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 A civilization (or civilisation) is a
complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concept was formulated by scholars attempting to understand how modern ...
that is characterized by
urban development Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the culture of towns and cities Urban may also refer to: General * Urban (name), a list of people ...
,
social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the ability and activity to recognize shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience of the world (such as Object (philosophy), objects, ev ...
, a form of government, and
symbolic
symbolic
systems of communication (such as
writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area arou ...
). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional characteristics such as
centralization Centralisation or centralization (see spelling differences) is the process by which the activities of an organisation, particularly those regarding planning and decision-making, framing strategy and policies become concentrated within a particu ...
, the
domestication Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that sec ...
of plant and animal species (including humans), specialization of labour, culturally-ingrained ideologies of progress,
monument is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end o ...

monument
al
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''archi ...

architecture
,
taxation A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accord ...
, societal dependence upon
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors suc ...

farming
, and
expansionism In expansionism, states expand their territory through military empire-building or colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and general ...
. Historically, "a civilization" has often been understood as a larger and "more advanced"
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
, in implied contrast to smaller, supposedly less advanced cultures. In this broad sense, a civilization contrasts with non-centralized tribal societies, including the cultures of
nomadic pastoralist Nomadic pastoralism is a form of pastoralism Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, animal fiber, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It inclu ...
s,
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
societies or
hunter-gather A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
ers; however, sometimes it also contrasts with the cultures found within civilizations themselves. Civilizations are organized densely-populated settlements divided into
hierarchical A hierarchy (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) that are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy i ...

hierarchical
social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those soc ...
es with a ruling elite and subordinate urban and rural populations, which engage in
intensive agriculture Intensive agriculture, also known as intensive farming (as opposed to extensive farming Extensive farming or extensive agriculture (as opposed to intensive farming) is an agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultiv ...
,
mining Mining is the extraction of valuable mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occu ...

mining
, small-scale manufacture and
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...

trade
. Civilization concentrates power, extending human control over the rest of nature, including over other human beings. Civilization, as its etymology (see
below Below may refer to: *Earth *Ground (disambiguation) *Soil *Floor *Bottom (disambiguation) *Less than *Temperatures below freezing *Hell or underworld People with the surname *Fred Below (1926–1988), American blues drummer *Fritz von Below (1853 ...
) suggests, is a concept originally associated with
town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares a ...

town
s and cities. The earliest emergence of civilizations is generally connected with the final stages of the
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (Ameri ...
, culminating in the relatively rapid process of
urban revolution In anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, and society, societies, in both the present and past, including Homo, past human species. Social anthropology stu ...
and state-formation, a political development associated with the appearance of a governing elite.


History of the concept

The English word ''civilization'' comes from the 16th-century French ''civilisé'' ("civilized"), from Latin ''civilis'' ("civil"), related to ''civis'' ("citizen") and ''civitas'' ("city"). The fundamental treatise is
Norbert Elias Norbert Elias (; 22 June 1897 – 1 August 1990) was a German sociologist who later became a British citizen. He is especially famous for his theory of civilizing/decivilizing processes. Biography Elias was born on 22 June 1897 in Breslau ...
's '' The Civilizing Process'' (1939), which traces social
mores 300px, A 19th-century children's book informs its readers that the Dutch were a "Protestant work ethic, very industrious race", and that Chinese people, Chinese children were "Filial piety, very obedient to their parents". Mores (, sometimes ; , ...

mores
from medieval courtly society to the
Early Modern period The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, adve ...
. In ''The Philosophy of Civilization'' (1923),
Albert Schweitzer Ludwig Philipp Albert Schweitzer (; 14 January 1875 – 4 September 1965) was an Alsace, Alsatian polymath. He was a theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician. A Lutheran, Schweitzer challenged both the secular ...

Albert Schweitzer
outlines two opinions: one purely
material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, anything that has mass and t ...
and the other material and
ethic Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of min ...
al. He said that the world crisis was from humanity losing the ethical idea of civilization, "the sum total of all progress made by man in every sphere of action and from every point of view in so far as the progress helps towards the spiritual perfecting of individuals as the progress of all progress". Related words like "civility" developed in the mid-16th century. The abstract noun "civilization", meaning "civilized condition", came in the 1760s, again from French. The first known use in French is in 1757, by
Victor de Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau Victor de Riqueti, Marquis de Mirabeau (5 October 1715, Pertuis13 July 1789, Argenteuil Argenteuil () is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property P ...
, and the first use in English is attributed to
Adam Ferguson Adam Ferguson, FRSE Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's national academy of science and Literature, letters, judged to be "eminently distingu ...
, who in his 1767 '' Essay on the History of Civil Society'' wrote, "Not only the individual advances from infancy to manhood but the species itself from rudeness to civilisation".Cited after
Émile Benveniste Émile Benveniste (; 27 May 1902 – 3 October 1976) was a French structural linguist and semiotician. He is best known for his work on Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and south ...
, ''Civilisation. Contribution à l'histoire du mot'' (''Civilisation. Contribution to the history of the word''), 1954, published in ''Problèmes de linguistique générale'',
Éditions Gallimard Éditions Gallimard (; formerly Éditions de la Nouvelle Revue Française (1911–1919) and Librairie Gallimard (1919–1961), is one of the leading French book publishers. In 2003 it and its subsidiaries published 1,418 titles. Founded by Gast ...
, 1966, pp. 336–345 (translated by Mary Elizabeth Meek as ''Problems in general linguistics'', 2 vols., 1971).
The word was therefore opposed to barbarism or rudeness, in the active pursuit of
progress upright=1.14, alt=Painting depicting a woman draped in white robes flying westward across the land with settlers and following her on foot, John Gast, ''American Progress'', Progress is the movement towards a refined, improved, or otherwise de ...
characteristic of the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link= ...
. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, during the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
, "civilization" was used in the
singular Singular may refer to: * Singular, the grammatical number In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verb agreement (linguistics), agreement that expresses count distinctions (such as "one", ...
, never in the plural, and meant the progress of humanity as a whole. This is still the case in French. The use of "civilizations" as a countable noun was in occasional use in the 19th century, but has become much more common in the later 20th century, sometimes just meaning
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
(itself in origin an uncountable noun, made countable in the context of
ethnography Ethnography (from ''ethnos'' "folk, people, nation" and ''grapho'' "I write") is a branch of and the systematic study of individual s. Ethnography explores cultural phenomena from the point of view of the subject of the study. Ethnography ...

