The Determination of a Civilization
In the criterion that determine whether a society can be classified as a civilization, there are five requirements: advanced cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record keeping, and advanced technology.
The classification of a society as a civilization is always subjective depending on the point of view, but these points are criterion that must be met. An additional criteria should be a connection to a world system, which is completely necessary for a society to advance and flourish for many years. It benefits a society politically, by allowing communication to steer them clear from conflicts and war. Socially, it allows societies to exchange cultural and religious ideas through trade, and this communication opens eyes to new possibilities. Economically, a world system allows trade to stimulate societies through the exchange of products.
Thus, a connection to a world system is completely necessary, and should be added as a criteria in the requirements of a civilization. The five criteria of a civilization should have a sixth requirement added, which is the connection to a world system of interaction and communication. A world system is essential for the other five to work and allow a society to progress. Advanced cities are one factor of a civilization, and for cities to become advanced and prosper, they have to communicate and trade with other neighboring societies. One example of this can be seen in the ancient city of Rome, which did not progress until it started trade with other societies across the Mediterranean and Black seas and surrounding lands. This trade with other civilizations led to economic prosperity, which in turn allowed the city to flourish and expand.
Specialized workers, which are another criteria for a civilization, are made possible when the citizens can see how other societies prosper in certain fields of interest. As workers gain more information and experience new technologies from outside sources, they can truly become experts in their area of interest. Another requirement in the determination of a civilization is the existence of complex institutions. This includes an organized form or government or leadership that can control the area. For this leadership to work, it is important for the rulers to communicate with surrounding areas to avoid any conflicts or potential wars due to misinterpreted messages. Record keeping, another requirement in the determination of a civilization, can be expanded upon and improved with communication among societies.
New methods of writing and tracking events that are shared among areas can help to greatly improve the functioning of a society. The last criteria for a civilization is advanced technology, which is extremely important for a society to progress and be up to par with neighboring areas. Technology is passed through different civilizations through trade, who can exchange new ideas and inventions that will be beneficial to both societies involved. This exchange of technology was seen in the trade occurring on the Silk Road across the Asian continent. China was able to introduce their products of silk and paper to many other societies, and they in turn received other products, including jade, a material that would allow them to create many beautiful works of art.
These five criteria that determine a civilization would not be possible without the society’s essential connection to a world system. A connection to a world system is necessary for any society to progress and flourish. Therefore, this should be an addition to the criterion that determine a civilization. A society gets many advantages when it is in contact with other areas. Trade among civilizations stimulates the economy, and allows ideas and technologies to be shared.
This is seen in the Roman Empire, where the concept of Christianity was passed among different societies through the trade routes. Today, Christianity is the most popular religion in the world, and the spread during the Roman reign helped it to gain so many followers. Another benefit of connections among societies is that war and conflict can be avoided when there is plenty of communication. Alliances can also be formed against any threatening civilizations when the need arises. Most importantly, contact with other societies shows people that they are not the only ones in the world, and there is much more to explore and learn from.
It ensures that no one society will think they are the center of the world. Without a connection to a world system, there is no way that a civilization can ever improve, expand, or even survive. One can say that a society with advanced cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record keeping, and advanced technology can be considered a civilization. A connection to a world system is also essential for the survival and prosperity of a civilization. However, the process to determine whether a society meets all of these criteria is extremely subjective.
The point of view completely affects the classification of a civilization. One living in that society might say it meets every requirement, and exceeds them, so it is therefore a civilization. On the other hand, a historian today might determine that the same society did not really have advanced technology for that time, so it cannot be a civilization. Despite these differing views on the determination of a civilization, it is still a valid concept. It is a concept that changes between viewers, and will continue to change throughout history. All this considered, a society should always have a connection to a world system in order to be classified as a civilization because without it, there is no way it could truly prosper and reach its full potential.
Determining a civilization is always a subjective process, but historians can all agree that some criterion must be met for a society to be considered. In a civilization, there must be advanced cities, specialized workers, record keeping, advanced technology, and complex institutions. Another requirement should be a connection to a world system, because without this worldwide communication and integration, a society cannot reach its full potential and prosper for many years.