Birth of Modern Civilization

Topics: Urban culture, Society, City Pages: 4 (1286 words) Published: May 6, 2013
In an attempt to trace the birth of modern civilization, scientists have theorized and discovered that modern civilization exists when certain social components are met. Two works, in particular, studied through this semester attempt to fix the birth of civilization through outlining the existence of certain social criteria. These two articles are “The Birth of Civilisation” by Childe and “Origins and Development of Urbanism” by Cowgill. Although both different, they serve as a paradigm and a closer understanding of how to identify the formation of civilization, the creation of a new kind of culture.

According to Childe's article "The Birth of Civilisation", approximately five thousand years ago occurred an event known as the "birth of civilization in the Near East”. In his article he focuses on two areas, descended from those of Egypt and Sumer and theorizes six components of civilization that he thinks identifies the upbringing of theses areas.

The first is, “transformation in the scale of human co-operation”, increase in the total population. This component was exemplified in areas like Egypt and Mesopotamia due to the number of graves found in cemeteries. Second was the construction of “buildings or temples”. It was clear to understand that the construction of buildings was an effect of a change in scale in population growth. There are many examples of buildings that Childe speaks of in his article but the most interesting one of all is the Erech and Protoliterate because of its size and use of materials. Third was the “variety of craftsmanship.” These craftsmen ranged from, coppersmiths, carpenters, and sculptors to say the least and received wages as well as held lots in temple lands. Fourth was the “division of society into economic classes.” An example of this is, “The social surplus, the food above domestic requirements, produced by the Sumerians peasants was concentrated in the temple granaries and then doled out to support the professionals...
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