Early Civilization in Mesopotamia

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Early Civilization and Urban Centers

Early civilization took place in several urban centers which were abundant in trade and commerce. The essence of early civilization practices was associated with social stratification, urban development that was created by the cultural elite and systems of communications. Further, the improvement of socio-politico-economic aspects such as the domestication and centralization of other animals, specialization of labor as well as the development of taxation and dependence of farming was the exploration that led to early civilization. There are several cities which pioneered the development of early civilization such as the Mesopotamia, Greek, and Egypt. However, this paper will examine the process and early culture in Mesopotamia.

Unification of Civilizations

Civilization in the ancient world viewed humanity to have adapted to a new better place for the development of cultures and relationships in various ways. The ultimate unification of civilization was under a collection of different cultures that had real bonds with scripts, the gods, social customs and laws which translated the existing relationship between human beings during this period. For instance, the development of language and writing in ancient Mesopotamia was essential to humanity since it portrayed a valuable asset for connection. [1]The population of Mesopotamia was divided into two distinct groups where some spoke the Sumerians while others Semitic dialects. The development of these languages assisted in building the cities since the level of communication was made possible to the people. Besides, learning to write was also a factor which unified people in Mesopotamia since they would interact to share the process of governance, cultural and religious practices.

Governance and Hierarchy

There were several roles which human had during the ancient world to facilitate the process of civilization. The most remarkable aspect was the development of governance, especially in Mesopotamia. Additionally, the essential element to consider is the organizations of populations who were legally bound by the political affiliation to form their city-states that were composed of firm land. These city-states were independent of each other and also experienced frequent warfare. The hierarchy was made up of the priests and the bureaucrats who stood at the center of public life in religious and political affairs.

Economy and Society

Moreover, the god of the city holds on to the temple by controlling the productive land as well as city-states where the ordinary people would bring whatever they grew to the temple. Besides, these temples also acted as the primary distribution centers where they could receive, store and disburse the food as needed to the people in the city-states. [2]On the other hand, the emergence of bureaucrats was mainly as a result of keeping the documents recorded from the temple stores. Their main work would also be managing the large number of menial laborers, skilled artisans, and even the traders within the city-state. Further after the development of good governance, the emergence of kingship became the norm of the period. The primary factor which contributed to royalty is the development of endemic warfare that was set in between city-states. The religious leaders from the temple were among the people who became important to the city-states and commanded military leadership to protect their people from the invasion of warfare.

Daily Life in the Ancient City-States

The process of early civilization established how humans should conduct their daily lives in the city-states. The development of economy and society was the epitome of experiences in the ancient world. The early city-states in Mesopotamia were to some extent became a self-sufficient economic unit. The essence of this had the basis on commercial practices and their immense control. For instance, the craftsmen have had an association with metalsmiths, spinners, weavers as well as the potters. On the other hand, the laborers were the employees of the temple as well as traders who would travel with caravans to supply the temple with necessary servants and goods. There were daily activities which were associated with the civilization of human beings in the ancient world. The development of agriculture was one of the events done by human where the Mesopotamians grew varieties of crops such as wheat, onions, barley, apples, and grapes. Besides, they also kept sheep, goats, and cattle reared fish from rivers and the canals. These farming activities were possible in Mesopotamia due to the existence of rivers Tigris and Euphrates as well as favorable climate conditions.

Trade and Settlements

The other daily activity was the practice of trade between the people of Mesopotamia. The plains of the region did not support the city-state with valuable items for constructing the city which in turn had the effect of stimulating trade with the neighboring areas. The early trading activity in Mesopotamia was the exchange mineral resources and the food surpluses. Later the development of trading contracts between the peoples of Asia and Syria become the desired trading platform exchange of weapons and bronze armor.[3] The trade caravans were also organized with specialized agents who entrusted their goods for transport by oxen to different destinations. Lastly, the other activity was a settlement within the cities of Mesopotamia. The ancient people lived within these cities and were surrounded by several satellite villages for the bigger cities. The estimated size of these cities ranges from 20000 to 50000 people. [4]Additionally, they were skilled in building their shelters in the form of a temple, monumental structures that were located at the center of granaries and warehouses. Notably, there were also wide streets connected at the central area towards the city gates and were away from the public spaces of large homes and familiar dwelling places within the cities. The patterns in building the structures were followed considering the development of district centers which were the coordinating points.

Beliefs of Life After Death

The beliefs of life after death were significant for the people in the early civilization period. For instance, the people of Mesopotamia believed that life after death was a pretty grim place. Primarily this is because the physical death did not mean the end of life but a continuous spiritual existence in the underworld. For instance, in the epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu the best friend of Gilgamesh illustrates that in pretty lurid there are things which take place in the underworld. Notably, food is also something which revolt for the people of Mesopotamia in the afterlife but can only be able to get it is an individual in the land of the living has made offerings to appease the dead.[5]

Hierarchy in the Afterlife

Moreover, the afterlife had a different experience in the order of hierarchy within the society of Mesopotamia. For instance, they believed that when a king dies, he will continue to be a king in another world, if the death were a priest, they would keep with their work after the death.

Bibliography

Oppenheim, A. Leo. Ancient Mesopotamia: portrait of a dead civilization. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Assmann, Jan. Cultural memory and early civilization: writing, remembrance, and political imagination. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Postgate, Nicholas. Early Mesopotamia: society and economy at the dawn of history. Taylor & Francis, 2017.

[1]

Oppenheim, A. Leo. Ancient Mesopotamia: portrait of a dead civilization. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

[2]

Oppenheim, A. Leo. Ancient Mesopotamia: portrait of a dead civilization. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

[3]

Assmann, Jan. Cultural memory and early civilization: writing, remembrance, and political imagination. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

[4]

Assmann, Jan. Cultural memory and early civilization: writing, remembrance, and political imagination. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

[5]

Postgate, Nicholas. Early Mesopotamia: society and economy at the dawn of history. Taylor & Francis, 2017.

November 13, 2023
Category:

History

Number of pages

5

Number of words

1244

Downloads:

27

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