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Attributes That Have Influenced Western Civilization

There have been major influences from ancient civilizations that have helped the development of our Western Civilization today. Two major civilizations that have maybe contributed the most to our civilization are ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Some of their contributions to our world today include farming, sailing and navigation, and the use of their calendar.

First, and possibly the most important attribute that have come from the ancient civilizations is the art of farming. The ancient Mesopotamians are credited with inventing farming. Farming is in our civilization today is crucial for the survival of all mankind. (Roberts, p.48-50) Due to overpopulation, and the increase of housing and development, there are no natural areas for people to gather, so farming is essential. Without the development of farming people of the United States and people of the world would be starving. Not only did the Mesopotamians develop farming, but they also were able to use engineering to help make farming work. For example, the Mesopotamians developed dikes and cisterns that they used for irrigation. Irrigation is still a significant part in farming today. (Roberts, p.48-50)

Another attribute that has influenced the development of Western Civilizations, is that of sailing and navigation. (Roberts, p.65) The people of Egypt taught themselves and others that followed how to build boats and sail. The Egyptians also developed a system of navigation based on their knowledge of astronomy. This is so essential to western civilization because with out shipbuilding and the teaching of sailing, Western Civilization may never been found. Without navigation and map making, even if the Americas were found than how would they have ever been able to get back there time and again. Also the techniques that the Egyptians used are not that different from the techniques that we use today. Another style that is still pretty much used today is that of navigation. Although we may not base our navigation on the stars, but all sailors sail to the brightest star in the sky, the North Star. (Roberts, p.71)

The last contribution of the ancient people that has influenced the development of western civilization is there invention of the calendar. The Egyptians devised a calendar that had 365 + days for their calendar year. (Roberts, p.72) They were ingenious enough to realize that that is how long that it takes for the earth to make it s orbit around the sun. Even though the Egyptians lived almost ten thousand years ago, their calendar system is still used by the people of western civilization today, only with a few changes. The only thing that really has changed was that instead of having 365 + days we have changed it to 365 days and every four years we add an extra day. The rest is still the same, the Egyptians even had their year divided up into what we now call months, and the based their schedule upon the seasons. (Roberts, p.72)

The world has changed a lot since ancient times, but some things that came out during that time still play an important role in the development of our culture today. Two civilizations that may have contributed the most to us are the Egyptians and Mesopotamians. Although these civilizations are thought to be primitive, obviously there were brilliant minds otherwise why are we, such a contemporary society, still use their methods today?


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