What do you need to call a group of people a civilization? Illustration

What do you need to call a group of people a civilization?

Are you familiar with the spelling rule I before E except after C? If you are, look at the word ANCIENT. The study of ancient civilizations may not always follow the rules with which you are familiar. But a civilization is a civilization whether it thrived thousands of years ago, or is thriving today. So, what do you need to call a group of people a civilization? A civilization can be defined as the way of life of a people and how they organize themselves into a society. A society is a group of people with a common territory, interaction, and culture.

Think about a modern country today - the United States for example. 

  • We, the people of the United States, who call ourselves Americans, speak what language?
    Answer: Actually, we speak many languages - English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and more. Some immigrants, some of the people who came to this country, brought their language with them and still speak it. But what is the official language of the United States? (Common Language)
  • Do we have a system of record keeping, a way to write things down? (A Written Language)
  • Do we have a central government? (Government)
  • How about a calendar - do we have a concept of time? (Calendar)
  • Do we have an organized military? (Military Strength)
  • Do we use any technology like cars, factories, machines, tools? (Advanced Technological Skills)
  • Do most of us have an address, a place we live? Do we all live in one village or do we have many villages or a large population? (Cities, Permanent Homes)
  • How about food. Can we feed our people? Do we know how to safely store food? Do we send food to other countries? (Agriculture, Agricultural Surplus)
  • How about religion? (Organized Religion, Religious Freedom)

Does the United States qualify as a civilization? Answer: In the world of civilized society, developing society, and advanced society, I think it's safe to call the United States an advanced society. But is it a civilization? (Yes.)

Are all elements of a civilization of equal importance? (No.) Do you need all of these elements to be called a civilization? (No.) What are four really important elements of a civilization would you guess? There are many answers but some of the best might include: Agriculture, Government, Written Language, and Military Strength.

What is the difference between a country, an empire, and a city-state?

Ancient Civilizations for Kids - Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, China, and more