ethnography
). Only in this generalized sense does it become possible to speak of a "medieval civilization", which in Elias's sense would have been an oxymoron. Already in the 18th century, civilization was not always seen as an improvement. One historically important distinction between culture and civilization is from the writings of
Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, ; ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Rousseau
, particularly his work about education, '' Emile''. Here, civilization, being more
rational Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογι ...
and socially driven, is not fully in accord with
human nature Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental disposition A disposition is a quality of character, a habit A habit (or wont as a humorous and formal term) is a routine of behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British ...

human nature
, and "human wholeness is achievable only through the recovery of or approximation to an original discursive or prerational natural unity" (see
noble savage#REDIRECT Noble savage A noble savage is a literary stock character who embodies the concept of the indigene, outsider, wild human, an " other" who has not been "corrupted" by civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any comple ...
). From this, a new approach was developed, especially in Germany, first by
Johann Gottfried Herder Johann Gottfried (after 1802, von) Herder (; ; 25 August 174418 December 1803) was a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic. He is associated with the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment, ''Sturm und Drang'', and Weimar Classic ...

Johann Gottfried Herder
and later by philosophers such as and
Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, writer, and philologist Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the ...

Nietzsche
. This sees cultures as natural organisms, not defined by "conscious, rational, deliberative acts", but a kind of pre-rational "folk spirit". Civilization, in contrast, though more rational and more successful in material progress, is unnatural and leads to "vices of social life" such as guile, hypocrisy, envy and avarice. In
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
,
Leo Strauss Leo Strauss (; ; September 20, 1899 – October 18, 1973) was a German-American political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. Born in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 25 ...
, having fled Germany, argued in New York that this opinion of civilization was behind
Nazism Nazism ( ), officially National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about th ...

Nazism
and German
militarism Militarism is the belief or the desire of a government or a people that a state should maintain a strong military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for war ...
and
nihilism Nihilism (; ) is a philosophy, or family of views within philosophy, expressing some form of towards life or towards fundamental concepts such as knowledge, existence, and the meaning of life. Different nihilist positions hold variously th ...
.


Characteristics

Social scientists such as
V. Gordon Childe Vere Gordon Childe (14 April 189219 October 1957) was an Australian archaeologist who specialised in the study of European prehistory. He spent most of his life in the United Kingdom, working as an academic for the University of Edinburgh and the ...
have named a number of traits that distinguish a civilization from other kinds of society. Civilizations have been distinguished by their means of subsistence, types of
livelihood A person's livelihood (derived from ''life-lode'', "way of life"; cf. OG ''lib-leit'') refers to their "means of securing the basic necessities (food, water, shelter and clothing) of life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical ...

livelihood
, settlement patterns,
forms of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government is ...

forms of government
,
social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the ability and activity to recognize shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience of the world (such as Object (philosophy), objects, ev ...
, economic systems,
literacy Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and write Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (p ...
and other cultural traits. Andrew Nikiforuk argues that "civilizations relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities" and considers
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that give ...
to be a common feature of pre-modern civilizations. All civilizations have depended on
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
for subsistence, with the possible exception of some early civilizations in Peru which may have depended upon maritime resources. Grain farms can result in accumulated storage and a surplus of food, particularly when people use intensive agricultural techniques such as artificial
fertilization Fertilisation or fertilization (see American and British English spelling differences#-ise.2C -ize .28-isation.2C -ization.29, spelling differences), also known as generative fertilisation, syngamy and impregnation, is the fusion of gametes ...

fertilization
,
irrigation Irrigation is the agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in seden ...

irrigation
and
crop rotation Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of different types of crop A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crops may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more r ...
. It is possible but more difficult to accumulate horticultural production, and so civilizations based on horticultural gardening have been very rare.
Grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album ...

Grain
surpluses have been especially important because grain can be for a long time. A surplus of food permits some people to do things besides producing food for a living: early civilizations included
soldiers A soldier is a person who is a member of a professional army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the ...

soldiers
,
artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functional or strictly decorative, for example fur ...

artisan
s,
priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social w ...

