Culture Ancient Civilizations Thread

Gold Knight

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Anybody here with more than a fleeting interest in Ancient Civilizations?

I'm talking about like Ancient Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, China, India, Tibet, Japan, Greece, Rome, Celts, Vikings, Aztecs, Maya, Incas.

Pretty much any civilization before the world started growing considerably smaller with increased trading voyages across the seas.

Really, if you think about it, it's astonishing that as long as humans have lived here on this world (four million years, if you count the earliest hominids, 250,000 years if you only go as far back as homo sapiens), "civilizations" have only existed for roughly 6,000 years.

That's like... an incredibly short time in our history! And already we've come this far, at this rate, who knows what this big ball of blue of ours will be like in another 3,000 years from now?

But no way to really know what the future will be like, so let's just dig up the past instead for now and talk about it =) But what part of the ancient world are YOU guys interested in the most?

Also, another quick question for you smart people: do you happen to know what the four earliest civilizations in the world are generally agreed to be? A cookie for the first one who gets it right. ;)

-----------------------------------------------------------Important - What Are Civilizations?

It's important to remember what exactly civilizations are as opposed to say a village of neanderthals. There are six basic details that usually are enough to define a civilization, and they are:

1. Cities: They become the focus points for political, economic, social, cultural, and religious development.
2. Religions: Gods are deemed crucial to the community's success, and professional priestly classes serve as intermediates between the people and the gods.
3. Politics and Armies: A government bureaucracy meet the demands of a growing population and a military is created to gain land and power.
4. Social Structures: We have more social structures based on economic power - kings, upper class of priests, political leaders, warriors, farmers, artisans, craftspeople, and slaves.
5. Writing: With the development of writing, records are more easily kept on a daily basis.
6. Significant Artistic & Intellectual Activity: usually monumental and religious architecture.

----------------------------------------------------------- Points of Interest for Discussion:

1. Rises and Falls of these Civilizations
2. Cultures of these Civilizations (How they lived, etc.)
3. Mythologies...! C'mon, who doesn't love a little interesting mythology ;)
EDIT: We now have a Mythologies Thread. Go forth and chat :D

And as an art historian I'm pretty interested in artistic accomplishments too. =)
 
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Gold Knight

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Despite how I started my first post, people with a fleeting interest are welcome too in this thread. Heh.
 

ornis

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Oops! I deleted my post because of that ><

I'm really intrigued by the Delphi of Greece

The Pyramids of Egypt

The Shrines of Japan

and the Taj Mahal

Everything else (about those civilizations) "comes around" when I ponder those icons.

Ooh I like the languages too---Egyptian-wise i like the hieroglyphics--- but the languages for the rest of them.

Certain words... just play over in my head for days >.>
[hr]-[/hr]
Oh yeah Democracy, Feudalism---all the sociological aspects... gosh I wish I could include Gandhi's Satyagraha...

Weelll I am very obsessed with the many cultural phenomena that direct various races toward civil natures... natures that are so separate from each other.

Culture is what I tend to the most, as you can see ^^

I like to compare sociological dynamics with biological lifestyles. The very way cancer works is akin to gluttony... and so forth

I'm completely nuts!
 
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Gold Knight

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Can you elaborate on Japanese shrines?

As for the other three -

Delphi of Greece - Definitely my biggest interest here, but probably because I LOVE Greek and Homeric mythology so much. Plus any place considered to be "the center of the world" in a civilization has a lot of significance obviously.

Pyramids of Egypt - my biggest interest is just actually SEEING them in person... dammit, I gotta get some money so I can travel! I probably am not so enthusiastic about them because I've pretty much burnt myself out on Egyptian history. (The more you know, the less you think about it, sometimes.)

Taj Mahal - Definitely a great monument but... hmm, I didn't think of it as ancient stuff. It's more recent.

EDIT: Well understanding these dynamics is pretty essential to understanding why and how people worked together and formed civilizations in the first place, so that's a pretty good reason for you to be here in this thread xD
 
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ornis

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Shrines protect precious connections to the past.

