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THE STORY OF MANKIND
BY HENDRIK VAN LOON, PH.D.
Professor of the Social Sciences in Antioch College.
Author of The Fall of the Dutch Republic, The Rise of the Dutch
Kingdom, The Golden Book of the Dutch Navigators,
A Short Story of Discovery, Ancient Man.

Frontispiece caption =
THE SCENE OF OUR HISTORY IS LAID UPON A LITTLE PLANET,
LOST IN THE VASTNESS OF THE UNIVERSE.

THE STORY OF MANKIND
BY HENDRIK VAN LOON

To JIMMIE
``What is the use of a book without pictures?'' said Alice.

FOREWORD

For Hansje and Willem:

WHEN I was twelve or thirteen years old, an uncle of
mine who gave me my love for books and pictures promised
to take me upon a memorable expedition. I was to go with
him to the top of the tower of Old Saint Lawrence in Rotterdam.

And so, one fine day, a sexton with a key as large as that
of Saint Peter opened a mysterious door. ``Ring the bell,''
he said, ``when you come back and want to get out,'' and with
a great grinding of rusty old hinges he separated us from the
noise of the busy street and locked us into a world of new and
strange experiences.

For the first time in my life I was confronted by the phenomenon
of audible silence. When we had climbed the first
flight of stairs, I added another discovery to my limited
knowledge of natural phenomena--that of tangible darkness. A
match showed us where the upward road continued. We went
to the next floor and then to the next and the next until I had
lost count and then there came still another floor, and suddenly
we had plenty of light. This floor was on an even height with
the roof of the church, and it was used as a storeroom. Covered
with many inches of dust, there lay the abandoned symbols
of a venerable faith which had been discarded by the good
people of the city many years ago. That which had meant life
and death to our ancestors was here reduced to junk and rub-
bish. The industrious rat had built his nest among the carved
images and the ever watchful spider had opened up shop between
the outspread arms of a kindly saint.

The next floor showed us from where we had derived our
light. Enormous open windows with heavy iron bars made
the high and barren room the roosting place of hundreds of
pigeons. The wind blew through the iron bars and the air was
filled with a weird and pleasing music. It was the noise of the
town below us, but a noise which had been purified and cleansed
by the distance. The rumbling of heavy carts and the clinking
of horses' hoofs, the winding of cranes and pulleys, the hissing
sound of the patient steam which had been set to do the work
of man in a thousand different ways--they had all been
blended into a softly rustling whisper which provided a beautiful
background for the trembling cooing of the pigeons.

Here the stairs came to an end and the ladders began. And
after the first ladder (a slippery old thing which made one feel
his way with a cautious foot) there was a new and even greater
wonder, the town-clock. I saw the heart of time. I could hear
the heavy pulsebeats of the rapid seconds--one--two--three--
up to sixty. Then a sudden quivering noise when all the wheels
seemed to stop and another minute had been chopped off eternity.
Without pause it began again--one--two--three--until
at last after a warning rumble and the scraping of many wheels
a thunderous voice, high above us, told the world that it was
the hour of noon.

On the next floor were the bells. The nice little bells and
their terrible sisters. In the centre the big bell, which made
me turn stiff with fright when I heard it in the middle of the
night telling a story of fire or flood. In solitary grandeur it
seemed to reflect upon those six hundred years during which
it had shared the joys and the sorrows of the good people of
Rotterdam. Around it, neatly arranged like the blue jars in
an old-fashioned apothecary shop, hung the little fellows, who
twice each week played a merry tune for the benefit of the
country-folk who had come to market to buy and sell and hear
what the big world had been doing. But in a corner--all alone
and shunned by the others--a big black bell, silent and stern,
the bell of death.

Then darkness once more and other ladders, steeper and
even more dangerous than those we had climbed before, and
suddenly the fresh air of the wide heavens. We had reached
the highest gallery. Above us the sky. Below us the city--
a little toy-town, where busy ants were hastily crawling hither
and thither, each one intent upon his or her particular business,
and beyond the jumble of stones, the wide greenness of the
open country.

It was my first glimpse of the big world.

Since then, whenever I have had the opportunity, I have
gone to the top of the tower and enjoyed myself. It was hard
work, but it repaid in full the mere physical exertion of climbing
a few stairs.

Besides, I knew what my reward would be. I would see the
land and the sky, and I would listen to the stories of my kind
friend the watchman, who lived in a small shack, built in a
sheltered corner of the gallery. He looked after the clock
and was a father to the bells, and he warned of fires, but he
enjoyed many free hours and then he smoked a pipe and
thought his own peaceful thoughts. He had gone to school almost
fifty years before and he had rarely read a book, but he
had lived on the top of his tower for so many years that he had
absorbed the wisdom of that wide world which surrounded him
on all sides.

History he knew well, for it was a living thing with him.
``There,'' he would say, pointing to a bend of the river, ``there,
my boy, do you see those trees? That is where the Prince of
Orange cut the dikes to drown the land and save Leyden.''
Or he would tell me the tale of the old Meuse, until the broad
river ceased to be a convenient harbour and became a wonderful
highroad, carrying the ships of De Ruyter and Tromp upon
that famous last voyage, when they gave their lives that the
sea might be free to all.

Then there were the little villages, clustering around the
protecting church which once, many years ago, had been the
home of their Patron Saints. In the distance we could see the
leaning tower of Delft. Within sight of its high arches,
William the Silent had been murdered and there Grotius had
learned to construe his first Latin sentences. And still further
away, the long low body of the church of Gouda, the early home
of the man whose wit had proved mightier than the armies of
many an emperor, the charity-boy whom the world came to
know as Erasmus.

Finally the silver line of the endless sea and as a contrast,
immediately below us, the patchwork of roofs and chimneys
and houses and gardens and hospitals and schools and railways,
which we called our home. But the tower showed us
the old home in a new light. The confused commotion of the
streets and the market-place, of the factories and the workshop,
became the well-ordered expression of human energy
and purpose. Best of all, the wide view of the glorious past,
which surrounded us on all sides, gave us new courage to face
the problems of the future when we had gone back to our daily
tasks.

History is the mighty Tower of Experience, which Time
has built amidst the endless fields of bygone ages. It is no easy
task to reach the top of this ancient structure and get the benefit
of the full view. There is no elevator, but young feet are
strong and it can be done.

Here I give you the key that will open the door.

When you return, you too will understand the reason for
my enthusiasm.
HENDRIK WILLEM VAN LOON.

