I don't buy the idea that when babies are needed, women become 'baby-making machines'. It assumes that men are 100% in control of everything. In reality, while men have advantages, women are also a factor. In societies where women have lots to offer, their situation is usually better, and babies are an important thing to offer.
More-or-less what I was thinking.
But since I'm an armchair amateur, I thought it possible
the poster who thought he'd read that (Downtimer) actually had read it from a professional who'd done some actual research to back it up.
If that turns out not to be the case, I feel free to continue to assume, as you have, that anything only women can do that men very much want done is going to help women's status;
and that regardless of that women are not just going to be, as a general rule, helpless victims of men.
I think it's unlikely that a high land price society would be matrilinear, matriarchal, or anything like that, given the low status of women. However, places like Tibet are probably exceptions
Not knowing any better, I also think Tibet is possibly an exception. My earlier caveat
was just to say that what you said usually
happens, doesn't always
- I seem to recall that altitude and food shortages result in lower life expectancies for women, reducing the pressure.
If Tibet is indeed an exception (as we both suspect), then I
at least don't know why
they are an exception. Your guess is better than any I've come up with.
Where polyandry exists, that too will cut the pressure.
Tibet has both
widespread "fraternal polyandry" (one wife has two-or-more husbands; likely two-or-more of these husbands are brothers to each other); and
widespread celibacy (monasticism is very popular there, and the majority of the major orders of lamas are supposed to be celibate (though some major orders are not celibate IIUC)).
As a result men are at a premium on the marriage market, and so wives are usually older than husbands.
A typical love-song in Tibet is a lament by a fourteen-year-old woman that her husband is "still a baby drinking milk". The typical first marriage in Tibet is for a woman just finished with puberty to "adopt" a boy who is barely pubescent, if that old, and finish raising him. (Of course this is a "marriage" rather than an "adoption" in the eyes of the Tibetans.)
The low land price --> matrilinear link does seem more tenuous.
And I could be wrong, anyway.
for not making me be the first to admit I could be wrong!
Did Isra-el really have low land prices, though? I'd have thought, what with relatively high population density and not exactly an abundance of land, that land would have been expensive.
Remember we're talking about patriarchal times; and we're talking about pastoral nomads.
It is my impression that throughout that part of the Fertile Crescent that was away
from the settlements -- the parts where the pastoral nomads roamed -- there was a great deal of not-very-fertile land, and not-very-many people in it. (Actually that land was pretty fertile compared to land outside the Fertile Crescent; it was relatively less fertile than land in settled areas, however.)
They fit nearly everything you said about a low-land-price situation; a group's limiting resource in extracting sustenance and wealth from the land was more probably labor than land. The land there was very productive if worked and not very productive if not worked.
A bride brought a dowery; but a very valuable and highly-prized part of her dowry was likely to be a hand-maiden. In most of the Old Testament stories, the hand-maiden turns out to be the only part of her dowery that was ever mentioned twice.
Polygyny was widely practiced among successful
men, and was likely to be "sororal polygyny", where two or more of the man's wives were each other's sisters.
A man's wife's hand-maiden might be lent to him by his wife in order for him to impregnate her and get another child. If two of his wives were competing to see which could give him the most children (or the most sons), these hand-maidens were very likely to be thus recruited into their mistress's side of the competition.
Your remark doesn't say so, but I suspect your society was polygynous -- one man might have several wives at the same time, though a woman would have only one husband at a time.
True, but polygynous households were only a small minority (perhaps 5%-ish?), provided that that can be plausibly justified. However, I guess that the proportion may have been higher earlier on and might have had an effect on the kinship system.
Monogamy is mostly a way of reducing competition among the less-successful males; the more-successful men agree to limit themselves to one wife in order to leave more potential wives for the less-successful men. The reason for reducing this competition is so that the more-successful men can turn the fighting tendencies of the less-successful men away from each other and toward outside enemies (a.k.a. the rivals of the more-successful men).
Or so I've read hypothesized. Maybe that's hogwash. I tend to believe it is at least partly (or even largely) true in at least some (or even many) situations. But I've done no research myself.
Tom H.C. in MI