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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

What ancient civilization is the most fascinating?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26784points) October 5th, 2010

Do you have a favorite? And why?
Is there a specific factoid about it that you really enjoy?

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38 Answers

diavolobella's avatar

I find Ancient Greek civilization fascinating. While I enjoy their architecture, philosophy, religion and art, I find the minute aspects of every day life interest me the most. What they wore, ate, read, how they styled their hair or wore their makeup, what they found beautiful and valuable. Their various modes of employment and how they passed their leisure time, etc. I enjoy history the most when I can actually visualize myself there and what it would have been like to be an ordinary person in that time period.

I also am very interested in the Minoan civilization, but more because so little is really known. It intrigues me.

deni's avatar

How did they make those pyramids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Therefore, Egypt. Then the Aztecs…I watched a show about them once and WOAH I’ve been entranced ever since. People would line up the steps of the pyramids they had and a priest would rip their heart out at the top to sacrifice it and then they would toss the bloody carcass off the other side of the pyramid. WHAT!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@deni I think the ancient Egyptians take the cake for me, too. It seems like they are constantly uncovering new and fascinating things in Egypt. I get sucked in every time. :) I always found it extremely cool that the Incas performed trepanation to treat head injuries. Prehistoric neurosurgery is really kind of amazing.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

It’s really a toss up between Greece and Egypt. While I find the pyramids fascinating and beautiful, I truly love reading ancient Greek literature and philosophy. Socrates was a spectacular genius. And The Iliad is perhaps the most important book ever written.

muppetish's avatar

This is like asking me to choose between old friends! My specialty in history is in the art department and ancient cultures have some of the most beautiful sculptures that have ever been produced. Egypt, Mesopotamia, Sumeria, India, China, Persia, Hellenic, Rome, Mayans, Aztecs… ugh, they are all wonderful, unique, and utterly fascinating.

I may be inclined to narrow it to Egypt, India, Greece and Rome, but beyond that makes my head spin.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’ve always been fascinated by the Chinese. Their history of (often industrial) innovation is amazing.
This book is one of my faorite references on the subject.

diavolobella's avatar

@muppetish. Absolutely true. It’s hard to choose. I also find some of the smaller, less well-known cultures terribly interesting. Carthage is a great example of that.

TexasDude's avatar

The Nubians were pretty cool.

I’ve also got a bit of a hardon for the Parthians.

Scooby's avatar

The Celts & ancient Britain’s, also Saxons too……Of course the Vikings who reputedly settled in the east establishing the future modern RUSSIA…. :-/ so I’ve read…….

iamthemob's avatar

Ancient Babylonians – the first recorded codified set of laws? That’s kind of awesome.

Blueroses's avatar

After studying the Mayans in 5th grade, I became obsessed. A few years ago I had a wonderful guide through Chichen Itza and it was magical.
I got to learn so many fascinating new details about the culture, if I had to choose one that sticks in mind it would be about the ritual games in the ball court. The winners were honored by being sacrificed. The gods had no use for losers.

crazyivan's avatar

The Sumerians have interested me since I was a kid. They have the coolest and most overlooked mythology… strange that the civilization that came up with the written word and statewide government manages to fly under the radar.

BoBo1946's avatar

My answer would be the Greek civilization. They are unparalelled in the areas of math, science, and philosophy in the ancient world.

downtide's avatar

I’ve always been most interested in the Celtic civillisations of Britain and western Europe. partly because they were living right here, and partly because I love their art and their mythology.

crazyivan's avatar

@downtide and finally the UK is recognizing Celtic as a religion again. Took ‘em long enough.

