History Explored: Ancient Civilizations Around the World | EXPLORE MODE

History Explored: Ancient Civilizations Around the World | EXPLORE MODE


First things first: How exactly do we define
a civilization? We’re going to source National Geographic for this one. According to them, civilizations share the following characteristics: They have large population centers They have monumental architecture and unique art styles They have shared communication strategies They have systems put in place for administering
territories They have a complex division of labor and they have social and economic class divisions You’ll also notice that most, if not all, civilizations flourished around bodies of water, that’s just because water equals natural
irrigation, source of drinkable water, natural plumbing… you get the gist. You’re watching Explore Mode and today we are diving into four of the oldest civilizations in the world. Let’s start with the oldest
civilization ever, the Mesopotamian Civilization. This civilization emerged between the Tigris
and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East, more specifically, in modern-day Iraq and Kuwait. It lasted from 3500 BC to 500 BC and it’s known as the cradle of civilizations due to
the many early societies and empires that arose from it, which include the Sumerians,
Akkadians, Persians, Babylonians and Assyrians. Human settlements in Mesopotamia date all
the way back to the Paleolithic era, known as the period of early human cultural development. And boy, did the Mesopotamian people develop. In the year 3500 BC, the Mesopotamian city of Uruk had a population of around 80,000 people, making it the largest city of its
time. Mesopotamians had other things going on too. They were dabbling in metalwork, literature,
textile weaving, irrigation, agriculture, the wheel, sailboats, cuneiform texts (which,
is one of the earliest writing systems in human history) the sexagesimal math system (which we continue to use today to define time, astrological measurements and even geographical
coordinates.) This is the perfect time to shout out to our previous video on the history of timekeeping! We cover how the Sumerians used the sexagesimal system, early timekeeping methods, modern timekeeping devices etcetera, etcetera. Click on the card or check out the
description box below if you want to learn more! They also created the Code of Hammurabi,
one of the earliest and best-preserved written legal codes created by King Hammurabi who
reigned from 1792 to 1750 BC during the Babylonian dynasty. Actually, let’s get into an Explore Fact. You know the old saying? An eye for an eye? Yeah, that was an actual law in the
Code of Hammurabi. Law number 196 stated, “If a man destroys the eye of another man,
they shall destroy his eye.” This kind of law is known as “lex talionis” or law
of retaliation, essentially, the punishment of an unlawful act needs to be equivalent
somehow to the offense committed. The Code of Hammurabi didn’t just cover eye destruction either. There are 282 laws carved onto the diorite stela covering, agriculture, property damage, murder, marital affairs, extra-marital affairs, women’s rights (whatever that meant
at that time), slave rights, wages, slander, trade and many more. Speaking of trade, the first long-distance trade took place between Mesopotamia and the Indus River Valley Civilization,
the next civilization up in our list. This civilization is named after the river system it was located around which is now modern-day Northeast Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwest India. Its existence spanned from the year 3300 BC to 1300 BC. Like the Mesopotamians, the Indus River Valley Civilization also had a writing system, called the Indus script. There is one problem though, no one has been able to decipher their script, therefore, the knowledge we have today on this civilization is heavily reliant on archeological
evidence. Luckily for us, this civilization left a lot behind, including two of its major
cities: Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. The remains of these two cities show extraordinary organization, engineering, urban planning, and architecture for their time. Both cities were built on
a grid-based design and their buildings were made of bricks, clay bricks in Harappa and
fired and mortared brick in Mohenjo Daro. Mohenjo-Daro was the largest of the two cities,
covering 500 acres. In fact, it’s the largest city of this civilization and one of the largest urban centers of the ancient world. The city is divided into two areas, the Citadel and
the Lower City. The citadel contains one of the most remarkable archaeological remnants of the city, an 83 square meter bathing pool fed by the Indus River called The Great Bath,
which leads us to the Explore Fact for this civilization. Sanitation, sewage management,
and water systems are three things that the people of the Indus River Valley Civilization
had in check. Mohenjo-Daro alone had 700 freshwater wells inside its walls. But the most remarkable
development of the Indus River Valley Civilization was its drainage system. Most buildings andhomes had their own bathrooms which were in turn connected to a centralized drainage system
connected by several brick-made underground drains. By the force of good ole trusty gravity,
waste would be carried out of the city or into large cesspits that would be periodically
