The Influence of Water Accessability on Ancient Civilizations Essay

The Influence of Water Accessability on Ancient Civilizations Essay

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Water is one of the most important elements needed to sustain life. Some ancient civilizations struggled to maintain a steady supply of usable water, while others gained consistent access, and those that did, thrived. Nonetheless, these civilizations, whether they failed or succeeded, depended on water to drink and irritate their crops; without it, they suffered food shortages and famine. Ancient civilizations such as China, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Rome were among those whose advancement benefited from the successful cultivation of water. Even though man started out as hunters and gatherers, once knowledge about growing their own food and the domestication of plants occurred, civilizations are believed to have formed, and thus became dependent on agriculture and water. Water was the driving force of growth in ancient civilizations. A reliable source of water impacted the development of economies, drove religious views, shaped political and legal discussions and influenced the advancement of technologies in diverse civilizations that shared a common bond, the need for water to sustain life.
But one can’t look at “water” in a monolithic sense, because not all water is usable for drinking or irrigation. Usable water can be defined, in this instance, as a source that is reliable, consistent, and clean enough to drink or use for irrigation. This includes rivers, lakes, wells, but it does not include oceans or contaminated water. In some circumstances, the water that is at first promising can then become contaminated; water standing in irrigation ditches can become a fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes and other carriers of disease. In addition, the over-use or diversion of water can impact its quality, creating water heavy ...


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...dant amount of flash floods. This lies in contrast to Egypt, which received even less rainfall than Mesopotamia, and was thus totally dependent on the Nile for watering crops. The Nile River flooded regularly, allowing for easy basin irrigation. Lastly, Rome, in contrary to Egypt, grew up on the banks of a river, the Tiber, but substantial amounts of natural rainfall in the area made extensive irrigation for agriculture purposes unnecessary. Rome’s primary water issue was the lack of good drinking water; the Tiber was often brackish and unpleasant, so the Romans had to build aqueducts. All of these civilizations had a separate and distinct relationship with water, and thus each had their own way of dealing with its conditions.
Rooted in the conditions of water sources, reliable water not only impacted the formation of economies, but also helped them flourish.

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