Civilization: Which Aspects Define Essay

1496 Words May 12th, 2009 6 Pages
Alex Hummel
World Civilization 1
Midterm Paper

Civilization is a word that cannot be used too loosely. How then, is civilization defined? It is difficult to define in one word or phrase because a complex society or “civilization” depends on many different aspects. There are characteristics of a civilization that are more essential than others, some of which may be more important to one group than to another. However, a definition for civilization can be narrowed down to a few fundamental aspects that are necessary for one to exist. For a complex society to exist, it must have means to provide for a growing population. Acquiring resources is vital for a civilization to flourish. Next, the earliest civilizations all seemed to
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The Sumerians invented writing. Writing allowed for better business transactions and influenced a better economy. People could now communicate in a new way, which was responsible for influencing many aspects of society. Some of these included religion, administration, and most importantly, history. Without writing historians could have never interpreted the recorded events and ideas used in this paper. Now that we know what characterized Mesopotamia as a society, let us see how other early civilizations compare. While Mesopotamia was thriving on the Tigris and Euphrates, just southwest in a similar fashion, Egypt was using the Nile River to fuel their civilization. Just as in Mesopotamia, civilization began on the banks of a flowing river. Like Mesopotamia, Egyptians built intricate canals and irrigation systems. One minor difference between the settlements of Mesopotamia and Egypt was the way the cities were organized. While Mesopotamia had large central temples surrounding farms, Egyptian settlements tended to follow the Nile River. This is important to note because as the villages became more numerous and spread out, the need for administration along the way came into existence. The centers or “nomes” boosted the towns in which they were located. Some responsibilities for these nomes were to control irrigation and agriculture, just as the ziggurats of Mesopotamia had. The unification of these nomes happened in a similar way

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