Early Cities: NBSE Class 11 History (Arts) questions, answers

early cities class 11 nbse
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Get summary, textual answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF to NBSE Class 11 (Arts) History (Themes in World History) Chapter 3 Section A: Early Societies- Early Cities: (Focus on Iraq, 3rd Millennium BC, Growth of Towns, Nature of Early Urban Societies and Historians’ Debate on uses of Writing). However, the educational materials should only be used for reference and students are encouraged to make necessary changes.

Summary

Early humans lived in groups, with the family as the basic unit of society. As they became food producers and led a more settled life, family units began to form villages with mud houses surrounded by protective fences. These villages were often located near river valleys for easy access to water for agriculture.

Over time, some villages grew into larger settlements as new occupations and trade emerged. Surplus food could be exchanged for other goods, and craftsmen began to live together, leading to the growth of towns. The first phase of city growth began with the river valley civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China around 5,000-6,000 years ago. These towns became centers for merchants, craftsmen, traders, and government officials, leading to a division between urban and rural life.

Cities have generally grown due to economic growth, natural increase, and rural-urban migration. People move to cities for economic opportunities, while factors like droughts, famines, or rural poverty may “push” them away from the countryside. Cities have historically been centers of high civilization, receptive to new ideas and change, and focused on wealth accumulation and commerce. The decline of commerce can lead to the decline or disappearance of a city, as seen in European urban centers between the 5th and 9th centuries AD due to increasing trade hazards in the Mediterranean Sea.

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Exercise/textual questions and answers

I. Very Short Answer Type Questions

1. From which Latin word, does the English word ‘city’ come?

Answer: The English word ‘city’ comes from the Latin word “Civitas”.

2. Name the country in which the towns first grew.

Answer: The first towns grew in Mesopotamia, which is present-day Iraq.

3. Give two important components of civilization.

Answer: Two important components of civilization are social organization and cultural development.

4. When did the cities first begin to emerge?

Answer: The first phase in the growth of cities began between 5,000-6,000 years ago with settlements which grew into what we call river valley civilisations of Mesopotamia (present day Iraq), Egypt, India and China.

5. In which areas first towns emerged?

Answer: The first towns emerged in river valley civilizations of Mesopotamia (present day Iraq), Egypt, India and China.

6. What factors led to the growth of towns?

Answer: Towns have grown as a result of three factors-economic growth, natural increase and rural urban migration.

7. When was Mesopotamia city UR discovered by the archaeologists?

Answer: The Mesopotamia city UR was discovered by the archaeologists in 1830.

8. When did the royal city of Mari flourish?

Answer: Mari flourished around 2,000 BC.

9. Give the names of any two early cities of India.

Answer: The names of two early cities of India are Mohenjodaro and Harappa.

10. During which period of history, the art of writing began to develop?

Answer: Between 4,000 BC and 3,000 BC, there was a steady progress in the art of writing.

11. Give the name of the earliest type of system of writing.

Answer: The earliest type of system of writing was a pictograph form of writing, developed in Mesopotamia.

12. What type of book was written by Julius Caesar?

Answer: Julius Caesar wrote a book called “Commentarii de Bello Gallico,” also known as “Commentaries on the Gallic War.” This work is a firsthand account of the military campaigns and events that took place during the Roman conquest of Gaul (modern-day France) from 58 to 50 BCE. The book is a historical narrative that offers insights into Caesar’s strategies, tactics, and political motivations during this period.

II. Short Answer Type Questions

1. Explain the meaning of City.

Answer: The word “city” comes from the Latin word “Civitas”, which describes a highly organised community like the city states of ancient Greece. The city provided a man with his religion, his amusements, his education and sought to satisfy his every need. Therefore, a city can be defined as a highly organised community that provides its inhabitants with various amenities and services, including religious, educational, and entertainment facilities.

2. Write a note on early societies.

Answer: The early phases of the development of man and society have come to light by the discoveries of archaeologists which they have made from the study of fossils, remains of bones, stone tools and cave paintings. The early men lived in groups but the basic unit of society was family. It was the earliest form of society. The man in the Paleolithic Age was a wanderer. As long as the men had to move from place to place, they lived in groups. However, when they started producing food, they began to lead a settled life.

3. How did the villages come into existence?

Answer: When men became food producers, the life became more settled and the family units came into existence. They continued to live in large groups but functioned more through family units than the groups. The families began to build mud houses with thatched roofs. These were their places of shelter from heat and cold and of protection from wild animals. Most of these houses were close to one another and were surrounded by a common fence of prickly bushes or mud walls. A number of families constituted a village.

