Civilizations Then and Now

By Theresa, Kady, Nikki, and Alex

Communication

The ancient Chinese developed a system of writing. They used pictographs and ideaographs. The Chinese writing developed almost 4,000 years ago. It had tons of thousands of characters. The characters stood for a word or idea. The language has become easier but it is still one of the most difficult languages to learn.



The ancient Chinese language is very different from our English language today. Our alphabet only consists of 26 characters compared to the ancient Chinese which had tens of thousands of characters. Our language has basic sounds, and the ancient Chinese language has very complex sounds. The English language seems fairly easy to learn, but the ancient Chinese seems like it would take a very long time to learn and would require a lot of practice.


The earliest known Indian civilization was born around 2500 B.C. in present day Pakistan. Called the Indus River Valley civilization, it became one of many groups of people across India, all with differing cultures and languages. This diversity of communication made it hard to unite as one, and proved difficult in trading with one another. Many years after the seemingly inexplicable disappearance of the Indus Valley people, in 500 B.C., a new civilization came into play consisting of many different kingdoms. As their culture's started to blend, the Indian people developed a written language called Sanskrit. India's greatest epic, Mahabharata, and the Ramayana are both written in the Sanskrit language.


We have come a long way from pictographs and Sanskrit. As one may recall, the plentiful groups of India spoke in many differing languages, and often never inter communicated. The world is now more connected than ever, with social media as one small example compared to all the forms of communication we use on a daily basis.


Technology

The silkmaking process today and in ancient China are similar in many ways. However, today we have more advances processes and even alternative processes for silk making. For example, today and in ancient China silk was made from silkworms. However, today we make it differently.

In ancient Chinese civilization, the third month of the lunar calendar was known as "silkworm month" women would wash silkworm eggs, and put them in a silkworm house. In the silkworm house it is important that the temperature was kept warm and there was silence because it helped stimulate birth. After about 20 days they started to pupate and were placed in sieves. An untouched filament of 700-1000 meters in length turned into one thread by means of a spinning wheel.

Today, although we still use silkworms, there is an alternative. Kusuma Rajaiah developed a method that does not require silkworms. Silk created with this method is called Ahimsa silk. Although Ahimsa silk is made in a way that is not harmful to silkworms, it is more expensive. That's why most people prefer using the silkworm method.

Because China was basically isolated, they kept this silk making a secret. They kept this secret because they Gained large profits from it. Therefore only they knew how to make it. Today, however silk making is widespread and no longer a secret, many people throughout the world know how to make silk whether it is ahimsa silk or silk from silkworms.


Religion

Today, a majority of the world's population practice monotheistic religions, only a few practice polytheistic religions. Some polytheistic religions that are currently still practiced are Hinduism and Shintoism. Polytheistic religions were mainly practiced at the time of the ancient river civilizations with Judaism and Zoroastrianism being the first monotheistic religions of that time.


Religions that are still practiced today that originate or have roots in the religions that are practiced in the ancient river civilizations are Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. These three religions have roots in the religions practiced back then. Hinduism deriving from the religion practiced by the Aryans, and Islam and Christianity have roots in Judaism, which is still practiced today.


Christianity, Islam, and Judaism share many similarities, considering that they're Abrahamic religions. They all have roots in the belief of God's covenant with Abraham. All three religions are widely practiced. Judaism still practices it's beliefs and still celebrate holidays such as Hanukah, Yom Kippur, and Passover. However, unlike Islam and Christianity which rapidly spread to other countries in their early expansions, Judaism was rather confined to Palestine and had little expansion.