What Makes a Civilization?
Civilization is a term that is used to describe an advanced state of human society. It is a type of society that has reached a high level of culture, science, industry and government.
It is a term that has been used by historians to describe a variety of different societies and cultures throughout history. However, this term has also been criticized for its lack of a concrete definition.
There is no single definition of civilization, although many people have tried to come up with a list of what makes a civilization. Some people believe that there are five essential facets of a civilization: urbanization, government, religion, technology and social divisions (specialization).
Cities are settlements larger than villages. They have specific features that mark them as being of particular importance, such as large public buildings and defensive walls. They can only exist in societies that have a large agricultural “surplus,” which is the amount of food grown by farmers that exceeds what they and their families will consume.
This allows a number of people to move away from the work of farming and into other occupations, including craftsmen, artists, merchants, priests, officials and kings. They are able to create new forms of innovation and produce new technologies.
The shared institutions that were developed in early civilizations helped people from different parts of the world to communicate with one another and gain a sense of unity. These shared institutions included government, religion, language and shared technologies, such as writing and a numeric system.
The development of agriculture marked a turning point in human evolution. Rather than relying on hunting and gathering, Homo sapiens started selecting specific seeds to grow and domesticating wild animals. These agricultural societies spread over large areas of the planet, beginning in China and Indonesia around 9500 BC and in Central America and Northern Africa around 2000 BC.
Agricultural civilizations began to evolve into complex societies that produced a variety of innovations, including technology and scholarship. These new developments allowed people to specialize in areas of expertise they could not have achieved in hunter-gatherer societies.
The growing numbers of people and the need to maintain the food supply soon led to the formation of governments. These governments organized and regulated human activity, provided smooth interaction between groups and helped protect the population from harm.
Religious organizations grew too, with religions forming to explain the forces of nature and guiding human activities in ways that could benefit the whole community. These communities became centers of learning and knowledge about the world.
The ability to share information with one another is the most important factor that sets civilization apart from other types of societies. This is because shared information, such as written languages, alphabets, symbols and numeric systems, allow people to exchange ideas, trade goods and services and conduct business.
In addition, shared languages make it easier for individuals to move and travel between places. This can lead to the creation of larger cities, and to a greater degree of economic and social complexity.