Unlike the primitive hunter-gatherers of prehistoric times, who lived on the fringes of the human world, the inhabitants of the first civilizations created permanent communities and organized society. They developed an intricate culture, a state-based decision-making apparatus, a complex language, and a system of writing. They also invented advanced agriculture, engineering, mathematics and religion. Civilization is considered the highest point of human achievement.
The word “civilization” is a combination of the Latin words for city and people, which means a group of citizens who share a common cultural heritage and lifestyle. Civilized people often have a strong sense of identity and pride in their heritage and history. They tend to be close to their culture and follow everything that belongs to it, including food, clothing, language, literature, architecture and customs.
It’s not clear exactly when humans evolved to become civilized, but some of the first civilizations began to develop when hunter-gatherers settled into semi-permanent villages and then permanent communities. They established social hierarchies, division of labor and material wealth, and produced surplus food by farming. The resulting abundance allowed them to make and sell artifacts, such as pottery, and also offer their surplus foods in trade with other communities. This led to long-distance trade and the development of a sophisticated culture, including a rudimentary government and written literature about their gods.
While there is no universal definition of what constitutes a civilization, most experts agree that it includes a highly developed culture and a society based on the rule of law. A civilization is also defined by the development of an urban center, a system of trade, and a centralized decision-making structure. The city is also an important element of a civilization because it draws people from distant parts of the community together into one place.
A city is also a good place for trade because it offers easy access to raw materials and other goods. It is also where the majority of a civilization’s people live and work. A city is usually built around a central temple, palace or other important building.
Many of the early cities were surrounded by walls and protected with gates. This provided safety and security for those living within it. City-dwellers also started to form specialized occupations, such as priests and scribes. These occupations gained them status and prestige in a society that had largely been determined by inherited status.
Eventually, a hierarchy emerged that put the political and religious leaders at the top of the pyramid, followed by a middle class of farmers and artisans. Finally, the lower classes included free workers and slaves. These societal changes enabled cities to grow and thrive, attracting people from the surrounding countryside who came to work in the city’s factories. This in turn, fueled the growth of a trading economy. The exchange of finished goods between cultures also helped spread new technology, such as metals for tools and farming techniques, across the globe. This is a type of internationalism that has been called civilization.