Top 10 Greatest Civilizations of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Roman Empire (27 BC - 1453 AD) The Roman Empire was renowned for its extensive network of roads, monumental architecture like the Colosseum, and a legal system that influences modern law. It played a crucial role in the spread of Christianity and left a lasting impact on Western civilization through its cultural, political, and military achievements.

If Rome had not fallen, we might be thousands of years more advanced. We probably would have had the industrial revolution around 500 AD.

Rome is truly one of the greatest examples of a great civilization. Their technological advancements and adeptness in conquering made them one of the most superior empires Europe, probably the world, has ever seen. It is truly a shame that Rome fell, one of the greatest tragedies in all of humanity. If Rome had not adopted Christianity and had somehow been able to conquer the barbarians, we could have skipped the medieval and renaissance eras. We wouldn't have had the Black Plague in Europe because Rome was already so advanced in medicine. Who knows how clean they would have been in future years?

Though it is difficult not to compare Rome easily to Greece, with Greece's own artistic and scientific advancement as well as the great Macedonian empire, they were not nearly as influential or contiguous as the amazing and marveling Romans. Easily under my list of favorite and personal greatest civilizations of all time.

2 Ancient Egypt (3150 BC - 30 BC) Ancient Egypt is celebrated for its monumental pyramids, sophisticated hieroglyphs, and the Nile River's vital role in its agriculture and economy. This civilization was distinguished by its advanced understanding of mathematics and impressive architectural achievements. It also had a rich religious culture centered around deities and the afterlife.

The power of the ancient Egyptian civilization didn't depend on its military might, unlike most other ancient civilizations. Great advances in engineering, medicine, and astronomy were achieved by the ancient Egyptians.

The enormous Giza pyramids, standing in their place for over 5000 years, prove the superior ability of ancient Egyptians in engineering and astronomy. In addition, the ancient Egyptians showed unparalleled mercy towards their enemies compared to other civilizations in the ancient era.

3 British Empire (1583 AD - Present) The British Empire was the largest empire in history, known for its global influence and colonization. It played a major role in the spread of the English language, legal systems, and parliamentary democracy. The empire was instrumental in shaping international trade, politics, and culture.

No single civilization has conquered and dominated as much of the world as the British Empire did during the Colonial Era. Their geopolitical influence and power were felt on every continent except South America. Not only were they the most powerful empire, but they arguably advanced humanity more than any other civilization.

They significantly contributed to technology, biology, physics, chemistry, political philosophy, economics, trade, industry, transportation, education, literature, architecture, and countless other invaluable contributions to humanity. The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain. Their ideas, inventions, and Christian religion spread across the world, and today we see British influence in every first world country as a direct result of the sustained excellence of the British Empire.

4 Greek Empire (800 BC - 600 AD) The Greek Empire was a cradle of Western civilization, known for its contributions to philosophy, science, and the arts. It consisted of city-states like Athens and Sparta, each with its unique governance and culture. The Greeks made significant advancements in democracy, theater, and philosophy.

Greek philosophy, politics, architecture, mathematics, physics, and art provided the foundation of success for ALL western civilization. The Roman Empire adopted many aspects of Greek culture and continually sought Greek scholars as teachers and advisors.

The Italian Renaissance and Enlightenment that brought Europe out of the dark ages started with a revival of Greek studies and ideas. The United States of America looked to the Greeks and Romans for their foundational values and government. Greek ideas bred success, power, and art.

5 The United States (1776 AD - Present) The United States is known for its significant influence in global politics, culture, and technology. It was founded on principles of democracy and freedom, and has been a leader in scientific innovation and cultural trends. The nation has played a pivotal role in major global events such as World Wars and the Cold War.

It's not like I'm saying America is perfect or sits on the pedestal of highest success in all categories. It has and had its faults. The thing is, we don't lead in any category other than defense spending, percent of incarcerated citizens, and people who believe in Christ. Other countries have followed our model and have the liberties and rights we proclaimed in our founding. We are not the freest nation on earth anymore. We like to regulate everything. So, people can reasonably say we aren't the best.

But we are the States. There is pride in being the 900-pound gorilla because we do have a force of a military. Since our inception until the '70s, we did nothing but advance in all fields. We are a very young nation, but we represent the democratic republic world. Other nations on here have failed, and America isn't failing yet. We just aren't the undisputed best in the world right now. I vote America for the future could be bright with the right footing, and the past is great.

6 Chinese Empire (221 BC - 1912 AD) The Chinese Empire was characterized by its long-lasting dynastic rule, significant inventions like gunpowder, papermaking, and printing, and the construction of the Great Wall. It was a center for art, culture, and philosophy, with Confucianism playing a central role. The Silk Road was crucial in facilitating trade and cultural exchange.