priest
s and priestesses, and other people with specialized careers. A surplus of food results in a division of labour and a more diverse range of human activity, a defining trait of civilizations. However, in some places hunter-gatherers have had access to food surpluses, such as among some of the indigenous peoples of the
Pacific Northwest The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is a geographic region in western North America bounded by its coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains to the east. Though no official boundary exists, the most common co ...
and perhaps during the
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
Natufian culture The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic (Levant), Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant, dating to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. The culture was unusual in that it supported a Sedentism, sedentary or semi-sedentary pop ...
. It is possible that food surpluses and relatively large scale social organization and division of labour predates plant and animal domestication. Civilizations have distinctly different settlement patterns from other societies. The word "civilization" is sometimes simply defined as "living in cities'''". Non-farmers tend to gather in cities to work and to trade. Compared with other societies, civilizations have a more complex political structure, namely the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
. State societies are more stratified than other societies; there is a greater difference among the social classes. The
ruling class In sociology, the ruling class of a society is the social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government A government is the ...
, normally concentrated in the cities, has control over much of the surplus and exercises its will through the actions of a
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
or
bureaucracy The term bureaucracy () may refer both to a body of non-elected governing officials (bureaucrats A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration of any organization of any size, although the term usually connotes ...

bureaucracy
.
Morton Fried Morton Herbert Fried (March 21, 1923 in Bronx, New York – December 18, 1986 in Leonia, New Jersey Leonia is a borough A borough is an administrative division in various English language, English-speaking countries. In principle, the term ''b ...
, a conflict theorist and
Elman Service Elman Rogers Service (1915–1996) was an American cultural anthropologist Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, ...
, an integration theorist, have classified human cultures based on political systems and
social inequality Social inequality occurs when resources in a given society are distributed unevenly, typically through Norm (social), norms of allocation, that engender specific patterns along lines of socially defined categories of persons. It is the differ ...
. This system of classification contains four categories * ''
Hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
bands'', which are generally
egalitarian Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equality, prioritizing it for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all hu ...
. * ''
Horticultural Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists grow flowers, fruits and nuts, vegetables and herbs, as well as ornamental trees and lawns. ...
/
pastoral A pastoral lifestyle is that of shepherds herd A herd is a social group of certain animals of the same species, either wildness, wild or Domestication, domestic. The form of collective animal behavior associated with this is called ''he ...
societies'' in which there are generally two inherited social classes; chief and commoner. * ''Highly stratified structures'', or
chiefdom A chiefdom is a form of hierarchical political organization in non-industrial societies usually based on kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all soci ...
s, with several inherited social classes: king, noble, freemen, serf and slave. * ''Civilizations'', with complex
social hierarchies A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarch ...
and organized, institutional
governments A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assemb ...

governments
. Economically, civilizations display more complex patterns of ownership and exchange than less organized societies. Living in one place allows people to accumulate more personal possessions than nomadic people. Some people also acquire
landed property In real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real propert ...
, or private ownership of the land. Because a percentage of people in civilizations do not grow their own food, they must
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...

trade
their goods and services for food in a
market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films *Market (1965 film), ''Market'' (1965 ...
system, or receive food through the levy of
tribute A tribute (; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be ...

tribute
, redistributive
taxation A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accord ...
,
tariffs A tariff is a tax imposed by a government of a country or of a supranational union on imports or exports of goods. Besides being a source of revenue for the government, import duties can also be a form of regulation of International trade, forei ...
or
tithe A tithe (; from : ''teogoþa'' "tenth") is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory to government. Today, tithes are normally voluntary and paid in or s, whereas historically tithes were ...
s from the food producing segment of the population. Early human cultures functioned through a
gift economy A gift economy or gift culture is a mode of exchange where Anthropological theories of value, valuables are not sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. Social norms and customs govern giving a gift i ...
supplemented by limited
barter In trade, barter (derived from ''baretor'') is a system of exchange (economics), exchange in which participants in a financial transaction, transaction directly exchange good (economics), goods or service (economics), services for other goods or ...

barter
systems. By the early
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
, contemporary civilizations developed
money Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a ...

money
as a medium of exchange for increasingly complex transactions. In a village, the potter makes a pot for the brewer and the brewer compensates the potter by giving him a certain amount of beer. In a city, the potter may need a new roof, the roofer may need new shoes, the cobbler may need new horseshoes, the blacksmith may need a new coat and the tanner may need a new pot. These people may not be personally acquainted with one another and their needs may not occur all at the same time. A monetary system is a way of organizing these obligations to ensure that they are fulfilled. From the days of the earliest monetarized civilizations, monopolistic controls of monetary systems have benefited the social and political elites. The transition from simpler to more complex economies does not necessarily mean an improvement in the living standards of the populace. For example, although the Middle Ages is often portrayed as an era of decline from the Roman Empire, studies have shown that the average stature of males in the Middle Ages (c. 500 to 1500 CE) was greater than it was for males during the preceding Roman Empire and the succeeding
Early Modern Period The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, adve ...
(c. 1500 to 1800 CE). Also, the
Plains Indians Plains Indians or Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies are the Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America ...
of North America in the 19th century were taller that their "civilized" American and European counterparts. The average stature of a population is a good measurement of the adequacy of its access to necessities, especially food, and its freedom from disease.
Writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area arou ...

Writing
, developed first by people in
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
, is considered a hallmark of civilization and "appears to accompany the rise of complex administrative bureaucracies or the conquest state". Traders and bureaucrats relied on writing to keep accurate records. Like money, the writing was necessitated by the size of the population of a city and the complexity of its commerce among people who are not all personally acquainted with each other. However, writing is not always necessary for civilization, as shown by the
Inca The Inca Empire, also Quechuan and Aymaran spelling shift, known as Incan Empire and the Inka Empire, and at the time known as the Realm of the Four Parts,,  "four parts together" was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The admin ...

Inca
civilization of the Andes, which did not use writing at all but except for a complex recording system consisting of cords and nodes: the "
Quipu Quipu (also spelled khipu) are recording devices fashioned from historically used by a number of cultures in the region of . Knotted strings for collecting data, government management and keeping records were also used by the , and , but ...

