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If Mr. WELLS has also written the follow- 
ing novels: 

















1f The following fantastic and imaginative 












And numerous Short Stories now collected in 

One Volume under the title of 

If A Series of books on Social, Religious, 
and Political questions: 











If And two little books about children's 
play, called 



A Short 

History of The World 




\ ' ' A 



All rights reserved 




Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1922. 



Press of 

J. J. Little & Ives Company 
New York 


THIS SHORT HISTORY or THE WORLD is meant to be read straight- 
forwardly almost as a novel is read. It gives in the most general 
way an account of our present knowledge of history, shorn of elabora- 
tions and complications. It has been amply illustrated and every- 
thing has been done to make it vivid and clear. From it the reader 
should be able to get that general view of history which is so neces- 
sary a framework for the study of a particular period or the history 
of a particular country. It may be found useful as a preparatory 
excursion before the reading of the author's much fuller and more 
explicit Outline of History is undertaken. But its especial end is 
to meet the needs of the busy general reader, too driven to study 
the maps and time charts of that Outline in detail, who wishes to 
refresh and repair his faded or fragmentary conceptions of the great 
adventure of mankind. It is not an abstract or condensation of 
that former work. Within its aim the Outline admits of no further 
condensation. This is a much more generalized History, planned 
and written afresh. 







IV. THE AGE OF FISHES ...... 16 




^ "-. 



















viii Contents 








EMPIRE . . . . . . ... 



WEST . 227 














IN EUROPE ....... 318 


OVERSEAS ....... 329 



Contents ix 



FALL OF NAPOLEON ...... 349 




SOCIAL IDEAS ....... 370 





JAPAN 399 



WAR OF 1914-18 409 



WORLD 421 


INDEX 439 


Luminous Spiral Clouds of Matter .2 

Nebula seen Edge-on ........ 3 

The Great Spiral Nebula 6 

A Dark Nebula . 7 

Another Spiral Nebula ........ 8 

Landscape before Life ........ 9 

Marine Life in the Cambrian Period ...... 12 

Fossil Trilobite 13 

Early Palaeozoic Fossils of various Species of Lingula ... 14 

Fossilized Footprints of a Labyrinthodont, Cheirotherium . . 15 

p terichthys Milleri 17 

Fossil of Cladoselache ........ 18 

Sharks and Ganoids of the Devonian Period .... 19 

A Carboniferous Swamp ........ 22 

Skull of a Labyrinthodont, Capitosaurus ..... 23 

Skeleton of a Labyrinthodont : The Eryops ..... 24 

A Fossil Ichthyosaurus 27 

A Pterodactyl 28 

The Diplodocus 29 

Fossil of Archeopteryx ........ 32 

Hesperornis in its Native Seas ....... 33 

TheKi-wi . 34 

Slab of Marl Rich in Cainozoic Fossils ..... 35 

Titanotherium Robustum ........ 38 

Skeleton of Giraffe-camel ........ 40 

Skeleton of Early Horse ........ 40 

Comparative Sizes of Brains of Rhinoceros and Dinoceras . . 41 

A Mammoth .......... 44 

Flint Implements from Piltdown Region ..... 45 

A Pithecanthropean Man . . . . . . . .46 

The Heidelberg Man 46 

The Piltdown Skull .47 

A Neanderthaler ....,,,.. 49 


xii List of Illustrations 


Europe and Western Asia 50,000 years ago . . . . Map 50 

Comparison of Modern Skull and Rhodesian Skull . . .51 

Altamira Cave Paintings ........ 54 

Later Palaeolithic Carvings ........ 55 

Bust of Cro-magnon Man . . . . . . .57 

Later Palaeolithic Art ........ 58 

Relics of the Stone Age . . . . ... .62 

Gray's Inn Lane Flint Implement . . . '-.'... . 63 

Somaliland Flint Implement . . . . . .63 

Neolithic Flint Implements ....... 67 

Australian Spearheads . . . . . ... 68 

Neolithic Pottery 69 

Relationship of Human Races ...... Map 72 

A Maya Stele 73 

European Neolithic Warrior ....... 75 

Babylonian Brick ......... 78 

Egyptian Cylinder Seals of First Dynasty ..... 79 

The Sakhara Pyramids ........ 80 

The Pyramid of Cheops: Scene from Summit . . . .81 

The Temple of Hathor 82 

Pottery and Implements of the Lake Dwellers .... 85 

A Lake Village 86 

Flint Knives of 4500 B.C 87 

Egyptian Wall Paintings of Nomads ...... 87 

Egyptian Peasants Going to Work ...... 88 

Stele of Naram Sin ......... 89 

The Treasure House at Mycenae ....... 93 

The Palace at Cnossos ........ 95 

Temple at Abu Simbel ........ 97 

Avenue of Sphinxes at Karnak . . . . . . . 98 

The Hypostyle Hall at Karnak 99 

Frieze of Slaves ......... 101 

The Temple of Horus, Edfu 103 

Archaic Amphora . . . . . . . . .105 

The Mound of Nippur 107 

Median and Chaldean Empires ...... Map 1 10 

The Empire of Darius ....... Map 111 

A Persian Monarch . . . . . . . . .112 

The Ruins of Persepolis . . . . . .113 

The Great Porch of Xerxes 113 

List of Illustrations xiii 


The Land of the Hebrews . ..... Map 117 

Nebuchadnezzar's Mound at Babylon . . . . . .118 

The Ishtar Gateway, Babylon . . . . . . .120 

Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser II . . . . . . . 124 

Captive Princes making Obeisance ...... 125 

Statue of Meleager . . . . . . . . .128 

Ruins of Temple of Zeus . . . . . . . .130 

The Temple of Neptune, Paestum 132 

Greek Ships on Ancient Pottery ....... 135 

The Temple of Corinth 13,7 

The Temple of Neptune at Cape Sunium ..... 138 

Frieze of the Parthenon, Athens . . . . . . . 140 

The Acropolis, Athens . . . . . . . .141 

Theatre at Epidauros, Greece . . . . . . .141 

The Caryatides of the Erechtheum ...... 142 

Athene of the Parthenon ........ 143 

Alexander the Great ......... 146 

Alexander's Victory at Issus . . . .. ... . 147 

The Apollo Belvedere 148 

Aristotle 152 

Statuette of Maitreya ........ 153 

The Death of Buddha 154 

Tibetan Buddha 158 

A Burmese Buddha ......... 159 

The Dhamekh Tower, Sarnath 160 

A Chinese Buddhist Apostle ....... 164 

The Court of Asoka . . 165 

Asoka Panel from Bharhut . . . . . . .165 

The Pillar of Lions (Asokan) 166 

Confucius .......... 169 

The Great Wall of China 171 

Early Chinese Bronze Bell 172 

The Dying Gaul . . . . . . . . . 175 

Ancient Roman Cisterns at Carthage ...... 177 

Hannibal ........... 181 

Roman Empire and its Alliances, 150 B.C. .... Map 183 

The Forum, Rome . . . . . . ... 188 

Ruined Coliseum in Tunis . ..... 189 

Roman Arch at Ctesiphon ... 190 

The Column of Trajan, Rome . . . . . 193 

xiv List of Illustrations 


Glazed Jar of Han Dynasty . . . . . . . . 197 

Vase of Han Dynasty . . . . ' . . . 198 

Chinese Vessel in Bronze . . . . . . . .199 

A Gladiator (contemporary representation) ..... 202 

A Street in Pompeii ...... . . 204 

The Coliseum, Rome .206 

Interior of Coliseum ..... ... 206 

Mithras Sacrificing a Bull . . . . . . . .210 

Isis and Horus .......... 211 

Bust of Emperor Commodus ....... 212 

Early Portrait of Jesus Christ . . . . . .216 

Road from Nazareth to Tiberias . . . . . . .217 

David's Tower and Wall of Jerusalem ...... 218 

A Street in Jerusalem ........ 219 

The Peter and Paul Mosaic at Rome .223 

Baptism of Christ (Ivory Panel) ....... 225 

Roman Empire and the Barbarians ... . Map 228 

Constantine's Pillar, Constantinople ...... 229 

The Obelisk of Theodosius, Constantinople ..... 231 

Head of Barbarian Chief . . . . . . . . 235 

The Church of S. Sophia, Constantinople ..... 239 

Roof-work in S. Sophia ........ 240 

Justinian and his Court ........ 241 

The Rock-hewn Temple at Petra 242 

Chinese Earthenware of Tang Dynasty ..... 246 

At Prayer in the Desert ........ 250 

Looking Across the Sea of Sand . . . . . . .251 

Growth of Moslem Power ....... Map 254 

The Moslem Empire ........ Map 254 

The Mosque of Omar, Jerusalem ...... 255 

Cairo Mosques . . . . . . . . .''. 256 

Prankish Dominions of Martel ...... Map 260 

Statue of Charlemagne ........ 262 

Europe at Death of Charlemagne ..... Map 264 

Crusader Tombs, Exeter Cathedral ...... 268 

View of Cairo .......... 269 

The Horses of S. Mark, Venice ....... 271 

Courtyard in the Alhambra . . . . . . 273 

Milan Cathedral (showing spires) ...... 278 

A Typical Crusader 280 

List of Illustrations xv 


Burgundian Nobility (Statuettes) . . . . . . 283-4 

The Empire of Jengis Khan ...... Map 288 

Ottoman Empire before 1453 . . . . . . Map 289 

Tartar Horsemen . . . . . . . . .291 

Ottoman Empire, 1566 . . Map 292 

An Early Printing Press ... . . . . . 296 

Ancient Bronze from Benin . . . . - . . . 299 

Negro Bronze- work . . ... . . . . 300 

Early Sailing Ship (Italian Engraving) 301 

Portrait of Martin Luther 305 

The Church Triumphant (Italian Majolica work, 1543) . . . 307 

Charles V (the Titian Portrait) 311 

S. Peter's, Rome: the High Altar . . .315 

Cromwell Dissolves the Long Parliament . . . . .321 

The Court at Versailles . 323 

Sack of a Village, French Revolution ...... 325 

Central Europe after Peace of Westphalia, 1648 . . . Map 326 
European Territory in America, 1750 . . . . . Map 330 

Europeans Tiger Hunting in India . . . . . .331 

Fall of Tippoo Sultan 332 

George Washington ......... 337 

The Battle of Bunker Hill .338 

The U.S.A., 1790 Map 339 

The Trial of Louis XVI 344 

Execution of Marie Antoinette ....... 346 

Portrait of Napoleon ......... 352 

Europe after the Congress of Vienna ..... Map 353 

Early Rolling Stock, Liverpool and Manchester Railway . . 356 

Passenger Train in 1833 356 

The Steamboat Clermont ........ 357 

Eighteenth Century Spinning Wheel . . . . . .361 

Arkwright's Spinning Jenny . . . . . . .361 

An Early Weaving Machine . - . . . . . . 363 

An Incident of the Slave Trade ....... 367 

Early Factory, in Colebrookdale ....... 368 

Carl Marx . 372 

Electric Qonveyor, in Coal Mine ...... 376 

Constructional Detail, Forth Bridge . . . . . . 378 

American River Steamer . . . . . . . . 385 

Abraham Lincoln . .... 387 

xvi List of Illustrations 


Europe, 1848-71 . Map 391 

Victoria Falls, Zambesi . ..... 395 

The British Empire, 1815 Map 397 

Japanese Soldier, Eighteenth Century ...... 401 

A Street in Tokio 403 

Overseas Empires of Europe, 1914 ..... Map 406 

Gibraltar 407 

Street in Hong Kong ". . . .408 

British Tank in Battle 410 

The Ruins of Ypres .411 

Modern War: War Entanglements ...... 412 

A View in Petersburg under Bolshevik Rule . . . . .418 

Passenger Aeroplane in Flight ....... 423 

A Peaceful Garden in England ..... 426 





THE story of our world is a story that is still very imperfectly 
known. A couple of hundred years ago men possessed the 
history of little more than the last three thousand years. 
What happened before that time was a matter of legend and specula- 
tion. Over a large part of the civilized world it was believed and 
taught that the world had been created suddenly in 4004 B.C., 
though authorities differed as to whether this had occurred in the 
spring or autumn of that year. This fantastically precise miscon- 
ception was based upon a too literal interpretation of the Hebrew 
Bible, and upon rather arbitrary theological assumptions connected 
therewith. Such ideas have long since been abandoned by religious 
teachers, and it is universally recognized that the universe in which 
we live has to all appearances existed for an enormous period of 
time and possibly for endless time. Of course there may be decep- 
tion in these appearances, as a room may be made to seem endless 
by putting mirrors facing each other at either end. But that the 
universe in which we live has existed only for six or seven thousand 
years may be regarded as an altogether exploded idea. 

The earth, as everybody knows nowadays, is a spheroid, a sphere 
slightly compressed, orange fashion, with a diameter of nearly 
8,000 miles. Its spherical shape has been known at least to a 
limited number of intelligent people for nearly 2.500 years, but 
before that time it was supposed to be flat, and various ideas which 
now seem fantastic were entertained about its relations to the sky 
and the stars and planets. We know now that it rotates upon its 

A Short History of the World 

axis (which is about 24 miles shorter than its equatorial diameter) 
every twenty-four hours, and that this is the cause of the alterna- 
tions of day and night, that it circles about the sun in a slightly 
distorted and slowly variable oval path in a year. Its distance 
from the sun varies between ninety-one and a half millions at its 
nearest and ninety-four and a half million miles. 

About the earth circles a smaller sphere, the moon, at an average 

distance of 239,- 
000 miles. Earth 
and moon are 
not the only 
bodies to travel 
round the sun. 
There are also 
the planets, 
Mercury and 
Venus, at dis- 
tances of thirty- 
six and sixty- 
seven millions of 
miles; and be- 
yond the circle 
of the earth and 
disregarding a 
belt of numerous 
smaller bodies, 
the planetoids, 
there are Mars, 
Jupiter, Saturn, 
Uranus and 
Neptune at 
mean distances 
of 141, 483, 88fi, 
1,782, and 1,793 
millions of miles 

Photo: G. W. RUchev . i 


(Nebula photographed 1910) These figures in 

The World in Space 

millions of miles 
are very difficult 
for the mind to 
grasp. It may 
help the reader's 
imagination if 
we reduce the 
sun and planets 
to a smaller, 
more conceiv- 
able scale. 

If, then, we 
represent our 
earth as a little 
ball of one inch 
diameter, the 
sun would be a 
big globe nine 
feet across and 
323 yards away, 
that is about a 
fifth of a mile, 
four or five min- 
utes' walking. 
The moon would 
be a small pea 
two feet and a 
half from the 
world. Between 
earth and sun 
there would be 
the two inner 
planets, Mer- 
cury and Venus, at distances of one hundred and twenty-five 
and two hundred and fifty yards from the sun. All round and 
about these bodies there would be emptiness until you came to 
Mars, a hundred and seventy-five feet beyond the earth; Jupiter 

Photo: O. W. Ritchey 
Note the central core which, through millions of years, is cooling to solidity 

4 A Short History of the World 

nearly a mile away, a foot in diameter; Saturn, a little smaller, 
two miles off; Uranus four miles off and Neptune six miles off. 
Then nothingness and nothingness except for small particles and 
drifting scraps of attenuated vapour for thousands of miles. The 
nearest star to earth on this scale would be 40,000 miles away. 

These figures will serve perhaps to give one some conception of 
the immense emptiness of space in which the drama of life goes on. 

For in all this enormous vacancy of space we know certainly of 
life only upon the surface of our earth. It does not penetrate 
much more than three miles down into the 4,000 miles that separate 
us from the centre of our globe, and it does not reach more than five 
miles above its surface. Apparently all the limitlessness of space 
is otherwise empty and dead. 

The deepest ocean dredgings go down to five miles. The highest 
recorded flight of an aeroplane is little more than four miles. Men 
have reached to seven miles up in balloons, but at a cost of great 
suffering. No bird can fly so high as five miles, and small birds and 
insects which have been carried up by aeroplanes drop off insensible 
far below that level. 



IN the last fifty years there has been much very fine and interest- 
ing speculation on the part of scientific men upon the age and 
origin of our earth. Here we cannot pretend to give even a 
summary of such speculations because they involve the most subtle 
mathematical and physical considerations. The truth is that the 
physical and astronomical sciences are still too undeveloped as yet 
to make anything of the sort more than an illustrative guesswork. 
The general tendency has been to make the estimated age of our 
globe longer and longer. It now seems probable that the earth 
has had an independent existence as a spinning planet flying round 
and round the sun for a longer period than 2,000,000,000 years. It 
may have been much longer than that. This is a length of time 
that absolutely overpowers the imagination. 

Before that vast period of separate existence, the sun and earth 
and the other planets that circulate round the sun may have been 
a great swirl of diffused matter in space. The telescope reveals to 
us in various parts of the heavens luminous spiral clouds of matter, 
the spiral nebulae, which appear to be in rotation about a centre. 
It is supposed by many astronomers that the sun and its planets 
were once such a spiral, and that their matter has undergone con- 
centration into its present form. Through majestic aeons that con- 
centration went on until in that vast remoteness of the past for 
which we have given figures, the world and its moon were distin- 
guishable. They were spinning then much faster than they are 
spinning now; they were at a lesser distance from the sun; they 
travelled round it very much faster, and they were probably incan- 
descent or molten at the surface. The sun itself was a much greater 
blaze in the heavens. 


6 A Short History of the World 

If we could go back through that infinitude of time and see the 
earth in this earlier stage of its history, we should behold a scene 
more like the interior of a blast furnace or the surface of a lava flow 
before it cools and cakes over than any other contemporary scene. 

Ptioto: G. W. RUchey 

No water would be visible because all the water there was would 
still be superheated steam in a stormy atmosphere of sulphurous 
and metallic vapours. Beneath this would swirl and boil an ocean 
of molten rock substance. Across a sky of fiery clouds the glare of 
the hurrying sun and moon would sweep swiftly like hot breaths 
of flame. 

Slowly by degrees as one million of years followed another, this 

Photo: Prof. Hale 


Taken in 1920 with the aid of the largest telescope in the world. One of the first photographs 
taken by the Mount Wilson telescope 

There are dark nebulae and bright nebulae. Prof. Henry Norris Russell, against the British 
theory, holds that the dark nebulae preceded the bright nebulae 


A Short History of the World 

fiery scene would lose its eruptive incandescence. The vapours in 
the sky would rain down and become less dense overhead; great 
slaggy cakes of solidifying rock would appear upon the surface of 
the molten sea, and sink under it, to be replaced by other floating 
masses. The sun and moon growing now each more distant and 
each smaller, would rush with diminishing swiftness across the 
heavens. The moon now, because of its smaller size, would be 
already cooled far below incandescence, and would be alternately 
obstructing and reflecting the sunlight in a series of eclipses and full 

And so with a tremendous slowness through the vastness of time, 
the earth would grow more and more like the earth on which we 
live, until at last an age would come when, in the cooling air, steam 
would begin to condense into clouds, and the first rain would fall 
hissing upon the first rocks below. For endless millenia the greater 
part of the earth's water would still be vaporized in the atmosphere, 
but there would now be hot streams running over the crystallizing 

Photo: G. W. Ritctiey 


The World in Time 

"Great lava-like masses of rock without traces of soil" 

rocks below and pools and lakes into which these streams would be 
carrying detritus and depositing sediment. 

At last a condition of things must have been attained in which a 
man might have stood up on earth and looked about him and 
lived. If we could have visited the earth at that time we should 
have stood on great lava-like masses of rock without a trace of soil 
or touch of living vegetation, under a storm-rent sky. Hot and 
violent winds, exceeding the fiercest tornado that ever blows, and 
downpours of rain such as our milder, slower earth to-day knows 
nothing of, might have assailed us. The water of the downpour 
would have rushed by us, muddy with the spoils of the rocks, 
coming together into torrents, cutting deep gorges and canyons as 
they hurried past to deposit their sediment in the earliest seas. 
Through the clouds we should have glimpsed a great sun moving 
visibly across the sky, and in its wake and in the wake of the moon 
would have come a diurnal tide of earthquake and upheaval. And 

io A Short History of the World 

the moon, which nowadays keeps one constant face to earth, would 
then have been rotating visibly and showing the side it now hides so 

The earth aged. One million years followed another, and the 
day lengthened, the sun grew more distant and milder, the moon's 
pace in the sky slackened; the intensity of rain and storm dimin- 
ished and the water in the first seas increased and ran together into 
the ocean garment our planet henceforth wore. 

But there was no life as yet upon the earth; the seas were life- 
less, and the rocks were barren. 



A everybody knows nowadays, the knowledge we possess of 
life before the beginnings of human memory and tradition 
is derived from the markings and fossils of living things in 
the stratified rocks. We find preserved in shale and slate, lime- 
stone, and sandstone, bones, shells, fibres, stems, fruits, footmarks, 
scratchings and the like, side by side with the ripple marks of the 
earliest tides and the pittings of the earliest rain-falls. It is by 
the sedulous examination of this Record of the Rocks that the past 
history of the earth's life has been pieced together. That much 
nearly everybody knows to-day. The sedimentary rocks do not 
lie neatly stratum above stratum; they have been crumpled, bent, 
thrust about, distorted and mixed together like the leaves of a 
library that has been repeatedly looted and burnt, and it is only as 
a result of many devoted lifetimes of work that the record has been 
put into order and read. The whole compass of time represented 
by the record of the rocks is now estimated as 1,600,000,000 years. 

The earliest rocks in the record are called by geologists the 
Azoic rocks, because they show no traces of life. Great areas of 
these Azoic rocks lie uncovered in North America, and they are of 
such a thickness that geologists consider that they represent a 
period of at least half of the 1,600,000,000 which they assign to the 
whole geological record. Let me repeat this profoundly significant 
fact. Half the great interval of time since land and sea were first 
distinguishable on earth has left us no traces of life. There are 
ripplings and rain marks still to be found in these rocks, but no 
marks nor vestiges of any living thing. 

Then, as we come up the record, signs of past life appear and in- 
crease. The age of the world's history in which we find these past 






1 and 8, Jellyfishes; 2, Hyolithes (swimming snail); 3, Hymenocaris; 4, Proto- 
spongia; 5, Lampshells (Obolella); 6, Orthoceras; 7, Trilobite (Paradoxides) 
see fossil on page 13: 9, Coral ( Archseocyathus) ; 10, Bryograptus; 11, Tri- 
lobite (Olenellus); 12, Palesterina 


The Beginnings of Life 

traces is called by geologists the Lower Palaeozoic age. The first 
indications that life was astir are vestiges of comparatively simple 
and lowly things : the shells of small shellfish, the stems and flower- 
like heads of zoophytes, seaweeds and the tracks and remains of 
sea worms and Crustacea. Very early appear certain creatures 
rather like plant-lice, crawling creatures which could roll themselves 
up into balls as the plant-lice 
do, the trilobites. Later by a 
few million years or so come 
certain sea scorpions, more 
mobile and powerful creatures 
than the world had ever seen 

None of these creatures 
were of very great size. Among 
the largest were certain of the 
sea scorpions, which measured 
nine feet in length. There are 
no signs whatever of land life 
of any sort, plant or animal; 
there are no fishes nor any 
vertebrated creatures in this 
part of the record. Essentially 
all the plants and creatures 
which have left us their traces 
from this period of the earth's 
history are shallow- water and intertidal beings. If we wished to 
parallel the flora and fauna of the Lower Palaeozoic rocks on the 
earth to-day, we should do it best, except in the matter of size, by 
taking a drop of water from a rock pool or scummy ditch and ex- 
amining it under a microscope. The little Crustacea, the small 
shellfish, the zoophytes and algae we should find there would display 
a quite striking resemblance to these clumsier, larger prototypes 
that once were the crown of life upon our planet. 

It is well, however, to bear in mind that the Lower Palaeozoic 
rocks probably do not give us anything at all representative of the 
first beginnings of life on our planet. Unless a creature has bones 

Photo: yohn y. Ward, F.E.S. 

i 4 A Short History of the World 

or other hard parts, unless it wears a shell or is big enough and 
heavy enough to make characteristic footprints and trails in mud, 
it is unlikely to leave any fossilized traces of its existence behind. 
To-day there are hundreds of thousands of species of small soft- 
bodied creatures in our world which it is inconceivable can ever 


Species of this most ancient genus of shellfish still live to-day 

(In Natural History Museum, London) 

leave any mark for future geologists to discover. In the world's 
past, millions of millions of species of such creatures may have lived 
and multiplied and flourished and passed away without a trace 
remaining. The waters of the warm and shallow lakes and seas of 
the so-called Azoic period may have teemed with an infinite variety 

The Beginnings of Life 


(7n Natural History Museum, London) 

of lowly, jelly-like, shell-less and boneless creatures, and a multi- 
tude of green scummy plants may have spread over the sunlit inter- 
tidal rocks and beaches. The Record of the Rocks is no more a 
complete record of life in the past than the books of a bank are a 
record of the existence of everybody in the neighbourhood. It is 
only when a species begins to secrete a shell or a spicule or a cara- 
pace or a lime-supported stem, and so put by something for the 
future, that it goes upon the Record. But in rocks of an age prior 
to those which bear any fossil traces, graphite, a form of uncom- 
bined carbon, is sometimes found, and some authorities consider 
that it may have been separated out from combination through the 
vital activities of unknown living things. 



IN the days when the world was supposed to have endured for 
only a few thousand years, it was supposed that the different 
species of plants and animals were fixed and final; they had all 
been created exactly as they are to-day, each species by itself. But 
as men began to discover and study the Record of the Rocks this 
belief gave place to the suspicion that many species had changed 
and developed slowly through the course of ages, and this again 
expanded into a belief in what is called Organic Evolution, a belief 
that all species of life upon earth, animal and vegetable alike, are 
descended by slow continuous processes of change from some very 
simple ancestral form of life, some almost structureless living sub- 
stance, far back in the so-called Azoic seas. 

This question of Organic Evolution, like the question of the age 
of the earth, has in the past been the subject of much bitter con- 
troversy. There was a time when a belief in organic evolution was 
for rather obscure reasons supposed to be incompatible with sound 
Christian, Jewish and Moslem doctrine. That time has passed, 
and the men of the most orthodox Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and 
Mohammedan belief are now free to accept this newer and broader 
view of a common origin of all living things. No life seems to have 
happened suddenly upon earth. Life grew and grows. Age by 
age through gulfs of time at which imagination reels, life has been 
growing from a mere stirring in the intertidal slime towards free- 
dom, power and consciousness. 

Life consists of individuals. These individuals are definite 
things, they are not like the lumps and masses, nor even the limit- 
less and motionless crystals, of non-living matter, and they have 
two characteristics no dead matter possesses. They can assimilate 
other matter into themselves and make it part of themselves, and 


The Age of Fishes 

they can reproduce themselves. They eat and they breed. They 
can give rise to other individuals, for the most part like themselves, 
but always also a little different from themselves. There is a spe- 
cific and family resemblance be- 
tween an individual and its off- 
spring, and there is an individual 
difference between every parent 
and every offspring it produces, 
and this is true in every species 
and at every stage of life. 

Now scientific men are not able 
to explain to us either why off- 
spring should resemble nor why 
they should differ from their par- 
ents. But seeing that offspring do 
at once resemble and differ, it is a 
matter rather of common sense 
than of scientific knowledge that, 
if the conditions under which a 
species live are changed, the species 
should undergo some correlated 
changes. Because in any genera- 
tion of the species there must be a 
number of individuals whose indi- 
vidual differences make them better 
adapted to the new conditions 
under which the species has to 
live, and a number whose individ- 
ual differences make it rather 
harder for them to live. And on 
the whole the former sort will live 
longer, bear more offspring, and 
reproduce themselves more abun- 
dantly than the latter, and so 
generation by generation the average of the species will change in 
the favourable direction. This process, which is called Natural 
Selection, is not so much a scientific theory as a necessary deduc- 



A Short History of the World 

tion from the facts of reproduction and individual difference. There 
may be many forces at work varying, destroying and preserving 
species, about which science may still be unaware or undecided, 
but the man who can deny the operation of this process of natural 
selection upon life since its beginning must be either ignorant of 
the elementary facts of life or incapable of ordinary thought. 

Many scientific men have speculated about the first beginning 
of life and their speculations are often of great interest, but there is 

absolutely no definite knowledge and no 
convincing guess yet of the way in which 
life began. But nearly all authorities are 
agreed that it probably began upon mud 
or sand in warm sunlit shallow brackish 
water, and that it spread up the beaches 
to the intertidal lines and out to the open 

That early world was a world of strong 
tides and currents. An incessant destruc- 
tion of individuals must have been going 
on through their being swept up the 
beaches and dried, or by their being swept 
out to sea and sinking down out of reach 
of air and sun. Early conditions favoured 
the development of every tendency to root 
and hold on, every tendency to form an 
outer skin and casing to protect the 
stranded individual from immediate desic- 
cation. From the very earliest any ten- 
dency to sensitiveness to taste would turn the individual in the 
direction of food, and any sensitiveness to light would assist it to 
struggle back out of the darkness of the sea deeps and caverns or 
to wriggle back out of the excessive glare of the dangerous shallows. 
Probably the first shells and body armour of living things were 
protections against drying rather than against active enemies. 
But tooth and claw come early into our earthly history. 

We have already noted the size of the earlier water scorpions. 
For long ages such creatures were the supreme lords of life. Then 

Nat. Hist. Mtts. 


The Age of Fishes 19 

in a division of these Palaeozoic rocks called the Silurian division, 
which many geologists now suppose to be as old as five hundred 
million years, there appears a new type of being, equipped with eyes 
and teeth and swimming powers of an altogether more powerful 

By Alice Woodward 

kind. These were the first known backboned animals, the earliest 
fishes, the first known Vertebrata. 

These fishes increase greatly in the next division of rocks, the 
rocks known as the Devonian system. They are so prevalent that 
this period of the Record of the Rocks has been called the Age of 

20 A Short History of the World 

Fishes. Fishes of a pattern now gone from the earth, and fishes 
allied to the sharks and sturgeons of to-day, rushed through the 
waters, leapt in the air, browsed among the seaweeds, pursued and 
preyed upon one another, and gave a new liveliness to the waters of 
the world. None of these were excessively big by our present stand- 
ards. Few of them were more than two or three feet long, but there 
were exceptional forms which were as long as twenty feet. 

We know nothing from geol ogy of the ancestors of these fishes. 
They do not appear to be related to any of the forms that preceded 
them. Zoologists have the most interesting views of their ancestry, 
but these they derive from the study of the development of the eggs 
of their still living relations, and from other sources. Apparently 
the ancestors of the vertebrata were soft-bodied and perhaps quite 
small swimming creatures who began first to develop hard parts as 
teeth round and about their mouths. The teeth of a skate or dog- 
fish cover the roof and floor of its mouth and pass at the lip into the 
flattened toothlike scales that encase most of its body. As the 
fishes develop these teeth scales in the geological record, they swim 
out of the hidden darkness of the past into the light, the first verte- 
brated animals visible in the record. 


THE land during this Age of Fishes was apparently quite 
lifeless. Crags and uplands of barren rock lay under the 
sun and rain. There was no real soil for as yet there 
were no earthworms which help to make a soil, and no plants to 
break up the rock particles into mould; there was no trace of 
moss or lichen. Life was still only in the sea. 

Over this world of barren rock played great changes of climate. 
The causes of these changes of climate were very complex and they 
have still to be properly estimated. The changing shape of the 
earth's orbit, the gradual shifting of the poles of rotation, changes 
in the shapes of the continents, probably even fluctuations in the 
warmth of the sun, now conspired to plunge great areas of the 
earth's surface into long periods of cold and ice and now again for 
millions of years spread a warm or equable climate over this planet. 
There seem to have been phases of great internal activity in the 
world's history, when in the course of a few million years accumu- 
lated upthrusts would break out in lines of volcanic eruption and 
upheaval and rearrange the mountain and continental outlines of 
the globe, increasing the depth of the sea and the height of the 
mountains and exaggerating the extremes of climate. And these 
would be followed by vast ages of comparative quiescence, when 
frost, rain and river would wear down the mountain heights and 
carry great masses of silt to fill and raise the sea bottoms and 
spread the seas, ever shallower and wider, over more and more of 
the land. There have been "high and deep" ages in the world's 
history and "low and level" ages. The reader must dismiss from 
his mind any idea that the surface of the earth has been growing 
steadily cooler since its crust grew solid. After that much cooling 
had been achieved, the internal temperature ceased to affect sur- 



A Short History of the World 

face conditions. There are traces of periods of superabundant ice 
and snow, of "Glacial Ages," that is, even in the Azoic period. 

It was only towards the close of the Age of Fishes, in a period 
of extensive shallow seas and lagoons, that life spread itself out in 
any effectual way from the waters on to the land. No doubt 

A Coal Seam in the Making 

the earlier types of the forms that now begin to appear in great 
abundance had already been developing in a rare and obscure 
manner for many scores of millions of years. But now came their 

Plants no doubt preceded animal forms in this invasion of the 
land, but the animals probably followed up the plant emigration 

The Age of the Coal Swamps 

very closely. The first problem that the plant had to solve was 
the problem of some sustaining stiff support to hold up its fronds 
to the sunlight when the buoyant water was withdrawn; the 
second was the problem of getting water from the swampy ground 
below to the tissues of the plant, now that it was no longer close 
at hand. The two problems were solved by the development of 
woody tissue which both 
sustained the plant and 
acted as water carrier to 
the leaves. The Record 
of the Rocks is suddenly 
crowded by a vast variety 
of woody swamp plants, 
many of them of great size, 
big tree mosses, tree ferns, 
gigantic horsetails and the 
like. And with these, age 
by age, there crawled out 
of the water a great variety 
of animal forms. There 
were centipedes and milli- 
pedes; there were the first 
primitive insects ; there 
were creatures related to 
the ancient king crabs and 
sea scorpions which be- 
came the earliest spiders 
and land scorpions, and presently there were vertebrated animals. 

Some of the earlier insects were very large. There were dragon 
flies in this period with wings that spread out to twenty-nine 

In various ways these new orders and genera had adapted 
themselves to breathing air. Hitherto all animals had breathed 
air dissolved in water, and that indeed is what all animals still 
have to do. But now in divers fashions the animal kingdom was 
acquiring the power of supplying its own moisture where it was 
needed. A man with a perfectly dry lung would suffocate to-day; 

Nat. Hist. Mus. 

24 A Short History of the World 

his lung surfaces must be moist in order that air may pass through 
them into his blood. The adaptation to air breathing consists in 
all cases either in the development of a cover to the old-fashioned 
gills to stop evaporation, or in the development of tubes or other 
new breathing organs lying deep inside the body and moistened by 
a watery secretion. The old gills with which the ancestral fish of 
the vertebrated line had breathed were inadaptable to breathing 
upon land, and in the case of this division of the animal kingdom 
it is the swimming bladder of the fish which becomes a new, deep- 
seated breathing organ, the lung. The kind of animals known as 
amphibia, the frogs and newts of to-day, begin their lives in the 

Nat. Hist Mus 

water and breathe by gills; and subsequently the lung, develop- 
ing in the same way as the swimming bladder of many fishes do, 
as a baglike outgrowth from the throat, takes over the business of 
breathing, the animal comes out on land, and the gills dwindle and 
the gill slits disappear. (All except an outgrowth of one gill slit, 
which becomes the passage of the ear and ear-drum.) The animal 
can now live only in the air, but it must return at least to the edge 
of the water to lay its eggs and reproduce its kind. 

All the air-breathing vertebrata of this age of swamps and 
plants belonged to the class amphibia. They were nearly all of 
them forms related to the newts of to-day, and some of them at- 
tained a considerable size. They were land animals, it is true, but 
they were land animals needing to live in and near moist and 
swampy places, and all the great trees of this period were equally 


amphibious in their habits. None of them had yet developed 
fruits and seeds of a kind that could fall on land and develop with 
the help only of such moisture as dew and rain could bring. They 
all had to shed their spores in water, it would seem, if they were to 

It is one of the most beautiful interests of that beautiful sci- 
ence, comparative anatomy, to trace the complex and wonderful 
adaptations of living things to the necessities of existence in air. 
All living things, plants and animals alike, are primarily water 
things. For example all the higher vertebrated animals above the 
fishes, up to and including man, pass through a stage in their de- 
velopment in the egg or before birth in which they have gill slits 
which are obliterated before the young emerge. The bare, water- 
washed eye of the fish is protected in the higher forms from drying 
up by eyelids and glands which secrete moisture. The weaker 
sound vibrations of air necessitate an ear-drum. In nearly every 
organ of the body similar modifications and adaptations are to be 
detected, similar patchings-up to meet aerial conditions. 

This Carboniferous age, this age of the amphibia, was an age 
of life in the swamps and lagoons and on the low banks among 
these waters. Thus far life had now extended. The hills and high 
lands were still quite barren and lifeless. Life had learnt to breathe 
air indeed, but it still had its roots in its native water; it still had 
to return to the water to reproduce its kind. 



THE abundant life of the Carboniferous period was succeeded 
by a vast cycle of dry and bitter ages. They are represented 
in the Record of the Rocks by thick deposits of sandstones 
and the like, in which fossils are comparatively few. The tempera- 
ture of the world fluctuated widely, and there were long periods of 
glacial cold. Over great areas the former profusion of swamp vege- 
tation ceased, and, overlaid by these newer deposits, it began that 
process of compression and mineralization that gave the world most 
of the coal deposits of to-day. 

But it is during periods of change that life undergoes its most 
rapid modifications, and under hardship that it learns its hardest 
lessons. As conditions revert towards warmth and moisture again 
we find a new series of animal and plant forms established. We find 
in the record the remains of vertebrated animals that laid eggs 
which, instead of hatching out tadpoles which needed to live for a 
time in water, carried on their development before hatching to a 
stage so nearly like the adult form that the young could live in air 
from the first moment of independent existence. Gills had been 
cut out altogether, and the gill slits only appeared as an embryonic 

These new creatures without a tadpole stage were the Reptiles. 
Concurrently there had been a development of seed-bearing trees, 
which could spread their seed, independently of swamp or lakes. 
There were now palmlike cycads and many tropical conifers, though 
as yet there were no flowering plants and no grasses. There was a 
great number of ferns. And there was now also an increased variety 
of insects. There were beetles, though bees and butterflies had yet 
to come. But all the fundamental forms of a new real land fauna 
and flora had been laid down during these vast ages of severity. 


The Age of Reptiles 


This new land life needed only the opportunity of favourable con- 
ditions to flourish and prevail. 

Age by age and with abundant fluctuations that mitigation came. 
The still incalculable movements of the earth's crust, the changes in 
its orbit, the increase and diminution of the mutual inclination of 
orbit and pole, worked together to produce a great spell of widely 
diffused warm conditions. The period lasted altogether, it is now 
supposed, upwards of two hundred million years. It is called the 


Found in the Lower Lias in Somersetshire 

ffat. Hist. Mus 

Mesozoic period, to distinguish it from the altogether vaster Palaeo- 
zoic and Azoic periods (together fourteen hundred millions) that 
preceded it, and from the Cainozoic or new life period that inter- 
vened between its close and the present time, and it is also called 
the Age of Reptiles because of the astonishing predominance and 
variety of this form of life. It came to an end some eighty million 
years ago. 

In the world to-day the genera of Reptiles are comparatively 
few and their distribution is very limited. They are more various, 
it is true, than are the few surviving members of the order of the 
amphibia which once in the Carboniferous period ruled the world. 
We still have the snakes, the turtles and tortoises (the Chelonia), 


A Short History of the World 

the alligators and crocodiles, and the lizards. Without exception 
they are creatures requiring warmth all the year round ; they cannot 
stand exposure to cold, and it is probable that all the reptilian beings 
of the Mesozoic suffered under the same limitation. It was a hot- 
house fauna, living amidst a hothouse flora. It endured no frosts. 
But the world had at least attained a real dry land fauna and flora 
as distinguished from the mud and swamp fauna and flora of the 
previous heyday of life upon earth. 

All the sorts of reptile we know now were much more abundantly 
represented then, great turtles and tortoises, big crocodiles and many 
lizards and snakes, but in addition there was a number of series of 


Nat. Hist. 

wonderful creatures that have now vanished altogether from the 
earth. There was a vast variety of beings called the Dinosaurs. 
Vegetation was now spreading over the lower levels of the world, 
reeds, brakes of fern and the like; and browsing upon this abun- 
dance came a multitude of herbivorous reptiles, which increased in 
size as the Mesozoic period rose to its climax. Some of these beasts 
exceeded in size any other land animals that have ever lived; they 
were as large as whales. The Diplodocus Carnegii for example 
measured eighty-four feet from snout to tail; the Gigantosaurus 
was even greater; it measured a hundred feet. Living upon these 
monsters was a swarm of carnivorous Dinosaurs of a corresponding 
size. One of these, the Tyrannosaurus, is figured and described in 
many books as the last word in reptilian frightfulness. 

The Age of ReptUes 

riot. Hist. Mus. 


While these great creatures pastured and pursued amidst the 
fronds and evergreens of the Mesozoic jungles, another now van- 
ished tribe of reptiles, with a bat-like development of the fore limbs, 
pursued insects and one another, first leapt and parachuted and 
presently flew amidst the fronds and branches of the forest trees. 
These were the Pterodactyls. These were the first flying creatures 
with backbones; they mark a new achievement in the growing 
powers of vertebrated life. 

Moreover some of the reptiles were returning to the sea waters. 
Three groups of big swimming beings had invaded the sea from 
which their ancestors had come: the Mososaurs, the Plesiosaurs, 
and Ichthyosaurs. Some of these again approached the propor- 
tions of our present whales. The Ichthyosaurs seem to have been 
quite seagoing creatures, but the Plesiosaurs were a type of animal 
that has no cognate form to-day. The body was stout and big with 
paddles, adapted either for swimming or crawling through marshes, 
or along the bottom of shallow waters. The comparatively small 

3 o A Short History of the World 

head was poised on a vast snake of neck, altogether outdoing the 
neck of the swan. Either the Plesiosaur swam and searched for 
food under the water and fed as the swan will do, or it lurked under 
water and snatched at passing fish or beast. 

Such was the predominant land life throughout the Mesozoic age. 
It was by our human standards an advance upon anything that had 
preceded it. It had produced land animals greater in size, range, 
power and activity, more "vital" as people say, than anything the 
world had seen before. In the seas there had been no such advance 
but a great proliferation of new forms of life. An enormous variety 
of squid-like creatures with chambered shells, for the most part 
coiled, had appeared in the shallow seas, the Ammonites. They 
had had predecessors in the Palaeozoic seas, but now was their age 
of glory. To-day they have left no survivors at all; their nearest 
relation is the pearly Nautilus, an inhabitant of tropical waters. 
And a new and more prolific type of fish with lighter, finer scales 
than the plate-like and tooth-like coverings that had hitherto pre- 
vailed, became and has since remained predominant in the seas and 



IN a few paragraphs a picture of the lush vegetation and swarming 
reptiles of that first great summer of life, the Mesozoic period, 
has been sketched. But while the Dinosaurs lorded it over the 
hot selvas and marshy plains and the Pterodactyls filled the for- 
ests with their flutterings and possibly with shrieks and croakings 
as they pursued the humming insect life of the still flowerless 
shrubs and trees, some less conspicuous and less abundant forms 
upon the margins of this abounding life were acquiring certain 
powers and learning certain lessons of endurance, that were to be 
of the utmost value to their race when at last the smiling generos- 
ity of sun and earth began to fade. 

A group of tribes and genera of hopping reptiles, small creatures 
of the dinosaur type, seem to have been pushed by competition 
and the pursuit of their enemies towards the alternatives of ex- 
tinction or adaptation to colder conditions in the higher hills or by 
the sea. Among these distressed tribes there was developed a new 
type of scale scales that were elongated into quill-like forms and 
that presently branched into the crude beginnings of feathers. 
These quill-like scales lay over one another and formed a heat- 
retaining covering more efficient than any reptilian covering that 
had hitherto existed. So they permitted an invasion of colder re- 
gions that were otherwise uninhabited. Perhaps simultaneously 
with these changes there arose in these creatures a greater solici- 
tude for their eggs. Most reptiles are apparently quite careless 
about their eggs, which are left for sun and season to hatch. But 
some of the varieties upon this new branch of the tree of life were 
acquiring a habit of guarding their eggs and keeping them warm 
with the warmth of their bodies. 

With these adaptations to cold other internal modifications 

3 1 

A Short History of the World 

were going on that 
made these crea- 
tures, the primitive 
birds, warm-blooded 
and independent of 
basking. The very 
earliest birds seem 
to have been sea- 
birds living upon 
fish, and their fore 
limbs were not wings 
but paddles rather 
after the penguin 
type. That pe- 
culiarly primitive 
bird, the New Zea- 
land Ki-wi, has 
feathers of a very 
simple sort, and 
neither flies nor ap- 
pears to be de- 
scended from flying 
ancestors. In the 
development of the 
birds, feathers came before wings. But once the feather was devel- 
oped the possibility of making a light spread of feathers led inevi- 
tably to the wing. We know of the fossil remains of one bird at 
least which had reptilian teeth in its jaw and a long reptilian tail, 
but which also had a true bird's wing and which certainly flew 
and held its own among the pterodactyls of the Mesozoic time. 
Nevertheless birds were neither varied nor abundant in Mesozoic 
times. If a man could go back to typical Mesozoic country, he 
might walk for days and never see or hear such a thing as a bird, 
though he would see a great abundance of pterodactyls and insects 
among the fronds and reeds. 

And another thing he would probably never see, and that would 
be any sign of a mammal. Probably the first mammals were in 

Nat. Hist. M us. 


The First Bkds and the Fkst Mammals 


existence mil- 
lions of years 
before the first 
thing one could 
call a bird, but 
they were al- 
together too 
small and ob- 
scure and re- 
mote for atten- 

The earliest 
mammals, like 
the earliest 
birds, were 
driven by com- 
petition and 
pursuit into a 
life of hardship 
and adaptation 
to cold. With 
them also the 
scale became 
quill-like, and 
was developed 
into a heat-re- 
taining cover- 
ing; and they 

too underwent modifications, similar in kind though different in de- 
tail, to become warm-blooded and independent of basking. Instead 
of feathers they developed hairs, and instead of guarding and in- 
cubating their eggs they kept them warm and safe by retaining 
them inside their bodies until they were almost mature. Most of 
them became altogether vivaparous and brought their young into 
the world alive. And even after their young were born they tended 
to maintain a protective and nutritive association with them. Most 



A Short History of the World 

but not all mammals to-day have mammae and suckle their young. 
Two mammals still live which lay eggs and which have not proper 
mammae, though they nourish their young by a nutritive secretion of 
the under skin; these are the duck-billed platypus and the echidna. 
The echidna lays leathery eggs and then puts them into a pouch under 
its belly, and so carries them about warm and safe until they hatch. 
But just as a visitor to the Mesozoic world might have searched 
for days and weeks before finding a bird, so, unless he knew exactly 
where to go and look, he might have searched in vain for any traces 
of a mammal. Both birds and mammals would have seemed very ec- 
centric and secondary and unimportant creatures in Mesozoic times. 
The Age of Reptiles lasted, it is now guessed, eighty million 
years. Had any quasi-human intelligence been watching the world 

through that in- 
co n cei vable 
length of time, 
how safe and 
eternal the sun- 
shine and abun- 
dance must have 
seemed, how as- 
sured the wal- 
lowing prosper- 
ity of the dino- 
saurs and the 
flapping abun- 
dance of the fly- 
ing lizards! And 
then the mys- 
terious rhythms 
and accumulat- 
ing forces of the 
universe began 
to turn against 
that quasi- 

Pnoto: A UtotVP e Pine An Co. etemal Stability. 


Discovered in Greece; it is rich in fossilized bones of early mammals 


Nat. Hist. Mus. 

3 6 A Short History of the World 

for life was running out. Age by age, myriad of years after myriad 
of years, with halts no doubt and retrogressions, came a change 
towards hardship and extreme conditions, came great alterations of 
level and great redistributions of mountain and sea. We find one 
thing in the Record of the Rocks during the decadence of the long 
Mesozoic age of prosperity that is very significant of steadily sus- 
tained changes of condition, and that is a violent fluctuation of 
living forms and the appearance of new and strange species. Under 
the gathering threat of extinction the older orders and genera are 
displaying their utmost capacity for variation and adaptation. The 
Ammonites for example in these last pages of the Mesozoic chapter 
exhibit a multitude of fantastic forms. Under settled conditions 
there is no encouragement for novelties; they do not develop, they 
are suppressed ; what is best adapted is already there. Under novel 
conditions it is the ordinary type that suffers, and the novelty that 
may have a better chance to survive and establish itself. . . . 

There comes a break in the Record of the Rocks that may rep- 
resent several million years. There is a veil here still, over even 
the outline of the history of life. When it lifts again, the Age of 
Reptiles is at an end; the Dinosaurs, the Plesiosaurs and Ichthyo- 
saurs, the Pterodactyls, the innumerable genera and species of 
Ammonite have all gone absolutely. In all their stupendous vari- 
ety they have died out and left no descendants. The cold has 
killed them. All their final variations were insufficient; they had 
never hit upon survival conditions. The world had passed through 
a phase of extreme conditions beyond their powers of endurance, a 
slow and complete massacre of Mesozoic life has occurred, and we 
find now a new scene, a new and hardier flora, and a new and hardier 
fauna in possession of the world. 

It is still a bleak and impoverished scene with which this new 
volume of the book of life begins. The cycads and tropical conifers 
have given place very largely to trees that shed their leaves to 
avoid destruction by the snows of winter and to flowering plants 
and shrubs, and where there was formerly a profusion of reptiles, 
an increasing variety of birds and mammals is entering into their 



THE opening of the next great period in the life of the earth, 
the Cainozoic period, was a period of upheaval and ex- 
treme volcanic activity. Now it was that the vast masses 
of the Alps and Himalayas and the mountain backbone of the 
Rockies and Andes were thrust up, and that the rude outlines of 
our present oceans and continents appeared. The map of the world 
begins to display a first dim resemblance to the map of to-day. It 
is estimated now that between forty and eighty million years have 
elapsed from the beginnings of the Cainozoic period to the present 

At the outset of the Cainozoic period the climate of the world 
was austere. It grew generally warmer until a fresh phase of great 
abundance was reached, after which conditions grew hard again 
and the earth passed into a series of extremely cold cycles, the 
Glacial Ages, from which apparently it is now slowly emerging. 

But we do not know sufficient of the causes of climatic change 
at present to forecast the possible fluctuations of climatic condi- 
tions that lie before us. We may be moving towards increasing 
sunshine or lapsing towards another glacial age; volcanic activity 
and the upheaval of mountain masses may be increasing or dimin- 
ishing; we do not know; we lack sufficient science. 

With the opening of this period the grasses appear; for the first 
time there is pasture in the world; and with the full development 
of the once obscure mammalian type, appear a number of interest- 
ing grazing animals and of carnivorous types which prey upon 

At first these early mammals seem to differ only in a few char- 
acters from the great herbivorous and carnivorous reptiles that 
ages before had flourished and then vanished from the earth. A 


38 A Short History of the World 

careless observer might suppose that in this second long age of 
warmth and plenty that was now beginning, nature was merely re- 
peating the first, with herbivorous and carnivorous mammals to 
parallel the herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs, with birds re- 
placing pterodactyls and so on. But this would be an altogether 
superficial comparison. The variety of the universe is infinite and 
incessant; it progresses eternally; history never repeats itself and 
no parallels are precisely true. The differences between the life of 
the Cainozoic and Mesozoic periods are far profounder than the 

The most fundamental of all these differences lies in the mental 
life of the two periods. It arises essentially out of the continuing 
contact of parent and offspring which distinguishes mammalian 
and in a lesser degree bird life, from the life of the reptile. With 
very few exceptions the reptile abandons its egg to hatch alone. 
The young reptile has no knowledge whatever of its parent; its 
mental life, such as it is, begins and ends with its own experiences. 


The Titanotherium (Brontops) Robustum 

The Age of Mammals 39 

It may tolerate the existence of its fellows but it has no communi- 
cation with them; it never imitates, never learns from them, is in- 
capable of concerted action with them. Its life is that of an isolated 
individual. But with the suckling and cherishing of young which 
was distinctive of the new mammalian and avian strains arose the 
possibility of learning by imitation, of communication, by warning 
cries and other concerted action, of mutual control and instruction. 
A teachable type of life had come into the world. 

The earliest mammals of the Cainozoic period are but little 
superior in brain size to the more active carnivorous dinosaurs, but 
as we read on through the record towards modern times we find, in 
every tribe and race of the mammalian animals, a steady universal 
increase in brain capacity. For instance we find at a comparatively 
early stage that rhinoceros-like beasts appear. There is a creature, 
the Titanotherium, which lived in the earliest division of this 
period. It was probably very like a modern rhinoceros in its hab- 
its and needs. But its brain capacity was not one tenth that of its 
living successor. 

The earlier mammals probably parted from their offspring as 
soon as suckling was over, but, once the capacity for mutual under- 
standing has arisen, the advantages of continuing the association 
are very great; and we presently find a number of mammalian 
species displaying the beginnings of a true social life and keeping 
together in herds, packs and flocks, watching each other, imitating 
each other, taking warning from each other's acts and cries. This 
is something that the world had not seen before among vertebrated 
animals. Reptiles and fish may no doubt be found in swarms and 
shoals; they have been hatched in quantities and similar condi- 
tions have kept them together, but in the case of the social and 
gregarious mammals the association arises not simply from a com- 
munity of external forces, it is sustained by an inner impulse. They 
are not merely like one another and so found in the same places at 
the same times; they like one another and so they keep together. 

This difference between the reptile world and the world of our 
human minds is one our sympathies seem unable to pass. We can- 
not conceive in ourselves the swift uncomplicated urgency of a 
reptile's instinctive motives, its appetites, fears and hates. We 

Xat. Hist. Mus. 



A' ai. Hist. Afus. 

The Age of Mammals 41 

cannot understand them in their simplicity because all our motives 
are complicated; ours are balances and resultants and not simple 
urgencies. But the mammals and birds have self-restraint and 
consideration for other individuals, a social appeal, a self-control 
that is, at its lower level, after our own fashion. We can in conse- 
quence establish relations with almost all sorts of them. When 
they suffer they utter cries and make movements that rouse our 



Nat. Hist. Mus. 

feelings. We can make understanding pets of them with a mutual 
recognition. They can be tamed to self-restraint towards us, 
domesticated and taught. 

That unusual growth of brain which is the central fact of Caino- 
zoic times marks a new communication and interdependence of 
individuals. It foreshadows the development of human societies of 
which we shall soon be telling. 

As the Cainozoic period unrolled, the resemblance of its flora and 
fauna to the plants and animals that inhabit the world to-day 

42 A Short History of the World 

increased. The big clumsy Uintatheres and Titanotheres, the En- 
telodonts and Hyracodons, big clumsy brutes like nothing living, 
disappeared. On the other hand a series of forms led up by steady 
degrees from grotesque and clumsy predecessors to the giraffes, 
camels, horses, elephants, deer, dogs and lions and tigers of the 
existing world. The evolution of the horse is particularly legible 
upon the geological record. We have a fairly complete series of 
forms from a small tapir-like ancestor in the early Cainozoic. An- 
other line of development that has now been pieced together with 
some precision is that of the llamas and camels. 



NATURALISTS divide the class Mammalia into a number of 
orders. At the head of these is the order Primates, which 
includes the lemurs, the monkeys, apes and man. Their 
classification was based originally upon anatomical resemblances 
and took no account of any mental qualities. 

Now the past history of the Primates is one very difficult to de- 
cipher in the geological record. They are for the most part animals 
which live in forests like the lemurs and monkeys or in bare rocky 
places like the baboons. They are rarely drowned and covered up 
by sediment, nor are most of them very numerous species, and so 
they do not figure so largely among the fossils as the ancestors of the 
horses, camels and so forth do. But we know that quite early in 
the Cainozoic period, that is to say some forty million years ago or 
so, primitive monkeys and lemuroid creatures had appeared, poorer 
in brain and not so specialized as their later successors. 

The great world summer of the middle Cainozoic period drew at 
last to an end. It was to follow those other two great summers in 
the history of life, the summer of the Coal Swamps and the vast sum- 
mer of the Age of Reptiles. Once more the earth spun towards 
an ice age. The world chilled, grew milder for a time and chilled 
again. In the warm past hippopotami had wallowed through a lush 
sub-tropical vegetation, and a tremendous tiger with fangs like 
sabres, the sabre-toothed tiger, had hunted its prey where now the 
journalists of Fleet Street go to and fro. Now came a bleaker age 
and still bleaker ages. A great weeding and extinction of species 
occurred. A woolly rhinoceros, adapted to a cold climate, and the 
mammoth, a big woolly cousin of the elephants, the Arctic musk 
ox and the reindeer passed across the scene. Then century by cen- 
tury the Arctic ice cap, the wintry death of the great Ice Age, crept 



A Short History of the World 

southward. In England it came almost down to the Thames, in 
America it reached Ohio. There would be warmer spells of a few 
thousand years and relapses towards a bitterer cold. 

Geologists talk of these wintry phases as the First, Second, 
Third and Fourth Glacial Ages, and of the interludes as Interglacial 
periods. We live to-day in a world that is still impoverished and 
scarred by that terrible winter. The First Glacial Age was coming 
on 600,000 years ago; the Fourth Glacial Age reached its bitterest 


some fifty thousand years ago. And it was amidst the snows of 
this long universal winter that the first man-like beings lived upon 
our planet. 

By the middle Cainozoic period there have appeared various 
apes with many quasi-human attributes of the jaws and leg bones, 
but it is only as we approach these Glacial Ages that we find traces 
of creatures that we can speak of as "almost human." These 
traces are not bones but implements. In Europe, in deposits of this 
period, between half a million and a million years old, we find flints 

Monkeys, Apes and Sub-men 


and stones that have evidently been chipped intentionally by some 
handy creature desirous of hammering, scraping or fighting with the 
sharpened edge. These things have been called "Eoliths" (dawn 
stones). In Europe there are no bones nor other remains of the 
creature which made these objects, simply the objects themselves. 
For all the certainty we have it may have been some entirely un- 
human but intelligent monkey. But at Trinil in Java, in accumula- 
tions of this age, a piece of a skull and 
various teeth and bones have been 
found of a sort of ape man, with a 
brain case bigger than that of any liv- 
ing apes, which seems to have walked 
erect. This creature is now called 
Pithecanthropus erectus, the walking 
ape man, and the little trayful of its 
bones is the only help our imagina- 
tions have as yet in figuring to our- 
selves the makers of the Eoliths. 

It is not until we come to sands 
that are almost a quarter of a million 
years old that we find any other par- 
ticle of a sub-human being. But there 
are plenty of implements, and they are 
steadily improving in quality as we 
read on through the record. They 
are no longer clumsy Eoliths; they 
are now shapely instruments made 
with considerable skill. And they are 
much bigger than the similar implements 
afterwards made by true man. Then, in a sandpit at Heidelberg, 
appears a single quasi-human jaw-bone, a clumsy jaw-bone, 
absolutely chinless, far heavier than a true human jaw-bone and 
narrower, so that it is improbable the creature's tongue could 
have moved about for articulate speech. On the strength of this 
jaw-bone, scientific men suppose this creature to have been a heavy, 
almost human monster, possibly with huge limbs and hands, pos- 
sibly with a thick felt of hair, and they call it the Heidelberg Man. 

Nat. Hist. Mus. 


A Short History of the World 



The Heidelberg Man, as modelled under the supervision of 
Prof. Rutot 

This jaw-bone is, I 
think, one of the most 
tormenting objects in 
the world to our human 
curiosity. To see it is 
like looking through a 
defective glass into the 
past and catching just 
one blurred and tantaliz- 
ing glimpse of this Thing, 
shambling through the 
bleak wilderness, clam- 
bering to avoid the sabre- 
toothed tiger, watching 
the woolly rhinoceros in 
the woods. Then before 
we can scrutinize the 
monster, he vanishes. 
Yet the soil is littered 
abundantly with the 
indestructible imple- 
ments he chipped out 
for his uses. 

Still more fascinat- 
ingly enigmatical are the 
remains of a creature 
found at Piltdown in 
Sussex in a deposit that 
may indicate an age be- 
tween a hundred and a 
hundred and fifty thou- 
sand years ago, though 
some authorities would 
put these particular re- 
mains back in time to 
before the Heidelberg 
jaw-bone. Here there 

Monkeys, Apes and Sub-men 


are the remains of a thick sub-human skull much larger than any 
existing ape's, and a chimpanzee-like jaw-bone which may or may 
not belong to it, and, in addition, a bat-shaped piece of elephant 
bone evidently carefully manufactured, through which a hole had 
apparently been bored. There is also the thigh-bone of a deer with 
cuts upon it like a tally. 
That is all. 

What sort of beast was 
this creature which sat and 
bored holes in bones? 

Scientific men have 
named him Eoanthropus, 
the Dawn Man. He stands 
apart from his kindred; a 
very different being either 
from the Heidelberg crea- 
ture or from any living ape. 
No other vestige like him 
is known. But the gravels 
and deposits of from one 
hundred thousand years 

onward are increasingly Nat.nta.Mu*. 

rich in implements of flint THE PILTDOWN SKULL, AS RECONSTRUCTED FROM 


and similar stone. And 

these implements are no longer rude " Eoliths." The archaeologists 
are presently able to distinguish scrapers, borers, knives, darts, 
throwing stones and hand axes. . . . 

We are drawing very near to man. In our next section we shall 
have to describe the strangest of all these precursors of humanity, 
the Neanderthalers, the men who were almost, but not quite, true 

But it may be well perhaps to state quite clearly here that no 
scientific man supposes either of these creatures, the Heidelberg 
Man or Eoanthropus, to be direct ancestors oi the men of to-day. 
These are, at the closest, related forms. 

k BOUT fifty or sixty thousand years ago, before the climax 
of the Fourth Glacial Age, there lived a creature on earth 
so like a man that until a few years ago its remains were 
considered to be altogether human. We have skulls and bones of 
it and a great accumulation of the large implements it made and 
used. It made fires. It sheltered in caves from the cold. It prob- 
ably dressed skins roughly and wore them. It was right-handed as 
men are. 

Yet now the ethnologists tell us these creatures were not true 
men. They were of a different species of the same genus. They 
had heavy protruding jaws and great brow ridges above the eyes 
and very low foreheads. Their thumbs were not opposable to the 
fingers as men's are; their necks were so poised that they could not 
turn back their heads and look up to the sky. They probably 
slouched along, head down and forward. Their chinless jaw-bones 
resemble the Heidelberg jaw-bone and are markedly unlike human 
jaw-bones. And there were great differences from the human pat- 
tern in their teeth. Their cheek teeth were more complicated in 
structure than ours, more complicated and not less so; they had not 
the long fangs of our cheek teeth; and also these quasi-men had not 
the marked canines (dog teeth) of an ordinary human being. The 
capacity of their skulls was quite human, but the brain was bigger 
behind and lower in front than the human brain. Their intellectual 
faculties were differently arranged. They were not ancestral to 
the human line. Mentally and physically they were upon a differ- 
ent line from the human line. 

Skulls and bones of this extinct species of man were found at 
Neanderthal among other places, and from that place these strange 
proto-men have been christened Neanderthal Men, or Neander- 


The Neanderthaler and the Rhodesian Man 49 

thalers. They must have endured in Europe for many hundreds or 
even thousands of years. 

At that time the climate and geography of our world was very 
different from what they are at the present time. Europe for 
example was covered with ice reaching as far south as the Thames 
and into Central Germany and Russia; there was no Channel sepa- 
rating Britain from France; the Mediterranean and the Red Sea 



were great valleys, with perhaps a chain of lakes in their deeper por- 
tions, and a great inland sea spread from the present Black Sea across 
South Russia and far into Central Asia. Spain and all of Europe 
not actually under ice consisted of bleak uplands under a harder 
climate than that of Labrador, and it was only when North Africa 
was reached that one would have found a temperate climate. 
Across the cold steppes of Southern Europe with its sparse arctic 
vegetation, drifted such hardy creatures as the woolly mammoth, 
and woolly rhinoceros, great oxen and reindeer, no doubt following 
the vegetation northward in spring and southward in autumn. 

A Short History of the World 

a of 

EUROPE O \\Wto-tt AST A> 
at the MLrumua. 

Such was the scene through which the Neanderthaler wandered, 
gathering such subsistence as he could from small game or fruits 
and berries and roots. Possibly he was mainly a vegetarian, chew- 
ing twigs and roots. His level elaborate teeth suggest a largely 
vegetarian dietary. But we also find the long marrow bones of 
great animals in his caves, cracked to extract the marrow. His 
weapons could not have been of much avail in open conflict with 
great beasts, but it is supposed that he attacked them with spears 
at difficult river crossings and even constructed pitfalls for them. 
Possibly he followed the herds and preyed upon any dead that were 
killed in fights, and perhaps he played the part of jackal to the 
sabre-toothed tiger which still survived in his day. Possibly in the 
bitter hardships of the Glacial Ages this creature had taken to 
attacking animals after long ages of vegetarian adaptation. 

We cannot guess what this Neanderthal man looked like. He 
may have been very hairy and very inhuman-looking indeed. It 
is even doubtful if he went erect. He may have used his knuckles 
as well as his feet to hold himself up. Probably he went about 

The Neanderthaler and the Rhodesian Man 51 

alone or in small family groups. It is inferred from the structure 
of his jaw that he was incapable of speech as we understand it. 

For thousands of years these Neanderthalers were the highest 
animals that the European area had ever seen; and then some 
thirty or thirty -five thousand years ago as the climate grew warmer 
a race of kindred beings, more intelligent, knowing more, talking 
and co-operating together, came drifting into the Neanderthaler's 
world from the south. They ousted the Neanderthalers from their 
caves and squatting places ; they hunted the same food ; they prob- 
ably made war upon their grisly predecessors and killed them off. 
These newcomers from the south or the east for at present we do 
not know their region of origin who at last drove the Neander- 
thalers out of existence altogether, were beings of our own blood and 
kin, the first True Men. Their brain-cases and thumbs and necks 
and teeth were anatomically the same as our own. In a cave at 
Cro-Magnon and in another at Grimaldi, a number of skeletons have 
been found, the earliest truly human remains that are so far known. 

So it is our race comes into the Record of the Rocks, and the 
story of mankind begins. 

The world was growing liker our own in those days though the 
climate was still austere. The glaciers of the Ice Age were receding 
in Europe; the reindeer of France and Spain presently gave way to 
great herds of horses as grass increased upon the steppes, and the 

1. c. 

Nat. Hist. Mas. 

52 A Short History of the World 

mammoth became more and more rare in southern Europe and fi- 
nally receded northward altogether. . . . 

We do not know where the True Men first originated. But in 
the summer of 1921, an extremely interesting skull was found to- 
gether with pieces of a skeleton at Broken Hill in South Africa, 
which seems to be a relic of a third sort of man, intermediate in its 
characteristics between the Neanderthaler and the human being. 
The brain-case indicates a brain bigger in front and smaller behind 
than the Neanderthaler's, and the skull was poised erect upon the 
backbone in a quite human way. The teeth also and the bones are 
quite human. But the face must have been ape-like with enormous 
brow ridges and a ridge along the middle of the skull. The creature 
was indeed a true man, so to speak, with an ape-like, Neanderthaler 
face. This Rhodesian Man is evidently still closer to real men than 
the Neanderthal Man. 

This Rhodesian skull is probably only the second of what in the 
end may prove to be a long list of finds of sub-human species which 
lived on the earth in the vast interval of time between the begin- 
nings of the Ice Age and the appearance of their common heir, and 
perhaps their common exterminator, the True Man. The Rhode- 
sian skull itself may not be very ancient. Up to the time of pub- 
lishing this book there has been no exact determination of its prob- 
able age. It may be that this sub-human creature survived in South 
Africa until quite recent times. 



THE earliest signs and traces at present known to science, of a 
humanity which is indisputably kindred with ourselves, have 
been found in western Europe and particularly in France 
and Spain. Bones, weapons, scratchings upon bone and rock, 
carved fragments of bone, and paintings in caves and upon rock 
surfaces dating, it is supposed, from 30,000 years ago or more, have 
been discovered in both these countries. Spain is at present the 
richest country in the world in these first relics of our real human 

Of course our present collections of these things are the merest 
beginnings of the accumulations we may hope for in the future, 
when there are searchers enough to make a thorough examination 
of all possible sources and when other countries in the world, now 
inaccessible to archaeologists, have been explored in some detail. 
The greater part of Africa and Asia has never even been traversed 
yet by a trained observer interested in these matters and free to 
explore, and we must be very careful therefore not to conclude that 
the early true men were distinctively inhabitants of western Europe 
or that they first appeared in that region. 

In Asia or Africa or submerged beneath the sea of to-day there 
may be richer and much earlier deposits of real human remains than 
anything that has yet come to light. I write in Asia or Africa, and 
I do not mention America because so far there have been no finds 
at all of any of the higher Primates, either of great apes, sub-men, 
Neanderthalers nor early true men. This development of life seems 
to have been an exclusively old world development, and it was only 
apparently at the end of the Old Stone Age that human beings first 
made their way across the land connexion that is now cut by Behring 
Straits, into the American continent. 



A Short History of the World 

These first real human beings we know of in Europe appear 
already to have belonged to one or other of at least two very distinct 
races. One of these races was of a very high type indeed; it was tall 
and big brained. One of the women's skulls found exceeds in ca- 
pacity that of the average man of to-day. One of the men's skele- 
tons is over six feet in height. The physical type resembled that 
of the North American Indian. From the Cro-Magnon cave in 


The Walls of the Caves are covered in these representations of Bulls, etc., painted in soft tones of red shaded to 
black. They may be fifteen or twenty thousand years old 

which the first skeletons were found these people have been called 
Cro-Magnards. They were savages, but savages of a high order. 
The second race, the race of the Grimaldi cave remains, was dis- 
tinctly negroid in its characters. Its nearest living affinities are 
the Bushmen and Hottentots of South Africa. It is interesting to 
find at the very outset of the known human story, that mankind 
was already racially divided into at least two main varieties; and 
one is tempted to such unwarrantable guesses as that the former 
race was probably brownish rather than black and that it came 
from the East or North, and that the latter was blackish rather than 
brown and came from the equatorial south. 


Brit. Mus. 

(1 and 2) Mammoth tusk carved to shape of Reindeer, (3) Dagger Handle 
representing Mammoth, and (4) Bone engraved with Horses' Heads 


5 6 A Short History pf the World 

And these savages of perhaps forty thousand years ago were so 
human that they pierced shells to make necklaces, painted them- 
selves, carved images of bone and stone, scratched figures on rocks 
and bones, and painted rude but often very able sketches of beasts 
and the like upon the smooth walls of caves and upon inviting rock 
surfaces. They made a great variety of implements, much smaller 
in scale and finer than those of the Neanderthal men. We have 
now in our museums great quantities of their implements, their 
statuettes, their rock drawings and the like. 

The earliest of them were hunters. Their chief pursuit was the 
wild horse, the little bearded pony of that time. They followed it 
as it moved after pasture. And also they followed the bison. They 
knew the mammoth, because they have left us strikingly effective 
pictures of that creature. To judge by one rather ambiguous draw- 
ing they trapped and killed it. 

They hunted with spears and throwing stones. They do not 
seem to have had the bow, and it is doubtful if they had yet learnt 
to tame any animals. They had no dogs. There is one carving of 
a horse's head and one or two drawings that suggest a bridled 
horse, with a twisted skin or tendon round it. But the little horses 
of that age and region could not have carried a man, and if the 
horse was domesticated it was used as a led horse. It is doubtful 
and improbable that they had yet learnt the rather unnatural use 
of animal's milk as food. 

They do not seem to have erected any buildings though they 
may have had tents of skins, and though they made clay figures 
they never rose to the making of pottery. Since they had no cook- 
ing implements their cookery must have been rudimentary or non- 
existent. They knew nothing of cultivation and nothing of any 
sort of basket work or woven cloth. Except for their robes of skin 
or fur they were naked painted savages. 

These earliest known men hunted the open steppes of Europe 
for a hundred centuries perhaps, and then slowly drifted and 
changed before a change of climate. Europe, century by century, 
was growing milder and damper. Reindeer receded northward and 
eastward, and bison and horse followed. The steppes gave way to 
forests, and red deer took the place of horse and bison. There is a 

The First True Men 


change in the character of the implements with this change in their 
application. River and lake fishing becomes of great importance 
to men, and fine implements of bone increased. "The bone needles 
of this age," says de Mortillet, "are much superior to those of later, 
even historical times, down to the Renaissance. The Romans, for 
example, never had needles comparable to those of this epoch." 


Almost fifteen or twelve thousand years ago a fresh people 
drifted into the south of Spain, and left very remarkable drawings 
of themselves upon exposed rock faces there. These were the 
Azilians (named from the Mas d'Azil cave). They had the bow; 
they seem to have worn feather headdresses; they drew vividly; 
but also they had reduced their drawings to a sort of symbolism 
a man for instance would be represented by a vertical dab with 
two or three horizontal dabs that suggest the dawn of the writ- 
ing idea. Against hunting sketches there are often marks like 
tallies. One drawing shows two men smoking out a bees' nest. 


He is on a rope-ladder 


Among the most recent discoveries of Palaeolithic Art are these specimens found in 1920 in Spain. 
They are probably ten or twelve thousand years old 

The First True Men S9 

These are the latest of the men that we call Palaeolithic (Old 
Stone Age) because they had only chipped implements. By ten or 
twelve thousand years a new sort of life has dawned in Europe, 
men have learnt not only to chip but to polish and grind stone im- 
plements, and they have begun cultivation. The Neolithic Age 
(New Stone Age) was beginning. 

It is interesting to note that less than a century ago there still 
survived in a remote part of the world, in Tasmania, a race of 
human beings at a lower level of physical and intellectual develop- 
ment than any of these earliest races of mankind who have left 
traces in Europe. These people had long ago been cut off by geo- 
graphical changes from the rest of the species, and from stimulation 
and improvement. They seem tc have degenerated rather than 
developed. They lived a base life subsisting upon shellfish and 
small game. They had no habitations but only squatting places. 
They were real men of our species, but they had neither the manual 
dexterity nor the artistic powers of the first true men. 



AD now let us indulge in a very interesting speculation; 
how did it feel to be a man in those early days of the human 
adventure? How did men think and what did they think 
in those remote days of hunting and wandering four hundred cen- 
turies ago before seed time and harvest began. Those were days 
long before the written record of any human impressions, and we 
are left almost entirely to inference and guesswork in our answers 
to these questions. 

The sources to which scientific men have gone in their attempts 
to reconstruct that primitive mentality are very various. Recently 
the science of psycho-analysis, which analyzes the way in which 
the egotistic and passionate impulses of the child are restrained, 
suppressed, modified or overlaid, to adapt them to the needs of 
social life, seems to have thrown a considerable amount of light 
upon the history of primitive society; and another fruitful source 
of suggestion has been the study of the ideas and customs of such 
contemporary savages as still survive. Again there is a sort of 
mental fossilization which we find in folk-lore and the deep-lying 
irrational superstitions and prejudices that still survive among 
modern civilized people. And finally we have in the increasingly 
numerous pictures, statues, carvings, symbols and the like, as we 
draw near to our own time, clearer and clearer indications of what 
man found interesting and worthy of record and representation. 

Primitive man probably thought very much as a child thinks, 
that is to say in a series of imaginative pictures. He conjured up 
images or images presented themselves to his mind, and he acted in 
accordance with the emotions they aroused. So a child or an un- 
educated person does to-day. Systematic thinking is apparently a 
comparatively late development in human experience; it has not 


Primitive Thought 61 

played any great part in human life until within the last three 
thousand years. And even to-day those who really control and 
order their thoughts are but a small minority of mankind. Most 
of the world still lives by imagination and passion. 

Probably the earliest human societies, in the opening stages of 
the true human story, were small family groups. Just as the 
flocks and herds of the earlier mammals arose out of families which 
remained together and multiplied, so probably did the earliest 
tribes. But before this could happen a certain restraint upon the 
primitive egotisms of the individual had to be established. The 
fear of the father and respect for the mother had to be extended 
into adult life, and the natural jealousy of the old man of the group 
for the younger males as they grew up had to be mitigated. The 
mother on the other hand was the natural adviser and protector of 
the young. Human social life grew up out of the reaction between 
the crude instinct of the young to go off and pair by themselves as 
they grew up, on the one hand, and the dangers and disadvantages 
of separation on the other. An anthropological writer of great 
genius, J. J. Atkinson, in his Primal Law, has shown how much of 
the customary law of savages, the Tabus, that are so remarkable a 
fact in tribal life, can be ascribed to such a mental adjustment of 
the needs of the primitive human animal to a developing social 
life, and the later work of the psycho-analysts has done much to 
confirm his interpretation of these possibilities. 

Some speculative writers would have us believe that respect 
and fear of the Old Man and the emotional reaction of the primi- 
tive savage to older protective women, exaggerated in dreams and 
enriched by fanciful mental play, played a large part in the begin- 
nings of primitive religion and in the conception of gods and god- 
desses. Associated with this respect for powerful or helpful person- 
alities was a dread and exaltation of such personages after their 
deaths, due to their reappearance in dreams. It was easy to believe 
they were not truly dead but only fantastically transferred to a 
remoteness of greater power. 

The dreams, imaginations and fears of a child are far more 
vivid and real than those of a modern adult, and primitive man 
was always something of a child. He was nearer to the animals 


A Short History of the World 

also, and he could suppose them to have motives and reactions 
like his own. He could imagine animal helpers, animal enemies, 
animal gods. One needs to have been an imaginative child oneself 
to realize again how important, significant, portentous or friendly, 
strangely shaped rocks, lumps of wood, exceptional trees or the like 
may have appeared to the men of the Old Stone Age, and how 
dream and fancy would create stories and legends about such 


Brit. Mus. 

Chert implements from Somaliland. In general form they are similar to those found in 
Western and Northern Europe 

things that would become credible as they told them. Some of 
these stories would be good enough to remember and tell again. 
The women would tell them to the children and so establish a tra- 
dition. To this day most imaginative children invent long stories 
in which some favourite doll or animal or some fantastic semi- 
human being figures as the hero, and primitive man probably did 
the same with a much stronger disposition to believe his hero real. 
For the very earliest of the true men that we know of were 
probably quite talkative beings. In that way they have differed 
from the Neanderthalers and had an advantage over them. The 
Neanderthaler may have been a dumb animal. Of course the primi- 

Primitive Thought 63 

tive human speech was probably a very scanty collection of names, 
and may have been eked out with gestures and signs. 

There is no sort of savage so low as not to have a kind of sci- 
ence of cause and effect. But primitive man was not very critical 
in his associations of cause with effect; he very easily connected an 
effect with something quite wrong as its cause. "You do so and 
so," he said, "and so and so happens." You give a child a poison- 
ous berry and it dies. You eat the heart of a valiant enemy and 
you become strong. There we have two bits of cause and effect 
association, one true one false. We call the system of cause and 
effect in the mind of a savage, Fetish; but Fetish is simply savage 
science. It differs from modern science in that it is totally unsys- 
tematic and uncritical and so more frequently wrong. 

