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What constitutes a civilization?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by EMT, May 1, 2012.

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  1. Well in my opinion it depends on wether we mean "for the purposes of Civ" or "In general"

    In general I think there are few civs/culture groups. Civs are things like Greco-Roman, European (Post fall of the Empire or maybe Charlemagne, includes Latin America and the Anglosphere), Sub-Saharan African, North African (Though often Nth Afr is inhabited by people of Greco-Roman, European, or Arab culture), Arabic, Indian/South Asia, East Asian, Slavic(?), possibly South east Asia, Fertile crescent civilization (Usually those peoples inhabiting the ME before the Arabs), and Meso-American. Basically this broadly encompasses city building culture groups.

    Now clearly this would not do for a Civilization game, for civs purposes I usually define a civ as a Nation (belonging to one of the aforementioned civilization) with power and influence over a wide area for it's time and place. However in some cases I'm willing to see a single culture represented as a civ (i.e. I would rather Scandinavia to Norway/Denmark and/or Sweden, and I'm willing to allow Germany to stand in for Prussia and the HRE) also though, Rule of Fun applies.
     
  2. Mustakrakish

    Mustakrakish In 'Node' We Trust

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    Isn't being distinguished in the world and leaving a big mark in history enough to qualify? :dunno: For example Greece doesn't qualify according to some poster's opinions for obvious reasons, but it did distinguish itself greatly by ridiculously influencing western culture, did it not? US is very young, but it did deserve its place by being extremely influental in the world.

    To support my opinion I do think there are Civs in game that shouldn't be there.

    But all the arguments about what makes someone deserving to be included in CIV is pointless IMO, when there is Polynesia included...
     
  3. Gucumatz

    Gucumatz JS, secretly Rod Serling

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    I don't really see why Polynesia shouldn't be included. Unlike other Civs the region has never been represented prior, their feats of traveling are unrivaled by any seafaring peoples. The many proto empires that were formed in the region also is decent.

    I wouldn't mind having the Inuit in game for example. But doesn't mean they are a first choice Civ by any means. I don't see anything wrong considering the accomplishments in human feat terms regarding the technology of their ships at the time, the tinyness of the population, and yet in some areas trade existed for centuries even after the small populations had settled. There is evidence of trade from hundreds of miles apart from one another.
     
  4. civplay

    civplay Warlord

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    My definition, based on the actual anthropological defintion of civilization is an influence state governed nation that has developed agriculture allowing for specialization in other careers.

    This is my defintion though, and clearly and luckily differs from the makers.
    My favorite civ to play is the Iroquios. They never had a state government, never became an agricultural focused nation, and did not have much job specialization. But, they were influnetial and histroically important.
    And that seems to be all that matters to the creators. Were they influence and historically important
    Civs w/o state gov nor agriculture focused include: Mongloa, Iroquios, Polynesia, the huns, and denmark.Do you really think the game would be better without them included? No....
     
  5. Mustakrakish

    Mustakrakish In 'Node' We Trust

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    Yes, but they didn't really leave a mark in history or influenced anyone... that I know of anyway. Were their feats of travel adopted by many other peoples? Did other people even know of their existence? I know I sound quite simplistic and silly, but... Does that really makes them a civilization worthy being on the list with other already included civs? If the criteria is representing the region then sure... But I don't see how they notably distinguished themselves or left a mark in history. Were they even "one" at any point? Or were they just a system of independent islands trading with each other?

    On a side note, I don't really understand the anti euro-centrism... What is wrong with that?
     
  6. Gucumatz

    Gucumatz JS, secretly Rod Serling

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    Beause there are plenty of Civilizations that wil never get a shot because of Euro-Centrism sadly. Civilizations that became large empires, large influence in religion and tech, will be ignored due to the constant importance of The Euro-Centric view.

    Civilizations like Ethiopia for example are still somehow relegated to expansion Civs. And there are plenty of civs out there that could get in but will be ignored in the meantime that would be "worthy" under many "Euro-centric" standards but global perspective still limits them: I.E. Majapahit, Kongo, Morocco, Tibet, Khazars, etc.

    =====

    And for Polynesia the initial settlers came from a common group I believe that at one point was united. And therefore for the early period of Polynesian expansion they were one people. Eventually over the years they split though.

    And there are several theories of trade between some of the Polynesian islands and the rest of the world (none of which have been proven yet).

    Easter Island for example quite a few historians believe had trade with the various Peruvian empires. There are residues of plants and wildlife which have been found on Chachapoyan Mummies that only are found nowadays on specific islands in the Pacific. Doesn't prove anything, but suggests a possibility.

