What Is a Pastoral Society?
A pastoral society
is a nomadic group of people who travel with a herd of domesticated
animals, which they rely on for food. The word 'pastoral' comes from the
Latin root word pastor, which means 'shepherd.' Someone living in a pastoral society is called a pastoralist.
areas or northern climates where it's difficult to grow crops are where
pastoral societies have been in existence for hundreds of years, and
they were formed as a means of supporting life. Since they couldn't grow
crops to help them survive, they relied on the meat and dairy from
their herds. The types of livestock used in pastoral societies are all
herding herbivores, such as sheep, buffalo, camels, reindeer, goats, or
There are two types of pastoral societies: nomadism and transhumance. The nomads
migrate according to the changing seasons from one area to another to
meet the needs of their animals. The locations vary from season to
season. Or, they might return to a previously visited area, but
generally do not form permanent homes in any one place. The tribes live
in tents and are usually self-sufficient.
The transhumance pastoralists
also migrate according to seasons, but they return to the same
locations. They move to cooler areas in the summer and warmer areas in
winter. Each location has either an established village or house which
they return to when the seasons change. Pastoral societies are not
strictly nomadic or transhumance, however. They will adapt to conditions
as they're presented.
first Bedouins were pastoralists who roamed regions of the Saudi
Arabian desert. Today, Bedouin tribes still exist, some in permanent
communities and others in pastoral societies, living from the meat and
milk of camels, sheep, and goats. Bedouins also eat dried fruits and
other types of meat on occasion, such as chicken and fish.