Agricultural Societies
The evolution of Government and Religion
From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy
Text extracted from
Guns Germs and Steel
By Jared Diamond, 1997
http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/0393317552.03.LZZZZZZZ.jpg
Government and Religion
• Descendents of those
societies that earliest
achieved
– centralized government
– organized religion
• ended up dominating the
modern world
http://www.historyofjihad.org/crusades2.jpg
Government and Religion
• 4 main forces of
history:
• Resulting in the broadest
patterns
–
–
–
–
Babylon
http://web.njit.edu/~turoff/image/tower-of-babel.jpg
government & religion
germs
writing
technology
Government and Religion
• How did government
and religion arise?
• How did they become
combined?
King Solomon
http://www.flholocaustmuseum.org/history_wing/antisemitism/arts/visual_arts.cfm
Levels of Social Organization
•
•
•
•
China: early state society
http://www.travel-centre.co.uk/site-media/images/sections/great_wall_1.JPG
Bands
Tribes
Chiefdoms
States
Bands
• Tiny Populations:
typically 5-80 people
• Most are close relatives by
birth or marriage
• All humans lived in bands
until 40,000 years ago
In recent history:
– African Pygmies, Bushmen
– Australian Aborigines
– Eskimos
Bushman
http://www.south-africa-tours-and-travel.com/images/bushman-hunter-gathere-rsa-xauslodge.jpg
Bands
• Usually nomadic:
– live in areas where food is scarce
• Land used by whole group
• No specialization:
– all able-bodied individuals
forage for food
• Economic system:
– Reciprocal Exchange
• No laws, police, or treaties to
resolve conflicts:
– But being closely related helps
Bands
• No stratification into
classes
• Egalitarian leadership
based on
–
–
–
–
personality
strength
intelligence
fighting skill
Australian Aboriginal
http://www.janesoceania.com/australia_aboriginal_history/Aboriginal%20Jimmy%20Walkabout_%20pitjantjara_tribe.jpg
Fayu in New Guinea
• Four clans totaling 400 people
• Normally live as single families
•
•
•
•
scattered in swampy area
Come together once or twice a
year to negotiate brides
Formerly numbered 2,000
Population reduced by Fayu
killing Fayu
Lacked political and social
mechanisms to resolve disputes
Tribes
• Society with hundreds of
•
•
•
•
•
http://lamar.colostate.edu/~lctodd/image1.gif
people, usually settled in
many villages
Few left today
Shared language and
culture
More than one clan
(kinship group)
Land belongs to clans
within a tribe
Everyone knows everyone
else by name and
relationship
Tribes
• Conflicts still solved by being
closely related
• If two New Guinea Tribesmen
were both away from their
villages and happened upon one
another
• They would engage in a long
discussion to determine possible
family ties
• Otherwise, no reason not to kill
one another
http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2006/09/17/18W_PNG_narrowweb__300x334,0.jpg
Tribes
• Social System egalitarian
• No upper or lower class
• Each has debts and obligations to
•
•
•
•
many others
No one can become more wealthy
Government still egalitarian
Decisions are made in a group
“Big Man” would have limited power
– may look and live like everyone else
Tribal chief, Brazil
http://vervephoto.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/taitiana_brasil.jpg
Reciprocity
• Reciprocity was the
Basis of Early
Economic Systems
Reciprocity
• Gift giving creates an obligation to
•
•
•
•
•
http://www.thorstenconsulting.com/Shaking%20hands.jpg
return similar gifts
Feasting improves relations, prevents
hostility, is an excellent way to “store”
food
Reciprocity leads to intermarriage
Villages are connected by multiple ties
of kinship
Reciprocity results in food security,
balances inequities
Political leadership is bestowed on those
