CLIO 7 (1) - page 12

Law, and more generally order, has been
a fundamental part of any human society for as
long as we could possibly know. In fact, seemingly
very few social species can operate in any form of
absolute chaos. However, the mechanism of crime
and management must have acclimated to the
fluidity of other social variables, as any otherwise
disjunction would not result in a productive civilisa-
tion. This article will attempt to contrast the basic
‘rules’ of Palaeolithic bands with the introduction of
sedentary structure, documented law and the pur-
suit for morality, potentially to draw a correlation
between the attitudinal shifts and the dehumanisa-
tion of the law.
While there is some inability to truly scru-
tinise pre-history, aptly named with no concrete
evidence for all but shallow conclusions, there
must be a foundation from which any society can
be judged by its behavioural modernity. Firstly, we
will cover the Palaeolithic period of human history,
the genesis of Homo Sapien civilisation. Groups
tended to be more compact, usually ranging from
around 7 individuals to at most 100. A vast majority
of historians presume that primordial civilisations
would have survived as nomadic hunter-gather-
ers, foraging fruit and scavenging weaker or dead
prey, in a constant state of subsistence, as with all
emerging species. As a collective, co-operation was
imperative in the survival as a race, resulting in a
surprisingly democratic system. Debates would be
ceased by compromise in a group-wide consensus,
vocation and reward adjourned, conflict would
be refrained from in an effort to minimise human
losses. In addition to this, disparity of property and
subsequent wealth was not possible in a peripa-
tetic lifestyleWhen in a race for survival, humanity
is compelled to unite, work in conjunction, as the
intricacies of human politics and relations mattered
little when one was starving. Given its name by Karl
Marx, primitive communism was potentially the
first ‘ideology’ there was to exist in a culture, and
perhaps even the one primarily installed in every
human. By this virtue, as well as the introduction
of basic throwing spears, warfare was markedly
scarce. With no possessions to ransack or guard,
there is no true motive for violence. Throwing
spears were the nuclear missiles of the Palaeolith-
ic era; one single use of the weapon doubtless to
wound, likely maim and conceivably kill its intend-
ed target. So few individuals in a roaming party
meant that a few seconds of fighting could render
two or three people ‘useless’, possibly driving them
to starvation with the reduced resource output.
Law and Order
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