Civilization

Civilization

Overview
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

s that are complex in terms of technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

, science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally urbanized. In a classical context, people were called: "civilized" to set them apart from "Barbarian" people (The Barbarians), while in a modern-day context, "civilized peoples" have been contrasted with "primitive" peoples.

In modern academic discussions however, there is a tendency to use the term in a less strict way, to mean approximately the same thing as "culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

" and therefore, the term can more broadly refer to any important and clearly defined human society, particularly in historical discussions.
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Encyclopedia
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

s that are complex in terms of technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

, science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally urbanized. In a classical context, people were called: "civilized" to set them apart from "Barbarian" people (The Barbarians), while in a modern-day context, "civilized peoples" have been contrasted with "primitive" peoples.

In modern academic discussions however, there is a tendency to use the term in a less strict way, to mean approximately the same thing as "culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

" and therefore, the term can more broadly refer to any important and clearly defined human society, particularly in historical discussions. Still, even when used in this second sense, the word is often restricted to apply only to societies that have attained a particular level of advancement-especially the founding of cities (with the word "city" defined in more than one way).

The level of advancement of a civilization is often measured by its progress in agriculture, long-distance trade, occupational specialization, and urbanism
Urbanism
Broadly, urbanism is a focus on cities and urban areas, their geography, economies, politics, social characteristics, as well as the effects on, and caused by, the built environment.-Philosophy:...

. Aside from these core elements, a civilization is often marked by any combination of a number of secondary elements, including a developed transportation system, writing
Writing
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols . It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and non-symbolic preservation of language via non-textual media, such as magnetic tape audio.Writing most likely...

, standardized measurement, currency
Currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...

, contractual and (tort-based) legal
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 characteristic art, architectural, mathematical, scientific, metallurgy
Metallurgy
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. It is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to their practical use...

, political, and astronomical systems.

Definition


The word civilization comes from the Latin civilis, meaning civil, related to the Latin civis, meaning citizen, and civitas, meaning city or city-state.

In the sixth century, the Byzantine
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

 Emperor Justinian oversaw the consolidation of Roman civil law
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

. The resulting collection is called the Corpus Juris Civilis
Corpus Juris Civilis
The Corpus Juris Civilis is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman Emperor...

. In the 11th century, professors at the University of Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

's first university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

, rediscovered the Corpus Juris Civilis, and its influence began to be felt across bodies. In 1388, the word civil appeared in English meaning "of or related to citizens." In 1704, civilization was used to mean "a law which makes a criminal process into a civil case." Civilization was not used in its modern sense to mean "the opposite of barbarism
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

"—as contrasted to civility, meaning politeness or civil virtue—until the second half of the 18th century.

According to Emile Benveniste
Émile Benveniste
Émile Benveniste was a French Jewish structural linguist, semiotician, an apprentice of Antoine Meilletand his successor, who, in his later years, became enlightened by the structural view of language through the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, although he was unwilling to grasp it at first, being...

 (1954), the earliest written occurrence in English of civilisation in its modern sense may be found in Adam Ferguson
Adam Ferguson
Adam Ferguson FRSE, also known as Ferguson of Raith was a Scottish philosopher, social scientist and historian of the Scottish Enlightenment...

's An Essay on the History of Civil Society (Edinburgh, 1767 - p. 2): "Not only the individual advances from infancy to manhood, but the species itself from rudeness to civilisation."

It should be noted that this usage incorporates the concept of superiority and maturity of "civilized" existence, as contrasted to "rudeness", which is used to denote coarseness, as in a lack of refinement or "civility."

Before Benveniste's inquiries, the New English Dictionary quoted James Boswell
James Boswell
James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck was a lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh, Scotland; he is best known for the biography he wrote of one of his contemporaries, the English literary figure Samuel Johnson....

's conversation with Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson , often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer...

 concerning the inclusion of Civilization in Johnson's dictionary:
Benveniste demonstrated that previous occurrences could be found, which explained the quick adoption of Johnson's definition. In 1775 the dictionary of Ast defined civilization as "the state of being civilized; the act of civilizing", and the term was frequently used by Adam Smith
Adam Smith
Adam Smith was a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations...

 in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Beside Smith and Ferguson, John Millar also used it in 1771 in his Observations concerning the distinction of ranks in society.

The history of the word in English appears to be connected with the parallel development in French, which may be the original source. As the first occurrence of civilization in French was found by Benveniste in the Marquis de Mirabeau's
Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau
Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau was a French revolutionary, as well as a writer, diplomat, freemason, journalist and French politician at the same time. He was a popular orator and statesman. During the French Revolution, he was a moderate, favoring a constitutional monarchy built on...

 L'Ami des hommes ou traité de la population (written in 1756 but published in 1757), Benveniste's query was to know if the English word derived from the French, or if both evolved independently — a question which needed more research. According to him, the word civilization may in fact have been used by Ferguson as soon as 1759.

