History of Civilizations. Etymologically, the word “civilization” indirectly derives from the Latin civis (citizen) through civil and civilize. Civilizations refer not only to cultural, ethical or other values that sustain society, but also to systems or mechanisms for organizing it.
They have, therefore, to do with culture and education, but also, and to a large extent, with power. Each civilization is a cultural entity that brings together a more or less conscious sense of unity, and that brings together several different nations and peoples.
Then we will take a tour of the history of the most important civilizations in our history.
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This event did not represent the first period of foreign domination, but it was the one that led to a gradual transformation in the political and religious life of the Nile Valley, marking the end of the independent development of its culture.
His cultural identity had begun to gradually dilute after the conquests of the kings of Babylon (6th century BC) and Macedonia (4th century BC), disappearing their religion with the arrival of Christianity, in the time of Justinian I , when in 535 the cult of the goddess Isis was prohibited, in the temple of File.
The inhabitants of ancient Greece called themselves Hellenes, and their land, Greece, called it the Hellade. The territory of ancient Greece coincides approximately with the current one, but to complete the Hellenic world it is necessary to add the Aegean coasts of Asia Minor, as well as those of southern Italy and the island of Sicily.
Greek history and culture are closely related to the landscape. Continental Greece is practically a mountain range that sinks into the Aegean Sea, whose numerous islands are nothing more than the tops of this submerged mountain range.
This phenomenon has given rise to very short and steep coastal lines, with abundant peninsulas and small nearby islands, as well as closed inner valleys and difficult to access. The plains, on the other hand, are scarce and small in size.
The link between these different areas is the sea, the link between the different territories and the expansion factor of the Greek world. The shortage of fertile land will force the ancient Greek to seek new lands that feed the surplus population. Hence the commercial vocation of the Hellenic people or the colonization of new territories, which will characterize ancient Greece. One of the most important civilizations.
Hellenic Cultural Legacy – Civilizations
But the Greek landscape, being important, does not help by itself to explain the wonderful Hellenic cultural legacy. Rationalism as an attitude towards life. The consideration of man as a measure of all things, the love of beauty and a high aesthetic sense or democracy as a political system. They are spiritual values present in our world. “I think it is fair to favor the people in general to the detriment of the nobles and the rich, because it is the people who, by giving men for the navy and commerce, constitute the force of Athens.”
Consequently, it is fair to participate in the positions that depend on an election, ”said Xenophon in the fourth century. These values, undoubtedly a recognizable debt with the Greek world, do not arise suddenly, but are the fruit of evolution of almost 3,000 years.
During these three millennia, different towns populated the lands of the Hélade. From the year 3000 BC, when the Neolithic period ends, until 1100 before our Era. The Bronze Age develops. At this stage three great cultures emerge successively. The first, the Cycladic, has as its main characteristic the development of a flourishing trade.
Much more important will be the Minoan culture, whose core is the island of Crete. Around 1900 BC there are great palaces in Cnosós and Festo. Imposing royal residences with hundreds of rooms, some of them beautifully decorated with bright and colorful frescoes. Cretan palaces signal the emergence of absolute power. Economically supported by intense commercial activity, based on the exchange of sumptuous handicrafts.
Rome and its Empire
According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 BC by the twins Romulus and Remus, who had been breastfed by a wolf. Rome stood on the banks of the Tiber, at a point where the river narrows. Seated on the Palatine hill, it was a place of passage for commercial routes such as the Via Salaria and other roads.
In its origin, Rome was a village of shepherds from the Albanos and Sabinos mountains. In just over 200 years, the Romans will be able to free themselves from the Etruscans. Little by little they will begin their expansion, first along the Tyrrhenian coast; later occupying all of central Italy and finally taking Magna Grecia.
Periods of Roman civilization
In the History of Rome there are three major periods: Monarchy, Republic and Empire.
The Monarchy extends from the eighth century until the end of the sixth century BC. Time of strong Etruscan influence, the Roman State arises and a new political system is created.
In 509 BC the Romans, free of the Etruscan yoke, instituted the Republic. In the third century, once the unity of Italy was achieved, the expansion of the Roman state through the Mediterranean begins, in which the Romans must defeat their great rival, Carthage, in the so-called Punic wars. The first one, between the years 264 and 241 BC, is settled with the passage at Roman hands of the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily.
In the Second Punic War, the Carthaginian Hannibal will defeat the Romans in Ticino, Trebia, Trasimeno and Cannas. In response, Publio Cornelio Escipión left in the direction of Hispania and defeated the Carthaginians in Ilipa. With the battle of Zama, in 202, Rome will defeat its main enemy, becoming the first power of the Mediterranean.
In Republican Rome, the Forum was the center of political and public life. Crossed by the Maximum Sewer, which poured its waters into the Tiber, nearby was the temple of Vesta, in which the priestesses were to keep the sacred fire. In the republican period, in addition, other important temples were built.
The great figure of Republican Rome will be Cayo Julio César. In the year 59 BC César conquers the Gaul, beginning a period of expansion that will cause Rome, at his death in 44 BC, to control practically the entire Mediterranean, from Hispania to Syria. The Roman army, the most powerful of the moment, brings its fearsome legions to the farthest points of the Mediterranean. Their camps are established in the provinces under control and manage to impose the power of Rome throughout the territory.
Between 1500 BC and 1500 AD it takes place in the two major cultural areas, Mesoamerica and the Andean area, the most important in indigenous America from an artistic and cultural point of view.
This evolution is traditionally divided into three stages. In the first, which reaches the beginning of the Christian era, we must highlight the village cultures that are located in the valley of Mexico, on the one hand, and in the Guayas river basin and the immediate Pacific coast, on the other. The manufacture of ritual figurines is its main characteristic. On the other hand, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and the Callejón del Huaylas, in Peru, the first two American civilizations emerge almost simultaneously: the Olmec, in Mexico, and the Chavin, in Peru.
The classical stage, which covers approximately between the third and eleventh centuries, is the moment of greatest artistic and cultural splendor. In Mesoamerica, the Teotihuacan civilization emerges in central Mexico, the Zapotec in the Oaxaca Valley and the Maya in the Usumacinta and Motagua rivers basin, in the Petén region, in Guatemala.
Andean classicism is embodied in civilizations such as Mochica and Nazca, on the Peruvian coast; and the civilization of Tiahuanaco, in the region of Lake Titicaca.
Finally, the postclassic period reaches approximately 1500, characterized by the rise of militarism and the increased power of merchants. This period is represented in Mesoamerica by the Toltec civilizations, in central Mexico, and Maya-Toltec, in the south. These facilitate the development of the later Aztec empire. Meanwhile, in the Andean area, the Wari, Chimú or Ica cultures will culminate in the Inca empire.