Political genesis in primary foci of urban civilization - History of the East

1.5. Politogenesis in primary foci of urban civilization

The study of complex problems associated with politicalogenesis in urban conditions, engaged in many researchers who for many decades, since the time of G. Main and LG Morgan, proposed in the XIX century. their options. Modern science proceeds from the fact that the process of political genesis in the primary foci of urban civilization proceeded in its own way, although it could rely on the results already achieved, in particular on the achievements of tribal proto-state structures that found themselves in conditions that were exceptionally favorable for evolution. These conditions were those opportunities that contributed to the formation of the first in the history of mankind foci of urban civilization. It can be said more precisely, unequivocally: the centers in question were formed there and under the same conditions, and in parallel and in close interconnection and interdependence with the process of the emergence of statehood of a new, fundamentally different, urban character and the corresponding level.

What facilitated this and was necessary for a new type of politogenesis? There is reason to believe that the root cause could be a challenge, proposed by Nature, reflecting objective universal laws, which always proceed from the fact that movement, evolution is necessary for everything and even more alive, since the alternative is entropy, slow death. Only those who, according to the general postulate of Darwinism, based on the law of natural selection, could be an adequate answer to the challenge, was the most suitable for this. And in this case, those communities and/or tribal proto-states that were used in this case were adapted, which turned out to be in a few (only two in the Old World) regions where the circumstances most suitable for their development were formed. What are these circumstances? What can and should be considered a set of conditions that are so necessary for an adequate response to a challenge? This complex was quite complex, and could not be different.

• The primary factor of primary importance should be considered first of all optimal environmental environment. This kind of optimum within the Old World (about the New World, which did not have time to play any significant role in the process of historical development, we can speak specifically) showed itself to the full in the valleys of the great rivers located in a warm and mild climate, with fertile soils and regular or sporadic fertilizing spills.

• The second necessary factor is the level of production achieved by society, including rational use of resources, regular exchange with neighbors, cooperation and labor coordination and, as a consequence, a stable and tending to increase excess product .

• The third factor is the necessary demographic optimum, ie. a certain density of the population, even its pressure in a well-populated environment. When this pressure reached a certain critical point, a constantly acting impulse was created, which was precisely the challenge that required an adequate response. Practically, this challenge materialized in the form of a certain force field, as if insisting on socio-political integration. Therefore, it is clear that exactly here, in the center of the settlement zone, where the density was greatest, favorable conditions appeared both for concentrating the efforts of the excess population and for collisions. Appeared, in particular, the arena for fierce rivalry between neighboring heads of communities and tribal chiefs. How exactly could all this happen?

Let's start with the collision problem. At one time there were put forward theories, whose authors, for example, F. Oppenheimer, attached decisive importance in the process of political genesis to wars. But such theories could not explain, from where, how and through what emerged those powerful organizational structures, without which there are no large armies and serious wars. True, it would be quite possible to take into account those waves of nomads who did not need additional organization, but became more active in case of difficulties with the conditions of their environment (hunger, jute, extinction of livestock, etc.) almost instinctively, like, for example, locust invasion. However, such invasions could hardly have led to the emergence of a state on the basis of the hearth of urban civilization.

At best, they could, as discussed, promote the tribalization of one or another community of farmers and the emergence of tribes and primitive tribal protostates. For more they, rather destructive, rather than anything, especially the cities that created, were simply not capable. It is not surprising that in recent decades the point of view that wars and conquests is not the reason, but the consequence of emergence of superfluous political structures has strongly prevailed. This applies to the already mentioned phenomenon of the so-called military democracy. If there is reason to talk about something of the sort, which is extremely doubtful, then only with great reservations.

Does this mean that wars did not play any role in the genesis of proto-states? This is not true. It is well known from history that wars and, especially, invasions of nomads could and did take an active part in the process of political genesis. But this usually happened later, when the military function for a long time became one of the most important, which, in fact, gave rise to the idea of ​​the universal character of the mentioned military democracy, which was never democracy, but existed more often in the form of organization of a militant community existing at the expense of robbery others.