Furthermore, Benveniste notes that, contrasted to civility, a static term, civilization conveys a sense of dynamism. He thus writes that:
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, both during the French revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, and in English, "civilization" was referred to in the singular
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

, never the plural, because it referred to the progress of humanity as a whole. This is still the case in French. More recently "civilizations" is sometimes used as a synonym for the broader term "cultures" in both popular and academic circles. However, the concepts of civilization and culture are not always considered interchangeable. For example, a small nomadic tribe may be judged not to have a civilization, but it would surely be judged to have a culture (defined as "the arts, customs, habits... beliefs, values, behavior and material habits that constitute a people's way of life").

Civilization is not always seen as an improvement. One historically important distinction between culture and civilization stems from the writings of Rousseau, and particularly his work concerning education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, Emile
Emile: Or, On Education
Émile, or On Education is a treatise on the nature of education and on the nature of man written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who considered it to be the “best and most important of all my writings”. Due to a section of the book entitled “Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar,” Émile was be...

. In this perspective, civilization, being more rational
Rational
Rational may refer to:* Rationality, a concept of reason* Rational number, a number that can be expressed as a ratio of two integers* Rational function, a mathematical function which can be written as the ratio of two polynomial functions...

 and socially driven, is not fully in accordance with human nature
Human nature
Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have naturally....

, and "human wholeness is achievable only through the recovery of or approximation to an original prediscursive or prerational natural unity". (See noble savage
Noble savage
The term noble savage , expresses the concept an idealized indigene, outsider , and refers to the literary stock character of the same...

.) From this notion, a new approach was developed especially in Germany, first by Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried von Herder was a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic. He is associated with the periods of Enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, and Weimar Classicism.-Biography:...

, and later by philosophers such as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. This sees cultures (plural) as natural organisms which are not defined by "conscious, rational, deliberative acts" but rather a kind of pre-rational "folk spirit". Civilization, in contrast, though more rational and more successful concerning material progress, is seen as un-natural, and leads to "vices of social life" such as guile, hypocrisy, envy, and avarice. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss was a political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. He was born in Germany to Jewish parents and later emigrated to the United States...

, having fled Germany, argued in New York that this approach to civilization was behind Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and German militarism
Militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

 and nihilism
Nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...

.

In his book The Philosophy of Civilization, Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer OM was a German theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire...

 outlined the idea that there are dual opinions within society: one regarding civilization as purely material
Materialism
In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance...

 and another regarding civilization as both ethical and material. He stated that the current world crisis was, then in 1923, due to a humanity having lost the ethical conception of civilization. In this same work, he defined civilization, saying that it "is 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."

Characteristics


Social scientists such as V. Gordon Childe 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, settlement patterns, forms of government, social stratification, economic systems, literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

, and other cultural traits.

All civilizations have depended on agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 for subsistence. Growing food on farms results in a surplus of food, particularly when people use intensive agricultural techniques such as irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 and crop rotation
Crop rotation
Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons.Crop rotation confers various benefits to the soil. A traditional element of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of green manure in sequence with cereals...

. Grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

 surpluses have been especially important because they can be stored
Food storage
Food storage is both a traditional domestic skill and is important industrially. Food is stored by almost every human society and by many animals...

 for a long time. A surplus of food permits some people to do things besides produce food for a living: early civilizations included artisan
Artisan
An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

s, priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

s and priestesses, and other people with specialized careers. A surplus of food results in a division of labor 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
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 and perhaps during the Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 Natufian culture
Natufian culture
The Natufian culture was a Mesolithic culture that existed from 12,500 to 9,500 BC in the Levant, a region in the Eastern Mediterranean. It was unusual in that it was sedentary, or semi-sedentary, before the introduction of agriculture...

. It is possible that food surpluses and relatively large scale social organization and division of labor 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 (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

. State societies are more stratified than other societies; there is a greater difference among the social classes. The ruling class
Ruling class
The term ruling class refers to the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political policy - assuming there is one such particular class in the given society....

, normally concentrated in the cities, has control over much of the surplus and exercises its will through the actions of a government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 or bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

. Morton Fried
Morton Fried
Morton Herbert Fried , was a distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University in New York City from 1950 until his death in 1986. He made considerable contributions to the fields of social and political theory.Fried attended Townsend Harris High School and then the City College of New...

, a conflict theorist
Conflict theory
Conflict theories are perspectives in social science that emphasize the social, political or material inequality of a social group, that critique the broad socio-political system, or that otherwise detract from structural functionalism and ideological conservativism...

, and Elman Service
Elman Service
Elman Rogers Service was an American cultural anthropologist.- Biography :He was born on May 18, 1915 in Tecumseh, Michigan and died on November 14, 1996 in Santa Barbara, California. He earned a Bachelors Degree in 1941 from the University of Michigan. He earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from...

