The paths of history by Igorʹ Mikhaĭlovich Dʹi︠a︡konov

By Igorʹ Mikhaĭlovich Dʹi︠a︡konov

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What I have in view are the Indus and the Creto-Mycenean civilisations in Early Antiquity. The states of the Indus culture probably had a Dravidic-speaking population. Their decline should probably be ascribed to a crisis in their bureaucratic structure which brought about economic chaos. The same phenomenon can be observed in Sumer at the fall of the ‘Kingdom of Sumer and Akkad’ (the third Dynasty of Ur) about 2000 bc; in Egypt at the end of the Old Kingdom about 2200 bc, and possibly in the Hittite Kingdom in the thirteenth century bc (the attacks by the ‘Peoples of Sea’ were responsible only for the culmination of a crisis which was due anyway).

Using aerial photography and a mass study of pottery finds, R. M. Adams and N. J. Nissen were able to show that, in the case of Mesopotamia and the lower Diyalah valley during the fourth and early third millennium bc, very small inhabited areas on the plain gradually disappeared, and the population densely behind the city walls increased. Small cities become the centres of settlement of the population, the administration, of the craftsmen, and for the storage and distribution of produce. Each ‘city’ was, as a rule, the centre of a ‘nome’.

This trade was carried on, at their own responsibility, either by state agents or by family communities specialising in exchange, their members not being employed by the state. At any rate, the ones as well as the others, were closely connected with the nome state; but it did not so much control their international activities as ensured its income from them. The redistribution of produce went on in the towns or townships, where the state administration was at work. Inside the city community, exchange relations were mainly in kind; distribution was centralised by the state, and the inner market was underdeveloped.

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