The Ascent of Man: 2, 1973.
|Chapter 1: Lower than the Angels|
|The pace of cultural evolution||Nomads: the Bakhtiari||1st agriculture: wheat||Jericho - Earthquake
|VillageTechnology: The wheel||Domesticated Animals: the horse||War games: Buz Kashi||Settled civilisation|
The first wife of Bakhtyar had seven sons, fathers of the seven brother lines of our people.As with the children of lsrael, the flocks were all-important; they are not out of the mind of the storyteller (or the marriage counsellor) for a moment.
His second wife had four sons.
And our sons shall take for wives the daughters from their father's brothers' tents, lest the flocks and tents be dispersed.
but did not yet know how to plant it.
They made tools for the wild harvest.
[Curved sickle, 4th millenium BC, Israel.]
The flint sickle blades were set into a horn handle.
turning-point to the spread of agriculture in the
Old World was al most certainly the occurrence of
two forms of wheat with a large, full head of seeds.
Before 8000 bc wheat was not the luxuriant plant it is today; it was merely one of many wild grasses that spread throughout the Middle East.
By some genetic accident, the wild wheat crossed with a natural goat grass and formed a fertile hybrid.
That accident must have happened many times in the springing vegetation that came up after the last Ice Age.
In terms of the genetic machinery that directs growth, it combined the fourteen chromosomes of wild wheat with the fourteen chromosomes of goat grass, and produced Emmer with twenty-eight chromosomes.
That is what makes Emmer so much plumper.
The hybrid was able to spread naturally, because its seeds are attached to the husk in such a way that they scatter in the wind.
For such a hybrid to be fertile is rare but not unique among plants.
But now the story of the rich plant life that followed the Ice Ages becomes more surprising.
There was a second genetic accident, which may have come about because Emmer was [Page 68] already cultivated.
Emmer crossed with another natural goat grass and produced a still larger hybrid with forty-two chromosomes, which is bread wheat.
That was improbable enough in itself, and we know now that bread wheat would not have been fertile but for a specific genetic mutation on one chromosome.
24. Before 8000 BC
wheat was merely one
of many wild grasses.
23.The turning-point to the spread of agriculture in the
Old World was almost certainly the occurrence of
two hybrid forms of wheat.
Husked emmer wheat and naked bread wheat grains; ripe
head of wheat; and the husk being removed from the grain.
25. Jericho is monumental, older than the Bible, layer upon layer of history, a city.
From the Jericho site: a. Mud-dried brick
b. Carving of lovers in quarlzite
c. Plaster-decorated skull inset with cowrie shells.
d. The tower at Jericho tel.
Its masonry is flint-worked and pre-7000 BC.
The modern grid covers the hollow shaft inside the tower.
26. A cornucopia of small and subtle artifices as important
in the ascent of man as any apparatus of nuclear physics.
Below, left to right:
a. Carpenter working a piece of turned wood with a saw.
Greek, 6th century BC.
c. Baker's oven with bread cooking.
Clay model. Greek islands, 7th century BC.
d. Greek toy of monkey pressing olives in a mortar.
e. Terracotta model, Roman period.
b. Clay treaty nail, Sumerian, 2400 BC.
27. Give me a lever and I will feed the earth.
Ploughing with harnessed oxen, Egypt.
28. The wheel and the axle are the double-root froma. Copper model of a war chariot, Mesopotamia, c. 2800BC.
which invention grows.
b. Roman mosaic of a solid wheeled cart.
29. The bow-lathe is one of classical schemes
for turning linear into rotary motion.
Mid 19th century carpenters at bow-lathe,
A mid-nineteenth 'hakak' polishing
hardstones on a bow lathe.
a. Mongol cavalry
30. The mobile hordes transformed the organisation of battle.
Right: from the Jami' al-Tawarikh,
| For the rider visibly is more
than a man: he is head-high above others, and he
moves with bewildering power so that he bestrides
the living world.
When the plants and the animals of the village had been tamed for human use, mounting the horse was a more than human gesture, the symbolic act of dominance over the total creation.
