The Fertile Crescent, Hunter Gatherers Essay

The Fertile Crescent, Hunter Gatherers Essay

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In that part of the Middle East called the Fertile Crescent, hunter-gatherers began planting gardens. By 7000 BCE there was farming that required permanent settlement. By 4500 BCE those archaeologists call Ubaidians were living in towns near where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers emptied into the Persian Gulf. This was in Mesopotamia (Greek for "between two rivers"). The Ubaidians drained marshes. They grew wheat and barley and irrigated their crops by digging ditches to river waters. They kept farm animals. Some manufactured pottery. They did weaving, leather or metal work, and some were involved in trade with other societies.

Map of Fertile Crescent
The Fertile Crescent, 9000 to 4500 BCE.
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Where there had been small hunter-gatherer societies getting food for themselves, the producers of food were now able to support many who worked at other occupations – such as the priesthood, pottery making, weaving, carpentry and smithing. There were also traders, and the Sumerians developed an extensive commerce by land and sea. They built seaworthy ships, and they imported from afar items made from the wood, stone, tin and copper not found nearby.

There was ownership of property. Some people were more wealthy than others, and political power was unevenly distributed. Sumerian society around 3000 BCE was not as sharing or as egalitarian as hunter-gatherer societies had been or were. The Sumerians appear "to have been the first people to commandeer the agricultural surplus grown by the community and create a privileged ruling class." note3

Around 4000 BCE a people called Sumerians moved into Mesopotamia, perhaps from around the Caspian Sea. By 3800 BCE the Sumerians had supplanted the Ubaidi...


... middle of paper ...


...pulous societies of hunter-gatherers. Civilized societies had dissent – something authoritarians would never be able to extinguish. A Sumerian complained in writing that he was a "thoroughbred steed" but was drawing a cart carrying "reeds and stubble." Another complained of the futility of war, writing "You go and carry off the enemy 's land; the enemy comes and carries off your land."

Rather than docile, people in the city of Lagash in 2380 BCE instigated history 's first recorded revolt. This came after Lagash 's rulers had increased local taxes and had restricted personal freedoms. Lagash 's bureaucrats had grown in wealth. The people of Lagash resented this enough that they overthrew their king. They brought to power a god-fearing ruler named Urukagina, who eliminated excessive taxation and rid the city of usurers, thieves and murderers – the first known reforms.

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