Japanese really don't forget anything to me, and that tells a world about their character--- pride, confidence, and nobility...

All those qualities are symbolically guarded through the "artwork" of shrines... in a physical homage to honor.

There is a shrine in Japan, the Sasuke Inari Jinja Shrine.

Here's a link (just search "sasuke")

It's name translates to "Sukedono was helped by a god"

Sukedono was involved with the great Yoshitsune... I'm kinda rusty here >.>

The link explains how a god helps a man "defeat his fate..."
 
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Do Kesubei

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Ornis, you might want to look into Shinto. Interesting stuff, that religion. I'm like reading up on it.

I used to despise history (rote memorization isn't very fun), but as I get older I'm becoming more and more interested. My primary interest lies in the Ryukyu Kingdom - modern-day Okinawa. From what I read, before they were invaded by Japan, the Ryukyu Kingdom was something of it's own nation, with it's own culture and it's own religion. It had stronger ties with China than it did with Japan as well.

The religion is of particular interest to me because, unlike other, more prominent religions, women were the ones who were in charge. From what I understand, men would handle political and economical matters while the priestess handled the community and spiritual matters.

In addition, I want to start reading into African civilization as I've unfortunately ignored my own heritage in my earlier years.


Gold Knight said:
do you happen to know what the four earliest civilizations in the world are generally agreed to be? A cookie for the first one who gets it right.
Hmm. The Africans, The Chinese, The Mayans, and the...Phoenicians??


Afterthought: Ryukyu is not an 'ancient civilization'. Oops.



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ornis

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Also, another quick question for you smart people: do you happen to know what the four earliest civilizations in the world are generally agreed to be? A cookie for the first one who gets it right. ;)
I'm thinking Egyptian; Indian; Chinese; Greek


[hr]-[/hr]Points of Interest for Discussion:

1. Rises and Falls of these Civilizations
2. Cultures of these Civilizations (How they lived, etc.)
3. Mythologies...! C'mon, who doesn't love a little interesting mythology ;)

And as an art historian I'm pretty interested in artistic accomplishments too. =)
Let's talk Sisyphus.

It's pervading my thoughts on Naruto---and on the work's "Akira injections," here and there.

Does "the rock" endlesly tumble for all Sisyphus-like characters... or has the burden ever passed along? Sort of... from one era's brave ambition, to the next...

An itch though: Would it be ideal to spoiler-tag Akira info?

Tetsuo == Sasuke
 
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pseudorca

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Also, another quick question for you smart people: do you happen to know what the four earliest civilizations in the world are generally agreed to be? A cookie for the first one who gets it right. ;)
hmmm, my guess would be
- mesopotamian (around tigris river)
- indus river civilizations (dravidan?? can't remember)
- ancient egyptians (around nile river)
- ancient chinese (around yangtze river)

so, do i get the cookies? ~.~
 

TechnoMagus

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ohhh nice thread :thumbs

does atlantis count? lemuria too? :fan

i'm also mystified by these civilizations....
progenitors of linear b, easter island, nazca plains, anazzazzi (?)
 

Paper

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i have a penchant for nordic and egyptian mythology....
 

miyi

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Also, another quick question for you smart people: do you happen to know what the four earliest civilizations in the world are generally agreed to be? A cookie for the first one who gets it right.
from the top of my head:

Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient IndoEuropea or EuroAsia (ok this one, I'm just guessing), and China?

on topic:

I've only briefly studied Western Civilization, although someday I plan on also studying Eastern Civilization. So, I'm interested (and familiar with) in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Persian Civilization.

One thing to add:

There's almost nothing left to explore by land. In a few thousand years, I think that space exploration and occupation will be possible, and achieveable. We'll be colonizing other planets, and we'll be spreading our human history and culture beyond Earth.
 