In many cases it is not difficult to link cause and effect, in 


On the left is a flint implement excavated in Gray's Inn Lane. London; on the right one of similar 
form chipped by primitive men of Somaliland 

6 4 A Short History of the World 

many others erroneous ideas were soon corrected by experience; 
but there was a large series of issues of very great importance to 
primitive man, where he sought persistently for causes and found 
explanations that were wrong but not sufficiently wrong nor so 
obviously wrong as to be detected. It was a matter of great im- 
portance to him that game should be abundant or fish plentiful 
and easily caught, and no doubt he tried and believed in a thou- 
sand charms, incantations and omens to determine these desirable 
results. Another great concern of his was illness and death. Occa- 
sionally infections crept through the land and men died of them. 
Occasionally men were stricken by illness and died or were en- 
feebled without any manifest cause. This too must have given the 
hasty, emotional mind of primitive man much feverish exercise. 
Dreams and fantastic guesses made him blame this, or appeal for 
help to that man or beast or thing. He had the child's aptitude for 
fear and panic. 

Quite early in the little human tribe, older, steadier minds 
sharing the fears, sharing the imaginations, but a little more force- 
ful than the others, must have asserted themselves, to advise, to 
prescribe, to command. This they declared unpropitious and that 
imperative, this an omen of good and that an omen of evil. The 
expert in Fetish, the Medicine Man, was the first priest. He ex- 
horted, he interpreted dreams, he warned, he performed the com- 
plicated hocus pocus that brought luck or averted calamity. Primi- 
tive religion was not so much what we now call religion as practice 
and observance, and the early priest dictated what was indeed an 
arbitrary primitive practical science. 

WE are still very ignorant about the beginnings of culti- 
vation and settlement in the world although a vast 
amount of research and speculation has been given to 
these matters in the last fifty years. All that we can say with 
any confidence at present is that somewhen about 15,000 and 
12,000 B.C. while the Azilian people were in the south of Spain and 
while the remnants of the earlier hunters were drifting northward 
and eastward, somewhere in North Africa or Western Asia or in that 
great Mediterranean valley that is now submerged under the waters 
of the Mediterranean sea, there were people who, age by age, were 
working out two vitally important things: they were beginning 
cultivation and they were domesticating animals. They were also 
beginning to make, in addition to the chipped implements of their 
hunter forebears, implements of polished stone. They had discov- 
ered the possibility of basketwork and roughly woven textiles of 
plant fibre, and they were beginning to make a rudely modelled 

They were entering upon a new phase in human culture, the 
Neolithic phase (New Stone Age) as distinguished from the Palaeo- 
lithic (Old Stone) phase of the Cro-Magnards, the Grimaldi people, 
the Azilians and their like. 1 Slowly these Neolithic people spread 
over the warmer parts of the world; and the arts they had mas- 
tered, the plants and animals they had learnt to use, spread by 
imitation and acquisition even more widely than they did. By 
10,000 B.C., most of mankind was at the Neolithic level. 

1 The term Palaeolithic we may note is also used to cover the Neanderthaler and 
even the Eolithic implements. The pre-human age is called the "Older Palaeolithic," 
the age of true men using unpolished stones in the "Newer Palaeolithic." 


66 A Short History of the World 

Now the ploughing of land, the sowing of seed, the reaping of 
harvest, threshing and grinding, may seem the most obviously rea- 
sonable steps to a modern mind just as to a modern mind it is a 
commonplace that the world is round. What else could you do? 
people will ask. What else can it be? But to the primitive man 
of twenty thousand years ago neither of the systems of action and 
reasoning that seem so sure and manifest to us to-day were at all 
obvious. He felt his way to effectual practice through a multitude 
of trials and misconceptions, with fantastic and unnecessary elabo- 
rations and false interpretations at every turn. Somewhere in the 
Mediterranean region, wheat grew wild; and man may have learnt 
to pound and then grind up its seeds for food long before he learnt 
to sow. He reaped before he sowed. 

And it is a very remarkable thing that throughout the world 
wherever there is sowing and harvesting there is still traceable the 
vestiges of a strong primitive association of the idea of sowing with 
the idea of a blood sacrifice, and primarily of the sacrifice of a 
human being. The study of the original entanglement of these two 
things is a profoundly attractive one to the curious mind; the in- 
terested reader will find it very fully developed in that monumen- 
tal work, Sir J. G. Frazer's Golden Bough. It was an entangle- 
ment, we must remember, in the childish, dreaming, myth-making 
primitive mind; no reasoned process will explain it. But in that 
world of 12,000 to 20,000 years ago, it would seem that whenever 
seed time came round to the Neolithic peoples there was a human 
sacrifice. And it was not the sacrifice of any mean or outcast per- 
son; it was the sacrifice usually of a chosen youth or maiden, a 
youth more often who was treated with profound deference and 
even worship up to the moment of his immolation. He was a sort 
of sacrificial god-king, and all the details of his killing had become 
a ritual directed by the old, knowing men and sanctioned by the 
accumulated usage of ages. 

At first primitive men, with only a very rough idea of the sea- 
sons, must have found great difficulty in determining when was 
the propitious moment for the seed-time sacrifice and the sowing. 
There is some reason for supposing that there was an early stage in 
human experience when men had no idea of a year. The first 




A Short History of the World 

Brit. Mus. 


Spearheads, exactly as ,n the 
true Neolithic days, but made 
recently by Australian Natives. 

(1) Made from a telegraph 

(2) from a piece of broken 
bottle glass. 

chronology was in lunar months; it is sup- 
posed that the years of the Biblical patriarchs 
are really moons, and the Babylonian calendar 
shows distinct traces of an attempt to reckon 
seed time by taking thirteen lunar months to 
see it round. This lunar influence upon the 
calendar reaches down to our own days. If 
usage did not dull our sense of its strangeness 
we should think it a very remarkable thing 
indeed that the Christian Church does not 
commemorate the Crucifixion and Resurrec- 
tion of Christ on the proper anniversaries but 
on dates that vary year by year with the 
phases of the moon. 

It may be doubted whether the first agri- 
culturalists made any observation of the stars. 
It is more likely that stars were first observed 
by migratory herdsmen, who found them a 
convenient mark of direction. But once their 
use in determining seasons was realized, their 
importance to agriculture became very great. 
The seed-time sacrifice was linked up with the 
southing or northing of some prominent star. 
A myth and worship of that star was for 
primitive man an almost inevitable conse- 

It is easy to see how important the man 
of knowledge and experience, the man who 
knew about the blood sacrifice and the stars, 
became in this early Neolithic world. 

The fear of uncleanness and pollution, 
and the methods of cleansing that were ad- 
visable, constituted another source of power 
for the knowledgeable men and women. For 
there have always been witches as well as 
wizards, and priestesses as well as priests. 
The early priest was really not so much a 

The Beginnings of Cultivation 69 

religious man as a man of applied science. His science was gener- 
ally empirical and often bad; he kept it secret from the generality 
of men very jealously; but that does not alter the fact that his 
primary function was knowledge and that his primary use was a 
practical use. 

Twelve or fifteen thousand years ago, in all the warm and fairly 
well-watered parts of the Old World these Neolithic human com- 
munities, with their class and tradition of priests and priestesses 
and their cultivated fields and their development of villages and 
little walled cities, were spreading. Age by age a drift and ex- 
change of ideas went on between these communities. Eliot Smith 

Brit. Mus. 

Dug up at Mortlake from the Thames Bed 

and Rivers have used the term "Heliolithic culture" for the cul- 
ture of these first agricultural peoples. "Heliolithic" (Sun and 
Stone) is not perhaps the best possible word to use for this, but 
until scientific men give us a better one we shall have to use it. 
Originating somewhere in the Mediterranean and western Asiatic 
area, it spread age by age eastward and from island to island across 
the Pacific until it may even have reached America and mingled 
with the more primitive ways of living of the Mongoloid immi- 
grants coming down from the North. 

Wherever the brownish people with the Heliolithic culture went 
they took with them all or most of a certain group of curious ideas 
and practices. Some of them are such queer ideas that they call 
for the explanation of the mental expert. They made pyramids 

70 A Short History of the World 

and great mounds, and set up great circles of big stones, perhaps 
to facilitate the astronomical observation of the priests; they 
made mummies of some or all of their dead; they tattooed and cir- 
cumcized; they had the old custom, known as the couvade, of send- 
ing the father to bed and rest when a child was born, and they had 
as a luck symbol the well-known Swastika. 

If we were to make a map of the world with dots to show how 
far these group practices have left their traces, we should make a 
belt along the temperate and sub-tropical coasts of the world from 
Stonehenge and Spain across the world to Mexico and Peru. But 
Africa below the equator, north central Europe, and north Asia 
would show none of these dottings; there lived races who were 
developing along practically independent lines. 



BOUT 10,000 B.C. the geography of the world was very simi- 
lar in its general outline to that of the world to-day. It is 
probable that by that time the great barrier across the 
Straits of Gibraltar that had hitherto banked back the ocean waters 
from the Mediterranean valley had been eaten through, and that 
the Mediterranean was a sea following much the same coastlines as 
it does now. The Caspian Sea was probably still far more extensive 
than it is at present, and it may have been continuous with the 
Black Sea to the north of the Caucasus Mountains. About this 
great Central Asian sea lands that are now steppes and deserts were 
fertile and habitable. Generally it was a moister and more fertile 
world. European Russia was much more a land of swamp and lake 
than it is now, and there may still have been a land connexion 
between Asia and America at Behring Straits. 

It would have been already possible at that time to have dis- 
tinguished the main racial divisions of mankind as we know them 
to-day. Across the warm temperate regions of this rather warmer 
and better-wooded world, and along the coasts, stretched the brown- 
ish peoples of the Heliolithic culture, the ancestors of the bulk of 
the living inhabitants of the Mediterranean world, of the Berbers, 
the Egyptians and of much of the population of South and Eastern 
Asia. This great race had of course a number of varieties. The 
Iberian or Mediterranean or "dark- white" race of the Atlantic 
and Mediterranean coast, the "Hamitic" peoples which include 
the Berbers and Egyptians, the Dravidians, the darker people of 
India, a multitude of East Indian people, many Polynesian races 
and the Maoris are all divisions of various value of this great main 
mass of humanity. Its western varieties are whiter than its eastern. 
In the forests of central and northern Europe a more blonde variety 

72 A Short History of the World 

of men with blue eyes was becoming distinguishable, branching off 
from the main mass of brownish people, a variety which many people 
now speak of as the Nordic race. In the more open regions of north- 
eastern Asia was another differentiation of this brownish humanity 
in the direction of a type with more oblique eyes, high cheek-bones, 
a yellowish skin, and very straight black hair, the Mongolian peo- 
ples. In South Africa, Australia, in many tropical islands in the 
south of Asia were remains of the early negroid peoples. The cen- 
tral parts of Africa were already a region of racial intermixture. 
Nearly all the coloured races of Africa to-day seem to be blends of 
the brownish peoples of the north with a negroid substratum. 

We have to remember that human races can all interbreed freely 
and that they separate, mingle and reunite as clouds do. Human 
races do not branch out like trees with branches that never come 
together again. It is a thing we need to bear constantly in mind, 
this remingling of races at any opportunity. It will save us from 
many cruel delusions and prejudices if we do so. People will use 
such a word as race in the loosest manner, and base the most pre- 
posterous generalizations upon it. They will speak of a "British" 

of Current Idea* of* 


/ I- -I 

(Tt must be borne in mind that 
human races interbreed freely.) 

Primitive Neolithic Civilizations 



Showing a worshipper and a Serpent God. Note the grotesque faces in the writing 

Brit. Mus. 

race or of a "European" race. But nearly all the European nations 
are confused mixtures of brownish, dark-white, white and Mon- 
golian elements. 

It was at the Neolithic phase of human development that peoples 
of the Mongolian breed first made their way into America. Appar- 
ently they came by way of Behring Straits and spread southward. 
They found caribou, the American reindeer, in the north and great 

74 A Short History of the World 

herds of bison in the south. When they reached South America 
there were still living the Glyptodon, a gigantic armadillo, and the 
Megatherium, a monstrous clumsy sloth as high as an elephant. 
They probably exterminated the latter beast, which was as helpless 
as it was big. 

The greater portion of these American tribes never rose above 
a hunting nomadic Neolithic life. They never discovered the use of 
iron, and their chief metal possessions were native gold and copper. 
But in Mexico, Yucatan and Peru conditions existed favourable to 
settled cultivation, and here about 1000 B.C. or so arose very inter- 
esting civilizations of a parallel but different type from the old-world 
civilization. Like the much earlier primitive civilizations of the old 
world these communities displayed a great development of human 
sacrifice about the processes of seed time and harvest; but while in 
the old world, as we shall see, these primary ideas were ultimately 
mitigated, complicated and overlaid by others, in America they 
developed and were elaborated to a very high degree of intensity. 
These American civilized countries were essentially priest-ruled 
countries; their war chiefs and rulers were under a rigorous rule of 
law and omen. 

These priests carried astronomical science to a high level of 
accuracy. They knew their year better than the Babylonians of 
whom we shall presently tell. In Yucatan they had a kind of 
writing, the Maya writing, of the most curious and elaborate char- 
acter. So far as we have been able to decipher it, it was used mainly 
for keeping the exact and complicated calendars upon which the 
priests expended their intelligence. The art of the Maya civiliza- 
tion came to a climax about 700 or 800 A.D. The sculptured work 
of these people amazes the modern observer by its great plastic 
power and its frequent beauty, and perplexes him by a grotesqueness 
and by a sort of insane conventionality and intricacy outside the 
circle of his ideas. There is nothing quite like it in the old world. 
The nearest approach, and that is a remote one, is found in archaic 
Indian carvings. Everywhere there are woven feathers and ser- 
pents twine in and out. Many Maya inscriptions resemble a certain 
sort of elaborate drawing made by lunatics in European asylums, 
more than any other old-world work. It is as if the Maya mind 

Primitive Neolithic Civilizations 


had developed upon a different line from the old-world mind, had 
a different twist to its ideas, was not, by old-world standards, a 
rational mind at all. 

This linking of these aberrant American civilizations to the idea 
of a general mental aberration finds support in their extraordinary 
obsession by the shedding of human blood. The Mexican civiliza- 
tion in particular ran 
blood; it offered thou- 
sands of human victims 
yearly. The cutting 
open of living victims, 
the tearing out of the 
still beating heart, was 
an act that dominated 
the minds and lives of 
these strange priest- 
hoods. The public 
life, the national festiv- 
ities all turned on this 
fantastically horri- 
ble act. 

The ordinary exist- 
ence of the common 
people in these commu- 
nities was very like the 
ordinary existence of 
any other barbaric peas- 
antry. Their pottery, 
weaving and dyeing 
was very good. The 
Maya writing was not 
only carven on stone 

but written and painted upon skins and the like. The European 
and American museums contain many enigmatical Maya manu- 
scripts of which at present little has been deciphered except the 
dates. In Peru there were beginnings of a similar writing but 
they were superseded by a method of keeping records by knotting 


Modelled from drawing by Prof. Rutot 

76 A Short History of the World 

cords. A similar method of mnemonics was in use in China thou- 
sands of years ago. 

In the old world before 4000 or 5000 B.C., that is to say three 
or four thousand years earlier, there were primitive civilizations 
not unlike these American civilizations; civilizations based upon a 
temple, having a vast quantity of blood sacrifices and with an in- 
tensely astronomical priesthood. But in the old world the primi- 
tive civilizations reacted upon one another and developed towards 
the conditions of our own world. In America these primitive civili- 
zations never progressed beyond this primitive stage. Each of 
them was in a little world of its own. Mexico it seems knew little 
or nothing of Peru, until the Europeans came to America. The 
potato, which was the principal food stuff in Peru, was unknown 
in Mexico. 

Age by age these peoples lived and marvelled at their gods and 
made their sacrifices and died. Maya art rose to high levels of 
decorative beauty. Men made love and tribes made war. Drought 
and plenty, pestilence and health, followed one another. The 
priests elaborated their calendar and their sacrificial ritual through 
long centuries, but made little progress in other directions. 



THE old world is a wider, more varied stage than the new. 
By 6000 or 7000 B.C. there were already quasi-civilized 
communities almost at the Peruvian level, appearing in 
various fertile regions of Asia and in the Nile valley. At that time 
north Persia and western Turkestan and south Arabia were all 
more fertile than they are now, and there are traces of very early 
communities in these regions. It is in lower Mesopotamia however 
and in Egypt that there first appear cities, temples, systematic irri- 
gation, and evidences of a social organization rising above the level 
of a mere barbaric village-town. In those days the Euphrates and 
Tigris flowed by separate mouths into the Persian Gulf, and it was 
in the country between them that the Sumerians built their first 
cities. About the same time, for chronology is still vague, the 
great history of Egypt was beginning. 

These Sumerians appear to have been a brownish people with 
prominent noses. They employed a sort of writing that has been 
deciphered, and their language is now known. They had discov- 
ered the use of bronze and they built great tower-like temples of 
sun-dried brick. The clay of this country is very fine; they used 
it to write upon, and so it is that their inscriptions have been pre- 
served to us. They had cattle, sheep, goats and asses, but no 
horses. They fought on foot, in close formation, carrying spears 
and shields of skin. Their clothing was of wool and they shaved 
their heads. 

Each of the Sumerian cities seems generally to have been ar. 
independent state with, a god of its own and priests of its own. 
But sometimes one city would establish an ascendancy over others 
and. exact tribute from their population. A very ancient inscrip- 


A Short History of the World 

tion at Nippur records the "empire," the first recorded empire, of 
the Sumerian city of Erech. Its god and its priest-king claimed an 
authority from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea. 

At first writing was merely an abbreviated method of pictorial 
record. Even before Neolithic times men were beginning to write. 
The Azilian rock pictures to which we have already referred show 
the beginning of the process. Many of them record hunts and ex- 

pedi tions, 
and in most 
of these the 
human fig- 
u r e s are 
drawn. But 
in some the 
would not 
bother with 
head and 
limbs; he 
just indicat- 
ed men by a 
vertical and 
one or two 
From this to 
a conven- 
tional con- 
densed picture writing was an easy transition. In Sumeria, where 
the writing was done on clay with a stick, the dabs of the charac- 
ters soon became unrecognizably unlike the things they stood for, 
but in Egypt where men painted on walls and on strips of the 
papyrus reed (the first paper) the likeness to the thing imitated 
remained. From the fact that the wooden styles used in Sumeria 
made wedge-shaped marks, the Sumerian writing is called cunei- 
form (= wedge-shaped). 


Note the cuneiform characters of the inscription, which records the building of a temple 

to a Sun God 

Sumeria, Early Egypt and Writing 


An important step towards writing was made when pictures 
were used to indicate not the thing represented but some similar 
thing. In the rebus dear to children of a suitable age, this is still 
done to-day. We draw a camp with tents and a bell, and the child 
is delighted to guess that this is the Scotch name Campbell. The 
Sumerian language 
was a language made 
up of accumulated 
syllables rather like 
some contemporary 
Amerindian lan- 
guages, and it lent 
itself very readily to 
this syllabic method 
of writing words ex- 
pressing ideas that 
could not be con- 
veyed by pictures 
directly. Egyptian 
writing underwent 
parallel develop- 
ments. Later on, 
when foreign peoples 
with less distinctly 
syllabled methods of 
speech were to learn 
and use these picture 
scripts they were to 
make those further 
modifications and 
simplifications that 
developed at last 

into alphabetical writing. All the true alphabets of the later 
world derived from a mixture of the Sumerian cuneiform and the 
Egyptian hieroglyphic (priest writing). Later in China there was 
to develop a conventionalized picture writing, but in China it 
never got to the alphabetical stage. 


Recovered from the Tombs at Abydos in 1921 by the British School of Ar- 
chaeology. They give evidence of early form of block printing 


A Short History of the World 

The invention of writing was of very great importance in the 
development of human societies. It put agreements, laws, com- 
mandments on record. It made the growth of states larger than the 
old city states possible. It made a continuous historical conscious- 
ness possible. The command of the priest or king and his seal could 
go far beyond his sight and voice and could survive his death. It is 
interesting to note that in ancient Sumeria seals were greatly used. 

Photo: y. Boyer 
The Pyramid to right, the step Pyramid, is the oldest stone building in the world 

A king or a nobleman or a merchant would have his seal often very 
artistically carved, and would impress it on any clay document he 
wished to authorize. So close had civilization got to printing six 
thousand years ago. Then the clay was dried hard and became 
permanent. For the reader must remember that in the land of Meso- 
potamia for countless years, letters, records and accounts were all 
written on comparatively indestructible tiles. To that fact we owe 
a great wealth of recovered knowledge. 

Bronze, copper, gold, silver and, as a precious rarity, meteoric 
iron were known in both Sumeria and Egypt at a very early stage. 

Daily life in those first city lands of the old world must have been 

Photo: D. McLeish 


Showing how these great monuments dominate the plain 




Photo: D. McLeish 

Sumeria, Early Egypt and Writing 8 3 

very similar in both Egypt and Sumeria. And except for the asses 
and cattle in the streets it must have been not unlike the life in the 
Maya cities of America three or four thousand years later. Most 
of the people in peace time were busy with irrigation and cultivation 
except on days of religious festivity. They had no money and no 
need for it. They managed their small occasional trades by barter. 
The princes and rulers who alone had more than a few possessions 
used gold and silver bars and precious stones for any incidental act 
of trade. The temple dominated life; in Sumeria it was a great 
towering temple that went up to a roof from which the stars were 
observed; in Egypt it was a massive building with only a ground 
floor. In Sumeria the priest ruler was the greatest, most splendid 
of beings. In Egypt however there was one who was raised above 
the priests; he was the living incarnation of the chief god of the land, 
the Pharaoh, the god king. 

There were few changes in the world in those days; men's days 
were sunny, toilsome and conventional. Few strangers came into 
the land and such as did fared uncomfortably. The priest directed 
life according to immemorial rules and watched the stars for seed 
time and marked the omens of the sacrifices and interpreted the 
warnings of dreams. Men worked and loved and died, not un- 
happily, forgetful of the savage past of their race and heedless of its 
future. Sometimes the ruler was benign. Such was Pepi II, who 
reigned in Egypt for ninety years. Sometimes he was ambitious 
and took men's sons to be soldiers and sent them against neighbour- 
ing city states to war and plunder, or he made them toil to build 
great buildings. Such were Cheops and Chephren and Mycerinus, 
who built those vast sepulchral piles, the pyramids at Gizeh. The 
largest of these is 450 feet high and the weight of stone in it is 
4,883,000 tons. All this was brought down the Nile in boats and 
lugged into place chiefly by human muscle. Its erection must have 
exhausted Egypt more than a great war would have done. 



IT was not only in Mesopotamia and the Nile Valley that men were 
settling down to agriculture and the formation of city states in 
the centuries between 6000 and 3000 B.C. Wherever there were 
possibilities of irrigation and a steady all-the-year-round food supply 
men were exchanging the uncertainties and hardships of hunting 
and wandering for the routines of settlement. On the upper Tigris 
a people called the Assyrians were founding cities; in the valleys of 
Asia Minor and on the Mediterranean shores and islands, there were 
small communities growing up to civilization. Possibly parallel 
developments of human life were already going on in favourable 
regions of India and China. In many parts of Europe where there 
were lakes well stocked with fish, little communities of men had long 
settled in dwellings built on piles over the water, and were eking out 
agriculture by fishing and hunting. But over much larger areas of 
the old world no such settlement was possible. The land was too 
harsh, too thickly wooded or too arid, or the seasons too uncertain 
for mankind, with only the implements and science of that age to 
take root. 

For settlement under the conditions of the primitive civilizations 
men needed a constant water supply and warmth and sunshine. 
Where these needs were not satisfied, man could live as a transient, 
as a hunter following his game, as a herdsman following the seasonal 
grass, but he could not settle. The transition from the hunting to 
the herding life may have been very gradual. From following herds 
of wild cattle or (in Asia) wild horses, men may have come to an idea 
of property in them, have learnt to pen them into valleys, have 
fought for them against wolves, wild dogs and other predatory 




A Short History of the World 


These Borneo dwellings are practically counterparts of the homes of European neolithic 
communities 6000 B.C. 

So while the primitive civilizations of the cultivators were grow- 
ing up chiefly in the great river valleys, a different way of living, the 
nomadic life, a life in constant movement to and fro from winter 
pasture to summer pasture, was also growing up. The nomadic 
peoples were on the whole hardier than the agriculturalists; they 
were less prolific and numerous, they had no permanent temples 
and no highly organized priesthood; they had less gear; but the 
reader must not suppose that theirs was necessarily a less highly 
developed way of living on that account. In many ways this free 
life was a fuller life than that of the tillers of the soil. The in- 
dividual was more self-reliant; less of a unit in a crowd. The leader 
was more important; the medicine man perhaps less so. 

Primitive Nomadic Peoples 

Moving over large 
stretches of country the 
nomad took a wider view of 
life. He touched on the 
confines of this settled land 
and that. He was used to 
the sight of strange faces. 
He had to scheme and treat 
for pasture with competing 
tribes. He knew more of 
minerals than the folk upon 
the plough lands because he 
went over mountain passes 
and into rocky places. He 
may have been a better 
metallurgist. Possibly 
bronze and much more prob- 
ably iron smelting were 
nomadic discoveries. Some 
of the earliest implements of 
iron reduced from its ores 
have been found in Central 
Europe far away from the 
early civilizations. 

On the other hand the settled folk had their textiles and their 
pottery and made many desirable things. It was inevitable that as 
the two sorts of life, the agricultural and the nomadic differentiated, 
a certain amount of looting and trading should develop between the 
two. In Sumeria particularly which had deserts and seasonal 


Egyptian wall painting in a 
tomb near ancient Beni Hassan, 
middle Egypt. It depicts the 
arrival of a tribe of Semitic 
Nomads in Egypt about the 
year 1895 B.C 


Excavated 1922 by the British School of Archaeology in Egypt 
from First Dynasty Tombs 

A Short History of the World 

country on either hand it must have been usual to have the nomads 
camping close to the cultivated fields, trading and stealing and per- 
haps tinkering, as gipsies do to this day. (But hens they would not 
steal, because the domestic fowl an Indian jungle fowl originally 
was not domesticated by man until about 1000 B.C.) They would 
bring precious stones and things of metal and leather. If they were 
hunters they would bring skins. They would get in exchange 
pottery and beads and glass, garments and suchlike manufactured 

Three main regions and three main kinds of wandering and im- 
perfectly settled people there were in those remote days of the first 
civilizations in Sumeria and early Egypt. Away in the forests of 

Europe were the 
blonde Nordic peo- 
ples, hunters and 
herdsmen, a lowly 
race. The primitive 
civilizations saw 
very little of this 
race before 1500 B.C. 
Away on the steppes 
of eastern Asia vari- 
ous Mongolian 
tribes, the Hunnish 
peoples, were do- 
mesticating the 

horse and developing a very wide sweeping habit of seasonal move- 
ment between their summer and winter camping places. Possibly 
the Nordic and Hunnish peoples were still separated from one 
another by the swamps of Russia and the greater Caspian Sea of 
that time. For very much of Russia there was swamp and lake. 
In the deserts, which were growing more arid now, of Syria and 
Arabia, tribes of a dark white or brownish people, the Semitic tribes, 
were driving flocks of sheep and goats and asses from pasture to 
pasture. It was these Semitic shepherds and certain more negroid 
people from southern Persia, the Elamites, who were the first nomads 
to come into close contact with the early civilizations. They came 


From an ancient and curiously painted model in the British Museum 


This monarch, son of Sargon I, was a great architect as well as a famous conqueror. 
Discovered in 1898 among the ruins of Susa, Persia 


9 o A Short History of the World 

as traders and as raiders. Finally there arose leaders among them 
with bolder imaginations, and they became conquerors. 

About 2750 B.C. a great Semitic leader, Sargon, had conquered 
the whole Sumerian land and was master of all the world from the 
Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. He was an illiterate bar- 
barian and his people, the Akkadians, learnt the Sumerian writing 
and adopted the Sumerian language as the speech of the officials 
and the learned. The empire he founded decayed after two cen- 
turies, and after one inundation of Elamites a fresh Semitic people, 
the Amorites, by degrees established their rule over Sumeria. They 
made their capital in what had hitherto been a smaH-wp-fiver town, 
Babylon, and their empire is called the first Babylonian Empire. 
It was consolidated by a great king called Hammurabi (circa 
2100 B.C.) who made the earliest code of laws yet known to history. 

The narrow valley of the Nile lies less open to nomadic invasion 
than Mesopotamia, but about the time of Hammurabi occurred a 
successful Semitic invasion of Egypt and a line of Pharaohs was set 
up, the Hyksos or "shepherd kings," which lasted for several cen- 
turies. These Semitic conquerors never assimilated themselves 
with the Egyptians; they were always regarded with hostility as 
foreigners and barbarians; and they were at last expelled by a 
popular uprising about 1600 B.C. 

But the Semites had come into Sumeria for good and all, the two 
races assimilated and the Babylonian Empire became Semitic in its 
language and character. 



THE earliest boats and ships must have come into use some 
twenty-five or thirty thousand years ago. Man was prob- 
ably paddling about on the water with a log of wood or an 
inflated skin to assist him, at latest in the beginnings of the Neolithic 
period. A basketwork boat covered with skin and caulked was used 
in Egypt and Sumeria from the beginnings of our knowledge. Such 
boats are still used there. They are used to this day in Ireland and 
Wales and in Alaska; sealskin boats still make the crossing of Behring 
Straits. The hollow log followed as tools improved. The building 
of boats and then ships came in a natural succession. 

Perhaps the legend of Noah's Ark preserves the memory of some 
early exploit in shipbuilding, just as the story of the Flood, so widely 
distributed among the peoples of the world, may be the tradition 
of the flooding of the Mediterranean basin. 

There were ships upon the Red Sea long before the pyramids 
were built, and there were ships on the Mediterranean and Persian 
Gulf by 7000 B.C. Mostly these were the ships of fishermen, but 
some were already trading and pirate ships for knowing what we 
do of mankind we may guess pretty safely that the first sailors 
plundered where they could and traded where they had to do so. 

The seas on which these first ships adventured were inland seas 
on which the wind blew fitfully and which were often at a dead calm 
for days together, so that sailing did not develop beyond an accessory 
use. It is only in the last four hundred years that the well-rigged, 
ocean-going, sailing ship has developed. The ships of the ancient 
world were essentially rowing ships which hugged the shore and went 
into harbour at the first sign of rough weather. As ships grew into 
big galleys they caused a demand for war captives as galley slaves. 

We have already noted the appearance of the Semitic people as 
wanderers and nomads in the region of Syria and Arabia, and how 
they conquered Sumeria and set up first the Akkadian and then the 
first Babylonian Empire. In the west these same Semitic peoples 

92 A Short History of the World 

were taking to the sea. They set up a string of harbour towns along 
the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean, of which Tyre and Sidon 
were the chief; and by the time of Hammurabi in Babylon, they had 
spread as traders, wanderers and colonizers over the whole Mediter- 
ranean basin. These sea Semites were called the Phoenicians. They 
settled largely in Spain, pushing back the old Iberian Basque popula- 
tion and sending coasting expeditions through the straits of Gibraltar; 
and they set up colonies upon the north coast of Africa. Of Carthage, 
one of these Phoenician cities, we shall have much more to tell later. 

But the Phoenicians were not the first people to have galleys in 
the Mediterranean waters. There was already a series of towns and 
cities among the islands and coasts of that sea belonging to a race or 
races apparently connected by blood and language with the Basques 
to the west and the Berbers and Egyptians to the south, the ^Egean 
peoples. These peoples must not be confused with the Greeks, who 
come much later into our story; they were pre- Greek, but they had 
cities in Greece and Asia Minor, Mycenae and Troy for example, and 
they had a great and prosperous establishment at Cnossos in Crete. 

It is only in the last half century that the industry of excavating 
archaeologists has brought the extent and civilization of the JSgean 
peoples to our knowledge. Cnossos has been most thoroughly 
explored; it was happily not succeeded by any city big enough to 
destroy its ruins, and so it is our chief source of information about 
this once almost forgotten civilization. 

The history of Cnossos goes back as far as the history of Egypt; 
the two countries were trading actively across the sea by 4000 B.C. 
By 2500 B.C., that is between the time of Sargon I and Hammurabi, 
Cretan civilization was at its zenith. 

Cnossos was not so much a town as a great palace for the Cretan 
monarch and his people. It was not even fortified. It was only forti- 
fied later as the Phoenicians grew strong, and as a new and more ter- 
rible breed of pirates, the Greeks, came upon the sea from the north. 

The monarch was called Minos, as the Egyptian monarch was 
called Pharaoh; and he kept his state in a palace fitted with running 
water, with bathrooms and the like conveniences such as we know of 
in no other ancient remains. There he held great festivals and 
shows. There was bull-fighting, singularly like the bull-fighting that 

The First Sea-going Peoples 


still survives in Spain; there was resemblance even in the costumes 
of the bull-fighters; and there were gymnastic displays. The 

Photo: Fred Boissonnas 


women's clothes were remarkably modern in spirit; they wore corsets 
and flounced dresses. The pottery, the textile manufactures, the 
sculpture, painting, jewellery, ivory, metal and inlay work of these 

94 A Short History of the World 

Cretans was often astonishingly beautiful. And they had a system 
of writing, but that still remains to be deciphered. 

This happy and sunny and civilized life lasted for some score of 
centuries. About 2000 B.C. Cnossos and Babylon abounded in 
comfortable and cultivated people who probably led very pleasant 
lives. They had shows and they had religious festivals, they had 
domestic slaves to look after them and industrial slaves to make a 
profit for them. Life must have seemed very secure in Cnossos for 
such people, sunlit and girdled by the blue sea. Egypt of course 
must have appeared rather a declining country in those days under 
the rule of her half-barbaric shepherd kings, and if one took an in- 
terest in politics one must have noticed how the Semitic people 
seemed to be getting everywhere, ruling Egypt, ruling distant 
Babylon, building Nineveh on the upper Tigris, sailing west to the 
Pillars of Hercules (the straits of Gibraltar) and setting up their 
colonies on those distant coasts. 

There were some active and curious minds in Cnossos, because 
later on the Greeks told legends of a certain skilful Cretan artificer, 
Daedalus, who attempted to make some sort of flying machine, 
perhaps a glider, which collapsed and fell into the sea. 

It is interesting to note some of the differences as well as the 
resemblances between the life of Cnossos and our own. To a Cretan 
gentleman of 2500 B.C. iron was a rare metal which fell out of the sky 
and was curious rather than useful for as yet only meteoric iron 
was known, iron had not been obtained from its ores. Compare 
that with our modern state of affairs pervaded by iron everywhere. 
The horse again would be a quite legendary creature to our Cretan, 
a sort of super-ass which lived in the bleak northern lands far away 
beyond the Black Sea. Civilization for him dwelt chiefly in ^Egean 
Greece and Asia Minor, where Lydians and Carians and Trojans 
lived a life and probably spoke languages like his own. There were 
Phoenicians and JSgeans settled in Spain and North Africa, but those 
were very remote regions to his imagination. Italy was still a 
desolate land covered with dense forests; the brown-skinned Etrus- 
cans had not yet gone there from Asia Minor. And one day perhaps 
this Cretan gentleman went down to the harbour and saw a captive 
who attracted his attention because he was very fair-complexioned 

The First Sea-going Peoples 


and had blue eyes. Perhaps our Cretan tried to talk to him and was 
answered in an unintelligible gibberish. This creature came from 
somewhere beyond the Black Sea and seemed to be an altogether 
benighted savage. But indeed he was an Aryan tribesman, of a race 
and culture of which we shall soon have much to tell, and the strange 
gibberish he spoke was to differentiate some day into Sanskrit, 


The painted walls of the Throne Room 

Photo: Fred Boissonnas 

Persian, Greek, Latin, German, English and most of the chief lan- 
guages of the world. 

Such was Cnossos at its zenith, intelligent, enterprising, bright 
and happy. But about 1400 B.C. disaster came perhaps very 
suddenly upon its prosperity. The palace of Minos was destroyed, 
and its ruins have never been rebuilt or inhabited from that day to 
this. We do not know how this disaster occurred. The excavators 
note what appears to be scattered plunder and the marks of the fire. 
But the traces of a very destructive earthquake have also been 
found. Nature alone may have destroyed Cnossos, or the Greeks 
may have finished what the earthquake began. 



THE Egyptians had never submitted very willingly to the rule 
of their Semitic shepherd kings and about 1600 A.D. a vigor- 
ous patriotic movement expelled these foreigners. Fol- 
lowed a new phase or revival for Egypt, a period known to Egyptolo- 
gists as the New Empire. Egypt, which had not been closely 
consolidated before the Hyksos invasion, was now a united country; 
and the phase of subjugation and insurrection left her full of military 
spirit. The Pharaohs became aggressive conquerors. They had 
now acquired the war horse and the war chariot, which the Hyksos 
had brought to them. Under Thothmes III and Amenophis IH 
Egypt had extended her rule into Asia as far as the Euphrates. 

We are entering now upon a thousand years of warfare between 
the once quite separated civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Nile. 
At first Egypt was ascendant. The great dynasties, the Seven- 
teenth Dynasty, which included Thothmes III and Amenophis ITT 
and IV and a great queen Hatasu, and the Nineteenth, when 
Rameses II, supposed by some to have been the Pharaoh of Moses, 
reigned for sixty-seven years, raised Egypt to high levels of pros- 
perity. In between there were phases of depression for Egypt, con- 
quest by the Syrians arid later conquest by the Ethiopians from the 
South. In Mesopotamia Babylon ruled, then the Hittites and the 
Syrians of Damascus rose to a transitory predominance; at one time 
the Syrians conquered Egypt; the fortunes of the Assyrians of Nine- 
veh ebbed and flowed; sometimes the city was a conquered city; 
sometimes the Assyrians ruled in Babylon and assailed Egypt. 
Our space is too limited here to tell of the comings and goings of the 
armies of the Egyptians and of the various Semitic powers of Asia 
Minor, Syria and Mesopotamia. They were armies now provided 
with vast droves of war chariots, for the horse still used only for 


Egypt, Babylon and Assyria 


war and glory had spread by this time into the old civilizations 
from Central Asia. 

Great conquerors appear in the dim light of that distant time 
and pass, Tushratta, King of Mitanni, who captured Nineveh, Tig- 
lath Pileser I of Assyria who conquered Babylon. At last the 
Assyrians became the greatest military power of the time. Tiglath 


Showing statues of Rameses II at entrance 

Pileser III conquered Babylon in 745 B.C. and founded what his- 
torians call the New Assyrian Empire. Iron had also come now into 
civilization out of the north; the Hittites, the precursors of the 
Armenians, had it first and communicated its use to the Assyrians, 
and an Assyrian usurper, Sargon II, armed his troops with it. 
Assyria became the first power to expound the doctrine of blood and 
iron. Sargon's son Sennacherib led an army to the borders of Egypt, 
and was defeated not by military strength but by the plague. 
Sennacherib's grandson Assurbanipal (who is also known in history 

9 8 

A Short History of the World 

by his Greek name of Sardanapalus) did actually conquer Egypt in 
670 B.C. But Egypt was already a conquered country then under 
an Ethiopian dynasty. Sardanapalus simply replaced one conqueror 
by another. 

If one had a series of political maps of this long period of history, 
this interval of ten centuries, we should have Egypt expanding and 

Leading from the Nile to the great Temple of Karnak 

Photo: D. McLeish 

contracting like an amceba under a microscope, and we should see 
these various Semitic states of the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the 
Hittites and the Syrians coming and going, eating each other up 
and disgorging each other again. To the west of Asia Minor there 
would be little ^Egean states like Lydia, whose capital was Sardis, 
and Caria. But after about 1200 B.C. and perhaps earlier, a new 
set of names would come into the map of the ancient world from 

Photo: D. McLeish 



ioo A Short History of the World 

the north-east and from the north-west. These would be the names 
of certain barbaric tribes, armed with iron weapons and using horse- 
chariots, who were becoming a great affliction to the ^Egean and 
Semitic civilizations on the northern borders. They all spoke 
variants of what once must have been the same language, Aryan. 

Round the north-east of the Black and Caspian Seas were com- 
ing the Medes and Persians. Confused with these in the records 
of the time were Scythians and Samatians. From north-east or 
north-west came the Armenians, from the north-west of the sea- 
barrier through the Balkan peninsula came Cimmerians, Phrygians 
and the Hellenic tribes whom now we call the Greeks. They were 
raiders and robbers and plunderers of cities, these Ayrans, east and 
west alike. They were all kindred and similar peoples, hardy herds- 
men who had taken to plunder. In the east they were still only 
borderers and raiders, but in the west they were taking cities and 
driving out the civilized ^Egean populations. The ^Egean peoples 
were so pressed that they were seeking new homes in lands beyond 
the Aryan range. Some were seeking a settlement in the delta of 
the Nile and being repulsed by the Egyptians; some, the Etruscans, 
seem to have sailed from Asia Minor to found a state in the forest 
wildernesses of middle Italy; some built themselves cities upon the 
south-east coasts of the Mediterranean and became later that people 
known in history as the Philistines. 

Of these Aryans who came thus rudely upon the scene of the 
ancient civilizations we will tell more fully in a later section. Here 
we note simply all this stir and emigration amidst the area of the 
ancient civilizations, that was set up by the swirl of the gradual and 
continuous advance of these Aryan barbarians out of the northern 
forests and wildernesses between 1600 and 600 B.C. 

And in a section to follow we must tell also of a little Semitic 
people, the Hebrews, in the hills behind the Phoenician and Philis- 
tine coasts, who began to be of significance in the world towards the 
end of this period. They produced a literature of very great im- 
portance in subsequent history, a collection of books, histories, 
poems, books of wisdom and prophetic works, the Hebrew Bible. 

In Mesopotamia and Egypt the coming of the Aryans did not 
cause fundamental changes until after 600 B.C. The flight of the 

Egypt, Babylon and Assyria 101 

JSgeans before the Greeks and even the destruction of Cnossos must 
have seemed a very remote disturbance to both the citizens of Egypt 
and of Babylon. Dynasties came and went in these cradle states 
of civilization, but the main tenor of human life went on, with a 
slow increase in refinement and complexity age by age. In Egypt 
the accumulated monuments of more ancient times the pyramids 
were already in their third thousand of years and a show for visitors 
just as they are to-day were supplemented by fresh and splendid 
buildings, more particularly in the time of the seventeenth and nine- 
teenth dynasties. The great temples at Karnak and Luxor date 
from this time. All the chief monuments of Nineveh, the great 
temples, the winged bulls with human heads, the reliefs of kings and 

Photo: yacques Boyer 

chariots and lion hunts, were done in these centuries between 1600 
and 600 B.C., and this period also covers most of the splendours of 

Both from Mesopotamia and Egypt we now have abundant 
public records, business accounts, stories, poetry and private corres- 
pondence. We know that life, for prosperous and influential people 
in such cities as Babylon and the Egyptian Thebes, was already 
almost as refined and as luxurious as that of comfortable and pros- 
perous people to-day. Such people lived an orderly and ceremoni- 
ous life in beautiful and beautifully furnished and decorated houses, 
wore richly decorated clothing and lovely jewels; they had feasts 
and festivals, entertained one another with music and dancing, were 
waited upon by highly trained servants, were cared for by doctors 
and dentists. They did not travel very much or very far, but boat- 

102 A Short History of the World 

ing excursions were a common summer pleasure both on the Nile 
and on the Euphrates. The beast of burthen was the ass; the horse 
was still used only in chariots for war and upon occasions of state. 
The mule was still novel and the camel, though it was known in 
Mesopotamia, had not been brought into Egypt. And there were 
few utensils of iron; copper and bronze remained the prevailing 
metals. Fine linen and cotton fabrics were known as well as wool. 
But there was no silk yet. Glass was known and beautifully col- 
oured, but glass things were usually small. There was no clear glass 
and no optical use of glass. People had gold stoppings in their teeth 
but no spectacles on their noses. 

One odd contrast between the life of old Thebes or Babylon and 
modern life was the absence of coined money. Most trade was still 
done by barter. Babylon was financially far ahead of Egypt Gold 
and silver were used for exchange and kept in ingots; and there were 
bankers, before coinage, who stamped their names and the weight 
on these lumps of precious metal. A merchant or traveller would 
carry precious stones to sell to pay for his necessities. Most servants 
and workers were slaves who were paid not money but in kind. As 
money came in slavery 'declined. 

A modern visitor to these crowning cities of the ancient world 
would have missed two very important articles of diet: there were 
no hens and no eggs. A French cook would have found small joy 
in Babylon. These things came from the East somewhere about 
the time of the last Assyrian empire. 

Religion like everything else had undergone great refinement. 
Human sacrifice for instance had long since disappeared; animals or 
bread dummies had been substituted for the victim. (But the 
Phoenicians and especially the citizens of Carthage, their greatest 
settlement in Africa, were accused later of immolating human 
beings.) When a great chief had died in the ancient days it had 
been customary to sacrifice his wives and slaves and break spear and 
bow at his tomb so that he should not go unattended and unarmed 
in the spirit world. In Egypt there survived of this dark tradition 
the pleasant custom of burying small models of house and shop and 
servants and cattle with the dead, models that give us to-day the 
liveliest realization of the safe and cultivated life of these ancient 
people, three thousand years and more ago. 

Egypt, Babylon and Assyria 



Such was the ancient world before the coming of the Aryans out 
of the northern forests and plains. In India and China there were 
parallel developments. In the great valleys of both these regions 
agricultural city states of brownish peoples were growing up, but in 
India they do not seem to have advanced or coalesced so rapidly as 
the city states of Mesopotamia or Egypt. They were nearer the 
level of the ancient Sumerians or of the Maya civilization of America. 
Chinese history has still to be modernized by Chinese scholars and 
cleared of much legendary matter. Probably China at this time was 
in advance of India. Contemporary with the seventeenth dynasty 
in Egypt, there was a dynasty of emperors in China, the Shang 
dynasty, priest emperors over a loose-knit empire of subordinate 
kings. The chief duty of these early emperors was to perform the 
seasonal sacrifices. Beautiful bronze vessels from the time of the 
Shang dynasty still exist, and their beauty and workmanship compel 
us to recognize that many centuries of civilization must have pre- 
ceded their manufacture. 



FOUR thousand years ago, that is to say about 2000 B.C., 
central and south-eastern Europe and central Asia were 
probably warmer, moister and better wooded than they are 
now. In these regions of the earth wandered a group of tribes 
mainly of the fair and blue-eyed Nordic race, sufficiently in touch 
with one another to speak merely variations of one common language 
from the Rhine to the Caspian Sea. At that time they may not 
have been a very numerous people, and their existence was unsus- 
pected by the Babylonians to whom Hammurabi was giving laws, or 
by the already ancient and cultivated land of Egypt which was tasting 
in those days for the first time the bitterness of foreign conquest. 

These Nordic people were destined to play a very important part 
indeed in the world's history. They were a people of the parklands 
and the forest clearings; they had no horses at first but they had 
cattle; when they wandered they put their tents and other gear on 
rough ox waggons; when they" settled for a time they may have made 
huts of wattle and mud. They burnt their important dead; they 
did not bury them ceremoniously as the brunette peoples did. They 
put the ashes of their greater leaders in urns and then made a great 
circular mound about them. These mounds are the "round bar- 
rows" that occur all over north Europe. The brunette people, their 
predecessors, did not burn their dead but buried them in a sitting 
position in elongated mounds; the "long barrows." 

The Aryans raised crops of wheat, ploughing with oxen, but they 
did not settle down by their crops; they would reap and move on. 
They had bronze, and somewhen about 1500 B.C. they acquired iron. 
They may have been the discoverers of iron smelting. And some- 
when vaguely about that time they also got the horse which to 
begin with they used only for draught purposes. Their social life 
did not centre upon a temple like that of the more settled people 
round the Mediterranean, and their chief men were leaders rather 
than priests. They had an aristocratic social order rather than a 



Compare the horses and other animals with the Altamira drawing on p. 64, 
and also with the Greek frieze, p. 140 


106 A Short History of the World 

divine and regal order; from a very early stage they distinguished 
certain families as leaderly and noble. 

They were a very vocal people. They enlivened their wander- 
ings by feasts, at which there was much drunkenness and at which a 
special sort of man, the bards, would sing and recite. They had no 
writing until they had come into contact with civilization, and the 
memories of these bards were their living literature. This use of 
recited language as an entertainment did much to make it a fine and 
beautiful instrument of expression, and to that no doubt the subse- 
quent predominance of the languages derived from Aryan is, in part, 
to be ascribed. Every Aryan people had its legendary history 
crystallized in bardic recitations, epics, sagas and vedas, as they were 
variously called. 

The social life of these people centred about the households of 
their leading men. The hall of the chief where they settled for a 
time was often a very capacious timber building. There were no 
doubt huts for herds and outlying farm buildings; but with most of 
the Aryan peoples this hall was the general centre, everyone went 
there to feast and hear the bards and take part in games and discus- 
sions. Cowsheds and stabling surrounded it. The chief and his 
wife and so forth would sleep on a dais or in an upper gallery; the 
commoner sort slept about anywhere, as people still do in Indian 
households. Except for weapons, ornaments, tools and suchlike 
personal possessions there was a sort of patriarchal communism in 
the tribe. The chief owned the cattle and grazing lands in the 
common interest; forest and rivers were the wild. 

This was the fashion of the people who were increasing and 
multiplying over the great spaces of central Europe and west central 
Asia during the growth of the great civilization of Mesopotamia and 
the Nile, and whom we find pressing upon the heliolithic peoples 
everywhere in the second millennium before Christ. They were 
coming into France and Britain and into Spain. They pushed west- 
ward in two waves. The first of these people who reached Britain 
and Ireland were armed with bronze weapons. They exterminated 
or subjugated the people who had made the great stone monuments 
of Carnac in Brittany and Stonehenge and Avebury in England. 
They reached Ireland, They are called the Goidelic Celts. The 

The Primitive Aryans 



second wave of a closely kindred people, perhaps intermixed with 
other racial elements, brought iron with it into Great Britain, and is 
known as the wave of Brythonic Celts. From them the Welsh derive 
their language. 
Kindred Cel- 
tic peoples were 
pressing south- 
ward into Spain 
and coming into 
contact not only 
with the helio- 
lithic Basque 
people who still 
occupied the 
country but with 
the Semi tic 
Phoenician col- 
onies of the sea 
coast. A closely 
allied series of 
tribes, the Ital- 
ians, were mak- 
ing their way 
down the still 
wild and wooded 
Italian penin- 
sula. They did 
not always con- 
quer. In the 
eighth century 

jj Q Rome at)- 


pears in history, 

a trading town on the Tiber, inhabited by Aryan Latins but under 

the rule of Etruscan nobles and kings. 

At the other extremity of the Aryan range there was a similar 
progress southward of similar tribes. Aryan peoples, speaking 
Sanskrit, had come down through the western passes into North 

PJioto: Underwood <k Underwood 

i city which recent excavations have proved to date from at least as 
early as 5000 B.C., and probably 1000 years earlier 

io8 A Short History of the World 

India long before 1000 B.C. There they came into contact with a 
primordial brunette civilization, the Dravidian civilization, and 
learnt much from it. Other Aryan tribes seem to have spread over 
the mountain masses of Central Asia far to the east of the present 
range of such peoples. In Eastern Turkestan there are still fair, 
blue-eyed Nordic tribes, but now they speak Mongolian tongues. 

Between the Black and Caspian Seas the ancient Hittites had 
been submerged and " Aryanized" by the Armenians before 1000 B.C., 
and the Assyrians and Babylonians were already aware of a new 
and formidable fighting barbarism on the north-eastern frontiers, 
a group of tribes amidst which the Scythians, the Medes and the 
Persians remain as outstanding names. 

But it was through the Balkan peninsula that Aryan tribes made 
their first heavy thrust into the heart of the old-world civilization. 
They were already coming southward and crossing into Asia Minor 
many centuries before 1000 B.C. First came a group of tribes of 
whom the Phrygians were the most conspicuous, and then in succes- 
sion the ^Eolic, the Ionic and the Dorian Greeks. By 1000 B.C. 
they had wiped out the ancient ^Egean civilization both in the main- 
land of Greece and in most of the Greek islands; the cities of Mycenae 
and Tiryns were obliterated and Cnossos was nearly forgotten. 
The Greeks had taken to the sea before 1000 A.D., they had settled in 
Crete and Rhodes, and they were founding colonies in Sicily and the 
south of Italy after the fashion of the Phoenician trading cities that 
were dotted along the Mediterranean coasts. 

So it was, while Tiglath Pileser III and Sargon II and Sarda- 
napalus were ruling in Assyria and fighting with Babylonia and Syria 
and Egypt, the Aryan peoples were learning the methods of civiliza- 
tion and making it over for their own purposes in Italy and Greece 
and north Persia. The theme of history from the ninth century B.C. 
onward for six centuries is the story of how these Aryan peoples 
grew to power and enterprise and how at last they subjugated the 
whole Ancient World, Semitic, Mgean and Egyptian alike. In form 
the Aryan peoples were altogether victorious; but the struggle of 
Aryan, Semitic and Egyptian ideas and methods was continued long 
after the sceptre was in Aryan hands. It is indeed a struggle that 
goes on through all the rest of history and still in a manner continues 
to this day. 



WE have already mentioned how Assyria became a great 
military power under Tiglath Pileser III and under the 
usurper Sargon II. Sargon was not this man's original 
name; he adopted it to flatter the conquered Babylonians by re- 
minding them of that ancient founder of the Akkadian Empire, 
Sargon I, two thousand years before his time. Babylon, for all that 
it was a conquered city, was of greater population and importance 
than Nineveh, and its great god Bel Marduk and its traders and 
priests had to be treated politely. In Mesopotamia in the eighth 
century B.C. we are already far beyond the barbaric days when the 
capture of a town meant loot and massacre. Conquerors sought to 
propitiate and win the conquered. For a century and a half after 
Sargon the new Assyrian empire endured and, as we have noted, 
Assurbanipal (Sardanapalus) held at least lower Egypt. 

But the power and solidarity of Assyria waned rapidly. Egypt 
by an effort threw off the foreigner under a Pharoah Psammeti- 
chus I, and under Necho II attempted a war of conquest in Syria. 
By that time Assyria was grappling with foes nearer at hand, and 
could make but a poor resistance. A Semitic people from south-east 
Mesopotamia, the Chaldeans, combined with Aryan Medes and 
Persians from the north-east against Nineveh, and in 606 B.C. for 
now we are coming down to exact chronology took that city. 

There was a division of the spoils of Assyria. A Median Empire 
was set up in the north under Cyaxares. It included Nineveh, and 
its capital was Ecbatana. Eastward it reached to the borders of 
India. To the south of this in a great crescent was a new Chaldean 
Empire, the Second Babylonian Empire, which rose to a very great 
degree of wealth and power under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar the 
Great (the Nebuchadnezzar of the Bible). The last great days, the 



A Short History of the World 

greatest days of all, for Babylon began. For a time the two Empires 
remained at peace, and the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar was 
married to Cyaxares. 

Meanwhile Necho II was pursuing his easy conquests in Syria. 
He had defeated and slain King Josiah of Judah, a small country 
of which there is more to tell presently, at the battle of Megiddo in 
608 B.C., and he pushed on to the Euphrates to encounter not a deca- 
dent Assyria but a renascent Babylonia. The Chaldeans dealt very 
vigorously with the Egyptians. Necho was routed and driven back 
to Egypt, and the Babylonian frontier pushed down to the ancient 
Egyptian boundaries. 

From 606 until 539 B.C. the Second Babylonian Empire flourished 
insecurely. It flourished so long as it kept the peace with the 
stronger, hardier Median Empire to the north. And during these 
sixty-seven years not only life but learning flourished in the ancient 

Even under the Assyrian monarchs and especially under Sar- 
danapalus, Babylon had been a scene of great intellectual activity. 

The Last Babylonian Empire 

paid Darius a. tribute' 
Of 1000 talents of 


at- its- greattttftr oetentr 

Sardanapalus, though an Assyrian, had been quite Babylon-ized. 
He made a library, a library not of paper but of the clay tablets that 
were used for writing in Mesopotamia since early Sumerian days. 
His collection has been unearthed and is perhaps the most precious 
store of historical material in the world. The last of the Chaldean 
line of Babylonian monarchs, Nabonidus, had even keener literary 
tastes. He patronized antiquarian researches, and when a date was 
worked out by his investigators for the accession of Sargon I he com- 
memorated the fact by inscriptions. But there were many signs 
of disunion in his empire, and he sought to centralize it by bringing a 
number of the various local gods to Babylon and setting up temples 
to them there. This device was to be practised quite successfully by 
the Romans in later times, but in Babylon it roused the jealousy of 
the powerful priesthood of Bel Marduk, the dominant god of the 
Babylonians. They cast about for a possible alternative to Naboni- 
dus and found it in Cyrus the Persian, the ruler of the adjacent 
Median Empire. Cyrus had already distinguished himself by 
conquering Croesus, the rich king of Lydia in Eastern Asia Minor. 


A Short History of the World 

He came up against Babylon, there was a battle outside the walls, 
and the gates of the city were opened to him (538 B.C.) . His soldiers 
entered the city without fighting. The crown prince Belshazzar, 
the son of Nabonidus, was feasting, the Bible relates, when a hand 
appeared and wrote in letters of fire upon the wall these mystical 
words: "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin," which was interpreted by 
the prophet Daniel, whom he summoned to read the riddle, as "God 

has numbered thy kingdom and fin- 
ished it; thou art weighed in the bal- 
ance and found wanting and thy 
kingdom is given to the Medes and 
Persians." Possibly the priests of Bel 
Marduk knew something about that 
writing on the wall. Belshazzar was 
killed that night, says the Bible. 
Nabonidus was taken prisoner, and 
the occupation of the city was so 
peaceful that the services of Bel Mar- 
duk continued without intermission. 

Thus it was the Babylonian and 
Median empires were united. Cam- 
byses, the son of Cyrus, subjugated 
Egypt. Cambyses went mad and 
was accidentally killed, and was pres- 
ently succeeded by Darius the Mede, 
Darius I, the son of Hystaspes, one of 
the chief councillors of Cyrus. 

The Persian Empire of Darius I, 
the first of the new Aryan empires in 
the seat of the old civilizations, was 
the greatest empire the world had hitherto seen. It included all 
Asia Minor and Syria, all the old Assyrian and Babylonian empires, 
Egypt, the Caucasus and Caspian regions, Media, Persia, and it 
extended into India as far as the Indus. Such an empire was 
possible because the horse and rider and the chariot and the made- 
road had now been brought into the world. Hitherto the ass and 
ox and the camel for desert use had afforded the swiftest method of 

PTioto: Miss y. Biggs 
From the ruins of Persepolis 

The capital city of the Persian Empire; burnt by Alexander the Great 

Photo: Major W. y. r. 

Photo: Major TV. y. P. ttoaa. 


U4 A Short History of the World 

transport. Great arterial roads were made by the Persian rulers 
to hold their new empire, and post horses were always in waiting 
for the imperial messenger or the traveller with an official permit. 
Moreover the world was now beginning to use coined money, which 
greatly facilitated trade and intercourse. But the capital of this 
vast empire was no longer Babylon. In the long run the priest- 
hood of Bel Marduk gained nothing by their treason. Babylon 
though still important was now a declining city, and the great cities 
of the new empire were Persepolis and Susa and Ecbatana. The 
capital was Susa. Nineveh was already abandoned and sinking 
into ruins. 



AD now we can tell of the Hebrews, a Semitic people, not so 
important in their own time as in their influence upon the 
later history of the world. They were settled in Judea long 
before 1000 B.C., and their capital city after that time was Jerusalem. 
Their story is interwoven with that of the great empires on either 
side of them, Egypt to the south and the changing empires of Syria, 
Assyria and Babylon to the north. Their country was an inevitable 
high road between these latter powers and Egypt. 

Their importance in the world is due to the fact that they pro- 
duced a written literature, a world history, a collection of laws, 
chronicles, psalms, books of wisdom, poetry and fiction and political 
utterances which became at last what Christians know as the Old 
Testament, the Hebrew Bible. This literature appears in history 
in the fourth or fifth century B.C. 

Probably this literature was first put together in Babylon. We 
have already told how the Pharaoh, Necho II, invaded the Assyrian 
Empire while Assyria was fighting for life against Medes, Persians 
and Chaldeans. Josiah King of Judah opposed him, and was de- 
feated and slain at Megiddo (608 B.C.). Judah became a tributary 
to Egypt, and when Nebuchadnezzar the Great, the new Chaldean 
king in Babylon, rolled back Necho into Egypt, he attempted to 
manage Judah by setting up puppet kings in Jerusalem. The 
experiment failed, the people massacred his Babylonian officials, 
and he then determined to break up this little state altogether, 
which had long been playing off Egypt against the northern empire. 
Jerusalem was sacked and burnt, and the remnant of the people was 
carried off captive to Babylon. 


n6 A Short History of the World 

There they remained until Cyrus took Babylon (538 B.C.). He 
then collected them together and sent them back to resettle their 
country and rebuild the walls and temple of Jerusalem. 

Before that time the Jews do not seem to have been a very civi- 
lized or united people. Probably only a very few of them could read 
or write. In their own history one never hears of the early books of 
the Bible being read; the first mention of a book is in the time of 
Josiah. The Babylonian captivity civilized them and consolidated 
them. They returned aware of their own literature, an acutely self- 
conscious and political people. 

Their Bible at that time seems to have consisted only of the 
Pentateuch, that is to say the first five books of the Old Testament 
as we know it. In addition, as separate books they already had 
many of the other books that have since been incorporated with the 
Pentateuch into the present Hebrew Bible, Chronicles, the Psalms 
and Proverbs for example. 

The accounts of the Creation of the World, of Adam and Eve and 
of the Flood, with which the Bible begins, run closely parallel with 
similar Babylonian legends ; they seem to have been part of the com- 
mon beliefs of all the Semitic peoples. So too the stories of Moses 
and of Samson have Sumerian and Babylonian parallels. But with 
the story of Abraham and onward begins something more special 
to the Jewish race. 

Abraham may have lived as early as the days of Hammurabi in 
Babylon. He was a patriarchal Semitic nomad. To the book of 
Genesis the reader must go for the story of his wanderings and for the 
stories of his sons and grandchildren and how they became captive 
in the Land of Egypt. He travelled through Canaan, and the God 
of Abraham, says the Bible story, promised this smiling land of pros- 
perous cities to him and to his children. 

And after a long sojourn in Egypt and after fifty years of wander- 
ing in the wilderness under the leadership of Moses, the children of 
Abraham, grown now to a host of twelve tribes, invaded the land of 
Canaan from the Arabian deserts to the East. They may have 
done this somewhen between 1600 B.C. and 1300 B.C.; there are no 
Egyptian records of Moses nor of Canaan at this time to help out the 
story. But at any rate they did not succeed in conquering any 

The Early History of the Jews 


more than the 
hilly back- 
grounds of 
the promised 
land. The 
coast was now 
in the hands, 
not of the 
but of new- 
comers, those 
^Egean peo- 
ples, the Phi- 
listines ; and 
their cities, 
Gaza, Gath, 
Ashdod, As- 
pa success- 
fully with- 
stood the 
Hebrew at- 
tack. For 
many genera- 
tions the 
children of 
Abraham re- 
mained an ob- 
scure people 
of the hilly 
back country 
engaged in 

incessant bickerings with the Philistines and with the kindred tribes 
about them, the Moabites, the Midianites and so forth. The 
reader will find in the book of Judges a record of their struggles 
and disasters during this period. For very largely it is a record of 
disasters and failures frankly told. 


fliZL country shadzd 

"Route, from. Phoenicia, 
to the. ~Red Sea, across 
Palestine,. . . . -H 

[The distance- from, tyre, to 
Jerusalem is roughly 1OO 
miles about tfiat of London 
to ^BpLstoL Tram. Tyre to the 
~Red Sea. is about uiz same, 
distance, as from, London* to 

5 n a, i. 


A Short History of the World 

For most of this period the Hebrews were ruled, so far as there 
was any rule among them, by priestly judges selected by the elders 
of the people, but at last somewhen towards 1000 B.C. they chose 
themselves a king, Saul, to lead them in battle. But Saul's leading 
was no great improvement upon the leading of the Judges; he 
perished under the hail of Philistine arrows at the battle of Mount 
Gilboa, his armour went into the temple of the Philistine Venus, and 
his body was nailed to the walls of Beth-shan. 

His successor David was more successful and more politic. With 

David dawned 
the only period 
of prosperity the 
Hebrew peoples 
were ever to 
know. It was 
based on a close 
alliance with the 
Phoenician city 
of Tyre, whose 
King Hiram 
seems to have 
been a man of 
very great intel- 
ligence and en- 
terprise. He 
wished to secure 
a trade route to 
the Red Sea 
through the He- 
brewhill country. 
Normally Phos- 
nician trade went 
to the Red Sea 
by Egypt, but 
Egypt was in a 
T, , , v fAt ; VndeTWO * * UndeM state of profound 


Beneath which are the remains of a great palace of Nebuchadnezzar QlSOrQCr at LillS 

The Early History of the Jews 119 

time; there may have been other obstructions to Phoenician trade 
along this line, and at any rate Hiram established the very closest 
relations both with David and with his son and successor Solomon. 
Under Hiram's auspices the walls, palace and temple of Jerusalem 
arose, and in return Hiram built and launched his ships on the Red 
Sea. A very considerable trade passed northward and southward 
through Jerusalem. And Solomon achieved a prosperity and mag- 
nificence unprecedented in the experience of his people. He was 
even given a daughter of Pharaoh in marriage. 

But it is well to keep the proportion of things in mind. At the 
climax of his glories Solomon was only a little subordinate king in a 
little city. His power was so transitory that within a few years of 
his death, Shishak the first Pharaoh of the twenty-second dynasty, 
had taken Jerusalem and looted most of its splendours. The ac- 
count of Solomon's magnificence given in the books of Kings and 
Chronicles is questioned by many critics. They say that it was 
added to and exaggerated by the patriotic pride of later writers. 
But the Bible account read carefully is not so overwhelming as it 
appears at the first reading. Solomon's temple, if one works out the 
measurements, would go inside a small suburban church, and his 
fourteen hundred chariots cease to impress us when we learn from an 
Assyrian monument that his successor Ahab sent a contingent of 
two thousand to the Assyrian army. It is also plainly manifest 
from the Bible narrative that Solomon spent himself in display and 
overtaxed and overworked his people. At his death the northern 
part of his kingdom broke off from Jerusalem and became the 
independent kingdom of Israel. Jerusalem remained the capital 
city of Judah. 

The prosperity of the Hebrew people was short-lived. Hiram 
died, and the help of Tyre ceased to strengthen Jerusalem. Egypt 
grew strong again. The history of the kings of Israel and the kings 
of Judah becomes a history of two little states ground between, first, 
Syria, then Assyria and then Babylon to the north and Egypt to the 
south. It is a tale of disasters and of deliverances that only delayed 
disaster. It is a tale of barbaric kings ruling a barbaric people. In 
721 B.C. the kingdom of Israel was swept away into captivity by the 
Assyrians and its people utterly lost to history. Judah struggled 

Photo: Underwood & Underwood 


The bulls are in richly coloured enamel on baked brick 
1 2O 

The Early History of the Jews 121 

on until in 604 B.C., as we have told, it shared the fate of Israel. 
There may be details open to criticism in the Bible story of Hebrew 
history from the days of the Judges onward, but on the whole it is 
evidently a true story which squares with all that has been learnt 
in the excavation of Egypt and Assyria and Babylon during the past 

It was in Babylon that the Hebrew people got their history to- 
gether and evolved their tradition. The people who came back to 
Jerusalem at the command of Cyrus were a very different people in 
spirit and knowledge from those who had gone into captivity. They 
had learnt civilization. In the development of their peculiar charac- 
ter a very great part was played by certain men, a new sort of men, 
the Prophets, to whom we must now direct our attention. These 
Prophets mark the appearance of new and remarkable forces in the 
steady development of human society. 



THE fall of Assyria and Babylon were only the first of a series 
of disasters that were to happen to the Semitic peoples. In 
the seventh century B.C. it would have seemed as though 
the whole civilized world was to be dominated by Semitic rulers. 
They ruled the great Assyrian empire and they had conquered Egypt; 
Assyria, Babylon, Syria were all Semitic, speaking languages that 
were mutually intelligible. The trade of the world was in Semitic 
hands. Tyre, Sidon, the great mother cities of the Phoenician coast, 
had thrown out colonies that grew at last to even greater proportion 
in Spain, Sicily and Africa. Carthage, founded before 800 B.C., had 
risen to a population of more than a million. It was for a time the 
greatest city on earth. Its ships went to Britain and out into the 
Atlantic. They may have reached Madeira. We have already 
noted how Hiram co-operated with Solomon to build ships on the 
Red Sea for the Arabian and perhaps for the Indian trade. In the 
time of the Pharaoh Necho, a Phoenician expedition sailed completely 
round Africa. 

At that time the Aryan peoples were still barbarians. Only 
the Greeks were reconstructing a new civilization of the ruins of 
the one they had destroyed, and the Medes were becoming "for- 
midable," as an Assyrian inscription calls them, in central Asia. 
In 800 B.C. no one could have prophesied that before the third cen- 
tury B.C. every trace of Semitic dominion would be wiped out by 
Aryan-speaking conquerors, and that everywhere the Semitic peoples 
would be subjects or tributaries or scattered altogether. Every- 
where except in the northern deserts of Arabia, where the Bedouin 
adhered steadily to the nomadic way of life, the ancient way of life 
of the Semites before Sargon I and his Akkadians went down to 
conquer Sumeria. But the Arab Bedouin were never conquered 
by Aryan masters. 


Priests and Prophets in Judea 123 

Now of all these civilized Semites who were beaten and overrun 
in these five eventful centuries one people only held together and 
clung to its ancient traditions and that was this little people, the 
Jews, who were sent back to build their city of Jerusalem by Cyrus 
the Persian. And they were able to do this, because they had got 
together this literature of theirs, their Bible, in Babylon. It is not 
so much the Jews who made the Bible as the Bible which made the 
Jews. Running through this Bible were certain ideas, different 
from the ideas of the people about them, very stimulating and sus- 
taining ideas, to which they were destined to cling through five and 
twenty centuries of hardship, adventure and oppression. 

Foremost of these Jewish ideas was this, that their God was in- 
visible and remote, an invisible God in a temple not made with 
hands, a Lord of Righteousness throughout the earth. All other 
peoples had national gods embodied in images that lived in temples. 
If the image was smashed and the temple razed, presently that god 
died out. But this was a new idea, this God of the Jews, in the 
heavens, high above priests and sacrifices. And this God of Abra- 
ham, the Jews believed, had chosen them to be his peculiar people, 
to restore Jerusalem and make it the capital of Righteousness in 
the World. They were a people exalted by their sense of a common 
destiny. This belief saturated them all when they returned to 
Jerusalem after the captivity in Babylon. 

Is it any miracle that in their days of overthrow and subjugation 
many Babylonians and Syrians and so forth and later on many 
Phoenicians, speaking practically the same language and having 
endless customs, habits, tastes and traditions in common, should be 
attracted by this inspiring cult and should seek to share in its fellow- 
ship and its promise? After the fall of Tyre, Sidon, Carthage and 
the Spanish Phoenician cities, the Phoenicians suddenly vanish from 
history; and as suddenly we find, not simply in Jerusalem but in 
Spain, Africa, Egypt, Arabia, the East, wherever the Phoenicians 
had set their feet, communities of Jews. And they were all held 
together by the Bible and by the reading of the Bible. Jerusalem 
was from the first only their nominal capital ; their real city was this 
book of books. This is a new sort of thing in history. It is some- 
thing of which the seeds were sown long before, when the Sumerians 

I2 4 

A Short History of the World 

and Egyptians began to turn their hieroglyphics into writing. The 
Jews were a new thing, a people without a king and presently with- 
out a temple (for as we shall tell Jerusalem itself was broken up 
in 70 A.D.), held together and consolidated out of heterogeneous 
elements by nothing but the power of the written word. 

And this mental welding of the Jews was neither planned nor 
foreseen nor done by either priests or statesmen. Not only a new 
kind of community but a new kind of man comes into history with 
the development of the Jews. In the days of Solomon the Hebrews 
looked like becoming a little people just like any other little people 
of that time clustering around court and temple, ruled by the wis- 
dom of the priest and led by the ambition of the king. But already, 
the reader may learn from the Bible, this new sort of man of which 
we speak, the Prophet, was in evidence. 

As troubles thicken round the divided Hebrews the importance 
of these Prophets increases. 

What were these Prophets? They were men of the most diverse 
origins. The Prophet Ezekiel was of the priestly caste and the 
Prophet Amos wore the goatskin mantle of a shepherd, but all had 
this in common, that they gave allegiance to no one but to the God 
of Righteousness and that they spoke directly to the people. They 


This obelisk (in the British Museum) of the King of Assyria mentions, in cuneiform, "Jehu the son of 
Omri." Panel showing Jewish captives bringing tribute 

Priests and Prophets in Judea 125 


Captive Princes making obeisance to Shalmaneser II 

came without licence or consecration. "Now the word of the Lord 
came unto me;" that was the formula. They were intensely 
political. They exhorted the people against Egypt, "that broken 
reed," or against Assyria or Babylon; they denounced the indolence 
of the priestly order or the flagrant sins of the King. Some of them 
turned their attention to what we should now call "social reform." 
The rich were "grinding the faces of the poor," the luxurious were 
consuming the children's bread; wealthy people made friends with 
and imitated the splendours and vices of foreigners; and this was 
hateful to Jehovah, the God of Abraham, who would certainly 
punish this land. 

These fulminations were written down and preserved and 
studied. They went wherever the Jews went, and wherever they 
went they spread a new religious spirit. They carried the common 
man past priest and temple, past court and king and brought him 
face to face with the Rule of Righteousness. That is their supreme 
importance in the history of mankind. In the great utterances of 
Isaiah the prophetic voice rises to a pitch of splendid anticipation 
and foreshadows the whole earth united and at peace under one God. 
Therein the Jewish prophecies culminate. 

All the Prophets did not speak in this fashion, and the intelligent 
reader of the prophetic books will find much hate in them, much 
prejudice, and much that will remind him of the propaganda pam- 

i26 A Short History of the World 

phlets of the present time. Nevertheless it is the Hebrew Prophets of 
the period round and about the Babylonian captivity who mark the 
appearance of a new power in the world, the power of individual 
moral appeal, of an appeal to the free conscience of mankind against 
the fetish sacrifices and slavish loyalties that had hitherto bridled 
and harnessed our race. 



NOW while after Solomon (whose reign was probably about 
960 B.C.) the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah were 
suffering destruction and deportation, and while the Jewish 
people were developing their tradition in captivity in Babylon, an- 
other great power over the human mind, the Greek tradition, was 
also arising. While the Hebrew prophets were working out a new 
sense of direct moral responsibility between the people and an eter- 
nal and universal God of Right, the Greek philosophers were train- 
ing the human mind in a new method and spirit of intellectual 

The Greek tribes as we have told were a branch of the Aryan- 
speaking stem. They had come down among the ^Egean cities and 
islands some centuries before 1000 B.C. They were probably already 
in southward movement before the Pharaoh Thothmes hunted his 
first elephants beyond the conquered Euphrates. For in those days 
there were elephants in Mesopotamia and lions in Greece. 

It is possible that it was a Greek raid that burnt Cnossos, but 
there are no Greek legends of such a victory though there are stories 
of Minos and his palace (the Labyrinth) and of the skill of the Cre- 
tan artificers. 

Like most of the Aryans these Greeks had singers and reciters 
whose performances were an important social link, and these handed 
down from the barbaric beginnings of their people two great epics, 
the Iliad, telling how a league of Greek tribes besieged and took and 
sacked the town of Troy in Asia Minor, and the Odyssey, being a long 
adventure story of the return of the sage captain, Odysseus, from 
Troy to his own island. These epics were written down some when 
in the eighth or seventh century B.C., when the Greeks had acquired 
the use of an alphabet from their more civilized neighbours, but they 


Photo: Srbah * yonlllier 


Note the progress in plastic power from the earlier wooden statue on left 


The Greeks 129 

are supposed to have been in existence very much earlier. Formerly 
they were ascribed to a particular blind bard, Homer, who was sup- 
posed to have sat down and composed them as Milton composed 
Paradise Lost. Whether there really was such a poet, whether he 
composed or only wrote down and polished these epics and so forth, 
is a favourite quarrelling ground for the erudite. We need not con- 
cern ourselves with such bickerings here. The thing that matters 
from our point of view is that the Greeks were in possession of their 
epics in the eighth century B.C., and that they were a common 
possession and a link between their various tribes, giving them a 
sense of fellowship as against the outer barbarians. They were a 
group of kindred peoples linked by the spoken and afterwards by the 
written word, and sharing common ideals of courage and behaviour. 

The epics showed the Greeks a barbaric people without iron, 
without writing, and still not living in cities. They seem to have 
lived at first in open villages of huts around the halls of their chiefs 
outside the ruins of the JEgean cities they had destroyed. Then 
they began to wall their cities and to adopt the idea of temples from 
the people they had conquered. It has been said that the cities of 
the primitive civilizations grew up about the altar of some tribal 
god, and that the wall was added; in the cities of the Greeks the 
wall preceded the temple. They began to trade and send out colo- 
nies. By the seventh century B.C. a new series of cities had grown 
up in the valleys and islands of Greece, forgetful of the ^Egean cities 
and civilization that had preceded them; Athens, Sparta, Corinth, 
Thebes, Samos, Miletus among the chief. There were already 
Greek settlements along the coast of the Black Sea and in Italy and 
Sicily. The heel and toe of Italy was called Magna Graecia. Mar- 
seilles was a Greek town established on the site of an earlier Phoeni- 
cian colony. 

Now countries which are great plains or which have as a chief 
means of transport some great river like the Euphrates or Nile tend 
to become united under some common rule. The cities of Egypt 
and the cities of Sumeria, for example, ran together under one system 
of government. But the Greek peoples were cut up among islands 
and mountain valleys; both Greece and Magna Graecia are very 
mountainous; and the tendency was all the other way. When the 


A Short History of the World 

Greeks come into history they are divided up into a number of little 
states which showed no signs of coalescence. They are different 
even in race. Some consist chiefly of citizens of this or that Greek 
tribe, Ionic, JSolian or Doric; some have a mingled population of 
Greeks and descendants of the pre-Greek "Mediterranean" folk; 
some have an unmixed free citizenship of Greeks lording it over an 
enslaved conquered population like the "Helots" in Sparta. In 
some the old leaderly Aryan families have become a close aristocracy; 

Photo: Fred Boissonnas 

in some there is a democracy of all the Aryan citizens; in some there 
are elected or even hereditary kings, in some usurpers or tyrants. 

