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Ancient civilizations with features of a golden age

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  1. 1. Which is the civilization of your choice with remarkable achievements in the arts and science, encompassing features of a golden age?

    • Ancient Rome
    • Ancient Greece
    • Mesopotamia
    • Maya
    • Egypt

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I am looking for an ancient civilisation as the subject of a history project. It needs to display features of a golden age which, according to my notes, are great prosperity, military glory and cultural, artistic and scientific achievements. With focus on the arts and science.

I was very disposed to choose Maya. I had read about it before, and am very amazed by its advancements in astronomy (or astrology?) and mathematics and its mysterious and gory religion. However, I realised they did not manage to develop any military defence and rarely made conquest. (am I right?)

It looks like I should narrow my choice between Greece and Rome? But from my view, Greece was inadequate in economic and military developments and Rome in arts and science. I have not done very extensive research (just read the Wikipedia =P), so my views are probably wrongly formed.

I did not include china and India as they are the ones taught in school so I can't use them. On a side note, I read a lot of that very popular post in the history category about ancient civilizations. why is that very few people voted for china and Babylon, or Mesopotamia? They are great civilizations, aren't they? Especially china, the prosperous economy of many dynasties, the advancements in the arts and science. The literature flourished and penetrate into our lives nowadays so much and some inventions precedented other civilization by many centuries.

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What I know about ancient china is its philisophical texts. These texts were produced in the "warring states period", or the "period of a thousand schools". It has been compared to renissance Italy, which had many city states that patronized intellectuals and artists for various reasons.

However the Warring States period was a time of extreme chaos, and it was followed by one of the worst dynasties to take power in that time period. That dynasty was driven by legalist principles and attempted to bend all humans to the will of the state through totalitarian measures, in the end they intentionally destroyed the many advancements made by philosophers during the spring-autumm period and the warring states period. (Book burnings, destroying schools and temples).

This dynasty was destroyed in rebellion and replaced with a more conservative dynasty that attempted to recover the works of the earlier periods, but sadly much of the "hundred schools" philosophy was lost. What was recovered was Confucianism and Taoism, which later became Neo-Confucianism and Zen Buddhism.

China was a great civilization by many measures, but its golden age I think was too short lived and was conciously destroyed by human evil. There was probably a lot of valuable work created in that era, but so much of it was not allowed to be passed on to newer generations, thus setting the culture behind.

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But from my view, Greece was inadequate in economic and military developments and Rome in arts and science.

If you count Alexander the Great as Greek (he was actually Macedonian) then the military developments box ought to be checked. That is, if you're looking for a history of conquest. If you're looking for tactics and weapons, consider the Thermopylae story.

As to economic developements, what would count? They traded, they produced. They used money instead of barter. OTOH they had slavery and a class system such that the educated looked down on those engaged in physical drudgery, so you don't see much improvement in practical technology. That's par for the course among the ancient civilizations.

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Well, Singapore has always been thankful to Raffles for founding it. We learn about china and India coz those are where Singaporeans' ancestors come from. We start off history from places near us and related to us. We will do European history later,,

Thank you ropoct for the great website! =)

Edited by Winterbreeze
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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, the poll is about "Ancient Civilizations". So , I suppose it could be inferred that this is meant to exclude any of those involved in the Islamic Golden Age, as great as some of the achievements during this period certainly are. It would hardly be very fair to compare the Islamic Golden Age with Ancient Greece/Rome anyway would it?

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