The Past is Prologue – Legally Piggily

Today, I continue my investigation of human history from the perspective of synergic science. This is the third article in a series that began earlier this week with a discussion of the American Revolution and continued with an examination of the Russian experience. This is the third post of the Human History Series.

Timothy Wilken
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The above quotation credited to George Santayana contains an important truth for those humans seeking survival in 2002. Today we modern humans are mostly ignorant of our Past. We are so Present-focused and Future-infatuated, that we honestly don’t believe the Past matters. The Past does matter, and what we don’t know can certainly hurt us. If we are to repair our Present and build a Positive Future, we must learn from the Past. A Positive Future will be very different from our world today. And we may miss our opportunity to make these changes if we don’t understand the how and the why of our human Present. This chapter then must serve to prepare the reader for the disclosures that are to follow. Failure to communicate here may result in the proposed Future Positive being dismissed as Utopian.

This then becomes a critical chapter of this book, and yet I now realize that I do not possess the life experience and the knowledge to write it.

Fortunately, for me and the rest of humanity, there was a human who did have the life experience and knowledge to explain our human past–R. Buckminster Fuller. His life began before the invention of electric lights, indoor plumbing, the automobile, airplanes, atomic energy, and computers–almost every aspect of modern life. And yet, Fuller embraced everything modern and any survey of his life and work will reveal he was the most “modern” of humans. His unique scientific perspective paired with his powerful intelligence gave him the ability to analyze and understanding our human crisis and find its root causes in our history.

Fuller joined the Navy at the start of World War I after leaving Harvard University. He was transferred to the Naval Academy and commissioned as a line officer in 1917. His life experience encompassed all of World War I, The Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, America’s military crisis in the Vietnam War, and finally the start of U.S.S.R.’s military crisis in the Soviet-Afghan War.

The majority of words in this chapter originally appeared in R. Buckminster Fuller‘s book CRITICAL PATH, published in 1981, two years before his death. His introduction to that book serves well to introduce this chapter.

This book is written with the conviction that there are no “good” or “bad” people, no matter how offensive or eccentric to society they may seem. I am confident that if I were born and reared under the same circumstances as any other known humans, I would have behaved much as they have.

There’s a short verse written long ago by an English poet and teacher, Elizabeth Wordsworth:

 If all good people were clever,
And all clever people were good,
The world would be nicer than ever
We thought that it possibly could.
But somehow, ‘tis seldom or never
That the two hit it off as they should;
For the good are so harsh to the clever,
The clever so rude to the good.

If you think you identify with anybody in this book, be sure to remember that I don’t have any “good” or “bad” people. You and I didn’t design people. God designed people. What I am trying to do is to discover why God included humans in Universe.

I’m trying to find out what God permits us progressively to know and preferably to do if we humans are to continue in Universe.

For many years I hesitated about writing this book. God has introduced me to many, many thousands of humans. Quite a few of those I have known have had decision-making powers that could, and often did, affect human affairs in major ways. Much of their decision-making integrated with thousands of decisions made by other Earthians. The integrated thousands of decisions inadvertently were compounded with a myriad of unforeseen technological, exploratory, and environmental happenings. The individual decision-makings and unforeseen happenings around the world and in Universe at large altogether synergetically produced historical results not contemplated by any. Such noncontemplated-by-any results constitute evolution the will of God.

In my eighty-five years I have often been privy to what was at the time secret, critical information. Time and change have “declassified” those secrets. in piecing together the significant components of world-around humanity’s evolutionary trending, my insights have frequently been illumined by information confided in me by others. In recollecting once-confidential information, which is now essential to an adequate comprehension of relevant evolutionary trendings, I hope no one will make the mistake of thinking that I am being a traitor to my friends. Not only am I being loyal to all my friends but to all humanity–without whom there would be no life.

My reasons for writing this book are fourfold:

(A) Because I am convinced that human knowledge by others of what this book has to say is essential to human survival.

(B) Because of my driving conviction that all of humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth always to tell only the truth, and all the truth, and to do so promptly–right now.

(C) Because I am convinced that humanity’s fitness for continuance in the cosmic scheme no longer depends on the validity of political, religious, economic, or social organizations, which altogether heretofore have been assumed to represent the many.

(D) Because, contrary to (C), I am convinced that human continuance now depends entirely upon:

(1) The intuitive wisdom of each and every individual.
(2) The individual’s comprehensive informedness.
(3) The individual’s integrity of speaking and acting only on the individual’s own within-self-intuited and reasoned initiative.
(4) The individual’s joining action with others, as motivated only by the individually conceived consequences of so doing.
(5) And, the individual’s never-joining action with others, as motivated only by crowd-engendered emotionalism, or by a sense of the crowd’s power to overwhelm, or in fear of holding to the course indicated by one’s own intellectual convictions.

