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The Contributions Of Ancient Civilizations To History

1159 words - 5 pages

What contributions did near eastern civilizations make to history? New ideas and inventions of Pre History man were important, but how they evolved and led to new and more complex ideas and inventions is imperative to history. Over time these advancements brought people into a more efficient living environment, making for higher population and spread of cultural, political, economic, and social ideals over large geographical areas.

What we know about the people before written records is limited to what artifacts and artwork we find. Pre History man used crude tools made of primarily stone. During the Upper Paleolithic era, beginning about 40,000 B.C., people refined these tools by using polished stone. New tools like fishhooks and sewing needles were made out of bone and wood during this time.

During the Neolithic revolution around 11,000 B.C., people made the first semi-permanent settlements. Storing Grain in pits made it possible to survive without moving in the winter months. Around 6,000 B.C. Agriculture was becoming widely used as a primary means of survival. The first evidence of domesticated cattle was also found in this time frame. Primitive civilizations such as Jericho were growing at this time and a series of long distance trade routes were established. This was a step towards the first urban-based civilizations, as a significant number of people were becoming full time in a non-agricultural trade.

The first primary civilization was located in Southern Mesopotamia, known as Sumer. The Sumerians invented the first writing known as Cuneiform. We are left with tens of thousands of written records on many aspects of the Sumerians, the most notable of these being the Epic of Gilgamesh. This is an account of a legendary Sumerian King, the first ever of its kind. The Sumerians are also responsible for inventing the wheel. Originally used to make pottery, but later being used on donkey driven carts and chariots. The Sumerians also invented a method of dividing time into multiples of sixty that is still used today. Other inventions of the Sumerians are the sailboat, bronze plow, and a study of pharmacology and healing.

Early Egyptians were behind the Sumerian cultures in most aspects of culture. During the Archaic Period (3000-2715 B.C.) The Egyptians invented their own writing system called Hieroglyphs. These were not deciphered until the nineteenth century A.D. When an artifact called the Rosetta stone was discovered with the same text in three different scripts. Probably the most famous Egyptian accomplishment was there architecture. The great Pyramids, built in the Old Kingdom (2715-2170 B.C.), are an example of their architectural superiority. The Solar calendar was another innovation ahead of any others, far more accurate than the lunar calendar created by the Sumerians. The Romans would go on to adopt the Egyptian Calendar with the Sumerian time division.

In Mesopotamia there were many...

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