The Origins of Early Civilisations

Early hunter-gatherer societies developed in a world that was becoming increasingly cold and dry, leading to the extinction of many of the large game species upon which early people had depended.

2/21/202434 min read

1. Early Hunter-Gatherer Societies

Around 12,000 years ago, some people began to settle in one place, marking the beginnings of the Neolithic Revolution. Before the development of agriculture, around 10,000 years ago, life was very different for these early humans and small groups of people moved from place to place, searching for food and water. These are described as 'hunter-gatherer societies'. They were 'nomadic', which means that they did not live in one place. The people moved around in groups, based around the family unit, in search of food and water. These people managed to survive in what would have often been a hostile and changing landscape but they did so with a huge amount of knowledge and skill. Whilst they moved around in small groups, they may well have relied on wider trading and exchange networks to survive, meeting with other groups from time to time. These early people would have had an enormous and detailed practical knowledge of their environment, including the messages of seasonal changes on different plants and animals, as well as the tracks and signs of such flora and fauna. The concept of 'survival of the fittest' can be seen in action in these early societies. This is the idea that those plants and animals which possess the best adaptations to the environment will be most likely to thrive and so survive. As such, the early humans and the animals and plants they hunted and gathered were all constantly evolving, with the most successful surviving in the long-term. Over generations, animals would have learnt to avoid the hunters and the plants that were most resilient in the face of being harvested or quite unintentionally being destroyed by the hunter-gatherers would have been the most successful types. This is an example of what we call 'natural selection', the underlying theory of evolution. While many of the groups would have moved seasonally, the creation of settlements that were suitable for longer-term occupation can begin to be seen from this period. Hunter-gatherers would have built shelters from local materials - typically wood and reeds - often using the same sort of techniques as those plants and animals which had also adapted to survive in such environments. This knowledge and understanding of the environment would be passed down from generation to generation and could well be seen as the first of many 'traditions', customs and ways of life that get passed down in human societies. Hunter-gatherer parents would have educated their children not only by teaching, but also by allowing their children to play and explore the environment, learning through practical experience. This is known as 'enculturation', the process by which a young being learns the elements and dynamics of its surrounding culture from older and more experienced beings.

1.1. Nomadic lifestyle

In the nomadic lifestyle, people needed to move around frequently. This is because wild animals on which they depended for food would move to new fields and forests as they exhausted the resources in the area. In addition, as the nomadic communities used stone tools which cannot be sharpened to last longer, they were forced to live near good 'tool stone' sources so that they could easily acquire another good stone when their previous one became too blunt to use. Moreover, women needed energy rich sustenance for their offspring and hence, they had to spread births and frequent movements in search for fruits rich in natural sugars helped in fan this demand. The need for portable and easily constructed shelters was also a reason for frequent movements as the types of shelters that could be made by the early man using the available technology could hardly last long and therefore every now and then they had to look for new construction material sources. This constant movement's characteristic of their lifestyle implied that the nomads could not store food since they could not carry along bulky food supplies. It also meant that the early humans had little opportunity of accumulating much wealth. The inability to accumulate much wealth on the other hand helped greatly in maintaining a social equilibrium in the community. Since no one person or family could acquire more material possessions than others, there was little chance of strife and struggle for them. The society had to remain fairly egalitarian. However, the fact that the nomads spread out over large areas in small, family-sized bands may have created pressure on the environment because each groups used the same areas at particular times of the year. This led to environmental degeneration and hence forcing the emergence of more settled and regional based societies.

1.2. Hunting and gathering techniques

The hunting and gathering technique is one of the basic tools for the prehistoric period. However, they had developed a system guided by the nature of the life they were living in. As a result, they had chosen specific areas to utilise this kind of system. The hunting and gathering lifestyle is an activity employed by the people who lived in groups as a matter of finding food. In this respect, the nature of the society was divided along the lines of gender. The men were mainly responsible for hunting and the women were responsible for the gathering. But this did not mean that there were specific rules pertaining to these activities. The general understanding was that the men and women had to visit different places as part of continuing with these activities. In the hunt for wild animals, the men had to travel long distances in order to capture them and the women had to move from place to place in search for wild fruits. There were also other activities such as fishing for those societies that had been established near water bodies. The equipment that were used by these groups were mainly spears and some other type of crude weapons that would help them in their hunting activities. The development of the hunting weapons started from simple bow and arrow to the spear throwers and eventually to the old world's device of an atlatl. This was a spear-throwing lever or tool that would give more power and speed to the hunting activity. On the other hand, the women would use more of basket and digging sticks in order to gather food. The use of fire as part of the food hunting and gathering technique was also widely in usage. The early hunters realised the advantages associated with using fires as a point of ensuring that they manipulated the environment to suit their increasing needs for a variety of food. By burning the grasslands and the forests, the hunters were able to attract animals to specific areas. This made their hunting activity to become easier as more animals would congregate around the burnt areas than in areas where there were tall grasses and bushes. The use of fire also meant that the hunters were able to control overgrowth of the wild fruits and some of the overgrown bushes.

