the 4 great ancient civilizations, where are their sons and daughters?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by At World's End, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. At World's End Registered Member

    The four great ancient civilizations: the ancient Mesopotamians, the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Chinese, the ancient Greeks, had their share of being the most contributing peoples. However, ever since they were destroyed by "barbarians", I've heard little from their sons and daughters. Why have their descendants been unable to make a mark on humanity as their ancestors have so successfully done?

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  3. CharonZ Registered Senior Member

    Yeah. One rarely hears about China these days.
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  5. CheskiChips Banned Banned

    What are you talking about? The Arabs created or stole numerous things. Egypt was never intelligent those blackies...and Greeks --> Romans were brilliant.
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  7. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member


    Have you ever visited any of those countries yet? If not you should really travel there to see what has developed in them.
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Your anthropology is a little off. There were six civilizations that developed independently out of predecessor Neolithic cultures: Mesopotamia (the earliest), Egypt (second), China, India (I'm not sure which of those two was third and which fourth), Olmec/Maya/Aztec (fifth) and Inca (sixth).

    Each of those was a true civilization, which literally means nothing more or less than "the building of cities." Civilization was a Paradigm Shift beyond the Neolithic agricultural villages for several reasons.
    • It required people to learn to live in harmony and cooperation with complete strangers.
    • Within a larger population, division of labor was much more extensive than in a Neolithic village, so people could have full-time careers that had nothing to do with survival and basic necessities, e.g., teachers, artists, priests, brewers, musicians.
    • Economies of scale and division of labor in a larger population created a greater level of surplus wealth, yielding increased spending on entertainment, frivolities and luxuries; as well as capital (unspent surplus wealth) to invest in more advanced production processes, exploration, research, etc.
    • More complex chains of bartering for goods and services, among strangers, required recordkeeping to ensure that no one was sloughing off and that the exchanges were fair; this created the need for mathematics (all six civilizations) and written language (all but the Inca, the youngest civilization which was destroyed before it got that far).
    In addition to missing three of the six civilizations, you've misidentified others and misunderstood their relationships.

    Greece is Mesopotamian civilization, not a separate culture. The Greek tribes were inspired by the Phoenicians who came to trade with them, adopting many of their innovations including their alphabet. The Phoenicians were one of many Middle Eastern tribes in a widening circle around Sumer/Babylon, who watched Mesopotamian civilization develop and took the ideas home with them. Civilization is a technology and a technology is basically an idea, so it's fairly easy to take, borrow, copy or steal. All of the other centers of civilization in the Middle East, such as Persia, Israel, Syria, Georgia, Yemen and Anatolia, were simply descendants of the original Mesopotamian technology of building cities.

    Rome picked up Greek culture when it began to decline, and all of Western Europe, the Americas and the Antipodes are referred to as "Greco-Roman civilization," and acknowledged as an offshoot of Mesopotamia.
    These civilizations were not destroyed by barbarians, but by competing civilizations. Egypt was overrun by the armies of Caliph Omar, a leader of the Arabs, an offshoot of the southwestern branches of Mesopotamian civilization. The Olmec/Maya/Aztec and Inca empires were destroyed by Europeans, also cultural descendants of Mesopotamia.

    It could be said that "barbarians" conquered Rome, but the Western Roman Empire absorbed them without collapsing, struggled along, and kept its hold on western Europe for a thousand years before erupting into the Reformation, Renaissance and Enlightenment, from which sprang all of modern Euro-American civilization including science, economics, industry, rock and roll, and the internet.

    The Greeks were never conquered by barbarians, and kept the Eastern half of the Roman Empire alive for many centuries, before being finally conquered by the Ottomans in recent historical times. The Ottoman Empire of course is yet another offshoot of Mesopotamia, a blending of the Persians and Arabs that it gobbled up as the ancestral Turks traveled out of central Asia.
    Duh? The sons and daughers of Mesopotamia have taken over half the planet, having divided into two communities, one of which adopted Christianity and the other Islam. They've brought Africa and Oceania under their influence. Along the way they've developed philosophies that have changed the course of history, as well as literature, music and other arts that dominate human culture even outside of their direct domain, all of modern science and almost all of modern technology including the key communication technologies of printing and electronics, the political philosophy of democracy which is spreading inexorably across the globe, and the economic philosophy of communism which, ironically, now lives primarily in one of the other civilizations.

    China has not bequeathed quite so many obvious innovations on the world, yet it has shown us that it's possible for a single political entity to endure for about four thousand years, something that's eluded the rest of us. And it stands ready to pick up the baton and carry humanity forward as the various factions of Mespotamia seem poised to bomb each other back into the Stone Age.

    India gave the world positional decimal arithmetic with the indispensable concept of zero (that with the help of the Arabs), and there would be no science without the mathematics that arithmetic made possible. It also gave us some philosophies which have profoundly influenced those of the West, including one which is widely adopted in the East.

    The sons and daughters of three of the ancient civilizations are doing well, although it would be a more appropriate metaphor to call them great-great-great-grandsons and daughters. Unfortunately those sons and daughters obliterated the other three ancient civilizations. I've written on that at length and won't go into it here to avoid breaking the upbeat mood.

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