Take your time in reading Fuller’s words. Stop frequently and think about what he says. You will find he has something to say in every sentence he writes. He is explaining much of our present world. I have read this material many times and always learn more with every reading. Most of the following words are Fuller’s. I will only comment when I feel I can increase clarity, or to underscore some important point. My annotations will be italicized and demarcated with an asterisk.

Legally Piggily

  A story by R. Buckminster Fuller

In a herd of wild horses there’s a king stallion. Once in a while a young stallion is born bigger than the others. Immediately upon his attaining full growth, the king stallion gives him battle. Whichever one wins inseminates the herd. Darwin saw this as the way in which nature contrives to keep the strongest strains going. This battling for herd kingship is operative amongst almost all species of animal herds as well as in the “pecking order” of flocking bird types.

I’m sure that amongst the earliest of human beings, every once in a while a man was born much bigger than the others. He didn’t ask to be–but there he was. And because he was bigger, people would say–each in their own esoteric language–”Mister, will you please reach one of those bananas for me, because I can’t reach them.” The big one obliges. Later the little people would say, “Mister, people over there have lost all of their bananas and they are dying of starvation, and they say they are going to come over here and kill us to get our bananas. You’re big–you get out in front and protect us.” And he would say, “OK,” and successfully protect them.

The big one found his bigness continually being exploited. He would say to the littles, “Between these battles protecting you, I would like to get ready for the next battle. We could make up some weapons and things.” The people said, “All right. We’ll make you king. Now you tell us what to do.” So the big man becomes king quite logically. He could have become so in either a bullying or good-natured way, but the fact is that he was king simply because he was not only the biggest and the most physically powerful but also the most skillful and clever big one.

Every once in a while along would come another big man. “Mr. King, you’ve got things too easy around here. I’m going to take it away from you.” A big battle ensues between the two, and after the king has his challenger pinned down on his back, he says, “Mister, you were trying to kill me to take away my kingdom. But I’m not going to kill you because you’d make a good fighter, and I need fighters around here to cope with the enemies who keep coming. So I’m going to let you up now if you promise to fight for me. But don’t you ever forget–I can kill you. OK?” The man assents, so the king lets him up.

But instinctively the king says secretly to himself, “I mustn’t ever allow two of those big guys to come at me together. I can lick any one of them, but only one by one.” The most important initial instinct of the most powerful individual or of his organized power structure is, “Divide to conquer, and to keep conquered, keep divided.”

So our special-case king has now successfully defended his position against two or more big guys who are all good fighters. He makes one the “Duke of Hill A,” the second “Duke of Hill B,” and the third “Duke of Hill C,” and tells each one to “mind your own business” because “only the king minds everybody’s business,” and he has his spies watch them so that they can’t gang up on him. Thus, our considered king is doing very well in his tribe-defending battles.

However, there are a lot of little nonfighting people who are not obeying the king regarding preparations for the next fighting period. The king says to his henchmen, “Seize that mischievous little character over there who is really being a nuisance around here.” To the prisoner the king says, “I’m going to have to cut your head off.” The man says, “Mr. King, you’d make a big mistake to cut my head off.” The king asks, “Why?” “Well, I’ll tell you, Mr. King, I understand the language of your enemy over the hill, and you don’t. And I heard him say what he is going to do to you and when he’s going to do it.” “Young man, you’ve got a good idea at last. You let me know everyday what my enemy over the hill says he is going to do and so forth, and your head is going to stay on. In addition, you’re going to do something else you’ve never done before. You’re going to eat regularly right up here in the castle near me. And I’m going to have you wear a royal purple jacket (so that I can keep track of you).” The king now has that little man under control and useful. Then another little man makes trouble for the king. As he is about to be beheaded, he shows the king that he understands metallurgy and can make better swords than anybody else. The king says, “You better make a good sword in a hurry.” The man makes a beautiful, superstrong, and sharp sword–there’s no question about that. So the king says, “OK, your head stays on. You, too, are to live here at the castle.”

Next, under the threat of beheadment, another man making trouble for the king says, “The reason I am able to steal from you is because I understand arithmetic, which you don’t. If I do the arithmetic around here, people won’t be able to steal from you.” The king makes him court mathematician.

