Territorial States and Microsocieties
Your text describes the major river civilizations in the ancient world, where the first territorial states and early empires emerged. In addition, there were micro societies in the Aegean region and in the South Pacific.
For this assignment, you will be working in collaborative groups, randomly assigned. You’ll be using Google docs to exchange ideas and research results, and to create a written response to the prompt based upon your ideas and research. This will not be a lengthy document, so please don’t panic. After assignments are submitted, you’ll be engaging in a peer review.
There are five areas to be compared in this assignment. Your group will decide how to distribute the work – you can assign each person a civilization, or have subgroups, or have everyone cover all regions (and then hash out the position in an essay). You should probably select a group leader, someone you are comfortable taking the lead in keeping people on track & schedule and overseeing the writing of the response to the prompt.
The civilizations to be considered include the following, with a website useful for basic information about that civilization:
- Ancient Egypt: British Museum: Ancient Egypt
- Mesopotamia: British Museum: Mesopotamia
- Shang Dynasty, China: British Museum: Ancient China
- Indus Valley Civilization: British Museum: Indus Valley
- Knossos-Minoan Civilization: Nat’l Geographic: Minoans
Here is the topic to be addressed in essay form:
Chapters 2 and 3 focus on the development of first states, urban development, and the development of territorial states. In your text, the authors state:
Simply making a city was therefore not enough: urban design reflected the city’s role as a wondrous place to pay homage to the gods and their human intermediary, the king. (Text, p. 52)
Although this statement refers to the growing settlements in Mesopotamia, the same can be applied to most emerging civilizations. In this assignment, we’ll focus on the transition from early urban societies established along river basins to territorial states:
Using the text and the websites for the assigned civilizations, draft a collaborative essay of at least 500 words comparing how cities used writing and religion to maintain social hierarchies and to consolidate the ruler’s power over larger areas and populations.
Use specific examples in the essay to make your point(s). Be sure to draw on the expansion of the civilization, not just its origins.
Once the essays have been submitted, your group will peer review another group’s essay – I’ll let you know which group you are to review. This is NOT about critiquing their essay, but creating a dialogue. Imagine you were having a compare/contrast meeting and the subject was ancient civilizations. Not likely, I know, but you get the idea!