What Is a Civilization?
A civilization is a group of people who have a set of shared beliefs, practices and values. They often share a common language, architecture and culture. They develop governments and a division of labor among different groups of people.
The first civilizations began to develop along river valleys around 5,000 years ago. The fertile farmlands in these areas made it possible for farmers to grow more food than they needed. This was a major advance for humans, who had been hunting and gathering for thousands of years to survive.
Eventually, the growing number of people and the need for a stable food supply led to the development of cities and governments. These governments organized human activity and provided for smooth interactions between people.
Governments also built things that all people could use. These included roads, aqueducts, and buildings that could be used to store grain and other crops.
These civilizations developed religions to explain the forces of nature and their roles in the world. These religions also helped people find a sense of belonging to a community and created a unified social structure.
The first civilizations were polytheistic, meaning that they believed in many gods. They also had temples and priests who performed rituals to gain the favor of their gods.
They had scribes (trained writers) who kept records for tax collections, laws and the storage of grain. They invented writing called cuneiform, which became a major part of ancient cultures.
Some scribes also kept records of other important events in their communities, such as religious ceremonies. This allowed them to share information and record important historical facts.
Civilizations are often characterized by a strong inclination towards conquest and expansion. They can do this because they have enough resources and surpluses of food to produce large numbers of professional armies.
When these armies conquered other societies, they often changed their cultures and customs. For example, the Romans introduced a Latin language to their territory.
They also developed roads and aqueducts to connect their cities to distant places where they traded with others. These advances were essential for the growth of civilizations and grew increasingly important in the next centuries.
The cities of these civilizations had a variety of special people, including craftsmen, artists, merchants, officials and kings. They also had lower classes of workers who did less specialized work.
A city was a place where people gathered to trade, make a living, and worship. They had larger populations than other places, and unique architecture, art and systems of government.
The development of a city meant that people who lived in other places were freed from agricultural work, so they could concentrate on their specialized occupations. This made people better at their jobs and allowed them to become highly ranked.
Moreover, it was easier for them to communicate with other people and develop new technology, such as metallurgy. They were also able to move large quantities of goods from one place to another, such as wheat to Egypt or silk from China to Asia.