For those interested in history, it is especially important to learn of the origin of our civilizations. Modern society is definitely quite different from an ancient society, but everything started with these 6 ‘cradles of civilization’. Here is an interesting article to read on each:
Ancient Egyptian Civilization
With a series of what is traditionally counted as 30 dynasties, and a time span of over 3000 years – here is where all civilization emerged. Although the Ancient Egyptian Dynasty underwent different periods of stronger or weaker rule – nonetheless it remained unified throughout. For a brief but comprehensive overview of Daily Life in Ancient Egypt, who better to go to than the co-founder and director of Ancient History Encyclopedia; writer Joshua J. Mark. His article is a great introduction to the civilization that gave us mummification and invented writing (hieroglyphs).
Located in modern-day Iran and Iraq, in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent, this civilization can be credited with some of the most important developments of human history. The myth is there this is where the Tower of Babylon rose and Fell. Ever wondered why we divide an hour into 60 minutes? Find out, and read up on the people that gave us the first city-states, read this article by British journalist Alastair Sooke. With beautiful photos and a high level of research – you will feel pulled into the land between two rivers.
The Indus Valley
Ages before the partition of India into the modern-day rival nation-states of India and Pakistan, the basin of the Indus River was home to the most widespread of the early civilizations. It has been estimated to have spanned around 1500 kilometers in its mature phase. There began the first agricultural development. If you’re looking to read more on this topic – look no further than harappa.com’s ‘Looking Beneath the Veneer’ for interesting insights on the environment and culture in the Indus Valley.
Now we move from the ‘Old world’ to the ‘new world’. If you’re tired of reading, you could listen to podcasts on the topic if you’re more interested. Or create your own, and share your knowledge on this, or other topics.
This part of the world – known as Mesoamerica – housed five major civilizations ( Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacan, Toltec, and Aztec). Each of these has its own story worth reading up on separately. They are similar to the Ancient Egyptians in that they also built pyramids to bury their kings and perform various rituals. For a general overview of Ancient Mesoamerica, interested readers can enjoy reading this intro by academic professor Dr. Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank. You are bound to be mesmerized by the wonders of the ‘new world’ and it is almost a guarantee you will continue reading on the subject.
If you grew up watching ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’, you may already be curious about this ancient Peruvian civilization. It was the largest empire in South America, with so many stories of gold, prompting the Spanish to invade them in the 1500s out of greed. Many of the new world foods (potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, even chocolate) were introduced to the world from that invasion of the Incas. But their civilization has many more riches beyond gold – art, architecture (pyramids too!). They are unique in that many old-world features cannot be found in their civilization – such as the wheel, iron, steel, or even any known writing system. An interesting place to start reading up on this wonderful empire is Mark Cartwright’s article on Ancient History Encyclopedia.
The civilizations of the past have always been mesmerizing, and it is interesting to contemplate on differences and similarities between our modern-day life and that of those ancients. These 6 articles are a great way to dip your toe in the waters of ancient life, where surely you will soon swim deeper and deeper. Enjoy reading, and choose one to focus on – or delve deeper into all things ancient.