The development of commercial enterprise was a long and arduous one. In understanding the early economic stages, namely, the finding, hunting, pastoral, and agricultural stage, one better appreciates its development. The first humans must have lived in very small groups and existed on what they could find and pick up as they roamed about. Fruits, seeds, roots, grubs, insects, clams, and the like were found and eaten. But when humanity became slightly inventive they were able to strike with the club, shoot with arrow or spear, snare and trap animals and fish which they then chiefly used for food, though still making use of the earlier articles. This was the hunting stage. In the hunting stage, people lived in larger groups than in the finding stage, being organized as tribes. They hunted in groups, although they had semi-permanent habitations in rude villages. But later in their development, the people began to cultivate the ground about their villages, in addition to hunting. Because the crop-growing thus practiced was rude, and done on a small scale by sticks and crude hoes, it is often called hoe-culture. The women chiefly practiced this culture, while the men hunted and carried on war when necessary. This was the hunting and hoe-culture stage marked by stationary dwellings.
The pastoral and agricultural stages of society probably have not always appeared in the same order everywhere or at all. In some places, as in semi-arid regions, the pastoral stage would likely come first and perhaps would always be maintained, as in Arabia; while, in rich regions of abundant rainfall, agriculture might occur through the natural extension of hoe-culture. The latter would doubtless be the case when the district became so populous that wild game was no longer sufficient to supply all the food. Keeping young wild animals for pets must have been the chief road to domesticating animals and introducing the pastoral stage of society. This pastoral society was a tribal and kinship affair. A group of kinsmen had a definite territory or a definite route over a very large territory where they grazed their flocks and lived. They would move from place to place with their flocks as the vegetation was exhausted.
The land was a common possession although the flocks were likely to be the property of someone, such as the patriarch. The idea of capital could easily arise under such conditions. Houses were usually somewhat temporary, portable affairs. Such a thing as a permanent neighborhood as we think of it was practically out of the question. The early Greeks and Romans appear to have been pastoral peoples when they settled the areas which became Greece and Rome. They came from the northeast, driving their flocks into those regions.
The population growth likely forced peoples to take up agriculture, as we think of it today. As was said, hoe-culture may have grown into agriculture when game grew scarce. This appeared to be the case with the Indians of our southwest, who practiced extensive irrigation, and with the Incas in South America. Or, pastoral peoples, on entering arable regions, may have evolved into it out of exclusive stock raising, as in the case of the Greeks and Romans. In either case, it seems that the agriculturists lived in small villages, where they relied on the vast tracks of surrounding land to do their farming. Evidently such was the method of living among the early Greeks and Romans, the Incas, the agricultural Indians of our southwest, and with the Celts of England at the time of the Roman invasion and up to the time of the arrival of the Teutonic tribes in the fifth century.
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