Ch. 1 Ancient Civilizations
What is Civilization?
To European scholarsof the late 19th century (approximately 1 850-1900) including Charles Darwin, Gabriel de Mortillet, and Sir Edward Tylor civilization was the result of "progress", the end of a sequence of change in society form "savagery" (hunting and collecting), through "barbarism" (simple farming) to "civilization" (complex society).
In the US, Louis Henry Morgan promoted the same ideas of civilization at about the same time.
In the 1930s and 1940s archaeologist V. Gordon Childe expanded this sequence for use by archaeologists to suggest
Savagery was the condition of the hunter-gatherers of the Paleolithic and Mesolithic
Barbarism was the way of life of farmers of the Neolithic and copper Age
Civilization was characterized by the Bronze Age communities of the Near East
Childe believed that the progression from one condition to the next was logical, natural, and that people desired change from one stage to the next.
Today, "civilization" is used to indicate urbanized state-level society.
Ancient civilizations may be called "preindustrial" civilizations for their reliance on farming and trade.
How do we define civilization?
There has been some effort to identify traits that are typical of civilization: writing, metallurgy, calendar, army, but all traits are not present in all areas where we find ancient civilization (See map in text, and timeline).
Urbanism: presence of cities
City: large and dense settlement with population in the thousands.
The largest ancient cities sucha as Rome or Changan (China) may have had over a million inhabitants.
Cities are interdependent with the surrounding areas (the hinterland)
Cities are the location of specialists.
Cities are "central places", providing services not available elsewhere, such as a marketplace
Cities have more complex organization than smaller communities
Cities have centralized insitutions to maintain security, to regulate activities, these may be marked by monumental architecture (palace, temple, city hall)
State organization: a centralized political unit
There is some overlap with cities in organization
V.Gordon Childe, and later Charles Redman divided the characteristics of civilization into two groups, primary (essential) and secondary (likely to be present)
cities and states
full time specialization of labor
concentration of surplus
class structured society
Secondary characteristics: These are symptoms or by products of the primary characteristics (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy)
To understand a region in terms of population, technology, religious beliefs and practices, legal systems, and family and community organization.
To understand the variety of ancient civilizations and to see the differences that existed among these ancient societies
Archaeologist Bruce Trigger has suggested a difference among kinds of civilizations:
City States: the city is the whole of society and has all component peoples, specialists and functions. Know what a city state is and have an example of a city-state.
Territorial states: the city is a political center and there was less internal strife. Contact between the hinterland and the center (a city or cities) was usually just via tax payments or tribute.
Know what a territorial state is and have an example of a territorial state.
Civilizations and Their Neighbors
Know some of the consequences of civilization for neighboring groups.
Primary and Secondary Civilizations
Primary (pristine) civilization are those that cave first, formed completely on their own:
Examples: Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, Shang China, the Maya, coastal Peru
Secondary civilization are those that developed from contacts with pristine states:
the Minoans and the Mycenaeans in the Aegean (Mediterranean), early civilization in Nubia (present day Egypt and the Sudan), and southeast Asia
The Rediscovery of Ancient Civilizations
Know which areas of the world we are studying, see the map and time line in the book.
Know an explorer and a site for each of the six regions:
Greece and Rome
Greece and Crete
The Indus and Eastern Asia
Ch. 2 Theories of States
Historical and Anthropological Perspectives
Civilizationists and World Systems
Civilizationists look for cyclical patterns in world history
Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History (1934-1961)
Pitirim Sorokin, studies the 'central ideas' behind different civilizations, also cyclical
Carol Quigley, The evolution of Civilization (1961), peripheries of states go through cycles
Oswald Spengler, German historian, each civilization has its own basic 'essence'
Prestate and State-Organized Societies
Bands all three categories: vs. states
Tribes (complex tribes)
New challenges to evolutionary typologies:
Four-tiered hierarchy: cities, towns, large villages, and small villages
Six Classic Theories for the Emergence of State Societies
What characterizes all preindustrial civilizations?
