It was 3 milleniums BC that the first civilizations started to develop in the ancient orient (ancient Near East), Mesopotamia and Egypt. There were other great civilizations that were developing at about the same time like ancient China. These three civilizations were developed around river valleys. The Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations both used religions and mystical beliefs to built their ethical views so did the Shang civilization of ancient China. These great civilizations were able to built cities monuments, laws, religions etc.
The Mesopotamian civilizations began to develop around the river valley of the Trigis and Euphrates what is now current Iraq. Its habitants were the sumerians these people were able to build their civilization thanks to the crops they were able to grow because of the proximity of the water. These people achieved a lot: They created monarchy, invented writing, they developed institutionalized religion, for the first time men were freed from the necessity of raising their own food or hunting for it.
They developed metal weapons and tools architecture and mathematics. Basically they created easier methods of social evolution. With all this advancement new problems and questions surfaced so they had to organize their rules, laws, politics etc. know ethical questions became a part of there society. All these things helped us and many other societies develop their own societies. The mesotopians tried to use religion to understand life and its many questions.
But the sumerians were a pessimist and insecure nation because they believe that the gods had created mankind to slave for them; they lived in the expectation of disaster. Before taking any decision they would consult the gods. The temple was the heart and sole of the cities and an ethical man was to limit himself on a less complete restraint. Still some materials seem to indicate that Mesopotamia was organized politically along democratic lines. Its seems public affairs were handled by a council were sovereignty resided of elders and free adult men of the community.
This assembly settled conflicts arising in the community; they took decision on major issues like war but it did not last long, not long after decision making was put in the hand of one man the lugal all because they wanted someone to make quicker decisions. These efforts to make ethical decisions helped them build a better society (Moscati, 20). In about the same period, the Egyptians, who are known for their trademark pyramids were developing their own civilization in the valley of the well-known Nile.
The Nile is a very important river in Africa without it Egypt would be nothing but a dry desert. It flows from Central Africa to the Mediterranean Sea and makes the land around it very fertile with black soil. They used this fertile land to cultivate food for to feed its population. Unlike the gloomy selemntious Mesotopians the Egyptians were a secure and happier nation. They believed in a greater life after death. The Egyptian was never introspective and was never rigidly demanding of himself or of others because he was free from fear.
One reason for this sense of security was the fact that they were geographically isolated Egypt had fertile lands and was protected by natural barriers such as deserts and mountains. Also the fact that they believed Egypt alone was ruled by one god that the god-sun was protecting them throughout eternity. This nation created great thing too as we all know the pyramids, they invented the 365 days calendar that we still use today, they also created great art that is still admired today. Religion was the basis of there arts. For them Pharaoh was a god on earth, he maintained justice and peace and expressed the will of the gods.
A very important thing for them was that after life they would try to preserve their bodies and their arts believing they would need them after death. Egyptians had come up with an ethical code, they believe that that is what the gods wanted. Like the Mesotopians and the Egyptians, the Chinese civilization was built around a river valley, the Yellow River Valley. Populations around the southern bend of the Yellow River began agriculture. They sowed millet, but sometime later, the Chinese began cultivating rice to the south, near the Huai River.
These were a Neolithic, tribal people who used stone tools. In the Chinese version of history, however, history begins with three semi-mystical and legendary individuals who taught the Chinese the arts of civilization. Fu Hsi, the inventor of writing, hunting, trapping, and fishing; Shen Nung, the inventor of agriculture and mercantilism, and the Yellow Emperor, who invented government and Taoist philosophy. The Chinese believed that the Three Cultural Heroes were followed by the Three Sage Kings. Most of these man used virtue, wisdom and there knowledge of ethics to lead its people.
The Chinese also believed in a god that ruled on lesser gods like the moon the wind etc, and they used to sacrifice people to their gods which is totally unethical. In conclusion, we realize that a developing society needs ethical grounds to function and that often if they are not prepared they fall into war. But war as a means of protection is not a bad thing so can we say that they were unethical. We see that civilization is some thing complex that always brought up questions on ethical basis. But without some form of ethical basis a civilization cannot work.