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Definition and Characteristics
By Antonio Delgado
Faculty, General De Jesus College
 How is civilization defined?
 Distinguish civilization from “kabihasnan”.
 What are the seven major first civilizations?
 What are the different characteristics of civilization?
 How are these characteristics exemplified in the oldest
civilization: Sumer (Mesopotamia)?
Latin word meaning “city”
 According to Beck, et al (2009), it is a complex culture with five
characteristics:
1. Advanced cities
2. Specialized workers
3. Complex institutions
4. Record keeping
5. Advanced technology
 Cities were the birthplaces of civilizations.
 Although Strayer & Nelson (2016) describes a city as having a
population in the tens of thousands, a city is more than a large
group of people living together.
 It is a center of trade.
c. 3800 – 500 BCE
c. 3800 – 500 BCE
c. 4500 BCE
Population: 40,000 – 80,000
“first true city”
 specialization – development of skills in a specific kind of work
 artisans – skilled workers who make goods by hand
Standard of Ur (c.. 2600 BCE)
 institution – long-lasting pattern of organization in a
community
 Examples: government, religion
Code of Ur-Nammu
 cuneiform – first system of writing invented by the Sumerians
around 3000 BCE
 pictographs – symbols of the objects or what they represented
 scribes – professional record keepers
clay tablet with cuneiform writing
“wedge-shaped”
clay tablet and stylus
 quipu – system of record keeping of the Incans which used a set
if colored strings tied with different-sized knots at various
intervals
Example of quipu from Larco Museum Collection
 technology – refers to the people’s use of tools and processes to
make their work faster and easier.
mass-produced pottery
hydraulic engineering
plow
textile mill
mass-produced bricks
Ur-Nammu as Basket Carrier, c. 2111 - 2905 BCE
c. 3000 – 1200 BCE
 According to CrashCourse (2012), it is a social order with four or
more of the following “symptoms”:
 Surplus production
 City
 Specialization of labor
 Trade
 Social stratification
 Centralized government
 Shared values (religion)
 Writing
 surplus - agricultural produce or a quantity of food grown in
excess of one’s needs
 For our course, these are the characteristics of a civilization:
1. Advanced cities
2. Surplus production
3. Specialization
4. Social stratification
5. Government
6. Belief system
7. Economy
8. Record keeping
9. Advanced technology
10. Associated with a river
1. Mesopotamian Civilization (Sumerian) – Tigris and Euphrates
2. Nile Valley Civilization (Old Kingdom) – Nile
3. Indus Valley Civilization – Indus
and Sarasvati (Ghaggar-Hakkar) River
1. Chinese Civilization (Shang dynasty) – Huang He
and Yangtze (Chiang Jiang)
 These are known as the Four Great River Valley civilizations.
Tigris
Euphrates
Euphrates
Nile River
Indus
Ghaggar-Hakra River
Ghaggar-Hakra River
Huang He
Chiang Jiang
Chiang Jiang
5. Norte Chico Civilization – Supe River
6. Mesoamerican Civilization (Olmec) – Coatzacoalcos River
7. Oxus Civilization – Amu Darya
 In Filipino, “sibilisasyon” has a different meaning from
“kabihasnan”.
 The word “kabihasnan” comes from the word “bihasa”
 It is a society that has a high standard of living, an organized
government, religion, a system of labor, and social stratification
(Cruz, et al, 2015).
 According to Cruz, et al (2015), there are five standards by
which by which the presence of a “kabihasnan” may be
measured:
1. Government
2. Economy
3. Religion
4. System of Writing
5. Advanced level of technology
Boxer Codex (c. 1590)
 Civilization is a reflection of who we are and what we value
(Osborne, 2006).
 “Hindi sibilisado.”
 “Taga-bundok”
 “Barbarian” – anyone who did not speak ancient Greek
 Civilization is an intellectual construct (CrashCourse, 2012).
 Beck, R. et al (2009). World History: Patterns of Interaction. Boston,
MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, pages 14 – 25
 CrashCourse. (2012, February 2). Indus Valley Civilization: Crash
Course World History #2 [Video File]. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7ndRwqJYDM
 Cruz, A. et al (2015). World History. Quezon City: Vibal Group, Inc.,
pages 43 – 44
 Strayer, R. & Nelson, E. (2016). Ways of the World: A Brief Global
History with Sources (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
pages 24 – 47

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Civilization: Definition and Characteristics

  • 1. Definition and Characteristics By Antonio Delgado Faculty, General De Jesus College
  • 2.  How is civilization defined?  Distinguish civilization from “kabihasnan”.  What are the seven major first civilizations?  What are the different characteristics of civilization?  How are these characteristics exemplified in the oldest civilization: Sumer (Mesopotamia)?
