10 oldest Ancient civilizations ever existed
At some point during human evolution, the idea of living in an organized community became very practical. From smaller groups at the beginning, bigger communities have formed. Then, societies were created and progressed to whole civilizations later, which resulted in a big change in the human psychology and mentality. This is an ongoing popular topic among anthropologists and historians around the world. For now, let’s just talk about the oldest civilizations in the world. In order to map the oldest civilizations chronologically, we should visit cradle of civilization. Here’s a list of the 10 oldest civilizations in the world, starting from the most recent one.
- The Incas
The Incas were the largest empire in North America in the Pre-Columbian era. The ruins of the Incas have been found mostly in South American countries such as Peru, Ecuador and Chile, with their administrative and political center located in Cusco, Peru. The Incas had a well-established society and their empire was blooming. They were followers of the Sun God Inti, and had a king who was called “Sapa Inca” – the child of the sun. The first Inca ruler Pachacuti transformed the first Inca village to a city in the shape of a puma, and expanded the tradition of ancestor worship. When an emperor died, his son inherited all the power, but the wealth was distributed among relatives. This led to a rise in power of the Incas, who became great builders – their most magnificent works are sites such as Machu Picchu and the city of Cusco.
- The Aztecs
The Aztecs appeared at the same time when Incas were becoming very powerful. They lived in 3 rival big cities – Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan. Somewhere around 1325, these cities allied and a new state was established in the Valley of Mexico. At that time, people preferred being called Mexica than Aztecs. The rise of this civilization occurred about a century after the fall of another influential civilization – the Mayans.
Tenochtitlan was the city with the military power, but the Aztec emperor didn’t rule every city directly. Local governments remained in place and paid big amounts of tribute to the alliance. In the early 16th century, the Aztec civilizations was at the height of its power. Then, the Spanish conquistadors arrived and fought the Aztecs, which led to the end of the Aztec empire.
- The Romans
The Roman civilization appeared somewhere in the 6th century, and its creation is full of myths. At the height of their power, the Romans ruled an incredible amount of land, something that hasn’t been achieved by then. Early Rome was led by kings, but after seven kings, the Romans took over the empire and ruled it themselves. The rulers were actually a council (the Senate), which led to the creation of the Roman Republic. Rome produced some of the most popular emperors in human civilization such as Julius Caesar, Trajan and Augustus. The empire eventually got so big that it couldn’t be maintained, which led to barbaric invasions and the fall of the Roman empire.
- The Persians
At the height of its power, the Persian civilization was indeed the most powerful civilization in the world. In just over 200 years, the Persians conquered over 2 million square miles of land from Egypt to parts of Greece and India. The Persians had a powerful military and were wise rulers, but before creating an empire in 200 years, Persia was divided in factions ruled by different leaders before 550 BC.
King Cyrus II, also known as Cyrus the Great, came into power after 550 BC and created the Persian Kingdom. He conquered Babylon afterwards, and by 533 BC, he already invaded India in the East. When he died, his sons expanded the conquest and even fought the brave Spartans. At the time, Persia ruled all over Central Asia, parts of Egypt as well as Europe. It was brought down, however, by the brave Macedon warrior Alexander the Great.
- Ancient Greek civilization
Although not the world’s oldest civilization, the ancient Greeks are definitely one of the most influential one. The rise of the Greek civilization came from the Cycladic and Minoan civilization (2700 BC – 1500 BC), and evidence found in Argolic dates these civilizations as far as 7250 BC. The history of the Greek civilization is scattered over a huge period, which is why historians divided it into Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic period.
These periods of the ancient Greeks changed the world in many ways. The Greeks are responsible for the Olympics, democracy and the concept of state. They were the founders of geometry, biology, physics and produced a vast number of historical figures such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Archimedes, Plato, Euclid, Aristotle and others. The history books are full of Greek inventions and theories that have influenced the world in different ways.
- The Chinese civilization
Ancient China, or Han China has one of the most diverse histories. It persisted through over a huge period and was ruled by many dynasties. The Yellow River civilization is considered the cradle of the Chinese civilization, and is dated back to 2700 BC.
In 2070 BC, the Xia dynasty ruled over China, and from that point forward, a number of dynasties held control of China until the end of the Qing dynasty in 1912. The Xinhai revolution in 1912 ended a Chinese civilization over 4000 years old that has fascinated historians all over the world. The Chinese gave the world great inventions such as printing, gunpowder, alcohol, compass, cannons and other things that are in use even today.
- The Mayan civilization
The ancient Mayans thrived from 2600 BC and have been appearing in the news in recent times due to the timeline of their calendar. Once established, the Mayans became very sophisticated and had a population of 19 million at their peak. They even had their own way of writing by 700 BC, and used it to create solar calendars carved in stone. The world, according to the Mayans, was created on August 11, 3114 BC, and will end on December 21, 2012.
The Mayans were much richer in culture than any other civilization. Like the Aztecs, they also build pyramids even larger than the Egyptian pyramids. However, their sudden decline is a hot topic among historians, and is still not yet known what caused such a big civilization to disappear abruptly in the 8th and 9th centuries. Their descendants live in parts of Central America.
- The Ancient Egyptian civilization
Ancient Egypt is one of the oldest and culturally richest civilizations in the world. They were known for their religious culture and the incredible pyramids. The Pharaohs established a majestic civilization on the banks of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians appeared around 3150 BC when the first Pharaoh brought Upper and Lower Egypt together. This couldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for early settlers around the Nile valley in 3500 BC.
The history of Egypt occurred in several Kingdoms which were separated by periods of political instability. There were the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Ancient Egyptians built the pyramids, they invented mummification as well as the first solar calendars and hieroglyphs. The pinnacle of the Egyptian civilization occurred toward the New Kingdom, when Rameses the Great ruled with a powerful authority that even put the Nubians under Egyptian rule.
- Indus Valley civilization
The Indus Valley civilization is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth and is the cradle of an ancient civilization that was found in the Indus valley. This civilization occupied areas from Afghanistan to Pakistan and parts of India, and was one of the 3 earliest civilization of the Old World along with Egypt and Mesopotamia. This civilization was spread on a 1.25 million km2 area around the Indus river in Asia and around another river named Ghaggar-Hakra.
The Indus valley civilization was also known as Harappan civilization and the Mohenjo-Daro civilization after the excavation sites where its remains were found. The peak of the empire occurred from 2600 BC to 1900 BC, when sophisticated urban culture was established. The people of this civilization achieved great accuracy in measuring length, time and mass, and based on the remains, the civilization was rich in arts and crafts as well.
- The Mesopotamian civilization
The Mesopotamian civilization is the oldest civilization on Earth. The origins of the Mesopotamians date far back in time, so far that there are no traces of another civilization before them. The timeline puts Mesopotamia around 3300 BC – 750 BC, and the Mesopotamians are credited with the invention of the first civilized society. Somewhere around 8000 BC, people found agriculture and started domesticating animals for food and agriculture. They were creating art even before that, but that was part of human culture, not civilization. When they rose, Mesopotamians created the first civilization and flourished in parts of modern day Iraq.
Modern day culture and civilization owns everything to the civilizations that evolved a lot over millennia. From the ages of hunting to an age of agriculture, society progressively evolved and led to the creation of the civilization we know of today. Each of the civilizations listed above played a big role for today’s society – their ideas, philosophies, lifestyles and cultures combined to create the modern society. What we are now is a combined output of subsequent civilizations that came in between.
Source: ( ancienthistorylists )