Almost all the great civilisations originated in river valleys, were nourished by trade and came to maturity in cities. The condition of life in the cities provided the intellectual stimulus in which philosophers and scientists could study the meaning of the Universe and the nature of matter.Artists and writers could express the ideals and aspirations of their people through the medium of architecture, literature, paintings, and music.
The course of civilisation can be traced in four main geographical areas, 1. Near east; Egypt and Mesopotamian,2.Europe, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, 3.Middle east; India, 4.Far east; China, Mongal, Japan . The progress of a civilisation is marked by man's increasing control over nature through applied mathematics, and science, the evolution of writings of legal codes and of political and religious orgabisations.
The western civilisation, as we know, originated in the Aegean, but received in real character from the culture of Greece, Rome and Jeruslem. The Arabs, and the Christian Church had preserved different aspects of these ancient cultures,and in their development, carried them farther. The Greeks entering the Aegan from the north, built city states which though constantly at odds with one aonther, shared a common cultural development and used the alphabet brought to them by trading Phoenicians. Sparta was a military state, but in Athens, Solon and Pericles developed a democratic form of Government for all free citizens. Philosophers, such as, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, sought knowledge and truth about man and the Universe, and provided the starting points for most of our own ideas and ideals. The same spirit of inquiry animated mathematicians and scientists Pythagorus, Hippocrates. Drama was born in the movingand beautiful tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles. The Golden age of Pericles was symbolised by the building of the Parthenon.
The Romans created an enlightened and imperial system of laws, an international language, imposing architecture, and a net work of roads The Roman Empire was divided into east and west in the 4th century , the Eastern or Byzantine Empire, with Constantenople as its capital resisted the onslaught of the Arabs and the Turks for nearly 10 centuries and spread its religion and culture to Bulgaria and Russia.
Meanwhile Christianity, despite persecution, had penetrated into central and northern Europe. During the Dark Ages the Church was responsible for the preservation of knowledge inherited from the past.