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8. Write a note on the Mesopotamian city of Mari.

Answer: Mari was a prosperous trading town located on the river Euphrates. It was a good example of an urban centre prospering on trade in wood, copper, tin, oil and wine. The boats carrying grinding stones, wood, wine and oil jars, would stop at Mari on their way to southern Mesopotamian cities. The officers of the town of Mari would go on board, inspect the cargo, and levy a charge of about one-tenth the value of the goods before allowing the boat to continue to move downstream. Mari was the capital city of the Mari kingdom and flourished around 2,000 BC. It was a trading town in a pastoral zone. The Mesopotamian nomadic communities of the western desert filtered into the prosperous agricultural heartland. The kings of Mari were Amorites. They respected not only the gods of Mesopotamians but also raised a temple at Mari for Dagan god of steppe. King Zimrilim built a palace in the capital city of Mari. It was the residence of the royal family. It was also the hub of administration and also a place of settlements.

9. What do you know about the city of Kerkuk?

Answer: Kerkuk City was an important city of Mesopotamia that was built by king Nasirbal of Assyria between 884 and 858 BC as a military defence line. The king Sluks built a strong rampart with 72 towers around the citadel, two entries and 72 streets. It was a trade and export centre for the surrounding area’s agricultural product, sheep, wool, cheese and cattle. Textiles were also manufactured there.

10. Write a note on Pictographic system of writing.

Answer: A pictograph form of writing was developed in Mesopotamia between 4,000 BC and 3,000 BC. The first Mesopotamian tablets written around 3,200 BC contained pictures of signs and numbers. The Egyptians also used picture signs in their writing system, but they never used a completely alphabetical system. The final stage of the Egyptian writing system was to have a sign stand for the sound of a single letter, and they reached this stage with an alphabet of twenty-four letters. However, they failed to develop symbols to represent vowel sounds.

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

Answer: Early urbanization was not solely caused by natural fertility and high levels of food production. While agriculture was important in the growth of early cities, other factors such as economic growth, natural increase, and rural-urban migration also played a significant role. Droughts, famines, and exploitation of farmers could cause extreme rural poverty and push people out of villages and into towns. Additionally, cities have historically been centers of high civilization, with urban dwellers being more receptive to new ideas and change than their rural neighbors. Therefore, it can be concluded that a combination of factors contributed to the early urbanization, and not just natural fertility and high levels of food production.

III. Essay Type Questions

1. After studying the previous chapter of this book, describe the growth of early societies.

Answer: The growth of early societies began when early man became a food producer and began to lead a settled life. The basic unit of society was the family, which was the earliest form of society. The early phases of the development of man and society have come to light by the discoveries of archaeologists, which they have made from the study of fossils, remains of bones, stone tools, and cave paintings.

As for the growth of early societies, it is important to note that the man in the Paleolithic Age was a wanderer. As long as the men had to move from place to place, they lived in groups of families. But when they began to produce food, they started living in larger groups and settled in one place. This led to the formation of villages, towns, and eventually cities.

The growth of early societies was also influenced by the development of agriculture, which allowed people to produce more food than they needed for their immediate needs. This surplus food could be traded or stored for future use. As a result, people could specialize in other activities, such as making tools, pottery, and clothing. This led to the development of crafts and trade, which helped to create wealth and stimulate economic growth.

In addition to economic growth, the growth of early societies was also influenced by social and cultural factors. The development of religion, art, and architecture helped to create a sense of community and identity. It also helped to establish social hierarchies and power structures, which were often based on wealth, status, and occupation.

2. Describe the origin of the cities and the growth of Urban societies.

Answer: the origin of cities can be traced back to the river valley civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China, which began between 5,000-6,000 years ago. These settlements grew into towns, and as the civilizations grew in size and trade routes grew in numbers, these towns became the centres for merchants, craftsmen, traders, and government officials. The division between “town” and “country”, “urban” and “rural” had begun during this period.

The growth of cities has been influenced by three main factors: economic growth, natural increase, and rural-urban migration. Economic growth has been a significant factor in attracting people to cities. When a city’s economy is prospering, it attracts people from the villages. The promise of jobs and comforts, glamour and glitter, attracts people to the cities.

