Story of civilizations

The Story of the First Civilizations

First Civilizations are significant milestones in human history. The agricultural revolution created a reliable supply of food. And this led to the rapid growth of the human population. As the population grows, small villages near farmlands gradually developed into towns. With trade and production networks, these towns became cities. Consequently, this process eventually led to the formation of the first civilizations.

First Villages

With the agricultural lifestyle, early humans quit their nomadic lifestyle and located in permanent settlements. They considered the water bodies the most suitable areas for their farming activities and started settling in such areas. The availability of water, fertile soil, and satisfactory climate were the main factors in making that decision. Thus, the people who settled in the water bodies found it easier to carry their lives than their predecessors. This transformation first took place around 8500 BC, in the area known as the “Fertile Crescent” (Present-day Iraq, Syria, and Turkey).

As agriculture gave them a secure food source, humans received an opportunity to think about other relevant things. Moreover, they did not have to engage in farming all year round, so they could take a break from farming life and engage in religious and cultural activities. These led to the development of the fields of arts, transportation, language, and medicine. Besides, people started to worship gods and goddesses instead of natural objects. 

With the emergence of villages, humans tend to lead a more complicated life than the simple one that existed before. People started specializing in different industries according to their abilities. Some became craftsmen, such as potters, metalworkers, and masons, while others became priests. They used to share their surplus production with others. Subsequently, trade networks emerged.

First Cities

As the population of the ancient villages increased, first they became towns and later cities. The first towns were just a collection of communities, and over time they became major trading centers. Life in these towns and cities was more complicated than rural life. There was trade between the cities. People from villages brought their surplus food production to the cities and exchanged it for the goods they needed.

Evidence of the earliest towns can be found in Jericho, West Bank, and Çatalhöyük, Turkey.

Jericho: First city in the world

Jericho is one of the oldest settlements in the world. First, around 9000 BC, it was populated by Mesolithic hunters. By about 8000 BC, the people here had grown into an organized community and had a population of around 2000 to 3000. Around the city, two large walls were there to protect it from enemies. They were 3 m wide and 5 m high. There were giant stone pillars to strengthen the walls. Given the size of this settlement, it is reasonable to use the term city to refer to it. 

Çatalhöyük

Farming settlements of Çatalhöyük first appeared in 13,000BC. At the peak of the town, it had a population of about 8,000. The residents of this city lived in interconnected square houses. Those houses had no doors and had to be entered through a hole in the roof. And the rooftops of houses used as roads.

The emergence of cities led to social, economic, and political developments. Social hierarchies existed in the cities, and the rulers were at the head of that hierarchy. Below them was a privileged class of high officials and priests. At the end of the social hierarchy were the craftsmen, the lesser bureaucrats, the soldiers, and the ordinary people. Rulers used religious ideas to maintain their power, and most rulers were represented as living gods. And each city had a shrine in the center, and other buildings built around it.

First Civilizations

This development led to the emergence of the first civilizations. A civilization is a complex human society, in which a high level of cultural and technological advancement is visible.

“Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty, and dies with chaos”

Will Durant

The world’s first and foremost civilizations developed around rivers and other water bodies. There are several reasons for this. First, the soil along the river’s basins was fertile and favorable for agriculture. Second, water was readily available for day-to-day activities. Third, waterways facilitated transportation and trade. The first four major civilizations formed along the river are

  1. Mesopotamia Civilization between Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Present – day Iraq)
  2. Egypt Civilization based on Nile Valley
  3. The Indus Valley region (Present day Pakistan and India)
  4. Huang He (Yellow river) Valley of China

The first civilizations appear around 4,000 BC. However, there is a discussion on the first civilization. According to the archaeological consensus, the first civilizations emerged in the area called the “Fertile Crescent,” which is often known as the “cradle of civilization.” This Crescent-shaped area from the Nile River in Egypt to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers valleys. Present-day it is a part of the Middle East and covers what is now Southern Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and parts of Turkey and Iran.

Main components of Civilizations

These are some of the features that are common to all civilizations. First, large urban centers were at the center of all early civilizations.  For instance, the Mesopotamian civilization formed around Ur and Uruk, and the Indus Valley civilization was located around the cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. All major political and religious institutions are located in the cities.

Second, civilizations were ruled by central governments. With the increase in population, a system of law and order was essential. As a result, leaders were born to maintain peace. The government, which consisted of kings and officials, was responsible for the maintenance of the city. Besides, they were responsible for enforcing the law, taxing and collecting, and protecting its inhabitants.