Quipu
s", and still functioned as a civilized society. Aided by their division of labour and central government planning, civilizations have developed many other diverse cultural traits. These include organized
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
, development in the
arts The arts refers to the theory, human application and physical expression of creativity Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scienti ...

arts
, and countless new advances in
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
and
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...

technology
. Throughout history, successful civilizations have spread, taking over more and more territory, and assimilating more and more previously-uncivilized people. Nevertheless, some tribes or people remain uncivilized even to this day. These cultures are called by some "
primitive Primitive may refer to: Mathematics * Primitive element (field theory) * Primitive element (finite field) * Primitive cell (crystallography) * Primitive notion, axiomatic systems * Primitive polynomial (disambiguation), one of two concepts * Primit ...
", a term that is regarded by others as pejorative. "Primitive" implies in some way that a culture is "first" (Latin = ''primus''), that it has not changed since the dawn of humanity, though this has been demonstrated not to be true. Specifically, as all of today's cultures are contemporaries, today's so-called primitive cultures are in no way antecedent to those we consider civilized. Anthropologists today use the term " non-literate" to describe these peoples. Civilization has been spread by colonization, imperialism, invasion, religious conversion, the extension of bureaucracy, bureaucratic control and
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...

trade
, and by introducing agriculture and writing to non-literate peoples. Some non-civilized people may willingly adapt to civilized behaviour. But civilization is also spread by the technical, material and social dominance that civilization engenders. Assessments of what level of civilization a polity has reached are based on comparisons of the relative importance of agricultural as opposed to trading or manufacturing capacities, the territorial extensions of its power, the complexity of its division of labor, division of labour, and the carrying capacity of its urbanism, urban centres. Secondary elements include a developed transportation system, writing, standardized measurement, currency, contractual and tort-based legal systems, art, architecture, mathematics, scientific understanding, metallurgy, political structures, and organized religion. Traditionally, polities that managed to achieve notable military, ideological and economic power defined themselves as "civilized" as opposed to other societies or human groupings outside their sphere of influence – calling the latter barbarians, wikt:savages, savages, and primitive culture, primitives.


Cultural identity

"Civilization" can also refer to the
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
of a complex society, not just the society itself. Every society, civilization or not, has a specific set of ideas and customs, and a certain set of manufactures and arts that make it unique. Civilizations tend to develop intricate cultures, including a state (polity), state-based decision making apparatus, a literature, professional art,
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''archi ...

architecture
, organized
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
and complex customs of education, coercion and control associated with maintaining the elite. The intricate culture associated with civilization has a tendency to spread to and influence other cultures, sometimes assimilating them into the civilization (a classic example being China, Chinese civilization and its influence on nearby civilizations such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam). Many civilizations are actually large cultural spheres containing many nations and regions. The civilization in which someone lives is that person's broadest cultural identity. It is precisely the protection of this cultural identity that is becoming increasingly important nationally and internationally. According to international law, the United Nations and UNESCO try to set up and enforce relevant rules. The aim is to preserve the cultural heritage of humanity and also the cultural identity, especially in the case of war and armed conflict. According to Karl von Habsburg, President of Blue Shield International, the destruction of cultural assets is also part of psychological warfare. The target of the attack is often the opponent's cultural identity, which is why symbolic cultural assets become a main target. It is also intended to destroy the particularly sensitive cultural memory (museums, archives, monuments, etc.), the grown cultural diversity, and the economic basis (such as tourism) of a state, region or community. Many historians have focused on these broad cultural spheres and have treated civilizations as discrete units. Early twentieth-century philosopher Oswald Spengler,Spengler, Oswald, ''Decline of the West: Perspectives of World History'' (1919) uses the German word ''Kultur'', "culture", for what many call a "civilization". Spengler believed a civilization's coherence is based on a single primary cultural symbol. Cultures experience cycles of birth, life, decline, and death, often supplanted by a potent new culture, formed around a compelling new cultural symbol. Spengler states civilization is the beginning of the decline of a culture as "the most external and artificial states of which a species of developed humanity is capable". This "unified culture" concept of civilization also influenced the theories of historian Arnold J. Toynbee in the mid-twentieth century. Toynbee explored civilization processes in his multi-volume ''A Study of History'', which traced the rise and, in most cases, the decline of 21 civilizations and five "arrested civilizations". Civilizations generally declined and fell, according to Toynbee, because of the failure of a "creative minority", through moral or religious decline, to meet some important challenge, rather than mere economic or environmental causes. Samuel P. Huntington defines civilization as "the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity people have short of that which distinguishes humans from other species". Huntington's theories about civilizations are discussed Civilization#Future, below.


