Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cities of wonder and amazement and opobalsamum

For a spot of interest, you might like to cast your eyes this way. It's a list of the greatest cities in human history. Some (like Rome and London) you will know of already, others you may never have heard of, and number two and four on the list sound like noises you make when you're throwing up. My personal favourites are the first two on the list -

JERICHO: The world's largest city in 7000 BC
Population: 2000

URUK: The world's largest city in 3500 BC
Population: 4000

Look at the population numbers! These days those are the populations you'd get in a fairly humble country town. They were apparently the bustling urban hubs of activity back in the day. When I read this yesterday, I started imagining what it would be like for Mr and Mrs Yokel from the countryside visiting these cities of their day. The public transport is excellent, you just have to wait on the street corner and a camel will come round in just three hours! And there's so much variety at the market - one and a half types of beans on sale*! And the people live 'in'** amazing one-story buildings - they call them groundscrapers. And if you just pop into the post office, then they can sacrifice your... well, ahem, they can sacrifice just about anything for you.

Anyway, my camel has punctured its tyre, so I've got to go call the RCCV***. Check out the article, it's good.

*Actually 'one and a half' is also the number for the types of beans I am personally able to tell by name in the present day. And one of those names I call them by is 'baked'.

**'In': an amazing new word used to describe what happens to people who are 'in' buildings.

***RCCV: Royal Camel Club of Victoria.


M L Jassy said...

I would have liked to have seen Jericho before those walls had a tantrum and went kaput.

TimT said...

You are so right. And that's the only mention it gets, isn't it, when the walls collapse? In one of the most ancient books of all, Jericho is already ancient.

I'd like to visit a lot of those cities mentioned, especially the ones I've never heard of before. The early ones would be fascinating, and possibly fascinatingly gruesome.

Oh for a time machine, etc...

Caz said...

Oh come on Timmy: green beans, yellow beans, and yes, baked beans. That's three!

A bustling metropolis of a few thousand people. How wonderful it sounds.

I stand in one train carriage with that many people each morning. Then about double that number collected on the corner of Spring & Collins waiting to cross at the lights or attempting to walk around the corner.

Sometimes, the really, really olden times sound charming.

(I'd still have wanted an in door toilet and an en suite though, and a Sealy Posturepedic.)

Blandwagon said...

***RCCV: Royal Camel Club of Victoria.

You have royal camels? How posh!

TimT said...

One thing I like about reading these articles is they serve as an useful reminder that people with extraordinarily divergent world-views, and coming from such different historical contexts, are nevertheless all capable of forming a civilisation.

And yes, Royal Camels, don't you have any Blanders?

Email: timhtrain - at -

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