The Primitive Communal SystemCategory: 00 Early period
For some hundreds of thousands of years people lived under the primitive communal system. Labour gradually changed the life of man. The Iberians knew only stone tools and weapons; the Celts produced tools of metal—first, of bronse, that is, a mixture of copper and tin, and, later, of much harder metal, iron.
The improved tools of labour brought about important changes in the living conditions of primitive man. The Iberians had gathered or hunted their food, but the Celts began to tame and breed animals, to till the soil. Iron ploughs could cut the soil deeper, and so they could cultivate not only the light soil of the chalk downs but also the rich heavy soil in the valleys. They grew more and mere corn.
They began to build dwellings and to make clothing. They learned the art of pottery.
The life of the Celts differed greatly from that of the Iberians. But both the Iberians and the Celts lived under the primitive system. At all stages of its development primitive society had very much in common: the primitive people worked collectively in clans or family communities; they owned common property and were all equal.
The related members of the clan jointly owned their hunting-grounds, tillable lands, rivers and lakes. They worked together and shared the products of their labour. All food was divided equally among the members of the clan.
Their tools were primitive and the labour productivity was low. A man could not produce any surplus over and above his immediate needs.
All the tribesmen became warriors in war-time, but in time of peace they hunted, tamed and bred animals and tilled the soil. A tribe was governed by a council of elders. The council distributed hunting- and fishing-grounds and tillable lands among the family communities and settled all disputes. The elders acted in the interests of the whole tribe. They were obeyed and trusted by all. They called meetings of all the tribesmen to discuss the most important problems.
In primitive society there was no private property; therefore there were no classes and no exploitation — that is, appropriation by the rich of the fruits of other men’s labovir. Since there were no classes there was no state system, that is, no armed forces, no prisons, no courts, no overseers, no government bodies.
In the last centuries B.C. and in the first centuries A. D. the Celts were in a period of transition from primitive communal society to class society. The elders, military leaders and their warriors made up the tribal nobility. They were beginning to seize much land for themselves and they had more cattle than the other members of the clan. But still the communal way of life predominated among them.