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Ancient history (first empires) - Egypt during the old kingdom

History begins at the near east, because this land had the appropriate requirements, land and climate make possible to accumulate food surpluses and other jobs were possible. This process can happen in a large areas with plenty people. Them the labour specialization and social diversification were possible so, different groups appeared, farmers, artisans, warriors, priest…
In the near east these requirements were fulfilled around the end of the 4th millemium BC. Gordon Childe called this process urban revolution.
This new cities were located in Mesopotamia, cities like, Kazallu, Umma, Babylon
The factor of geographical diversity was determination on the history of the near east.
Now we are going to start with the Egyptian empire. This was locater over the Nile valley, divided into two by the river with the same name. The king, pharaon, a “god” unified this reign, this society lived quite isolated.

On the other hand we found the Mesopotamian city-states, each city had a patron god, a leader to look after the community who had extraordinary powers. The individual gods owned these cities, so the religious beliefs support this political situation. The cities were oasis, irrigated lands, and separated by the desert and with communication routes for trade and war.
The unification of Egypt was around 3000BC, the unity of the nile river alow this. Upper and lower Egypt was unified. This political situation was possible because of the same culturealong the country. The king, no city-states, controlled the economic and the politics. To control the river was a key aspect for Egypt. The idea of royalty supported this political situation, so pharaon was the god, a divine government. The economy was based on agriculture, rural populations and trade was not so important, so Egypt was less urbanized, so we can say that the history began at the end of the 4th millemium BC. First city-states appeared on the near east, Mesopotamia and Egypt show us the different models of civilization.

Now we are going to talk about the Sumerian society at the lower Mesopotamia. The city-states in the lower Mesopotamia had different cultures:

Summer: at the southern area, until Nippur, with ethnic and linguistic origin unknown.
Akkad: at the northern area, until Mari, above all Semitic population.
This cultures had different phases of dominion, speakers of both languages, Sumerian & semitic population. The origins of this were at lower Mesopotamia, keep out of the early Neolithic. It becomes an important area from the late cooper age, Uruk and Jandet-Nasr was the cities were urbanization process began; Uruk had technological innovations as pottery, metallurgy, writing, complex buildings and trade routes. The population increased, so larger settlements were done. So that’s why we can speak about complex urban societies apparition. The division of the labour specialization was also a method used by the Sumerians to categorisedifferent jobs. Jamdet Nasar was a community to regard Uruk, here first palaces appeared and a secular political system was developed. They used cuneiform writing spread. In the protodynastic age is more information available. They used urban settlements system. Around 2500BC, 80 percent of the population lived in cities bigger than 40 hectares. Those city-states fight each other. The city was the centre of power and seat of specialized activities. These were agricultural states, with irrigation canals.
The urbanization process had different landowners, ones of family property and other, in increase; lands are property of the palace and temple. The kings played an important role at war, so the conflict were very common because of the frontiers, trade routes or the impose dominance.
Umma vs. Lagash was a well-known conflict; around 2600BC the border treat was broken. Lugalzagesi, ruler of Uruk conquered, Ur, Larsa, Umma, Nippur and Lagash. He controlled from lower sea to the upper sea.
So different cultures in the lower Mesopotamia during the early Bronze Age. Here is were we found the origins of the Sumerian people. Around the 80 percent of the population lived in cities.

Egypt during the old kingdom.
Here, the power, was linked to religious beliefs, Pharaon was a living god. The administration was centralized and unified, with provincial administrations, located on districts or nomes. These nomes were 22 in the Upper Egypt and 16 in the Lower Egypt.
They had apyramidal structure, in the higher part, the pharaon and his family. Them in the lower place the Nobility from the court, numers and upper priesthood, and in a lower place, we found farmers and public workers.
The economy was essentially agricultural. From 2200BC: instability and political disintegration, without building and royal inscriptions, so there is not a sing of centralized power. The provincial rulers acted as kings and the post become hereditary. They had problems with Asian invasions. From 2040BC the reunification coined again, some conclusions of these are that we can saw different periods with stability or instability, two kingdoms and one empire.