As each of these men are given those special tasks to do for life, the king says to all of them, “Each of you mind only your own business. You, Mr. Languageman, mind only your own business; and you, Mr. Swordmaker, mind only your own business; and you Mr. Arithmetic, mind only your own business. Each one minds only his own business. I’m the only one that minds everyone’s business. Is that perfectly clear?” “Yes sir”, “Yes sir”, “Yes sir”.

The king now has his kingdom operating very well. He has great fighters, superior metallurgy, better arithmetic and logistics, better spying and intelligence. His kingdom is growing ever bigger. Years go by, and these experts are getting old. The king says, “I want to leave this kingdom to my grandson. Mr. Languageman, I want you to pick out and teach some younger person about language. You, Mr Swordmaker, I want you to pick out and teach somebody about metallurgy. You, Mr. Arithmetic, I want you to pick out and teach someone about arithmetic.” And his total strategy became the pattern for the ultimate founding of Oxford University.

The way the power structure keeps the wit and cunning of the intelligentsia–who are not musclemen, who cannot do the physical fighting–from making trouble for the power structure (if the intelligentsia are too broadly informed, unwatched, and with time of their own in which to think) is to make each one a specialist with tools and an office or lab.

*Fuller makes an aside on specialization:

That is exactly why bright people today have become streamlined into specialists. Nobody is born a specialist. Every child is born with comprehensive interests, asking the most comprehensively logical and relevant questions. Pointing to the logs burning in the fireplace, one child asked me, “What is fire?” I answered, “Fire is the Sun unwinding from the tree’s log. The Earth revolves and the trees revolve as the radiation from the Sun’s flame reaches the revolving planet Earth. By photosynthesis the green buds and leaves of the tree convert that Sun radiation into hydrocarbon molecules, which form into the bio-cells of the green, outer, cambium layer of the tree. The tree is a tetrahedron that makes a cone as it revolves. The tree’s three tetrahedral roots spread out into the ground to anchor the tree and get water. Each year the new, outer-layer, green-tree cone revolves 365 turns, and every year the tree grows its new tender-green, bio-cell cone layer just under the bark and over the accumulation cones of previous years. Each ring of the many rings of the saw-cut log is one year’s Sun-energy impoundment. So the fire is the many-years-of-Sun-flame-winding now unwinding from the tree. When the log fire pop-sparks, it is letting go a very sunny day long ago, and doing so in a hurry.” Conventionally educated grown-ups rarely know how to answer such questions. They’re all too specialized.

If nature wanted humans to be specialists, she would, for instance, have given them a microscope on one eye, which is what nature has done with all other living organisms–other than humans. Each has special, organically integral equipment with which to cope successfully with special conditions in special environments. The low-slung hound to follow the Earth-top scent of another creature through the thickets and woods … the little vine that can grow only along certain stretches of the Amazon River … the bird with beautiful wings with which to fly, which bird however, when landed and in need of walking, is greatly hampered by its integral but now useless wings.

Humans are not unique in possessing brains that always and only are coordinating and storing for later retrieval the integrated information coming in from each and all the creature’s senses–visual, aural, tactile, and olfactory. Humans are unique in respect to all other creatures in that they also have minds that can discover constantly varying interrelationships existing only between a number of special case experiences as individually apprehended by their brains, which covarying interrelationship rates can only be expressed mathematically. For example, human minds discovered the law of relative interattractiveness of celestial bodies, whose initial intensity is the product of the masses of any two such celestial bodies, while the force of whose interattractiveness varies inversely as the second power of the arithmetical interdistancing increases.

The human mind of Bernoulli discovered the mathematical expression of the laws of intercovarying pressure differentials in gases under varying conditions of shape and velocity of gas flow around and by interfering bodies. The Wright brothers’ wing foils provided human flight, but not the information controlling the mathematics of varying wing foil conformations. Bernoulli’s work made possible the mathematical improvement in speed and energy efficiency of various wing designs. Human mind’s access to the mathematics of generalized scientific laws governing physical phenomena in general made possible humanity’s production of its own detached-from-self wings to outfly all birds in speed and altitude, while being able to loan one another those wings and modify them to produce even better wings.

*Fuller returns to his discussion of unwritten history:

I’m sure our human forebears went through quite a period of giants and giant-affairs evolution. These probably led to all sorts of truth-founded legends from which fairy stories were developed, many of which are probably quite close to the facts of unwritten history. Then humans developed to the point at which a small man make a weapon, a stone-slinger, such as in the story of David and Goliath, with which the little man slays the big man by virtue of a muscle impelled missile. At the U.S. Naval Academy “ballistics” is defined as: the art and science of controlling the trajectory of an explosively hurled missile. After the sling and spear we got the bow and arrow with which a small man could kill a big man at much greater distance than with spear or sling. So skill and human-muscle-impelled weapons ended the era of giants.

