Full version Civilized Man Vs Early Man

Civilized Man Vs Early Man

This print version free essay Civilized Man Vs Early Man.

Category: Miscellaneous

Autor: reviewessays 30 October 2010

Words: 2338 | Pages: 10

works cited:


Benton, Jenetta Rebold and Robert DiYammi. 1998 Arts and Culture, An Introduction To

The Humanitites. New Jersey. Pretence Hall

Best, Nicholas. 1984 Quest For The Past. USA: Readers Digest Association

Boardman, John. The Cambridge Ancient History. 1982. New York. Cambridge

University Press

Briggs, Asa. 1992 Everyday Life Through The Ages. Berkely Square, London Readers


Diamond, Jared. 1992 The Third Chimpanzee. New York. Harper


Edwards, Mike. "Indus Civilization" National Geographic Vol 197, No 6, June 2000,

page 126

Fromkin, David. 1998 The Way Of The World. New York Alfred A. Knoph

Kramer, Samuel. 1971 Cradle Of Civilization. Morristown, New Jersey. Time Life Books

Mills, Dorothy. 1951 The Book Of The Ancient World. New York. G.P. Putnam's Sons

Civilization And Early Cultures, An Analogy

Early civilizations are credited with introducing government, art, and religion, among

other things to the modern world. Does the credit actually belong to the people who created these

early civilizations or to those that came before? The final product may be considered greater and

certainly more polished than the product created by early man. All things found in an ancient

civilization were actually brought to them by the collective memories of the people that came


Little is known about human life during the Paleolithic Period, 35,000 to 10,000 BC. Cave

paintings and a few clay statuettes are the sum total of what has survived the years for modern

archeologists to study. (Arts and Culture, An Introduction to the Humanities, p. 14,15 ) Anything

made of wood or bone has long since turned to dust. ( Everyday Life Through The Ages, p 13 )

Burial sites that have been discovered recently allow us to peek into the remote past. These

discoveries support the idea of an awareness of and homage paid to the spirits and natural forces

that shaped the world that these prehistoric people lived in. Several remote tribes have been

discovered this century . Prior to their discovery, these remote tribes, some numbering in the

many thousands, believed that they were the only people on the earth. ( The Third Chimpanzee, p

223 ) We can relate the life styles of these remote people, who have lived many thousands of

years cut off from the rest of civilization, to our ancestors who lived in prehistoric times.

Humans all over the world, since the beginning of recorded times have followed along

the same path. That is the path of creativity, worship, and organization. Many of the things we

attribute to early civilizations had its beginnings in our common prehistoric past. Ancient

civilizations and early man are alike in many ways, some of them being, religion, government and


God-kings, that is kings who took on the mantle of a God, ruled early civilizations. They

were worshipped by the masses, and acted as intermediary between the forces that controlled

nature and the human subjects that lived on earth. Early man also had an intermediary to act as

go-between on behalf of the people. He or she was a shaman, or priest. This person was

someone who was counted on to advise the chief of the tribe or community on matters relating to

the "Gods." ( The Third Chimpanzee, p 287 )

Every force of nature was a mystery to early man, as it was to those that lived in the first,

early civilizations, and therefore a belief developed that those forces needed to be controlled.

These questions that have troubled mankind from its earliest days: Who are we? Where are we?

How did we get here? They have all been answered through the ages in one way or another. (

The Book Of The Ancient World, p 8 )

Cave paintings in Lascaux, France that date to 17,000 BC, have been found that show

graphic presentations of animals. Spearheads have been driven into some of these animal

representations. These rites by early man were held to either bring success to the hunt, or to

thank the Gods for their success at a recent hunt. We see that animal worship made its way into

early civilizations also. Animal representations have been found in tombs from the earliest days of

civilized Mesopotamia. Animal representations are present also in religious symbols from the

earliest civilizations. Early man had to live in harmony with nature. Civilized man, took this

harmonious coexistence one step further, and incorporated animals into their worship of Gods.

An early example of this is demonstrated on the Palette of Narmer, the Egyptian king who is

credited with beginning Egyptian history. On it, Hathor, the cow-headed goddess who protects

the city of the dead is present. Also present is a hawk or falcon, symbol of the god Horus.

Another example of animal worship in ancient Egypt was the "family God," Bes. His job was to

protect the family, and was found in many homes. On judgment day, an Egyptian believed he will

face the Jackal Judge. A heart heavy with sin will tip the scales and a terrible monster will devour

the sinner. If someone lived a virtuous life, the scales will balance, and the person will have

eternal bliss. ( Arts and Culture, An Introduction to The Humanities, p 8 Fertility and a renewal

of things, birth of people and animals, the seasons, and of vegetation used for food sources were

also very important to early man, as it was to early-civilized man. What is believed to be a fertility

figure, the Venus of Willendorf, was found that dates to 30,000 years ago. (Quest For The Past, p

12 ) Also, the cave paintings represent what is thought to be a "mother earth" theory. That is, by

painting the animals so close to the center, or womb of the earth, more animals will be born. (

Everyday Life Through The Ages, p 17 ) Early civilizations also focused on fertility, and created

Gods to ensure continued fertility of the population. In early Mesopotamia, the Summarians

worshipped Ninhursag, or Mother Earth. She was the source of all life, and from her came the

birth of plants. Daily sacrifices were also made to the Gods in temples in every major city in

Mesopotamia. The most important of these was a spring ritual called the New Year Holiday.

