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Shewa Early Bronze AgeEdit

Encompasses:Edit

Salba, Shewi, Astila, Ammhina, Garmu

Material Culture:Edit

Cities here are ubiquitously fortified, with many basic assumptions of a 'civilized' way of life involving city walls. Fortified towns are also common. Housing tends to be squat, involving mud-brick and hard woods. Stone is usually used exclusively for fortifications, but is also often used for a central citadel as well. Art tends to focus on military themes somewhat frequently, also often representing the horse as well. But this is not a total focus, animals and plant forms are also frequently represented and coastal cities often tend to represent sea creatures of various kinds. Indeed, despite the paucity of precious materials Shewa art is incredibly expressive and colourful in many domestic and public contexts. Bronze is almost totally ubiquitous as a utilitarian material, especially when it comes to weaponry which has become quite developed here; longer spears have begun to emerge, along with swords being a frequent side weapon including a backwards-curved sword imported from steppe cultures. Obsidian and Jade are the prestige gems of choice. Prestige metals are rare due to the lack of exploitation of deposits to the south and the infrequency of coastal trade involving silver and gold. Agricultural wealth is the more common indication of affluence, with many citadels emerging originally from fortified food storage areas. Linen and cotton garments predominate, but wool is a rare and luxurious import from the west. True writing does not exist here, but a developed numeric system does which is extensively utilised along with pictographic illustration.

Society:Edit

The Shewa culture is very much characterised by Kings predicated on their military power in this period. This is partially due to the nature of Shewa cities themselves, originating primarily as defensive locations as much as confluences of population density. The reason for this is the occasional hostility of steppe based cultures to the west, some of which utilise the horse. The mobility of the horse is deeply threatening, and to prevent being overrun the Shewa have developed a number of strategies. Warfare is generally much more organised than in in many other cultures to the south-east, with organised military bureaucracies. However, the Shewa culture is not a 'warrior' culture existing only to fight. Agriculture is incredibly important, as is metalworking; this region is home to the only reliable tin supply for over a thousand miles in all directions. Both agriculture and metalworking are therefore afforded high prestige in ordinary Shewa culture. Elite Shewa culture emphasises military ventures and activities. Religious life is heavily geared around the agricultural calendar, the production of bronze, and the worship of the sun. However, worship of wood spirits and of the river deities is also common, if less organised on a civic level. Many cities also possess patron deities of their own, functionally more an incarnation of the particular city than a more naturalistic deity. The city is an incredibly important element of identity in this part of the world. However, a number of the Shewa cities are also home to incredibly vibrant musical traditions, particularly when it comes to singing.

Diet:Edit

Apricots and dates are considered elite food, and are generally restricted to the top tier of society. However, the importance of food production is such that most other locally produced foodstuffs are common to all tables; fava beans, barley, pistachios, apples, rosy potato, and white yam join the pigeon and goose as frequently consumed items at all tables. Pork and beef are generally available but less frequent. The mixture of sweet ingredients into savoury dishes is common in the Shewa cultural sphere- pork and apple in particular.

Notes:Edit

Gaznina is culturally something in-between Qalar and Shewa, with its language and material culture being pulled in both directions. It is generally more aligned with Shewa material culture in this period, but it is generally an awkward middle-child.