Discovery of energetic principles, and human inventiveness in using those principles, such as the invention of catapults and mechanically contracted, steel-spring-coil arrow implement, advanced the art of weapons. The human power structures that could best organize and marshal the complex of interessential “best” weapons and support an army of best-trained people with each of the special types of weapons were the ones who now won the battles and ran the big human “show.” The discovery of gunpowder by the Chinese and the invention of guns introduced the era of ballistics, or as the Navy terms it, “explosively hurled missiles.

Going back to the stone-sling, bow-and arrow, spear, club, and knife era of weapons, we find that territorial battles between American Indian nations were fought over the local hunting and fishing rights, but the land itself always belonged to the Great Spirit. To the Indians it was obvious that humans could not own land–owning was an eternal, omniscient omnipotence unique to the greatness, universality, and integrity of the forever-to-humans-mysterious Great Spirit. Until a special human-produced change in the evolution of power structures occurred, the ownership of anything being unique to the Great-Spirit–in whatever way that might be designated by local humans–was held by all people around our planet.

In 1851 Seattle, chief of the Suquamish and other Indian tribes around Washington’s Puget Sound, delivered what is considered to be one of the most beautiful and profound environmental statements ever made. The city of Seattle is named for the chief, whose speech was in response to a proposed treaty under which the Indians were persuaded to sell two million acres of land for $150,000.

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us.

If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water how can you buy them?

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man–all belong to the same family.

So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us. the Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves. He will be our father and we will be his children.

So we will consider your offer to buy our land. But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us, this shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his fathers’ grave behind, and he does not care. He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care. His father’s grave, and his children’s birthright are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring or the rustle of the insect’s wings. The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around the pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand. The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond and smell of the wind itself, cleansed by a midday rain, or scented with pinon pine.

The air is precious to the red man for all things share the same breath, the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath. The earth is our mother. whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

This we know: the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. All things are connected. We may be brothers after all. We shall see. One thing we know which the white man may one day discover: our God is the same God.

You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white. This earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator. The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.

That destiny is a mystery to us for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tame, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.

Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone.

The end of living and the beginning of survival.

*While this statement is commonly attributed to Chief Seattle,  recently evidence has come forth that suggests it may have been written or perhaps revised by someone else. In any event, whoever wrote this statement has a reverence for the Earth and for Life that we could all learn from. The writer also makes an eloquent argument that the Earth and Natural Resources are not “property”. This is an argument in which Fuller seems in full agreement.

In my prehistory accounting I talk about the time when each ice age is engaging an enormous amount of the oceans’ water, lowering the waterfront and bringing together the islands of Borneo, the Philippines, and others, all to become part of the Malay Peninsula. I also spoke of the ice cap pushing the furry animals southward until they were suddenly pushed into the land of the previous islands now formed into the new peninsula–into land they could never before reach. This is how animals like tigers got out to now reislanded places like Bali. Human being suddenly confronted with these wild animals learned how to cope, hunting some and taming others. In following the evolution of human power structures we are now particularly interested in the humans who found themselves confronted with a tidal wave of wild animals. Those who were overwhelmed became aggressive hunters, and those who were not overwhelmed became peaceful domesticators of the animals. Some of the most aggressive men mounted horses, moved faster than all others, and went out to seek the beasts.

We have learned in the last decade from our behavioral science studies that aggression is a secondary behavior of humans–that when they get what they need, when they need it, and are not overwhelmed, they are spontaneously benevolent; it is only when they have relied on is no longer working. There are two kinds of social behavior manifest today around the world–the benign and the aggressive. It is probable that this dichotomy occurred in the human-versus-animal confrontation in the ice age time.

When an ice age starts to recede, the horseman start north-hunting with clubs and spears. At the same time, moving much more slowly, we have the beginnings of great tribes of humans following their flocks of goats and sheep as the latter lead them to the best pastures–sometimes high on mountainsides, sometimes on great plains. With the big man as king–the head shepherd–we have humanity migrating off into a wilderness that seemed to have no limits. The land belonged to the Great Spirit. The people lived on the flesh of their animals and the encountered fruits, berries, nuts, and herbs. They kept themselves warm with clothing made of the skins of the animals and also with environment-controlling tents made of local saplings and the animal skins.

We have a king shepherd, from the day of the giants, tending his people and his flock, when along comes a little man on a horse, with a club hanging by his side. He rides up to the king shepherd and, towering above him,says, “Well, Mr. shepherd, those are very beautiful sheep you have there. You know, it’s very dangerous to have such beautiful sheep out here in the wilderness. The wilderness is very dangerous.” The shepherd responds, “We’ve been out in the wilderness for generations and we’ve had no trouble at all.”