that give the most
Kerekere in Moala
• Moalans live in 1200 scattered
•
•
•
•
•
http://www.gfmer.ch/Medical_search/Countries/images/Fiji_map.gif
villages in Fiji Pacific Islands
Kerekere is a formal request for
a good or service
Can only kerekere a relative, but
everyone are relatives
Are duty bound to honor a
kerekere if you have what is
asked for
This system evens out inequity
Prestige comes from giving
more than taking
Hunting and Gathering Societies
Government
Bands and Tribes
Egalitarian
Economy
Hunting & Gathering
Reciprocal Exchange
Ideology
Nature Religions
God and Goddess
Worship
Chiefdoms
• Population: several thousand
to tens of thousands
• Arose about 7,500 years ago
with rising populations
• In 1492, widespread in
– N. and S. America
– Africa
– Polynesia
http://www.tngenweb.org/maps/eastribe.jpg
Chiefdoms
• No chiefdoms left in
20th century
• Prime land taken by
larger state societies
• Chiefdoms consolidated
into states
http://www.alohaislandtravel.com/maps/images/islands.gif
Chiefdoms
• Usually have
Public Architecture
– Temples
– Tombs
Easter Islands
http://www.mattnortham.com/blog/wp-content/images/2007/01/easter-island.jpg
Chiefdoms
• Most people unrelated to
others
• People don’t know most
others by name
• For first time in history,
– people had to learn how to
encounter strangers regularly
– without attempting to kill
them
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d7/De_Bry_Chief_Virginia.jpg/761pxDe_Bry_Chief_Virginia.jpg
Chief
• Held monopoly on right to
use force
• Held recognizable,
hereditary office
• Wore distinguishing
clothes: demanded respect
http://www.indianahumanities.org/Wethepeople/203/Indian_Chief_with_Head_Dress.jpg
Chief
• Was thought of as a god
– or had a hotline to the gods
• Centralized authority:
– Monopoly on information
– Levels of Bureaucrats work
under Chief
– Many specialized jobs that
can be done by slaves
Redistributive Economy
• Chief receives food from
everyone, then
– Throws feast to redistribute
– Stores it for later
redistribution
– Keeps much of it himself
(tribute)
• Chief also claims labor for
construction of public works:
20,000 workers built the Taj Mahal
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/drube004/architecture/image/Taj%20Mahal.jpg
– Irrigation,
– Lavish Tombs
Redistribution
• Chief receives foodstuffs,
goods from many
– because he has power
• Chief has power because
– he regularly directs a flow
of goods to his followers
• Early city-states operated
on this principle
http://www.planetware.com/i/photo/acropolis-parthenon-athens-gr003.jpg
Traders
• Traders did not
make a profit
– were agents of
the empire
• Goods traded on
a fixed-price
basis
• Did not buy low
and sell high
http://www.uncp.edu/home/rwb/camel_caravan.jpg
Luxury Goods
• Food surpluses
generated by common
people feed
– Chief
– Bureaucrats & Priests
– Craft Specialists
• Luxury Goods reserved
for Chiefs
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1316/1172894001_f8a4dc5f67.jpg?v=0
Contribution Enforced
• In Mesopotamia, police
ensured that farmers
contributed
• Impersonality of city life
– ends feelings of obligation
of Chief to people
– or vice versa
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1073/577047551_3eae5c5653.jpg?v=0
Good Chiefdoms
• Good chiefdoms
used tribute to
provide important
services to entire
society
– Irrigation
– Religion
– Defense
Roman Aqueduct
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/30/44052812_a0e766a843.jpg
Kleptocracies
• At worst, chiefdoms
were kleptocracies
• Transferred net
wealth from
commoners to upper
class
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_oZMEAvLIJ70/Rz6D4tvSEuI/AAAAAAAAAOo/upBtJBKnEIU/DSCN3213.JPG
Kleptocracies
• How do kleptocracies keep
from being overthrown?
