The Political Compoition of the Indus Civilization

The Indus Valley Civilization was a thriving civilization which was contemporary with Early Bronze III and the Intermediate Bronze in Canaan. It is well known to have been known in Sumer as Meluhha. By far, the most stunning elements regarding this civilization are its size, fantastic wealth, and its lack of fortifications during its mature phase. Now, it is well known that in Sumer, which was not unified until the Akkadian era, fortifications were an absolute necessity for a city-state’s survival. The fact the mature Harappan phase is characterized not by heavy, but by exceedingly light fortifications is a clear sign that it was not a culture of city-states, but one governed by a central government. However, it has been argued by anarcho-capitalists that it is precisely due to this lack of significant fortifications that it is unlikely a central government existed in the mature Harappan phase. Of course, this is a highly unlikely proposition. Did a private contractor build the streets of Mohenjo-Daro? Did a businessman design the Great Bath? The idea the cities of the mature IVC were dominated by oligarchies of merchants is somewhat more plausible, but does not explain why these oligarchies might not compete against each other territorially.

When one looks at the archaeology of the Early Harappan phase, one finds that Mohenj-Daro grew at the expense of cities such as Kot Diji and Amri. One also finds that as the Mohenjo-Daro culture expanded, the fortified site of Kom Djiri was destroyed. One also notices that Harappa had a citadel.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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