War And Society Keeley’s is attempting to prove that primitive warfare throughout history has been effective and occasionally more successful than civilized methods. Throughout Chapter five of “War Before Civilization”, evidence is displayed showing the different success rates of primitive warfare compared to its civilized counterpart. Two examples that offer proof to Keeley’s theory are: 1. Julius Caesar’s Roman legion was incapable of conquering England, which was defended by the undisciplined, barbarian hosts of Celts and Germans. Raids and ambush tactics demonstrated by the barbarians deferred a Roman triumph for a century.
(A.D.9.) (Pg.72) 2. During the Battle of Little Big Horn, two hundred U.S. soldiers led by Colonel Custer were ambushed and defeated by one thousand and eight hundred Sioux and Cheyenne warriors. (1866) (Pg.73) Certainly, aspects of primitive warfare have had high success rates throughout war and history, yet the majority of Keely’s examples are only of individual battles. The majority of Primitive societies lack the required population, food, and artillery to win the war. Attempting to differentiate the success rate of primitive and civilized warfare is an unattainable task.
While particular historical battles have proved the effectiveness of uncivilized warfare, economic and social resources should be considered in every individual case. Keely’s illustrations and examples of past war patterns disprove the myth that primitive societies will always be defeated by civilized armies in time of war. Proving primitive effectiveness is clearly Keely’s aspiration in Chapter Five. (Pg.71) Keely’s various examples from different centuries demonstrate that primitive warfare has occasionally been victorious in opposition to civilized societies. History Essays.