SOSC 1520: Sept 26
Agricultural foundation of Ancient Societies:
Peasant farmer: highlights non-market nature of ancient societies
-- didn't sell their crops on a market and buy supplies from another
-- Didn't look for new technologies (as a matter of fact, technology barely developed, took
thousands of years to)
-- Didn't have control over what they produced, often owned it to a land owner and were
tenants of a landlord
--> Their lives were generally hard, they were often oppressed, and they were often dominated
by the economic rule of tradition.
Life in Cities:
-- cut off from the countryside
-- Slavery: used in mass numbers for a variety of purposes (mining, ships, shops)
-- Cases of impressive accomplishments
-wouldnt have been possible without the exploitation of peasants and slaves
Slavery was a very common form of economic life.
"Anything above and beyond what we require for existence"
--> Key question: 'To whom does it accrue?"
Wealth and Power:
- Not to those creating it (peasants, merchants, slaves)
- "Wealth was generally the reward for political, military, or religious power or status and not
for economic activity"
--> These roles in society were valued more
-The enlightened, the noble, the superior and those who knowledge and skill necessary for
-- Peasants et al. were viewed as IGNOBLE (dishonourable, base, despicable)
500 - 1500 AD: The Middle or Dark Ages
-- Fall of Rome
The Catholic Church
-- attempts to recreate Roman Empire
- Charlemagne: Emperor of the Romans --> (The holy roman Empire, they had interests that
lined up with the catholic church)
The Rise of Islam: After death of Prophet: Muhammad (632 CE), muslim armies conquer large parts of middle east
and unite under single leadership. In exch for contributing soldiers for King's army
-Nobles divide land among lesser nobility (vassals)
- In some c