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Civilizations Past

Orion

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If you could have lived in any civilization from the past, which one would it be and why?

You could say an earlier version of a nation that still exists, or even one that is long gone like ancient Rome or Egypt.

Some ideas:
- Rome
- China
- Greece
- Persia
- Celts (highlands or the British Isles)
- Maya, Aztech, Olmec
- India
- Mesopotamia: Babylon, Sumeria, etc.
- Native American (any tribe)
- Vikings

etc.
 

Johnny

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Rome





.........
 

spud_meister

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seriously, they had such a laid back life, it'd have been great.
 

PeteEU

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Rome.. the most powerful empire ever to exist.
 

Civil1z@tion

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Venice during the renaissance.

Sure it had some harsh torture devices for anyone accused of treason, but outside of that it was cosmopolitan, rich, and knew how to have a good time. Not to mention that it had one of the most democratic systems in Europe at the time (maybe the Swiss were more democratic, but few others even come close).
 
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rathi

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Rome.. the most powerful empire ever to exist.

The Mongol empire was considerably larger and more powerful.
 

PeteEU

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The Mongol empire was considerably larger and more powerful.

They were larger yes, but more powerful... debatable.

The Romans were technological light years ahead of any other civilization on earth when they ruled most of Europe, and their military strategy is still being taught and used today in many aspects. Also the Roman civilization lasted for around 2000 years, where as the Mongols lasted for about 100. While the Mongols were still nomads, the Romans had created an advanced civilization with indoor plumbing, science, roads, advanced watering systems, and brought civilization to most of Europe and the middle east. And the Roman empire even lived on for 100 years after the fall of the Mongol empire..

So .. yes the Mongols were larger, they dominated a large area of sparsly populated waste lands, and had very little impact on history (other than fear), where as the Roman empire in all its forms, covered much of Europe and the middle east, lasted for 2000 years and gave us many of the technological advances we cherish today. I will stick with the Roman Empire :)
 

Orion

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They were larger yes, but more powerful... debatable.

The Romans were technological light years ahead of any other civilization on earth when they ruled most of Europe, and their military strategy is still being taught and used today in many aspects. Also the Roman civilization lasted for around 2000 years, where as the Mongols lasted for about 100. While the Mongols were still nomads, the Romans had created an advanced civilization with indoor plumbing, science, roads, advanced watering systems, and brought civilization to most of Europe and the middle east. And the Roman empire even lived on for 100 years after the fall of the Mongol empire..

So .. yes the Mongols were larger, they dominated a large area of sparsly populated waste lands, and had very little impact on history (other than fear), where as the Roman empire in all its forms, covered much of Europe and the middle east, lasted for 2000 years and gave us many of the technological advances we cherish today. I will stick with the Roman Empire :)

China was the most advanced civilization technologically until the 1600's and was part of the Mongol Empire for a time before being expelled after less than 100 years. Rome couldn't even figure out the mystery of what silk was.
 

spud_meister

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So .. yes the Mongols were larger, they dominated a large area of sparsly populated waste lands, and had very little impact on history (other than fear), where as the Roman empire in all its forms, covered much of Europe and the middle east, lasted for 2000 years and gave us many of the technological advances we cherish today. I will stick with the Roman Empire :)

that should be "very little impact on European history", they more or less sacked the Middle East, and were poised to invade europe, when their leader had an untimely heart attack and they all had to return home.
 

PeteEU

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China was the most advanced civilization technologically until the 1600's and was part of the Mongol Empire for a time before being expelled after less than 100 years. Rome couldn't even figure out the mystery of what silk was.

Rome could not figure out where silk was because silk came from China and was heavily protected by the Chinese. The Mongol Empire lasted from 1206 to 1370 and yes they conquered the Chinese. The Mongol Empire was a mere side note in history compared to the 2000 year Roman empire or the 2500 year old Chinese empire, or the 3000 year Egyptian empire.

As for Chine being the most advanced civilization technologically until 1600s, that is again very debatable. We are talking about two very different and far apart places in the world, that had very little contact between them. There is no denying that the Chinese civilization was very advanced but also very fragmented for long periods of its history, with civil wars, famine and so on and so on.

But there is also no denying that the Roman Empire lasted for 2000 years and stretched from the Atlantic Sea to Persian gulf, down the Nile and up to the borders of Germany and all of North Africa. They either invented or put in mass use things we take for granted today.. irrigation, sewer systems, and of course their military might was rarely beaten due to their superior weapons and tactics.
 

PeteEU

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that should be "very little impact on European history", they more or less sacked the Middle East, and were poised to invade europe, when their leader had an untimely heart attack and they all had to return home.

