The English word world continues Old English weorold (-uld), weorld, worold (-uld, -eld), a compound of wer "man" and eld "age", thus translating to "Age of Man".[3] The Old English continues a Common Germanic *wira-alđiz, also reflected in Old Saxon werold, Old High German weralt, Old Frisian warld and Old Norse verǫld (whence the Icelandic veröld).[4]

The corresponding word in Latin is mundus, literally "clean, elegant", itself a loan translation of Greek cosmos "orderly arrangement" . While the Germanic word thus reflects a mythological notion of a "domain of Man" (compare Midgard), presumably as opposed to the divine sphere on one hand, and the chthonic sphere of the underworld on the other, the Greco-Latin term expresses a notion of creation as an act of establishing order out of chaos.

[edit] History

Ox-drawn plow, Egypt, ca. 1200 BCEMain article: History of the world
The history of the world is the recorded memory of the experience, around the world, of Homo sapiens. Ancient human history[5] begins with the invention, independently at several sites on Earth, of writing, which created the infrastructure for lasting, accurately transmitted memories and thus for the diffusion and growth of knowledge.[6][7] Nevertheless, an appreciation of the roots of civilization requires at least cursory consideration to humanity's prehistory. Human history is marked both by a gradual accretion of discoveries and inventions, as well as by quantum leaps—paradigm shifts, revolutions—that comprise epochs in the material and spiritual evolution of humankind.

One such epoch was the advent of the Agricultural Revolution.[8][9] Between 8,500 and 7,000 BCE, in the Fertile Crescent (a region in the Near East, incorporating the Levant and Mesopotamia), humans began the systematic husbandry of plants and animals — agriculture.[10] It spread to neighboring regions, and also developed independently elsewhere, until most Homo sapiens lived sedentary lives as...