, an integration theorist, have classified human cultures based on political systems and social inequality
Social inequality
Social inequality refers to a situation in which individual groups in a society do not have equal social status. Areas of potential social inequality include voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, the extent of property rights and access to education, health care, quality housing and other...

. This system of classification contains four categories:
  • Hunter-gatherer
    Hunter-gatherer
    A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

     bands, which are generally egalitarian
    Egalitarianism
    Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

    .
  • Horticultural
    Horticulture
    Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

    /pastoral
    Pastoralism
    Pastoralism or pastoral farming is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. It may have a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and...

     societies in which there are generally two inherited social classes; chief and commoner.
  • Highly stratified structures, or chiefdom
    Chiefdom
    A chiefdom is a political economy that organizes regional populations through a hierarchy of the chief.In anthropological theory, one model of human social development rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band...

    s, with several inherited social classes: king, noble, freemen, serf and slave.
  • Civilizations, with complex social hierarchies and organized, institutional 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
Ownership
Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/real estate or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties. The concept of ownership has...

 than nomadic people. Some people also acquire landed property
Landed property
Landed property or landed estates is a real estate term that usually refers to a property that generates income for the owner without the owner having to do the actual work of the estate. In Europe, agrarian landed property typically consisted of a manor, several tenant farms, and some privileged...

, or private ownership of the land. Because a percentage of people in civilizations do not grow their own food, they must trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

 their goods and services for food in a market
Market
A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers...

 system, or receive food through the levy of tribute
Tribute
A tribute is wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states, which could be called suzerains, exacted tribute from areas they had conquered or threatened to conquer...

, redistributive taxation, tariffs or tithe
Tithe
A tithe is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to government. Today, tithes are normally voluntary and paid in cash, cheques, or stocks, whereas historically tithes were required and paid in kind, such as agricultural products...

s from the food producing segment of the population. Early civilizations developed money
Money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

 as a medium of exchange for these increasingly complex transactions. To oversimplify, 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 fairly.

Writing
Writing
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols . It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and non-symbolic preservation of language via non-textual media, such as magnetic tape audio.Writing most likely...

, developed first by people in Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

, 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, 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. The Inca civilization of the Andes did not use writing at all, yet it still functioned jolly well as a society.

Aided by their division of labor and central government planning, civilizations have developed many other diverse cultural traits. These include organized religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, development in the arts
ARts
aRts, which stands for analog Real time synthesizer, is an audio framework that is no longer under development. It is best known for previously being used in KDE to simulate an analog synthesizer....

, and countless new advances in science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

.

Through 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 culture
In older anthropology texts and discussions, the term "primitive culture" is used to refer to a society that is believed to lack cultural, technological, or economic sophistication/development...

," 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. Many anthropologists use the term "non-literate" to describe these peoples.

Civilization has been spread by colonization, invasion
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

, religious conversion
Religious conversion
Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

, the extension of bureaucratic control
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

 and trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

, 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.

Cultural identity


"Civilization" can also refer to the culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 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 literature, professional art, architecture, organized religion, and complex customs associated with 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 Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 civilization and its influence on nearby civilizations such as Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

). 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.

Many historians have focused on these broad cultural spheres and have treated civilizations as discrete units. Early twentieth-century philosopher Oswald Spengler
Oswald Spengler
Oswald Manuel Arnold Gottfried Spengler was a German historian and philosopher whose interests also included mathematics, science, and art. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West , published in 1918, which puts forth a cyclical theory of the rise and decline of civilizations...

, uses the German word "Kultur," "culture," for what many call a "civilization". Spengler believes 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
Arnold J. Toynbee
Arnold Joseph Toynbee CH was a British historian whose twelve-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, A Study of History, 1934–1961, was a synthesis of world history, a metahistory based on universal rhythms of rise, flowering and decline, which examined history from a global...

 in the mid-twentieth century. Toynbee explored civilization processes in his multi-volume A Study of History
A Study of History
A Study of History is the 12-volume magnum opus of British historian Arnold J. Toynbee, finished in 1961, in which the author traces the development and decay of all of the major world civilizations in the historical record...

, 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
Samuel P. Huntington
Samuel Phillips Huntington was an influential American political scientist who wrote highly-regarded books in a half-dozen sub-fields of political science, starting in 1957...

 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 below.

Complex systems


Another group of theorists, making use of systems theory
Systems theory
Systems theory is the transdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research...

, looks at a civilization as a complex system
Complex system
A complex system is a system composed of interconnected parts that as a whole exhibit one or more properties not obvious from the properties of the individual parts....

, i.e., a framework by which a group of objects can be analyzed 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 but 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
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

 through Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 sea routes linking the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, Persian Empire, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, 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 world. During the Uruk period
Uruk period
The Uruk period existed from the protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia, following the Ubaid period and succeeded by the Jemdet Nasr period. Named after the Sumerian city of Uruk, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia. It was...