1.3. Social structure

Social structures in early hunter-gatherer societies were relatively simple when compared to those of later civilisations. Essentially, the people led a nomadic lifestyle; there are no permanent settlements and large population centres. No person or group held a particular power or status over others. Gender roles were defined: men were responsible for hunting and women were responsible for gathering and children. Anthropologists believe that people would have lived in kinship groups - numbered between 15 and 50 people - led by a patriarch. It is likely that groups would have met and interacted with one another during the year in order to find new mates, exchange goods, and coordinate life. Such meetings would have helped to prevent inbreeding and strengthen ties between separate kinship groups. A number of studies have shown that fairly complex social rituals and practices are necessary to maintain order and leadership within hunter-gatherer societies. These practices are still witnessed today in the few remaining such societies around the world. Hunter-gatherers place a high value on individual freedom and equality; leaders must work hard to engage with all members of their society and build consensus on any decisions to be made. Because living is a daily process for hunter-gatherers and no surpluses can be stored, there is no need for a centralised authority system or any leadership beyond that of the kinship group. Such societies can remain stable and prosperous for thousands of years - archaeological evidence shows that the same basic social structure has been maintained throughout the entire 2.5 million years that the hunter-gatherer lifestyle has been in existence. An interesting case in point is the success of the Ju/'hoansi people of the Kalahari Desert; it was studied by Bradford and Linda Saxe in the 1990s. However, with the onset of globalisation and increasing pressure from modern industrialised states, many hunter-gatherer groups are now in decline and their social structures and lifestyles are disappearing.

2. Agricultural Revolution

Agricultural revolution refers to a significant change in world history that took place around the end of the last ice age, which started around 11,000 years ago. This is traditionally viewed as the period of transition from a society of hunter-gatherers to one in which people settled and engaged in farming. This shift in trend, from mobile to established way of life has far-reaching consequences in terms of social, economic, and population changes. In order to sustain a settled lifestyle, communities were established, where people at least for part of the year come together and formed a social network. It is not uncommon to find settled communities supporting population exchanges. Furthermore, evidence from funerary practices seems to support that a hierarchy in terms of social status might well exist. Agricultural societies, unlike the more egalitarian nature of a hunter-gatherer band, could develop a social class system. In addition, researchers considered that an established food surplus was a driving force behind such social, economic, and population changes. To produce a surplus for storage, agricultural technology needed to be developed. As the adoption of farming methods spread, it seems that not only did population expand closely with the increase of food supplies, but also as communities grew in size, interaction between people within different communities might lead to the development of trade and economic exchange. Trading also might see the exchange of new crops and ideas to sustain development in agricultural technologies. Another significant change is the vast expanse of deforestation, in order to create field systems for crops and pasture. Such environmental impacts of intensive farming are evident in many developed nations today.

2.1. Transition to farming

Early human groups in about 9000 BCE were still in an economy based on hunting and gathering. It was a difficult life, but groups had been surviving for over 2 million years in this way. After the end of the last Ice Age a warmer climate meant that new plants and animals became available in the Middle East. There were some species particularly wheat which started cultivating themselves - although modern wheat requires human sowing! People would have tried collecting and cultivating them and seen the benefits. We believe that in hilly areas planting seeds from the previous year's crop people may have noticed that more and more of these ancestors of modern wheat grew. On the other hand they might have noticed that bred animals such as goats and sheep- producing better wool and meat when people helped the animals that were more friendly to humans and to each other. By around 7000 BCE people were domesticating wheat and some animals; by 6500 BCE there was a transformation to villages relying on farming instead of living a nomadic life. There is a vast wealth of sites across the Middle East that date to around 7000-6000 BCE and these are some of the first villages and first evidence for domesticated plants and animals anywhere in the world. The people who lived in these earliest villages were also the first to produce pottery and to use wild clay which they dry in the sun or heat by firing it to make pottery- this is called ceramics. By about 5000 BCE the population of the Middle East was largely living in the 'classic' cradle of civilisation way; small communities and farming - pottery and personal possessions also became common. As people changed environment it provides insight into the ancient transition to the more settled way of life we know as the Agricultural Revolution.

2.2. Domestication of plants and animals

Number 2.2 in the outline is "Domestication of plants and animals". Archeologists, anthropologists and historians used to believe that agriculture had marked the start of a settled and "civilized" way of life, with the slower pace of life in comparison with the constant search for food from the hunter-gatherer societies and tribes. Though such opinions are still widely accepted, findings from different parts of the world now suggest that maybe human societies were already in a state of progress when people started to settle and farm. For instance, in a few places in the Middle East where archeologists have found the earliest signs of farming, sites have also revealed a surprising number of graves for children and young people, many of whom appear to have died a violent death at a time when warring tribes were not likely to pose a threat to the settlers; Maurice, J (1999). Egyptian art. Excavations into Neolithic sites where the earliest signs of farming have been found often reveal a pattern of ditched enclosures which suggest different areas for growing particular types of crops; Moore, D. et al. (2000). Plants, people and place. The importance of plant. The of horticulture and agriculture, among other si?Complete the table `from gathering to growing'. Plant and animal domestication are the first and most significant steps to agriculture. But the key question is still: "Why did the change from hunting and gathering to farming occur?" According to Bently and Maschner (2008). "Farming arose independently at different places at different times across the world. It did not begin as an experiment but was largely a series of small scale adjustments in human and natural systems as populations became more sedentary." Adger. W.N et al. (2011). Residence times in humans'#patterns of society growth and modern climate.