Complex systems

Another group of theorists, making use of systems theory, looks at a civilization as a complex system, i.e., a framework by which a group of objects can be analysed that work in concert to produce some result. Civilizations can be seen as networks of cities that emerge from pre-urban cultures and are defined by the economic, political, military, diplomatic, social and cultural interactions among them. Any organization is a complex social system and a civilization is a large organization. Systems theory helps guard against superficial and misleading analogies in the study and description of civilizations. Systems theorists look at many types of relations between cities, including economic relations, cultural exchanges and political/diplomatic/military relations. These spheres often occur on different scales. For example, trade networks were, until the nineteenth century, much larger than either cultural spheres or political spheres. Extensive trade routes, including the Silk Road through Central Asia and Indian Ocean sea routes linking the Roman Empire, History of Iran, Persian Empire, India and China, were well established 2000 years ago when these civilizations scarcely shared any political, diplomatic, military, or cultural relations. The first evidence of such long-distance trade is in the Ancient history, ancient world. During the Uruk period, Guillermo Algaze has argued that trade relations connected Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran and Afghanistan. Resin found later in the Royal Cemetery at Ur is suggested was traded northwards from Mozambique. Many theorists argue that the entire world has already become integrated into a single "world-system theory, world system", a process known as globalization. Different civilizations and societies all over the globe are economically, politically, and even culturally interdependent in many ways. There is debate over when this integration began, and what sort of integration – cultural, technological, economic, political, or military-diplomatic – is the key indicator in determining the extent of a civilization. David Wilkinson (political scientist), David Wilkinson has proposed that economic and military-diplomatic integration of the Mesopotamian and Ancient Egypt, Egyptian civilizations resulted in the creation of what he calls the "Central Civilization" around 1500 BCE. Central Civilization later expanded to include the entire Middle East and Europe, and then expanded to a global scale with European colonization, integrating the Americas, Australia, China and Japan by the nineteenth century. According to Wilkinson, civilizations can be culturally heterogeneous, like the Central Civilization, or homogeneous, like the Japanese civilization. What Huntington calls the "clash of civilizations" might be characterized by Wilkinson as a clash of cultural spheres within a single global civilization. Others point to the Crusading movement as the first step in globalization. The more conventional viewpoint is that networks of societies have expanded and shrunk since Ancient history, ancient times, and that the current globalized economy and culture is a product of recent European colonialism.


History

The notion of world history as a succession of "civilizations" is an entirely modern one. In the European Age of Discovery, emerging Modernity was put into stark contrast with the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
and
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
stage of the cultures of many of the peoples they encountered. The term "civilization" as it is now most commonly understood, a complex state with centralization, social stratification and specialization of labour, corresponds to early empires that arise in the Fertile Crescent in the Early Bronze Age, around roughly 3000 BC. Gordon Childe defined the emergence of civilization as the result of two successive revolutions: the
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (Ameri ...
, triggering the development of settled communities, and the Urban Revolution.


Urban Revolution

At first, the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
was associated with shifting subsistence cultivation, where continuous farming led to the depletion of soil fertility resulting in the requirement to cultivate fields further and further removed from the settlement, eventually compelling the settlement itself to move. In major semi-arid river valleys, annual flooding renewed soil fertility every year, with the result that population densities could rise significantly. This encouraged a secondary products revolution in which people used domesticated animals not just for meat, but also for milk, wool, manure and pulling ploughs and carts – a development that spread through the Eurasian Oecumene. The earlier neolithic technology and lifestyle were established first in Western Asia (for example at Göbekli Tepe, from about 9,130 BCE), and later in the Yellow River and Yangtze basins in China (for example the Pengtoushan culture from 7,500 BCE), and later spread. Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BCE, with civilizations developing from 6,500 years ago. This area has been identified as having "inspired some of the most important developments in human history including the invention of the wheel, the planting of the first cereal crops and the development of the cursive script". Similar pre-civilized "neolithic revolutions" also began independently from 7,000 BCE in northwestern South America (the Norte Chico civilization) and Mesoamerica. The 8.2 kiloyear event, 8.2 Kiloyear Arid Event and the 5.9 kiloyear event, 5.9 Kiloyear Interpluvial saw the drying out of semiarid regions and a major spread of deserts. This climate change shifted the cost-benefit ratio of endemic warfare, endemic violence between communities, which saw the abandonment of unwalled village communities and the appearance of walled cities, associated with the first civilizations. This "
urban revolution In anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, and society, societies, in both the present and past, including Homo, past human species. Social anthropology stu ...
" marked the beginning of the accumulation of transferable surpluses, which helped economies and cities develop. It was associated with the state monopoly of violence, the appearance of a soldier class and endemic warfare, the rapid development of hierarchies, and the appearance of human sacrifice. The civilized urban revolution in turn was dependent upon the development of sedentism, the
domestication Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that sec ...
of grains, plants and animals, the permanence of human settlement, settlements and development of Lifestyle (sociology), lifestyles that facilitated economies of scale and accumulation of surplus production by certain social sectors. The transition from ''complex cultures'' to ''civilizations'', while still disputed, seems to be associated with the development of state structures, in which power was further monopolized by an elite ruling class who practiced human sacrifice. Towards the end of the Neolithic period, various elitist Chalcolithic civilizations began to rise in various Cradle of civilization, "cradles" from around 3300 BCE, expanding into large-scale empires in the course of the Bronze Age (Old Kingdom of Egypt, Akkadian Empire, Assyrian Empire, Old Assyrian Empire, Hittite Empire). A parallel development took place independently in the Pre-Columbian Americas. Urbanization in the Norte Chico civilization in coastal Peru emerged about 3200 BCE; the oldest known Mayan civilization, Mayan city, located in Guatemala, dates to about 750 BCE. and Teotihuacan in Mexico was one of the largest cities in the world in 350 CE with a population of about 125,000.


Axial Age

The Bronze Age collapse was followed by the Iron Age around 1200 BCE, during which a number of new civilizations emerged, culminating in a period from the 8th to the 3rd century BCE which Karl Jaspers termed the Axial Age, presented as a critical transitional phase leading to Classical antiquity, classical civilization. William Hardy McNeill proposed that this period of history was one in which cultural contact between previously separate civilizations saw the "closure of the oecumene" and led to accelerated social change from China to the Mediterranean, associated with the spread of coinage, larger empires and new religions. This view has recently been championed by Christopher Chase-Dunn and other world systems theory, world systems theorists.


