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Key Features of Civilization

Exploring the "agreed upon" eight basic features of civilization.

Anna Searcy

on 13 October 2015

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Transcript of Key Features of Civilization

What is civilization?
What does it mean to be civilized?
What does it mean to be uncivilized?
noun: a relatively high level of cultural and technological development; specifically : the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained
As farmers settled in fertile river valleys, they began to grow surplus or extra food. This extra food increased the population of the settlements. In time, the settlements grew into cities.
As cities developed and expanded, the food supply and irrigation systems needed to be maintained. Governments, such as councils or religious leaders, began to oversee the business and existence of the cities.
The government would order these, although costly, to aid and benefit the community. Such things as a wall to protect from attack or a canal to aid in irrigation would help insure the survival of a people.
As civilizations became more complex, artisans and craftsmen were needed to maintain specific items and tasks. No longer could individuals do all the work. Now some concentrated on teaching, scribing, stonecutting, and so forth.
As jobs became specialized, so did the status and needs of certain individuals. The need for a knowledgable and educated religious leaders were often more respected than an unskilled worker. Herders were needed and respected for the food, while masons were needed for building. The slave was on the lowest rung of the social ladder in many societies, and usually, warriors and kings were the most powerful.
This expressed the beliefs and values of a civilization. Different styles were developed and copied by societies. Often the art was used to impress visitors and people about the beauty and power of a king or a community.
Religious leaders would conduct elaborate ceremonies to appease the gods (polytheism) and insure a bountiful harvest. Floods and droughts were blamed on the gods’ anger so rituals were conducted in the temples. Differing faiths emerged over time.
Records were needed to keep accounts on trade goods and food storage. In addition, one needed to express more complex ideas such as "belief" and "social order" where pictures and words simply would not suffice.
Pont du Gard, Roman aqueduct in the South of France
Langzhong, China; preserved city ca 250 BCE
adjective: : characteristic of a state of civilization <civilized society>; especially : characterized by taste, refinement, or restrain

The Rosetta Stone, with Egyptian hieroglyphs in the top section, demotic characters in the middle, and Greek at the bottom; in the British Museum.

An illustration from a reproduction of the Codex Magliabecchi depicting an Aztec priest performing a sacrificial offering of a living human heart to the war god Huitzilopochtli.

The ruins of the Roman Forum, Rome, Italy.

Angkor Wat, a temple complex built in the 12th century in Angkor, Cambodia
Servant girl pouring beer for Egyptian noble
Ancient Egyptian social classes based on job status
Is this civilization? Why or why not?
Is this civilization? Why or why not?
Full transcript