World History

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 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

THE SUMERIAN NAIL WRITERS, WHOSE CLAY TABLETS TELL US THE STORY OF ASSYRIA AND BABYLONIA, THE GREAT SEMITIC MELTING-POT

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

THE STORY OF MOSES, THE LEADER OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE

SOME time during the twentieth century before our era, a small and unimportant tribe of Semitic shepherds had left its old home, which was situated in the land of Ur on the mouth of the Euphrates, and had tried to find new pastures within the domain of the Kings of Babylonia. They had been driven away by the royal soldiers and they had moved westward looking for a little piece of unoccupied territory where they might set up their tents.

THE STORY OF JOSHUA OF NAZARETH, WHOM THE GREEKS CALLED JESUS

IN the autumn of the year of the city 783 (which would be 62 A.D., in our way of counting time) AEsculapius Cultellus, a Roman physician, wrote to his nephew who was with the army in Syria as follows:

My dear Nephew,

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