Next, every civilization had a complex division of labor. In early agricultural societies, people were self-sufficient. But with the advent of trade, people began to specialize in one particular task. This specialization led to the formation of a complex social structure with the class system. Such social hierarchies are evident in all civilizations.

Also, every civilization had a writing system. Due to the more complex economic and trade relations methods of measuring were needed.  In agriculture, for example, it was necessary to measure land, seeds, and grains. It was also essential to keep a record of these measurements. With that comes the need to write.  Around 3000 BC, Mesopotamian civilization was able to develop a writing system.

Writing system in the Mesopotamian Civilization
Ancient Sumerian Writing/pixabay.com

Moreover, in every civilization, grand monuments were built for religious or political reasons. In Egypt, pyramids were created for deceased rulers, and in Mesopotamia “The Ziggurats” were built as temples.

51 thoughts on “The Story of the First Civilizations”

  1. Hi, There’s no doubt that your site may be having web browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however,
    if opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues.

    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, fantastic blog!

  2. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Very useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such information much.
    I was seeking this particular info for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  3. I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing issues with
    your site. It appears as though some of the written text in your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else
    please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This may be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this
    happen previously. Thanks

  4. Excellent post. Keep writing such kind of information on your page.
    Im really impressed by your blog.
    Hello there, You have done a great job. I will definitely digg it
    and individually suggest to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this
    site.

  5. Hi there to every one, as I am truly keen of reading
    this weblog’s post to be updated on a regular basis.

    It consists of fastidious stuff.

  6. Hello my friend! I wish to say that this post is amazing,
    nice written and come with approximately all important infos.

    I would like to see more posts like this .

  7. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site.
    I’m hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you in the future as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired
    me to get my own, personal blog now 😉

  8. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging
    on websites I stumbleupon every day. It’s always exciting to
    read through articles from other writers and practice a little something from other
    web sites.

  9. What’s up everyone, it’s my first visit at this web site,
    and article is truly fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these types of content.

  10. After checking out a handful of the blog posts on your web site, I honestly appreciate your technique of blogging.

    I saved it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back
    soon. Please check out my web site too and let me know what you think.

  11. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed
    browsing your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing on your rss feed
    and I’m hoping you write again very soon!

  12. Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the guide in it or something.
    I feel that you simply could do with some p.c. to power
    the message house a little bit, but instead of that,
    this is wonderful blog. An excellent read.
    I will certainly be back.

  13. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.

    I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything.
    Do you have any helpful hints for novice blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate
    it.

  14. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve truly
    enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  15. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this excellent blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS
    feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates
    and will share this blog with my Facebook group.

    Talk soon!

  16. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I’m impressed!
    Very helpful info specially the last part 🙂
    I handle such information a lot. I was seeking
    this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  17. An fascinating discussion is worth comment. I think that it is best to write extra on this topic, it may not be a taboo subject however typically persons are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  18. Pingback: 4 Ancient Civilizations: Lessons We Can Learn From Them

  19. Hi there I am so glad I found your webpage, I really found you by error,
    while I was browsing on Bing for something else, Anyways I am here
    now and would just like to say many thanks for a remarkable post
    and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have
    time to browse it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS
    feeds, so when I have time I will be back
    to read a lot more, Please do keep up the great job.

  20. Tremendous issues here. I’m very satisfied to see your article.

    Thanks so much and I’m having a look forward to touch you.

    Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  21. Its such as you read my mind! You seem to know
    so much about this, such as you wrote the ebook in it
    or something. I believe that you just could do with
    a few p.c. to drive the message home a little bit, however other than that, that is great blog.
    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  22. Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your
    website, how could i subscribe for a weblog website? The account helped me a applicable deal.
    I had been tiny bit familiar of this your broadcast provided
    vibrant transparent idea

  23. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do think that you should write more about this issue, it might
    not be a taboo matter but usually folks don’t discuss these issues.
    To the next! Kind regards!!

  24. I have been exploring for a little for any high quality articles
    or blog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this web site.
    Reading this info So i am happy to express that I have a very
    just right uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed.
    I so much surely will make certain to don?t fail to remember this web site and give it a look on a continuing basis.

  25. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped
    me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

  26. What’s up to every one, the contents existing at this web page are
    actually remarkable for people knowledge, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  27. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high quality
    articles or blog posts in this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled
    upon this website. Reading this information So i
    am happy to express that I have an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I discovered exactly
    what I needed. I such a lot surely will make certain to don?t overlook this web site and provides
    it a glance regularly.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Historytz