It is unclear, and debatable when or how exactly civilization started. Some scholars believe it started with the invention of writing, other believe it began with the development of advanced agriculture techniques.

Writing is a major part of civilization, because it allows commerce to thrive with a system of banking and currency. Although the earliest humans found are well over a million years old, the earliest records of a writing system are only around 7000 years old. Many scholars believe the Sumerains in Mesopotamia(Mesopotamia means land between the waters) were first to devise a system of writing called cuneiform.

Another task for a successful civilization would be to produce enough food so that everyone would not have to be a farmer. The people in the Fertile Crescent(Mesopotamia) accomplished this task by using irrigation to ensure a healthy crop. The nearby Tigris and Euphrates rivers made this task easier.

Through the ages, civilization underwent many perils. First, the conquests of Alexander the Great from Macedonia along with other young men sporting dreams of world domination. After that came the Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome. The Christian religious Crusades and Islamic Jihad created turmoil in the world for several centuries. Trying to re-capture Jerusalem for Christianity, the crusaders often did not display Christian Morals. The Islamic Jihads pushed the Islamic religion into Africa, then up into Spain, until the Catholics defeated the Moors in 1492.

The Anglo-Saxons on England also had their share of wars with France. The most rememberable are William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066 of France, and the adventures of Eleanor of Aquitaine. First settled by Rome around 300 CE, England was abandoned and left on it's own. The foreign people, along with the natives, developed strong cultures, some which can be seen vividly in organizations like the IRA and the Ulster Unionists.

During the exploration age, the sea-faring nations of Europe sent explorers around to world to place their claims. The Spaniards were the most successful, hands down. They settled most of south and Central America. The English Joint-Stock Corporations settled on the Eastern Seaboard of current-day USA. Their first colony, Roanoke, vanished under mysterious circumstances near the Croatoan Indian tribe. It was later replaced by Jamestown, named after King James II, and sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh. Two other nations, Portugal and France also colonized the new world. Portugal sent settlers south to South America and settled in Brazil. France did not build many settlements. Instead, they build a series of forts in the interior of North America and also in the northern regions of the continent. French fur trappers has successful business ventures trapping and trading in the New World. They developed the best relations with the natives of any European power.

In 1776, Colonial America broke away from Great Britain due to over-oppression and signed the Declaration of Independence. Several years later, they won their revolutionary war and became the first republic of the modern world. During the early 19th century, the debate in the United States over slavery heated up, and eventually led to a civil war. The rebellion was suppressed by Union Generals U.S. Grant and William T. Sherman among others. The next debate to come would rock the world even more.

See also: Modern Civilization and The 20th Century (coming soon).

If you see any errors (grammatical, spelling, incorrect facts, etc) please /msg me and give me a chance to fix before downvoting. I sincerely thank you for reading.

Civilization is commonly believed to have started with the development of agriculture. This development allowed roaming tribes of human beings to settle onto one location and have a relatively stable food source, which allowed humans to spend time sitting around and thinking of stuff as opposed to hunting all damn day.
Some regard civilization as a good thing, I for one am not all gung-ho about returning to the state of nature, while others think that civilization is evil, see Rousseau and Freud.

In regards to Civilization as a computer game, it's a very nice computer game, an excellent waste of time, perhaps second only to masturbation, especially if you're into the whole world domination thing. And for your viewing pleasure, I wish to present The Everything Civilopedia, an encyclopedia of all things Civilization related!

Throughout the game, the player devotes resources to scientific research to develop a roving band of settlers with primitive knowledge to a globe-spanning empire in the space age.