Aster's avatar

The Mayans. They had a calendar that was more accurate than our own and predicted events thousands of years into the future. Plus , they also had pyramids.
Only time will tell if their predictions of December 2012 were correct. Hang on tight!

downtide's avatar

@crazyivan yeah its only taken 2000 years. I blame the Romans :P

YARNLADY's avatar

I just now read about a fascinating new recognition of ancient ruins in Turkey at Göbekli Tepe

Berserker's avatar

@Scooby Seriously? Dude that’s damn interesting. Never figured that.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Though cliche id have to go with Greek, Egyptian, then Roman. Then again, theyre only cliche because theyre all so fucking badass :P

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

The Celtics. I was so fascinated by them as an adolescent that it actually occurred to my mother (who’s normally really dense) to have my grandmother take me on a trip to Britain so I could see Stonehenge and other Celtic things.
I also love Egypt, all of ancient Asia and Russia, and the whole Mesopotamian thing.

I have no interest in classical history. None. I don’t know why, but I just don’t care for it. There’s the occasional factoid about Greece that catches my attention for a couple seconds, but Rome? I am almost passionate about my apathy towards ancient Rome. Reading about it (as I’m currently trying to do…) is like taking a double dose of sleeping pills.

Scooby's avatar


Yep, there ya go, also would you believe the Vikings originated from the ancient Greeks or so it is supposed.. Bit more for you to think about ;-)

downtide's avatar

@Scooby Viking culture ultimately springs from the same source as the Celts; which originally started in East Europe, mainly around the Danube basin, around 800BC (pre-iron-age). The Celtic culture migrated westwards, and integrated with the Germanic tribes, from which Vikings eventually came. What we know of as British Celtic passed more through the western mediterranean, into Spain (Galicia – the origin of the word gaul), then up through France and into the British isles). There’s no proven link between the ancient Greeks and the early Danube proto-Celtic people although they certainly would have had contact with each other. Alexander the Great spoke of the Celts. It’s actually doubtful that there was an actual migration of people; it seems more to be a passing on of fashions in language, art, beliefs etc.

Although – there is evidence of migration of people going the other way too – east from Europe. In the foothills of the Himalayas there has been found the mummified remains of caucasian people who had red hair and wore tartan clothing.
(yes I’ve studied this in quite a lot of depth).

Scooby's avatar


I like to keep an open mind on the migrations of peoples over the centuries, from Celts in china to Greeks morphing into Vikings & Vikings in Kensington Minnesota, the world has a rich history of migration be it for economic reasons, just to raid & pillage or as a refugee fleeing the tyranny, people have moved across this earth in every direction for millennia & settled, allowing their cultures to evolve & sometimes die, many times over…. I often wonder what will become of we, the modern peoples..:-/

downtide's avatar

I love the idea of Vikings having reached the Americas. I really hope that is true.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I love the idea of Vikings.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I also love the Vikings. Although, I liked them even more when I thought their helmets had horns… That’s just so cool.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@downtide Oh. My. GOD!!!! I love you so much for that right now. It’s like, I loved the Celts before, but now, adding that level of coolness…. I can die happy now.

Berserker's avatar

@about all that viking stuff

The Vikings did reach America, at least they did in Canada for sure. Winnipeg has a Viking landing site called Gimli, where they manged to hang around for a bit…I think most times they were never able to actually stay though.

mattbrowne's avatar

The ancient Greek. Determining the circumference of the Earth. Compare this to some 2010 homo sapiens who need a pocket calculator to determine the result of 80×80.

BoBo1946's avatar

@mattbrowne yep, no doubt….a case of a great mind and small mind thinking a like… da man Matt!

CFi's avatar

The Roman’s. I get such a strong emotional feeling when I see pictures of the Colosseum or when I watch travel shows about Rome. I feel like I’ve been there and lived there and experienced all the great things they accomplished in their great time.

Blueroses's avatar

Locally, I am fascinated by the Anasazi. I spent an early spring evening in Chaco Canyon – too cold for most tourists – and took a solo midnight, moonlight walk among the ruins. Eerie and compelling.

gorgeousgal3's avatar

Celtics all the way! Absolutely fascinating.

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