State And Society In Pre-islamic Arabia Essay, Research Paper
Arabia Variata Most Arabians sedentary ? way of life far from
uniform, depending mainly on climate ? Happy Felix in Yemen dry-farming ?
collection of water from irrigation, sophisticated collection structures. Agricultural prosperity provided foundation for
independent South Arabian civilisation + mercantile prosperity means to
elaborate that civilisation to a high level of sophistication.? Many simple farmers and herders,
unlikely much export, complex enough to release artisans and commerce.
Same people who founded various kingdoms. Although many kingdoms inscriptions show similar
dialects and religion (Astral deities) ? political institutions show
similar development from theocracy of priest-kings ? to kingships
etc.? Similar social structure ?
nobles lord it over tribes. Arabia Felix ? only region whose productivity large
enough to permit development of an indigenous civilisation that radiated
outwards from its South Arabian centre over peninsula. Lack of water led to areas of intensive cultivation
near to supply ? Oases ? some of which big enough to support artisans,
merchants, religious leaders – not part of agric labour force.? Many in western and north western
Arabia? – Hijaz region ? Yathrib
(medina) etc – plenty in East Water not only reasons ? cultic or trading reasons
(Daydan Hizaz), or Mecca (cultic) ? into metropolis etc. Northern and central Arabian small and sparsely
populated settlements ? no one had time to perform cultural activities
necessary for development of independent cultural civilisation.?? Only signs of civilisation are more
than likely borrowed from other nearby civilisation. Nomadic people; goats, sheep, camels ? occupation
of land was rhythmic, periodic and extensive.? Nomadic people far outnumbered by sedentary peoples. Within nomadic people ? different type ? seminomads
and nomadic pastoralism ? dependent on living conditions. Little room of specialisation is essentially
subsistence-based life ? no class of merchants, artisans.? Developed culturally, and pride in
marital virtue as well as in raiding parties etc. Semi-nomadism more prevalent ? settled plains of Mesopotamia
and ten in winter to get winter grasses of desert. Many semi-nomads?
– once full nomads, camel herders, but shifted out by powerful
nomad tribes Behaviour and characteristics of group changed with
climate, land use, density of population, taxes, and political shifts. Semi nomads in continual flux between more nomadic
and more sedentary life.? Marginal
existence means very little specialisation.? Cultural life ? restricted to portable forms ? poetry ad