Economic Systems in Copan Compared to Other Ancient Cultures

Topics: Population density, Roman Empire, Ancient Rome Pages: 3 (1119 words) Published: July 16, 2005
Economic Systems
Throughout history there has been a common theme of progression towards more complex societies. The advent of agriculture enabled population sizes to increase, and allowed permanent settlements to arise. As extensive cultivation of farmland progressed, a surplus of food was created that enabled some people within a society to be non-food producers. These people who no longer were required to farm in order to survive were able to develop marketable goods that they could exchange for food. This transition towards interdependence, (craftsmen depending on exchanging their goods for food), brought with it an opportunity for the government within each society to exact some tribute for monitoring the economy, and making sure that exchanges went smoothly. This led to societies with a well-defined hierarchy and slowly led to the abolition of the egalitarian societies where everyone engages in the same means of production. Within these aforementioned egalitarian societies there is some occupational specialization, but it is based on the skill of the craftsmen, and no one is a full time specialist. The differences in the economies of Copan, Teotihuacan, and ancient Rome, can illustrate why and how economies increase in complexity, and what criteria are necessary for large-scale economic specialization. More specifically, what factors limited Copan and Teotihuacan, preventing them from attaining the population size, and economic complexity of ancient Rome. Teotihuacan was a huge metropolis in what is now southern Mexico. It became a large city before 100CE and reached the height of its size from about 600-650CE. At its height it was home to roughly 125,000 inhabitants. There is a permanent springs nearby the ancient city, and satellite photos have indicated the presence of a possible irrigation system with canals used to water farm sites. Although the age of the irrigation canals has yet to be established it seems to be highly probable that...
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