A Where Do The Tigris And Euphrates Rivers Flow The Five Main Elements of Civilization

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The Five Main Elements of Civilization

Although I have thoroughly studied the elements of civilization and the rise of civilization, I have not given much thought to the subject. That is, I was tasked with finding at least five elements that characterize civilizations that distinguish them from barbarians. At first, this seemed like a daunting task, but after watching the video “Iraq: The Cradle of Civilization” (Wood) and reading the assigned portion of “Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics, and Society, 1” (Perry), it seemed so. It is obvious that there are many distinct elements that characterize each civilization. Namely, large population centers in cities, writing, ceremonial buildings or ritual centers, continuity and art. Each of these features of civilization work together to make civilized societies stand in stark contrast to their uncivilized predecessors. A brief overview of some of these key elements will illustrate their importance.

First, large population centers in cities are one of the elements of civilization. The word civilization can be easily expressed as life in cities. The region of Suma or Mesopotamia in southern Iraq was the birthplace of the first city Uruch (Ur). The vast lands made fertile by the constant flow of life from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were an ideal place to cultivate and sustain the masses of people who were attracted to the city. Naturally, people flocked to this prototype city in increasing numbers.

Secondly, writing is another element of civilization. In fact, some would say that writing was invented in Uruch. The obvious advantage of which is the ability to pass on and transmit important cultural, spiritual truths and stories to posterity. Although the oral legends of the people of this period are well documented, the stories of these people were now being preserved and transmitted through the written word.

Equally important were the ceremonial buildings and ritual centers that dotted Ur’s landscape. Shrines, shrines, and temples played a central role in ancient civilizations, as they do today. There were rituals and ceremonies tied to the religious and cultural fabric of the society. These ritual centers were considered sacred places and, like fertile land, served as people magnets.

Continuity is another characteristic of civilization. Civil societies, unlike nomadic peoples, were by definition sedentary societies. Of course, people and ideas flowed in and out of the first civilization, but there was an element of eternal inhabitants. No doubt, ownership and private property rights were a natural product of this continuity as people chose to settle in cities.

Finally, art is another essential element in civilization. According to legend, Enki, the god of wisdom, was sent the arts by the goddess Inanna, known today as Ishtar. Decorative arts, pottery, jewellery, ‘fancy’ clothing and religious ornaments were increasingly popular items during this period. As people’s living standards improved in the first cities, there was more time (relatively speaking) for the leisure afforded to the arts.

Clearly, there are other non-negotiable elements of civility; Laws, government, social (class) system etc. As is clear, chief among these features are large centers of population in cities, centers of writing, ritual, continuity, and art. On the contrary, uncivilized societies need all these things.

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