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What do you think constitutes a civilization? I've seen

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What do you think constitutes a civilization?

I've seen a lot of definitions using checklists like writing, cities, monumental architecture, organized religion, stratified society, and so on, but I think these are too exclusive. Stricter definitions would mean that the illiterate Incas and Aztecs weren't civilized, nor were the literate but city-less Olmecs and medieval Ethiopians, nor the Harappan civilization which had cities and writing but lacked monumental architecture and (apparently) stratified society.

Personally, I'd say at least writing or cities is enough. I don't think that excludes any civilizations and I don't think it's too inclusive either.
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WE
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WUZ
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KINGZ
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This board is shit.
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>>283537
Sedentary agriculture and city-building.

>illiterate Incas and Aztecs weren't civilized

The Aztecs had an alphabet:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec_writing

It's pictographic, essentially like an early form of Egyptian hieroglyphs or Chinese ideograms. For that matter the Olmec, Zapotec, and Maya all appear to have had pictographic writing systems.
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>>283621
Pictograms and ideograms are hardly real literacy, they're more like proto-writing. Egyptian, Chinese, and Mayan writing on the other hand, are logographic, which actually convey words and sentences.
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Civilisations by the most useful definition are organisms that have a few specific characteristics.

Each is defined by a different religion, philosophy, art history, science history, political history, all of which reflect the soul of that specific civilisation, which is different for each case.

But all of them also have a lot of things in common, a roughly 1200 year life/growth span, which begins with a religious awakening, and progressively hardens as cities grow, intelligence replaces soul, materialism replaces blood, and ends in the unification into a universal empire that spans the whole civilisation, from which point on all internal growth ceases.

By that definition there have been 10 known civilisations so far:

- Mesopotamian
- Egyptian
- Indus Valley
- Chinese
- Indian
- Hellenic
- Near Eastern
- Inca
- Mayan
- Western
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>>283545
>>283602
>>283604
>>283616
Underrated combo
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>>283880
>But all of them also have a lot of things in common, a roughly 1200 year life/growth span, which begins with a religious awakening, and progressively hardens as cities grow, intelligence replaces soul, materialism replaces blood, and ends in the unification into a universal empire that spans the whole civilisation, from which point on all internal growth ceases.

That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, and I think you're hugely simplifying human history into a basic narrative.

>a roughly 1200 year life/growth span
That hardly applies to most civilizations. Classical (c. 700 BC - 300 AD) and Islamic (c. 600 - 1800 AD) are the only ones that really come close, and even then you have to be pretty lax.

>ends in the unification into a universal empire that spans the whole civilisation, from which point on all internal growth ceases
Where is this true? None of those civilizations were suddenly unified after 1200 years, and unification doesn't seem to correspond with and end to internal growth. China flourished mostly when unified, Mesopotamia reached a new height of civilization under the Assyrians, Egypt was unified and prosperous from the beginning, the Andes advanced more under a century of unification than they had for centuries before, etc.

These kind of narratives never really mean anything.
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>>284055

> I think you're hugely simplifying human history
Something being "too simple" is not an argument. Simplification is the entire point of all science.

>That hardly applies to most civilizations.
Name one where it doesn't?

Your dates are wrong though. Hellenic civilisation (what I assume you call Classical) grew from about 1200 BC to AD, and there is no "Islamic" civilisation as Islam belongs to a larger Near Eastern civilisation, which grew from about AD to 1200 AD.

>Where is this true?
For all of them. Mesopotamians were united by Akkadians, Egyptians were always unified, Chinese were unified after the warring states period, Hellenic by Rome, Near Eastern by the Turks, Mayans by the Aztec etc.

And in all those cases it only happens when the civilisation is already essentially dead inside. One ideology comes to dominate it and nothing significant in the civilisation itself ever changes anymore, all that remains is meaningless political struggles. For China that was Taoism and unification around 200 AD. After that the civilisation had crystalised and remained unchanged.
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>>283659
May was mostly syllabic though. And if I remember correctly, there were some recent findings showing that Aztecs had true writing, not just pictographs.
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>>283880
>le spengler meemee
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-settlement
-agriculture
-fortification
-specialization

This is literally all there was to civilization. Shit like writing and monuments and religion are just filler, not the defining factor.
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>>284115
You have no idea what you're talking about.