 Guillermo Algaze has argued that trade relations connected Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran and Afghanistan. Resin found later in the Royal Tombs of Ur it is suggested was traded northwards from Mozambique.

Many theorists argue that the entire world has already become integrated into a single "world system", a process known as globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

. 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 has proposed that economic and military-diplomatic integration of the Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

n and Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 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 Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 as the first step in globalization. The more conventional viewpoint is that networks of societies have expanded and shrunk since ancient times, and that the current globalized economy and culture is a product of recent European colonialism.

Future




Political scientist Samuel Huntington
Samuel P. Huntington
Samuel Phillips Huntington was an influential American political scientist who wrote highly-regarded books in a half-dozen sub-fields of political science, starting in 1957...

 has argued that the defining characteristic of the 21st century will be a clash of civilizations
Clash of Civilizations
The Clash of Civilizations is a theory, proposed by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, that people's cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world....

. According to Huntington, conflicts between civilizations will supplant the conflicts between nation-state
Nation-state
The nation state is a state that self-identifies as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity...

s and ideologies that characterized the 19th and 20th centuries. These views have been strongly challenged by others like Edward Said
Edward Said
Edward Wadie Saïd was a Palestinian-American literary theorist and advocate for Palestinian rights. He was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and a founding figure in postcolonialism...

, Muhammed Asadi and Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen, CH is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society's poorest members...

. Ronald Inglehart
Ronald Inglehart
Ronald F. Inglehart is a political scientist at the University of Michigan. He is director of the World Values Survey, a global network of social scientists who have carried out representative national surveys of the publics of over 80 societies on all six inhabited continents, containing 85...

 and Pippa Norris
Pippa Norris
Pippa Norris is the McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor of Government at the University of Sydney...

 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.

Some environmental scientists see the world entering a Planetary Phase of Civilization
Planetary Phase of Civilization
The Planetary Phase of Civilization is a concept defined by the Global Scenario Group , an environmental organization that specializes in scenario analysis and forecasting...

, characterized by a shift away from independent, disconnected nation-states to a world of increased global connectivity with worldwide institutions, environmental challenges, economic systems, and consciousness. In an attempt to better understand what a Planetary Phase of Civilization might look like in the current context of declining natural resources and increasing consumption, the Global scenario group
Global scenario group
The Global Scenario Group was a team of environmental scholars, headed by Paul Raskin, who used scenario analysis to analyze future paths for world development in the face of environmental pressures and crises...

 used scenario analysis
Scenario analysis
Scenario analysis is a process of analyzing possible future events by considering alternative possible outcomes . Thus, the scenario analysis, which is a main method of projections, does not try to show one exact picture of the future. Instead, it presents consciously several alternative future...

 to arrive at three archetypal futures: Barbarization, in which increasing conflicts result in either a fortress world or complete societal breakdown; Conventional Worlds, in which market forces or Policy reform
Policy reform
Policy reform, in addition to its more general meanings, has been used to refer to a future scenario which relies on government action to correct economic market failures and to stimulate the technological investment necessary for sustainable development and the creation of a truly sustainable...

 slowly precipitate more sustainable practices; and a Great Transition, in which either the sum of fragmented Eco-Communalism
Eco-communalism
Eco-communalism is an environmental philosophy based on ideals of simple living, self-sufficiency, sustainability, and local economies. Eco-communalists envision a future in which the economic system of capitalism is replaced with a global web of economically interdependent and interconnected...

 movements add up to a sustainable world or globally coordinated efforts and initiatives result in a new sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 paradigm.

Author Derrick Jensen
Derrick Jensen
Derrick Jensen is an American author and environmental activist living in Crescent City, California. Jensen has published several books questioning and critiquing modern civilization and its values, including A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, and Endgame. He holds a B.S...

 argues that modern civilization is intrinsically directed towards the domination of the environment and humanity itself in a harmful and destructive fashion.

The Kardashev scale
Kardashev scale
The Kardashev scale is a method of measuring an advanced civilization's level of technological advancement. The scale is only theoretical and in terms of an actual civilization highly speculative; however, it puts energy consumption of an entire civilization in a cosmic perspective. It was first...

 classifies civilizations based on their level of technological advancement, specifically measured by the amount of energy a civilization is able to harness. The Kardashev scale makes provisions for civilizations far more technologically advanced than any currently known to exist (see also: Civilizations and the Future, Space civilization).

Fall of civilizations


There have been many explanations put forward for the collapse of civilization. Some focus on historical examples, and others on general theory.
  • Edward Gibbon's
    Edward Gibbon
    Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

    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
    Constantinople
    Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

     to the Ottoman Turks
    Ottoman Turks
    The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

     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.[Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 2nd ed., vol. 4, ed. by J. B. Bury (London, 1909), pp. 173–174.-Chapter XXXVIII: Reign Of Clovis.--Part VI. General Observations On The Fall Of The Roman Empire In The West.]
  • Theodor Mommsen
    Theodor Mommsen
    Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen was a German classical scholar, historian, jurist, journalist, politician, archaeologist, and writer generally regarded as the greatest classicist of the 19th century. His work regarding Roman history is still of fundamental importance for contemporary research...

    in his "History of Rome (Mommsen)
    History of Rome (Mommsen)
    The History of Rome is a multi-volume history of ancient Rome written by Theodor Mommsen . Originally published by Reimer & Hirsel, Leipzig, as three volumes during 1854-1856, the work dealt with the Roman Republic. A subsequent book was issued which concerned the provinces of the Roman Empire...

