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Ancient Indus Civilization Essays
The three main civilizations each had phenomenally developed cultures which evolved through their system of writing, their architecture, their philosophy, their government, and their religion.
Greece entered a and their forests began to recover; a great migration of Greeks to the Anatolian peninsula commenced, and the pattern of deforestation, siltation, and desertification was repeated. was a port city founded by fleeing Mycenaean Greeks, and today that port sits more than 20 kilometers inland, buried beneath the silt of upriver deforestation and agriculture. suffered an identical fate, and that pattern repeated across the entire Mediterranean's periphery and reached its peak with Roman civilization.
These ancient civilizations are the base of all modern knowledge.
Warfare, in which polities fought over water and land, began in earnest in southern Mesopotamia about 4000 BCE, and the third millennium BCE (2999 to 2000 BCE) was a time of constant Mesopotamian warfare. The sieges that city-states inflicted on each other were brutal. When one city conquered another, the men were all killed or blinded and enslaved, and the women and children were enslaved. Slavery began . Slavery only made economic sense in sedentary populations, and by the time of early civilizations and writing, slavery was a universal institution. Enslaving somebody when people lived nomadically would have been impractical.
In the Fertile Crescent today, the ruins of hundreds of early cities are in their self-made deserts, usually buried under the silt of the erosion of exposed forest soils. As the Mediterranean Sea’s periphery became civilized, the same pattern was repeated; forests became semi-deserts and early cities were buried under silt. Before the rise of civilization, a forest ran from Morocco to Afghanistan, and only about 10% of the forest that still existed as late as 2000 BCE still remains. Everyplace that civilization exists today has been dramatically deforested. Humanity has since agriculture began. The only partial exceptions are places such as Japan, but they regenerated their forests by importing wood from foreign forests. North America and Asia have been supplying Japan with wood for generations. As civilizations wiped themselves out with their rapaciousness, some people were aware enough to lament what was happening, but they were a small minority. Usually lost in the anthropocentric view was the awesome devastation inflicted on other life forms. was only a prelude. Razing a forest to burn the wood and raise crops destroyed an entire ecosystem for short-term human benefit and left behind a lifeless desert when the last crops were wrenched from depleted soils. In the final accounting, the damage meted out to Earth’s other species, not other humans, may be humanity’s greatest crime. Humanity is the greatest destructive force on Earth since the , and our great task of devastating Earth and her denizens may be .
Ancient Greek agriculture was the very necessity of the empire.
In 63 BCE, a conspiracy to overthrow the Republic was exposed by , and in 60 BCE the was formed and its three members, including , all came to violent ends; then the Roman civil wars began in earnest. The Second Triumvirate was formed in 43 BCE, and included and , of fame. After Augustus defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra’s fleet in the in 31 BCE, the Roman Republic ended and Rome became an empire, the greatest that humanity has known. At its height, it governed a quarter of humanity. From the to the , Rome as a republic or empire lasted for nearly two millennia. Its impact on Western Civilization, and hence the world, has been incalculable. There are far too many important lessons to be learned from the Roman experience than this essay can explore, but I will try to keep the lessons within this essay’s theme and purpose, which is humanity’s relationship to energy and our collective future.
As with Spartans, Macedonians, and other contemporary cultures, military prowess was greatly honored, in that “might makes right” Roman world. Rome began early and often, in wars of both offense and defense. Its strategies and tactics borrowed from the Greeks, and it expanded its control over the Italian Peninsula. Other than an , Rome was usually on the winning side. The bountiful forests in the vicinity allowed Rome to rebuild after it was sacked and burned. Even when Rome lost, such as against the Greek in 280 BCE, he remarked that he could not withstand another “victory” like that, and that .
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Shade and label the 4 early river valley civilizations on the .
Energy is the master resource of all organisms, all ecosystems, and all economies. When a civilization centralizes its energy consumption, which were food and wood in preindustrial civilizations, to a central city, and it has to keep expanding farther and farther from that city to obtain that energy, the is going to reduce the EROI of those increasingly distant energy resources, and hence reduce the . Also, the practices of and agriculture provide short-term agricultural yields, but the wood would be almost instantly used (about 90% of the wood imported to Rome was burned, which was the typical ratio for ancient cities). The soils became eroded, depleted, and often abandoned as the land could no longer support farming, partly because the entire process made the land more arid. If they could import water to irrigate (usually a rare situation), that could help ameliorate the process, but it took more time and effort and made it more difficult. There were no accountants, scientists, or engineers monitoring and measuring the process, but all of those dynamics would reduce the system’s EROI and surplus energy and make it less resilient, so it was vulnerable to disruptive shocks.
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Economics is the study of humanity’s material well-being, but humans have rarely thought past their immediate economic self-interest, even when the long-term prospects were obviously suicidal, such as today’s global energy paradigm. Because environmental issues affect humanity’s material well-being, they are economic in nature. As can be seen so far in this essay, there was little awareness or seeming caring in early civilizations whether they were destroying the very foundations of their civilizations. Even if they did not care how much other life forms suffered, they did not seem to realize that it also meant that those oppressed and exterminated organisms and wrecked environments would not provide much benefit to humanity in the future, especially energy, whether it was food or wood.
Ancient Greek / The Greek Civilization term paper 9493
Compared to the Greeks, Romans were not very innovative; they largely copied the peoples they conquered, but the Romans invent in the first century CE. Just as with those earlier civilizations, as Rome began turning Italy into an arid land, shorn of its forests, Romans began to learn conservation, and they used glass panes and oriented their homes to the Sun, to reduce fuel use. Just like the Greeks, as the forests disappeared, the day’s writers developed a romantic view of forests as places for quiet contemplation and, , wood rustling became a lucrative pastime for the Italian Peninsula’s thieves. The first technology suppression stories that I have heard of came from Rome. wrote that heard that unbreakable and flexible glass was invented and he suppressed it, as it would be more valuable than gold and would wreck the monetary system. was rumored to have rejected a column-moving machine because it would eliminate the need for strong backs and produce unemployment. The stories were probably not true, but such technology suppression “conspiracy theories” have existed for millennia.
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