History Of Civilizations


The History Of Civilizations website offered a rich amount of information anout a large number of civilizations.
The site was archived for use in Dr. Clemson's graduate seminars on the history of legal systems. Thanks to reknown Texas maritime litigator Richard Spensor for his assistance in gathering the content for this and several other related websites from archive.org and to Brian Lee for contributing to the development efforts. These sites are part of the course material and required reading for both Dr. Clemson's seminars and for the Diane Rebus' course on the history of the internet. The archived (2010- 2011)content below offers just a glimpse of the type of information the site offered its visitors.

Aztec Civilization
British Dynasties
Celtic Civilization
Chinese Civilization
Egyptian Civilization
Great Artists and Writers
Greek Civilization
Historical Facts
Hittite Civilization
Inca Civilization
Indian Civilization
Japanese Civilization
Mayan Civilizations
Mesopotamian Civilization
Minoan Civilization
Norse Civilization
Nubian Civilization
Roman Civilization


Celtic Jewelry worn by Men

February 4th, 2011 |

Jewelry was since time immemorial a way of denoting place in society. Even though being heavily adorned with jewelry is not seen as a sign of manliness now, the warriors of long ago, the brave Celtics wore a huge amount of jewelry. The Celtic Jewelry they wore was basically to show their rank. The exact type and the materials in which the jewelry was made was an indicator of the rank, status and standing in society. The designs were modeled on continuous patterns, and were certainly unique and diverse.

Celtic jewelry was extremely remarkable and well made, and the Celts were masters in creating fine at the art. The quality of the jewelry were more than comparable, sometimes even rivaled the quality of the Byzantine Jewelry. The sophistication of the designs were made even more remarkable by the fact that they were made probably from the most primitive implements. The Celts were master artisans.

Celtic jewelry had both practical as well as aesthetic uses, in addition to displaying status or rank. Celtic men used knick knacks such as pins and brooches to hold their clothing together. They wore gold, silver, bronze and other metal jewels on their hair to keep it in place. There were also buckles worn as jewelry. Celtic Jewelry also consisted of the Celtic amulet, which was worn for good fortune. The charms were worn both as bracelets around the wrists, and as neck chains around the necks.

All Celtic jewelry worn by men was extremely ornate and sported ancient Celtic Symbols that not only warded off evil forces, but also depicted their personality, character and social status. The materials used were gold, silver and bronze. Gold was generally used only by the clansmen who were both the wealthiest as well as the most important.

There were some changes in Celtic Jewelry through the ages, and there are two main periods defined according to the styles of jewelry created, one that goes back to the times of the ancient Celts, and one from after Celts were converted to Christianity.

Men also sported rings, especially most married men, same as modern day people. The ancient rings may have included the crosses, spirals, triangles, squares and circles that are used in Celtic Knots and themes.

Celtic Rings are common today, and is among the most ancient jewelry forms. Many of the ring styles of today, like the elegantly styled cz rings found online emulate the designs from this period. Although they did not have the technology to incorporate cubic zirconia, they were able to fabricate rings with many different kinds of precious and semi-precious gems embedded in the settings. But if you look closely at the general aesthetic, modern cz rings and even gold and sterling silver rings often have design elements reflecting this time period - and these tend to be hugely popular. The rings in ancient times were said to be a strong symbol of marriage, and symbolized never ending love. Most rings had Celtic Knots, which were strands that were beautifully weaved together, but had no end or beginning. Celtic rings are considered to go as far back in the history of mankind as the 1st century BC, when the Bronze Age was on.



History of Buddhism

February 1st, 2011

In the five hundred BCE, when the latter half of the Aryan period was going on India, religion was in what can be described as a state of stagnation. Reincarnation was the chief precept of Hinduism, and it was believed strongly by many Hindu’s that a man died and gets reborn in an alternate form, then dies, then gets reborn again, continuing the cycle of rebirth.

However, there were some people that did not agree with the idea. Reincarnation was seen as an unending cycle, and many people were discontent by this, and wanted to get off. This was where the seeds of the history of Buddhism burgeoned.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was a prince in India. He reflected on this aspect of religion, and wanted a life of purity and goodness that would be free from reincarnation. He left his home, his princedom, his wealth and his wife and son, and made his way to meditate in the wilderness. He received enlightenment while in deep meditation under a tree. He was from then on called the “Awakened one”.