3. Mesopotamian Civilisation

Mesopotamia is considered the cradle of all civilisations. The roots of Mesopotamian civilisation are found in Sumer, where 12 separate city-states flourished approximately around 4,000 BCE till the time of the Akkadian Empire, that began in around 2,300 BCE, and then the time of the Babylonians, from around 1,800 BCE. The world's earliest civilisation developed in the southern part of the region, in ancient Sumer. It is not a coincidence that these ancient people, who all shared the same culture and used the same spoken language, chose to live in this area, because it provided really good conditions. The ancient Sumerians are credited with many notable inventions and innovations that are said to have started around 3,000 BCE upto the time of the Akkadian Empire. Some of these include wheeled vehicles. The earliest know wheeled cart dates from around 3,500 BCE. The Sumerians were responsible for some very important innovations that have had a significant impact on future civilisations - one of these being the development of writing; and the other, the Sumerians are said to have been the first to use the arch in their architecture, the true arch, not the corbelled arch. This is a technology known as wedge-shaped writing, named after the wedge-shaped stylus that was used to make impressions on the wet clay. It is believed that this form of writing might have first started as a way to keep track of goods traded.

3.1. Sumerians and Akkadians

The Sumerians occupied southern Mesopotamia, and they were the first civilisation to practice intensive, year-round agriculture which allowed the production of surpluses. Another remarkable Sumerian achievement was the invention of writing. As early as 3,500 BC, records show that the Sumerians scribed an amazing array of information that covered subjects including trade, religion, food and social organisation. The Sumerians also developed the first writing system, known as cuneiform. When the Akkadians invaded they brought their writing system with them. Cuneiform was used throughout the ancient Near East for at least 3,000 years. Another Akkadian was Sargon, this time from Akkad to the north of Sumer. In a series of brilliant military campaigns, he conquered the entire region and established the world's first empire that stretched from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. His empire lasted about 200 years after his death and it continued to be a rich source of cultural and political power that later rulers tried to claim. His Sumerian name, Sarru-Kin, means "true king" in English.

3.2. Inventions and innovations

Practically, the advancement of Sumerian society may also be traced in the development of materials. The requirement to irrigate the land by a network of canals enabled the Sumerians to develop the 1st comprehensive system of weights and steps. This is because the curves of the terrain had to be measured and computed. Furthermore, the mud-bricks used by the Sumerians to construct their homes and towns proved also of worth. Due to a lack of wood and stone in Southern Mesopotamia, the Sumerians had to experiment with drying, baking and glazing mudbricks until they had constructed a reasonably durable walling material. Every portion of the new technology, albeit primitive in our eyes, marks a further progress in the development of the Sumerian civilisation. The creation of potters wheel and the further development of a successful stone drill for drilling stone beads may be attributed as direct consequences of the improvement of the ceramic trade in 4200 BC. To production’s improvement and the consequent widespread availability of industrial and agricultural containers. These sort of containers both technological and commercial innovation is a necessary venue and bottleneck through which society may grow and improve itself. However, it is also fascinating to notice that the society for cultural research and by extension, the inquisitive and creative powers of the ordinary man has been enhanced by these innovations. In Sumer, religion was central to the lives of the folks. The ancient Sumerians worshiped their gods by constructing huge, terraced pyramid structures known as Ziggurats. The Ziggurat was at the heart of every Sumerian city and although some were larger than others, each one followed the same far-reaching building strategy. The creation of these architectural efforts – that were more than just simple religious displays, and were large-scale national projects – may also be contrasted as a further indicator of the maturity of the Sumerian civilisation. Copyright - 2015 All contents and Intellectual Property Rights are reserved. This programme may be used entirely as an ins-trategy, either by or by some other third party, without the express written agreement of Oxford Study Courses.

3.3. Writing system

Writing was the foundation of full-time, large-scale civilization and non-agricultural settlements. The English word "writing" apparently derives from "writ", meaning a piece of coiled parchment (these were gradually replaced during the Middle Ages by new sheets of paper) or a legal document. More broadly, the etymology of "writing" has been connected both to a German word "reissen", meaning "to tear" or the Normanno-French "writier" (anglicized to "retour"), meaning "to decree" or "to direct', indicating a kind of connection between the act of writing and legal authority. Early Mesopotamian writing was based not on the true alphabet which we have today (for example modern English), but on morphemes, which are small units that have meaning. Sumerian writing was replaced by Akkadian in use by about 1000 BC, and then completely disappeared as a language of record by about the 1st century AD. This long history of development and variety exemplifies the complex relationship between language and politics - as well as culture and religion - that still applies to modern situations. The chief factors which made Sumerian and other Mesopotamian writing preeminent in the ancient world were the capabilities it provided for record keeping and communication. 'Hieroglyphic' Luwian, another alphabet of ancient Turkey, provides one of the most interesting indications of the development of alphabetic scripts. These grammatical particles can never be used by Antiochus, son of Seleucus, even if they are perfect. It has been proved that neither Roman nor any authority from Rome has received an opinion from you or evoked that opinion against Timarete, but a statement was made here by the Emperor at the instance of Timarete against you. So you, finding that the Emperor's statement decided for Timarete against you, losable-rights which you said belonged to you. Hello. How are you? Have you noticed that writing and spoken language was primarily an art for the selected few? Not only was it difficult to learn in the first place, literacy required access over a number of generations to a great deal of teachers, time and texts in the required language. As the cuneiform script founded in Mesopotamia was developed by different regimes, regional leaders and conquerors which was adapted to many different languages, including Akkadian, Elamite and Urartian, this demonstrates that writing is not just a mere legacy of civilization - it's a continual and necessary component of social and political change.