And the same geographical conditions that kept the Greek states 
divided and various, kept them small. The largest states were 
smaller than many English counties, and it is doubtful if the popula- 
tion of any of their cities ever exceeded a third of a million. Few 
came up even to 50,000. There were unions of interest and sym- 
pathy but no coalescences. Cities made leagues and alliances as 

The Greeks 131 

trade increased, and small cities put themselves under the protection 
of great ones. Yet all Greece was held together in a certain com- 
munity of feeling by two things, by the epics and by the custom of 
taking part every fourth year in the athletic contests at Olympia. 
This did not prevent wars and feuds, but it mitigated something of 
the savagery of war between them, and a truce protected all travel- 
lers to and from the games. As time went on the sentiment of a 
common heritage grew and the number of states participating in the 
Olympic games increased until at last not only Greeks but com- 
petitors from the closely kindred countries of Epirus and Macedonia 
to the north were admitted. 

The Greek cities grew in trade and importance, and the quality of 
their civilization rose steadily in the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. 
Their social life differed in many interesting points from the social 
life of the Mgean and river valley civilizations. They had splendid 
temples but the priesthood was not the great traditional body it was 
in the cities of the older world, the repository of all knowledge, the 
storehouse of ideas. They had leaders and noble families, but no 
quasi-divine monarch surrounded by an elaborately organized court. 
Rather their organization was aristocratic, with leading families 
which kept each other in order. Even their so-called " democracies " 
were aristocratic; every citizen had a share in public affairs and came 
to the assembly in a democracy, but everybody was not a citizen. 
The Greek democracies were not like our modern "democracies" 
in which everyone has a vote. Many of the Greek democracies had 
a few hundred or a few thousand citizens and then many thousands 
of slaves, freedmen and so forth, with no share in public affairs. 
Generally in Greece affairs were in the hands of a community of sub- 
stantial men. Their kings and their tyrants alike were just men set 
in front of other men or usurping a leadership; they were not quasi- 
divine overmen like Pharaoh or Minos or the monarchs of Mesopo- 
tamia. Both thought and government therefore had a freedom 
under Greek conditions such as they had known in none of the older 
civilizations. The Greeks had brought down into cities the indi- 
vidualism, the personal initiative of the wandering life of the north- 
ern parklands. They were the first republicans of importance in 


A Short History of the World 

And we find that as they emerge from a condition of barbaric 
warfare a new thing becomes apparent in their intellectual life. 
We find men who are not priests seeking and recording knowledge 
and enquiring into the mysteries of life and being, in a way that has 
hitherto been the sublime privilege of priesthood or the presumptu- 

Photo: AHnarl 


ous amusement of kings. We find already in the sixth century B.C. 
perhaps while Isaiah was still prophesying in Babylon such men 
as Thales and Anaximander of Miletus and Heraclitus of Ephesus, 
who were what we should now call independent gentlemen, giving 
their minds to shrewd questionings of the world in which we live, 
asking what its real nature was, whence it came and what its destiny 
might be, and refusing all ready-made or evasive answers. Of 
these questionings of the universe by the Greek mind, we shall 
have more to say a little later in this history. These Greek enquirers 

The Greeks 133 

who begin to be remarkable in the sixth century B.C. are the first 
philosophers, the first "wisdom-lovers," in the world. 

And it may be noted here how important a century this sixth 
century B.C. was in the history of humanity. For not only were 
these Greek philosophers beginning the research for clear ideas about 
this universe and man's place in it and Isaiah carrying Jewish 
prophecy to its sublimest levels, but as we shall tell later Gautama 
Buddha was then teaching in India and Confucius and Lao Tse in 
China. From Athens to the Pacific the human mind was astir. 



WHILE the Greeks in the cities in Greece, South Italy and 
Asia Minor were embarking upon free intellectual 
enquiry and while in Babylon and Jerusalem the last of 
the Hebrew prophets were creating a free conscience for mankind, 
two adventurous Aryan peoples, the Medes and the Persians, were in 
possession of the civilization of the ancient world and were making a 
great empire, the Persian empire, which was far larger in extent than 
any empire the world had seen hitherto. Under Cyrus, Babylon and 
the rich and ancient civilization of Lydia had been added to the 
Persian rule; the Phoenician cities of the Levant and all the Greek 
cities in Asia Minor had been made tributary, Cambyses had sub- 
jected Egypt, and Darius I, the Mede, the third of the Persian rulers 
(521 B.C.), found himself monarch as it seemed of all the world. 
His couriers rode with his decrees from the Dardanelles to the Indus 
and from Upper Egypt to Central Asia. 

The Greeks in Europe, it is true, Italy, Carthage, Sicily and the 
Spanish Phoenician settlements, were not under the Persian Peace; 
but they treated it with respect and the only people who gave any 
serious trouble were the old parent hordes of Nordic people in South 
Russia and Central Asia, the Scythians, who raided the northern 
and north-eastern borders. 

Of course the population of this great Persian empire was not a 
population of Persians. The Persians were only the small conquer- 
ing minority of this enormous realm. The rest of the population 
was what it had been before the Persians came from time imme- 
morial, only that Persian was the administrative language. Trade 
and finance were still largely Semitic, Tyre and Sidon as of old were 
the great Mediterranean ports and Semitic shipping plied upon the 
seas. But many of these Semitic merchants and business people as 


The Wars of the Greeks and Persians 135 


Showing Greek merchant vessels with sails and oars 

Brit. Mvs. 

they went from place to place already found a sympathetic and con- 
venient common history in the Hebrew tradition and the Hebrew 
scriptures. A new element which was increasing rapidly in this 
empire was the Greek element. The Greeks were becoming serious 
rivals to the Semites upon the sea, and their detached and vigorous 
intelligence made them useful and unprejudiced officials. 

It was on account of the Scythians that Darius I invaded Europe. 
He wanted to reach South Russia, the homeland of the Scythian 
horsemen. He crossed the Bosphorus with a great army and marched 
through Bulgaria to the Danube, crossed this by a bridge of boats 
and pushed far northward. His army suffered terribly. It was 
largely an infantry force and the mounted Scythians rode all round 
it, cut off its supplies, destroyed any stragglers and never came to 
a pitched battle. Darius was forced into an inglorious retreat. 

He returned himself to Susa but he left an army in Thrace and 
Macedonia, and Macedonia submitted to Darius. Insurrections of 
the Greek cities in Asia followed this failure, and the European 
Greeks were drawn into the contest. Darius resolved upon the sub- 
jugation of the Greeks in Europe. With the Phoenician fleet at his 
disposal he was able to subdue one island after another, and finally 
in 490 B/C. he made his main attack upon Athens. A considerable 
Armada sailed from the ports of Asia Minor and the eastern Mediter- 
ranean, and the expedition landed its troops at Marathon to the 
north of Athens. There they were met and signally defeated by the 

i 3 6 A Short History of the World 

An extraordinary thing happened at this time. The bitterest 
rival of Athens in Greece was Sparta, but now Athens appealed to 
Sparta, sending a herald, a swift runner, imploring the Spartans 
not to let Greeks become slaves to barbarians. This runner (the 
prototype of all "Marathon" runners) did over a hundred miles 
of broken country in less than two days. The Spartans responded 
promptly and generously; but when, in three days, the Spartan 
force reached Athens, there was nothing for it to do but to view the 
battlefield and the bodies of the defeated Persian soldiers. The 
Persian fleet had returned to Asia. So ended the first Persian 
attack on Greece. 

The next was much more impressive. Darius died soon after 
the news of his defeat at Marathon reached him, and for four years 
his son and successor, Xerxes, prepared a host to crush the Greeks. 
For a time terror united all the Greeks. The army of Xerxes was 
certainly the greatest that had hitherto been assembled in the world. 
It was a huge assembly of discordant elements. It crossed the 
Dardanelles, 480 B.C., by a bridge of boats; and along the coast 
as it advanced moved an equally miscellaneous fleet carrying sup- 
plies. At the narrow pass of Thermopylae a small force of 1400 
men under the Spartan Leonidas resisted this multitude, and after 
a fight of unsurpassed heroism was completely destroyed. Every 
man was killed. But the losses they inflicted upon the Persians 
were enormous, and the army of Xerxes pushed on to Thebes and 
Athens in a chastened mood. Thebes surrendered and made terms. 
The Athenians abandoned their city and it was burnt. 

Greece seemed in the hands of the conqueror, but again came 
victory against the odds and all expectations. The Greek fleet, 
though not a third the size of the Persian, assailed it in the bay of 
Salamis and destroyed it. Xerxes found himself and his immense 
army cut off from supplies and his heart failed him. He retreated 
to Asia with one half of his army, leaving the rest to be defeated at 
Platea (479 B.C.) what time the remnants of the Persian fleet were 
hunted down by the Greeks and destroyed at Mycalse in Asia Minor. 

The Persian danger was at an end. Most of the Greek cities in 
Asia became free. All this is told in great detail and with much 
picturesqueness in the first of written histories, the History of 

PJioto: Fred Botssonnas 




A Short History of the World 

Photo: Fred Boissonnas 

Herodotus. This Herodotus was born about 484 B.C. in the Ionian city 
of Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, and he visited Babylon and Egypt 
in his search for exact particulars. From Mycalse onward Persia 
sank into a confusion of dynastic troubles. Xerxes was murdered 
in 465 B.C. and rebellions in Egypt, Syria and Media broke up the 
brief order of that mighty realm. The history of Herodotus lays 
stress on the weakness of Persia. This history is indeed what we 
should now call propaganda propaganda for Greece to unite and 
conquer Persia. Herodotus makes one character, Aristagoras, go 
to the Spartans with a map of the known world and say to them: 
"These Barbarians are not valiant in fight. You on the other hand 
have now attained the utmost skill in war. . . . No other nations 
in the world have what they possess: gold, silver, bronze, embroi- 
dered garments, beasts and slaves. All this you might have for your- 
selves, if you so desired." 



THE century and a half that followed the defeat of Persia was 
one of very great splendour for the Greek civilization. True 
that Greece was torn by a desperate struggle for ascendancy 
between Athens, Sparta and other states (the Peloponnesian War 431 
to 404 B.C.) and that in 338 B.C. the Macedonians became virtually 
masters of Greece; nevertheless during this period the thought and 
the creative and artistic impulse of the Greeks rose to levels that 
made their achievement a lamp to mankind for all the rest of history. 

The head and centre of this mental activity was Athens. For 
over thirty years (466 to 428 B.C.) Athens was dominated by a man 
of great vigour and liberality of mind, Pericles, who set himself to 
rebuild the city from the ashes to which the Persians had reduced 
it. The beautiful ruins that still glorify Athens to-day are chiefly 
the remains of this great effort. And he did not simply rebuild a 
material Athens. He rebuilt Athens intellectually. He gathered 
about him not only architects and sculptors but poets, dramatists, 
philosophers and teachers. Herodotus came to Athens to recite his 
history (438 B.C.). Anaxagoras came with the beginnings of a 
scientific description of the sun and stars. ^Eschylus, Sophocles 
and Euripides one after the other carried the Greek drama to its 
highest levels of beauty and nobility. 

The impetus Pericles gave to the intellectual life of Athens lived 
on after his death, and in spite of the fact that the peace of Greece 
was now broken by the Peloponnesian War and a long and wasteful 
struggle for "ascendancy" was beginning. Indeed the darkling of 
the political horizon seems for a time to have quickened rather than 
discouraged men's minds. 

Already long before the time of Pericles the peculiar freedom of 
Greek institutions had given great importance to skill in discussion. 



A Short History of the World 

Decision rested neither with king nor with priest but in the assem- 
blies of the people or of leading men. Eloquence and able argument 
became very desirable accomplishments therefore, and a class of 
teachers arose, the Sophists, who undertook to strengthen young men 
in these arts. But one cannot reason without matter, and knowl- 
edge followed in the wake of speech. The activities and rivalries 
of these Sophists led very naturally to an acute examination of style, 

of methods of 
thought and of 
the validity of 
When Pericles 
died a certain 
Socrates was 
becoming prom- 
inent as an able 
and destructive 
critic of bad 
argument and 
much of the 
teaching of the 
Sophists was 
bad argument. 
A group of bril- 
liant young men 

gathered about Socrates. In the end Socrates was executed for 
disturbing people's minds (399 B.C.), he was condemned after the 
dignified fashion of the Athens of those days to drink in his own 
house and among his own friends a poisonous draught made from 
hemlock, but the disturbance of people's minds went on in spite of 
his condemnation. His young men carried on his teaching. 

Chief among these young men was Plato (427 to 347 B.C.) who 
presently began to teach philosophy in the grove of the Academy. 
His teaching fell into two main divisions, an examination of the 
foundations and methods of human thinking and an examination of 
political institutions. He was the first man to write a Utopia, that 
is to say the plan of a community different from and better than any 

Photo: Fred Boissonnas 

A specimen of Grecian sculpture in its finest expression. Compare the advance 
of art with that seen in the animals shown on p. 105 

The marvellous group of Temples and monuments built under the inspiration of Pericles 

A wonderfully preserved specimen showing the vast auditorium 


Photo: Fred Bolssonnas 


A Short History of the World 

existing community. This shows an altogether unprecedented 
boldness in the human mind which had hitherto accepted social 
traditions and usages with scarcely a question. Plato said plainly 
to mankind: "Most of the social and political ills from which you 
suffer are under your control, given only the will and courage to 
change them. You can live in another and a wiser fashion if you 
choose to think it out and work it out. You are not awake to your 
own power." That is a high adventurous teaching that has still to 
soak in to the common intelligence of our race. One of his earliest 
works was the Republic, a dream of a communist aristocracy; his last 
unfinished work was the Laws, a scheme of regulation for another 
such Utopian state. 

The criticism of methods of thinking and methods of govern- 
ment was carried on after Plato's death by Aristotle, who had been 
his pupil and who taught in the Lyceum. Aristotle came from 
the city of Stagira in Macedonia, and his father was court physician 
to the Macedonian king. For a time Aristotle was tutor to Alex- 


The ancient sanctuary on the Acropolis at Athens 

Photo: Fred Boissunnas 


Photo: Alinari 

144 A Short History of the World 

ander, the king's son, who was destined to achieve very great things 
of which we shall soon be telling. Aristotle's work upon methods of 
thinking carried the science of Logic to a level at which it remained 
for fifteen hundred years or more, until the mediaeval schoolmen took 
up the ancient questions again. He made no Utopias. Before man 
could really control his destiny as Plato taught, Aristotle perceived 
that he needed far more knowledge and far more accurate knowledge 
than he possessed. And so Aristotle began that systematic collec- 
tion of knowledge which nowadays we call Science. He sent out 
explorers to collect facts. He was the father of natural history. 
He was the founder of political science. His students at the Lyceum 
examined and compared the constitutions of 158 different states. . . . 
Here in the fourth century B.C. we find men who are practically 
"modern thinkers." The child-like, dream-like methods of primi- 
tive thought had given way to a disciplined and critical attack upon 
the problems of life. The weird and monstrous symbolism and 
imagery of the gods and god monsters, and all the taboos and awes 
and restraints that have hitherto encumbered thinking are here 
completely set aside. Free, exact and systematic thinking ha* 
begun. The fresh and unencumbered mind of these newcomers out 
of the northern forests has thrust itself into the mysteries of the 
temple and let the daylight in. 



FROM 431 to 404 B.C. the Peloponnesian War wasted Greece. 
Meanwhile to the north of Greece, the kindred country of 
Macedonia was rising slowly to power and civilization. The 
Macedonians spoke a language closely akin to Greek, and on several 
occasions Macedonian competitors had taken part in the Olympic 
games. In 359 B.C. a man of very great abilities and ambition 
became king of this little country Philip. Philip had previously 
been a hostage in Greece; he had had a thoroughly Greek education 
and he was probably aware of the ideas of Herodotus ^ which had 
also been developed by the philosopher Isocrates of a possible 
conquest of Asia by a consol : dated Greece. 

He set himself first to extend and organize his own realm and to 
remodel his army. For a thousand years now the charging horse- 
chariot had been the decisive factor in battles, that and the close- 
fighting infantry. Mounted horsemen had also fought, but as a 
cloud of skirmishers, individually and without discipline. Philip 
made his infantry fight in a closely packed mass, the Macedonian 
phalanx, and he trained his mounted gentlemen, the knights or 
companions, to fight in formation and so invented cavalry. The 
master move in most of his battles and in the battles of his son 
Alexander was a cavalry charge. The phalanx held the enemy 
infantry in front while the cavalry swept away the enemy horse on 
his wings and poured in on the flank and rear of his infantry. Chari- 
ots were disabled by bowmen, who shot the horses. 

With this new army Philip extended his frontiers through Thes- 
saly to Greece; and the battle of Chseronia (338 B.C.), fought against 
Athens and her allies, put all Greece at his feet. At last the dream 
of Herodotus was bearing fruit. A congress of all the Greek states 
appointed Philip captain-general of the Grseco-Macedonian con- 



A Short History of the World 

federacy against Persia, and in 336 B.C. his advanced guard crossed 
into Asia upon this long premeditated adventure. But he never 
followed it. He was assassinated; it is believed at the instigation 
of his queen Olympias, Alexander's mother. She was jealous 

because Philip had mar- 
ried a second wife. 

But Philip had taken 
unusual pains with his 
son's education. He 
had not only secured 
Aristotle, the greatest 
philosopher in the 
world, as this boy's 
tutor, but he had shared 
his ideas with him and 
thrust military experi- 
ence upon him. At 
Chseronia Alexander, 
who was then only 
eighteen years old, had 
been in command of the 
cavalry. And so it was 
possible for this young 
man, who was still only 
twenty years old at the 
time of his accession, to 
take up his father's task 
at once and to proceed 
successfully with the 
Persian adventure. 
In 334 B.C. for two years were needed to establish and confirm 
his position in Macedonia and Greece he crossed into Asia, de- 
feated a not very much bigger Persian army at the battle of the 
Granicus and captured a number of cities in Asia Minor. He kept 
along the sea-coast. It was necessary for him to reduce and garrison 
all the coast towns as he advanced because the Persians had control 
of the fleets of Tyre and Sidon and so had command of the sea. 


(A> in the British Museum) 

The Empire of Alexander the Great 


Had he left a hostile port in his rear the Persians might have landed 
forces to raid his communications and cut him off. At Issus 
(333 B.C.) he met and smashed a vast conglomerate host under 
Darius III. Like the host of Xerxes that had crossed the Darda- 
nelles a century and a half before, it was an incoherent accumula- 
tion of contingents and it was encumbered with a multitude of court 
officials, the harem of Darius and many camp followers. Sidon 
surrendered to Alexander but Tyre resisted obstinately. Finally 
that great city was stormed and plundered and destroyed. Gaza 


(From the Pompeian Mosaic) 
Alexander charges in on the left, Darius is in the chariot to the right 

also was stormed, and towards the end of 332 B.C. the conqueror 
entered Egypt and took over its rule from the Persians. 

At Alexandretta and at Alexandria in Egypt he built great cities, 
accessible from the land and so incapable of revolt. To these the 
trade of the Phoenician cities was diverted. The Phoenicians of the 
western Mediterranean suddenly disappear from history and as 
immediately the Jews of Alexandria and the other new trading 
cities created by Alexander appear. 

In 331 B.C. Alexander marched out of Egypt upon Babylon as 
Thothmes and Rameses and Necho had done before him. But he 
marched by way of Tyre. At Arbela near the ruins of Nineveh, 


A Short History of the World 

which was al- 
ready a forgot- 
ten city, he met 
Darius and 
fought the deci- 
sive battle of 
the war. The 
Persian chariot 
charge failed, a 
cavalry charge 
broke up the 
great composite 
host and the 
phalanx com- 
pleted the vic- 
tory. Darius 
led the retreat. 
He made no 
further attempt 

^^ << __^ to resist the in- 

vader but fled 
northward into 

_.__JHHt^Hfc*- ... . * - - ^ ' ><*-aBi^^M 

the country of 
the Medes. 

marched on to Babylon, still prosperous and important, and then 
to Susa and Persepolis. There after a drunken festival he burnt 
down the palace of Darius, the king of kings. 

Thence Alexander presently made a military parade of central 
Asia, going to .the utmost bounds of the Persian empire. At first he 
turned northward. Darius was pursued; and he was overtaken at 
dawn dying in his chariot, having been murdered by his own people. 
He was still living when the foremost Greeks reached him. Alexan- 
der came up to find him dead. Alexander skirted the Caspian Sea, 
he went up into the mountains of western Turkestan, he came down 
by Herat (which he founded) and Cabul and the Khyber Pass into 


(In the Vatican Museum) 

Photo: Alinarl 

The Empire of Alexander the Great 


India. He fought a great battle on the Indus with an Indian king, 
Porus, and here the Macedonian troops met elephants for the first 
time and defeated them. Finally he built himself ships, sailed down 
to the mouth of the Indus, and marched back by the coast of Be- 
luchistan, reaching Susa again in 324 B.C. after an absence of six 
years. He then prepared to consolidate and organize this vast 
empire he had won. He sought to win over his new subjects. He 
assumed the robes and tiara of a Persian monarch, and this roused 
the jealousy of his Macedonian commanders. He had much trouble 
with them. He arranged a number of marriages between these 
Macedonian officers and Persian and Babylonian women: the 
"Marriage of the East and West." He never lived to effect the 
consolidation he had planned. A fever seized him after a drinking 
bout in Babylon and he died in 323 B.C. 

Immediately this vast dominion fell to pieces. One of his gen- 
erals, Seleucus, retained most of the old Persian empire from the 
Indus to Ephesus; another, Ptolemy, seized Egypt, and Antigonus 
secured Macedonia. The rest of the empire remained unstable, 
passing under the control of a succession of local adventurers. Bar- 
barian raids began from the north and grew in scope and intensity. 
Until at last, as we shall tell, a new power, the power of the Roman 
republic, came out of the west to subjugate one fragment after an- 
other and weld them together into a new and more enduring empire. 

BEFORE the time of Alexander Greeks had already been 
spreading as merchants, artists, officials, mercenary soldiers, 
over most of the Persian dominions. In the dynastic dis- 
putes that followed the death of Xerxes, a band of ten thousand 
Greek mercenaries played a part under the leadership of Xenophon. 
Their return to Asiatic Greece from Babylon is described in his 
Retreat of the Ten Thousand, one of the first war stories that was ever 
written by a general in command. But the conquests of Alexander 
and the division of his brief empire among his subordinate generals, 
greatly stimulated this permeation of the ancient world by the 
Greeks and their language and fashions and culture. Traces of 
this Greek dissemination are to be found far away in central Asia 
and in north-west India. Their influence upon the development of 
Indian art was profound. 

For many centuries Athens retained her prestige as a centre of 
art and culture; her schools went on indeed to 529 A.D., that is to 
say for nearly a thousand years; but the leadership in the intellec- 
tual activity of the world passed presently across the Mediterranean 
to Alexandria, the new trading city that Alexander had founded. 
Here the Macedonian general Ptolemy had become Pharaoh, with a 
court that spoke Greek. He had become an intimate of Alexander 
before he became king, and he was deeply saturated with the ideas 
of Aristotle. He set himself, with great energy and capacity, to 
organize knowledge and investigation. He also wrote a history of 
Alexander's campaigns which, unhappily, is lost to the world. 

Alexander had already devoted considerable sums to finance 
the enquiries of Aristotle, but Ptolemy I was the first person to make 
a permanent endowment of science. He set up a foundation in 
Alexandria which was formerly dedicated to the Muses, the Museum 


The Museum and Library at Alexandria 151 

of Alexandria. For two or three generations the scientific work done 
at Alexandria was extraordinarily good. Euclid, Eratosthenes who 
measured the size of the earth and came within fifty miles of its true 
diameter, Apollonius who wrote on conic sections, Hipparchus who 
made the first star map and catalogue, and Hero who devised the 
first steam engine are among the greater stars of an extraordinary 
constellation of scientific pioneers. Archimedes came from Syra- 
cuse to Alexandria to study, and was a frequent correspondent of 
the Museum. Herophilus was one of the greatest of Greek anato- 
mists, and is said to have practised vivisection. 

For a generation or so during the reigns of Ptolemy I and Ptol- 
emy II there was such a blaze of knowledge and discovery at Alex- 
andria as the world was not to see again until the sixteenth century 
A.D. But it did not continue. There may have been several causes 
of this decline. Chief among them, the late Professor Mahaffy 
suggested, was the fact that the Museum was a "royal" college and 
all its professors and fellows were appointed and paid by Pharaoh. 
This was all very well when Pharaoh was Ptolemy I, the pupil and 
friend of Aristotle. But as the dynasty of the Ptolemies went on 
they became Egyptianized, they fell under the sway of Egyptian 
priests and Egyptian religious developments, they ceased to follow 
the work that was done, and their control stifled the spirit of en- 
quiry altogether. The Museum produced little good work after its 
first century of activity. 

Ptolemy I not only sought in the most modern spirit to organize 
the finding of fresh knowledge. He tried also to set up an encyclo- 
paedic storehouse of wisdom in the Library of Alexandria. It was 
not simply a storehouse, it was also a book-copying and book-selling 
organization. A great army of copyists was set to work perpetually 
multiplying copies of books. 

Here then we have the definite first opening up of the intellectual 
process in which we live to-day; here we have the systematic gath- 
ering and distribution of knowledge. The foundation of this Mu- 
seum and Library marks one of the great epochs in the history of 
mankind. It is the true beginning of Modern History. 

Both the work of research and the work of dissemination went on 
under serious handicaps. One of these was the great social gap that 


A Short History of the World 

separated the philosopher, who was a gentleman, from the trader 
and the artisan. There were glass workers and metal workers in 
abundance in those days, but they were not in mental contact with 
the thinkers. The glass worker was making the most beautifully 
coloured beads and phials and so forth, but he never made a Flor- 
entine flask or a lens. 
Clear glass does not 
seem to have inter- 
ested him. The 
metal worker made 
weapons and jewel- 
lery but he never 
made a chemical bal- 
ance. The philoso- 
pher speculated loft- 
ily about atoms and 
the nature of things, 
but he had no prac- 
tical experience of 
enamels and pig- 
ments and philters 
and so forth. He 
was not interested 
in substances. So 
Alexandria in its 
brief day of oppor- 
tunity produced no 
microscopes and no 
ARISTOTLE chemistry. And 

From Herculaneum, probably Fourth Century B.C. though HerO in- 

vented a steam en- 
gine it was never set either to pump or drive a boat or do any use- 
ful thing. There were few practical applications of science except 
in the realm of medicine, and the progress of science was not 
stimulated and sustained by the interest and excitement of prac- 
tical applications. There was nothing to keep the work going 
therefore when the intellectual curiosity of Ptolemy I and Ptol- 

Photo: Dr. Singer 

The Museum and Library at Alexandria 


emy II was withdrawn. The discoveries of the Museum went on rec- 
ord in obscure manuscripts and never, until the revival of scientific 
curiosity at the Renascence, reached out to the mass of mankind. 

Nor did the Library produce any improvements in book making. 
That ancient world had no paper made in 
definite sizes from rag pulp. Paper was a 
Chinese invention and it did not reach 
the western world until the ninth century 
A.D. The only book materials were parch- 
ment and strips of the papyrus reed joined 
edge to edge. These strips were kept on 
rolls which were very unwieldy to wind to 
and fro and read, and very inconvenient 
for reference. It was these things that pre- 
vented the development of paged and printed 
books. Printing itself was known in the 
world it would seem as early as the Old 
Stone Age; there were seals in ancient 
Sumeria; but without abundant paper there 
was little advantage in printing books, an 
improvement that may further have been 
resisted by trades unionism on the part of 
the copyists employed. Alexandria produced 
abundant books but not cheap books, and it 
never spread knowledge into the population 
of the ancient world below the level of a 
wealthy and influential class. 

So it was that this blaze of intellectual 
enterprise never reached beyond a small 
circle of people in touch with the group of 
philosophers collected by the first two 
Ptolemies. It was like the light in a dark 

lantern which is shut off from the world at large. Within the 
blaze may be blindingly bright, but nevertheless it is unseen. 
The rest of the world went on its old ways unaware that the seed of 
scientific knowledge that was one day to revolutionize it altogether 
had been sown. Presently a darkness of bigotry fell even upon 


A Grseco-Buddhist sculpture of 

the Third Century A.D. 

(From Malakand, N. W. Province, 

now in the India Museum) 


A Short History of the World 

Alexandria. Thereafter for a thousand years of darkness the seed 
that Aristotle had sown lay hidden. Then it stirred and began to 
germinate. In a few centuries it had become that widespread 
growth of knowledge and clear ideas that is now changing the whole 
of human life. 

Alexandria was not the only centre of Greek intellectual activity 
in the third century B.C. There were many other cities that dis- 
played a brilliant intellectual life amidst the disintegrating frag- 
ments of the brief empire of Alexander. There was, for example, 

India l\fus. 


Grreco-Buddhist carving from Sivat Valley, N. W. Province, probably A.D. 350 

the Greek city of Syracuse in Sicily, where thought and science 
flourished for two centuries; there was Pergamum in Asia Minor, 
which also had a great library. But this brilliant Hellenic world 
was now stricken by invasion from the north. New Nordic bar- 
barians, the Gauls, were striking down along the tracks that had 
once been followed by the ancestors of the Greeks and Phrygians 
and Macedonians. They raided, shattered and destroyed. And 
in the wake of the Gauls came a new conquering people out of Italy, 
the Romans, who gradually subjugated all the western half of the 
vast realm of Darius and Alexander. They were an able but un- 
imaginative people, preferring law and profit to either science or art. 

The Museum and Library at Alexandria 155 

New invaders were also coming down out of central Asia to shatter 
and subdue the Seleucid empire and to cut off the western world 
again from India. These were the Parthians, hosts of mounted 
bowmen, who treated the Grseco-Persian empire of Persepolis and 
Susa in the third century B.C. in much the same fashion that the 
Medes and Persians had treated it in the seventh and sixth. And 
there were now other nomadic peoples also coming out of the north- 
east, peoples who were not fair and Nordic and Aryan-speaking 
but yellow-skinned and black-haired and with a Mongolian speech. 
But of these latter people we shall tell more in a subsequent chapter. 



BUT now we must go back three centuries in our story to tell of 
a great teacher who came near to revolutionizing the re- 
igious thought and feeling of all Asia. This was Gautama 
Buddha, who taught his disciples at Benares in India about the 
same time that Isaiah was prophesying among the Jews in Babylon 
and Heraclitus was carrying on his speculative enquiries into the 
nature of things at Ephesus. All these men were in the world at 
the same time, in the sixth century B.C. unaware of one another. 

This sixth century B.C. was indeed one of the most remarkable 
in all history. Everywhere for as we shall tell it was also the case 
in China men's minds were displaying a new boldness. Every- 
where they were waking up out of the traditions of kingships and 
priests and blood sacrifices and asking the most penetrating ques- 
tions. It is as if the race had reached a stage of adolescence after 
a childhood of twenty thousand years. 

The early history of India is still very obscure. Somewhen 
perhaps about 2000 B.C., an Aryan-speaking people came down 
from the north-west into India either in one invasion or in a series 
of invasions; and was able to spread its language and traditions 
over most of north India. Its peculiar variety of Aryan speech was 
the Sanskrit. They found a brunette people with a more elaborate 
civilization and less vigour of will, in possession of the country of 
the Indus and Ganges. But they do not seem to have mingled with 
their predecessors as freely as did the Greeks and Persians. They 
remained aloof. When the past of India becomes dimly visible to 
the historian, Indian society is already stratified into 1 several layers, 
with a variable number of sub-divisions, which do not eat together 
nor intermarry nor associate freely. And throughout history this 

The Life of Gautama Buddha 157 

stratification into castes continues. This makes the Indian popula- 
tion something different from the simple, freely inter-breeding 
European or Mongolian communities. It is really a community of 

Siddhattha Gautama was the son of an aristocratic family which 
ruled a small district on the Himalayan slopes. He was married 
at nineteen to a beautiful cousin. He hunted and played and went 
about in his sunny world of gardens and groves and irrigated rice- 
fields. And it was amidst this life that a great discontent fell upon 
him. It was the unhappiness of a fine brain that seeks employment. 
He felt that the existence he was leading was not the reality of life, 
but a holiday a holiday that had gone on too long. 

The sense of disease and mortality, the insecurity and the un- 
satisfactoriness of all happiness, descended upon the mind of Gau- 
tama. While he was in this mood he met one of those wandering 
ascetics who already existed in great numbers in India. These men 
lived under severe rules, spending much time in meditation and in 
religious discussion. They were supposed to be seeking some deeper 
reality in life, and a passionate desire to do likewise took possession 
of Gautama. 

He was meditating upon this project, says the story, when 
the news was brought to him that his wife had been delivered 
of his first-born son. "This is another tie to break," said Gau- 

He returned to the village amidst the rejoicings of his fellow 
clansmen. There was a great feast and a Nautch dance to cele- 
brate the birth of this new tie, and in the night Gautama awoke in 
a great agony of spirit, "like a man who is told that his house is on 
fire." He resolved to leave his happy aimless life forthwith. He 
went softly to the threshold of his wife's chamber, and saw her by 
the light of a little oil lamp, sleeping sweetly, surrounded by flowers, 
with his infant son in her arms. He felt a great craving to take up 
the child in one first and last embrace before he departed, but the 
fear of waking his wife prevented him, and at last he turned away 
and went out into the bright Indian moonshine and mounted his 
horse and rode off into the world. 

Very far he rode that night, and in the morning he stopped out- 

India Mas. 


Gilt Brass Casting in India Museum, showing Gautama Buddha in the "earth 
witness" attitude 


The Life of Gautama Buddha 


side the lands of his clan, and dismounted beside a sandy river. 
There he cut off his flowing locks with his sword, removed all his 
ornaments and sent them and his horse and sword back to his house. 
Going on he presently met a ragged man and exchanged clothes with 
him, and so having divested himself of all worldly entanglements he 
was free to pursue his search after wisdom. He made his way south- 
ward to a resort of hermits and teachers in a hilly spur of the Vind- 
hya Mountains. There lived a number of wise men in a warren of 
caves, going into the town for their simple supplies and imparting 
their knowledge by word of mouth to such as cared to come to them. 
Gautama became versed in all the metaphysics of his age. But 
his acute intelligence was dissatisfied with the solutions offered him. 

The Indian 
mind has always 
been disposed to 
believe that 
power and know- 
ledge may be 
obtained by ex- 
treme asceti- 
cism, by fasting, 
and self-tor- 
ment, and these 
ideas Gautama 
now put to the 
test. He betook 
himself with five 
disciple com- 
panions to the 
jungle and there 
he gave himself 
up to fasting and 
terrible pen- 
ances. His fame 
spread, "like the A BURMESE BUDDHA 

SOUnd Of a great Marble Figure from Mandalay, eighteenth century work, now in the India Museum 


A Short History of the World 


bell hung in the canopy of 
the skies." But it brought 
him no sense of truth 
achieved. One day he was 
walking up and down, try- 
ing to think in spite of his 
enfeebled state. Suddenly 
he fell unconscious. When 
he recovered, the prepos- 
terousness of these semi- 
magical ways to wisdom 
was plain to him. 

He horrified his com- 
panions by demanding or- 
dinary food and refusing to 
continue his mortifications. 
He had realized that what- 
ever truth a man may reach 
is reached best by a nour- 
ished brain in a healthy 
body. Such a conception 
was absolutely foreign to 

the ideas of the land and age. His disciples deserted him, and went 
off in a melancholy state to Benares. Gautama wandered alone. 

When the mind grapples with a great and intricate problem, it 
makes its advances step by step, with but little realization of the 
gains it has made, until suddenly, with an effect of abrupt illumina- 
tion, it realizes its victory. So it happened to Gautama. He had 
seated himself under a great tree by the side of a river to eat, when 
this sense of clear vision came to him. It seemed to him that he saw 
life plain. He is said to have sat all day and all night in profound 
thought, and then he rose up to impart his vision to the world. 

He went on to Benares and there he sought out and won back 
his lost disciples to his new teaching. In the King's Deer Park at 
Benares they built themselves huts and set up a sort of school to 
which came many who were seeking after wisdom. 

The starting point of his teaching was his own question as a for- 


In the Deer Park at Sarnath. Sixth Century A.D. 

(From a Painting in the India Museum) 

The Life of Gautama Buddha 161 

tunate young man, "Why am I not completely happy?" It was 
an introspective question. It was a question very different in 
quality from the frank and self -forgetful externalized curiosity with 
which Thales and Heraclitus were attacking the problems of the 
universe, or the equally self-forgetful burthen of moral obligation 
that the culminating prophets were imposing upon the Hebrew 
mind. The Indian teacher did not forget self, he concentrated upon 
self and sought to destroy it. All suffering, he taught, was due to 
the greedy desires of the individual. Until man has conquered his 
personal cravings his life is trouble and his end sorrow. There were 
three principal forms that the craving for life took and they were all 
evil. The first was the desire of the appetites, greed and all forms of 
sensuousness, the second was the desire for a personal and egotistic 
immortality, the third was the craving for personal success, worldli- 
ness, avarice and the like. All these forms of desire had to be over- 
come to escape from the distresses and chagrins of life. When they 
were overcome, when self had vanished altogether, then serenity of 
soul, Nirvana, the highest good was attained. 

This was the gist of his teaching, a very subtle and metaphysical 
teaching indeed, not nearly so easy to understand as the Greek in- 
junction to see and know fearlessly and rightly and the Hebrew 
command to fear God and accomplish righteousness. It was a 
teaching much beyond the understanding of even Gautama's im- 
mediate disciples, and it is no wonder that so soon as his personal 
influence was withdrawn it became corrupted and coarsened. There 
was a widespread belief in India at that time that at long intervals 
Wisdom came to earth and was incarnate in some chosen person who 
was known as the Buddha. Gautama's disciples declared that he 
was a Buddha, the latest of the Buddhas, though there is no evidence 
that he himself ever accepted the title. Before he was well dead, 
a cycle of fantastic legends began to be woven about him. The 
human heart has always preferred a wonder story to a moral effort, 
and Gautama Buddha became very wonderful. 

Yet there remained a substantial gain in the world. If Nirvana 
was too high and subtle for most men's imaginations, if the myth- 
making impulse in the race was too strong for the simple facts of 
Gautama's life, they could at least grasp something of the intention 

i6 2 A Short History of the World 

of what Gautama called the Eight-fold way, the Aryan or Noble 
Path in life. In this there was an insistence upon mental upright- 
ness, upon right aims and speech, right conduct and honest liveli- 
hood. There was a quickening of the conscience and an appeal to 
generous and self-forgetful ends. 



FOR some generations after the death of Gautama, these high 
and noble Buddhist teachings, this first plain teaching that 
the highest good for man is the subjugation of self, made 
comparatively little headway in the world. Then they conquered 
the imagination of one of the greatest monarchs the world has ever 

We have already mentioned how Alexander the Great came 
down into India and fought with Porus upon the Indus. It is 
related by the Greek historians that a certain Chandragupta Maurya 
came into Alexander's camp and tried to persuade him to go on to 
the Ganges and conquer all India. Alexander could not do this 
because of the refusal of his Macedonians to go further into what was 
for them an unknown world, and later on (321 B.C.) Chandragupta 
was able to secure the help of various hill tribes and realize his dream 
without Greek help. He built up an empire in North India and was 
presently (303 B.C.) able to attack Seleucus I in the Punjab and 
drive the last vestige of Greek power out of India. His son extended 
this new empire. His grandson, Asoka, the monarch of whom we now 
have to tell, found himself in 264 B.C. ruling from Afghanistan to 

Asoka was at first disposed to follow the example of his father 
and grandfather and complete the conquest of the Indian peninsula. 
He invaded Kalinga (255 B.C.), a country on the east coast of Madras, 
he was successful in his military operations and alone among con- 
querors he was so disgusted by the cruelty and horror of war that 
he renounced it. He would have no more of it. He adopted the 
peaceful doctrines of Buddhism and declared that henceforth his 
conquests should be the conquests of religion. 

His reign for eight-and-twenty years was one of the brightest 
interludes in the troubled history of mankind. He organized a 



A Short History of the World 

great digging of wells in India and the planting of trees for shade. 
He founded hospitals and public gardens and gardens for the growing 
of medicinal herbs. He created a ministry for the care of the 

(From the statue in the British Museum) 

aborigines and subject races of India. He made provision for the 
education of women. He made vast benefactions to the Buddhist 
teaching orders, and tried to stimulate them to a better and more 
energetic criticism of their own accumulated literature. For 
corruptions and superstitious accretions had accumulated very 

King Asoka 



India Mus. 

speedily upon the pure and simple teaching of the great Indian 
master. Missionaries went from Asoka to Kashmir, to Persia, to 
Ceylon and Alexandria. 

Such was Asoka, greatest of kings. He was far in advance of his 
age. He left no prince and no organization of men to carry on his 
work, and within a century of his death the great days of his reign 
had become a glorious memory in a shattered and decaying India. 
The priestly caste of the Brahmins, the highest and most privileged 
caste in the Indian social body, has always been opposed to the frank 
and open teaching of Buddha. Gradually they undermined the 
Buddhist influence in the land. The old monstrous gods, the 
innumerable cults of Hinduism, resumed their sway. Caste became 


1 66 

A Short History of the World 


Capital of the Pillar (column lying on side) erected in Deer Park in the time 
of Asoka, where Buddha preached his first sermon 

(From a print in the India Museum) 

more rigorous and complicated. For long centuries Buddhism and 
Brahminism flourished side by side, and then slowly Buddhism 
decayed and Brahminism in a multitude of forms replaced it. But 
beyond the confines of India and the realms of caste Buddhism 
spread until it had won China and Siam and Burma and Japan, 
countries in which it is predominant to this day. 



WE have still to tell of two other great men, Confucius and 
Lao Tse, who lived in that wonderful century which 
began the adolescence of mankind, the sixth century B.C. 

In this history thus far we have told very little of the early story 
of China. At present that early history is still very obscure, and 
we look to Chinese explorers and archaeologists in the new China 
that is now arising to work out their past as thoroughly as the Euro- 
pean past has been worked out during the last century. Very long 
ago the first primitive Chinese civilizations arose in the great river 
valleys out of the primordial heliolithic culture. They had, like 
Egypt and Sumeria, the general characteristics of that culture, and 
they centred upon temples in which priests and priest kings offered 
the seasonal blood sacrifices. The life in those cities must have been 
very like the Egyptian and Sumerian life of six or seven thousand 
years ago and very like the Maya life of Central America a thousand 
years ago. 

If there were human sacrifices they had long given way to animal 
sacrifices before the dawn of history. And a form of picture writing 
was growing up long before a thousand years B.C. 

And just as the primitive civilizations of Europe and western 
Asia were in conflict with the nomads of the desert and the nomads of 
the north, so the primitive Chinese civilizations had a great cloud 
of nomadic peoples on their northern borders. There was a number 
of tribes akin in language and ways of living, who are spoken of in 
history in succession as the Huns, the Mongols, the Turks and 
Tartars. They changed and divided and combined and re-combined, 
just as the Nordic peoples in north Europe and central Asia changed 
and varied in name rather than in nature. These Mongolian 
nomads had horses earlier than the Nordic peoples, and it may 


i68 A Short History of the World 

be that in the region of the Altai Mountains they made an 
independent discovery of iron some when after 1000 B.C. And 
just as in the western case so ever and again these eastern nomads 
would achieve a sort of political unity, and become the con- 
querors and masters and revivers of this or that settled and 
civilized region. 

It is quite possible that the earliest civilization of China was not 
Mongolian at all any more than the earliest civilization of Europe 
and western Asia was Nordic or Semitic. It is quite possible that 
the earliest civilization of China was a brunette civilization and of a 
piece with the earliest Egyptian, Sumerian and Dravidian civiliza- 
tions, and that when the first recorded history of China began there 
had already been conquests and intermixture. At any rate we find 
that by 1750 B.C. China was already a vast system of little kingdoms 
and city states, all acknowledging a loose allegiance and paying 
more or less regularly, more or less definite feudal dues to one great 
priest emperor, the "Son of Heaven." The "Shang" dynasty 
came to an end in 1125 B.C. A "Chow" dynasty succeeded "Shang, " 
and maintained China in a relaxing unity until the days of Asoka 
in India and of the Ptolemies in Egypt. Gradually China went to 
pieces during that long "Chow" period. Hunnish peoples came 
down and set up principalities; local rulers discontinued their tribute 
and became independent. There was in the sixth century B.C., 
says one Chinese authority, five or six thousand practically inde- 
pendent states in China. It was what the Chinese call in their 
records an "Age of Confusion." 

But this Age of Confusion was compatible with much intel- 
lectual activity and with the existence of many local centres of art 
and civilized living. When we know more of Chinese history we 
shall find that China also had her Miletus and her Athens, her Per- 
gamum and her Macedonia. At present we must be vague and 
brief about this period of Chinese division simply because our 
knowledge is not sufficient for us to frame a coherent and con- 
secutive story. 

And just as in divided Greece there were philosophers and in 
shattered and captive Jewry prophets, so in disordered China there 
were philosophers and teachers at this time. In all these cases 


Copy of stone carving in the Temple of Confucius at K'iu Fu 

(From the records of the Archaological Mission to North China (Chavannes) 


A Short History of the World 

insecurity and uncertainty seemed to have quickened the better sort 
of mind. Confucius was a man of aristocratic origin and some official 
importance in a small state called Lu. Here in a very parallel mood 
to the Greek impulse he set up a sort of Academy for discovering 
and teaching Wisdom. The lawlessness and disorder of China 
distressed him profoundly. He conceived an ideal of a better 
government and a better life, and travelled from state to state seek- 
ing a prince who would carry out his legislative and educational 
ideas. He never found his prince; he found a prince, but court 
intrigues undermined the influence of the teacher and finally defeated 
his reforming proposals. It is interesting to note that a century 
and a half later the Greek philosopher Plato also sought a prince, 
and was for a time adviser to the tyrant Dionysius who ruled Syra- 
cuse in Sicily. 

Confucius died a disappointed man. "No intelligent ruler 
arises to take me as his master," he said, "and my time has come to 
die." But his teaching had more vitality than he imagined in his 
declining and hopeless years, and it became a great formative in- 
fluence with the Chinese people. It became one of what the Chinese 
call the Three Teachings, the other two being those of Buddha and 
of Lao Tse. 

The gist of the teaching of Confucius was the way of the noble 
or aristocratic man. He was concerned with personal conduct as 
much as Gautama was concerned with the peace of self-f orgetf ulness 
and the Greek with external knowledge and the Jew with righteous- 
ness. He was the most public-minded of all great teachers. He 
was supremely concerned by the confusion and miseries of the world, 
and he wanted to make men noble in order to bring about a noble 
world. He sought to regulate conduct to an extraordinary extent; 
to provide sound rules for every occasion in life. A polite, public- 
spirited gentleman, rather sternly self-disciplined, was the ideal he 
found already developing in the northern Chinese world and one to 
which he gave a permanent form. 

The teaching of Lao Tse, who was for a long time in charge of 
the imperial library of the Chow dynasty, was much more mystical 
and vague and elusive than that of Confucius. He seems to have 
preached a stoical indifference to the pleasures and powers of the, 


As it crosses the mountains in Manchuria 


PJtoto: Underwood & Underwood 


A Short History of the World 

world and a return to an imaginary simple life of the past. He left 
writings very contracted in style and very obscure. He wrote in 
riddles. After his death his teachings, like the teachings of Gautama 
Buddha, ^rere corrupted and overlaid by legends and had the 

most complex and 
extraordinary ob- 
servances and super- 
stitious ideas grafted 
upon them. In 
China just as in 
India primordial 
ideas of magic and 
monstrous legends 
out of the childish 
past of our race 
struggled against 
the new thinking in 
the world and suc- 
ceeded in plastering 
it over with gro- 
tesque, irrational 
and antiquated ob- 
servances. Both 
Buddhism and Tao- 
ism (which ascribes 
itself largely to Lao 
Tse) as one finds 
them in China now, 
are religions of monk, 
temple, priest and 
offering of a type as 
ancient in form, if 
not in thought, as 
the sacrificial re- 
EARLY CHINESE BRONZE BELL ligions of ancient 

Inscribed in archaic characters: " made for use by the elder of King village Gi'rn * IT? 4- 

in Ting district;" latter half of the Chou Dynasty, Sixth Century B.C. ' ria ana ^gYPl. 

(In the Victoria and Albert Muteum) But the teaching 

Confucius and Lao Tse 173 

of Confucius was not so overlaid because it was limited and plain 
and straightforward and lent itself to no such distortions. 

North China, the China of the Hwang-ho River, became Confu- 
cian in thought and spirit; south China, Yang-tse-Kiang China, 
became Taoist. Since those days a conflict has always been tracea- 
ble in Chinese affairs between these two spirits, the spirit of the north 
and the spirit of the south, between (in latter times) Pekin and 
Nankin, between the official-minded, upright and conservative 
north, and the sceptical, artistic, lax and experimental south. 

The divisions of China of the Age of Confusion reached their 
worst stage in the sixth century B.C. The Chow dynasty was so 
enfeebled and so discredited that Lao Tse left the unhappy court 
and retired into private life. 

Three nominally subordinate powers dominated the situation in 
those days, Ts'i and Ts'in, both northern powers, and Ch'u, which 
was an aggressive military power in the Yangtse valley. At last 
Ts'i and Ts'in formed an alliance, subdued Ch'u and imposed a gen- 
eral treaty of disarmament and peace in China. The power of 
Ts'in became predominant. Finally about the time of Asoka in 
India the Ts'in monarch seized upon the sacrificial vessels of the 
Chow emperor and took over his sacrificial duties. His son, Shi- 
Hwang-ti (king in 246 B.C., emperor in 220 B.C.), is called in the 
Chinese Chronicles "the First Universal Emperor." 

More fortunate than Alexander, Shi-Hwang-ti reigned for thirty- 
six years as king and emperor. His energetic reign marks the 
beginning of a new era of unity and prosperity for the Chinese 
people. He fought vigorously against the Hunnish invaders from 
the northern deserts, and he began that immense work, the Great 
Wall of China, to set a limit to their incursions. 



THE reader will note a general similarity in the history of all 
these civilizations in spite of the effectual separation caused 
by the great barriers of the Indian north-west frontier and 
of the mountain masses of Central Asia and further India. First for 
thousands of years the heliolithic culture spread over all the warm 
and fertile river valleys of the old world and developed a temple 
system and priest rulers about its sacrificial traditions. Apparently 
its first makers were always those brunette peoples we have spoken 
of as the central race of mankind. Then the nomads came in from 
the regions of seasonal grass and seasonal migrations and superposed 
their own characteristics and often their own language on the primi- 
tive civilization. They subjugated and stimulated it, and were 
stimulated to fresh developments and made it here one thing and 
here another. In Mesopotamia it was the Elamite and then the 
Semite, and at last the Nordic Medes and Persians and the Greeks 
who supplied the ferment; over the region of the ^Egean peoples it 
was the Greeks; in India it was the Aryan-speakers; in Egypt there 
was a thinner infusion of conquerors into a more intensely saturated 
priestly civilization; in China, the Hun conquered and was absorbed 
and was followed by fresh Huns. China was Mongolized just as 
Greece and North India were Aryanized and Mesopotamia Semitized 
and Aryanized. Everywhere the nomads destroyed much, but 
everywhere they brought in a new spirit of free enquiry and moral 
innovation. They questioned the beliefs of immemorial ages. 
They let daylight into the temples. They set up kings who were 
neither priests nor gods but mere leaders among their captains and 

In the centuries following the sixth century B.C. we find every- 
where a great breaking down of ancient traditions and a new spirit 


Photo: Anderson 


The statue in the National Museum, Rome, depicting a Gaul stabbing himself, after 
killing his wife, in the presence of his enemies 


176 A Short History of the World 

of moral and intellectual enquiry awake, a spirit never more to be 
altogether stilled in the great progressive movement of mankind. 
We find reading and writing becoming common and accessible 
accomplishments among the ruling and prosperous minority; they 
were no longer the jealously guarded secret of the priests. Travel 
is increasing and transport growing easier by reason of horses and 
roads. A new and easy device to facilitate trade has been found in 
coined money. 

Let us now transfer our attention back from China in the ex- 
treme east of the old world to the western half of the Mediterranean. 
Here we have to note the appearance of a city which was destined to 
play at last a very great part indeed in human affairs, Rome. 

Hitherto we have told very little about Italy in our story. It 
was before 1000 B.C. a land of mountain and forest and thinly popu- 
lated. Aryan-speaking tribes had pressed down this peninsula and 
formed little towns and cities, and the southern extremity was 
studded with Greek settlements. The noble ruins of Psestum pre- 
serve for us to this day something of the dignity and splendour of 
these early Greek establishments. A non-Aryan people, probably 
akin to the ^Egean peoples, the Etruscans, had established them- 
selves in the central part of the peninsula. They had reversed the 
usual process by subjugating various Aryan tribes. Rome, when it 
comes into the light of history, is a little trading city at a ford on the 
Tiber, with a Latin-speaking population ruled over by Etruscan 
kings. The old chronologies gave 753 B.C. as the date of the found- 
ing of Rome, half a century later than the founding of the great 
Phoenician city of Carthage and twenty-three years after the first 
Olympiad. Etruscan tombs of a much earlier date than 753 B.C. 
have, however, been excavated in the Roman Forum. 

In that red-letter century, the sixth century B.C., the Etruscan 
kings were expelled (510 B.C.) and Rome became an aristocratic 
republic with a lordly class of "patrician" families dominating a 
commonalty of "plebeians." Except that it spoke Latin it was not 
unlike many aristocratic Greek republics. 

For some centuries the internal history of Rome was the story of 
a long and obstinate struggle for freedom and a share in the govern- 
ment on the part of the plebeians. It would not be difficult to find 

Rome Comes into History 


Greek parallels to this conflict, which the Greeks would have called 
a conflict of aristocracy with democracy. In the end the plebeians 
broke down most of the exclusive barriers of the old families and 
established a working equality with them. They destroyed the old 
exclusiveness, and made it possible and acceptable for Rome to 
extend her citizenship by the inclusion of more and more "out- 

PJioto: Underwood & Underwood 

siders." For while she still struggled at home, she was extending 
her power abroad. 

The extension of Roman power began in the fifth century B.C. 
Until that time they had waged war, and generally unsuccessful 
war, with the Etruscans. There was an Etruscan fort, Veii, only a 
few miles from Rome which the Romans had never been able to cap- 
ture. In 474 B.C., however, a great misfortune came to the Etrus- 
cans. Their fleet was destroyed by the Greeks of Syracuse in Sicily. 

178 A Short History of the World 

At the same time a wave of Nordic invaders came down upon them 
from the north, the Gauls. Caught between Roman and Gaul, the 
Etruscans fell and disappear from history. Veii was captured by 
the Romans. The Gauls came through to Rome and sacked the 
city (390 B.C.) but could not capture the Capitol. An attempted 
night surprise was betrayed by the cackling of some geese, and fi- 
nally the invaders were bought off and retired to the north of Italy 

The Gaulish raid seems to have invigorated rather than weakened 
Rome. The Romans conquered and assimilated the Etruscans, 
and extended their power over all central Italy from the Arno to 
Naples. To this they had reached within a few years of 300 B.C. 
Their conquests in Italy were going on simultaneously with the 
growth of Philip's power in Macedonia and Greece, and the tre- 
mendous raid of Alexander to Egypt and the Indus. The Romans 
had become notable people in the civilized world to the east of them 
by the break-up of Alexander's empire. 

To the north of the Roman power were the Gauls; to the south 
of them were the Greek settlements of Magna Grsecia, that is to say 
of Sicily and of the toe and heel of Italy. The Gauls were a hardy, 
warlike people and the Romans held that boundary by a line of 
forts and fortified settlements. The Greek cities in the south headed 
by Tarentum (now Taranto) and by Syracuse in Sicily, did not so 
much threaten as fear the Romans. They looked about for some 
help against these new conquerors. 

We have already told how the empire of Alexander fell to pieces 
and was divided among his generals and companions. Among these 
adventurers was a kinsman of Alexander's named Pyrrhus, who 
established himself in Epirus, which is across the Adriatic Sea over 
against the heel of Italy. It was his ambition to play the part of 
Philip of Macedonia to Magna Grsecia, and to become protector 
and master-general of Tarentum, Syracuse and the rest of that part 
of the world. He had what was then a very efficient modern army ; 
he had an infantry phalanx, cavalry from Thessaly which was now 
quite as good as the original Macedonian cavalry and twenty fight- 
ing elephants; he invaded Italy and routed the Romans in two con- 
siderable battles, Heraclea (280 B.C.) and Ausculum (279 B.C.), and 

Rome Conies into History 179 

having driven them noith, he turned his attention to the subjuga- 
tion of Sicily. 

But this brought against him a more formidable enemy than 
were the Romans at that time, the Phoenician trading city of Car- 
thage, which was probably then the greatest city in the world. Sicily 
was too near Carthage for a new Alexander to be welcome there, 
and Carthage was mindful of the fate that had befallen her mother 
city Tyre half a century before. So she sent a fleet to encourage or 
compel Rome to continue the struggle, and she cut the overseas 
communications of Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus found himself freshly as- 
sailed by the Romans, and suffered a disastrous repulse in an attack 
he had made upon their camp at Beneventum between Naples and 

And suddenly came news that recalled him to Epirus. The 
Gauls were raiding south. But this time they were not raiding down 
into Italy; the Roman frontier, fortified and guarded, had become 
too formidable for them. They were raiding down through Illyria 
(which is now Serbia and Albania) to Macedonia and Epirus. Re- 
pulsed by the Romans, endangered at sea by the Carthaginians, and 
threatened at home by the Gauls, Pyrrhus abandoned his dream of 
conquest and went home (275 B.C.), and the power of Rome was 
extended to the Straits of Messina. 

On the Sicilian side of the Straits was the Greek city of Messina, 
and this presently fell into the hands of a gang of pirates. The 
Carthaginians, who were already practically overlords of Sicily and 
allies of Syracuse, suppressed these pirates (270 B.C.) and put in a 
Carthaginian garrison there. The pirates appealed to Rome and 
Rome listened to their complaint. And so across the Straits of Mes- 
sina the great trading power of Carthage and this new conquering 
people, the Romans, found themselves in antagonism, face to face. 



IT was in 264 B.C. that the great struggle between Rome and Car- 
thage, the Punic Wars, began. In that year Asoka was begin- 
ning his reign in Behar and Shi-Hwang-ti was a little child, the 
Museum in Alexandria was still doing good scientific work, and the 
barbaric Gauls were now in Asia Minor and exacting a tribute from 
Pergamum. The different regions of the world were still separated 
by insurmountable distances, and probably the rest of mankind 
heard only vague and remote rumours of the mortal fight that went 
on for a century and a half in Spain, Italy, North Africa and the 
western Mediterranean, between the last stronghold of Semitic 
power and Rome, this newcomer among Aryan-speaking peoples. 

That war has left its traces upon issues that still stir the world. 
Rome triumphed over Carthage, but the rivalry of Aryan and 
Semite was to merge itself later on in the conflict of Gentile and 
Jew. Our history now is coming to events whose consequences and 
distorted traditions still maintain a lingering and expiring vitality 
in, and exercise a complicating and confusing influence upon, the 
conflicts and controversies of to-day. 

The First Punic War began in 264 B.C. about the pirates of Mes- 
sina. It developed into a struggle for the possession of all Sicily 
except the dominions of the Greek king of Syracuse. The advan- 
tage of the sea was at first with the Carthaginians. They had great 
fighting ships of what was hitherto an unheard-of size, quinqueremes, 
galleys with five banks of oars and a huge ram. At the battle of 
Salamis, two centuries before, the leading battleships had only been 
triremes with three banks. But the Romans, with extraordinary 
energy and in spite of the fact that they had little naval experience, 
set themselves to outbuild the Carthaginians. They manned the 
new navy they created chiefly with Greek seamen, and they invented 

1 80 

Rome and Carthage 


grappling and boarding to make up for the superior seamanship of 
the enemy. When the Carthaginian came up to ram or shear the 
oars of the Roman, huge grappling irons seized him and the Roman 
soldiers swarmed aboard him. At Mylae (260 B.C.) and at Ecnomus 

Bust in the National Museum at Naples 

Photo: ManseU 

(256 B.C.) the Carthaginians were disastrously beaten. They re- 
pulsed a Roman landing near Carthage but were badly beaten at 
Palermo, losing one hundred and four elephants there -to grace 
such a triumphal procession through the Forum as Rome had never 
seen before. But after that came two Roman defeats and then a 
Roman recovery. The last naval forces of Carthage were defeated 

i8 2 A Short History of the World 

by a last Roman effort at the battle of the ^Egatian Isles (241 B.C.) 
and Carthage sued for peace. All Sicily except the dominions of 
Hiero, king of Syracuse, was ceded to the Romans. 

For twenty-two years Rome and Carthage kept the peace. Both 
had trouble enough at home. In Italy the Gauls came south again, 
threatened Rome which in a state of panic offered human sacrifices 
to the Gods! and were routed at Telamon. Rome pushed forward 
to the Alps, and even extended her dominions down the Adriatic 
coast to Illyria. Carthage suffered from domestic insurrections and 
from revolts in Corsica and Sardinia, and displayed far less recu- 
perative power. Finally, an act of intolerable aggression, Rome 
seized and annexed the two revolting islands. 

Spain at that time was Carthaginian as far north as the river 
Ebro. To that boundary the Romans restricted them. Any cross- 
ing of the Ebro by the Carthaginians was to be considered an act 
of war against the Romans. At last in 218 B.C. the Carthaginians, 
provoked by new Roman aggressions, did cross this river under a 
young general named Hannibal, one of the most brilliant com- 
manders in the whole of history. He marched his army from Spain 
over the Alps into Italy, raised the Gauls against the Romans, and 
carried on the Second Punic War in Italy itself for fifteen years. He 
inflicted tremendous defeats upon the Romans at Lake Trasimere 
and at Cannae, and throughout all his Italian campaigns no Roman 
army stood against him and escaped disaster. But a Roman army 
had landed at Marseilles and cut his communications with Spain; 
he had no siege train, and he could never capture Rome. Finally 
the Carthaginians, threatened by the revolt of the Numidians at 
home, were forced back upon the defence of their own city in Africa, 
a Roman army crossed into Africa, and Hannibal experienced his 
first defeat under its walls at the battle of Zama (202 B.C.) at the 
hands of Scipio Africanus the Elder. The battle of Zama ended 
this Second Punic War. Carthage capitulated; she surrendered 
Spain and her war fleet; she paid an enormous indemnity and 
agreed to give up Hannibal to the vengeance of the Romans. But 
Hannibal escaped and fled to Asia where later, being in danger of 
falling into the hands of his relentless enemies, he took poison and 

Rome and Carthage 


For fifty-six years Rome and the shorn city of Carthage were at 
peace. And meanwhile Rome spread her empire over confused 
and divided Greece, invaded Asia Minor, and defeated Antiochus 
III, the Seleucid monarch, at Magnesia in Lydia. She made Egypt, 
still under the Ptolemies, and Pergamum and most of the small 
states of Asia Minor into "Allies," or, as we should call them now, 
"protected states." 

Meanwhile Carthage, subjugated and enfeebled, had been slowly 
regaining something of her former prosperity. Her recovery revived 
the hate and suspicion of the Romans. She was attacked upon the 
most shallow and artificial of quarrels (149 B.C.), she made an 
obstinate and bitter resistance, stood a long siege and was stormed 
(146 B.C.). The street fighting, or massacre, lasted six days; it 
was extraordinarily bloody, and when the citadel capitulated only 
about fifty thousand of the Carthaginian population remained alive 
out of a quarter of a million. They were sold into slavery, and the 
city was burnt and elaborately destroyed. The blackened ruins 
were ploughed and sown as a sort of ceremonial effacement. 

So ended the Third Punic War. Of all the Semitic states and 
cities that had flourished in the world five centuries before only one 
little country remained free under native rulers. This was Judea, 
which had liberated itself from the Seleucids and was under the rule 

T& EXTENT oTtfi* :ROMAN POWFR & ^ ALLIANCES -about 150 B.e 

i8 4 A Short History of the World 

of the native Maccabean princes. By this time it had its Bible 
almost complete, and was developing the distinctive traditions of 
the Jewish world as we know it now. It was natural that the Car- 
thaginians, Phoenicians and kindred peoples dispersed about the 
world should find a common link in their practically identical lan- 
guage and in this literature of hope and courage. To a large extent 
they were still the traders and bankers of the world. The Semitic 
world had been submerged rather than replaced. 

Jerusalem, which has always been rather the symbol than the 
centre of Judaism, was taken by the Romans in 65 B.C.; and after 
various vicissitudes of quasi-independence and revolt was besieged 
by them in 70 A.D. and captured after a stubborn struggle. The 
Temple was destroyed. A later rebellion in 132 A.D. completed its 
destruction, and the Jerusalem we know to-day was rebuilt later 
under Roman auspices. A temple to the Roman god, Jupiter 
Capitolinus, stood in the place of the Temple, and Jews were for- 
bidden to inhabit the city. 



NOW this new Roman power which arose to dominate the 
western world in the second and first centuries B.C. was in 
several respects a different thing from any of the great 
empires that had hitherto prevailed in the civilized world. It was 
not at first a monarchy, and it was not the creation of any one great 
conqueror. It was not indeed the first of republican empires; 
Athens had dominated a group of Allies and dependents in the time 
of Pericles, and Carthage when she entered upon her fatal struggle 
with Rome was mistress of Sardinia and Corsica, Morocco, Algiers, 
Tunis, and most of Spain and Sicily. But it was the first republican 
empire that escaped extinction and went on to fresh developments. 

The centre of this new system lay far to the west of the more 
ancient centres of empire, which had hitherto been the river valleys 
of Mesopotamia and Egypt. This westward position enabled Rome 
to bring in to civilization quite fresh regions and peoples. The 
Roman power extended to Morocco and Spain, and was presently 
able to thrust north-westward over what is now France and Belgium 
to Britain and north-eastward into Hungary and South Russia. 
But on the other hand it was never able to maintain itself in Central 
Asia or Persia because they were too far from its administrative 
centres. It included therefore great masses of fresh Nordic Aryan- 
speaking peoples, it presently incorporated nearly all the Greek 
people in the world, and its population was less strongly Hamitic 
and Semitic than that of any preceding empire. 

For some centuries this Roman Empire did not fall into the 
grooves of precedent that had so speedily swallowed up Persian and 
Greek, and all that time it developed. The rulers of the Medes and 
Persians became entirely Babylonized in a generation or so; they 


186 A Short History of the World 

took over the tiara of the king of kings and the temples and priest- 
hoods of his gods; Alexander and his successors followed in the same 
easy path of assimilation; the Seleucid monarchs had much the same 
court and administrative methods as Nebuchadnezzar; the Ptole- 
mies became Pharaohs and altogether Egyptian. They were assimi- 
lated just as before them the Semitic conquerors of the Sumerians 
had been assimilated. But the Romans ruled in their own city, 
and for some centuries kept to the laws of their own nature. The 
only people who exercised any great mental influence upon them 
before the second or third century A.D. were the kindred and similar 
Greeks. So that the Roman Empire was essentially a first attempt 
to rule a great dominion upon mainly Aryan lines. It was so far a 
new pattern in history, it was an expanded Aryan republic. The 
old pattern of a personal conqueror ruling over a capital city that had 
grown up round the temple of a harvest god did not apply to it. 
The Romans had gods and temples, but like the gods of the Greeks 
their gods were quasi-human immortals, divine patricians. The 
Romans also had blood sacrifices and even made human ones in times 
of stress, things they may have learnt to do from their dusky Etrus- 
can teachers; but until Rome was long past its zenith neither priest 
nor temple played a large part in Roman history. 

The Roman Empire was a growth, an unplanned novel growth; 
the Roman people found themselves engaged almost unawares in a 
vast administrative experiment. It cannot be called a successful 
experiment. In the end their empire collapsed altogether. And 
it changed enormously in form and method from century to century. 
It changed more in a hundred years than Bengal or Mesopotamia or 
Egypt changed in a thousand. It was always changing. It never 
attained to any fixity. 

In a sense the experiment failed. In a sense the experiment 
remains unfinished, and Europe and America to-day are still working 
out the riddles of world-wide statescraft first confronted by the 
Roman people. 

It is well for the student of history to bear in mind the very 
great changes not only in political but in social and moral matters 
that went on throughout the period of Roman dominion. There is 
much too strong a tendency in people's minds to think of the Roman 

The Growth of the Roman Empire 187 

rule as something finished and stable, firm, rounded, noble and deci- 
sive. Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome, S.P.Q.R. the elder Cato, 
the Scipios, Julius Caesar, Diocletian, Constantine the Great, tri- 
umphs, orations, gladiatorial combats and Christian martyrs are all 
mixed up together in a picture of something high and cruel and 
dignified. The items of that picture have to be disentangled. They 
are collected at different points from a process of change profounder 
than that which separates the London of William the Conqueror 
from the London of to-day. 

We may very conveniently divide the expansion of Rome into 
four stages. The first stage began after the sack of Rome by the 
Goths in 390 B.C. and went on until the end of the First Punic War 
(240 B.C.). We may call this stage the stage of the Assimilative 
Republic. It was perhaps the finest, most characteristic stage in 
Roman history. The age-long dissensions of patrician and plebeian 
were drawing to a close, the Etruscan threat had come to an end, 
no one was very rich yet nor very poor, and most men were public- 
spirited. It was a republic like the republic of the South African 
Boers before 1900 or like the northern states of the American Union 
between 1800 and 1850; a free-farmers republic. At the outset of 
this stage Rome was a little state scarcely twenty miles square. She 
fought the sturdy but kindred states about her, and sought not their 
destruction but coalescence. Her centuries of civil dissension had 
trained her people in compromise and concessions. Some of the 
defeated cities became altogether Roman with a voting share in the 
government, some became self-governing with the right to trade and 
marry in Rome; garrisons full of citizens were set up at strategic 
points and colonies of varied privileges founded among the freshly 
conquered people. Great roads were made. The rapid Latiniza- 
tion of all Italy was the inevitable consequence of such a policy. 
In 89 B.C. all the free inhabitants of Italy became citizens of the city 
of Rome. Formally the whole Roman Empire became at last an 
extended city. In 212 A.D. every free man in the entire extent of 
the empire was given citizenship; the right, if he could get there, 
to vote in the town meeting in Rome. 

This extension of citizenship to tractable cities and to whole 
countries was the distinctive device of Roman expansion. It 


A Short History of the World 

reversed the old process of conquest and assimilation altogether. By 
the Roman method the conquerors assimilated the conquered. 

But after the First Punic War and the annexation of Sicily, 
though the old process of assimilation still went on, another process 
arose by its side. Sicily for instance was treated as a conquered 
prey. It was declared an "estate" of the Roman people. Its rich 
soil and industrious population was exploited to make Rome rich. 
The patricians and the more influential among the plebeians secured 


the major share of that wealth. And the war also brought in a large 
supply of slaves. Before the First Punic War the population of 
the republic had been largely a population of citizen farmers. Mili- 
tary service was their privilege and liability. While they were on 
active service their farms fell into debt and a new large-scale slave 
agriculture grew up; when they returned they found their produce 
in competition with slave-grown produce from Sicily and from the 
new estates at home. Times had changed. The republic had 

The Growth of the Roman Empire 189 

altered its character. Not only was Sicily in the hands of Rome, the 
common man was in the hands of the rich creditor and the rich 
competitor. Rome had entered upon its second stage, the Republic 
of Adventurous Rich Men. 

For two hundred years the Roman soldier farmers had struggled 
for freedom and a share in the government of their state; for a 


Ruins of Coliseum in Tunis 

Photo: pacQues Boyer 

hundred years they had enjoyed their privileges. The First Punic 
War wasted them and robbed them of all they had won. 

The value of their electoral privileges had also evaporated. 
The governing bodies of the Roman republic were two in number. 
The first and more important was the Senate. This was a body 
originally of patricians and then of prominent men of all sorts, who 
were summoned to it first by certain powerful officials, the consuls 
and censors. Like the British House of Lords it became a gathering 
of great landowners, prominent politicians, big business men and the 

A Short History of the World 

like. It was much more like the British House of Lords than it was 
like the American Senate. For three centuries, from the Punic 
Wars onward, it was the centre of Roman political thought and pur- 
pose. The second body was the Popular Assembly. This was sup- 
posed to be an assembly of all the citizens of Rome. When Rome 
was a little state twenty miles square this was a possible gathering. 
When the citizenship of Rome had spread beyond the confines in 
Italy, it was an altogether impossible one. Its meetings, proclaimed 
by horn-blowing from the Capitol and the city walls, became more 
and more a gathering of political hacks and city riff-raff. In the 
fourth century B.C. the Popular Assembly was a considerable check 
upon the Senate, a competent representation of the claims and rights 
of the common man. By the end of the Punic Wars it was an im- 
potent relic of a vanquished popular control. No effectual legal 
check remained upon the big men. 

Nothing of the nature of representative government was ever 
introduced into the Roman republic. No one thought of electing 
delegates to represent the will of the citizens. This is a very im- 
portant point for the student to grasp. The Popular Assembly 



The Growth of the Roman Empire 191 

never became the equivalent of the American House of Representa- 
tives or the British House of Commons. In theory it was all 
the citizens; in practice it ceased to be anything at all worth 

The common citizen of the Roman Empire was therefore in a very 
poor case after the Second Punic War; he was impoverished, he had 
often lost his farm, he was ousted from profitable production by 
slaves, and he had no political power left to him to remedy these 
things. The only methods of popular expression left to a people 
without any form of political expression are the strike and the revolt. 
The story of the second and first centuries B.C., so far as internal 
politics go, is a story of futile revolutionary upheaval. The scale of 
this history will not permit us to tell of the intricate struggles of that 
time, of the attempts to break up estates and restore the land to the 
free farmer, of proposals to abolish debts in whole or in part. There 
was revolt and civil war. In 73 B.C., the distresses of Italy were 
enhanced by a great insurrection of the slaves under Spartacus. 
The slaves of Italy revolted with some effect, for among them were 
the trained fighters of the gladiatorial shows. For two years 
Spartacus held out in the crater of Vesuvius, which seemed at that 
time to be an extinct volcano. This insurrection was defeated at 
last and suppressed with frantic cruelty. Six thousand captured 
Spartacists were crucified along the Appian Way, the great highway 
that runs southward out of Rome (71 B.C.). 

The common man never made head against the forces that were 
subjugating and degrading him. But the big rich men who were 
overcoming him were even in his defeat preparing a new power in 
the Roman world over themselves and him, the power of the army. 

Before the Second Punic War the army of Rome was a levy of 
free farmers, who, according to their quality, rode or marched afoot 
to battle. This was a very good force for wars close at hand, but 
not the sort of army that will go abroad and bear long campaigns 
with patience. And moreover as the slaves multiplied and the 
estates grew, the supply of free-spirited fighting farmers declined. 
It was a popular leader named Marius who introduced a new factor. 
North Africa after the overthrow of the Carthaginian civilization 
had become a semi-barbaric kingdom, the kingdom of Numidia. 

192 A Short History of the World 

The Roman power fell into conflict with Jugurtha, king of this state, 
and experienced enormous difficulties in subduing him. Marius was 
made consul, in a phase of pub ic indignation, to end this discreditable 
war. This he did by raising paid troops and drilling them hard. 
Jugurtha was brought in chains to Rome (106 B.C.) and Marius, 
when his time of office had expired, held on to his consulship illegally 
with his newly created legions. There was no power in Rome to 
restrain him. 

With Marius began the third phase in the development of the 
Roman power, the Republic of the Military Commanders. For now 
began a period in which the leaders of the paid legions fought for 
the mastery of the Roman world. Against Marius was pitted the 
aristocratic Sulla who had served under him in Africa. Each in turn 
made a great massacre of his political opponents. Men were pro- 
scribed and executed by the thousand, and their estates were sold. 
After the bloody rivalry of these two and the horror of the revolt 
of Spartacus, came a phase in which Lucullus and Pompey the 
Great and Crassus and Julius Caesar were the masters of armies and 
dominated affairs. It was Crassus who defeated Spartacus. Lucul- 
lus conquered Asia Minor and penetrated to Armenia, and retired 
with great wealth into private life. Crassus thrusting further in- 
vaded Persia and was defeated and slain by the Parthians. After a 
long rivalry Pompey was defeated by Julius Caesar (48 B.C.) and 
murdered in Egypt, leaving Julius Caesar sole master of the Roman 

The figure of Julius Caesar is one that has stirred the human im- 
agination out of all proportion to its merit or true importance. He 
has become a legend and a symbol. For us he is chiefly important 
as marking the transition from the phase of military adventurers to 
the beginning of the fourth stage in Roman expansion, the Early 
Empire. For in spite of the profoundest economic and political 
convulsions, in spite of civil war and social degeneration, throughout 
all this time the boundaries of the Roman state crept outward and 
continued to creep outward to their maximum about 100 A.D. There 
had been something like an ebb during the doubtful phases of the 
Second Punic War, and again a manifest loss of vigour before the 
reconstruction of the army by Marius. The revolt of Spartacus 

The Growth of the Roman Empire 


marked a third phase. Julius Caesar made his reputation as a 
military leader in Gaul, which is now France and Belgium. (The 
chief tribes inhabiting this country belonged to the same Celtic 
people as the Gauls who had occupied north Italy for a time, and 
who had afterwards raided into Asia Minor and settled down as 
the Galatians.) Caesar drove back a German invasion of Gaul and 
added all that country to the empire, and he twice crossed the Straits 
of Dover into Britain (55 and 54 B.C.), where however he made no 
permanent conquest. Meanwhile Pompey the Great was consoli- 
dating Roman conquests that reached in the east to the Caspian 

At this time, the middle of the first century B.C., the Roman 
Senate was still the nominal centre of the Roman government, ap- 
pointing consuls and other officials, granting powers and the like; 
and a number of politicians, among whom Cicero was an outstanding 

Representing his conquests in Dacia and elsewhere 

194 A Short History of the World 

figure, were struggling to preserve the great traditions of republican 
Rome and to maintain respect for its laws. But the spirit of citizen- 
ship had gone from Italy with the wasting away of the free farmers; 
it was a land now of slaves and impoverished men with neither the 
understanding nor the desire for freedom. There was nothing what- 
ever behind these republican leaders in the Senate, while behind the 
great adventurers they feared and desired to control were the legions. 
Over the heads of the Senate Crassus and Pompey and Caesar divided 
the rule of the Empire between them (The First Triumvirate). 
When presently Crassus was killed at distant Carrhae by the Par- 
thians, Pompey and Caesar fell out. Pompey took up the republican 
side, and laws were passed to bring Caesar to trial for his breaches of 
law and his disobedience to the decrees of the Senate. 

It was illegal for a general to bring his troops out of the boundary 
of his command, and the boundary between Cresar's command and 
Italy 'was the Rubicon. In 49 B.C. he crossed the Rubicon, saying 
"The die is cast" and marched upon Pompey and Rome. 

It had been the custom in Rome in the past, in periods of military 
extremity, to elect a "dictator" with practically unlimited powers 
to rule through the crisis. After his overthrow of Pompey, Caesar 
was made dictator first for ten years and then (in 45 B.C.) for life. 
In effect he was made monarch of the empire for life. There was 
talk of a king, a word abhorrent to Rome since the expulsion of the 
Etruscans five centuries before. Caesar refused to be king, but 
adopted throne and sceptre. After his defeat of Pompey, Caesar had 
gone on into Egypt and had made love to Cleopatra, the last of the 
Ptolemies, the goddess queen of Egypt. She seems to have turned 
his head very completely. He had brought back to Rome the 
Egyptian idea of a god-king. His statue was set up in a temple 
with an inscription "To the Unconquerable God." The expiring 
republicanism of Rome flared up in a last protest, and Caesar was 
stabbed to death in the Senate at the foot of the statue of his mur- 
dered rival, Pompey the Great. 