    Polynesia isn't my first choice obviously for a civ nor my perfect example in any way, but the fact is they encompassed such a large region of the world and with limited numbers, people, and tech they still managed to do well. They became tiny mircocosms of other emps.
     
  7. Civciv5

    Civciv5 Grand Emperor

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    A civilization's requirements by my opinion:
    • Has an organized system of society where there are laws
    • Has to be a nation,kingdom,empire where there is unity and not a collection of small states which have each a leader
    • Has to have cities or at least settlements,which means they are at least sedentary
    • Has to have monuments or remnants of buildings
    • Has to control a large or significant region or lands (thus no nations that are very little)
    • Has to have some influence on other civilizations or world history
    • Has to be well known or famous
    • Must not be a modern nation,because a nation is not a civilization
    • Must have existed for a long time (+-300 years or more)
    • A people is not the same is a civilization,same for tribes(Tupi,Arawak...)
    Not all have to be correct to be a civilization,but much.
     
  8. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Post-Charlemagne European civilization would include Western and Southern Slavs, as well as Hungarians and later also Scandinavians and Balts (pretty much we can say that joining Latin Christendom = becoming part of this civilization). Of course this civilization evolved from remnants of the Western Roman Empire (so from Romano-Greek civilization) and from ancient Germanic / Celtic (in case of large parts of the British Isles) cultures / civilizations.

    The Byzantine Empire was a direct continuation of the Greco-Roman civilization, but with strong Eastern (Persian mainly) and later also post-Charlemagne European influences. Kievian Rus was a sort of Byzantine (Greco-Roman) civilization with strong influences of ancient Slavic and ancient Scandinavian cultures, as well as of post-Charlemagne European civilization. After the Mongol invasion (and also with the gradual decline of the Byzantines), strong influences of the Mongol civilization were added to this, while links of Rus with post-Charlemagne European civilzation and with the Byzantines were weakened.

    So the problem is that there is no any simplistic way to create a classification - in many areas influences of various civilizations were intermingling.

    ==================================================

    North-African civilization - it was destroyed with the Roman (followed by Muslim later) conquest. And does not exist anymore. Since that time North Africa was controlled by Romano-Greek civilization and later by civilization of Islam - until the age of European colonialism.

    Sub-Saharan Africa - yeap. Especially Western Sub-Saharan Africa produced a number of civilizations. Many of them were, however, strongly influenced by Islamic civilization. But there were probably enough specific features to consider it as a separate civilization.

    Arabic civilization is a wrong term IMO. Islamic / Muslim is much better. Relatively primitive Arabic tribes only started the process which led to creation of this civilization, by conquering more advanced people. Arabic people were not the only ones who eventually became its part.

    What I called Mongol civilization above, can as well be called as Steppe Nomadic civilization. All those empires created by steppe nomads all around the Eurasia throughout ages, were pretty similar to each other. This civilization was characterized by very well organized mounted warfare, adoption of most of achievements from other civilizations (those conquered ones) and despotic rules, unless subjugated nations were willing to cooperate.

    Yeah. The last example and the quintessence of this civilization would be Parthian and Sassanid Persia. But it was - again - not "pure", because it had been influenced by Greco-Roman civilization after the conquests of Alexander the Great (which led to creation of Hellenistic civilization - mix of Middle Eastern and Greco-Roman) and later by originally Iranian people after the Parthian conquest of the Seleucid Empire. And before that, the Achaemenid Persian Empire was also the result of conquests made in the Fertile Crescent area by Iranian nomadic tribes. So this area was a real mix of various cultural influences.

    Later they were conquered by Arabs (I would classify Arabs from times before expansion as part of the Steppe / Nomadic civilization) and participated in creation of Islamic civilization, as Arab conquerors were rather quickly assimilated by this more advanced Middle-Eastern culture.

    Meso-American and also Andean - civilizations in these two areas were quite different from each other. And developed independently.
     
  9. Radu_Magus

    Radu_Magus Warlord

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    Perhaps because most of the world isn't European? Although I agree I'd rather play with Austria or Sweden than Polynesia.
     
  10. Syailendra

    Syailendra Prince

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    IMO, a civilization is a group of man that have a significant influence in its SUBGLOBAL area which it FLOURISH, and became well known so that every connected group of people in that subglobal area looks at them either with awe, envy, even tremble in fear. Its that 'simple', even king Kamehameha reach this statute at one time at history, so Polynesia have a full right to be in the game.
     