>Something being "too simple" is not an argument. Simplification is the entire point of all science.
History is extremely complicated. Simplifying it is something you do when you can't actually bother learning it.

>Name one where it doesn't?
All of them.

>Hellenic civilisation (what I assume you call Classical) grew from about 1200 BC to AD
What AD? You mean 1 AD? That's bullshit and you know it.

>there is no "Islamic" civilisation as Islam belongs to a larger Near Eastern civilisation, which grew from about AD to 1200 AD.
What the hell are you on about? What 'near eastern civilization'?

>And in all those cases it only happens when the civilisation is already essentially dead inside
You're an idiot.
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>>283880
Cringed.
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Go read Feliks Koneczny you plebs.
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>>284158

>Simplifying it is something you do when you can't actually bother learning it.
Simplifying is what you do when you create a scientific model in order to understand anything. I'm treating history as a science, not as a collection of random events that we should give up on understanding because omg so complicated.

>That's bullshit
>You're an idiot
This sort of retort makes it pretty obvious which one of us has actual facts on his side.

>>284138
Another great post.
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I'd say writing isn't as important to being a civilization as being able to expand the cultural sphere through media and cultural diffusion.

The Aztecs, Greeks, Persians, and Chinese all had a cultural sphere that expanded in part by conquest but also by diffusion. People began to "Act Chinese" or "Act Greek". China influenced Vietnam significantly and Greece obviously impacted Rome, both through cultural diffusion and the spread of media (art, poetry, music, religion, architecture).

But consider the Mongols who had a thriving Empire and writing system yet were absorbed into the population of everyone else. They had all the makings of civilization, but aren't. Why? Because they put out no media.
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>>283880
>>284115
>>284220
>trying to explain Spengler to 14 year old chantards

Top kek this board isn't for serious discussion, it's for shitposting and trolling using historical events.
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>>284326
It looked promising the first few days though.

But yeah I guess you're right, that battle is lost.
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>>284326
Spengler is John Green tier. He's only popular because he found a way to simplify history so much that any retard can understand it. His ideas are just stupid enough to appeal to idiots that don't understand anything about history, but not so stupid that even retards can see that they're wrong. He's basically one step ahead of ancient aliens.

Civilizations are not living entities. They do not go through life cycles. Spengler made it clear that he knew nothing of human history when he split humanity up into eight arbitrary civilizations. You've also made it clear that you don't actually know anything about any of the civilizations you mentioned, I mean just look at this;

>One ideology comes to dominate it and nothing significant in the civilisation itself ever changes anymore, all that remains is meaningless political struggles. For China that was Taoism and unification around 200 AD. After that the civilisation had crystalised and remained unchanged.
This is the dumbest summary of Chinese civilization I've ever seen. China was not unified in 200 AD, and it was never dominated by fucking Taoism. Chinese civilization didn't suddenly 'crystallize', whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean. China in 200 AD was totally different to China in 700 AD, and that was totally different to China in 1100 AD. You'd know this if you'd read a single book, or even a Wikipedia page on Chinese history.

There's no doubt in my mind that your understanding of other civilizations are equally retarded, especially after you mentioned that "there is no "Islamic" civilisation as Islam belongs to a larger Near Eastern civilisation". Now that's just plain fucking retarded and based on absolutely nothing.

Have you actually researched a single one of the civilizations you mentioned, or are you basing everything you know on a single hundred-year-old book?
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>>284673
You should try actually reading Spengler sometime.

>China was not unified in 200 AD
Obviously a typo, 200 BC.

>China in 200 AD was totally different to China in 700 AD, and that was totally different to China in 1100 AD.
How? inb4 it was ruled by different dynasties or similarly irrelevant shit.

You know if you just removed all the calling anything you don't like retarded like a butthurt child you could cut down the length of your posts by about 90%.
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>>284795
I have about as much desire to read Spengler as I do to watch Ancient Aliens.