Thirteen years more of this conflict of ambitious personalities 
followed. There was a second Triumvirate of Lepidus, Mark 
Antony and Octavian Caesar, the latter the nephew of Julius Caesar. 
Octavian like his uncle took the poorer, hardier western provinces 

The Growth of the Roman Empire 195 

where the best legions were recruited. In 31 B.C., he defeated Mark 
Antony, his only serious rival, at the naval battle of Actium, and 
made himself sole master of the Roman world. But Octavian was a 
man of different quality altogether from Julius Caesar. He had no 
foolish craving to be God or King. He had no queen-lover that he 
wished to dazzle. He restored freedom to the Senate and people of 
Rome. He declined to be dictator. The grateful Senate in return 
gave him the reality instead of the forms of power. He was to be 
called not King indeed, but "Princeps" and "Augustus." He 
became Augustus Caesar, the first of the Roman emperors (27 B.C. 
to 14 A.D.). 

He was followed by Tiberius Caesar (14 to 37 A.D.) and he by 
others, Caligula, Claudius, Nero and so on up to Trajan (98 A.D.), 
Hadrian (117 A.D.), Antonius Pius (138 A.D.) and Marcus Aurelius 
(161-180 A.D.). All these emperors were emperors of the legions. 
The soldiers made them, and some the soldiers destroyed. Gradu- 
ally the Senate fades out of Roman history, and the emperor and his 
administrative officials replace it. The boundaries of the empire 
crept forward now to their utmost limits. Most of Britain was 
added to the empire, Transylvania was brought in as a new province, 
Dacia; Trajan crossed the Euphrates. Hadrian had an idea that 
reminds us at once of what had happened at the other end of the old 
world. Like Shi-Hwang-ti he built walls against the northern 
barbarians; one across Britain and a palisade between the Rhine 
and the Danube. He abandoned some of the acquisitions of Trajan. 

The expansion of the Roman Empire was at an end. 



THE second and first centuries B.C. mark a new phase in the 
history of mankind. Mesopotamia and the eastern Medi- 
terranean are no longer the centre of interest. Both Meso- 
potamia and Egypt were still fertile, populous and fairly prosperous, 
but they were no longer the dominant regions of the world. Power 
had drifted to the west and to the east. Two great empires now 
dominated the world, this new Roman Empire and the renascent 
Empire of China. Rome extended its power to the Euphrates, but 
it was never able to get beyond that boundary. It was too remote. 
Beyond the Euphrates the former Persian and Indian dominions 
of the Seleucids fell under a number of new masters. China, now 
under the Han dynasty, which had replaced the Ts'in dynasty at the 
death of Shi-Hwang-ti, had extended its power across Tibet and over 
the high mountain passes of the Pamirs into western Turkestan. 
But there, too, it reached its extremes. Beyond was too far. 

China at this time was the greatest, best organized and most 
civilized political system in the world. It was superior in area 
and population to the Roman Empire at its zenith. It was possible 
then for these two vast systems to flourish in the same world at the 
same time in almost complete ignorance of each other. The means 
of communication both by sea and land was not yet sufficiently 
developed and organized for them to come to a direct clash. 

Yet they reacted upon each other in a very remarkable way, 
and their influence upon the fate of the regions that lay between 
them, upon central Asia and India, was profound. A certain 
amount of trade trickled through, by camel caravans across Persia, 
for example, and by coasting ships by way of India and the Red Sea. 
In 66 B.C. Roman troops under Pompey followed in the footsteps 
of Alexander the Great, and marched up the eastern shores of the 


Between Rome and China 


Caspian Sea. In 102 A.D. a Chinese expeditionary force under Pan 
Chau reached the Caspian, and sent emissaries to report upon the 
power of Rome. But many centuries were still to pass before 
definite knowledge and direct intercourse were to link the great 
parallel worlds of Europe and Eastern Asia. 

To the north of both these great empires were barbaric wilder- 
nesses. What is now Germany was largely forest lands; the forests 
extended far into Russia and made a home for the gigantic aurochs, 
a bull of almost elephantine 
size. Then to the north of the 
great mountain masses of Asia 
stretched a band of deserts, 
steppes and then forests and 
frozen lands. In the eastward 
lap of the elevated part of Asia 
was the great triangle of Man- 
churia. Large parts of these 
regions, stretching between South 
Russia and Turkestan into 
Manchuria, were and are regions 
of exceptional climatic insecur- 
ity. Their rainfall has varied 
greatly in the course of a few cen- 
turies. They are lands treacher- 
ous to man. For years they will 
carry pasture and sustain cul- 
tivation, and then will come an age of decline in humidity and a 
cycle of killing droughts. 

The western part of this barbaric north from the German forests 
to South Russia and Turkestan and from Gothland to the Alps was 
the region of origin of the Nordic peoples and of the Aryan speech. 
The eastern steppes and deserts of Mongolia was the region of origin 
of the Hunnish or Mongolian or Tartar or Turkish peoples for all 
these several peoples were akin in language, race, and way of life. 
And as the Nordic peoples seem to have been continually overflowing 
their own borders and pressing south upon the developing civiliza- 
tions of Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean coast, so the Hunnish 


Han Dynasty (contemporary with late Roman repub- 
lic and early Empire) 

(In the Victoria and Albert Museum) 


A Short History of the World 

tribes sent their surplus as wanderers, raiders and conquerors into 
the settled regions of China. Periods of plenty in the north would 
mean an increase in population there; a shortage of grass, a spell of 
cattle disease, would drive the hungry warlike tribesmen south. 

For a time there were simultaneously two fairly effective Empires 
in the world capable of holding back the barbarians and even forcing 

forward the frontiers of the im- 
perial peace. The thrust of the 
Han empire from north China into 
Mongolia was strong and con- 
tinuous. The Chinese population 
welled up over the barrier of the 
Great Wall. Behind the imperial 
frontier guards came the Chinese 
farmer with horse and plough, 
ploughing up the grass lands and 
enclosing the winter pasture. The 
Hunnish peoples raided and mur- 
dered the settlers, but the Chinese 
punitive expeditions were too much 
for them. The nomads were faced 
with the choice of settling down to 
the plough and becoming Chinese 
tax-payers or shifting in search of 
fresh summer pastures. Some took 
the former course and were ab- 
sorbed. Some drifted north-east- 
ward and eastward over the moun- 
tain passes down into western 

This westward drive of the Mongolian horsemen was going on 
from 200 B.C. onward. It was producing a westward pressure upon 
the Aryan tribes, and these again were pressing upon the Roman 
frontiers ready to break through directly there was any weakness 
apparent. The Parthians, who were apparently a Scythian people 
with some Mongolian admixture, came down to the Euphrates by 
the first century B.C. They fought against Pompey the Great in 


Han Dynasty (B.C. 206-A.D. 220) 
(In the Victoria and Albert Museum) 

Between Rome and China 


his eastern raid. They defeated and killed Crassus. They replaced 
the Seleucid monarchy in Persia by a dynasty of Parthian kings, 
the Arsacid dynasty. 

But for a time the line of least resistance for hungry nomads 
lay neither to the west nor the east but through central Asia and then 
south-eastward through the Khyber Pass into India. It was India 
which received the Mongolian drive in these centuries of Roman 
and Chinese strength. A series of raiding conquerors poured down 
through the Punjab into the great plains to loot and destroy. The 


Dating from before the time of Shi-Hwang-ti. Such a piece of work indicates a high 
level of comfort and humour 

(In the Victoria and Albert Museum) 

empire of Asoka was broken up, and for a time the history of India 
passes into darkness. A certain Kushan dynasty founded by the 
" Indo-Scythians " one of the raiding peoples ruled for a time 
over North India and maintained a certain order. These invasions 
went on for several centuries. For a large part of the fifth century 
A.D. India was afflicted by the Ephthalites or White Huns, who levied 
tribute on the small Indian princes and held India in terror. Every 
summer these Ephthalites pastured in western Turkestan, every 
autumn they came down through the passes to terrorize India. 

200 A Short History of the World 

In the second century A.D. a great misfortune came upon the 
Roman and Chinese empires that probably weakened the resistance 
of both to barbarian pressure. This was a pestilence of unexampled 
virulence. It raged for eleven years in China and disorganized the 
social framework profoundly. The Han dynasty fell, and a new age 
of division and confusion began from which China did not fairly 
recover until the seventh century A.D. with the coming of the great 
Tang dynasty. 

The infection spread through Asia to Europe. It raged through- 
out the Roman Empire from 164 to 180 A.D. It evidently weakened 
the Roman imperial fabric very seriously. We begin to hear of 
depopulation in the Roman provinces after this, and there was a 
marked deterioration in the vigour and efficiency of government. 
At any rate we presently find the frontier no longer invulnerable, 
but giving way first in this place and then in that. A new Nordic 
people, the Goths, coming originally from Gothland in Sweden, 
had migrated across Russia to the Volga region and the shores of 
the Black Sea and taken to the sea and piracy. By the end of the 
second century they may have begun to feel the westward thrust 
of the Huns. In 247 they crossed the Danube in a great land raid, 
and defeated and killed the Emperor Decius in a battle in what is 
now Serbia. In 236 another Germanic people, the Franks, had 
broken bounds upon the lower Rhine, and the Alemanni had poured 
into Alsace. The legions in Gaul beat back their invaders, but the 
Goths in the Balkan peninsula raided again and again. The province 
of Dacia vanished from Roman history. 

A chill had come to the pride and confidence of Rome. In 270- 
275 Rome, which had been an open and secure city for three cen- 
turies, was fortified by the Emperor Aurelian. 



BEFORE we tell of how this Roman empire which was built up 
in the two centuries B.C., and which flourished in peace and 
security from the days of Augustus Caesar onward for two 
centuries, fell into disorder and was broken up, it may be as well to 
devote some attention to the life of the ordinary people throughout 
this great realm. Our history has come down now to within 2000 
years of our own time; and the life of the civilized people, both 
under the Peace of Rome and the Peace of the Han dynasty, was 
beginning to resemble more and more clearly the life of their civilized 
successors to-day. 

In the western world coined money was now in common use; 
outside the priestly world there were many people of independent 
means who were neither officials of the government nor priests; 
people travelled about more freely than they had ever done before, 
and there were high roads and inns for them. Compared with the 
past, with the time before 500 B.C., life had become much more loose. 
Before that date civilized men had been bound to a district or 
country, had been bound to a tradition and lived within a very 
limited horizon; only the nomads traded and travelled. 

But neither the Roman Peace nor the Peace of the Han dynasty 
meant a uniform civilization over the large areas they controlled. 
There were very great local differences and great contrasts and in- 
equalities of culture between one district and another, just as there 
are to-day under the British Peace in India. The Roman garrisons 
and colonies were dotted here and there over this great space, wor- 
shipping Roman gods and speaking the Latin language; but where 
there had been towns and cities before the coming of the Romans, 
they went on, subordinated indeed but managing their own affairs, 
and, for a time at least, worshipping their own gods in their own 
fashion. Over Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt and the Hellenized East 



A Short History of the World 

generally, the Latin language never prevailed. Greek ruled there 
invincibly. Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul, was a 
Jew and a Roman citizen; but he spoke and wrote Greek and not 
Hebrew. Even at the court of the Parthian dynasty, which had 
overthrown the Greek Seleucids in Persia, and was quite outside the 
Roman imperial boundaries, Greek was the fashionable language. 

In some parts of Spain and in North Africa, the Carthaginian lan- 
guage also held on for a long time in spite of the destruction of Car- 
thage. Such a town as Seville, which had been a prosperous city 
long before the Roman name had been heard of, kept its Semitic 
goddess and preserved its Semitic speech for generations, in spite of 
a colony of Roman veterans at Italica a few miles away. Septimius 
Severus, who was emperor from 193 to 211 A.D., spoke Carthaginian 
as his mother speech. He learnt Latin later as a foreign tongue; 

Man's Life under Early Roman Empire 203 

and it is recorded that his sister never learnt Latin and conducted 
her Roman household in the Punic language. 

In such countries as Gaul and Britain and in provinces like 
Dacia (now roughly Roumania) and Pannonia (Hungary south of 
the Danube), where there were no pre-existing great cities and tem- 
ples and cultures, the Roman empire did however "Latinize." It 
civilized these countries for the first time. It created cities and 
towns where Latin was from the first the dominant speech, and where 
Roman gods were served and Roman customs and fashions followed. 
The Roumanian, Italian, French and Spanish languages, all variations 
and modifications of Latin, remain to remind us of this extension of 
Latin speech and customs. North-west Africa also became at last 
largely Latin-speaking. Egypt, Greece and the rest of the empire 
to the east were never Latinized. They remained Egyptian and 
Greek in culture and spirit. And even in Rome, among educated 
men, Greek was learnt as the language of a gentleman and Greek 
literature and learning were very properly preferred to Latin. 

In this miscellaneous empire the ways of doing work and busi- 
ness were naturally also very miscellaneous. The chief industry of 
the settled world was still largely agriculture. We have told how in 
Italy the sturdy free farmers who were the backbone of the early 
Roman republic were replaced by estates worked by slave labour 
after the Punic wars. The Greek world had had very various 
methods of cultivation, from the Arcadian plan, wherein every free 
citizen toiled with his own hands, to Sparta, wherein it was a dis- 
honour to work and where agricultural work was done by a special 
slave class, the Helots. But that was ancient history now, and 
over most of the Hellenized world the estate system and slave- 
gangs had spread. The agricultural slaves were captives who spoke 
many different languages so that they could not understand each 
other, or they were born slaves; they had no solidarity to resist 
oppress'on, no tradition of rights, no knowledge, for they could not 
read nor write. Although they came to form a majority of the 
country population they never made a successful .insurrection. 
The insurrection of Spartacus in the first century B.C. was an in- 
surrection of the special slaves who were trained for the gladiatorial 
combats. The agricultural workers in Italy in the latter days of 


A Short History of the World 

the Republic and the early Empire suffered frightful indignities; 
they would be chained at night to prevent escape or have half the 
head shaved to make it difficult. They had no wives of their own; 
they could be outraged, mutilated and killed by their masters. 
A master could sell his slave to fight beasts in the arena. If a slave 
slew his master, all the slaves in his household and not merely the 
murderer were crucified. In some parts of Greece, in Athens nota- 
bly, the lot of the slave was never quite so frightful as this, but it 
was still detestable. To such a population the barbarian invaders 

who presently 
broke through 
the defensive line 
of the legions, 
came not as ene- 
mies but as liber- 

The slave sys- 
tem had spread 
to most indus- 
tries and to every 
sort of work that 
could be done by 
gangs. Mines 
and metallurgi- 
cal operations, 
the rowing of gal- 
leys, road-mak- 
ing and big 
building opera- 
tions were all 
largely slave oc- 
cupations. And 
almost all do- 
mestic service 
was performed 
by slaves. There 
were poor free- 


" Note the ruts in roadway worn by chariot wheels." 

Man's Life under Early Roman Empire 205 

men and there were _reed-men in the cities and upon the country 
side, working for themselves or even working for wages. They 
were artizans, supervisors and so forth, workers of a new money-paid 
class working in competition with slave workers; but we do not know 
what proportion they made of the general population. It prob- 
ably varied widely in different places and at different periods. 
And there were also many modifications of slavery, from the slavery 
that was chained at night and driven with whips to the farm or 
quarry, to the slave whose master found it advantageous to leave 
him to cultivate his patch or work his craft and own his wife like a 
free-man, provided he paid in a satisfactory quittance to his owner. 

There were armed slaves. At the opening of the period of the 
Punic wars, in 264 B.C., the Etruscan sport of setting slaves to fight 
for their lives was revived in Rome. It grew rapidly fashionable; 
and soon every great Roman rich man kept a retinue of gladiators, 
who sometimes fought in the arena but whose real business it was 
to act as his bodyguard of bullies. And also there were learned 
slaves. The conquests of the later Republic were among the highly 
civilized cities of Greece, North Africa and Asia Minor; and they 
brought in many highly educated captives. The tutor of a young 
Roman of good family was usually a slave. A rich man would have 
a Greek slave as librarian, and slave secretaries and learned men. 
He would keep his poet as he would keep a performing dog. In this 
atmosphere of slavery the traditions of modern literary criticism 
were evolved. The slaves still boast and quarrel in our reviews. 
There were enterprising people who bought intelligent boy slaves 
and had them educated for sale. Slaves were trained as book copy- 
ists, as jewellers, and for endless skilled callings. 

But there were very considerable changes in the position of a 
slave during the four hundred years between the opening days of 
conquest under the republic of rich men and the days of disintegra- 
tion that followed the great pestilence. In the second century B.C. 
war-captives were abundant, manners gross and brutal; the slave 
had no rights and there was scarcely an outrage the reader can 
imagine that was not practised upon slaves in those days. But al- 
ready in the first century A.D. there was a perceptible improvement 
in the attitude of the Roman civilization towards slavery. Cap- 

Photo: Underwood & Lmderwuui 




Man's Life under Early Roman Empire 207 

tives were not so abundant for one thing, and slaves were dearer. 
And slave-owners began to realize that the profit and comfort they 
got from their slaves increased with the self-respect of these unfor- 
tunates. But also the moral tone of the community was rising, and 
a sense of justice was becoming effective. The higher mentality of 
Greece was qualifying the old Roman harshness. Restrictions upon 
cruelty were made, a master might no longer sell his slave to fight 
beasts, a slave was given property rights in what was called his 
peculium, slaves were paid wages as an encouragement and stimulus, 
a form of slave marriage was recognized. Very many forms of agri- 
culture do not lend themselves to gang working, or require gang 
workers only at certain seasons. In regions where such conditions 
prevailed the slave presently became a serf, paying his owner part 
of his produce or working for him at certain seasons. 

When we begin to realize how essentially this great Latin and 
Greek-speaking Roman Empire of the first two centuries A.D. was a 
slave state and how small was the minority who had any pride or 
freedom in their lives, we lay our hands on the clues to its decay and 
collapse. There was little of what we should call family life, few 
homes of temperate living and active thought and study; schools 
and colleges were few and far between. The free will and the free 
mind were nowhere to be found. The great roads, the ruins of 
splendid buildings, the tradition of law and power it left for the as- 
tonishment of succeeding generations must not conceal from us that 
all its outer splendour was built upon thwarted wills, stifled intelli- 
gence, and crippled and perverted desires. And even the minority 
who lorded it over that wide realm of subjugation and of restraint 
and forced labour were uneasy and unhappy in their souls; art and 
literature, science and philosophy, which are the fruits of free and 
happy minds, waned in that atmosphere. There was much copy- 
ing and imitation, an abundance of artistic artificers, much slavish 
pedantry among the servile men of learning, but the whole Roman 
empire in four centuries produced nothing to set beside the bold 
and noble intellectual activities of the comparatively little city of 
Athens during its one century of greatness. Athens decayed under 
the Roman sceptre. The science of Alexandria decayed. The spirit 
of man, it seemed, was decaying in those days. 



THE soul of man under that Latin and Greek empire of the 
first two centuries of the Christian era was a worried and 
frustrated soul. Compulsion and cruelty reigned; there 
were pride and display but little honour; little serenity or steadfast 
happiness. The unfortunate were despised and wretched; the 
fortunate were insecure and feverishly eager for gratifications. In 
a great number of cities life centred on the red excitement of the 
arena, where men and beasts fought and were tormented and slain. 
Amphitheatres are the most characteristic of Roman ruins. Life 
went on in that key. The uneasiness of men's hearts manifested it- 
self in profound religious unrest. 

From the days when the Aryan hordes first broke in upon tne 
ancient civilizations, it was inevitable that the old gods of the tem- 
ples and priesthoods should suffer great adaptations or disappear. 
In the course of hundreds of generations the agricultural peoples of 
the brunette civilizations had shaped their lives and thoughts to the 
temple-centred life. Observances and the fear of disturbed routines, 
sacrifices and mysteries, dominated their minds. Their gods seem 
monstrous and illogical to our modern minds because we belong to 
an Aryanized world, but to these older peoples these deities had the 
immediate conviction and vividness of things seen in an intense 
dream. The conquest of one city state by another in Sumeria or 
early Egypt meant a change or a renaming of gods or goddesses, 
but left the shape and spirit of the worship intact. There was no 
change in its general character. The figures in the dream changed, 
but the dream went on and it was the same sort of dream. And the 
early Semitic conquerors were sufficiently akin in spirit to the Sume- 
rians to take over the religion of the Mesopotamian civilization they 
subjugated without any profound alteration. Egypt was never 


Religious Developments 209 

indeed subjugated to the extent of a religious revolution. Under 
the Ptolemies and under the Caesars, her temples and altars and 
priesthoods remained essentially Egyptian. 

So long as conquests went on between people of similar social 
and religious habits it was possible to get over the clash between the 
god of this temple and region and the god of that by a process of 
grouping or assimilation. If the two gods were alike in character 
they were identified. It was really the same god under another 
name, said the priests and the people. This fusion of gods is called 
theocrasia; and the age of the great conquests of the thousand 
years B.C. was an age of theocrasia. Over wide areas the local gods 
were displaced by, or rather they were swallowed up in, a general 
god. So that when at last Hebrew prophets in Babylon proclaimed 
one God of Righteousness in all the earth men's minds were fully 
prepared for that idea. 

But often the gods were too dissimilar for such an assimilation, 
and then they were grouped together in some plausible relationship. 
A female god and the ^Egean world before the coming of the Greek 
was much addicted to Mother Gods would be married to a male 
god, and an animal god or a star god would be humanized and the 
animal or astronomical aspect, the serpent or the sun or the star, 
made into an ornament or a symbol. Or the god of a defeated people 
would become a malignant antagonist to the brighter gods. The 
history of theology is full of such adaptations, compromises and 
rationalizations of once local gods. 

As Egypt developed from city states into one united kingdom 
there was much of this theocrasia. The chief god so to speak was 
Osiris, a sacrificial harvest god of whom Pharaoh was supposed to 
be the earthly incarnation. Osiris was represented as repeatedly 
dying and rising again; he was not only the seed and the harvest 
but also by a natural extension of thought the means of human 
immortality. Among his symbols was the wide- winged scarabeus 
beetle which buries its eggs to rise again, and also the effulgent sun 
which sets to rise. Later on he was to be identified with Apis, the 
sacred bull. Associated with him was the goddess Isis. Isis was 
also Hathor, a cow-goddess, and the crescent moon and the Star 
of the sea. Osiris dies and she bears a child, Horus, who is also a 


A Short History of the World 

hawk-god and the dawn, and who grows to become Osiris again. 
The effigies of Isis represent her as bearing the infant Horus in her 
arms and standing on the crescent moon. These are not logical 
relationships, but they were devised by the human mind before the 
development of hard and systematic thinking and they have a 
dream-like coherence. Beneath this triple group there are other 
and darker Egyptian gods, bad gods, the dog-headed Anubis, black 
night and the like, devourers, tempters, enemies of god and man. 

Every religious system does in the course of time fit itself to the 
shape of the human soul, and there can be no doubt that out of these 
illogical and even uncouth symbols, Egyptian people were able to 
fashion for themselves ways of genuine devotion and consolation. 
The desire for immortality was very strong in the Egyptian mind, 
and the religious life of Egypt turned on that desire. The Egyp- 


(In the British Museum) 

Religious Developments 


tian religion was an 
as no other religion 
Egypt went down 
querors and the 
ceased to have any 
significance, this 
compensations here- 
After the Greek 
city of Alexandria 
of Egyptian reli- 
of the religious life 
lenic world. A 
Serapeum, was set 
which a sort of 


immortality religion 
had ever been. As 
under foreign con- 
Egyptian gods 
satisfactory political 
craving for a life of 
after, intensified, 
conquest, the new 
became the centre 
gious life, and indeed 
of the whole Hel- 
great temple, the 
up by Ptolemy I at 
trinity of gods was 
were Serapis (who 

worshipped. These 
was Osiris-Apis rechristened) , Isis and Horus. These were not 
regarded as separate gods but as three aspects of one god, and 
Serapis was identified with the Greek Zeus, the Roman Jupiter 
and the Persian sun-god. This worship spread wherever the 
Hellenic influence extended, even into North India and Western 
China. The idea of immortality, an immortality of compensa- 
tions and consolation, was eagerly received by a world in which 
the common life was hopelessly wretched. Serapis was called 
"the saviour of souls." "After death," said the hymns of that time, 
"we are still in the care of his providence." Isis attracted many 
devotees. Her images stood in her temples, as Queen of Heaven, 
bearing the infant Horus in her arms. Candles were burnt before 
her, votive offerings were made to her, shaven priests consecrated 
to celibacy waited on her altar. 

The rise of the Roman empire opened the western European 
world to this growing cult. The temples of Serapis-Isis, the chant- 
ing of the priests and the hope of immortal life, followed the Roman 
standards to Scotland and Holland. But there were many rivals to 
the Serapis-Isis religion. Prominent among these was Mithraism. 
This was a religion of Persian origin, and it centred upon some now 
forgotten mysteries about Mithras sacrificing a sacred and benevo- 
lent bull. Here we seem to have something more primordial than 


A Short History of the World 

the complicated and sophisticated Serapis-Isis beliefs. We are car- 
ried back directly to the blood sacrifices of the heliolithic stage in 
human culture. The bull upon the Mithraic monuments always 
bleeds copiously from a wound in its side, and from this blood springs 
new life. The votary to Mithraism actually bathed in the blood of 
the sacrificial bull. At his initiation he went beneath a scaffolding 
upon which a bull was killed so that the blood could actually run 
down on him. 

Both these religions, and the same is true of many other of the 
numerous parallel cults that sought the allegiance of the slaves and 
citizens under the earlier Roman emperors, are personal religions. 
They aim at personal salvation and personal immortality. The 
older religions were not personal like that; they were social. The 
older fashion of divinity was god or goddess of the city first or of the 
state, and only secondarily of the individual. The sacrifices were a 
public and not a private function. They concerned collective prac- 
tical needs in this world in which we live. But the Greeks first and 
now the Romans had pushed religion out of politics. Guided by 
the Egyptian tradition religion had retreated to the other world. 

These new private immortality religions took all the heart and 

emotion out of the 
but they did not 
them. A typical 
earlier Roman em- 
a number of temples 
There might be a 
of the Capitol, the 
and there would 
the reigning Caesar, 
learnt from the 
bility of being gods, 
cold and stately 
went on; one would 
offering and burn a 
show one's loyalty, 
the temple of Isis, 
Heaven, one would 

COMMODUS, A.D. 180-192 

Represented as the God Mithras, 
Roman, Circa A.D. 190 

(In the British Museum) 

old state religions, 
actually replace 
city under the 
perors would have 
to all sorts of gods, 
temple to Jupiter 
great god of Rome, 
probably be one to 
For the Caesars had 
Pharaohs the possi- 
In such temples a 
political worship 
go and make an 
pinch of incense to 
But it would be to 
the dear Queen of 
go with the burthen 

Religious Developments 


of one's private troubles for advice and relief. There might be 
local and eccentric gods. Seville, for example, long affected the 
worship of the old Carthaginian Venus. In a cave or an under- 
ground temple there would certainly be an altar to Mithras, 
attended by legionaries and slaves. And probably also there 
would be a synagogue where the Jews gathered to read their Bible 
and uphold their faith in the unseen God of all the Earth. 

Sometimes there would be trouble with the Jews about the po- 
litical side of the state religion. They held that their God was a 
jealous God intolerant of idolatry, and they would refuse to take 
part in the public sacrifices to Caesar. They would not even salute 
the Roman standards for fear of idolatry. 

In the East long before the time of Buddha there had been 
ascetics, men and women who gave up most of the delights of life, 
who repudiated marriage and property and sought spiritual powers 
and an escape from the stresses and mortifications of the world in 
abstinence, pain and solitude. Buddha himself set his face against 
ascetic extravagances, but many of his disciples followed a monkish 
life of great severity. Obscure Greek cults practised similar dis- 
ciplines even to the extent of self -mutilation. Asceticism appeared 
in the Jewish communities of Judea and Alexandria also in the first 
century B.C. Communities of men abandoned the world and gave 
themselves to austerities and mystical contemplation. Such was 
the sect of the Essenes. Throughout the first and second centuries 
A.D. there was an almost world- wide resort to such repudiations of 
life, a universal search for "salvation" from the distresses of the 
time. The old sense of an established order, the old confidence in 
priest and temple and law and custom, had gone. Amidst the pre- 
vailing slavery, cruelty, fear, anxiety, waste, display and hectic self- 
indulgence, went this epidemic of self-disgust and mental insecurity, 
this agonized search for peace even at the price of renunciation and 
voluntary suffering. This it was that filled the Serapeum with weep- 
ing penitents and brought the converts into the gloom and gore of 
the Mithraic cave. 



IT was while Augustus Caesar, the first of the Emperors, was 
reigning in Rome that Jesus who is the Christ of Christianity 
was born in Judea. In his name a religion was to arise which 
was destined to become the official religion of the entire Roman 

Now it is on the whole more convenient to keep history and 
theology apart. A large proportion of the Christian world believes 
that Jesus was an incarnation of that God of all the Earth whom the 
Jews first recognized. The historian, if he is to remain historian, 
can neither accept nor deny that interpretation. Materially Jesus 
appeared in the likeness of a man, and it is as a man that the his- 
torian must deal with him. 

He appeared in Judea in the reign of Tiberius Caesar. He was a 
prophet. He preached after the fashion of the preceding Jewish 
prophets. He was a man of about thirty, and we are in the pro- 
foundest ignorance of his manner of life before his preaching began. 

Our only direct sources of information about the life and teaching 
of Jesus are the four Gospels. All four agree in giving us a picture 
of a very definite personality. One is obliged to say, "Here was 
a man. This could not have been invented." 

But just as the personality of Gautama Buddha has been dis- 
torted and obscured by the stiff squatting figure, the gilded idol of 
later Buddhism, so one feels that the lean and strenuous personality 
of Jesus is much wronged by the unreality and conventionality that 
a mistaken reverence has imposed upon his figure in modern Chris- 
tian art. Jesus was a penniless teacher, who wandered about the 
dusty sun-bit country of Judea, living upon casual gifts of food; 
yet he is always represented clean, combed and sleek, in spotless 
raiment, erect and with something motionless about him as though 


The Teaching of Jesus 215 

he was gliding through the air. This alone has made him unreal 
and incredible to many people who cannot distinguish the core of 
the story from the ornamental and unwise additions of the unin- 
telligently devout. 

We are left, if we do strip this record of these difficult accessories, 
with the figure of a being, very human, very earnest and passionate, 
capable of swift anger, and teaching a new and simple and profound 
doctrine namely, the universal loving Fatherhood of God and the 
coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. He was clearly a person to 
use a common phrase of intense personal magnetism. He at- 
tracted followers and filled them with love and courage. Weak and 
ailing people were heartened and healed by his presence. Yet he 
was probably of a delicate physique, because of the swiftness with 
which he died under the pains of crucifixion. There is a tradition 
that he fainted when, according to the custom, he was made to bear 
his cross to the place of execution. He went about the country for 
three years spreading his doctrine and then he came to Jerusalem 
and was accused of trying to set up a strange kingdom in Judea; 
he was tried upon this charge, and crucified together with two 
thieves. Long before these two were dead his sufferings were 

The doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven, which was the main 
teaching of Jesus, is certainly one of the most revolutionary doc- 
trines that ever stirred and changed human thought. It is small 
wonder if the world of that time failed to grasp its full significance, 
and recoiled in dismay from even a half apprehension of its tremen- 
dous challenges to the established habits and institutions of man- 
kind. For the doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven, as Jesus seems 
to have preached it, was no less than a bold and uncompromising 
demand for a complete change and cleansing of the life of our 
struggling race, an utter cleansing, without and within. To the 
gospels the reader must go for all that is preserved of this tremendous 
teaching; here we are only concerned with the jar of its impact upon 
established ideas. 

The Jews were persuaded that God, the one God of the whole 
world, was a righteous god, but they also thought of him as a 
trading god who had made a bargain with their Father Abraham 


A Short History of the World 


about them, a very good bargain indeed for them, to bring them 
at last to predominance in the earth. With dismay and anger they 
heard Jesus sweeping away their dear securities. God, he taught, 
was no bargainer; there were no chosen people and no favourites 
in the Kingdom of Heaven. God was the loving father of all life, 
as incapable of showing favour as the universal sun. And all men 
were brothers sinners alike and beloved sons alike of this divine 
father. In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus cast scorn 
upon that natural tendency we all obey, to glorify our own people 
and to minimize the righteousness of other creeds and other races. 
In the parable of the labourers he thrust aside the obstinate claim 
of the Jews to have a special claim upon God. All whom God 
takes into the kingdom, he taught, God serves alike; there is no dis- 
tinction in his treatment, because there is no measure to his bounty. 
From all, moreover, as the parable of the buried talent witnesses, 
and as the incident of the widow's mite enforces, he demands the 
utmost. There are no privileges, no rebates and no excuses in the 
Kingdom of Heaven. 

The Teaching of Jesus 


But it is not only the intense tribal patriotism of the Jews that 
Jesus outraged. They were a people of intense family loyalty, and 
he would have swept away all the narrow and restrictive family 
affections in the great flood of the love of God. The whole kingdom 
of Heaven was to be the family of his followers. We are told that, 
"While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his 
brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said 
unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, 
desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him 
that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And 
he stretched forth his hands towards his disciples, and said, Behold 
my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of 
my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, 
and mother." l 

And not only did Jesus strike at patriotism and the bonds of 
family loyalty in the name of God's universal fatherhood and broth- 
erhood of all mankind, but it is clear that his teaching condemned 
all the gradations of the economic system, all private wealth, and 

1 Matt. xii. 46-50. 


Photo: yannaway 


A Short History of the World 

personal advantages. All men belonged to the kingdom; all their 
possessions belonged to the kingdom; the righteous life for all men, 
the only righteous life, was the service of God's will with all that we 
had, with all that we were. Again and again he denounced private 
riches and the reservation of any private life. 

"And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one run- 
ning, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I 

do that I may inherit eter- 
nal life? And Jesus said to 
him, Why callest thou me 
good? there is none good 
but one, that is God. Thou 
knowest the command- 
ments, Do not commit 
adultery, Do not kill, Do 
not steal, Do not bear false 
witness, Defraud not, 
Honour thy father and 
mother. And he answered 
and said unto him, Master, 
all these things have I ob- 
served from my youth. 
Then Jesus beholding him 
loved him, and said unto 
him, One thing thou lack- 
est; go thy way, sell what- 
soever thou hast, and give 
to the poor, and thou shalt 
have treasure in heaven: 

and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was 
sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great 

"And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, 
How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of 
God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus 
answered again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for 
them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God! It is. 

Photo: yannaway 


Along such a thoroughfare Christ carried his cross to the place of execution 


Photo: yannaway 

220 A Short History of the World 

easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich 
man to enter into the Kingdom of God." l 

Moreover, in his tremendous prophecy of this kingdom which 
was to make all men one together in God, Jesus had small patience 
for the bargaining righteousness of formal religion. Another large 
part of his recorded utterances is aimed against the meticulous 
observance of the rules of the pious career. "Then the Pharisees 
and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the 
tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He 
answered and said unto them, Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you 
hypocrites, as it is written, 

"This people honoureth me with their lips, 

"But their heart is far from me. 

"Howbeit in vain do they worship me, 

"Teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 

"For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradi- 
tion of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such 
things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the com- 
mandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." 2 

It was not merely a moral and a social revolution that Jesus 
proclaimed; it is clear from a score of indications that his teaching 
had a political bent of the plainest sort. It is true that he said his 
kingdom was not of this world, that it was in the hearts of men and 
not upon a throne; but it is equally clear that wherever and in what 
measure his kingdom was set up in the hearts of men, the outer 
world would be in that measure revolutionized and made new. 

Whatever else the deafness and blindness of his hearers may have 
missed in his utterances, it is plain they did not miss his resolve to 
revolutionize the world. The whole tenor of the opposition to him 
and the circumstances of his trial and execution show clearly that 
to his contemporaries he seemed to propose plainly, and did propose 
plainly, to change and fuse and enlarge all human life. 

In view of what he plainly said, is it any wonder that all who 
were rich and prosperous felt a horror of strange things, a swimming 
of their world at his teaching? He was dragging out all the little 
private reservations they had made from social service into the light 

i Mark x. 17-25. 2 Markvii. 1-9. 

The Teaching of Jesus 221 

of a universal religious life. He was like some terrible moral hunts- 
man digging mankind out of the snug burrows in which they had 
lived hitherto. In the white blaze of this kingdom of his there was 
to be no property, no privilege, no pride and precedence; no motive 
indeed and no reward but love. Is it any wonder that men were 
dazzled and blinded and cried out against him? Even his dis- 
ciples cried out when he would not spare them the light. Is it any 
wonder that the priests realized that between this man and them- 
selves there was no choice but that he or priestcraft should perish? 
Is it any wonder that the Roman soldiers, confronted and amazed 
by something soaring over their comprehension and threatening all 
their disciplines, should take refuge in wild laughter, and crown him 
with thorns and robe him in purple and make a mock Caesar of him? 
For to take him seriously was to enter upon a strange and alarming 
life, to abandon habits, to control instincts and impulses, to essay 
an incredible happiness. . . . 

IN the four gospels we find the personality and teachings of 
Jesus but very little of the dogmas of the Christian church. It 
is in the epistles, a series of writings by the immediate followers 
of Jesus, that the broad lines of Christian belief are laid down. 

Chief among the makers of Christian doctrine was St. Paul. 
He had never seen Jesus nor heard him preach. Paul's name was 
originally Saul, and he was conspicuous at first as an active perse- 
cutor of the little band of disciples after the crucifixion. Then he 
was suddenly converted to Christianity, and he changed his name 
to Paul. He was a man of great intellectual vigour and deeply and 
passionately interested in the religious movements of the time. He 
was well versed in Judaism and in the Mithraism and Alexandrian 
religion of the day. He carried over many of their ideas and terms 
of expression into Christianity. He did very little to enlarge or 
develop the original teaching of Jesus, the teaching of the Kingdom 
of Heaven. But he taught that Jesus was not only the promised 
Christ, the promised leader of the Jews, but also that his death was 
a sacrifice, like the deaths of the ancient sacrificial victims of the 
primordial civilizations, for the redemption of mankind. 

When religions flourish side by side they tend to pick up each 
other's ceremonial and other outward peculiarities. Buddhism, 
for example, in China has now almost the same sort of temples and 
priests and uses as Taoism, which follows in the teachings of Lao 
Tse. Yet the original teachings of Buddhism and Taoism were 
almost flatly opposed. And it reflects no doubt or discredit upon 
the essentials of Christian teaching that it took over not merely 
such formal things as the shaven priest, the votive offering, the 
altars, candles, chanting and images of the Alexandrian and Mithraic 
faiths, but adopted even their devotional phrases and their theo- 


Development of Doctrinal Christianity 



From the Ninth Century original, in the Church of Sta. Prassede, Rome 
(In the Victoria and Albert Museum) 

logical ideas. All these religions were flourishing side by side with 
many less prominent cults. Each was seeking adherents, and 
there must have been a constant going and coming of converts 
between them. Sometimes one or other would be in favour with 
the government. But Christianity was regarded with more suspicion 
than its rivals because, like the Jews, its adherents would not perform 
acts of worship to the God Caesar. This made it a seditious religion, 
quite apart from the revolutionary spirit of the teachings of Jesus 

St. Paul familiarized his disciples with the idea that Jesus, like 

224 A Short History of the World 

Osiris, was a god who died to rise again and give men immortality. 
And presently the spreading Christian community was greatly torn 
by complicated theological disputes about the relationship of this 
God Jesus to God the Father of Mankind. The Arians taught that 
Jesus was divine, but distant from and inferior to the Father. The 
Sabellians taught that Jesus was merely an aspect of the Father, 
and that God was Jesus and Father at the same time just as a man 
may be a father and an artificer at the same time; and the Trini- 
tarians taught a more subtle doctrine that God was both one and 
three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For a time it seemed that 
Arianism would prevail over its rivals, and then after disputes, 
violence and wars, the Trinitarian formula became the accepted 
formula of all Christendom. It may be found in its completest 
expression in the Athanasian Creed. 

We offer no comment on these controversies here. They do not 
sway history as the personal teaching of Jesus sways history. The 
personal teaching of Jesus does seem to mark a new phase in the 
moral and spiritual life of our race. Its insistence upon the uni- 
versal Fatherhood of God and the implicit brotherhood of all men, 
its insistence upon the sacredness of every human personality as a 
living temple of God, was to have the profoundest effect upon all the 
subsequent social and political life of mankind. With Christianity, 
with the spreading teachings of Jesus, a new respect appears in the 
world for man as man. It may be true, as hostile critics of Chris- 
tianity have urged, that St. Paul preached obedience to slaves, but 
it is equally true that the whole spirit of the teachings of Jesus pre- 
served in the gospels was against the subjugation of man by man. 
And still more distinctly was Christianity opposed to such outrages 
upon human dignity as the gladiatorial combats in the arena. 

Throughout the first two centuries after Christ, the Christian 
religion spread throughout the Roman Empire, weaving together 
an ever-growing multitude of converts into a new community of 
ideas and will. The attitude of the emperors varied between hos- 
tility and toleration. There were attempts to suppress this new 
faith in both the second and third centuries; and finally in 303 and 
the following years a great persecution under the Emperor Diocle- 
tian. The considerable accumulations of Church property were 

Development of Doctrinal Christianity 



(Sixth Century Ivory Panel in the British Museum) 

seized, all bibles and religious writings were confiscated and de- 
stroyed, Christians were put out of the protection of the law and 
many executed. The destruction of the books is particularly nota- 
ble. It shows how the power of the written word in holding to- 

226 A Short History of the World 

gether the new faith was appreciated by the authorities. These 
"book religions," Christianity and Judaism, were religions that 
educated. Their continued existence depended very largely on 
people being able to read and understand their doctrinal ideas. 
The older religions had made no such appeal to the personal intelli- 
gence. In the ages of barbaric confusion that were now at hand in 
western Europe it was the Christian church that was mainly instru- 
mental in preserving the tradition of learning. 

The persecution of Diocletian failed completely to suppress the 
growing Christian community. In many provinces it was ineffec- 
tive because the bulk of the population and many of the officials were 
Christian. In 317 an edict of toleration was issued by the associated 
Emperor Galerius, and in 324 Constantine the Great, a friend and 
on his deathbed a baptized convert to Christianity, became sole 
ruler of the Roman world. He abandoned all divine pretensions and 
put Christian symbols on the shields and banners of his troops. 

In a few years Christianity was securely established as the official 
religion of the empire. The competing religions disappeared or were 
absorbed with extraordinary celerity, and in 390 Theodosius the 
Great caused the great statue of Jupiter Serapis at Alexandria to be 
destroyed. From the outset of the fifth century onward the only 
priests or temples in the Roman Empire were Christian priests and 



THROUGHOUT the third century the Roman Empire, decay- 
ing socially and disintegrating morally, faced the barbarians. 
The emperors of this period were fighting military autocrats, 
and the capital of the empire shifted with the necessities of their 
military policy. Now the imperial headquarters would be at Milan 
in north Italy, now in what is now Serbia at Sirmium or Nish, now 
in Nicomedia in Asia Minor. Rome halfway down Italy was too far 
from the centre of interest to be a convenient imperial seat. It was 
a declining city. Over most of the empire peace still prevailed and 
men went about without arms. The armies continued to be the sole 
repositories of power; the emperors, dependent on their legions, 
became more and more autocratic to the rest of the empire and 
their state more and more like that of the Persian and other oriental 
monarchs. Diocletian assumed a royal diadem and oriental robes. 

All along the imperial frontier, which ran roughly along the 
Rhine and Danube, enemies were now pressing. The Franks and 
other German tribes had come up to the Rhine. In north Hungary 
were the Vandals; in what was once Dacia and is now Roumania, 
the Visigoths or West Goths. Behind these in south Russia were 
the East Goths or Ostrogoths, and beyond these again in the Volga 
region the Alans. But now Mongolian peoples were forcing their 
way towards Europe. The Huns were already exacting tribute from 
the Alans and Ostrogoths and pushing them to the west. 

In Asia the Roman frontiers were crumpling back under the push 
of a renascent Persia. This new Persia, the Persia of the Sassenid 
kings, was to be a vigorous and on the whole a successful rival of 
the Roman Empire in Asia for the next three centuries. 

A glance at the map of Europe will show the reader the peculiar 
weakness of the empire. The river Danube comes down to within 



A Short History of the World 

a couple of hundred miles of the Adriatic Sea in the region of what is 
now Bosnia and Serbia. It makes a square re-entrant angle there. 
The Romans never kept their sea communications in good order, 
and this two hundred mile strip of land was their line of communica- 
tion between the western Latin-speaking part of the empire and the 
eastern Greek-speaking portion. Against this square angle of the 
Danube the barbarian pressure was greatest. When they broke 
through there it was inevitable that the empire should fall into two 

A more vigorous empire might have thrust forward and recon- 
quered Dacia, but the Roman Empire lacked any such vigour. Con- 
stantine the Great was certainly a monarch of great devotion and 
intelligence. He beat back a raid of the Goths from just these vital 
Balkan regions, but he had no force to carry the frontier across the 
Danube. He was too pre-occupied with the internal weaknesses of 
the empire. He brought the solidarity and moral force of Chris- 
tianity to revive the spirit of the declining empire, and he decided 
to create a new permanent capital at Byzantium upon the Helles- 
pont. This new-made Byzantium, which was re-christened Con- 
stantinople in his honour, was still building when he died. Towards 
the end of his reign occurred a remarkable transaction. The 

The Barbarians Break the Empire 


Vandals, being pressed by the Goths, asked to be received into the 
Roman Empire. They were assigned lands in Pannonia, which is 
now that part of Hungary 
west of the Danube, and 
their fighting men became 
nominally legionaries. But 
these new legionaries re- 
mained under their own 
chiefs. Rome failed to di- 
gest them. 

Constantine died work- 
ing to reorganize his great 
realm, and soon the fron- 
tiers were ruptured again 
and the Visigoths came al- 
most to Constantinople. 
They defeated the Emperor 
Valens at Adrianople and 
made a settlement in what 
is now Bulgaria, similar to 
the settlement of the Van- 
dals in Pannonia. Nomi- 
nally they were subjects ol 
the emperor, practically 
they were conquerors. 

From 379 to 395 A.D. 
reigned the Emperor Theo- 
dosius the Great, and while 
he reigned the empire was 
still formally intact. Over 
the armies of Italy and Pan- 
nonia presided Stilicho, a 
Vandal, over the armies in 
the Balkan peninsula, 
Alaric, a Goth. When Theo- 
dosius died at the close of 

. IIP Photo: Sebalt & yoattlier 

the fourth century he left CONSTANTINE'S PILLAR, CONSTANTINOPLE 

2 3 o A Short History of the World 

two sons. Alaric supported one of these, Arcadius, in Constantino- 
ple, and Stilicho the other, Honorius, in Italy. In other words Alaric 
and Stilicho fought for the empire with the princes as puppets. In 
the course of their struggle Alaric marched into Italy and after a 
short siege took Rome (410 A. D.). 

The opening half of the fifth century saw the whole of the Roman 
Empire in Europe the prey of robber armies of barbarians. It is 
difficult to visualize the state of affairs in the world at that time. 
Over France, Spain, Italy and the Balkan peninsula, the great cities 
that had flourished under the early empire still stood, impoverished, 
partly depopulated and falling into decay. Life in them must have 
been shallow, mean and full of uncertainty. Local officials asserted 
their authority and went on with their work with such conscience 
as they had, no doubt in the name of a now remote and inaccessible 
emperor. The churches went on, but usually with illiterate priests. 
There was little reading and much superstition and fear. But 
everywhere except where looters had destroyed them, books and 
pictures and statuary and such-like works of art were still to be 

The life of the countryside had also degenerated. Everywhere 
this Roman world was much more weedy and untidy than it had 
been. In some regions war and pestilence had brought the land 
down to the level of a waste. Roads and forests were infested with 
robbers. Into such regions the barbarians marched, with little or no 
opposition, and set up their chiefs as rulers, often with Roman 
official titles. If they were half civilized barbarians they would give 
the conquered districts tolerable terms, they would take possession 
of the towns, associate and intermarry, and acquire (with an accent) 
the Latin speech; but the Jutes, the Angles and Saxons who sub- 
merged the Roman province of Britain were agriculturalists and had 
no use for towns, they seem to have swept south Britain clear of the 
Romanized population and they replaced the language by their own 
Teutonic dialects, which became at last English. 

It is impossible in the space at our disposal to trace the move- 
ments of all the various German and Slavonic tribes as they went to 
and fro in the disorganized empire in search of plunder and a pleasant 
home. But let the Vandals serve as an example. They came into 


Photo: Seoah A yoaillier 


The obelisk of Thothmes, taken from Egypt to Constantinople by Theodosius and placed 

upon the pedestal here shown : an interesting example of early Byzantine art. 

The complete obelisk is seen on page 239. 


2 3 2 

A Short History of the World 

history in east Germany. They settled as we have told in Pannonia. 
Thence they moved somewhen about 425 A.D. through the interven- 
ing provinces to Spain. There they found Visigoths from South 
Russia and other German tribes setting up dukes and kings. From 
Spain the Vandals under Genseric sailed for North Africa (429), 
captured Carthage (439), and built a fleet. They secured the 
mastery of the sea and captured and pillaged Rome (455), which had 
recovered very imperfectly from her capture and looting by Alaric 
half a century earlier. Then the Vandals made themselves masters 
of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and most of the other islands of the 
western Mediterranean. They made, in fact, a sea empire very 
similar in its extent to the sea empire of Carthage seven hundred odd 
years before. They were at the climax of their power about 477. 
They were a mere handful of conquerors holding all this country. 
In the next century almost all their territory had been reconquered 
for the empire of Constantinople during a transitory blaze of energy 
under Justinian I. 

The story of the Vandals is but one sample of a host of similar 
adventures. But now there was coming into the European world 
the least kindred and most redoubtable of all these devastators, 
the Mongolian Huns or Tartars, a yellow people active and able, 
such as the western world had never before encountered. 


THIS appearance of a conquering Mongolian people in Europe 
may be taken to mark a new stage in human history. Until 
the last century or so before the Christian era, the Mongol 
and the Nordic peoples had not been in close touch. Far away in 
the frozen lands beyond the northern forests the Lapps, a Mongolian 
people, had drifted westward as far as Lapland, but they played 
no part in the main current of history. For thousands of years the 
western world carried on the dramatic interplay of the Aryan, 
Semitic and fundamental brunette peoples with very little inter- 
ference (except for an Ethiopian invasion of Egypt or so) either 
from the black peoples to the south or from the Mongolian world in 
the far East. 

It is probable that there were two chief causes for the new west- 
ward drift of the nomadic Mongolians. One was the consolidation 
of the great empire of China, its extension northward and the in- 
crease of its population during the prosperous period of the Han 
dynasty. The other was some process of climatic change; a lesser 
rainfall that abolished swamps and forests perhaps, or a greater rain- 
fall that extended grazing over desert steppes, or even perhaps both 
these processes going on in different regions but which anyhow 
facilitated a westward migration. A third contributary cause was 
the economic wretchedness, internal decay and falling population 
of the Roman Empire. The rich men of the later Roman Republic, 
and then the tax-gatherers of the military emperors had utterly 
consumed its vitality. So we have the factors of thrust, means and 
opportunity. There was pressure from the east, rot in the west and 
an open road. 

The Hun had reached the eastern boundaries of European 
Russia by the first century A.D., but it was not until the fourth anol 



A Short History of the World 

fifth centuries A.D. that these horsemen rose to predominance upon 
the steppes. The fifth century was the Hun's century. The first 
Huns to come into Italy were mercenary bands in the pay of Stilicho 
the Vandal, the master of Honorius. Presently they were in posses- 
sion of Pannonia, the empty nest of the Vandals. 

By the second quarter of the fifth century a great war chief had 
arisen among the Huns, Attila. We have only vague and tantalizing 
glimpses of his power. He ruled not only over the Huns but over a 
conglomerate of tributary Germanic tribes; his empire extended 
from the Rhine cross the plains into Central Asia. He exchanged 
ambassadors with China. His head camp was in the plain of Hun- 
gary east of the Danube. There he was visited by an envoy from 
Constantinople, Priscus, who has left us an account of his state. 
The way of living of these Mongols was very like the way of living of 
the primitive Aryans they had replaced. The common folk were in 
huts and tents; the chiefs lived in great stockaded timber halls. 
There were feasts and drinking and singing by the bards. The 
Homeric heroes and even the Macedonian companions of Alexander 
would probably have felt more at home in the camp-capital of 
Attila than they would have done in the cultivated and decadent 
court of Theodosius II, the son of Arcadius, who was then reigning 
in Constantinople. 

For a time it seemed as though the nomads under the leadership 
of the Huns and Attila would play the same part towards the Graeco- 
Roman civilization of the Mediterranean countries that the barbaric 
Greeks had played long ago to the vEgean civilization. It looked like 
history repeating itself upon a larger stage. But the Huns were 
much more wedded to the nomadic life than the early Greeks, who 
were rather migratory cattle farmers than true nomads. The Huns 
raided and plundered but did not settle. 

For some years Attila bullied Theodosius as he chose. His 
armies devastated and looted right down to the walls of Constanti- 
nople, Gibbon says that he totally destroyed no less than seventy 
cities in the Balkan peninsula, and Theodosius bought him off by 
payments of tribute and tried to get rid of him for good by sending 
secret agents to assassinate him. In 451 Attila turned his attention 
to the remains of the Latin-speaking half of the empire and invaded 

Huns and the End of the Western Empire 


Gaul. Nearly every town in northern Gaul was sacked. Franks, 
Visigoths and the imperial forces united against him and he was 
defeated at Troyes in a vast dispersed battle in which a multitude 
of men, variously estimated as between 150,000 and 300,000, were 
killed. This 
checked him in 
Gaul, but it did 
not exhaust his 
enormous mili- 
tary resources. 
Next year he 
came into Italy 
by way of Ve- 
netia, burnt 
Aquileia and 
Padua and 
looted Milan. 

Numbers of 
fugitives from 
these north 
Italian towns 
and particular- 
ly from Padua 
fled to islands 
in the lagoons 
at the head of 
the Adriatic 
and laid there 
the foundations 
of the city state 
of Venice, 

which was to become one of the greatest of the trading centres 
in the middle ages. 

In 453 Attila died suddenly after a great feast to celebrate his 
marriage to a young woman, and at his death this plunder confedera- 
tion of his fell to pieces. The actual Huns disappear from history, 
mixed into the surrounding more numerous Aryan-speaking popula- 


(In the British Museum) 

236 A Short History of the World 

tions. But these great Hun raids practically consummated the end 
of the Latin Roman Empire. After his death ten different emperors 
ruled in Rome in twenty years, set up by Vandal and other merce- 
nary troops. The Vandals from Carthage took and sacked Rome 
in 455. Finally in 476 Odoacer, the chief of the barbarian troops, 
suppressed a Pannonian who was figuring as emperor under the 
impressive name of Romulus Augustulus, and informed the Court of 
Constantinople that there was no longer an emperor in the west. 
So ingloriously the Latin Roman Empire came to an end. In 493 
Theodoric the Goth became King of Rome. 

All over western and central Europe now barbarian chiefs were 
feigning as kings, dukes and the like, practically independent but 
for the most part professing some sort of shadowy allegiance to the 
emperor. There were hundreds and perhaps thousands of such 
practically independent brigand rulers. In Gaul, Spain and Italy 
and in Dacia the Latin speech still prevailed in locally distorted 
forms, but in Britain and east of the Rhine languages of the German 
group (or in Bohemia a Slavonic language, Czech) were the common 
speech. The superior clergy and a small remnant of other educated 
men read and wrote Latin. Everywhere life was insecure and prop- 
erty was held by the strong arm. Castles multiplied and roads 
fell into decay. The dawn of the sixth century was an age of division 
and of intellectual darkness throughout the western world. Had it 
hot been for the monks and Christian missionaries Latin learning 
might have perished altogether. 

Why had the Roman Empire grown and why had it so completely 
decayed? It grew because at first the idea of citizenship held it 
together. Throughout the days of the expanding republic, and even 
jnto the days of the early empire there remained a great number of 
men conscious of Roman citizenship, feeling it a privilege and an 
obligation to be a Roman citizen, confident of their rights under the 
Roman law and willing to make sacrifices in the name of Rome. 
The prestige of Rome as of something just and great and law-up- 
holding spread far beyond the Roman boundaries. But even as 
early as the Punic wars the sense of citizenship was being under- 
mined by the growth of wealth and slavery. Citizenship spread 
indeed but not the idea of citizenship. 

Huns and the End of the Western Empire 237 

The Roman Empire was after all a very primitive organization; 
it did not educate, did not explain itself to its increasing multitudes 
of citizens, did not invite their co-operation in its decisions. There 
was no network of schools to ensure a common understanding, no 
distribution of news to sustain collective activity. The adventurers 
who struggled for power from the days of Marius and Sulla onward 
had no idea of creating and calling in public opinion upon the im- 
perial affairs. The spirit of citizenship died of starvation and no one 
observed it die. All empires, all states, all organizations of human 
society are, in the ultimate, things of understanding and will. There 
remained no will for the Roman Empire in the World and so it came 
to an end. 

But though the Latin-speaking Roman Empire died in the fifth 
century, something else had been born within it that was to avail 
itself enormously of its prestige and tradition, and that was the 
Latin-speaking half of the Catholic Church. This lived while the 
empire died because it appealed to the minds and wills of men, 
because it had books and a great system of teachers and mission- 
aries to hold it together, things stronger than any law or legions. 
Throughout the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. while the empire was 
decaying, Christianity was spreading to a universal dominion in 
Europe. It conquered its conquerors, the barbarians. When 
Attila seemed disposed to march on Rome, the patriarch of Rome 
intercepted him and did what no armies could do, turning him back 
by sheer moral force. 

The Patriarch or Pope of Rome claimed to be the head of the 
entire Christian church. Now that there were no more emperors, 
he began to annex imperial titles and claims. He took the title of 
pontifex maximus, head sacrificial priest of the Roman dominion, 
the most ancient of all the titles that the emperors had enjoyed. 



THE Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire showed 
much more political tenacity than the western half. It 
weathered the disasters of the fifth century A.D., which saw 
a complete and final breaking up of the original Latin Roman power. 
Attila bullied the Emperor Theodosius II and sacked and raided 
almost to the walls of Constantinople, but that city remained intact. 
The Nubians came down the Nile and looted Upper Egypt, but 
Lower Egypt and Alexandria were left still fairly prosperous. Most 
of Asia Minor was held against the Sassanid Persians. 

The sixth century, which was an age of complete darkness for 
the West, saw indeed a considerable revival of the Greek power. 
Justinian I (527-565) was a ruler of very great ambition and energy, 
and he was married to the Empress Theodora, a woman of quite 
equal capacity who had begun life as an actress. Justinian recon- 
quered North Africa from the Vandals and most of Italy from the 
Goths. He even regained the south of Spain. He did not limit his 
energies to naval and military enterprises. He founded a university, 
built the great church of Sta. Sophia in Constantinople and codified 
the Roman law. But in order to destroy a rival to his university 
foundation he closed the schools of philosophy in Athens, which 
had been going on in unbroken continuity from the days of Plato, 
that is to say for nearly a thousand years. 

From the third century onwards the Persian Empire had been 
the steadfast rival of the Byzantine. The two empires kept Asia 
Minor, Syria and Egypt in a state of perpetual unrest and waste. 
In the first century A.D., these lands were still at a high level of 
civilization, wealthy and with an abundant population, but the con- 
tinual coming and going of armies, massacres, looting and war taxa- 
tion wore them down steadily until only shattered and ruinous 


The Byzantine and Sassanid Empires 


cities remained upon a countryside of scattered peasants. In this 
melancholy process of impoverishment and disorder lower Egypt 
fared perhaps less badly than the rest of the world. Alexandria, 
like Constantinople, continued a dwindling trade between the east 
and the west. 

Science and political philosophy seemed dead now in both these 
warring and decaying empires. The last philosophers of Athens, 
until their suppression, preserved the texts of the great literature of 
the past with an infinite reverence and want of understanding. 
But there remained no class of men in the world, no free gentlemen 
with bold and independent habits of thought, to carry on the tradi- 
tion of frank statement and enquiry embodied in these writings. 
The social and political chaos accounts largely for the disappearance 
of this class, but there was also another reason why the human in- 
telligence was sterile and feverish during this age. In both Persia 
and Byzantium it was an age of intolerance. Both empires were 
religious empires in a new way, in a way that greatly hampered the 
free activities of the human mind. 

Photo: Sebah & yoaillier 

The obelisk of Theodosius i in the foreground 


A Short History of the World 

Of course 
the oldest 
empires in 
the world 
were relig- 
ious empires, 
upon the 
worship of a 
god or of a 
go d -king. 
was treated 
as a divinity 
and the 
Caesars were 
gods in so 
much as they 
had altars 
and temples 
devoted to 
them and the 
offering of 
incense was 
made a test 
of loyalty to 
the Roman 

state. But these older religions were essentially religions of act and 
fact. They did not invade the mind. If a man offered his sacrifice 
and bowed to the god, he was left not only to think but to say prac- 
tically whatever he liked about the affair. But the new sort of 
religions that had come into the world, and particularly Christianity, 
turned inward. These new faiths demanded not simply conformity 
but understanding belief. Naturally fierce controversy ensued upon 
the exact meaning of the things believed. These new religions 
were creed religions. The world was confronted with a new word, 
Orthodoxy, and with a stern resolve to keep not only acts but speech 

Photo: Sebafi & yoaillier 

The Byzantine and Sassanid Empires 241 

and private thought within the limits of a set teaching. For to hold 
a wrong opinion, much more to convey it to other people, was no 
longer regarded as an intellectual defect but a moral fault that 
might condemn a soul to everlasting destruction. 

Both Ardashir I who founded the Sassanid dynasty in the third 
century A.D., and Constantine the Great who reconstructed the 
Roman Empire in the fourth, turned to religious organizations for 
help, because in these organizations they saw a new means of using 
and controlling the wills of men. And already before the end of 
the fourth century both empires were persecuting free talk and re- 
ligious innovation. In Persia Ardashir found the ancient Persian 
religion of Zoroaster (or Zarathushtra) with its priests and temples 
and a sacred fire that burnt upon its altars, ready for his purpose as 
a state religion. Before the end of the third century Zoroastrianism 
was persecuting Christianity, and in 277 A.D. Mani, the founder of 

Photo: Altnari 


PTwto: Underwooa & Underwent 



The Byzantine and Sassanid Empires 243 

a new faith, the Manichseans, was crucified and his body flayed. 
Constantinople, on its side, was busy hunting out Christian heresies. 
Manichaean ideas infected Christianity and had to be fought with 
the fiercest methods; in return ideas from Christianity affected the 
purity of the Zoroastrian doctrine. All ideas became suspect. 
Science, which demands before all things the free action of an un- 
troubled mind, suffered a complete eclipse throughout this phase of 

War, the bitterest theology, and the usual vices of mankind 
constituted Byzantine life of those days. It was picturesque, it 
was romantic; it had little sweetness or light. When Byzantium 
and Persia were not fighting the barbarians from the north, they 
wasted Asia Minor and Syria in dreary and destructive hostilities. 
Even in close alliance these two empires would have found it a hard 
task to turn back the barbarians and recover their prosperity. The 
Turks or Tartars first come into history as the allies first of one power 
and then of another. In the sixth century the two chief antagonists 
were Justinian and Chosroes I; in the opening of the seventh the 
Emperor Heraclius was pitted against Chosroes II (580). 

At first and until after Heraclius had become Emperor (610) 
Chosroes II carried all before him. He took Antioch, Damascus 
and Jerusalem and his armies reached Chalcedon, which is in Asia 
Minor over against Constantinople. In 619 he conquered Egypt. 
Then Heraclius pressed a counter attack home and routed a Persian 
army at Nineveh (627), although at that time there were still Persian 
troops at Chalcedon. In 628 Chosroes II was deposed and murdered 
by his son, Kavadh, and an inconclusive peace was made between 
the two exhausted empires. 

Byzantium and Persia had fought their- last war. But few 
people as yet dreamt of the storm that was even then gathering in the 
deserts to put an end for ever to this aimless, chronic struggle. 

While Heraclius was restoring order in Syria a message reached 
him. It had been brought in to the imperial outpost at Bostra 
south of Damascus; it was in Arabic, an obscure Semitic desert 
language, and it was read to the Emperor, if it reached him at all, 
by an interpreter. It was from someone who called himself "Mu- 
hammad the Prophet of God." It called upon the Emperor to 

244 A Short History of the World 

acknowledge the One True God and to serve him. What the Em- 
peror said is not recorded. 

A similar message came to Kavadh at Ctesiphon. He was an- 
noyed, tore up the letter, and bade the messenger begone. 

This Muhammad, it appeared, was a Bedouin leader whose head- 
quarters were in the mean little desert town of Medina. He was 
preaching a new religion of faith in the One True God. 

"Even so, O Lord!" he said; "rend thou his Kingdom from 



THROUGHOUT the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth centuries, 
there was a steady drift of Mongolian peoples westward. 
The Huns of Attila were merely precursors of this advance, 
which led at last to the establishment of Mongolian peoples in Fin- 
land, Esthonia, Hungary and Bulgaria, where their descendants, 
speaking languages akin to Turkish, survive to this day. The Mon- 
golian nomads were, in fact, playing a role towards the Aryanized 
civilizations of Europe and Persia and India that the Aryans had 
played to the ^Egean and Semitic civilizations ten or fifteen centuries 

In Central Asia the Turkish peoples had taken root in what is 
now Western Turkestan, and Persia already employed many Turk- 
ish officials and Turkish mercenaries. The Parthians had gone out 
of history, absorbed into the general population of Persia. There 
were no more Aryan nomads in the history of Central Asia; Mon- 
golian people had replaced them. The Turks became masters of 
Asia from China to the Caspian. 

The same great pestilence at the end of the second century A.D. 
that had shattered the Roman Empire had overthrown the Han 
dynasty in China. Then came a period of division and of Hunnish 
conquests from which China arose refreshed, more rapidly and more 
completely than Europe was destined to do. Before the end of the 
sixth century China was reunited under the Suy dynasty, and this 
by the time of Heraclius gave place to the Tang dynasty, whose 
reign marks another great period of prosperity for China. 

Throughout the seventh, eighth and ninth centuries China was 
the most secure and civilized country in the world. The Han 
dynasty had extended her boundaries in the north; the Suy and 
Tang dynasties now spread her civilization to the south, and China 


Specimens in glazed earthenware, in brown, green and buff, discovered in tombs in China 

(In the Victoria and Albert Museum) 


The Dynasties of Suy and Tang in China 247 

began to assume the proportions she has to-day. In Central Asia 
indeed she reached much further, extending at last, through tribu- 
tary Turkish tribes, to Persia and the Caspian Sea. 

The new China that had arisen was a very different land from 
the old China of the Hans. A new and more vigorous literary 
school appeared, there was a great poetic revival; Buddhism had 
revolutionized philosophical and religious thought. There were 
great advances in artistic work, in technical skill and in all the ameni- 
ties of life. Tea was first used, paper manufactured and wood-block 
printing began. Millions of people indeed were leading orderly, 
graceful and kindly lives in China during these centuries when the 
attenuated populations of Europe and Western Asia were living 
either in hovels, small walled cities or grim robber fortresses. While 
the mind of the west was black with theological obsessions, the mind 
of China was open and tolerant and enquiring. 

One of the earliest monarchs of the Tang dynasty was Tai-tsung, 
who began to reign in 627, the year of the victory of Heraclius at 
Nineveh. He received an embassy from Heraclius, who was prob- 
ably seeking an ally in the rear of Persia. From Persia itself came a 
party of Christian missionaries (635). They were allowed to ex- 
plain their creed to Tai-tsung and he examined a Chinese translation 
of their Scriptures. He pronounced this strange religion acceptable, 
and gave permission for the foundation of a church and monastery. 

To this monarch also (in 628) came messengers from Muhammad. 
They came to Canton on a trading ship. They had sailed the whole 
way from Arabia along the Indian coasts. Unlike Heraclius and 
Kavadh, Tai-tsung gave these envoys a courteous hearing. He ex- 
pressed his interest in their theological ideas and assisted them to 
build a mosque in Canton, a mosque which survives, it is said, to 
this day, the oldest mosque in the world. 



A PROPHETIC amateur of history surveying the world in 
/ \ the opening of the seventh century might have concluded 
L \* very reasonably that it was only a question of a few centuries 
before the whole of Europe and Asia fell under Mongolian domina- 
tion. There were no signs of order or union in Western Europe, 
and the Byzantine and Persian Empires were manifestly bent upon 
a mutual destruction. India also was divided and wasted. On 
the other hand China was a steadily expanding empire which proba- 
bly at that time exceeded all Europe in population, and the Turkish 
people who were growing to power in Central Asia were disposed to 
work in accord with China. And such a prophecy would not have 
been an altogether vain one. A time was to come in the thirteenth 
century when a Mongolian overlord would rule from the Danube 
to the Pacific, and Turkish dynasties were destined to reign over 
the entire Byzantine and Persian Empires, over Egypt and most of 

Where our prophet would have been most likely to have erred 
would have been in under-estimating the recuperative power of the 
Latin end of Europe and in ignoring the latent forces of the Arabian 
desert. Arabia would have seemed what it had been for times 
immemorial, the refuge of small and bickering nomadic tribes. No 
Semitic people had founded an empire now for more than a thousand 

Then suddenly the Bedouin flared out for a brief century of 
splendour. They spread their rule and language from Spain to 
the boundaries of China. They gave the world a new culture. 
They created a religion that is still to this day one of the most 
vital forces in the world. 


Muhammad and Islam 


The man who fired this Arab flame appears first in history as 
the young husband of the widow of a rich merchant of the town of 
Mecca, named Muhammad. Until he was forty he did very little 
to distinguish himself in the world. He seems to have taken con- 
siderable interest in religious discussion. Mecca was a pagan city 
at that time worshipping in particular a black stone, the Kaaba, of 
great repute throughout all Arabia and a centre of pilgrimages; 
but there were great numbers of Jews in the country indeed all 
the southern portion of Arabia professed the Jewish faith and 
there were Christian churches in Syria. 

About forty Muhammad began to develop prophetic character- 
istics like those of the Hebrew prophets twelve hundred years before 
him. He talked first to his wife of the One True God, and of the 
rewards and punishments of virtue and wickedness. There can 
be no doubt that his thoughts were very strongly influenced by 
Jewish and Christian ideas. He gathered about him a small circle 
of believers and presently began to preach in the town against 
the prevalent idolatry. This made him extremely unpopular with 
his fellow townsmen because the pilgrimages to the Kaaba were the 
chief source of such prosperity as Mecca enjoyed. He became 
bolder and more definite in his teaching, declaring himself to be the 
last chosen prophet of God entrusted with a mission to perfect 
religion. Abraham, he declared, and Jesus Christ were his fore- 
runners. He had been chosen to complete and perfect the revelation 
of God's will. 

He produced verses which he said had been communicated to 
him by an angel, and he had a strange vision in which he was taken 
up through the Heavens to God and instructed in his mission. 

As his teaching increased in force the hostility of his fellow towns- 
men increased also. At last a plot was made to kill him; but he 
escaped with his faithful friend and disciple, Abu Bekr, to the 
friendly town of Medina which adopted his doctrine. Hostilities 
followed between Mecca and Medina which ended at last in a treaty. 
Mecca was to adopt the worship of the One True God and accept 
Muhummad as his prophet, but the adherents of the new faith were 
still to make the pilgrimage to Mecca just as they had done when they 
were pagans. So Muhammad established the One True God in 

Photo: Lehnen & Landrock 



Muhammad and Islam 


Mecca without injuring its pilgrim traffic. In 629 Muhammad 
returned to Mecca as its master, a year after he had sent out these 
envoys of his to Heraclius, Tai-tsung, Kavadh and all the rulers of 
the earth. 

Then for four years more until his death in 632, Muhammad 
spread his power over the rest of Arabia. He married a number of 
wives in his declining years, and his life on the whole was by modern 
standards unedifying. He seems to have been a man compounded 
of very considerable vanity, greed, cunning, self-deception and quite 


PJioto: Lefmert & LandrocK 

sincere religious passion. He dictated a book of injunctions and 
expositions, the Koran, which he declared was communicated to him 
from God. Regarded as literature or philosophy the Koran is cer- 
tainly unworthy of its alleged Divine authorship. 

Yet when the manifest defects of Muhammad's life and writings 
have been allowed for, there remains in Islam, this faith he imposed 
upon the Arabs, much power and inspiration. One is its uncom- 
promising monotheism; its simple enthusiastic faith in the rule and 
fatherhood of God and its freedom from theological complications. 
Another is its complete detachment from the sacrificial priest and the 
temple. It is an entirely prophetic religion, proof against any possi- 
bility of relapse towards blood sacrifices. In the Koran the limited 

252 A Short History of the World 

and ceremonial nature of the pilgrimage to Mecca is stated beyond 
the possibility of dispute, and every precaution was taken by Mu- 
hammad to prevent the deification of himself after his death. And 
a third element of strength lay in the insistence of Islam upon the 
perfect brotherhood and equality before God of all believers, what- 
ever their colour, origin or status. 

These are the things that made Islam a power in human affairs. 
It has been said that the true founder of the Empire of Islam was 
not so much Muhammad as his friend and helper, Abu Bekr. If 
Muhammad, with his shifty character, was the mind and imagina- 
tion of primitive Islam, Abu Bekr was its conscience and its will. 
Whenever Muhammad wavered Abu Bekr sustained him. And 
when Muhammad died, Abu Bekr became Caliph (= successor), 
and with that faith that moves mountains, he set himself simply and 
sanely to organize the subjugation of the whole world to Allah 
with little armies of 3,000 or 4,000 Arabs according to those letters 
the prophet had written from Medina in 628 to all the monarchs of 
the world. 


THERE follows the most amazing story of conquest in the 
whole history of our race. The Byzantine army was 
smashed at the battle of the Yarmuk (a tributary of the 
Jordan) in 634 ; and the Emperor Heraclius, his energy sapped by 
dropsy and his resources exhausted by the Persian war, saw his new 
conquests in Syria, Damascus, Palmyra, Antioch, Jerusalem and the 
rest fall almost without resistance to the Moslim. Large elements 
in the population went over to Islam. Then the Moslim turned 
east. The Persians had found an able general in Rustam; they had a 
great host with a force of elephants; and for three days they fought 
the Arabs at Kadessia (637) and broke at last in headlong rout. 

The conquest of all Persia followed, and the Moslem Empire 
pushed far into Western Turkestan and eastward until it met the 
Chinese. Egypt fell almost without resistance to the new con- 
querors, who full of a fanatical belief in the sufficiency of the Koran, 
wiped out the vestiges of the book-copying industry of the Alexan- 
dria Library. The tide of conquest poured along the north coast of 
Africa to the Straits of Gibraltar and Spain. Spain was invaded in 
710 and the Pyrenees Mountains were reached in 720. In 732 the 
Arab advance had reached the centre of France, but here it was 
stopped for good at the battle of Poitiers and thrust back as far as 
the Pyrenees again. The conquest of Egypt had given the Moslim 
a fleet, and for a time it looked as though they would take Con- 
stantinople. They made repeated sea attacks between 672 and 718 
but the great city held out against them. 

The Arabs had little political aptitude and no political experi- 
ence, and this great empire with its capital now at Damascus, which 
stretched from Spain to China, was destined to break up very 
speedily. From the very beginning doctrinal differences under- 



A Short History of the World 

TVtOgLEM POWER, in Zfyeartr' 

mined its unity. But our interest here lies not with the story of its 
political disintegration but with its effect upon the human mind and 
upon the general destinies of our race. The Arab intelligence had 
been flung across the world even more swiftly and dramatically than 
had the Greek a thousand years before. The intellectual stimula- 
tion of the whole world west of China, the break-up of old ideas and 
development of new ones, was enormous. 


The Great Days of the Arabs 


In Persia this fresh excited Arabic mind came into contact not 
only with Manichsean, Zoroastrian and Christian doctrine, but with 
the scientific Greek literature, preserved not only in Greek but in 
Syrian translations. It found Greek learning in Egypt also. Every- 
where, and particularly in Spain, it discovered an active Jewish 
tradition of speculation and discussion. In Central Asia it met 
Buddhism and the material achievements of Chinese civilization. 
It learnt the manufacture of paper which made printed books 
possible from the Chinese. And finally it came into touch with 
Indian mathematics and philosophy. 

Very speedily the intolerant self-sufficiency of the early days of 
faith, which made the Koran seem the only possible book, was 
dropped. Learning sprang up everywhere in the footsteps of the 
Arab conquerors. By the eighth century there was an educational 

Photo: LeTmert & Landrocl 



A Short History of the World 


Photo: Lehnert <fe Landrock 

organization throughout the whole "Arabized" world. In the ninth 
learned men in the schools of Cordoba in Spain were corresponding 
with learned men in Cairo, Bagdad, Bokhara and Samarkand. The 
Jewish mind assimilated very readily with the Arab, and for a time 
the two Semitic races worked together through the medium of 
Arabic. Long after the political break-up and enfeeblement of the 
Arabs, this intellectual community of the Arab-speaking world 
endured. It was still producing very considerable results in the 
thirteenth century. 

So it was that the systematic accumulation and criticism of facts 
which was first begun by the Greeks was resumed in this astonish- 
ing renascence of the Semitic world. The seed of Aristotle and the 
museum of Alexandria that had lain so long inactive and neglected 
now germinated and began to grow towards fruition. Very great 
advances were made in mathematical, medical and physical science. 

The Great Days of the Arabs 


The clumsy Roman numerals were ousted by the Arabic figures we 
use to this day and the zero sign was first employed. The very name 
algebra is Arabic. So is the word chemistry. The names of such 
stars as Algol, Aldebaran and Bootes preserve the traces of Arab 
conquests in the sky. Their philosophy was destined to reanimate 
the medieval philosophy of France and Italy and the whole Christian 

The Arab experimental chemists were called alchemists, and they 
were still sufficiently barbaric in spirit to keep their methods and 
results secret as far as possible. They realized from the very begin- 
ning what enormous advantages their possible discoveries might give 
them, and what far-reaching consequences they might have on 
human life. They came upon many metallurgical and technical 
devices of the utmost value, alloys and dyes, distilling, tinctures and 
essences, optical glass; but the two chief ends they sought, they 
sought in vain. One was "the philosopher's stone"- a means of 
changing the metallic elements one into another and so getting a 
control of artificial gold, and the other was the elixir vitas, a stimulant 
that would revivify age and prolong life indefinitely. The crabbed 
patient experimenting of these Arab alchemists spread into the 
Christian world. The fascination of their enquiries spread. Very 
gradually the activities of these alchemists became more social and 
co-operative. They found it profitable to exchange and compare 
ideas. By insensible gradations the last of the alchemists became 
the first of the experimental philosophers. 

