Three of The Great Civilizations – Hearing the term The Great Civilizations perhaps makes us wonder what does it take to be one. Populations and large territories may be the first things that come to mind, but not necessarily. To understand what it means to be a great civilization, nothing is better than learning from the greatest civilizations in history.
The Aztec Empire
Who would have thought that the introduction to this great empire took place when Cortés gained permission to enter Tenochtitlan? Now known as Mexico City, Hernán Cortés was blown away by the Aztecs’ civilization during his visit. Cortés had initially thought they would encounter a bunch of barbarians on the land. Much to their surprise, the civilization of Aztec people was far from it.
At the time, the Aztecs had more than 200,000 inhabitants living in the capital city, and 5-millions throughout their territories. The Aztec was known to hold onto Olmec culture. As evidenced from the age old tradition of human sacrifice, and bloodletting. Both the Aztec and the Olmec were found to share the same language, God’s, calendar, and games.
However, the one thing that stood out the most was the wealth of the empire. The infamous floating gardens and distinctive aqueducts that they designed and built came close. Hernán Cortés then informed his findings to the Spaniards. Ultimately, it led to the massive genocide and takeover of the Aztec people. The combination of superior Spanish weaponry and diseases became the downfall of this empire.
The Achamaenid-Persian Empire
Next on the list of The Great Civilizations comes from across the sea, in Persia. No empire could rival the Achaemenid Persian Empire for a lot of different reasons. This Eurasia mighty empire lasted from around c. 550 B.C. to around 330 B.C., and boasted a massive size. One thing that stood out the most was undoubtedly its road system connection.
The ancient Persians at the time had such massive size due to their assimilation conquering practice. It was first of its kind where the empire showed impressive progressiveness for their time. The empire accepted other beliefs and were respectful of others’ rights. This allowed their population to live in harmony for as long as the empire lasted.
Other than progressive social interaction and incredible road network, the Persian empire also advanced in the sewer system and military. In terms of educations, they excelled at mathematics and the numeric system, chemistry, as well as the alphabet. Unfortunately, the Greeks managed to conquer them by force.
The Inca Empire
Located in the present day Peru, the Inca empire was found in the Mountains of Andes. Although the empire only lasted from the 13th century to about 1572 A.D., the Incas were a master of agriculture. Not only were they capable of building complex stone-road system, they were also capable of transforming the mountaintops into rice-field terraces.
Other than building terraces, the Incas were also ahead of the game with their canals and irrigation system. To top it all off, their architectural capabilities was also distinctive in nature. Their superb engineering legacy can still be seen in the Machu Picchu ruins up to this day. Unfortunately one of The Great Civilizations were discovered by Francisco Pizarro and met similar fate as the Aztecs.