ANCIENT CIVILIZATION OF THE WORLD
The Egyptian Civilization:-
Generally all civilization have originated in river valleys. The Egyptian civilization could take birth due to the presence of the river Nile. The relics obtained here proclaim the grandeur of Egypt. Huge pyramids, sculptures, temples and the inscriptions in these temples tell us a lot about Egyptian culture and history.
The Contribution of Egyptians:-
The Egyptians were experts farmers. They knew a lot about irrigation. They had built temples. They invented the calendar which has helped us to measure time. More than anything else, they had mastered the art of writing. It was a symbolic language. It consists of small drawings and been called hieroglyphics.
The Nile valley :-
Every rainy season, the Nile river would transform the Nile valley into a huge lake. After the valley dried up summer, a fertile layer of clay soil would form the grazing field and neighbouring agricultural lans. The work that would need the labour of hundreds of people, was being done by the kind river all alone. This fertile land provided food for the population of the first town in the area. Not all agriculture regions where in the valley. Hence it was through small canals and wells that they were responsible for the development of a complex system irrigation throughout the land.
The prosperous, wealthy Egyptian peasants and citizens in their leisure engaged themselves in the creation of artistic works. The role of priest was created to interpret nature and explain it. The priests were scholars and shouldered the responsibility of protecting written documents. They believed in life after death. They believed that man had to give an account of hie deeds on earth to Osiris, the most powerful God of life and death. The priests considered that life on earth was temporary and was needed only to prepare for the next life. Thus the whole of the Nile valley was reserved for the dead. The dead body would be smeared with various chemicals and wrapped with a thin cloth. The entire body was in this way preserved. The body protected thus was called a ‘mummy’. It would be kept in a specially designed coffin. The grave was considered the true ‘place’ for an Egyptian. Hence all around the dead body, items need for daily use and small dolls of a cook and barber would be kept to fulfil all future needs.
In desert tall towers were built on these graves using huge blocks of stone in order to protect the eternal sleep of the dead. The Greeks called these structures ‘Pyramids’.
The Mesopotamian Civilization:-
Mesopotamia is an area which lies in a valley between two rivers. Many of the places described in the Old Testament can be seen here. The land which inspires awe and fascination is called the ‘Land between the rivers’ or ‘Mesopotamia’ by the Greeks. The two rivers, Euphrates and Tigris, have made this West Asian barren land very fertile. It was the fertility of this area that attracted the people to it. Since food crops could be grown with little effort, the northern hilly tribes and the southern nomadic tribes of the desert tried ti establish control over this area. The rivalry between these tribes led to number of endless conflicts. However, in the midst of these conflicts, there emerged a civilization of strong and brave race. The Sumerians were the first ones to evolve a system of writing, which was called Cuneiform.
The most important area of this civilization was the southern part of the valley between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. From olden times, this area had been referred to as Babylonia. The northern part of Mesopotamia was known as Assyria.
The history of Mesopotamia is a story of end less hatred and conflict. The Sumerians, the hilly tribe from the north. Were the first to come here. They who used to worship their gods on top of the hills, after coming to the plains, built artificial hills and established their places of worship there. These were called Ziggurat. They did not know to build stairs and therefore surrounded them with sloping gallaries. The Jews called these the Towers of Babel.
The Chinese Civilization :-
It is a special feature of all ancient civilization that they were established on river valleys. The Chinese civilization was no exception to this. But the river which led to the establishment of the Chinese civilization was known as ‘China’s Sorrow’. This was the Hwang Ho river. After the floods this river changed its course in an unpredictable manner and inundated houses and agricultural lands. It would render all the canals useless. This was the reason the people of that area referred to it as the ‘Symbol of Sorrow’.
According to excavations, the first ruling family of the Chinese civilization was the Shang dynasty. It ruled in the period between the 18th century B.C. and the 12 th century B.C. Under the rule of this dynasty the Shang dynasty was overpowered by the neighbouring Chau dynasty. The Chau dynasty continued the good tradition of the Shang culture and ruled till 250 B.C.
The Great Wall of China:-
The Chinese Empire consisted of many small provinances. Seven big states were created bringing these smaller provinces under them. Evary state that was created thus. Constructed a wall along its boundary for protection. Emper or Qin Shihuangti ordered that the walls of the northern Chinese states be connected. This enabled the northern walls to ward off the attacks of invaders from the north. The construction of the great wall began in the 7th century B.C. and continued till the 16th century . The worn-out parts were repaired and strengthened. When the work was completed it stretched to more than 5000 kilometers. It is one of the seven wonders of the world.
The Chinese used to wear thin cotton dresses. They used silk too, and engaged in silkworm-rearing. Silk-manufacturing was a prominent industry. The Chinese used to make excellent pots, and had learnt to make various objects from porcelain. It was a custom of the Chinese to worship their ancestors. They believed that a dead man became a spirit and that the spirit had special powers. The dead body was buried along with various woodens articles,pots,bronze vessels and other objects. The tombs of kings used to be quite large. The Chinese tradition of writing began with pictures and got transformed into an ideographic script. Writers used to write on silk and bamboo slips. Porcelain and the Great Wall are the exceptional contributions of this culture.
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