chapter  1
17 Pages

The Savages

This chapter discusses Friedrich Schlegel's historical research relating to the prehistory in order to show why this interpretation is not only simplifying but even misleading. It examines Schlegel's reception of soft primitivism, and why one should not confuse it with other versions of the Golden Age myth. The chapter focuses on the discovery of agriculture, which according to Schlegel was the key moment in the invention of the Golden Age myth. The invention of agriculture was a threshold event in the history of human-kind; this is also emphasised by Harari, and many other modern primitivists who present it as history's biggest fraud that made people's life worse. In contrast with that, Schlegel argues that Hesiod's mythical figure of the unconcerned free savage was created by the first farmers, exhausted after their agricultural work. Schlegel did not idealise the primeval state of nature, but felt pity for the helpless people.