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28 votes

Has a plague ever caused a civilization to collapse?

When Europeans discovered Americas they also imported plagues. These plagues were one factor of the collapse of the pre-columbian cultures. http://www.examiner.com/article/apocalypic-mysterious-...
knut's user avatar
  • 5,607
23 votes

Why were there no agricultural, city-state forming civilizations in the Ice Age?

(Most of what I'm writing is a summary of "After the Ice: A global human history 20,000-5,000 BC" by Steven Mithen - published 2003 so it's pretty up to date as an overview of what is known)....
PhillS's user avatar
  • 3,174
21 votes

Did Egyptian civilization start from North to South or vice versa?

The direct answer is that in modern Egyptian geographical terms, they came from central Egypt. In ancient historical terms, from "Upper Egypt". First off, I need to address a misconception in the ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
20 votes

What is the most advanced nonliterate society?

The Inca might have been the largest non-literate society in history. Allow me to explain by way of two definitional digressions. Any society has peripheral or marginal members that are less in tune. ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.5k
20 votes

How much contact did Sub-Saharan Africa actually have with the rest of the world since the beginning of civilization?

This thesis is manifestly false, and is indicative of the weaknesses of "Guns, germs and steel". For example, the making of iron tools was probably passed up the Nile, to Kush and Meroe, and then ...
Peter Diehr's user avatar
  • 6,759
18 votes
Accepted

Is there an accepted explanation for multiple independent "cradles of civilization"?

I also believe the answer is "no". It sure is tempting to put forth one's own theories here, but I'm unaware of any one that is generally accepted. I will point out one thing though: That chart you ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
13 votes

Why were there no agricultural, city-state forming civilizations in the Ice Age?

Blame the weather. Larger version The reason it took so long for agriculture to develop can be summed up in this chart which shows variation in global temperature against time. The analysis in the ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 569
13 votes

Why is the Harappa (Indus Valley) civilization considered one of the six independent cradles of civilization?

Its actually a pretty astute observation that independent river-valley "cradles of civilization" tend to have their own crops associated with them. I've personally had a lot of luck researching plant ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
10 votes

Did Egyptian civilization start from North to South or vice versa?

I understand why these statements may appear to be contradictory, but - as with many things - much of the confusion probably stems from the terminology being used. So, firstly, let's be clear about ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
9 votes

Why were there no agricultural, city-state forming civilizations in the Ice Age?

Note: I asked a similar question about cradles of civilization. Let's go backwards in time from then. By around 5.5ka (3500BCE), we have several independent examples of fairly sophisticated cultures ...
Arnon Weinberg's user avatar
8 votes

What is the most advanced nonliterate society?

The African state of Mthethwa might count. It was a nation that existed from around 1775 to 1817 that predated the Zulu Kingdom and, as far as we know, had no formal writing system. The nation used ...
Tyler Mc's user avatar
  • 791
8 votes

Why is the Maya civilization not considered one of the cradles of civilization?

From the Olmec link: Pre-Olmec cultures had flourished since about 2500 BCE. That's roughly equivalent to the "Pre-Classic" Maya period, which only dates back to 2000 BCE, as per its link. ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
7 votes
Accepted

What makes a distinct civilization?

Spengler uses one definition (around 8 civilizations), Toynbee uses another (around 23 civilizations), Huntington has its own (actually close to 10 civilizations). Therefore the question is quite open....
Santiago's user avatar
  • 4,831
7 votes

What mesoamerican culture used long, "pike-like" spears?

Bernal Díaz del Castillo obliquely compared spears of the Chinantec people to pikes (at least in translation -- I didn't check the Spanish original) and remarked that they were longer than the ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.5k
7 votes

How do we reconcile hierarchical and violent aspects of Ancient Egypt with its nonviolent principle of Maat, as exemplified in negative confessions?

I think you're overthinking this. Ma'at doesn't mean non-violence. The list of negative confessions can vary, and there's no reason that particular one must be here. From here: There is no standard ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 1,710
6 votes

What is a good introduction into (western) civilization?

For the purpose of getting a good thorough grounding in Western ancient history, I highly suggest picking up a copy of Colin McEvedy's The New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History*. It takes a base map ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
5 votes

How do archaeologists prove that two settlements belonged to the same civilization?

This is a very good question, but not easy to answer. – "Civilization" is a term connected to the idea of an evolutionary progress of societies. It is sometimes still used as a synonym for "culture",...
Benedikt Grammer's user avatar
5 votes

How advanced were the people of Indus valley civilization in engineering?

It would be hard to compare with other contemporary civilisation at the time viz Egyptian or Sumerian as not much written information available of that time. However, archealogical finding suggests ...
siddhant Kumar's user avatar
5 votes

Has any war in recorded history ever resulted in the complete annihilation (civil and military) of an enemy - all of them killed with no survivors?

Many of the settlers in California during the Gold Rush were extremely hostile towards Indians and the California government adopted anti-Indian policies. In fact some people write about the "...
MAGolding's user avatar
  • 19.3k
5 votes

Any examples when one civilization/country got technology from another and after due to lack of knowledge lost it

Roman concrete: The strength and longevity of Roman marine concrete is understood to benefit from a reaction of seawater with a mixture of volcanic ash and quicklime to create a rare crystal called ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

What was the role of the mountain ranges surrounding India in developing India's civilization?

The Himalayas were a natural border against migrations, invasions and incursions,akin to a "wall" holding off invaders (from the Steppes). However, it is overrated insofar that it did not block all ...
R.K.'s user avatar
  • 1,198
4 votes

why were animals domesticated? (for meat and fur)

I really recommend you do read the book Guns, Germs and Steel. I've read it, and watched the movie. The movie is no more than an excerpt. The main reason why people started to domesticate animals ...
Jos's user avatar
  • 21.9k
4 votes

What is a good introduction into (western) civilization?

One might be better off regarding the Durants as the Newton or Maxwell, not the Feynman or Fermi, of history. Newtonian Mechanics and Classical Electromagnetism is just fine for building a highway, or ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
4 votes

Is there truth to the Dynastic Race Theory regarding Ancient Egyptians?

As Wikipedia says, the idea was popular in the first half of the twentieth century, but is no longer supported by mainstream Egyptologists. The changes that led to the First Dynasty seem to have ...
John Dallman's user avatar
  • 31.5k
3 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between a culture and a civilization?

A civilization is a culture of a certain scale and complexity. All civilizations are cultures, but only a small subset of cultures are civilizations. As the Wikipedia article on civilization puts it: ...
Brian Z's user avatar
  • 21k
3 votes

What is the difference between a culture and a civilization?

Culture is a more general notion. "Civilization is characterized by urban development, social stratification, symbolic communication etc. (see Wikipedia). So we can speak of a Paleolitic culture, for ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.8k
3 votes

Did Egyptian civilization start from North to South or vice versa?

As with many ancient genealogies the attempts to trace back any ancestry is often very overzealous in trying to reach back as far as possible, thereby leaving behind any firm footing provided by ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
3 votes

Is there a majority viewpoint for the fall of the ancient Egyptian civilization?

Egypt was civilized before 2000 BC. Egypt is still civilized today. Egypt has been civilized since before 2000 BC. Nobody can point to a single year in Egyptian history since long before 2000 BC ...
MAGolding's user avatar
  • 19.3k
3 votes

What was the role of the mountain ranges surrounding India in developing India's civilization?

The general popular idea that the quote in question appears to be trying to counter is that the northern barrier of the Himalayas made the subcontinent nearly immune to invasion, and thus utterly cut ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k

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