воскресенье, 20 февраля 2022 г.

Spain social net 4

The history of Assyria began quite peacefully. Its ancient capital was the small city of Ash-Shur, from which the whole state later received its name. If we could walk along its streets, say, in 1900 BC, we would meet few warriors, but many merchants. How did it happen that a small trading city turned into the center of a huge power that terrified the peoples of Asia Minor? Let's try to figure out this difficult story together.

Ashur was located in the upper reaches of the Tigris River, where mainly Semitic peoples lived. Trade routes of the ancient world converged here. From north to south, in Mesopotamia, they brought gold and silver, copper and tin, and slaves. Grain and vegetable oil, products of skilled artisans, were sent to the northern lands for sale. The inhabitants of Assur eventually realized that they could get rich by buying goods in some countries and reselling them in others. Only smart, cunning and courageous people could engage in intermediary trade. The merchant had to fight off the attacks of robbers; he had to be able to get along with the leaders of the wild tribes from whom he bought slaves; he had to know the languages, manners and customs of foreign countries, be courteous to the kings and their nobles, because the most expensive goods were sold in the royal palaces. For the convenience of trading in foreign lands, merchants built their own settlements, lived there among the local people, and only occasionally returned to their homeland for goods.

In Ashur itself, the wealthy merchant elite ran all the city's affairs. High positions in the city administration were occupied by priests of the most revered temples. There were no kings in Assur yet. The city grew and grew rich without the need for distant military campaigns.

The Assyrians lived in the fertile steppe foothills. The land here gave abundant crops without additional irrigation, so irrigation canals and earthen dams were most often not needed. A large peasant family cultivated their allotment on their own, without asking for help from either neighbors or the temple, they grazed bulls and sheep in the wide and free surrounding steppes. The Assyrian peasant could feed himself and his family, was free and independent, and paid relatively small taxes.

It may seem strange, but it is precisely because of its prosperity that the Assyrian village has hardly changed over the centuries. The primitive order, the complete power of the father over all members of the family, very strong ties between the communal peasants were preserved in it for a long time. The villages regularly supplied food taxes and young lads to the city to replenish the army, and the city hardly interfered in rural affairs. An independent, prosperous peasantry was the main pillar of the Assyrian state.

For the first time, the peaceful and rich life of Assur was threatened around 1800 BC. At this time, the neighboring states of Babylon and Mari, and later the new kingdom of Mitanni and the Hittites, began to oust Assyrian merchants from their homes and rich markets. Lshshur tried to fight, but he did not have enough strength for an unequal struggle, and he lost his independence. For several centuries, the trading city on the Tigris goes into the shadows.

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