First empires in the near east.
The Acadian empire, around the years 2340-2159BC. The king Sargon I established the dynasty and created the empire, this was a first attempt to create a centralized empire in Mesopotamia. During his reign the Acadian empire maybe had control from the lower sea to the upper sea. But the peak of the empire came later with Naram-Sin (2254-2216BC). The state organization of Acadian empire was centralized, capital located in Acadia: food surpluses, commercial products, exotic materials were stored in this city. The central area was under military control, between Kish and the Persian Gulf. At the periphery the trade routes were controlled. The ideological changes can be explained on three parts. Royal titles change from king of kish to king of the four regions, king of universaldominion. The king image changes from a successful warrior to a leading role. The king become divine, the first to change it was Naram-Sim.

Paleo-Babylonian Empire.
It was centralized in Babylon, by Hamurabi (1792.1750BC)
The Paleo-Babylonian Empire had something as a legal code, the code of Hamurabi, it is not the first legal code, but it’s the most complete, maybe it was a royal praise or maybe a real legal code. It contains plenty and good information from the economy and social structure.
The social structure of the Paleo-Babylonian Empire can be divided in five groups:
Awicum, wardum, muskenum, tamkardum and naditu.

The Hittite Empire.
The Hittita Empire 1450-1200BC it was founded on 1650BC. It was called the country of Hatti, as the region. The population was mixed with different ethnics groups. It becomes an empire two centuries later. The peak of the empire was with Supiluliuma. It had international relation, treats and marital alliances. Hattusa was the capital; the Hittite empire was from the Aegean to the Euphrates. Governors or elderly men controlled the different communities. The king had vassalage treats between the vassal kings and him. The vassal kings hadn’t foreign policy, to avoid coalitions against the empire.

Egyptian Empire, new kingdom.
To star we have to mention some notes about the previous period: the middle kingdom.
His foreign policy was with Sinai, intense mining activity, cooper, where they had permanent fortified settlements, inthe Levant with commercial relations with Biblos. Finally Crete who probably had artisans and traders settled in Egypt.
They had fortifications to defend the delta and the Nubian front, a territory conquered until the second waterfall of the Nile.
Now, 1552-1069BC the Egyptian empire had a territorial expansion. Nubian was conquered until the forth waterfall, in Asia they had many problems. Gold and arms were necessary and they took the Nubians for it. The imperial arm become permanent, headed by their prince, the military elite used war carts.
The state provides the military equipment, the navy was developed, it was necessary to transport troops.
The king image changed also, the pharaon was a hero, image of audacity the pharaon punish his enemies. Finally the end of the Egyptian empire comes, because of the instability, some territories were lost, decadence. Trade, tributes and booty wars decreased, public goods were stolen, corruption. Problems with the mercenaries and the royal thumbs were looted at Tebas, more corruption.