CONTENTS

1. THE SETTING OF THE STAGE
2. OUR EARLIEST ANCESTORS
3. PREHISTORIC MAX BEGINS TO MAKE THINGS FOR HIMSELF
4. THE EGYPTIANS INVENT THE ART OF WRITING AND THE RECORD
OF HISTORY BEGINS
5. THE BEGINNING OF CIVILISATION IN THE VALLEY OF THE NILE
6. THE RISE AND FALL OF EGYPT
7. MESOPOTAMIA, THE SECOND CENTRE OF EASTERN CIVILISATION
8. THE SUMERIAN NAIL WRITERS, WHOSE CLAY TABLETS TELL US
THE STORY OF ASSYRIA AND BABYLONIA, THE GREAT SEMITIC
MELTING-POT
9. THE STORY OF MOSES, THE LEADER OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
10. THE PHOENICIANS, WHO GAVE US OUR ALPHABET
11. THE INDO-EUROPEAN PERSIANS CONQUER THE SEMITIC AND THE
EGYPTIAN WORLD
12. THE PEOPLE OF THE AEGEAN SEA CARRIED THE CIVILISATION
OF OLD ASIA INTO THE WILDERNESS OF EUROPE
13. MEANWHILE THE INDO-EUROPEAN TRIBE OF THE HELLENES WAS
TAKING POSSESSION OF GREECE
14. THE GREEK CITIES THAT WERE REALLY STATES
15. THE GREEKS WERE THE FIRST PEOPLE TO TRY THE DIFFICULT
EXPERIMENT OF SELF-GOVERNMENT
16. HOW THE GREEKS LIVED
17. THE ORIGINS OF THE THEATRE, THE FIRST FORM OF PUBLIC
AMUSEMENT
18. HOW THE GREEKS DEFENDED EUROPE AGAINST AN ASIATIC INVASION AND
DROVE THE PERSIANS BACK ACROSS THE AEGEAN SEA
19. HOW ATHENS AND SPARTA FOUGHT A LONG AND DISASTROUS WAR
FOR THE LEADERSHIP OF GREECE
20. ALEXANDER THE MACEDONIAN ESTABLISHES A GREEK WORLD
EMPIRE, AND WHAT BECAME OF THIS HIGH AMBITION
21. A SHORT SUMMARY OF CHAPTERS 1 TO 20
22. THE SEMITIC COLONY OF CARTHAGE ON THE NORTHERN COAST OF
AFRICA AND THE INDO-EUROPEAN CITY OF ROME ON THE WEST
COAST OF ITALY FOUGHT EACH OTHER FOR THE POSSESSION OF
THE WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN AND CARTHAGE WAS DESTROYED
23. HOW ROME HAPPENED
24. HOW THE REPUBLIC OF ROME, AFTER CENTURIES OF UNREST AND
REVOLUTION, BECAME AN EMPIRE
25. THE STORY OF JOSHUA OF NAZARETH, WHOM THE GREEKS CALLED
JESUS
26. THE TWILIGHT OF ROME
27. HOW ROME BECAME THE CENTRE OF THE CHRISTIAN WORLD
28. AHMED, THE CAMEL DRIVER, WHO BECAME THE PROPHET OF THE
ARABIAN DESERT, AND WHOSE FOLLOWERS ALMOST CONQUERED
THE ENTIRE KNOWN WORLD FOR THE GREATER GLORY OF
ALLAH, THE ``ONLY TRUE GOD''
29. HOW CHARLEMAGNE, THE KING OF THE ~ RANKS, CAME TO BEAR
THE TITLE OF EMPEROR AND TRIED TO REVIVE THE OLD IDEAL
OF WORLD-EMPIRE
30. WHY THE PEOPLE OF THE TENTH CENTURY PRAYED THE LORD
TO PROTECT THEM FROM THE FURY OF THE NORSEMEN
31. HOW CENTRAL EUROPE, ATTACKED FROM THREE SIDES, BECAME
AN ARMED CAMP AND WHY EUROPE WOULD HAVE PERISHED
WITHOUT THOSE PROFESSIONAL SOLDIERS AND ADMINISTRATORS
WHO WERE PART OF THE FEUDAL SYSTEM
32. CHIVALRY
33. THE STRANGE DOUBLE LOYALTY OF THE PEOPLE OF THE MIDDLE
AGES, AND HOW IT LED TO ENDLESS QUARRELS BETWEEN THE
POPES AND THE HOLY ROMAN EMPERORS
34. BUT ALL THESE DIFFERENT QUARRELS WERE FORGOTTEN WHEN
THE TURKS TOOK THE HOLY LAND, DESECRATED THE HOLY
PLACES AND INTERFERED SERIOUSLY WITH THE TRADE FROM
EAST TO WEST. EUROPE WENT CRUSADING
35. WHY THE PEOPLE OF THE MIDDLE AGES SAID THAT CITY AIR
IS FREE AIR
36. HOW THE PEOPLE OF THE CITIES ASSERTED THEIR RIGHT
TO BE HEARD IN THE ROYAL COUNCILS OF THEIR COUNTRY
37. WHAT THE PEOPLE OF THE MIDDLE AGES THOUGHT OF THE
WORLD IN WHICH THEY HAPPENED TO LIVE
38. HOW THE CRUSADES ONCE MORE MADE THE MEDITERRANEAN A
BUSY CENTRE OF TBADE AND HOW THE CITIES OF THE ITALIAN
PENINSULA BECAME THE GREAT DISTRIBUTING CENTRE FOR THE
COMMERCE WITH ASIA AND AFRICA
39. PEOPLE ONCE MORE DARED TO BE HAPPY JUST BECAUSE THEY
WERE ALIVE. THEY TRIED TO SAVE THE REMAINS OF THE
OLDER AND MORE AGREEABLE CIVILISATION OF ROME AND
GREECE AND THEY WERE 80 PROUD OF THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS
THAT THEY SPOKE OF A RENAISSANCE OR RE-BIRTH OF
CIVILISATION
40. THE PEOPLE BEGAN TO FEEL THE NEED OF GIVING EXPRESSION
TO THEIR NEWLY DISCOVERED JOY OF LIVING. THEY EXPRESSED
THEIR HAPPINES9 IN POETRY AND IN SCULPTURE AND
IN ARCHITECTURE AND PAINTING, AND IN THE BOOKS THEY
PRINTED
41. BUT NOW THAT PEOPLE HAD BROKEN THROUGH THE BONDS OF
THEIR NARROW ~IEDIIEVAL LIMITATIONS, THEY HAD TO HAVE
MORE ROOM FOR THEIR WANDERINGS. THE EUROPEAN WORLD
HAD GROWN TOO SMALL FOR THEIR AMBITIONS. IT WAS THE
TIME OF THE GREAT VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY
42. CONCERNING BUDDHA AND CONFUCIUS
43. THE PROGRESS OF THE HUMAN RACE IS BEST COMPARED TO A
GIGANTIC PENDULUM WHICH FOREVER SWINGS FORWARD AND
BACKWARD. THE RELIGIOUS INDIFFERENCE AND THE ARTISTIC
AND LITERARY ENTHUSIASM OF THE RENAISSANCE WERE FOLLOWED
BY THE ARTISTIC AND LITERARY INDIFFERENCE AND THE
RELIGIOITS ENTHUSIASM OF THE REFORMATION
44. THE AGE OF THE GREAT RELIGIOUS CONTROVERSIES
45. HOW THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS
AND THE LESS DIVINE BUT MORE REASONABLE RIGHT OF
PARLIAMENT ENDED DISASTROUSLY FOR KING CHARLES II
46. IN FRANCE, ON THE OTHER HAND, THE DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS
CONTINUED WITH GREATER POMP AND SPLENDOR THAN EVER
BEFORE AND THE AMBITION OF THE RULER WAS ONLY TEMPERED
BY THE NEWLY INVENTED LAW OF THE BALANCE OF POWER
47. THE STORY OF THE MYSTERIOUS MUSCOVITE EMPIRE WHICH SUDDENLY
BURST UPON THE GRAND POLITICAL STAGE OF EUROPE
48. RUSSIA AND SWEDEN FOUGHT MANY WARS TO DECIDE WHO
SHALL BE THE LEADING POWER OF NORTHEASTERN EUROPE
49. THE EXTRAORDINARY RISE OF A LITTLE STATE IN A DREARY PART
OF NORTHERN GERMANY, CALLED PRUSSIA
50. HOW THE NEWLY FOUNDED NATIONAL OR DYNASTIC STATES OF
EUROPE TRIED TO MAKE THEMSELVES RICH AND WHAT WAS
MEANT BY THE MERCANTILE SYSTEM
51. AT THE END OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY EUROPE HEARD
STRANGE REPORTS OF SOMETHING WHICH HAD HAPPENED IN
THE WILDERNESS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT. THE
DESCENDANTS OF THE MEN WHO HAD PUNISHED KING CHARLES
FOR HIS INSISTENCE UPON HIS DIVINE RIGHTS ADDED A
NEW CHAPTER TO THE OLD STORY OF THE STRUGGLE FOR SELF-
GOVERNMENT
62. THE GREAT FRENCH REVOLUTION PROCLAIMS THE PRINCIPLES
OF LIBERTY, FRATERNITY AND EQUALITY UNTO All THE PEOPLE
OF THE EARTH
53. NAPOLEON
54. AS SOON AS NAPOLEON HAD BEEN SENT TO ST. HELENA, THE
RULERS WHO SO OFTEN HAD BEEN DEFEATED BY THE HATED
CORSICAN MET AT VIENNA AND TRIED TO UNDO THE MANY
CHANCES WHICH HAD BEEN BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE FRENCH
REVOLUTION
55. THEY TRIED TO ASSURE THE WORLD AN ERA OF UNDISTURBED
PEACE BY SUPPRESSING ALL NEW IDEAS. THEY MADE THE
POLICE-SPY THE HIGHEST FUNCTIONARY IN THE STATE AND
SOON THE PRISONS OF AIL COUNTRIES WERE FILLED WITH
THOSE WHO CLAIMED THAT PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO
GOVERN THEMSELVES AS THEY SEE FIT
56. THE LOVE OF NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE, HOWEVER, WAS TOO
STRONG TO BE DESTROYED IN THIS WAY. THE SOUTH AMERICANS
WERE THE FIRST TO REBEL AGAINST THE REACTIONARY
MEASURES OF THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA. GREECE AND BELGIUM
AND SPAIN AND A LARGE NUMBER OF OTHER COUNTRIES
OF THE EUROPEAN CONTINENT FOLLOWED SUIT AND THE
NINETEENTH CENTURY WAS FILLED WITH THE RUMOR OF MANY
WARS OF INDEPENDENCE
57. BUT WHITE THE PEOPLE OF EUROPE WERE FIGHTING FOR THEIR
NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE, THE WORLD IN WHICH THEY LIVED
HAD BEEN ENTIRELY CHANGED BY A SERIES OF INVENTIONS,
WHICH HAD MADE THE CLUMSY OLD STEAM-ENGINE OF THE
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY THE MOST FAITHFUL AND EFFICIENT
STAVE OF MAN
58. THE NEW ENGINES WERE VERY EXPENSIVE AND ONLY PEOPLE
OF WEALTH COULD AFFORD THEM. THE OLD CARPENTER OR
SHOEMAKER WHO HAD BEEN HIS OWN MASTER IN HIS LITTLE
WORKSHOP WAS OBLIGED TO HIRE HIMSELF OUT TO THE OWNERS
OF THE BIG MECHANICAL TOOLS, AND WHITE HE MADE
MORE MONEY THAN BEFORE, HE LOST HIS FORMER INDEPENDENCE
AND HE DID NOT LIKE THAT
59. THE GENERAL INTRODUCTION OF MACHINERY DID NOT BRING
ABOUT THE ERA OF HAPPINESS AND PROSPERITY WHICH HAD
BEEN PREDICTED BY THE GENERATION WHICH SAW THE STAGE
COACH REPLACED BY THE RAILROAD. SEVERAL REMEDIES
WERE SUGGESTED, BUT NONE OF THESE QUITE SOLVED THE
PROBLEM
60. BUT THE WORLD HAD UNDERGONE ANOTHER CHANGE WHICH WAS
OF GREATER IMPORTANCE THAN EITHER THE POLITICAL OR THE
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONS. AFTER GENERATIONS OF OPPRESSION
AND PERSECUTION, THE SCIENTIST HAD AT LAST GAINED
LIBERTY OF ACTION AND HE WAS NOW TRYING TO DISCOVER
THE FUNDAMENTAL LAWS WHICH GOVERN THE UNIVERSE
61. A CHAPTER OF ART
62. THE LAST FIFTY YEARS, INCLUDING SEVERAL EXPLANATIONS
AND A FEW APOLOGIES
63. THE GREAT WAR, WHICH WAS REALLY THE STRUGGLE FOR A
NEW AND BETTER WORLD
64.ANIMATED CHRONOLOGY
65.CONCERNING THE PICTURES

66.AN HISTORICAL READING LIST FOR CHILDREN

67.INDEX

THE STORY OF MANKIND

HIGH Up in the North in the land called Svithjod, there
stands a rock. It is a hundred miles high and a hundred miles
wide. Once every thousand years a little bird comes to this
rock to sharpen its beak.