Night after night thereafter sheep begin to disappear. Each day along comes the man on the horse. He says, “Isn’t that too bad. I told you it was very dangerous out here. Sheep disappear out in the wilderness, you know.” Finally, there is so much trouble that the shepherd agrees to accept and pay in sheep for the horseman’s “protection” and territorial “ownership” began. For the first time little people learned how to become the power structure and how thereby to live on the productivity of others.

Then there came great battles between other individuals on horses to determine who could realistically say, “I own this land.” Ownership changed frequently. The ownership-claiming strategy soon evolved into horse-mounted warfare as each gang sought to overwhelm the other. Then the horse-mounted gangs, led by a most wily leader, used easily captured human prisoners to build them stone citadels at strategic points. Surrounded by prisoner-built moats rigged with drawbridges and drawgates, they would come pouring out to overwhelm caravans and others crossing their domains. “Deeds” to land evolved from deeds of arms. Then came enormous battles of gangs of gangs, and the beginning of the great land barons. finally we get to power-structure mergers and acquisitions, topped by the most wily and powerful of all–the great emperor.

This is how humans came to own land. The sovereign paid off his promises to powerful supporters by signing deeds to land earned by the physical deeds of fighting in shrewd support of the right leader. Thereafter emperors psychologically fortified the cosmic aspect of their awesome power by having priests of the prevailing religions sanctify their land-claiming as accounted simply either by discovery or by arms.

*Thus the “Ownership of Land” emerged from the adversary mechanism. Control of land was accomplished by hurting others through force and coercion. Scientifically, anything obtained through force or coercion is defined as plunder. The plunderer lives on the productivity of others–i.e. makes others help him.

In another set of events that opportuned the power structure the land barons discovered the most geographically logical trading points for caravaning: a place where one caravan trail would cross another caravan trail; where, for instance, the caravaners came to an oasis or maybe to a seaport harbor and transfer some their goods from the camel caravans to the boats. The caravaners would say, “Let’s exchange goods right here. Fine. You need something; I have it.”

*Trading is an early mechanisms of Neutrality and an example of human interdependence. It is probably even older than Civilization ~3500 BC. Caravaning probably began with the domestication of animals.

One day they’re exchanging goods when along comes a troop of armed brigands on horseback. The head horseman says, “It’s pretty dangerous exchanging valuable things out here in the wilderness.” The caravaners’ leader says, “No, we never have any trouble out here. We have been doing this for many generations.” Then their goods begin to be stolen nightly, and finally the merchants agree to accept and pay for “protection.” That was the beginning of the walled city. The horse-mounted gangsters brought prisoners along to build the city’s walls and saw to it that all trading was carried on inside the walls. The lead baron then gave each of his supporters control of different parts of that city so that each could collect his share of the “taxes.”

*Taxes originate in Adversity and continue as adversary mechanisms.

This is how we came to what is called, archaeologically, the city-state, which was to become a very powerful affair. There were two kinds: the agrarian-productivity-exploiting type and the trade-route-confluence-exploiting type. These produced all the great walled cities such as Jericho and Babylon.

The agrarian-supported city-state works in the following manner: For example, we have Mycenae in Greece, a beautiful and fertile valley. It is ringed around with mountains. You can see the mountain passes from the high hill in the center of the valley. At the foot of the high central hill there is a very good well. So they build a wall around the citadel on the top of that mid-valley hill and walls leading down to and around the well so that they can get their water. When they see the enemy coming through the passes, the Mycenaeans bring all the food inside their walls and into their already-built masonry grain bins. What they can’t bring inside the walls, they burn–which act was called “scorching the fields.” The enemy enters the fertile valley, but there’s nothing left for them to eat. The enemy army has to “live on its belly”–which means on the foods found along their route of travel–and is hungry on arrival in the valley. The people inside have all the food. The people outside try to break into the walled city, but they are overwhelmed by its height and its successfully defended walls. Finally the people outside–only able to go for about thirty days without food–get weaker and weaker, then the people inside come out and decimate them.

This was the city-state. It was a successful invention for a very long period in history. At the trade-route convergences city-states operated in much the same way but on a much larger scale with the siege-resisting supplies brought in by caravans or ships. The city-states were approximately invincible until the siege of Troy. Troy was the city-state controlling the integrated water-and-caravaning traffic between Asia and Europe near the Bosporus. It had marvelous walls. Everything seemed to be favorable for its people.