4. Ancient Egyptian Civilisation

Ancient Egypt was one of the most remarkable civilisations the world has ever seen. It lasted for over 3000 years from 3150 B.C. to 30 B.C. The life of the ancient Egyptians was heavily focused on the next world and they took great care to prepare for their afterlife. The Egyptians were a very advanced civilisation in a number of areas, including art, family life and education. There were lots of other important things in Egyptian daily life. Perhaps most importantly, the Ancient Egyptians were skilled farmers. They knew that the land around the Nile was very fertile as a result of the yearly flooding of the river. A lot of the equipment that the farmers used was very simple, including wooden ploughs, and farmers did most of their work by hand. The farmers were expected to pay taxes with a portion of their harvest and this was collected by local officials called scribes. Some of the people responsible for collecting the taxes signed and witnessed the amount that was collected and this written record was called the 'treaty of the harvest'. Another interesting thing about ancient Egyptian civilisation is that they were one of the earliest groups of people to write and keep records. This was very important as it was a means of communication, such as for writing letters, and for keeping written records. At first, the Egyptians used picture symbols which they carved into stone. These are called Hieroglyphics. However, as time went on, the script of writing evolved and by the end of the civilisation the people used an adapted form of Hieroglyphics, written using letters, like we do, known as Hieratic, and another form known as Demotic. Demotic is the script that was used in day-to-day life as it was easier and quicker to write, while Hieroglyphics and Hieratic were used for religious texts and inscriptions on buildings. The Ancient Egyptians also had a well-structured civilisation with carefully organised job roles. For example, the society was divided into social classes and there were people who made rules and laws, so for example, the Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, was the top leader. He was in charge of making laws and keeping order but he couldn't control the whole civilisation on his own. He had to have help and that is what the other job roles did. For example, the 'vizier' was very important as he was the one who saw that the government officials did their jobs properly. He was also responsible for making sure everyone was treated fairly as he acted as a judge. The Vizier was expert in Egyptian law and he would typically help Pharaoh to decide on what the laws should be. The Vizier was chosen by the Pharaoh for the job and he had to be very intelligent and wise. There were many farmers in ancient Egypt and they had specialised jobs and used the same equipment as most other farmers in the world at that time. Chief farmers were called Scribes and they did all the writing, including legal documents, while others worked in small workshops making things, such as pottery ornaments. Nowadays, Egypt is a very different place to the country that was home to the ancient Egyptian civilisation. The climate and environment has changed and people live in a very modern country with big cities like Cairo. However, it's incredible to think that a civilisation that lasted for over 3,000 years has managed to survive through the history and it is important, not just for historians, but for everyone.

4.1. Pharaohs and dynasties

In the third millennium BCE, the unification of the territories known as Upper and Lower Egypt by King Menes - a process symbolised by the creation of the double country, as represented by the serekh (a symbol of royalty) and the double crown - marks the beginning of the first of approximately 31 dynasties, each of which demonstrates the significant historical moments in Egypt's past across about 3000 years. The word 'Pharaoh' is actually a term used by the Egyptians, particularly coming into common usage from the period of the New Kingdom (around 1550 BCE), to describe the divine and semi-divine nature of kingship in ancient Egypt. Although the term Pharaoh was not used generally in the ancient world and still less in modern times, it refers to the kings of Egypt and the students familiar with its better actually then by itself, we actually have to explain what the word Pharaoh means and the idea of Pharaoh as king and god in the civilisation.

4.2. Pyramids and monuments

Many of the pyramids and monuments in Egypt are in a place now called Cairo. Cairo is a massive, bustling city which is home to about eighteen million people. However, once upon a time, it used to be an integral part of the Upper Nile Valley, which was the focal point of the ancient Egyptian empire. Over the years, more and more buildings and houses were constructed in the city and what was once a small, insignificant settlement around the pyramids became a major urban area. Now, the pyramids and the Great Sphinx, which were once far from the city, are now surprisingly close to it. In fact the pyramids, which were once in a town called Giza, are now effectively within the city itself. The Great Sphinx of Giza, which is situated on the Giza Plateau, is one such monument. It was built by the pharaoh Khafre in around two thousand five hundred BC. It is exactly twenty metres tall and seventy three metres long. It is thought that the face of the sphinx represents the pharaoh himself and that it was created in his image. It has the body of a lion and the head of a man, and wears the typical headdress of the pharaohs. Experts believe that the sphinx was built as a form of protection for the mummified body of the pharaoh, as well as for the national capital nearby. Throughout history, the sphinx has become a symbol of ancient Egyptian civilisation and culture. In the modern day, new buildings and roads are being carefully planned and constructed, with the specific intention of making sure that the ancient monuments in Cairo are looked after and preserved. This is why the pyramids and other such sites are protected and preserved by the American Research Centre in Egypt. They carefully monitor the effects of modern life on the monuments and work to ensure that the ancient history of Egypt is protected for many more years to come.

