Ancient civilizations laid the foundation for all subsequent civilizations in the world. Modern art, architecture, literature, law, and culture can be traced directly to ancient cultures that once flourished in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Some ancient civilizations developed in relative isolation, while others were dependent on earlier cultures.
The world’s oldest urban civilization emerged in Mesopotamia, located in present-day Iraq between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The ancient Sumerians were the first people to build cities, develop writing, and create sophisticated works of art. They were also the inventors of mathematics and astronomy. Ancient Sumer existed from about 4000 BC to 1900 BC. We know a lot about them thanks to a writing system they developed called cuneiform. This writing system utilized indentations carved into clay tablets.
The Sumerian civilization was made possible by an event called the Neolithic Revolution. The Neolithic Revolution occurred in Western Asia about 12,000 years ago and was accompanied by the discovery of agriculture. Agriculture is the planting of crops, primarily grains such as wheat and barley, to provide a large and stable food supply. Agriculture is a major feature of all ancient civilizations. Agriculture also enabled many people to live in close proximity to each other, and many took up occupations that did not require them to search for food.
Ancient Civilizations in Africa
Many of Africa’s ancient civilizations were built on trade routes that took advantage of rich natural resources. Egypt rose from two warring dynasties, the Northern and Southern, and was unified around 3100 B.C. after the Southern kings conquered the North. Egypt became the economic and military ruler of the region for thousands of years, building massive temple structures and complexes that remain today. It remained the most powerful force in the Mediterranean region until its conquest by the Macedonians in 332 B.C.
The Kingdom of Kush flourished around the 3rd millennium B.C., trading mainly in gold and ivory. They adopted the religions and beliefs of many surrounding cultures, including the Egyptians, and Cush has more pyramids than anywhere else in Africa. Carthage built an empire that began in western Africa and spread to the southern shores of the Mediterranean. During the Punic Wars, it even came to be seen as a military threat to Rome.
Also in East Africa was the Kingdom of Aksum. The Kingdom of Aksum, in modern-day Ethiopia, rose at about the same time as the Roman Empire in Europe and reached its peak between 200 and 500. It was one of the first empires to adopt Christianity and claimed descent from the biblical King Solomon. It was later resurrected after several hundred years to counter Islamic invasions. The Kingdom of Aksum changed names and dynasties several times, but remained an uninterrupted Christian kingdom until the late 20th century.
In mid-Africa, powerful kingdoms emerged, such as the Kingdom of Mali, the Kingdom of Songai, and the Kingdom of Ghana; from the 1200s to the 1600s, these kingdoms dominated the trans-Saharan trade industry. They amassed wealth through the export of ivory and gold, as well as trade by the Muslim merchants of the time. The ancient kings of Mali, especially Mansa Musa I, were famous for their fabulous wealth.
Ancient European Civilization
Beginning with the Minoans, who settled on the islands and archipelagos surrounding mainland Greece from about 3000 B.C. to 1100 B.C., the first European civilization rose around Greece. The Minoan civilization developed a writing system and built large cities and structures. They were also artists and developed unique techniques that help distinguish artifacts from this period.
Around 1900 B.C., the Mycenaeans appeared on the Greek mainland. Like the Minoans, they developed writing, architecture, and art. They traded to the Levant, Anatolia, and west to Egypt and Italy.
These two cultures declined around 1100 B.C., but the reasons for this are not known. It is certain that some sites were destroyed during the previous 100 years or so, but it is not known who destroyed them and for what purpose. When the Greek civilization began to revive and regroup, they looked back on this period as a time of legends and heroes, and many famous stories were set in this period.
In addition to the Greek civilization, several other civilizations sprang up on the Italian peninsula. The Etruscans rose to prominence around 750 B.C. and reached their heyday between then and 300 B.C. The Etruscans were the first to establish a city-state in Italy, and the first to establish a city-state in the Middle Ages. The Etruscan cities were independent city-states and developed independently of each other, but ideas were generally transmitted from the more progressive coastal cities to the interior. The Etruscans flourished until the rise of a neighboring civilization to the south, later to be called the Romans.
This method of destruction by adoption was common during the rise of Rome, as the Roman Empire assimilated or annihilated most aspects of the previous Etruscan and Etruscan civilizations beginning around 625 BC. As the Roman Empire grew into an empire that dominated all of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, it recognized how important travel and trade were to the strength of its own civilization. They also needed to mobilize a large army to protect their borders and continue to expand. So they built standard roads across Europe, connecting the center of the empire to everything else. The Roman roads made trade in goods and ideals much faster, connecting once distant regions to each other and improving access to wealth and goods.
Ancient Cultures in Asia
In East Asia, civilizations began to settle along the banks of the Yellow River between 5000 and 4000 BC. These agrarian societies were the first in East Asia and were the ancestors of the first Chinese dynasties. The Xia Dynasty rose around 1875 B.C., making Imperial China the first permanent civilization in East Asia. On the banks of the Yellow River, through several dynasties, these Chinese civilizations had a widespread influence in Asia.
Around 500 B.C., the first state recognized on the Korean peninsula was Kojoson (Goryeochon). Later, with assistance from China, Silla unified the Korean peninsula around 935 and remained in power until the Mongol invasion in the 1200s.
Agriculture was first practiced in Japan, also around 5000 BC. Although influenced by the Chinese civilization to the west, Japan was never subject to foreign political domination. This development was distinct from the civilizations of the Korean Peninsula and China.
Ancient Peoples of the Americas
The first pre-Columbian civilization to emerge in Mesoamerica was the Olmec. The Olmeca, who appeared around 1200 B.C., built a civilization that grew crops on the fertile coast and traded beads, mirrors, statues, pottery, and jewelry as far south as Nicaragua. However, they had no contact with any other large civilization. Despite their presence for several centuries, little is known about the Olmecs. This is because their statues and many monuments were systematically destroyed between 400 and 300 BC.
The earliest Maya settlements appeared around 1800 B.C., but these were small agricultural settlements. The Maya really began to grow around 250 BC. Like other peoples in the region, they drew great inspiration from Olmeca for their religion, mythological history, and art. The people began to spread out, building many cities, and the population exploded from 2 million to 10 million. They then built huge pyramids to worship their kings and the gods they served, and the city flourished until around 800-900. Above.