Although writers have disagreed about the exact form of civilization, the main criteria include the use of written language, the dominance of intellect over passion, political organization, a privileged ruling class, and a national religious and priestly class. In addition, civilizations developed and spread their knowledge through writing, urban commerce, and manufacturing. They also became centers of innovation, such as art, religion, and craft specialties. Here are some facts about civilization.
The first civilizations were based on the agricultural cycle. They used agricultural practices, like irrigation, to grow crops. This produced surplus grain and needed to be protected from raiders. In order to control this wealth, people needed to build large structures and protect their fields from attacks. Priests who tended to these fields would be the first leaders of their civilization. This allowed early kings to maintain standing armies of warriors and call on them when needed. Other people, however, had to live in landless peasants or become independent craftspeople.
During prehistory, humans lived in river valleys. These valleys had fertile soil and water was readily accessible for irrigation, food production, transportation, and trade. This meant that civilizations arose in the Nile valley of Ancient Egypt, the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in Mesopotamia, and in the Indus Valley region of modern Pakistan. In a few thousand years before the beginning of the New World, small settlements of farmers populated the eastern part of the Americas.
There are many characteristics of a civilization, and scholars have attempted to define them. These include the use of written language, agriculture manipulation, irrigation, standards of measurements, craft technology, and the development of state governments. As a result of these characteristics, scholars have identified common characteristics of civilizations. The key characteristics of civilizations are the commonality of these features. Ultimately, civilizations represent the best examples of human progress. But as we know, a civilization can be defined by more than one feature.
The most prominent of these is cultural. Those who believe in cyclical life spans and evolution have to ask themselves, “What if civilizations did not exist? Can we have more than one civilization?”
The industrial revolution began in eighteenth-century Great Britain, and the invention of machines facilitated the production of goods. People were no longer dependent on animals of burden, and artificial energy powered any type of motor. This meant that raw goods could be transported in enormous quantities and sold throughout the world. New attitudes towards religion led to the decline of traditional churches, and new ideas of sexuality developed as a consequence of modernity. In this way, Western societies experienced the emergence of an increasingly civilized world.
As people began living in cities, political, religious, and social institutions developed. This facilitated the development of states. In this way, civilizations spread and influenced other civilizations. A modern-day state, for example, was born of a civilization. Throughout history, many civilizations grew alongside and included several states. These states facilitated the development of political systems that could mobilize large amounts of resources and tie together a much larger community.