By John P. McKay, Bennett D. Hill, John Buckler

College-level textbook at the heritage of Western society to the Enlightenment (Volume 1 of two)

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Extra resources for A History of Western Society: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment

Example text

It is now known that the temple owned a large frac tion, but not all, of the city's territory and did not and was always tenuous. covered documents and recent work, however, govern the city. ) exercised political power, and most of the city's land was the property of individual citizens. Sumerians sought to please and calm the gods, es Sumerian society was a complex arrangement of freedom and dependence, and its members were di vided into four categories: nobles, free clients of pecially the patron deity of the city.

In time the increasing complexity of Neolithic societies led to the devel opment of writing, prompted by the need to keep records and later by the urge to chronicle experi ences, learning, and beliefs. The transition to settled life also had a profound impact on the family. The shared needs and pres sures that encourage extended-family ties in no madic societies are less prominent in settled socie ties. Bonds to the extended family weakened. In towns and cities, the nuclear family was more de pendent on its immediate neighbors than on kinfolk.

Communication among the isolated Until recently, the dominant position and cities was difficult and at times dangerous. Thus wealth of the temple led historians to consider the each Sumerian city became a state, independent of Sumerian city-state an absolute theocracy, or gov the others and protective of its independence. Any ernment by an established priesthood. According city that tried to unify the country was resisted by to this view, the temple and its priests owned the the other cities. As a result, the political history of Sumer is one of almost constant warfare.

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