– Disarm the populace
• arm the elite
– Redistribute tribute in popular
ways
– Use monopoly of force to keep
public order
– Construct an ideology or
religion
• that justifies kleptocracy
http://library.thinkquest.org/C0110901/imagesAll/emperor.jpg
State Religion
• Provides bond between people
– not based on kinship
– keeps them from killing each
other
• Gives warriors a motive for
sacrificing life in battle:
– now much more effective in
conquest
http://attendingtheworld.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/crusades.jpg
States
• Populations of 50,000 to
•
•
•
•
Babylon
1 Billion
Usually literate elites
sometimes literate
population
Arose 3,700 BC in
Mesopotamia
Later in Mesoamerica,
China, Southeast Asia,
Andes, West Africa
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e1/Brueghel-tower-of-babel.jpg/795px-Brueghel-tower-of-babel.jpg
Earliest States
http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n2/History_n2/a.html
States
• True cities, characterized by
– Monumental public works
– Palaces of rulers
– Accumulation of capital from
tribute or taxes
– Concentration of people other
than food producers
http://www.evcal.org/sitebuilder/images/Luxor094KarnakStatue-373x496.jpg
States
• Early states:
– hereditary leader equivalent to
a king
• Democracies today:
– crucial knowledge still
available to only a few
• Central control,
redistribution of tribute
more far-reaching
– Even farmers not selfsufficient
http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/Homework/egypt/images/harvest.jpg
Mesopotamia
• Food produced by 4
specialist groups
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–
–
–
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/9/14160477_43e502cb7c.jpg
Cereal farmers
Herders
Fishermen
Orchard and Garden
growers
Mesopotamia
• State took produce from each
farming group
• Redistributed necessary
supplies
– and the other foods not
produced
• Exchanged wool by long
distance trade
– for other essential raw materials
• Paid food rations to laborers
– who maintained irrigation
systems for farmers
http://www.edupic.net/Images/SocialStudies/mesopotamia_ashurnasirpal2.jpg
Slavery
• Many states adopted slavery on
Mesopotamian slaves
http://www.uned.es/geo-1-historia-antigua-universal/ACADIOS/slaves_stele.jpg
much larger scale than
chiefdoms because
– More use for slave labor
– More economic
specialization
– More mass production
– More public works
– Warfare on a larger scale
• meant more captives available
Bureaucracies
•
•
•
•
More complex bureaucracies
Formalized laws, judiciary, police
Laws often written (by literate elite)
Writing not developed until
formation of state societies
– Mesopotamia
– Mesoamerica
Code of Hammurabi,
Mesopotamia
http://www.allaboutarchaeology.org/images/code-of-hammurabi.jpg
Religion
• Early: state religions
– standardized temples
• Many kings divine
• Kings often head of state
Mesopotamian Temple
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r127/andrewidodo/600ziggurat.jpg
religion
• Mesopotamian Temple was
center of
– Religion
– Economic redistribution
– Writing
– Crafts technology
Expansion of Agricultural Societies
Small Conquest Land
Agriculture
Group
Slaves
Expanded
Food
Population Conquest Etc.
Technology
Agricultural Societies
Government
Chiefdoms, States
Kleptocracies, Elites
Kings = Gods
Economy
Agriculture
Redistribution, Tribute
Conquest, Slavery
Ideology
State Religions
Central Temple
Male dominated
Agricultural Society Hierarchy
Elite
Conquest
Wealth,
Tribute
Food,
Resources
Conquered & Exploited:
Peasants, Slaves, Workers
Wealth and Poverty
Elite
Wealth,
Tribute
Wealth:
Own land, Well-fed Educated,
Health care, Opportunities
Food,
Resources
Conquered & Exploited:
Peasants, Slaves, Workers
Poverty:
Landless, hungry,
uneducated, unhealthy,
no opportunities
Organization of States
• States organized on
Roman Empire
http://gbgm-umc.org/UMW/corinthians/maps/empire2a.gif
political and territorial
lines: not kinship and tribe
boundaries
• States and empires often
are multiethnic and
multilingual
• Bureaucrats selected more
on ability than heredity
• Modern states have nonhereditary leadership
Why Do States Arise?
• More complex societies
usually conquer less
complex ones
• Advantage of weapons,
technology, numbers
• Centralized decision making
more efficient in conquest
• Official religions, patriotic
fervor
– make troops willing to fight
suicidially: fanaticism
Arab Muslim Empire
http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~helfgott/img/map-arab-empire.png
How Do Chiefdoms Become
States?
• Aristotle:
– States are the natural condition
of human society.
