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Nomadic Hunter, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 536

Essay

The transformation of a nomadic hunter to urban dweller is an important step towards building a civilization. Nomadic hunters began to settle about 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates on the territory of present day Iraq. The process of transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settling is called the Neolithic Revolution.

The Fertile Crescent was rich in wild crops, which explains why people first attempted domesticating crops and animals in this area. They discovered soon that growing crops and breeding animals required all-year-round efforts and rendered migrations impossible and unnecessary. The nomads began to settle down in small communities. Agriculture soon enabled people to accumulate some food surpluses and that triggered further development. Early settlers were adopting irrigation techniques and perfecting their building skills, which led to the emergence of architecture.

The transformation of nomadic hunters to urban dwellers was gradual rather than sudden. It involved several steps. At first, people did not attempt changing nature and tried to preserve it in its pristine form and benefit from it. In favorable climatic conditions, such culture could survive until the early XX century. However, geographical and political challenges meant that people had to find new ways of interaction with nature altering it according to their interests, requirements and skills.

The transition to agriculture from hunting and gathering was associated with increased working hours and harder and more monotonous work. The integral culture of nomadic hunters was growing less homogeneous with the separation of intellectual and spiritual elements from material ones. The integrity of the culture was achieved as a result of exchange of product surpluses for (intellectual) services. Consequentially,  people were starting to specialize. Most of them were still busy with producing food, but some could become craftsmen, priests, scribes or merchants. Specializations tended to be rigid and lifelong. They often led to dividing communities into castes within which people could not choose their occupation and were often predestined to be, for instance, a peasant or a warrior from the moment of birth. In the castes, people soon learned to accumulate knowledge and experience and pass them down from generation to generation.

Small communities began to organize in larger settlements and the Sumer civilization appeared in the Mesopotamian region. Soon they started building their first cities with the population amounting to several thousand people. The city of Eridu came first and Uruk, Ur and Kish followed. The cities flourished due to adopting irrigation techniques and obtaining agricultural surpluses, job specialization and trade. The technology was greatly stimulated by the invention of the wheel. The Sumer developed the earliest writing system – cuneiform which was at first used for trade contracts.

In a similar way, nomadic tribes began to settle down in the fertile Nile valley founding an Ancient Egyptian civilization also based on agricultural surpluses. But Sumer was a confederation of city states which was not strictly centralized, whereas Egypt soon became a united monarchy.

The transition to agriculture led to the emergence of new religious beliefs. Early civilizations were polytheistic and the gods were usually creators, demiurges responsible for the appearance of humans, animals and plants. It should be noted that while Egyptian Pharaohs were regarded as deities, Mesopotamian leaders were considered human.

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