Neolithic period is included in critical developments. Even though the Neolithic Period used to be interpreted as a time of simple agricultural village communities, in recent years, it has started to be defined as a more complex and dynamic phase (Ozdol,2011). Besides, the first cities based on the agriculture appeared in Mesopotamia. Since Mesopotamia was the region where urbanization first emerged, it is generally accepted that the emergence of the first cities in this region was independent of other cultures and was the result of a local development (Tekin, 2017). In this article, we will compare the Neolithic period’s first cities and first city-states in about sociological, and political angles.

Key Words: Mesopotamia, culture, state, ritual, agriculture, city, sex,  authority, revolution.


According to today’s archaeological evidence, approximately dated

between B.C. 12000/11000 and 6000/5000 called the Neolithic

period. The Neolithic period is essential because; According to sociocultural theories, the Neolithic Process has created significant and irreversible social and economic changes for the history of humanity. Neolithic started in spanning modern-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, the northeast, and Nile valley regions of Egypt, together with the southeastern region of Turkey and the western fringes of Iran. Some authors also include Cyprus. The region has been called the “cradle of civilization” because it is where settled farming first emerged as people started the process of clearance and modification of natural vegetation in order to grow newly domesticated plants as crops. The first city-states emerged the latest time of the Neolithic period in the Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia timeline is started with the Ubaid Period, dated between the 5900-4500 B.C. And following that Sumerians appear on the stage of history, dated between the 4500-2340 B.C. Sumerians are pioneers of many inventions.


From the sociological perspective, first cities included some types of rituals to keep society together easily, like burial ceremonies. There are three types of burial which are human, architectural, and object. Also, sex discrimination cannot be observable on art. But with the agricultural revolution looking at the women and men’s teeth, women were generally eating agricultural products with this; men were eating at meat—that diversity based on social roles. Because hunter-gathered were not ended ultimately, so the community’s men mostly go for hunting, and women were doing the farming business.

The first city-states included a more complex structure than the first cities. Because started living crowded was getting most responsibilities and also need for authority. That reasons revealed the understanding of religious to wit more complex and mandatory rituals. That religions also have a big effect to shaped the bureaucracy. With the religious discourses, discrimination between men and women has an official explanation. Because the notion of god usually describing men. In the Law Codes of Hammurabi (the Law Codes of Babylon Empire), the price of women almost half and lower than the man.

198. If one destroys the eye of a freeman or breaks the bone of a freeman, he shall pay one mana of silver.

209. If a man strikes a man’s daughter and bring about a miscarriage, he shall pay ten shekels of silver for her miscarriage.

210. If a man strikes a man’s daughter and bring about a miscarriage, he shall pay ten shekels of silver for her miscarriage.

210. If that woman dies, they shall put his daughter to death.

211. If through a stroke, he brings about a miscarriage to the daughter of a freeman, he shall pay five shekels of silver.

212. If that woman dies, he shall pay one-half mana of silver.

That chart shows, when humans started living crowdedly and based on economic issues than hunger or struggle for life, the discrimination showed themselves, and until that time to now still, we can feel it.


Before agriculture takes place in people’s lives and also the first times, people were still hunter-gatherer. And there was no discrimination or saw some people superior or slave. If there were prey, people were sharing it. There was not much complex structure, and people were just trying to stay safe and alive. But then, people were starting to gain surplus-value, and that changed balances. Some people wanted to own and manage surplus-value. In the first cities that not seen to much. However, in the early city-states, managers started to use the religion to gain more authority and own assets.

To sum up with the agricultural revolution and started sedentary life communities’ population increase. Because living together facilitated protection from wild animals. And agriculture providing regular foods, also people needed more human power to field works. So, all these changes opened the state life. But controlling the crowd was not easy; this difficulty laid the foundations of discrimination between men and women and the relationship between the slave and owner, which are still happening today.


  • TEKİN, M., 2017. THE EMERGENCE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE EARLIEST CITIES AND CITY STATES IN THE WORLD HISTORY. Gaziosmanpasa University Social Sciences Researches Journal, 2(12), pp.17-30
  • Fertile Crescent – Wikipedia.
  • 2020. The Code Of Hammurabi (Harper Translation) – Wikisource, The Free Online Library. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 6 April 2020].

Beşire Akpınar

Middle East Technical University – Political Science

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