Olmec And Ubaid Cultures

1003 Words 5 Pages
Justifying Rulership: a comparison of the
Olmec and Ubaid cultures There are many similarities in the rise of complex society in both Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica. From monumental structure building to well integrated trade, cultures such as the Olmec of Mesoamerica 1200 BC - 400 AD and the Ubaid of Mesopotamia 4500 BC-3000 BC, have many parallel elements relating to their success as complex societies and what one may refer to as states, despite thousands of years between the two. Comparatively, there are also key differences between the two, particularly the timescale in which complexity took place and the practices of agriculture. Most, if not all of these elements that factor into the success of a state are generally under control of the
…show more content…
The ability to convince one’s subjects that a ruler was truly in control of every aspect of their lives, in a way more meaningful than crops and trade, but aspects like fertility, life, and death was ultimately what justified the differences between commoners and elites, the basis of rulership. These ideas are linked to the religious political aspects of these states which were one in the same for these societies. Economic aspects were also important in a literal sense, for if a ruler cannot sustain their subjects they cannot be justified, but as seen in the Ubaid and more so in the Olmec, religion is truly what allowed rulers to gain the power necessary to construct the states studied today. The importance of economic functions within the Ubaid and Olmec are both essential to rulership because they sustain the population, but also work to procure valuable items and materials …show more content…
As Professor Joyce stated in lecture, the Olmec people would not be able to differentiate politics and religion. Similarly, in Ubaid chiefdoms like Uruk, Eridu, and Ur, large ziggurats were constructed as centers for both religious political ceremonies and economic transactions, which were one in the same (Lamberg-Karlovsky and Sabloff:145). These monumental structures of the were dedicated to specific deities such as E-Anna of the Limestone temple and Anu, the sky god of the White Temple (Lamberg-Karlovsky and Sabloff:143). Excavations of Olmec states reveal that religious ceremonies also took place on stage like structures, often over places of religious burials such as the jade figurines and celts at La Venta. Also, from the discovery massive basalt heads of San Lorenzo and numerous smaller figurines depicting godlike rulers, the role religion plays in the success of rulers and the lives of the common people is inherent in these cultures (Lamberg-Karlovsky and Sabloff: 263,267). Here is seen a key link between religious political ideology and economic organization, with the manpower needed to construct such impressive structures and artifacts, a ruler must have impressive influence over their people. Tombs with prestige offerings and young remains have been excavated

Related Documents