Civilization

Civilization (or civilisation) is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally hierarchical and urbanized. In a classical context, people were called "civilized" to set them apart from barbarians, savages, and primitive peoples while in a modern-day context, "civilized peoples" have been contrasted with indigenous peoples or tribal societies.

There is a tendency to use the term in a less strict way, to mean approximately the same thing as "culture" and therefore, the term can more broadly refer to any important and clearly defined human society. Still, even when used in this second sense, the word is often restricted to apply only to societies that have attained a particular level of advancement—especially the founding of cities.

The level of advancement of a civilization is often measured by its progress in agriculture, long-distance trade, occupational specialization, a special governing class, and urbanism. Aside from these core elements, a civilization is often marked by any combination of a number of secondary elements, including a developed transportation system, writing, standardized measurement, currency, contractual and tort-based legal systems, characteristic art and architecture, mathematics, enhanced scientific understanding, metallurgy, political structures, and organized religion.

Read more about CivilizationEtymology, Characteristics, Cultural Identity, Complex Systems, Future, Fall of Civilizations

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Famous quotes containing the word civilization:

    We shall make mistakes, but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principles. I remember that my old school master Dr. Peabody said in days that seemed to us then to be secure and untroubled, he said things in life will not always run smoothly, sometimes we will be rising toward the heights and all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great thing to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945)

    While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Democracy and Republicanism in their best partisan utterances alike declare for human rights. Jefferson, the father of Democracy, Lincoln, the embodiment of Republicanism, and the Divine author of the religion on which true civilization rests, all proclaim the equal rights of all men.
    Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822–1893)