5. Indus Valley Civilisation

Notable is the apparent lack of centralised states in the Indus Valley region. This fact is evidenced by the absence of any found structures that resemble the halls of sameness to be found in Uruk or Mahendra-Daro. Unlike Uruk, Mahendrao-daro does display evidence of public ceremonial buildings, such as the Great Bath, where it is assumed rituals were performed. Some similarities with Uruk exist in respect of the techniques used to make pottery. However, important differences are also present such as the absence of the pottery wheel in the Indus Valley. Similarly, whereas the Uruk period is generally considered to be characterised by the use of hieroglyphic script and the earliest evidence of the cuneiform, no parallel developments are to be found in the Indus Valley. Central authority in the Indus Valley was likely to have taken a different form altogether, and could well have been dispersed among urban centres such as Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and Dholavira. For example, the absence of overtly martial artwork and fortifications and the distinct lack of weaponry in comparison with other Early Civilisations such as Uruk suggest the likelihood of the absence of any kind of strong, martial state such as Uruk of the Late Uruk Period. Rather, the established extensive trade networks and uniformity of material culture, as well as a shared architectural vision, indicates a ruling class of merchants and priests that could turn to a collection of individuals when the need for any sort of martial expedition could arise. Also, such a ruling class of merchants and priests would require a society based on something approaching predictability in order that those at the top of the social hierarchy could guarantee their positions of power for themselves and their offspring. This has been interpreted in the fact that many of the found figurines in the Indus Valley appear to depict overweight or swollen female forms – possibly a culture-wide belief in fertility and prosperity as being linked with this physical form.

5.1. Urban planning

The implementation of the citadel and lower town with a wall in between suggests some sort of planning and the division of work for its completion. The Great Bath located at the citadel, the lower town and the grid pattern in some of the areas of the settlements like Lothal. First, once we have realised that the Great Bath is situated at the high point of the citadel, it has been argued that it was a large public area designed to hold water for some sort of ritual cleansing. Also, the brick and stone structure of the bath were plastered uniformly on the side and there were steps leading down to the bottom on all four sides. All these features of the Great Bath are presented to support its interpretation as a large public bath. The second evidence which suggests the existence of a planned citadel and lower town is the division in the settlement by a mud brick and a five meter thick defensive wall running about 13 meter lengthwise all the way down the citadel. This suggests that the people of the former and the people of the latter have different means of survival as they were situated in different parts of the settlements. Third, the division of planned and well maintained drainage system and this system including the artificial brick and large well with worn steps suggested that the people have had knowledge on things like water borne diseases. This is supported by the fact that all the homes nearby the well have latrine and a bathing area served by drains emptying into the well.

5.2. Trade and commerce

Trade and economic activities were the basis of Indus prosperity. There was a well defined network for trade and commerce, within the area and outside as well. As said earlier, the whole civilization was divided into two parts; one in the North West which included the main cities and the other in South; Kathiawar peninsular and the area near Bombay. Agricultural goods were sent to the countries where they were not available and commercial goods were sold for earning livelihood. Indus people carried on trade on a large scale with the people of Mesopotamia-that is why Mesopotamia is considered as the main development of the Western history. The trade activities were made easier by the standardization of weights-measures and the development of seal carving with Indus script. Various playing cards and the game software development could be assumed from such objects found at Mohenjo-Daro. The seals may represent a sort of passport for the merchant through the areas controlled by various chiefs and local kings. There were many ferry stations along Indus and rivers used as a main travel route made by traders. It is also identified in recent researches that by Trail of the River Ganges, commercial activities had linked Indus Civilisation with Stone Age people of Madhya Pradesh. Moreover, it is also under debate that, sea ships were used for trade activities with the Island and African people. Evidence-Ports have been found near Lothal which was used as a main dock for the sea trade and the temple of Indus Valley period has been located at Bahrain in South Persian Gulf. Only the city of Indus has evidence of the development of metallurgy on the other hand the bronze objects have never been found in the places to the North. It clearly indicates the fact that there were exchange activities among the different areas and existence of a sort of planned economy for that time. On one of the mural which scholars think was a poster of those days has shown a chariot, men, betting house and the beauty parlours. Every human activity was performed under certain regulation and the homeland security was maintained by collective efforts. All resource used in the creation of a wider production and it also suggest that there was some central body which controlled the social activities.

