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Uruk was the world’s first large city and completely changed humanity’s ability to store, exchange and replicate information by creating the first writing system in 3200 BCE.
The invention of writing made the unreliable and fallible human memory obsolete and revolutionized how we process information. The earlier form of dictating information orally from generation to generation quickly became a thing of the past.
In the late 4th millennium BCE, Uruk had 10000 inhabitants which increased to 50000 in the decades after that, making it the largest city in Mesopotamia, and in the Sumerian civilization.
The people of Uruk were highly civilized and worked in various professions like ambassadors, priests, stonecutters, cooks, and jewellers.
Uruk was the first civilization to introduce written record-keeping, using symbols, pictographs, and eventually words. The Sumerians were an innovative civilization and improvised this symbolic language into complex documents, epic poems and literature, along with lists and genealogies.
Writings were mostly on reeds and clay, slowly forming a complex language of letters based on ‘wedge-shaped’ markings, known as cuneiform.
The Sumerian culture used to worship the sun and revered the cow, which is associated with motherhood. The Sumerian Sun God was called Utu, with the revered King Enmerkar ruling Uruk for more than a hundred years according to the scriptures. The Sumerian legend is preserved in the epic ‘Enmerkar and the Lord Of Aratta’.
According to the ancient Sumerian writings, the mythical king Enmerkar is credited with the invention of a written language, leaving a permanent mark in history and all the human literary output from that point onwards.
The preservation of ancient writings has provided humanity with a way to travel through time, with the writings being like artefacts from the past with deep insights and information of that time.
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Mohenjo-Daro is a city in today's Pakistan that pioneered new standards of urban sanitation. Mohenjo-Daro was the earliest and largest urban center of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, con...
Humanity has been vulnerable to rapidly spread illnesses because disease propagates more easily in concentrated populations without adequate sanitation.
Advances in sanitation have allowed people to live near one another in cities with less risk to their health, in particular, safe disposal of effluent to spare the water supply from contamination.
The Indus Valley civilization arose in the floodplains of the Indus and Sarasvati rivers around 5000 years ago.
In the largest structure in the city Mohenjo-Dar was an immense, elevated public bathhouse, measuring almost 900 square feet. The status of the bathhouse as the city's largest structure suggests that the people highly valued cleanliness.
Alexandria, with its Great Library, was marked as the intellectual capital of the world.
During the third century BCE, the Musaeum, an educational and research institution,...
Alexandria was founded in 331BCE by the Macedonian leader Alexander the Great. Alexander left Egypt a few months later, leaving his viceroy Cleomenes in charge.
Alexander passed away in 323 BCE, and one of his deputies, Macedonian general Ptolemy Lagides, took control of Egypt. Ptolemy executed Cleomenes and declared himself pharaoh. He started the Ptolemaic dynasty and made Alexandria his capital in 305 BCE.
The city's population grew to around 300,000 people. It remained the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt, as well as Roman and Byzantine Egypt, for almost a thousand years.
Alexandria was designed by the architect Dinocrates of Rhodes, using a Hippodamian gridiron street plan. The city was cosmopolitan and diverse. It consisted of Greeks, Jew, and Egyptian Arabs.
The Acropolis is a distinctive feature of today's Athens that was built in the 5th century BCE. It is a cluster of buildings on a rocky outcrop. The famous Parthenon temple on the Acropolis was built to honor Athena and to serve the city's treasury.
Athens during the 5th century BCE was lively. The heart of Athens was its marketplace, or Agora (a place where people gather.) The structures surrounding the Agora's market stalls included stone benches, various altars, and temples, a building named the Aiakeion where laws and legal decisions were displayed, and various stoas or covered porticos.
Athens was an unusually open society. It was open to foreign goods, foreigners that were able to attain high-status roles, and the exchange of strange ideas.
Athens borrowed many ideas, such as the Phoenician alphabet, Egyptian medicine and sculpture techniques, Babylonia mathematics, and Sumerian literature, and then improved upon it.