2018-03-04 Grace整理翻译 杜克出国语言
Mesopotamian and Egyptian Settlement Patterns
1. On the basis of availableevidence, there existed in ancient state-level societies a variety of urbantypes. These have been classified under a number of different headings, rangingfrom city-states to territorial- or village-states. Mesopotamia and Egypt, forexample, traditionally represent the two opposing extremes along a spectrum ofpossible settlement distributions and types.
2 Mesopotamian city-states systemswere made up of densely populated urban areas that shared a common language,status symbols, and economic systems, but their elites tended to compete witheach other, often militarily, to control territory, trade routes, and otherresources. Each city-state controlled a relatively small territory, often onlya few hundred square kilometers, and had its own capital city, which is manycases was enclosed by a wall. In addition to its capital, a city-state mightgovern a number of smaller centers, as well as numerous farming villages andhamlets. Ancient Sumer is a classic example of such a system.
3. In ancient Mesopotamia, urbancenters tended to be relatively large, with populations ranging from less than1000 to more than 100000 in habitants, depending on the ability of a particularcity-state to control and collect payments from its neighbors. Often, aconsiderable number of farmers lived in these centers to secure greaterprotection for themselves and their possessions. It is estimated that insouthern Mesopotamia (circa 2900 C2350 BC) more than 80 percent of the totalpopulation lived in cities.
4.These cities also supportedcraft production, which sought to satisfy the demands of the urban elite andsociety as a whole. The development of craft specialization and commercialexchanges between town and countryside as well as between neighboring urban centersencouraged the growth of public markets. Although the evidence for actualmarketplace is less than clear for southern Mesopotamia, the remnants ofshop-lined streets indicate vigorous commercial activity involving largenumbers of people. This activity in turn promoted competition among city-statesto obtain supplies of exotic raw materials. As a result of widespread access togoods produced by full-time specialists and the development of more intensiveagriculture close to urban centers, Mesopotamian city-states were able tosupport numerous nonfood producers, possibly as high a proportion as 20 percentof the total population.
5.In contrast to Mesopotamian,ancient Egypt’s population has traditionally been perceived as more evenlydispersed across the landscape, a characteristic of village-states. Topographyand the formation of the early state were the major factors contributing tothis dispersal. Unlike Mesopotamia, Egypt had relatively secure and definedborders, allowing a single state to dominate the area. Additionally, thevillages and towns of Egypt, all of which were situated near the Nile on theriver’s narrow flood plain, had approximately equal access to the river and didnot have to compete among themselves for water as their contemporaries inMesopotamia were forced to do. As the main highway through Egypt, the Nileoffered innumerable harbors for shipping and trading, so there was no stronglocational advantage to be gained in one area as opposed to another, hence theEgyptian population generally remained dispersed throughout the valley anddelta in low densities. Trade specialists apparently were evenly spreadthroughout Egypt, supported by both independent workshops in small towns androyals patronage in the territorial capitals. In contrast to the defensive wallsof Mesopotamian city-states, the walls of Egyptian towns primarily defined anddelineated sections of the town (for example, a temple precinct from aresidential area).
6.Egypt, however, was not withouturban centers. At points where goods entered the Nile valley via maritimeroutes or overland routes from the Red Sea via wadis (stream beds that remaindry except during the rainy seasons), the right circumstances existed for thegrowth of larger cities. Egyptian cities and towns shared certaincharacteristics with other contemporary societies but also displayed uniquetraits influenced by the culture and environment of the Nile valley. Thus, thegeopolitical system that evolved in ancient Egypt was different from that ofMesopotamia; Egypt developed a village or territorial state characterized bydispersed settlements of varying size, a form of urbanism that gave Egypt itsdistinctive identity.