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Hendrik van Loon

HOW THE CRUSADES ONCE MORE MADE THE MEDITERRANEAN A BUSY CENTRE OF TRADE AND HOW THE CITIES OF THE ITALIAN PENINSULA BECAME THE GREAT DISTRIBUTING CENTRE FOR THE COMMERCE WITH ASIA AND AFRICA

THERE were three good reasons why the Italian cities should have been the first to regain a position of great importance during the late Middle Ages. The Italian peninsula had been settled by Rome at a very early date. There had been more roads and more towns and more schools than anywhere else in Europe.

AS SOON AS NAPOLEON HAD BEEN SENT TO ST. HELENA THE RULERS WHO SO OFTEN HAD BEEN DEFEATED BY THE HATED ``CORSICAN'' MET AT VIENNA AND TRIED TO UNDO THE MANY CHANGES THAT HAD BEEN BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

THE RISE AND FALL OF EGYPT

THE river Nile was a kind friend but occasionally it was a hard taskmaster. It taught the people who lived along its banks the noble art of ``team-work.'' They depended upon each other to build their irrigation trenches and keep their dikes in repair. In this way they learned how to get along with their neighbours and their mutual-benefit-association quite easily developed into an organised state.

HOW ROME HAPPENED

THE Roman Empire was an accident. No one planned it. It ``happened.'' No famous general or statesman or cut- throat ever got up and said ``Friends, Romans, Citizens, we must found an Empire. Follow me and together we shall conquer all the land from the Gates of Hercules to Mount Taurus.''

PEOPLE ONCE MORE DARED TO BE HAPPY JUST BECAUSE THEY WERE ALIVE. THEY TRIED TO SAVE THE REMAINS OF THE OLDER AND MORE AGREEABLE CIVILISATION OF ROME AND GREECE AND THEY WERE SO PROUD OF THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS THAT THEY SPOKE OF A RENAISSANCE OR RE-BIRTH OF CIVILISATION

THE Renaissance was not a political or religious movement. It was a state of mind.

The men of the Renaissance continued to be the obedient sons of the mother church. They were subjects of kings and emperors and dukes and murmured not.

THEY TRIED TO ASSURE THE WORLD AN ERA OF UNDISTURBED PEACE BY SUPPRESSING ALL NEW IDEAS. THEY MADE THE POLICE-SPY THE HIGHEST FUNCTIONARY IN THE STATE AND SOON THE PRISONS OF ALL COUNTRIES WERE FILLED WITH THOSE WHO CLAIMED THAT PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO GOVERN THEMSELVES AS THEY SEE FIT

MESOPOTAMIA - THE SECOND CENTRE OF EASTERN CIVILISATION

I AM going to take you to the top of the highest pyramid and I am going to ask that you imagine yourself possessed of the eyes of a hawk. Way, way off, in the distance, far beyond the yellow sands of the desert, you will see something green and shimmering. It is a valley situated between two rivers. It is the Paradise of the Old Testament. It is the land of mystery and wonder which the Greeks called Mesopotamia - the ``country between the rivers.''

HOW THE REPUBLIC OF ROME AFTER CENTURIES OF UNREST AND REVOLUTION BECAME AN EMPIRE

WHEN the Roman armies returned from these many victorious campaigns, they were received with great jubilation. Alas and alack! this sudden glory did not make the country any happier. On the contrary. The endless campaigns had ruined the farmers who had been obliged to do the hard work of Empire making. It had placed too much power in the hands of the successful generals (and their private friends) who had used the war as an excuse for wholesale robbery.

THE PEOPLE BEGAN TO FEEL THE NEED OF GIVING EXPRESSION TO THEIR NEWLY DISCOVERED JOY OF LIVING. THEY EXPRESSED THEIR HAPPINESS IN POETRY AND IN SCULPTURE AND IN ARCHITECTURE AND IN PAINTING AND IN THE BOOKS THEY PRINTED

THE LOVE OF NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE, HOWEVER WAS TOO STRONG TO BE DESTROYED IN THIS WAY. THE SOUTH AMERICANS WERE THE FIRST TO REBEL AGAINST THE REACTIONARY MEASURES OF THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA, GREECE AND BELGIUM AND SPAIN AND A LARGE NUMBER OF OTHER COUNTRIES OF THE EUROPEAN CONTINENT FOLLOWED SUIT AND THE NINETEENTH CENTURY WAS FILLED WITH THE RUMOUR OF MANY WARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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