Everything eats. There is no life without food; without nourishment there is only death.
The abundance of food, or its scarcity, determine the quality of human life. The more time, and energy (in terms of human labor) we spend acquiring, or producing food, the more food we need; conversely, the less time we spend at rest, in a mode of being that allows us to reflect on life, in a qualitative state of living that brings us both joy and satisfaction.
This essay will examine the role that agrarianism (social and cultural development in conjunction with agricultural advancement) played in the ancient world; in the concentration of wealth, in the sustenance of large populations, and in the institution of classism – or slavery.
This essay will examine those themes through primary sources, from the perspective of writers from the ancient world; in their poetry, philosophy, mythology, and legal codes. It will explore themes of life and death, work and leisure, wealth and poverty, servitude and governance.
Finally, in this essay I will show how the social values that I explore in those writings, and social structures, entered society (roughly five thousand years ago), through the rise of agrarianism; the commodification of grain, and the division of labor - into classes of laborers, and how those structures and values continue to influence our society today in ways that are largely unchanged.