Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Thanks for this interesting diary.

I am however surprised to see you limit the first urban civilisations to four. It seems that cities have emerged in many places around the same period of time.

The Hatti and, after them, the Hittites had built big cities in Çatal Hüyük, Nersa/Kültepe and Hattusha, as well as the Egyptians in Thebes. The Jiroft civilisation is also another example.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 06:03:35 PM EST
Ah... What is in the "records" is not always the truth :-)
 In your citation, there are two different parts... So we'll leave Egypt for now!
 Çatal Hüyük (Turkey) as the Jiroft (Iran) are on a crescent from the Tiger to the Indus. There is an ongoing war between archeologists today to know if the influence was by the South or by the North.  And about the Hittites too, as Turkish Nationalists tend to rewrite history.

Under the dunes of the Taklamakan desert (Gobi) some findings may change those viewpoints :-)
And two third of Turkey isn't yet explored in matter of very old ruins (tells and such). The Anatolian country might hold some surprises yet.

The point was not really to argue about who was there first (Chinese) but why an otherwise very well striving population (for those times) changed for a new system of managing space and territories...
The four points are the four "different" urban civilization, who then had a different impact on history.

Twenty years ago, the Indus/Gange wasn't even mentioned... Mohenjo-Daro was a "peculiarity"!
So in a few years we'll surely have to modify that classification :-)

Still, I'm not sure that cities emerged in many places in a sufficient time range. They mostly emerged when there was a water management problem... There are some cases (north of Africa among others), where the water problem didn't provoke such a change and the agricultural life went on without high output... Maybe the constraints weren't high enough ,

Egypt is a different case, because it was in the range of influence and that it's cities were of a progressive model vs the Mesopotamian one... They directly jumped to the de-centralized system with each city having it's own share of power and a highway called the Nile :-)

But then I would speak of that all night :-)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 07:29:21 PM EST
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