  11. drubell

    drubell Prince

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    I think usually what constitutes a civ is if the name is recognizable and the name will sell DLCs or copies.
     
  12. Liex

    Liex King

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    I'd add that a lot of Europeans here in the forums are against euro-centrism - or at least against a '6 European civs out of 9' situation.

    And some non-European posters just don't mind. Speaking for myself, I wouldn't mind as well, were the things slightly less extreme. -2 civs from Europe, +2 civs from elsewhere and I'd be a very happy person with G&K. But I'm okay with the way it ended and can't wait for July (winter vacation, civ all day - and night - long).
     
  13. Mustakrakish

    Mustakrakish In 'Node' We Trust

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    Ok most of the world isn't European, but what can you do if it's Europe where history was written, and Europe's nations/civilizations that left a mark in history. I'm all for 2 + 2 thing, but IMO, it'd be difficult to find more deserving/known non European civs at this point. I have hard time deciding which non European civ I'd rather see added beforre Austria (Which I already found absurd missing in civ4, when there was HRE in the game), Sweden, Netherlands or Portugal (Which isn't even being added yet).

    Gucumatz: While you and few other posters have a good point;
    regarding Ethiopia being relegated to expansion, there was 18 civs in "original" roster, and I can't see how Ethiopia fits there better than any of the "original" roster. Definitely fits there before Polynesia, but not before it. Also don't see how civs you listed fits in there before the ones I mentioned above, Euro centrism or not... It's not about wanting to see the whole Europe in there before other world, I'd never expect nor want Finland (where I live) to be in the game for example (Gods forbid that'll ever happen!). I just think Euro-centrism is taken all too negatively.

    Please do have in mind it's only my opinion.
     
  14. Syailendra

    Syailendra Prince

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    Yeah, after your ancestors destroy cities all around the world and burn historical literatures from every corners of the world, now you can easily say that europeans wrote the history! Get real! Not even one major religion originate from europe, holy books are the only one that europeans can't easily destroys because it will bring bigger revolts to colonialization.
    Its not the other parts of the world uncivilized when europeans come, its europeans who decivilized them.
     
  15. Louis XXIV

    Louis XXIV Le Roi Soleil

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    While true, all that does is expand it to Eurasian dominance (and Asia is the second most represented area. They just happened to have large, stable states, which limits the total number they can include once India is represented by the modern state). If history is written by the victors, Eurasia wrote a lot of history.
     
  16. Mustakrakish

    Mustakrakish In 'Node' We Trust

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    I'm sorry, you were saying? I don't quite understand what you're saying, or rather what did I said wrong in your opinion? :dunno:
     
  17. Liex

    Liex King

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    I guess Syailendra meant you just used an Eurocentric argument to justify Eurocentrism.

    I do respect your opinion, but a lot of people would rather see others civs before, let's say, Portugal, as we can see from those polls AbsintheRed made [1][2]. And I'm not sure if Sweden or Austria would be a different case.
     
  18. carm3

    carm3 Chieftain

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    Drug lords and salsa as the sine qua non of a civilization is perhaps my favourite definition ever. Next expansion pack?

    Most Bizarre Post Ever aside, I suggested elsewhere that, while states whose history is entirely confined to the modern era are generally left out (e.g. Canada), civilizations' continued existence in the form of modern states undoubtedly weighs heavily in both the selection of civs and in the manner in which they are represented. I think that this, as much as eurocentricism, accounts for cases like India, where several kingdoms have been subsumed into one largely because this makes the for a civ that is more recognizable to the average player.
     
  19. Radu_Magus

    Radu_Magus Warlord

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    You see, that's the problem. You are really unaware of it. I wrote a post sometime, somewhere, explaining about this. For most of history, Europe was filled with a bunch of backward barbarians, while other regions of the world flourished. It became important for quite a short time, really, just a few hundred years. Open your mind: the history of mankind goes way beyond Europe. Waaaaaaaaaaay beyond.
     
  20. Syailendra

    Syailendra Prince

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    Thanks Radu_magus for clearing my post, i was quite emotional that my post became blur.

    My point is, the history known to the world now is incomplete (if not wrongly written to fulfil some group interest). The history of the world was erased by colonialist in their time, in order to suppress nationalist resistance and prolonged their control over the world.

    Okay, it's the past. No hard feelings form me, but it's also important to every people especially europeans to stop embracing those incomplete history as the 'fact'.

    CIV is one very good media to reintroduce the real history, so please don't programmed it wrongly.
    I guess thats why there's been a very strong non-eurocentrism posts in this forum.
     
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