Which empire did the most to push civilization further?

Discussion in 'History' started by ylooshi, Dec 24, 2007.


Which empire did the most to push civilization further?

  1. The Mongols

    1 vote(s)
  2. The Persian

    2 vote(s)
  3. The Greek

    8 vote(s)
  4. The Roman

    8 vote(s)
  5. The Ottoman

    1 vote(s)
  6. The British

    10 vote(s)
  7. Other (explain in-thread)

    5 vote(s)
  1. G. F. Schleebenhorst England != UK Registered Senior Member

    Yes, but that was the legacy of Rome. If it hadn't been for Rome, we'd all have still been free to worship our own gods.

    The church did a pretty good job of keeping science in line too.
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  3. G. F. Schleebenhorst England != UK Registered Senior Member

    The Romans left my "ancestors" alone. They even built a big wall to keep us out.

    Yes. Machiavelli's "The Prince" covers this very well.

    Yes, this was a big problem under Caligula in particular.

    Plus their heavy infantry armies were completely useless against them.

    ....hence you speak english instead of?

    I only read the interesting parts.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2007
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  5. kmguru Staff Member

    On pushing civilization further...

    Should not the Chinese be the winner as their people went to North and South America long before Europeans and midle Easterners moved anywhere except try to invade India many times?

    And really if you go way back the Africans were in Australia and South America long before western civilization existed! No one knows how they got there. The last time Africa, India and Australia were together was some 200 million years ago!
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  7. Chatha big brown was screwed up Registered Senior Member

    The dark ages were not a myth, its what happened when the Roman empire collapsed, vandals and babarians took provinces of land and governed it, it was followed by many civil wars and farmine. The Persians or Chinese eventually had a hand in bailing the West out. Greece or Helletic era is beyond a doubt the most influencial, we still use their alphabets in many facets including mathematicsl equations. They channeled philisophy, mathematics, reading and writing, art, and politics, law. Everybody knows, "no life like the Greek life style", they knew how to live; at least until the Italians came knocking.
  8. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    The "Dark Ages" in the pejorative sense it used to be used is a myth.

    Archeology started to dispel the notion that they were backwards, famine-addled, superstitious primitives who were constantly fending off (or dying because of) the swords of barbarians. The modern use of the term remains mostly because (a) it was inherited from earlier times when people did think those things and (b) "dark" can be thought of as "hidden" and it is undeniable that there was less official written history about the period, making the later Middle Ages seems a lot more accessible. In other words, it seems "dark" in the sense that there's a lot we do not know, but it would not have seemed dark to anyone living at the time.

    There were certainly famines, and wars (civil wars included), and invasions...but there were those in late medieval Europe as well. I'm not even sure you could say that the frequency of famine or war was all that much higher in the early middle ages as compared to the late middle ages. Hell, there are still those things today in the world at large.

    The negative connotations underlying the term "Dark Ages" are mostly a 19th century assessment, based on much speculation and few facts. In that negative sense, the Dark Ages are a persistent myth.

    Edit some trivia for WBY, the Romans also used powdered lead as a seasoning for food and in face powders.
  9. Norsefire Salam Shalom Salom Registered Senior Member

    The Macedonians? What about them?

    An interesting fact I learned was that the estimated death toll from the Mongol Empire is 40,000,000

