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T h e A m e r i c a n U n i v e r s i t y o f R o m e HSM 201 - Survey of Western Civilization I. Session 2 The Beginnings of Civilization: The Advent of the State and Empire. . States and Cities States are generally urban (organized into cities and rural hinterlands)

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T h e a m e r i c a n u n i v e r s i t y o f r o m e hsm 201 survey of western civilization i l.jpg

T h e A m e r i c a n U n i v e r s i t y o f R o m eHSM 201 - Survey of Western Civilization I

Session 2The Beginnings of Civilization: The Advent of the State and Empire.


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States and Cities

  • States are generally urban (organized into cities and rural hinterlands)

  • non-urban states (without cities) and urban non-states

  • states are territorially defined and cover very large territories (not one or a few settlements)

  • economies based on centralized accumulation of capital through taxation and tribute

  • Social status determined by birth into one or another well defined social classes

  • states are highly stratified: ruling elite and professional, bureaucratic government, with other lower strata: religious, administrative, warrior, craft, commoner, slave classes

  • have legitimate use of coercive force (law) and standing armies

  • generally have certain features, such as monumental architecture and public buildings, writing, sophisticated mathematics, engineering, and calendar systems, state religion and arts, etc.`


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The Urban Revolution

  • V. Gordon Childe was among the first to discuss the development of ancient states in the Near/Middle East

  • hedefined states by a trait list: based on the presence of certain key elements, most notably: cities, writing, surplus, metallurgy, craft specialization

  • he felt that technological innovations (e.g., metallurgy, writing), craft specialization, and agricultural surplus were key in the emergence of ancient states, but he doesn’t really describe the process of state development

  • as in his reconstruction of a “Neolithic Revolution” he felt thatstates were an advancement over earlier cultural forms, which improved life, and given the right conditions a natural development for humankind


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Wittfogel’s Hydraulic (Irrigation) Hypothesis

  • In 1950s, Karl Wittfogel (Oriental Despotism) suggested a model for the emergence of the major Oriental civilizations (China, India, Mesopotamia).

  • Unlike Childe, Wittfogel and later writers were interested in the processes of state emergence, rather than assuming they were a “natural” advancement

  • mechanisms of large-scale irrigation closely linked to emergence of state

  • large-scale irrigation lead to greater planning and coordination (water scheduling, calendrics, construction planning, labor coordination), requiring strong leadership and administration

  • irrigation agriculture provided more stable productivity and increased wealth, and also required defense

  • resulting in increasing differentiation (between leaders, administrators, and other high-ranking individuals and commoners) and inequality within society



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Warfare and State Formation

  • Carneiro’s circumscription theory:

  • In areas of circumscribed agricultural land, population growth leads to competition and conflict;

  • This in turn leads to warfare;

  • Subjugation of conquered polities by victors and develop regional pyramidal (rank-order) hierarchy

  • Seems to fit some cases (Egypt, Peru), but in many cases populations were still small when early chiefdoms/kingdoms emerged



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Flannery (1972, p.407): “Adams has produced a theory which is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements and with conflicts between social classes or polities.). For Adams there are no "prime movers," but rather a whole series of important variables with complex interrelationships and feedback between them. This model does not satisfy those who, like Carneiro, feel that simple explanations are more elegant than complex ones, but it appeals to those of us who like circular rather than linear causality.”


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Multivariant systems in formation of the state is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements Flannery (1972, p.414): In a multivariant model, we might see the state evolving through a long process of centralization and segregation, brought about by … promotions and linearizations, in response not only to stressful socio-environmental conditions but also to stress brought on by internal pathologies.In promotion an institution may rise from its place in thecontrol hierarchy to assume a position in a higher level (Examples: the evolution of the Sumerian "palace" out of the secular residences included in southern Mesopotamian temple complexes at 3000 B.C., with its implications for the evolution of kingship out of some kind of "priest-manager" role in the preceding chiefdom stage; and 2. the transition from the so-called "theocratic“ first-generation civilizations to their more "militaristic" successors.)In linearization lower-order controls are repeatedly or permanently bypassed by higher-order controls.


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Collapse is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements Tainter (1988): economic reasons. “Increasing complexity gives rise to diminishing marginal returns on investment; when those returns become negative, the society has a progressively diminishing capacity to withstand stress, and is vulnerable to collapse.”(from @http://elizaphanian.blogspot.com/2008/02/collapse-of-complex-societies-joseph.htmlOther explanations: Climate change, droughts, floods.QWhat parts of a society are affected by a collapse event, how long does it take? What structures remain? How long does it take for a society to recoup and reorganize? What does it take?


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Writing is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements

  • By 3400 BC the first evidence of writingappears (pictographs)

  • Sophisticated abstract iconographic writing in ancient Sumerian Civilization calledcuneiform (“wedge”), developed by ca. 2500 BC

  • complex commercial transactions (accounting) are one theory for the increasing development of Sumerian writing

Quipu


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Forma Urbis – Roma is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements

Ancient map of Nippur,

c. 1500 BC


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Flood Tablet is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements

Assyrian

King Assurbanipal

7th Century BC

Recording historical

events


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Religion / Temples is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements


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Trade is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements


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Social hierarchies I is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements


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Social hierarchies II is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements


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Regional hierarchies I is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements


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Regional hierarchies II is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements

Moundville Sphere, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama


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  • In our course textbook is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements

  • The questions of Chapter 1

  • What do we really know about early hunter-gatherer life? How do we know it?

  • What changes allowed the transition from hunter-gatherer to sedentary societies?

  • What were the principal influences behind the early emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia?

  • Why did a common religion not create peace among the Sumerians?

  • How did Hammurabi bind his empire together?

  • In what ways did patters of development in early Egypt differ from those in Sumer?


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The interesting ones is described as "synthetic" by Wright, since it combines both approaches (managerial requirements

> What is revolutionary about the Neolithic and urban societies? Jericho…Çatal Hüyük…early “temples”

> Influences in emergence of early urban life in Mesopotamia? Water, irrigation, control, religion mixed with politics

> Why did a common religion not create peace among the Sumerians? ………………….

> Hammurabi strategies for binding the empire? Administration and hierarchies…Organized territories…..Laws, practical, precise

> Comparing Early Egypt vs. Sumer? …distinct trajectories but not divergent


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