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Civilized Core refers to the four advanced civilizations that emerged during the 1st millennium B.C., during the earlier Iron Age after the collapse of the Bronze Age civilizations that preceded them.
These were, in order of emergence, the civilizations of
- The Mediterranean, developing from scattered Phoenician settlements to the emergence of Ancient Greece in the 7th century BCE and culminating in the Hellenistic civilization in the 4th century BCE, by the 3rd century BCE stretching its influence throughout the Mesopotamian and into the Indian sphere.
- Mesopotamia (Babylonia and Assyria), culminating in the unified Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE
- Zhou China, culminating in the Han Empire in the 3rd century BCE
- Iron Age India, the Mahajanapadas culminating in the Maurya Empire in the 4th century BCE