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Social trends in temperate Eurasia during the second and first millennia bc

  • Ludmila Koryakova (a1)

Abstract

This paper outlines some basic trends of social evolution and devolution that occurred in Central Eurasia mostly in the second and first millennia BC. These main long-term, cyclical regularities were characteristic for the whole Eurasian territory and comprised the alternation between complex social structures and simple, extensive lifeways. The factors stimulating social development were ecological and technological crises, which conditioned a search for the most effective forms of social adaptation. The social landscape of the temperate zone in the second millennium BC was represented by a variety of simple chiefdoms interacting with forest-zone tribes and steppe zone hunter-gatherers. These groups were succeeded by an extensive spread of population, including the colonisation of new landscapes and the discovery of new mineral resources. The transition to the Iron Age is marked by the disintegration of these chiefdoms, which stimulated a chain of recurrent westward migration, disrupting social developments in Central Eurasia. During the first millennium, the process of social stratification and élite military development resulted from the growth of the Eurasian ‘world system’.

Cet article résume quelques tendances élementaires de l'evolution et de la délégation sociale qui sont apparues en Eurasie centrale principalement pendant les deuxième et premier millénaires avant J.C. Ces deux longues périodes, de régularités cycliques, étaient caractéristiques de tout le territoire Eurasien et contenaient une alternance entre des structures sociales complexes et des modes de vie considérablement simples. Les éléments stimulant le développement social etaient des crises écologiques et technologiques, qui conditionnaient la recherche de moyens encore plus efficaces pour une adaptation sociale. Le paysage social de la zone tempérée pendant le second millénaire avant J.C. était représenté par divers ‘chiefdoms’ dialoguant avec des tribus de la forêt et des chasseurscueilleurs de la steppe. Ces groupes ont été succédés par une considerable étendue de la population, la colonization de nouveaux paysages et la découverte de nouvelles ressources minérales comprises. La transition jusqu'à l'âge d'or est marquée par la désintégration de ces ‘chiefdoms’, qui stimulaient une série de migrations recurrentes vers l'ouest, perturbant les développements sociaux en Eurasie centrale. Pendant le premier millénaire, le processus de la stratification et du développement de l'élite militaire ont resulté de la croissance du système mondial eurasien.

Diser Beitrag umreißt einige grundlegenden Trends sozialer Evolution und Devolution im Zentraleurasien vor allem des zweiten und ersten Jahrtausends v. Chr. Langfristige, zyklische Regelmäßigkeiten waren kennzeichnend für das gesamte Gebiet Eurasiens und bestanden aus dem Abwechseln von komplexen Sozialstrukturen und einfachen, extensive Lehensweisen. Die Faktoren, die die soziale Entwicklung anregten, waren ökologische und technologische Krisen, die zu einer Suche nach den effektivsten Formen sozialer Anpassung führten. Die soziale Landschaft der gemäßigten Zone im zweiten Jahrtausend v. Chr. bestand aus einer Vielfalt von einfachen Häuptlingstümem, die mit Stämmen der Waldzone und Jägern und Sammlerinnen der Steppenzone interagierten. Auf diese Gruppen folgte eine ausgedehnte Bevölkerungsausbreitung, die die Kolonisation neuer Landschaften und die Entdeckung neuer Bodenschätze miteinschloß. Der Übergang zur Eisenzeit is gekennzeichnet durch den Zerfall der Häuptlingstümer, was zu einer Abfolge von sich wiederholenden Westwanderungen führte, die die sozialen Entwicklungen in Zentraleurasien durcheinander brachten. Während des ersten Jahrtausends v. Chr. führte das Wachstum des eurasischen ‘Weltsystems’ zu einem Prozeß zunehrnender sozialer Stratifizierung und einem Ausbau elitären Militärs.

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Social trends in temperate Eurasia during the second and first millennia bc

  • Ludmila Koryakova (a1)

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