Tuesday, November 12, 2019
City-States in Lower Mesopotamia :: Ancient Egypt Egyptian History
City-states in Lower Mesopotamia Factors that contributed to the emergence of city-states in Lower Mesopotamia and the influence the landscape played in the formation of the civilization which emerged. For this essay I considered the question of what factors contributed to the emergence of city-states in Lower Mesopotamia and the influence the landscape played in the formation of the civilization which emerged. Through my research on this topic I found that there is much evidence to support the claim that landscape was a very large influence on the emergence of civilization and that most of the contributing factors were, in some way, linked to geography. In order to fully understand the topic, I first explored what the definition of civilization is. The first criterion for civilization, that I could think of, is domestication and an agricultural economy capable of producing a stored surplus. From this, I felt the need to examine the origins of Mesopotamian agriculture. With the glacial retreat after the last ice-age (roughly 10000 BC) the Mesopotamian climate improved and many modern plants and animals began to become concentrated in specific areas. Around 9000 BC the vast majority of Mesopotamian peoples were hunter-gatherers. With the concentrations of plants and animals being in specific areas these hunter-gatherers soon began to domesticate those plants and animals and a sedentary village farming pattern arose. This became the predominant way of life around 6000 BC. This change from food collecting to food producing was one of the major transformations in human history. Early peoples no longer had to live the nomadic life of hunter-gatherers but could settle down in permanent housing and produce their own food. It also began an economic change that altered social and political institutions, religion, etc. Domestication is the process of altering plants and animals so that they are no longer bound to the natural habitats of their wild ancestors. In essence they become more productive and useful to people. This process sometimes even includes changes in the genetics of the domesticated plant or animal. In Mesopotamia the major domesticated species of plants were wheat, barley, chickpeas, peas, grapes, olives, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, apricots, dates, and figs. The major domesticated species of animals were cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. Some of the genetic changes brought about through domestication and the careful breeding of plants and animals include plants that were bred to have more and bigger useful parts and animals that were initially bred to be smaller and less aggressive, and only later to have more of their useful parts.