    ", suggested Rome collapsed with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire
    Western Roman Empire
    The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

     in 476 CE and he also tended towards a biological analogy of "genesis," "growth," "senescence," "collapse" and "decay."
  • Oswald Spengler
    Oswald Spengler
    Oswald Manuel Arnold Gottfried Spengler was a German historian and philosopher whose interests also included mathematics, science, and art. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West , published in 1918, which puts forth a cyclical theory of the rise and decline of civilizations...

    , in his "Decline of the West" rejected Petrarch
    Petrarch
    Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

    '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
    Plutocracy
    Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth. The combination of both plutocracy and oligarchy is called plutarchy. The word plutocracy is derived from the Ancient Greek root ploutos, meaning wealth and kratos, meaning to rule or to govern.-Usage:The term plutocracy is generally...

     and ultimately imperialism
    Imperialism
    Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

    .
  • Arnold J. Toynbee
    Arnold J. Toynbee
    Arnold Joseph Toynbee CH was a British historian whose twelve-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, A Study of History, 1934–1961, was a synthesis of world history, a metahistory based on universal rhythms of rise, flowering and decline, which examined history from a global...

    in his "A Study of History
    A Study of History
    A Study of History is the 12-volume magnum opus of British historian Arnold J. Toynbee, finished in 1961, in which the author traces the development and decay of all of the major world civilizations in the historical record...

    " 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 proletariat
    Proletariat
    The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

    s.
  • Joseph Tainter
    Joseph Tainter
    Joseph A. Tainter is a U.S. anthropologist and historian.Tainter studied anthropology at the University of California and Northwestern University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1975. He is currently a professor in the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University...

    in "The Collapse of Complex Societies
    Societal collapse
    Societal collapse broadly includes both quite abrupt societal failures typified by collapses , as well as more extended gradual declines of superpowers...

    " suggested that there were diminishing returns
    Diminishing returns
    In economics, diminishing returns is the decrease in the marginal output of a production process as the amount of a single factor of production is increased, while the amounts of all other factors of production stay constant.The law of diminishing returns In economics, diminishing returns (also...

     to complexity
    Complexity
    In general usage, complexity tends to be used to characterize something with many parts in intricate arrangement. The study of these complex linkages is the main goal of complex systems theory. In science there are at this time a number of approaches to characterizing complexity, many of which are...

    , 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
    Jared Diamond
    Jared Mason Diamond is an American scientist and author whose work draws from a variety of fields. He is currently Professor of Geography and Physiology at UCLA...

    in his 2005 book "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
    Collapse (book)
    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is a 2005 book by Jared M. Diamond, professor of geography and physiology at University of California, Los Angeles...

    " suggests five major reasons for the collapse of 41 studied cultures: environmental damage, such as deforestation
    Deforestation
    Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

     and soil erosion; climate change
    Climate change
    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

    ; dependence upon long-distance trade
    International trade
    International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories. In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product...

     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
    Peter Turchin
    Peter Turchin is a Russian-American scientist, specializing in population biology and "cliodynamics" — mathematical modeling and statistical analysis of the dynamics of historical societies.- Biography :...

    in his Historical Dynamics and Andrey Korotayev
    Andrey Korotayev
    Andrey Korotayev is an anthropologist, economic historian, and sociologist, with major contributions to world-systems theory, cross-cultural studies, Near Eastern history, and mathematical modeling of social and economic macrodynamics.Education and career=Born in Moscow, Andrey Korotayev attended...

    et al. in their 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 cycle
    Social cycle theory
    Social cycle theories are among the earliest social theories in sociology. Unlike the theory of social evolutionism, which views the evolution of society and human history as progressing in some new, unique direction, sociological cycle theory argues that events and stages of society and history...

     we observe relatively high levels of per capita production and consumption, which leads not only to relatively high population growth
    Population growth
    Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....

     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 overpopulation
    Overpopulation
    Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth...

     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
    Princeton University Press
    -Further reading:* "". Artforum International, 2005.-External links:* * * * *...

    , 2003:121–127).
  • Peter Heather
    Peter Heather
    Peter Heather is a historian of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, currently Professor of Medieval History at King's College London. He has held appointments at University College London and Yale University and was Fellow and Tutor in Medieval History at Worcester College, Oxford until...

    argues in his book 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 much 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
    Han Dynasty
    The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

     and Tang
    Tang Dynasty
    The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

     dynasties of China, to the Muslim Abbasid Caliphate, and others.
  • Bryan Ward-Perkins
    Bryan Ward-Perkins
    Bryan Ward-Perkins is an archaeologist and historian of the later Roman Empire and early Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the transitional period between those two eras, an historical sub-field also known as Late Antiquity. His published work has focused primarily on the urban and economic...

