So I am reading The Chalice and the Blade.

The premise of this book is that the first agrarian communities were characterized by goddess worship and cooperative communities. There is no archaeological evidence of war or class or sexual hierarchy in these first cultures. From the archaeology, it looks they were very sexually free and had lots of art. Then the war-like herders (kurgan and hittite I think) come in and kill the men and children at these sedentary cultures, taking the women as property, destroying the arts, etc. The society regresses, the culture changes and is the precursor of so-called Western Civ.

This is a very different picture of the beginnings of Ag than what I gleaned from Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel. I'm paraphrasing - He says that annual grains became temporarily abundant (This makes sense to me since annual grasses love disturbance, flooding/drought = bare soil). People started using them and realized they could prepare the ground to get more, started hoarding food and then had to protect it. This eventually causes the culture we see today with sexual inequality, class systems, war, slavery.

So Diamond's description is accurate for the most part but Eisler makes it all seem not so simple. She blames the war-like herders (even demonizes them imo) where, before, I thought that the tendency towards class and war were coming from inside these first agrarian cultures.

Ok. so I can get that H-G societies might transition to full-on goddess worship in light of some huge environmental catastrophe that left grass seeds as the only real source of calories. Two reasons - First women were the primary gatherers and so a plant saving the day sort of equates to the feminine coming to their rescue. Second, the increased human population (fertility) that results when people start tilling ground rather than limiting themselves to what their landbase naturally supports (as H-G cultures do) lends itself to goddess worship.

I can get my head around the first agrarian societies being very much like H-G societies in being egalitarian, cooperative, sexually free, etc. That wouldn't change overnight. And being sedentary opens them up to being attacked but if that wasn't the norm, why would they worry?

It's these herders I'm trying to understand. Eisler sort of leads you to think that domestication of animals was somehow worse for our psyche (and, in my words, broke humans out of an H-G worldview) than tilling ground. I don't really buy that.

The herders came from two places - one was coming from the north and one was coming from the desert. One hypothesis of why Chimps and Bonobos are so culturally different is the availability of food. Chimp aggression from not enough food/ Bonobo chill from abundant food. So could northern latitude and desert living mean they were ultra violent? There are a lot of H-G groups who lived in those environments who were very peaceful. If people who were suddenly tilling large areas of ground kept major parts of their H-G worldview, why wouldn't small nomadic herding groups?

Or were the herders just pissed because the village was located in their traditional seasonal pasture and they were just conducting normal territory raids?

I guess the only real way to know what is up with these herders is archaeological evidence to show if there was sexual inequality or class structure.

So, was the cultural transition to violence, class, sexual inequality with ag due to...

1. Herders that were somehow extra violent due to their relationship with herding animals. They already had the idea of owning other creatures - animals, women, children.
2. The coming together of normal H-G (herder) territory dispute with new-on-the-scene sedentary cultures making for a very violent mix. In other words, there was something to get violent for since the villages were easy picking for resources but, if raided, would wipe out a whole culture (which wouldn't be true if one raided another H-G/herder camp). Many times the refugees from these destroyed villages became raiding groups themselves.
3. something else?

I have a hard time buying that the herder groups already had developed a domination culture? I think it may be the second scenario. What do you think?