When the rock has thus been worn away, then a single day
of eternity will have gone by.

THE SETTING OF THE STAGE

WE live under the shadow of a gigantic question mark.

Who are we?

Where do we come from?

Whither are we bound?

Slowly, but with persistent courage, we have been pushing
this question mark further and further towards that distant
line, beyond the horizon, where we hope to find our answer.

We have not gone very far.

We still know very little but we have reached the point
where (with a fair degree of accuracy) we can guess at many
things.

In this chapter I shall tell you how (according to our best
belief) the stage was set for the first appearance of man.

If we represent the time during which it has been possible for
animal life to exist upon our planet by a line of this length,
then the tiny line just below indicates the age during which
man (or a creature more or less resembling man) has lived
upon this earth.

Man was the last to come but the first to use his brain for
the purpose of conquering the forces of nature. That is the
reason why we are going to study him, rather than cats or
dogs or horses or any of the other animals, who, all in their
own way, have a very interesting historical development behind
them.

In the beginning, the planet upon which we live was (as far
as we now know) a large ball of flaming matter, a tiny cloud of
smoke in the endless ocean of space. Gradually, in the course
of millions of years, the surface burned itself out, and was covered
with a thin layer of rocks. Upon these lifeless rocks the
rain descended in endless torrents, wearing out the hard
granite and carrying the dust to the valleys that lay hidden between
the high cliffs of the steaming earth.

Finally the hour came when the sun broke through the
clouds and saw how this little planet was covered with a few
small puddles which were to develop into the mighty oceans of
the eastern and western hemispheres.

Then one day the great wonder happened. What had been
dead, gave birth to life.

The first living cell floated upon the waters of the sea.

For millions of years it drifted aimlessly with the currents.
But during all that time it was developing certain habits that
it might survive more easily upon the inhospitable earth. Some
of these cells were happiest in the dark depths of the lakes and
the pools. They took root in the slimy sediments which had
been carried down from the tops of the hills and they became
plants. Others preferred to move about and they grew
strange jointed legs, like scorpions and began to crawl along
the bottom of the sea amidst the plants and the pale green things
that looked like jelly-fishes. Still others (covered with scales)
depended upon a swimming motion to go from place to place
in their search for food, and gradually they populated the ocean
with myriads of fishes.

Meanwhile the plants had increased in number and they had
to search for new dwelling places. There was no more room
for them at the bottom of the sea. Reluctantly they left the
water and made a new home in the marshes and on the mud-
banks that lay at the foot of the mountains. Twice a day the
tides of the ocean covered them with their brine. For the rest
of the time, the plants made the best of their uncomfortable
situation and tried to survive in the thin air which surrounded
the surface of the planet. After centuries of training, they
learned how to live as comfortably in the air as they had done in
the water. They increased in size and became shrubs and trees
and at last they learned how to grow lovely flowers which
attracted the attention of the busy big bumble-bees and the
birds who carried the seeds far and wide until the whole earth
had become covered with green pastures, or lay dark under the
shadow of the big trees. But some of the fishes too
had begun to leave the sea, and they had learned how to breathe
with lungs as well as with gills. We call such creatures amphibious,
which means that they are able to live with equal ease on the land
and in the water. The first frog who crosses your path can tell you
all about the pleasures of the double existence of the amphibian.

Once outside of the water, these animals gradually adapted
themselves more and more to life on land. Some became reptiles
(creatures who crawl like lizards) and they shared the
silence of the forests with the insects. That they might move
faster through the soft soil, they improved upon their legs
and their size increased until the world was populated with
gigantic forms (which the hand-books of biology list under
the names of Ichthyosaurus and Megalosaurus and Brontosaurus)
who grew to be thirty to forty feet long and who could have
played with elephants as a full grown cat plays with her kittens.

Some of the members of this reptilian family began to live in
the tops of the trees, which were then often more than a hundred
feet high. They no longer needed their legs for the purpose
of walking, but it was necessary for them to move quickly from
branch to branch. And so they changed a part of their skin
into a sort of parachute, which stretched between the sides of
their bodies and the small toes of their fore-feet, and gradually
they covered this skinny parachute with feathers and made
their tails into a steering gear and flew from tree to tree and
developed into true birds.

Then a strange thing happened. All the gigantic reptiles
died within a short time. We do not know the reason. Perhaps
it was due to a sudden change in climate. Perhaps they
had grown so large that they could neither swim nor walk nor
crawl, and they starved to death within sight but not within
reach of the big ferns and trees. Whatever the cause, the
million year old world-empire of the big reptiles was over.

The world now began to be occupied by very different
creatures. They were the descendants of the reptiles but they
were quite unlike these because they fed their young from the
``mammae'' or the breasts of the mother. Wherefore modern
science calls these animals ``mammals.'' They had shed the
scales of the fish. They did not adopt the feathers of the bird,
but they covered their bodies with hair. The mammals however
developed other habits which gave their race a great advantage
over the other animals. The female of the species
carried the eggs of the young inside her body until they were
hatched and while all other living beings, up to that time, had
left their children exposed to the dangers of cold and heat,
and the attacks of wild beasts, the mammals kept their young
with them for a long time and sheltered them while they were
still too weak to fight their enemies. In this way the young
mammals were given a much better chance to survive, because
they learned many things from their mothers, as you will know
if you have ever watched a cat teaching her kittens to take
care of themselves and how to wash their faces and how to
catch mice.

But of these mammals I need not tell you much for you
know them well. They surround you on all sides. They are
your daily companions in the streets and in your home, and you
can see your less familiar cousins behind the bars of the zoological
garden.

And now we come to the parting of the ways when man
suddenly leaves the endless procession of dumbly living and
dying creatures and begins to use his reason to shape the
destiny of his race.

One mammal in particular seemed to surpass all others in
its ability to find food and shelter. It had learned to use its
fore-feet for the purpose of holding its prey, and by dint of
practice it had developed a hand-like claw. After innumerable
attempts it had learned how to balance the whole of the
body upon the hind legs. (This is a difficult act, which every
child has to learn anew although the human race has been
doing it for over a million years.)

This creature, half ape and half monkey but superior to
both, became the most successful hunter and could make a
living in every clime. For greater safety, it usually moved
about in groups. It learned how to make strange grunts to
warn its young of approaching danger and after many hundreds
of thousands of years it began to use these throaty noises
for the purpose of talking.

This creature, though you may hardly believe it, was your
first ``man-like'' ancestor.

OUR EARLIEST ANCESTORS

WE know very little about the first ``true'' men. We have
never seen their pictures. In the deepest layer of clay of an
ancient soil we have sometimes found pieces of their bones.
These lay buried amidst the broken skeletons of other animals
that have long since disappeared from the face of the earth.
Anthropologists (learned scientists who devote their lives to
the study of man as a member of the animal kingdom) have
taken these bones and they have been able to reconstruct our
earliest ancestors with a fair degree of accuracy.

The great-great-grandfather of the human race was a very
ugly and unattractive mammal. He was quite small, much
smaller than the people of today. The heat of the sun and the
biting wind of the cold winter had coloured his skin a dark
brown. His head and most of his body, his arms and legs too,
were covered with long, coarse hair. He had very thin but
strong fingers which made his hands look like those of a monkey.
His forehead was low and his jaw was like the jaw of a
wild animal which uses its teeth both as fork and knife. He
wore no clothes. He had seen no fire except the flames of the
rumbling volcanoes which filled the earth with their smoke
and their lava.

He lived in the damp blackness of vast forests, as the
pygmies of Africa do to this very day. When he felt the
pangs of hunger he ate raw leaves and the roots of plants or
he took the eggs away from an angry bird and fed them to his
own young. Once in a while, after a long and patient chase,
he would catch a sparrow or a small wild dog or perhaps a
rabbit. These he would eat raw for he had never discovered
that food tasted better when it was cooked.

During the hours of day, this primitive human being
prowled about looking for things to eat.

When night descended upon the earth, he hid his wife and
his children in a hollow tree or behind some heavy boulders,
for he was surrounded on all sides by ferocious animals and
when it was dark these animals began to prowl about, looking
for something to eat for their mates and their own young, and
they liked the taste of human beings. It was a world where
you must either eat or be eaten, and life was very unhappy
because it was full of fear and misery.

In summer, man was exposed to the scorching rays of the
sun, and during the winter his children would freeze to death
in his arms. When such a creature hurt itself, (and hunting
animals are forever breaking their bones or spraining their
ankles) he had no one to take care of him and he must die a
horrible death.

Like many of the animals who fill the Zoo with their
strange noises, early man liked to jabber. That is to say, he
endlessly repeated the same unintelligible gibberish because it
pleased him to hear the sound of his voice. In due time he
learned that he could use this guttural noise to warn his fellow
beings whenever danger threatened and he gave certain little
shrieks which came to mean ``there is a tiger!'' or ``here come
five elephants.'' Then the others grunted something back at
him and their growl meant, ``I see them,'' or ``let us run away
and hide.'' And this was probably the origin of all language.

But, as I have said before, of these beginnings we know
so very little. Early man had no tools and he built himself
no houses. He lived and died and left no trace of his existence
except a few collar-bones and a few pieces of his skull.
These tell us that many thousands of years ago the world was
inhabited by certain mammals who were quite different from
all the other animals--who had probably developed from another
unknown ape-like animal which had learned to walk on
its hind-legs and use its fore-paws as hands--and who were
most probably connected with the creatures who happen to be
our own immediate ancestors.

