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What were the first states?

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What were the first states?

From school we learn about the concept of the state. And how did they begin and what were the first states like? Consider this question in more detail.

To begin with, we will define the state. The state is called such a political organization of society, which has sovereignty, has its own legal order, for example, the constitution, as well as the branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial; characterized by features such as a flag, coat of arms, anthem, symbolism, perhaps others, for example, a monetary unit. Important for the state is its recognition by other states.

What were the states in antiquity

What were the first states and in what century did they arise? Scientists believe that the first states emerged at the beginning of the III millennium BC in the territory of Mesopotamia, Egypt and India. Often they were not the states that we can observe now in the modern world.These were mainly small towns or settlements in which ordinary peasant people lived, doing their daily work, which were mainly labor, as well as leaders who represented power. As such, the army in these states did not exist, but there were warriors who defended the city from the raiders. In such states, the power had a hierarchy, the whole society was built in a hierarchical order.

Theory of State Origin

While it is not known exactly why the first states emerged, the most popular theories are the so-called patriarchal and social contract theory.

Patriarchal theory

This theory of the origin of the state was supported by such philosophers as Aristotle, Plato, Confucius. The essence of this theory is that the state arose due to the growth and strengthening of the influence of a particular family or tribe. Since traditionally a man was considered the head in various communities, his power gradually strengthened and, being transferred from father to son, turned into the power of the patriarch.

Ancient Indian arias belonged to civilizations-states based on the patriarchal system of governance.The tribal communities of the Scythians, who occupied the Northern Black Sea region in the 4th century BC, could also be attributed to the patriarchal state. It is believed that the Scythian state arose on the Dnieper and actively developed there for several centuries, even the capital of Scythian Naples appeared. Of course, such countries as China, Japan and Korea can be attributed to the patriarchal system of the state. They were always based on the struggle of dynasties for power, while at the head of each dynasty stood the leader - the eldest of men.

Social contract theory

The theory of the social contract, which was actively promoted by the well-known political scientist and philosophers Thomas Gobbs, is a person’s awareness of the whole danger of his life, that society needs order and the laws by which it can live.

Thus, society concludes an agreement on the creation of a state, chooses leaders or the ruling elite, which will have to exercise people's will, organize the work of the people, provide them with protection from enemies, do everything necessary for the state to develop.

Such states often include Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.As a result, the states that have arisen on the basis of the social contract are ascribed to a much more developed form in writing, creativity, agriculture, and sports. It is believed that it was precisely in ancient Greece and in ancient Rome that the notion of “right” arose, social life actively developed and art appeared.

Characteristics of the ancient states


One of the most ancient states was Persia. Being located in a mountainous area, it was rich in various natural resources, for example, marble and metal. In addition, favorable climate conditions allowed to engage in agriculture and cattle breeding. Persia has managed to become a very strong country and capture such states as Babylon and Palestine. Its army was the strongest in the east until the 5th century. This state was characterized by developed trade, the presence of currency, religion was developed in it.

Distinctive features of Persia:

  • Powerful army;
  • Developed economy;
  • Rich natural resources;
  • Unshakable power of the patriarch.


Egyptian civilization also possessed good natural resources. Having settled down on both banks of the Nile, Egypt was able to develop to such a highEgyptthe level that to this day the whole world admires the achievements of this civilization. In Egypt, construction, culture, religion, creativity, trade were developed, navigation was actively developed, and, of course, agriculture was developed.

Distinctive features of Egypt:

  • Unprecedented level of skill in construction until that moment;
  • Own currency;
  • Developed art and religion;
  • Power held on priests and Pharaoh.


No less developed was the country under the name of Sumer, which was once located on the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris. The territory of this state was located in the south of modern Iraq. The climate in the territory of this state was characterized by relative softness, which allowed agriculture to develop more than actively. Religion and sacrifice were developed. Also, the excavations of ancient cities prove that the Sumerians had developed and construction.Sumer

Distinctive features of Sumer:

  • Availability of writing;
  • Developed art;
  • Complex architecture;
  • Sumerians wrote philosophical treatises and various literary works;
  • Power rested on the king.

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