• Knew only Greek Societies
of 400 BC
• Rousseau:
– States formed by a social
contract
– a rational decision of people
based on self interest.
• Never happened this way
• Small groups do not give up
their sovereignty willingly
Aristotle
http://www.empirecontact.com/magicstar/Aristotle.jpg
Irrigation Theory
• Major civilizations had largescale irrigation:
–
–
–
–
Mesopotamia,
Egypt
China
Mesoamerica
• Large-scale irrigation requires
centralized bureaucracy for
Irrigation, Egypt
http://www.love-egypt.com/images/egypt-agriculture.jpg
– Construction
– Maintenance
– Management
Irrigation Theory Disputed
• States formed to create
irrigation systems?
– But irrigation came
after states formed
• States did not always
have centrally
controlled irrigation
Hanging Gardens, Babylon
http://www.expandmywealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/hanging-gardens-of-babylon.jpg
Population Theory
• Strong correlation between
size of population
– and complexity of society
• Autocatalysis:
– population growth leads to
social complexity
• Social complexity leads to
intensified food production
Population density
http://www.theglobaleducationproject.org/earth/images/final-images/g-gpw-population-map.gif
– and population growth
Food Production Leads to
Social Complexity
• Requires seasonal labor.
• After harvest, labor used for
– public works,
– wars of conquest
• Stored surpluses permit
economic specialization, social
stratification:
– feed chiefs, elite, scribes,
craftspeople, specialists,
– feed farmers while they are working
on public works
http://www.realhistories.org.uk/uploads/images/Tomb_of_Nakht.jpg
Food Production Leads to
Social Complexity
• Sedentary living
required for:
–
–
–
–
–
Mayan Temples, Mexico
Possessions
Technology
Crafts
public works
control of
people
http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=80461&rendTypeId=4
Large Populations Require
Complex Social System
• Conflict resolution needed
between unrelated people:
– need laws and authority
• Communal decisions
impossible:
– need structure
• Reciprocal economy
impossible:
– Need redistributive
economy
• Density of population
must be organized
Argebam, Iran
http://www.tcoletribalrugs.com/resources/Wertime/kerman2.jpg
Amalgamation of Smaller Units
• Occurs by merger under
threat of external force:
– 40 Cherokee chiefdoms
joined together,
– American colonies joined
together
http://www.scarsdaleschools.k12.ny.us/mslib/images/13colmap.gif
Amalgamation of Smaller Units
• Occurs by conquest
among chiefdoms
– Zulu state
– Hawaii, Tahiti
– Aztecs, Incas
• before Spanish arrived
– Rome, Macedonian
empire
– Etc.
Roman Expansion
http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=1040&rendTypeId=4
After Conquest
• Bands:
– survivors can move
away
http://culturalsurvivaltrust.org/pix/bandiya_son.jpg
After Conquest
• Tribes:
–
–
–
–
Need the land
Territory occupied.
No need for slaves
No need for survivors,
• except women as wives
– Defeated men are
killed
http://www.progressdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/Yanomamo.jpg
After Conquest
• States and Chiefdoms
– Defeated can be used as slaves
– Or defeated can be exploited
• left in place to produce food, goods
– Deprived of political autonomy
– Made to pay taxes, tribute
– Amalgamate their society
• into victorious state or chiefdom
http://www.euro-africsystemsenterprise.org.uk/captured_slaves.jpg
Aztec Tribute
• Aztec Empire received
tribute from its subjects
and had tribute lists
• Spanish wanted tribute
from Mexico
• Interested in Aztec
Empire’s tribute lists
http://www.reformation.org/aztec-empire-map.jpg
Aztec Tribute
• Each year Aztec subjects
paid Aztecs:
–
–
–
–
7,000 tons of corn
4,000 tons of amaranth
2,000,000 cotton cloaks
Huge quantities of
• Cacao beans
• war costumes
• Shields
• feather headdresses
• amber
Aztec tribute list
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/Codex_Mendoza_folio_47r.jpg/408px-Codex_Mendoza_folio_47r.jpg
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Agricultural Societies