NCERT Solutions for Class 11 History Chapter 2 - Writing and City Life

Question 1:

Why do we say that it was not natural fertility and high levels of food production that were the causes of early urbanisation?


There is no denying the fact that natural fertility and food production were the causes of early urbanisation. Following arguments could be given in its favour:

  1. Natural fertility became the base of developed agriculture.
  2. Grasslands came into existence due to natural fertility which gave impetus to animal husbandry.
  3. Agriculture and animal rearing made human life permanent because now man became a food producer. Now there was no need for him to wander from one place to another in search of food.
  4. When life became permanent, agricultural communities came into existence which started to live with each other in huts. In this way villages came into existence.
  5. Higher level of food productioan led to exchange of goods. As a result, size of villages began to increase. New occupations also came into being which were the indicators of urbanisation.
Question 2:

Which of the following were necessary conditions and which the causes of early urbanisation, and which would you say were the outcome of the growth of cities :

(a) highly productive agriculture, (b) water transport, (c) the lack of metal and stone, (d) the division of labour, (e) the use of seals, (f) the military power of kings that made labour compulsory?


Necessary conditions of urbanisation :

(a) Highly productive agriculture (b) water transport (c) division of labour.

Outcome of the growth of cities : (a) The lack of metal and stone (b) The use of seals (c) The military power of kings that made labour compulsory.

Question 3:

Why were mobile animal herders not necessarily a threat to town life?


Mobile animal herders might take their flocks across a sown field to water which ruined the crop. They could raid agricultural villages to seize their stored goods. Sometimes herders were also denied access to river, by settled groups and canal water along a particular set of path. There might be conflict. But mobile animal herders were not necessarily a threat to town life. They required to exchange their young animals, leather, cheese and meat for metal tools, grain, the manure of a penned flock, etc. Through Mesopotamian history, animal herders of western desert filtered into the prosperous agricultural heartland. Such herders came in as herders, became prosperous and settled down. Some of them gained the power and established their own rule which include the Amorite, Akkadian, Assyrian and Aramaean communities. The kings of Mari belonged to Amorite community.

Question 4:

Why would the early temple have been much like a house?


Why would the early temple have been much like a house?

Question 5:

Of the new institutions that came into being once city life had begun, which ones depended on the initiative of the king?


Several new institutions came into being once city life had begun. These institutions included temples, schools, tablet writers, trade centres, permanent army, craftsmen, builders, sculptors, etc. Out of these new institutions, temples, trade centres and writings would have depended on the initiative of the king.

Question 6:

What do ancient stories tell us about the civilisation of Mesopotamia?


Ancient stories tell us a lot about the civilisation of Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia was situated between the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers (now part of the Republic of Iraq). Mesopotamian civilisation was rich in wealth, city life, literature, mathematics and astronomy. One by one, three civilisations flourished there. These included Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian civilisations. These civilisations are collectively known as the civilisation of Mesopotamia. Social, economic and religious life of this civilisation is given below :

  1. Social life. Mesopotamian society was divided into three classes. The first two classes consisted of higher people. People of these classes lived in good houses, wore good clothes and enjoyed several privileges. People of the third class were slaves and they lived in huts. Women had a lower status in Mesopotamian society.
  2. Economic life. Economic life of Mesopotamians was very prosperous. They were agriculturalists. Agriculture developed as dams were constructed across rivers for irrigation. They knew the use of tin, copper and bronze. They knew how to weave cloth, construct buildings, make ornaments and several other articles. They also traded with their neighbouring countries.
  3. Religious life. Mesopotamians worshipped many gods and goddesses. They made their idols and placed them in temples. Every town had its own god and goddess. Sumerians called their temples ‘Ziggurat’. Their main gods were Shamas (the Sun), Sin (the Moon), Anu (the Sky), and Eninel (the Air), etc. The main god of Babylonians was Marduk and goddess was Ishter. Asur was the major god of Assyrians. Priests held a respectable place in society.