From Village to City

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. This
essay we will look at the 6 key features of this civilization.
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

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
difficult, which led to the use of lines instead. Cuneiform also helped
with the continuity of traditions, and passing on of heritage.


Urn: This Urn clearly shows the importance that art played in their lives.
By this time period they had already invented the potters wheel. c
Microsoft Encarta ?95. (Appendix 3).

Art was very popular during these times. This terra-cotta urn
demonstrated that this culture enjoyed arts as an entertainment, use for
burial or as barter. Architecture was demonstrated with the early
construction of Ziggurats. House walls were plastered and sometimes
painted. These same Ziggurats were used for worshipping in, and was
considered a sacred place.

Technological Advancements:

The Wheel: The artifacts above are the actual first wheels that were ever
invented. After the first? wheels came more advanced theories. c Microsoft
Encarta ?95. (Appendix 4).

The wheel originated in early Mesopotamia around 3000BC. It was a
great technological achievement. This allowed for easier travel as the
wheeled cart replaced the wedge as a means of transport. Also, with the
invention of the wheel came a wider trade area, increasing a civilizations
reach into other areas. Seen here in the above picture, are some of the
earliest models of the wheel known to man. The very first wheel that was
constructed was made with the use of ball bearings on the inner portion of
the wheel, which is actually a quite advanced theory. Ball bearings are
commonly used today for many things. Also, Grass was harvested for seeds,
with a sickle made up of flint blades set into wood. Obsidian was
fashioned into sharp arrowheads and weapons. Rocks were used to crush
grain for baking, and hammers were used to construct buildings. All theses
tools allowed for better harvests and shaping of the environment.

The Environmental Impact:

Tools: Given in this picture are many of the early tools used for
cultivating, farming, and grinding wheat. c Microsoft Encarta ?95.
(Appendix 5).

Village to City populations affected the environment negatively.
They over-cultivated the land, when they discovered harvesting. In some
cases this was so severe, that it instigated the process of desertification.
Since the technological level was not as sophisticated as other
civilizations, the environment was not polluted, just over-used. This
ultimately led to the downfall of some cities. It became increasingly
harder to grow because the land was tired and could no longer produce the
proper vitamins the plants needed to survive. Some cultures had to rely
solely on the barter system and livestock reproduction for food.


Many aspects of the Village to City civilization can be found still
in today?s modern society. One of the most valuable inventions was the
wheel, presently we see wheels everywhere. We would not have cars, planes,
computers, literally anything can be derived from these early ancestors.
The people in that time made many important discoveries, many of which are
being used to date. Furthermore, if it weren?t for the advancements that
were made up from our ancestors of long ago, we no doubt not be where we
are today. We must ask ourselves, when they invented, did they comprehend
the repercussions of their developments? In other words, did they realize
that they were changing history as we know it forever.

From Village to City 7.9 of 10 on the basis of 2101 Review.