There is a broad chronological development of the world civilization across ages. Understanding the development of the concept of civilization requires that we explore the conditions that independently of holistically allow the sophistication of human developments. Several elements that are distinctively different need to combine before a community of human beings can be said to have developed to a sophistication level, basically referred to as civilization (Buckle 24). Initial stages involve the emergence of settlements in the form of towns or cities/marketing centers. Settlements can establish under circumstances of efficient food production among a large group of minority in the community especially when they become engaged in specialized activities such as the practice of skilled warfare, creation of imposing buildings and/or works of art and key to all, the administration of a bureaucracy that is centralized in nature. The centralized bureaucracy is mainly responsible for running the whole process of civilization and its evolution. At the least, civilization requires a rudimentary service (Durant 114)
The knowledge of pre-history originates from the objects that have managed to survive through-ages. This can basically be referred to the evidence that derive from archaeological artefacts. Civilization in some ancient communities was able to develop without writing. The process of writing however enhances civilization to a large extent. Documents provide the basis for history. The various interrelationships between civilization and the emergence of the process of writing mean that the two, essentially began almost at the same time. From an historical perspective, that time is approximated to be around 3100BC.
At around 3200bc, in the region where south-east Asia joins North east Africa, two earliest civilizations developed. The very earliest great rivers, Euphrates and Tigris, played a very significant role that forms a crucial part of the historical evolution of history. The Sumerians settled in the present day, Iraq just between the mouths of the two prominent rivers (Lenzen & others 56). It is important to note that Egypt developed in the narrow strip of the valley of the Nile. The two rivers offered, basically two main merits to the developing civilization. One of the benefits of such rivers was the provision of water for irrigation, and secondly, provision of the easiest means of transport for a society that lacked paved roads. The initial cities in Mesopotamia had big walls and temples existed on ziggurats. The Sumerians homes were basically made of reeds and their major activity was actually farming. This group of people are also the very first to establish writing, a form known as pictographs constructed on clay tablets. Evolution to script referred to as cuneiform is what followed the pictographs. Notable development towards civilization was the change of homes to those made of mud and bricks.
Nevertheless, little is known regarding wether contact with Mesopotamia in 2500BC, really inspired the initial civilization of India or wether that can be considered as a spontaneous process of local development. It is prudent to note that, regardless of the information gap that may be existing, at around 2500BC, the Neolithic villages just along banks of Indus were on the verge of joining into a sophisticated and unified culture. With its two large cities, namely Mohenjo and also Harappa, the Indus civilization attained expansion over a considerably larger region than that a region matching the size of both Egypt and Mesopotamia combined. Interestingly, the Indus civilization survives in a consistent form that is quite remarkable, for 1000 or so years.
Another region that developed in a very distinctive way that comprised of disjointed civilization centers was the Aegean region. This region developed through rational elementary lifestyles through gradual process of civilization in 2000BC, on the Aegean Sea. The inlets and bays of the coastal region of Greece, very rugged in nature, and the bays together with several small strung islands that includes pearls that were across the relatively sheltered sea, combined to make an ideal area for trade. Trade was not without combination of piracy among people (Prescott & others 112). Important at this stage, is the fact that the nautical skills of the people at this time slows the process of civilization and that is commonly referred to as a short-hop development of civilization which has to occur under great precautions that further slows the entire process of people of moving from elementary ancient systems through to more complex and sophisticated lifestyles. The Aegean civilization can be described as one that is at the centre of the emergence of the very lively ancient Mediterranean culture. This begins in the big island that is strategically placed to safeguard the point of entrance of the common Aegean –Crete.
Interestingly, civilization in the world cannot be viewed as a process that developed only in some regions while others remained traditional but it should be noted that sophistication of lifestyles at some instances was a parallel processes that more or less occurred concurrently in more than one region. The longest form of civilization, consistent to a large extent occurred in china. This represents a very vast empire that appears isolated from the rest of the world and is characterized as being proud of its own culture and traditions and its habit of resistance to foreign influence. The story of china’s civilization commences in a manner that can be described as being more or less independent, dynast emerged in china at around 1600BC,but no identifiable precedents exist .the dynasty is commonly known as the Shang dynasty. The availability of bronze vessels that are superb serves to achieve perfection in technology. The dynasty with its written texts, lead to characters introduction that are in recognition and can be seen to have a very close relationship to the present Chinese writing. Such a civilization just begins and continues to a large extent with confidence.
