Wikijunior:Introduction to History/Banding together

The next big change came about ten thousand years ago, when some people learned to farm. You need a lot of water to farm, and the first farms were along the banks of rivers. Farmers also tamed animals, and used them for milk and food, and their skins for shelter and clothing. The start of farming is called the agricultural revolution.

These farmers were the first people to invent writing; the earliest writing comes down to us from this period. It is mostly very practical writing -- lists of trade goods, tax records, and laws. There are also religious books, and stories. One of the earliest stories is the story of Gilgames.

This is how people lived for thousands of years. The history of these times is almost exclusively a history of kings and the wars they fought. A few great works of art were created that have survived: The Iliad and The Odyssey, the Analects of Confucius, the Tao Te Ching, religious books such as The Bible and the Koran, the plays of the ancient Greeks, the laws and letters of the ancient Romans, the mathematics of Euclid, Archimedes, and Brahamagupta, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, the history of Herodotus and Thucidides. And there are the great works of stone and marble: the pyramids, the sphinx, the Parthenon, the Colosseum, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, the Alhambra.

But most of the famous names of history are famous kings and warriors: Ashurbanipal, Nebuchadnezzar, Agamemnon, David, Alexander, Caesar, Chandragupta ... the list is endless.

In various places and at various times, science made a fitful beginning in advancing our understanding of nature. The Greek scientist Eratosthenes discovered the size of the earth. A Chinese scientist whose name has not come down to us invented gunpowder. In India, a mathematician invented a marvelous new number system, called the Base Ten numbers, which spread across the entire world. But these scientists lived and died and the people returned to superstition and forgot what had been learned.