Amazing, it had a lot of power. It lasted for an extremely long time and developed many of the pillars of modern civilization. Its military was powerful, and its technology was extremely advanced for the time.

This civilization's economy flourished and was extremely stable. It went through many golden ages and was extremely sophisticated throughout the ages. Many modern items, such as paper, come from the Chinese Empire. It definitely should be rated higher.

As for Rome, the Han dynasty defeated the Xiongnu barbarians. They ran to Rome and became the Huns, then they destroyed Rome... yeah.

7 Islamic Golden Age (750 AD - 1258 AD) During the Islamic Golden Age, there were groundbreaking advancements in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and philosophy. The period saw the establishment of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, a center for learning and translation. It was a time of flourishing arts, science, and cultural exchange across the Islamic world.

One of the greatest and most underrated civilizations of all time is the Islamic Golden Age. They made significant contributions in science, mathematics, astronomy, and much more. Without people like Ibn al-Haytham or Abu Nasr Al-Farabi, and many others, the world would not be as advanced as it is today.

A lot of people try to undermine their achievements by pointing out that they started off by translating and learning from older civilizations, levying false accusations of "plagiarism". However, learning from past knowledge is a universal process. Even Sir Isaac Newton said, "If I have seen further than others, it's by standing on the shoulders of giants." The Islamic Golden Age made their own contributions as well, which is often overlooked by detractors.

In any case, haters are going to hate. I'm proud of what my ancestors have achieved.

8 Mongol Empire (1206 AD - 1368 AD) The Mongol Empire, under the leadership of Genghis Khan, became the largest contiguous empire in history, known for its military prowess and the establishment of a vast trade network across the Eurasian continent. This empire was instrumental in connecting the East and West through the Silk Road, facilitating cultural and technological exchanges. It also implemented a unique code of law, known as the Yassa.

The Mongols might have been perceived as barbaric, but their power during their reign and their influence even today is astounding. They were essential in the development and improvement of trade, for example, reopening the Silk Road. They also encouraged migration and moved people around their empire to help advance it. It was the first real experiment of interconnection and a 'global village,' which allowed modern globalization to take place.

They also helped to spread ideas, culture, and inventions, such as Chinese gunpowder to Europe. In fact, they are so influential that their effects can even be seen now. One in 200 people are descended from Genghis Khan. You don't see that anywhere else.

9 Persian Empire (550 BC - 651 AD) The Persian Empire was known for its tolerance and respect for the cultures of its conquered lands. It had an efficient administrative system and an extensive road network. The empire's influence on art, architecture, and religion extended far beyond its borders.

What makes ancient Persia (Achaemenid) unique in the list of all civilizations?

It was the largest multicultural civilization in ancient times that was free of slavery. Men and women were treated with equal rights and values. No other civilization to this day, in that vast range, has been able to achieve this. Neither Rome, nor Greece, nor Egypt, and not even current Europe or America, have been able to build their empires from the ground up without slavery, without free choice of religion, and without equality between men and women. Fortunately, we no longer have slavery. However, it took nearly 2,400 years, as we progressed into the modern era, until this form of slavery was banned in almost the entire world (since the 19th century). Nevertheless, modern civilization is built on unequal rights and slavery.

It is curious to think that as we were progressing into the modern era, we were also getting closer to the human rights of the ancient empire of the Achaemenids.

As Cyrus the Great declared in the first charter of human rights (circa 500 BC):

"Now that I put the crown of the kingdom of Persia on, I announce that I will respect the traditions, customs, and religions of the nations of my empire and never let any of my governors and subordinates look down on or insult them. I will impose my monarchy on no nation. Each is free to accept it, and if any one of them rejects it, I never resolve on war to reign. I will never let anyone oppress any others, and if it occurs, I will take back his or her rights and penalize the oppressor. I will never let anyone take possession of movable and landed properties of others by force or without compensation. Until I am alive, I prevent unpaid, forced labor. Today, I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion. People are free to live in all regions and take up a job, provided that they never violate others' rights. No one can be penalized for his or her relatives' faults. I prevent slavery,... more

10 Mayan Empire (2000 BC - 1540 AD) The Mayan Empire was distinguished by its sophisticated hieroglyphic script, the only fully developed writing system in pre-Columbian Americas, and its advancements in astronomy and mathematics. The Mayans built impressive stone cities and temples and had a deep understanding of agriculture and calendrical systems.

All the other civilizations named had the benefit of building off of other civilizations. Geography, proximity, and conquest or trade gave them the benefit of using the best ideas of others. They were all aided by other cultures, particularly the Romans, British, Americans, Greeks, and Chinese.

The Meso-Americans, however, were relatively isolated. All of their great achievements are theirs alone. They didn't have the benefit of a vast number of cultures clustered in a relatively small area to draw from. That is absolutely admirable.