Advanced Flight
Atomic Theory
Bridge Building
Bronze Working
Ceremonial Burial
Code of Laws
The Corporation
The Democracy
Fusion Power
Genetic Engineering
Horseback Riding
Iron Working
Labor Union
Mass Production
The Monarchy
Nuclear Fission
Nuclear Power
The Republic
Space Flight
Steam Engine
Theory of Gravity

An excellent computer game designed by Sid Meier. Civilization was very aMbitious in its goal to create a game that would re-create history for the player. In it you take on the role of a Civilization (such as the Romans, Russians, etc.) and lead them from the creation of their very first city to the possible future of colonizing another galaxy. To achieve this goal you build more cities, discover or steal technologies, deal with or destroy your neighbors and basically build a modern empire. The game was very very well designed. Instead of just an assumed state of war between every nation in the game you move through different states of friendliness and war. The AI is good enough to present a challenging game and doesn't cheat too badly. You can win the game by conquering all other nations, sending colonists to Alpha Centauri, or by just surviving until someone else accomplishes this. The game Alpha Centauri continues the storyline and the series (really) from there.

Civilization is also one of the best board games ever made, although you will need 6-10 hours to play it. It's clear that Sid Meier used some elements of the board game in his famous computer game, but there's a great difference between the two.

Civilization is played on a board showing the Mediterannean Sea and Middle East, divided into territories of varying size, each of which can support a different number of people. Each player gets a number of double-sided tokens which can be flipped to represent population or wealth.

Each player places two people on the board in a pre-arranged location. Population expands exponentially, doubling (or almost doubling) every turn. Population from different nations can co-exist in one space, as long as they don't exceed the population limits of that space. When they do, tokens are removed one by one, with the smallest Players may collect 6 population in one location to produce a city, which is the basis of the game.

Players with cities receive one "trade cards" equal to the number of cities they have. Each trade card has a different value--if you have 3 cities, you get cards with a value of 1, 2, and 3. Within each value, there are two types of trade goods--for example, the stack of value 1 cards includes Hides and Ochre. Trade proceeds rather as in the game Pit; players trade cards with each other, and get large bonuses for collecting sets of matching cards. After trading, players turn in sets of various point values for civilization advances such as agriculture, navigation, poetry, or mysticism, which give them certain advantages in play.

Civilization also includes a bit of Old Maid. Each stack of trade cards includes a disaster. The person who holds that disaster at the end of a turn must play it and face the consequences (which are often quite severe). Civilizations can frequently lose half or even two-thirds of their cities to a plague or barbarian horde, but the rapid repopulation rate ensures that they will not be knocked out for long.

Civilizations progress along a chart with 17 spaces. Each civilization moves forward on the chart each turn, but must have certain minimum cities and civilization advances to progress beyond a certain point in the chart. The player whose civilization reaches the end of the chart (which represents the late Iron Age, around 400 BC) is the winner--if two or more civilizations reach the end of the chart on the same turn, players count points for advances, cities, and trade goods; the player with the highest point total is the winner.

Civilization can be played by up to 6 people, or 8 people if the Western Mediterannean expansion is added.

In a weird exchange of contracts Activision got the rights to Sid Meier's Civilization to produce Activision's Civilization: Call to Power and Sid Meier got the rights to Activision's Mech Warrior to produce Sid Meier's Mech Commander... I don't understand the whole thing, but Activision made quite a different gameplay for the classic. It is better in some respects and far worse in others (like the loss of the ability to view your cities and name them as you construct them).

Civilization: Call to Power 2 is now out. In both games you get 5 ages: Ancient, Rennaisance, Modern, Genetic and Diamond. You get some quite futuristric units, sating anyone's hunger for science fiction. You even get to employ nanites! The basic objectives and gameplay still remain, constructing the civilization's original settlement and building them into a modern, and now futuristic, empire. The Civ: CTP games are far more challenging than the originals, though they will sometimes leave you sadly recalling the melancholy days of Sid Meier's Civilization - especially if you have a slow computer.

Strangely enough Sid Meier somehow got the rights to create Test of Time: Civilization. Somehow it wasn't actually a civilization game. Sadly, the game was a complete flop, Activision's new improved version knocking it out in the first round.