    , in his book The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization, shows the real horrors associated with the collapse of a civilization for the people who suffer its effects, unlike many revisionist historians who downplay this. The collapse of complex society meant that even basic plumbing disappeared from the continent for 1,000 years. Similar Dark Age
    Greek Dark Ages
    The Greek Dark Age or Ages also known as Geometric or Homeric Age are terms which have regularly been used to refer to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the Mycenaean Palatial civilization around 1200 BC, to the first signs of the Greek city-states in the 9th...

     collapses are seen with the Late Bronze Age collapse
    Bronze Age collapse
    The Bronze Age collapse is a transition in southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that some historians believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive...

     in the Eastern Mediterranean, the collapse of the Maya
    Maya civilization
    The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

    , on Easter Island
    Easter Island
    Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian triangle. A special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888, Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapanui people...

     and elsewhere.
  • Arthur Demarest
    Arthur Demarest
    Arthur Andrew Demarest is an American anthropologist and archaeologist, known for his studies of the Maya civilization.-Career:Demarest, a Louisiana Cajun, studied Mesoamerican anthropology and archaeology at Tulane University, where he graduated. In 1981 Demarest was granted his doctorate by...

    argues in Ancient Maya: The Rise and Fall of a Rainforest Civilization, using a holistic perspective to the most recent evidence from archaeology, paleoecology
    Paleoecology
    Paleoecology uses data from fossils and subfossils to reconstruct the ecosystems of the past. It involves the study of fossil organisms and their associated remains, including their life cycle, living interactions, natural environment, and manner of death and burial to reconstruct the...

    , 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
    Thomas Homer-Dixon
    Thomas Homer-Dixon holds the Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario, and is a Professor in the Centre for Environment and Business in the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo...

    in "The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization", considers that the fall in the energy return on investments
    EROEI
    In physics, energy economics and ecological energetics, energy returned on energy invested ; or energy return on investment , is the ratio of the amount of usable energy acquired from a particular energy resource to the amount of energy expended to obtain that energy resource...

    ; 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....

Early civilizations


  • Old Stone Age
  • New Stone Age
    Neolithic
    The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

  • Ancient Near East
    Ancient Near East
    The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia , ancient Egypt, ancient Iran The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia...

    • Mesopotamia
      Mesopotamia
      Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

    • Levant
      Levant
      The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

       / Canaan
      Canaan
      Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

    • Bronze Age Anatolia / Aegean
  • Bronze Age Europe
    Bronze Age Europe
    The European Bronze Age is characterized by bronze artifacts and the use of bronze implements. The regional Bronze Age succeeds the Neolithic, it starts with the Aegean Bronze Age 3200 BC...

  • Bronze Age India
    Bronze Age India
    The Bronze Age in South Asia begins around 3000 BC, and in the end gives rise to the Indus Valley Civilization, which had its mature period between 2600 BC and 1900 BC. It continues into the Rigvedic period, the early part of the Vedic period...

    • Indus Valley Civilization
      Indus Valley Civilization
      The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

  • Bronze Age China

  • Africa
    Africa
    Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

    • Ancient Egypt
      Ancient Egypt
      Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

    • Kush
      Kingdom of Kush
      The native name of the Kingdom was likely kaš, recorded in Egyptian as .The name Kash is probably connected to Cush in the Hebrew Bible , son of Ham ....

    • Axum

  • Pre-Columbian Americas
    • Norte Chico
      Norte Chico civilization
      The Norte Chico civilization was a complex pre-Columbian society that included as many as 30 major population centers in what is now the Norte Chico region of north-central coastal Peru...

       / Caral
      Caral
      Caral was a large settlement in the Supe Valley, near Supe, Barranca province, Peru, some 200 km north of Lima. Caral is the most ancient city of the Americas, and is a well-studied site of the Caral civilization or Norte Chico civilization.- History :...

    • Olmec
      Olmec
      The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

    • Zapotec civilization
      Zapotec civilization
      The Zapotec civilization was an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca of southern Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence shows their culture goes back at least 2500 years...


Antiquity (Axial Age)



Karl Jaspers
Karl Jaspers
Karl Theodor Jaspers was a German psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on modern theology, psychiatry and philosophy. After being trained in and practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted to discover an innovative philosophical system...

