Four Thousand Years Ago: A World Panorama of Life in the Second Millennium B.C

Four Thousand Years Ago: A World Panorama of Life in the Second Millennium B.C

Four Thousand Years Ago: A World Panorama of Life in the Second Millennium B.C

Four Thousand Years Ago: A World Panorama of Life in the Second Millennium B.C

Excerpt

There has long been a place vacant, on the history shelves of the world, for a volume covering the Second Millennium B.C. That millennium is the span of time in which some of the most well-known events in man's history occurred, in which some of the most renowned persons of antiquity lived. It is the period of Stonehenge and the Hyksos, of the Minoan and Indus valley civilizations, of the Hittites and the Argonauts and the Philistines, of the Trojan War and the Exodus, of Hammurabi and Abraham, Akhenaten and Tutankhamon and Rameses the Great, Moses and Saul and Samson and Agamemnon and Theseus and Tiglathpileser. Everyone has heard these names--and yet the history of the period remains vague, a jumble of disconnected stories.

This situation is out of date. For ten or twenty years we have had sufficient material at our disposal to write a connected history of this "lost" thousand years. All the same, this book is not the missing history volume. But it is an attempt to pull together into a connected whole all the well-known facts and figures of this thousand years, to place them at least into a chronological framework, to show who did what, and when, and where.

I have always found the time scale very difficult to grasp in conventional written history. In any history covering a thousand years or more there is a tendency for the author to jump easily over gaps of time in which nothing of significance happens. And this has worried me. When the historian casually writes "fifty years later," I have always had to stop and remind myself that if I had been twenty in the last paragraph I should now be seventy, and if I had been fifty I should now be dead. Similarly, that two . . .

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