Past Cultures and Their Influences

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Alex Rogers
Ms. James
History 10-7
11 May 2012
Past Cultures and Their Influences
Most people don’t think much about the ancient civilizations that lived all over the world where current cities and towns have been established. Some day in the future, people in a history class might be studying about the past (like they are supposed to) and learn about this time period and how the people now contributed to their present day life. Without the ancient civilizations, we would not be anywhere near as advanced as we are now. The ancient cultures left behind architecture, religions, tools, and even writings and drawings. Their customs are remembered, discovered, and guessed at by archaeologists today. Just as our cultures today have similarities and differences, the cultures of the past did too. The people of the Indus River Valley, the Minoans, and the Vikings all had some things similar between them, but more things that were different. Some of their differences and similarities include geography, lifestyle, government, religious views, trade and agriculture, and the end of their civilizations. They all also have some major influences on our civilization today. Geography was, and is, a very important part of civilization. Geography is important to our civilizations today for building, location, and transportation. Back in 2500-1500 BCE, when the Indus River Valley tribe lived, they built all of their towns on the Indus River. Water was a source of life. A lake could be a place to do laundry, to take a bath, and to drink out of. It was also important because it meant that the ground around it was well watered and great for growing crops. The Indus people lived on what is called the Indian sub-continent since that stretch of land juts out from the country of India. They had natural boundaries such as mountains, rivers, and dry plains like deserts. The Minoans lived on the island of Crete, possibly one of the biggest islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Crete has room for lots of cities and towns, most of them surrounded by harsh mountains, gently-sloping hills, or deserted plateaus. When the Minoans were on Crete, there was an abundance of trees as well that were traded to Egypt, Syria, Cyprus, and the Greek and Aegean Islands who were all close by. The Vikings also lived on islands such as Iceland and Greenland. When the Vikings got to Greenland, they were disappointed to find that it was just a big chunk of ice floating in the sea. Later, the Vikings discovered a new island, filled with green forests and animals. They didn’t want anyone to come and take their beautiful land, so they named it Iceland. They were hoping to trick people with the name like Greenland had tricked them. The Vikings came from Scandinavia. Scandinavia currently contains the countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. Iceland is the only land mass completely surrounded by water, though Denmark does have some small islands around it. When the Vikings lived in Scandinavia, they also sailed around and raided villages and also inhabited new lands, such as Iceland and Greenland. The geography of the Vikings could also include the rough and calm waters of the ocean since they spent so much time traveling and living on it. Believe it or not, the success of building and planning cities and houses impacts the success of a civilization. For the Indus people, their well-planned cities helped them to be an organized society. They didn’t have any large structures and every house had access to water. Houses were either one or two stories high, about the same size, and were usually made of dry bricks. Their city streets were perpendicular to each other (at right angles) and they were wide for two-way travel. Their city drains were well-thought-out and well-placed as were their bath houses. Like the Indus tribes, the Minoans had well-planned cities. Around 2000 BCE, the Minoans started living under a king. Because of...
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