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    And this was back then!
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The question was about civilization--the building of cities and all that it entailed--the second "paradigm shift" or major technological upheaval that caused a transformation of human society. (The first was agriculture, resulting in our transformation from small bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers into inhabitants of permanent villages; the third was industry; the fourth is electronics and specifically computers and the internet.) Civilization sprang up at six different times in six different places, but the earliest was about 9000BCE in the Middle East and I think it was two or three thousand years later in China. (The last was Inca, about two thousand years ago.) The major wave of migration to the New World from Asia occurred about 13000BCE and some scholars put it much earlier. Not only was there no civilization in Asia (or anywhere else) to spread, but I'm not even sure that the Chinese as a distinct people existed yet. The Sumerians, Egyptians, Canaanites, Dravidians, Persians and other ancient peoples who define our history and our civilizations certainly did not.
    The description I've seen of the migration to Australia occurred 60,000 years ago, about 10,000 years after the diaspora of Homo sapiens out of Africa began. Because of an ice age, sea level was about 200 feet lower than it is today and the islands in that region were much larger with much narrower waterways between them; New Guinea was attached to Australia. Navigation in primitive boats from the Asian mainland was not as daunting a prospect as it would be now--and it's not even all that daunting now, considering that Polynesians sailed all the way to both Hawaii and Easter Island in historical times. It's a little imprecise to call the people who established permanent populations in South America "Africans" unless you take the thought-provoking Rasafarian viewpoint that we're all Africans since all of our ancestors ultimately came from there. Their DNA puts their origin in central Asia; they're a Mongolic people who left the Old World before the development of the epicanthic eye fold that distinguishes their cousins who stayed behind.
    China did precisely that. Japan was a Bronze Age backwater (putting it on a par with the Aztecs and Incas, for perspective) until Buddhist monks from China "colonized" it culturally in the early centuries of the first millennium CE. The majority of what we regard as Japanese culture, including obvious key technologies such as writing, were brought from China.
    The Greeks didn't exactly congeal into a single state very often, but there was a Greek hegemony that reached from the Balkans east to the borders of Georgia and down into the Anatolian regions. Then of course after the collapse of the Roman Empire, the fragment that was defined by the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church and became the Eastern Empire was in effect a resurgence of the Greek Empire, now Christianized. Even when the capital was moved to Konstantinopolis (now Istanbul) in what is now Turkey, it had a Greek name and was a Greek province. The eastern Slavic tribes were brought into this empire by Greek colonizers and taught to write in a modified Greek alphabet (the Cyrillic) by (you guessed it) St. Cyril, a Greek monk. It wasn't until the Ottomans came rampaging in from the Far East under the banner of Islam and annexed this empire to their own that the greatness of Greece waned.
    There was no sharp delineation between the abatement of Greek civilization and the rise of Roman. The Romans simply assimilated much of Greek culture and built upon it, including a customized version of their alphabet. The split into the Western Roman and Eastern Greek splinters of the empire in the late first millennium blurred the distinction even further as they continued to cross-pollinate each other. Historians and other scholars today refer to the whole continuum as "Greco-Roman civilization."
  11. kmguru Staff Member

    It is really confusing. Here are some references.

    From Smithsonian

    From Archaeo news

    In the next five years, archaeologists will study the Yangshao Culture, represented by painted pottery, in Henan Province and the civilization in the late Western Zhou Dynasty (1,100 BCE-771 BCE) along the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, Wang said.
    Though boasting 5,000 years of civilization, the widely-acknowledged beginning of the Chinese civilization with historical records could be dated back to the Shang Dynasty (1,600 BCE-1,100 BCE) thanks to the discovery of the oracle bones.

    From Wiki

    Davidian Civilization
    From columbia encyclopedia

    This means that the Chinese were running around all over the planet while rest were in caves...
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The Clovis people were the ones who came here in large numbers and established successful communities, and reproduced successfully to populate the entire hemisphere. (To be precise they were supplanted in the western USA and Canada by a second wave of migrants around 4000BCE, but that has no important effect on the story.)

    This does not mean that people hadn't traveled here at earlier times. It just means that if they did, they were not successful at establishing permanent societies. Either something killed them off, or there were too few of them to be a viable gene pool and they died from inbreeding, or the later migrants overran them.

    Humans have always been curious and adventurous and there's no reason not to suppose that over thousands of years a few hardy souls didn't manage to traverse an entire continent and leave behind some evidence. The best example of that is Kennewick Man, a recently discovered skeleton of an inarguably European man who was buried in Washington state... 9000 years ago. That's more than 8000 years before the Vikings made what our history books call "the first voyage to America." That one European traveler may well have spread his seed on his long walk, but he didn't leave enough DNA behind to be identified as an ancestor of any of the Native American people. And he also didn't bring them any artifacts that make us say, "Whoa, these Indians made axe handles just like the ones we found in the Alps, where did they learn to make them?"

