History Geography During the Beginning of Ancient Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

History Geography

During the beginning of ancient times, Classical civilization still lived as hunters and gatherers. They used the resources available to them and learned to gather grains, berries, and other plant foods and store them for the winter. This required them to live where the geography and climate could support them, and where supplies of water were easily available. Early settlements clustered around rivers and streams for this reason. By the end of the Classical Era, The Roman Empire had fallen. European cultures had been influenced by Rome's accomplishments, however, and Europeans knew how to build aquifers to bring the water to them. They had learned to build both roads and bridges. They had tamed livestock and used them for transportation. By the Classical Era, many of geography's limitations had solutions. Thus people could live in villages, towns and cities, farm the surrounding countryside and transport it to where it was needed.

A population

England and Wales only had about 4,000 people living in it. Up to two thirds of all children born died during infancy, and one third of those who survived died before they could bear children themselves. Nearly all humans died before the age of fifty. This made their life cycle much like that of wild animals (p. 51). The combination of very high childhood mortality and short adult life kept populations from growing and expanding. By the Classical Era, agricultural methods had traveled to Europe, and populations now lived in larger clusters. They still tended to be concentrated along natural resources. Europe along the Rhine and the edge of the English Channel as well as the area now in Northern Italy and adjacent areas were most heavily populated. Populations had also grown in England, but life spans were still short, and people had little protection from illness, often in epidemic form. Population still grew slowly compared to day.

A economics

Ancient Europe started out as a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. As agricultural methods traveled to Western Europe they were incorporated, and people reformed into small villages, farming and raising domestic animals. Cultures developed currency and learned to attribute monetary value to goods and services. People began to specialize. Farmers would buy barrels from coopers and pottery from potters, while the coopers and potters bought their food from the farmer. Land ownership was established, which separated people out into those who owned land and those who were owned, along the land they worked, by others. By the Classical Era, residents of present-day Europe had developed some specialized trades. For the most part, however, people still produced much of what they needed, weaving their own cloth from the sheep they owned and had sheared, or bartering for wool. While many were farmers, they had the status of serfs had to give a significant amount of the crops they grew to the landowner. While a middle class was emerging, most serfs had little hope of moving into it.

A society

Ancient European society was organized around small bands of people who lived as hunters and gatherers. They did not need a larger, more complex society and in fact that could not develop until they developed agricultural skills and could use their natural resources efficiently enough to group together in villages and small towns. As they organized, leadership of the community was often headed by landowners or the clergy. Gradually people organized into small fiefdoms for defensive purposes. By the Classical Era, Rome had first conquered most of Europe and then collapsed, leaving people to form their own governments. Groups of people formed into small kingdoms with a government, bureaucracies, and armies to protect their borders. The people began organizing into various classes, often according to their trades. The use of money was…

Sources Used in Document:


Garraty, John A., and Gay, Peter, Eds. The Columbia History of the World. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1999.

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