View Full Version : Most imposing remnants of ancient civilizations

Stefan Haertel
Mar 19, 2002, 02:35 PM
Many civilizations of old left astounishing architectural, but also political and social structures. The ancient Sumerians built a series of ziqqurats, some of which remain today. The Egyptians built magnificent temples, sculptures and palaces. The Romans left no spot of the mediterranean untouched of their masterful architecture, their civilization, and haunt us still with their political and social ideas.
Others, like the Hittites, the Urartaeans, the Elamites or the Phoenecians left little, in some cases even nothing to speak of in our days. Their history may be known but there is little left of their culture for us to adore, some names disappeared from our collective memory.
But which ancient civilization left the most remarkable trace in the world of history and today? And are their marks more impressive for our eyes or for our minds? Did great thinkers like Platon or Aristotle do more for the human civilization than Caesar or Alexander?

I personally believe that the point where everything that lived up until now began, to the good and to the bad lies beneath the sands of Iraq, in the unknown site of Akkad (Agade). Here, the first of history's numerous empires, with centralized government, civil and military culture and interhuman contact was founded by Sargon the Great. This is where it all started. Akkads mind lives until today. No other spirit has survived as long, nearly 5000 years, without being damaged at all.

Mar 19, 2002, 09:03 PM
Great architectural remnants are fairly easy to list. While impressive, they stand as monuments to things that no longer exist. Intangible vestiges of greatness require a bit more thought. I think the Greek philosophers had a far greater impact on the world than Alexander ever could have. The entirety of how hundreds of millions of people are taught to reason rests on their teachings.

The Hebrews were a big nil on the political radar for most of their history, but their impact on societies has been no less impressive than that of the philosophers. Judaism spawned Christianity - and what part of the western world doesn't show at a minimum heavy influence from this? By that token, other individuals have had an equally huge impact on other societies. Mohommed, Confucius and Siddharta spring to mind right away.

Outside the realm of religion, great thinkers have impacted the world in ways that grew as time went on. Some were appreciated by their contemporaries, others not until later.

It could be argued that in many cases, whoever is credited as being the originator of an idea is just the one who began an inevitable train of thought. That is, that history would have unfolded as it did anyway. Maybe so, maybe not. Even if that were true, great ideas have had great influence on history. In other words, discrediting the idea or discovery as inevitable is moot.

Mar 19, 2002, 09:27 PM
IMHO I think the most imposing ancient remnant of all is China itself, as a state, civilisation and cultural entity of more than 1 billion people. I mean it's not just here in spirit; it's still here today, in this time and age, in forceful physical substance. :)

Mar 20, 2002, 03:35 AM
The pyramids impress me the most. The sheer size and the durability (probably just because they are so huge) are very impressive to me.

Mar 20, 2002, 05:03 AM
Yeah, its cliche, but ya can't beat the awe of the pyramids and the Sphinx (age arguments aside, guys ;) )

Given the sheer size and age of the structures, its amazing.

Mar 20, 2002, 06:42 AM
I'm going to give a nod to Athenian Democracy. The notion that government could come from a source other than divinity or strength of arms is the cornerstone that current Western society is based upon It is also something that has transended east and west in many areas. To me, this outshines any particular building project.