AN01b_Ch02: Beginnings of Civilizations- Early River Valley Civilizations (Cradles of Civilization)
Timeline: 4th – 3rd Millennium BCE (Neolithic => Bronze Ages)
FQ: What’s so special about the “Cradles of Civilization”?
All civilized societies share common traits. Historical context contributes to the development of societal traits. If the context within which a society develops is similar to that of another society, then there is a high probability that both will share several common traits. Beginning with the early river valley civilizations, we can easily identify the common traits of those and succeeding civilizations.
I. Vocabulary (Refer to Crossword Puzzle: Pu01b)
II. Cradles of Civilization
The development of settled communities near rivers by early Man was the beginning of a process culminating in the great river valley civilizations. Early Man quickly realized that rivers could provide the essential elements for survival, but also improve the chance of prosperity. During the Neolithic Age, these settled communities grew in population, acreage, and complexity with the ‘nurturing’ qualities of the rivers.
A. Mesopotamia = Sumer (Case Study)
B. Nile = Ancient Egypt (Case Study)
The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid S-W Asia, the Nile Valley and Nile Delta.
C. Indus = Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro
D. Huang He = Han
III. Attributes of a Civilized Society
A. Presence of a Government: Organize the people of a society to ensure its survival.
B. Urban Population (Presence of Cities): High population density
C. Communication: Roads, Trade Routes, Oral & Literary Data Recording (Language)
D. Commerce: Markets, Resources, Mediums Of Exchange
E. Hierarchy: Specialization and diversification of jobs and/ or social roles.
A society may show over time it’s ability/ inability to adapt to changes. These changes may come to pass in a variety of ways. Among these we would include…
A. Societal Cohesion The hierarchical structure is unable to maintain the relationships between the classes (groups) in the society.
B. Invasion: An outside group forcefully engulfs the society and replaces institutions with it’s own, alien, institutions.
C. Environmental/ Geography/ Topography: A natural force overwhelms the society’s ability to withstand the destruction (Hurricanes, Floods, Earthquakes, etc.).
1. Unique topography: The physical characteristics of a territory can influence the development of a civilization.
2. Limitations of River Systems: The vital nature of water goes a long way in explaining why river valleys are the first to nurture civilizations. Traits of the river will influence the development of the civilization.
3. Extremes of Climate/ Weather: Anyone living in California or Florida knows that along with pleasant weather/ climatic conditions comes occasional extremes of the same. Such extremes could mean total destruction if the civilization does not adequately prepare (See Minoan civilization of Crete).
– World History: Patterns of Interaction textbook
– Pu01b_River Valley Civilizations