Page:The Outline of History Vol 1.djvu/208

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thousand years later, more particularly in their social organization and their material welfare. While in Central Europe and Central Asia the primitive Neolithic way of life was becoming more migratory and developing into nomadism, in the great river valleys it is becoming more settled and localized. It is still doubtful whether we are to consider Mesopotamia or Egypt the earlier scene of the two parallel beginnings of settled communities living in towns. By 4000 b.c., in both these regions of the earth, such communities existed, and had been going on for a very considerable time. The excavations of the American expedition[1] at Nippur have unearthed evidence of a city community existing there at least as early as 5000 b.c., and probably as early as 6000 b.c., an earlier date than anything we know of in Egypt. De Candolle asserts that it is only in the Euphrates-Tigris district that wheat has ever been found growing wild.[2] It may be that from Mesopotamia as a centre the cultivation of wheat spread over the entire eastern hemisphere. Or it may be that wheat grew wild in some regions now submerged. There may have been a wild wheat region in what is now the sea bottom of the eastern Mediterranean. But cultivation is not civilization; the growing of wheat had spread from the Atlantic to the Pacific with the distribution of the Neolithic culture by perhaps 10,000 or 9000 b.c., before the beginnings of civilization. Civilization is something more than the occasional seasonal growing of wheat. It is the settlement of men upon an area continuously cultivated and possessed, who live in buildings continuously inhabited with a common rule and a common city or citadel. For a long time civilization may quite possibly have developed in Mesopotamia without any relations with the parallel beginnings in Egypt. The two settlements may have been quite independent, arising separately out of the widely diffused Heliolithic Neolithic culture. Or they may have had a common origin in the region of the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and southern Arabia.

  1. Babylonian expedition of the University of Pennsylvania.
  2. H. R. Hall, Ancient History of the Near East, says it has been found in Palestine. — S. H.
    The late Mr. Aaron Aaronson found a real wild wheat upon the slopes of Mt. Hermon. See Bulletin 274, Plant Indus. Bureau, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture; and Stapf in Suppl. to the Jour. of the Board of Agri., Lond., vol. xvii, No. 3. — E. J. R.