Collapse of Civilizations

1323 WordsDec 11, 20026 Pages
The factors that lead to the "collapse" of civilizations are almost directly related to those that created it. Archaeologists characterize collapse by a number of elements, some of which we have evidence for, others we do not. Most archaeologists are unsure of exactly what caused the decline of most civilizations in the ancient world, yet there are many clues to some of the events that could have contributed. The collapse of the ancient Roman Empire, the Mesoamerican Mayan, and the Egyptian cultures will be discussed in the following paragraphs, with a focus on the uniqueness of each. "Collapse" is in quotations because its definition when applied to civilizations is often debated. Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary states:…show more content…
They considered peasant revolt, loss of legitimacy of the rulers, lack of propaganda, abandonment of great centers, ceasing of buildings and inscriptions, and population declination, done by a method the Mayans are known for. "Voting with one's feet" is when commoners of a village, city, or town were not happy with the king at the time so they left for other communities, no longer contributing their goods to the community. The Mayans were a very ideological society. They had a very weak military, so they were unable to force taxes on the people. They had to enforce ideology by building temples, monuments and statues. When there was a king who was not liked, then they would not build temples to support him. The ruler would have no symbols of power, which meant no authority. The city of Copan had great monuments, which were rebuilt every twenty years. People were needed for the labor, which was often stopped if they were displeased with the ruler. Therefore evidence for a sudden halting of monument building gives clues to archeologists of the state of government, or society as a whole. The Roman Empire was very powerful, diverse, and extravagant. Some Roman villas were simple farmhouses while others were decorated with mosaics, large steam baths and luxurious gardens (Scarre 1997:285). The city was filled with extreme architecture and monuments. Their advanced engineering
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