Civilization probably evolved gradually over tens of thousands of years even before the advent of writing. The matching of speech to written symbols would seem to be the culmination of millennia of developing forms of communication which in turn formed the basis of what we know of as civilization. As speech, tool use, and painting were added over the generations to the cultural repertoires of our prehistoric ancestors, the nucleus of our ability to form civilizations must have grown dramatically. As the Usenet newsgroup explains in its entry "Hominid Species," the first hominid species was Ardipithecus ramidus, which lived about 5.8-4.4 million years ago. It was something like a chimpanzee and appears to have lived in forests. This was the first creature in the line that descended into human beings, and after several intermediates came:
  • Homo habilis (2.4-1.5 million years ago)
  • Homo erectus (1.8 million and 300,000 years ago)
  • Homo antecessor (at least 780,000 years ago)
  • Homo sapiens (archaic) (also Homo heidelbergensis) (about 500,000 years ago)
  • Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (200,000-300,000 years ago), whose description includes these lines: "A large number of tools and weapons have been found, more advanced than those of Homo erectus. Neandertals were formidable hunters, and are the first people known to have buried their dead, with the oldest known burial site being about 100,000 years old." Although far predating the first evidence of writing, these seem to be clear indicators of civilizational activity.
  • Homo sapiens sapiens (modern) -- our line -- began about 120,000 years ago, but even by the Cro-Magnon era 40,000 years ago, humans were creating elaborate cave paintings.
It may well be that civilization in its broadest sense began with the earliest human speech and painting at least 40,000 years ago.

Cletus the Foetus has raised the salient point of establishing the difference between a culture and a civilization, and whether a culture must be sedentary before it can be considered a civilization. I think of it this way: imagine a graph extending from the first hominid groups to modern day nation-states. To keep things simple, one could have two variables plotted on this graph: (1) the degree to which a culture is geographically stationary and (2) the sophistication of their writing/written record system. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary gives these definitions for culture and civilization (I have chosen what I think are the most relevant senses):

1 a : 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
5 a : the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon man's capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations b : the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group

If we were to take writing alone as the prime criterion of civilization, then certainly our earliest written alphabets would establish the start of civilization at about 7,000 years ago. But then there is the less specific term "written records," which could certainly include items such as carvings and paintings. It seems that hominids developed more quickly along the axis of "sedentaryness" than they did along the axis of written records. Yet over time it is easy to envision that the two things--being stationary and keeping written records--began to accelerate in sophistication.

Because of the often subtle gradations between one level of civilized activity and the next, one can see how burying the dead could have evolved from (a) burying and moving on to (b) burying and living near the burial site. To the extent that certain geographic areas permitted such prolonged habitation, sedentary cultures could thrive in them. The invention of agriculture marks where that progress spiked upward, but it is easy to see that cultures could have been sedentary for extended periods of time through the good graces of friendly lands.

Similarly, with written records, which hominids have long used to "learn and transmit knowledge to succeeding generations," one can see cave paintings as an early form of written records, and who knows what other things were written down on perishable surfaces such as dirt or wooden sticks.

We would normally consider these graphs to show that both elements (increasingly stationary and increasingly sophisticated with writing) would tend to increase in lockstep, but perhaps they do not. There have been nomadic civilizations, and there have been stationary cultures who relied a lot on speech instead of writing. Even now, one could argue that many people are technically living in sedentary civilizations but they travel three weeks per month, so they exist in a sort of hybrid state.

If we could unearth from the past the earliest ways in which hominids dealt with each other, perhaps we could find some clues to solving apparently intractable problems such as war, terrorism, and conflicts among religions.

Enterprise Episode 9 Summary: Civilization

Caution: May contain spoilers!

A friend of mine said that this is the first episode of Enterprise that he thought was decent enough that he didn't hate it or get bored. Take that for what you want, YMMV.

This episode has the crew try (not all that well IMHO) to make first contact with a race that is similar to earth but far less advanced. They disguise themselves to match the appearance of the inhabitants (a few bumps on their forehead), and head down to check things out. They discover that there is something on the planet that is causing the inhabitants to be ill. Combine this with an antique dealer's shop that is shielded from their scans, and you have a bit of an investigation.

One of the people that they meet up with is a fine looking lady who asks them far more questions than they appreciate about who they are and where they are from. A bit more perceptive than the others I guess. There seemed to be a bit of electricity between her and Archer as well.

