Human History the Concept of 'Literature Review' chapter

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  • Subject: Drama - World
  • Type: 'Literature Review' chapter
  • Paper: #60516710

Excerpt from 'Literature Review' chapter :

Those who went took with them knowledge of Mesopotamian customs, ideas, and skills, but many chose to remain, having put down firm roots during the decades of exile (LeMiere 19). Mesopotamia itself became even more cosmopolitan than before, since not only did the Persian court at times visit and contribute to local administration, but also foreign levies and mercenaries did tours of military service there. Anti-Persian feeling in conquered lands led to scurrilous rumors, such as the tale that Xerxes destroyed the statue of Marduk-Bel in Babylon (LeMiere 20).

This story has proved to be a fabrication: the cult statue continued unscathed to embody the presence of the god in his undamaged temple in Babylon during subsequent centuries, and so Herodotos' description of the golden statue of Marduk-Bel in the time of Artaxerxes I (464-424 BC) need not be doubted. Continuity of cult and architecture are thoroughly attested by the written sources for this and the subsequent period (Blackham 14). Babylon and Assyria provided the model from which the Achaemenids molded their kingship. Throne and footstool, crown and scepter, titles and epithets, military and ritual duties all conform to the style of their predecessors within Mesopotamia, and the winged disk, as an emblem of royalty associated with the national deity, they adopted as their own. In administration too they took over from the Babylonians and Assyrians road and courier systems, and the allocation of fields as a reward for military service (Blackham 13). Closely connected with kingship and the court rather than with religious institutions, Achaemenid art was created by collecting Babylonian, Assyrian, Ionian, and other elements and fusing them into a new but essentially eclectic form. One can seldom pick out elements that belonged to the Persians before they became a world power (Blackham 8).

When Cyrus built his new royal residence at Pasargadae, he decorated his palace with relief sculptures resembling those of Sennacherib at Nineveh, which he visited in person, despite the damage done to it in the siege of 612 BC (Charvat 22). His successors did likewise at Persepolis. Only the design of gardens, particularly at Pasargadae, seems to be distinctively Iranian. An Achaemenid style in glyptic art emerges gradually out of previous Babylonian and Elamite styles, in which even the introduction of the fire-altar (often seen as a hallmark of purely Persian practice) seems to be a motif taken up from much earlier iconography in the Zagros area (Wallenfels 120).

Architecture of Ancient Egypt

Social and organizational changes are generated in any society that introduces, and absorbs, technical advantages. Recently, the results from experiments with more than 200 replica and reconstructed tools indicate the development of interrelated technology, tools and materials in key areas during the Predynastic period (ca. 4500-3050 BC) of ancient Egypt (Smith 65). These experiments also suggest that later evolutionary changes to the designs of particular tools significantly increased the production rates of artifacts, giving impetus to the creation of increasing amounts of material wealth (Stocks 96). This book attempts to explain what these technical introductions, tools, materials and relationships were, and how the development of technology and craft working generated social and organizational changes to Predynastic and Dynastic Egyptian society.

In Predynastic Egypt, the ability to produce progressively complicated artifacts gradually grew from the designing and manufacturing skills of craft workers, assisted by an intelligent use of an abundance of naturally occurring materials acquired from the local environment (Peck 125). These included stone, wood, minerals, sand, and many kinds of vegetation. Predynastic technological developments can be divided into several distinct areas, each with its own specialized tools and techniques, but sometimes sharing other tools, methods and materials (Riggs 34).

In particular, the establishment of the tools and procedures for the large-scale manufacture of stone vessels during the Nagada II (ca. 3600-3200 BC) and the Nagada III/Dynasty 0 (ca. 3200-3050 BC) periods crucially contributed to the growth of other technologies in these periods, and in the following Dynastic era (Joseph 15). For example, the carving of the ceremonial schist palette of King Narmer (Dynasty 0), and Dynastic hard stone statuary, benefited from the skills and tools established for shaping earlier Predynastic hard stone vessels, stone hand-axes and maceheads. Also, it is possible that the Late Predynastic expansion in faience manufacture can be attributed to an increased availability of copper-contaminated quartz powders, a waste product obtained by drilling calcite (Egyptian alabaster), hard limestone and igneous stone vessels with copper tubes and sand abrasive (Langford 105).

