Le Società Matriarcali del Passato e l’Origine dei Patriarcati.

Riceviamo da Academy HAGHIA e volentieri condividiamo la segnalazione dell’ultimo libro di Heide Goettner-Abendroth, di cui Venexia Editrice ha tradotto nel 2012 Le Società Matriarcali. Studi sulle culture indigene in tutto il mondo

In questo suo ultimo libro, che sarà prossimamente disponibile in italiano, lo sguardo dell’autrice si volge indietro nel tempo della storia per indagare la nascita dei patriarcati in Asia occidentale e Europa.

Matriarchal Societies of the Past and the Rise of Patriarchy. West Asia and Europe
Peter Lang, New York, December 2022

This new book, Heide’s second major work on Modern Matriarchal Studies, was published in German in 2019 and is now available in English. In order to write this book, she relied on the detailed knowledge gained from her studies of matriarchal societies that still exist today.

Her aim was to gain greater insight into the history of societies and cultures than what had been achieved to date by archaeologists. Her new book is a serious work based on both earlier archaeological findings and recent discoveries, as is essential in order to avoid speculation.

But she is critical of the interpretations provided by conventional archaeology, which are very often patriarchally biased. Her studies of present-day matriarchal societies have helped her to recognize this and to see many of their findings in a different light.

Some clear criticism of ideology was therefore necessary, too.

The book contains some very interesting new evidence on the topic of egalitarian societies in early history, which were women-centred or matriarchal, a fact that’s not widely known today. Heide has also visited nearly all the archaeological sites in West Asia and Europe that are included in this book, her travels over three decades giving her the opportunity to see most of them for herself.

Some notes on the book

Historiography tends to focus on war; it’s concerned about domination, about emperors, kings and other potentates and their expansion of power. As such, it’s male history; i.e. the history of the victors. Women don’t form part of this history aside from a few exceptions that, nevertheless, don’t alter the patriarchal nature of the narrative.

Women and their achievements have been treated as marginal or non-existent by conventional archaeology, as if their practical inventions and the social and cultural patterns they created had never existed.

Consequently, the aim of this book is to help redress this bias, applying an integrating approach in order to rewrite and rebalance human cultural history. This provides a new perception, seeing cultural history not only from “above” but also from “below”, the only way to achieve complete understanding.

Above all, it’s not simply about the early history of women but rather the history of a very different form of society, matriarchal society, with its social, economic and political institutions and its different world view. This form of society was shaped by women and supported by maternal values such as respect for diversity combined with general equality, making it fundamentally egalitarian. Such societies have been discovered in early history thanks to thorough research based on archaeological findings.

The emergence of patriarchal patterns is also explained, not through theoretical speculation but again based on archaeological findings. The origins and development of patriarchy differ widely in the various cultural zones of the world, so there’s no simple, universal explanatory pattern. This book looks at the emergence of patriarchal patterns in the major cultural areas of West Asia and Europe, as well as the conditions for their subsequent expansion.


  • The Development of Modern Matriarchal Studies and its Relevance for History
  • The new Ideology of “eternal war”. Critical Thoughts to early History
  • Palaeolithic in West Asia, the Mediterranean, and Europe. The Development of Mother-centred Societies
  • Neolithic in West Asia. The Invention of Agriculture and the Development of Matriarchal Societies
  • Neolithic in the Mediterranean and Europe. The Unfolding of Matriarchal Societies
  • Bronze Age in the Eurasian Steppe. The Origins of Early Patriarchal Societies and the Amazon Question (Female Resistance)
  • Bronze Age and Iron Age in West Asia. The Rise of State and Empire
  • Bronze Age and Iron Age in South Europe. Late Matriarchal Societies and Increasing Patriarchalization
  • Bronze Age and Iron Age in Europe north of the Alps. Matriarchal Elements in a Patriarchal Surrounding

The book’s text is further supported by a large number of illustrations.

The book can be ordered at orders@peterlang.com