The Truth about our Cities

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Civilization is the process by which a society or place reaches an advanced stage of social and cultural development along with the organization. When we speak about ancient civilizations, we refer to large groups of people not only living in the cities but having an organized form of government and a high level of culture, science industry and creative arts. However, many civilizations are different in various ways because the upbringing of each city includes a great process to make it unique from one another. Ancient civilizations had many obstacles throughout the beginning but overcame them by the different roles that people took a chance on.

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The Neolithic Age was a time period of approximately 10,000 to 4,000 years ago, where people began to farm, raise animals and plant crops. Later on, these individuals learned how to make tools out of metal as well as learning how to build permanent homes. People in the Neolithic Age lived in the Fertile Crescent, East of the Mediterranean Sea, where the land was fertile so they could grow crops to eat and to trade. Building a stable civilization is something that takes time, however starting small is a great way to overcome a lot of problems when taking over a new beginning. Specific tribes began to realize that they were hunters and plant gatherers. They used higher advanced tools and implements, and most important of all, these people invented the bow and arrow. These hunters and gatherers were smart with their techniques at the beginning of this civilization era. Carla Greene published Man and Ancient Societies, in 1977 to talk about the early civilization and the life revolving around it. These “advanced civilizations for agriculture was the invention by these farmers in Europe of an early form of the plow.” (Greene, 5) Later, in 4500 B.C farming was beginning to advance itself.

These farmers either remained as farmers or began to gather into villages. These people formed groups to form a government which was a lot stronger than the earlier rule of the wandering tribes. This became the core of the first true civilization. Steadily the villages grew into towns and eventually into great cities. The establishment of a large community was important because with more people they got more work done, and life became more compatible which made the population increase. Greene also made a connection with architecture and literature through civilizations. She talks about Constantine, a Roman Emperor who was known for reorganizing the Roman Empire’s currency system to restructuring Rome’s armed forces. Constantine established the new Roman capital as the Christian city. He “had chosen well the location of the new city, for it became a highly successful trading center and brought great wealth to the Byzantines.” (Greene, 85) The importance of the way these cities developed through farming and architecture shows the strength a city has. These certain civilizations that have come together have a strong foundation and make good habits in their community.

An empire is an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority, generally an emperor or empress. One of the most common empires is the Roman Empire, which is known to be the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. This empire was ruled by emperors and had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. Thomas Harrison published his book, The Great Empires of the Ancient World in 2009 to talk mainly about the different time periods of our Ancient world, and how empires developed throughout time. In the Roman Empire, the Ancient Oasis city of Palmyra was originally founded near a fertile natural oasis. It was established sometime during the third millennium B.C. as the settlement of Tadmor, and it became a leading city of the Near East and a major trading post on the Silk Road. The “Oasis City accumulated enormous wealth by getting involved in the expanding long-distance trade”. (Harrison, 221) For a civilization or empire to function properly, it takes a great leader to keep things at ease. Augustus, the first Roman emperor, transformed a rapacious Republic into an empire. Harrison explains that “his sole rule marked a veritable watershed in Roman history and has duty been labeled the ‘Augustan Threshold’.” (201) Augustus was one of the greatest emperors of all time and he made sure his empire was arranged the way he wanted it to be.

Ancient Egypt is simply known as Kemet which means ‘Black Land’. This is named for the rich, dark soil along the Nile River where the first settlements began. Later, the country was known as Misr which means ‘country’, a name still in use by Egyptians for their nation in the present day. It is easy to think of ancient Egypt as a land filled with tombs and temples built by a group of people obsessed with death and their gods, but the truth behind it all is to display the heritage of ancient Egypt. Steven Snape, the author of The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt published his book in 2014 to explain the importance of life during ancient city development. Building the city was not an overnight project, it was very detailed and long-lasting. When establishing cities, mud and clay were ideal for these structures, however, “stone was the ideal material of choice when building houses for the gods (temples) and houses for the dead (tombs), the vast majority of structures erected in ancient Egypt would have had little, if any, of this material used within them.” (Snape, 31) For a successful civilization a large amount of work goes on for ancient Egypt to soon become a rising city. For example, sketching out the roles and duties of the court, temple and provincial officials is the backbone of the Egyptian administrations. They have Royal, Temple, and Provincial administrations all doing their part to make sure that Ancient Egypt in an indestructible civilization. Although the ideal civilization would have no problems, that is unreasonable. In Egypt, people in their village had problems with their food and water supply. The village could only survive with a large, well-organized and expensive support system. So when that support system failed in c. 1070 BC, the villagers did what any sensible person would do in this situation; pack their bags and leave. Aside from this problem, some food could be produced locally in and around the city itself. For example, “by river-fishing and small-scale market gardening” people could use this constant supply of food to feed the population daily.

The urban way of life versus the rural way is total opposites. What is the actual difference in ancient Egypt? Rural living is a typical rural settlement, which is a compact village surrounded by intensively cultivated fields. The villages range in population from 500 to more than 10,000. They are basically similar in physical appearance and design throughout the country, except for minor local variations in building materials, design, and decoration. The houses are one or two stories high and built of mud bricks plastered with mud and straw. In the southern parts of the valley, more stone is used and the houses are joined to one another in a continuous row. In a typical house, the windows consist of a few small round or square openings, so little light and air can enter. Comparing that to the urban lifestyle, Egyptian towns are considered to be urban centers, some of them are actually overgrown villages, containing large numbers of people engaged in work relating to agriculture and rural enterprises. Buildings in these towns and smaller cities are usually two-storied houses or apartment blocks of four to six stories. The better-looking ones are lime-washed, with flat roofs and numerous balconies.

A civilization emerged not as a fleeting moment of change, but as a slow process of urban growth. By increasing architecture, imagination, cooperation and abstract, human beings take the first step to become a developed community. Technology gives tools the main purpose of hunting and gathering to make sure cities get what they need. Emperors and rulers will be needed to maintain a strong foundation and embrace their culture. Civilizations are a huge factor in the creation of this world, and not only do they have an impact on us individually but as a society.

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The Truth About Our Cities. (2021, Mar 17). Retrieved October 1, 2022 , from
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