From Village to City


Over the years of history, there have been many
civilizations. We will look at the earliest of all civilizations
known to man. From Village to City began in 8000BC and spanned
all the way into 3000BC. Throughout this report we will look at
the 6 key features of this civilization as outlined in our
classroom discussions, and hope to convey what we have learned in
a useful, and interesting way.

The development of a city:

The first city to be built was Jericho, in the Middle
East Map: This map is a picture of what the division of land
would have looked like in those times. Clearly identified here,
it is possible to see Babylon, Ur, and Eridu. c Microsoft
Encarta \'95. (Appendix 1). Summer at this time evolved into the
largest city-state, established by a people known as the
Ubaidians. The development of the city, allowed for rapid
population growth due to the abundance of food. Sheep, goat and
pigs had been originally domesticated for use as food, not as
sources of clothing. The main economic activity during this time
was trade and barter. Obsidian, a volcanic glass was fashioned
into razor sharp tools and weapons. It was also used as trade.
People who lived near Obsidian deposits often risked their lives
to collect it and eventually barter it off for food or money.
Obsidian comes from volcanoes and was a kind of glass, the only
of the times. The value of Obsidian was great, and so therefore
was the supply and demand. Salt, ore, copper, and soapstone were
accepted trade materials around 8000BC. Most of the Village to
City civilization took place during the copper age, when copper
was mined and used for many purposes. Trade developed between
different cities, Jericho, Sumer, Adab, Eridu, Isin, Kish,
Kullab, Lagash, Larsa, Nippur and Ur. Most of the trade consisted
of livestock and other things such as weapons and food.
Sumerians constructed large temples called Ziggurats.
These temples were the focal point of religious activities in
towns. They were made of sun-dried mud bricks that eroded
easily. Not many of these remain today. Near 4000BC, urban
societies included, farmers, herders, merchants, artisans,
priests, debtors, creditors and social leaders. Economic
authority in that time took the form of tax collection,
creditors and debtors. Civil authority was created with the use
of Hammurabi code. Hammurabi Code is in a way the articulation
of values. It reflects the way they believed that matters should
be handled from their times. This code is a collection of the
laws and edicts of the Babylonian King Hammurabi. King
Hammurabi\'s code covers everything from loans, deposits and
personal injury to domestic property and family rights. It
contains no laws for religion, but the criminal law is
comparable to the Semitic law of "an eye for an eye." This code
was particularly humane for its time. However, remnants of King
Hammurabi\'s Code of Laws are still present in today\'s society.
Many people believe that the Capital Punishment controversy dates
back to King Hammurabi. Capital Punishment has been outlawed in
Canada, however it is still in effect as the main source of
deterrence and for cleaning up the streets in many countries i.e.
the U.S.A. (in some states).

Division of Labor:

Since there had been farmers, merchants, etc., a division
of labour was present. As fore said, there were many job roles
that had to be fulfilled, for the society to function. There was
no real specific information regarding the use of gender roles.
However, there were certain roles that were male only, such as
hunter and farmer, and other that were designated for females;
namingly cooking and cleaning. Class structure developed as the
cities grew larger. Leaders and civil authority were in a higher
class than that of the regular citizens. In this time period also
there was slavery. Slaves, to which later became more commonly
known as \'Serfs\'.

Development of Writing:

Cuneus: Given above is some text which has been written in the
form of Cuneus. It is engraved in a stonetablet as they had not
discovered paper. c Microsoft Encarta \'95. (Appendix 2).

The first form of writing known, was cuneiform. In
cuneiform each symbol represented a word. This writing was
developed around 3000BC, and lasted until the 1st century. With
this development it allowed for the continuity in beliefs and
helped keep business and legal records. The same writing gave us
a very good insight into their culture, and way of life today.
Cuneus, Latin for wedge, was given this name because the
symbols appear wedge shaped. This writing has been found on
clay, stone, metals and wax. Earlier forms of these were
pictographs, but this became too