Ancient cities resulted as a result of the urbanization development which was highly supported by the great leaders of each ancient state. However, the development of these cities were enhanced by the strategic positions which they were located. This paper will critically examine the history book on the development of the ancient cities by Lewis Mumford. The paper will major on the themes in the book and the books criticism. In his book, Mumford has talked about the development of the ancient civilization and its background.
According to Mumford, most of the cities on the Aegean islands developed effectively as a result of the strategic location in which they are situated. For example, in his book he describes the factors that led to growth and development of these cities as the favorable geographic locations. According to Mumford, this enhanced the outward modification of the cities structure (Mumford 119). Most of the ancient cities developed as a result of the geographic locations. Those cities that grew at the highland, rocky or mountainous regions were stable and experienced few attacks from their enemies (Macionis, J. J., & Parrillo, V. N, 2004). Human civilization began long time during this ancient age when most of cities emerged. Egypt is one of the ancient city that grew during the ancient period. The terrain of the cities that were built on the strategic locations that favored both human settlement and survival. Most of these regions were favored by their suitability to support the agricultural practices. People experienced high rate of civil wars during this ancient period and there was need to keep their people safe and unified. Therefore, the mountainous places provide the best view point in which they could visualize their enemies while approaching and plan themselves. The temples were built like kings palace and this provide enough space for people to worship freely.
Mumford describes the house that were built during this period that also enhanced the staying of the community. For example, he says that house were built with the internal drains that ensured effective draining system during the rainy seasons and also protected the house from flooding from the excess rain. Human civilization led to people coming together and forming communities. This led to isolation of people, especially those who went to seek their settlement in the mountainous regions. Building on the mountainous regions is very difficult and it is almost impossible to build certain structures. However, ancient civilization enhanced this from the great architects.
The cities developed in a favorable regions that highly favored agricultural practices. With the good landscape and vegetation, people could practice agricultural practices such as farming and obtain food. The cities provide enough food for its people through agricultural practices. Furthermore, the good vegetation of the region provided people with the plenty wild fruits that ensured everyone sleep with their stomach full with something.
In addition, the cities acted as the physical protection against external attacks. Most of the cities were built on the rocky and mountainous regions that provide enough stones to build protective houses (Redfield, R., & Singer, M. B, 1954). Further, Mumford argues that the cities were built on the higher altitude regions which favored their vicinity. They could see their enemies from a distance before they attack. According to Mumford, the ancient civilization began in the ancient Greece. Cities such as Delphi, Olympia and Cos were the great cities that grew at the early years. These cities acted as the games places. For example, Olympia was the largest athletic ground where most of the athletic games were held. It was the central place where games competition were held. Different cities came together to compete at Olympia for annual festival celebrations.
In addition, the cities acted as the religious places where people came together to worship their gods. Delphi was the central place where religious practices were held in the region. Other functions of the city include; providing educational centers. People could come and learn different professional subjects such as medicine. Most of the ancient civilization began with education and people were taught in specific places with professionals. Ancient cities contributed greatly to the development of the most professions (Porter, D, 1999).
The ancient cities highly regarded religion. There were temples constructed in the cities to provide worship places for people. The gods determined the human life and people were expected to behave according to the societys expectations. Special virtues and qualities were believed to come from the gods. This enhanced peoples believes. However, civilization led to introduction of new believes in the cities. For instance, the temples were kept in good condition that encouraged the advancement of religion. The gods began to reveal their powers on human beings and through this revelation, people began to take religion very serious because it was the source of every valuable virtue. Chastity, purity and rationality was highly regarded in the ancient ages. However, these virtues were greatly developed by the great thinkers and philosophers such as Pythagoras, Parmenides and Plato.
Democracy accompanied the development of these cities. For example, people were given the opportunity to practice their leadership qualities through power and authority so long as they were able. However, this opportunity was not given to anyone in the society. It is only in Athens that the rich and the poor were allowed to interact and make decision together. There was class difference where the rich owned and enjoyed most of the opportunities in the cities. For example, little resources such as bathing facilities that were very little in some cities such as Athens. The rich people were allowed to access bathing facilities on special occasions. In addition, most of these resources were private and only the owners could enjoy the privileges with their families. According to Redfield, R., & Singer, M. B. (1954), economic activities that ensured growth and sustenance of people were fishing and shipping. The economic growth of these cities led to massive accumulation of wealth that ensured their internal development of the city. Most of these cities were led by the kings who decided on important matters affecting the state. Though the able leaders/kings, cities such as Egypt emerged with great strength and unity. The religion of the cities also enhanced their unity and moral behavior development.
In conclusion, the ancient civilization marked the development of urbanizations and it is through the ancient civilization that most of the cities nowadays are in good condition. This paper has overviewed how Mumford has explained the historical development of the ancient cities and some of the factors that enhanced their development and growth. Most of the ancient states contributed greatly to the current education systems. Most of the architectural designs came from the ancient periods. For instance, most of the ancient buildings are still available and people have only improved on their designs. Egypt has been considered the background root of medicine practice and other architectural methods from King Alexander the great.
Macionis, J. J., & Parrillo, V. N. (2004). Cities and urban life. Pearson Education.
Porter, D. (1999). Health, civilization, and the state: a history of public health from ancient to modern times. Psychology Press.
Redfield, R., & Singer, M. B. (1954). The cultural role of cities. Economic development and cultural change, 53-73.
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