Ancient Greek civilization.
The first age of Greek is the Dark Ages, From 1200BC, when the Mycenaean’s disappear from history to Archaic age, 750BC. From 1200 to 900 was the decadence period and from the 900 to 750BC was called recovery, in this period scant material and text not available.
At the decadence time the monumental architecture, the writing, the fortified sites and international trade disappears. The sings of recovery startsfrom 900BC. The archaeological sites increased, population grew. New temples ere developed. Iron was introduced by Cyprus at 10th century. Trade become important again in this period. The alphabetical writing was introduced maybe around 750BC. The archaic ages are from 750 to 500BC it has two main processes. We know at this time, the formation of polis, Greek city-states, these were small & independent states, with laws and agricultural states; these city-states had a city wall, an agora, and the acropolis, where the gods lived. And the second process is the Greek colonization. The origins of these cities are at the 8th century. There were around 1500 independent city-states. The country was the city territory
At this time the coins were introduces. But natural economy did not disappear. Citizen’s right and duties were established. The political institutions were; the popular assembly, all citizens vote, the council, executive power and the courts, the judicial power. At the first phases it was aristocratic polis, but monarchy disappeared from the scene by the 8th century.
The Spartan example is the first to talk about. The Spartan citizens were called homoioi; they lived dedicated to the state. The citizens were the military force of Sparta; only men older than 30 years were full of political and civil rights. The education was very important, to develop the strength, to learn military tactics and to earn to obey. The education was so hard, from 7 years old they hadto steal the food.
They didn’t developed economical activities, without trade and monetary economy. Close economy, with policy to foment the equality. The helots were not free people, it wasn’t a real slave, it works in the land for the state. They joined the army in the 5th century. The periecos were free people living around, in poorer areas. With local governments. They took part in the army as specific military units. They had jobs considerate degradance by citizens.
From the 750BC, Greeks colonized in archaic age the black sea and Mediterranean. To explain the colonization is important to explain two concepts. Apoikia, a settlement far from home founded from mother city, and the colony, that is an agricultural exploitation of a land, territory. The Apoikia were independent communities, new polis. They had a good relationship between mother cities and colonies, friendship, military alliance and dual citizenship. The reasons for the agricultural colonization were, they were looking for new lands and locating them in cereal producing areas. Merchants founded the commercial colonies. The consequences of the colonization are, the solution of demographic pressure.
New Greek army was developed, Hoplites.
The classical age for Greece is from 500-350BC. The main cities were Athens and Sparta. In this period occurred the medical wars and the Peloponnesus one.
The Demokratia is a government of the demos. The term was coined in Athens in the 5th century BC. It waslinked to political changes introduced by Efialtes and Pericles. From 462-404 the democracy become radical. The precedents we found at the 6th century BC with the reforms of Clistenes, in the form of popular assembly. The objective was to create a body of citizens with the same rights. The characteristics were: ISONOMY: equal before the law. ISEGORY: equal participation of citizens in the assembly.
But Athens was still far from a real democracy.
So, Clistenes did not create the democracy but he introduced the necessary conditions for its development. Since then the political equality of citizens started to be assumed.
This Athenian political system was a bad example for other countries like Sparta. But the appearance of mutual enemies favoured Athens. The first of the institutions in Athens was Dikasteria, courts of justice and people’s court. Misthos was introduced, state salary. The Eklesia was open for all people, rich or poor, an he had unlimited power with regard to domestic & foreign policy
Only the 15-20 percent of the population take part in politics because the slaves, women, young men were not included.

Roman civilization.
The history begins in the Italian peninsula, 8th century BC.
Several societies were located in the Italian peninsula during the 1st millemium BC, like Etruscan civilization. This civilization becomes so important because of the richness of the land. This was an urban civilization. The materials that they used were poor. The main phaseof this civilization ere: villanovian period, oriental period, archaic period, classical period and helenistic period.

The roman civilization had four main phases:
1-MONARCHY: from 7th century BC.
2-REPUBLIC: from 1st late 6th century BC
3-EMPIRE: from 1st century BC.
4- the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century.
The city of Rome was called the “urbs”. There were founded by economical, military, strategically interest or linked to the Etruscan traditions.
In Roman cities there were different types of houses. The first was Domus, single-family house linked to rich people. The domus main parts were; ostium, the entrance; atrium, it organised the house; compluvium and impluvium, pound to collect the water; tablinium, the office; trilinium, dinning room; cubiculum; bedroom; culina, kitchen; peristylum, garden with portico.
Another type of house is the Insulae; collective building. The ager must be considered also, urbs+ager= teritorium. The territory around the city also arranged. For founding cities they used two main streets, cardo maximus and decumanus maximus.
In rural settlements we found two possibilities:
1- grouped settlements, small towns, vici, fora, and villages.
2- isolated settlements, villae homes linked to rich people.

The fundus is another term used; it refers to the building but also to the territory exploited. The fundus must be studied to get a good knowledge about economic territorial & historic meaning of these sites.

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