, the German historical philosopher, proposed that the ancient civilizations were affected greatly by an Axial Age
Axial Age
German philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the term the axial age or axial period to describe the period from 800 to 200 BC, during which, according to Jaspers, similar revolutionary thinking appeared in India, China and the Occident...

 in the period between 800 BCE-200 BCE during which a series of male sages, prophets, religious reformers and philosophers, from China, India, Iran, Israel and Greece, changed the direction of civilizations forever.
William H. McNeill
William H. McNeill
William Hardy McNeill is an American world historian and author and is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1947.-Biography:...

 proposed that this period of history was one in which culture 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 theorists
World Systems Theory
The world-systems theory is a multidisciplinary, macro-scale approach to world history and social change....

.
  • Mediterranean civilizations of the Classical Period
    Classical Greece
    Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

    • Ancient Greece
      Ancient Greece
      Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

    • Ancient Rome
      Ancient Rome
      Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

    • Hellenistic civilization
      Hellenistic civilization
      Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

  • Middle East
    • Persia
      History of Iran
      The history of Iran has been intertwined with the history of a larger historical region, comprising the area from the Danube River in the west to the Indus River and Jaxartes in the east and from the Caucasus, Caspian Sea, and Aral Sea in the north to the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman and Egypt...

       since the Achaemenids
    • Second Temple Judaism
      Second Temple Judaism
      Second Temple Judaism refers to the religion of Judaism during the Second Temple period, between the construction of the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 515 BCE, and its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE This period witnessed major historical upheavals and significant religious changes that...

  • Ancient India
    Ancient India
    Ancient India may refer to:* The ancient history of India, which generally includes the ancient history of the Asian Subcontinent, including:*Science and technology in ancient India**Indian mathematics**Astronomy**List of Indian inventions...

  • Ancient China (Qin Dynasty
    Qin Dynasty
    The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

    , Han Dynasty
    Han Dynasty
    The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

    )
  • Ancient Nomads (Hun Xiongnu
    Xiongnu
    The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

    , Kok Turk Empire
    Göktürks
    The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

    )

Medieval to Early Modern



  • Christendom
    Christendom
    Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

    • Western Christianity
      Western Christianity
      Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

    • Eastern Christianity
      Eastern Christianity
      Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

  • Islamic World
    • Islamic Golden Age
      Islamic Golden Age
      During the Islamic Golden Age philosophers, scientists and engineers of the Islamic world contributed enormously to technology and culture, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding their own inventions and innovations...

    • Caliphate
      Caliphate
      The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

    • Mongol-Turkish (Ilkhanate
      Ilkhanate
      The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

      , Timurid Empire)
    • Mughal India
    • Ottoman Empire
      Ottoman Empire
      The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

  • Asia
    • Chola Empire, India
    • Pandya Empire, India
    • Chera Kingdom
      Chera dynasty
      Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

      , India
    • Pallava Kingdom
      Pallava
      The Pallava dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which ruled the northern Tamil Nadu region and the southern Andhra Pradesh region with their capital at Kanchipuram...

      , India
    • Tang China
    • Mongol Empire
      Mongol Empire
      The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

       (Yuan)
    • Ming China
    • Feudal Japan
    • Confucian Vietnam
      Vietnam
      Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

  • South East Asia
    • Funan, Chenla
      Chenla
      Chenla is the Chinese designation for Cambodia after the fall of Funan. That name was still used in the 13th century by the Chinese envoy Zhou Daguan, author of the Manners and Customs of Cambodia...

      , Champa
      Champa
      The kingdom of Champa was an Indianized kingdom that controlled what is now southern and central Vietnam from approximately the 7th century through to 1832.The Cham people are remnants...

      , Anghor Cambodia
      Angkor
      Angkor is a region of Cambodia that served as the seat of the Khmer Empire, which flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries. The word Angkor is derived from the Sanskrit nagara , meaning "city"...

    • Dvaravati
      Dvaravati
      The Dvaravati period lasted from the 6th to the 13th centuries. Dvaravati refers to both a culture and a disparate conglomerate of principalities.- History :...

      , Hariphunchai, Sukhothai
      Sukhothai
      Sukhothai may refer to:* Sukhothai , the historic city* Sukhothai Historical Park* Sukhothai Kingdom, the historic Thai kingdom* Sukhothai Province, one of the northern provinces of ThailandSukhothai may also refer to:...

      , Ayutthaya Kingdom
      Ayutthaya kingdom
      Ayutthaya was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1350 to 1767. Ayutthaya was friendly towards foreign traders, including the Chinese, Vietnamese , Indians, Japanese and Persians, and later the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and French, permitting them to set up villages outside the walls of the...

      , pre Modern Thailand
      Thailand
      Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

    • Pagan Burma
      Bagan
      Bagan , formerly Pagan, is an ancient city in the Mandalay Region of Burma. Formally titled Arimaddanapura or Arimaddana and also known as Tambadipa or Tassadessa , it was the capital of several ancient kingdoms in Burma...

    • Chola, Pallava
      Pallava
      The Pallava dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which ruled the northern Tamil Nadu region and the southern Andhra Pradesh region with their capital at Kanchipuram...