They eventually discover that the proprietor of the store is not an inhabitant of the planet ("and neither are you!" he said, after scanning Archer with his own tricorder-type device). Turns out he's mining the plant under the shop for some substance that his people want, regardless of the fact he is poisoning the people of this planet.

Fighting ensues. At one point, to hide, the captain starts kissing his lady friend. Ah, harkens me back to TOS days of Kirk trying to nail every sexy female on each planet they visited. A nice move of shooting the lamp above the other aliens results in a win for the good guys, and the bad aliens get booted out.

Personal Commentary
I didn't see this episode all the way through, so please excuse any plot details I left out, major or minor (or /msg me with them, or even put in a new and better writeup). This episode did look like it was much more old school than the new, soft and fuzzy Starfleet that is presented in the newer Star Trek series. They are definitely not like they used to be in TOS (or is it will be?), but they are a bit more adventurous. The kissing was a nice touch, and a nice fire fight in the middle of the street was also some nice action. One question though... what do the people who saw the fire fight say? They all cleared out pretty quick, but that's not something that is completely ignored now is it? I guess the protocols set forth by the Prime Directive aren't solidly in place yet for regulating contact with less advanced alien species. Regardless, it was amusing to see the crew with funny wigs on (especially T'Pol).

This is part of the Enterprise Episode Guide, hopefully well maintained. Please message me with corrections or any important details I left out.

Another definition of "civilization" comes from scholars such as Max Weber, Carroll Quigley, Samuel Huntington, and Philip Bagby, who use the term to describe complexes of religion, language, shared history, custom, and culture that unite a group of nations.

The definition of "civilization," in this sense, is vague. Virtually all scholars agree that Islam and Hindu India constitute civilizations of their own, and most would call China a distinct civilization (sometimes lumped together with Japan). Other lines are hard to draw. Christendom, also known as the West, is sometimes said to incorporate Eastern Europe and Latin America: other times, these areas are treated as separate civilizations. Huntington argues in favor of a civilization for sub-Saharan Africa, which others argue does not exist. Whether or not Judaism counts as a distinct civilization is anyone's guess.

One thing that is clear about civilizations, however, is that they have finite lifespans. The distinct civilizations of Minoa, Mesopotamia, the Incas, and the Mayas have all fallen apart, while Alexandria, Rome, and Byzantium only live today in a superseded form.

Historically, civilizations developed in almost total isolation from one another. The dissemination of technology between civilizations took centuries, and the spread of religion between civilizations was almost unheard of. Imperialism and colonialism changed all that, bringing the several civilizations of the Earth together as subordinates of Western Europe. Some argue that imperialism brought an end to in-fighting within civilizations, and changed the face of war to intercivilizational conflict, which was superseded by ideological conflict in the wake of World War I: World War II and the Cold War.

Today, civilizations can be defined as the broadest level to which a constituent individual would define themselves. Most Europeans and white Americans define themselves as part of the same Western tradition stemming from Greece and Rome, and can thus be considered to be part of the same civilization. They do not, however, see themselves as similar to natives of Pakistan or Korea, and so it can be surmised that Pakistan and Korea are in different civilizations.

Korea opens up another can of worms, however: that of cultural overlap. Korea's culture is historically Chinese, but their modern society is largely the product of Japanese occupation, and more than half of Korea is Christian. So whose civilization do they belong to?

Another problem arises when dealing with diasporae. First and second-generation immigrants are usually strongly tied to their ancestral homeland, but what about black Americans, whose culture is largely based on the civilizations of Africa, but who have been living in the Americas for many generations, speaking their own dialects and practicing their own religions? Likewise, do Jews who have integrated into Western society constitute a unique civilization unto themselves?

The idea of civilization in the plural is a tenuous one indeed.

Civ`i*li*za"tion (?), n. [Cf. F. civilisation.]


The act of civilizing, or the state of being civilized; national culture; refinement.

Our manners, our civilization, and all the good things connected with manners, and with civilization, have, in this European world of ours, depended for ages upon two principles -- . . . the spirit of a gentleman, and spirit of religion. Burke

2. Law

Rendering a criminal process civil.



© Webster 1913.

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