It is little enough we know and the rest is darkness.

PREHISTORIC MAN

PREHISTORIC MAN BEGINS TO MAKE
THINGS FOR HIMSELF.

EARLY man did not know what time meant. He kept
no records of birthdays or wedding anniversaries or the hour
of death. He had no idea of days or weeks or even years.
But in a general way he kept track of the seasons for he had
noticed that the cold winter was invariably followed by the mild
spring--that spring grew into the hot summer when fruits
ripened and the wild ears of corn were ready to be eaten and
that summer ended when sudden gusts of wind swept the leaves
from the trees and a number of animals were getting ready
for the long hibernal sleep.

But now, something unusual and rather frightening had
happened. Something was the matter with the weather. The
warm days of summer had come very late. The fruits had
not ripened. The tops of the mountains which used to be covered
with grass now lay deeply hidden underneath a heavy
burden of snow.

Then, one morning, a number of wild people, different
from the other creatures who lived in that neighbourhood, came
wandering down from the region of the high peaks. They
looked lean and appeared to be starving. They uttered sounds
which no one could understand. They seemed to say that
they were hungry. There was not food enough for both the
old inhabitants and the newcomers. When they tried to stay
more than a few days there was a terrible battle with claw-like
hands and feet and whole families were killed. The others fled
back to their mountain slopes and died in the next blizzard.

But the people in the forest were greatly frightened. All
the time the days grew shorter and the nights grew colder than
they ought to have been.

Finally, in a gap between two high hills, there appeared a
tiny speck of greenish ice. Rapidly it increased in size. A
gigantic glacier came sliding downhill. Huge stones were
being pushed into the valley. With the noise of a dozen thunderstorms
torrents of ice and mud and blocks of granite suddenly
tumbled among the people of the forest and killed them
while they slept. Century old trees were crushed into kindling
wood. And then it began to snow.

It snowed for months and months. All the plants died and
the animals fled in search of the southern sun. Man hoisted
his young upon his back and followed them. But he could not
travel as fast as the wilder creatures and he was forced to
choose between quick thinking or quick dying. He seems to
have preferred the former for he has managed to survive the
terrible glacial periods which upon four different occasions
threatened to kill every human being on the face of the earth.

In the first place it was necessary that man clothe himself
lest he freeze to death. He learned how to dig holes and cover
them with branches and leaves and in these traps he caught
bears and hyenas, which he then killed with heavy stones and
whose skins he used as coats for himself and his family.

Next came the housing problem. This was simple. Many
animals were in the habit of sleeping in dark caves. Man now
followed their example, drove the animals out of their warm
homes and claimed them for his own.

Even so, the climate was too severe for most people and
the old and the young died at a terrible rate. Then a genius
bethought himself of the use of fire. Once, while out hunting,
he had been caught in a forest-fire. He remembered that he
had been almost roasted to death by the flames. Thus far fire
had been an enemy. Now it became a friend. A dead tree
was dragged into the cave and lighted by means of smouldering
branches from a burning wood. This turned the cave into
a cozy little room.

And then one evening a dead chicken fell into the fire. It
was not rescued until it had been well roasted. Man discovered
that meat tasted better when cooked and he then and there
discarded one of the old habits which he had shared with the
other animals and began to prepare his food.

In this way thousands of years passed. Only the people
with the cleverest brains survived. They had to struggle day
and night against cold and hunger. They were forced to invent
tools. They learned how to sharpen stones into axes and how
to make hammers. They were obliged to put up large stores
of food for the endless days of the winter and they found that
clay could be made into bowls and jars and hardened in the
rays of the sun. And so the glacial period, which had threatened
to destroy the human race, became its greatest teacher
because it forced man to use his brain.

HIEROGLYPHICS

THE EGYPTIANS INVENT THE ART OF
WRITING AND THE RECORD OF
HISTORY BEGINS

THESE earliest ancestors of ours who lived in the great
European wilderness were rapidly learning many new things.
It is safe to say that in due course of time they would have
given up the ways of savages and would have developed a
civilisation of their own. But suddenly there came an end to
their isolation. They were discovered.

A traveller from an unknown southland who had dared to
cross the sea and the high mountain passes had found his way
to the wild people of the European continent. He came from
Africa. His home was in Egypt.

The valley of the Nile had developed a high stage of civilisation
thousands of years before the people of the west had
dreamed of the possibilities of a fork or a wheel or a house.
And we shall therefore leave our great-great-grandfathers in
their caves, while we visit the southern and eastern shores of
the Mediterranean, where stood the earliest school of the
human race.

The Egyptians have taught us many things. They were
excellent farmers. They knew all about irrigation. They built
temples which were afterwards copied by the Greeks and which
served as the earliest models for the churches in which we worship
nowadays. They had invented a calendar which proved
such a useful instrument for the purpose of measuring time
that it has survived with a few changes until today. But most
important of all, the Egyptians had learned how to preserve
speech for the benefit of future generations. They had invented
the art of writing.

We are so accustomed to newspapers and books and magazines
that we take it for granted that the world has always been
able to read and write. As a matter of fact, writing, the most
important of all inventions, is quite new. Without written
documents we would be like cats and dogs, who can only teach
their kittens and their puppies a few simple things and who,
because they cannot write, possess no way in which they can
make use of the experience of those generations of cats and
dogs that have gone before.

In the first century before our era, when the Romans came
to Egypt, they found the valley full of strange little pictures
which seemed to have something to do with the history
of the country. But the Romans were not interested in ``anything
foreign'' and did not inquire into the origin of these queer
figures which covered the walls of the temples and the walls of
the palaces and endless reams of flat sheets made out of the
papyrus reed. The last of the Egyptian priests who had
understood the holy art of making such pictures had died several
years before. Egypt deprived of its independence had
become a store-house filled with important historical documents
which no one could decipher and which were of no earthly use
to either man or beast.

Seventeen centuries went by and Egypt remained a land
of mystery. But in the year 1798 a French general by the
name of Bonaparte happened to visit eastern Africa to prepare
for an attack upon the British Indian Colonies. He did
not get beyond the Nile, and his campaign was a failure. But,
quite accidentally, the famous French expedition solved the
problem of the ancient Egyptian picture-language.

One day a young French officer, much bored by the dreary
life of his little fortress on the Rosetta river (a mouth of the
Nile) decided to spend a few idle hours rummaging among
the ruins of the Nile Delta. And behold! he found a stone
which greatly puzzled him. Like everything else in Egypt
it was covered with little figures. But this particular slab of
black basalt was different from anything that had ever been
discovered. It carried three inscriptions. One of these was
in Greek. The Greek language was known. ``All that is
necessary,'' so he reasoned, ``is to compare the Greek text with
the Egyptian figures, and they will at once tell their secrets.''

The plan sounded simple enough but it took more than
twenty years to solve the riddle. In the year 1802 a French
professor by the name of Champollion began to compare the
Greek and the Egyptian texts of the famous Rosetta stone. In
the year 1823 he announced that he had discovered the meaning
of fourteen little figures. A short time later he died from
overwork, but the main principles of Egyptian writing had
become known. Today the story of the valley of the Nile is
better known to us than the story of the Mississippi River.
We possess a written record which covers four thousand years
of chronicled history.

As the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics (the word means
``sacred writing'') have played such a very great role in
history, (a few of them in modified form have even found their
way into our own alphabet,) you ought to know something
about the ingenious system which was used fifty centuries ago
to preserve the spoken word for the benefit of the coming
generations.

Of course, you know what a sign language is. Every
Indian story of our western plains has a chapter devoted to
strange messages writter{sic} in the form of little pictures which
tell how many buffaloes were killed and how many hunters
there were in a certain party. As a rule it is not difficult to
understand the meaning of such messages.

Ancient Egyptian, however, was not a sign language. The
clever people of the Nile had passed beyond that stage long
before. Their pictures meant a great deal more than the object
which they represented, as I shall try to explain to you now.

Suppose that you were Champollion, and that you were
examining a stack of papyrus sheets, all covered with hieroglyphics.
Suddenly you came across a picture of a man with
a saw. ``Very well,'' you would say, ``that means of course that
a farmer went out to cut down a tree.'' Then you take another
papyrus. It tells the story of a queen who had died at the age
of eighty-two. In the midst of a sentence appears the picture
of the man with the saw. Queens of eighty-two do not handle
saws. The picture therefore must mean something else. But
what?

That is the riddle which the Frenchman finally solved.
He discovered that the Egyptians were the first to use what
we now call ``phonetic writing''--a system of characters which
reproduce the ``sound'' (or phone) of the spoken word and
which make it possible for us to translate all our spoken words
into a written form, with the help of only a few dots and dashes
and pothooks.

Let us return for a moment to the little fellow with the saw.
The word ``saw'' either means a certain tool which you will find
in a carpenter's shop, or it means the past tense of the verb
``to see.''

This is what had happened to the word during the course
of centuries. First of all it had meant only the particular tool
which it represented. Then that meaning had been lost and it
had become the past participle of a verb. After several hundred
years, the Egyptians lost sight of both these meanings and
the picture {illust.} came to stand for a single letter, the
letter S. A short sentence will show you what I mean. Here
is a modern English sentence as it would have been written in
hieroglyphics. {illust.}

The {illust.} either means one of these two round objects
in your head, which allow you to see or it means ``I,'' the person
who is talking.

A {illust.} is either an insect which gathers honey, or it
represents the verb ``to be'' which means to exist. Again, it
may be the first part of a verb like ``be-come'' or ``be-have.''
In this particular instance it is followed by {illust.} which
means a ``leaf'' or ``leave'' or ``lieve'' (the sound of all three
words is the same).

