Friday, 9 March 2012

HOW DID CITIES START?



                
CITIES IN MESOPOTAMIA IN THE 3RD CENTURY 

Cities were built as early as 10-12,000 years ago. People stopped hunting/gathering and settled more in one place. To begin with there were small farms and villages but they were not cities.
The world first great civilization arose in the Middle East, in Mesopotamia and Indus Valley.
Cities started to be built when craftsmen, traders, priests, soldiers and officials came together and were building houses. For cities to survive and prosper farmers had to produce more food and sell them on the market places.

Early large settlements appeared like the town of Jericho was inhabited before 8000 BC. A recently archaeological find in Turkey, a town called Catal Huyuk (pronounced Chatal Hoo-yook) apparently, it flourished from about 6500 to 5500 BC. Unfortunately, the knowledge is limited because there are no written records. A kind of writing started in southern Iraq about 3000 BC at a place called Sumer.
                      


 EMPIRE OF THE THIRD DYNASTY OF UR
The good farmland was in the northern territory of Iraq. Sumer did have rich soil but had to be drained because it was marshland. A highly organized effort must have been made to carefully irrigate the land. It is assumed that the whole population took part and afterwards to maintain it. When it started to be productive and prosperous Sumer was divided into independent-city-states. Walled cities like Ur, Uruk, Kish, Lagash and Nippur had its capital with villages and countryside.
Although rich on food Sumer was had no timber or stones. This meant that large amount of stone were not possible to transport. They used mud bricks which were either baked in the sun or in oven. They managed to build all these big cities with it. However, being a perishable material it did not survive of thousands of years. Surprisingly, some survived at all to give us an idea of the magnificent cities.
There were tall pyramids call ziggurats with steps leading up to the shrine of a god. Each city had its own god. It was built around the temple.
Priests had a good deal of power. Furthermore, the earliest monarchies were established in Sumer and the first known code of law was made in Ur. King Ur-Nammu reign c.2100BC.



RECONSTRUCTED  FACADE  OF THE  NEO-SUMARIAN  GREAT  ZIGGURAT  OF UR  --  NEAR  NASIRIYAH, IRAQ
In Sumer there was also the first wheeled wagon, the potter's wheel and most importantly writing was developed there. At first it was only simple lists and picture writing. Later on they developed a wedge-shaped writing on a wet clay tablet which when dried out was a perfect record. It kept a perfect literature about myth and legends of the Sumarians.
Civilization appeared a few hundred years in Sumer before ancient Egypt.
Another but mysterious civilization was in the Indus Valley (today's Pakistan) around 2500BC. There is only the city-sites of Mhoenjo-Daro and Harappa known of that great civilization. So far there was no possibility of decipher the picture writing of a few examples. It is not know who these people were. Their remarkable cities had straight criss-cross roads at a right-angle. Therefore, it is assumed that these cities must have been built before they were inhabited. Their civilization collapsed about 1700 BC but to these days the reason is no known.
Eventually, Sumer also vanished because they were warring amongst each other which enabled outsiders to conquer. They fought off many a time the invaders. Their golden days were under the third dynasty of Ur. It was established under the Ur-Nammu.
After the defeat by the Amorites about 1900 BC the Sumarians merged with the history of the Babylonia.


PRIESTES   UR-NAMMY - SEATED

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