Rare examples of Badarian (ca. 4500-3800 BC) black or dark gray basalt vases came from a disturbed cemetery and village rubbish but in the Nagada I period (ca. 4000-3600 BC) vessels made of hard and soft stones, such as basalt, granite, alcite, gypsum and limestone, were produced in increasing numbers. 2 the rapid expansion of hard stone vessel production in the Nagada II period indicates that new, faster and reliable vessel manufacturing methods were introduced during this time (Lefaiure 89).

What were these new production techniques, and why did they emerge and affect later industrial developments? In endeavoring to answer these questions, the manufacture of hard and soft stone vessels was used as a focal point in investigating Predynastic and Dynastic technical developments. Vessels of stone were the first substantial artifacts in this material, and therefore a stone vase was made with the reconstructed stone vessel manufacturing tools in order to test them (Peck 122). The special problems associated with the successful shaping and hollowing of hard and soft stone vessels were relevant to the development of other Egyptian tools, processes and artifacts. For example, the Dynastic sarcophagi made from single blocks of hard stone were drilled out with copper tubes, similar to the initial hollowing techniques in use for the hard stone Predynastic vessels (Lefaiure 101).

Several important areas of ancient technology remain shrouded in mystery, particularly those concerned with stone-working: our ability to assess the development of ancient Egyptian technology, despite finding many tools, artifacts and tomb illustrations of manufacturing processes, is frustrated by an incomplete knowledge of important crafts, and virtually no knowledge at all of significant tools missing from the archaeological record (Peck 95). In trying to understand the technical steps achieved by craft-workers from all periods of ancient Egypt, a study of the environmental factors, the natural resources, the artifacts and the existing tools in our possession, combined with a review of the archaeological and pictorial evidence, preceded the manufacture and use of the replica and reconstructed tools (Smith 75). All of the tools' characteristics, and their effectiveness for working stone, wood, metal and other indigenous materials under manufacturing and test conditions, were evaluated and recorded. The examination of Predynastic production methods, materials and tools was assisted by additionally focusing on the Dynastic archaeological evidence, using it as a frame of reference for the experiments. Later, by looking forward to the Dynastic era from a newly established Predynastic perspective, the reasons for Dynastic manufacturing developments, and their effects, might more fully be understood.

Architecture of Ancient Rome

Italy as a part of a primitive western Europe had no legacy from a splendid Bronze Age like the Minoan and Mycenaean period in Greece and had none of that wonderful richness and creative strength which characterized Homeric and geometric Greece even when compared with the Oriental empires in their late Babylonian, Assyrian, and Saitic renaissance (Sear 48). There has long been a tendency among modern writers either to regard Italic and Roman architecture as an outgrowth of prehistoric and archaic Etruscan developments or to date it to the Sullan Age or later and to connect it with the Hellenistic architecture of that period (Roberts 115).

The most important centuries in the history of the Roman Republic have been left out of the discussion. Today there is a heartening reaction against this. In the field of architecture this corresponds to what Gaetano de Sanctis in a masterly manner has said about the Hellenistic cultural influence in Rome and its most significant transformation by the Romans in the third and following centuries B.C. (Boethius 59) a new kind of Hellenism was created in Rome under the influence of local traditions and the demands of the historical development of the Roman state. The great fortifications of central Italy -- as described by Marion Blake and Giuseppe Lugli in their monumental works on Roman construction --are now dated to the centuries after about 400 B.C.(Scherer, 145) Here at least we have an important part of Italic architecture quite clearly belonging to the great centuries of the growth of Republican Rome and being part of its creative work after the Etruscan, Archaic period.

The urbs nova heralded by Tacitus --the utilitarian brick-faced concrete architecture of second century Imperial Rome -- created a new starting point for the urbanistic development of the Western…

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