Elements of a Civilization - Ancient Mesopotamia for Kids Illustration

Ancient Mesopotamia for Kids
Elements of a Civilization

What do you need to call a group a civilization? Think about a modern country in today's western civilization - the United States for example. 

  • We, the people of the United States, who call ourselves Americans, speak what language? Actually, we speak many languages - English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and more. Some immigrants, some of the people who came to this country, brought their language with them and still speak it. But what is the official language of the United States? (Common Language)
  •  Do we have a system of record keeping, a way to write things down? (A Written Language)
  • Do we have a central government? (Government)
  • How about a calendar - do we have a concept of time? (Calendar)
  • Do we have an organized military? (Military Strength)
  • Do we use any technology like cars, factories, machines, tools? (Advanced Technological Skills)
  • Do most of us have an address, a place we live? Do we all live in one village or do we have many villages or a large population? (Cities, Permanent Homes)
  • How about food. Can we feed our people? Do we know how to safely store food? Do we send food to other countries? (Agriculture, Agricultural Surplus)
  • How about religion? (Organized Religion, Religious Freedom)

Does the United States qualify as a civilization? In the world of civilized society, developing society, and advanced society, I think it's safe to call the United States an advanced society. But is it a civilization? (Yes.)

Are all elements of a civilization of equal importance? (No.) Do you need all of these elements to be called a civilization? (No.) What are four really important elements of a civilization would you guess? There are many answers but some of the best might include: Agriculture, Government, Written Language, and Military Strength.

Based on the above, was ancient Sumer a civilization? (Yes.) Ancient Babylon and Assyria were also civilizations. We owe the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia a lot! They gave us a great many things that have helped modern countries like the United States, Canada, and India (to name only a few) to become civilizations themselves.

Six Characteristics of Civilization (Ms. Vurusic)

Back to the Index: Ancient Sumer, Ancient Babylon, Ancient Assyria

Interactive Quiz about the Land Between Two Rivers (with answers)