The effects of living closely with domestic animals in pastoral societies are varied, touching on sociology, linguistics, and history. Even today, there are pastoral societies such as the Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan, living nomadic lives with their herds. In the past they have influenced the sedentary civilizations, particularly in Eurasia.
In Goat Song, the influence of pastoralism over past languages and their modern progeny is detailed. Letters such as H may have taken their shape from fences as a string of them clearly form a pen: HHHHHHH. The shape of the letters I, J, and L may all have come from different types of shepherds’ staffs. There is a common allusion to this in candy canes being shaped purposefully like shepherds hooks in reference to the pastoralism of the Jews and the influence it had on the New Testament. The Jewish and Christian religions themselves have a large amount of pastoral influence, with many analogies being focused on sheep, shepherds, and animal sacrifices.
In Greece, the goat specifically influenced mythology in the form of the satyr. Half goat and half man, the minor god embodied the lust found in goats while in their mating season. They are also patrons of the arts, including poetry and song.
This character of a half man- half goat god was co-opted by the early Christians into one version of the devil. Modern conceptions of devils often include goat-like elements such as horns, goat legs, or even goat heads.
Pastoralism has even affected our genetics to an extent, as we are one of the only species to retain the ability to process milk into adulthood. The genes responsible for the ability to metabolize lactose are not present in all peoples, and are more common in western ethnic groups which have a past grounded in pastoralism.
Historically, pastoral societies have lived on the outskirts of sedentary societies and often invaded. Sometimes these invaders established control over the civilization, such as the mongols with the Jin Dynasty in China, or the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia. These invasions were often destructive, but occasionally constructive. The Mongols, for example, provided safe passage for trade over a huge territory, and spread ideas across their lands as well.
The domestication of goats, cows, sheep, and other pastoral animals has had a wide effect on people biologically, and historically. Goats in particular have had a lasting influence on western culture through its Greek and Judeo-Christian roots.