Originally Posted by awa
often times nobles start to develop when one family starts getting really powerful. If one guy has dozens of brothers, cousins, sons and nepewes he can call on to back him up he has a lot of force to throw around.
....That would only work if every individual is equally powerful (so more is better, with no other considerations) and if resources keep going up at the exact same rate with the population (so more people doesn't mean smaller portions for everyone). Neither is often the case. Also, families aren't necessarily at odds with each other, and "intermarriage" comes way before organized settlements anyway.
Is that a theory you picked up somewhere, perhaps referring to particular socioeconomic conditions, or era, or culture? Or a general speculation of yours?