Write an essay on agriculture and the rise of civilization
Please read the primary sources in the textbook as assigned (see the course outline — the numbers refer to the sources as designated in the textbook, not to page numbers) and write a response that follows the ‘guidelines for source responses’ posted under ‘general information’ > ‘course materials’ at right. Think beyond flat summary, and look past the translator’s introduction to each source (the parts in italics) to the actual ancient text itself; then attempt your own interpretation.
We’re covering these societies next time, so I don’t expect you to have any background knowledge. Instead, the objective is for you to get a sense of how archaeologists and historians read such records of ancient cultures. There is no master database; all we have to work with are fragmentary texts like these. So rather than reporting what ‘happens’ in these texts, try to go a step further and consider what impression these texts give of Mesopotamian and Egyptian leadership in particular. Don’t assume that such texts record the sort of objective facts we expect from historical documents — think more about how such depictions of kingship were designed to impress people and to justify the king’s authority. At the same time, pay attention to the very serious responsibilities attached to the awesome powers attributed to the king (or pharaoh for the Egyptians).
agriculture and the rise of ‘civilization’
Mesopotamian/Egyptian society and empire
the book name “The ancient world: Readings in social and cultural history”