Bronze Age Credit Cards
17 Jul 2009
Extensive trade and travel during the Bronze Age was facilitated by credit arrangements administered and enforced by the religious system (ie the Priests and Priestesses) . Any transgression was punished as a religious offence (like Contempt of Court today) .
See Bessarat on the origins of writing .
Tokens were geometrical forms (usually of baked clay or stone) like cubes , trapezoids , hexagons , etc . Each represented ownership of a good (say a cow , or ten cows , land , wheat , etc) . In other words , wealth . Credit .
These tokens are found all over the Middle East and Bronze Age Europe .
These tokens were assembled in two distinct ways .
In clay envelopes (leading to writing as Bessarat described)
On a string , the ends which are sealed by a sigil of the priesthood as a mark of authenticity . This was worn by the traveler . He furthermore had tattoos which acted as a PIN . The priesthood learned the corrects codes during their initiation rites . It was one of the primary sources of their wealth and power , and was jealously guarded .
This was a Bronze Age Credit Card . But if you cheated on the card , it was you that got cut in half , not the card .
The traveler simply applied to the nearest temple or fain and his bona-fides and credit status was attested and guaranteed by the local bank (priesthood cum temple) . This enormously facilitated all commerce , where payments might be very slow .
(Note that Roman temples still acted as banks even into late classical times : eg Venus Moneta , from where our term money comes from .)
Carrying large amounts of cash (gold , silver) led to heavy scrutiny by local authorities .
(Ever tried to spend a gold Kruger rand at the local supermarket ?
Possession of unwrought gold will earn you a session with the cops and Revenue in our Enlightened Times .
It got you hung in most of history .)
Using the credit facilities was encouraged with a heavy hand . Fraudsters could thus be easily tracked . Remember , this was a low-population density society . They kept as good (if not better) track than modern computerized ones .
Tourism then , as now , was a big industry (though usually camouflaged as a pilgrimage , fulfillment of a vow to a god , obeying a dream , you name it . Monkey curiosity . The same thing that keeps the Airbus 380 in the air .)
It was a peaceful , prosperous society with the rule of Law exercised by the local priesthood .
For this to work , they needed a general set of measures of weights , volumes and lengths . Which they had . The well-known Bronze Age set of standards . Found all over Europe . (Megalithic Yard , etc . Google it)
This is speculative , but fits the known facts .
1.He was a well-heeled traveler , with PIN tattoos . Well-fed , with expensive accoutrements .
2.He fled well-organized pursuit away from the safe lowlands into the mountains at dangerous time of the year . Away from civil authority that may have been sympathetic .
3.He was not buried . A big no-no in those societies .
4.This was not a lawless society . It was probably safer than the present one . The pursuers and executioners had legal sanction .
This all indicates that he had run afoul of the religious authorities . He and his goods (except the necklace) were anathema and left unburied .
He was simply hunted down and left as a sacrifice to the Mother (pour le encourages les autres ) . Since his goods were tainted as well , they were not looted . He was deliberately left . Except the necklace of tokens , which would have been returned to the local priesthood .
This could not have been very common .
He must have been an important fugitive , especially given the fact that his body was not looted in the years afterwards . The locals knew to a centimeter where he fell . Yet they refrained .
This tells us that greater attention should be paid to the tattoos on his body . These must denote markings signifying a person quite high up in the ancient priesthood . Pay special attention to the scalp , the scrotum and the back along the spinal chord (Chakra's) . There should be tattoos under the hair (ancient Egyptian priests had shaven scalps . Cultural diffusion.) . Also look for scars where tattoos had been cut away .
There is also a high probability that he was hunted as a renegade . Hence the uncommon restraint of the locals as far as looting the body is concerned . The priesthood kept a beady eye on the affair for a long time afterwards .
Oetzi must have really got up their collective noses .
Like , eloping with a high-priestess .
An old tale of love , pursuit and revenge .
All we need is a beautiful princess cum priestess , the two being synonymous in the matriarchal society of the time .
The probability is low , but there might be another mummified corpse near where Oetzi was found .
A human female , about 23 , tattooed , with jewelry .
Oetzi's love has outlasted 5 000 years .
If he keeps true to form , the two will at long last be reunited .
Beats Aida .