After several days of ceremony, a "Sacred Marriage" took place between the King, who took the

role of Dumuzi, an early ruler of the town Erech. A high priestess would take the roll of Inanna,

who was the principle deity of Erech. This ritual re-enactment of the original ceremony,

according to legend, will ensure the fertility of the land, and the king's long life. ( Cradle Of

Civilization, p 106 ) Gods of fertility are seen throughout the early civilizations. Eros, the God

of love and Aphrodite, the Goddess of love, were worshipped by the Greeks, the Snake Goddess

by the Minoan's, and Cupid and Venus, by the Romans.

The concept of a life after death has been with mankind at least since we dwelled in caves.

Archeologist's have uncovered evidence in cave dwellings that support this theory. Stone Age

graves have been found that contain not only the remains of a person, but pollen evidence that a

ceremony followed the persons death. Axes, spears, and "throwing sticks" have been found in

many graves. These are items that would be needed by the person in the afterlife. The graves

were often located under the fire pit, which would have been considered a sacred place by early

man. ( Everyday Life Through The Ages, p 17 ) Fire, among other "magical" things, were

worshipped by a cave dwelling people. ( The Book Of The Ancient World, p 6 ) We find that the

Romans had a strong belief in an afterlife also. Pharaoh was entombed with riches, food, and

servants to provide for him in the afterlife. ( The Book Of The Ancient World, p 25 )

The word government comes from the Latin word, gubernare, which means, "to steer a

ship." Among primitive people that live today, the leader may be only the oldest person in the

tribe, and therefore respected. People tend to follow those that are respected. ( The Third

Chimpanzee, p 220 ) It might be that the leader of an early culture might well have been the best

hunter, organizer and the strongest man in the village. In ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, and

Rome, just to name a few, the kings or rulers were anointed as God-Kings. It is not unthinkable

to consider that somewhere in early human development, the duties and responsibilities of the

shaman might have become joined with those of the tribal leader. This allowed a tribal leader to,

"steer the ship" while at the same time provide answers to the multitude of questions about the

mysterious world these stone age people lived in. It has been thought that stone age man relied

totally upon storytelling to pass needed information from one generation to another. This has

theory has recently been found to be inaccurate. Ice age relics now support the view that stone

age man was more sophisticated that previously thought. Rock are and tools have been

discovered in Australia which date to 100,000 years ago. (The Way Of The World, p 19, 20)

Pebbles and other stone surfaces have been found with markings engraved on them, that

date to the time of the last Ice Age. Alexander Marshack, of the Harvard University was able to

decode these engraved markings. Dr. Marshack discovered that the markings were notations that,

kept track of sequences of events that recur: the regular patterns of animal, bird, and fish behavior

tied to the seasons, for example, that are to be seen on the earth and in the heavens. ( The Way Of

The World, p 19, 20 ) This was the type of information that was going to be observed and shared

with others over a long period of time, generations even.

This new evidence puts doubt to the previous theory that writing first developed in ancient

Mesopotamia. While it may be true that writing may have been more thoroughly developed there,

writing in some form has existed since at least the Ice Age. A culture that has developed some

form of writing, might have certainly been advanced enough to have established some form of

government, even if it were rudimentary. (National Geographic, page 126)

Strong evidence exists that prehistoric man possessed the organizational skill necessary to

hunt as a group. Fossil evidence of mass killings of large animals lend credit to the theory that

early man had an established language by the end of the last Ice Age. While a group of hunter-

gatherer people did not need established roads, permanent homes, and decorative items such as

large pottery and artistic sculpture, they possessed the skills that were necessary should that

lifestyle change. Cave dwellings have been found that have roof structures added to prevent wind

and the elements from entering the cave. (The Cambridge Ancient History, page 79-80) Several

primitive cultures have been found in the past century. These cultures developed separate from

modern civilization since the dawn of their culture. Most possess the ability to build rudimentary

structures, have a language that is their own, unique language, and to manufacture what is needed

for survival. (The Third Chimpanzee, page 51) Experiments have been conducted as far back as

the Pharaoh, Psammeticus. In this experiment, documented by Herodotus, the ancient historian,

Psammeticus ordered a shepherd to raise two boys in total silence. He estimated that the first

words the boys spoke would be the oldest language known. After years of nothing but

meaningless babble, the shepherd reported to the Pharaoh that one of the boys had said the word,

"becos," which meant bread in the Phrygian language spoken in Turkey. While some doubt is

cast on the validity of this experiment, the fact remains that people raised in total social isolation,

like the wolf boy of Aveyron, remain virtually speechless and won't invent or discover a language.

However, in a community or tribe, where survival depends upon communication and exchange of

ideas, language might have developed early if the people who lived in that community or tribe

expected to live and thrive. Scientists have discovered that vervets, a type of monkey, have at

least ten putative "words," that the troop use and understand. (The Third Chimpanzee, page 155)

If members of the animal kingdom rely on "words" for survival, it might not be surprising to find

that early cave dwellers developed a complex language to help ensure their survival.

At the dawn of civilization, these skills that, while rudimentary, had already been known

by man. As farming and domestication of animals began to replace the hunter-gatherer lifestyle,

improvements in building techniques, manufacture of needed goods, and established roads had

taken on more importance than ever before. By the time of the first civilization, these techniques

were well known and fairly well refined. What was needed was better organization and better

communication to bring all of the already established processes together.

While it is clear that the early civilizations took the processes that were already in place

and built upon them, every "piece of the puzzle" was already available to them. Established

government hierarchy, religious beliefs, and an organizational structure had already been

established. It seems incredulous that any civilization could come into being without a culture or

cultures already being advanced to the point where the roots of a civilization could take hold.

Working backwards, an advanced culture could not come into existence without the sophisticated

framework that an early culture grew into. The knowledge and experience of a fairly advanced

tribal culture set the stage for an early township or community, and organizational skills,

establishment of religion, and a working form of government was already necessary for a tribal

culture whether considered sophisticated or not, to survive.