1)Urbanized societies based on cities, substantial territory
2)economies based on centralized accumulation of capital and social status through tribute and taxation; long distance trade, division of labor, specialization
3)moves toward record keeping, science, math, and writing, from knots to script
4) monumental architecture
5) state religion
Childe and the Urban Revolution
James Brestead coined the term 'the Fertile Crescent', 1920s
V.G. Childe (1892-1957)
Neolithic revolution, origin of farming
Urban revolution, development of metallurgy, class of artisans and specialists living in cities
Technology and craft specialization the cornerstone of the revolution
Today craft specialization is seen as part of both chiefdoms and states, and Childe's urban revolution was noted by R. Mc.Adams and others as placing too much evidence on cities at the expense of the hinterland, which were probably interdependent.
Ecology and Irrigation
Three elements of Childe's urban revolution were of particular importance in the development of early civilization:
Large food surpluses
Diversified farming economies
Brestead, the unusual fertility of the Mesopotamian flookplain and the Nile V. were the primary cause for the appearance of cities and states in the region.
Boserup, population growth, not food surplus, was the incentive for intensified agriculture and eventually more complex societies.
(Nile and Mesopotamia)
Ecological diversity protected people against famile and stimulated trade and exchange for food, e.g. Inka, Mycenaeans.
Harappans, gems for cotton
Peru, cotton for anchovies
Highland and lowland mesoamerica
Adoption of irrigation agriculture was a major factor in the rise of civilization, as it supported far higher population densities.
Karl Wittfogel, hydraulic hypothesis, China, Egypt, India, 1920s
Adams, Mesopotamia, 1960s, also Egypt: The earliest irrigation was local, not institutional
Large scale irrigation requires maintenance and supervision, political stability and control of water sources, e.g. Inka overthrew the Chimu by taking control of their watershed.
Technology and Trade
Coercive versus Voluntaristic Theories
Coercive Theory: That individuals and communities were forced to participate in
the process of state formation.
Cultural Systems and Civilization (Systems Theory)
Adams, Mesopotamia, systems theory
Positive feedback among irrigation agriculture, increased warfare, and the
variability of local resources
Other systems possible
Sanders, Valley of Mexico
Environment, large-scale agriculture could be organized
Centralized leadership important
Mesopotamia, sea level lower by 300 ft during late ice age,
Binford, Post-pleistocene adaptations
Kennett, local development of cultivation and then villages sparked by rising sea level
Archaeology has shifted toward an interest in individuals and groups
Power in three domains: economic, social/ideological, and political
Economic Power, trade and exchange
Sumer, metal from Anatolia, Iran, Persian Gulf
Egypt, gold and ivory from Nubia
Andes, fish from the Pacific coast.
Needed: organization, record keeping, supervision
Social Power, creation or modification of symbols
Expressed in art, architecture, ritual activities, literature
Grants special status to defenders, practicioners
Ability of a ruler to impose authority
Ideology and factionalism
We see ideology in art
Mesopotamian city states were a cluster of urban precincts around a complex of public buildings
Sumerians, e.g. Ur, ziggurat was the center
Maya, sacred hills and caves, forests
Over time cereminial centers became larger, more elaborate, institutionalized
With ideology comes factionalism
'competing factions within local groups and in different regions triggered social inequality and changing patterns of leadership, increased specialization, and the development of states'
e.g. Calakmul and tikal
Cycling Chiefdoms: Processes and Agents
Cycling chiefdoms: the constant fluctuation between simple and more complex chiefdoms.
States arise from the competition between the chiefdoms when 3 factors come together:
--Buffer zones created between warring chiefdoms separating them
--One chiefdom acquires more population than the others, often at the others
expense. Highly organized warfare develops.
--A large capital settlement, usually a city, develops
The Collapse of Civilizations
Dynamic Model: consolidation, expansion, and dissolution
Collapse--smaller, simpler, more egalitarian, population declines, trade and the economy decline, information flow declines, and the known world shrinks for the survivors.
Civilization and Sustainability