The ``eye'' you know all about.

Finally you get the picture of a {illust.}. It is a giraffe
It is part of the old sign-language out of which the hieroglyphics
developed.

You can now read that sentence without much difficulty.

``I believe I saw a giraffe.''

Having invented this system the Egyptians developed it
during thousands of years until they could write anything they
wanted, and they used these ``canned words'' to send messages
to friends, to keep business accounts and to keep a record of the
history of their country, that future generations might benefit
by the mistakes of the past.

THE NILE VALLEY

THE BEGINNING OF CIVILISATION IN THE
VALLEY OF THE NILE

THE history of man is the record of a hungry creature in
search of food. Wherever food was plentiful, thither man has
travelled to make his home.

The fame of the Valley of the Nile must have spread at
an early date. From the interior of Africa and from the desert
of Arabia and from the western part of Asia people had
flocked to Egypt to claim their share of the rich farms.
Together these invaders had formed a new race which called
itself ``Remi'' or ``the Men'' just as we sometimes call America
``God's own country.'' They had good reason to be grateful
to a Fate which had carried them to this narrow strip of land.
In the summer of each year the Nile turned the valley into a
shallow lake and when the waters receded all the grainfields
and the pastures were covered with several inches of the most
fertile clay.

In Egypt a kindly river did the work of a million men and
made it possible to feed the teeming population of the first
large cities of which we have any record. It is true that all
the arable land was not in the valley. But a complicated
system of small canals and well-sweeps carried water from
the river-level to the top of the highest banks and an even
more intricate system of irrigation trenches spread it throughout
the land.

While man of the prehistoric age had been obliged to spend
sixteen hours out of every twenty-four gathering food for himself
and the members of his tribe, the Egyptian peasant or the
inhabitant of the Egyptian city found himself possessed of a
certain leisure. He used this spare time to make himself many
things that were merely ornamental and not in the least bit
useful.

More than that. One day he discovered that his brain was
capable of thinking all kinds of thoughts which had nothing
to do with the problems of eating and sleeping and finding a
home for the children. The Egyptian began to speculate upon
many strange problems that confronted him. Where did the
stars come from? Who made the noise of the thunder which
frightened him so terribly? Who made the River Nile rise
with such regularity that it was possible to base the calendar
upon the appearance and the disappearance of the annual
floods? Who was he, himself, a strange little creature surrounded
on all sides by death and sickness and yet happy and
full of laughter?

He asked these many questions and certain people obligingly
stepped forward to answer these inquiries to the best of
their ability. The Egyptians called them ``priests'' and they
became the guardians of his thoughts and gained great respect
in the community. They were highly learned men who were
entrusted with the sacred task of keeping the written records.
They understood that it is not good for man to think only of
his immediate advantage in this world and they drew his attention
to the days of the future when his soul would dwell
beyond the mountains of the west and must give an account
of his deeds to Osiris, the mighty God who was the Ruler of
the Living and the Dead and who judged the acts of men
according to their merits. Indeed, the priests made so much
of that future day in the realm of Isis and Osiris that the
Egyptians began to regard life merely as a short preparation
for the Hereafter and turned the teeming valley of the Nile
into a land devoted to the Dead.

In a strange way, the Egyptians had come to believe that
no soul could enter the realm of Osiris without the possession
of the body which had been its place of residence in this world.
Therefore as soon as a man was dead his relatives took his
corpse and had it embalmed. For weeks it was soaked in a
solution of natron and then it was filled with pitch. The
Persian word for pitch was ``Mumiai'' and the embalmed body
was called a ``Mummy.'' It was wrapped in yards and yards
of specially prepared linen and it was placed in a specially
prepared coffin ready to be removed to its final home. But
an Egyptian grave was a real home where the body was surrounded
by pieces of furniture and musical instruments (to
while away the dreary hours of waiting) and by little statues
of cooks and bakers and barbers (that the occupant of this
dark home might be decently provided with food and need not
go about unshaven).

Originally these graves had been dug into the rocks of the
western mountains but as the Egyptians moved northward
they were obliged to build their cemeteries in the desert. The
desert however is full of wild animals and equally wild robbers
and they broke into the graves and disturbed the mummy or
stole the jewelry that had been buried with the body. To prevent
such unholy desecration the Egyptians used to build small
mounds of stones on top of the graves. These little mounds
gradually grew in size, because the rich people built higher
mounds than the poor and there was a good deal of competition
to see who could make the highest hill of stones. The
record was made by King Khufu, whom the Greeks called
Cheops and who lived thirty centuries before our era. His
mound, which the Greeks called a pyramid (because the
Egyptian word for high was pir-em-us) was over five hundred
feet high.

It covered more than thirteen acres of desert which is three
times as much space as that occupied by the church of St.
Peter, the largest edifice of the Christian world.

During twenty years, over a hundred thousand men were
busy carrying the necessary stones from the other side of the
river--ferrying them across the Nile (how they ever managed
to do this, we do not understand), dragging them in many instances
a long distance across the desert and finally hoisting
them into their correct position. But so well did the King's
architects and engineers perform their task that the narrow
passage-way which leads to the royal tomb in the heart of the
stone monster has never yet been pushed out of shape by the
weight of those thousands of tons of stone which press upon
it from all sides.

THE STORY OF EGYPT

THE RISE AND FALL OF EGYPT

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

Then one man grew more powerful than most of his neighbours
and he became the leader of the community and their
commander-in-chief when the envious neighbours of western
Asia invaded the prosperous valley. In due course of time
he became their King and ruled all the land from the Mediterranean
to the mountains of the west.

But these political adventures of the old Pharaohs (the
word meant ``the Man who lived in the Big House'') rarely
interested the patient and toiling peasant of the grain fields.
Provided he was not obliged to pay more taxes to his King
than he thought just, he accepted the rule of Pharaoh as he
accepted the rule of Mighty Osiris.

It was different however when a foreign invader came
and robbed him of his possessions. After twenty centuries of
independent life, a savage Arab tribe of shepherds, called the
Hyksos, attacked Egypt and for five hundred years they were
the masters of the valley of the Nile. They were highly un-
popular and great hate was also felt for the Hebrews who
came to the land of Goshen to find a shelter after their long
wandering through the desert and who helped the foreign
usurper by acting as his tax-gatherers and his civil servants.

But shortly after the year 1700 B.C. the people of Thebes
began a revolution and after a long struggle the Hyksos were
driven out of the country and Egypt was free once more.

A thousand years later, when Assyria conquered all of
western Asia, Egypt became part of the empire of Sardanapalus.
In the seventh century B.C. it became once more an
independent state which obeyed the rule of a king who lived in
the city of Sais in the Delta of the Nile. But in the year 525
B.C., Cambyses, the king of the Persians, took possession of
Egypt and in the fourth century B.C., when Persia was conquered
by Alexander the Great, Egypt too became a Macedonian
province. It regained a semblance of independence
when one of Alexander's generals set himself up as king of a
new Egyptian state and founded the dynasty of the Ptolemies,
who resided in the newly built city of Alexandria.

Finally, in the year 89 B.C., the Romans came. The last
Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, tried her best to save the country.
Her beauty and charm were more dangerous to the Roman
generals than half a dozen Egyptian army corps. Twice she
was successful in her attacks upon the hearts of her Roman
conquerors. But in the year 30 B.C., Augustus, the nephew
and heir of Caesar, landed in Alexandria. He did not share
his late uncle's admiration for the lovely princess. He destroyed
her armies, but spared her life that he might make her
march in his triumph as part of the spoils of war. When
Cleopatra heard of this plan, she killed herself by taking poison.
And Egypt became a Roman province.

MESOPOTAMIA

MESOPOTAMIA--THE SECOND CENTRE OF
EASTERN CIVILISATION

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

The names of the two rivers are the Euphrates (which the
Babylonians called the Purattu) and the Tigris (which was
known as the Diklat). They begin their course amidst the
snows of the mountains of Armenia where Noah's Ark found
a resting place and slowly they flow through the southern
plain until they reach the muddy banks of the Persian gulf.
They perform a very useful service. They turn the arid
regions of western Asia into a fertile garden.

The valley of the Nile had attracted people because it had
offered them food upon fairly easy terms. The ``land between
the rivers'' was popular for the same reason. It was a
country full of promise and both the inhabitants of the northern
mountains and the tribes which roamed through the
southern deserts tried to claim this territory as their own and
most exclusive possession. The constant rivalry between the
mountaineers and the desert-nomads led to endless warfare.
Only the strongest and the bravest could hope to survive and
that will explain why Mesopotamia became the home of a very
strong race of men who were capable of creating a civilisation
which was in every respect as important as that of Egypt.

THE SUMERIANS

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

THE fifteenth century was an age of great discoveries.
Columbus tried to find a way to the island of Kathay and
stumbled upon a new and unsuspected continent. An Austrian
bishop equipped an expedition which was to travel eastward
and find the home of the Grand Duke of Muscovy, a
voyage which led to complete failure, for Moscow was not
visited by western men until a generation later. Meanwhile
a certain Venetian by the name of Barbero had explored the
ruins of western Asia and had brought back reports of a most
curious language which he had found carved in the rocks of
the temples of Shiraz and engraved upon endless pieces of
baked clay.

But Europe was busy with many other things and it was
not until the end of the eighteenth century that the first
``cuneiform inscriptions'' (so-called because the letters were
wedge-shaped and wedge is called ``Cuneus'' in Latin) were
brought to Europe by a Danish surveyor, named Niebuhr.
Then it took thirty years before a patient German school-
master by the name of Grotefend had deciphered the first four
letters, the D, the A, the R and the SH, the name of the Persian
King Darius. And another twenty years had to go by
until a British officer, Henry Rawlinson, who found the famous
inscription of Behistun, gave us a workable key to the nail-
writing of western Asia.

