The 7 Characteristics of a Civilization

The 7 Characteristics of a
Welcome to the birth of history! In this short
unit, we will explore what a civilization is.
Through the knowledge gained about
civilizations, students will be able to analyze,
explain, and eventually evaluate how each of
the upcoming units fits or does not fit the
classification of a civilization.
1. What is a civilization?
2. What are the 7 characteristics of a
What is a Civilization?
A civilization is an advanced state of human society.
There are 7 characteristics that define a
Stable food supply
- Social structure
System of government
- Religious system
Highly developed culture
- Advances in technology
Written language
Be careful to not associate civilization with civilized
and everyone else as barbarians or primitives.
Stable Food Supply
Civilizations need a stable supply of food.
Societies can only thrive with plenty of food.
Domesticating of animals and agriculture
allowed civilizations to create a stable food
Why is this important?
Agriculture/Domestication v Hunter/Gatherer
Social Structure
Civilizations have a complex organization, or
social structure. This controlled through
different jobs and social levels (or status).
Social pyramids example
1. Ruler
2. Landowners/priests/government officials
3. Common class (merchants, craftspeople, etc)
4. Slaves
System of Government
Civilizations need a well organized system of government
to help direct people’s behavior and keep life orderly.
The government is in charge of enforcing laws,
construction, leading the army, and distribution of food.
Every civilization has their own style of ruler
-President -Pope
How does the government help you?
Religious System
All civilizations need a religious system. This
includes, set of beliefs, G-d(s), and place of worship.
What is religion’s role
in society today?
Highly Developed Culture
All civilizations must have a highly
developed culture including the arts, like
painting, architecture, and music.
Culture is a way to show what a civilization
values (important to them).
What is a piece of culture
that is present in our lives?
Advances in Technology
All civilizations create new forms of technology
(tools or inventions).
These advances prove that a civilization not only
developed, but also provided contribution to
surrounding area and future generations.
What is an advance in
technology for the US?
Written Language
All civilizations must have a highly developed written
The beginning of history means the beginning of
writing. The first known language was cuneiform,
created by the Sumerians
An example of writing can also be pictographs
What would your life be
without any writing?
What is a Civilization?
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