Chapter 3 deals with the city-states of Greece and Rome, variations of the Ancient mode of production, their roots and transformations, ending in decline before the Germanic invaders whose interaction with their heritage generated a new, dynamic mode of production, while a rearguard action of exceptional brilliance was organized at Constantinople.
The dialectic of city-states and invaders
The westward spread of urbanization from Asia into Europe involved many ethnic groups, cultures and languages, close to one another spatially and quite limited in distribution, though some expanded over vast areas from small beginnings. The most impressive urban culture to emerge in Europe was that of Crete, at Knossos, Phaestos, Malia, Zakro and other urban sites (Faure, 1973:185), early in the third millennium BC. The island was strategically placed for maritime trade between the earlier mainland urban economies, north, east and south. Besides, it offered a wide variety of opportunities for agriculture and settlement, between rich lowland grain farming; easily defended mountains, pasturing goats and nurturing olives, grapes, figs and chestnuts; rich coastal fisheries and many harbours suitable for their small, shallow draft vessels.
The Cretans built a number of autonomous temple-palace city-states (Cherry, 1986:19, 26) concentrating populations of at least several thousands, with paved streets, tiled conduits, sewers, piped water and densely packed two- and three-storey houses of stone or plastered brick, lit for the first time with many paned windows of some translucent material such as alabaster or oiled parchment, but facing blank walls to the street (Faure, 1973:180–8).