Compared to the problem of deciphering these nail-writings,
the job of Champollion had been an easy one. The
Egyptians used pictures. But the Sumerians, the earliest
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, who had hit upon the idea of
scratching their words in tablets of clay, had discarded pictures
entirely and had evolved a system of V-shaped figures which
showed little connection with the pictures out of which they
had been developed. A few examples will show you what I
mean. In the beginning a star, when drawn with a nail into
a brick looked as follows: {illust.} This sign however was too
cumbersome and after a short while when the meaning of
``heaven'' was added to that of star the picture was simplified
in this way {illust.} which made it even more of a puzzle.
In the same way an ox changed from {illust} into {illust.}
and a fish changed from {illust.} into {illust.} The sun
was originally a plain circle {illust.} and became {illust.}
If we were using the Sumerian script today we would make an
{illust.} look like {illust.}. This system of writing down our
ideas looks rather complicated but for more than thirty centuries
it was used by the Sumerians and the Babylonians and
the Assyrians and the Persians and all the different races
which forced their way into the fertile valley.

The story of Mesopotamia is one of endless warfare and
conquest. First the Sumerians came from the North. They
were a white People who had lived in the mountains. They
had been accustomed to worship their Gods on the tops of
hills. After they had entered the plain they constructed artificial
little hills on top of which they built their altars. They
did not know how to build stairs and they therefore surrounded
their towers with sloping galleries. Our engineers
have borrowed this idea, as you may see in our big railroad
stations where ascending galleries lead from one floor to another.
We may have borrowed other ideas from the Sumerians
but we do not know it. The Sumerians were entirely ab-
sorbed by those races that entered the fertile valley at a later
date. Their towers however still stand amidst the ruins of
Mesopotamia. The Jews saw them when they went into exile
in the land of Babylon and they called them towers of BabIlli,
or towers of Babel.

In the fortieth century before our era, the Sumerians had
entered Mesopotamia. They were soon afterwards over-
powered by the Akkadians, one of the many tribes from the
desert of Arabia who speak a common dialect and who are
known as the ``Semites,'' because in the olden days people believed
them to be the direct descendants of Shem, one of the
three sons of Noah. A thousand years later, the Akkadians
were forced to submit to the rule of the Amorites, another
Semitic desert tribe whose great King Hammurabi built himself
a magnificent palace in the holy city of Babylon and who
gave his people a set of laws which made the Babylonian state
the best administered empire of the ancient world. Next the
Hittites, whom you will also meet in the Old Testament, over-
ran the Fertile Valley and destroyed whatever they could not
carry away. They in turn were vanquished by the followers
of the great desert God, Ashur, who called themselves Assyrians
and who made the city of Nineveh the center of a vast
and terrible empire which conquered all of western Asia and
Egypt and gathered taxes from countless subject races until
the end of the seventh century before the birth of Christ when
the Chaldeans, also a Semitic tribe, re-established Babylon and
made that city the most important capital of that day.
Nebuchadnezzar, the best known of their Kings, encouraged
the study of science, and our modern knowledge of astronomy
and mathematics is all based upon certain first principles which
were discovered by the Chaldeans. In the year 538 B.C. a
crude tribe of Persian shepherds invaded this old land and
overthrew the empire of the Chaldeans. Two hundred years
later, they in turn were overthrown by Alexander the Great,
who turned the Fertile Valley, the old melting-pot of so many
Semitic races, into a Greek province. Next came the Romans
and after the Romans, the Turks, and Mesopotamia, the second
centre of the world's civilisation, became a vast wilderness
where huge mounds of earth told a story of ancient glory.

MOSES

THE STORY OF MOSES, THE LEADER OF THE
JEWISH PEOPLE

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

This tribe of shepherds was known as the Hebrews or, as
we call them, the Jews. They had wandered far and wide,
and after many years of dreary peregrinations they had been
given shelter in Egypt. For more than five centuries they
had dwelt among the Egyptians and when their adopted country
had been overrun by the Hyksos marauders (as I told
you in the story of Egypt) they had managed to make themselves
useful to the foreign invader and had been left in the
undisturbed possession of their grazing fields. But after a
long war of independence the Egyptians had driven the
Hyksos out of the valley of the Nile and then the Jews had
come upon evil times for they had been degraded to the rank
of common slaves and they had been forced to work on the
royal roads and on the Pyramids. And as the frontiers were
guarded by the Egyptian soldiers it had been impossible for
the Jews to escape.

After many years of suffering they were saved from their
miserable fate by a young Jew, called Moses, who for a long
time had dwelt in the desert and there had learned to appreciate
the simple virtues of his earliest ancestors, who had kept
away from cities and city-life and had refused to let themselves
be corrupted by the ease and the luxury of a foreign
civilisation.

Moses decided to bring his people back to a love of the ways
of the patriarchs. He succeeded in evading the Egyptian
troops that were sent after him and led his fellow tribesmen
into the heart of the plain at the foot of Mount Sinai. During
his long and lonely life in the desert, he had learned to
revere the strength of the great God of the Thunder and the
Storm, who ruled the high heavens and upon whom the shepherds
depended for life and light and breath. This God, one
of the many divinities who were widely worshipped in western
Asia, was called Jehovah, and through the teaching of Moses,
he became the sole Master of the Hebrew race.

One day, Moses disappeared from the camp of the Jews.
It was whispered that he had gone away carrying two tablets
of rough-hewn stone. That afternoon, the top of the mountain
was lost to sight. The darkness of a terrible storm hid it from
the eye of man. But when Moses returned, behold! there stood
engraved upon the tablets the words which Jehovah had spoken
unto the people of Israel amidst the crash of his thunder and
the blinding flashes of his lightning. And from that moment,
Jehovah was recognised by all the Jews as the Highest Master
of their Fate, the only True God, who had taught them how
to live holy lives when he bade them to follow the wise lessons
of his Ten Commandments.

They followed Moses when he bade them continue their
journey through the desert. They obeyed him when he told
them what to eat and drink and what to avoid that they might
keep well in the hot climate. And finally after many years of
wandering they came to a land which seemed pleasant and
prosperous. It was called Palestine, which means the country
of the ``Pilistu'' the Philistines, a small tribe of Cretans who
had settled along the coast after they had been driven away
from their own island. Unfortunately, the mainland, Palestine,
was already inhabited by another Semitic race, called the
Canaanites. But the Jews forced their way into the valleys
and built themselves cities and constructed a mighty temple
in a town which they named Jerusalem, the Home of Peace.
As for Moses, he was no longer the leader of his people. He
had been allowed to see the mountain ridges of Palestine from
afar. Then he had closed his tired eyes for all time. He had
worked faithfully and hard to please Jehovah. Not only had
he guided his brethren out of foreign slavery into the free and
independent life of a new home but he had also made the Jews
the first of all nations to worship a single God.

THE PHOENICIANS

THE PHOENICIANS WHO GAVE US OUR
ALPHABET

THE Phoenicians, who were the neighbours of the Jews,
were a Semitic tribe which at a very early age had settled along
the shores of the Mediterranean. They had built themselves
two well-fortified towns, Tyre and Sidon, and within a short
time they had gained a monopoly of the trade of the western
seas. Their ships went regularly to Greece and Italy and
Spain and they even ventured beyond the straits of Gibraltar
to visit the Scilly islands where they could buy tin. Wherever
they went, they built themselves small trading stations, which
they called colonies. Many of these were the origin of modern
cities, such as Cadiz and Marseilles.

They bought and sold whatever promised to bring them a
good profit. They were not troubled by a conscience. If we
are to believe all their neighbours they did not know what the
words honesty or integrity meant. They regarded a well-filled
treasure chest the highest ideal of all good citizens. Indeed
they were very unpleasant people and did not have a single
friend. Nevertheless they have rendered all coming generations
one service of the greatest possible value. They gave
us our alphabet.

The Phoenicians had been familiar with the art of writing,
invented by the Sumerians. But they regarded these pothooks
as a clumsy waste of time. They were practical business men
and could not spend hours engraving two or three letters.
They set to work and invented a new system of writing which
was greatly superior to the old one. They borrowed a few
pictures from the Egyptians and they simplified a number of
the wedge-shaped figures of the Sumerians. They sacrificed
the pretty looks of the older system for the advantage of speed
and they reduced the thousands of different images to a short
and handy alphabet of twenty-two letters.

In due course of time, this alphabet travelled across the
AEgean Sea and entered Greece. The Greeks added a few
letters of their own and carried the improved system to Italy.
The Romans modified the figures somewhat and in turn taught
them to the wild barbarians of western Europe. Those wild
barbarians were our own ancestors, and that is the reason why
this book is written in characters that are of Phoenician origin
and not in the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians or in the nail-
script of the Sumerians.

THE INDO-EUROPEANS

THE INDO-EUROPEAN PERSIANS CONQUER
THE SEMITIC AND THE EGYPTIAN
WORLD

THE world of Egypt and Babylon and Assyria and Phoenicia
had existed almost thirty centuries and the venerable
races of the Fertile Valley were getting old and tired. Their
doom was sealed when a new and more energetic race appeared
upon the horizon. We call this race the Indo-European race,
because it conquered not only Europe but also made itself the
ruling class in the country which is now known as British India.

These Indo-Europeans were white men like the Semites
but they spoke a different language which is regarded as the
common ancestor of all European tongues with the exception
of Hungarian and Finnish and the Basque dialects of Northern
Spain.