6. Chinese Civilisation

Chinese civilisation is the oldest continuous civilisation in the world. In 2070 BC, a powerful state emerged to the north of the Yellow River and the Chinese civilisation grew up in the Yellow River Valley. The many dynasties of China were all ruled by a single family, passed from eldest son to eldest son. The Xia and Shang dynasties are from around 2000-1600 BC and 1600-1046 BC, and are now agreed to have existed after archaeological evidence of their ancient cities were found. The last Shang king ruled a large area of China over 3000 years ago and he left behind a set of oracle bones in which questions were written and the answers were interpreted from the cracks that appeared after they were heated. The Zhou dynasty lasted for 800 years, from 1045 to 256 BC, and saw the creation of the Mandate of Heaven, a belief that the king was allowed to rule only as long as he had the support of the gods. The Qin dynasty followed in 221 BC, and remains famous for the Terracotta Warriors in its first emperor's tomb. The most famous part of the Great Wall, begun by the first emperor of the Qin dynasty, was built over the next 1800 years after many separate states combined into one. The main phases of the wall construction were in the Qin, Han, Sui, Jin, Ming, and Qing dynasties. The Ming dynasty lasted for 276 years, from 1368 to 1644, and the wall was extended still further. As the Chinese invented gunpowder, the wall was not so crucial to the defence of China from its enemies, and it fell into disuse. The last dynasty was the Qing from 1644 to 1912.

6.1. Dynasties and rulers

The term "dynasty" means a series of rulers from the same family. The Shang Dynasty ruled from 1600 to 1046 BC. The Qin Dynasty was the first to unite under one central government in 221 BC and the last to rule China from 1912 to 1949, after the fall of the Qing Dynasty. The author is using specific examples like "The Shang Dynasty" to help us understand what a dynasty was. He is trying to tell us that "For 40 years, King Wuwang ruled" in a dynasty because "it was the King's family that produced the great dynasty that ruled China for over 500 years". ActionListener that a dynasty is a series of rulers from the same family. This is one of the reasons for the way in which emperors in China were able to pass their rule on to their sons. For more than 800 years, the tombs of the first Chinese emperors at Xi'an were unknown to the world until 1974, when farmers digging a well discovered a pit containing 6000 life-size terracotta figures. These extraordinary finds were constructed to protect the emperor in his afterlife and to help rule over the territory. He is telling us why dynasties would be important. Globalization and diversity are misrepresented in the "2.2- Ancient China's Society". It is stating that within the social classes, "slaves had no rights and were treated as monkeys in the zoo". However, this is incorrect- for example, Barbary Macaques have lived on the Rock of Gibraltar for hundreds of years. This manipulation accelerates and worsens the persecution of certain social groups. A lack of education led towards the manipulation of the truth which shows that education paves the way for better understanding and acceptance of diversity. This shows that the differences in our backgrounds, culture and ethnicity are perceived as an obstacle to common understandings. Changing this mentality is crucial in order to break down some of the barriers- and that's where education is so significant. He goes on to tell us about how different areas of society, for example "craftspeople who made weapons and bronze objects" in the "third social class" would have been "very important to the Shang Dynasty". Alifu explains that "By using bronze, the emperor was claiming power on earth and in the heavens".

6.2. Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest sights in the world - the longest wall in the world, an awe-inspiring feat of ancient defensive architecture. Its winding path over rugged country and steep mountains takes in some great scenery. The wall stretches more than 6000 kilometres across the mountains of northern China and was originally built to protect Chinese civilisation from attack by neighbouring states and from invasion by central Asian peoples. It is not just one wall but a series of walls and fortifications. The construction was begun in the 3rd century BC by Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who first united China, and was at various times built and rebuilt by some of the most powerful emperors, including the Han dynasty and the Ming dynasty, over a period of around 2000 years. The majority of the existing wall, however, was built during the Ming dynasty. While the principles of defence - such as the strategic placing of watchtowers at commanding points - were officially endorsed as a precaution against attack, the Great Wall is now seen as a monument to the hermetic and conservative nature of imperial China. Initially, the Great Wall was manned by soldiers and watchtowers were built at regular intervals. Smoke, flags and loud noises were used to alert garrisons of attack. The wall not only provided a first line of defence but also a means to control immigration. During the Ming dynasty, however, advances were made in artillery and the Great Wall was never again to be used as an effective defence. By the Qing dynasty, the wall was largely neglected and it was only the foreign intervention in the form of the Boxer Rebellion in the late 19th century that prompted the Chinese to take an active interest in its restoration.

7. Mesoamerican Civilisations

There are many ancient Mesoamerican civilisations that had a great deal of influence on modern civilisations in Mexico, as well as other countries and parts of Central America. Some of the most well-known civilisations are the Mayans, the Aztecs and the Incas. One main thing that really shows us how advanced the ancient Mesoamerican civilisations were is the creation of their own calendars. Mayan civilisation is well-known for its impressive temples, many of which are still standing today. The calendar that the Mayans created was based on a solar year of 365 days. This calendar consisted of 18 months, each month having 20 days and there being a further 5 day 'month' added to the end of the year. The Aztecs are known for their capital city called Tenochtitlan, which today is Mexico City. Tenochtitlan sound like an impressive city but it would have looked even more amazing at the height of the Aztec empire. The Aztecs also created floating gardens and built powerful and defensive city walls. The Incas were a powerful empire in the early 16th century until they were conquered by the Spanish led by Pizarro. The Incas lived in strong, stone buildings and like the Aztecs, they also designed their buildings to survive earthquakes, which were common in the area where they lived. Some buildings actually have survived major earthquakes over hundreds of years.

