8. Appendix 

Egypt, Sumer, 
And The Rise of Civilization


Section 8.3

World History 
And The Eonic Effect

Civilization, Darwinism, And Theories of Evolution
4th Edition
The Book
By  John Landon






8.1 An Outline of History
8.2  Eonic Grid Coordinates
8.3  The Eonic Evolution of Civilization
       1. Neolithic Beginnings
       2. Egypt, Sumer, and the Rise of Civilization
       3. The Axial Interval
       4. The Modern Transition


    World History And The Eonic Effect: Fourth Edition

    8.3 The Eonic Evolution Of Civilization  Egypt, Sumer


We begin in medias res with the Sumerian city-states and the founding of the great dynasties of the Pharaohs, the millennia since the Ice Ages behind us, and no detailed evidence for what we must at once suspect is only the midpoint of this history, starting at the point where we see the first eonic transition majestically evident in Egypt and Sumer, after ca. -3300, with probably the same false equivocation as elsewhere over -3600 to -3300.[i] We come to the great beginning of the civilizational sequence, in reality, more like ‘step 2 or 3’. Sumer is in the ‘mainline’ like later  Israel and, perhaps, Greece , while Egypt springs up in parallel like ‘ET5, China’.

 ‘ET4, Sumer ,…, Egypt ’:

This is the first preeminent case of parallel interacting emergence, with considerable evidence of Sumerian influences at the point of take-off. Egypt and Sumer are taken however as independent emergents during phase, with possibly a strong interaction between them, almost as though Egypt were also sequentially dependent on Sumer. During this first transition, the first urban scale of human settlement, theocratic kingship, the technological organization of agriculture, the embryonic gestation of industrialism, writing, bookkeeping and the maintenance of records, a religious ‘re-formation’ or theocratic neo-formation (and hints of a brief primitive democracy), a managerial revolution with a scribal technocracy, and an information economy, all make their first glorious appearance, as does the first emergence of the dilemmas of hierarchical society, the disposition of the agricultural surplus becoming the determinant of social structure.

Leonard Woolley, attempting to find a Sumerian source behind Egyptian civilization, says of the Egyptian period of this transition that it is “not so complete as to amount to a breach of continuity but enough to mark an epoch; the changes are coming in towards the end of the Predynastic period and by the time of ‘Menes’ we have what is virtually a new culture.”[ii]

Dynasty 0 This period of transition produces the perfect symbolism of the emergent state in the Palette of Narmer. “The Naqada III phase c. 3200-3000 is the last phase of the Predynastic period…It was during this period that Egypt was first unified into a large territorial state…”[iii]

The sudden intensification of the late Uruk and the climax of the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt in the first Dynasty of the Pharaohs are tokens of the crucial period, followed by the emergence of the characteristic and classic forms and achievements of the Sumerian dynastic period and the Old Kingdom of the Pyramid builders.

Our model has recast the issue of ‘civilizations’ in terms of divides, phases, sequential dependency , and diffusion throughout oikoumenes. Instead of evolving civilization, we see an eonic sequence overlaid on these civilizations, as the transition creates a cone of diffusion. And it is here in the wake of Egypt and Sumer that we see the first great (double) oikoumene of antiquity take shape. These two, especially Sumer, will create the first great ‘modernism’ of world history, the point at which so much that we consider basic to our own forms of complex social existence came into being. The whole Toynbean confusion of searching for civilizations disappears, as the secondary constructs, e.g. Indus , arise in the mode of sequential dependency. By definition, only the phase is ‘on time’, the ‘initial conditions’ of mideonic civilization are contingent. If we cannot claim this effect of diffusion, our model is false. Our analysis sends out a challenge, to find exceptions to this sequential dependency effect in everything that arises after -3000 until the next phase after -1200. The only possible candidate, to the author, would be the New World civilizations. As to the New World we must either find, therefore, mideonic diffusion before ‘ET5’, or postulate the birth of a new V-cone.



   Web:  appndx3.htm


[i] H. J. Nissen, The Early History of the Ancient Near East (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1988) , Chapter 4, “The Period of Early High Civilization (ca. 3200—2800 B.C.), Harriet Crawford, Sumer and Sumerians (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), Chapter 2, “ History Chronology , and Social Organization”, J.N. Postgate, Early Mesopotamia (New York: Routledge, 1992), Chapter 2-3, “Cities and Dynasties”, “The Written Record”, George Roux, Ancient Iraq (New York: penguin, 1992), Chapter 4, “From Village to City”; for Egypt, see especially Michael Hoffman, Egypt Before the Pharaohs (New York: Knopf, 1979), Chapters 19-20, “In Search of Menes”, “The Emergence of Egypt”, Michael Rice, Egypt’s Making (New York: Routledge, 1990), Egypt’s Legacy (New York; Routledge, 1997), Chapter 3, “The Lords of the Two Lands”, Walter Emery, Archaic Egypt (New York: Penguin, 1961), Chapter 1, “The Unification”, Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1988), Chapter 3, “The Thinite Period”, Karl Butzer, Early Hydraulic Civilization in Egypt (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1976), Ronald Cohen & Elman Service, The Origins of the State (New York: Norton, 1978), “The Ancient Near East”, H. Frankfort, in Orientalism and History (1954), Sir Leonard Woolley History of Mankind (1965), Vol I, Part 2, “The Beginnings of Civilization”, Wilbur Jones, Venus and Sothis (1982), Stephen Sanderson, Civilizations and World Systems (Walnut Creek: Ca: Altamira Press, 1995). William Hallo, Origins (New York; Brill, 1996). The Uruk World System: The Dynamics of Expansion of Early Mesopotamian Civilization (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1993), Charles Freeman, Egypt, Greece and Rome (New York: Oxford, 1991), Donald Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.

[ii] Leonard Woolley, The Sumerians (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928). Walter Emery  notes: “At a period approximately 3400 years before Christ, a great change took place in Egypt, and the country passed rapidly from a state of Neolithic culture with a complex tribal character to one of well-organized monarchy…At the same time the art of writing appears, monumental architecture and the arts and crafts develop to an astonishing degree, and all the evidence points to the existence of luxurious civilization. All this was achieved within a comparatively short period of time for there appears to be little or no background to these fundamental developments in writing and architecture.” W. Emery, Archaic Egypt (NY: Penguin, 1962), p.192.

[iii] Ian Shaw (ed.), The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt ( New York : Oxford University Press).





Last modified: 10/02/2010