As humans evolved throughout history, they grew to understand the value of living in groups and numbers. This became evident as all humans realized that for the most part, they shared similar needs and goals. As a result, societies and communities were formed.
Over time, mass food production was developed along with the notion that each member of their society could bring a unique set of skills that would benefit everyone. Then as they gradually elected leaders, created a set of laws to live by, and formed a military to protect them from opposing communities, the civilization was born.
These civilizations became very sophisticated and organized. Many built schools and practiced the arts. In fact, all the technologies found in today’s world owe a debt of gratitude to these ancient communities.
We have listed below eight (8) ancient civilizations that began during the BC era. There are listed from the most recent formation to the earliest of these civilizations.
The Roman Civilization
Period: 550 BC–465 AD
Most Noted For: Most Powerful of all Ancient Civilizations.
The powerful Roman civilization was formed during the sixth century BC. Its existence is so legendary and significant that even the story of its beginning is a myth and legend. At the peak of its rule, the mighty Roman Empire had encompassed a huge part of the known world. This included every single one of today’s Mediterranean countries, some of Western Asia, and large chunks of the Middle East and Northern Africa.
During its initial stages, Rome was ruled by kings, but the people were very displeased with this type of rule after withstanding only seven of them. They then decided to take over their own government by electing a Senate and the Republic was born. This model of government still lives today in many countries.
Eventually, Rome’s Republic became an Empire after the populous decided upon having Emperors rule them along with the Senate. Many of these Emperors were great leaders such as Caesar, Augustus, and Trajan. But there are some tyrants who ruled as well such as Caligula and Nero.
Over the centuries as the Empire grew, it became more difficult to maintain this massive civilization under one rule. As has happened many times throughout history, it was ultimately overrun by barbarians and its enemies.
The Persian Civilization
Period: 550 BC–331 BC
Location: Persia (Modern-day Iran)
Most Noted For: Wise Rulers and Strong Military.
There was a brief period of time when the ancient Persian civilization was by far the most powerful Empire in the world. The most incredible aspect of this fact was that it was only in existence for around 200 years.
During this relatively short amount of time, the Persian armies had conquered a total land mass that was greater than two million square miles. This included parts of Southern Egypt, most of Greece, and a large chunk of India. This Persian rule can be attributed to its wise rulers and the massive strength of its military.
Prior to the formation of this civilization, Persia was controlled by a number of various factions – each of which had a unique leader. It was in 550 BC that King Cyrus II achieved power and brought the entire kingdom of Persia together as one. He then went on to capture Ancient Babylon.
The conquests of King Cyrus II were so quickly achieved that by 553 BC; he had managed to invade India, which was very far to the East of Persia. After he died, his successors went on to expand even more as they invaded Greece and took part in the famous battle at Sparta.
This incredible Empire came to an abrupt end because of perhaps the greatest military commander of all time – Alexander the Great from Macedon.
The Maya Civilization
Period: 2600 BC–900 AD
Location: Around present-day Yucatan
Most Noted For: Complex Understanding of Astronomy
The Ancient Maya civilization resided in the region of Central America. It was formed around 2600 BC and was renowned for introducing a remarkable calendar. After this civilization was well established, it greatly prospered and became quite advanced for its time. Its population peaked at around 19 million, which was amazing.
And by the year 700 BC, the Mayans were reading and writing their own language. They went even further by creating solar calendars. The Ancient Mayans believed that the Earth was created on August 11, 3114 BC and that it was going to end on December 21, 2012 – a story that many of us remember quite well.
These people were also incredibly rich when it came to both wealth and culture. They actually built their own pyramids; some were even bigger than the ones in Egypt.
As to how this great civilization ended is one the mysteries of history. No one is quite sure how a civilization that was as sophisticated as the Ancient Mayans came to such a sudden end.
The Ancient Greek Civilization
Period: 2700 BC–479 BC
Major Highlights: Concepts of Democracy and the Senate, the Olympics
The Ancient Greek civilization was not the most powerful or the oldest of all time, but they were perhaps the most influential of all ancient civilizations. This remarkable group of people was actually derived from the Minoan and Cycladic civilizations. There is also data from cave burials located in Argolid, Greece that dates back to before 7000 BC.
The Greek civilization’s history extends over a period of time so vast that historians actually divided it across different periods, which includes Classical, the Archaic, and the Hellenistic periods. During these periods the world witnessed quite a number of ancient Greeks who gained notoriety, many of which altered the world forever and still has significance today.