      , Sri Vijaya, Sailendra
      Sailendra
      Sailendra is the name of an influential Indonesian dynasty that emerged in 8th century Java.The Sailendras were active promoters of Mahayana Buddhism and covered the Kedu Plain of Central Java with Buddhist monuments, including the world famous Borobudur.The Sailendras are considered to be a...

      , Mataram
      Mataram
      Mataram may refer to:*the region of Central Java*Mataram Kingdom, 570-927, a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom*Mataram Sultanate, c. 1570-1755, an Islamic kingdom which is a protectorate of Dutch East Indies*Mataram , a city on the Indonesian island of Lombok...

       and Majapahit

  • Meso-American civilizations
    • Toltec
      Toltec
      The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology...

    • Kingdom of Cusco
      Kingdom of Cusco
      The Kingdom of Cusco was a small kingdom in the Andes that began as a small city-state founded by the Incas around the 12th century...

      /Inca Empire
      Inca Empire
      The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

    • Aztec civilization
      Aztec
      The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

    • Maya civilization
      Maya civilization
      The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...


  • African civilizations
    • Wagadou
    • Mali Empire
      Mali Empire
      The Mali Empire or Mandingo Empire or Manden Kurufa was a West African empire of the Mandinka from c. 1230 to c. 1600. The empire was founded by Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa I...

    • Songhai Empire
      Songhai Empire
      The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire, was a state located in western Africa. From the early 15th to the late 16th century, Songhai was one of the largest Islamic empires in history. This empire bore the same name as its leading ethnic group, the Songhai. Its capital was the city...

    • Abyssinia
      Ethiopian Empire
      The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia and Eritrea covers, and included in its peripheries Zeila, Djibouti, Yemen and Western Saudi Arabia...

    • Benin Empire
      Benin Empire
      The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial African state in what is now modern Nigeria. It is not to be confused with the modern-day country called Benin, formerly called Dahomey.-Origin:...


Contemporary



  • Western World
    Western world
    The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

    • Europe
      Europe
      Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

    • Anglosphere
      Anglosphere
      Anglosphere is a neologism which refers to those nations with English as the most common language. The term can be used more specifically to refer to those nations which share certain characteristics within their cultures based on a linguistic heritage, through being former British colonies...

    • Latin America
      Latin America
      Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

  • Post-Soviet states
    Post-Soviet states
    The post-Soviet states, also commonly known as the Former Soviet Union or former Soviet republics, are the 15 independent states that split off from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its dissolution in December 1991...

    • Russia
      Russia
      Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

  • Islamic world
    • Arab world
      Arab world
      The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

    • Middle East
      Middle East
      The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

    • North Africa
      North Africa
      North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

  • Eastern world
    Eastern world
    __FORCETOC__The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Eastern Asia or geographically the Eastern Culture...

     / Far East
    Far East
    The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

    • East Asia
      East Asia
      East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

      • Sinosphere
        Sinosphere
        In areal linguistics, Sinosphere refers to a grouping of countries and regions that are currently inhabited with a majority of Chinese population or were historically under Chinese cultural influence...

      • Nomadic (Altaic)
    • South Asia
      South Asia
      South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

    • Southeast Asia
      Southeast Asia
      Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
    Sub-Saharan Africa
    Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...


See also



  • Anarcho-primitivism
    Anarcho-primitivism
    Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. According to anarcho-primitivism, the shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural subsistence gave rise to social stratification, coercion, and alienation...

  • Barbarian
    Barbarian
    Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

  • Civilized core
    Civilized core
    Civilized Core refers to the four advanced civilizations that emerged during the 1st millennium B.C., during the earlier Iron Age after the collapse of the Bronze Age civilizations that preceded them.These were, in order of emergence, the civilizations of...

  • Cradle of civilization
    Cradle of Civilization
    The cradle of civilization is a term referring to any of the possible locations for the emergence of civilization.It is usually applied to the Ancient Near Eastern Chalcolithic , especially in the Fertile Crescent , but also extended to sites in Armenia, and the Persian Plateau, besides other Asian...

  • Culture
    Culture
    Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

  • History of the world
    History of the world
    The history of the world or human history is the history of humanity from the earliest times to the present, in all places on Earth, beginning with the Paleolithic Era. It excludes non-human natural history and geological history, except insofar as the natural world substantially affects human lives...

  • Human population
  • Kardashev scale
    Kardashev scale
    The Kardashev scale is a method of measuring an advanced civilization's level of technological advancement. The scale is only theoretical and in terms of an actual civilization highly speculative; however, it puts energy consumption of an entire civilization in a cosmic perspective. It was first...

  • Mission civilisatrice
  • Muslim world
    Muslim world
    The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

  • Proto-civilization
    Proto-civilization
    Proto-civilisation is the transitional state between a society structured as a collection of tribal chieftains, perhaps owing allegiance to a paramount chief, and the development of a full urban civilisation, in which people live in a graded hierarchy of settlement types perhaps starting with...

  • Western civilization