We know that this is so from the awe and fear that the horse created again in historical times, when the mounted Spaniards overwhelmed the armies of Peru (who had never seen a horse) in 1532.
So, long before, the Scythians were a terror that swept over the countries that did not know the technique of riding.
The Greeks when they saw the Scythian riders believed the horse and the rider to be one; that is how they invented the legend of the centaur.
31. Greek vase painting, c.6o BC. Centaurs and a warrior arming. [Page 83]
32. There is played to this day in Afghanistan a game called
Buz Kashi which comes from the kind of competitive riding
that was carried on by the Mongols. [Pages 84-85]
a. Game of buzkashi in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, Dec. 18, 2001.
a. The illuminated page (is the dedication to Oljeitu) in a
manuscript of the Koran dated 1310.
b. The tomb of Oljeitu Khan, fifth in the line from
Genghis Khan, ruler from 1304 to 1316 of the
Persian lands of the Mongol empire. [Page 87]
Chapter 1: Lower than the Angels
Spring Migration (Anthony Howarth for Daily
Telegraph Colour Library) p58.
Bakhtiari Spring Migration (Anthony Howarth for Daily Telegraph Colour Library) p62-p63
Curved sickle, Ashmolean Museum p65.
Neolithic Sickel [Neolithische Sichel] (Museum Quintana, Wolfgang Sauber) (wikipedia)
Old and new strains of wheat (Tony Evans, Marcel Sire) p66, p67.
Wild wheat, from Jaubert and Spach, Oriental Plants (British Museum, Natural History) p68-p69.
Objects from the Jericho site:
a. Mud-dried brick, British Museum;
b. Quartzite lovers, Ashmolean Museum; [British Museum]
c. Plaster-decorated skull, Ashmolean Museum p70-p71.
d. The tower at Jericho tel (Dave Brinicombe) p71.
The tower at Jericho tel
a. Carpenter, National Museum, Copenhagen; p72.
Denmark, Copenhagen, Nationalmuseet (National Museum, Art Museum), Greek Civilization, Classical Age (450-323 B.C.)
b. Clay treaty nail, British Museum, London, p72.
Clay Nails - Louvre - AO22934 & AO12480.jpg (wikipedia commons)
- the oldest diplomatic document known, found in Telloh, ancient Girsu, ca. 2400 BC.
c. Baker's oven, British Museum, London, p72,
d. Greek toy, British Museum, London, p73.
e. Old man with a wine press, British Museum, London, p73.
Satyr working at a wine press of wicker-work mats, 1st century AD relief. (wikipedia)
Ploughing with harnessed oxen, Museo Civico, Bologna (C. M. Dixon) p74-p75.
The relief with a scene of work in the fields, Archaeological Museum of Bologna.
a. Copper model of a war chariot, Baghdad Museum (Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) p76
Copper model of a quadriga from Shara Temple at Tell Agrab, Iraq, c. 2600 BC. Oriental Institute of Chicago.
b. Roman mosaic of a solid wheeled cart, Royal villa, Casale (C. M. Dixon) p76.
a. Carpenters at work with a bow-lathe (India Office Library) p78.
b. A mid-nineteenth 'hakak' polishing hardstones on a bow lathe.
a. Mongol cavalry, and [b] troops fording a river, from the Jami' al-Tawarikh (Edinburgh University Library) p81.
c. Mongol cavalry (?)
Greek vase painting, British Museum, London (Roynon Raikes) p83.
Buz Kashi, Afghanistan (David Stock) p84-p85.
a. Game of buzkashi in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, Dec. 18, 2001. (wikipedia)
a. Dedication to Oljeitu in a MS of the Koran, British Museum, London p86.
a. Juz’ (section) from a Qur’an. Written for the Il-Khanid sultan Öljeitü, Mosul, 1310. (The British Library Board)
b. The tomb of Oljeitu Khan (Dave Brinicombe) p87.
Chapter 1: Lower than the Angels