Natural increase refers to the increase in population due to the birth rate being higher than the death rate. As cities grew, they became centres of culture and learning, and as a result, the population increased. This increase in population further fuelled the growth of cities.

Rural-urban migration is the movement of people from rural areas to urban areas. People move to the cities for various reasons, but the most significant reason is economic. When a city’s economy is prospering, it attracts people from the villages. The promise of jobs and comforts, glamour and glitter, attracts people to the cities.

It is worth noting that there are some exceptions to the general rule of cities growing due to economic growth, natural increase, and rural-urban migration. For example, some cities are created by governments to lessen the burden of population on the large cities. Sometimes, new cities are made the capitals of the country.

3. Describe briefly the features of early cities.

Answer: Early cities had their roots in the great river civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China, and existed for thousands of years. The English word “city” comes from the Latin word “Civitas”, which describes a highly organized community like the city-states of ancient Greece. The city provided a man with his religion, his amusements, his education and sought to satisfy his every need.

The establishment of towns is marked by the beginning of a civilization. The first phase in the growth of cities began between 5,000-6,000 years ago with settlements which grew into what we call river valley civilizations of Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), Egypt, India, and China. These towns no more depended on agriculture and domestic animals. As the civilization grew in size and trade routes grew in numbers, these towns became the centers for merchants, craftsmen, traders, and government officials. The division between “town” and “country”, “urban” and “rural” had begun during this period.

Cities have grown as a result of three factors: economic growth, natural increase, and rural-urban migration. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule. For example, some cities are created by governments to lessen the burden of population on the large cities. Sometimes, new cities are made the capitals of the country.

People move to the cities for various reasons but the most significant reason is economic. When a city’s economy is prospering, it attracts people from the villages. The promise of jobs and comforts, glamour and glitter, attracts people to the cities. Though the knowledge base does not provide a detailed list of features of early cities, it does suggest that early cities were highly organized communities that provided for the needs of their inhabitants and served as centers for trade, government, and education.

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

Answer: Ancient stories from Mesopotamia offer valuable insights into the civilization that flourished in the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in modern-day Iraq, Syria, and Kuwait. These stories reveal aspects of the culture, religion, values, politics, and everyday life in ancient Mesopotamia. Some key points we can learn from these stories include:

  • Religion and mythology: Mesopotamian stories provide a wealth of information about their polytheistic religious beliefs and mythology. Tales like the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enuma Elish, and Atrahasis offer insights into the pantheon of gods and goddesses, as well as the creation myths and flood stories that were central to their belief system.
  • Social structure and values: These stories often depict the societal hierarchy, with kings, priests, and other officials playing prominent roles. They also highlight values such as loyalty, friendship, and the pursuit of immortality, as seen in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
  • Literature and language: Mesopotamian stories demonstrate the rich literary tradition of the region, with works written in languages such as Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian. Cuneiform, one of the earliest known writing systems, was used to record these stories on clay tablets.
  • Politics and warfare: Stories from Mesopotamia frequently mention conflicts and wars between city-states, as well as the importance of strong leadership. For instance, the Epic of Gilgamesh recounts the hero’s journey to establish his legacy, while other stories document the rise and fall of various kings and empires.
  • Daily life and technology: While ancient stories primarily focus on gods, heroes, and kings, they also provide glimpses into the daily lives of ordinary people in Mesopotamian society. The role of agriculture, trade, and technology, such as the invention of the wheel, can be inferred from these tales.
IV. Passage based Questions

Read the following passage and answer the questions.

We know from the legal texts (disputes, inheritance matters, etc.) that in Mesopotamian society the nuclear family was the norm (a nuclear family comprises of a man, his wife and children), although a married son and his family often resided with his parents. The father was the head of the family. We know a little about the procedure for marriage. When a declaration was made about the willingness to marry, the bride’s parents gave their consent to the marriage. Then a gift was given to the groom’s people to the bride’s people. When the wedding took place, gifts were exchanged by both parties, who ate together and made offerings in a temple. When her mother-in-law came to fetch her, the bride was given her share of the inheritance by her father. The father’s house, herds and fields, etc. were inherited by the sons.

1. What types of families were common in the Mesopotamian society?

Answer: In Mesopotamian society, the most common type of family was the nuclear family, which sometimes included a married son and his family residing with his parents.

2. What is the meaning of a nuclear family?

Answer: A nuclear family is a family unit consisting of a father, a mother, and their children.

