Enduring Civilizations: Exploring the Longevity of Ancient Societies

he Great Wall, a massive structure built in China more than 2,000 years ago. Photo: Britannica

World history has witnessed the rise and fall of many civilizations, some lasting only a few decades, others standing firm for centuries. However, finding out which civilization has existed the longest is not simple, IFL Science reported on August 7.

The main problem here is that modern historians cannot agree on some important things to answer this problem. For example, the definition of civilization, how to measure its beginning and end, and whether the period when civilization was ruled by outside forces is counted or not. Below are the civilizations that are said to have existed the longest in history, although the actual assessment is very complicated.

The Sphinx and the pyramid of Cheops, two of the symbols of ancient Egypt. Photo: Maksym Gorpenyuk/Shutterstock

Another prominent candidate for the title of “longest-lived civilization” could be ancient Egypt. Egypt was a vast kingdom in the ancient world, first unified around 3100 BC and lasting until 332 BC, when it was conquered by the Macedonians. Despite this political change, the language remained the same and Egyptian hieroglyphs continued to be used into the 5th century, 3,500 years after their introduction. Therefore, the actual existence time of ancient Egyptian civilization is also controversial.

Humans first settled here in the Paleolithic period, benefiting from the fertile land surrounding the river. About 12,000 years ago, residents brought this land into the Agricultural Revolution. Then, about 5,000 – 6,000 years ago, the urban revolution took place, larger cities began to form from many small villages. The first city was Uruk, which existed from about 3200 BC. Experts believe that Uruk was founded by the Sumerians. They are also recognized as the creators of the first written language.

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