Importance of Secondary Characteristics

In my opinion, a states secondary characteristics are much more important than the primary characteristics. I believe this to be true in terms of emergence, development, and every other aspect which attributes to a state. Yes, the primary characteristics are what classify an area as a state, but thats all that they do. It’s almost like the primary characteristics are the definition, while the secondary characteristics are all of the ways which you can use that definition. These are what make the state to be what it was, who the people were, and what makes them stand out from every other ancient state from the past. Take writing for example, there were few ancient states which we discussed with special forms of writing, and that is because not every ancient state developed with this tactic. For example, Harrapa displayed their writing through ceramic seals, and the people in Uruk produced cuneiform which was not an actual “language” but the writing displayed that they had a spoken language. Another popular example is the Egyptian pyramids. When most people think of Egypt the pyramids are the first thing that come to mind, and that is because the pyramids are what make the Egyptians stand out in society. Or how the people who seasonally occupied Nabta Playa created the earliest known calendar circle that we know of. We may have had no interest in this social group had we not found something so symbolic. State religion is also a secondary characteristic which can define a state. I do not think that it is only the presence of the religion, but how the society plays a role to display it. Such as the Aztecs who worshiped the Sun God Huitzilopochtli by making ritual sacrifices to keep him pleased and powerful. Or the people of Teotihuacan doing both private and public rituals, some including sacrifice, to keep in contact with the cosmos. It is easy to see that there were many ways which the people of ancient states would express their cultural practices using secondary characteristics. These characteristics are vital to all areas of the ancient states, and are much more important than the primary characteristics. These tell us not only that they are classified as a state, but what that state consisted of. Who were the Aztecs or the Egyptians as individuals cultures? What did certain ancient states consist of that others did not? What makes every ancient state in history unique? This is the type of information that secondary characteristics of a state can give us, making them more important than the primary ones.

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