3. Who was the head of the family?

Answer: In Mesopotamian society, the father was considered the head of the family.

4. What do we know about the procedure for marriage in the Mesopotamian society?

Answer: In the Mesopotamian society, the procedure for marriage involved several steps. First, a declaration of willingness to marry was made, followed by the bride’s parents giving their consent. Then, a gift was given from the groom’s people to the bride’s people. During the wedding, gifts were exchanged by both parties, who also shared a meal together and made offerings in a temple. Finally, when the bride’s mother-in-law came to fetch her, the bride was given her share of the inheritance by her father.

V. Objective Type Questions

1. Name the early city in Iraq.

Answer: (c) Mesopotamia

2. Name the trading town in a Pastoral Zone.

Answer: (a) Mari

3. In Mesopotamia, which metal came into use?

Answer: (c) Bronze

4. One of the texts found in Mesopotamia is-

Answer: (b) Gilgamesh

Extra/additional questions and answers

1. What was the basic unit of society during the early phases of human development? 

Answer: The basic unit of society during the early phases of human development was the family.

2. How have the early phases of human development come to light? 

Answer: The early phases of human development have come to light through the discoveries made by archaeologists from the study of fossils, remains of bones, stone tools, and cave paintings.

3. What does the word “city” mean and where does it come from? 

Answer: The word “city” means a highly organized community and comes from the Latin word “Civitas,” which describes city-states like those in ancient Greece.

4. What factors led to the growth of towns? 

Answer: The growth of towns can be attributed to several factors, including the development of settled life due to food production, the increase in the number of people living in villages, the growth of new professions and trade, and the exchange of surplus food for other goods such as cloth, pottery, and ornaments. This led to the formation of large villages, which eventually evolved into towns.

5. Discuss the reasons why people move to cities and the consequences of the decline in commerce or trade on a city. 

Answer: People move to cities for various reasons, with the most significant reason being economic. When a city’s economy is prospering, it attracts people from rural areas due to the promise of jobs, comforts, glamour, and glitter. “Push” factors, such as droughts, famines, or exploitation of farmers causing extreme rural poverty, also contribute to people moving from villages to towns.

The decline in commerce or trade can have severe consequences for a city. Cities are intrinsically linked to commerce, and the ruin of trade can doom a city to extinction. This was evident during the 5th to 9th centuries AD when European urban centers dwindled and almost disappeared due to increasing hazards to safe trading on the Mediterranean Sea brought on by Barbarian and Muslim invasions.

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Q. Describe the development of cuneiform writing and its uses in Mesopotamia. 

Answer: Around 3,200 BC, the first Mesopotamian tablets contained pictures of signs and numbers, marking the beginning of a pictograph form of writing. By 2,600 BC, these letters evolved into cuneiform, and the language became Sumerian. The Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians subsequently adopted the Sumerian script to represent their respective languages. The Assyrians added around 200 new syllabic signs to those already in use. Scribes formed an important class in society due to the complexity of the cuneiform script.

Cuneiform writing was used for various purposes, including keeping records, making dictionaries, validating land transfers, maintaining historical records of kings, and announcing changes in customary laws. The script, written in the Akkadian language, continued to be used until the first century BC, or for about 2,000 years. Despite the complexity and the limited number of literate individuals in Mesopotamia, cuneiform writing played a significant role in advancing science, time reckoning, and mathematics. Tablets from around 1,800 BC contain multiplication and division tables, square and square root tables, and tables of compound interest. The division of time into months, weeks, hours, and minutes can also be attributed to the Mesopotamians.

Extra/additional MCQs

1. What was the earliest form of society?

A. Village B. City C. Family D. Tribe

Answer: C. Family

2. What do the discoveries made by archaeologists include?

A. Manuscripts B. Fossils C. Coins D. Furniture

Answer: B. Fossils

3. The Latin word for “city” is:

A. Urbs B. Polis C. Civitas D. Metropolis

Answer: C. Civitas

4. Which age did the man in the Paleolithic Age live as a wanderer?

A. Neolithic B. Bronze C. Iron D. Paleolithic

Answer: D. Paleolithic

5. The first phase in the growth of cities began with:

A. River valley civilisations B. Coastal settlements C. Mountain villages D. Forest communities

Answer: A. River valley civilisations

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30. Which civilization is credited with the division of time into months, weeks, hours, and minutes?

A. Chinese B. Egyptian C. Mesopotamian D. Indus Valley

Answer: C. Mesopotamian

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