When we first hear of them, they had been living along the
shores of the Caspian Sea for many centuries. But one day
they had packed their tents and they had wandered forth in
search of a new home. Some of them had moved into the
mountains of Central Asia and for many centuries they had
lived among the peaks which surround the plateau of Iran and
that is why we call them Aryans. Others had followed the
setting sun and they had taken possession of the plains of
Europe as I shall tell you when I give you the story of Greece
and Rome.

For the moment we must follow the Aryans. Under the
leadership of Zarathustra (or Zoroaster) who was their great
teacher many of them had left their mountain homes to follow
the swiftly flowing Indus river on its way to the sea.

Others had preferred to stay among the hills of western
Asia and there they had founded the half-independent communities
of the Medes and the Persians, two peoples whose
names we have copied from the old Greek history-books. In
the seventh century before the birth of Christ, the Medes had
established a kingdom of their own called Media, but this
perished when Cyrus, the chief of a clan known as the Anshan,
made himself king of all the Persian tribes and started upon
a career of conquest which soon made him and his children the
undisputed masters of the whole of western Asia and of Egypt.

Indeed, with such energy did these Indo-European Persians
push their triumphant campaigns in the west that they soon
found themselves in serious difficulties with certain other Indo-
European tribes which centuries before had moved into Europe
and had taken possession of the Greek peninsula and the islands
of the AEgean Sea.

These difficulties led to the three famous wars between
Greece and Persia during which King Darius and King
Xerxes of Persia invaded the northern part of the peninsula.
They ravaged the lands of the Greeks and tried very hard to
get a foothold upon the European continent.

But in this they did not succeed. The navy of Athens
proved unconquerable. By cutting off the lines of supplies
of the Persian armies, the Greek sailors invariably forced the
Asiatic rulers to return to their base.

It was the first encounter between Asia, the ancient
teacher, and Europe, the young and eager pupil. A great
many of the other chapters of this book will tell you how the
struggle between east and west has continued until this very
day.

THE AEGEAN SEA

THE PEOPLE OF THE AEGEAN SEA CARRIED
THE CIVILISATION OF OLD ASIA INTO
THE WILDERNESS OF EUROPE

WHEN Heinrich Schliemann was a little boy his
father told him the story of Troy. He liked that story
better than anything else he had ever heard and he made
up his mind, that as soon as he was big enough to leave home,
he would travel to Greece and ``find Troy.'' That he was the
son of a poor country parson in a Mecklenburg village did
not bother him. He knew that he would need money but
he decided to gather a fortune first and do the digging afterwards.
As a matter of fact, he managed to get a large fortune
within a very short time, and as soon as he had enough money to
equip an expedition, he went to the northwest corner of Asia
Minor, where he supposed that Troy had been situated.

In that particular nook of old Asia Minor, stood a high
mound covered with grainfields. According to tradition it had
been the home of Priamus the king of Troy. Schliemann,
whose enthusiasm was somewhat greater than his knowledge,
wasted no time in preliminary explorations. At once he began
to dig. And he dug with such zeal and such speed that his
trench went straight through the heart of the city for which he
was looking and carried him to the ruins of another buried
town which was at least a thousand years older than the Troy
of which Homer had written. Then something very interesting
occurred. If Schliemann had found a few polished stone
hammers and perhaps a few pieces of crude pottery, no one
would have been surprised. Instead of discovering such objects,
which people had generally associated with the prehistoric
men who had lived in these regions before the coming of
the Greeks, Schliemann found beautiful statuettes and very
costly jewelry and ornamented vases of a pattern that was
unknown to the Greeks. He ventured the suggestion that
fully ten centuries before the great Trojan war, the coast of
the AEgean had been inhabited by a mysterious race of men
who in many ways had been the superiors of the wild Greek
tribes who had invaded their country and had destroyed their
civilisation or absorbed it until it had lost all trace of originality.
And this proved to be the case. In the late seventies of
the last century, Schliemann visited the ruins of Mycenae, ruins
which were so old that Roman guide-books marvelled at their
antiquity. There again, beneath the flat slabs of stone of a
small round enclosure, Schliemann stumbled upon a wonderful
treasure-trove, which had been left behind by those mysterious
people who had covered the Greek coast with their cities and
who had built walls, so big and so heavy and so strong, that
the Greeks called them the work of the Titans, those god-like
giants who in very olden days had used to play ball with
mountain peaks.

A very careful study of these many relics has done away
with some of the romantic features of the story. The makers
of these early works of art and the builders of these strong
fortresses were no sorcerers, but simple sailors and traders.
They had lived in Crete, and on the many small islands of the
AEgean Sea. They had been hardy mariners and they had
turned the AEgean into a center of commerce for the exchange
of goods between the highly civilised east and the slowly
developing wilderness of the European mainland.

For more than a thousand years they had maintained an
island empire which had developed a very high form of art.
Indeed their most important city, Cnossus, on the northern
coast of Crete, had been entirely modern in its insistence upon
hygiene and comfort. The palace had been properly drained
and the houses had been provided with stoves and the Cnossians
had been the first people to make a daily use of the hitherto
unknown bathtub. The palace of their King had been famous
for its winding staircases and its large banqueting hall. The
cellars underneath this palace, where the wine and the grain
and the olive-oil were stored, had been so vast and had so
greatly impressed the first Greek visitors, that they had given
rise to the story of the ``labyrinth,'' the name which we give
to a structure with so many complicated passages that it is
almost impossible to find our way out, once the front door has
closed upon our frightened selves.

But what finally became of this great AEgean Empire and
what caused its sudden downfall, that I can not tell.

The Cretans were familiar with the art of writing, but no
one has yet been able to decipher their inscriptions. Their
history therefore is unknown to us. We have to reconstruct
the record of their adventures from the ruins which the
AEgeans have left behind. These ruins make it clear that the
AEgean world was suddenly conquered by a less civilised race
which had recently come from the plains of northern Europe.
Unless we are very much mistaken, the savages who were
responsible for the destruction of the Cretan and the AEgean
civilisation were none other than certain tribes of wandering
shepherds who had just taken possession of the rocky peninsula
between the Adriatic and the AEgean seas and who are
known to us as Greeks.

THE GREEKS

MEANWHILE THE INDO-EUROPEAN TRIBE
OF THE HELLENES WAS TAKING
POSSESSION OF GREECE

THE Pyramids were a thousand years old and were beginning
to show the first signs of decay, and Hammurabi, the
wise king of Babylon, had been dead and buried several centuries,
when a small tribe of shepherds left their homes along
the banks of the River Danube and wandered southward in
search of fresh pastures. They called themselves Hellenes,
after Hellen, the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha. According
to the old myths these were the only two human beings who
had escaped the great flood, which countless years before had
destroyed all the people of the world, when they had grown
so wicked that they disgusted Zeus, the mighty God, who lived
on Mount Olympus.

Of these early Hellenes we know nothing. Thucydides,
the historian of the fall of Athens, describing his earliest
ancestors, said that they ``did not amount to very much,'' and
this was probably true. They were very ill-mannered. They
lived like pigs and threw the bodies of their enemies to the wild
dogs who guarded their sheep. They had very little respect
for other people's rights, and they killed the natives of the
Greek peninsula (who were called the Pelasgians) and stole
their farms and took their cattle and made their wives and
daughters slaves and wrote endless songs praising the courage
of the clan of the Achaeans, who had led the Hellenic advance-
guard into the mountains of Thessaly and the Peloponnesus.

But here and there, on the tops of high rocks, they saw
the castles of the AEgeans and those they did not attack for
they feared the metal swords and the spears of the AEgean
soldiers and knew that they could not hope to defeat them with
their clumsy stone axes.

For many centuries they continued to wander from valley
to valley and from mountain side to mountain side Then the
whole of the land had been occupied and the migration had
come to an end.

That moment was the beginning of Greek civilisation. The
Greek farmer, living within sight of the AEgean colonies,
was finally driven by curiosity to visit his haughty neighbours.
He discovered that he could learn many useful things from
the men who dwelt behind the high stone walls of Mycenae, and
Tiryns.

He was a clever pupil. Within a short time he mastered
the art of handling those strange iron weapons which the
AEgeans had brought from Babylon and from Thebes. He
came to understand the mysteries of navigation. He began
to build little boats for his own use.

And when he had learned everything the AEgeans could
teach him he turned upon his teachers and drove them back
to their islands. Soon afterwards he ventured forth upon the
sea and conquered all the cities of the AEgean. Finally in the
fifteenth century before our era he plundered and ravaged
Cnossus and ten centuries after their first appearance upon
the scene the Hellenes were the undisputed rulers of Greece,
of the AEgean and of the coastal regions of Asia Minor. Troy,
the last great commercial stronghold of the older civilisation,
was destroyed in the eleventh century B.C. European history
was to begin in all seriousness.

THE GREEK CITIES

THE GREEK CITIES THAT WERE REALLY
STATES

WE modern people love the sound of the word ``big.'' We
pride ourselves upon the fact that we belong to the ``biggest''
country in the world and possess the ``biggest'' navy and grow
the ``biggest'' oranges and potatoes, and we love to live in
cities of ``millions'' of inhabitants and when we are dead we
are buried in the ``biggest cemetery of the whole state.''

A citizen of ancient Greece, could he have heard us talk,
would not have known what we meant. ``Moderation in all
things'' was the ideal of his life and mere bulk did not impress
him at all. And this love of moderation was not merely a
hollow phrase used upon special occasions: it influenced the
life of the Greeks from the day of their birth to the hour of
their death. It was part of their literature and it made them
build small but perfect temples. It found expression in the
clothes which the men wore and in the rings and the bracelets
of their wives. It followed the crowds that went to the theatre
and made them hoot down any playwright who dared to
sin against the iron law of good taste or good sense.