No in world history. Their impact on Chinese history is minimal, and the areas they conquered over Asia were sparsely populated. They left no monuments, technology or cultural aspects behind. The only thing they did leave behind was "the fear of the Mongol", which was passed down generation after generation. Their whole legacy is because they were so brutal.

Like it or not, an Empire that did not even last 200 years, and covered an area of land with next to no population (minus China of course), simply can not be considered on the same level as the Chinese empire or the Roman.. hell not even the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great.
 

bub

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If you want to read a great book that explains why powerful civilizations were born in some parts of the world and not in others, you should have a look at Guns, Germs & Steel
 

bub

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Being a portuguese sailor during the XVth century must have been cool, they discovered Cap Verde, African coast south of Morroco up to Angola, discovered the Carribeans, the Eastern part of Africa, India, China, Japan...they discovered half of the planet in 100 years!

Or maybe a Polynesian 1500 years ago, when they discovered and settled hundreds of small islands...but not on a too small islands, because I read somewhere that they used to smash the genitals of most boys in order to control the population :D
 

rathi

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Pete, the Mongol empire had a population of 100 million, even after they slaughtered so many in conquering it. The land conquered was fours time greater than that of the Romans. While they didn't built any great structures of note, their impact on history in unmatched. The empire was the first to bring communication from the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Mediterranean and Baltic. The entire political structure for 20% of the world was swept away in a century. The mongols may have even been responsible from bringing the Black Plague to Europe. Rome may have actually managed built a lasting civilization, but nobody can beat the Mongols in the sheer power of their empire.
 

Orion

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Not to mention it genetically altered the entire continent of Eurasia.
 

Johnny

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Japan during the Meiji period.
 

soccerboy22

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I am going to be a Samurai. All you other pansy civilizations can go die.
 

PeteEU

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Pete, the Mongol empire had a population of 100 million, even after they slaughtered so many in conquering it.

That you have to prove. Considering that there was no population census back then, then it will be very hard. No doubt that the population of China even then was large, but considering the world total population is estimated to have been between 300 and 400 million at the time of the Mongol Empire and that the Mongol empire only covered a small portion of the planet with large stretches of unoccupied areas, then..

The land conquered was fours time greater than that of the Romans.

Yea but no one lived in huge parts of that land. So take one town and gain 1000 square miles.. come on..

While they didn't built any great structures of note, their impact on history in unmatched. The empire was the first to bring communication from the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Mediterranean and Baltic.

Err no. The Silk road brought communication and silk and other goods from China to Europe and visa versa long before the Mongols figured out how to conquer other civilizations. As did many different trade routes.

The entire political structure for 20% of the world was swept away in a century.

Hardly swept away. The Mongol's used local political structures and their own to run the areas the conquered. And it only lasted a brief time after all.

The mongols may have even been responsible from bringing the Black Plague to Europe.

Well that is debatable to say the least, since the Black Plauge comes from rodents, and unless you call Mongol's for rodents then that is a bit impossible. The trade routes and caravans that brought the Black Plauge to Europe from Asia existed long before the Mongol's conquered the lands where the trade routes were and they continued long after the Mongol empire had disappeared from history.

Rome may have actually managed built a lasting civilization, but nobody can beat the Mongols in the sheer power of their empire.

Define power..
 

Andalublue

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Depending on what one's status within society was, I reckon a few civilisations would have been fascinating to live in. Classical Maya, Angkorian and the Umayyad Caliphate of Baghdad would all have been cool, but my vote has to go for Byzantium around the time of its apogee, c.1000AD, under Emperor Basil II. So much going on in politics, theology, the arts, commerce and diplomacy that there'd never be a dull moment. I recommend A Short History of Byzantium by John Julius Norwich. Before I read this I knew nothing of the Eastern Roman Empire, but the book completely hooked me. It's more unputdownable than any best selling beach reading.
 

spud_meister

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Depending on what one's status within society was, I reckon a few civilisations would have been fascinating to live in. Classical Maya, Angkorian and the Umayyad Caliphate of Baghdad would all have been cool, but my vote has to go for Byzantium around the time of its apogee, c.1000AD, under Emperor Basil II. So much going on in politics, theology, the arts, commerce and diplomacy that there'd never be a dull moment. I recommend A Short History of Byzantium by John Julius Norwich. Before I read this I knew nothing of the Eastern Roman Empire, but the book completely hooked me. It's more unputdownable than any best selling beach reading.

i'd live there just 'cause the emperor was called Basil.....wonder if he owned a hotel?
 

tacomancer

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Athens Greece.
 
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