Runemage

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earliest aye? city of Ur in southern Mesopotamia, located in now modern Iraq, located between the the two rivers Euphrates and Tigris, became a hot spot for farmers/villagers to concentrate settlement, believed to have the first form of trade (barter)

that's pretty much all i remember from my social studies :amuse
 

Paper

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on the east? form what i remember the Malays were one of the first.
 

Gold Knight

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hmmm, my guess would be
- mesopotamian (around tigris river)
- indus river civilizations (dravidan?? can't remember)
- ancient egyptians (around nile river)
- ancient chinese (around yangtze river)

so, do i get the cookies? ~.~
Good job, you got it =) The Sumer culture of Mesopotamia came around 3500 BC in present-day Iraq, the other three emerged a little later. Good call to mention the rivers, too... exactly the reason they all popped up.

Sumeria/Mesopotamia - Tigris & Euphrates Rivers
Egypt - none other than the Nile, as you said
India - the Indus
China - Yellow River, yeah.

And now I can say that my biggest interest is Mesopotamia at the moment. Too bad we know the least about it xD


ornis, I was just wondering if there was a particular group of shrines that appealed to you more than others. Nice site, I do agree with you, they're definitely interesting. But as Do Kesubei mentioned, definitely study up on Shinto.

Techno - sure... :D And yeah, the Easter Islands make me wonder, too...!

miyi, not quite NOTHING to explore by land yet - there's still probably hundreds of ancient ruins buried under the sands of Iraq right now. We still know so little about ancient Mesopotamia. It's pretty frustrating because Iraq is probably the most hostile place on the planet right now, and we may never get to do some research over there for years.

ornis - that would make a pretty good essay - if you put it that way, ALL manga protagaonists could be said to be Sisyphus-like... xD It's like when Spider-Man never runs out of enemies or threats to his family.

I'm thinking maybe I should make separate threads for mythology though. It's a loaded subject all its own. I'm going to do that.

Runemage - yup =) Though the earliest city we know of is Jericho in Palestine, which we can date back to 8000 BC... but Ur is generally agreed to be the earliest place that meets all the requirements of a civilization.
[hr]-[/hr]
Okay, created a Mythologies Thread. =)
 
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PaperYomiko

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I was always obsessed with Ancient Greek mythology, and, by association, Ancient Greece. There was a time when I could tell you everything about any god or goddess, but I've been neglecting it for a while. I actually read the Iliad on my own one summer. My friends thought I was insane. But it's really fascinating literature, and one of the best insights we have into Ancient Greek culture. I think it's interesting how, especially with Homer, legend becomes inseparable with history. Ancient Greek philosophy, too, is something I've always loved, and I think it continues to be an essential influence on our modern society.

In terms of other civilizations, I think I've been obsessed with all of them at some point in my life :D Right now, I'm interested in studying more about ancient Asian civilizations - India, China, and Japan in particular, since I never had much of that in school. What I think would be really interesting, though, would be a 'comparative' course on the subject - what were the ancient Chinese doing when the Egyptians were building their pyramids, etc. Unfortunately, I'm horrible at remembering dates :darn


In addition, I want to start reading into African civilization as I've unfortunately ignored my own heritage in my earlier years.
Precolonial African history is really interesting. So's postcolonial, actually, it's all a very interesting history that is often not emphasized, in American schools at least. I was always very interested in the Asante/Ashanti Kingdom, in modern Ghana. One of the best classes I ever took in high school was African History, you should definitely look into it. There are some really good books out there on the subject. And if you haven't read it already, definitely read Roots :D
 

Gold Knight

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Paper, I know what you mean about being obsessed with all the civilizations at one time or other, I'm that way too. It's just fun to learn about what came before us.

I love the Iliad, you aren't insane =D

I took African Art History in school, it definitely has some fascinating parts. But that's another one we know very little about... a lot of my papers had to have a speculative nature to them.