Modernity

A major technological and cultural transition to modernity began approximately 1500 CE in Western Europe, and from this beginning new approaches to
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
and law spread rapidly around the world, incorporating earlier cultures into the technological and industrial society of the present.


Fall of civilizations

Civilizations are traditionally understood as ending in one of two ways; either through incorporation into another expanding civilization (e.g. As Ancient Egypt was incorporated into Hellenistic Greek, and subsequently Roman civilizations), or by collapsing and reverting to a simpler form of living, as happens in so-called Dark Ages. There have been many explanations put forward for the collapse of civilization. Some focus on historical examples, and others on general theory. * Ibn Khaldūn's ''Muqaddimah'' influenced theories of the analysis, growth and decline of the Islamic civilization. He suggested repeated invasions from nomadic peoples limited development and led to social collapse. * Edward Gibbon's work ''The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'' was a well-known and detailed analysis of the fall of Roman civilization. Gibbon suggested the final act of the collapse of Rome was the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 CE. For Gibbon, "The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the cause of the destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and, as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight. The story of the ruin is simple and obvious; and instead of inquiring why the Roman Empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it has subsisted for so long". * Theodor Mommsen in his ''History of Rome (Mommsen), History of Rome'' suggested Rome collapsed with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 CE and he also tended towards a biological analogy of "genesis", "growth", "senescence", "collapse" and "decay". * Oswald Spengler, in his ''Decline of the West'' rejected Petrarch's chronological division, and suggested that there had been only eight "mature civilizations". Growing cultures, he argued, tend to develop into imperialistic civilizations, which expand and ultimately collapse, with democratic forms of government ushering in plutocracy and ultimately imperialism. * Arnold J. Toynbee in his ''A Study of History'' suggested that there had been a much larger number of civilizations, including a small number of arrested civilizations, and that all civilizations tended to go through the cycle identified by Mommsen. The cause of the fall of a civilization occurred when a cultural elite became a parasitic elite, leading to the rise of internal and external proletariats. * Joseph Tainter in ''Societal collapse, The Collapse of Complex Societies'' suggested that there were diminishing returns to complexity, due to which, as states achieved a maximum permissible complexity, they would decline when further increases actually produced a negative return. Tainter suggested that Rome achieved this figure in the 2nd century CE. * Jared Diamond in his 2005 book ''Collapse (book), Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed'' suggests five major reasons for the collapse of 41 studied cultures: environmental damage, such as deforestation and soil erosion; Climate variability and change, climate change; dependence upon international trade, long-distance trade for needed resources; increasing levels of internal and external violence, such as war or invasion; and societal responses to internal and environmental problems. * Peter Turchin in hi
''Historical Dynamics''
and Andrey Korotayev ''et al.'' in thei
''Introduction to Social Macrodynamics, Secular Cycles, and Millennial Trends''
suggest a number of mathematical models describing collapse of agrarian civilizations. For example, the basic logic of Turchin's "fiscal-demographic" model can be outlined as follows: during the initial phase of a sociodemographic Social cycle theory, cycle we observe relatively high levels of per capita production and consumption, which leads not only to relatively high population growth rates, but also to relatively high rates of surplus production. As a result, during this phase the population can afford to pay taxes without great problems, the taxes are quite easily collectible, and the population growth is accompanied by the growth of state revenues. During the intermediate phase, the increasing population growth leads to the decrease of per capita production and consumption levels, it becomes more and more difficult to collect taxes, and state revenues stop growing, whereas the state expenditures grow due to the growth of the population controlled by the state. As a result, during this phase the state starts experiencing considerable fiscal problems. During the final pre-collapse phases the overpopulation leads to further decrease of per capita production, the surplus production further decreases, state revenues shrink, but the state needs more and more resources to control the growing (though with lower and lower rates) population. Eventually this leads to famines, epidemics, state breakdown, and demographic and civilization collapse (Peter Turchin. ''Historical Dynamics''. Princeton University Press, 2003:121–127; Andrey Korotayev et al
Secular Cycles and Millennial Trends. Moscow: Russian Academy of Sciences, 2006
. * Peter Heather argues in his book ''Decline of the Roman Empire#Peter Heather, The Fall of the Roman Empire: a New History of Rome and the Barbarians'' that this civilization did not end for moral or economic reasons, but because centuries of contact with barbarians across the frontier generated its own nemesis by making them a more sophisticated and dangerous adversary. The fact that Rome needed to generate ever greater revenues to equip and re-equip armies that were for the first time repeatedly defeated in the field, led to the dismemberment of the Empire. Although this argument is specific to Rome, it can also be applied to the Asiatic Empire of the Egyptians, to the Han Dynasty, Han and Tang dynasty, Tang dynasties of China, to the Muslim Abbasid Caliphate and others. * Bryan Ward-Perkins, in his book ''The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization'', argues from mostly archaeological evidence that the collapse of Roman civilization in western Europe had deleterious impacts on the living standards of the population, unlike some historians who downplay this. The collapse of complex society meant that even basic plumbing for the elite disappeared from the continent for 1,000 years. Similar impacts have been postulated for the Greek dark ages, Dark Age after the Late Bronze Age collapse in the Eastern Mediterranean, the collapse of the Maya civilization, Maya, on Easter Island and elsewhere. * Arthur Demarest argues in ''Ancient Maya: The Rise and Fall of a Rainforest Civilization'', using a holistic perspective to the most recent evidence from archeology, paleoecology, and epigraphy, that no one explanation is sufficient but that a series of erratic, complex events, including loss of soil fertility, drought and rising levels of internal and external violence led to the disintegration of the courts of Mayan kingdoms, which began a spiral of decline and decay. He argues that the collapse of the Maya has lessons for civilization today. * Jeffrey A. McNeely has recently suggested that "a review of historical evidence shows that past civilizations have tended to over-exploit their forests, and that such abuse of important resources has been a significant factor in the decline of the over-exploiting society". * Thomas Homer-Dixon i
''The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization''
where he considers that the fall in the EROEI, energy return on investments. The energy expended to energy yield ratio is central to limiting the survival of civilizations. The degree of social complexity is associated strongly, he suggests, with the amount of disposable energy environmental, economic and technological systems allow. When this amount decreases civilizations either have to access new energy sources or they will collapse. * Feliks Koneczny in his work "On the Plurality of Civilizations" calls his study the science on civilizations. Civilizations fall not because they must or there exist some cyclical or a "biological" life span. There still exist two ancient civilizations – Brahmin-Hindu and Chinese – which are not ready to fall any time soon. Koneczny claimed that civilizations cannot be mixed into hybrids, an inferior civilization when given equal rights within a highly developed civilization will overcome it. One of Koneczny's claims in his study on civilizations is that "a person cannot be civilized in two or more ways" without falling into what he calls an "abcivilized state" (as in abnormal). He also stated that when two or more civilizations exist next to one another and as long as they are vital, they will be in an existential combat imposing its own "method of organizing social life" upon the other. Absorbing alien "method of organizing social life" that is civilization and giving it equal rights yields a process of decay and decomposition.