The old alchemists sought the philosopher's stone which was to 
transmute base metals to gold, and an elixir of immortality; they 
found the methods of modern experimental science which promise in 
the end to give man illimitable power over the world and over his 
own destiny. 



IT is worth while to note the extremely shrunken dimensions of the 
share of the world remaining under Aryan control in the seventh 
and eighth centuries. A thousand years before, the Aryan- 
speaking races were triumphant over all the civilized world west of 
China. Now the Mongol had thrust as far as Hungary, nothing of 
Asia remained under Aryan rule except the Byzantine dominions in 
Asia Minor, and all Africa was lost and nearly all Spain. The great 
Hellenic world had shrunken to a few possessions round the nucleus 
of the trading city of Constantinople, and the memory of the Roman 
world was kept alive by the Latin of the western Christian priests. 
In vivid contrast to this tale of retrogression, the Semitic tradition 
had risen again from subjugation and obscurity after a thousand 
years of darkness. 

Yet the vitality of the Nordic peoples was not exhausted. Con- 
fined now to Central and North-Western Europe and terribly 
muddled in their social and political ideas, they were nevertheless 
building up gradually and steadily a new social order and preparing 
unconsciously for the recovery of a power even more extensive than 
that they had previously enjoyed. 

We have told how at the beginning of the sixth century there 
remained no central government in Western Europe at all. That 
world was divided up among numbers of local rulers holding their 
own as they could. This was too insecure a state of affairs to last; 
a system of co-operation and association grew up in this disorder, 
the feudal system, which has left its traces upon European life up 
to the present time. This feudal system was a sort of crystalliza- 
tion of society about power. Everywhere the lone man felt insecure 
and was prepared to barter a certain amount of his liberty for help 
and protection. He sought a stronger man as his lord and protector; 


The Development of Latin Christendom 259 

he gave him military services and paid him dues, and in return he 
was confirmed in his possession of what was his. His lord again 
found safety in vassalage to a still greater lord. Cities also found it 
convenient to have feudal protectors, and monasteries and church 
estates bound themselves by similar ties. No doubt in many cases 
allegiance was claimed before it was offered; the system grew down- 
ward as well as upward. So a sort of pyramidal system grew up, 
varying widely in different localities, permitting at first a consider- 
able play of violence and private warfare but making steadily for 
order and a new reign of law. The pyramids grew up until some 
became recognizable as kingdoms. Already by the early sixth 
century a Frankish kingdom existed under its founder Clovis in 
what is now France and the Netherlands, and presently Visigothic 
and Lombard and Gothic kingdoms were in existence. 

The Moslim when they crossed the Pyrenees in 720 found this 
Frankish kingdom under the practical rule of Charles Martel, the 
Mayor of the Palace of a degenerate descendant of Clovis, and ex- 
perienced the decisive defeat of Poitiers (732) at his hands. This 
Charles Martel was practically overlord of Europe north of the Alps 
from the Pyrenees to Hungary. He ruled over a multitude of sub- 
ordinate lords speaking French-Latin, and High and Low German 
languages. His son Pepin extinguished the last descendants of 
Clovis and took the kingly state and title. His grandson Charle- 
magne, who began to reign in 768, found himself lord of a realm so 
large that he could think of reviving the title of Latin Emperor. 
He conquered North Italy and made himself master of Rome. 

Approaching the story of Europe as we do from the wider hori- 
zons of a world history we can see much more distinctly than the 
mere nationalist historian how cramping and disastrous this tradi- 
tion of the Latin Roman Empire was. A narrow intense struggle for 
this phantom predominance was to consume European energy for 
more than a thousand years. Through all that period it is possible 
to trace certain unquenchable antagonisms; they run through the 
wits of Europe like the obsessions of a demented mind. One driv- 
ing force was this ambition of successful rulers, which Charlemagne 
(Charles the Great) embodied, to become Caesar. The realm of 
Charlemagne consisted of a complex of feudal German states at 


A Short History of the World 

various stages of barbarism. West of the Rhine, most of these 
German peoples had learnt to speak various Latinized dialects 
which fused at last to form French. East of the Rhine, the racially 
similar German peoples did not lose their German speech. On 
account of this, communication was difficult between these two 
groups of barbarian conquerors and a split easily brought about. 
The split was made the more easy by the fact that the Frankish 
usage made it seem natural to divide the empire of Charlemagne 
among his sons at his death. So one aspect of the history of Europe 
from the days of Charlemagne onwards is a history of first this 
monarch and his family and then that, struggling to a precarious 
headship of the kings, princes, dukes, bishops and cities of Europe, 
while a steadily deepening antagonism between the French and 
German speaking elements develops in the medley. There was a 
formality of election for each emperor; and the climax of his ambi- 
tion was to struggle to the possession of that worn-out, misplaced 
capital Rome and to a coronation there. 

move ov 1es& tiruJcr TR3VTCKI5H cZomtniozr ixt 
&* Htne oT CH aRIES M ARTEL 

The Development of Latin Christendom 261 

The next factor in the European political disorder was the resolve 
of the Church at Rome to make no temporal prince but the Pope of 
Rome himself emperor in effect. He was already pontifex maximus; 
for all practical purposes he held the decaying city; if he had no 
armies he had at least a vast propaganda organization in his priests 
throughout the whole Latin world; if he had little power over men's 
bodies he held the keys of heaven and hell in their imaginations and 
could exercise much influence upon their souls. So throughout the 
middle ages while one prince manoeuvred against another first for 
equality, then for ascendancy, and at last for the supreme prize, the 
Pope of Rome, sometimes boldly, sometimes craftily, sometimes 
feebly for the Popes were a succession of oldish men and the aver- 
age reign of a Pope was not more than two years manoeuvred for 
the submission of all the princes to himself as the ultimate overlord 
of Christendom. 

But these antagonisms of prince against prince and of Emperor 
against Pope do not by any means exhaust the factors of the Euro- 
pean confusion. There was still an Emperor in Constantinople 
speaking Greek and claiming the allegiance of all Europe. When 
Charlemagne sought to revive the empire, it was merely the Latin 
end of the empire he revived. It was natural that a sense of rivalry 
between Latin Empire and Greek Empire should develop very read- 
ily. And still more readily did the rivalry of Greek-speaking Chris- 
tianity and the newer Latin-speaking version develop. The Pope 
of Rome claimed to be the successor of St. Peter, the chief of the 
apostles of Christ, and the head of the Christian community every- 
where. Neither the emperor nor the patriarch in Constantinople 
were disposed to acknowledge this claim. A dispute about a fine 
point in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity consummated a long series 
of dissensions in a final rupture in 1054. The Latin Church and the 
Greek Church became and remained thereafter distinct and frankly 
antagonistic. This antagonism must be added to the others in our 
estimate of the conflicts that wasted Latin Christendom in the 
middle ages. 

Upon this divided world of Christendom rained the blows of 
three sets of antagonists. About the Baltic and North Seas re- 
mained a series of Nordic tribes who were only very slowly and reluc- 

Plioto: Rlschgitz 

The figure is entirely imaginary and romantic. There k no contemporary portrait of 


The Development of Latin Christendom 263 

tantly Christianized; these were the Northmen. They had taken 
to the sea and piracy, and were raiding all the Christian coasts down 
to Spain. They had pushed up the Russian rivers to the desolate 
central lands and brought their shipping over into the south-flowing 
rivers. They had come out upon the Caspian and Black Seas as 
pirates also. They set up principalities in Russia; they were the 
first people to be called Russians. These Northmen Russians came 
near to taking Constantinople. England in the early ninth century 
was a Christianized Low German country under a king, Egbert, a 
protege and pupil of Charlemagne. The Northmen wrested half 
the kingdom from his successor Alfred the Great (886), and finally 
under Canute (1016) made themselves masters of the whole land. 
Under Rolph the Ganger (912) another band of Northmen con- 
quered the north of France, which became Normandy. 

Canute ruled not only over England but over Norway and Den- 
mark, but his brief empire fell to pieces at his death through that 
political weakness of the barbaric peoples division among a ruler's 
sons. It is interesting to speculate what might have happened if 
this temporary union of the Northmen had endured. They were 
a race of astonishing boldness and energy. They sailed in their 
galleys even to Iceland and Greenland. They were the first Euro- 
peans to land on American soil. Later on Norman adventurers 
were to recover Sicily from the Saracens and sack Rome. It is a 
fascinating thing to imagine what a great northern sea-faring power 
might have grown out of Canute's kingdom, reaching from America 
to Russia. 

To the east of the Germans and Latinized Europeans was a med- 
ley of Slav tribes and Turkish peoples. Prominent among these 
were the Magyars or Hungarians who were coming westward 
throughout the eighth and ninth centuries. Charlemagne held 
them for a time, but after his death they established themselves in 
what is now Hungary; and after the fashion of their kindred prede- 
cessors, the Huns, raided every summer into the settled parts of 
Europe. In 938 they went through Germany into France, crossed 
the Alps into North Italy, and so came home, burning, robbing and 

Finally pounding away from the south at the vestiges of the 


A Short History of the World 

Roman Empire were the Saracens. They had made themselves 
largely masters of the sea; their only formidable adversaries upon 
the water were the Northmen, the Russian Northmen out of the 
Black Sea and the Northmen of the west. 

Hemmed in by these more vigorous and aggressive peoples, 
amidst forces they did not understand and dangers they could not 


estimate, Charlemagne and after him a series of other ambitious 
spirits took up the futile drama of restoring the Western Empire 
under the name of the Holy Roman Empire. From the time of 
Charlemagne onward this idea obsessed the political life of Western 
Europe, while in the East the Greek half of the Roman power de- 
cayed and dwindled until at last nothing remained of it at all but the 
corrupt trading city of Constantinople and a few miles of territory 
about it. Politically the continent of Europe remained traditional 
and uncreative from the time of Charlemagne onward for a thousand 

The Development of Latin Christendom 265 

The name of Charlemagne looms large in European history but 
his personality is but indistinctly seen. He could not read nor write, 
but he had a considerable respect for learning; he liked to be read 
aloud to at meals and he had a weakness for theological discussion. 
At his winter quarters at Aix-la-Chapelle or Mayence he gathered 
about him a number of learned men and picked up much from their 
conversation. In the summer he made war, against the Spanish 
Saracens, against the Slavs and Magyars, against the Saxons, and 
other still heathen German tribes. It is doubtful whether the idea 
of becoming Caesar in succession to Romulus Augustulus occurred to 
him before his acquisition of North Italy, or whether it was suggested 
to him by Pope Leo III, who was anxious to make the Latin Church 
independent of Constantinople. 

There were the most extraordinary manoeuvres at Rome between 
the Pope and the prospective emperor in order to make it appear 
or not appear as if the Pope gave him the imperial crown. The 
Pope succeeded in crowning his visitor and conqueror by surprise 
in St. Peter's on Christmas Day 800 A.D. He produced a crown, put 
it on the head of Charlemagne and hailed him Caesar and Augustus. 
There was great applause among the people. Charlemagne was by 
no means pleased at the way in which the thing was done, it rankled 
in his mind as a defeat; and he left the most careful instructions to 
his son that he was not to let the Pope crown him emperor; he was 
to seize the crown into his own hands and put it on his own head 
himself. So at the very outset of this imperial revival we see be- 
ginning the age-long dispute of Pope and Emperor for priority. But 
Louis the Pious, the son of Charlemagne, disregarded his father's 
instructions and was entirely submissive to the Pope. 

The empire of Charlemagne fell apart at the death of Louis the 
Pious and the split between the French-speaking Franks and the 
German-speaking Franks widened. The next emperor to arise was 
Otto, the son of a certain Henry the Fowler, a Saxon, who had been 
elected King of Germany by an assembly of German princes and 
prelates in 919. Otto descended upon Rome and was crowned 
emperor there in 962. This Saxon line came to an end early in the 
eleventh century and gave place to other German rulers. The 
feudal princes and nobles to the west who spoke various French dia- 

266 A Short History of the World 

lects did not fall under the sway of these German emperors after the 
Carlovingian line, the line that is descended from Charlemagne, had 
come to an end, and no part of Britain ever came into the Holy 
Roman Empire. The Duke of Normandy, the King of France 
and a number of lesser feudal rulers remained outside. 

In 987 the Kingdom of France passed out of the possession of 
the Carlovingian line into the hands of Hugh Capet, whose descen- 
dants were still reigning in the eighteenth century. At the time of 
Hugh Capet the King of France ruled only a comparatively small 
territory round Paris. 

In 1066 England was attacked almost simultaneously by an in- 
vasion of the Norwegian Northmen under King Harold Hardrada 
and by the Latinized Northmen under the Duke of Normandy. 
Harold King of England defeated the former at the battle of Stam- 
ford Bridge, and was defeated by the latter at Hastings. England 
was conquered by the Normans, and so cut off from Scandinavian, 
Teutonic and Russian affairs, and brought into the most intimate 
relations and conflicts with the French. For the next four centuries 
the English were entangled in the conflicts of the French feudal 
princes and wasted upon the fields of France. 



IT is interesting to note that Charlemagne corresponded with the 
Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid, the Haroun-al-Raschid of the 
Arabian Nights. It is recorded that Haroun-al-Raschid sent 
ambassadors from Bagdad which had now replaced Damascus 
as the Moslem capital with a splendid tent, a water clock, an ele- 
phant and the keys of the Holy Sepulchre. This latter present was 
admirably calculated to set the Byzantine Empire and this new Holy 
Roman Empire by the ears as to which was the proper protector of 
the Christians in Jerusalem. 

These presents remind us that while Europe in the ninth century 
was still a weltering disorder of war and pillage, there flourished a 
great Arab Empire in Egypt and Mesopotamia, far more civilized 
than anything Europe could show. Here literature and science 
still lived; the arts flourished, and the mind of man could move 
without fear or superstition. And even in Spain and North Africa 
where the Saracenic dominions were falling into political confusion 
there was a vigorous intellectual life. Aristotle was read and discussed 
by these Jews and Arabs during these centuries of European dark- 
ness. They guarded the neglected seeds of science and philosophy. 

North-east of the Caliph's dominions was a number of Turkish 
tribes. They had been converted to Islam, and they held the faith 
much more simply and fiercely than the actively intellectual Arabs 
and Persians to the south. In the tenth century the Turks were 
growing strong and vigorous while the Arab power was divided and 
decaying. The relations of the Turks to the Empire of the Caliphate 
became very similar to the relations of the Medes to the last Baby- 
lonian Empire fourteen centuries before. In the eleventh century 
a group of Turkish tribes, the Seljuk Turks, came down into Meso- 
potamia and made the Caliph their nominal ruler but really their 



A Short History of the World 

captive and tool. They conquered Armenia. Then they struck at 
the remnants of the Byzantine power in Asia Minor. In 1071 the 
Byzantine army was utterly smashed at the battle of Melasgird, and 
the Turks swept forward until not a trace of Byzantine rule remained 
in Asia. They took the fortress of Nicsea over against -Constanti- 
nople, and prepared to attempt that city. 

The Byzantine emperor, Michael VII, was overcome with terror. 
He was already heavily engaged in warfare with a band of Norman 
adventurers who had seized Durazzo, and with a fierce Turkish 
people, the Petschenegs, who were raiding over the Danube. 
In his extremity he sought help where he could, and it is notable that 
he did not appeal to the western emperor but to the Pope of Rome as 
the head of Latin Christendom. He wrote to Pope Gregory VII, 
and his successor Alexius Comnenus wrote still more urgently to 
Urban II. 

This was not a quarter of a century from the rupture of the 
Latin and Greek churches. That controversy was still vividly alive 
in men's minds, and this disaster to Byzantium must have presented 
itself to the Pope as a supreme opportunity for reasserting the 
supremacy of the Latin Church over the dissentient Greeks. More- 
over this occasion gave the Pope a chance to deal with two other 
matters that troubled western Christendom very greatly. One was 
the custom of "private war" which disordered social life, and the 
other was the superabundant fighting energy of the Low Germans 
and Christianized Northmen and particularly of the Franks and 
Normans. A religious war, the Crusade, the War of the Cross, was 


Photo: Mansell 

Crusades and Age of Papal Dominion 269 

p reached 
against the 
Turkish cap- 
tors of Jeru- 
salem, and 
a truce to 
all warfare 
(1095). The 
declared ob- 
ject of this 
war was the 
recovery of 
the Holy 
from the un- 
believers. A 
man called 
Peter the 
Hermit car- 
ried on a pop- 
ular prop- 
a g a n d a 
France and 

Germany on broadly democratic lines. He went clad in a coarse 
garment, barefooted on an ass, he carried a huge cross and 
harangued the crowd in street or market-place or church. He 
denounced the cruelties practised upon the Christian pilgrims by 
the Turks, and the shame of the Holy Sepulchre being in any but 
Christian hands. The fruits of centuries of Christian teaching be- 
came apparent in the response. A great wave of enthusiasm swept 
the western world, and popular Christendom discovered itself. 

Such a widespread uprising of the common people in relation to 
a single idea as now occurred was a new thing in the history of our 
race. There is nothing to parallel it in the previous history of the 


Photo: Lehnert & Landrock 

270 A Short History of the World 

Roman Empire or of India or China. On a smaller scale, however, 
there had been similar movements among the Jewish people after 
their liberation from the Babylonian captivity, and later on Islam 
was to display a parallel susceptibility to collective feeling. Such 
movements were certainly connected with the new spirit that had 
come into life with the development of the missionary-teaching 
religions. The Hebrew prophets, Jesus and his disciples, Mani, 
Muhammad, were all exhorters of men's individual souls. They 
brought the personal conscience face to face with God. Before 
that time religion had been much more a business of fetish, of pseudo- 
science, than of conscience. The old kind of religion turned upon 
temple, initiated priest and mystical sacrifice, and ruled the common 
man like a slave by fear. The new kind of religion made a man of 

The preaching of the First Crusade was the first stirring of the 
common people in European history. It may be too much to call 
it the birth of modern democracy, but certainly at that time modern 
democracy stirred. Before very long we shall find it stirring again, 
and raising the most disturbing social and religious questions. 

Certainly this first stirring of democracy ended very pitifully 
and lamentably. Considerable bodies of common people, crowds 
rather than armies, set out eastward from France and the Rhineland 
and Central Europe without waiting for leaders or proper equip- 
ment to rescue the Holy Sepulchre. This was the "people's cru- 
sade." Two great mobs blundered into Hungary, mistook the 
recently converted Magyars for pagans, committed atrocities and 
were massacred. A third multitude with a similarly confused mind, 
after a great pogrom of the Jews in the Rhineland, marched east- 
ward, and was also destroyed in Hungary. Two other huge crowds, 
under the leadership of Peter the Hermit himself, reached Con- 
stantinople, crossed the Bosphorus, and were massacred rather than 
defeated by the Seljuk Turks. So began and ended this first move- 
ment of the European people, as people. 

Next year (1097) the real fighting forces crossed the Bosphorus. 
Essentially they were Norman in leadership and spirit. They 
stormed Nicsea, marched by much the same route as Alexander had 
followed fourteen centuries before, to Antioch. The siege of An- 

Crusades and Age of Papal Dominion 271 

tioch kept them a year, and in June 1099 they invested Jerusalem. 
It was stormed after a month's siege. The slaughter was terrible. 
Men riding on horseback were splashed by the blood in the streets. 
At nightfall on July 15th the Crusaders had fought their way 
into the Church of 
the Holy Sepulchre 
and overcome all 
opposition there: 
weary and "sob- 
bing from excess of 
joy" they knelt 
down in prayer. 

Immediately the 
hostility of Latin 
and Greek broke 
out again. The 
Crusaders were the 
servants of the 
Latin Church, and 
the Greek patriarch 
of Jerusalem found 
himself in a far 
worse case under 
the triumphant Lat- 
ins than under the 
Turks. The Crusa- 
ders discovered 
themselves between 
Byzantine and Turk 
and fighting both. Much of Asia Minor was recovered by the 
Byzantine Empire, and the Latin princes were left, a buffer between 
Turk and Greek, with Jerusalem and a few small principalities, of 
which Edessa was one of the chief, in Syria. Their grip even on 
these possessions was precarious, and in 1144 Edessa fell to the 
Moslim, leading to an ineffective Second Crusade, which failed to 
recover Edessa but saved Antioch from a similar fate. 

Photo: D. McLelsh 

Originally on the arch of Trajan at Constantinople, the Doge Dandalo V 

took them after the Fourth Crusade, to Venice, whence Napoleon I removed 

them to Paris, but in 1815 they were returned to Venice. During the Great 

War of 1914-18 they were hidden away for fear of air raids. 

272 A Short History of the World 

In 1169 the forces of Islam were rallied under a Kurdish adven- 
turer named Saladin who had made himself master of Egypt. He 
preached a Holy War against the Christians, recaptured Jerusalem 
in 1187, and so provoked the Third Crusade. This failed to recover 
Jerusalem. In the Fourth Crusade (1202-4) the Latin Church 
turned frankly upon the Greek Empire, and there was not even a 
pretence of fighting the Turks. It started from Venice and in 1204 
it stormed Constantinople. The great rising trading city of Venice 
was the leader in this adventure, and most of the coasts and islands 
of the Byzantine Empire were annexed by the Venetians. A 
"Latin" emperor (Baldwin of Flanders) was set up in Constanti- 
nople and the Latin and Greek Church were declared to be reunited. 
The Latin emperors ruled in Constantinople from 1204 to 1261 when 
the Greek world shook itself free again from Roman predominance. 

The twelfth century then and the opening of the thirteenth was 
the age of papal ascendancy just as the eleventh was the age of the 
ascendancy of the Seljuk Turks and the tenth the age of the North- 
men. A united Christendom under the rule of the Pope cam 3 
nearer to being a working reality than it ever was before or after 
that time. 

In those centuries a simple Christian faith was real and wide- 
spread over great areas of Europe. Rome itself had passed through 
some dark and discreditable phases; few writers can be found to 
excuse the lives of Popes John XI and John XII in the tenth century; 
they were abominable creatures; but the heart and body of Latin 
Christendom had remained earnest and simple; the generality of the 
common priests and monks and nuns had lived exemplary and 
faithful lives. Upon the wealth of confidence such lives created 
rested the power of the church. Among the great Popes of the past 
had been Gregory the Great, Gregory I (590-604) and Leo III 
(795-816) who invited Charlemagne to be Caesar and crowned him 
in spite of himself. Towards the close of the eleventh century there 
arose a great clerical statesman, Hildebrand, who ended his life as 
Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085). Next but one after him came 
Urban II (1087-1099), the Pope of the First Crusade. These two 
were the founders of this period of papal greatness during which the 
Popes lorded it over the Emperors. From Bulgaria to Ireland and 


Photo: Lehnert & Landrocl 

274 A Short History of the World 

from Norway to Sicily and Jerusalem the Pope was supreme. Greg- 
ory VII obliged the Emperor Henry IV to come in penitence to him 
at Canossa and to await forgiveness for three days and nights in the 
courtyard of the castle, clad in sackcloth and barefooted to the 
snow. In 1176 at Venice the Emperor Frederick (Frederick Bar- 
barossa), knelt to Pope Alexander III and swore fealty to him. 

The great power of the church in the beginning of the eleventh 
century lay in the wills and consciences of men. It failed to retain 
the moral prestige on which its power was based. In the opening 
decades of the fourteenth century it was discovered that the power of 
the Pope had evaporated. What was it that destroyed the nai've 
confidence of the common people of Christendom in the church 
so that they would no longer rally to its appeal and serve its 

The first trouble was certainly the accumulation of wealth by 
the church. The church never died, and there was a frequent dis- 
position on the part of dying childless people to leave lands to the 
church. Penitent sinners were exhorted to do so. Accordingly in 
many European countries as much as a fourth of the land became 
church property. The appetite for property grows with what it 
feeds upon. Already in the thirteenth century it was being said 
everywhere that the priests were not good men, that they were 
always hunting for money and legacies. 

The kings and princes disliked this alienation of property very 
greatly. In the place of feudal lords capable of military support, 
they found their land supporting abbeys and monks and nuns. And 
these lands were really under foreign dominion. Even before the 
time of Pope Gregory VII there had been a struggle between the 
princes and the papacy over the question of "investitures," the 
question that is of who should appoint the bishops. If that power 
rested with the Pope and not the King, then the latter lost control 
not only of the consciences of his subjects but of a considerable 
part of his dominions. For also the clergy claimed exemption from 
taxation. They paid their taxes to Rome. And not only that, 
but the church also claimed the right to levy a tax of one-tenth upon 
the property of the layman in addition to the taxes he paid his 

Crusades and Age of Papal Dominion 275 

The history of nearly every country in Latin Christendom tells 
of the same phase in the eleventh century, a phase of struggle between 
monarch and Pope on the issue of investitures and generally it tells 
of a victory for the Pope. He claimed to be able to excommunicate 
the prince, to absolve his subjects from their allegiance to him, to 
recognize a successor. He claimed to be able to put a nation under 
an interdict, and then nearly all priestly functions ceased except the 
sacraments of baptism, confirmation and penance; the priests could 
neither hold the ordinary services, marry people, nor bury the dead. 
With these two weapons it was possible for the twelfth century Popes 
to curb the most recalcitrant princes and overawe the most restive 
peoples. These were enormous powers, and enormous powers are 
only to be used on extraordinary occasions. The Popes used them 
at last with a frequency that staled their effect. Within thirty years 
at the end of the twelfth century we find Scotland, France and 
England in turn under an interdict. And also the Popes could not 
resist the temptation to preach crusades against offending princes 
until the crusading spirit was extinct. 

It is possible that if the Church of Rome had struggled simply 
against the princes and had had a care to keep its hold upon the 
general mind, it might have achieved a permanent dominion over all 
Christendom. But the high claims of the Pope were reflected as 
arrogance in the conduct of the clergy. Before the eleventh century 
the Roman priests could marry; they had close ties with the people 
among whom they lived; they were indeed a part of the people. 
Gregory VII made them celibates; he cut the priests off from too 
great an intimacy with the laymen in order to bind them more 
closely to Rome, but indeed he opened a fissure between the church 
and the commonalty. The church had its own law courts. Cases 
involving not merely priests but monks, students, crusaders, widows, 
orphans and the helpless were reserved for the clerical courts, and so 
were all matters relating to wills, marriages and oaths and all cases 
of sorcery, heresy and blasphemy. Whenever the layman found 
himself in conflict with the priest he had to go to a clerical court. 
The obligations of peace and war fell upon his shoulders alone and 
left the priest free. It is no great wonder that jealousy and hatred 
of the priests grew up in the Christian world. 

2 7 6 A Short History of the World 

Never did Rome seem to realize that its power was in the con- 
sciences of common men. It fought against religious enthusiasm, 
which should have been its ally, and it forced doctrinal orthodoxy 
upon honest doubt and aberrant opinion. When the church inter- 
fered in matters of morality it had the common man with it, but not 
when it interfered in matters of doctrine. When in the south of 
France Waldo taught a return to the simplicity of Jesus in faith and 
life, Innocent III preached a crusade against the Waldenses, Waldo's 
followers, and permitted them to be suppressed with fire, sword, rape 
and the most abominable cruelties. When again St. Francis of 
Assisi (1181-1226) taught the imitation of Christ and a life of 
poverty and service, his followers, the Franciscans, were persecuted, 
scourged, imprisoned and dispersed. In 1318 four of them were 
burnt alive at Marseilles. On the other hand the fiercely orthodox 
order of the Dominicans, founded by St. Dominic (1170-1221) was 
strongly supported by Innocent III, who with its assistance set up 
an organization, the Inquisition, for the hunting of heresy and the 
affliction of free thought. 

So it was that the church by excessive claims, by unrighteous 
privileges, and by an irrational intolerance destroyed that free faith 
of the common man which was the final source of all its power. 
The story of its decline tells of no adequate foemen from without 
but continually of decay from within. 



OS^E very great weakness of the Roman Church in its strug- 
gle to secure the headship of all Christendom was the 
manner in which the Pope was chosen. 

If indeed the papacy was to achieve its manifest ambition and 
establish one rule and one peace throughout Christendom, then it 
was vitally necessary that it should have a strong, steady and con- 
tinuous direction. In those great days of its opportunity it needed 
before all things that the Popes when they took office should be able 
men in the prime of life, that each should have his successor-desig- 
nate with whom he could discuss the policy of the church, and that 
the forms and processes of election should be clear, definite, unalter- 
able and unassailable. Unhappily none of these things obtained. 
It was not even clear who could vote in the election of a Pope, nor 
whether the Byzantine or Holy Roman Emperor had a voice in the 
matter. That very great papal statesman Hildebrand (Pope 
Gregory VII, 1073-1085) did much to regularize the election. He 
confined the votes to the Roman cardinals and he reduced the 
Emperor's share to a formula of assent conceded to him by the 
church, but he made no provision for a successor-designate and he 
left it possible for the disputes of the cardinals to keep the See 
vacant, as in some cases it was kept vacant, for a year or more. 

The consequences of this want of firm definition are to be seen in 
the whole history of the papacy up to the sixteenth century. From 
quite early times onward there were disputed elections and two or 
more men each claiming to be Pope. The church would then be 
subjected to the indignity of going to the Emperor or some other 
outside arbiter to settle the dispute. And the career of every one 
of the great Popes ended in a note of interrogation. At his death 
the church might be left headless and as ineffective as a decapitated 


View showing the exquisite carvings characteristic of the 98 spires of the edifice 


Recalcitrant Princes and Great Schism 279 

body. Or he might be replaced by some old rival eager only to dis- 
credit and undo his work. Or some enfeebled old man tottering on 
the brink of the grave might succeed him. 

It was inevitable that this peculiar weakness of the papal organiza- 
tion should attract the interference of the various German princes, 
the French King, and the Norman and French Kings who ruled in 
England; that they should all try to influence the elections, and have 
a Pope in their own interest established in the Lateran Palace at 
Rome. And the more powerful and important the Pope became in 
European affairs, the more urgent did these interventions become. 
Under the circumstances it is no great wonder that many of the 
Popes were weak and futile. The astonishing thing is that many of 
them were able and courageous men. 

One of the most vigorous and interesting of the Popes of this 
great period was Innocent III (1198-1216) who was so fortunate as 
to become Pope before he was thirty-eight. He and his successors 
were pitted against an even more interesting personality, the 
Emperor Frederick II; Stupor mundi he was called, the Wonder of 
the world. The struggle of this monarch against Rome is a turning 
place in history. In the end Rome defeated him and destroyed his 
dynasty, but he left the prestige of the church and Pope so badly 
wounded that its wounds festered and led to its decay. 

Frederick was the son of the Emperor Henry VT and his mother 
was the daughter of Roger I, the Norman King of Sicily. He in- 
herited this kingdom in 1198 when he was a child of four years. 
Innocent III had been made his guardian. Sicily in those days had 
been but recently conquered by the Normans; the Court was half 
oriental and full of highly educated Arabs; and some of these were 
associated in the education of the young king. No doubt they were 
at some pains to make their point of view clear to him. He got a 
Moslem view of Christianity as well as a Christian view of Islam, and 
the unhappy result of this double system of instruction was a view, 
exceptional in that age of faith, that all religions were impostures. 
He talked freely on the subject; his heresies and blasphemies are 
on record. 

As the young man grew up he found himself in conflict with his 
guardian. Innocent III wanted altogether too much from his ward. 


A Short History of the World 


From the Church of S. Pedro at Ocana, Spain 
(In the Victoria and Albert Museum) 

When the opportunity came for 
Frederick to succeed as Emperor, 
the Pope intervened with condi- 
tions. Frederick must promise 
to put down heresy in Germany 
with a strong hand. Moreover 
he must relinquish his crown in 
Sicily and South Italy, because 
otherwise he would be too strong 
for the Pope. And the German 
clergy were to be freed from all 
taxation. Frederick agreed 
but with no intention of keeping 
his word. The Pope had already 
induced the French King to make 
war upon his own subjects in 
France, the cruel and bloody 
crusade against the Waldenses; 
he wanted Frederick to do the 
same thing in Germany. But 
Frederick being far more of a 
heretic than any of the simple 
pietists who had incurred the 
Pope's animosity, lacked the 
crusading impulse. And when 
Innocent urged him to crusade 
against the Moslim and recover 
Jerusalem he was equally ready 
to promise and equally slack in 
his performance. 

Having secured the imperial 
crown Frederick II stayed in 
Sicily, which he greatly preferred 
to Germany as a residence, and 
did nothing to redeem any of 
his promises to Innocent III, 
who died baffled in 1216. 

Recalcitrant Princes and Great Schism 281 

Honorius III, who succeeded Innocent, could do no better with 
Frederick, and Gregory IX (1227) came to the papal throne evidently 
resolved to settle accounts with this young man at any cost. He 
excommunicated him. Frederick II was denied all the comforts 
of religion. In the half-Arab Court of Sicily this produced singu- 
larly little discomfort. And also the Pope addressed a public letter 
to the Emperor reciting his vices (which were indisputable), his 
heresies, and his general misconduct. To this Frederick replied in a 
document of diabolical ability. It was addressed to all the princes 
of Europe, and it made the first clear statement of the issue between 
the Pope and the princes. He made a shattering attack upon the 
manifest ambition of the Pope to become the absolute ruler of all 
Europe. He suggested a union of princes against this usurpation. 
He directed the attention of the princes specifically to the wealth 
of the church. 

Having fired off this deadly missile Frederick resolved to perform 
his twelve-year-old promise and go upon a crusade. This was the 
Sixth Crusade (1228). It was, as a crusade, farcical. Frederick II 
went to Egypt and met and discussed affairs with the Sultan. These 
two gentlemen, both of sceptical opinions, exchanged congenial 
views, made a commercial convention to their mutual advantage, 
and agreed to transfer Jerusalem to Frederick. This indeed was a 
new sort of crusade, a crusade by private treaty. Here was no 
blood splashing the conqueror, no "weeping with excess of joy." 
As this astonishing crusader was an excommunicated man, he had 
to be content with a purely secular coronation as King of Jerusalem, 
taking the crown from the altar with his own hand for all the 
clergy were bound to shun him. He then returned to Italy, chased 
the papal armies which had invaded his dominions back to their 
own territories, and obliged the Pope to grant him absolution from 
his excommunication. So a prince might treat the Pope in the 
thirteenth century, and there was now no storm of popular indig- 
nation to avenge him. Those days were past. 

In 1239 Gregory IX resumed his struggle with Frederick, excom- 
municated him for a second time, and renewed that warfare of public 
abuse in which the papacy had already suffered severely. The con- 
troversy was revived after Gregory IX was dead, when Innocent IV 

282 A Short History of the World 

was Pope; and again a devastating letter, which men were bound 
to remember, was written by Frederick against the church. He 
denounced the pride and irreligion of the clergy, and ascribed all the 
corruptions of the time to their pride and wealth. He proposed to 
his fellow princes a general confiscation of church property for the 
good of the church. It was a suggestion that never afterwards left 
the imagination of the European princes. 

We will not go on to tell of his last years. The particular events 
of his life are far less significant than its general atmosphere. It is 
possible to piece together something of his court life in Sicily. He 
was luxurious in his way of living, and fond of beautiful things. He 
is described as licentious. But it is clear that he was a man of very 
effectual curiosity and inquiry. He gathered Jewish and Moslem 
as well as Christian philosophers at his court, and he did much to 
irrigate the Italian mind with Saracenic influences. Through him 
the Arabic numerals and algebra were introduced to Christian 
students, and among other philosophers at his court was Michael 
Scott, who translated portions of Aristotle and the commentaries 
thereon of the great Arab philosopher Averroes (of Cordoba). In 
1224 Frederick founded the University of Naples, and he enlarged 
and enriched the great medical school at Salerno University. He 
also founded a zoological garden. He left a book on hawking, which 
shows him to have been an acute observer of the habits of birds, 
and he was one of the first Italians to write Italian verse. Italian 
poetry was indeed born at his court. He has been called by an able 
writer, "the first of the moderns," and the phrase expresses aptly 
the unprejudiced detachment of his intellectual side. 

A still more striking intimation of the decay of the living and sus- 
taining forces of the papacy appeared when presently the Popes 
came into conflict with the growing power of the French King. 
During the lifetime of the Emperor Frederick II, Germany fell into 
disunion, and the French King began to play the role of guard, sup- 
porter and rival to the Pope that had hitherto fallen to the Hohen- 
staufen Emperors. A series of Popes pursued the policy of support- 
ing the French monarchs. French princes were established in the 
kingdom of Sicily and Naples, with the support and approval of 
Rome, and the French Kings saw before them the possibility of 

Recalcitrant Princes and Great Schism 283 


restoring and ruling the Empire of Charlemagne. When, however, 
the German interregnum after the death of Frederick II, the last of 
the Hohenstaufens, came to an end and Rudolf of Habsburg was 
elected first Habsburg Emperor (1273), the policy of Rome began to 
fluctuate between France and Germany, veering about with the 
sympathies of each successive Pope. In the East in 1261 the Greeks 
recaptured Constantinople from the Latin emperors, and the founder 
of the new Greek dynasty, Michael Palseologus, Michael VIII, 
after some unreal tentatives of reconciliation with the Pope, broke 
away from the Roman communion altogether, and with that, and 
the fall of the Latin kingdoms in Asia, the eastward ascendancy of 
the Popes came to an end 

In 1294 Boniface VIII became Pope. He was an Italian, hostile 
to the French, and full of a sense of the great traditions and mission 
of Rome. For a time he carried things with a high hand. In 1300 
he held a jubilee, and a vast multitude of pilgrims assembled in 
Rome. "So great was the influx of money into the papal treasury, 
that two assistants were kept busy with the rakes collecting the 


A Short History of the World 

offerings that were deposited at the tomb of St. Peter." 1 But this 
festival was a delusive triumph. Boniface came into conflict with 
the French King in 1302, and in 1303, as he was about to pronounce 
sentence of excommunication against that monarch, he was sur- 
prised and arrested in his own ancestral palace at Anagni, by Guil- 
laume de Nogaret. This agent from the French King forced an 
entrance into the palace, made his way into the bedroom of the 
frightened Pope he was lying in bed with a cross in his hands and 
heaped threats and insults upon him. The Pope was liberated a 
day or so later by the townspeople, and returned to Rome; but there 
he was seized upon and again made prisoner by the Orsini family, 
and in a few weeks' time the shocked and disillusioned old man died 
a prisoner in their hands. 

The people of Anagni did resent the first outrage, and rose 
against Nogaret to liberate Boniface, but then Anagni was the Pope's 
native town. The important point to note is that the French King 

1 J. H. Robinson. 


This series is from casts in the Victoria and Albert Museum of the original brass statuettes 
in the Rijks Museum, Amsterdam 

Recalcitrant Princes and Great Schism 285 

in this rough treatment of the head of Christendom was acting 
with the full approval of his people; he had summoned a council of 
the Three Estates of France (lords, church and commons) and gained 
their consent before proceeding to extremities. Neither in Italy, 
Germany nor England was there the slightest general manifestation 
of disapproval at this free handling of the sovereign pontiff. The 
idea of Christendom had decayed until its power over the minds of 
men had gone. 

Throughout the fourteenth century the papacy did nothing to 
recover its moral sway. The next Pope elected, Clement V, was a 
Frenchman, the choice of King Philip of France. He never came 
to Rome. He set up his court in the town of Avignon, which then 
belonged not to France but to the papal See, though embedded in 
French territory, and there his successors remained until 1377, when 
Pope Gregory XI returned to the Vatican palace in Rome. But 
Gregory XI did not take the sympathies of the whole church with 
him. Many of the cardinals were of French origin and their habits 
and associations were rooted deep at Avignon. When in 1378 
Gregory XI died, and an Italian, Urban VI, was elected, these dis- 
sentient cardinals declared the election invalid, and elected another 
Pope, the anti-Pope, Clement VII. This split is called the Great 
Schism. The Popes remained in Rome, and all the anti-French 
powers, the Emperor, the King of England, Hungary, Poland and 
the North of Europe were loyal to them. The anti-Popes, on the 
other hand, continued in Avignon, and were supported by the King 
of France, his ally the King of Scotland, Spain, Portugal and various 
German princes. Each Pope excommunicated and cursed the 
adherents of his rival (1378-1417). 

Is it any wonder that presently all over Europe people began to 
think for themselves in matters of religion? 

The beginnings of the Franciscans and the Dominicans, which 
we have noted in the preceding chapters, were but two among 
many of the new forces that were arising in Christendom, either 
to hold or shatter the church as its own wisdom might decide. 
Those two orders the church did assimilate and use, though with 
a little violence in the case of the former. But other forces were 
more frankly disobedient and critical. A century and a half later 

286 A Short History of the World 

came Wycliffe (1320-1384). He was a learned Doctor at Oxford. 
Quite late in his life he began a series of outspoken criticisms of the 
corruption of the clergy and the unwisdom of the church. He 
organized a number of poor priests, the Wycliffites, to spread his 
ideas throughout England; and in order that people should judge 
between the church and himself, he translated the Bible into Eng- 
lish. He was a more learned and far abler man than either St. 
Francis or St. Dominic. He had supporters in high places and 
a great following among the people; and though Rome raged against 
him, and ordered his imprisonment, he died a free man. But the 
black and ancient spirit that was leading the Catholic Church to its 
destruction would not let his bones rest in the grave. By a decree 
of the Council of Constance in 1415, his remains were ordered to be 
dug up and burnt, an order which was carried out at the command 
of Pope Martin V by Bishop Fleming in 1428. This desecration 
was not the act of some isolated fanatic; it was the official act of the 



BUT in the thirteenth century, while this strange and finally in- 
effectual struggle to unify Christendom under the rule of the 
Pope was going on in Europe, far more momentous events 
were afoot upon the larger stage of Asia. A Turkish people from 
the country to the north of China rose suddenly to prominence in the 
world's affairs, and achieved such a series of conquests as has no 
parallel in history. These were the Mongols. At the opening of 
the thirteenth century they were a horde of nomadic horsemen, 
living very much as their predecessors, the Huns, had done, sub- 
sisting chiefly upon meat and mare's milk and living in tents of skin. 
They had shaken themselves free from Chinese dominion, and 
brought a number of other Turkish tribes into a military confederacy. 
Their central camp was at Karakorum in Mongolia. 

At this time China was in a state of division. The great dynasty 
of Tang had passed into decay by the tenth century, and after a 
phase of division into warring states, three main empires, that of 
Kin in the north with Pekin as its capital and that of Sung in the 
south with a capital at Nankin, and Hsia in the centre, remain. 
In 1214 Jengis Khan, the leader of the Mongol confederates, made 
war on the Kin Empire and captured Pekin (1214) . He then turned 
westward and conquered Western Turkestan, Persia, Armenia, 
India down to Lahore, and South Russia as far as Kieff . He died 
master of a vast empire that reached from the Pacific to the Dnieper. 

His successor, Ogdai Khan, continued this astonishing career of 
conquest. His armies were organized to a very high level of effi- 
ciency; and they had with them a new Chinese invention, gun- 
powder, which they used in small field guns. He completed the 
conquest of the Kin Empire and then swept his hosts right across 
Asia to Russia (1235), an altogether amazing march. Kieff was 



A Short History of the World 

destroyed in 1240, and nearly all Russia became tributary to the 
Mongols. Poland was ravaged, and a mixed army of Poles and 
Germans was annihilated at the battle of Liegnitz in Lower Silesia 
in 1241. The Emperor Frederick II does not seem to have made 
any great efforts to stay the advancing tide. 

"It is only recently," says Bury in his notes to Gibbon's Decline 
and Fall of the Roman Empire, "that European history has begun to 
understand that the successes of the Mongol army which overran 
Poland and occupied Hungary in the spring of A.D. 1241 were won by 
consummate strategy and were not due to a mere overwhelming 
superiority of numbers. But this fact has not yet become a matter 
of common knowledge; the vulgar opinion which represents the 
Tartars as a wild horde carrying all before them solely by their mul- 
titude, and galloping through Eastern Europe without a strategic 
plan, rushing at all obstacles and overcoming them by mere weight, 
still prevails. . . . 

"It was wonderful how punctually and effectually the arrange- 
ments were carried out in operations extending from the Lower 
Vistula to Transylvania. Such a campaign was quite beyond the 

The Mongol Conquests 


power of any European army of the time, and it was beyond the 
vision of any European commander. There was no general in Eu- 
rope, from Frederick II downward, who was not a tyro in strategy 
compared to Subutai. It should also be noticed that the Mongols 
embarked upon the enterprise with full knowledge of the political 
situation of Hungary and the condition of Poland they had taken 
care to inform themselves by a well-organized system of spies; 
on the other hand, the Hungarians and the Christian powers, like 
childish barbarians, knew hardly anything about their enemies." 

But though the Mongols were victorious at Liegnitz, they did not 
continue their drive westward. They were getting into woodlands 
and hilly country, which did not suit their tactics; and so they 
turned southward and prepared to settle in Hungary, massacring or 
assimilating the kindred Magyar, even as these had previously 
massacred and assimilated the mixed Scythians and Avars and Huns 
before them. From the Hungarian plain they would probably have 
made raids west and south as the Hungarians had done in the ninth 
century, the Avars in the seventh and eighth and the Huns in the 
fifth. But Ogdai died suddenly, and in 1242 there was trouble 


2 go 

A Short History of the World 

about the succession, and recalled by this, the undefeated hosts of 
Mongols began to pour back across Hungary and Roumania towards 
the east. 

Thereafter the Mongols concentrated their attention upon their 
Asiatic conquests. By the middle of the thirteenth century they 
had conquered the Sung Empire. Mangu Khan succeeded Ogdai 
Khan as Great Khan in 1251, and made his brother Kublai Khan 
governor of China. In 1280 Kublai Khan had been formally recog- 
nized Emperor of China, and so founded the Yuan dynasty which 
lasted until 1368. While the last ruins of the Sung rule were going 
down in China, another brother of Mangu, Hulagu, was conquering 
Persia and Syria. The Mongols displayed a bitter animosity to 
Islam at this time, and not only massacred the population of Bagdad 
when they captured that city, but set to work to destroy the imme- 
morial irrigation system which had kept Mesopotamia incessantly 
prosperous and populous from the early days of Sumeria. From 
that time until our own Mesopotamia has been a desert of ruins, 
sustaining only a scanty population. Into Egypt the Mongols never 
penetrated; the Sultan of Egypt completely defeated an army of 
Hulagu's in Palestine in 1260. 

After that disaster the tide of Mongol victory ebbed. The 
dominions of the Great Khan fell into a number of separate states. 
The eastern Mongols became Buddhists, like the Chinese; the 
western became Moslim. The Chinese threw off the rule of the 
Yuan dynasty in 1368, and set up the native Ming dynasty which 
flourished from 1368 to 1644. The Russians remained tributary 
to the Tartar hordes upon the south-east steppes until 1480, when 
the Grand Duke of Moscow repudiated his allegiance and laid the 
foundation of modern Russia. 

In the fourteenth century there was a brief revival of Mongol 
vigour under Timurlane, a descendant of Jengis Khan. He estab- 
lished himself in Western Turkestan, assumed the title of Grand 
Khan in 1369, and conquered from Syria to Delhi. He was the 
most savage and destructive of all the Mongol conquerors. He 
established an empire of desolation that did not survive his death. 
In 1505, however, a descendant of this Timur, an adventurer named 
Baber, got together an army with guns and swept down upon the 


(From a Chinese Print in the British Museum) 


A Short History of the World 

plains of India. His grandson Akbar (1556-1605) completed his 
conquests, and this Mongol (or "Mogul" as the Arabs called it) 
dynasty ruled in Delhi over the greater part of India until the 
eighteenth century. 

One of the consequences of the first great sweep of Mongol con- 
quest in the thirteenth century was to drive a certain tribe of Turks, 
the Ottoman Turks, out of Turkestan into Asia Minor. They 
extended and consolidated their power in Asia Minor, crossed the 


at -die elf nth, of 

Dardanelles and conquered Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria, until 
at last Constantinople remained like an island amongst the Ottoman 
dominions. In 1453 the Ottoman Sultan, Muhammad II, took 
Constantinople, attacking it from the European side with a great 
number of guns. This event caused intense excitement in Europe 
and there was talk of a crusade, but the day of the crusades was past. 
In the course of the sixteenth century the Ottoman Sultans 
conquered Bagdad, Hungary, Egypt and most of North Africa, and 
their fleet made them masters of the Mediterranean. They very 
nearly took Vienna, and they exacted a tribute from the Emperor. 
There were but two items to offset the general ebb of Christian 

The Mongol Conquests 293 

dominion in the fifteenth century. One was the restoration of the 
independence of Moscow (1480); the other was the gradual recon- 
quest of Spain by the Christians. In 1492, Granada, the last 
Moslem state in the peninsula, fell to King Ferdinand of Aragon 
and his Queen Isabella of Castile. 

But it was not until as late as 1571 that the naval battle of 
Lepanto broke the pride of the Ottomans, and restored the Mediter- 
ranean waters to Christian ascendancy. 



THROUGHOUT the twelfth century there were many signs 
that the European intelligence was recovering courage and 
leisure, and preparing to take up again the intellectual enter- 
prises of the first Greek scientific enquiries and such speculations as 
those of the Italian Lucretius. The causes of this revival were many 
and complex. The suppression of private war, the higher standards 
of comfort and security that followed the crusades, and the stimu- 
lation of men's minds by the experiences of these expeditions were 
no doubt necessary preliminary conditions. Trade was reviving; 
cities were recovering ease and safety; the standard of education was 
arising in the church and spreading among laymen. The thirteenth 
and fourteenth centuries were a period of growing, independent or 
quasi-independent cities; Venice, Florence, Genoa, Lisbon, Paris, 
Bruges, London, Antwerp, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Novgorod, Wisby 
and Bergen for example. They were all trading cities with many 
travellers, and where men trade and travel they talk and think. 
The polemics of the Popes and princes, the conspicuous savagery and 
wickedness of the persecution of heretics, were exciting men to 
doubt the authority of the church and question and discuss funda- 
mental things. 

We have seen how the Arabs were the means of restoring Aristotle 
to Europe, and how such a prince as Frederick II acted as a channel 
through which Arabic philosophy and science played upon the 
renascent European mind. Still more influential in the stirring up 
of men's ideas were the Jews. Their very existence was a note of 
interrogation to the claims of the church. And finally the secret, 
fascinating enquiries of the alchemists were spreading far and wide 
and setting men to the petty, furtive and yet fruitful resumption of 
experimental science. 


The Intellectual Revival of the Europeans 295 

And the stir in men's minds was by no means confined now to the 
independent and well educated. The mind of the common man was 
awake in the world as it had never been before in all the experience of 
mankind. In spite of priest and persecution, Christianity does seem 
to have carried a mental ferment wherever its teaching reached. It 
established a direct relation between the conscience of the indi- 
vidual man and the God of Righteousness, so that now if need arose 
he had the courage to form his own judgment upon prince or prelate 
or creed. 

As early as the eleventh century philosophical discussion had 
begun again in Europe, and there were great and growing univer- 
sities at Paris, Oxford, Bologna and other centres. There medieval 
"schoolmen" took up again and thrashed out a series of questions 
upon the value and meaning of words that were a necessary pre- 
liminary to clear thinking in the scientific age that was to follow. 
And standing by himself because of his distinctive genius was Roger 
Bacon (circa 1210 to circa 1293), a Franciscan of Oxford, the father 
of modern experimental science. His name deserves a prominence 
in our history second only to that of Aristotle. 

His writings are one long tirade against ignorance. He told his 
age it was ignorant, an incredibly bold thing to do. Nowadays a 
man may tell the world it is as silly as it is solemn, that all its methods 
are still infantile and clumsy and its dogmas childish assumptions, 
without much physical danger; but these peoples of the middle ages 
when they were not actually being massacred or starving or dying 
of pestilence, were passionately convinced of the wisdom, the com- 
pleteness and finality of their beliefs, and disposed to resent any re- 
flections upon them very bitterly. Roger Bacon's writings were 
like a flash of light in a profound darkness. He combined his attack 
upon the ignorance of his times with a wealth of suggestion for the 
increase of knowledge. In his passionate insistence upon the need of 
experiment and of collecting knowledge, the spirit of Aristotle lives 
again in him. "Experiment, experiment," that is the burthen of 
Roger Bacon. 

Yet of Aristotle himself Roger Bacon fell foul. He fell foul of 
him because men, instead of facing facts boldly, sat in rooms and 
pored over the bad Latin translations which were then all that was 


A Short History of the World 

available of the master. "If I had my way," he wrote, in his in- 
temperate fashion, "I should burn all the books of Aristotle, for the 
study of them can only lead to a loss of time, produce error, and 
increase ignorance, " a sentiment that Aristotle would probably have 
echoed could he have returned to a world in which his works were 
not so much read as worshipped and that, as Roger Bacon showed, 
in these most abominable translations. 

(From on old print) 

The Intellectual Revival of the Europeans 297 

Throughout his books, a little disguised by the necessity of 
seeming to square it all with orthodoxy for fear of the prison and 
worse, Roger Bacon shouted to mankind, "Cease to be ruled by 
dogmas and authorities; look at the world!" Four chief sources 
of ignorance he denounced; respect for authority, custom, the sense 
of the ignorant crowd, and the vain, proud unteachableness of our 
dispositions. Overcome but these, and a world of power would 
open to men : 

"Machines for navigating are possible without rowers, so that 
great ships suited to river or ocean, guided by one man, may be 
borne with greater speed than if they were full of men. Likewise 
cars may be made so that without a draught animal they may be 
moved cum impetu inoestimable, as we deem the scythed chariots to 
have been from which antiquity fought. And flying machines are 
possible, so that a man may sit in the middle turning some device by 
which artificial wings may beat the air in the manner of a flying 

So Roger Bacon wrote, but three more centuries were to elapse 
before men began any systematic attempts to explore the hidden 
stores of power and interest he realized so clearly existed beneath the 
dull surface of human affairs. 

But the Saracenic world not only gave Christendom the stimulus 
of its philosophers and alchemists; it also gave it paper. It is 
scarcely too much to say that paper made the intellectual revival 
of Europe possible. Paper originated in China, where its use prob- 
ably goes back to the second century B.C. In 751 the Chinese made 
an attack upon the Arab Moslems in Samarkand; they were re- 
pulsed, and among the prisoners taken from them were some skilled 
papermakers, from whom the art was learnt. Arabic paper manu- 
scripts from the ninth century onward still exist. The manu- 
facture entered Christendom either through Greece or by the 
capture of Moorish paper-mills during the Christian reconquest of 
Spain. But under the Christian Spanish the product deteriorated 
sadly. Good paper was not made in Christian Europe until the 
end of the thirteenth century, and then it was Italy which led the 
world. Only by the fourteenth century did the manufacture reach 
Germany, and not until the end of that century was it abundant and 

298 A Short History of the World 

cheap enough for the printing of books to be a practicable business 
proposition. Thereupon printing followed naturally and neces- 
sarily, for printing is the most obvious of inventions, and the in- 
tellectual life of the world entered upon a new and far more vigorous 
phase. It ceased to be a little trickle from mind to mind; it became 
a broad flood, in which thousands and presently scores and hundreds 
of thousands of minds participated. 

One immediate result of this achievement of printing was the 
appearance of an aburtdance of Bibles in the world. Another was a 
cheapening of school-books. The knowledge of reading spread 
swiftly. There was not only a great increase of books in the world, 
but the books that were now made were plainer to read and so easier 
to understand. Instead of toiling at a crabbed text and then think- 
ing over its significance, readers now could think unimpeded as they 
read. With this increase in the facility of reading, the reading public 
grew. The book ceased to be a highly decorated toy or a scholar's 
mystery. People began to write books to be read as well as looked at 
by ordinary people. They wrote in the ordinary language and not 
in Latin. With the fourteenth century the real history of the 
European literature begins. 

So far we have been dealing only with the Saracenic share in the 
European revival. Let us turn now to the influence of the Mon- 
gol conquests. They stimulated the geographical imagination of 
Europe enormously. For a time under the Great Khan, all Asia and 
Western Europe enjoyed an open intercourse; all the roads were 
temporarily open, and representatives of every nation appeared at 
the court of Karakorum. The barriers between Europe and Asia 
set up by the religious feud of Christianity and Islam were lowered. 
Great hopes were entertained by the papacy for the conversion of 
the Mongols to Christianity. Their only religion so far had been 
Shumanism, a primitive paganism. Envoys of the Pope, Buddhist 
priests from India, Parisian and Italian and Chinese artificers, 
Byzantine and Armenian merchants, mingled with Arab officials and 
Persian and Indian astronomers and mathematicians at the Mongol 
court. We hear too much in history of the campaigns and massacres 
of the Mongols, and not enough of their curiosity and desire for 
learning. Not perhaps as an originative people, but as transmitters 

The Intellectual Revival of the Europeans 


of knowledge and method their influence upon the world's history 
has been very great. And everything one can learn of the vague and 
romantic personalities of Jengis or Kublai tends to confirm the 
impression that these men were at least as understanding and crea- 
tive monarchs as either that flamboyant but egotistical figure 
Alexander the Great or that raiser of po- 
litical ghosts, that energetic but illiterate 
theologian Charlemagne. 

One of the most interesting of these 
visitors to the Mongol Court was a certain 
Venetian, Marco Polo, who afterwards set 
down his story in a book. He went to 
China about 1272 with his father and uncle, 
who had already once made the journey. 
The Great Khan had been deeply impressed 
by the elder Polos; they were the first men 
of the "Latin" peoples he had seen; and he 
sent them back with enquiries for teachers 
and learned men who could explain Christi- 
anity to him, and for various other Euro- 
pean things that had aroused his curiosity. 
Their visit with Marco was their second 

The three Polos started by way of 
Palestine and not by the Crimea, as in their 
previous expedition. They had with them 
a gold tablet and other indications from the 
Great Khan that must have greatly facili- 
tated their journey. The Great Khan had asked for some oil 
from the lamp that burns in the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem; 
and so thither they first went, and then by way of Cilicia into 
Armenia. They went thus far north because the Sultan of Egypt 
was raiding the Mongol domains at this time. Thence they came 
by way of Mesopotamia to Ormuz on the Persian Gulf, as if they 
contemplated a sea voyage. At Ormuz they met merchants from 
India. For some reason they did not take ship, but instead turned 
northward through the Persian deserts, and so by way of Balkh over 


Note evidence in attire of knowl- 
edge of early European explorers 
(In the British Museum) 


A Short History of the World 

the Pamir to Kashgar, and by way of Kotan and the Lob Nor into 
the Hwang-ho valley and on to Pekin. At Pekin was the Great 
Khan, and they were hospitably entertained. 

Marco particularly pleased Kublai ; he was young and clever, and 
it is clear he had mastered the Tartar language very thoroughly. 
He was given an official position and sent on several missions, chiefly 

in south-west China. The tale he had to 
tell of vast stretches of smiling and pros- 
perous country, "all the way excellent hos- 
telries for travellers," and "fine vineyards, 
fields and gardens," of "many abbeys" of 
Buddhist monks, of manufactures of "cloth 
of silk and gold and many fine taffetas, " a 
"constant succession of cities and boroughs," 
and so on, first roused the incredulity and 
then fired the imagination of all Europe. 
He told of Burmah, and of its great armies 
with hundreds of elephants, and how these 
animals were defeated by the Mongol bow- 
men, and also of the Mongol conquest of 
Pegu. He told of Japan, and greatly exag- 
gerated the amount of gold in that country. 
For three years Marco ruled the city of 
Yang-chow as governor, and he probably 
impressed the Chinese inhabitants as being 
very little more of a foreigner than any 
Tartar would have been. He may also 
have been sent on a mission to India. Chinese records mention a 
certain Polo attached to the imperial council in 1277, a very 
valuable confirmation of the general truth of the Polo story. 

The publication of Marco Polo's travels produced a profound 
effect upon the European imagination. The European literature, 
and especially the European romance of the fifteenth century, echoes 
with the names in Marco Polo's story, with Cathay ''North China) 
and Cambulac (Pekin) and the like. 

Two centuries later, among the readers of the Travels of Marco 
Polo was a certain Genoese mariner, Christopher Columbus, who 


(In the British Museum) 

The Intellectual Revival of the Europeans 301 

conceived the 
brilliant idea of 
sailing westward 
round the world 
to China. In 
Seville there is a 
copy of the Trav- 
els with marginal 
notes by Colum- 
bus. There were 
many reasons why 
the thought of a 
Genoese should 
be turned in this 
direction. Until 
its capture by the 
Turks in 1453 
had been an im- 
partial trading 
mart bet ween the 
Western world 
and the East, and 
the Genoese had 
traded there 
freely. But the 
"Latin" Vene- 
tians, the bitter 
rivals of the Gen- 
oese, had been the 
allies and helpers 
of the Turks 
against the 
Greeks, and with 
the coming of the 
Turks Constanti- 
nople turned an 



(In the British Museum) 


A Short History of the World 

unfriendly face upon Genoese trade. The long forgotten dis- 
covery that the world was round had gradually resumed its sway 
over men's minds. The idea of going westward to China was there- 
fore a fairly obvious one. It was encouraged by two things. The 
mariner's compass had now been invented and men were no longer 
left to the mercy of a fine night and the stars to determine the direc- 
tion in which they were sailing, and the Normans, Catalonians and 
Genoese and Portuguese had already pushed out into the Atlantic 
as far as the Canary Isles, Madeira and the Azores. 

Yet Columbus found many difficulties before he could get ships 
to put his idea to the test. He went from one European Court to 
another. Finally at Granada, just won from the Moors, he secured 
the patronage of Ferdinand and Isabella, and was able to set out 
across the unknown ocean in three small ships. After a voyage of 
two months and nine days he came to a land which he believed to be 
India, but which was really a new continent, whose distinct existence 
the old world had never hitherto suspected. He returned to Spain 
with gold, cotton, strange beasts and birds, and two wild-eyed 
painted Indians to be baptized. They were called Indians because, 
to the end of his days, he believed that this land he had found was 
India. Only in the course of several years did men begin to realize 
that the whole new continent of America was added to the world's 

The success of Columbus stimulated overseas enterprise enor- 
mously. In 1497 the Portuguese sailed round Africa to India, and in 
1515 there were Portuguese ships in Java. In 1519 Magellan, a 
Portuguese sailor in Spanish employment, sailed out of Seville west- 
ward with five ships, of which one, the Vittoria, came back up the 
river to Seville in 1522, the first ship that had ever circumnavigated 
the world. Thirty-one men were aboard her, survivors of two- 
hundred-and-eighty who had started. Magellan himself had been 
killed in the Philippine Isles. 

Printed paper books, a new realization of the round world as a 
thing altogether attainable, a new vision of strange lands, strange 
animals and plants, strange manners and customs, discoveries over- 
seas and in the skies and in the ways and materials of life burst upon 
the European mind. The Greek classics, buried and forgotten for so 

The Intellectual Revival of the Europeans 


long, were speedily being printed and studied, and were colouring 
men's thoughts with the dreams of Plato and the traditions of an 
age of republican freedom and dignity. The Roman dominion had 
first brought law and order to Western Europe, and the Latin Church 
had restored it; but under both Pagan and Catholic Rome curiosity 
and innovation were subordinate to and restrained by organization. 
The reign of the Latin mind was now drawing to an end. Between 
the thirteenth and the sixteenth century the European Aryans, 
thanks to the stimulating influence of Semite and Mongol and the 
rediscovery of the Greek classics, broke away from the Latin tradi- 
tion and rose again to the intellectual and material leadership of 


THE Latin Church itself was enormously affected by this 
mental rebirth. It was dismembered; and even the portion 
that survived was extensively renewed. 

We have told how nearly the church came to the autocratic 
leadership of all Christendom in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, 
and how in the fourteenth and fifteenth its power over men's minds 
and affairs declined. We have described how popular religious 
enthusiasm which had in earlier ages been its support and power was 
turned against it by its pride, persecutions and centralization, and 
how the insidious scepticism of Frederick II bore fruit in a growing 
insubordination of the princes. The Great Schism had reduced its 
religious and political prestige to negligible proportions. The forces 
of insurrection struck it now from both sides. 

The teachings of the Englishman Wycliffe spread widely through- 
out Europe. In 1398 a learned Czech, John Huss, delivered a series 
of lectures upon Wycliffe's teachings in the university of Prague. 
This teaching spread rapidly beyond the educated class and aroused 
great popular enthusiasm. In 1414-18 a Council of the whole 
church was held at Constance to settle the Great Schism. Huss was 
invited to this Council under promise of a safe conduct from the 
emperor, seized, put on trial for heresy and burnt alive (1415). So 
far from tranquillizing the Bohemian people, this led to an insurrec- 
tion of the Hussites in that country, the first o. a series of religious 
wars that inaugurated the break-up of Latin Christendom. Against 
this insurrection Pope Martin V, the Pope specially elected at 
Constance as the head of a reunited Christendom, preached a 

Five Crusades in all were launched upon this sturdy little people 
and all of them failed. All the unemployed ruffianism of Europe was 


The Reformation of the Latin Church 


turned upon Bohemia in the fifteenth century, just as in the thir- 
teenth it had been turned upon the Waldenses. But the Bohemian 
Czechs, unlike the Waldenses, believed in armed resistance. The 
Bohemian Crusade dissolved and streamed away from the battle- 
field at the sound 
of the Hussites' 
waggons and the 
distant chanting of 
their troops; it did 
not even wait to 
fight (battle of 
Domazlice, 1431). 
In 1436 an agree- 
ment was patched 
up with the Hussites 
by a new Council of 
the church at Basle 
in which many of 
the special objec- 
tions to Latin prac- 
tice were conceded. 
In the fifteenth 
century a great 
pestilence had pro- 
duced much social 
throughout Europe. 
There had been ex- 
treme misery and 
discontent among 
the common people, 
and peasant risings 
against the landlords and the wealthy in England and France. 
After the Hussite Wars these peasant insurrections increased in 
gravity in Germany and took on a religious character. Printing 
came in as an influence upon this development. By the middle of 
the fifteenth century there were printers at work with movable type 




(From an early German engraving in the British Museum) 

3 o6 A Short History of the World 

in Holland and the Rhineland. The art spread to Italy and England, 
where Caxton was printing in Westminster in 1477. The immediate 
consequence was a great increase and distribution of Bibles, and 
greatly increased facilities for widespread popular controversies. 
The European world became a world of readers, to an extent that 
had never happened to any community in the past. And this 
sudden irrigation of the general mind with clearer ideas and more 
accessible information occurred just at a time when the church was 
confused and divided and not in a position to defend itself effectively, 
and when many princes were looking for means to weaken its hold 
upon the vast wealth it claimed in their dominions. 

In Germany the attack upon the church gathered round the 
personality of an ex-monk, Martin Luther (1483-1546), who appeared 
in Wittenberg in 1517 offering disputations against various orthodox 
doctrines and practices. At first he disputed in Latin in the fashion 
of the Schoolmen. Then he took up the new weapon of the printed 
word and scattered his views far and wide in German addressed to 
the ordinary people. An attempt was made to suppress him as 
Huss had been suppressed, but the printing press had changed 
conditions and he had too many open and secret friends among the 
German princes for this fate to overtake him. 

For now in this age of multiplying ideas and weakened faith there 
were many rulers who saw their advantage in breaking the religious 
ties between their people and Rome. They sought to make them- 
selves in person the heads of a more nationalized religion. England, 
Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, North Germany and Bohe- 
mia, one after another, separated themselves from the Roman Com- 
munion. They have remained separated ever since. 

The various princes concerned cared very little for the moral and 
intellectual freedom of their subjects. They used the religious 
doubts and insurgence of their peoples to strengthen them against 
Rome, but they tried to keep a grip upon the popular movement as 
soon as that rupture was achieved and a national church set up 
under the control of the crown. But there has always been a 
curious vitality in the teaching of Jesus, a direct appeal to righteous- 
ness and a man's self-respect over every loyalty and every subor- 
dination , lay or ecclesiastical. None of these princely churches broke 

The Reformation of the Latin Church 307 


An allegory of the Church triumphant over heretics and infidels. Italian (Urbino), dated 1543 
(In the Victoria and Albert Museujm.) 

off without also breaking off a number of fragmentary sects that 
would admit the intervention of neither prince nor Pope between a 
man and his God. In England and Scotland, for example, there was 
a number of sects who now held firmly to the Bible as their one guide 
in life and belief. They refused the disciplines of a state church. 
In England these dissentients were the Non-conformists, who played 
a very large part in the politics of that country in the seventeenth 

3 o8 A Short History of the World 

and eighteenth centuries. In England they carried their objection 
to a princely head to the church so far as to decapitate King 
Charles I (1649), and for eleven prosperous years England was a 
republic under Non-conformist rule. 

The breaking away of this large section of Northern Europe from 
Latin Christendom is what is generally spoken of as the Reforma- 
tion. But the shock and stress of these losses produced changes 
perhaps as profound in the Roman Church itself. The church was 
reorganized and a new spirit came into its life. One of the dominant 
figures in this revival was a young Spanish soldier, Inigo Lopez de 
Recalde, better known to the world as St. Ignatius of Loyola. After 
some romantic beginnings he became a priest (1538) and was per- 
mitted to found the Society of Jesus, a direct attempt to bring the 
generous and chivalrous traditions of military discipline into the 
service of religion. This Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, became one 
of the greatest teaching and missionary societies the world has ever 
seen. It carried Christianity to India, China and America. It 
arrested the rapid disintegration of the Roman Church. It raised 
the standard of education throughout the whole Catholic world; it 
raised the level of Catholic intelligence and quickened the Catholic 
conscience everywhere; it stimulated Protestant Europe to competi- 
tive educational efforts. The vigorous and aggressive Roman 
Catholic Church we know to-day is largely the product of this Jesuit 



THE Holy Roman Empire came to a sort of climax in the reign 
of the Emperor Charles V. He was one of the most ex- 
traordinary monarchs that Europe has ever seen. For a 
time he had the air of being the greatest monarch since Charlemagne. 

His greatness was not of his own making. It was largely the 
creation of his grandfather, the Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519). 
Some families have fought, others have intrigued their way to world 
power; the Habsburgs married their way. Maximilian began his 
career with Austria, Styria, part of Alsace and other districts, the 
original Habsburg patrimony; he married the lady's name scarcely 
matters to us the Netherlands and Burgundy. Most of Burgundy 
slipped from him after his first wife's death, but the Netherlands 
he held. Then he tried unsuccessfully to marry Brittany. He 
became Emperor in succession to his father, Frederick III, in 1493, 
and married the duchy of Milan. Finally he married his son to the 
weak-minded daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Ferdinand and 
Isabella of Columbus, who not only reigned over a freshly united 
Spain and over Sardinia and the kingdom of the two Sicilies, but 
over all America west of Brazil. So it was that this Charles V, his 
grandson, inherited most of the American continent and between 
a third and a half of what the Turks had left of Europe. He suc- 
ceeded to the Netherlands in 1506. When his grandfather Ferdinand 
died in 1516, he became practically king of the Spanish dominions, 
his mother being imbecile; and his grandfather Maximilian dying 
in 1519, he was in 1520 elected Emperor at the still comparatively 
tender age of twenty. 

He was a fair young man with a not very intelligent face, a thick 
upper lip and a long clumsy chin. He found himself in a world of 
young and vigorous personalities. It was an age of brilliant young 


310 A Short History of the World 

monarchs. Francis I had succeeded to the French throne in 1515 
at the age of twenty-one, Henry VIII had become King of England 
in 1509 at eighteen. It was the age of Baber in India (1526-1530) 
and Suleiman the Magnificent in Turkey (1520), both exceptionally 
capable monarchs, and the Pope Leo X (1513) was also a very dis- 
tinguished Pope. The Pope and Francis I attempted to prevent the 
election of Charles as Emperor because they dreaded the concentra- 
tion of so much power in the hands of one man. Both Francis I and 
Henry VIII offered themselves to the imperial electors. But there 
was now a long established tradition of Habsburg Emperors (since 
1273), and some energetic bribery secured the election for Charles. 

At first the young man was very much a magnificent puppet in 
the hands of his ministers. Then slowly he began to assert himself 
and take control. He began to realize something of the threatening 
complexities of his exalted position. It was a position as unsound 
as it was splendid. 

From the very outset of his reign he was faced by the situation 
created by Luther's agitations in Germany. The Emperor had one 
reason for siding with the reformers in the opposition of the Pope to 
his election. But he had been brought up in Spain, that most 
Catholic of countries, and he decided against Luther. So he came 
into conflict with the Protestant princes and particularly the Elector 
of Saxony. He found himself in the presence of an opening rift 
that was to split the outworn fabric of Christendom into two con- 
tending camps. His attempts to close that rift were strenuous and 
honest and ineffective. There was an extensive peasant revolt in 
Germany which interwove with the general political and religious 
disturbance. And these internal troubles were complicated by 
attacks upon the Empire from east and west alike. On the west 
of Charles was his spirited rival, Francis I; to the east was the 
ever advancing Turk, who was now in Hungary, in alliance with 
Francis and clamouring for certain arrears of tribute from the 
Austrian dominions. Charles had the money and army of Spain at 
his disposal, but it was extremely difficult to get any effective sup- 
port in money from Germany. His social and political troubles 
were complicated by financial distresses. He was forced to ruinous 


(In the Gallery del Prado, Madrid) 

Photo: Anderson 

312 A Short History of the World 

On the whole, Charles, in alliance with Henry VIII, was success- 
ful against Francis I and the Turk. Their chief battlefield was 
North Italy; the generalship was dull on both sides; their advances 
and retreats depended mainly on the arrival of reinforcements. The 
German army invaded France, failed to take Marseilles, fell back 
into Italy, lost Milan, and was besieged in Pa via. Francis I made a 
long and unsuccessful siege of Pavia, was caught by fresh German 
forces, defeated, wounded and taken prisoner. But thereupon the 
Pope and Henry VIII, still haunted by the fear of his attaining 
excessive power, turned against Charles. The German troops in 
Milan, under the Constable of Bourbon, being unpaid, forced rather 
than followed their commander into a raid upon Rome. They 
stormed the city and pillaged it (1527). The Pope took refuge in 
the Castle of St. Angelo while the looting and slaughter went 
on. He bought off the German troops at last by the payment 
of four hundred thousand ducats. Ten years of such confused 
fighting impoverished all Europe. At last the Emperor found 
himself triumphant in Italy. In 1530, he was crowned by the 
Pope he was the last German Emperor to be so crowned at 

Meanwhile the Turks were making great headway in Hungary. 
They had defeated and killed the king of Hungary in 1526, they held 
Buda-Pesth, and in 1529 Suleiman the Magnificent very nearly took 
Vienna. The Emperor was greatly concerned by these advances, 
and did his utmost to drive back the Turks, but he found the greatest 
difficulty in getting the German princes to unite even with this 
formidable enemy upon their very borders. Francis I remained im- 
placable for a time, and there was a new French war; but in 1538 
Charles won his rival over to a more friendly attitude after ravaging 
the south of France. Francis and Charles then formed an alliance 
against the Turk. But the Protestant princes, the German princes 
who were resolved to break away from Rome, had formed a league, 
the Schmalkaldic League, against the Emperor, and in the place of a 
great campaign to recover Hungary for Christendom Charles had to 
turn his mind to the gathering internal struggle in Germany. Of 
that struggle he saw only the opening war. It was a struggle, a 
sanguinary irrational bickering of princes, for ascendancy, now 

The Emperor Charles V 313 

flaming into war and destruction, now sinking back to intrigues 
and diplomacies; it was a snake's sack of princely policies that 
was to go on writhing incurably right into the nineteenth century 
and to waste and desolate Central Europe again and again. 

The Emperor never seems to have grasped the true forces at work 
in these gathering troubles. He was for his time and station an ex- 
ceptionally worthy man, and he seems to have taken the religious 
dissensions that were tearing Europe into warring fragments as 
genuine theological differences. He gathered diets and councils in 
futile attempts at reconciliation. Formulae and confessions were 
tried over. The student of German history must struggle with the 
details of the Religious Peace of Nuremberg, the settlement at the 
Diet of Ratisbon, the Interim of Augsburg, and the like. Here 
we do but mention them as details in the worried life of this culminat- 
ing Emperor. As a matter of fact, hardly one of the multifarious 
princes and rulers in Europe seems to have been acting in good 
faith. The widespread religious trouble of the world, the desire of 
the common people for truth and social righteousness, the spreading 
knowledge of the time, all those things were merely counters in the 
imaginations of princely diplomacy. Henry VIII of England, who 
had begun his career with a book against heresy, and who had been 
rewarded by the Pope with the title of "Defender of the Faith," 
being anxious to divorce his first wife in favour of a young lady 
named Anne Boleyn, and wishing also to loot the vast wealth of the 
church in England, joined the company of Protestant princes in 
1530. Sweden, Denmark and Norway had already gone over to the 
Protestant side. 

The German religious war began in 1546, a few months after the 
death of Martin Luther. We need not trouble about the incidents of 
the campaign. The Protestant Saxon army was badly beaten at 
Lochau. By something very like a breach of faith Philip of Hesse, 
the Emperor's chief remaining antagonist, was caught and im- 
prisoned, and the Turks were bought off by the promise of an 
annual tribute. In 1547, to the great relief of the Emperor, Fran- 
cis I died. So by 1547 Charles got to a kind of settlement, and made 
his last efforts to effect peace where there was no peace. In 1552 all 
Germany was at war again, only a precipitate flight from Innsbruck 

3 i4 A Short History of the World 

saved Charles from capture, and in 1552, with the treaty of Passau, 
came another unstable equilibrium. . . . 

Such is the brief outline of the politics of the Empire for thirty- 
two years. It is interesting to note how entirely the European mind 
was concentrated upon the struggle for European ascendancy. 
Neither Turks, French, English nor Germans had yet discovered any 
political interest in the great continent of America, nor any signifi- 
cance in the new sea routes to Asia. Great things were happening in 
America; Cortez with a mere handful of men had conquered the 
great Neolithic empire of Mexico for Spain, Pizarro had crossed the 
Isthmus of Panama (1530) and subjugated another wonder-land, 
Peru. But as yet these events meant no more to Europe than a 
useful and stimulating influx of silver to the Spanish treasury. 

It was after the treaty of Passau that Charles began to display 
his distinctive originality of mind. He was now entirely bored and 
disillusioned by his imperial greatness. A sense of the intolerable 
futility of these European rivalries came upon him. He had never 
been of a very sound constitution, he was natually indolent and he 
was suffering greatly from gout. He abdicated. He made over all 
his sovereign rights in Germany to his brother Ferdinand, and Spain 
and the Netherlands he resigned to his son Philip. Then in a sort of 
magnificent dudgeon he retired to a monastery at Yuste, among the 
oak and chestnut forests in the hills to the north of the Tagus valley. 
There he died in 1558. 

Much has been written in a sentimental vein of this retirement, 
this renunciation of the world by this tired majestic Titan, world- 
weary, seeking in an austere solitude his peace with God. But his 
retreat was neither solitary nor austere; he had with him nearly a 
hundred and fifty attendants ; his establishment had all the splendour 
and indulgences without the fatigues of a court, and Philip II was a 
dutiful son to whom his father's advice was a command. 

