By Guillermo Algaze
The alluvial lowlands of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in southern Mesopotamia are widely recognized because the “cradle of civilization,” due to the size of the methods of urbanization that came about within the region by means of the second one 1/2 the fourth millennium BCE.
In historic Mesopotamia on the sunrise of Civilization, Guillermo Algaze attracts at the paintings of contemporary fiscal geographers to discover how the original river-based ecology and geography of the Tigris-Euphrates alluvium affected the improvement of city civilization in southern Mesopotamia. He argues that those normal stipulations granted southern polities major aggressive benefits over their landlocked opponents in other places in Southwest Asia, most significantly the power to simply shipping commodities. in the end, this ended in elevated alternate and financial task and better inhabitants densities within the south than have been attainable in other places. As southern polities grew in scale and complexity in the course of the fourth millennium, innovative new different types of hard work association and list preserving have been created, and it's those socially created thoughts, Algaze argues, that finally account for why absolutely built city-states emerged prior in southern Mesopotamia than in other places in Southwest Asia or the realm.
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Extra resources for Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization: The Evolution of an Urban Landscape
Turning fi rst to the issue of motivation, in many cases we fi nd that the very same institutions that are at the center of early Mesopotamian cen- factors hindering our understanding of the sumerian takeoff 19 trally managed economies also engaged in what can only be described as wealth-maximizing behaviors that are incompatible with Polanyi’s characterization of those economies. Most commonly this took the form of urban temples that used silver derived from the conversion of accumulated agricultural surpluses into usable capital (Powell 1996) to fi nance risky trading ventures in order to acquire nonlocal resources for profit, whether alone or in conjunction with palaces (Leemans 1960; Postgate 1972).
The latter example is particularly illustrative because it is unusually well documented. , equivalences that disregard actual production costs). It is now generally accepted that Old Assyrian trade was nothing of the sort. Rather, it involved Assyrian middlemen operating largely outside the bounds of the Assyrian state that imported tin from Afghan sources and woven woolen textiles acquired from southern Mesopotamian cities into Anatolia in exchange for Anatolian silver and, to a lesser extent, gold (Adams 1974; Dercksen 2004; Larsen 1976).
Commodity prices fell in times of political integration and military expansion, when the Babylonian crown was able to extract resources from ever larger areas, and wages rose as the number of available laborers diminished as a result of the military manpower demands of an expanding realm. Political and military contraction, in turn, brought the reverse: fewer supplies of commodities, increased commodity prices, less demand for soldiers, and increased availability of labor, which depressed wages.
Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization: The Evolution of an Urban Landscape by Guillermo Algaze
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