By David Wengrow
Popular archaeologist David Wengrow creates the following a shiny new account of the "birth of civilization" in old Egypt and Mesopotamia, bringing jointly inside a unified heritage the 1st international locations the place humans created towns, kingdoms, and enormous temples to the gods. yet civilization, Wengrow argues, isn't really solely approximately large-scale settlements and endeavors. simply as very important are the standard yet basic practices of daily life, comparable to cooking, operating a house, and cleansing the physique. Tracing the advance of such practices, from prehistoric instances to the age of the pyramids, Wengrow finds unsuspected connections among far away areas and gives new insights into the workings of societies we've got come to treat as distant from our personal. The e-book obliges us to acknowledge that civilizations aren't shaped in isolation, yet in the course of the blending and borrowing of tradition among varied societies. It concludes via drawing telling parallels among the traditional close to East and extra modern makes an attempt to reshape the area in line with a great photo.
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Extra info for What Makes Civilization?: The Ancient Near East and the Future of the West
Ships carrying precious minerals (including lapis) and a variety of other commodities set sail from anchorage points along the arid Makran coastline of southern 36 on the trail of blue-haired gods Pakistan, which was isolated from the worst eﬀects of the summer monsoon, entering the Persian Gulf via the Straits of Hormuz. The port today called Bandar Abbas, sitting directly astride the Straits, may have provided a second major maritime outlet with ready access to the Iranian Plateau via the Halil River, where an important urban settlement—and epicentre of a far-ﬂung trade in ornate stone vessels, the distribution of which reaches from the Indus to the eastern Mediterranean—has been located at the site of Jiroft, in southern Iran.
The heartland of urban societies in Mesopotamia lay between the lower reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, on the alluvial plains extending south of modern Baghdad to the marshy head of the Persian Gulf. By the end of the third millennium bc, written sources routinely refer to the southern part of this area as Sumer, a region made up of politically independent city-states in which a variety of languages (including Sumerian and Akkadian) were spoken, but whose inhabitants nevertheless recognized a common religious and cultural identity.
These new revelations, and the dense web of connections which they reveal between the societies of the ancient Near East, serve only to reinforce the interpretive challenge posed by ‘the birth of civilization’: For a comparison between Egypt and Mesopotamia discloses, not only that writing, representational art, monumental architecture, and a new kind of political coherence were introduced in the two countries; it also reveals the striking fact that the purpose of their writing, the contents of their representations, the functions of their monumental buildings, and the structure of their new societies diﬀered completely.
What Makes Civilization?: The Ancient Near East and the Future of the West by David Wengrow