And if Charles had lost his living interest in the administration of 
European affairs, there were other motives of a more immediate sort 
to stir him. Says Prescott: "In the almost daily correspondence 
between Quixada, or Gaztelu, and the Secretary of State at Valla- 
dolid, there is scarcely a letter that does not turn more or less on the 
Emperor's eating or his illness. The one seems naturally to follow, 

The Emperor Charles V 


Photo: AUnarl 

like a running commentary, on the other. It is rare that such topics 
have formed the burden of communications with the department 
of state. It must have been no easy matter for the secretary to pre- 
serve his gravity in the perusal of despatches in which politics and 
gastronomy were so strangely mixed together. The courier from 
Valladolid to Lisbon was ordered to make a detour, so as to take 
Jarandilla in his route, and bring supplies to the royal table. On 

3 i6 A Short History of the World 

Thursdays he was to bring fish to serve for the jour maigre that was 
to follow. The trout in the neighbourhood Charles thought too 
small, so others of a larger size were to be sent from Valladolid. Fish 
of every kind was to his taste, as, indeed, was anything that in its 
nature or habits at all approached to fish. Eels, frogs, oysters, 
occupied an important place in the royal bill of fare. Potted fish, 
especially anchovies, found great favour with him; and he regretted 
that he had not brought a better supply of these from the Low 
Countries. On an eel-pasty he particularly doted." . .' ,' 

In 1554 Charles had obtained a bull from Pope Julius III grant- 
ing him a dispensation from fasting, and allowing him to break his 
fast early in the morning even when he was to take the sacrament. 

Eating and doctoring! it was a return to elemental things. He 
had never acquired the habit of reading, but he would be read aloud 
to at meals after the fashion of Charlemagne, and would make what 
one narrator describes as a "sweet and heavenly commentary." He 
also amused himself with mechanical toys, by listening to music or 
sermons, and by attending to the imperial business that still came 
drifting in to him. The death of the Empress, to whom he was 
greatly attached, had turned his mind towards religion, which in his 
case took a punctilious and ceremonial form ; every Friday in Lent 
he scourged himself with the rest of the monks with such good will 
as to draw blood. These exercises and the gout released a bigotry in 
Charles that had hitherto been restrained by considerations of 
policy. The appearance of Protestant teaching close at hand in 
Valladolid roused him to fury. "Tell the grand inquisitor and his 
council from me to be at their posts, and to lay the axe at the root 
of the evil before it spreads further." . . . He expressed a doubt 
whether it would not be well, in so black an affair, to dispense with 
the ordinary course of justice, and to show no mercy; "lest the 
criminal, if pardoned, should have the opportunity of repeating his 
crime." He recommended, as an example, his own mode of pro- 
ceeding in the Netherlands, "where all who remained obstinate in 
their errors were burned alive, and those who were admitted to 
penitence were beheaded." 

And almost symbolical of his place and role in history was his 

1 Prescott's Appendix to Robertson's History of Charles V. 

The Emperor Charles V 317 

preoccupation with funerals. He seems to have had an intuition 
that something great was dead in Europe and sorely needed burial, 
that there was a need to write Finis, overdue. He not only attended 
every actual funeral that was celebrated at Yuste, but he had serv- 
ices conducted for the absent dead, he held a funeral service in 
memory of his wife on the anniversary of her death, and finally he 
celebrated his own obsequies. 

"The chapel was hung with black, and the blaze of hundreds of 
wax-lights was scarcely sufficient to dispel the darkness. The 
brethren in their conventual dress, and all the Emperor's house- 
hold clad in deep mourning, gathered round a huge catafalque, 
shrouded also in black, which had been raised in the centre of the 
chapel. The service for the burial of the dead was then performed; 
and, amidst the dismal wail of the monks, the prayers ascended for 
the departed spirit, that it might be received into the mansions of the 
blessed. The sorrowful attendants were melted to tears, as the 
image of their master's death was presented to their minds or they 
were touched, it may be, with compassion by this pitiable display 
of weakness. Charles, muffled in a dark mantle, and bearing a 
lighted candle in his hand, mingled with his household, the spectator 
of his own obsequies; and the doleful ceremony was concluded by his 
pla.cing the taper in the hands of the priest, in sign of his surrender- 
ing up his soul to the Almighty." 

Within two months of this masquerade he was dead. And the 
brief greatness of the Holy Roman Empire died with him. His 
realm was already divided between his brother and his son. The 
Holy Roman Empire struggled on indeed to the days of Napoleon I 
but as an invalid and dying thing. To this day its unburied tradi- 
tion still poisons the political air. 



THE Latin Church was broken, the Holy Roman Empire was in 
extreme decay; the history of Europe from the opening of 
the sixteenth century onward is a story of peoples feeling 
their way darkly to some new method of government, better adapted 
to the new conditions that were arising. In the Ancient World, over 
long periods of time, there had been changes of dynasty and even 
changes of ruling race and language, but the form of government 
through monarch and temple remained fairly stable, and still more 
stable was the ordinary way of living. In this modern Europe since 
the sixteenth century the dynastic changes are unimportant, and the 
interest of history lies in the wide and increasing variety of experi- 
ments in political and social organization. 

The political history of the world from the sixteenth century 
onward was, we have said, an effort, a largely unconscious effort, of 
mankind to adapt its political and social methods to certain new 
conditions that had now arisen. The effort to adapt was compli- 
cated by the fact that the conditions themselves were changing with 
a steadily increasing rapidity. The adaptation, mainly unconscious 
and almost always unwilling (for man in general hates voluntary 
change), has lagged more and more behind the alterations in condi- 
tions. From the sixteenth century onward the history of mankind 
is a story of political and social institutions becoming more and more 
plainly misfits, less comfortable and more vexatious, and of the slow 
reluctant realization of the need for a conscious and deliberate 
reconstruction of the whole scheme of human societies in the face 
of needs and possibilities new to all the former experiences of life. 

What are these changes in the conditions of human life that have 
disorganized that balance of empire, priest, peasant and trader, with 

The Age of Political Experiments 319 

periodic refreshment by barbaric conquest, that has held human 
affairs in the Old World in a sort of working rhythm for more than a 
hundred centuries? 

They are manifold and various, for human affairs are multi- 
tudinously complex; but the main changes seem all to turn upon one 
cause, namely the growth and extension of a knowledge of the nature 
of things, beginning first of all in small groups of intelligent people and 
spreading at first slowly, and in the last five hundred years very 
rapidly, to larger and larger proportions of the general population. 

But there has also been a great change in human conditions due 
to a change in the spirit of human life. This change has gone on 
side by side with the increase and extension of knowledge, and is 
subtly connected with it. There has been an increasing disposition 
to treat a life based on the common and more elementary desires 
and gratifications as unsatisfactory, and to seek relationship with 
and service and participation in a larger life. This is the common 
characteristic of all the great religions that have spread throughout 
the world in the last twenty odd centuries, Buddhism, Christianity 
and Islam alike. They have had to do with the spirit of man in a 
way that the older religions did not have to do. They are forces quite 
different in their nature and effect from the old fetishistic blood- 
sacrifice religions of priest and temple that they have in part modified 
and in part replaced. They have gradually evolved a self-respect 
in the individual and a sense of participation and responsibility 
in the common concerns of mankind that did not exist among the 
populations of the earlier civilizations. 

The first considerable change in the conditions of political and 
social life was the simplification and extended use of writing in the 
ancient civilizations which made larger empires and wider political 
understandings practicable and inevitable. The next movement 
forward came with the introduction of the horse, and later on of 
the camel as a means of transport, the use of wheeled vehicles, the 
extension of roads and the increased military efficiency due to the 
discovery of terrestrial iron. Then followed the profound economic 
disturbances due to the device of coined money and the change in 
the nature of debt, proprietorship and trade due to this convenient 
but dangerous convention. The empires grew in size and range, and 

320 A Short History of the World 

men's ideas grew likewise to correspond with these things. Came 
the disappearance of local gods, the age of theocrasia, and the teach- 
ing of the great world religions. Came also the beginnings of reasoned 
and recorded history and geography, the first realization by man of 
his profound ignorance, and the first systematic search for knowledge. 

For a time the scientific process which began so brilliantly in 
Greece and Alexandria was interrupted. The raids of the Teutonic 
barbarians, the westward drive of the Mongolian peoples, con- 
vulsive religious reconstruction and great pestilences put enormous 
strains upon political and social order. When civilization emerged 
again from this phase of conflict and confusion, slavery was no 
longer the basis of economic life; and the first paper-mills were pre- 
paring a new medium for collective information and co-operation in 
printed matter. Gradually at this point and that, the search for 
knowledge, the systematic scientific process, was resumed 

And now from the sixteenth century onward, as an inevitable 
by-product of systematic thought, appeared a steadily increasing 
series of inventions and devices affecting the intercommunication 
and interaction of men with one another. They all tended towards 
wider range of action, greater mutual benefits or injuries, and in- 
creased co-operation, and they came faster and faster. Men's 
minds had not been prepared for anything of the sort, and until the 
great catastrophes at the beginning of the twentieth century quick- 
ened men's minds, the historian has very little to tell of any intelli- 
gently planned attempts to meet the new conditions this increasing 
flow of inventions was creating. The history of mankind for the 
last four centuries is rather like that of an imprisoned sleeper, 
stirring clumsily and uneasily while the prison that restrains and 
shelters him catches fire, not waking but incorporating the crackling 
and warmth of the fire with ancient and incongruous dreams, than 
like that of a man consciously awake to danger and opportunity. 

Since history is the story not of individual lives but of communi- 
ties, it is inevitable that the inventions that figure most in the 
historical record are inventions affecting communications. In the 
sixteenth century the chief new things that we have to note are the 
appearance of printed paper and the sea-worthy, ocean-going sailing 
ship using the new device of the mariner's compass. The former 

The Age of Political Experiments 


cheapened, spread, and revolutionized teaching, public information 
and discussion, and the fundamental operations of political activity. 
The latter made the round world one. But almost equally important 
was the increased utilization and improvement of guns and gun- 
powder which the Mongols had first brought westward in the thir- 


(From a contemporary satirical print in the British Museum) 

teenth century. This destroyed the practical immunity of barons 
in their castles and of walled cities. Guns swept away feudalism. 
Constantinople fell to guns. Mexico and Peru fell before the terror 
of the Spanish guns. 

The seventeenth century saw the development of systematic 
scientific publication, a less conspicuous but ultimately far more 
pregnant innovation. Conspicuous among the leaders in this great 
forward step was Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) afterwards Lord 


A Short History of the World 

Verulam, Lord Chancellor of England. He was the pupil and 
perhaps the mouthpiece of another Englishman, Dr. Gilbert, the 
experimental philosopher of Colchester (1540-1603). This sec- 
ond Bacon, like the first, preached observation and experiment, 
and he used the inspiring and fruitful form of a Utopian story, The 
New Atlantis, to express his dream of a great service of scientific 

Presently arose the Royal Society of London, the Florentine 
Society, and later other national bodies for the encouragement of 
research and the publication and exchange of knowledge. These 
European scientific societies became fountains not only of countless 
inventions but also of a destructive criticism of the grotesque theo- 
logical history of the world that had dominated and crippled human 
thought for many centuries. 

Neither the seventeenth nor the eighteenth century witnessed 
any innovations so immediately revolutionary in human conditions 
as printed paper and the ocean-going ship, but there was a steady 
accumulation of knowledge and scientific energy that was to bear its 
full fruits in the nineteenth century. The exploration and mapping 
of the world went on. Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand appeared 
on the map. In Great Britain in the eighteenth century coal coke 
began to be used for metallurgical purposes, leading to a considerable 
cheapening of iron and to the possibility of casting and using it in 
larger pieces than had been possible before, when it had been smelted 
with wood charcoal. Modern machinery dawned. 

Like the trees of the celestial city, science bears bud and flower 
and fruit at the same time and continuously. With the onset of the 
nineteenth century the real fruition of science which indeed hence- 
forth may never cease began. First came steam and steel, the 
railway, the great liner, vast bridges and buildings, machinery of 
almost limitless power, the possibility of a bountiful satisfaction of 
every material human need, and then, still more wonderful, the 
hidden treasures of electrical science were opened to men. . . . 

We have compared the political and social life of man from the 
sixteenth century onward to that of a sleeping prisoner who lies and 
dreams while his prison burns about him. In the sixteenth century 
the European mind was still going on with its Latin Imperial dream, 

The Age of Political Experiments 

3 2 3 

its dream of a Holy Roman Empire, united under a Catholic Church. 
But just as some uncontrollable element in our composition will 
insist at times upon introducing into our dreams the most absurd 
and destructive comments, so thrust into this dream we find the 
sleeping face and craving stomach of the Emperor Charles V, while 


(From the print after Watteau in the British Museum) 

Henry VIII of England and Luther tear the unity of Catholicism 
to shreds. 

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the dream turned to 
personal monarchy. The history of nearly all Europe during this 
period tells with variations the story of an attempt to consolidate 
a monarchy, to make it absolute and to extend its power over weaker 
adjacent regions, and of the steady resistance, first of the land- 
owners and then with the increase of foreign trade and home indus- 
try, of the growing trading and moneyed class, to the exaction and 
interference of the crown. There is no universal victory of either 
side; here it is the King who gets the upper hand while there it is the 

3 2 4 

A Short History of the World 

man of private property who beats the King. In one case we find a 
King becoming the sun and centre of his national world, while just 
over his borders a sturdy mercantile class maintains a republic. So 
wide a range of variation shows how entirely experimental, what 
local accidents, were all the various governments of this period. 

A very common figure in these national dramas is the King's 
minister, often in the still Catholic countries a prelate, who stands 
behind the King, serves him and dominates him by his indispensable 

Here in the limits set to us it is impossible to tell these various 
national dramas in detail. The trading folk of Holland went 
Protestant and republican, and cast off the rule of Philip II of Spain, 
the son of the Emperor Charles V. In England Henry VIII and his 
minister Wolsey, Queen Elizabeth and her minister Burleigh, pre- 
pared the foundations of an absolutism that was wrecked by the 
folly of James I and Charles I. Charles I was beheaded for treason 
to his people (1649), a new turn in the political thought of Europe. 
For a dozen years (until 1660) Britain was a republic; and the 
crown was an unstable power, much overshadowed by Parliament, 
until George III (1760-1820) made a strenuous and partly suc- 
cessful effort to restore its predominance. The King of France, on 
the other hand, was the most successful of all the European Kings 
in perfecting monarchy. Two great ministers, Richelieu (1585- 
1642) and Mazarin (1602-1661), built up the power of the crown in 
that country, and the process was aided by the long reign and very 
considerable abilities of King Louis XIV, "the Grand Monarque " 

Louis XIV was indeed the pattern King of Europe. He was, 
within his limitations, an exceptionally capable King; his ambition 
was stronger than his baser passions, and he guided his country 
towards bankruptcy through the complication of a spirited foreign 
policy with an elaborate dignity that still extorts our admiration. 
His immediate desire was to consolidate and extend France to the 
Rhine and Pyrenees, and to absorb the Spanish Netherlands; his 
remoter view saw the French Kings as the possible successors of 
Charlemagne in a recast Holy Roman Empire. He made bribery a 
state method almost more important than warfare. Charles II of 

The Age of Political Experiments 


England was in his pay, and so were most of the Polish nobility, 
presently to be described. His money, or rather the money of 
the tax-paying classes in France, went everywhere. But his pre- 
vailing occupation was splendour. His great palace at Versailles 
with its salons, its corridors, its mirrors, its terraces and fountains 
and parks and prospects, was the envy and admiration of the world. 
He provoked a universal imitation. Every king and princelet in 
Europe was building his own Versailles as much beyond his means 
as his subjects and credits would permit. Everywhere the nobility 
rebuilt or extended their chateaux to the new pattern. A great 


(From Callot's " Miseres de la Guerre") 

industry of beautiful and elaborate fabrics and furnishings devel- 
oped. The luxurious arts flourished everywhere; sculpture in 
alabaster, faience, gilt woodwork, metal work, stamped leather, 
much music, magnificent painting, beautiful printing and bindings, 
fine crockery, fine vintages. Amidst the mirrors and fine furniture 
went a strange race of "gentlemen" in tall powdered wigs, silks and 
laces, poised upon high red heels, supported by amazing canes; and 
still more wonderful "ladies," under towers of powdered hair and 
wearing vast expansions of silk and satin sustained on wire. Through 
it all postured the great Louis, the sun of his world, unaware of the 
meagre and sulky and bitter faces that watched him from those lower 
darknesses to which his sunshine did not penetrate. 

The German people remained politically divided throughout this 
period of the monarchies and experimental governments, and a con- 


A Short History of the World 

siderable number of ducal and princely courts aped the splendours of 
Versailles on varying scales. The Thirty Years' War (1618-48), a 
devastating scramble among the Germans, Swedes and Bohemians 
for fluctuating political advantages, sapped the energies of Germany 
for a century. A map must show the crazy patchwork in which this 
struggle ended, a map of Europe according to the peace of West- 
phalia (1648). One sees a tangle of principalities, dukedoms, free 
states and the like, some partly in and partly out of the Empire. 
Sweden's arm, the reader will note, reached far into Germany; and 
except for a few islands of territory within the imperial boundaries 
France was still far from the Rhine. Amidst this patchwork the 

cf. Westphalia,, 164-8 

gfenteal EUROPE a 

Boundary cf tfie Free Towns, thusi Swedish tor 
Empire M%*^ Cologne JFrcncJi < 

Austrian, HaZiurt73 . 

Spanish Habdburgs 



The Age of Political Experiments 327 

Kingdom of Prussia it became a Kingdom in 1701 rose steadily 
to prominence and sustained a series of successful wars. Frederick 
the Great of Prussia (1740-86) had his Versailles at Potsdam, where 
his court spoke French, read French literature and rivalled the 
culture of the French King. 

In 1714 the Elector of Hanover became King of England, 
adding one more to the list of monarchies half in and half out 
of the empire. 

The Austrian branch of the descendants of Charles V retained 
the title of Emperor; the Spanish branch retained Spain. But now 
there was also an Emperor of the East again. After the fall of Con- 
stantinople (1453), the grand duke of Moscow, Ivan the Great 
(1462-1505), claimed to be heir to the Byzantine throne and adopted 
the Byzantine double-headed eagle upon his arms. His grandson, 
Ivan IV, Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584), assumed the imperial title of 
Caesar (Tsar). But only in the latter half of the seventeenth 
century did Russia cease to seem remote and Asiatic to the European 
mind. The Tsar Peter the Great (1682-1725) brought Russia into 
the arena of Western affairs. He built a new capital for his empire, 
Petersburg upon the Neva, that played the part of a window between 
Russia and Europe, and he set up his Versailles at Peterhof eighteen 
miles away, employing a French architect who gave him a terrace, 
fountains, cascades, picture gallery, park and all the recognized 
appointments of Grand Monarchy. In Russia as in Prussia French 
became the language of the court. 

Unhappily placed between Austria, Prussia and Russia was the 
Polish kingdom, an ill-organized state of great landed proprietors too 
jealous of their own individual grandeur to permit more than a 
nominal kingship to the monarch they elected. Her fate was divi- 
sion among these three neighbours, in spite of the efforts of France 
to retain her as an independent ally. Switzerland at this time was a 
group of republican cantons; Venice was a republic; Italy like so 
much of Germany was divided among minor dukes and princes. 
The Pope ruled like a prince in the papal states, too fearful now of 
losing the allegiance of the remaining Catholic princes to interfere 
between them and their subjects or to remind the world of the com- 
monweal of Christendom. There remained indeed no common 

328 A Short History of the World 

political idea in Europe at all; Europe was given over altogether to 
division and diversity. 

All these sovereign princes and republics carried on schemes of 
aggrandizement against each other. Each one of them pursued a 
"foreign policy" of aggression against its neighbours and of aggres- 
sive alliances. We Europeans still live to-day in the last phase of 
this age of the multifarious sovereign states, and still suffer from 
the hatreds, hostilities and suspicions it engendered. The history of 
this time becomes more and more manifestly "gossip," more and 
more unmeaning and wearisome to a modern intelligence. You are 
told of how this war was caused by this King's mistress, and how the 
jealousy of one minister for another caused that. A tittle-tattle of 
bribes and rivalries disgusts the intelligent student. The more 
permanently significant fact is that in spite of the obstruction of a 
score of frontiers, reading and thought still spread and increased 
and inventions multiplied. The eighteenth century saw the appear- 
ance of a literature profoundly sceptical and critical of the courts 
and policies of the time. In such a book as Voltaire's Candide we 
have the expression of an infinite weariness with the planless confu- 
sion of the European world. 




WHILE Central Europe thus remained divided and con- 
fused, the Western Europeans and particularly the 
Dutch, the Scandinavians, the Spanish, the Portu- 
guese, the French and the British were extending the area of their 
struggles across the seas of all the world. The printing press had 
dissolved the political ideas of Europe into a vast and at first inde- 
terminate fermentation, but that other great innovation, the ocean- 
going sailing ship, was inexorably extending the range of European 
experience to the furthermost limits of salt water. 

The first overseas settlements of the Dutch and Northern Atlan- 
tic Europeans were not for colonization but for trade and mining. 
The Spaniards were first in the field; they claimed dominion over 
the whole of this new world of America. Very soon however the 
Portuguese asked for a share. The Pope it was one of the last 
acts of Rome as mistress of the world divided the new continent 
between these two first-comers, giving Portugal Brazil and every- 
thing else east of a line 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands, 
and all the rest to Spain (1494). The Portuguese at this time were 
also pushing overseas enterprise southward and eastward. In 1497 
Vasco da Gama had sailed from Lisbon round the Cape to Zanzibar 
and then to Calicut in India. In 1515 there were Portuguese 
ships in Java and the Moluccas, and the Portuguese were setting 
up and fortifying trading stations round and about the coasts of the 
Indian Ocean. Mozambique, Goa, and two smaller possessions in 
India, Macao in China and a part of Timor are to this day Portu- 
guese possessions. 

The nations excluded from America by the papal settlement 
paid little heed to the rights of Spain and Portugal. The English, 
the Danes and Swedes, and presently the Dutch, were soon staking 

3 2 9 


A Short History of the World 

out claims in North America and the West Indies, and his Most 
Catholic Majesty of France heeded the papal settlement as little 
as any Protestant. The wars of Europe extended themselves to 
these claims and possessions. 

In the long run the English were the most successful in this 
scramble for overseas possessions. The Danes and Swedes were too 

& Spain- in America, 175O. 

<r ^ 5 "* ~~ M N.B.- Shading docs not indicate 
areas actually settled (cf. later 

) bait CTenOTal extent of 
territories douruad. 

The New Empires of the Europeans 



(From the engraving of the picture by Zoffany in the British Museum) 

deeply entangled in the complicated affairs of Germany to sustain 
effective expeditions abroad. Sweden was wasted upon the German 
battlefields by a picturesque king, Gustavus Adolphus, the Protes- 
tant "Lion of the North." The Dutch were the heirs of such small 
settlements as Sweden made in America, and the Dutch were too 
near French aggressions to hold their own against the British. In 
the far East the chief rivals for empire were the British, Dutch and 
French, and in America the British, French and Spanish. The 
British had the supreme advantage of a water frontier, the "silver 
streak" of the English Channel, against Europe. The tradition 
of the Latin Empire entangled them least. 

France has always thought too much in terms of Europe. 
Throughout the eighteenth century she was wasting her oppor- 
tunities of expansion in West and East alike in order to dominate 
Spain, Italy and the German confusion. The religious and political 
dissensions of Britain in the seventeenth century had driven many 


A Short History of the World 

of the English to seek a permanent home in America. They struck 
root and increased and multiplied, giving the British a great ad- 
vantage in the American struggle. In 1756 and 1760 the French 
lost Canada to the British and their American colonists, and a few 
years later the British trading company found itself completely 
dominant over French, Dutch and Portuguese in the peninsula 
of India. The great Mongol Empire of Baber, Akbar and their 
successors had now far gone in decay, and the story of its practical 
capture by a London trading company, the British East India 
Company, is one of the most extraordinary episodes in the whole 
history of conquest. 

This East India Company had been originally at the time of 
its incorporation under Queen Elizabeth no more than a company 
of sea adventurers. Step by step they had been forced to raise 
troops and arm their ships. And now this trading company, with 
its tradition of gain, found itself dealing not merely in spices and 
dyes and tea and jewels, but in the revenues and territories of princes 


(From the engraving of the picture by Singleton in the British Museum) 

The New Empkes of the Europeans 333 

and the destinies of India. It had come to buy and sell, and it 
found itself achieving a tremendous piracy. There was no one to 
challenge its proceedings. Is it any wonder that its captains and 
commanders and officials, nay, even its clerks and common soldiers, 
came back to England loaded with spoils? 

Men under such circumstances, with a great and wealthy land 
at their mercy, could not determine what they might or might 
not do. It was a strange land to them, with a strange sunlight; 
its brown people seemed a different race, outside their range of 
sympathy; its mysterious temples sustained fantastic standards 
of behaviour. Englishmen at home were perplexed when presently 
these generals and officials came back to make dark accusations 
against each other of extortions and cruelties. Upon Clive Parlia- 
ment passed a vote of censure. He committed suicide in 1774. 
In 1788 Warren Hastings, a second great Indian administrator, 
was impeached and acquitted (1792). It was a strange and un- 
precedented situation in the world's history. The English Par- 
liament found itself ruling over a London trading company, which 
in its turn was dominating an empire far greater and more populous 
than all the domains of the British crown. To the bulk of the 
English people India was a remote, fantastic, almost inaccessible 
land, to which adventurous poor young men went out, to return 
after many years very rich and very choleric old gentlemen. It 
was difficult for the English to conceive what the life of these count- 
less brown millions in the eastern sunshine could be. Their imagi- 
nations declined the task. India remained romantically unreal. 
It was impossible for the English, therefore, to exert any effective 
supervision and control over the company's proceedings. 

And while the Western European powers were thus fighting 
for these fantastic overseas empires upon every ocean in the world, 
two great land conquests were in progress in Asia. China had 
thrown off the Mongol yoke in 1360, and flourished under the great 
native dynasty of the Mings until 1644. Then the Manchus, an- 
other Mongol people, reconquered China and remained masters of 
China until 1912. Meanwhile Russia was pushing East and growing 
to greatness in the world's affairs. The rise of this great central 
power of the old world, which is neither altogether of the East nor 


A Short History of the World 

altogether of the West, is one of the utmost importance to our 
human destiny. Its expansion is very largely due to the appear- 
ance of a Christian steppe people, the Cossacks, who formed a 
barrier between the feudal agriculture of Poland and Hungary 
to the west and the Tartar to the east. The Cossacks were the 
wild east of Europe, and in many ways not unlike the wild west 
of the United States in the middle nineteenth century. All who 
had made Russia too hot to hold them, criminals as well as the 
persecuted innocent, rebellious serfs, religious secretaries, thieves, 
vagabonds, murderers, sought asylum in the southern steppes 
and there made a fresh start and fought for life and freedom against 
Pole, Russian and Tartar alike. Doubtless fugitives from the 
Tartars to the east also contributed to the Cossack mixture. Slowly 
these border folk were incorporated in the Russian imperial service, 
much as the highland clans of Scotland were converted into regiments 
by the British government. New lands were offered them in Asia. 
They became a weapon against the dwindling power of the Mongolian 
nomads, first in Turkestan and then across Siberia as far as the Amur. 

The decay of Mongol energy in the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries is very difficult to explain. Within two or three centuries 
from the days of Jengis and Timurlane Central Asia had relapsed 
from a period of world ascendancy to extreme political impotence. 
Changes of climate, unrecorded pestilences, infections of a malarial 
type, may have played their part in this recession which may be 
only a temporary recession measured by the scale of universal 
history of the Central Asian peoples. Some authorities think 
that the spread of Buddhist teaching from China also had a pacifying 
influence upon them. At any rate, by the sixteenth century the 
Mongol, Tartar and Turkish peoples were no longer pressing out- 
ward, but were being invaded, subjugated and pushed back both by 
Christian Russia in the west and by China in the east. 

All through the seventeenth century the Cossacks were spread- 
ing eastward from European Russia, and settling wherever they 
found agricultural conditions. Cordons of forts and stations formed 
a moving frontier to these settlements to the south, where the 
Turkomans were still strong and active; to the north-east, however, 
Russia had no frontier until she reached right to the Pacific. . . . 



THE third quarter of the eighteenth century thus saw the 
remarkable and unstable spectacle of a Europe divided 
against itself, and no longer with any unifying political or 
religious idea, yet through the immense stimulation of men's imagi- 
nations by the printed book, the printed map, and the opportunity 
of the new ocean-going shipping, able in a disorganized and con- 
tentious manner to dominate all the coasts of the world. It was 
a planless, incoherent ebullition of enterprise due to temporary and 
almost accidental advantages over the rest of mankind. By virtue 
of these advantages this new and still largely empty continent of 
America was peopled mainly from Western European sources, and 
South Africa and Australia and New Zealand marked down as 
prospective homes for a European population. 

The motive that had sent Columbus to America and Vasco 
da Gama to India was the perennial first motive of all sailors since 
the beginning of things trade. But while in the already populous 
and productive East the trade motive remained dominant, and 
the European settlements remained trading settlements from which 
the European inhabitants hoped to return home to spend their 
money, the Europeans in America, dealing with communities at 
a very much lower level of productive activity, found a new in- 
ducement for persistence in the search for gold and silver. Par- 
ticularly did the mines of Spanish America yield silver. The 
Europeans had to go to America not simply as armed merchants 
but as prospectors, miners, searchers after natural products, and 
presently as planters. In the north they sought furs. Mines 
and plantations necessitated settlements. They obliged people 
to set up permanent overseas homes. Finally in some cases, as 
when the English Puritans went to New England in the early seven- 


33 6 A Short History of the World 

teenth century to escape religious persecution, when in the eigh- 
teenth Oglethorpe sent people from the English debtors' prisons 
to Georgia, and when in the end of the eighteenth the Dutch sent 
orphans to the Cape of Good Hope, the Europeans frankly crossed 
the seas to find new homes for good. In the nineteenth century, 
and especially after the coming of the steamship, the stream of 
European emigration to the new empty lands of America and 
Australia rose for some decades to the scale of a great migration. 

So there grew up permanent overseas populations of Europeans, 
and the European culture was transplanted to much larger areas 
than those in which it had been developed. These new communities 
bringing a ready-made civilization with them to these new lands 
grew up, as it were, unplanned and unperceived; the statecraft of 
Europe did not foresee them, and was unprepared with any ideas 
about their treatment. The politicians and ministers of Europe 
continued to regard them as essentially expeditionary establish- 
ments, sources of revenue, "possessions" and "dependencies," long 
after their peoples had developed a keen sense of their separate 
social life. And also they continued to treat them as helplessly 
subject to the mother country long after the population had spread 
inland out of reach of any effectual punitive operations from the sea. 

Because until right into the nineteenth century, it must be 
remembered, the link of all these overseas empires was the ocean- 
going sailing ship. On land the swiftest thing was still the horse, 
and the cohesion and unity of political systems on land was still 
limited by the limitations of horse communications. 

Now at the end of the third quarter of the eighteenth century 
the northern two-thirds of North America was under the British 
crown. France had abandoned America. Except for Brazil, 
which was Portuguese, and one or two small islands and areas in 
French, British, Danish and Dutch hands, Florida, Louisiana, 
California and all America to the south was Spanish. It was the 
British colonies south of Maine and Lake Ontario that first demon- 
strated the inadequacy of the sailing ship to hold overseas popula- 
tions together in one political system. 

These British colonies were very miscellaneous in their origin 
and character. There were French, Swedish and Dutch settle- 

The American War of Independence 


merits as well as British; there were British Catholics in Maryland 
and British ultra-Protestants in New England, and while the New 
Englanders farmed their own land and denounced slavery, the 
British in Virginia and the south were planters employing a swelling 
multitude of imported negro slaves. There was no natural common 
unity in such states. To get from one to the other might mean 
a coasting voyage hardly less tedious than the transatlantic cross- 
ing. But the union that diverse origin and natural conditions 
denied the British Americans was forced upon them by the selfish- 
ness and stupidity of the British government in London. They 
were taxed without any voice in the spending of the taxes; their 
trade was sacrificed to British interests; the highly profitable slave 
trade was maintained by the British government in spite of the 
opposition of the Virginians who though quite willing to hold 
and use slaves feared to 
be swamped by an ever- 
growing barbaric black 

Britain at that time was 
lapsing towards an intenser 
form of monarchy, and the 
obstinate personality of 
George III (1760-1820) did 
much to force on a struggle 
between the home and the 
colonial governments. 

The conflict was precip- 
itated by legislation which 
favoured the London East 
India Company at the ex- 
pense of the American ship- 
per. Three cargoes of tea 
which were imported under 
the new conditions were 
thrown overboard in Boston 
harbour by a band of men 

,. . , T j. /,ro\ GEORGE WASHINGTON 

disguised as Indians (1773). (From a painting by Gilbert stuart} 


A Short History of the World 


(From the engraving of the picture by John Trumbull in the British Museum) 

Fighting only began in 1775 when the British government at- 
tempted to arrest two of the American leaders at Lexington near 
Boston. The first shots were fired in Lexington by the British; 
the first fighting occurred at Concord. 

So the American War of Independence began, though for more 
than a year the colonists showed themselves extremely unwilling 
to sever their links with the mother land. It was not until the 
middle of 1776 that the Congress of the insurgent states issued 
"The Declaration of Independence." George Washington, who 
like many of the leading colonists of the time had had a military 
training in the wars against the French, was made commander- 
in-chief. In 1777 a British general, General Burgoyne, in an 
attempt to reach New York from Canada, was defeated at Free- 
mans Farm and obliged to surrender at Saratoga. In the same 
year the French and Spanish declared war upon Great Britain, 
greatly hampering her sea communications. A second British 
army under General Cornwallis was caught in the Yorktown pen- 
insula in Virginia and obliged to capitulate in .1781. In 1783 peace 

The American War of Independence 


was made in Paris, and the Thirteen Colonies from Maine to Georgia 
became a union of independent sovereign States. So the United 
States of America came into existence. Canada remained loyal 
to the British flag. 


Area settLal 
before 176O 

Areas settled 






For four years these States had only a very feeble central govern- 
ment under certain Articles of Confederation, and they seemed des- 
tined to break up into separate independent communities. Their 
immediate separation was delayed by the hostility of the British and 
a certain aggressiveness on the part of the French which brought 

340 A Short History of the World 

home to them the immediate dangers of division. A Constitution 
was drawn up and ratified in 1788 establishing a more efficient 
Federal government with a President holding very considerable 
powers, and the weak sense of national unity was invigorated by 
a second war with Britain in 1812. Nevertheless the area covered 
by the States was so wide and their interests so diverse at that 
time, that given only the means of communication then available 
a disintegration of the Union into separate states on the European 
scale of size was merely a question of time. Attendance at Wash- 
ington meant a long, tedious and insecure journey for the senators 
and congressmen of the remoter districts, and the mechanical im- 
pediments to the diffusion of a common education and a common 
literature and intelligence were practically insurmountable. Forces 
were at work in the world however that were to arrest the process 
of differentiation altogether. Presently came the river steamboat 
and then the railway and the telegraph to save the United States 
from fragmentation, and weave its dispersed people together again 
into the first of great modern nations. 

Twenty-two years later the Spanish colonies in America were 
to follow the example of the Thirteen and break their connection 
with Europe. But being more dispersed over the continent and 
separated by great mountainous chains and deserts and forests 
and by the Portuguese Empire of Brazil, they did not achieve a 
union among themselves. They became a constellation of republi- 
can states, very prone at first to wars among themselves and to 

Brazil followed a rather different line towards the inevitable 
separation. In 1807 the French armies under Napoleon had occu- 
pied the mother country of Portugal, and the monarchy had fled 
to Brazil. From that time on until they separated, Portugal was 
rather a dependency of Brazil than Brazil of Portugal. In 1822 
Brazil declared itself a separate Empire under Pedro I, a son of 
the Portuguese King. But the new world has never been very 
favourable to monarchy. In 1889 the Emperor of Brazil was 
shipped off quietly to Europe, and the United States of Brazil fell 
into line with the rest of republican America. 




BRITAIN had hardly lost the Thirteen Colonies in America 
before a profound social and political convulsion at the very 
heart of Grand Monarchy was to remind Europe still more 
vividly of the essentially temporary nature of the political arrange- 
ments of the world. 

We have said that the French monarchy was the most suc- 
cessful of the personal monarchies in Europe. It was the envy 
and model of a multitude of competing and minor courts. But 
it flourished on a basis of injustice that led to its dramatic collapse. 
It was brilliant and aggressive, but it was wasteful of the life and 
substance of its common people. The clergy and nobility were 
protected from taxation by a system of exemption that threw the 
whole burden of the state upon the middle and lower classes. The 
peasants were ground down by taxation; the middle classes were 
dominated and humiliated by the nobility. 

In 1787 this French monarchy found itself bankrupt and obliged 
to call representatives of the different classes of the realm into 
consultation upon the perplexities of defective income and excessive 
expenditure. In 1789 the States General, a gathering of the nobles, 
clergy and commons, roughly equivalent to the earlier form of the 
British Parliament, was called together at Versailles. It had not 
assembled since 1610. For all that time France had been an abso- 
lute monarchy. Now the people found a means of expressing their 
long fermenting discontent. Disputes immediately broke out 
between the three estates, due to the resolve of the Third Estate, the 
Commons, to control the Assembly. The Commons got the better 
of these disputes and the States General became a National As- 
sembly, clearly resolved to keep the crown in order, as the British 



A Short History of the World 

Parliament kept the British crown in order. The king (Louis XVI) 
prepared for a struggle and brought up troops from the provinces. 
Whereupon Paris and France revolted. 

The collapse of the absolute monarchy was very swift. The 
grim-looking prison of the Bastille was stormed by the people of 
Paris, and the insurrection spread rapidly throughout France. In 
the east and north-west provinces many chateaux belonging to the 
nobility were burnt by the peasants, their title-deeds carefully 
destroyed, and the owners murdered or driven away. In a month 
the ancient and decayed system of the aristocratic order had col- 
lapsed. Many of the leading princes and courtiers of the queen's 
party fled abroad. A provisional city government was set up in 
Paris and in most of the other large cities, and a new armed force, 
the National Guard, a force designed primarily and plainly to 
resist the forces of the crown, was brought into existence by these 
municipal bodies. The National Assembly found itself called 
upon to create a new political and social system for a new age. 

It was a task that tried the powers of that gathering to the 
utmost. It made a great sweep of the chief injustices of the absolut- 
ist regime; it abolished tax exemptions, serfdom, aristocratic titles 
and privileges and sought to establish a constitutional monarchy 
in Paris. The king abandoned Versailles and its splendours and 
kept a diminished state in the palace of the Tuileries in Paris. 

For two years it seemed that the National Assembly might 
struggle through to an effective modernized government. Much 
of its work was sound and still endures, if much was experimental 
and had to be undone. Much was ineffective. There was a clear- 
ing up of the penal code; torture, arbitrary imprisonment and 
persecutions for heresy were abolished. The ancient provinces of 
France, Normandy, Burgundy and the like gave place to eighty 
departments. Promotion to the highest ranks in the army was 
laid open to men of every class. An excellent and simple system 
of law courts was set up, but its value was much vitiated by having 
the judges appointed by popular election for short periods of time. 
This made the crowd a sort of final court of appeal, and the judges, 
like the members of the Assembly, were forced to play to the gallery. 
And the whole vast property of the church was seized and ad- 

The French Revolution 


ministered by the state; religious establishments not engaged in 
education or works of charity were broken up, and the salaries of 
the clergy made a charge upon the nation. This in itself was not a 
bad thing for the lower clergy in France, who were often scandalously 
underpaid in comparison with the richer dignitaries. But in addi- 
tion the choice of priests and bishops was made elective, which 
struck at the very root idea of the Roman Church, which centred 
everything upon the Pope, and in which all authority is from above 
downward. Practically the National Assembly wanted at one 
blow to make the church in France Protestant, in organization if 
not in doctrine. Everywhere there were disputes and conflicts 
between the state priests created by the National Assembly and the 
recalcitrant (non-juring) priests who were loyal to Rome. 

In 1791 the experiment of Constitutional monarchy in France 
was brought to an abrupt end by the action of the king and queen, 
working in concert with their aristocratic and monarchist friends 
abroad. Foreign armies gathered on the Eastern frontier and 
one night in June the king and queen and their children slipped 
away from the Tuileries and fled to join the foreigners and the 
aristocratic exiles. They were caught at Varennes and brought 
back to Paris, and all France flamed up into a passion of patriotic 
republicanism. A Republic was proclaimed, open war with Austria 
and Prussia ensued, and the king was tried and executed (January, 
1793) on the model already set by England, for treason to his people. 

And now followed a strange phase in the history of the French 
people. There arose a great flame of enthusiasm for France and 
the Republic. There was to be an end to compromise at home 
and abroad; at home royalists and every form of disloyalty were 
to be stamped out; abroad France was to be the protector and 
helper of all revolutionaries. All Europe, all the world, was to 
become Republican. The youth of France poured into the Re- 
publican armies; a new and wonderful song spread through the 
land, a song that still warms the blood like wine, the Marseillaise. 
Before that chant and the leaping columns of French bayonets and 
their enthusiastically served guns the foreign armies rolled back; 
before the end of 1792 the French armies had gone far beyond the 
utmost achievements of Louis XIV; everywhere they stood on 


A Short History of the World 

foreign soil. They were in Brussels, they had overrun Savoy, they 
had raided to Mayence; they had seized the Scheldt from Holland. 
Then the French Government did an unwise thing. It had been 
exasperated by the expulsion of its representative from England 
upon the execution of Louis, and it declared war against England. 
It was an unwise thing to do, because the revolution which had 
given France a new enthusiastic infantry and a brilliant artillery 


(From a print in the British Museum.) 

released from its aristocratic officers and many cramping conditions 
had destroyed the discipline of the navy, and the English were 
supreme upon the sea. And this provocation united all England 
against France, whereas there had been at first a very considerable 
liberal movement in Great Britain in sympathy with the revolution. 
Of the fight that France made in the next few years against 
a European coalition we cannot tell in any detail. She drove the 
Austrians for ever out of Belgium, and made Holland a republic. 
The Dutch fleet, frozen in the Texel, surrendered to a handful of 

The French Revolution 345 

cavalry without firing its guns. For some time the French thrust 
towards Ita y was hung up, and it was only in 1796 that a new 
general, Napoleon Bonaparte, led the ragged and hungry republican 
armies in triumph across Piedmont to Mantua and Verona. Says 
C. F. Atkinson, 1 "What astonished the Allies most of all was the 
number and the velocity of the Republicans. These improvised 
armies had in fact nothing to delay them. Tents were unprocurable 
for want of money, untransportable for want of the enormous 
number of wagons that would have been required, and also un- 
necessary, for the discomfort that wou d have caused wholesale 
desertion in professional armies was cheerfully borne by the men of 
1793-94. Supplies for armies of then unheard-of size could not be 
carried in convoys, and the French soon became familiar with 
'living on the country.' Thus 1793 saw the birth of the modern 
system of war rapidity of movement, full development of national 
strength, bivouacs, requisitions and force as against cautious 
manoeuvring, small professional armies, tents and full rations, and 
chicane. The first represented the decision-compelling spirit, the 
second the spirit of risking little to gain a little. ..." 

And while these ragged hosts of enthusiasts were chanting the 
Marseillaise and fighting for la France, manifestly never quite 
clear in their minds whether they were looting or liberating the 
countries into which they poured, the republican enthusiasm in Paris 
was spending itself in a far less glorious fashion. The revolution 
was now under the sway of a fanatical leader, Robespierre. This 
man is difficult to judge; he was a man of poor physique, naturally 
timid, and a prig. But he had that most necessary gift for power, 
faith. He set himself to save the Republic as he conceived it, 
and he imagined it could be saved by no other man than he. So 
that to keep in power was to save the Republic. The living spirit 
of the Republic, it seemed, had sprung from a slaughter of royalists 
and the execution of the king. There were insurrections; one 
in the west, in the district of La Vendee, where the people rose 
against the conscription and against the dispossession of the orthodox 
clergy, and were led by noblemen and priests; one in the south, 
where Lyons and Marseilles had risen and the royalists of Toulon 

1 In his article, "French Revolutionary Wars," in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. 


A Short History of the World 

had admitted an English and Spanish garrison. To which there 
seemed no more effectual reply than to go on killing royalists. 

The Revolutionary Tribunal went to work, and a steady slaugh- 
tering began. The invention of the guillotine was opportune to 
this mood. The queen was guillotined, most of Robespierre's 
antagonists were guillotined, atheists who argued that there was 
no Supreme Being were guillotined; day by day, week by week, 


(From a print in the British Museum) 

this infernal new machine chopped off heads and more heads and 
more. The reign of Robespierre lived, it seemed, on blood; and 
needed more and more, as an opium-taker needs more and more 

Finally in the summer of 1794 Robespierre himself was over- 
thrown and guillotined. He was succeeded by a Directory of five 
men which carried on the war of defence abroad and held France 
together at home for five years. Their reign formed a curious 
interlude in this history of violent changes. They took things 

The French Revolution 


as they found them. The propagandist zeal of the revolution 
carried the French armies into Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, 
south Germany and north Italy. Everywhere kings were expelled 
and republics set up. But such propagandist zeal as animated 
the Directorate did not prevent the looting of the treasures of 
the liberated peoples to relieve the financial embarrassment of the 
French Government. Their wars became less and less the holy 
wars of freedom, and more and more like the aggressive wars of 
the ancient regime. The last feature of Grand Monarchy that 
France was disposed to discard was her tradition of foreign policy. 
One discovers it still as vigorous under the Directorate as if there 
had been no revolution. 

Unhappily for France and the world a man arose who embodied 
in its intensest form this national egotism of the French. He gave 
that country ten years of glory and the humiliation of a final defeat. 
This was that same Napoleon Bonaparte who had led the armies 
of the Directory to victory in Italy. 

Throughout the five years of the Directorate he had been schem- 
ing and working for self -advancement. Gradually he clambered to 
supreme power. He was a man of severely limited understanding 
but of ruthless directness and great energy. He had begun life 
as an extremist of the school of Robespierre; he owed his first promo- 
tion to that side; but he had no real grasp of the new forces that 
were working in Europe. His utmost political imagination carried 
him to a belated and tawdry attempt to restore the Western Empire. 
He tried to destroy the remains of the old Holy Roman Empire, 
intending to replace it by a new one centring upon Paris. The 
Emperor in Vienna ceased to be the Holy Roman Emperor and 
became simply Emperor of Austria. Napoleon divorced his French 
wife in order to marry an Austrian princess. 

He became practically monarch of France as First Consul in 
1799, and he made himself Emperor of France in 1804 in direct 
imitation of Charlemagne. He was crowned by the Pope in Paris, 
taking the crown from the Pope and putting it upon his own head 
himself as Charlemagne had directed. His son was crowned King 
of Rome. 

For some years Napoleon's reign was a career of victory. He 

34 8 A Short History of the World 

conquered most of Italy and Spain, defeated Prussia and Austria, 
and dominated all Europe west of Russia. But he never won the 
command of the sea from the British and his fleets sustained a con- 
clusive defeat inflicted by the British Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar 
(1805). Spain rose against him in 1808 and a British army under 
Wellington thrust the French armies slowly northward out of the 
peninsula. In 1811 Napoleon came into conflict with the Tsar 
Alexander I, and in 1812 he invaded Russia with a great conglom- 
erate army of 600,000 men, that was defeated and largely destroyed 
by the Russians and the Russian winter. Germany rose against 
him, Sweden turned against him. The French armies were beaten 
back and at Fontainebleau Napoleon abdicated (1814). He was 
exiled to Elba, returned to France for one last effort in 1815 and 
was defeated by the allied British, Belgians and Prussians at Water- 
loo. He died a British prisoner at St. Helena in 1821. 

The forces released by the French revolution were wasted and 
finished. A great Congress of the victorious allies met at Vienna 
to restore as far as possible the state of affairs that the great storm 
had rent to pieces. For nearly forty years a sort of peace, a peace 
of exhausted effort, was maintained in Europe. 




TWO main causes prevented that period from being a com- 
plete social and international peace, and prepared the way 
for the cycle of wars between 1854 and 1871. The first of 
these was the tendency of the royal courts concerned, towards the 
restoration of unfair privilege and interference with freedom of 
thought and writing and teaching. The second was the impossible 
system of boundaries drawn by the diplomatists of Vienna. 

The inherent disposition of monarchy to march back towards 
past conditions was first and most particularly manifest in Spain. 
Here even the Inquisition was restored. Across the Atlantic the 
Spanish colonies had followed the example of the United States 
and revolted against the European Great Power System, when 
Napoleon set his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne in 1810. 
The George Washington of South America was General Bolivar. 
Spain was unable to suppress this revolt, it dragged on much as 
the United States War of Independence had dragged on, and at 
last the suggestion was made by Austria, in accordance with the 
spirit of the Holy Alliance, that the European monarch should 
assist Spain in this struggle. This was opposed by Britain in Europe, 
but it was the prompt action of President Monroe of the United 
States in 1823 which conclusively warned off this projected monar- 
chist restoration. He announced that the United States would 
regard any extension of the European system in the Western Hemi- 
sphere as a hostile act. Thus arose the Monroe Doctrine, the 
doctrine that there must be no extension of extra-American govern- 
ment in America, which has kept the Great Power system out of 
America for nearly a hundred years and permitted the new states of 
Spanish America to work out their destinies along their own lines. 


350 A Short History of the World 

But if Spanish moriarchism lost its colonies, it could at least, 
under the protection of the Concert of Europe, do what it chose 
in Europe. A popular insurrection in Spain was crushed by a 
French army in 1823, with a mandate from a European congress, 
and simultaneously Austria suppressed a revolution in Naples. 

In 1824 Louis XVIII died, and was succeeded by Charles X. 
Charles set himself to destroy the liberty of the press and univer- 
sities, and to restore absolute government; the sum of a billion 
francs was voted to compensate the nobles for the chateau burnings 
and sequestrations of 1789. In 1830 Paris rose against this embodi- 
ment of the ancient regime, and replaced him by Louis Philippe, the 
son of that Philip, Duke of Orleans, who was executed during the 
Terror. The other continental monarchies, in face of the open 
approval of the revolution by Great Britain and a strong liberal 
ferment in Germany and Austria, did not interfere in this affair. 
After all, France was still a monarchy. This man Louis Philippe 
(1830-48) remained the constitutional King of France for eighteen 

Such were the uneasy swayings of the peace of the Congress 
of Vienna, which were provoked by the reactionary proceedings 
of the monarchists. The stresses that arose from the unscientific 
boundaries planned by the diplomatists at Vienna gathered force 
more deliberately, but they were even more dangerous to the peace 
of mankind. It is extraordinarily inconvenient to administer 
together the affairs of peoples speaking different languages and 
so reading different literatures and having different general ideas, 
especially if those differences are exacerbated by religious disputes. 
Only some strong mutual interest, such as the common defensive 
needs of the Swiss mountaineers, can justify a close linking of 
peoples of dissimilar languages and faiths; and even in Switzerland 
there is the utmost local autonomy. When, as in Macedonia, 
populations are mixed in a patchwork of villages and districts, the 
cantonal system is imperatively needed. But if the reader will 
look at the map of Europe as the Congress of Vienna drew it, he 
'will see that this gathering seems almost as if it had planned the 
^'maximum of local exasperation. 

It destroyed the Dutch Republic, quite needlessly, it lumped 

The Uneasy Peace in Europe 351 

together the Protestant Dutch with the French-speaking Catholics 
of the old Spanish (Austrian) Netherlands, and set up a kingdom 
of the Netherlands. It handed over not merely the old republic of 
Venice, but all of North Italy as far as Milan to the German-speak- 
ing Austrians. French-speaking Savoy it combined with pieces 
of Italy to restore the kingdom of Sardinia. Austria and Hungary, 
already a sufficiently explosive mixture of discordant nationalities, 
Germans, Hungarians, Czecho-Slovaks, Jugo-Slavs, Roumanians, 
and now Italians, was made still more impossible by confirming 
Austria's Polish acquisitions of 1772 and 1795. The Catholic and 
republican-spirited Polish people were chiefly given over to the less 
civilized rule of the Greek-orthodox Tsar, but important districts 
went to Protestant Prussia. The Tsar was also confirmed in his 
acquisition of the entirely alien Finns. The very dissimilar Nor- 
wegian and Swedish peoples were bound together under one king. 
Germany, the reader will see, was left in a particularly dangerous 
state of muddle. Prussia and Austria were both partly in and 
partly out of a German confederation, which included a multitude 
of minor states. The King of Denmark came into the German 
confederation by virtue of certain German-speaking possessions in 
Holstein. Luxembourg was included in the German confederation, 
though its ruler was also King of the Netherlands, and though many 
of its peoples talked French. 

Here was a complete disregard of the fact that the people who 
talk German and base their ideas on German literature, the people 
who talk Italian and base their ideas on Italian literature, and the 
people who talk Polish and base their ideas on Polish literature, 
will all be far better off and most helpful and least obnoxious to 
the rest of mankind if they conduct their own affairs in their own 
idiom within the ring-fence of their own speech. Is it any wonder 
that one of the most popular songs in Germany during this period 
declared that wherever the German tongue was spoken, there was 
the German Fatherland! 

In 1830 French-speaking Belgium, stirred up by the current 
revolution in France, revolted against its Dutch association in the 
kingdom of the Netherlands. The powers, terrified at the possi- 
bilities of a republic or of annexation to France, hurried in to pacify 


(from a print in the British Museum) 

The Uneasy Peace in Europe 


EUROPE a&zr -the &n&ress- 

this situation, and gave the Belgians a monarch, Leopold I of Saxe- 
Coburg Gotha. There were also ineffectual revolts in Italy and 
Germany in 1830, and a much more serious one in Russian Poland. 
A republican government held out in Warsaw for a year against 
Nicholas I (who succeeded Alexander in 1825), and was then stamped 
out of existence with great violence and cruelty. The Polish lan- 
guage was banned, and the Greek Orthodox church was substituted 
for the Roman Catholic as the state religion. . . . 

In 1821 there was an insurrection of the Greeks against the 
Turks. For six years they fought a desperate war, while the govern- 
ments of Europe looked on. Liberal opinion protested against 
this inactivity; volunteers from every European country joined 
the insurgents, and at last Britain, France and Russia took joint 
action. The Turkish fleet was destroyed by the French and English 
at the battle of Navarino (1827), and the Tsar invaded Turkey. 
By the treaty of Adrianople (1829) Greece was declared free, but 

354 A Short History of the World 

she was not permitted to resume her ancient republican traditions. 
A German king was found for Greece, one Prince Otto of Bavaria, 
and Christian governors were set up in the Danubian provinces 
(which are now Roumania) and Serbia (a part of the Jugo-Slav 
region). Much blood had still to run however before the Turk 
was altogether expelled from these lands. 




THROUGHOUT the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and 
the opening years of the nineteenth century, while these con- 
flicts of the powers and princes were going on in Europe, and 
the patchwork of the treaty of Westphalia (1648) was changing 
kaleidoscopically into the patchwork of the treaty of Vienna (1815), 
and while the sailing ship was spreading European influence through- 
out the world, a steady growth of knowledge and a general clearing 
up of men's ideas about the world in which they lived was in 
progress in the European and Europeanized world. 

It went on disconnected from political life, and producing 
throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries no striking 
immediate results in political life. Nor was it affecting popular 
thought very profoundly during this period. These reactions were 
to come later, and only in their full force in the latter half of the 
nineteenth century. It was a process that went on chiefly in a small 
world of prosperous and independent-spirited people. Without 
what the English call the "private gentleman, " the scientific process 
could not have begun in Greece, and could not have been renewed in 
Europe. The universities played a part but not a leading part in 
the philosophical and scientific thought of this period. Endowed 
learning is apt to be timid and conservative learning, lacking in 
initiative and resistent to innovation, unless it has the spur of 
contact with independent minds. 

We have already noted the formation of the Royal Society in 
1662 and its work in realizing the dream of Bacon's New Atlantis. 
Throughout the eighteenth century there was much clearing up 
of general ideas about matter and motion, much mathematical 
advance, a systematic development of the use of optical glass in 
microscope and telescope, a renewed energy in classificatory natural 



A Short History of the World 



history, a great revival of anatomical science. The science of 
geology foreshadowed by Aristotle and anticipated by Leonardo 
da Vinci (1452-1519) began its great task of interpreting the 
Record of the Rocks. 

The progress of physical science reacted upon metallurgy. 
Improved metallurgy, affording the possibility of a larger and 
bolder handling of masses of metal and other materials, reacted 
upon practical inventions. Machinery on a new scale and in a new 
abundance appeared to revolutionize industry. 

In 1804 Trevithick adapted the Watt engine to transport and 
made the first locomotive. In 1825 the first railway, between 
Stockton and Darlington, was opened, and Stephenson's "Rocket," 
with a thirteen-ton train, got up to a speed of forty-four miles per 
hour. From 1830 onward railways multiplied. By the middle 
of the century a network of railways had spread all over Europe. 

Here was a sudden change in what had long been a fixed condi- 
tion of human life, the maximum rate of land transport. After the 
Russian disaster, Napoleon travelled from near Vilna to Paris in 
312 hours. This was a journey of about 1,400 miles. He was 
travelling with every conceivable advantage, and he averaged 


The Development of Material Knowledge 357 

under 5 miles an hour. An ordinary traveller could not have done 
this distance in twice the time. These were about the same maxi- 
mum rates of travel as held good between Rome and Gaul in the 
first century A.D. Then suddenly came this tremendous change. 
The railways reduced this journey for any ordinary traveller to less 
than forty -eight hours. That is to say, they reduced the chief 
European distances to about a tenth of what they had been. They 
made it possible to carry out administrative work in areas ten times 


as great as any that had hitherto been workable under one ad- 
ministration. The full significance of that possibility in Europe 
still remains to be realized. Europe is still netted hi boundaries 
drawn in the horse and road era. In America the effects were 
immediate. To the United States of America, sprawling westward, 
it meant the possibility of a continuous access to Washington, how- 
ever far the frontier travelled across the continent. It meant unity, 
sustained on a scale that would otherwise have been impossible. 

The steamboat was, if anything, a little ahead of the steam 
engine in its earlier phases. There was a steamboat, the Charlotte 
Dundas, on the Firth of Clyde Canal in 1802, and in 1807 an Ameri- 

358 A Short History of the World 

can named Fulton had a steamer, the Clermont, with British-built 
engines, upon the Hudson River above New York. The first steam- 
ship to put to sea was also an American, the Phoenix, which went 
from New York (Hoboken) to Philadelphia. So, too, was the first 
ship using steam (she also had sails) to cross the Atlantic, the 
Savannah (1819). All these were paddle-wheel boats and paddle- 
wheel boats are not adapted to work in heavy seas. The paddles 
smash too easily, and the boat is then disabled. The screw steam- 
ship followed rather slowly. Many difficulties had to be surmounted 
before the screw was a practicable thing. Not until the middle of 
the century did the tonnage of steamships upon the sea begin to 
overhaul that of sailing ships. After that the evolution in sea 
transport was rapid. For the first time men began to cross the seas 
and oceans with some certainty as to the date of their arrival. The 
transatlantic crossing, which had been an uncertain adventure of 
several weeks which might stretch to months was accelerated, 
until in 1910 it was brought down, in the case of the fastest boats, 
to under five days, with a practically notifiable hour of arrival. 

Concurrently with the development of steam transport upon 
land and sea a new and striking addition to the facilities of human 
intercourse arose out of the investigations of Volta, Galvani and 
Faraday into various electrical phenomena. The electric telegraph 
came into existence in 1835. The first underseas cable was laid in 
1851 between France and England. In a few years the telegraph 
system had spread over the civilized world, and news which had 
hitherto travelled slowly from point to point became practically 
simultaneous throughout the earth. 

These things, the steam railway and the electric telegraph, were 
to the popular imagination of the middle nineteenth century the 
most striking and revolutionary of inventions, but they were only 
the most conspicuous and clumsy first fruits of a far more extensive 
process. Technical knowledge and skill were developing with an 
extraordinary rapidity, and to an extraordinary extent measured 
by the progress of any previous age. Far less conspicuous at first 
in everyday life, but finally far more important, was the extension 
of man's power over various structural materials. Before the 
middle of the eighteenth century iron was reduced from its ores by 

The Development of Material Knowledge 359 

means of wood charcoal, was handled in small pieces, and hammered 
and wrought into shape. It was material for a craftsman. Quality 
and treatment were enormously dependent upon the experience 
and sagacity of the individual iron-worker. The largest masses 
of iron that could be dealt with under those conditions amounted 
at most (in the sixteenth century) to two or three tons. (There was 
a very definite upward limit, therefore, to the size of cannon.) The 
blast-furnace rose in the eighteenth century and developed with the 
use of coke. Not before the eighteenth century do we find rolled 
sheet iron (1728) and rolled rods and bars (1783). Nasmyth's 
steam hammer came as late as 1838. 

The ancient world, because of its metallurgical inferiority, could 
not use steam. The steam engine, even the primitive pumping 
engine, could not develop before sheet iron was available. The 
early engines seem to the modern eye very pitiful and clumsy bits 
of ironmongery, but they were the utmost that the metallurgical 
science of the time could do. As late as 1856 came the Bessemer 
process, and presently (1864) the open-hearth process, in which 
steel and every sort of iron could be melted, purified and cast in a 
manner and upon a scale hitherto unheard of. To-day in the electric 
furnace one may see tons of incandescent steel swirling about like 
boiling milk in a saucepan. Nothing in the previous practical 
advances of mankind is comparable in its consequences to the 
complete mastery over enormous masses of steel and iron and over 
their texture and quality which man has now achieved. The rail- 
ways and early engines of all sorts were the mere first triumphs 
of the new metallurgical methods. Presently came ships of iron and 
steel, vast bridges, and a new way of building with steel upon a 
gigantic scale. Men realized too late that they had planned their 
railways with far too timid a gauge, that they could have organized 
their travelling with far more steadiness and comfort upon a much 
bigger scale. 

Before the nineteenth century there were no ships in the world 
much over 2,000 tons burthen; now there is nothing wonderful about 
a 50,000-ton liner. There are people who sneer at this kind of prog- 
ress as being a progress in "mere size," but that sort of sneering 
merely marks the intellectual limitations of those who indulge in it. 

360 A Short History of the World 

The great ship or the steel-frame building is not, as they imagine, a 
magnified version of the small ship or building of the past; it is a 
thing different in kind, more lightly and strongly built, of finer and 
stronger materials; instead of being a thing of precedent and rule-of- 
thumb, it is a thing of subtle and intricate calculation. In the old 
house or ship, matter was dominant the material and its needs had 
to be slavishly obeyed; in the new, matter had been captured, 
changed, coerced. Think of the coal and iron and sand dragged 
out of the banks and pits, wrenched, wrought, molten and cast, to 
be flung at last, a slender glittering pinnacle of steel and glass, six 
hundred feet above the crowded city ! 

We have given these particulars of the advance in man's knowl- 
edge of the metallurgy of steel and its results by way of illustration. 
A parallel story could be told of the metallurgy of copper and tin, 
and of a multitude of metals, nickel and aluminium to name but two, 
unknown before the nineteenth century dawned. It is in this great 
and growing mastery over substances, over different sorts of glass, 
over rocks and plasters and the like, over colours and textures, 
that the main triumphs of the mechanical revolution have thus far 
been achieved. Yet we are still in the stage of the first fruits in the 
matter. We have the power, but we have still to learn how to use 
our power. Many of the first employments of these gifts of science 
have been vulgar, tawdry, stupid or horrible. The artist and the 
adaptor have still hardly begun to work with the endless variety of 
substances now at their disposal. 

Parallel with this extension of mechanical possibilities the new 
science of electricity grew up. It was only in the eighties of the 
nineteenth century that this body of enquiry began to yield results 
to impress the vulgar mind. Then suddenly came electric light and 
electric traction, and the transmutation of forces, the possibility 
of sending power, that could be changed into mechanical motion or 
light or heat as one chose, along a copper wire, as water is sent along 
a pipe, began to come through to the ideas of ordinary people. . . . 

The British and French were at first the leading peoples in this 
great proliferation of knowledge; but presently the Germans, who 
had learnt humility under Napoleon, showed such zeal and per- 
tinacity in scientific enquiry as to overhaul these leaders. British 

The Development of Material Knowledge 361 

science was largely the 
creation of Englishmen and 
Scotchmen working outside 
the ordinary centres of 

The universities of 
Britain were at this time 
in a state of educational 
retrogression, largely given 
over to a pedantic conning 
of the Latin and Greek 
classics. French education, 
too, was dominated by the 
classical tradition of the Jesuit schools, and consequently it was 
not difficult for the Germans to organize a body of investigators, 
small indeed in relation to the possibilities of the case, but large in 
proportion to the little 
band of British and 
French inventors and 
experimentalists. And 
though this work of re- 
search and experiment 
was making Britain and 
France the most rich and 


(In the Ipswich Museum) 


(From the Specification in the Patent Office) 

362 A Short History of the World 

powerful countries in the world, it was not making scientific and in- 
ventive men rich and powerful. There is a necessary unworldliness 
about a sincere scientific man; he is too preoccupied with his research 
to plan and scheme how to make money out of it. The economic 
exploitation of his discoveries falls very easily and naturally, therefore, 
into the hands of a more acquisitive type; and so we find that the 
crops of rich men which every fresh phase of scientific and technical 
progress has produced in Great Britain, though they have not 
displayed quite the same passionate desire to insult and kill the 
goose that laid the national golden eggs as the scholastic and clerical 
professions, have been quite content to let that profitable creature 
starve. Inventors and discoverers came by nature, they thought, 
for cleverer people to profit by. 

In this matter the Germans were a little wiser. The German 
"learned" did not display the same vehement hatred of the new 
learning. They permitted its development. The German business 
man and manufacturer again had not quite the same contempt for 
the man of science as had his British competitor. Knowledge, these 
Germans believed, might be a cultivated crop, responsive to fertili- 
zers. They did concede, therefore, a certain amount of opportunity 
to the scientific mind; their public expenditure on scientific work 
was relatively greater, and this expenditure was abundantly re- 
warded. By the latter half of the nineteenth century the German 
scientific worker had made German a necessary language for every 
science student who wished to keep abreast with the latest work in 
his department, and in certain branches, and particularly in chemis- 
try, Germany acquired a very great superiority over her western 
neighbours. The scientific effort of the sixties and seventies in 
Germany began to tell after the eighties, and the German gained 
steadily upon Britain and France in technical and industrial 

A fresh phase in the history of invention opened when in the 
eighties a new type of engine came into use, an engine in which the 
expansive force of an explosive mixture replaced the expansive force 
of steam. The light, highly efficient engines that were thus made 
possible were applied to the automobile, and developed at last to 
reach such a pitch of lightness and efficiency as to render flight 

The Development of Material Knowledge 363 

(From an engraving by W. Hincks in the British Museum) 

long known to be possible a practical achievement. A successful 
flying machine but not a machine large enough to take up a human 
body was made by Professor Langley of the Smithsonian Institute 
of Washington as early as 1897. By 1909 the aeroplane was avail- 
able for human locomotion. There had seemed to be a pause in the 
increase of human speed with the perfection of railways and auto- 
mobile road traction, but with the flying machine came fresh reduc- 
tions in the effective distance between one point of the earth's 
surface and another. In the eighteenth century the distance from 
London to Edinburgh was an eight days' journey; in 1918 the British 
Civil Air Transport Commission reported that the journey from 
London to Melbourne, halfway round the earth, would probably in 
a few years' time be accomplished in that same period of eight days. 
Too much stress must not be laid upon these striking reductions 
in the time distances of one place from another. They are merely 
one aspect of a much profounder and more momentous enlargement 
of human possibility. The science of agriculture and agricultural 
chemistry, for instance, made quite parallel advances during the 
nineteenth century. Men learnt so to fertilize the soil as to produce 
quadruple and quintuple the crops got from the same area in the 
seventeenth century. There was a still more extraordinary advance 
in medical science; the average duration of life rose, the daily effi- 
ciency increased, the waste of life through ill-health diminished. 

364 A Short History of the World 

Now here altogether we have such a change in human life as to 
constitute a fresh phase of history. In a little more than a century 
this mechanical revolution has been brought about. In that time 
man made a stride in the material conditions of his life vaster than 
he had done during the whole long interval between the palaeolithic 
stage and the age of cultivation, or between the days of Pepi in Egj pt 
and those of George III. A new gigantic material framework for 
human affairs has come into existence. Clearly it demands great 
readjustments of our social, economical and political methods. 
But these readjustments have necessarily waited upon the develop- 
ment of the mechanical revolution, and they are still only in their 
opening stage to-day. 



THERE is a tendency in many histories to confuse together 
what we have here called the mechanical revolution, which 
was an entirely new thing in human experience arising 
out of the development of organized science, a new step like the 
invention of agriculture or the discovery of metals, with something 
else, quite different in its origins, something for which there was 
already an historical precedent, the social and financial development 
which is called the industrial revolution. The two processes were 
going on together, they were constantly reacting upon each other, 
but they were in root and essence different. There would have 
been an industrial revolution of sorts if there had been no coal, no 
steam, no machinery; but in that case it would probably have 
followed far more closely upon the lines of the social and financial 
developments of the later years of the Roman Republic. It 
would have repeated the story of dispossessed free cultivators, 
gang labour, great estates, great financial fortunes, and a socially 
destructive financial process. Even the factory method came before 
power and machinery. Factories were the product not of machin- 
ery, but of the "division of labour." Drilled and sweated workers 
were making such things as millinery cardboard boxes and furniture, 
and colouring maps and book illustrations and so forth, before even 
water-wheels had been used for industrial purposes. There were 
factories in Rome in the days of Augustus. New books, for instance, 
were dictated to rows of copyists in the factories of the book-sellers. 
The attentive student of Defoe and of the political pamphlets of 
Fielding will realize that the idea of herding poor people into estab- 
lishments to work collectively for their living was already current 
in Britain before the close of the seventeenth century. There are 
intimations of it even as early as More's Utopia (1516). It was a 
social and not a mechanical development. 


366 A Short History of the World 

Up to past the middle of the eighteenth century the social and 
economic history of western Europe was in fact retreading the path 
along which the Roman state had gone in the last three centuries 
B.C. But the political disunions of Europe, the political convulsions 
against monarchy, the recalcitrance of the common folk and perhaps 
also the greater accessibility of the western European intelligence to 
mechanical ideas and inventions, turned the process into quite novel 
directions. Ideas of human solidarity, thanks to Christianity, were 
far more widely diffused in the newer European world, political 
power was not so concentrated, and the man of energy anxious to get 
rich turned his mind, therefore, very willingly from the ideas of the 
slave and of gang labour to the idea of mechanical power and the 

The mechanical revolution, the process of mechanical invention 
and discovery, was a new thing in human experience and it went on 
regardless of the social, political, economic and industrial conse- 
quences it might produce. The industrial revolution, on the other 
hand, like most other human affairs, was and is more and more pro- 
foundly changed and deflected by the constant variation in human 
conditions caused by the mechanical revolution. And the essential 
difference between the amassing of riches, the extinction of small 
farmers and small business men, and the phase of big finance in the 
latter centuries of the Roman Republic on the one hand, and the 
very similar concentration of capital in the eighteenth and nine- 
teenth centuries on the other, lies in the profound difference in the 
character of labour that the mechanical revolution was bringing 
about. The power of the old world was human power; everything 
depended ultimately upon the driving power of human muscle, the 
muscle of ignorant and subjugated men. A little animal muscle, 
supplied by draft oxen, horse traction and the like, contributed. 
Where a weight had to be lifted, men lifted it; where a rock had to be 
quarried, men chipped it out; where a field had to be ploughed, men 
and oxen ploughed it; the Roman equivalent of the steamship was 
the galley with its bank of sweating rowers. A vast proportion of 
mankind in the early civilizations were employed in purely mechani- 
cal drudgery. At its onset, power-driven machinery did not seem 
to promise any release from such unintelligent toil. Great gangs 

The Industrial Revolution 



(From a print after Morland in the British Museum) 

of men were employed in excavating canals, in making railway 
cuttings and embankments, and the like. The number of miners 
increased enormously. But the extension of facilities and the out- 
put of commodities increased much more. And as the nineteenth 
century went on, the plain logic of the new situation asserted itself 
more clearly. Human beings were no longer wanted as a source of 
mere indiscriminated power. What could be done mechanically 
by a human being could be done faster and better by a machine. 
The human being was needed now only where choice and intelligence 
had to be exercised. Human beings were wanted only as human 
beings. The drudge, on whom all the previous civilizations had 
rested, the creature of mere obedience, the man whose brains were 
superfluous, had become unnecessary to the welfare of mankind. 

This was as true of such ancient industries as agriculture and 
mining as it was of the newest metallurgical processes. For plough- 
ing, sowing and harvesting, swift machines came forward to do the 
work of scores of men. The Roman civilization was built upon 


A Short History of the World 

cheap and degraded human beings; modern civilization is being 
rebuilt upon cheap mechanical power. For a hundred years power 
has been getting cheaper and labour dearer. If for a generation or 
so machinery has had to wait its turn in the mine, it is simply be- 
cause for a time men were cheaper than machinery. 

Now here was a change-over of quite primary importance in 
human affairs. The chief solicitude of the rich and of the ruler in 
the old civilization had been to keep up a supply of drudges. As 
the nineteenth century went on, it became more and more plain to 
the intelligent directive people that the common man had now to be 
something better than a drudge. He had to be educated if only to 
secure "industrial efficiency." He had to understand what he was 
about. From the days of the first Christian propaganda, popular 
education had been smouldering in Europe, just as it had smouldered 
in Asia wherever Islam has set its foot, because of the necessity of 
making the believer understand a little of the belief by which he is 


(From a print in the British Museum) 

The Industrial Revolution 369 

saved, and of enabling him to read a little in the sacred books by 
which his belief is conveyed. Christian controversies, with their 
competition for adherents, ploughed the ground for the harvest of 
popular education. In England, for instance, by the thirties and 
forties of the nineteenth century, the disputes of the sects and the 
necessity of catching adherents young had produced a series of com- 
peting educational organizations for children, the church "National" 
schools, the dissenting "British" schools, and even Roman Catholic 
elementary schools. The second half of the nineteenth century was 
a period of rapid advance in popular education throughout all the 
Westernized world. There was no parallel advance in the education 
of the upper classes some advance, no doubt, but nothing to corre- 
spond and so the great gulf that had divided that world hitherto 
into the readers and the non-reading mass became little more than a 
slightly perceptible difference in educational level. At the back of 
this process was the mechanical revolution, apparently regardless 
of social conditions, but really insisting inexorably upon the complete 
abolition of a totally illiterate class throughout the world. 

The economic revolution of the Roman Republic had never been 
clearly apprehended by the common people of Rome. The ordinary 
Roman citizen never saw the changes through which he lived, clearly 
and comprehensively as we see them. But the industrial revolution, 
as it went on towards the end of the nineteenth century, was more 
and more distinctly seen as one whole process by the common people 
it was affecting, because presently they could read and discuss and 
communicate, and because they went about and saw things as no 
commonalty had ever done before. 



THE institutions and customs and political ideas of the ancient 
civilizations grew up slowly, age by age, no man designing 
and no man foreseeing. It was only in that great century 
of human adolescence, the sixth century B.C., that men began to 
think clearly about their relations to one another, and first to ques- 
tion and first propose to alter and rearrange the established beliefs 
and laws and methods of human government. 

We have told of the glorious intellectual dawn of Greece and 
Alexandria, and how presently the collapse of the slave-holding 
civilizations and the clouds of religious intolerance and absolutist 
government darkened the promise of that beginning. The light of 
fearless thinking did not break through the European obscurity 
again effectually until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. We 
have tried to show something of the share of the great winds of Arab 
curiosity and Mongol conquest in this gradual clearing of the 
mental skies of Europe. And at first it was chiefly material knowl- 
edge that increased. The first fruits of the recovered manhood 
of the race were material achievements and material power. The 
science of human relationship, of individual and social psychology, 
of education and of economics, are not only more subtle and intricate 
in themselves but also bound up inextricably with much emotional 
matter. The advances made in them have been slower and made 
against greater opposition. Men will listen dispassionately to the 
most diverse suggestions about stars or molecules, but ideas about 
our ways of life touch and reflect upon everyone about us. 

And just as in Greece the bold speculations of Plato came before 
Aristotle's hard search for fact, so in Europe the first political en- 
quiries of the new phase were put in the form of "Utopian" stories, 
directly imitated from Plato's Republic and his Laws. Sir Thomas 

The Development of Modern Ideas 


More's Utopia is a curious imitation of Plato that bore fruit in a new 
English poor law. The Neapolitan Campanella's City of the Sun 
was more fantastic and less fruitful. 

By the end of the seventeenth century we find a considerable 
and growing literature of political and social science was being pro- 
duced. Among the pioneers in this discussion was John Locke, the 
son of an English republican, an Oxford scholar who first directed 
his attention to chemistry and medicine. His treatises on govern- 
ment, toleration and education show a mind fully awake to the 
possibilities of social reconstruction. Parallel with and a little later 
than John Locke in England, Montesquieu (1689-1755) in France 
subjected social, political and religious institutions to a searching 
and fundamental analysis. He stripped the magical prestige from 
the absolutist monarchy in France. He shares with Locke the 
credit for clearing away many of the false ideas that had hitherto 
prevented deliberate and conscious attempts to reconstruct human 

The generation that followed him in the middle and later decades 
of the eighteenth century was boldly speculative upon the moral and 
intellectual clearings he had made. A group of brilliant writers, the 
"Encyclopaedists," mostly rebel spirits from the excellent schools 
of the Jesuits, set themselves to scheme out a new world (1766). 
Side by side with the Encyclopaedists were the Economists or 
Physiocrats, who were making bold and crude enquiries into the 
production and distribution of food and goods. Morelly, the 
author of the Code de la Nature, denounced the institution of private 
property and proposed a communistic organization of society. He 
was the precursor of that large and various school of collectivist 
thinkers in the nineteenth century who are lumped together as 

What is Socialism? There are a hundred definitions of Socialism 
and a thousand sects of Socialists. Essentially Socialism is no more 
and no less than a criticism of the idea of property in the light of the 
public good. We may review the history of that idea through the 
ages very briefly. That and the idea of internationalism are 
the two cardinal ideas upon which most of our political life is 


A Short History of the World 


Photo: Linde & Co. 

