World History




a word derived from the Latin word civis, meaning “someone who lives in a town.” Today, this word refers to societies that live in large, well-organized groups like towns, not in small tribes or isolated family groups. Such societies typically share a common culture, common laws, and a common faith or religion.


Historians draw a sharp distinction between prehistory and history, with history defined by the advent of writing. The cave paintings of prehistoric peoples can be considered precursors of writing, but they are not considered true writing because they did not represent language directly.


a person of high birth or rank; a member of the nobility.


a word which describes societies in which men have all or most of the power and importance. (A matriarchal society, on the other hand, is one in which women have more power than men).

Agriculture made civilization possible because it permitted humans to settle permanently in one place, build cities, and develop complex societies. Large groups of people living together encouraged job specialization, the development of government, and written language, all of which are important features of civilizationWriting probably began as a way to record business dealings, especially the exchange of agricultural products. Cities and writing are often considered the primary indicators of civilization. When people started to write, prehistoric times ended, and historic times began.

Not everything about civilization was positive. Complex societies usually meant greater separation of people into classes based on social position or wealth. Often a wealthy class of aristocrats controlled the land and collected rents from poor farmers. Society became divided between the “haves” and the “have nots.” Civilized societies were probably more patriarchal (male dominated) than hunter-gatherer bands in which everyone helped to supply food that ensured the group’s survival.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.