Fascinating Facts About the Ancient World



This One is Kinda Long
Then Again, So Is The History Of The World

Most scientists agree that the earth was formed c.4.5 billion B.C. and the first signs of primitive life—blue-green algae appeared c.3 billion B.C. The earliest hominid fossils—of Ardipithecus Ramidus—appear at c.4.4 million B.C. and at c.100,000 B.C. the first Homo Sapiens date back to South Africa. However, it was not until c.4000 B.C. that the first civilization of the world rose in Mesopotamia at Sumer.

A stable food supply existed in the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers when ancient Sumerians learned to control these water resources using irrigation and levees. This, in turn, enabled the small villages to prosper into the world’s first self-governing city-states. By 3500 B.C. the Sumerian civilization reached its height. Also at this time, Sumerian scribes write for the first time in history in a script known as Cuneiform.

This fertile land was also fertile for some of the world’s most important inventions. The wheel occurred first in Mesopotamia c3200 B.C. as well as the plow and the nail in c. 3500 B.C., the yoke in c.3000 B.C. and bronze in 3500 B.C. While civilization was prospering here, the cultivation of crops and the herding of animals spread through Europe as far north as Scandinavia. It’s thought that the world’s population reached 14 million by 3,000 B.C. (today the population is estimated at 6,576,142,000)

In Egypt by 3400 B.C. the Pharaoh Menes united upper and lower Egypt under his rule. Also occurring in Egypt at this time was the use of cosmetics (c.3700 B.C.) by both men and women who painted their eyes with a mixture of soot, black lead and antimony. By 2900 B.C. slaves began constructing the Great Pyrimid at Giza near Cairo. 2.3 million stone blocks make up this pyramid that belonged to 4th Dynasty King Khufu. Also at this time, the Egyptians began using hieroglyphics to write.

In c.3200 B.C. the most ancient civilization on the Indian subcontinent known as the Indus civilization, sometimes referred to as the Harappan civilization, begins to take shape. Eventually, the first villages of this civilization will give rise to some of the world’s first true cities such as Mohenjo-Daro along the Indus River. About this time as well, farmers in the Andes Mountains of South America began to cultivate potatoes.

The Chinese practiced simple farming methods in 3550 B.C. by moving to new fields after exhausting the old soil. By 2700 B.C. the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung developed the system of herbal medicine. Interestingly, the first hemp fibers were used to make rope in China (c.2800 B.C.).

By c.2500 B.C. the Minoan Civilization developed on the Mediterranean island of Crete. During the subsequent thousand years they would build many palaces including the Palace of Minos at Knossos. They developed the earliest form of written Greek.

Elsewhere in the world in c2500 B.C. the people of the Central Asia began to tame horses. Ancient Peruvians used cotton to make fabric and standard weights were used in Mesopotamia. By c.2000 B.C. Hyksos invaders conquered lower Egypt and the Assyrians rose to power under Sargon of Akkad when he established his kingdom in c.2371 B.C. Ashur, Arbel and Nineveh would eventually become Assyrian strongholds. At this time, it is thought the world’s population reached 27 million.

In c.1900 B.C. an earthquake destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah on the Dead Sea. At this time Mesopotamians—Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Elamites (major tribes of the region) began iron smelting and chariot use. From 1800 to 1750 B.C., Babylonians obeyed Hammurabi’s Code—the first written laws. About this time as well, the Indus Civilization declined due to poor agricultural practices and Abraham set out from Ur in Mesopotamia to found the religion of Judaism.

In c.1700 the Phoenicians developed an alphabet to represent sounds. Other written languages used characters to represent an entire word. This alphabet helped inspire the Greek Alphabet to grow and would develop later into Latin. One hundred years later, Stonehenge was completed in England.

In c.1600, the Shang Dynasty rose to power in China about the same time the people became adept at bronze-casting. Soon after, they began to make silk which would come to link the eastern and western world eager for such commodities. At this time, the Hindu religion spread through India and the Mycenaean civilization controlled Greece.

From c.1500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. many of the world’s civilizations begin to advance seriously in terms of both technology and culture. Welding appeared in Syria and enamel work occurred on the island of Cyprus. During this time, it is thought that the city of Troy fell to the Greeks. The Phoenicians dominated the Mediterranean Sea and established an outpost as far off as Cadiz, Spain.

