A solid working definition of civilization is difficult and depends upon your own judgment. Up to approximately the yr 1860, guy’s records were with no trouble divided into 3 awesome epochs: ancient, medieval, and modern. After 1860, however, a brand new expression got here into popular use to explain the cultures of the remote beyond. Pre-records turned into the call given to that length of guy’s records earlier than written files appeared. We can now look at guys pre-records via the sphere of archeology.
Archeological stays can remove darkness from how and in which early cultures lived, saved meals, and produced tools. We can study their non-secular practices, political company, and what form of relationships may also have existed among guy and woman, husband and wife, discern and child. Human artifacts exposed through archeologists additionally display the life of kings, plagues, famine, excellent harvests, wars, and sophisticated structures. Of course, the records we reap from archeological digs are never complete, specifically as compared with the guy’s greater current records (the beyond 500 years or so).
For example, in 1945, the U.S. First Army captured 485 heaps of information from the German Foreign Office simply as that information had been approximate to be burned on orders from Berlin. 485 heaps of written information! And that information pertained simplest to the German Foreign Office. The factor is that because of the fifteenth century (and the improvement of movable type) the sheer quantity of written information has extensively improved and so too has the paintings of the historian come to be greater complex as a result.
When we think of the ancient world, we may perhaps think of the Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. The Hebrews gave us faith and morality; Greece gave us the reason, philosophy, and science; and Rome gave us law and government. This is, of course, a crude oversimplification, and the reason is obvious. Western civilization developed before Greece or Rome. For instance, 3000 years before the greatest era of Greek history, civilizations flourished in Mesopotamia and in Egypt. These civilizations were urban, productive, religious, law-abiding, and in all meanings of the word, civilized.
Civilization is a form of human culture in which many people live in urban centers, have mastered the art of smelting metals, and have developed a method of writing.
The first civilizations began in cities, which were larger, more populated, and more complex in their political, economic, and social structure than Neolithic villages. One definition of civilization requires that civilized people have a sense of history — meaning that the past counts in the present.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines civilization as “the action or process of civilizing or of being civilized; a developed or advanced state of human society.” Such a definition is fraught with difficulties. For instance, how might we correctly identify a “developed or advanced state of human society”? Developed or advanced compared to what? The OED defines the verb “to civilize” in the following way: “to make civil; to bring out of a state of barbarism; to instruct in the arts of life; to enlighten; to refine and polish.” Are we any closer to a working definition?
In 1936, the archeologist V. Gordon Childe published his book Man Makes Himself. Childe identified several elements which he believed were essential for a civilization to exist. He included: the plow, wheeled cart and draft animals, sailing ships, the smelting of copper and bronze, a solar calendar, writing, standards of measurement, irrigation ditches, specialized craftsmen, urban centers, and a surplus of food necessary to support non-agricultural workers who lived within the walls of the city. The child’s list concerns human achievements and pays less attention to human organization.
Another historian agreed with Childe but added that a true definition of civilization should also include money collected through taxes, a privileged ruling class, a centralized government, and a national religious or priestly class. Such a list, unlike Child’s, highlights human organization. In 1955, Clyde Kluckhohn argued that there were three essential criteria for civilization: towns containing more than 5000 people, writing, and monumental ceremonial centers.
As historians have often remarked, civilization is a word easier to describe than it is to define. As implied by the above discussion, the word itself comes from the Latin adjective civil is, a reference to a citizen. Citizens willingly bring themselves together in political, social, economic, and religious organizations — they merge together, that is, in the interests of the larger community. Over time, the word civilization has come to imply something beyond organization — it refers to a particular shared way of thinking about the world as well as a reflection on that world in art, literature, drama, and a host of other cultural happenings. To understand this idea better it is necessary to investigate the origins of western civilization.
The historian’s task is not an easy one and this is especially the case when dealing with ancient civilizations that rose and fell more than five thousand years ago. Since history is specifically the story of man’s written records, the historian of ancient culture must piece together the past from fragments of human endeavor and human achievement.
Because, trying to piece together the past of a culture whose written documents are scarce, makes the historian’s task that much more difficult.
Finally, the archeologist and anthropologist Robert M. Adams argued for a definition of civilization as a society with functionally interrelated sets of social institutions: class stratification based on the ownership and control of production, political and religious hierarchies complementing each other in the central administration of territorially organized states and lastly, a complex division of labor, with skilled workers, soldiers and officials existing alongside the great mass of peasant producers.