>How? inb4 it was ruled by different dynasties or similarly irrelevant shit.
Jesus Christ. Qin China was a despotic empire dominated by totalitarian Legalism. Han China was a highly bureaucratic empire dominated by Confucianism (not fucking Taoism, holy shit). Tang China was a more cosmopolitan empire with strong influence from the west, most notably Buddhism which came into conflict with Confucianism as the leading court ideology. Song China was militarily weak but culturally and technological advanced and saw a reaction against Buddhism in the form of Neo-Confucianism, which took a more metaphysical stance than its predecessor. All through these dynasties China's economy, society, and ideology was changing and advancing. Gunpowder, China's most important invention, came from this period. Each dynasty saw different parts of China's culture flourish; Tang China had the best sculpture in the world, while Song China had the best painting in the world.

You've basically confirmed to me with that comment that you know absolutely nothing about Chinese history, and I doubt your view of any other civilization is very different.

Why don't you actually try to back up your argument using facts? Show me how your ideas apply to Indian, Andean, or Mesoamerican civilization? Show me some evidence to back up your argument, rather than just making vague meaningless statements about a civilization's "soul".
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>>283880
What civilization due modern Pactific Islanders belong to?
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>>283880
>- Hellenic
How very interesting.
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>>284943
All modern people are more or less westernised.
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>>284970
It just seems so crazy that people living off on some island in the Pactific still count as part of western civilization though
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>>284918
>inb4 irrelevant shit
>posts a bunch of irrelevant shit

A civilisation is defined by its culture. What changed in Chinese culture over those 2000 years? What new things did it produce, be it in art, architecture, science, or philosophy?

>I have about as much desire to read Spengler as I do to watch Ancient Aliens.
Then how about you shut your whore mouth about it desu senpai.
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>>283537
Incas all died out before we knew, their writing abilities and the Mayans had full alphabets on top of their hieroglyphs
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>>284978
Almost everyone does nowadays. Almost the entire world was conquered by Europeans by the 19th century after all. Before that they simply weren't part of any civilisation, there can be culture without civilisation.
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>>284986
>What changed in Chinese culture over those 2000 years?
>Anon pretty much outlines it, with examples.
>Call's anon's post irrelevant shit.
You dense motherfucker.

Here's a picture, since you're fuck dumb enough to read I suppose: Changes in women's clothing.
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>>285017
So in 2000 years of history they went from a kimono to a slightly different kimono. Truly revolutionary cultural progress.
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>>284986
>What new things did it produce, be it in art, architecture, science, or philosophy?
Did you actually read my post? I explained all of those things. I explained how Legalism was replaced by Confucianism, which gave way to Buddhism (which took on a uniquely Chinese form), which was then replaced by Neo-Confucianism, a very different philosophy. I explained how gunpowder was developed, though there were other developments too such as the printing press and paper money (I don't normally recommend Wikipedia, but for you I'll make an exception; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_technology_of_the_Song_dynasty). I explained how Tang dynasty sculpture was the greatest of its time, and how Song dynasty painting was too. I didn't explain architecture, but since you mentioned it I'll say that basically every piece of impressive Chinese architecture post-dates the unification of China, before which there were no very large buildings. Medieval China saw the development of temple architecture, including rock-cut temples, as well as the evolution of pagodas based on Indian stupas.

So there you go. Most of this is just me repeating myself, because you clearly can't be bothered actually reading my post.

And you still haven't shown me how any of your arguments apply to real history.
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>>285063
>Not recognizing that Zhou-Qin one piece robes gave way to two piece robes and skirts because women took an active role during the Han-Sui Period. Particularly in the act of mounting horses.
>Not recognizing that T'ang went buckwild against morality due to it being China's golden ages. Women exposing busts, cleavages, having figure hugging dresses.
>The return of Modesty in the Song Period. Also emergence of footbinding
>Women in Trousers in Qing Period due to Manchu Influence
"slightly different." sure

Like what Anon has said, you have no idea what you're talking about.
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>>285065

>Confucianism
5th century BC.

>Buddhism
Same time approximately.