Buddha had a huge number of followers in his lifetime, but after he died even more people were attracted by his philosophy and teachings. There were many people that maintained a life of goodness and purity even while going on with their day to day lives, and there were a select group that left their homes, and in fact world itself so that they could have a head start on being good and pure. These were the Buddhist monks and nuns.

In the three hundreds BCE, Ashoka, a king part of the Maurya dynasty was moved by the bloodshed and unhappiness caused by the battle of Kalinga, and converted into Buddhism and a peaceful life. He made extensive donations to charity, made many social reforms and built many landmarks and stupas that proclaimed the teachings of Buddha. He, through his teachings, convinced many Indians to take up Buddhism. Ashoka and his propogation of Buddhism is an important aspect of the History of Buddhism.

Buddhism spread remarkably fast into countries other than India. By five hundred AD, the religion was known all over China and other East Asian countries.

Buddhism in India was not as powerfully followed, as many Indian people who had converted to Buddhism went back to Hinduism by six hundred AD, and remembered Buddha only as a Hindu God. History of Hinduism in India was thus not very impact causing.

In China, however, the scenario was the exact opposite. Buddhism had spread there rapidly, and soon there were less Buddhists in India than in China. Other countries in South East Asia such as Thailand, Tibet, Japan, Korea and Vietnam also accepted Buddhism, albeit in several variations.

History of Hinduism

January 14th, 2011

Hinduism is the oldest living religion. It is a polytheistic religion that has a wealth of philosophy within in its tenets. The history of Hinduism begins right from the Vedic era, almost two millenniums B C. There have been immense evolutions and upheavals that lead to a huge number of sects.

The Hindu scriptures are among the most profound writings in the ancient age. The ‘Upanishads’ is a series of Vedic writings that are commonly read by all sects. The main differences come from various interpretations and nothing else. The Upanishads have descriptions of Shiva, the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer of the Universe. The Upanishads also have some influences from texts even more ancient, such as the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas. The Bhagavad Gita, “the song of the Lord”, a part of Mahabharata is also used.

The Bhagavad Gita is actually a book that relates an incident that happened during a war that takes place in the Mahabharata. The book has Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, who explains things about life, to his follower Arjun. There are three paths of enlightenment that Krishna explains in his monologue that leads to a union with God. These are elucidated.

The fundamentals of Hinduism deal with telling people that they should try and form a link between themselves (Atman), with the God (Brahman) and reincarnation (Samsara). Reincarnation is a key tenet, and what people get reborn as in the next life depends on what they do in the present one, meaning, how good one’s actions or “karma” were – and how one has fulfilled one’s duties or “dharma”.

The History of Hinduism goes a good distance back in the early Neolithic and Harappan period (5500 – 2600 B C E). Modern Hinduism has its roots in the scriptures known as the Vedas, the oldest of the Vedas being the Rig Veda, which dates back to 1700 – 1100 B C E. These Vedas center on worshipping deities such as Indra, Varuna and Agni, as well as a ritual named Sona. Sacrifices in fire, called yajnas were performed and Vedic mantras were said out loud. However, there were no temples or icons built.

This old period of Hinduism has some similarities with Zoroastrianism and other Indo European religions. There was some controversy regarding this, as some theorists (mainly Max Muller) stated that it was the Aryans that brought Hinduism to India, and that Hinduism was not formed wholly in India. This theory was since then thrashed as inaccurate. Although some foreign influences can by no means be ruled out, the theory itself is not accurate in the history of Hinduism.

The Peloponnesian War: An Account

January 11th, 2011 |

The Spartans grew fearful and suspicious of Athens’s wealth and power. The Spartans were unhappy with the agreed peace of thirty years. The Athenians grew power hungry. They were increasingly chauvinistic. They began reasserting their power on Greece’s mainland. The Peloponnesian war was fought between Athens and Sparta in BC 431. The war was sparked off by a seemingly trivial event that occurred in the mainland of Greece.

The Spartans craved for a land war because they were adept at it. The Athenians were outnumbered two to one. The Athenians were believed to provide hardly any resistance. At the war’s outbreak, Attica was invaded by Spartans. Crops were burned to cause starvation to the Athenians.

The Athenians were in possession of a harbor and a mighty navy. Pericles was aware that they could resist the Spartans for many years, owing to the Empire’s tribute money. He also believed that the Peloponnesian war could be taken to the Spartan allies’ doorsteps. Troops could be sailed along Greece’s coast. They could be landed far from the lines of Athens. Pericles perished in the war’s second year due to a plague, which ravaged Athens. However, the Athenians did not give up.