Future

Political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, Samuel Huntington has argued that the defining characteristic of the 21st century will be a clash of civilizations. According to Huntington, conflicts between civilizations will supplant the conflicts between nation-states and ideologies that characterized the 19th and 20th centuries. These views have been strongly challenged by others like Edward Said, Muhammed Asadi and Amartya Sen. Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris have argued that the "true clash of civilizations" between the Muslim world and the West is caused by the Muslim rejection of the West's more liberal sexual values, rather than a difference in political ideology, although they note that this lack of tolerance is likely to lead to an eventual rejection of (true) democracy. In ''Identity and Violence'' Sen questions if people should be divided along the lines of a supposed "civilization", defined by religion and culture only. He argues that this ignores the many others identities that make up people and leads to a focus on differences. Cultural Historian Morris Berman suggests in ''Dark Ages America: the End of Empire'' that in the corporate consumerist United States, the very factors that once propelled it to greatness―extreme individualism, territorial and economic expansion, and the pursuit of material wealth―have pushed the United States across a critical threshold where collapse is inevitable. Politically associated with over-reach, and as a result of the environmental exhaustion and polarization of wealth between rich and poor, he concludes the current system is fast arriving at a situation where continuation of the existing system saddled with huge deficits and a hollowed-out economy is physically, socially, economically and politically impossible. Although developed in much more depth, Berman's thesis is similar in some ways to that of Urban Planner, Jane Jacobs who argues that the five pillars of United States culture are in serious decay: community and family; higher education; the effective practice of science; taxation and government; and the self-regulation of the learned professions. The corrosion of these pillars, Jacobs argues, is linked to societal ills such as environmental crisis, racism and the growing gulf between rich and poor. Cultural critic and author Derrick Jensen argues that modern civilization is directed towards the domination of the environment and humanity itself in an intrinsically harmful, unsustainable, and self-destructive fashion. Defending his definition both linguistically and historically, he defines civilization as "a culture... that both leads to and emerges from the growth of cities", with "cities" defined as "people living more or less permanently in one place in densities high enough to require the routine importation of food and other necessities of life". This need for civilizations to import ever more resources, he argues, stems from their over-exploitation and diminution of their own local resources. Therefore, civilizations inherently adopt imperialist and expansionist policies and, to maintain these, highly militarized, hierarchically structured, and coercion-based cultures and lifestyles. The Kardashev scale classifies civilizations based on their level of technological advancement, specifically measured by the amount of energy a civilization is able to harness. The scale is only hypothetical, but it puts energy consumption in a cosmic perspective. The Kardashev scale makes provisions for civilizations far more technologically advanced than any currently known to exist. File:All Gizah Pyramids.jpg, The Giza pyramid complex, pyramids of Giza are among the most recognizable symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt. File:Acropolis Athens in 2004.jpg, The Acropolis of Athens, Acropolis in Greece, directly influencing architecture and engineering in Western world, Western, Muslim world#Classical culture, Islamic and Eastern world, Eastern civilizations up to the present day, 2400 years after construction. File:Gate_of_All_Nations,_Persepolis.jpg, The Persepolis in Iran: Pictures of the Gate of All Nations, the main entrance for all representatives of other nations and states. Persepolis appears to have been a grand ceremonial complex, that it was especially used for celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, in 515 BC. File:Baalbek-Bacchus.jpg, The Temples of Baalbek in Lebanon show us the religious and architectural styles of some of the world's most influential civilizations including the Phoenicians, Babylonians, Persian people, Persians, Greeks, Ancient Rome, Romans, Byzantine Empire, Byzantines and Arabs. File:ForumRomanumBuildings 2.jpg, The Roman Forum in Rome, Italy, the political, economic, cultural and religious center of the Ancient Rome civilization, during the Roman Republic, Republic and later Roman Empire, Empire, its ruins still visible today in modern-day Rome. File:Ziggarat of Ur 001.jpg, The Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq. Ziggurats are iconic monuments of ancient Mesopotamian civilization, which developed the first true cities in the world and influenced numerous kingdoms and empires in the Near East and the Mediterranean in domains such as
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''archi ...