  • 3. Latin word meaning “city”
  • 4.  According to Beck, et al (2009), it is a complex culture with five characteristics: 1. Advanced cities 2. Specialized workers 3. Complex institutions 4. Record keeping 5. Advanced technology
  • 5.  Cities were the birthplaces of civilizations.  Although Strayer & Nelson (2016) describes a city as having a population in the tens of thousands, a city is more than a large group of people living together.  It is a center of trade.
  • 6. c. 3800 – 500 BCE
  • 7. c. 3800 – 500 BCE
  • 9. Population: 40,000 – 80,000 “first true city”
  • 10.
  • 11.  specialization – development of skills in a specific kind of work  artisans – skilled workers who make goods by hand
  • 12. Standard of Ur (c.. 2600 BCE)
  • 13.  institution – long-lasting pattern of organization in a community  Examples: government, religion
  • 14.
  • 16.
  • 17.  cuneiform – first system of writing invented by the Sumerians around 3000 BCE  pictographs – symbols of the objects or what they represented  scribes – professional record keepers
  • 18. clay tablet with cuneiform writing
  • 20. clay tablet and stylus
  • 21.
  • 22.  quipu – system of record keeping of the Incans which used a set if colored strings tied with different-sized knots at various intervals
  • 23. Example of quipu from Larco Museum Collection
  • 24.  technology – refers to the people’s use of tools and processes to make their work faster and easier.
  • 27. plow
  • 30. Ur-Nammu as Basket Carrier, c. 2111 - 2905 BCE
  • 31. c. 3000 – 1200 BCE
  • 32.
  • 33.  According to CrashCourse (2012), it is a social order with four or more of the following “symptoms”:  Surplus production  City  Specialization of labor  Trade  Social stratification  Centralized government  Shared values (religion)  Writing
  • 34.  surplus - agricultural produce or a quantity of food grown in excess of one’s needs
  • 35.
  • 36.  For our course, these are the characteristics of a civilization: 1. Advanced cities 2. Surplus production 3. Specialization 4. Social stratification 5. Government 6. Belief system 7. Economy 8. Record keeping 9. Advanced technology 10. Associated with a river
  • 37.
  • 38.
  • 39. 1. Mesopotamian Civilization (Sumerian) – Tigris and Euphrates 2. Nile Valley Civilization (Old Kingdom) – Nile 3. Indus Valley Civilization – Indus and Sarasvati (Ghaggar-Hakkar) River 1. Chinese Civilization (Shang dynasty) – Huang He and Yangtze (Chiang Jiang)  These are known as the Four Great River Valley civilizations.
  • 44. Indus
  • 50. 5. Norte Chico Civilization – Supe River 6. Mesoamerican Civilization (Olmec) – Coatzacoalcos River 7. Oxus Civilization – Amu Darya
  • 51.
  • 52.  In Filipino, “sibilisasyon” has a different meaning from “kabihasnan”.  The word “kabihasnan” comes from the word “bihasa”
  • 53.  It is a society that has a high standard of living, an organized government, religion, a system of labor, and social stratification (Cruz, et al, 2015).
  • 54.  According to Cruz, et al (2015), there are five standards by which by which the presence of a “kabihasnan” may be measured: 1. Government 2. Economy 3. Religion 4. System of Writing 5. Advanced level of technology
  • 55.
  • 57.  Civilization is a reflection of who we are and what we value (Osborne, 2006).  “Hindi sibilisado.”  “Taga-bundok”  “Barbarian” – anyone who did not speak ancient Greek  Civilization is an intellectual construct (CrashCourse, 2012).
  • 58.
  • 59.
  • 60.  Beck, R. et al (2009). World History: Patterns of Interaction. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, pages 14 – 25  CrashCourse. (2012, February 2). Indus Valley Civilization: Crash Course World History #2 [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7ndRwqJYDM  Cruz, A. et al (2015). World History. Quezon City: Vibal Group, Inc., pages 43 – 44  Strayer, R. & Nelson, E. (2016). Ways of the World: A Brief Global History with Sources (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s. pages 24 – 47