>printing press
A Western invention, but inventions aren't exactly cultural innovations anyway.

>art and architecture
All in the exact same styles that already dominated Chinese civilisation in 200 BC. Since you mention pagodas, those appeared at exactly that time.

Like I said, not a single significant cultural innovation, only switching between already existing philosophies, application of already existing science, and "perfecting" of already existing art. Everything truly original Chinese civilisation has ever created it created before 200 BC.

>>285112
It's literally fashion. None of that is a cultural achievement.
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>>285156
>Confucianism
5th century BC, then with later developments in the late Tang/Song Dynasty into Neo-Confucianism, which as I said was a very different philosophy.

>Buddhism
Arose in India and later spread to China much later, where it developed into a distinctly Chinese kind of Buddhism with new sects such as Chan.

>printing press
Developed in China long before in the West, but was never as widespread because of difficulties printing Chinese characters.

>art and architecture
Completely different styles developed between the Han and Song, most notably painting which changed from abstract two dimensional images of figures and animals to highly detailed scenes of life, nature, landscapes, portraits, still life, city-scapes, minimalism, and so on. Sculpture developed from almost nothing before the Qin to the amazing Terracotta Army and the style of figurines that remained popular into the Tang, and was later reinvigorated with the introduction of Buddhism, giving rise to all kinds of religious sculpture including colossal figures carved from mountainsides. Architecture was fairly undeveloped before unification, but in the Han you start seeing gigantic palaces, and in the Tang you see beautiful temples and pagodas in a completely new style. Different styles flourished at different times and in different areas.

Again, you still haven't taken up my challenge to actually apply your ideas to any other civilization.
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>>285249
The Chinese had woodblock printing. The printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the West, like Anon said.
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>>285285
Fair enough, but the point that China saw technological innovation is still the same.
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>>285285
>The Chinese had woodblock printing.
Simplification: they also had the movable type

Again the limitation was due to Chinese logographics.
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>>285017
Figure 3 and Figure 20 are best
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>>285156
What is a significant cultural innovation? Because it seems like you don't have a coherent idea, and are just defining it as "anything that fits Spengler's theories"
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>>285439
They did Fig 9, for Gong Li for a movie shoot.

It was fantastic. Since Gong li had a rack and all.
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Should the Celts, Germans, Dacians and Iberians be considered civilizations? They had cities.

What about the Scythians, Sarmatians, Huns and Mongols?. The Mongols and Huns at least had a unified state.

Would it be proper to talk about "American civilization", and "European civilization", or perhaps, "Western European civilization", and "Eastern European civilization"?

It seems kind of weird to say that the only civilization in modern white countries is "Western", rather than dividing up the cultures of white countries. I mean, historians talk about "Roman civilization", and "Greek civilization", and not just "Classical civilization".

Some of the big-name North American tribes like the Iroquois and Cherokee seemed like pretty stable polities that had a strong sense of identity, at least in the period right before they were conquered by the British/Americans.
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>>283537
YAKUB
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>>285613
dem tits doe
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>>285156
>fashion is not a cultural achievement

dude you're literally retarded.

plus the idea that widespread changes in artistic style or architecture or philosophy don't count as change because they are in some way related to older forms is completely insane. You're basically saying Chinese culture hasn't advanced in over 2000 years because it's still fundamentally Chinese. Yeah, cultures don't tend to completely morph into entirely different forms with no relation to previous incarnations. That doesn't mean they don't undergo profound cultural changes. Systems of social stratification, language, governance, religion, art, literature, etc all change dramatically through history, Just because the characters they right in are roughly the same doesn't mean they aren't different.
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>>284326
>it's for shitposting and trolling
>>>/r/eddit
or
>>>/trash/
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>>285613
I am watching this movie now and it is preposterous. There is also cleavage all over the fucking place.
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>>283537

The beating of a million drums

The fire of a million guns

The mother of a million sons
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>>285017
tfw no fig 8 gf
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Olmecs were black
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>>284125
>>283621
What's all this now? Only the Mayans had writing. Or did the Aztec steal that too?
Thread posts: 53
Thread images: 10


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