These communities, well-known in different parts of the world (it is enough to recall again about Vikings and Varangians), could arise only when old urban civilizations were already around. After all, in order to rob someone, and even more so with someone to take a weighty tribute, it is necessary that this someone already somewhere existed as a more or less developed structure capable of producing a sufficient amount of excess product. Therefore, there is nothing strange in the fact that when there were already many rich urbanized zones of a developed civilization in the world, robbers engaged in robbery.


In addition to the well-known United States Varangians, there were a great many other similar situations. We can recall the barbarians on the ruins of Rome, the Arab Bedouins of the Prophet Muhammad, the Mongols of Genghis Khan, and many other similar events. The wars and the predatory raids that accompanied them were in a certain sense the norm, and few of the nomads had anything to do with them. And when there were numerous centers of civilization and urban statehood, rarely which of the states, in turn, could afford the luxury of not fighting. Yes, and the circumstances for this constantly forced. But all this, it is necessary to repeat, was already later, when there were cities in the world from which there was something to take.

For the time being, we are not talking about a free-style army of the Viking type, and even less about the nomadic barbarians with their predatory mores, but about the role of military function in the conditions of the urban proto-state emerging in the zone of the center of the urban civilization, which sought to annex the weaker neighbors and thereby create a more solid system of power. Here, the military function, which did not yet have a basis for turning into something essential, could at first play only a supporting role. The basis was reduced to the rivalry of the leaders by more or less peaceful means. The origins of this rivalry, which ultimately ranged from the traditional primitive thirst for prestige, authority, and authority, were a psychological-behavioral stereotype that relied on the equally traditional prestigious economy with its reciprocal distributions and rooted in the ancient antiquity of centralized redistribution. Giving back, the leader used to receive; getting, he aspired to more and more, for which it was necessary again to be able to give a lot. And for him the main question was where was this taken.

Specialists, for example M. Harris, noted in this connection that such a seemingly irrational consumption of good, as eating or even destroying it at the time of potlatch-type handouts, contributed to an increase in production and stimulated the growth of labor productivity. In other words, the leader of the community, and even more so the leader of the tribe, even if not everyone, and besides, only those who found themselves in conditions suitable for the emergence of the focus of urban civilization, constantly strived to of their team. This is the general task of maximization, which confronted an ambitious leader, and played a crucial role in mobilizing its capabilities. Having mobilized them under the favorable circumstances of the force field that had already arisen and objectively facilitated integration, he could not only humiliate the rival at the next generous hand, but also crush him so that he had to admit his dependence. In the course of this rivalry, at its final stage, the small military force of the leader could be used, which he could implement to consolidate his new position. What could this really lead to? Weak rivals had to submit to the strong, rich and generous, as a result of which a favorable situation was created for the appearance in the zone of the emergent focus of the urban civilization of the city-state. This new urban proto-state was something fundamentally different from the tribal proto-state traditionally referred to in modern anthropology as chifdom (English chiefdom, in United States - chiefdom) . Here it is worth noting that at first, perhaps, the urban proto-state, which had not yet turned into a city, for it needed time, did not differ too much from the tribal proto-state-the ciphdom. But if such similarity remained, then the inner structural essence quickly became different. What was the novelty?

The city-state arose as the recognized center of a group of communal settlements administratively subordinated to that central urban-type settlement, where the residence of yesterday's leader and his entire entourage was located. The function of the ruler of the city-state was to create an effective administration system in order to achieve the optimal organization of production and the maximum of the excess product. Another most significant function was prestigious-constructive, building. Using the labor of a large population, it was possible and even should have been created in the residence of the ruler of the structure, corresponding to his new sociopolitical position and sharply increased status. Along with this, the military, the same one that had already been mentioned, came to the forefront of the leading functions of the ruler. The fact is that since the emergence of the first city-states in the zone of the primary focus of urban civilization (and these new state formations usually appeared in the zone at once, because the force of the example visually acted), and even more fierce rivalry between them was born. In these conditions, wars were the main means of resolving disputes and realizing someone else's advantage.

