Studying history is rather important for every student and for every person in general. They say that those who know their past are ready for any hardships in the future. Thus, if history is our past, we all need to be well aware of its happenings in order to build our future lives. Special attention in the study of history should be paid to the study of the initial stages of the existence of mankind. Thus, the present paper will be focused on the development of the oldest nations of western society, the Near East and the Mediterranean. This paper is going to consider all the major aspects of their development in order to find out the reasons for the success of some of them and the failure of others in their attempt to exist eternally. To start with, it is necessary to enumerate all the major factors that have ever influenced the development of the earliest nations that constituted Western Civilization. Among them, there are such factors as the geographical position and climate of the territories where the first nations formed, socio-political factors, relations with other nations and states, etc. As far as the geographical factor has always been considered by scholars as one of the dominant in nation formation, it would be logical to start the essay with it.
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Thus, the first nation in the Western civilization ever to appear in the international arena was Ancient Greece. This civilization was formed in the conditions of the land that had access to the sea and was surrounded by mountains that defended it from the outside rivals. The rather convenient position of the land where Ancient Greece was established gave its inhabitants the opportunity to develop their navigation skills and become skillful seamen in the future. Moreover, the geographical position also provided for the regular development of agriculture, trade, and culture. The first forms of democracy in the Western civilization were also established in Ancient Greece and this can also be explained by its geographical position as far as Greeks could freely travel abroad, for example to Sumer or Ancient Egypt, and either take up or reject what they liked or not in the political systems of those nations. The Roman civilization, as another greatest one in the Western world, was also formed under the influence of certain geographical and climatic conditions. Close location to the Mediterranean Sea, fertile land, and rather acceptable climatic conditions made it possible for the Romans to develop their nation in the atmosphere of peace and contact with other neighboring nations. However, their being naturally strong people and great abilities in navigation and warfare made them into one of the most powerful nations in the history of the whole world. Thus, from the examples of the two most significant nations in the history of Ancient Western civilization, it is obvious that geographical conditions and climate affect the further development of nations greatly.
However, there were a lot of other conditions and factors that played their roles in the development of Western civilization. Some of them were positive, for example, the favorable relations with other nations, military power, absence of natural disasters, etc., while others were negative. They are the major obstacles on the path of development of the first civilizations in the world’s history. The most important among them are the military conflicts, the inability to defend themselves from the outside invasions due to the exceeding forces of rivals, or to the inner conflicts that undermined the power of this or that particular nation. Thus, for example, the power and wealth of ancient Greece were destroyed by the inner disagreements that did not allow the country to fight against the invasion of the Roman Empire which finally resulted in the absolute subjugation of the country and making it into one of the Roman provinces. Moreover, the Roman Empire itself was affected by the inner conflicts and was destroyed by the barbarian tribes who used those conflicts to their advantage. However, there were the nations in the ancient world that succeeded in solving and overcoming the above-mentioned problems and obstacles. For example, Ancient Greece, although subjugated military by the Roman Empire, managed to preserve its self-identity and spread its culture over the numerous countries of the world and stayed in centuries as the greatest culture in the world’s history which is also referred to as classical one. Another example is the Chinese civilization which managed to preserve its identity and originality despite numerous conquests. What helped these civilizations survive was their eternal values and stable customs and traditions that told people always to keep to their roots and be proud of their ethnicity. Moreover, the clever policies of the rulers of those nations that never conflicted with other nations unless they were sure about their power were also a rather important factor.
The Roman Empire managed to conquest many countries and territories and to rule them for over 5 centuries. As contrasted to other nations of the Mediterranean and Near East, Romans directed their major focus to create military forces able to fight every other army. Warfare was the central concept in children’s upbringing and education and this resulted in having numerous skillful generals. Moreover, policies implemented by Romans including the division of powers and territories allowed them to control their huge possessions and acquire new ones. Thus, it is obvious that the combination of favorable geographical factors, a properly organized political system and military forces were the dominant factors in the development of the Western civilizations in the initial periods of their existence.