The Contenders
11 Chola Dynasty (350 BC - 1279 AD) The Chola Dynasty was a dominant force in South India and the Indian Ocean trade. It was known for its naval power, extensive trade networks, and monumental temple architecture like the Brihadeeswarar Temple. The dynasty was a patron of Tamil literature and culture.

The Cholas represented an outward-looking power, rather than an insular, inward-looking one like the regimes before its advent. It spread its writ and influence deep into South East Asia and built magnificent temples. Well deserving of being among the greatest civilizations the world has seen.

I think there is a 1,000-year-old temple in Tamil Nadu. I can't believe that it is still completely intact, yet they don't even have to maintain it too much. Meanwhile, many Greek structures have already been practically destroyed.

12 Ottoman Empire (1299 AD - 1923 AD) The Ottoman Empire was a major power in the Mediterranean and Middle East, known for its architectural achievements like the Hagia Sophia and military innovations. It played a significant role in the history of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa over several centuries. The empire was also a center for Islamic culture and arts.

The Ottoman Empire was the only empire to show that Islam can be unified with Western values. Furthermore, it had control over the Middle East and Eastern Europe, despite being in constant proxy wars with the greatest nations and empires, such as the British Empire, the Italian Empire, France, and the Russian Empire.

I would call the Ottoman Empire the only dynasty that could bring lasting order and peace to Europe and the Middle East. What a shame the Ottoman Empire ended in such a manner when it had great potential and was good at diplomatic relations.

13 Mughal Empire (1526 AD - 1857 AD) The Mughal Empire is celebrated for its architectural marvels like the Taj Mahal and its rich cultural contributions, especially in the fields of art and cuisine. The empire was known for its religious tolerance and blending of Hindu and Muslim cultures, leading to a unique Indo-Persian cultural and artistic heritage.

No, the Sultanate Empire was better than the Mughal Empire. At least they knew how to rule. The business of that time was the best. The Mughals didn't rule well. They were reckless about their kingdoms. Yes, they built the Taj Mahal. But I also heard that Shah Jahan cut off the workers' hands. However, that's not the only issue.

During their time, art was so highly praised that the average economy was downgraded. It caused war between Hindus and Muslims. And overall, it cost them their kingdom.

By the way, they couldn't rule until the end of the 18th century. By that time, they were already powerless. They just held the title. They were probably the people who were lying in bed and making self-portraits.

14 Assyrian Empire (1920 BC - 609 BC) The Assyrian Empire was known for its powerful army, advanced engineering skills, and extensive library collections. It had a highly organized central government and made significant contributions to Mesopotamian art and architecture. The empire's capital, Nineveh, was among the greatest cities of its time.

Assyrians may have been despotic and violent, but they had a beautiful culture. As already stated here, they had a most prestigious library and university. They also had beautiful art. When the Babylonians and Persians came along, they made deals and remained semi-autonomous.

The Empire that built the first library and university also thought of the Pythagorean Theorem, truly the empire of knowledge.

Haha, beautiful. They were awesome, not because they were majestic and calm, but because they were majestic in killing people. One hundred plus respect.

15 Kingdom of Scotland (843 AD - 1707 AD) The Kingdom of Scotland was characterized by its distinct cultural identity, with contributions to literature, law, and education. It played a significant role in European medieval politics and was known for its feudal system and clan culture. The kingdom had a profound impact on the cultural and political landscape of the British Isles.
16 Byzantine Empire (330 AD - 1453 AD) The Byzantine Empire, originating from the eastern part of the Roman Empire, was notable for its preservation of Roman and Greek traditions, its influence on Orthodox Christianity, and its capital, Constantinople. It was a center for art and learning, producing many significant contributions to Western culture, particularly in the fields of art, law, and religion.

Constantinople was the most beautiful city in the world until it fell to the barbarians of the east, the savage people that stole its history. I will never forget May 29, 1453. The city will be Greek again.

It's ridiculous to rank the USA well above the Byzantine Empire, which was a Greek Empire. It's also highly inaccurate. The notion that Americans think they have the best civilization in the world is misguided.

The East Roman Empire survived for one thousand years. They left an immense heritage behind. Their architecture and science developments were the cutting edge of those times. Today, Anatolia and especially Istanbul are full of their magical memorials. "Pax Romana" represents their development and peace.

17 Phoenicia (1200 BC - 539 BC) Phoenicia was a maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean and is credited with developing one of the world's first alphabets. The Phoenicians were skilled seafarers, known for their purple dye and cedar wood. Their trading networks and cultural influence extended from the Levant to parts of the Mediterranean and North Africa.

Most underrated and advanced civilization. They invented the modern alphabet that we are using now in Byblos, Lebanon. First and best traders ever.

First to arrive on the American continent. Best maritime ever. The purple dye of Tyre became more expensive than gold. The continent of Europe got its name from the Phoenician Queen Europa.