Both sides were confident of their own strategy. They tried to tire the opposition and force them into surrender. However, this was not meant to happen. The war continued for ten years. Both sides grew tired of the war. Hence, they signed a peace treaty, which was called Peace of Nicias. It was named after a general and politician of Athens. He matched the ability of Pericles. He was cautious and brilliant. He was able to achieve a truce. The territorial status was same as that in peaceful times.

Nicias had many rivals. One such rival was Alcibiades. He was a splendid orator. He was also creative and bustled with energy. He managed to convince the Athenians to attack states governed by Greece in Sicily. This proved to be a disaster. The entire Athenian army faced defeat. A significant part of the army was destroyed at Syracuse Harbor. The Athenians were rendered powerless.

Spartans took advantage of the situation and attacked Athens. Things got worse for Athens. The Persians joined in the war. In BC 405 the Athenian navy was completely dismantled. In BC 404, Athens officially surrendered to Sparta. The Peloponnesian war brought an end to the Classical Age or the Age of Athens.



Egyptian Religion: Exploring the Facts

January 7th, 2011 |

All aspects of Egyptian life were guide by religion. Polytheism was the basis of Egyptian religion. It involved worship of numerous deities. Egyptian religion took a backseat during Akenaton’s reign. The ancient Egyptians had close to 2,000 goddesses and gods. The entire country worshipped some of the gods, such as Amun. Some of the gods were followed only locally. Many of the gods and goddesses of Egyptian religion were partly human and partly animal. For instance, Horus, god of the sky, had a hawk’s head and a human’s body. Animals such as the bull, cat, and crocodile were considered to be holy. Amon-Ra and Osiris were the chief gods. Amon-Ra was considered to be the sun god and master of the universe. God of the underworld was Osiris. Tales and legends related to him revolve around  [...]

Emperor Constantine: A Renowned Statesman

January 4th, 2011 |

Emperor Constantine was born in Naissus, which is located in Upper Moesia. He was born on February 27, AD 285. Helena was his mother, whereas his father was Constantius Chlorus. It is not clear if both of them were married. Hence, Constantine was most probably an illegitimate child.

In 293 AD Constantius Chlorus saw elevation to Caesar’s rank. This is when Emperor Constantine became Diocletian court’s member. Constantine showed a lot of promise when he served under Caesar Galerius in opposition to the Persians. Diocletian and Maximian abdicated the throne in 305 AD. Constantine found himself as Galerius’s virtual hostage.

In 306 AD Galerius allowed Constantine to unite with his father during a campaign to Britain. Emperor Constantine was suspicious of the motives of Galerius. With the death of his father in 306 AD, Emperor Constantine was hailed as the new Augustus.

This proclamation was not accepted by Galerius. However, he later granted Constantine Caesar’s rank. The Conference of Carnuntum was held in 308 AD. All Augusti and Caesars met here. Constantine was asked to relinquish his title of Augustus. He was asked to remain only Caesar. Emperor Constantine plainly refused. Immediately after the conference, Emperor Constantine found himself fighting the looting Germans. At the same time, news reached him that Maximian turned traitor.

Emperor Constantine marched his army into Gaul. As a result, Maximian fled to Massilia. Constantine was unrelenting in his ways. He besieged the city. Maximian was later executed, or he committed suicide.

With the death of Galerius in 311 AD, the primary authority amidst the emperors was removed. This led to struggle for domination. In the eastern regions, Licinius quarreled with Maximinus Daia. In the west, a war was declared by Emperor Constantine on Maxentius.

In 312 AD Italy was invaded by Emperor Constantine. Constantine marched further toward Rome. Emperor Constantine proclaimed that he saw a vision of Christ on the night before the battle. In this particular dream, he claimed to see ‘Chi-ro’, which is Christ’s symbol. Viewing this as a sign of divinity, Emperor Constantine made his soldiers paint the special symbol on the shields. Constantine went on to emerge victor against Maxentius’s army, which was numerically larger.

Emperor Constantine attributed this victory to the vision. He later proclaimed himself as ‘emperor of the Christian people’. He received baptism on his deathbed. Emperor Constantine thus became the Roman Empire’s first, Christian emperor.


