ecent research suggests that violence played a crucial part in the evolution of ancient civilizations. It is imperative to understand that violence does not always have to present itself as destructive. This is based on the social behaviors presented by ancient civilizations that didn’t use diplomacy as the main means to discuss issues with other nations.
There are some studies that are trying to analyze how much did historical events such as global violence within prehistoric times contribute to the creation of complex civilizations.
Violence within history has also shown that it very rarely leads to social regression as it pushed societies towards all types of evolution, especially technological advancements.
Take for example the Great War which brought many creations that we use today. The Renaissance period influenced the evolution of a new political system and the end of monarchies around the world, most of which have been achieved with violent revolutions.
South American civilizations
The best examples of this hypothesis can be seen within prehistoric South American civilizations, such as the evolution of Pucara. Professor Charles Stanish from California University has written a paper where he researched South American civilizations.
The paper focuses on analyzing the geopolitical powers during the first century within South America, near Titicaca lake which separated two rival cities: Pukara and Taraco. These civilizations started to settle around 1100 BC and ended up being the largest powers within South America by the first century AD.
Charles et al (2011) found information from their research that portray a series of events that justify how these two civilizations evolved in the year 200 when Pucara had conquered Taraco. The city of Taraco was partly destroyed, but it seems that Pucara had taken the statues of gods that were praised by the Taraco civilization and brought them to the center of Pucara. This was so that the Taraco population would be attracted to join the Pucara and create a new type of civilization.
Since the end of that war, the Pucara civilization grew exponentially, extending itself by 500 acres and growing its population by an extra 20,000. All of the assets such as the commerce and farming from Taraco were undertaken and further developed by Pucara. This new civilization ruled as the supreme geopolitical power within South America for the next 150 years due to a more politically stable civilization.
The idea of the war between Taraco and Pucara was never to wipe them off the map, it was to show dominance through pure military power whilst trying to lower the level of destruction in order to attract the population of the losing city. Many of these wars had begun due to small differences provoked by political or religious factors or even personal vendettas between monarchies.
From war to civilization
Another great example of how the war ended up bringing a new civilization to the world is defined by the history of the Zapotec civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca in Mesoamerica (Modern Mexico). Research done by Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus from the University of Michigan shows how 450 years of conflict lead to the creation of the Zapotec civilization.
Marus and Flannery (1994) talk about the unity of smaller civilizations or in some cases larger tribes coming to unify in order to form Zapotec about 2000 years ago. 450 years of war had pushed all of the nations involved towards new ideologies and showcased more efficiency with the unification of all tribes.
The main idea was that due to the contemporary mentality which was limited by cultural barriers implied in every tribe, most people were not able to see the benefits that could be gained by unifying towards living a better life and not being the most powerful in the world as if were.
Once again we can see that with the formation of this new civilization came an exponential rate of growth, both architectural and within the population of Mesoamerica.
A very popular example from the other side of the world would be the formation of the Akkadian Empire within prehistoric Mesopotamia. Within 2400 BC, Mesopotamia was housing many tribes, all rivals due to their differences.
One of these 13 tribes was Akkadia which was led by Sargon the Great. He managed to conquer all of the other 12 tribes through violent domination and create the Great Akkadian Empire which served as a role model for future civilizations.
Violence reinforcing unification
Mayan hieroglyphics helped many archaeologists and historians understand how the war helped the development of civilizations and monarchies in this world.
The same principle is trying to be portrayed over and over again by pacifists that show how powerful unity can be towards living a better life. However, once again this is stopped by the greed of powerful people who only understand one language “war”.
That is the reason why there have been global wars for so many years, from the prehistoric era until the Middle Ages. I can also argue that war or better said violence is there to enforce the mindset of unification and equality around the world and not necessarily used to exterminate a civilization on a racial or cultural basis.
Within this argument, it is imperative to understand that violence comes in many different forms. Violence can be portrayed by those who want to terrorize the global population by inflicting pain which infers soldiers to use violence as a response.
In this argument, violence is extinguished with more violence as it will rarely subdue pacifism. Violence can and will bring more violence, but things are more complex than just that as it always has a leader that feeds its followers that hunger for it. That is why cutting off the head of the snake with violence will always be the answer.
Balibar, E., 2001. Outlines of a topography of cruelty: citizenship and civility in the era of global violence. Constellations, 8(1), pp.15–29.
Huntington, S.P., 2000. The clash of civilizations?. In Culture and politics (pp. 99–118). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Marcus, J. and Flannery, K.V., 1994. Ancient Zapotec ritual and religion: an application of the direct historical approach. The ancient mind: Elements of cognitive archaeology, pp.55–74.
Stanish, C. and Levine, A., 2011. War and early state formation in the northern Titicaca Basin, Peru. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(34), pp.13901–13906.