They invented a practical alphabet, which was the mother to the vast majority of modern alphabets around the world. The Phoenicians also invented the boat and were the first to navigate around Africa.

18 Aztec Empire (1428 AD - 1521 AD) The Aztec Empire was known for its complex social structure, impressive architectural achievements like Tenochtitlán, and advancements in mathematics and astronomy. This empire was characterized by its strong military tradition and sophisticated religious life revolving around gods like Quetzalcoatl and Huitzilopochtli.

When the Aztecs arrived on Tenochtitlan Island, it was unsustainable as a settlement. They built a series of dams that we still do not fully understand, which allowed them to control the lake's water level. This enabled them to construct an extensive irrigation system, reclaiming the no longer flooded marshland to build farms. They also invented a water filtration system that provided perfectly safe nourishment.

In addition, they designed a complex network of canals across the island, floating agricultural colonies, a fertilization system, and magnificent public architecture. However, after the Spanish destroyed this system, it was not until the 1920s that scientists solved the city's flooding problem, and they achieved this only by draining the entire lake.

19 Ethiopian Empire (1137 AD - 1974 AD) The Ethiopian Empire, with its ancient Christian traditions and unique alphabetic script, was a significant political and cultural force in the Horn of Africa. It maintained its independence through most of its history, resisting colonization attempts. The empire is also known for its historical sites like Lalibela and Aksum.

The greatest civilization and culture, and not because I am African.

20 Qing Dynasty (1644 AD - 1912 AD) The Qing Dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China, known for its territorial expansion, cultural refinement, and establishment of the modern borders of China. It saw significant developments in arts, philosophy, and the introduction of policies that impacted China's social structure. The dynasty was a period of relative peace and prosperity but ended with internal strife and foreign invasions.

It was powerful and extremely large. The dynasty was fairly stable, with a flourishing economy. It wasn't the high point of Chinese civilization, but it was still extremely prosperous and powerful.

These guys were better than Scotland. They were larger, but they died out quickly.

21 Celtic Empire (800 BC - 450 BC) The Celtic Empire, spread across much of Europe, was known for its unique artistic style, evident in intricate metalwork and stone carvings. The Celts had a complex social structure and rich oral traditions, with Druids playing a central religious and educational role. Their influence is still seen today in areas like Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

The Celts were arguably the mightiest warriors in history. They invented a language still spoken today, a minor religion still practiced today, and had mythological figures still recognized today. Though not as popular as the Greeks or Romans, they ruled Gaelic Europe, making them one of the strongest and most prosperous civilizations to date!

22 Angevin Empire (1154 AD - 1242 AD) The Angevin Empire, formed by the union of territories under Henry II, spanned England, parts of Ireland, and a large portion of Western France. It was marked by significant legal and administrative reforms and was a period of cultural growth, notably in architecture and the legal system. The empire played a pivotal role in the history of both England and France.
23 Pandyan Empire (50 AD - 1350 AD) The Pandyan Empire in Southern India was renowned for its contributions to Tamil literature and Dravidian architecture. It was a major center for trade, known for its pearl fishing and extensive commerce with Rome and China. The Pandyas fostered a rich cultural heritage, particularly in the fields of literature and temple building.

One of the greatest Tamil empires. The classical Tamil, the oldest and still continuously spoken language in the world, developed under the Pandyan patrons. Long Live Divine Classical Tamil!

24 Armenian Empire (321 BC - 428 AD) The Armenian Empire, under Tigranes the Great, extended its territory significantly and became a notable center in the region. It was known for its unique blend of Hellenistic and Armenian culture, and its strategic location on the Silk Road enhanced its economic and cultural significance. The empire left a lasting impact on the development of Armenian identity and Christianity in the region.
25 Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BC - 1300 BC) The Indus Valley Civilization was characterized by advanced urban planning, with well-planned cities like Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, and an early writing system. This civilization demonstrated remarkable achievements in metallurgy, pottery, and urban sanitation. It remains one of the world's three earliest urban civilizations alongside Egypt and Mesopotamia.

This is one of the best civilizations. It had the best drainage system and the best bathrooms or toilets. The Indus Valley people built granaries where they kept their grains.

The skilled jewelers used to make jewelry with gold. They made statues with clay, bronze, and silver. They made high-quality pottery, including bowls, wheeled carts, wells, raised mounds, and windows for houses. In history, I like to study the Indus Valley civilization.

The Indus Valley was arguably the most advanced civilization and nation of its time. It had sewers that were unrivaled until the Roman Empire. The social conditions were comparable to Sumeria and superior to Ancient Egypt and Babylon.

It began a long line of Hindu/Indian Subcontinent cultures and civilizations, including the Maurya Empire and the Mughal Empire. It is unknown how it was governed, but some suggest it could have had a primitive form of democracy.

8Load More
PSearch List