    This discussion started with the question of who advanced civilization. There's no harm in going back before 9000BCE and talking about migrations of pre-civilized people. But that's not the same as discussing small bands of travelers who surely had some interesting tales to tell but died without making an impact on the people they encountered--or in this case without leaving any progeny.
    You have to remember that the technology of writing was invented AFTER the technology of civilization. Usually many thousands of years afterward, and in the case of the Incas it never happened at all because the Europeans destroyed them before their civilization got that old. We have some reasonable ideas about the ancient histories of civilizations because of the science of archeology. But we don't have WRITTEN HISTORIES of them. What this citation is saying is that we have good evidence of civilization existing in China in 3000BCE, but no written records. This particular finding may provide the oldest written records of Chinese civilization, from sometime in the second millennium BCE. In contrast, we have writing from Mesopotamia and Egypt that is considerably older than that, because both of those civilizations were founded much earlier than China so they developed written language much earlier. But there is nonetheless an ancient part of the history of both civilizations that we only know of through archeology.
    You're forgetting that "cavemen" were quite capable of traveling. After all, they were nomads by definition! The first humans came out of Africa to populate Eurasia in 70,000BCE. There's no question that this was long, long before civilization was invented. They were Mesolithic people, "cavemen" in popular language. The people who first migrated to America were Mesolithic people, as were the people who first migrated to Europe around 25000BCE when the ice finally melted. The entire planet, with the exception of Antarctica and quite a few islands, was populated by "cavemen"!

    All the human beings on earth were "cavemen" until around 10,000BCE when the first villages were built.

    And once again, it's not quite correct to call the people who walked to America "Chinese." That happened many thousands of years before China was founded.
  13. kmguru Staff Member

    That is technically correct. It is basically a substitute for the Mongoloid race...that slant eyes, body hairless people. If you spend some time in China and then come back to America, Mexico, Peru ...you will see similarities with natives here. Then one wonders how and when these people came from China.
  14. because everyone has a bias as to who or what was important
    for a geek historian, PARC was ground zero
    for a math historian, India & Maya were zero

    we all think we know what is, was important, but it just shows what our biases are, what's important to you; democracy, art, literature, alphabets, philosophy, math, technology, etc...?

    many cultures have been our benefactors, we have inherited or stolen a whole array of ideas, that make up our collective cultures, we owe a debt of gratitude to many long dead, long lost civilizations, & if we last past our nuclear adolescence, some civilization may say the same about us
  15. kmguru Staff Member

    Carbon (C-14) dating is good for a maximum of 50,000 year that is stretching it...Half life is only 5,730 years...so who knows what happened back then?
  16. thanks, no wonder they stagnated,
    btw people still use lead as a folk medicine or 'remedy'
  17. there's a possibility that the Chinese inherited an "alphabet" from a precursor culture that they conquered, much like the Mugals (Arabs) conquered India & usually get all the credit for 'zero', as "Arabic numerals", (though I learned of them as "hindu-arabic numbers"), the credit is shared by those that brought these to the West.

    my point is that they are ideograms, a very inefficient way of transmitting info, you have to learn 4K to 10K of them to properly spell & read in it, why would that be? because those Shang officials knew that the original symbols meant something in that "precursor" language, but they did not know how to read it, so they still used it, but modified, much like Linear B was to the early Mycenaean Greeks

    here are some images of the oracle bones:

    notice this starts looking more 'chinese'

    and apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks that:

    my dear Kmguru, you have brought up the idea that is a theory held by several authors, though there is evidence that the Chinese under the Ming dynasty sailed with a vast treasure fleet under Admiral Hu to India all the way to Africa. but thats were it stops.

    please read Jared Diamond's "Germs, Guns & Steel", a concise history of why Europe conquered the Aztecs & Incas & not the other way around

    many people apparently always fail to realize that several points always negate more than cursory contact between the Old & New Worlds prior to 1492. I'm talking shipwrecks, lost fishermen, the Vikings.

