The Culture of the Early Civilizations

I. Forces That Impacted the Culture of Early Civilizations

In the early civilizations, geography played a big role in the way that people lived. Comparing the culture of Mesopotamia and Egypt, it is evident that the geographical location of the two areas played a big role. The Egyptians had great access to the Nile River which they used for agriculture (Trigger, 2003, p 296).

They therefore worshipped the river as a way of life. The Mesopotamians had no fertile land to the extent that the Egyptians had so they had to rely on technological innovations. They also engaged in a lot of trade in order to obtain goods to fulfil their basic needs.

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In Italy, the good soil attracted the Romans to be agriculturists while the Greek had to be resourceful traders because of the lack of resources. Other forces that affected the culture of early civilizations were outside influences or conquests. Once a country conquered a particular nation during war, the people were forced to practice the culture and even religion of the rulers. The Aryan race invaded the people who used to live along the Indus river.

The Aryans came to the region and imposed their religious and social culture. They instituted the caste system that relied on social stratification in different classes. Movement across the classes was forbidden. The original habitants of the region had a Dravidian culture and language. The Aryans imposed the Sanskrit language and Vedic religion on the captives.

There was also the influence of the Greek culture on the different nations that they conquered. The Greek spread their culture in the South-West Asia and North-East Africa.

Greek culture and language were spread to these regions due to the conquests by Alexander the Great. The spread of the Greek culture during this period, 323 BC to 146 BC is known as the Hellenistic civilization (Walbank, 1993, p 46). The Asian and African cities had Greek colonists from the mother country to enforce the Greek culture.

The religious belief of the people also had a great impact on the culture of the people in the ancient world. The Egyptians believed in the deity feature of their rulers so they built pyramids and tombs for their pharaohs. The pharaoh’s life was to be remembered even after death. Most of the country’s art also showed the importance and god-likeness of the pharaoh. They believed in many gods. Most of their gods were in the form of goddesses. The women therefore had a high status in the society.

II. The Social dynamics in Early Civilization

There were different social structures in ancient civilizations. The people who were deemed to be close to god were esteemed highly. The pharaohs and the women in Egypt were regarded highly.

The priests in India were more important than the kings since they could memorize and sing the Vedus hymns to the gods. In Mesoamerica, the priests were also regarded highly as they were the advisors to the kings and the rulers.

There were slaves and outcasts in the ancient civilizations who were in the lowest classes. These were mostly the people from captured nations, convicts or people with undesirable jobs. Different cultures treated them differently. In India the slaves were despised. However, in the ancient Rome the treatment of slaves was better.

They had a lot of freedom. The culture of the ancient civilizations impacted a lot on the social structures and attitudes in the people. The other people in the society were in the middle classes. These were the traders, peasants, farmers and the craftsmen.

References

Barnes, H. (1982) Revisionism and the Promotion of Peace. The Journal of Historical Review, 3(1), 53-83

Trigger, B (2003). Understanding Early Civilizations. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Walbank, F. (1993) The Hellenistic World. US: Harvard University Press.