So, not military clashes contributed to the formation of those political structures in the zone of urban civilization, what is being discussed, but the totality of some important factors that played an important role. Only after this can we talk about how the process of institutionalization of emerging proto-state entities took place in the conditions of an urban civilization. This process was far from simple and, it seems, required considerable time. How exactly did it look? Where exactly, when and how did the earliest of the city-states arise? This is a special and very serious issue, closely related to the problem of primary urbanization zones.

The process of urbanization, as well as the genesis of the primary centers of civilization, is a special and complex problem. One of the first significant contribution to his study was made by British archaeologist Gordon Child. The essence of the problem lies in the fact that in early antiquity (somewhere at the turn of the 4th-3rd millennium BC) this process began where favorable conditions for the emergence of urban culture arose. Such places on the territory of the Old World were, recall, only two: Egypt and Sumer at the mouth of the Tigris and the Euphrates, in Mesopotamia. Due to various reasons, in each of these areas of the Middle East zone of the developed agricultural Neolithic, the most favorable conditions for the emergence of an urban zone have emerged.

Urbanism as a new phenomenon manifested itself in the fact that the central of a group of neighboring settlements, where the ruler who already stood out among the rivals, who became above them and united them within the city-state ruler, began to strive for exaltation against the background of the rest. To this end, the ruler started construction. The question was what to build, how and for what. Naturally, for all the same exaltation. But how did this aspiration should be reinforced? And how to achieve the desired, using the quite likely enthusiasm of the team? The best reason for this kind of selection and elevation of the center would be a sacralization of the ruler. But what is the path to this? In general, the sacralization of the head of the collective became the norm over time, so that anthropologists often encountered even the sacralization of even tribal leaders, the touch of which or the occasional consumption of their food, its remains were taboo. However, it is possible that this began to appear later and was just an imitation.

For the first time the sacralization of the personality as a kind of innovation began to be practiced within the framework of urban centers. The thing is that the basic meaning of the fundamental differences between the earlier tribal proto-states-the Chifde from the city-states in the zone of primary urbanism was precisely that urbanism was not simply arranged from the point of view of the way of life. It was not an overgrown amorphous ethnosocial community like the one described by Durkheim on the example of Nigerian counterparts. The difference between a group of city-states that could numerically well yield to the mentioned Nigerian community was that this group was not only not amorphous, but had a completely different structure corresponding to the new status. Its essence boiled down to the fact that the center within each city-state was not similar to the outlying communal villages and stood out against their background by the fact that it was the embryo of an urban-type settlement. In turn, this meant that a large and magnificent and usually more than one-story structure, like a temple complex, was erected in the center. At the same time, his temple purpose was the main one, because the complex was built not for the glorification of the ruler (this came later, in proportion to the degree of its exaltation and the constantly growing sacralization, up to the Egyptian pyramids), but in the name of the deity worshiped by the city-state population.

Here it stands for a moment to pause and make a little digression into the problem not so much even of religion as the appearance of worship of deities. Primitive communities of such a cult usually did not have. Their early religious ideas were familiar with totemism, animism, magic, fetishism, the cult of the dead and all ancestors, with a primitive magical mantle and many other superstitions of various kinds. But there was usually no cult of any great and significant deities for a large community of deities. This higher level of religious beliefs, which should be referred to as the early religious system, just happened at the stage of the formation of urban civilization. The meaning and significance of the cult were that the new deities were considered to be the population of the city and surrounding community villages more powerful and therefore demanded from the whole population a higher payment for their power. This fee was not reduced to more human sacrifices. Of course, they were not excluded, because they were always practiced, since ancient times. Victims, including human ones, were brought to all spirits in the far primitive past. But the main thing was not anymore.

