World history 1
Professor Van Der Spuy
Ancient Cities and Their Environment Ancient communities and urban centers have shaped the way that we as human beings have lived for thousands of years. These cities helped guide us in a direction that we have grown accustomed to by creating big urban centers that thousands of people live and work. In ancient times these cities were strategically placed in places that would give them an environmental advantage over other rival cities. Both the city and the environment that they were built in had many relationships that helped them thrive and grow into huge urban centers that could support thousands of citizens. Water ways, metallurgy, and trade were the three most important factors for these ancient urban centers to thrive. Water is the most important resource that any city or town can have. It gives us life, we can use it as transportation, and it helps grow food. All of these ancient urban centers are built on a major water ways that helped them to survive and thrive in whatever type of climate they were built in. Cities like Thebes in Egypt were built along the Nile River and they used it for many things other than drinking water. Ancient Egypt is located in the Sahara desert and is a very hot and dry climate where plants don’t normally thrive. The area around the Nile is very fertile land that can grow crops and support thousands of people. However, there plants would not get water and die. The Egyptians to combat this used irrigation or strategically dug ditches or banks to bring water to their crops. “They constructed a network of earthen banks, some parallel to the river and some perpendicular to it that formed basins of various sizes. Regulated sluices would direct floodwater into a basin, where it would sit for a month or so until the soil was saturated. Then the remaining water would be drained off to a basin down-gradient or to a nearby canal, and the farmers of the drained plot would plant their crops.” (Postel). By building on a waterway it created a relationship between the ancient cities and waterways that helped the Egyptians thrive for more than 5,000 years. Metal in ancient times was used for tools to help make everyday tasks easier, for weapons for warfare, and for prestige statues in their cities. Resources in ancient times helped cities thrive because of the trade value that each type of resource has. West Africa is rich in many different types of metals and is what their economy was built aound. “In West Africa, metallurgists conceptualized the production of iron and steel (probably after 3000 BCE) as the harnessing of both technical and spiritual forces. Adept in changing the very nature of matter, specialists emerged as powerful members of the community” (Walton). West Africa is rich with different types of metals that helped shape their ancient societies into big trading centers that traded metals to people and urban centers that didn’t have and needed metal. People wanted metal objects or tools because they were stronger and more durable then wood or stone. Metal in this region of the world helped to create a culture that hasn’t changed much in thousands of years. Specialists were that only ones who could smelt and craft metal objects in West Africa. Now we have blacksmiths that have special training to work and craft metal into the things that we want and use. Without the relationship between ancient urban centers and metal our society would be very different then it is today.
Trade in the ancient world is the biggest part of ancient society. At first urban centers thought that they had to be self-sufficient and produce everything that the needed. That stared to fade away and these urban centers realized that they can trade for things that they didn’t have from other environments. “The first and most…