Standard components of modern society like the Olympics, Democracy, and the Senate were all derived from the Ancient Greek civilization. They also gave us the basis for fields of study such as physics, biology, and modern geometry. These feats were accomplished through the amazing efforts of people like Plato, Socrates, Euclid, Archimedes, Pythagoras, and Aristotle who brought countless beliefs, theories, and inventions to the entire world.
The Chinese Civilization
Period: 2700 BC–1912 AD
Location: Country of China
Most Noted For: Invention of Paper and Silk
The cultural contributions from the various dynasties coming out of the Ancient Chinese Civilization are beyond remarkable. Their rich history is probably the most diverse of any other civilization to ever exist. When you go back to their very first dynasty to the very last one, then you will see precisely how resilient they have been across a very long period of time.
It is believed that it all started with the Yellow River civilization which was when the dynasties began. It was around the year 2700 BC when the Emperor first ruled the Yellow civilization. This led to the formation of the many Chinese dynasties that came later within mainland China.
It was the Xia dynasty that first ruled the entirety of China around the year 2070 BC. From that point forward, history witnessed numerous dynasties that ruled throughout various time periods of time. The last of these was the Qing dynasty that ended because of the Xinhai Revolution in 1912 AD.
The world witnessed this remarkable civilization survive for over four millennia. During that time, the Chinese people gave to the world a number of useful products like paper, printing, gunpowder, the compass, alcohol, and much more.
The Ancient Egyptian Civilization
Period: 3150 BC–30 BC
Most Noted For: Construction of pyramids
The ancient Egyptian civilization is certainly among the oldest and most culturally rich of any other on this list. This fascinating civilization first sprang up on the banks of the Nile River. It is well known for many facets of its culture such as building its mammoth pyramids, the Pharaohs, and the infamous Sphinx.
The civilization formed around 3150 BC when Lower and Upper Egypt combined under the rule of the first pharaoh. It was the early settlers in the Nile Valley around 3500 BC that started the community which later grew into the Egyptian Empire.
Upon examining the span of its entire history, we notice that the rule of Ancient Egypt was characterized by a series of both stable kingdoms and those that brought instability.
Ultimately, Ancient Egypt provided to the world many fascinations such the construction of the great pyramids, and mummies that are still preserving many of the ancient pharaohs today, its rich hieroglyphics, and much much more. The Ancient Egyptian civilization reached its peak under the rule of Ramesses the Great.
The Indus Valley Civilization
Period: 3300 BC–1900 BC
Current Location: Northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India
Most Noted For: One of the most widespread civilizations, covering 1.25 million km.
The Indus Valley civilization was the first to grow into both a massive number and encompass a large area of territory. It was considered a trail blazer for all the big civilizations that followed. From the Indus Valley region, this society grew from northeast Afghanistan all the way to northwest India and Pakistan. When compared to the other two earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, it was by far the most widespread.
There were actually entire populations that settled within this fertile Indus river basin. This was where the major rivers from Asia, along with another river called Ghaggar-Hakra used to run through eastern Pakistan and northeast India.
Sometimes the Indus Valley civilization is called the Mohenjo-Daro civilization or the Harappan civilization, which has been named after excavation sites that have uncovered remains from the civilization. It is believed that the peak period of this society lasted from 2600 BC to 1900 BC. Remains have also indicated that a very sophisticated and advanced urban culture existed within the Indus Valley civilization. Thus, its capital became the region’s first urban center.
The Indus Valley civilization cultivated the ability to measure mass, time, and length with amazing accuracy, based on items uncovered in these excavations. Findings also revealed a culture that was also quite rich in arts and crafts.
The Mesopotamian Civilization
Period: 3500 BC–500 BC
Location: Iraq, Syria, and Turkey
Most Noted For: First civilization in the world
Finally, we come to the very first known civilization in history. The birth of Mesopotamia is so ancient that no evidence exists of other civilized community that came before them. The historical span of ancient Mesopotamia runs from around the year 3300 BC through 750 BC.
While Mesopotamia is typically the place that is credited with being the first civilization on Earth, it is also believed people in this region first developed agriculture around 8000 BC. Shortly thereafter, the domestication of farm animals began taking place. Needless to say, these developments were critical in supporting a mass population.
It is well known that ancient people created art way before the Mesopotamians came into existence, but this was merely a cultural entity, and did not lead to civilization growth. The Mesopotamian civilization found a way to embrace the most effective of all the systems that came before them. It was though the combining and refining of these early systems and ideas that allowed the very first civilization to flourish. This first civilization ultimately resided within the ancient regions of Babylonia, Sumer, and the Assyria Highlands.