The new deities were different from the old ones. They did not insist on human sacrifices. However, in their honor it was necessary to build a majestic temple and perform there extensive lavish rituals, symbolizing the significance of each of them. It is clear that for its considerable socially significant work spent on the construction of a large and magnificent, usually high temple complex, the population had the right to expect care from the deity, constant protection and spiritual comfort, which in antiquity, and later, was always among the highest religious and civilizational values ​​of almost any society. It should be added that the rejection of abundant human sacrifices was at the same time an indirect evidence of the development of an urbanized society as such, whose moral and ethical norms thereby changed, acquiring a new universally valid standard.

It is important to add to what has been said that a completely natural conversion of the ruler into a high priest, that is, the main mediator between the collective and the patron deity, was important not only for his personal sacralization, but also for him to become the true master of the temple complex for all and thereby preserve the traditional right of redistribution of the energetically growing collective heritage. This was exactly the case in the cities-states that arose in the zone of foci of urban civilization. There just appeared the majestic centers of urbanism.

These were the mentioned temple complexes, which were both a place for rituals and sacrifices to deities, and palatial landscapes for the ruler-high priest and his closest relatives. Here, too, the dwellings of a large number of servicemen (from priests or military leaders to petty servants), as well as various office premises, warehouses and barns with their custodians and state traders, workshops with artisans, etc., were attached to the temple. Such urban settlements , sometimes surrounded by walls (however, in the early antiquity it was not mandatory), quickly became the centers of urbanism. And since usually a number of city-states with urbanized centers appeared immediately next to each other, as in Sumer, or along the coast, as in the Nile valley, each of which had a periphery gravitating towards it, then the totality of them was exactly Primary Urban Area

Urban centers in this zone could either compete for a long time and even fight with each other, as it was in Sumer, or, rather, quickly fall under the authority of the supreme ruler who united them, what happened in Egypt. In both cases, urbanism contributed to the economic and political development of early state entities that could use more and more new resources, including metal; to produce improved tools and especially weapons, and, most importantly, to actively influence the more backward periphery that surrounded them, consisting of socio-ethnic communities, at least some of which were already ready to become proto-states.

The process of transforming the non-urban centers of socio-ethnic communities or their parts into pro-state formations was in such cases influenced by already established states. This process, already described in another version, could now proceed at a faster rate and under different conditions, sometimes almost according to the laws of the chain reaction. In the beginning, close, and then more distant, territories were easily covered by them. Near the zone of urbanism there were different tribes, strong and weak, who entered into rivalry, and even in wars with each other or with close to them urban centers, which had something to take. This means, by the way, not only robbery, but also useful borrowing. There could be migratory movements, including those from urban areas. As a result, in a relatively short time, with a favorable confluence of circumstances, secondary urbanization zones appeared in many new places

The new, secondary zones of urbanism, in turn, influenced the more backward of their neighbors, stimulating the same process of tribalization. And the new tribes and groups of related tribes often made large and long migrations in search of better conditions for subsidence. Some of them, having ended up in unfavorable conditions for successful farming, were transformed, as it was with a part of the Iranians, into steppe cattle-breeders (Scythians), nomads or semi-nomads. It is important to note that, having found themselves in more favorable conditions in a remote area, the tribes of pastoralists could once again settle, as it was, for example, with the Indo-arians in the Ganges valley.

As a result of migrations throughout Eurasia, there was a complex process of overlapping mutual influences between various primitive and semi-preemptive socio-ethnic communities and expanding urban centers. There were new ones - secondary, even if to be precise, tertiary, etc. - zones of urban civilization, all new tribalized tribes joined with them in cooperation. Under their influence, communities that have not reached the level of tribalization have been ethnically consolidated, turning into agricultural and non-agricultural tribes, as was, in particular, with the ancestors of the Slavs.

As a result, in a vast territory, a kind of urbanism and tribalism emerged that quickly covered all habitable areas, whether it was the basins of remote rivers such as the Yellow River, the mountains and mountains, steppes or islands. At the same time, it should be noted that the development went not only in breadth. Gradually, the internal structure of the early state formations, both urban and tribal, was improved. Of course, in the urban areas this internal development went faster and manifested itself most clearly, not to mention the fact that many of these zones vigorously expanded, including in their composition other zones or tribalized neighbors.

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