November 08, 2007

Fact du jour

Sometime in the seventh through the tenth centuries A.D., however, there was a major collapse in the Mesopotamian alluvium. By the eleventh or twelth centuries A.D. the total occupied area had shrunk to only six percent of its level 500 years earlier. Population dropped to the lowest point in five millennia. State resources declined precipitiously. In many strategic and formerly prosperous areas, there were tax revenue losses of 90 percent and more in less than a single lifetime. People rebelled and the countryside became ungovernable. By the early tenth century irrigation weirs were nearly all confined in the vicinity of Baghdad. ...the basis for urban life in perhaps 10,000 square kilometers of the Mesopotamian heartland was eliminated for centuries. Until the modern era the region was claimed primarily by nomads...

From Joseph A. Tainter's work The Collapse of Complex Societies.

Posted by Ideofact at November 8, 2007 12:38 AM