7.1. Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas

For a long time, the Mayans were the dominant civilization in Mesoamerica. They lived on the Yucatán peninsula, an area about the size of the state of Florida. They built their civilization in the limestone rainforest, so they could have access to water. Like many early peoples, the Mayans developed their own system of writing, mathematics, calendar, and religion. The Mayan culture started to decline in the 8th century when their cities were abandoned. No one knows for sure why this happened. By the 10th century, the Mayans had disappeared. There are many theories about what happened to the Mayans, and many of their descendants still live in the area today. The Aztecs also had a huge empire in Mesoamerica. It was formed over a long period of time as the Aztecs conquered other peoples. The Aztec civilization was very disciplined and well-organized, and they quickly spread their influence. The Aztecs were also very good at farming, and they built gardens on the lake by creating small islands. These floating gardens were called “chinampas” and they allowed the growing of many crops. The Aztecs were great warriors and had over 200 gods. They believed that they had to make human sacrifices to the gods so the world could continue and the sun would rise every day. They were so powerful that the Spanish had to use a group of Native American allies to help them defeat the Aztecs. The Incas lived in the Andes Mountains in South America. They ruled the largest native empire of the Americas. The heart of the Inca empire was located in what is now Peru. The Incas were great engineers and road builders, and they built a highly organized society. Incan roads were so well-constructed that they are still used today. Inca engineers also built strong bridges out of woven grass and carved stone. The Inca religion emphasized the Sun god. Modern-day examples of Incan engineering and construction can still be seen in the Andes Mountains, where the roads, walls, and irrigation systems are still standing. The Spanish also defeated the Incas with the help of Native American allies.

7.2. Architecture and art

Mesoamerica had different traditions and styles of architecture. The Mayan civilisation was an impressive one, as seen through the city of Tikal. The Mayans built many temples and pyramids and these high-rise buildings demonstrated their advanced knowledge of engineering. They were usually made of limestone and the walls were covered in carvings and inscriptions. This shows that the Mayan architects were also skilled artists. The Aztec is testified similarly advancing and complex buildings, like religious temples and amphitheatres. Tenochtitlan had a large pyramid, surpassing over the city’s focal point. It is said that the Aztec utilized complex iconography and decorative strategies to bring the buildings to life. Inca architecture was the most important of all Andean cultures. Incan buildings were the most substantial in size, in terms of volume, and the most beautifully crafted. Some of these agricultural terraces are still in use today by modern farmers. As the Incas extended their empire further, their architecture became more advanced. Incan architects began to use stones that had been cut in rectangular shapes, with beveled edges. This was known as ashlar masonry. The ability to construct larger buildings with several different rooms, each supported by finely carved wooden or stone lintels over the entrance, demonstrates Incan masterliness in engineering. The Inca Empire at the top of its power, right before the Spanish conquest, is known for its well-made fortifications and strongholds throughout the Andes. Early Mesoamerican art describes the works of the three cultures that inhabited the region before the arrival of the Spaniards: the Olmecs, the Mayans and the Aztecs. The art reflected the society’s honor of the gods, which was blended in, or propaganda for the ruling class. Early artists in Mesoamerica created small stone carvings, pottery, and likewise. These smaller and individual pieces of art are generally referred to as sculpture; bigger pieces were created that were architectural as well.

8. Ancient Greek Civilisation

The Greeks lived in small city-states. Each city-state, or polis, had its own government. The Greeks never built a united empire. These city-states were not just villages. They were a city and all the surrounding countryside. Because travel by land was so difficult, the people who lived in a city-state had a lot in common with each other. They spoke the same language and worshiped the same gods. They also shared a sense of belonging. This made them different from people in a much larger and more spread-out place, such as the USA today. These city-states were small, independent communities which were male dominated and very competitive. They would often fight each other, and perhaps to get more space or wealth, would send some citizens off to live elsewhere in new colonies. At first these colonies were under the control of the city state, but as they grew, they would often break away and become independent, though they would still keep their connections with the home city. By about 750 BC, the Greeks had established new settlements to the east as far away as the Black Sea and to the west on the coast of what is now France and Spain. And in time this would, not just make the Greeks very rich and very powerful, but it would help build links between the people of the Mediterranean and beyond.

8.1. City-states and democracy

Nonetheless some towns in early Greece were also independent city-states, most have been small communities and solely the citizens who owned land may attend a public meeting and vote on selections that have an effect on the town. These early city-states began to unite by forming larger and better communities. But threat of invasion from powerful neighbours or agriculture, trade and population pressures would conjointly build it tough to survive on their own. Over time, several of those communities became city-states and also the kind of governmental structure referred to as a democracy was founded. The city-state of Athens was the birthplace of this sort of government. The early Greek word for a town is polis, because ancient Athens was only one of several city-states that are found in Greece. However Athens was the primary to develop a democratic kind of government. He soon discovered that folks in control could not build deceit, dishonesty or lazy smart, smart selections that created life better for all voters. So the early Athenian leader helped to make a system where voters may participate in governments of lawmakers, or law of the town. This can be known as a democratic government, from the Greek word demokratia, this means that rule by the people. By the middle of the fifth century BC, Athens had become the best-known democratic town within the world. Every voter was expected to play their half in running the government, therefore unlike in trendy democracies, where politicians are elective to create selections on our behalf, the traditional Athenians all voted on selections personally. So the voters might notice laws and build selections concerning however things might be wiped out this city. However not everyone sufficed to be and with the year with the year with the year was eligible to require part in Athenian government. Only adult male Athenian citizens were allowed to participate. Women, slaves and foreigners could not become voters and take part in law making.