Lothal: A Treasure House

January 1st, 2011 |

All individuals are aware of the fact that Mohenjodaro was the site where the Indus Valley Civilization disappeared. However, few individuals know that the culture of Harappa spread to the province of Gujarat in India. Ports were set up at Lothal Gujarat for overseas trade, especially with Arabia and Mesopotamia. The port is located along Cambay Gulf. The port witnessed a transfer of products from ancient cities along the Indus Valley to an emerging world market. The archaeological museum at Lothal possesses a map that shows many sites of the Indus Valley scattered across the length and breadth of Gujarat. A majority of these towns are located near deltas, on river banks, and near the coast of seas. Nearly a dozen sites are situated along Cambay Gulf. These sites testify to the mining of  [...]

Punic Wars: The Facts

December 31st, 2010 |

The Punic Wars were fought between Rome and the city of Carthage, which is located in present-day Tunisia. The first war began in 264 BCE. The last ended in 146 BCE. The wars were fought to gain control of the then Mediterranean Sea. The Punic wars destroyed the city of Carthage, ending its reign as an independent powerhouse. However, it developed as a primary centre for trade. First Punic War: The first Punic war was fought between 264-241 BCE. Carthage was in possession of many territories at the beginning of the third century. This made it easy for them to control the region around the Mediterranean Sea. After conquering Messana they faced the Roman army for the first time. The local inhabitants pleaded with Rome for help. Rome came to their rescue for several reasons. The Romans feared  [...]

Julius Caesar: Extraordinary General

December 28th, 2010 |

Julius Caesar is one of the most famous individuals belonging to ancient Rome. Julius Caesar was born in 100 BC. He became a part of the Roman army in 81 BC. He was the first army commander of the Roman forces to cause invasion of England in 55 BC. He achieved the feat again in 54 BC. Caesar belonged to a rich family. He was well-educated. He was equally adept in sports. Following service in the Roman army, Julius Caesar took a liking to politics. He was a man of many ambitions who wished to get to the Roman Empire’s most powerful positions. Caesar’s big break came when he was appointed as an ‘adele’. This happened in 65 BC. Rome’s public entertainment fell under his gaze. This was a crucial position because Roman citizens desired quality entertainment. It was a common belief among  [...]

Dholavira Gujarat: Cradle of Indian Civilization

December 21st, 2010 |

Dholavira is a tiny village situated at an isolated island’s corner. The island is Khadir located in the Rann of Kachchh, Gujarat. The old site is known as Kotada or large fort. It occupies a total area of 100 hectares. Nearly half of this includes a settlement by the Harappans. The site has a surrounding of two nallahs that are seasonal: Mansar and Manhar. Due to the extensive excavations, Dholavira’s emergence has been nothing short of spectacular. It was a premier Harappan city known for its wonderful architecture, town planning, water management resources, drainage system, and monumental structures. Dholavira Gujarat has seen the rise and fall of an important component of Indian civilization: Harappan Civilization. The Harappan script is often regarded as the world’s oldest signboard.  [...]

Indus Valley Civilization: Understanding its Nuances

December 17th, 2010

The regions that lie in close proximity to the Indus River are the hotbed of Indus Valley civilization. Excavation work was first carried out in 1921. The ancient cities of Mohenjo daro and Harappa were excavated to a large extent. Both regions are part of present-day Pakistan. The excavations hint at a highly evolved civilization that flourished nearly 5,000 years ago. The subsequent research has given us a better insight into the ways of living of the inhabitants of Indus Valley Civilization. The inhabitants of Indus Valley were, in all probability, Dravidians. They may have migrated to Southern India with the influx of the Aryans. The Aryans had highly advanced technology militarily. They migrated to India in 2,000 BCE. The script used by the Indus Valley people has not yet been deciphered.  [...]

Sumerian Religion

December 15th, 2010 |

There is indeed very little that is known about the earliest of Semitic religions, but this much is for sure: The Semites, after having invaded Mesopotamia seemed to have given up on their own religion in all of its entirety. They instead very easily assimilated themselves into the Sumerian religion, and followed it, well, religiously. The religion of the Sumerians was polytheistic in nature, meaning that they worshipped a number of different gods all at the same time, with each of the different gods performing a different task or being assigned a specific quality in nature. The gods of the Sumerians were known to be with incredible amounts of power and were anthropomorphic, that is they were in the forms of human beings themselves. While ost of these gods were connected with some force of  [...]