The idea of property arises out of the combative instincts of the 
species. Long before men were men, the ancestral ape was a pro- 
prietor. Primitive property is what a beast will fight for. The dog 
and his bone, the tigress and her lair, the roaring stag and his herd, 
these are proprietorship blazing. No more nonsensical expression 
is conceivable in sociology than the term "primitive communism." 
The Old Man of the family tribe of early palaeolithic times insisted 

The Development of Modern Ideas 373 

upon his proprietorship in his wives and daughters, in his tools, in his 
visible universe. If any other man wandered into his visible uni- 
verse he fought him, and if he could he slew him. The tribe grew 
in the course of ages, as Atkinson showed convincingly in his Primal 
Law, by the gradual toleration by the Old Man of the existence of 
the younger men, and of their proprietorship in the wives they cap- 
tured from outside the tribe, and in the tools and ornaments they 
made and the game they slew. Human society grew by a com- 
promise between this one's property and that. It was a compromise 
with instinct which was forced upon men by the necessity of driving 
some other tribe out of its visible universe. If the hills and forests 
and streams were not your land or my land, it was because they had 
to be our land. Each of us would have preferred to have it my land, 
but that would not work. In that case the other fellows would have 
destroyed us. Society, therefore, is from its beginning a mitigation 
of ownership. Ownership in the beast and in the primitive savage 
was far more intense a thing than it is in the civilized world to-day. 
It is rooted more strongly in our instincts than in our reason. 

In the natural savage and in the untutored man to-day there is 
no limitation to the sphere of ownership. Whatever you can fight 
for, you can own; women-folk, spared captive, captured beast, 
forest glade, stone-pit or what not. As the community grew, a sort 
of law came to restrain internecine fighting, men developed rough- 
and-ready methods of settling proprietorship. Men could own what 
they were the first to make or capture or claim. It seemed natural 
that a debtor who could not pay should become the property of his 
creditor. Equally natural was it that after claiming a patch of 
land a man should exact payments from anyone who wanted to use 
it. It was only slowly, as the possibilities of organized life dawned 
on men, that this unlimited property in anything whatever began to 
be recognized as a nuisance. Men found themselves born into a 
universe all owned and claimed, nay! they found themselves born 
owned and claimed. The social struggles of the earlier civilization 
are difficult to trace now, but the history we have told of the Roman 
Republic shows a community waking up to the idea that debts may 
become a public inconvenience and should then be repudiated, and 
that the unlimited ownership of land is also an inconvenience. We 


A Short History of the World 

find that later Babylonia severely limited the rights of property in 
slaves. Finally, we find in the teaching of that great revolutionist, 
Jesus of Nazareth, such an attack upon property as had never been 
before. Easier it was, he said, for a camel to go through the eye of a 
needle than for the owner of great possessions to enter the kingdom 
of heaven. A steady, continuous criticism of the permissible scope 
of property seems to have been going on in the world for the last 
twenty-five or thirty centuries. Nineteen hundred years after 
Jesus of Nazareth we find all the world that has come under the 
Christian teaching persuaded that there could be no property in 
human beings. And also the idea that " a man may do what he likes 
with his own" was very much shaken in relation to other sorts of 

But this world of the closing eighteenth century was still only 
in the interrogative stage in this matter. It had got nothing clear 
enough, much less settled enough, to act upon. One of its primary 
impulses was to protect property against the greed and waste of 
kings and the exploitation of noble adventurers. It was largely to 
protect private property from taxation that the French Revolution 
began. But the equalitarian formulae of the Revolution carried it 
into a criticism of the very property it had risen to protect. How 
can men be free and equal when numbers of them have no ground to 
stand upon and nothing to eat, and the owners will neither feed nor 
lodge them unless they toil? Excessively the poor complained. 

To which riddle the reply of one important political group was 
to set about "dividing up." They wanted to intensify and univer- 
salize property. Aiming at the same end by another route, there 
were the primitive socialists or, to be more exact, communists 
who wanted to "abolish" private property altogether. The state 
(a democratic state was of course understood) was to own all 

It is paradoxical that different men seeking the same ends of 
liberty and happiness should propose on the one hand to make 
property as absolute as possible, and on the other to put an end to it 
altogether. But so it was. And the clue to this paradox is to be 
found in the fact that ownership is not one thing but a multitude of 
different things. 

The Development of Modern Ideas 375 

It was only as the nineteenth century developed that men began 
to realize that property was not one simple thing, but a great complex 
of ownerships of different values and consequences, that many things 
(such as one's body, the implements of an artist, clothing, tooth- 
brushes) are very profoundly and incurably one's personal property, 
and that there is a very great range of things, railways, machinery of 
various sorts, homes, cultivated gardens, pleasure boats, for example, 
which need each to be considered very particularly to determine 
how far and under what limitations it may come under private owner- 
ship, and how far it falls into the public domain and may be adminis- 
tered and let out by the state in the collective interest. On the prac- 
tical side these questions pass into politics, and the problem of 
making and sustaining efficient state administration. They open up 
issues in social psychology, and interact with the enquiries of educa- 
tional science. The criticism of property is still a vast and passion- 
ate ferment rather than a science. On the one hand are the In- 
dividualists, who would protect and enlarge our present freedoms 
with what we possess, and on the other the Socialists who would in 
many directions pool our ownerships and restrain our proprietory 
acts. In practice one will find every gradation between the extreme 
individualist, who will scarcely tolerate a tax of any sort to support a 
government, and the communist who would deny any possessions at 
all. The ordinary socialist of to-day is what is called a collectivist; 
he would allow a considerable amount of private property but put 
such affairs as education, transport, mines, land-owning, most mass 
productions of staple articles, and the like, into the hands of a highly 
organized state. Nowadays there does seem to be a gradual con- 
vergence of reasonable men towards a moderate socialism scientifi- 
cally studied and planned. It is realized more and more clearly 
that the untutored man does not co-operate easily and successfully 
in large undertakings, and that every step towards a more complex 
state and every function that the state takes over from private enter- 
prise, necessitates a corresponding educational advance and the 
organization of a proper criticism and control. Both the press and 
the political methods of the contemporary state are far too crude 
for any large extension of collective activities. 

But for a time the stresses between employer and employed and 


A Short History of the World 

particularly between selfish employers and reluctant workers, led 
to a world-wide dissemination of the very harsh and elementary 
form of communism which is associated with the name of Marx. 
Marx based his theories on a belief that men's minds are limited by 
their economic necessities, and that there is a necessary conflict of 
interests in our present civilization between the prosperous and 
employing classes of people and the employed mass. With the 

Photo: Jeffrey Manufacturing Company, Columbus, Ohio 
Portable Electric Loading Conveyor 

advance in education necessitated by the mechanical revolution, 
this great employed majority will become more and more class- 
conscious and more and more solid in antagonism to the (class- 
conscious) ruling minority. In some way the class-conscious 
workers would seize power, he prophesied, and inaugurate a new 
social state. The antagonism, the insurrection, the possible revolu- 
tion are understandable enough, but it does not follow that a new 
social state or anything but a socially destructive process will ensue. 
Put to the test in Russia, Marxism, as we shall note later, has proved 
singularly uncreative. 

The Development of Modern Ideas 377 

Marx sought to replace national antagonism by class antagonisms; 
Marxism has produced in succession a First, a Second and a Third 
Workers' International. But from the starting point of modern 
individualistic thought it is also possible to reach international ideas. 
From the days of that great English economist, Adam Smith, on- 
ward there has been an increasing realization that for world-wide 
prosperity free and unencumbered trade about the earth is needed. 
The individualist with his hostility to the state is hostile also to 
tariffs and boundaries and all the restraints upon free act and move- 
ment that national boundaries seem to justify. It is interesting to 
see two lines of thought, so diverse hi spirit, so different in substance 
as this class-war socialism of the Marxists and the individualistic free- 
trading philosophy of the British business men of the Victorian age 
heading at last, in spite of these primary differences, towards the 
same intimations of a new world-wide treatment of human affairs 
outside the boundaries and limitations of any existing state. The 
logic of reality triumphs over the logic of theory. We begin to 
perceive that from widely divergent starting points individualist 
theory and socialist theory are part of a common search, a search for 
more spacious social and political ideas and interpretations, upon 
which men may contrive to work together, a search that began again 
in Europe and has intensified as men's confidence in the ideas of the 
Holy Roman Empire and in Christendom decayed, and as the age of 
discovery broadened their horizons from the world of the Mediter- 
ranean to the whole wide world. 

To bring this description of the elaboration and development of 
social, economic and political ideas right down to the discussions of 
the present day, would be to introduce issues altogether too con- 
troversial for the scope and intentions of this book. But regarding 
these things, as we do here, from the vast perspectives of the student 
of world history, we are bound to recognize that this reconstruction 
of these directive ideas in the human mind is still an unfinished task 
we cannot even estimate yet how unfinished the task may be. 
Certain common beliefs do seem to be emerging, and their influence 
is very perceptible upon the political events and public acts of to- 
day; but at present they are not clear enough nor convincing enough 
to compel men definitely and systematically towards their realiza- 


A Short History of the World 

tion. Men's acts waver between tradition and the new, and on the 
whole they rather gravitate towards the traditional. Yet, compared 
with the thought of even a brief lifetime ago, there does seem to be 
an outline shaping itself of a new order in human affairs. It is a 
sketchy outline, vanishing into vagueness at this point and that, 


Photoi Baker <t Hunzlg 

The Development of Modern Ideas 


and fluctuating in detail and formulae, yet it grows steadfastly 
clearer, and its main lines change less and less. 

It is becoming plainer and plainer each year that in many respects 
and in an increasing range of affairs, mankind is becoming one com- 
munity, and that it is more and more necessary that in such matters 
there should be a common world- wide control. For example, it is 
steadily truer that the whole planet is now one economic community, 
that the proper exploitation of its natural resources demands one 
comprehensive direction, and that the greater power and range that 
discovery has given human effort makes the present fragmentary 
and contentious administration of such affairs more and more waste- 
ful and dangerous. Financial and monetary expedients also become 
world-wide interests to be dealt with successfully only on world-wide 
lines. Infectious diseases and the increase and migrations of popu- 
lation are also now plainly seen to be world-wide concerns. The 
greater power and range of human activities has also made war dis- 
proportionately destructive and disorganizing, and, even as a clumsy 
way of settling issues between government and government and 
people and people, ineffective. All these things clamour for controls 
and authorities of a greater range and greater comprehensiveness 
than any government that has hitherto existed. 

But it does not follow that the solution of these problems lies 
in some super- government of all the world arising by conquest or 
by the coalescence of existing governments. By analogy with 
existing institutions men have thought of the Parliament of Man- 
kind, of a World Congress, of a President or Emperor of the Earth. 
Our first natural reaction is towards some such conclusion, but the 
discussion and experiences of half a century of suggestions and 
attempts has on the whole discouraged belief in that first obvious 
idea. Along that line to world unity the resistances are too great. 
The drift of thought seems now to be in the direction of a number 
of special committees or organizations, with world-wide power 
delegated to them by existing governments in this group of 
matters or that, bodies concerned with the waste or development 
of natural wealth, with the equalization of labour conditions, 
with world peace, with currency, population and health, and 
so forth. 

3 8o A Short History of the World 

The world may discover that all its common interests are being 
managed as one concern, while it still fails to realize that a world 
government exists. But before even so much human unity is at- 
tained, before such international arrangements can be put above 
patriotic suspicions and jealousies, it is necessary that the common 
mind of the race should be possessed of that idea of human unity, 
and that the idea of mankind as one family should be a matter of 
universal instruction and understanding. 

For a score of centuries or more the spirit of the great universal 
religions has been struggling to maintain and extend that idea of a 
universal human brotherhood, but to this day the spites, angers and 
distrusts of tribal, national and racial friction obstruct, and success- 
fully obstruct, the broader views and more generous impulses which 
would make every man the servant of all mankind. The idea of 
human brotherhood struggles now to possess the human soul, just 
as the idea of Christendom struggled to possess the soul of Europe 
in the confusion and disorder of the sixth and seventh centuries of 
the Christian era. The dissemination and triumph of such ideas 
must be the work of a multitude of devoted and undistinguished 
missionaries, and no contemporary writer can presume to guess how 
far such work has gone or what harvest it may be preparing. 

Social and economic questions seem to be inseparably mingled 
with international ones. The solution in each case lies in an appeal 
to that same spirit of service which can enter and inspire the human 
heart. The distrust, intractability and egotism of nations reflects 
and is reflected by the distrust, intractability and egotism of the 
individual owner and worker in the face of the common good. 
Exaggerations of possessiveness in the individual are parallel and of 
a piece with the clutching greed of nations and emperors. They are 
products of the same instinctive tendencies, and the same ignorances 
and traditions. Internationalism is the socialism of nations. No 
one who has wrestled with these problems can feel that there yet 
exists a sufficient depth and strength of psychological science and a 
sufficiently planned-out educational method and organization for any 
real and final solution of these riddles of human intercourse and co- 
operation. We are as incapable of planning a really effective peace 
organization of the world to-day as were men in 1820 to plan an 

The Development of Modern Ideas 381 

electric railway system, but for all we know the thing is equally 
practicable and may be as nearly at hand. 

No man can go beyond his own knowledge, no thought can reach 
beyond contemporary thought, and it is impossible for us to guess 
or foretell how many generations of humanity may have to live in 
war and waste and insecurity and misery before the dawn of the 
great peace to which all history seems to be pointing, peace in the 
heart and peace in the world, ends our night of wasteful and aimless 
living. Our proposed solutions are still vague and crude. Passion 
and suspicion surround them. A great task of intellectual recon- 
struction is going on, it is still incomplete, and our conceptions grow 
clearer and more exact slowly, rapidly, it is hard to tell which. 
But as they grow clearer they will gather power over the minds and 
imaginations of men. Their present lack of grip is due to their lack 
of assurance and exact Tightness. They are misunderstood because 
they are variously and confusingly presented. But with precision 
and certainty the new vision of the world will gain compelling 
power. It may presently gain power very rapidly. And a great 
work of educational reconstruction will follow logically and neces- 
sarily upon that clearer understanding. 



THE region of the world that displayed the most immediate 
and striking results from the new inventions in transport was 
North America. Politically the United States embodied, and 
its constitution crystallized, the liberal ideas of the middle eighteenth 
century. It dispensed with state-church or crown, it would have no 
titles, it protected property very jealously as a method of freedom, 
and the exact practice varied at first in the different states it 
gave nearly every adult male citizen a vote. Its method of voting 
was barbarically crude, and as a consequence its political life fell very 
soon under the control of highly organized party machines, but 
that did not prevent the newly emancipated population developing 
an energy, enterprise and public spirit far beyond that of any other 
contemporary population. 

Then came that acceleration of locomotion to which we have 
already called attention. It is a curious thing that America, which 
owes most to this acceleration in locomotion, has felt it least. The 
United States have taken the railway, the river steamboat, the tele- 
graph and so forth as though they were a natural part of their growth. 
They were not. These things happened to come along just in time 
to save American unity. The United States of to-day were made 
first by the river steamboat, and then by the railway. Without 
these things, the present United States, this vast continental nation, 
would have been altogether impossible. The westward flow of 
population would have been far more sluggish. It might never have 
crossed the great central plains. It took nearly two hundred years 
for effective settlement to reach from the coast to Missouri, much 
less than halfway across the continent. The first state established 
beyond the river was the steamboat state of Missouri in 1821. But 
the rest of the distance to the Pacific was done in a few decades. 


The Expansion of the United States 383 

If we had the resources of the cinema it would be interesting to 
show a map of North America year by year from 1600 onward, with 
little dots to represent hundreds of people, each dot a hundred, and 
stars to represent cities of a hundred thousand people. 

For two hundred years the reader would see that stippling creep- 
ing slowly along the coastal districts and navigable waters, spreading 
still more gradually into Indiana, Kentucky and so forth. Then 
somewhere about 1810 would come a change. Things would get 
more lively along the river courses. The dots would be multiplying 
and spreading. That would be the steamboat. The pioneer dots 
would be spreading soon over Kansas and Nebraska from a number 
of jumping-off places along the great rivers. 

Then from about 1830 onward would come the black lines of 
the railways, and after that the little black dots would not simply 
creep but run. They would appear now so rapidly, it would be 
almost as though they were being put on by some sort of spraying 
machine. And suddenly here and then there would appear the first 
stars to indicate the first great cities of a hundred thousand people. 
First one or two and then a multitude of cities each like a knot in 
the growing net of the railways. 

The growth of the United States is a process that has no prece- 
dent in the world's history; it is a new kind of occurrence. Such a 
community could not have come into existence before, and if it had, 
without railways it would certainly have dropped to pieces long 
before now. Without railways or telegraph it would be far easier to 
administer California from Pekin than from Washington. But this 
great population of the United States of America has not only grown 
outrageously; it has kept uniform. Nay, it has become more uni- 
form. The man of San Francisco is more like the man of New York 
to-day than the man of Virginia was like the man of New England a 
century ago. And the process of assimilation goes on unimpeded. 
The United States is being woven by railway, by telegraph, more and 
more into one vast unity, speaking, thinking and acting harmoni- 
ously with itself. Soon aviation will be helping in the work. 

This great community of the United States is an altogether new 
thing in history. There have been great empires before with popu- 
lations exceeding 100 millions, but these were associations of diver- 

384 A Short History of the World 

gent peoples; there has never been one single people on this scale 
before. We want a new term for this new thing. We call the 
United States a country just as we call France or Holland a country. 
But the two things are as different as an automobile and a one-horse 
shay. They are the creations of different periods and different 
conditions; they are going to work at a different pace and in an 
entirely different way. The United States in scale and possibility is 
halfway between a European state and a United States of all the 

But on the way to this present greatness and security the Ameri- 
can people passed through one phase of dire conflict. The river 
steamboats, the railways, the telegraph, and their associate facilities, 
did not come soon enough to avert a deepening conflict of interests 
and ideas between the southern and northern states of the Union. 
The former were slave-holding states; the latter, states in which all 
men were free. The railways and steamboats at first did but bring 
into sharper conflict an already established difference between the 
two sections of the United States. The increasing unification due 
to the new means of transport made the question whether the 
southern spirit or the northern should prevail an ever more urgent 
one. There was little possibility of compromise. The northern spirit 
was free and individualistic; the southern made for great estates and 
a conscious gentility ruling over a dusky subject multitude. 

Every new territory that was organized into a state as the tide of 
population swept westward, every new incorporation into the fast 
growing American system, became a field of conflict between the two 
ideas, whether it should become a state of free citizens, or whether 
the estate and slavery system should prevail. From 1833 an Ameri- 
can anti-slavery society was not merely resisting the extension of the 
institution but agitating the whole country for its complete abolition. 
The issue flamed up into open conflict over the admission of Texas 
to the Union. Texas had originally been a part of the republic of 
Mexico, but it was largely colonized by Americans from the slave- 
holding states, and it seceded from Mexico, established its indepen- 
dence in 1835, and was annexed to the United States in 1844. Under 
the Mexican law slavery had been forbidden in Texas, but now the 
South claimed Texas for slavery and got it. 

The Expansion of the United States 385 

Meanwhile the development of ocean navigation was bringing 
a growing swarm of immigrants from Europe to swell the spreading 
population of the northern states, and the raising of Iowa, Wisconsin, 
Minnesota and Oregon, all northern farm lands, to state level, gave 
the anti-slavery North the possibility of predominance both in the 
Senate and the House of Representatives. The cotton-growing 
South, irritated by the growing threat of the Abolitionist move- 
ment, and fearing thi s predominance in Congress, began to talk 
of secession from the Union. Southerners began to dream of 
annexations to the south of them in Mexico and the West Indies, 
and of a great slave state, detached from the North and reaching 
to Panama. 

The return of Abraham Lincoln as an anti-extension President in 
1860 decided the South to split the Union. South Carolina passed 
an "ordinance of secession," and prepared for war. Mississippi, 
Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas joined her, and a 
convention met at Montgomery in Alabama, elected Jefferson Davis 
president of the "Confederated States" of America, and adopted a 
constitution specifically upholding "the institution of negro slavery." 



A Short History of the World 

Abraham Lincoln was, it chanced, a man entirely typical of the 
new people that had grown up after the War of Independence. His 
early years had been spent as a drifting particle in the general west- 
ward flow of the population. He was born in Kentucky (1809), 
was taken to Indiana as a boy and later on to Illinois. Life was 
rough in the backwoods of Indiana in those days; the house was a 
mere log cabin in the wilderness, and his schooling was poor and 
casual. But his mother taught him to read early, and he became a 
voracious reader. At seventeen he was a big athletic youth, a great 
wrestler and runner. He worked for a time as clerk in a store, went 
into business as a storekeeper with a drunken partner, and con- 
tracted debts that he did not fully pay off for fifteen years. In 1834, 
when he was still only five and twenty, he was elected member of 
the House of Representatives for the State of Illinois. In Illinois 
particularly the question of slavery flamed because the great leader 
of the party for the extension of slavery in the national Congress 
was Senator Douglas of Illinois. Douglas was a man of great 
ability and prestige, and for some years Lincoln fought against him 
by speech and pamphlet, rising steadily to the position of his most 
formidable and finally victorious antagonist. Their culminating 
struggle was the presidential campaign of 1860, and on the fourth of 
March, 1861, Lincoln was inaugurated President, with the southern 
states already in active secession from the rule of the federal govern- 
ment at Washington, and committing acts of war. 

This civil war in America was fought by improvised armies that 
grew steadily from a few score thousands to hundreds of thousands 
- until at last the Federal forces exceeded a million men ; it was 
fought over a vast area between New Mexico and the eastern sea, 
Washington and Richmond were the chief objectives. It is beyond 
our scope here to tell of the mounting energy of that epic struggle 
that rolled to and fro across the hills and woods of Tennessee and 
Virginia and down the Mississippi. There was a terrible waste and 
killing of men. Thrust was followed by counter thrust; hope gave 
way to despondency, and returned and was again disappointed. 
Sometimes Washington seemed within the Confederate grasp; 
again the Federal armies were driving towards Richmond. The 
Confederates, outnumbered and far poorer in resources, fought under 

The Expansion of the United States 387 

a general of supreme ability, General Lee. The generalship of the 
Union was far inferior. Generals were dismissed, new generals 
appointed; until at last, under Sherman and Grant, came victory 


over the ragged and depleted South. In October, 1864, a Federal 
army under Sherman broke through the Confederate left and 
marched down from Tennessee through Georgia to the coast, right 
across the Confederate country, and then turned up through the 

3 88 A Short History of the World 

Carolinas, coming in upon the rear of the Confederate armies. 
Meanwhile Grant held Lee before Richmond until Sherman closed 
on him. On April 9th, 1865, Lee and his army surrendered at 
Appomattox Court House, and within a month all the remaining 
secessionist armies had laid down their arms and the Confederacy 
was at an end. 

This four years' struggle had meant an enormous physical and 
moral strain for the people of the United States. The principle of 
state autonomy was very dear to many minds, and the North seemed 
in effect to be forcing abolition upon the South. In the border 
states brothers and cousins, even fathers and sons, would take 
opposite sides and find themselves in antagonistic armies. The 
North felt its cause a righteous one, but for great numbers of people 
it was not a full-bodied and unchallenged righteousness. But for 
Lincoln there was no doubt. He was a clear-minded man in the 
midst of much confusion. He stood for union; he stood for the 
wide peace of America. He was opposed to slavery, but slavery he 
held to be a secondary issue; his primary purpose was that the 
United States should not be torn into two contrasted and jarring 

When in the opening stages of the war Congress and the Federal 
generals embarked upon a precipitate emancipation, Lincoln opposed 
and mitigated their enthusiasm. He was for emancipation by 
stages and with compensation. It was only in January, 1865, that 
the situation had ripened to a point when Congress could propose to 
abolish slavery for ever by a constitutional amendment, and the war 
was already over before this amendment was ratified by the states. 

As the war dragged on through 1862 and 1863, the first passions 
and enthusiasms waned, and America learnt all the phases of war 
weariness and war disgust. The President found himself with de- 
featists, traitors, dismissed generals, tortuous party politicians, and 
a doubting and fatigued people behind him and uninspired generals 
and depressed troops before him; his chief consolation must have 
been that Jefferson Davis at Richmond could be in little better case. 
The English government misbehaved, and permitted the Con- 
federate agents in England to launch and man three swift privateer 
ships the Alabama is the best remembered of them which 

The Expansion of the United States 389 

chased United States shipping from the seas. The French army in 
Mexico was trampling the Monroe Doctrine in the dirt. Came 
subtle proposals from Richmond to drop the war, leave the issues of 
the war for subsequent discussion, and turn, Federal and Confederate 
in alliance, upon the French in Mexico. But Lincoln would not 
listen to such proposals unless the supremacy of the Union was main- 
tained. The Americans might do such things as one people but not 
as two. 

He held the United States together through long weary months 
of reverses and ineffective effort, through black phases of division 
and failing courage; and there is no record that he ever faltered from 
his purpose. There were times when there was nothing to be done, 
when he sat in the White House silent and motionless, a grim monu- 
ment of resolve; times when he relaxed his mind by jesting and 
broad anecdotes. 

He saw the Union triumphant. He entered Richmond the day 
after its surrender, and heard of Lee's capitulation. He returned to 
Washington, and on April llth made his last public address. His 
theme was reconciliation and the reconstruction of loyal government 
in the defeated states. On the evening of April 14th he went to 
Ford's theatre in Washington, and as he sat looking at the stage, he 
was shot in the back of the head and killed by an actor named 
Booth who had some sort of grievance against him, and who had 
crept into the box unobserved. But Lincoln's work was done; the 
Union was saved. 

At the beginning of the war there was no railway to the Pacific 
coast; after it the railways spread like a swiftly growing plant until 
now they have clutched and held and woven all the vast territory of 
the United States into one indissoluble mental and material unity 
the greatest real community until the common folk of China have 
learnt to read in the world. 



WE have told how after the convulsion of the French 
Revolution and the Napoleonic adventure, Europe 
settled down again for a time to an insecure peace and a 
sort of modernized revival of the political conditions of fifty years 
before. Until the middle of the century the new facilities in the 
handling of steel and the railway and steamship produced no marked 
political consequences. But the social tension due to the develop- 
ment of urban industrialism grew. France remained a conspicu- 
ously uneasy country. The revolution of 1830 was followed by 
another in 1848. Then Napoleon III, a nephew of Napoleon Bona- 
parte, became first President, and then (in 1852) Emperor. 

He set about rebuilding Paris, and changed it from a picturesque 
seventeenth century insanitary city into the spacious Latinized 
city of marble it is to-day. He set about rebuilding France, and 
made it into a brilliant-looking modernized imperialism. He dis- 
played a disposition to revive that competitiveness of the Great 
Powers which had kept Europe busy with futile wars during the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Tsar Nicholas I of 
Russia (1825-1856) was also becoming aggressive and pressing 
southward upon the Turkish Empire with his eyes on Constantinople. 

After the turn of the century Europe broke out into a fresh cycle 
of wars. They were chiefly " balance-of -power " and ascendancy 
wars. England, France and Sardinia assailed Russia in the Crimean 
war in defence of Turkey; Prussia (with Italy as an ally) and Austria 
fought for the leadership of Germany, France liberated North Italy 
from Austria at the price of Savoy, and Italy gradually unified itself 
into one kingdom. Then Napoleon III was so ill advised as to 
attempt adventures in Mexico, during the American Civil War; he 
set up an Emperor Maximilian there and abandoned him hastily, to 


The Rise of Germany to Predominance 


his fate he was shot by the Mexicans when the victorious 
Federal Government showed its teeth. 

In 1870 came a long-pending struggle for predominance in 
Europe between France and Prussia. Prussia had long foreseen and 

"Map of EUROPE. 184r8~l&71 

prepared for this struggle, and France was rotten with financial 
corruption. Her defeat was swift and dramatic. The Germans 
invaded France in August, one great French army under the Em- 
peror capitulated at Sedan in September, another surrendered in 
October at Metz, and in January 1871, Paris, after a siege and bom- 
bardment, fell into German hands. Peace was signed at Frankfort 
surrendering the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine to the Germans. 

392 A Short History of the World 

Germany, excluding Austria, was unified as an empire, and the King 
of Prussia was added to the galaxy of European Caesars, as the 
German Emperor. 

For the next forty-three years Germany was the leading power 
upon the European continent. There was a Russo-Turkish war in 
1877-8, but thereafter, except for certain readjustments in the 
Balkans, European frontiers remained uneasily stable for thirty 



THE end of the eighteenth century was a period of disrupting 
empires and disillusioned expansionists. The long and 
tedious journey between Britain and Spain and their colonies 
in America prevented any really free coming and going between the 
home land and the daughter lands, and so the colonies separated into 
new and distinct communities, with distinctive ideas and interests 
and even modes of speech. As they grew they strained more and 
more at the feeble and uncertain link of shipping that had joined 
them. Weak trading-posts in the wilderness, like those of France" 
in Canada, or trading establishments in great alien communities, like 
those of Britain in India, might well cling for bare existence to the 
nation which gave them support and a reason for their existence. 
That much and no more seemed to many thinkers in the early part 
of the nineteenth century to be the limit set to overseas rule. In 
1820 the sketchy great European "empires" outside of Europe that 
had figured so bravely in the maps of the middle eighteenth century, 
had shrunken to very small dimensions. Only the Russian sprawled 
as large as ever across Asia. 

The British Empire in 1815 consisted of the thinly populated 
coastal river and lake regions of Canada, and a great hinterland of 
wilderness in which the only settlements as yet were the fur-trading 
stations of the Hudson Bay Company, about a third of the Indian 
peninsula, under the rule of the East India Company, the coast 
districts of the Cape of Good Hope inhabited by blacks and re- 
bellious-spirited Dutch settlers; a few trading stations on the coast 
of West Africa, the rock of Gibraltar, the island of Malta, Jamaica, a 
few minor slave-labour possessions in the West Indies, British Guiana 
in South America, and, on the other side of the world, two dumps 
for convicts at Botany Bay in Australia and in Tasmania. Spain 
retained Cuba and a few settlements in the Philippine Islands. 


394 A Short History of the World 

Portugal had in Africa some vestiges of her ancient claims. Holland 
had various islands and possessions in the East Indies and Dutch 
Guiana, and Denmark an island or so in the West Indies. France 
had one or two West Indian islands and French Guiana. This 
seemed to be as much as the European powers needed, or were 
likely to acquire of the rest of the world. Only the East India 
Company showed any spirit of expansion. 

While Europe was busy with the Napoleonic wars the East 
India Company, under a succession of Governors-General, was play- 
ing much the same role in India that had been played before by 
Turkoman and such-like invaders from the north. And after the 
peace of Vienna it went on, levying its revenues, making wars, send- 
ing ambassadors to Asiatic powers, a quasi-independent state, 
however, with a marked disposition to send wealth westward. 

We cannot tell here in any detail how the British Company made 
its way to supremacy sometimes as the ally of this power, sometimes 
as that, and finally as the conqueror of all. Its power spread to 
Assam, Sind, Oudh. The map of India began to take on the outlines 
familiar to the English schoolboy of to-day, a patchwork of native 
states embraced and held together by the great provinces under 
direct British rule. . . . 

In 1859, following upon a serious mutiny of the native troops in 
India, this empire of the East India Company was annexed to the 
British Crown. By an Act entitled An Act for the Better Government 
of India, the Governor-General became a Viceroy representing the 
Sovereign, and the place of the Company was taken by a Secretary 
of State for India responsible to the British Parliament. In 1877, 
Lord Beaconsfield, to complete the work, caused Queen Victoria to 
be proclaimed Empress of India. 

Upon these extraordinary lines India and Britain are linked at the 
present time. India is still the empire of the Great Mogul, but the 
Great Mogul has been replaced by the "crowned republic" of Great 
Britain. India is an autocracy without an autocrat. Its rule 
combines the disadvantage of absolute monarchy with the im- 
personality and irresponsibility of democratic officialdom. The 
Indian with a complaint to make has no visible monarch to go to; his 
Emperor is a golden symbol; he must circulate pamphlets in England 

The New Overseas Empires 


or inspire a question 
in the British House of 
Commons. The more 
occupied Parliament 
is with British affairs, 
the less attention India 
will receive, and the 
more she will be at the 
mercy of her small 
group of higher 

Apart from India, 
there was no great ex- 
pansion of any Euro- 
pean Empire until the 
railways and the 
steamships were in 
effective action. A 
considerable school of 
political thinkers in 
Britain was disposed 
to regard overseas 
possessions as a source 
of weakness to the 
kingdom. The Aus- 
tralian settlements de- 
veloped slowly until in 
1842 the discovery of 
valuable copper mines, 
and in 1851 of gold, 
gave them a new im- 
portance. Improve- 
ments in transport 
were also making Aus- 
tralian wool an in- 
creasingly marketable 
commodity in Europe. 


Photo: British South African Co. 


396 A Short History of the World 

Canada, too, was not remarkably progressive until 1849; it was 
troubled by dissensions between its French and British inhabi- 
tants, there were several serious revolts, and it was only in 1867 
that a new constitution creating a Federal Dominion of Canada 
relieved its internal strains. It was the railway that altered the 
Canadian outlook. It enabled Canada, just as it enabled the 
United States, to expand westward, to market its corn and other 
produce in Europe, and in spite of its swift and extensive growth, 
to remain in language and sympathy and interests one community. 
The railway, the steamship and the telegraph cable were indeed 
changing all the conditions of colonial development. 

Before 1840, English settlements had already begun in New 
Zealand, and a New Zealand Land Company had been formed to 
exploit the possibilities of the island. In 1840 New Zealand also 
was added to the colonial possessions of the British Crown. 

Canada, as we have noted, was the first of the British possessions 
to respond richly to the new economic possibilities that the new 
methods of transport were opening. Presently the republics of 
South America, and particularly the Argentine Republic, began to 
feel in their cattle trade and coffee growing the increased nearness of 
the European market. Hitherto the chief commodities that had 
attracted the European powers into unsettled and barbaric regions 
had been gold or other metals, spices, ivory, or slaves. But in the 
latter quarter of the nineteenth century the increase of the European 
populations was obliging their governments to look abroad for staple 
foods; and the growth of scientific industrialism was creating a de- 
mand for new raw materials, fats and greases of every kind, rubber, 
and other hitherto disregarded substances. It was plain that 
Great Britain and Holland and Portugal were reaping a great and 
growing commercial advantage from their very considerable control 
of tropical and sub-tropical products. After 1871 Germany, and 
presently France and later Italy, began to look for unannexed raw- 
material areas, or for Oriental countries capable of profitable 

So began a fresh scramble all over the world, except in the 
American region where the Monroe Doctrine now barred such 
adventures, for politically unprotected lands. 

The New Overseas Empires 


Close to Europe was the continent of Africa, full of vaguely 
known possibilities. In 1850 it was a continent of black mystery; 
only Egypt and the coast were known. Here we have no space to 
tell the amazing story of the explorers and adventurers who first 
pierced the African darkness, and of the political agents, adminis- 
trators, traders, settlers and scientific men who followed in their 
track. Wonderful races of men like the pygmies, strange beasts like 
the okapi, marvellous fruits and flowers and insects, terrible dis- 
eases, astounding scenery of forest and mountain, enormous inland 
seas and gigantic rivers and cascades were revealed; a whole new 
world. Even remains (at Zimbabwe) of some unrecorded and 
vanished civilization, the southward enterprise of an early people, 
were discovered. Into this new world came the Europeans, and 
found the rifle already there in the hands of the Arab slave-traders, 
and negro life in disorder. 

By 1900, in half a century, all Africa was mapped, explored, 
estimated and divided between the European powers. Little 
heed was given to the welfare of the natives in this scramble. 
The Arab slaver was indeed curbed rather than expelled, but the 
greed for rubber, which was a wild product collected under com- 
pulsion by the natives in the Belgian Congo, a greed exacerbated by 
the clash of inexperienced European administrators with the native 

398 A Short History of the World 

population, led to horrible atrocities. No European power has 
perfectly clean hands in this matter. 

We cannot tell here in any detail how Great Britain got possession 
of Egypt in 1883 and remained there in spite of the fact that Egypt 
was technically a part of the Turkish Empire, nor how nearly this 
scramble led to war between France and Great Britain in 1898, when 
a certain Colonel Marchand, crossing Central Africa from the west 
coast, tried at Fashoda to seize the Upper Nile. 

Nor can we tell how the British Government first let the Boers, or 
Dutch settlers, of the Orange River district and the Transvaal set up 
independent republics in the inland parts of South Africa, and then 
repented and annexed the Transvaal Republic in 1877; nor how the 
Transvaal Boers fought for freedom and won it after the battle of 
Majuba Hill (1881). Majuba Hill was made to rankle in the 
memory of the English people by a persistent press campaign. A 
war with both republics broke out in 1899, a three years' war enor- 
mously costly to the British people, which ended at last in the 
surrender of the two republics. 

Their period of subjugation was a brief one. In 1907, after the 
downfall of the imperialist government which had conquered them, 
the Liberals took the South African problem in hand, and these 
former republics became free and fairly willing associates with Cape 
Colony and Natal in a Confederation of all the states of South Africa 
as one self-governing republic under the British Crown. 

In a quarter of a century the partition of Africa was completed. 
There remained unannexed three comparatively small countries: 
Liberia, a settlement of liberated negro slaves on the west coast; 
Morocco, under a Moslem Sultan; and Abyssinia, a barbaric country, 
with an ancient and peculiar form of Christianity, which had success- 
fully maintained its independence against Italy at the battle of 
Adowa in 1896. 



IT is difficult to believe that any large number of people really 
accepted this headlong painting of the map of Africa in European 
colours as a permanent new settlement of the world's affairs, 
but it is the duty of the historian to record that it was so accepted. 
There was but a shallow historical background to the European 
mind in the nineteenth century, and no habit of penetrating criti- 
cism. The quite temporary advantages that the mechanical revolu- 
tion in the west had given the Europeans over the rest of the old 
world were regarded by people, blankly ignorant of such events as the 
great Mongol conquests, as evidences of a permanent and assured 
European leadership of mankind. They had no sense of the trans- 
ferability of science and its fruits. They did not realize that China- 
men and Indians could carry on the work of research as ably as 
Frenchmen or Englishmen. They believed that there was some 
innate intellectual drive in the west, and some innate indolence and 
conservatism in the east, that assured the Europeans a world pre- 
dominance for ever. 

The consequence of this infatuation was that the various Euro- 
pean foreign offices set themselves not merely to scramble with the 
British for the savage and undeveloped regions of the world's surface, 
but also to carve up the populous and civilized countries of Asia as 
though these people also were no more than raw material for ex- 
ploitation. The inwardly precarious but outwardly splendid im- 
perialism of the British ruling class in India, and the extensive and 
profitable possessions of the Dutch in the East Indies, filled the 
rival Great Powers with dreams of similar glories in Persia, in the 
disintegrating Ottoman Empire, and in Further India, China and 


400 A Short History of the World 

In 1898 Germany seized Kiau Chau in China. Britain responded 
by seizing Wei-hai-wei, and the next year the Russians took posses- 
sion of Port Arthur. A flame of hatred for the Europeans swept 
through China. There were massacres of Europeans and Christian 
converts, and in 1900 an attack upon and siege of the European 
legations in Pekin. A combined force of Europeans made a punitive 
expedition to Pekin, rescued the legations, and stole an enormous 
amount of valuable property. The Russians then seized Man- 
churia, and in 1904 the British invaded Tibet. . . . 

But now a new Power appeared in the struggle of the Great 
Powers, Japan. Hitherto Japan has played but a small part in this 
history; her secluded civilization has not contributed very largely to 
the general shaping of human destinies; she has received much, but 
she has given little. The Japanese proper are of the Mongolian 
race. Their civilization, their writing and their literary and 
artistic traditions are derived from the Chinese. Their history is 
an interesting and romantic one; they developed a feudal system and 
a system of chivalry in the earlier centuries of the Christian era; 
their attacks upon Korea and China are an Eastern equivalent of the 
English wars in France. Japan was first brought into contact with 
Europe in the sixteenth century; in 1542 some Portuguese reached it 
in a Chinese junk, and in 1549 a Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier, 
began his teaching there. For a time Japan welcomed European 
intercourse, and the Christian missionaries made a great number of 
converts. A certain William Adams became the most trusted 
European adviser of the Japanese, and showed them how to build 
big ships. There were voyages in Japanese-built ships to India and 
Peru. Then arose complicated quarrels between the Spanish 
Dominicans, the Portuguese Jesuits, and the English and Dutch 
Protestants, each warning the Japanese against the political designs 
of the others. The Jesuits, in a phase of ascendancy, persecuted and 
insulted the Buddhists with great acrimony. In the end the Japanese 
came to the conclusion that the Europeans were an intolerable 
nuisance, and that Catholic Christianity in particular was a mere 
cloak for the political dreams of the Pope and the Spanish mon- 
archy already in possession of the Philippine Islands ; there was a 
great persecution of the Christians, and in 1638 Japan was absolutely 

European Aggression in Asia 


closed to Europeans, and remained closed for over 200 years. Dur- 
ing those two centuries the Japanese were as completely cut off from 
the rest of the world as though 
they lived upon another planet. 
It was forbidden to build any ship 
larger than a mere coasting boat. 
No Japanese could go abroad, and 
no European enter the country. 

For two centuries Japan re- 
mained outside the main current 
of history. She lived on in a state 
of picturesque feudalism in which 
about five per cent, of the popula- 
tion, the samurai, or fighting men, 
and the nobles and their families, 
tyrannized without restraint over 
the rest of the population. Mean- 
while the great world outside went 
on to wider visions and new powers. 
Strange shipping became more fre- 
quent, passing the Japanese head- 
lands; sometimes ships were 
wrecked and sailors brought ashore. 
Through the Dutch settlement in 
the island of Deshima, their one 
link with the outer universe, came 
warnings that Japan was not keep- 
ing pace with the power of the 
Western world. In 1837 a ship 
sailed into Yedo Bay flying a 
strange flag of stripes and stars, 
and carrying some Japanese sailors 
she had picked up far adrift in the 
Pacific. She was driven off by 
cannon shot. This flag presently 
reappeared on other ships. One JAPANESE SOLDIER OF THE 

. ^ Mn . . , ,., EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 

in 1849 came to demand the hbera- </ n t he victoria and Albert Museum) 


A Short History of the World 

tion of eighteen shipwrecked American sailors. Then in 1853 came 
four American warships under Commodore Perry, and refused to be 
driven away. He lay at anchor in forbidden waters, and sent 
messages to the two rulers who at that time shared the control of 
Japan. In 1854 he returned with ten ships, amazing ships propelled 
by steam, and equipped with big guns, and he made proposals for 
trade and intercourse that the Japanese had no power to resist. 
He landed with a guard of 500 men to sign the treaty. Incredulous 
crowds watched this visitation from the outer world, marching 
through the streets. 

Russia, Holland and Britain followed in the wake of America. 
A great nobleman whose estates commanded the Straits of Shimo- 
noseki saw fit to fire on foreign vessels, and a bombardment by a 
fleet of British, French, Dutch and American warships destroyed his 
batteries and scattered his swordsmen. Finally an allied squadron 
(1865), at anchor off Kioto, imposed a ratification of the treaties 
which opened Japan to the world. 

The humiliation of the Japanese by these events was intense. 
With astonishing energy and intelligence they set themselves to 
bring their culture and organization to the level of the European 
Powers. Never in all the history of mankind did a nation make 
such a stride as Japan then did. In 1866 she was a medieval people, 
a fantastic caricature of the extremest romantic feudalism; in 1899 
hers was a completely Westernized people, on a level with the 
most advanced European Powers. She completely dispelled the 
persuasion that Asia was in some irrevocable way hopelessly 
behind Europe. She made all European progress seem sluggish 
by comparison. 

We cannot tell here in any detail of Japan's war with China in 
1894-95. It demonstrated the extent of her Westernization. She 
had an efficient Westernized army and a small but sound fleet. But 
the significance of her renascence, though it was appreciated by 
Britain and the United States, who were already treating her as if she 
were a European state, was not understood by the other Great 
Powers engaged in the pursuit of new Indias in Asia. Russia was 
pushing down through Manchuria to Korea. France was already 
established far to the south in Tonkin and Annam, Germany was 

European Aggression in Asia 


prowling hungrily on the look-out for some settlement. The three 
Powers combined to prevent Japan reaping any fruits from the 
Chinese war. She was exhausted by the struggle, and they threat- 
ened her with war. 

Japan submitted for a time and gathered her forces. Within 
ten years she was ready for a struggle with Russia, which marks an 
epoch in the history of Asia, the close of the period of European 


arrogance. The Russian people were, of course, innocent and 
ignorant of this trouble that was being made for them halfway 
round the world, and the wiser Russian statesmen were against these 
foolish thrusts; but a gang of financial adventurers, including the 
Grand Dukes, his cousins, surrounded the Tsar. They had gambled 
deeply in the prospective looting of Manchuria and China, and they 
would suffer no withdrawal. So there began a transportation of 
great armies of Japanese soldiers across the sea to Port Arthur and 
Korea, and the sending of endless trainloads of Russian peasants 
along the Siberian railway to die in those distant battlefields. 

404 A Short History of the World 

The Russians, badly led and dishonestly provided, were beaten on 
sea and land alike. The Russian Baltic Fleet sailed round Africa to 
be utterly destroyed in the Straits of Tshushima. A revolutionary 
movement among the common people of Russia, infuriated by this 
remote and reasonless slaughter, obliged the Tsar to end the war 
(1905); he returned the southern half of Saghalien, which had been 
seized by Russia in 1875, evacuated Manchuria, resigned Korea to 
Japan. The European invasion of Asia was coming to an end and 
the retraction of Europe's tentacles was beginning. 



WE may note here briefly the varied nature of the con- 
stituents of the British Empire 'n 1914 which the 
steamship and railway had brought together. It was 
and is a quite unique political combination; nothing of the sort has 
ever existed before. 

First and central to the whale system was the "crowned re- 
public" of the United British Kingdom, including (against the will 
of a considerable part of the Irish people) Ireland. The majority of 
the British Parliament, made up of the three united parliaments 
of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, determines the head- 
ship, the quality and policy of the ministry, and determines it 
largely on considerations arising out of British domestic politics. 
It is this ministry which is the effective supreme government, with 
powers of peace and war, over all the rest of the empire. 

Next in order of political importance to the British States were 
the "crowned republics" of Australia, Canada, Newfoundland (the 
oldest British possession, 1583), New Zealand and South Africa, all 
practically independent and self-governing states in alliance with 
Great Britain, but each with a representative of the Crown ap- 
pointed by the Government in office; 

Next the Indian Empire, an extension of the Empire of the 
Great Mogul, with its dependent and "protected" states reaching 
now from Beluchistan to Burma, and including Aden, in all of 
which empire the British Crown and the India Office (under Parlia- 
mentary control) played the role of the original Turkoman dynasty; 

Then the ambiguous possession of Egypt, still nominally a part 
of the Turkish Empire and still retaining its own monarch, the 
Khedive, but under almost despotic British official rule; 

Then the still more ambiguous "Anglo-Egyptian" Sudan 



The British Empire in 1914 407 

province, occupied and administered jointly by the British and by 
the (British controlled) Egyptian Government; 

Then a number of partially self-governing communities, some 
British in origin and some not, with elected legislatures and an 
appointed executive, such as Malta, Jamaica, the Bahamas and 

Then the Crown colonies, in which the rule of the British Home 
Government (through the Colonial Office) verged on autocracy, as in 
Ceylon, Trinidad and Fiji (where there was an appointed council), 
and Gibraltar and St. Helena (where there was a governor) ; 

Then great areas of (chiefly) tropical lands, raw-product areas, 
with politicallyjweak and under-civilized native communities which 

Photo: C. Sinclair 

were nominally protectorates, and administered either by a High 
Commissioner set over native chiefs (as in Basutoland) or over a 
chartered company (as in Rhodesia). In some cases the Foreign 
Office, in some cases the Colonial Office, and in some cases the India 
Office, has been concerned in acquiring the possessions that fell into 
this last and least definite class of all, but for the most part the 
Colonial Office was now responsible for them. 

It will be manifest, therefore, that no single office and no single 
brain had ever comprehended the British Empire as a whole. It 
was a mixture of growths and accumulations entirely different from 
anything that has ever been called an empire before. It guaranteed 
a wide peace and security; that is why it was endured and sustained 
by many men of the "subject" races in spite of official tyrannies 


A Short History of the World 


Photo: Underwood & Underwood 

and insufficiencies, and of much negligence on the part of the "home" 
public. Like the Athenian Empire, it was an overseas empire; 
its ways were sea ways, and its common link was the British Navy. 
Like all empires, its cohesion was dependent physically upon a 
method of communication; the development of seamanship, ship- 
building and steamships between the sixteenth and nineteenth 
centuries had made it a possible and convenient Pax the "Pax 
Britannica," and fresh developments of air or swift land transport 
might at any time make it inconvenient. 




THE progress in material science that created this vast steam- 
boat-and-railway republic of America and spread this 
precarious British steamship empire over the world, pro- 
duced quite other effects upon the congested nations upon the 
continent of Europe. They found themselves confined within 
boundaries fixed during the horse-and-high-road period of human life, 
and their expansion overseas had been very largely anticipated by 
Great Britain. Only Russia had any freedom to expand eastward; 
and she drove a great railway across Siberia until she entangled her- 
self in a conflict with Japan, and pushed south-eastwardly towards 
the borders of Persia and India to the annoyance of Britain. The 
rest of the European Powers were in a state of intensifying conges- 
tion. In order to realize the full possibilities of the new apparatus 
of human life they had to rearrange their affairs upon a broader 
basis, either by some sort of voluntary union or by a union imposed 
upon them by some predominant power. The tendency of modern 
thought was in the direction of the former alternative, but all the 
force of political tradition drove Europe towards the latter. 

The downfall of the "empire" of Napoleon III, the establish- 
ment of the new German Empire, pointed men's hopes and fears 
towards the idea of a Europe consolidated under German auspices. 
For thirty-six years of uneasy peace the politics of Europe centred 
upon that possibility. France, the steadfast rival of Germany 
for European ascendancy since the division of the empire of Charle- 
magne, sought to correct her own weakness by a close alliance with 
Russia, and Germany linked herself closely with the Austrian 
Empire (it had ceased to be the Holy Roman Empire in the days 
of Napoleon I) and less successfully with the new kingdom of Italy. 



A Short History of the World 

At first Great Britain stood as usual half in and half out of conti- 
nental affairs. But she was gradually forced into a close association 
with the Franco-Russian group by the aggressive development of a 
great German navy. The grandiose imagination of the Emperor 

Photo: British Official 


The crew come out for a breath of fresh air during a lull 

William II (1888-1918) thrust Germany into premature overseas 
enterprise that ultimately brought not only Great Britain but 
Japan and the United States into the circle of her enemies. 

All these nations armed. Year after year the proportion of 
national production devoted to the making of guns, equipment, 
battleships and the lik increased. Year after year the balance. 

The Age of Armament in Europe 411 

Photo: Topical 


To show the complete destructiveness of modern war 

of things seemed trembling towards war, and then war would be 
averted. At last it came. Germany and Austria struck at France 
and Russia and Serbia; the German armies marching through 
Belgium, Britain immediately came into the war on the side of 
Belgium, bringing in Japan as her ally, and very soon Turkey 
followed on the German side. Italy entered the war against Austria 
in 1915, and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in the October 
of that year. In 1916 Rumania, and in 1917 the United States 
and China were forced into war against Germany. It is not within 
the scope of this history to define the exact share of blame for this 
vast catastrophe. The more interesting question is not why the 
Great War was begun but why the Great War was not anticipated 
and prevented. It is a far graver thing for mankind that scores 
of millions of people were too "patriotic," stupid, or apathetic to 
prevent this disaster by a movement towards European unity upon 
frank and generous lines, than that a small number of people may 
have been active in bringing it about. 

It is impossible within the space at our command here to trace 
the intricate details of the war. Within a few months it became 
apparent that the progress of modern technical science had changed 


A Short History of the World 

the nature of warfare very profoundly. Physical science gives 
power, power over steel, over distance, over disease; whether that 
power is used well or ill depends upon the moral and political intelli- 
gence of the world. The governments of Europe, inspired by 
antiquated policies of hate and suspicion, found themselves with 
unexampled powers both of destruction and resistance in their 
hands. The war became a consuming fire round and about the 
world, causing losses both to victors and vanquished out of all 
proportion to the issues involved. The first phase of the war was a 
tremendous rush of the Germans upon Paris and an invasion of 
East Prussia by the Russians. Both attacks were held and turned. 
Then the power of the defensive developed; there was a rapid 
elaboration of trench warfare until for a time the opposing armies 
lay entrenched in long lines right across Europe, unable to make 
any advance without enormous losses. The armies were millions 
strong, and behind them entire populations were organized for the 
supply of food and munitions to the front. There was a cessation 
of nearly every sort of productive activity except such as con- 
tributed to military operations. All the able-bodied manhood of 
Europe was drawn into the armies or navies or into the improvised 

lYire entanglements in the foreground 

Photo: Photoprets 

The Age of Armament in Europe 413 

factories that served them. There was an enormous replacement 
of men by women in industry. Probably more than half the people 
in the belligerent countries of Europe changed their employment 
altogether during this stupendous struggle. They were socially 
uprooted and transplanted. Education and normal scientific work 
were restricted or diverted to immediate military ends, and the 
distribution of news was crippled and corrupted by military control 
and "propaganda" activities. 

The phase of military deadlock passed slowly into one of aggres- 
sion upon the combatant populations behind the fronts by the 
destruction of food supplies and by attacks through the air. And 
also there was a steady improvement in the size and range of the 
guns employed and of such ingenious devices as poison-gas shells 
and the small mobile forts known as tanks, to break down the 
resistance of troops in the trenches. The air offensive was the 
most revolutionary of all the new methods. It carried warfare 
from two dimensions into three. Hitherto in the history of man- 
kind war had gone on only where the armies marched and met. 
Now it went on everywhere. First the Zeppelin and then the 
bombing aeroplane carried war over and past the front to an ever- 
increasing area of civilian activities beyond. The old distinction 
maintained in civilized warfare between the civilian and combatant 
population disappeared. Everyone who grew food, or who sewed 
a garment, everyone who felled a tree or repaired a house, every 
railway station and every warehouse was held to be fair game for 
destruction. The air offensive increased in range and terror with 
every month in the war. At last great areas of Europe were in a 
state of siege and subject to nightly raids. Such exposed cities as 
London and Paris passed sleepless night after sleepless night while 
the bombs burst, the anti-aircraft guns maintained an intolerable 
racket, and the fire engines and ambulances rattled headlong through 
the darkened and deserted streets. The effects upon the minds and 
health of old people and of young children were particularly dis- 
tressing and destructive. 

Pestilence, that old follower of warfare, did not arrive until 
the very end of the fighting in 1918. For four years medical science 
staved off any general epidemic; then came a great outbreak of 

414 A Short History of the World 

influenza about the world which destroyed many millions of people. 
Famine also was staved off for some time. By the beginning of 
1918 however most of Europe was in a state of mitigated and regu- 
lated famine. The production of food throughout the world had 
fallen very greatly through the calling off of peasant mankind to 
the fronts, and the distribution of such food as was produced was 
impeded by the havoc wrought by the submarine, by the rupture 
of customary routes through the closing of frontiers, and by the 
disorganization of the transport system of the world. The various 
governments took possession of the dwindling food supplies, and, 
with more or less success, rationed their populations. By the fourth 
year the whole world was suffering from shortages of clothing and 
housing and of most of the normal gear of life as well as of food. 
Business and economic life were profoundly disorganized. Every- 
one was worried, and most people were leading lives of unwonted 

The actual warfare ceased in November, 1918. After a supreme 
effort in the spring of 1918 that almost carried the Germans to Paris, 
the Central Powers collapsed. They had come to an end of their 
spirit and resources. 

BUT a good year and more before the collapse of the Central 
Powers the half oriental monarchy of Russia, which had 
professed to be the continuation of the Byzantine Empire, 
had collapsed. The Tsardom had been showing signs of profound 
rottenness for some years before the war; the court was under the 
sway of a fantastic religious impostor, Rasputin, and the public 
administration, civil and military, was in a state of extreme in- 
efficiency and corruption. At the outset of the war there was a 
great flare of patriotic enthusiasm in Russia. A vast conscript army 
was called up, for which there was neither adequate military equip- 
ment nor a proper supply of competent officers, and this great 
host, ill supplied and badly handled, was hurled against the German 
and Austrian frontiers. 

There can be no doubt that the early appearance of Russian 
armies in East Prussia in September, 1914, diverted the energies 
and attention of the Germans from their first victorious drive upon 
Paris. The sufferings and deaths of scores of thousands of ill-led 
Russian peasants saved France from complete overthrow in that 
momentous opening campaign, and made all western Europe the 
debtors of that great and tragic people. But the strain of the war 
upon this sprawling, ill-organized empire was too heavy for its 
strength. The Russian common soldiers were sent into battle 
without guns to support them, without even rifle ammunition; 
they were wasted by their officers and generals in a delirium of 
militarist enthusiasm. For a time they seemed to be suffering 
mutely as the beasts suffer; but there is a limit to the endurance 
even of the most ignorant. A profound disgust for Tsardom was 
creeping through these armies of betrayed and wasted men. From 
the close of 1915 onward Russia was a source of deepening anxiety 
to her Western Allies, Throughout 1916 she remained largely on 

4 i6 A Short History of the World 

the defensive, and there were rumours of a separate peace with 

On December 29th, 1916, the monk Rasputin was murdered 
at a dinner party in Petrograd, and a belated attempt was made 
to put the Tsardom in order. By March things were moving 
rapidly; food riots in Petrograd developed into a revolutionary 
insurrection; there was an attempted suppression of the Duma, 
the representative body, there were attempted arrests of liberal 
leaders, the formation of a provisional government under Prince 
Lvoff, and an abdication (March 15th) by the Tsar. For a time 
it seemed that a moderate and controlled revolution might be 
possible perhaps under a new Tsar. Then it became evident that 
the destruction of popular confidence in Russia had gone too far 
for any such adjustments. The Russian people were sick to death 
of the old order of things in Europe, of Tsars and wars and of Great 
Powers; it wanted relief, and that speedily, from unendurable 
miseries. The Allies had no understanding of Russian realities; 
their diplomatists were ignorant of Russian, genteel persons with 
their attention directed to the Russian Court rather than to Russia, 
they blundered steadily with the new situation. There was little 
goodwill among these diplomatists for republicanism, and a manifest 
disposition to embarrass the new government as much as possible. 
At the head of the Russian republican government was an eloquent 
and picturesque leader, Kerensky, who found himself assailed by 
the forces of a profounder revolutionary movement, the "social 
revolution, " at home and cold-shouldered by the Allied governments 
abroad. His Allies would neither let him give the Russian peasants 
the land for which they craved nor peace beyond their frontiers. 
The French and the British press pestered their exhausted ally for a 
fresh offensive, but when presently the Germans made a strong 
attack by sea and land upon Riga, the British Admiralty quailed 
before the prospect of a Baltic expedition in relief. The new Rus- 
sian Republic had to fight unsupported. In spite of their naval 
predominance and the bitter protests of the great English admiral, 
Lord Fisher (1841-1920), it is to be noted that the British and their 
Allies, except for some submarine attacks, left the Germans the 
complete mastery of the Baltic throughout the war. 

The Revolution and Famine in Russia 


The Russian masses, however, were resolute to end the war. 
At any cost. There had come into existence in Petrograd a body 
representing the workers and common soldiers, the Soviet, and this 
body clamoured for an international conference of socialists at 
Stockholm. Food riots were occurring in Berlin at this time, war 
weariness in Austria and Germany was profound, and there can be 
little doubt, in the light of subsequent events, that such a conference 
would have precipitated a reasonable peace on democratic lines 
in 1917 and a German revolution. Kerensky implored his Western 
allies to allow this conference to take place, but, fearful of a world- 
wide outbreak of socialism and republicanism, they refused, in spite 
of the favourable response of a small majority of the British Labour 
Party. Without either moral or physical help from the Allies, 
the unhappy "moderate" Russian Republic still fought on and 
made a last desperate offensive effort in July. It failed after some 
preliminary successes, and there came another great slaughtering 
of Russians. 

The limit of Russian endurance was reached. Mutinies broke 
out in the Russian armies, and particularly upon the northern 
front, and on November 7th, 1917, Kerensky's government was 
overthrown and power was seized by the Soviets, dominated by 
the Bolshevik socialists under Lenin, and pledged to make peace 
regardless of the Western powers. On March 2nd, 1918, a separate 
peace between Russia and Germany was signed at Brest-Litovsk. 

It speedily became evident that these Bolshevik socialists were 
men of a very different quality from the rhetorical constitutionalists 
and revolutionaries of the Kerensky phase. They were fanatical 
Marxist communists. They believed that their accession to power 
in Russia was only the opening of a world-wide social revolution, 
and they set about changing the social and economic order with 
the thoroughness of perfect faith and absolute inexperience. The 
western European and the American governments were themselves 
much too ill-informed and incapable to guide or help this extraor- 
dinary experiment, and the press set itself to discredit and the 
ruling classes to wreck these usurpers upon any terms and at any 
cost to themselves or to Russia. A propaganda of abominable 
and disgusting inventions went on unchecked in the press of the 

By courtesy of Messrs. Hodder A Stoughton 

A wooden house has been demolished for firewood 

The Revolution and Famine in Russia 419 

world; the Bolshevik leaders were represented as incredible monsters 
glutted with blood and plunder and living lives of sensuality before 
which the realities of the Tsarist court during the Rasputin regime 
paled to a white purity. Expeditions were launched at the ex- 
hausted country, insurgents and raiders were encouraged, armed 
and subsidized, and no method of attack was too mean or too mon- 
strous for the frightened enemies of the Bolshevik regime. In 
1919, the Russian Bolsheviks, ruling a country already exhausted 
and disorganized by five years of intensive warfare, were fighting 
a British Expedition at Archangel, Japanese invaders in Eastern 
Siberia, Roumanians with French and Greek contingents in the 
south, the Russian Admiral Koltchak in Siberia and General Deni- 
ken, supported by the French fleet, in the Crimea. In July of that 
year an Esthonian army, under General Yudenitch, almost got to 
Petersburg. In 1920 the Poles, incited by the French, made a 
new attack on Russia; and a new reactionary raider, General 
Wrangel, took over the task of General Deniken in invading and 
devastating his own country. In March, 1921, the sailors at Cron- 
stadt revolted. The Russian Government under its president, 
Lenin, survived all these various attacks. It showed an amazing 
tenacity, and the common people of Russia sustained it unswerv- 
ingly under conditions of extreme hardship. By the end of 1921 
both Britain and Italy had made a sort of recognition of the com- 
munist rule. 

But if the Bolshevik Government was successful in its struggle 
against foreign intervention and internal revolt, it was far less 
happy in its attempts to set up a new social order based upon com- 
munist ideas in Russia. The Russian peasant is a small land- 
hungry proprietor, as far from communism in his thoughts and 
methods as a whale is from flying; the revolution gave him the 
land of the great landowners but could not make him grow food 
for anything but negotiable money, and the revolution, among other 
things, had practically destroyed the value of money. Agricultural 
production, already greatly disordered by the collapse of the rail- 
ways through war-strain, shrank to a mere cultivation of food by 
the peasants for their own consumption. The towns starved. 
Hasty and ill-planned attempts to make over industrial production 

420 A Short History of the World 

in accordance with communist ideas were equally unsuccessful. 
By 1920 Russia presented the unprecedented spectacle of a modern 
civilization in complete collapse. Railways were rusting and pass- 
ing out of use, towns were falling into ruin, everywhere there was an 
immense mortality. Yet the country still fought with its enemies 
at its gates. In 1921 came a drought and a great famine among 
the peasant cultivators in the war-devastated south-east provinces. 
Millions of people starved. 

But the question of the distresses and the possible recuperation 
of Russia brings us too close to current controversies to be discussed 



THE scheme and scale upon which this History is planned do 
not permit us to enter into the complicated and acrimonious 
disputes that centre about the treaties, and particularly 
of the treaty of Versailles, which concluded the Great War. We 
are beginning to realize that that conflict, terrible and enormous as it 
was, ended nothing, began nothing and settled nothing. It killed 
millions of people; it wasted and impoverished the world. It 
smashed Russia altogether. It was at best an acute and frightful 
reminder that we were living foolishly and confusedly without much 
plan or foresight in a dangerous and unsympathetic universe. The 
crudely organized egotisms and passions of national and imperial 
greed that carried mankind into that tragedy, emerged from it 
sufficiently unimpaired to make some other similar disaster highly 
probable so soon as the world has a little recovered from its war 
exhaustion and fatigue. Wars and revolutions make nothing; their 
utmost service to mankind is that, in a very rough and painful way, 
they destroy superannuated and obstructive things. The great war 
lifted the threat of German imperialism from Europe, and shattered 
the imperialism of Russia. It cleared away a number of monarchies. 
But a multitude of flags still waves in Europe, the frontiers still 
exasperate, great armies accumulate fresh stores of equipment. 

The Peace Conference at Versailles was a gathering very ill 
adapted to do more than carry out the conflicts and defeats of the 
war to their logical conclusions. The Germans, Austrians, Turks 
and Bulgarians were permitted no share in its deliberations; they 
were only to accept the decisions it dictated to them. From the 
point of view of human welfare the choice of the place of meeting 
was particularly unfortunate. It was at Versailles in 1871 that, 
with every circumstance of triumphant vulgarity, the new German 


422 A Short History of the World 

Empire had been proclaimed. The suggestion of a melodramatic 
reversal of that scene, in the same Hall of Mirrors, was overpowering. 

Whatever generosities had appeared in the opening phases of 
the Great War had long been exhausted. The populations of the 
victorious countries were acutely aware of their own losses and 
sufferings, and entirely regardless of the fact that the defeated 
had paid in the like manner. The war had arisen as a natural and 
inevitable consequence of the competitive nationalisms of Europe 
and the absence of any Federal adjustment of these competitive 
forces; war is the necessary logical consummation of independent 
sovereign nationalities living in too small an area with too powerful 
an armament; and if the great war had not come in the form it 
did it would have come in some similar form just as it will cer- 
tainly return upon a still more disastrous scale in twenty or thirty 
years' time if no political unification anticipates and prevents it. 
States organized for war will make wars as surely as hens will lay 
eggs, but the feeling of these distressed and war-worn countries dis- 
regarded this fact, and the whole of the defeated peoples were 
treated as morally and materially responsible for all the damage, 
as they would no doubt have treated the victor peoples had the 
issue of war been different. The French and English thought the 
Germans were to blame, the Germans thought the Russians, French 
and English were to blame, and only an intelligent minority thought 
that there was anything to blame in the fragmentary political 
constitution of Europe. The treaty of Versailles was intended to be 
exemplary and vindictive; it provided tremendous penalties for the 
vanquished; it sought to provide compensations for the wounded and 
suffering victors by imposing enormous debts upon nations already 
bankrupt, and its attempts to reconstitute international relations 
by the establishment of a League of Nations against war were 
manifestly insincere and inadequate. 

So far as Europe was concerned it is doubtful if there would 
have been any attempt whatever to organize international relations 
for a permanent peace. The proposal of the League of Nations 
was brought into practical politics by the President of the United 
States of America, President Wilson. Its chief support was in 
America. So far the United States, this new modern state, had 

The Political and Social Reconstruction 423 


(Photo taken from another 'plane by the Central Aerophoto Co.) 

developed no distinctive ideas of international relationship beyond 
the Monroe Doctrine, which protected the new world from European 
interference. Now suddenly it was called upon for its mental con- 
tribution to the vast problem of the time. It had none. The 
natural disposition of the American people was towards a permanent 
world peace. With this however was linked a strong traditional 
distrust of old-world politics and a habit of isolation from old-world 
entanglements. The Americans had hardly begun to think out an 
American solution of world problems when the submarine cam- 
paign of the Germans dragged them into the war on the side of 
the anti-German allies. President Wilson's scheme of a League of 
Nations was an attempt at short notice to create a distinctively 
American world project. It was a sketchy, inadequate and danger- 
ous scheme. In Europe however it was taken as a matured Ameri- 
can point of view. The generality of mankind in 1918-19 was 
intensely weary of war and anxious at almost any sacrifice to erect 

4 2 4 A Short History of the World 

barriers against its recurrence, but there was not a single govern- 
ment in the old world willing to waive one iota of its sovereign 
independence to attain any such end. The public utterances of 
President Wilson leading up to the project of a World League of 
Nations seemed for a time to appeal right over the heads of the 
governments to the peoples of the world; they were taken as ex- 
pressing the ripe intentions of America, and the response was 
enormous. Unhappily President Wilson had to deal with govern- 
ments and not with peoples; he was a man capable of tremendous 
flashes of vision and yet when put to the test egotistical and limited, 
and the great wave of enthusiasm he evoked passed and was wasted. 

Says Dr. Dillon in his book, The Peace Conference: "Europe, 
when the President touched its shores, was as clay ready for the 
creative potter. Never before were the nations so eager to follow 
a Moses who would take them to the long-promised land where wars 
are prohibited and blockades unknown. And to their thinking he 
was just that great leader. In France men bowed down before 
him with awe and affection. Labour leaders in Paris told me that 
they shed tears of joy in his presence, and that their comrades 
would go through fire and water to help him to realize his noble 
schemes. To the working classes in Italy his name was a heavenly 
clarion at the sound of which the earth would be renewed. The 
Germans regarded him and his doctrine as their sheet-anchor of 
safety. The fearless Herr Muehlon said: 'If President Wilson 
were to address the Germans, and pronounce a severe sentence upon 
them, they would accept it with resignation and without a murmur 
and set to work at once.' In German- Austria his fame was that 
of a saviour, and the mere mention of his name brought balm to 
the suffering and surcease of sorrow to the afflicted. . . ." 

Such were the overpowering expectations that President Wilson 
raised. How completely he disappointed them and how weak and 
futile was the League of Nations he made is too long and too dis- 
treesful a story to tell here. He exaggerated in his person our 
common human tragedy, he was so very great in his dreams and so 
incapable in his performance. America dissented from the acts 
of its President and would not join the League Europe accepted 
from him. There was a slow realization on the part of the American 

The Political and Social Reconstruction 425 

people that it had been rushed into something for which it was 
totally unprepared. There was a corresponding realization on the 
part of Europe that America had nothing ready to give to the old 
world in its extremity. Born prematurely and crippled at its birth, 
that League has become indeed, with its elaborate and unpractical 
constitution and its manifest limitations of power, a serious obstacle 
in the way of any effective reorganization of international relation- 
ships. The problem would be a clearer one if the League did not 
yet exist. Yet that world-wide blaze of enthusiasm that first 
welcomed the project, that readiness of men everywhere round 
and about the earth, of men, that is, as distinguished from govern- 
ments, for a world control of war, is a thing to be recorded with 
emphasis in any history. Behind the short-sighted governments 
that divide and mismanage human affairs, a real force for world 
unity and world order exists and grows. 

From 1918 onward the world entered upon an age of conferences. 
Of these the Conference at Washington called by President Harding 
(1921) has been the most successful and suggestive. Notable, too, 
is the Genoa Conference (1922) for the appearance of German and 
Russian delegates at its deliberations. We will not discuss this 
long procession of conferences and tentatives in any detail. It 
becomes more and more clearly manifest that a huge work of re- 
construction has to be done by mankind if a crescendo of such con- 
vulsions and world massacres as that of the great war is to be 
averted. No such hasty improvisation as the League of Nations, 
no patched-up system of Conferences between this group of states 
and that, which change nothing with an air of settling everything, 
will meet the complex political needs of the new age that lies before 
us. A systematic development and a systematic application of the 
sciences of human relationship, of personal and group psychology, 
of financial and economic science and of education, sciences still 
only in their infancy, is required. Narrow and obsolete, dead and 
dying moral and political ideas have to be replaced by a clearer and a 
simpler conception of the common origins and destinies of our kind. 

But if the dangers, confusions and disasters that crowd upon 
man in these days are enormous beyond any experience of the past, 
it is because science has brought him such powers as he never had 


A Short History of the World 


Given wisdom, all mankind might live in such gardens 

before. And the scientific method of fearless thought, exhaustively 
lucid statement, and exhaustively criticized planning, which has 
given him these as yet uncontrollable powers, gives him also the 
hope of controlling these powers. Man is still only adolescent. 
His troubles are not the troubles of senility and exhaustion but of 
increasing and still undisciplined strength. When we look at all 

The Political and Social Reconstruction 427 

history as one process, as we have been doing in this book, when we 
see the steadfast upward struggle of life towards vision and control, 
then we see in their true proportions the hopes and dangers of the 
present time. As yet we are hardly in the earliest dawn of human 
greatness. But in the beauty of flower and sunset, in the happy 
and perfect movement of young animals and in the delight of ten 
thousand various landscapes, we have some intimations of what 
life can do for us, and in some few works of plastic and pictorial 
art, in some great music, in a few noble buildings and happy gardens, 
we have an intimation of what the human will can do with material 
possibilities. We have dreams; we have at present undisciplined 
but ever increasing power. Can we doubt that presently our race 
will more than realize our boldest imaginations, that it will achieve 
unity and peace, that it will live, the children of our blood and lives 
will live, in a world made more splendid and lovely than any palace 
or garden that we know, going on from strength to strength in an 
ever widening circle of adventure and achievement? What man 
has done, the little triumphs of his present state, and all this history 
we have told, form but the prelude to the things that man has got 
to do. 


ABOUT the year 1000 B.C. the Aryan peoples were establishing themselves in the 
peninsulas of Spain, Italy and the Balkans, and they were established in North 
India; Cnossos was already destroyed and the spacious times of Egypt, of Thoth- 
mes III, Amenophis III and Rameses II were three or four centuries away. Weak 
monarchs of the XXIst Dynasty were ruling in the Nile Valley. Israel was united 
under her early kings; Saul or David or possibly even Solomon may have been 
reigning. Sargon I (2750 B.C.) of the Akkadian Sumerian Empire was a remote 
memory in Babylonian history, more remote than is Constantine the Great from 
the world of the present day. Hammurabi had been dead a thousand years. The 
Assyrians were already dominating the less military Babylonians. In 1100 B.C. 
Tiglath .Pileser I had taken Babylon. But there was no permanent conquest; 
Assyria and Babylonia were still separate empires. In China the new Chow 
dynasty was flourishing. Stonehenge in England was already some hundreds of 
years old. 

The next two centuries saw a renascence of Egypt under the XXIInd Dynasty, 
the splitting up of the brief little Hebrew kingdom of Solomon, the spreading of 
the Greeks in the Balkans, South Italy and Asia Minor, and the days of Etruscan 
predominance in Central Italy. We begin our list of ascertainable dates with 

B.C. B.C. 

800. The building of Carthage. 606. 

790. The Ethiopian conquest of Egypt 

(founding the XXVth Dynasty). 
776. First Olympiad. 

753. Rome built. 604. 

745. Tiglath Pileser III conquered 

Babylonia and founded the 

New Assyrian Empire. 
722. Sargon II armed the Assyrians 

with iron weapons. 550. 

721. He deported the Israelites. 
680. Esarhaddon took Thebes in Egypt 

(overthrowing the Ethiopian 

XXVth Dynasty). 
664. Psammetichus I restored the free- 539. 

dom of Egypt and founded the 

XXVIth Dynasty (to 610). 521. 

608. Necho of Egypt defeated Josiah, 

king of Judah, at the battle of 



Capture of Nineveh by the Chal- 
deans and Medes. 

Foundation of the Chaldean Em- 

Necho pushed to the Euphrates 
and was overthrown by Nebu- 
chadnezzar II. 

(Nebuchadnezzar carried off the 
Jews to Babylon.) 

Cyrus the Persian succeeded 
Cyaxares the Mede. 

Cyrus conquered Croesus. 

Buddha lived about this time. 

So also did Confucius and Lao Tse. 

Cyrus took Babylon and founded 
the Persian Empire. 

Darius I, the son of Hystaspes, 
ruled from the Hellespont to 
the Indus. 

His expedition to Scythia. 


Chronological Table 


490. Battle of Marathon. 

480. Battles of Thermopylae and 

479. The battles of Platea and Mycale 

completed the repulse of Persia. 
474. Etruscan fleet destroyed by the 

Sicilian Greeks. 
431. Peloponnesian War began (to 


401. Retreat of the Ten Thousand. 
359. Philip became king of Macedonia. 
338. Battle of Chaeronia. 
336. Macedonian troops crossed into 

Asia. Philip murdered. 
334. Battle of the Granicus. 
333. Battle of Issus. 
331. Battle of Arbela. 
330. Darius III killed. 
323. Death of Alexander the Great. 
321. Rise of Chandragupta in the 

The Romans completely beaten 

by the Samnites at the battle 

of the Caudine Forks. 
.281. Pyrrhus invaded Italy. 
280. Battle of Heraclea. 
279. Battle of Ausculum. 
278. Gauls raided into Asia Minor and 

settled in Galatia. 
275. Pyrrhus left Italy. 
264. First Punic War. (Asoka began 

to reign in Behar to 227.) 
260. Battle of Mylse. 
256. Battle of Ecnomus. 
246. Shi-Hwang-ti became King of 

220. Shi-Hwang-ti became Emperor 

of China. 

214. Great Wall of China begun. 
210. Death of Shi-Hwang-ti. 
202. Battle of Zama. 
146. Carthage destroyed. 
133. Attalus bequeathed Pergamum 

to Rome. 

102. Marius drove back Germans. 
100. Triumph of Marius. (Chinese 

conquering the Tarim valley.) 
89. All Italians became Roman 

73. The revolt of the slaves under 

71. Defeat and end of Spartacus. 


66. Pompey led Roman troops to 
the Caspian and Euphrates. 
He encountered the Alani. 

48. Julius Caesar defeated Pompey 
at Pharsalos. 

44. Julius Caesar assassinated. 

27. Augustus Caesar princeps (until 

14 A.D.). 
4. True date of birth of Jesus of 

A.D. Christian Era began. 

14. Augustus died. Tiberius em- 

30. Jesus of Nazareth crucified. 

41. Claudius (the first emperor of 
the legions) made emperor by 
pretorian guard after murder 
of Caligula. 

68. Suicide of Nero. (Galba, Otho, 

Vitellus, emperors in succession.) 

69. Vespasian. 

102. Pan Chau on the Caspian Sea. 

117. Hadrian succeeded Trajan. Ro- 
man Empire at its greatest 

138. (The Indo-Scythians at this time 
were destroying the last traces 
of Hellenic rule in India.) 

161. Marcus Aurelius succeeded An- 
toninus Pius. 

164. Great plague began, and lasted 
to the death of M. Aurelius 
(180). This also devastated 
all Asia. 

(Nearly a century of war and 
disorder began in the Roman 

220. End of the Han dynasty. Begin- 
ning of four hundred years of 
division in China. 

227. Ardashir I (first Sassanid shah) 
put an end to Arsacid line in 

242. Mani began his teaching. 

247. Goths crossed Danube in a great 

251. Great victory of Goths. Em- 
peror Decius killed. 

260. Sapor I, the second Sassanid shah, 
took Antioch, captured the 
Emperor Valerian, and was cut 
up on his return from Asia 

Chronological Table 



Minor by Odenathus of Pal- 

277. Mani crucified in Persia. 

284. Diocletian became emperor. 

303. Diocletian persecuted the Chris- 

311. Galerius abandoned the persecu- 

tion of the Christians. 

