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Brock University
Nadine Brundrett

CLAS 2P34: Cities and Sanctuaries September 6, 2012: Civilization: What do we mean? - Very broad, overused term - We are using a concept created by a civilization to describe themselves (Latin term) Civis means citizen Civitas means community Urbs means city - The process of developing cities began in the Near East; it is considered the birthplace of Western Civilization. - Is civilization an elitist term? Describes us but not them Civilized vs. barbarian The word culture is preferred, but prof likes civilization How did this all happen? - turning point for the beginning of settlement occurs c. 10 000 BCE after the last ice age very general sense starts with clans then villages then towns - non-related peoples working together this is a major change - cities finally develop c.4000 BCE - development of trust in others to organize a community - Gordon Childe coins the term Urban Revolution However this did not happen quickly He meant rather it is a complete alteration to human pattern - But why did people choose to move into cities? What did a city have to offer? Western Civilization - Greece and Rome are hailed as important cultural basis of our own culture Inherited political, cultural, technological, art and architectural ideas from them - However the Greek and Romans inherited from earlier cultures - This forms a long line of transmission The invention of writing is a good example Cuneiform (Mesopotamia) Hieroglyphs Greek inscription Roman codex Hallmarks of Civilization: themes - Development of agriculture (Neolithic Revolution) - Organized agriculture production (surplus) Increased understanding of how to manipulate nature All cities are aware of this - Larger population = complex urbanism - Specialization of labour No need for all to be farmers - Social stratification Wealth begins to differentiate classes - Complex government - Complex economy and trade - Bureaucracy and writing - Ownership of property Which leads to law codes - Warfare = military rights - Complex communal religion Very fundamental to human behaviour Every culture has one even if they are hunter gatherers Monumentalizing of religious buildings - Arts and crafts production - Architecture and building projects - Science and technology Darker Side of Civilization - History of Elites Elites have more money to spend and therefore more material possessions so they leave more behind than the common man - Civilization means division, specialization, and especially the exploitation of other human Collapse or Transform? - All civilizations rise and fall based on the fundamental truth within the evolution of human society - Where are the Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans? - Do civilizations collapse or transform? Very rare for a civilization to actually collapse, they usually slowly progress into something else - People often attribute their collapse to the loss of their religion in some way Geography: Basic regions - Mesopotamia - Nile river valley - Mediterranean basin - Vibrant cultures appear elsewhere such as India and China, but we do not cover them in this course - THERE IS NO YEAR ZERO NEOLITHIC PERIOD - Neolithic in the Near East is c.9000-5000 BCE, this is the pre-city area - After the last ice age c. 10 000 BCE the climate begins to warm and adequate rainfall allows people to move further north The receding of the last glacier forms the Fertile Crescent where agriculture begins to develop - But is this a revolution? It was gradual and regional - Main features that change things are animal husbandry and the cultivation of plants Why Agricultural Revolution? - This is harder to answer, the settlement and cultivation of plants is more restrictive, difficult and labour intensive than hunting and gathering - Skeletal remains show people who had settled do not necessarily become healthier Diseases more prevalent in settled societies, especially when living with animals Hunters and gatherers tend to have more free time - Settlements occur first, then agriculture Why? To guarantee food? Climate fluctuation? After you have settled and area, hunting becomes harder Neolithic Sites Jericho (Neolithic) - Neolithic means New Stone in Latin, the term is used because they used stone tools - oldest continually inhabited city in the world - Considered PPNA meaning Pre-Pottery Neolithic A - It consists of small round houses c.5m across made of sun dried mud brick with branches and mud making the roof - Hearths were used inside and outside of the houses - The area is inhabited due to the abundance of spring water - Hills are developed because of the constant rebuilding of houses every 20 years approximately Rebuilding is necessary because mud brick eventually degrades and cracks Jericho c.9500- 8500 BCE - Village of 70 or more houses (approximately 1000 people) - Fortifications were built
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