In modern literature, the term early “civilization” (from the Latin word “civil” -. Civic) is used to characterize a higher stage of development of human society than the primitive communal. He seemed to be separated during the savagery of the age in which already formed the basic elements of human culture. Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, ancient India and China have become the true cradle of the modern world culture. It was there, in the period from the VI-V them To II- I thousand. BC. e. add up the first state, there are the city, writing, art, technique, rudiments of mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy and many other things that helped define the culture of data as early civilization.
All early civilizations arose in the fertile areas along the banks of major rivers in North Africa on the banks of the river. Nile (Egypt), between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates (Mesopotamia), p. Indus (India), p. The Yellow River and the Yangtze (China). As a result of the flood carried the natural fertilizer – fertile silt. The man soon realized that the coastal silt capable of producing fabulous harvests, if you learn how to adjust the flow of water: take it from the field during the spill and apply it during a drought. Artificial irrigation fields were the economic basis of the emergence and existence of early civilizations. But to create a complex irrigation system was possible only by uniting the efforts of many people. Joint carrying out complex works engendered a special social organization, a special control system; in other words, contribute to the formation of the first civilizations. At the same time, scientists believed that the despotic form of government in the early civilizations arose as a consequence of the need to maintain order in the irrigation system. To send a free people on the public works needed a despotic power.
Early civilization – civilization is local, very close, there was only around the rivers. The bulk of the land was the property of the community. In people’s minds communal ownership is likely to be considered as property of the god – patron of the community. In the development of early civilizations intensified social and material inequality, slavery arose. But slave labor was used mainly in the temple and the royal farms. The main way of economic life during the period of early civilizations remained free communal labor. The development of agriculture, crafts created the conditions of the day of establishing economic relations, developed river, sea trade, but was dominated by the natural exchange of goods. Despite the development of external relations, the dominant feature of the way of life, determined the outlook of human epoch of early civilizations, continued to remain closed.
This culture was followed by the archaic “culture”, while retaining some of its characteristics (the mythological perception of the world, the idea of the soul and spirits as the root cause of the phenomena of nature, and so on. N.). But at the same time, the world of human consciousness in that period is significantly different, and even the fact that the right to borrow is understood in a different way in this culture. The transition to agriculture destroyed the representation of primitive society on the synergies of the world. It becomes more difficult for the human perception. Agriculture in 400-600 times more productive than hunting, but the farmer is more vulnerable and defenseless before the forces of nature, hence the deification of natural elements (sun, sky, earth, and so on. N.). in the era of the early civilizations of people still believe in the gods, but it is true gods, not just the powerful spirits of primitive culture. Along with the forces of nature management function, they take the role of first builders and patrons of the powerful man rose above the despotic state, which was perceived as a continuation of the cosmic order. Therefore, maintaining the features of the previous appearance of the archaic era (residues totemic consciousness), the gods of the early period of the kingdoms acquire traits of people standing at the head of government and the people – kings, rulers, high priests. The similarity of the gods of that era with the kings and the rulers determined the acquisition of a new function – ensuring the temporal order.
The joint participation of men and gods in maintaining the life and world order in the culture of ancient kingdoms was secured with the help of the sacred myths and legends. Their scenario was as follows: the gods created this world and the order, paying for this with their lives and blood in gratitude people should sacrifice to the gods and to perform their established laws (in the old Babylonian myth of Atra-Hasis describes the assembly of the gods, at which it was decided to create a man to save the gods from the sad need to work in order to maintain its own existence, but to create people, the gods killed one of the gods of the meeting).
The perception of earthly existence as an endless succession of sacrifices offered to the gods and their earthly incarnation – the governor, would inevitably contribute to the final formation of the cult of “other world.” In this future life, life after death, it was seen as a kind of compensation, t. E. A fee for complying with all of life’s obligations directly depended on how righteous way of life was dead.
The belief in the inevitability of the continued existence of man after his physical death is common to the cultures of the people of early civilizations, and is based on the observation of the cycle of nature, where death is the beginning of a new life cycle. Most clearly faith in the triumph of life over death embodied in the culture of ancient Egypt – pyramids, art of embalming, and the cult of Osiris – the god realm of the dead, the famous “Book of the Dead.”
Thus, many similarities can be traced across a variety of cultures ancient Eastern civilizations in the course of their development. These include the foundation of economic activity – irrigated agriculture; the early appearance of statehood in the form of despotism; a close relationship with the emerging systems of religious cults and primitive magic performances; selection in the system of knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, which, however, remain the monopoly of the priestly caste; predominance of architectural forms of simplicity, monumentality and integrity.
In general, ancient Oriental civilization made a great contribution to world culture, laid the basis for it, but the socio-economic processes in them were much slower than similar processes in the ancient world.