What Is a Civilization?
A civilization is a progressive cluster of culture-sharing humans with advanced stages of social development and organization. Civilizations can be distinguished by their societal structures, such as systems of government and a division of labor. They also have unique architecture and art, a system of religion, and different social classes.
Historically, civilizations were established when people began to use tools that enabled them to work together in groups. This facilitated the production of surplus food and other items to trade with others in neighboring areas. This led to the creation of cities and their growth into more advanced, urban societies.
In the early years of civilization, people did not have many tools and relied on hunting and gathering practices. But after a period of time, they developed the ability to grow and domesticate crops and animals for their own use. This was the beginning of agriculture and animal domestication, which allowed them to stay in one place for longer periods of time.
Some of these tools and technologies were simple and others were complex. Archeologists have uncovered evidence that demonstrates that humans were developing the abilities to plow, cultivate crops, dig irrigation ditches and construct houses.
They also learned to speak a language that was used for coordinating their activities in space and time. This was the basis for their rudimentary form of government, which included a religious component.
Another important aspect of these early civilizations was that they were often organized into towns and villages. This allowed for larger populations and created a sense of unity in society. It also allowed for the development of shared institutions, such as government and religion, which made a group of people more cohesive.
Writing and Aesthetic Movement
During this time, a large number of artists created paintings and sculptures that depicted nature and showed rulers or divine beings. These artifacts were used for communication, as well as for the display of wealth and power.
These artistic works were also important for maintaining business contracts. This is thought to have triggered the development of writing as a tool for preserving and transmitting information.
Other important aspects of these civilizations were the formation of a hierarchy based on class and the rise of a new social structure based on economic (money) power. These changes resulted in the emergence of priests, rulers and other upper class individuals.
In this new social structure, the ruling class was privileged and had the power to coerce people in their everyday lives. The lower classes were farmers and artisans who had to rely on them for their livelihoods.
According to historian Jared Diamond, civilizations tend to die out when they are no longer able to compete for resources with other civilizations. This can be caused by environmental problems, climate change, reliance on long-distance trading for essential goods and by increasing levels of internal and external violence.
Historians agree that civilization is a process of social change and development that takes a long time. It is a complex and dynamic process that can be difficult to understand, especially when it is not being observed directly.