II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E.
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E.
A. Global and Comparative Dimensions
1. Origins of Civilizations, 4000–2000 B.C.E.
 
In a few areas, Neolithic settlements grew in size and complexity, acquiring social organization commonly called civilization. This life is characterized by (1) large concentrations of people, usually cities, in central areas (even though the majority of settlements remained rural); (2) hierarchical social and political structures, usually with states and priesthoods; (3) economic specialization and organized societal division of labor; and (4) formal methods of permanent record keeping using some form of writing.  1
 
a. Emergence of First Civilizations
 
The first known civilizations developed in three river valley systems in Eurasia: (1) the Tigris-Euphrates Valley (Mesopotamia); (2) the Nile Valley (Egypt); and (3) the Indus Valley. Changing environmental conditions, population pressures, and the evolution of available technologies are possible reasons for the emergence of civilized societies. Each society experienced a long transition during which techniques of maintaining large-scale societies were developed. Remains of temples and palaces reflect the emergence of priestly and political managerial classes. These societies utilized technologies of irrigation to manage water resources and skills in metallurgy made new materials like bronze available.  2
The earliest civilization was in the region of SUMER in southern Mesopotamia. By 3000 B.C.E., the first cities controlled relatively large areas and built great temple structures called ziggurats. In EGYPT, the protodynastic unification of the northern and southern regions occurred by about 3000 B.C.E. INDUS VALLEY civilization began somewhat later, but by 2500 B.C.E., the two great cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were well established.  3
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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