312. Constantine the Great became 


323. Constantine presided over the 
Council of Nicaea. 

337. Constantine baptized on his death- 

361-3. Julian the Apostate attempted 
to substitute Mithraism for 

392. Theodosius the Great emperor 
of east and west. 

395. Theodosius the Great died. Hon- 
orius and Arcadius redivided 
the empire with Stilicho and 
Alaric as their masters and 

410. The Visigoths under Alaric cap- 
tured Rome. 

425. Vandals settling in south of Spain. 
Huns in Pannonia, Goths hi 
Dalmatia. Visigoths and Suevi 
in Portugal and North Spain. 
English invading Britain. 

439. Vandals took Carthage. 

451. Attila raided Gaul and was de- 
feated by Franks, Alemanni 
and Romans at Troyes. 

453. Death of Attila. 

455. Vandals sacked Rome. 

476. Odoacer, king of a medley of 
Teutonic tribes, informed Con- 
stantinople that there was no 
emperor in the West. End of 
the Western Empire. 

493. Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, con- 
quered Italy and became King 
of Italy, but was nominally 
subject to Constantinople. 
(Gothic kings in Italy. Goths 
settled on special confiscated 
lands as a garrison.) 

527. Justinian emperor. 

529. Justinian closed the schools at 
Athens, which had flourished 


nearly a thousand years. Bel- 
isarius (Justinian's general) 
took Naples. 

531. Chosroes I began to reign. 

543. Great plague in Constantinople. 

553. Goths expelled from Italy by 

565. Justinian died. The Lombards 
conquered most of North Italy 
(leaving Ravenna and Rome 

570. Muhammad born. 

579. Chosroes I died. 

(The Lombards dominant in 

590. Plague raged in Rome. Chos- 
roes II began to reign. 

610. Heraclius began to reign. 

619. Chosroes II held Egypt, Jeru- 
salem, Damascus, and had 
armies on Hellespont. Tang 
dynasty began in China. 

622. TheHegira. 

627. Great Persian defeat at Nineveh 

by Heraclius. Tai-tsung be- 
came Emperor of China. 

628. Kavadh II murdered and suc- 

ceeded his father, Chosroes II. 
Muhammad wrote letters to all 
the rulers of the earth. 

629. Muhammad returned to Mecca. 
632. Muhammad died. Abu Bekr 


634. Battle of the Yarmuk. Moslems 

took Syria. Omar second 

635. Tai-tsung received Nestorian mis- 


637. Battle of Kadessia. 

638. Jerusalem surrendered to the 

Caliph Omar. 

642. Heraclius died. 

643. Othman third Caliph. 

655. Defeat of the Byzantine fleet 

by the Moslems. 
668. The Caliph Moawija attacked 

Constantinople by sea. 
687. Pepin of Hersthal, mayor of the 

palace, reunited Austrasia and 

711. Moslem army invaded Spain 

from Africa. 


Chronological Table 


715. The domains of the Caliph Walid 
I extended from the Pyrenees 
to China. 

717-18. Suleiman, son and successor 
of Walid, failed to take Con- 

732. Charles Martel defeated the 
Moslems near Poitiers. 

751. Pepin crowned King of the 

768. Pepin died. 

771. Charlemagne sole king. 

774. Charlemagne conquered Lom- 

786. Haroun-al-Raschid Abbasid Ca- 
liph in Bagdad (to 809). 

795. Leo III became Pope (to 816). 

800. Leo crowned Charlemagne Em- 
peror of the West. 

802. Egbert, formerly an English 
refugee at the court of Charle- 
magne, established himself as 
King of Wessex. 

810. Krum of Bulgaria defeated and 
killed the Emperor Nicephorus. 

814. Charlemagne died. 

828. Egbert became first King of 

843. Louis the Pious died, and the 
Carlovingian Empire went to 
pieces. Until 962 there was 
no regular succession of Holy 
Roman Emperors, though the 
title appeared intermittently. 

850. About this time Rurik (a North- 
man) became ruler of Novgo- 
rod and Kieff . 

852. Boris first Christian King of 
Bulgaria (to 884). 

865. The fleet of the Russians (North- 
men) threatened Constanti- 

904. Russian (Northmen) fleet off 

912. Rolf the Ganger established him- 
self in Normandy. 

919. Henry the Fowler elected King 
of Germany. 

936. Otto I became King of Germany 
in succession to his father, 
Henry the Fowler. 


941. Russian fleet again threatened 


962. Otto I, King of Germany, 
crowned Emperor (first Saxon 
Emperor) by John XII. 
987. Hugh Capet became King of 
France. End of the Car- 
lovingian line of French kings. 

1016. Canute became King of Eng- 
land, Denmark and Norway. 

1043. Russian fleet threatened Con- 

1066. Conquest of England by William, 
Duke of Normandy. 

1071 . Revival of Islam under the Seljuk 
Turks. Battle of Melasgird. 

1073. Hildebrand became Pope (Greg- 
ory VII) to 1085. 

1084. Robert Guiscard, the Norman, 
sacked Rome. 

1087-99. Urban H Pope. 

1095. Urban II at Clermont sum- 

moned the First Crusade. 

1096. Massacre of the People's Cru- 


1099. Godfrey of Bouillon captured 

1147. The Second Crusade. 

1169. Saladin Sultan of Egypt. 

1176. Frederick Barbarossa acknowl- 
edged supremacy of the Pope 
(Alexander III) at Venice. 

1187. Saladin captured Jerusalem. 

1189. The Third Crusade. 

1198. Innocent III Pope (to 1216). 
Frederick II (aged four), King 
of Sicily, became his ward. 

1202. The Fourth Crusade attacked 
the Eastern Empire. 

1204. Capture of Constantinople by 
the Latins. 

1214. Jengis Khan took Pekin. 

1226. St. Francis of Assisi died. (The 


1227. Jengis Khan died, Khan from 

the Caspian to the Pacific, and 
was succeeded by Ogdai Khan. 

1228. Frederick II embarked upon the 

Sixth Crusade, and acquired 

1240. Mongols destroyed Kieff. Russia 
tributary to the Mongols. 

Chronological Table 




1241. Mongol victory at Liegnitz 

1250. Frederick II, the last Hohen- 

staufen Emperor, died. Ger- 

man interregnum until 1273. 
Mangu Khan became Great 

Khan. Kublai Khan governor 

of China. 
Hulagu Khan took and destroyed 

Kublai Khan became Great 

The Greeks recaptured Con- 

stantinople from the Latins. 
Rudolf of Habsburg elected Em- 

peror. The Swiss formed their 

Everlasting League. 
Kublai Khan founded the Yuan 

dynasty in China. 
Death of Kublai Khan. 
Roger Bacon, the prophet of 

experimental science, died. 
The Great Plague, the Black 

In China the Mongol (Yuan) 

dynasty fell, and was suc- 

ceeded by the Ming dynasty 

(to 1644). 
Pope Gregory XI returned 

The Great Schism. Urban 

in Rome, Clement VII 

Huss preached Wycliffism 

1414-18. The Council of Constance. 

Huss burnt (1415). 
The Great Schism ended. 
Ottoman Turks under Muham- 

mad II took Constantinople. 
Ivan III, Grand Duke of Moscow, 

threw off the Mongol alle- 

Death of the Sultan Muham- 

mad II while preparing for 

the conquest of Italy. 
Diaz rounded the Cape of Good 

Columbus crossed the Atlantic 

to America. 
Maximilian I became Emperor. 














1498. Vasco da Gama sailed round the 

Cape to India. 

1499. Switzerland became an inde- 

pendent republic. 

1500. Charles V born. 

1509. Henry VIII King of England. 

1513. Leo X Pope. 

1515. Francis I King of France. 

1520. Suleiman the Magnificent, Sul- 
tan (to 1566), who ruled from 
Bagdad to Hungary. Charles 
V Emperor. 

1525. Baber won the battle of Panipat, 
captured Delhi, and founded 
the Mogul Empire. 

1527. The German troops in Italy, 
under the Constable of Bour- 
bon, took and pillaged Rome. 

1529. Suleiman besieged Vienna. 

1530. Charles V crowned by the Pope. 

Henry VIII began his quarrel 
with the Papacy. 
1539. The Society of Jesus founded. 

1546. Martin Luther died. 

1547. Ivan IV (the Terrible) took the 

title of Tsar of Russia. 

1556. Charles V abdicated. Akbar, 
Great Mogul (to 1605). Ig- 
natius of Loyola died. 

1558. Death of Charles V. 

1566. Suleiman the Magnificent died. 

1603. James I King of England and 


at 1620. Mayflower expedition founded 
New Plymouth. First negro 
slaves landed at Jamestown 

1625. Charles I of England. 

1626. Sir Francis Bacon (Lord Veru- 

lam) died. 

1643. Louis XIV began his reign of 

seventy- two years. 

1644. The Manchus ended the Ming 


1648. Treaty of Westphalia. There- 
by Holland and Switzerland 
were recognized as free re- 
publics and Prussia became 
important. The treaty gave 
a complete victory neither to 
the Imperial Crown nor to the 





Chronological Table 


1648. War of the Fronde; it ended in 

the complete victory of the 
French crown. 

1649. Execution of Charles I of Eng- 


1658. Aurungzeb Great Mogul. Crom- 
well died. 

1660. Charles II of England. 

1674. Nieuw Amsterdam finally be- 
came British by treaty and 
was renamed New York. 

1683. The last Turkish attack on 
Vienna defeated by John III 
of Poland. 

1689. Peter the Great of Russia. (To 

1701. Frederick I first King of Prussia. 

1707. Death of Aurungzeb. The em- 
pire of the Great Mogul dis- 

1713. Frederick the Great of Prussia 

1715. Louis XV of France. 

1755-63. Britain and France struggled 
for America and India. France 
in alliance with Austria and 
Russia against Prussia and 
Britain (1756-63); the Seven 
Years' War. 

1759. The British general, Wolfe, took 


1760. George III of Britain. 

1763. Peace of Paris; Canada ceded to 

Britain. British dominant in 


1769. Napoleon Bonaparte born. 
1774. Louis XVI began his reign. 
1776. Declaration of Independence by 

the United States of America. 
1783. Treaty of Peace between Britain 

and the new United States of 


1787. The Constitutional Convention 

of Philadelphia set up the 
Federal Government of the 
United States. France dis- 
covered to be bankrupt. 

1788. First Federal Congress of the 

United States at New York. 

1789. The French States-General as- 

sembled. Storming of the 


1791. Flight to Varennes. 

1792. France declared war on Austria: 

Prussia declared war on 
France. Battle of Valmy. 
France became a republic. 

1793. Louis XVI beheaded. 

1794. Execution of Robespierre and 

end of the Jacobin republic. 

1795. The Directory. Bonaparte sup- 

pressed a revolt and went to 
Italy as commander- in-chief. 

1798. Bonaparte went to Egypt. Battle 

of the Nile. 

1799. Bonaparte returned to France. 

He became First Consul with 
enormous powers. 

1804. Bonaparte became Emperor. 
Francis II took the title of 
Emperor of Austria in 1805, and 
in 1806 he dropped the title of 
Holy Roman Emperor. So 
the "Holy Roman Empire" 
came to an end. 

1806. Prussia overthrown at Jena. 

1808. Napoleon made his brother 
Joseph King of Spain. 

1810. Spanish America became re- 

1812. Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. 

1814. Abdication of Napoleon. Louis 

1824. Charles X of France. 

1825. Nicholas I of Russia. First 

railway, Stockton to Dar- 
1827. Battle of Navarino. 

1829. Greece independent. 

1830. A year of disturbance. Louis 

Philippe ousted Charles X. 
Belgium broke away from 
Holland. Leopold of Saxe- 
Coburg-Gotha became king of 
this new country, Belgium, 
Russian Poland revolted in- 

1835. The word "socialism" first used. 

1837. Queen Victoria. 

1840. Queen Victoria married Prince 
Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. 

1852. Napoleon IH Emperor of the 

1854-56. Crimean War. 

Chronological Table 



1856. Alexander II of Russia. 

1861. Victor Emmanuel First King 

of Italy. Abraham Lincoln 

became President, U. S. A. 

The American Civil War began. 
1865. Surrender of Appomattox Court 

House. Japan opened to the 


1870. Napoleon III declared war 

against Prussia. 

1871. Paris surrendered (January). 

The King of Prussia became 
"German Emperor." The 
Peace of Frankfort. 

1878. The Treaty of Berlin. The 
Armed Peace of forty-six years 
began in western Europe. 

1888. Frederick II (March), William 
II (June), German Emperors. 


1912. China became a republic. 
1914. The Great War in Europe be- 

1917. The two Russian revolutions. 

Establishment of the Bolshevik 
regime in Russia. 

1918. The Armistice. 

1920. First meeting of the League of 

Nations, from which Germany, 
Austria, Russia and Turkey 
were excluded and at which the 
United States was not repre- 

1921 . The Greeks, in complete disregard 

of the League of Nations, make 
war upon the Turks. 

1922. Great defeat of the Greeks in 

Asia Minor by the Turks. 



ABOLITIONIST movement, 384 

Abraham the Patriarch, 116 

Abu Bekr, 249, 252, 431 

Abyssinia, 398 

Actium, battle of, 195 

Adam and Eve, 116 

Adams, William, 400 

Aden, 405 

Adowa, battle of, 398 

Adrianople, 229 

Adrianople, Treaty of, 353 

Adriatic Sea, 178, 228 

^Egatian Isles, 182 

.Egean peoples, 92, 94, 100, 108, 117, 174 

JEolic Greeks, 108, 130 

Aeroplanes, 4, 363, 413 

^Eschylus, 139 

Afghanistan, 163 

Africa, 72, 92, 122, 123, 182, 253, 258, 302 

Africa, Central, 397 

Africa, North, 65, 94, 180, 192, 232, 292, 394, 
397, 431 

Africa, South, 72, 335, 398, 405 

Africa, West, 393 

"Age of Confusion," the, 168, 173 

Agriculturalists, primitive, 66, 68 

Agriculture, 203; slaves in, 203 

Ahab, 119 

Air-breathing vertebrata, 23, 24 

Air-raids, 413 

Aix-la-Chapelle, 265 

Akbar, 292, 332, 433 

Akkadian and Akkadians, 90, 122, 429 

Alabama, 385 

Alabama, the, 388 

Alani, 227, 430 

Alaric, 230, 232, 431 

Albania, 179 

Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Prince Con- 
sort), 434 

Alchemists, 257, 294 

Aldebaran, 257 

Alemanni, 200, 431 

Alexander I, Tsar, 348 

Alexander II of Russia, 435 

Alexander III, Pope, 274, 432 

Alexander the Great, 142, 146 et seq., 163, 
186, 240, 299, 430 

Alexandretta, 147 

Alexandria, 147, 151, 209, 222, 239 . 

Alexandria, library at, 151 

Alexandria, museum of, 150, 180 

Alexius Comnenus, 268 

Alfred the Great, 263 

Algte, 13 

Algebra, 257, 282 

Algiers, 185 

Algol, 257 

Allah, 252 

Alligators, 28 

Alphabets, 79, 127 

Alps, the, 37, 197 

Alsace, 200, 309, 391 

Aluminium, 360 

Amenophis III, 96, 429 

Amenophis IV, 96 

America, 263, 302, 309, 314, 324, 335, 336, 

422-23, 434 

America, North, 12, 330, 336, 382 
American Civil War, 386, 435 
American civilizations, primitive, 73 et seq. 
American warships in Japanese waters, 402 
Ammonites, 30, 36 
Amorites, 90 
Amos, the prophet, 124 
Amphibia, 24 
Amphitheatres, 208 
Amur, 334 
Anagni, 284 
Anatomy, 24, 355 
Anaxagoras, 138 
Anaximander of Miletus, 132 
Andes, 37 
Angles, 230 

Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 405 
Animals. (See Mammalia) 
Annam, 402 
Anti-aircraft guns, 413 
Antigonus, 149 
Antioch, 243, 271 431 
Antiochus III, 183 
Anti-Slavery Society, 384 
Antoninus Pius, 195, 430 
Antony, Mark, 194 
Antwerp, 294 
Anubis, 210 
Apes, 43, 44; anthropoid, 45 




Apis, 209, 211 

Apollonius, 151 

Appian Way, 191 

Appomattox Court House, 388, 435 

Aquileia, 235 

Arabia, 77, 88, 91, 122, 123, 248 

Arabic figures, 257 

Arabic language, 243 

Arabs, 253 et seq., 294; culture of, 267 

Arbela, battle of, 147, 431 

Arcadius, 230, 431 

Archangel, 419 

Archimedes, 151 

Ardashir I, 241, 430 

Argentine Republic, 396 

Arians, 224 

Aristocracy, 130 

Aristotle, 142, 144, 146, 256, 282, 294, 295, 

356. 370 
Armadillo, 74 

Armenia, 192, 268, 287, 299 
Armenians, 100, 108 
Armistice, the, 435 
Arno, the, 178 
Arsacid dynasty, 199, 431 
Artizans, 152 

Aryan language, 95, 100, 106 
Aryans, 95, 104 et seq., 122, 128, 151, 174, 

176, 185, 197, 198, 233, 303, 429 
Ascalon, 117 
Asceticism, 158-60, 213 
Ashdod, 117 
Asia, 72, 197, 227, 287, 298, 329 et seq., 333, 

399 et seq., 403 et seq., 430 
Asia, Central, 108, 122, 134, 148, 185, 245- 

247, 255, 334 
Asia Minor, 92, 94, 108, 127, 134, 148, 180, 

192-93, 238, 243, 258, 271, 292, 429, 

430, 431 

Asia, Western, 65 
Asoka, King, 163 et seq., 180, 430 
Assam, 394 
Asses, 77, 83, 102, 112 
Assurbanipal (Sardanapalus), 97, 98, 109, 


Assyria, 109, 115, 119, 121, 122, 429 
Assyrians, 84, 96, 97, 98, 108, 429 
Astronomy, early, 70, 74 
Athanasian Creed, 224 
Athenians, 135 
Athens, 129, 135-36, 139, 150, 185, 204, 


Athens, schools of philosophy in, 238 
Atkinson, C. F., 345 
Atkinson, J. J., 61, 373 
Atlantic, 122, 302 
Attalus, 430 

Attila, 234, 235, 238, 431 
Augsburg, Interim of, 313 
Augustus Caesar, Roman Emperor, 195, 214 

Aurelian, Emperor, 200 

Aurochs, 197 

Aurungzeb, 434 

Ausculum, battle of, 178, 430 

Australia, 72, 322, 336, 395, 405 

Austrasia, 431 

Austria, 309, 327, 347-48, 349-52, 390, 411, 


Austrian Empire, 409 
Austrians, 344, 351 
Automobiles, 362 
Avars, 289 
Avebury, 106 
Averroes, 282 
Avignon, 285, 433 
Axis of earth, 1, 2 
Azilian age, 57, 65 
Azilian rock pictures, 57, 78 
Azoic rocks, 11 
Azores, 302 


BABER, 290, 310, 332, 433 

Baboons, 43 

Babylon, 90, 94, 96, 97, 101, 102, 111, 112, 

114, 115-16, 119, 121, 122, 134, 147, 

148, 373, 429 
Babylonian calendar, 68 
Babylonian Empire, 90, 91, 109, 110 
Babylonians, 108 
Bacon, Roger, 295-97, 433 
Bacon, Sir Francis, 321, 355, 433 
Bagdad, 256, 267, 290, 292, 432, 433 
Bahamas, 407 
Baldwin of Flanders, 272 
Balkan peninsula, 108, 200, 230, 392, 429 
Balkh, 299 

Balloons, altitude attained by, 4 
Baltic, 415 

Baltic Fleet, Russian, 404 
Baluchistan, 405 
Barbarians, 227 et seq., 230, 320 
Barbarossa, Frederick. (See Frederick I) 
Bards, 106, 234 
Barrows, 104 
Barter, 83, 102 
Basketwork, 65 
Basle, Council of, 305 
Basque race, 92, 107 
Bastille, 342, 434 
Basutoland, 407 
Beaconsfield, Lord, 394 
Bedouins, 122, 248 
Beetles, 26 
Behar, 180, 430 
Behring Straits, 52, 71, 73 
Bel Marduk, 109, 111, 112, 114 
Belgium, 185, 344, 347, 352, 411, 434 
Belisarius, 431 
Belshazzar, 112 



Beluchistan, 149 

Benares, 156, 160 

Beneventum, 179 

Berbers, 71, 92 

Bergen, 294 

Berlin, Treaty of, 435 

Bermuda, 407 

Bessemer process, 359 

Beth-shan, 118 

Bible, 1, 68, 100, 112, 115, 116, 119, 121, 122, 

184, 286, 298, 306-07. (Cf. Hebrew 


Birds, flight of, 4; the earliest, 31; develop- 
ment of, 32 
Bison, 56 

Black Death, the, 433 
Black Sea, 71, 94-95, 108, 129, 200 
Blood sacri6ce, 167, 186, 212. (See also 

Boats, 91, 136 
Boer republic, 187 
Boers, 398 
Bohemia, 236, 306 
Bohemians, 304-05, 326 
Bokhara, 256 
Boleyn, Anne, 313 
Bolivar, General, 349 
Bologna, 295, 312 

Bolsheviks (and Bolshevism), 417-19, 435 
Bone carvings, 53 
Bone implements, 45, 46 
Boniface VIII, Pope, 283-84 
"Book religions," 226 
Books, 153, 298, 302 
Bootes, 257 

Boris, King of Bulgaria, 432 
Bosnia, 228 
Bosphorus, 135 
Boston, 337-38 
Bostra, 243 
Botany Bay, 393 
Bourbon, Constable of, 312, 433 
Bowmen, 145, 155, 300 
Brahmins and Brahminism, 165, 166 
Brain, 42 

Brazil, 329, 336, 340 
Breathing, 24 
Brest-Litovsk, 417 
Britain, 106, 122, 174, 185, 203, 236, 349, 

353, 402, 431, 434. (See also England, 

Great Britain) 
British, 329, 331 

British Civil Air Transport Commission, 363 
British East Indian Company. (See East 

India Company) 
British Empire, 407; (in 1815) 393; (in 

1914) 405 

British Guiana, 393 
British Navy, 408 
"British schools," the, 369 

Brittany, 309 

Broken Hill, South Africa, 52 

Bronze, 80, 87, 102, 104 

Bruges, 294 

Brussels, 344 

Brythonic Celts, 107 

Buda-Pesth, 312 

Buddha, 133, 156, 172, 213, 429; life of, 

158; his teaching, 161-62 
Buddhism (and Buddhists), 166, 172, 222, 

255, 290, 319, 334, 400. (See also 


Bulgaria, 135, 229, 245, 292, 411, 432 
Bull fights, Cretan, 93 
Burgoyne, General, 338 
Burgundy, 309, 342 
Burial, early, 102, 104 
Burleigh, Lord, 324 
Burma, 166, 300, 405 
Burning the dead, 104 
Bury, J. B., 288 
Bushmen, 54 
Byzantine Army, 253 
Byzantine Empire, 238, 271-72 
Byzantine fleet, 431 
Byzantium, 228, 243, 267, 268. (See also 


CABUL, 148 

Caesar, Augustus, 430 

Caesar, Julius, 187, 192, 193, 194, 195, 430 

Caesar, title, etc., 212, 223, 240, 327 

Cainozoic period, 37 et seq. 

Cairo, 256 

Calendar, 68 

Calicut, 329 

California, 336, 383 

Caligula, 195, 430 

Caliphs, 252 

"Cambulac," 300 

Cambyses, 112, 134 

Camels, 42, 102, 112, 196, 319 

Campanella, 371 

Canaan, 116 

Canada, 332, 396, 405, 434 

Canary Islands, 302 

Cannae, 182 

Canossa, 274 

Canton, 247 

Canute, 263, 432 

Cape Colony, 398 

Cape of Good Hope, 336, 393, 433 

Capet, Hugh, 266, 432 

Carboniferous age. (See Coal swamps) 

Cardinals, 277 et seq. 

Caria, 98 

Carians, 94 

Caribou, 73 

Carlovingian Empire, 432 



Carnac, 106 

Carolinas, 388 

Carrhae, 194 

Carthage, 92, 122, 123, 134, 176, 179, 182, 

183, 185, 232, 429-30, 431 
Carthaginians, 179, 182 
Caspian Sea, 71, 88, 108, 148, 193, 197, 430 
Caste, 157, 165 , 
Catalonians. 302 
"Cathay," 300 

Catholicism, 237,337, 351. (See also Papacy, 
Roman Catholic) 

Cato, 187 

Cattle, 77, 83 

Caudine Forks, 430 

Cavalry, 145, 148, 178 

Cave drawings, 53, 56, 57 

Caxton, William, 306 

Celibacy, 275 

Celts, 106, 107, 193 

Centipedes, 23 

Ceylon, 165, 407 

Chseronia, battle of, 145, 146, 430 

Chalcedon, 243 

Chaldean Empire, 109 

Chaldeans, 109, 110-11, 115, 429 

Chandragupta, 163, 430 

Chariots, 96, 100, 101-02, 112, 119, 145, 148 

Charlemagne, 259, 261, 264-65, 272, 309, 432 

Charles I, King of England, 308, 324, 433 

Charles II, King of England, 324, 434 

Charles V, Emperor, 309, 310, 314, 316, 433 

Charles X, King of France, 350, 434 

Charles the Great. (See Charlemagne) 

Charlotte Dundas, steamboat, 357 

Chelonia, 27 

Chemists, Arab, 257. (Cf. Alchemists) 

Cheops, 83 

Chephren, 83 

China, 76, 84, 103, 166, 167 et seq., 173, 174, 
233, 245 et seq., 248, 287, 290, 297, 333, 
399-400, 402-03, 411, 429-31, 432, 433, 
435. (See also Chow, Han, Kin, Ming, 
Shang, Sung, Suy, Ts'in, and Yuan 

China, culture and civilization in, 247 

China, Empire of, 196 et seq. 

China, Great Wall of, 173, 430 

China, North, 173 

Chinese picture writing, 79, 167 

Chosroes I, 243, 431 

Chosroes II, 243, 431 

Chow dynasty, 168, 173, 429 

Christ. (See Jesus) 

Christian conception of Jesus, 214 

Christianity (and Christians), 224, 255, 272, 
295, 319, 400, 431 

Christianity, doctrinal, development of, 222 
et seq. 

Christianity, spirit of, 224 

Chronicles, book of, 116, 119 

Chronology, primitive, 68 

Ch'u, 173 

Church, the, 68 

Cicero, 193 

Cilicia, 299 

Cimmerians, 100 

Circumcision, 70 

Circumnavigation, 302 

Cities, Sumerian, 78 

Citizenship, 187 et seq., 236, 237 

City states, Greek, 129 et seq.,- Chinese, 168 

Civilization, 100 

Civilization, Hellenic, 139, 150 et seq. 

Civilization, Japanese, 400 

Civilization, pre-historic, 71 

Civilization, primitive, 76, 167 

Civilization, Roman, 185 

Claudius, Emperor, 195, 430 

Clay documents, 77, 80, 111 

Clement V, Pope, 285 

Clement VII, Pope, 285, 433 

Cleopatra, 194 

Clermont, 432 

Clermont, steamboat, 358 

Climate, changes of, 21, 37 

Clive, 333 

Clothing, 77 

Clothing of Cretan women, 93 

Clouds, 8 

Clovis, 259 

Clyde, Firth of, 357 

Cnossos (Crete), 92, 94, 95, 101, 108, 127, 

Coal, 26 

Coal swamps, the age of, 21 et seq. 

Coinage, 114, 176, 201, 319 

Coke, 322 

Collectivists, 375 

Colonies, 394 et seq., 407 

Columbus, Christopher, 300-01 et seq., 335, 

Communism (and Communists), 374-75, 

Comnenus, Alexius. (See Alexius) 

Comparative anatomy, science of, 25. (Cf. 

Concord, Mass., 338 

Confederated States of America, 385 

Confucius, 133, 168 et seq., 173, 429 

Congo, 397 

Conifers, 26, 36 

Constance, Council of, 286, 304, 433 

Constantine the Great, 187, 226, 228, 229, 
241, 429, 431 

Constantinople, 229, 238, 239, 243, 253, 258, 
263-64, 270 et seq., 272, 283, 292, 301, 
321, 327, 431, 432, 433. (See also By- 

Consuls, Roman, 193 



Copper, 74, 80, 102, 360, 395 

Cordoba, 256 

Corinth, 129 

Cornwallis, General, 338 

Corsets, 93 

Corsica, 182, 185, 232 

Cortez, 314 

Cossacks, 334 

Cotton fabrics, 102 

Couvade, the, 70 

Crabs, 23 

Crassus, 192, 194, 199 

Creation of the world, story of, 1, 116 

Creed religions, 240 

Cretan script, 94 

Crete, 92, 108 

Crimea, 419 

Crimean War, 390, 434 

Crocodiles, 28 

Croesus, 111, 429 

Cro-Magnon race, 51, 54, 65 

Cromwell, Oliver, 434 

Cronstadt, 419 

Crucifixion, 204 

Crusades, 267 et seq., 281, 304-05, 432 

Crustacea, 13 

Ctesiphon, 244 

Cuba, 393 

Cultivation, the beginnings of, 65 et seq. 

Culture, Heliolithic, 69 

Culture, Japanese, 402 

Cuneiform, 78 

Currents, 18 

Cyaxares, 109-10, 429 

Cycads, 26, 36 

Cyrus the Persian, 111, 116, 121, 123, 134, 


Czech language, 236 
Czecho-Slovaks, 351 
Czechs, 304 


DACIA, 195, 200, 203, 227, 236 

Dsedalus, 94 

Dalmatia, 431 

Damascus, 243, 253, 431 

Danes, 329, 330 

Danube, 135, 200, 227, 430 

Dardanelles, 136, 147, 292 

Darius I, 112, 134, 135, 136, 429 

Darius III, 147, 148, 430 

Darlington, 356, 434 

David, King, 118-19, 429 

Da Vinci, Leonardo, 356 

Davis, Jefferson, 385, 388 . 

Dawn Man. (See Eoanthropus) 

Dead, burning the, 104; burial of (see Burial) 

Debtors' prisons, 336 

Deciduous trees, 36 

Decius, Emperor, 200, 432 
Declaration of Independence, 334, 434 
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Gib- 
bon's), 288-89 
Deer, 42, 56 

Defender of the Faith, title of, 313 
Defoe, Daniel, 365 
Delhi, 292, 433 
Democracy, 131, 132, 270 * 
Deniken, General, 419 
Denmark, 306, 313, 394, 432 
Deshima, 401 
Devonian system, 19 
Diaz, 433 

Dictator, Roman, 194 
Dillon, Dr., 424 
Dinosaurs, 28, 31, 36 
Diocletian, Emperor, 224, 226, 227 
Dionysius, 170 

Diplodocus Carnegii, measurement of, 28 
Diseases, infectious, 379 
Ditchwater, animal and plant life in, 13 
Dogs, 42 

Domazlice, battle of, 305 
Dominic, St., 276 
Dominican Order, 276, 285, 400 
Dorian Greeks, 108, 130 
Douglas, Senator, 386 
Dover, Straits of, 193 
Dragon flies, 23 
Drama, Greek, 139 
Dravidian civilization, 108 
Dravidians, 71 
Duck-billed platypus, 34 
Duma, the, 416 
Durazzo, 268 
Dutch, 329, 331, 332, 399 
Dutch Guiana, 394 
Dutch Republic, 350 
Dyeing, 75 


EARTH, the, shape of, 1 ; rotation of, 1 ; dis- 
tance from sun, 2; age and origin of, 5: 
surface of, 21 

Earthquakes, 95 

East India Company, 332, 337, 393, 394 

East Indies, 394, 399 

Ebro, 182 

Ecbatana, 109, 114 

Echidna, the, 34 

Eclipses, 8 

Ecnomus, battle of, 181, 430 

Economists, French, 371 

Edessa, 271 

Education, 294, 361, 368, 369 

Egbert, King of Wessex, 263, 432 

Egg-laying mammals, 34 

Eggs, 24, 26, 31, 102 



Egypt (and Egyptians), 71, 78, 90, 91, 92, 
96, 98, 100-101, 115, 119, 121, 122, 123, 
124, 134, 138, 147, 174, 208, 209, 210, 
238, 253, 267, 290, 292, 396, 398, 405, 
429, 431, 434 

Egyptian script, 78, 79 

Elamites, 88, 90, 174 

Elba, 348 

Electric light, 360 

Electric traction, 360 

Electricity, 322, 358, 360 

Elephants, 42, 127, 149, 178, 181, 253, 300 

Elixir of life, 257 

Elizabeth, Queen, 324, 332 

Emigration, 336 

Emperor, title of, 327 

Employer and employed, 375 

"Encyclopaedists," the, 371 

England (and English), 306, 390, 431 

England, Norman Conquest of, 266 

England, overseas possessions, 330 

English Channel, 331 

English language, 95 

Entelodonts, 42 

Eoanthropus, 47 

Eoliths, 45 

Ephesus, 149 

Ephthalites, 199 

Epics, 106, 127, 129, 131 

Epirus, 131, 178, 179 

Epistles, the, 222 

Eratosthenes, 151 

Erech, Sumerian city of, 78 

Esarhaddon, 429 

Essenes, 213 

Esthonia, 245 

Esthonians, 419 

Ethiopian dynasty, 429 

Ethiopians, 96, 233 

Etruscans, 94, 100, 176, 430 

Euclid, 151 

Euphrates, 77, 110, 127, 129, 174, 196, 429, 

Euripides, 139 

Europe, 200 

Europe, Central, 329 

Europe, Concert of, 350 

Europe, Western, 53, 298 

European overseas populations, 336 

Europeans, intellectual revival of, 294 el seq. 

Europeans, North Atlantic, 329 

Europeans, Western, 329 

Everlasting League, 433 

Evolution, 16, 42 

Excommunication, 275, 281, 285 

Execution, Greek method of, 140 

Ezekiel, 124 


FACTORY system, 365 

Family groups, 61 

Famine, 420 

Faraday, 358 

Fashoda, 398 

Fatherhood of God, the, 215, 224, 251 

Fear, 61 

Feathers, 32 

Ferdinand of Aragon, King, 293, 302, 309 

Ferns, 23, 26 

Fertilizers, 363 

Fetishism, 63, 64 

Feudal system, 258, 400, 401, 402 

Fielding, Henry, 365 

Fiji, 407 

Finance, 134 

Finland, 245 

Finns, 351 

Fish, the age of, 16 el seq.; the first known 

vertebrata, 19; evolution of, 30 
Fisher, Lord, 416 
Fishing, 57 
Fleming, Bishop, 286 
Flint implements, 44, 47 
Flood, story of the, 91, 116 
Florence, 294 
Florentine Society, 322 
Florida, 336, 385 
Flying machines, 94, 363 
Fontainebleau, 348 . 
Food, rationing of, 414 
Food riots, 417 
Forests, 56, 197 
Fossils, 13, 43. (Cf. Rocks) 
Fowl, the domestic, 88, 102 
France, 106, 185, 230, 259, 263, 312, 336, 

342, 353, 390, 391, 394, 396, 402, 409, 

411, 434 
Francis I, King of France, 310, 312, 313, 


Francis II, Emperor of Austria, 434 
Francis of Assisi, St., 276, 432 
Franciscan Order, 276, 285, 432 
Frankfort, Peace of, 391, 435 
Franks, 200, 227, 235, 259, 265, 431 
Frazer, Sir J. G., 66 
Frederick I (Barbarossa), 274, 432 
Frederick I, King of Prussia, 434 
Frederick II, German Emperor, 279, 280 el 

seq., 288, 289, 294, 304, 435 
Frederick II, King of Sicily, 432 
Frederick the Great of Prussia, 327, 434 
Freeman's Farm, 338 
French, 329, 331, 332, 419 
French Guiana, 394 
French language, 203, 327, 328, 419 
French Revolution, 342 et seq., 374 
Frogs, 24 

Fronde, war of the, 434 
Fulton, Robert, 358 
Furnace, blast, 359; electric, 359 
Furs, 335 





Galatians, 193 

Galba, 430 

Galerius, Emperor, 226, 431 

Galleys, 91, 92, 181, 263 

Galvani, 358 

Gama, Vasco da, 329, 335, 433 

Ganges, 156 

Gath, 117 

Gaul, 203, 235, 236, 357, 431 

Gauls, 154, 178, 179, 180, 182, 193, 430 

Gautama. (See Buddha) 

Gaza, 117, 147 

Gaztelu, 314 

Genoa (and Genoese), 294, 300, 301, 302 

Genoa Conference, 425 

Genseric, 232 

Geology, 11 et seq., 356 

George III, King of England, 324, 337, 434 

Georgia, 336, 339, 385, 387 

German Empire, 409 

German language, 95, 236, 260 

Germans, 268, 288, 310, 351, 360-61, 362 

Germany, 197, 326, 347, 348, 362, 390, 396, 

402, 409, 410, 411 
Germany, North, 306 
Gibbon, E., 234, 288 
Gibraltar, 71, 92, 94, 253, 393, 407 
Gigantosaurus, measurement of, 28 
Gilbert, Dr., 322 
Gilboa, Mount, 118 
Gills, 24 
Giraffes, 42 

Gizeh, pyramids at, 83 
Glacial Ages, 22, 37, 44 
Gladiators, 205 
Glass, 102 
Glyptodon, 74 
Goa, 329 
Goats, 77 

God, idea of one true, 249 
God of Judaism, 123, 209, 213, 214, 215 
Godfrey of Bouillon, 432 
Gods, 111, 123, 129, 165, 184, 186, 201 et 

seq., 208 et seq., 240 
Goidelic Celts, 106 
Gold, 74, 80, 83, 102, 300, 395 
Golden Bough, Frazer's, 66 
Good Hope, Cape of. (See Cape) 
Gospels, the, 214 et seq., 222 
Gothic kingdom, 259 
Gothland, 197, 200 
Goths, 181, 200, 227, 228, 430, 431 
Granada, 293, 301 
Granicus, battle of the, 146, 430 
Grant, General, 387, 388 
Graphite, 15 
Grass, 37, 51 
Great Britain, 396, 410 

Great Mogul, Empire of, 394, 434 

Great Powers, 399 et seq. 

Great Schism. (See Papal schism) 

Great War, the, 411 et seq., 421, 435 

Greece, 92, 94, 108, 127, 139 et seq., 145 et 

seq., 434 

Greece, war with Persia, 134 et seq. 
Greek language, 95, 202, 203 
Greeks, 92, 100, 101, 108, 122 et seq., 135, 

150, 174, 186, 271, 272, 301, 353, 419. 

429, 430, 433 
Greenland, 263 
Gregory I, Pope, 272 
Gregory VII, Pope (Hildebrand), 268, 272, 

274, 275, 278, 432 
Gregory IX, Pope, 281 
Gregory XI, Pope, 285, 433 
Gregory the Great, 272 
Grimaldi race, 51, 54, 65 
Guillotine, the, 346 
Guiscard, Robert, 432 
Gunpowder, 287, 321 
Guns, 321, 413 
Gustavus Adolphus, 331 
Gymnastic displays, Cretan, 93 


HABSBURGS, 283, 309, 310 
Hadrian, 174, 430 
Halicarnassus, 138 
Hamburg, 294 
Hamitic people, 71 
Hammurabi, 90, 92, 104, 429 
Han dynasty, 196, 200, 245, 430 
Hannibal, 182 
Hanover, Elector of, 327 
Harding, President, 425 
Harold Hardrada, 266 
Harold, King of England, 266 
Haroun-al-Raschid, 267, 432 
Hastings, battle of, 266 
Hastings, Warren, 333 
Hatasu, Queen of Egypt, 96 
Hathor, 209 

Heaven, Kingdom of, 216, 217 
Hebrew Bible, 1, 115, 116. (Cf. Bible) 
Hebrew literature, 100 
Hebrews, 100, 115. (See also Jews) 
Hegira, 431 
Heidelberg man, 45 
Heliolithic culture, 69, 71, 167, 174 
Heliolithic peoples, 107 
Hellenic tribes, 100. (See also Greeks) 
Hellespont, 430, 431 
Helots, 130, 203 
Hen. (See Fowl) 
Henry IV, King, 274 
Henry VI, -Emperor, 279 
Henry VIII, King of England, 310, 312, 
313, 324, 433 


Henry the Fowler, 265, 432 

Heraclea, battle of, 178, 430 

Heraclitus of Ephesus, 132, 156, 161 

Heraclius, Emperor, 243, 247, 253, 431 

Herat, 148 

Herbivorous reptiles, 28 

Hercules, Pillars of. (See Gibraltar) 

Hero, 151, 152 

Herodotus, 138, 139 

Herophilus, 151 

Hiero, 182 

Hieroglyphics, 79, 124 

Hildebrand. (See Gregory VII ) 

Himalayas, the, 37 

Hipparchus, 151 

Hippopotamus, 43 

Hiram, King of Sidon, 118, 119, 122 

History of Charles V, 316 

Hittites, 96, 97, 98, 108 

Hohenstaufens, 283 

Holland, 306, 344, 347, 394, 396, 402, 433, 

Holstein, 351 

Holy Alliance, 349 

Holy Roman Empire, 264, 309, 317, 323, 
347, 377, 409, 432, 434 

Homer, 129 

Honorius, 230, 431 

Honorius III, Pope, 281 

Horse, 51, 56, 94, 96, 97, 112, 167, 319, 336; 
evolution of the, 42 

Horsetails, 23 

Horus, 209, 210, 211 

Hottentots, 54 

Hsia, 287 

Hudson Bay Company, 393 

Hudson River, 358 

Hulagu Khan, 290, 433 

Human sacrifice, 182, 186. (Cf. Blood Sac- 
rifice, Sacrifice) 

Hungarians, 263, 289, 351 

Hungary, 185, 203, 227, 245, 258, 263, 289, 
290, 292, 310, 312, 351 

Hungary, plain of, 234 

Huns, 88, 167, 168, 174, 197, 198, 227, 232, 
233, 245, 263, 289, 431 

Hunting, 56 

Huss, John, 304, 433 

Hussites, 305 

Hwang-ho river, 173 

Hwang-ho valley, 300 

Hyksos, 90, 96 

Hyracodons, 42 

Hystaspes, 430 

IBERIANS, 71, 92 

Ice age, 43. (Cf. Glacial ages) 

Iceland, 263 

Ichthyosaurs, 29, 36 

Ignatius of Loyola, St., 308, 434 

Iliad, 127 

Illinois, 386 

Illyria, 179, 182 

Immolation of human beings, 102 

Immortality, idea of, 210, 211, 224 

Imperialism, 399 

Implements, 46, 48, 56, 57, 65, 87 

Implements, use of, by animals, 44, 45 

India, 71, 84, 104, 108, 122, 149, 156, 163, 

164, 196, 199, 287, 302, 335, 394-95, 

399, 409, 433, 434 
Indian Empire, 405 
Indian Ocean, 329 
Indiana, 383, 386 
Individualists, 375 et seq. 
Individuality in reproduction, 16 et seq. 
Indo-Scythians, 199, 430 
Indus, 149, 429 

Industrial revolution, 365 et seq. 
Infantry, 178 
Influenza, 414 

Innocent III, Pope, 276, 279, 280, 432 
Innocent IV, Pope, 281 
Innsbruck, 313 
Inquisition, the, 276, 349 
Insects, 26, 31 
Interdicts, papal, 275 
Interglacial period, 44 
Internationalism, 380 
Invertebrata, 13 
Investitures, 275 
Ionic Greeks, 108, 130 
Iowa, 385 
Ireland, 106, 405 
Iron, 80, 87, 94, 97, 102, 104, 168, 319, 321, 

358, 359 
Irrigation, 290 

Isabella of Castile, Queen, 293, 302, 309 
Isaiah, 125, 133, 156 
Isis, 209, 210, 211, 212 
Islam, 251, 252, 432 
Islamism, 267, 319. (See also Moslem, Mu- 

Isocrates, 145 
Israel, judges of, 118 
Israel, kings of, 118, 119, 121 
Issus, battle of, 147, 430 
Italian language, 203 
Italians, 107, 351 
Italica, 202 
Italy, 94, 108, 129, 134, 176, 180, 230, 236, 

312, 327, 347, 390, 396, 409, 411, 429, 

431, 434 

Italy, Central, 429 

Italy, North, 263, 312, 351, 390, 429, 431 
Italy, South, 429 
Ivan III (the Great), 327, 433 
Ivan IV (the Terrible), 327, 433 



JACOBIN republic, 434 

Jamaica, 393, 407 

James I, King of England and Scotland, 

324, 433 

Jamestown (Va.), 433 
Japan, 166, 300, 399, 400-01 el seq., 409, 

410, 435 
Japanese, 419 
Jarandilla, 315 
Java, 302, 329 

Jaw-bone, Heidelberg, 45-46; Piltdown, 46 
Jehovah, 125 
Jena, 434 

Jengis Khan, 287, 298, 334, 432 
Jerusalem, 115, 116, 119, 121, 123, 124, 184, 

215, 243, 267, 271, 272, 299, 431, 432 
Jerusalem, temple of, 119, 184 
Jesuits, 308, 400, 433 
Jesus, life and teaching of, 214 et seq., 224, 

270, 306, 374, 430 
Jews, 123, 124, 147, 184, 213, 215, 255, 256, 

270, 294 

Jews, early history of, 115 et seq. 
Jews, literature of, 115 
Jewish religion and sacred books, 116 
John III of Poland, 434 
John XI, Pope, 272 
John XII, Pope, 272, 432 
Joppa, 117 

Joseph, King of Spain, 349, 434 
Josiah, King of Judah, 110, 115, 116, 429 
Judah, 115, 119 
Judah, kings of, 119 
Judea, 115, 183, 214 

Judea, priests and prophets in, 122 et seq. 
Judges, book of, 117 
Judges of Israel, 118 
Jugo-Slavia, 354 
Jugo-Slavs, 351 
Jugurtha, 192 
Julian the Apostate, 431 
Julius III, 316 
Junks, Chinese, 400 
Jupiter (god), 211, 212 
Jupiter (planet), 2, 3 
Jupiter Capitolinus, 184 
Jupiter Serapis, 226 
Justinian I, 232, 238, 243, 431 
Jutes, 230 

KAABA, the, 249 

Kadessia, battle of, 253, 431 

Kalinga, 163 

Kansas, 383 

Karakorum, 287, 298 

Karnak, 101 

Kashgar, 300 

Kashmir, Buddhists in, 165 

Kavadh, 243, 244, 431 

Kentucky, 383, 386 

Kerensky, 416, 417 

Khans, 287 et seq. 

Khyber Pass, 148, 199 

Kiau Chau, 400 

Kieff, 287, 432 

Kin dynasty, 287 

Kings, book of, 119 

Kioto, 402 

Ki-wi, the, 32 

Koltchak, Admiral, 419 

Koran, the, 251, 255 

Korea, 400, 402 

Kotan, 300. 

Krum of Bulgaria, 432 

Kublai Khan, 290, 298, 300, 433 

Kushan dynasty, 199 

LABYRINTH, Cretan, 127 

Lahore, 287 

Lake Ontario, 336 

Land scorpions, 23 

Langley, Professor, 363 

Languages of mankind, 94, 95, 100, 106, 
107, 108, 134, 145, 156, 176, 201, 202, 
203, 230, 236, 243, 245, 259, 325, 328 

Lao Tse, 133, 170 et seq., 222, 429 

Lapland, 233 

Latin Emperor, 259 

Latin language, 201, 202, 203, 236, 259. (Cf. 
also Languages) 

Latins, the, 271, 272, 432 

Law, 238 

Laws, Plato's, 142 

League of Nations, 422, 423, 424, 425, 435 

Learning, 255 

Lee, General, 387, 389 

Legionaries, 229 

Lemurs, 43 

Lenin, 417, 419 

Leo III, Pope, 265, 272, 432 

Leo X, Pope, 310, 312, 433 

Leonidas, 136 

Leopold I, 353 

Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, 434 

Lepanto, battle of, 293 

Lepidus, 194 

Lexington, 338 

Liberia, 398 

Libraries, 151, 154, 170 

Liegnitz, battle of, 288, 289, 433 

Life, beginnings of, the Record of the Rocks, 
11 et seq.; progressive nature of, 16; of 
what it consists, 16; theory of Natural 
Selection, 18; a teachable type: advent 
of, 39 

Lincoln, Abraham, 385, 386, 388, 389, 435; 
assassination of, 389 



Linen, 102 

Lions, 42, 127 

Lisbon, 294, 315, 329 

Literary criticism, evolution of, 205 

Literature, European, 298 

Literature, pre-historic, 115 

Lizards, 27, 28 

Llamas, 42 

Lob Nor, 300 

Lochau, battle of, 313 

Locke, John, 371 

Logic, science of, 144 

Lombard kingdom, 259 

Lombards, 431 

Lombardy, 432 

London, 294, 413 

Lopez de Recalde, Inigo, 308. (See also 

Ignatius of Loyola) 
Lorraine, 391 
Louis XIV, 324, 433 
Louis XV, 434 
Louis XVI, 342, 343, 434 
Louis XVIII, 350, 434 
Louis Philippe, 350, 434 
Louis the Pious, 265, 432 
Louisiana, 336, 385 
Lu, state of, 170 
Lucretius, 294 
Lucullus, 192 
Lunar month, 68 
Lung, the, 24 

Luther, Martin, 306, 310, 433 
Luxembourg, 351 
Luxor, 101 
Lvoff, Prince, 416 
Lyceum, Athens, 142, M4 
Lydia, 98, 134 
Lydians, 94 
Lyons, 345 


MACAO, 329 

Macaulay, Lord, 187 

Maccabeans, 184 

Macedonia and Macedonians, 181, 135, 139, 

145, 179, 292, 350 
Machinery, 322, 356 
Madeira, 122, 302 
Madras, 163 

Magellan, Ferdinand, 302 
Magic, 172 

Magna Grsecia, 129, 178 
Magnesia, battle of, 183 
Magyars, 263, 264, 270, 289 
Mahaffy, Professor, 151 
Maine, 336, 339 
Majuba Hill, battle of, 398 
Malta, 393, 407 
Mammals, the earliest, 33; viviparous, 33; 

egg-laying, 34; the Age of, 37 et seq. 

Mammoth, 43, 49 

Man, brotherhood of, 216, 224, 380 

Man, 43; Heidelberg, 45; Eoanthropus, 47; 
Neanderthal, 47, 48 et seq.; earliest 
known, 53 et seq. 

Manchu, 333, 433 

Manchuria, 197, 400, 402, 403, 404 

Mangu Khan, 290, 433 

Mani, 241, 270, 430, 431 

Manichseans, 243, 255 

Mankind, racial divisions of, 54, 71 

Mantua, 345 

Maoris, 71 

Marathon, 136 

Marathon, battle of, 430 

Marchand, Colonel, 398 

Marcus, Aurelius, 174, 430 

Marie Antoinette, 343, 346 

Mariner's compass, 302, 320 

Marius, 191, 192, 237, 430 

"Marriage of East and West," 149 

Mars (planet), 2, 3 

Marseillaise, the, 343, 345 

Marseilles, 129, 182, 312, 345 

Martel, Charles, 259, 432 

Martin V, Pope, 286, 304 

Marx, 376 

Maryland, 337 

Mas d'Azil cave, 57 

Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, 390, 391 

Maximilian I, Emperor, 309, 433 

Maya writing, 74, 75 

Mayence, 265, 344 

Mayflower expedition, 433 

Mazarin, Cardinal, 324 

Mecca, 248, 249, 251, 431 

Mechanical revolution, 356 et seq., 366, 369 

Medes, 100, 108, 109, 115, 122, 134, 155, 
174, 429 

Media, rebellion in, 136 

Median Empire, 109, 110, 112 

Medicine man, the, 64 

Medina, 249 

Mediterranean, 71, 91, 176, 292, 293; val- 
ley, 71 

"Mediterranean" people, pre-Greek, 130 

Megatherium, 74 

Megiddo, battle of, 110, 115, 429 

Melasgird, battle of, 268, 432 

Mentality, primitive, 60 et seq. 

Mercury (planet), 2, 3 

Mesopotamia, 77, 80, 96, 100, 109, 127, 174, 
267, 290, 299 

Mesozoic period, 27; land life of, 28; sea 
life of, 30; scarcity of bird and mam- 
mal life in, 32, 34; its difference from 
Cainozoic period, 38 

Messina, 179, 180 

Messina, Straits of, 179 

Metallurgy, 356, 359, 360 



Metals, transmutation of, 257 

Meteoric iron, 80, 94 

Metz, 391 

Mexico, 74, 76, 314, 321, 384, 385, 389, 390 

Michael VII, Emperor, 268 

Michael VIII. (See Palseologus) 

Microscope, 355 

Midianites, 117 

Milan, 227, 235, 309, 312, 351 

Miletus, 129 

Millipedes, 23 

Milton, 129 

Ming dynasty, 290, 333, 433 

Mining, 335 

Minnesota, 385 

Minos, 92, 95, 127, 131 

Missionaries, 236, 247, 380, 400, 431 

Mississippi (state), 385 

Mississippi River, 386 

Missouri, 382 

Mithraism, 211, 212, 213, 222, 431 

Mithras, 211, 213 

Mnemonics, Chinese and Peruvian method 

of, 76 

Moabites, 117 
Moawija, Caliph, 431 
Mogul dynasty, 292, 433 
Moluccas, 329 
Monarchy, 323, 341, 347 
Monasticism, 213, 236 
Money, 114, 176, 201, 319 
Mongol conquests, influence of, 298 
Mongol Court, the, 299 
Mongol Empire, 332 
Mongolia, 197 
Mongolian language, 108 
Mongolian peoples, 72, 73, 88, 167, 197, 227, 

232, 233 et seq., 245, 258, 287 et seq., 

298, 320, 333, 334, 400, 433 
Mongoloid tribes, 69 
Monkeys, 43, 45 

Monotheism, 251. (See also Muhammad) 
Monroe doctrine, 349, 389, 396, 423 
Monroe, President, 349 
Montesquieu, 371 
Montgomery, 385 
Month, the lunar, 68 
Moon, the, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 68 
Moorish paper-mills, 297 
More, Sir Thomas, 365, 371 
Morelly, 371 
Morocco, 185, 398 
Mortillet, 57 
Moscow, 293, 434 
Moscow, Grand Duke of, 290 
Moses, 116 -"; 
Moslem Empire, 253 
Moslems, 297, 431, 432 
Moslim, the, 253, 259, 271, 290 
Mososaurs, 29 

Mosses, 23 

Mounds, Neolithic, 70 

Mountains, 197 

Mozambique, 329 

Muehlon, Herr, 424 

Muhammad, prophet, 243, 247, 248 et seq., 

270, 431 

Muhammad II, Sultan, 292, 433 
Mules, 102 
Mummies, 70 
Munitions, 412 
Musk ox, 43 

Mycalse, battle of, 136, 430 
Mycenae, 92, 108 
Mycerinus, 83 
Mylse, battle of, 181, 430 


NABONIDUS, 111, 112 

Nankin, 173 

Naples, 178, 350, 431 

Napoleon Bonaparte, 345, 347, 348, 356, 434 

Napoleon III, 390, 434, 435 

Nasmyth, 359 

Natal, 398 

"National schools," 369 

Natural history, father of, 144 

Natural Selection, theory of, 17 

Nautilus, the pearly, 30 

Navarino, battle of, 353, 434 

Neanderthaler Man, 47, 48 et seq. 

Nebraska, 383 

Nebuchadnezzar II (the Great), 109, 110, 
115, 429 

Nebulae, 4, 5 

Necho II, 109, 110, 115, 122, 147, 429 

Needles, bone, 57 

Negroid tribes, 72, 88 

Nelson, Horatio, 348 

Neolithic age, 59, 65 

Neolithic civilizations, primitive, 71 et seq. 

Neptune (planet), 2, 3 

Nero, 195, 430 

Nestorian missionaries, 431. (Cf. Mission- 

Netherlands, 259, 309, 351 

Neustria, 431 

Neva, 327 

New Assyrian Empire, 97 

New Atlantis, The, 322, 355 

New England, 335, 337 

New Mexico, 386 

New Plymouth, 433 

Newts, 24 

New York, 358, 434 

New Zealand, 322, 396, 405 

Newfoundland, 405 

Niceea, 268, 270 

Nicsea, Council of, 431 

Nicephorus, Emperor, 432 



Nicholas I, Tsar, 351, 390, 434 

Nicholas II, Tsar, 416 

Nickel, 360 

Nicomedia, 227 

Nieuw Amsterdam. 434. (Cf. New York) 

Nile, 83, 100, 129, 398; valley, 90, 429 

Nile, battle of the, 434 

Nineveh, 94, 97, 101, 109, 114, 243, 429, 431 

Nippur, 78 

Nirvana, 161 

Nish, 227 

Noah's Ark, 91 

Nogaret, Guillaume de, 284 

Nomadic peoples, primitive, 84 et seq. (Cf. 

Nomads, 122, 155, 167, 168, 174, 198-200, 

233-34, 245, 287, 334 
Nonconformity, 307, 308 
Nordic race, 72, 88, 104, 108, 134, 154, 155, 

174, 178, 185, 197, 200, 233, 258, 261 
Normandy, 263, 342, 432 
Normandy, Duke of, 266 
Normans, 263, 266, 279, 302 
Northmen, 263, 264, 266, 268, 432 
Norway, 306, 313, 432 
Norwegians, 351 
Novgorod. 294, 432 
Nubians, 238 
Numerals, Arabic, 282 
Numidia, 191 
Numidians, 182 
Nuremberg, 294 
Nuremberg, Peace of, 313 


OCEAN dredgings, deepest, 4 
Ocean liners, 322, 336 
Octavian. (See Augustus) 
Odenathus of Palmyra, 431 
Odoacer, 236, 431 
Odyssey, 127 

Ogdai Khan, 287, 289, 432 
Oglethorpe, 336 
Okapi, 397 
"Old Man." 372, 373 
Old Testament, 115, 116 
Olympiad, first, 176, 429 
Olympian games, 131 
Olympias, Queen, 146 
Omar, Caliph, 431 
Open-hearth process, 359 
Orange River, 398 
"Ordinance of secession," 385 
Oregon, 385 
Organic Evolution, 16 
Ormuz, 299 
Orsini family, 284 
Orthodoxy, 240 
Osiris, 209, 210, 211 

Ostrogoths, 227, 431 

Othman, 432 

Otho, 430 

Otto I, King of Germany, 265, 432 

Otto of Bavaria, Prince, 354 

Ottoman Empire, 292. (See also Turkey, 

Oudh, 394 

Ownership, 373, 374, 375 
Oxen, 49, 104, 112 
Oxford, 295 

PADUA, 235 

Paestum, 176 

Palseologus, Michael (Michael VIII), 283 

Palaeolithic age, 13, 59, 66 (note) 

Palermo, 181 

Palestine, 290, 299 

Pamirs, 196, 300 

Panama, 385 

Panama, Isthmus of, 314 

Pan Chau, 197, 430 

Panipat, battle of, 433 

Pannonia, 203, 229, 232, 234, 431 

Papacy (including Popes), 237, 261, 265, 277 

et seq., 329 et seq., 343 
Papal schism (the Great Schism), 285, 304, 


Paper, 153, 236, 255, 297, 320, 322 
Papyrus, 78, 153 
Parables, 216 
Paradise Losi, 129 
Parchment, 153 
Paris, 294, 295, 342, 350, 356, 390, 391, 412, 

413, 415, 435 
Paris, Peace of, 338, 434 
Parthian dynasty, 202 
Parthians, 155, 192, 194, 198, 199, 245 
Passau, Treaty of, 314 
Patricians, Roman, 176, 188 
Paul, St., 202, 223 
Pa via, siege of, 312 
Peace Conference, Dr. Dillon's, 424 
Peasant revolts, 305, 310 
Peculium, 206 
Pedro I, 340 
Pegu, 300 

Pekin, 173, 287, 300, 383, 400, 432 
Peloponnesian War, 139, 145, 430 
Pentateuch, the, 116 
"People's crusade," the, 270, 432. (Cf. 

Pepi II, 83 
Pepin I, 259 
Pepin of Hersthal, 431 
Pergamum, 154, 180, 183, 430 
Pericles, 139, 140 
Perry, Commodore, 402 
Persepolis, 114, 148, 155 



Persia, 77, 134 et seq., 165, 185, 192, 227, 243, 
253, 255, 287, 399, 409, 430, 431 

Persian Empire, 112, 134, 238, 429 

Persian Gulf, 77, 78, 91, 299 

Persian language, 95 

Persians, 100, 108, 109, 115, 155, 174, 431 

Peru, 74, 75, 314, 321 

Pestilence, 305, 320, 334, 413, 430, 431, 433 

Peter the Great, 327, 434 

Peter the Hermit, 269, 270 

Peterhof, 327 

Petersburg, 327, 419. (See also Petrograd) 

Petrograd, 416, 417. (See also Petersburg) 

Petschenegs, 268 

Phalanx, 145, 178 

Pharaohs, the, 90, 96, 119, 131, 150, 186 

Pharsalos, 430 

Philadelphia, 358, 434 

Philip, Duke of Orleans, 350 

Philip, King of France, 285 

Philip II, King of Spain, 314, 324 

Philip of Hesse, 313 

Philip of Macedon, 145, 146, 430 

Philippine Islands, 302, 393, 400 

Philistines, 100, 117 

Philosopher's stone, 257 

Philosophers and Philosophy, 133, 139, 152, 
168, 239, 294, 295 

Phoenicians, 92, 94, 107, 123, 147 

Phcenix, steamship, 358 

Phrygians, 100, 108 

Physiocrats, 371 

Picture writing, 56, 57, 78, 79, 167 

Piedmont, 345 

Pirates and Piracy, 92, 179, 180, 200, 263 

Pithecanthropus erectus, 45 

Pizarro, 314 

Plague. (See Pestilence) 

Planetoids, 2 

Planets, 2 

Plant lice, 13 

Plants, 22, 23, 36 

Platea, battle of, 136, 430 

Plato, 140, 142, 144, 170, 370-71 

Platypus, duck-billed, 34 

Plebeians, Roman, 176, 177, 187-88 

Plesiosaurs, 29, 30, 36 

Poison-gas, 413 

Poitiers, 432 

Poitiers, battle of, 253, 259 

Poland, 288, 327, 353, 434 

Poles, 288, 419 

Political experiment, age of, 318 et seq. 

Political ideas, development of, 370 et seq. 

Political science, founder of, 144 

Political worship, 412 

Polo, Marco, 299-300 

Polynesian races, 71 

Pompey the Great, 192, 193, 196, 198, 430 

Pontifex maximus, 237, 261 

Popes. (See Papacy) 

Population, 379, 383 

Port Arthur, 400, 403 

Portugal, 340, 394, 396, 431 

Portuguese, 302, 329, 332, 400 

Porus, King, 149 

Potato, 76 

Potsdam, 327 

Pottery, 75, 87 

Prague, 433 

Prescott, 314 

Priestcraft (including Priests), 64, 68, 69, 74, 

75, 77, 83, 111, 114 et seq., 122, 131, 

132, 167, 174, 275, 277 
Primal Law, 61 

Primates, 43. (Cf. Mammalia) 
Printing, 80, 153, 247, 255, 298, 302, 305, 

306, 320, 322, 329 
Priscus, 234 

Property, 274, 372, 374, 375 
Prophet, Muhammad as, 249 
Prophets, Jewish, 118, 122 et seq. 
Proprietorship, 373 
Protestantism, 316, 324, 327, 351, 400 
Proverbs, book of, 116 
Prussia, 327, 348, 351, 390, 391, 392, 434, 


Prussia, East, 412, 415 
Psalms, 116 

Psammetichus I, 109, 429 
Psycho-analysis, 60 
Pterodactyls, 28, 29, 31, 36 
Ptolemy I, 149, 150, 151, 186, 211 
Ptolemy II, 151, 186 
Punic language, 203 
Punic Wars, 180 et sec/, 187, 188, 430 
Punjab, 163, 199 
Puritans, 335 
Pygmies, 397 
Pyramids, 69, 83, 100 
Pyrenees, 253, 432 
Pyrrhus, 178, 179, 430 

QUEBEC, 434 
Quinqueremes, 180 
Quixada, 314 



RACES of mankind, 71 et seq. 

Railways, 322, 350, 356, 357, 382, 383, 384, 

389, 395, 396, 409, 434 
Rain, 9, 10 

Rameses II, 96, 147, 429 
Rasputin, 415, 416 
Ratisbon, Diet of, 313 
Ravenna, 431 
Reading, 176 
Rebus, 79 
Red deer, 56 



Red Sea, 91, 118, 122, 196 

Reformation, the, 308 

Reindeer, 43, 49, 51, 56, 73 

Religion, and the creation of the world, 1; 

and organic evolution, 16; primitive, 

61, 64 
Religions, 172, 222 et seq., 240 et seq., 319. 

(Cf. Buddhism, Christianity, etc.) 
Religious developments under the Roman 

Empire, 208 et seq. 

Religious wars, 270, 304, 313. (Cf. Cru- 
Reptiles, the age of, 26 et seq.; mental life 

of, 38 

Reproduction, 17 et seq. 
Republic, Plato's, 142 
Republic, the Assimilative, 187 
Republics, 187 et seq., 236, 308, 324, 328, 340, 

343, 344, 416, 433, 434, 435 
Republicans, the first, 131 
Retreat of the Ten Thousand, 150 
Revolution, 342 et seq., 349 el seq., 390, 404, 

416, 435 
Rhine, 200, 227 
Rhine languages, 236 
Rhineland, 270, 306 
Rhinoceros, 43, 49 
Rhodes, 108 
Rhodesia, 407 
Rhodesian man, 52 
Richelieu, Cardinal, 324 
Richmond, U.S.A., 386, 388, 389 
Roads, 114, 187 
Robertson, 316 
Robespierre, 345, 346, 434 
Robinson, J. H., 284 
"Rocket," Stephenson's, 356 
Rock pictures, 57, 78 
Rocks as record of beginnings of life, 11 et 



Sabre-toothed tiger, 43 

Sacrifice, 102, 103, 167, 174, 182, 186, 211, 

212. (Cf. also Blood sacrifice, Human 

Sagas, 106 
Saghalien, 404 
Sailing ships, 91, 336 
St. Angelo, castle of, 312 
St. Helena, 407 
St. Sophia, church of, 238 
Saladin, 272, 432 
Salamis, battle of, 180, 430 
Salamis, bay of, 136 
Salerno, 282 
Samarkand, 256, 297 
Samnites, 430 
Samos, 129 

Samson, 116 

Samurai, 401 

San Francisco, 383 

Sandstones, 26 

Sanskrit, 95, 107, 156 

Sapor I, 430 

Saracens, 264, 265, 297 

Saratoga, 338 

Sardanapalus (Assurbanipal), 98, 109, 111 

Sardinia, 182, 185, 232, 309, 351, 390 

Sardis, 98 

Sargon I, 90, 92, 109, 122, 429 

Sargon II, 97, 109, 429 

Sarmatians, 100 

Sassanid dynasty, 227, 241, 430 

Saturn (planet), 2, 3 

Saul, King of Israel, 118, 429 

Saul of Tarsus. (See Paul, St.) 

Savannah, steamship, 358 

Savoy, 334, 351, 390 

Saxons, 230, 265 

Saxony, Elector of, 310 

Scandinavians, 329 

Scarabeus beetle, 209 

Scheldt, 344 

Schmalkaldic League, 312 

Science, 144 

Science and religion, 243 

Science, exploitation of, 362 

Science, physical, 412 

Scientific societies, 322 

Scipio Africanus, 182, 187 

Scorpion, sea, 13, 18, 23 

Scotland, 306, 307 

Scott, Michael, 282 

Scythia, 429 

Scythians, 100, 108, 134, 135 

Sea trade, 91 
Sea worms, 13 
Seasons, the, 68 
Seaweed, 13 
Sedan, 391 

Seed-bearing trees, 26 
Seleucid dynasty, 183, 186, 196, 199 
Seleucus I, 149, 163 
Seljuks, 267, 268, 272, 432 
Semites and Semitic peoples, 88, 89, 91, 92, 
94, 107, 115, 122, 134, 174, 233, 256, 

Semitic language, 202, 243 
Sennacherib, 97 
Serapeum, 211, 213 
Serapis, 211, 212 

Serbia, 179, 200, 227, 228, 292, 354, 411 
Serfdom, 207 
Seven Years' War, 434 
Severus, Septimius, 202 
Seville, 202, 213, 302 
Shang dynasty, 103, 168 
Sheep, 77 



Shell necklaces, 56 

Shellfish, 13 

Shells, as protection against drying, 18 

Sherman, General, 387, 388 

Shi-Hwang-ti, 173, 180, 430 

Shimonoseki, Straits of, 402 

Shipbuilding, 359, 360, 400 

Ships, 91, 119, 122, 149, 180, 196, 320, 322, 


Shishak, 119 
Shrubs, 36 
Shumanism, 298 
Siam, 166 
Siberia, 334 
Siberia, Eastern, 419 
Siberian railway, 403, 409 
Sicilies, Two, 287 
Sicily, 108, 122, 129, 134, 178, 179, 182, 185, 

188, 232, 263, 279, 280 
Sidon, 92, 122, 123, 134, 147 
Silurian system, 19 
Silver, 80, 102, 335 
Sind, 394 
Sirmium, 227 
Skins, use of: for clothing, 56; for writing, 

75; inflated, as boats, 91 
Skull, Rhodesian, 52 
Slavery (and slaves), 94, 102, 188, 191, 194, 

203 et seq., 236, 320, 337, 373, 374, 384- 

386, 388, 430, 433 
Slavonic language, 236 
Slavs, 263, 265 
Smelting, 87, 104, 322 
Smith, Adam, 377 
Smith, Eliot, 69 
Snakes, 27, 28 
Social reform, 125 
Socialism, 371, 416, 417, 434 
Socialists, 375 et seq. 
Socialists, primitiv? 374 
Society, primitive, 60 
Socrates, 140 

Solomon, King, 119, 122, 127, 429 
Solomon's temple, 119 
Sophists, 140 
Sophocles, 139 
South Carolina, 385 
Soviets, 417 

Space, the world in, 1 ct seq. 
Spain, 93, 106, 122, 123, 180, 185, 230, 232, 

236, 253, 255, 256, 258, 309, 348, 349, 

350, 393, 429, 431; relics of first true 

man in, 53 
Spain, North, 431 
Spanish, 329, 331 
Spanish language, 203 
Sparta, 129, 130, 136, 203 
Spartacus, 191, 192, 203, 430 
Spartans, 136 
Species, generation of, 17; new, 3,6 

Speech, primitive human, 63 

Spiders, 23 

Spiral nebulae, 5 

Spores, 24 

Stagira, 142 

Stamford Bridge, battle of, 266 

Stars, 68, 257 

State, modern idea of a, 375 

State ownership, 374 

States General, the, 341, 434 

Steamboat, 340, 357 et seq., 374, 382, 395, 


Steam engine, 151, 152, 359 
Steam hammer, 359 
Steam power, 322 
Steel, 322, 359-60 
Stephenson, George, 356 
Stilicho, 230, 234, 431 
Stockholm, 417 
Stockton, 356, 434 
Stone age, 53, 59 
Stone implements, 45, 65 
Stonehenge, 106, 429 
Story-telling, primitive, 62 
Styria, 309 

Submarine campaign, 423 
Subutai, 289 
Sudan, the, 405 
Suevi, 431 

Suleiman the Magnificent, 310, 312, 432, 433 
Sulla, 192, 237 
Sumeria and Sumerians, 77, 78 et seq., 87, 

88, 90, 91, 122 
Sumerian Empire, 429 
Sumerian language and writing, 77, 78, 79 
Sun, the, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 
Sun worship, 211 
Sung dynasty, 290 
Susa, 114, 135, 148, 149, 155 
Suy dynasty, 245 
Swastika, 70 
Sweden, 306, 313, 348 
Swedes, 326, 329, 330, 351 
Swimming bladder, 24 
Switzerland, 327, 347, 350, 433 
Syracuse, 151, 154, 170, 178 
Syria, 88, 91, 115, 119, 122, 138, 238, 243, 

249, 290, 431 
Syrians, 96, 98 


Tabus, the, 61 

Tadpoles, 26 

Tagus valley, 314 

Tai-Tsung, 247, 431 

Tang dynasty, 200, 245, 247, 287, 431 

"Tanks," 413 

Taoism, 174, 222. (See also Lao Tse) 

Taranto, 178 

Tarentum, 178 



Tarim valley, 430 

Tartars, 167, 197, 232, 243, 288, 290, 334 

Tasmania, 59, 322, 393 

Tattooing, 70 

Taxation, 274, 337 

Tea, 247, 337 

Teeth, 19, 20 

Telamon, battle of, 182 

Telegraph, electric, 340, 358, 382, 384, 396 

Telescope, 355 

Temples, 77, 83, 101, 129, 131, 167, 174, 

184, 186, 208, 211, 212, 213, 240 
Tennessee, 386 
Testament, Old, 115, 116 
Teutons, 431 
Texas, 384, 385 
Texel, 344 
Thales, 131, 161 
Thebes, 101, 102, 129, 136 
Theocrasia, 209 
Theodora, Empress, 238 
Theodoric the Goth, 236, 431 
Theodosius II, 234, 238 
Theodosius the Great, 226, 229, 431 
Thermopylae, battle of, 136, 430 
Thessaly, 145, 178 
Thirty Years' War, 326 
Thothmes III, 96, 127, 147, 429 
Thought and research, 140 
Thought, primitive, 60 et seq. 
Thrace, 135 

Three Estates, council of the, 285 
Three Teachings, the, 170 
Tiberius Caesar, 195, 214, 430 
Tibet, 196, 400 
Tides, 18 
Tigers, 42, 43 
Tiglath Pileser I, 97, 429 
Tiglath Pileser III, 97, 108, 109, 429 
Tigris, 77, 84 
Time, 5, 6 
Timor, 329 
Timurlane, 290, 334 
Tin, 360 
Tiryns, 108 

Titanotherium, the, 39, 42 
Tonkin, 402 
Tortoises, 27, 28 
Toulon, 345 
Trade, early, 83, 88 
Trade, Grecian, 129 
Trade routes, 119 
Traders, 122, 335 
Traders, sea, 92 
Trafalgar, battle of, 348 
Trajan, 195, 430 
Transport, 319, 358, 382 
Transvaal, 398 
Transylvania, 195 
Trasimere, Lake, 182 

Trench warfare, 412 

Trevithick, 356 

Tribal life, 61 

Trilobites, 13 

Trinidad, 407 

Trinil, Java, 45 

Trinitarians, 224 

Trinity, doctrine of the, 224, 261 

Triremes, 180 

Triumvirates, 194 

Trojans, 94 

Troy, 92, 127 

Troyes, battle of, 235, 431 

Tsar, title of, 327 

Tshushima, Straits of, 404 

Ts'i, 173 

Ts'in, 173, 431 

Tuileries, 342, 343 

Tunis, 185 

Turkestan, 77, 108, 148, 196, 197, 198, 199, 

245, 253, 287, 290, 292, 334 
Turkey, 390, 411 
Turkoman dynasty, 405 
Turkomans, 334 
Turks, 167, 197, 243, 245, 263, 267, 287, 292, 

310, 312, 334, 353, 354, 434 
Turtles, 27, 28 

Tushratta, king of Mitanni, 97 
Twelve tribes, the, 116 
Tyrannosaurus, 28 
Tyre, 92, 118, 119, 122, 123, 134, 147 



Uncleanness, 68 

United States, 357, 410, 411, 422, 434; Dec- 
laration of Independence, 338; treaty 
with Britain, 339; expansion of, 382 et 

Universities, 295, 304, 355, 361 

Uranus, 2, 3 

Urban II, Pope, 268, 272, 432 

Urban VI, Pope, 285, 433 

Utopias, 140, 142, 144 

VALENS, Emperor, 229 

Valerian, 430 

Valladolid, 314, 315, 316 

Valmy, battle of, 434 

Vandals, 227, 229, 230, 232, 431 

Varennes, 343, 434 

Vassalage, 259 

Vatican, 265, 266, 272, 285 

Vedas, 106 

Vegetation of Mesozoic period, 28 

Veii, 177, 178 

Vendee, 345 

Venetia, 235 


Venetians, 301 

Venice, 235, 272, 274, 294, 327, 351, 432 

Venus (goddess), 213 

Venus (planet), 2, 3 

Verona, 345 

Versailles, 325, 327, 341, 342 

Versailles, Peace Conference of, 421 

Versailles, Treaty of, 421, 422 

Vertebrata, 19; ancestors of, 20 

Verulam, Lord. (See Bacon, Sir Francis) 

Vespasian, 430 

Vesuvius, 191 

Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy, 435 

Victoria, Queen, 394, 434 

Vienna, 292, 312, 433, 434 

Vienna, Congress of, 348, 349, 350 

Vienna, Treaty of, 355 

Vilna, 356 

Vindhya Mountains, 159 

Virginia, 337, 383, 386 

Visigoths, 227, 229, 232, 235, 259, 431. (Of. 

Vitellus, 430 
Vittoria, ship, 302 
Viviparous mammals, 33 
Vivisection, Herophilus and, 151 
Volcanoes, 37 
Volga, 200, 227 
Volta, 358 
Voltaire, 328 
Votes, 382 


WALDENSES, 276, 280, 305 

Waldo, 276 

Walid I, 432 

War and Warfare, 96, 344, 390, 422 

War of American Independence, 338 et seq. 

Warsaw, 353 

Washington, 340, 357, 383, 386, 389 

Washington, Conference of, 425 

Washington, George, 338 

Waterloo, battle of, 348 

Watt engine, 356 

Weapons, 100, 106 

Weaving, 65, 75 

Wei-hai-wei, 400 

Wellington, Duke of, 348 

West Indies, 330, 385, 393, 394 

Western Empire, 431 

Westminster, 306 

Westphalia, Peace of, 326, 355, 433 

Wheat, 66, 104 

White Huns. (See Ephthalites) 

William Duke of Normandy (William I), 432 

William II, German Emperor, 410, 435 

Wilson, President, 422, 423, 424 

Wings, birds', 32 

Wisby, 294 

Wisconsin, 385 

"Wisdom lovers," the first, 133 

Witchcraft, 68 

Wittenberg, 306 

Wolfe, General, 434 

Wolsey, Cardinal, 324 

Wood blocks for printing, 247 

Wool, 102, 395 

Workers' Internationals, 377 

World, The, creation of, 1 ; in time, 5 et seq. 

Wrangel, General, 419 

Writing, 74, 77, 78, 79, 80, 94, 124, 176; 

dawn of, 57 
Wycliffe, John, and his followers, 286, 304, 




Xenophon, 150 

Xerxes, 136, 138, 147, 150 


Yang-tse-Kiang, 173 

Yangtse valley, 173 

Yarmuk, battle of, the, 253, 431 

Yedo Bay, 401 

Yorktown, 338 

Yuan dynasty, 290, 433 

Yucatan, 74 

Yudenitch, General, 419 

Yuste, 314, 317 

ZAMA, battle of, 182, 430 

Zanzibar, 329 

Zarathushtra, 241 

Zeppelins, 413 

Zero sign, 257 

Zeus, 211 

Zimbabwe, 397 

Zoophytes, fossilized, 13 

Zoroaster (and Zoroastrianism), 241, 243, 255 


Veils, Herbert George 

A short history of the