▪ Abstract 

I survey recent literature about early cities in the regional traditions of Southwest Asia, Egypt, South Asia, China, Mesoamerica, Andean South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Greece, and Rome. Major themes include the importance of theorizing individuals and their practices, interests, and emotions; the extent to which the first cities were deliberately created rather than merely emerging as by-products of increasing sociopolitical complexity; internal structure of cities and the interplay of top-down planning and bottom-up self-organization; social, economic, and political relations between cities and their hinterlands; interactions of cities with their physical environments; and the difficult “city-state” concept. Some axes or dimensions for describing settlements are proposed as better than typological concepts.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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