But I would like to know more about the kingdoms of Kush and Nubia for sure. The only kingdom we really know a LOT about there is Egypt, though, because of all their tombs and historical records.
 
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Ichimaru Gin n Tonic

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What i used to be interested in a civilization is how they "created" the Gods. Who and how did men, in each civilization, came up with the idea to worship something? Like how the Ancient Greek "established" Olympus and their Gods or Ancient Egyptian culture with their animal-shaped Gods.
 

ornis

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Delphi of Greece - Definitely my biggest interest here, but probably because I LOVE Greek and Homeric mythology so much. Plus any place considered to be "the center of the world" in a civilization has a lot of significance obviously.

Heh-heh! The Center of the World... Omphalos. Refers to the mind, you think?

The Greeks used a fairly "open-minded" way to "know thyself"

Consider the Oracles. What if they were druggies? I mean... that is some zany philosophy. Critical education to me.

Now, was the common Pythia (oracle) discredited, or really high, when she "spoke her mind"

I wouldn't take any village gal and get her high, just for the love of knowledge...

Though, much more was at stake without the "Oracle's eye." War, famine, disease.

! Like Mangekyou Sharingan's true purpose

An all powerful "Third Eye" protects a village's livelihood for a selfless cost... only---Itachi twisted it! Hope it's true! Kishi spreads brilliance about like wildfire!

But honestly, I get a taste of hubris whenever I ponder... Greek MO... And that brings me back to the Uchiha Complex
[hr]-[/hr]
Ornis, you might want to look into Shinto. Interesting stuff, that religion. I'm like reading up on it.
Thank you. The nudge gives me direction for my posting discretion.

Let me consider "grudges."

At once, I had "grudges" accompany some Japanese character traits (pride, confidence, nobility, grudges) but I removed grudges...

<According to your ample reference> One Shinto doctrine is for a person not to indulge in selfish interests. "Take life to survive. Respect the taking of life as a privilege allowed for your life's worth."

All things done, should be humbly so. All goals should be met the same.

Do you believe Shinto promotes a "good pride?" Purity should cause one to feel honored for being alive. So one should be honored---blessed---for being noble...

Your reference is very helpful, and I just realized why I instinctively removed grudges from those character traits.

Grudges lead to avengers and a human taking up the duty to spread a kami's wrath... such is too unfortunate to celebrate... necessary or not.

That's what I believe. That's why I pity Sasuke, now.
[hr]-[/hr]
And Do Kesubei, I originally looked at the symbolic meaning of the shrines rather than their practical purpose.

I am at times a confused "idealist" when I should address topics objectively, but the historical significance of Kami and nature is deeply respected in the creation of the beautiful sites reserved for kami worship/enshrinement.

I'm reflecting on the essence of creating something that honors Japanese heritage.
 
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Jester_Rogue

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I was always interested in Ancient Egypt cause it is incredibley facinating but I like Paper have neglected my studies for quite some time...

I recently gained an interest in the kingdom of Hannibal(?) the person who went up against Alexander the Great on Elephants and other things. He ventured round the frontlines and came up behind Alexander but in the end Alexander was the victor. I think that ALexander also salted the land that Hannibal(?) inhabited
 

PaperYomiko

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Jester, if you find out more about Hannibal, do share! The first thing I thought of was Hannibal Lector :D Seriously though, I could use some remedial history lessons. I think I've read about him in Latin class recently, but I don't remember much...

I love the Iliad, you aren't insane =D
That's very good to hear. I'll go tell my friends they're not allowed to make fun of me anymore :D

I took African Art History in school, it definitely has some fascinating parts. But that's another one we know very little about... a lot of my papers had to have a speculative nature to them.
But that's what's really cool about it, I think - more opportunity for original ideas!

The only kingdom we really know a LOT about there is Egypt, though, because of all their tombs and historical records.
That's so weird though, in a cool way, I think. That we really only know what we do about them because of their deaths. And that they built those pyramids all for the afterlife...it's really crazy, when you think about it.
 
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