If I had to go back in time to live in any nation I wanted to, I'd choose Ancient India. It's true that life in Ancient India was in many ways far better than it is today. Diseases were less prevalent, and people lived longer. Society was much greater back then, and since it has, in a way, gone backwards. The people went from living in an established nation to one that is primitive and impoverished.
The Indians weren't concerned about spirits as Greece, Mesopotamia and Egypt was. India never felt the urge to subjugate her neighbors as the Greeks did under Alexander the Great. The Indians were happy right where they were. In fact, the Indians were more concerned with relaxing and enjoying life than were other nations. It is here where the Indians developed a nation of peace and nonviolence, meditation, yoda, Buddhism, etc.
The nation stretches over two thousand miles and therefore has a great variety of climate. While the temperatures in the north may be cool in the summer, in the south temperatures may be very pleasant, although get up to 110 degrees during April. Still, most of the nation was tropical, meaning it was privy to all sorts of herbs for creating foods and medicine (which it did create many, including using Ma Huang for breathing).
The Indians sought to master nature. Yogi masters nature through the spirit. He is not afraid of death because he knows he will be reborn. He will be reborn as another human if he is good, and he will ultimately to to the path of happiness if he is good in all his lives. Yet if he is not so good he may come back as an animal. If he is really bad he may come back to life as some unpleasant animal.
So for this reason, it was normal practice in India not to eat animals. This was good in a way, yet it was bad because many of these animals became overpopulated. This caused a breeding ground for diseases, many diseases. They are not allowed to kill mice or even mosquitoes, animals and insects that are known to carry deadly diseases.
What makes these even worse is that water was plentiful in India, which made it so bugs were ever present. It is believed that many of the diseases that would plague the world in antiquity and even today originate in India.
While modern medicine can treat and even prevent many of these diseases, Indian society is so primitive that it's nearly impossible for doctors to inhabit most of the land, and it's likewise impossible for medicine to reach the people. What makes matters worse is instead of believing in rational medicine, many in India still believe in the ancient way of life.
Yes, while the west -- mainly Europe and the United States, have let go of ancient ways of belief and medicine, people in India have hung on to them. They still refuse to kill animals that harbor disease. Their governments are primitive and prevent modernization.
Still, in the ancient world, the Indians had it pretty well. They were a peaceful nation and they yearned to be one with nature as opposed to conquering it and other nations. It is for this reason that if I had to live prior to Jesus I might be inclined to choose Ancient India.
Most of the people of Ancient India had five acres of land, the minimum needed to feed a family