During this period, history saw the reign of Tutankhamen in Egypt and it is believed that Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt into Canann. The Olmec civilization in Mexico rose and Mycenae fell to Doric invaders after the volcanic eruption on Thera. In c.1299 B.C. Ramesses II fought the Hittites at the battle of Kadesh and became one of ancient Egypt’s most prolific builders.

The period of 1000 B.C. to 500 B.C. saw great change and development as well. In North America, tribes constructed burial mounds such as those at Cahokia. Solomon succeeded King David and built the Jerusalem temple. Chinese peoples began to store frozen lake ice to chill food and the Etruscans began to establish towns in Italy. The first methods to measure time with devices were tried in Egypt.

Some of the high points of this time period occurred when Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar built his empire. It is at this time that archaeologists believe the Hanging Gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, were built. Also, Athenian democracy developed and Confucius expounded his philosophy in China. In India, Siddhartha founded the Buddhism religion. The first Olympic games were held in 776 B.C. and in 753 B.C. Romulus is said to have founded Rome at the Palatine. In 800 B.C., the kingdom of Kush, formerly the land of the Nubians south of Egypt, rose to power.

Also during this era, the Phoenicians established Carthage and Homer is said to have composed the Iliad and the Odyssey to recount the adventures of early Mycenaeans. The Assyrians were conquered by the Chaldeans (considered more modern Babylonians) when Nineveh was destroyed.

Besides Homer, the world witnessed many other great minds during this time period. Sappho of Lesbos, the female Greek poet; Lao-tse, influential Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism; and Greek mathematician Pythagoras all left their impact on world history.

Other notable advances include the Assyrian use of the world’s first iron saws and aqueducts, surveying instruments in Egypt, sugar refinement in India, use of coins in Asia Minor and false teeth in Etruria, Italy.

The period of 500 B.C. to 1 B.C. also saw many events and technological changes. The Greeks defeated the Persians at such notable battles as that at Marathon in 490 B.C. and Athens and Sparta fought the Peloponnesian Wars 431-404 B.C. Athens flourished under Pericles and saw its Golden Age 450-400 B.C. Famous playwrights like Sophocles, who wrote Oedipus Rex and Antigone, existed during this period. King Xerxes ruled Persia from 485-465 B.C.

Also during this age, Alexander the Great conquered much of the known world; he destroyed Thebes, Tyre and Jerusalem and invaded as far away as India; he died in Babylon. Much of the ancient world was divided among his generals—notably, Ptolemy was given Egypt where the world’s first lighthouse, wonder of the world Pharos, was built at the port city of Alexandria.

This time period saw the Chinese build the Great Wall as well as all three Punic wars. Mexico saw the building of the Sun Temple at Teotihuacan and the Mayans invented their calendar. The first Roman gladiatorial games were held in 264 B.C. and Hannibal, of Carthage, crossed the Alps on elephants to threaten Rome. In 386 B.C., Plato founded his Academy which fostered Aristotle.

Other mentionable facts include the completion of Venus de Milo (c.140 B.C.), the Greek invention of the water-powered mill (c.85 B.C.), and glassblowing in Syria (c.100 B.C.). Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 B.C. and conquered Gaul soon after. Finally, the end of this era would result in the deaths of Mark Antony and Cleopatra when Octavian defeated them to cease control of the Roman Empire.

Subsequent years to 300 B.C. also witnessed many historical events and personages. Celtic queen Boudicca in England led an unsuccessful revolt against Rome in 61 A.D.; four years later, the city of Rome was burned. Mt. Vesuvius erupted destroying the notable city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. A ravishing plague killed 500,000 people in North Africa and Romans built Hadrian’s Wall in 122 A.D. to guard against the Picts, or Caledonians, of Scotland. The people of Nok flourished near the Niger River in West Africa.

At this time, China saw the invention of the wheelbarrow, saddle and paper. Scandinavia used the first skates and Empress Jingo ruled Japan. Art and science flourished in northern India under the Gupta Dynasty. The Chin Dynasty of China rose to power and witnessed China’s first emperor—Shih Huangti.

Fascinating Facts About the Ancient World

Fascinating Facts About the Ancient World

Page Sponsored By: Interesting Facts