Chapter 2 First Civilizations: Cities, States, and Unequal Societies
Introducing the First Civilizations Sumer • City states emerged in Sumer in Southern Mesopotamia around 3500–3000 B.C.E. • produced the first written language, used by officials to keep record of goods received at temples Egypt • developed along the Nile; Egypt’s pyramids, and pharaohs are very well known. • Egypt was a unified state unlike city-states of Sumer Nubia • Nubia developed as a distinct civilization further south on the Nile.
Norte Chico • From roughly 3000 to 1800 B.C.E. • Coastal area in central Peru, • While lacking rainfall, the area was watered by snowmelt-fed rivers from the Andes. • Some twenty-five urban centers developed. • Small cities produced goods such as cotton netsand fishing. • No farming based on grain but grew beans and fruit. • No protective walls or archeological signs of warfare(peaceful?) • No writing, they may have used knotted cords to record information. (quipu) • Isolated from the rest of the world, at some point maize from Central America arrived. • Established patterns for later civilizations (Chavin, Moche, Wari, Tiwanaku, and Inca)
Indus Valley • The Indus saw the development of large and planned cities but • No lasting monumental architecture as in Mesopotamia and Egypt. • system of standardized weights and measures, and architectural style, • No signs of political hierarchy or a centralized state. • While environmental degradation led to the collapse of this civilization, some • cultural patterns, such as religious rituals and yoga positions, remain to this day. Think making connections!
Oxus Valley • blended both irrigated agriculture and cattle raising • long-distance trade connections(goods from China, India, and Mesopotamia and pastoral nomads) Focal point? • Fortified cities with residential areas, artisan workshops and temples. • Social hierarchy evident through pictures of gods and men in different dress and at different events like banquets, chariot driving and carrying heavy items. • Brief history, by 1700, it faded away
Xia, Shang, & Zhou: In China, a series of dynasties established cultural and political patterns • centralized state • concept of the Mandate of Heaven, • character-based writing system, that would last until the early twentieth century.
China Xia dynasty • Legendary monarch Wu organized flood control Shang and Zhou • Rulers enlarged the state, created tombs for themselves, buried thousands of sacrificial victims to accompany them into the afterlife • Zhou introduced the mandate of heaven, or Son of Heaven • Mandate of Heaven said the monarch has a divine right to rule as long as he ruled with good intentions • Oracle bones have been discovered that were created to help rulers predict the future and with governing • Greatest cultural continuity from formation to modern times
Olmec • Along the Gulf of Mexico, present day Veracruz • the Olmec civilization took shape around 1200 B.C.E • Based on maize, beans, and squash • Cities arose from competing chiefdoms; later became ceremonial centers filled with temples, pyramids and tombs of rulers • Colossal heads are most famous legacy • Possibly created the first written language in the Americas (900 B.C.E) • set the cultural patterns for centuries in Mesoamerican, as seen by the survival of architectural styles, rituals, and ceremonial ball games • Influenced both Maya and Teotihuacan “the mother civilization”
The Erosion of Equality 1. Inequalities of wealth, status, & power: Class distinctions were based on access to wealth, social status, and the ability to control and use power. 2. Impact of urbanization: Urbanization decreased village egalitarianism and increased social inequality. 3. Elite privileges: Elites enjoyed privileges based on wealth and power but also enjoyed legaland ceremonial status. 4. Wealth producers: most people were commoners who produced most of the surplus wealth. Commoners felt wealth was taken by the elites, often causing tension 5. Slaves: Enslaved by war, crime, or debt: slaves were at the bottom of social hierarchies and they worked a variety of tasks.
Hierarchies of Gender Most gender systems were “ideally” patriarchal • Reality of the lives of men and women were not like this Gender interacted with class • Upper class women limited to home • Vast majority of women had to be out in public, working the fields, tending livestock, acting as merchants or serving in houses of superiors • Some pushed their limits and restricitons • Most women accepted their assigned roles (not imagining gender inequality) • Many felt they were protected by their men