation (slaves, serfs, etc.)
11. means to deter slave revolts and political dissidents including internal use of military power, prisons and executions.
All of the various aspects of the culture of war at the dawn of history were inter-related, forming a single integrated system in which each aspect reinforces the others. The causal relationship between warfare and the culture of war is in both directions: warfare produces a culture of war and a culture of war produces war.
One important aspect of the culture of war in the above list did not receive very much attention in the historical accounts:
11. means to deter slave revolts and political dissidents including internal use of military power, prisons and executions. This is discussed further along with details from the various ancient civilizations in The History of the Culture of War
The usefulness of war was completely transformed by the state from its usefulness in prehistory:
1. A source of wealth in terms of plunder and slavery
2. A means of defense against attacks by other states
3. A means of internal control to deter or defeat internal revolt
In fact, many historians believe that warfare was the most important and decisive factor in the origin of the state (see Warfare and the Origin of the State)..
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game administrator Mar. 29 2009,18:50
Readers' comments are invited on this topic.