The ancient or 'classical' world begins with the invention of written language, and follows the organization of human culture into governments and societies much like we practice today. Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome were civilizations that lasted for hundreds — and in Egypt's case thousands of years. They were super powers because they brought law and order to their people, providing a certain amount of peace and stability. Peace and stability leads to a civic life, creating the space for creativity, education and commerce. This in turn grows prosperity and enables building projects, temples, roads and art. Written language, unified law, and centralized government allowed these ancient cultures to thrive on a scale that warped past hunter and gatherer societies and created the foundation on which we create our modern civilization in the west.