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Mexican Civilization Research Paper

Every civilization has seven characteristics that keep the civilization up and running. These characteristics include having an urban focus, political and military structures, social structure based on power, more complexity, a district religious structure, writing, and having new forms of artistic and intellectual activity. Missing just one of the seven characteristics can cause the civilization to turn upside down and fall apart. The first characteristic is to have an urban focus. This is one of the most important of the seven because it involves developing a city.

These cities would eventually become the centers for political, economic, social, cultural, and religious development. Cities were a more advanced version of the Neolithic Towns that were used earlier. One of the first big civilizations was the Mesopotamian civilization, these were created by the Sumerians. These cities were know as the “City-States of Ancient Mesopotamia” (Page 9). There were a number of independent cities in Southern Mesopotamia, some of the more notable cities include Eridu, Ur, Uruk, Umma, and Lagash.

These cities would eventually begin to expand which resulted in the exercise of political and economic control over the surrounding countryside, which would form city-states. These were the basic units of Sumerian civilization. The formation of new political and military structures was important because it would keep the city under control and a military would help defend the city or take land. This was the formation of an organized government system. This system would rise to meet the demands of the growing population. Armies were organized to gain land and to defend the civilizations.

The number of conflicts arose as the number of city-states grew, the city-states would fight to gain land and water. One of the more notable structures was known as the Akkadian Empire. The Akkadians were located to the north of the Sumerian city-states. Around 2340 B. C. E. , the leader of the Akkadian Empire, Sargon, would take over the city-states and establish a dynasty empire, he would use the former rulers as his governors. His empire was based more off of military rather than politics, but the empire reigned supreme until a new empire known as Hammurabi’s Empire took control over most of Mesopotamia.

The formation of a new social structure based on economic power was used to separate higher social classes from lower classes.. This structure would separate the kings, upper classes of priest, political leaders, and warriors from the groups of common people and the slaves, who were at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The Sumerian city-states consisted of four major social groups. The highest social group was know as the elites, the elites were made up of royal and priestly officials and their families. The second social group was known as the dependent commoners, this group included the elites’ clients.

The third group was known as the free commoners, this included farmers, merchants, fishers, scribes, and craftspeople. The final social group was known as the slaves, the palace officials would use the slaves to build, weave cloth and grind grain, and agricultural and domestic work. The development for more complexity of materials would be used to promote trade. About 90% of the population were farmers, this resulted in the surplus of agricultural crops. The surplus allowed some people to work other jobs instead of farming.

At the same time, there was a huge demand among the elites for luxury items, this demand resulted in the push for the production of new products. The city-states started to export finishing goods in exchange for raw materials, resulting in the massive growth of trading. The importance of commerce and industry started growing because the Sumerian city-states were primarily agricultural. The population of Mesopotamia began to produce woolen textures, pottery, and metalwork. Sumerians began imported copper, tin, and timber in exchange for dried fish, wool, wheat, barley, and metal goods.

The construction of a distinct religion would be used to unite everyone under one belief. Gods were seen as a crucial need for the community’s success. The Mesopotamians viewed floods, heavy rain, heavy winds, and bad humidity as a sign that the world was controlled by supernatural forces. They believed the amount of days humans would live were numbered. Their religion was a form of polytheism, meaning that they believed in numerous gods and goddesses. The most important gods were the god of the sky, which was the most important; the god of wind, Enlil; the god of earth, Enki; and the goddess of vegetation, Ninhursaga.

The development of writing played a massive role in the knowledge of a civilization. Writing was mainly used by kings, priests, merchants, and artisans as a mean to keep records. The oldest Mesopotamian text was written by the Sumerians around 3000 B. C. E. Their system of writing was based around cuneiform, which was made up of wedge-shaped symbols. They would use a reed stylus to make wedge-shaped impressions on clay tablets, which were then baked or dried in the sun. These tablets were nearly indestructible, resulting in hundred of thousands being found by scientist who use them as a great source of information.

The Mesopotamians would use cuneiform text in schools to teach the people to write. This would help them keep records and maintain knowledge. Using math, they formed a number system based on 60, this was achieved by using combinations of six and ten. The Egyptians also had their own writing system known as hieroglyphics, made up of signs that depicts objects and had a sacred value. The formation of great artistic and intellectual activity was an important part of a civilization. Monumental architectural structures held an important place in cities. The Mesopotamians would use geometry to measure fields and buildings.

The most important building in the Sumerian city was the temple. The temple was dedicated to the chief god or goddess of the city and was usually built on top of a huge tower known as a ziggurat. It is hard to believe that a civilization could collapse just because it didn’t have one of these seven characteristics. Each characteristic played an important part of a civilizations success. These seven characteristics have stayed true from generation to generation, even playing a role on our societies in todays world. Todays civilizations were based on these seven stepping stones, without them who knows what societies would be like today.

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