In America at around 1200BC, the very first civilizations obtain pace and trace their beginnings at this period. The communities involved include the Omlecs and the Chavin in Central America and the Andes respectively. Both of the cultures establish in major towns that are temple-centered. These civilizations are all common because of their sculpture. In its own region, each civilization occurs at the emergence of a series of succeeding civilizations that create room to the establishment of other two that get discovered in the 16th century and are destroyed in the same generation by the Spanish. The destroyed civilizations are basically, the Indus of the Andes and another called the Aztecs that had established in Central America.
Regional civilizations between AD400 to AD 1500 can be attributed to Rome and Greece dominance. The Rome and Greece dominate the west of china, and they are successful to a great extent in managing in driving a transition of pagan empires to Christian based empires (Ikeda & others 87) .Also they dominate individual cultures in central and South America. Every successful civilization at this time tends to be based on local traditions variation. At other times, entirely new culture integrated in already long civilized sections of the world, is seen to emerge due to upheavals that occasionally become evident. An example of such is the Islam culture. This originates after the establishment of the caliphate at Damascus and later Baghdad allows for distinct Muslim civilizations. This is spread in the unbroken belt all the way to north India from North America.
Global civilization presents a more sophisticated form of civilization that happens between the 16th and 20th century. This is a type of civilization that opens the door for emergence of a new concept that later came to be described in a collective representation as the world’s civilizations. This form of civilization is very extensive and it undergoes evolution through several empires and across numerous colonies. For instance, an example that can best illustrate the nature of spread of the world civilizations is the English culture. The English culture spreads to far regions in empires that have many distinctive cultures that have their basic characterizations(Buckle 133) .such empires, very distinctive in nature include New Zealand ,Canada ,Australia and more evidently in several parts of the African continent, if not the whole continent or Africa. In a period between the 16th and 19th century, the prevalent imperial impulse mainly drives the civilization of Europe around other parts of the world mostly in a system that can be seen as a thin veneer above the ancient and actually very stout cultures of the locals. But there is little resistance to the spread of this European culture due to the fact that the forces that drive this process are so strong and by a great extent they can be seen as strong and unavoidable. Ideology is what has driven civilization in the dispersal of two concepts of civilization, greatly different, which are the Russian communism and the American capitalism. The emergence and great strides that have occurred in the development of mass communication presents a force that is very strong and purely irresistible, has provided a world in which one region’s popular culture is easily and very fast disseminated or to be more precise, exported to the rest of the world. This dispersal of cultures can be greatly said as purely successful and facilitated through cinema, television and radio, just as in the example notably in America to the rest of the world.
In the 18th century, civilization did not in all cases imply a sense of improvement. There is a major historical distinction between civilization and culture which is largely extracted from the writings of Rousseau and precisely from his work on education, Emile. From such a perspective, civilization, as a socially driven and rational concept that is not entirely according to human nature, can be considered to be achievable mainly through the approximation to a pre-rational unity.
In addition to the various distinct forms of civilizations, there exist specific elements that through a close analysis of the developments that resulted in civilizations, there are clear characteristics of civilization process. Scientists have developed criteria of distinguishing civilizations that is based on types of livelihoods, means of subsistence, and economic systems among others. It becomes evident that almost all civilizations depended mainly on agriculture for purposes of subsistence.
In conclusion, the evolution civilization still continues in an environment that some civilizations take shape across the world even as other civilizations fall. In future it is predicted that there will be a clash of civilizations. And mainly modern civilization will be more inclined towards domination of environment and humanity in a way that is foreseen as destructive. In really essence, civilization is not always a positive phenomenon all in itself but can at times be negative and harmful.
Buckle, H T. History of civilization in England. New York: Ungar 1964. Print.
Durant, Will, and Ariel Durant. The Story of Civilization. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935. Print.
Ikeda, Daisaku, and Majid Tehranian. Global Civilization: A Buddhist-Islamic Dialogue. London: British Academic Press, 2003. Print.
Lenzen, Victor F. Civilization. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959. Print.
Prescott, William H, and John F. Kirk. History of the Conquest of Peru: With a Preliminary View of the Civilization of the Incas. London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1959. Print.
Rifkin, Jeremy. The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis. New York: J.P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2009. Print.