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Thread: the matriarchal neolithic : truth or myth?

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    Advisor bicicleur's Avatar
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    the matriarchal neolithic : truth or myth?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%87atalh%C3%B6y%C3%BCk

    Çatalhöyük was excavated in the 1960s in a methodical way, but not using the full range of natural science techniques that are available to us today. Sir James Mellaart who excavated the site in the 1960s came up with all sorts of ideas about the way the site was organised and how it was lived in and so on ... We’ve now started working there since the mid 1990s and come up with very different ideas about the site. One of the most obvious examples of that is that Çatalhöyük is perhaps best known for the idea of the mother goddess. But our work more recently has tended to show that in fact there is very little evidence of a mother goddess and very little evidence of some sort of female-based matriarchy. That’s just one of the many myths that the modern scientific work is undermining.

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    Elite member Dagne's Avatar
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    I think the archeologist cannot say much about the spiritual life of the peoples who lived thousands of years ago. In Lithuania, starting from 1000 BC, there are so many hillforts, however, the archeologist can only speculate about how much people used them for religious purposes. All the modern day speculations about the old religion, even though Lithuanian peasants still remained pagan up to XVII century, remain speculations. It seams that there were priest and priestesses in the old religion, but otherwise, no one knows for sure.

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    Advisor bicicleur's Avatar
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    a few decades ago all kind of speculations about spiritual life and social customs by archeologists were in fashion
    and many myths still linger on

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    Well, whether there was a mother goddess in Catalhoyuk or not, there was certainly a mother goddess in the Near East, whose name was some variation of Ashtarte. In Egypt she was called Isis. In Greece and Rome her various aspects were divided up into various goddesses, like Venus, Juno, Ceres/Demeter etc.

    "Astarte was connected with fertility, sexuality, and war. Her symbols were the lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove, and a star within a circle indicating the planet Venus. Pictorial representations often show her naked. She has been known as the deified morning and/or evening star.[2] The deity takes on many names and forms among different cultures and according to Canaanite mythology, is one and the same as the Assyro-Babylonian goddess Ištar, taken from the third millennium BC Sumerian goddess Inanna, the first primordial goddess of the planet Venus."

    "Her worship spread to Cyprus, where she may have been merged with an ancient Cypriotgoddess. This merged Cypriot goddess may have been adopted into the Greek pantheon in Mycenaean and Dark Age times to form Aphrodite. Stephanie Budin, however, argues that Astarte's character was less erotic and more warlike than Ishtar originally was, perhaps because she was influenced by the Canaanite goddess Anat, and that therefore Ishtar, not Astarte, was the direct forerunner of the Cypriot goddess. Greeks in classical, Hellenistic, and Roman times occasionally equated Aphrodite with Astarte and many other Near Eastern goddesses, in keeping with their frequent practice of syncretizing other deities with their own.[3]
    Other major centers of Astarte's worship were the Phoenician city states of Sidon, Tyre, and Byblos. Coins from Sidon portray a chariot in which a globe appears, presumably a stone representing Astarte. "She was often depicted on Sidonian coins as standing on the prow of a galley, leaning forward with right hand outstretched, being thus the original of all figureheads for sailing ships.""

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astarte

    As Dagne says, when you go back 10,000 years in time it's extremely difficult to make judgments about people's spiritual beliefs.

    Matriarchy is something completely different, although there are and perhaps always have been societies where women had more rights than in others.

    Some North American Indian cultures, for example, were not matriarchies, but descent was through the female line, the home belonged to the woman, the council of women governed village life except for war, which was handled by the war chiefs, and they chose the men who went to represent the clan at the tribal conferences.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Advisor bicicleur's Avatar
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    Astarte was a bronze age godess, Semitic or Sumerian in origin
    the neolithic gods and godesses, I guess we'll never know
    Astarte was also a godess of war
    and in Carthago, Sicily and Cyprus Astarte priestesses were temple prostitutes
    anyway, even in written history all those stories about gods and godesses are very confusing
    what about the myth of the Amazonian warriors? do you think there was matriarchy among some Scyth tribes?