    Africans & Chinese could not have made purposeful & continued entries into the New World because, let me remind you; that after 1492, the entry of a small band of sickly Spaniards created a large-scale epidemic against the Aztec, Inca, the Mississippian & other New World cultures. the evidence is clear, if African, Chinese, Phoenician or other Old World explorers had made it to these shores, epidemics would have followed, NW peoples had no immunity in 1492, hence no prior contact

    the Vikings had other reason for not spreading disease, as Indian & Pakistani soldiers found out in their Himalaya outposts, less disease in frigid areas, in the past survival would tend to weed out the weak in those harsh conditions, which is where the Vikings landed, which they had to abandon after they did not adapt 'skraeling' ways, their vulgar slang for Inuit

    shipwrecked people would also self-select out for no disease spreading to NW peoples, because those infected would past the germs to others, so all would be too weak to survive the passage, it took Columbus 2 months to sail against the current before hitting land, would the Chinese have prevailed against much longer odds?

    the ocean currents favored the Japanese, Polynesian & Aboriginal Peoples in the Pacific & the Icelandic, Moors & SW Africans in the Atlantic
    see here: http://blue.utb.edu/paullgj/geog3333/lectures/oceancurrents-1.gif

    DNA tests show currently that NW peoples are related to Siberian peoples, so how did they get to the NW? the land bridge for the first waves & sea route for the Inuit

    don't fall into the same trap that mormons do; anachronisms is their downfall
    don't focus on a few isolated details, focus on the impact that a bronze age people would have had on stone-age NW peoples; weapons, tech, farming, big animal domestication, religion, language, political organization

    so where are the Chinese or African dynasties of Mexico or Peru? you think that they would not have taken advantage of these people as the Europeans did? I don't think Asians, Africans or Polynesians are that much more benevolent, wishful thinking aside

    art= chinese liked dragons, no dragons in NW art
    most NW art is symbolic or cartoonish, only exception that I know of, is the Moche of Peru
  18. the proper sequence might be herders & farmers, settlements, then villages, etc...

    there appears to be 2 main chinese groups, in N light skin, in Central & S darker skin, Chinese are an amalgamation of many conquered groups, that were converted into 'chinese' by the force of arms, look at all the minority islands surrounded by the ocean of Han Chinese ("Han", so-called after an early unifying dynasty)

    after more than 2 K years of continuity, that civilization was able to "sinify' their conquerors, notice the Mongol Yuan & Manchu Qin dynasties
  19. I can't believe I forgot the most important reason that negates any live shipborne contact, prior to 1492

    shipbuilding skills, if you get here by boat, you obviously know seamanship, shipbuilding & other seafaring skills, that apparently the New World people didn't have

    the obvious candidates, Polynesians would have had an easy time of it, had they been here, Thor Heyerdahl notwithstanding
  20. Norsefire Salam Shalom Salom Registered Senior Member

    Middle East was before China and is the most important place in the world (Holy Land) even today.

    Breakthroughs have occured on countless occasions by none other than Middle Eastern people, such as Arab, Muslim, Jewish, Christian Crusader, Turk, Kurdish, etc

    The Middle East and Europe have made today what it is
  21. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Now that needs explaining. The Chinese just weren't written about nor explored until many decades had passed. They have been in existence longer than the Mid East. Can you please post a link providing your source of information, thanks.
  22. peta9 Registered Senior Member

    every civilization builds on whatever it accumulates wherever.

    it's a baton run. western civilization can thank or give a nod to chinese civilization for the jumpstart in conquering the world due to weaponry and battle tactics.

    Now, asia and the rest of the world is following the lead and reaping the advancements of western civilization and incorporating it.

    This flow is continuous and necessary for advancement.
  23. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

    Mesopotamian Civ. maybe?

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