Out of all the primary and potential secondary characteristics of an ancient state discussed over the course of this class, it is mass production of goods that I think is most important. Despite this secondary characteristic being not as impressive as monumental structure building, or as life essential for a state as extensive agriculture, I think it is important because it ties other characteristics together in the formation of an ancient state. It is the mass production of goods, for example, that allows an ancient state to trade the less exotic of its resources, such as pottery with other ancient states. The complex internal economies of an ancient state also required mass production, for if the people of an ancient state wished to trade amongst each other in items such as pottery, food stuffs, artisan goods, and more, it is essential for mass production in some form, whether it be a surplus of goods produced by an artist or a farmer family, to occur. This in turn reflects a primary characteristic of specialization, for one person or groups of people, once driven to mass produce a particular good, tended to remain committed to making that particular good for the rest of their lives as their occupation. Mass production of tools assisted an ancient state with its extensive agriculture, as it did also for the tools necessary for creating massive public works.
The ability of the elite of an ancient state to encourage/direct mass production from those beneath them in the social stratification reinforced their positions and importance in society. This ability to command by a state to decide what would be mass produced by a particular group within it also represents power and authority. State religion, reinforced in some cases by religious icons distributed to the masses, required mass production for the latter, for if a state religion required its followers to retain icons for worship or other matters, then it is necessary for the ability to produce enough icons for an ever changing population.
Metallurgy and mass production’s relation to it is a mixed bag. For producing metal weapons certainly mass production can be linked to it, but for decorative metal works that is debatable, since such goods were typically produced sparingly for elites. Perhaps though in some cases these sort of goods were produced on scale due to daily consumption by elites of an ancient state.
Tribute/taxation is naturally tied to mass production, for if a farmer, for example, is tasked by the state to produce a certain amount of tribute/taxation for the state in exchange for the lands given to the farmer, it is in most cases the goal of the farmer to mass produce enough agricultural goods to pay the requirements to the state and also either provide for the farmer’s personal consumption or for open market.
All in all, mass production is a secondary characteristic that I consider most important despite it not being paid attention to as much as other characteristics of an ancient state.