architecture
,
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
,
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...

trade
, artisanry, writing, law, and mathematics. File:The Great Wall of China at Jinshanling-edit.jpg, While the Great Wall of China was built to protect Ancient Chinese states and Imperial China, empires against the raids and invasions of nomadic groups, over thousands of years History of China, the region of China was also home to many influential civilizations. File:Hampi virupaksha temple.jpg, Virupaksha Temple at Hampi in India. History of India, The region of India is home and center to major religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism and has influenced other cultures and civilizations, particularly in Asia. File:Machu Picchu, Peru.jpg, Machu Picchu in Peru is the most recognizable symbol of the History of the Incas, Inca civilization in the Andean mountains. One of the New7Wonders of the World. File:Chichen Itza 3.jpg, El Castillo, Chichen Itza, El Castillo, at Chichen Itza. The Maya civilization is noted for its Maya script, logosyllabic script—the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in Pre-Columbian era, pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its Maya art, art, Maya architecture, architecture, Maya numerals, mathematics, Maya calendar, calendar, and Maya astronomy, astronomical system. File:Notre-Dame de Paris from the Pont de l'Archevêché by Night.jpg, Notre-Dame de Paris in Paris, France is among the most recognizable symbols of the civilization of Christendom. Western civilization is most strongly influenced by the Greco-Roman and Christian culture, Christian cultures. Christianity has played a Role of Christianity in civilization, prominent role in the History of Western civilization, shaping of Western civilization.Caltron J.H Hayas, ''Christianity and Western Civilization'' (1953), Stanford University Press, p. 2: That certain distinctive features of our Western civilization—the civilization of western Europe and of America—have been shaped chiefly by Judaeo–Graeco–Christianity, Catholic and Protestant. File:Hagia Sophia Mars 2013.jpg, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. An architectural and cultural icon of Byzantine culture, Byzantine and Eastern Orthodox Culture, Eastern Orthodox civilization.. Its influence, both architecturally and liturgically, was widespread and enduring in the Eastern Christianity, Western Christianity, and Ottoman architecture. Represents the legacy of the Byzantine Empire one of the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe,. noted for its Byzantine art, art, Byzantine architecture, architecture, Byzantine science, science, Byzantine medicine, medicine, and Byzantine law, law. File:Baghdad 150 to 300 AH.png, The Round city of Baghdad was founded by caliph Al-Mansur in 762–766 CE as the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, setting the stage for the Islamic Golden Age beginning with the subsequent construction of the House of Wisdom. It is the fabled city in One Thousand and One Nights. File:Panoramic views of Borobudur.jpg, Borobudur in Indonesia is the world's largest Buddhist monument and represents the Javanese people , Javanese and Malay (ethnic group), Malay empire of Srivijaya, a prominent thalassocracy, seaborne civilization and center of scholarship whose religious, cultural, political, and economic influence spread throughout Southeast Asia and into History of China , China, History of India , India, Tibet, and Korea. File:St. Basil Cathedral.jpg, Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow; the most popular icon of Russian civilization. Russian civilization has had a considerable influence on Cross-cultural studies, global culture, it also has a rich material culture and a Timeline of Russian inventions and technology records, tradition in science and technology. File:Ankor Wat temple.jpg, Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the largest religious structure ever constructed in human history and represents the legacy of the Khmer Empire, one of the most influential civilizations of Southeast Asia and home to the world's Angkor, biggest preindustrial city by area. Nineveh - Mashki Gate.jpg, Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, the Assyrian civilization noted for its Assyrian sculpture, sculpture, Architecture of Mesopotamia, architecture, Assyrian literature, literature, Assyrian law, law and Assyrian astronomy, astronomy. Modern Assyrian people, Assyrians are Syriac Christianity, Syriac Christians who Assyrian continuity, claim descent from Assyria, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, dating back to 2500 BC in ancient Mesopotamia. Lalibela, san giorgio, esterno 24.jpg, Lalibela churches; among the most popular icon of Ethiopia, and represents the legacy of the Kingdom of Aksum, a Classical African civilization.


Non-human civilizations

The current scientific consensus is that human beings are the only animal species with the cognitive ability to create civilizations that has emerged on Earth. A recent thought experiment, the silurian hypothesis, however, considers whether it would "be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record" given the paucity of geological information about eras before the quaternary. Astronomers speculate about the existence of communicating intelligent civilizations within and beyond the Milky Way galaxy, usually using variants of the Drake equation. They also conduct Search for extraterrestrial intelligence, searches for such intelligences – such as for technological traces, called "technosignatures". The proposed proto-scientific field "xenoarchaeology" is concerned with the study of artifact remains of non-human civilizations to reconstruct and interpret past lives of alien societies if such get discovered and confirmed scientifically.


See also


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *# ''From the Earliest Times to the Battle of Lepanto''. (1987 reprint). *# ''From the Defeat of the Spanish Armada to the Battle of Waterloo''. (1987 reprint). *# ''From the American Civil War to the End of World War II''. (1987 reprint). * * * * * * * * * Andrey Korotayev, Korotayev, Andrey, ''World Religions and Social Evolution of the Old World Oikumene Civilizations: A Cross-Cultural Perspective''. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2004. * Nikolay Kradin, Kradin, Nikolay. Archaeological Criteria of Civilization. ''Social Evolution & History'', Vol. 5, No 1 (2006): 89–108. . * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

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BBC on civilization

Top 10 oldest civilizations
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