8.2. Philosophy and literature

The 5th century BCE is often referred to as the “Golden Age” of Greece. During this period, artists, politicians, and leaders in many fields, from scientific research to literature, reach a peak of accomplishment. “The philosophers are an interesting group of people. They were among the first to try to explain the world without the help of Gods,” That’s part of the tour of the 5th century given by Stanford University online, referring to Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. And the website History Jersey begin with this century, saying “a Cultural explosion hit Athens... it was basically equivalent to the arrival of brilliance!”. We could have some better thought and understanding by looking at what really happened during this period of time when gods, demigods, heroes and monsters were having parties everywhere. Philosophy and PhilosophersFirst of all, there were already some philosophers before the 5th century BCE, like Thales and Pythagoras. But this period is really key to the history of philosophy because three of the greatest philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, were all active then. They are often referred to as classical Greek philosophers. Socrates was born in 470/469 BCE. He is famous for his contribution to the field of ethics. He was the first to raise a fundamental question in philosophy: how should we live?”

9. Roman Empire

When Augustus, the first Roman emperor, took control of the fragmented Roman society, it allowed for the unification and strengthening of the Empire. The new structure of the government and administration, that was to be developed under Augustus and subsequent emperors, allowed for effective governance and the creation of new law and order. This led to increased trade and the development of more sophisticated roads, such as the Via Appia and the Claudian road, that connected every part of the Empire to Rome. The ingenuity of Roman engineers and the under-appreciated amazing feats of Imperial Roman engineering have allowed structures and constructions to survive over two millennia of wear and deterioration, and in many cases, are still used to the present day. The Romans built roads and bridges across the entirety of their Empire.

9.1. Expansion and conquests

The empires reached their maximum extensions during the 2nd century AD. However, by the year 180, the size of the empire had changed very little. During the reign of Augustus, the major expansion was made. He extended the empire to include Africa, Spain and other parts of central Europe. This expansion began with the annexation of Egypt under Augustus's predecessor, Julius Caesar, as this gave control of the wealth from the river. Although less land was captured after 117, the reign of the emperor Trajan saw the beginnings of conquests in Eastern Europe. At the empire's largest, the Roman empire controlled the land from Egypt in the south to Britain in the north and from Spain in the west to the Persian Gulf in the east. No European power since the Roman empire has controlled such a large area of Europe and the Middle East. However, new problems were created by the vast size of the empire. It became impossible to keep the whole empire on a tight rein. Instead, the empire was split into a number of regional areas each controlled by the local Roman Provincial Governor. This division helped make the empire easier to govern by reducing internal travel time. However, the regional governors began to demand more autonomy and self rule from Rome and by the end of the empire in 476, it was divided into a western empire and an eastern empire. The Roman empire collapsed due to a variety of reasons and the Western empire subsequently was invaded by a variety of groups such as the Visigoths and was ruled by them for periods of time. This marked the ending of a great empire that had lasted for nearly a millennium.

9.2. Engineering and infrastructure

The initial thing that could bring a society to another level was a more efficient food production that allowed more people to live in the same place. Romans succeeded in that area and gave us an example. The Romans were great engineers and they built very big and difficult things such as the Colosseum and the aqueducts - some of which still stand today. They were such good engineers because they had to be; they built over 50,000 miles of paved roads, over 600 bridges and 60 aqueducts in the city of Rome alone! The great Roman engineering skills were apparent in the building of the network of roads which connected the whole empire, allowing the army to move around much more easily and trade to flourish. Each Roman mile on the road is about 1.6 kilometres, and all the Roman roads are grouped together under the name “viae”. They were all made of three different layers: the “statumen” (stones and earth), the “rudus” (concrete rubble) and the “nucleus” (smooth concrete). The aqueducts built by the Romans were used to carry water across the empire into the towns and cities. At the end of the aqueducts, the water would empty into lead pipes and then carry on into people's homes, supplying them with water to drink, wash and cook. They were built with a very slight downwards slope from where the water came from to where the water was used and the bridges that carried them were purposefully built with a slight arch in them to allow water to flow. These technical ingenuity used to build such things which helped improve and express the power of the great Roman empire simply cannot be matched to the problems solved by other civilizations around that era, which thus lead to a dynamic society and a great population within the empire. All above contribute to help build a stable environment for people living at the city and allow the authorities to easily mobilize the armies around the Roman empire due to the strategically built roads. However, most importantly, the network of aqueducts and sewers in Rome enable people to live in much more densely populated homes and also give the Romans a healthier life that most people at the time would not have enjoyed.