A civilization is a complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbolic systems of communication.
Civilizations are intimately associated with and often have characteristics such as centralization, the domestication of plant and animal species, specialization of labour, culturally-ingrained ideologies of progress and supremacism, monumental architecture, taxation, societal dependence upon farming and expansionism.
Historically, "a civilization" has often been understood as a larger and "more advanced" culture, in implied contrast to smaller, supposedly primitive cultures. In this broad sense, a civilization contrasts with non-centralized tribal societies, including the cultures of nomadic pastoralists, Neolithic societies or hunter-gatherers; however, sometimes it also contrasts with the cultures found within civilizations themselves. Civilizations are organized densely-populated settlements divided into hierarchical social classes with a ruling elite and subordinate urban and rural populations, which engage in intensive agriculture, mining, small-scale manufacture and trade.