Salon.com has an article today about animals that kill their young. I'll use this as a prompt to remind everyone again why humans kill their young. From Lloyd DeMause's "Origins of War in Child Abuse":
ROUTINE INFANTICIDE AND CHILD SACRIFICE IN EARLY STATES
Clinical studies of violent mothers show the reason mothers are sadistic toward their children is that they have internalized their own mothers, and fear that the very act of having a child is “the most forbidden act of self-realization, the ultimate and least pardonable offense,” bringing with it inevitable fears of maternal retribution.11 Infanticidal mothers fear punishment by their own mothers for daring to have a baby, so “to save herself she must disown motherhood by destroying the child.”12 Mothers in antiquity continuously hallucinated female demons (Lamia, Gorgo, Striga, Empusa) who were inner maternal alters that were “so jealous of their having babies that they sucked out their blood… So fearful were they of these inner Killer Mothers that they would wear amulets to protect them from Lilith, the child killer, and would write on the wall of the birth room: ‘Out Lilith!’”13 Often first-born babies were routinely sacrificed to the avenging goddess. Hippocrates said that Greeks often experienced “convulsions, fears, terrors and delusions” and physicians were expected to treat the possessions and hallucinations of their dissociated personalities.14People in antiquity regularly talked to their inner alternate personalities, which were given names like psyche, thumos, menos, kardia, fradie, etor, noos, ate, and so on. Medea says she did not kill her children, her thumos forced her to kill them.15 Dragon Mothers are worshipped by all early states—from Lilith, Nin-Tu, Hecate and Ishtar to Moira, Shiva, Gorgon and Erinyes. They were called “Terrible Mothers” by their worshippers, and were seen as cruel, jealous and unjust: “her glance brings death, her will is supreme.”16 Even early Hebrews worshipped a mother goddess, Asherah, who, along with Lilith, “roamed the world in search of children to eat, rape, and kill.”17 Statues of bloodthirsty goddesses were set up in ziggurats and temples all over the world, fed, talked to and heard to speak their sacrificial demands. Often women would become so possessed by their Killer Mother alters that, as Euripides describes them during Dionysian rituals, “Breasts swollen with milk, new mothers clawed calves to pieces with bare hands, snatched children from their homes” and killed them.18
Girls were killed in far greater numbers than boys in early states, carrying out the instructions of Hilarion to his wife: “If it is a boy let it live; if it is a girl, cast it out.”19 The result is that males often outnumbered females by over four to one in census figures from Greece and Rome to India and China; of the 600 families on Delphic inscriptions, just one percent reared two daughters.20 The cause is not economic. As Poseidippos stated, “Even a rich man always exposes a daughter.” As one visitor to Hawaii reported, “there probably wasn’t a single mother who didn’t throw at least one of her children to the sharks, and wealthy royal families killed more than anyone.”21 If early societies wanted to reduce the number of children for economic reasons they would not have routinely forced girls to get married at age 12 and have lots of children. Early prophylactic devices made of various materials were actually available, but little used.22 What was lacking in early states wasn’t contraception devices, but parental love.
Most children in antiquity would therefore have watched their mothers drown, suffocate and stab their siblings to death.23 Mothers often simply gave birth to their babies in the privy, smashed their heads in and treated the birth as an evacuation. Romans reported watching hundreds of mothers throwing their newborn into the Tiber every morning. So many infants were killed that even though mothers had eight or more babies the populations of antiquity regularly decreased. It is not surprising that the children who survived implanted terrifying Killer Mother alters in their amygdalan fear centers and then acted them out as adults in human sacrifice and war. Children playing in dung heaps, rivers and cess trenches would find hundreds of dead babies, “a prey for birds, food for wild beasts to rend” (Euripides).24Those few exposed children who were rescued were raised as slaves or prostitutes. Physicians wrote works like Soranus’s “How to Recognize the Newborn that is Worth Rearing.”25 So many children were killed by their parents in early Greece and Rome that people were afraid their populations were declining, and passed laws limiting the infanticide of children of citizens, which, however, were rarely enforced. As Tertullian told Romans, “Although you are forbidden by the laws to slay new-born infants, it so happens that no laws are evaded with more impunity.”26
Parents in early ancient states proudly sacrificed their children to avenging deities. As I have documented in detail: “Child sacrifice was the foundation of all great religions.”27Maccoby’s book, The Sacred Executioner, portrays the entire history of religion as based upon a vengeful, bloodthirsty executioner with a child figure, from Isaac to Christ, being killed for the sins of others.28 Mass burials of thousands of sacrificed infants have been discovered in early states from Germany and France to Carthage, where archaeologists found one cemetery filled with over 20,000 urns containing bones of children sacrificed by their parents, who would kill them if the gods would grant the parents a favor—like if their shipment of goods were to arrive safely.29 As Quintilian said, “To put one’s own children to death is at times the noblest of deeds.”30 Suetonius said the Roman Senate “decreed that no male born that year should be reared” in order to appease the gods.31 As Poseipippus wrote, “girls are always exposed, even by the well-off.”32
Infant skulls split by an ax have been found at religious sites from Stonehenge to Jericho, early Arabians sacrificed their infants to “the Mothers,” Aztecs ripped out the hearts of their children and ate them, in India children were sacrificed in quantity to goddesses well into the nineteenth century, and Mayans still sometimes sacrifice their children in the mountains to give them good luck in cocaine trade.33 The skin of the sacrificed children was considered so holy that in societies like the Maya and Aztecs the sacrificers flayed the skin and wore it to increase their strength.34 Sacrificial rituals always contain elements of the abusive childhood practice that engendered them. Aztec mothers would regularly pierce their children’s genitals and pull knotted cords through the wounds to cleanse them of sin; during sacrificial rituals, therefore, the genitals of the victim would be pierced during the sacrifice and the blood spread over the idol of the goddess.35 Sacrifices are always necessary whenever independence and success is achieved and the avenging Killer Mother goddess must be placated. Even when people built new buildings or bridges, little children were usually sealed in them alive as “foundation sacrifices” to ward off the avenging maternal spirits who resent the hubris of building the structure.36 Not even ancient Greeks could dispense with human sacrifices; early reports of burning and eating of children in human sacrifices were followed in classical Athens by the practice of keeping victims called Pharmakoi who were ritually stoned to death as scapegoats for the sins of others.37