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    Advisor Angela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    Astarte was a bronze age godess, Semitic or Sumerian in origin
    the neolithic gods and godesses, I guess we'll never know
    Astarte was also a godess of war
    and in Carthago, Sicily and Cyprus Astarte priestesses were temple prostitutes
    anyway, even in written history all those stories about gods and godesses are very confusing
    what about the myth of the Amazonian warriors? do you think there was matriarchy among some Scyth tribes?
    It's difficult to tell, don't you think? We're dealing with finds of a few women buried with warrior artifacts, yes? How can we tell if these were unusual occurrences or common for the culture?

    In one sense it's unusual. Herding or nomadic people tend to be clan oriented based on the males, so it seems a bit odd.

    Then there's the fact that the Indo-Europeans seem to have done a bit of "gender bending", perhaps you could call it, as in the male initiation rites which may have involved mentoring by and sexual contact with an older man.

    Native American tribes allowed for a certain amount of gender bending too. I'm reminded of the phenomenon where certain males wore female dress, lived as women, and served a ceremonial function in the spiritual life of the tribe.

    This is a bit off topic, but I read just recently that a big study shows that the more prosperous certain regions become, the more traditional people become in their "gender" roles. I'm always skeptical of social science studies, but there may be something to this. I've noticed some of this with my own contemporaries. I know more than a few who have advanced degrees and were quite successful in their professional lives, but who when children came, if the husband was very successful monetarily, they stopped working or worked part-time.

    Perhaps, with certain cultures, if there weren't enough young warriors girls were permitted to fight?

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    It is not typical for women in the Baltic tribes to be buried with weaponry, however some rich women are, especially in Semigallia (region on the Eastern Baltic shores, about the current Latvia and Lithuania border). Women can be found buried with a spearhead or striking knives in decorated sheaths. Archeologists believe that the custom of women being buried weapons comes from the Finnic tribes, the Livian culture, that Semigallians had many contacts with. In the Non-IE Finnic cultures it was quite customary for women to have their own weaponry, which they took along to another world. So it seems that the more hunter-gatherer like the culture is the more flexibility there is between the typical gender roles.

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    Regular Member ΠΑΝΑΞ's Avatar
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    .
    It is a great turning point in the process of understanding human evolution at the new century. Genetic sciences come to confirm or deny our various considerations, it is a fact that nowadays the science of biology as a science needs to seal up any assumptions about "History" from now on.
    On the other hand, however, we are at a critical point that we have disengaged from relevant theoretical quests, and the stumbling block is the problem of managing information and "hard" data. Essentially, what I want to say is: - That there are many views of a subject and even more perspectives of a matter.


    The cognitive fields of each science differ, and therefore the answers as well as the questions; for example the history of art in relation to politics or even military history. While the latter manage the "important dates", the first deals with the dates between the dates. I mention this to realize how useful the different approaches are and that in the end they are all necessary for understanding this, which we generally call History.
    For this reason, field archaeologists, theoretical historians, philosophers and artists - recently and geneticists - etc. They all have - sometimes quite different - a narrative of the Echoes of the flow of History that can easily be transformed into Hoax.





    It is a fact that we are looking for easy answers, mechanically telling assertive chances that will cover our quests or even adapt to the "selected" theories and our arguments.


    It's right when @Bicicleur says:
    ....<<a few decades ago all kind of speculations about spiritual life and social customs by archeologists were in fashion and many myths still linger on...>>
    but
    and now are we all somewhat obsessed with a modern tendency of "de-con-struction" and revisionism?


    It is right when @Dagne says:
    ...<<I think the archeologist cannot say much about the spiritual life of the peoples who lived thousands of years ago>>...
    but
    perhaps the meaning of our effort is not simply to prove (?) to create a past reality but to understand their influence on our behavior and on the course of our evolution so far.
    Fears and insecurities appear to be interwoven with the survival of our DNA and sometimes seem deeply defined by the collective unconscious in the depth of each basic economic unit (family, group, tribe, village, city, etc.).




    Truth or myth? -There must be-some-true to be a myth ...
    We live in the aeon of "individuality", everyone is entitled to have their point of view, as we, like me / you,



    -Why I have the feeling that the male dominion is a recent episode in the series of evolution..?


    Anyway nice thread !
    Enjoy the holidays.

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