emptied, keeping their homes and city squeaky clean. Oh, and how do we know they traded
with the Mesopotamians? Well, long story short, archeological evidence shows that Indus jewelry
and large seals with nonother than Indus script on them have been found in Mesopotamian territories,
suggesting that these two civilizations were in fact connected and making business together. At the same time Mohenjo-Daro was being constructed, around 5,080 kilometers to the west, pyramids
were being raised. This brings us to our next civilization: The Ancient Egyptian Civilization… you’ve probably heard of it. A lot can be said about the ancient Egyptians. Much of
which has been extensively, yet questionably, covered by Hollywood. Although we can’t
blame them for being obsessed with the Egyptians. Not only is this civilization arguably one
of the most artistically developed, but it also went through vast transformations over
the millennia. There is A LOT to say about the Ancient Egyptians, so we’ll run you
through some basic facts (there’s still one more civilizations to go, after all). So, basic facts! The Egyptian Civilization grew in the lower reaches of the Nile River in
what is currently modern-day Egypt. Its history is divided into three periods: DISCLAIMER:
The dates of these periods vary depending on who you source, and whether or not they
include certain periods. We’re citing the Ancient History Encyclopedia for this. The Old Kingdom period spanned from 2613 BC to 2181 BC. It’s also known as the Age of the
Pyramid Builders as it was during this period that the pyramids of Giza were built. Specifically, during the fourth dynasty, under the rule of Pharaohs Sneferu, Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. In fact, The Sphinx was built for King Khafre and the Great Pyramid of Giza for King Khufu
himself. Then came the Middle Kingdom which lasted from 2040 BC to 1782 BC. Many reforms took place during these years but this period mainly stands out for its literary and artistic
growth. Egyptian glyphs became widespread and used to tell stories during this time. The New Kingdom which spanned 1570 BC to 1069 BC is probably the most well-documented period
of Egyptian Civilization due to the expansion of the ancient Egyptian written language that
took place in the previous period. The pharaohs who reigned during this period are among the most well known today, these include Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, King Tutankhamun, who became famous after his tomb was discovered in 1922, and Ramesses the Great. These larger periods were interrupted three times by smaller Intermediate Periods, but maybe that’s another
Explore Mode on its own. The ancient Egyptians also had a lot to do with the history of timekeeping. Sundials, water clocks and the division of days all come from them. Want to learn more?
You know where the card button is! Next on our list is another civilization with a thing
for pyramids: The Mayan Civilization. One of the most prosperous pre-colonial peoples
in the Americas. And no, before you ask, they did not predict the end of the world. Long
story short, their long count calendar stopped in 2012 because it marked the end of a period. Did it signify the end of the world and the beginning of the apocalypse? No. Glad we got
that out of the way. Moving on. Mayan people settled in Southern Mexico and Northern Central America in around 1500 BC. As this civilization developed, so did its cities and religious buildings. Its largest urban centers are Tikal, located in modern northern Guatemala, Copan,
located in western Honduras and Palenque, located in southern Mexico, each of which
was ruled by a King. The Mayans were heavily religious and their art and architecture were deeply connected to their beliefs. Most of the pyramids at the center of their cities
had divine and astronomical purposes. As a matter of fact, the Maya were exceptional
at mathematics and predicting celestial movements. Let’s jump into an Explore Fact. The Mayan
people were pretty darn good at a lot of things. First off, they built complex cities and temples
without modern inventions like the wheel. They had their own mathematical system and
they invented the concept of zero. Their hieroglyphic writing system is the only writing system developed by a Mesoamerican civilization and their calendar systems were extremely accurate.
They could predict solstices and eclipses and their calculations of the lunar month
were even more accurate than those of Greek astronomer Ptolemy down to the decimals. Their preferred method astronomical tool? Their eyes. No really, they used naked-eye astronomy,
which is pretty impressive considering Ptolemy had access to tools such as armillary spheres
and quadrants. Although the ancient Mayan Empire eventually fell, the Maya people did not. On the contrary, they have survived colonization and bloody civil wars. According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia, there are 6 million of them today, who continue
keeping this ancestral civilization alive. Thanks for watching Explore Mode, if you liked
this video hit the thumbs up button. Also, check out our playlist if you want to explore
more with us but before you leave, make sure to hit the subscribe and bell button so you
get a notification whenever we upload a new episode. See you next week, and in the meantime,
remember to keep your explore mode: on.

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