To properly list the oldest civilizations on earth, it’s important to go backwards in time. That is, to look at how early mankind was able to develop civilization. To do this, one needs to start with what is by far the most developed of all civilizations – the earliest known civilizations. When we begin this process, we find ourselves looking at some very ancient practices and philosophies. Here’s a list of the oldest civilizations to have ever lived, beginning with the earliest first civilization to last in today’s world:
Seven Ancient Civilizations
The Old Stone Age. The Old Stone Age is without a doubt the earliest known civilization. It’s also considered to be one of the most important, as it marks the dawn of human history. The Minoan civilization, which ended around 1200 B.C., is perhaps the best-known of all ancient civilizations, because it stands out from other ancient civilizations for its impressive art, as well as for its earliest writing systems.
The Egyptian Civilization. Just as the early Minoan civilizations are remembered today, the Egyptians are also the forerunners of all human evolution. Starting roughly twelve thousand years ago, Egypt managed to create a powerful empire that would dominate much of what is now southern Africa, including what is now Southern Rhodesia. The earliest Egyptian monuments, dating from around 3000 B.C., stand as testimony to the great civilization that existed at that time. There are many famous archeological finds from this time period that demonstrate the evolution of human beings from simple beings to the more sophisticated and technologically developed ones that we know today.
The Aztec Civilization. The Aztecs, better known as the ” Aztecs,” were one of the earliest known civilizations. They were known for being warriors and for practicing human sacrifice. These practices, however, did not win the Aztec people any friends in the “stone age” when other cultures began writing. This civilization, which existed from approximately five hundred to around A.D., is the oldest of all ancient civilizations.
The Mayans. The Mayans, too, are perhaps one of the oldest civilizations known to man. These people, who lived around A.D., used a form of writing that does not yet reflect the technology we know today. Their religious practices, including complex religious ceremonies, led them to be called “the lost tribes of the immortals” by some historians, and their religious writings remain one of the most important works from this civilization.
The Chinese Civilization. The Chinese civilization, better known as the Yellow Emperor, lasted from roughly fifty to around seventy years. Unlike the Aztecs, the Chinese did not construct any of the great structures of their time. However, they did successfully develop the compass, gun, and wheel, and their agricultural productivity far outstripped that of the other ancient cultures.
The Hebrews. One of the earliest recorded ancient civilizations, the Hebrews, existed from around 1200 B.C. They, too, practiced the practices of astrology, writing, and mathematics, though their religious practices were less elaborate than the cultures we know today. Still, they developed a written language, the Dead Sea Scroll, and they had a thriving economy, which led to an intense interaction with neighboring cultures as the civilization flourished.
The Greeks. The ancient Greeks also enjoyed a rapid development in the fields of arts, architecture, science, medicine, and philosophy. They even built the world’s first urban community, the urban kingdom of Athens, which eventually gave way to what we call the Roman Empire. One of the most prominent figures from this ancient civilization was Cleopatra, who became famous for marrying a Greek prince and subjecting herself to Greek customs and rites.