The Greeks even insisted upon this quality in their politicians
and in their most popular athletes. When a powerful
runner came to Sparta and boasted that he could stand longer
on one foot than any other man in Hellas the people drove him
from the city because he prided himself upon an accomplish-
ment at which he could be beaten by any common goose.
``That is all very well,'' you will say, ``and no doubt it is a
great virtue to care so much for moderation and perfection,
but why should the Greeks have been the only people to develop
this quality in olden times?'' For an answer I shall
point to the way in which the Greeks lived.

The people of Egypt or Mesopotamia had been the ``subjects''
of a mysterious Supreme Ruler who lived miles and
miles away in a dark palace and who was rarely seen by the
masses of the population. The Greeks on the other hand,
were ``free citizens'' of a hundred independent little ``cities''
the largest of which counted fewer inhabitants than a large
modern village. When a peasant who lived in Ur said that he
was a Babylonian he meant that he was one of millions of
other people who paid tribute to the king who at that particular
moment happened to be master of western Asia. But when
a Greek said proudly that he was an Athenian or a Theban
he spoke of a small town, which was both his home and his
country and which recognised no master but the will of the
people in the market-place.

To the Greek, his fatherland was the place where he was
born; where he had spent his earliest years playing hide and
seek amidst the forbidden rocks of the Acropolis; where he had
grown into manhood with a thousand other boys and girls,
whose nicknames were as familiar to him as those of your own
schoolmates. His Fatherland was the holy soil where his father
and mother lay buried. It was the small house within the high
city-walls where his wife and children lived in safety. It was
a complete world which covered no more than four or five
acres of rocky land. Don't you see how these surroundings
must have influenced a man in everything he did and said and
thought? The people of Babylon and Assyria and Egypt
had been part of a vast mob. They had been lost in the multitude.
The Greek on the other hand had never lost touch with
his immediate surroundings. He never ceased to be part of a
little town where everybody knew every one else. He felt
that his intelligent neighbours were watching him. Whatever
he did, whether he wrote plays or made statues out of marble
or composed songs, he remembered that his efforts were going
to be judged by all the free-born citizens of his home-town who
knew about such things. This knowledge forced him to strive
after perfection, and perfection, as he had been taught from
childhood, was not possible without moderation.

In this hard school, the Greeks learned to excel in many
things. They created new forms of government and new forms
of literature and new ideals in art which we have never been
able to surpass. They performed these miracles in little villages
that covered less ground than four or five modern city
blocks.

And look, what finally happened!

In the fourth century before our era, Alexander of Macedonia
conquered the world. As soon as he had done with
fighting, Alexander decided that he must bestow the benefits
of the true Greek genius upon all mankind. He took it away
from the little cities and the little villages and tried to make
it blossom and bear fruit amidst the vast royal residences of
his newly acquired Empire. But the Greeks, removed from
the familiar sight of their own temples, removed from the well-
known sounds and smells of their own crooked streets, at once
lost the cheerful joy and the marvellous sense of moderation
which had inspired the work of their hands and brains while
they laboured for the glory of their old city-states. They became
cheap artisans, content with second-rate work. The day
the little city-states of old Hellas lost their independence and
were forced to become part of a big nation, the old Greek spirit
died. And it has been dead ever since.

GREEK SELF-GOVERNMENT

THE GREEKS WERE THE FIRST PEOPLE TO
TRY THE DIFFICULT EXPERIMENT OF
SELF-GOVERNMENT

IN the beginning, all the Greeks had been equally rich and
equally poor. Every man had owned a certain number of
cows and sheep. His mud-hut had been his castle. He had
been free to come and go as he wished. Whenever it was necessary
to discuss matters of public importance, all the citizens
had gathered in the market-place. One of the older men of the
village was elected chairman and it was his duty to see that
everybody had a chance to express his views. In case of war,
a particularly energetic and self-confident villager was chosen
commander-in-chief, but the same people who had voluntarily
given this man the right to be their leader, claimed an equal
right to deprive him of his job, once the danger had been
averted.

But gradually the village had grown into a city. Some
people had worked hard and others had been lazy. A few
had been unlucky and still others had been just plain dishonest
in dealing with their neighbours and had gathered wealth.
As a result, the city no longer consisted of a number of men
who were equally well-off. On the contrary it was inhabited
by a small class of very rich people and a large class of very
poor ones.

There had been another change. The old commander-in-
chief who had been willingly recognised as ``headman'' or
``King'' because he knew how to lead his men to victory, had
disappeared from the scene. His place had been taken by the
nobles--a class of rich people who during the course of time
had got hold of an undue share of the farms and estates.

These nobles enjoyed many advantages over the common
crowd of freemen. They were able to buy the best weapons
which were to be found on the market of the eastern Mediterranean.
They had much spare time in which they could prac-
tise the art of fighting. They lived in strongly built houses
and they could hire soldiers to fight for them. They were
constantly quarrelling among each other to decide who should
rule the city. The victorious nobleman then assumed a sort of
Kingship over all his neighbours and governed the town until
he in turn was killed or driven away by still another ambitious
nobleman.

Such a King, by the grace of his soldiers, was called a
``Tyrant'' and during the seventh and sixth centuries before
our era every Greek city was for a time ruled by such Tyrants,
many of whom, by the way, happened to be exceedingly capa-
ble men. But in the long run, this state of affairs became
unbearable. Then attempts were made to bring about reforms
and out of these reforms grew the first democratic government
of which the world has a record.

It was early in the seventh century that the people of
Athens decided to do some housecleaning and give the large
number of freemen once more a voice in the government as
they were supposed to have had in the days of their Achaean
ancestors. They asked a man by the name of Draco to provide
them with a set of laws that would protect the poor against
the aggressions of the rich. Draco set to work. Unfortunately
he was a professional lawyer and very much out of touch
with ordinary life. In his eyes a crime was a crime and when
he had finished his code, the people of Athens discovered that
these Draconian laws were so severe that they could not
possibly be put into effect. There would not have been rope
enough to hang all the criminals under their new system of
jurisprudence which made the stealing of an apple a capital
offence.

The Athenians looked about for a more humane reformer.
At last they found some one who could do that sort of thing
better than anybody else. His name was Solon. He belonged
to a noble family and he had travelled all over the world and
had studied the forms of government of many other countries.
After a careful study of the subject, Solon gave Athens a set
of laws which bore testimony to that wonderful principle of
moderation which was part of the Greek character. He tried
to improve the condition of the peasant without however destroying
the prosperity of the nobles who were (or rather who
could be) of such great service to the state as soldiers. To protect
the poorer classes against abuse on the part of the judges
(who were always elected from the class of the nobles because
they received no salary) Solon made a provision whereby a
citizen with a grievance had the right to state his case before
a jury of thirty of his fellow Athenians.

Most important of all, Solon forced the average freeman
to take a direct and personal interest in the affairs of the city.
No longer could he stay at home and say ``oh, I am too busy
today'' or ``it is raining and I had better stay indoors.'' He
was expected to do his share; to be at the meeting of the town
council; and carry part of the responsibility for the safety and
the prosperity of the state.

This government by the ``demos,'' the people, was often far
from successful. There was too much idle talk. There were
too many hateful and spiteful scenes between rivals for official
honor. But it taught the Greek people to be independent and
to rely upon themselves for their salvation and that was a very
good thing.

GREEK LIFE

HOW THE GREEKS LIVED

BUT how, you will ask, did the ancient Greeks have time
to look after their families and their business if they were
forever running to the market-place to discuss affairs of state?
In this chapter I shall tell you.

In all matters of government, the Greek democracy recognised
only one class of citizens--the freemen. Every Greek
city was composed of a small number of free born citizens, a
large number of slaves and a sprinkling of foreigners.

At rare intervals (usually during a war, when men were
needed for the army) the Greeks showed themselves willing to
confer the rights of citizenship upon the ``barbarians'' as they
called the foreigners. But this was an exception. Citizenship
was a matter of birth. You were an Athenian because your
father and your grandfather had been Athenians before you.
But however great your merits as a trader or a soldier, if you
were born of non-Athenian parents, you remained a ``foreigner''
until the end of time.

The Greek city, therefore, whenever it was not ruled by a
king or a tyrant, was run by and for the freemen, and this
would not have been possible without a large army of slaves
who outnumbered the free citizens at the rate of six or five
to one and who performed those tasks to which we modern
people must devote most of our time and energy if we wish to
provide for our families and pay the rent of our apartments.
The slaves did all the cooking and baking and candlestick
making of the entire city. They were the tailors and the carpenters
and the jewelers and the school-teachers and the bookkeepers
and they tended the store and looked after the factory
while the master went to the public meeting to discuss questions
of war and peace or visited the theatre to see the latest
play of AEschylus or hear a discussion of the revolutionary ideas
of Euripides, who had dared to express certain doubts upon
the omnipotence of the great god Zeus.

Indeed, ancient Athens resembled a modem club. All the
freeborn citizens were hereditary members and all the slaves
were hereditary servants, and waited upon the needs of their
masters, and it was very pleasant to be a member of the
organisation.

But when we talk about slaves. we do not mean the sort of
people about whom you have read in the pages of ``Uncle
Tom's Cabin.'' It is true that the position of those slaves who
tilled the fields was a very unpleasant one, but the average
freeman who had come down in the world and who had been
obliged to hire himself out as a farm hand led just as miserable
a life. In the cities, furthermore, many of the slaves were
more prosperous than the poorer classes of the freemen. For
the Greeks, who loved moderation in all things, did not like to
treat their slaves after the fashion which afterward was so
common in Rome, where a slave had as few rights as an engine
in a modern factory and could be thrown to the wild animals
upon the smallest pretext.

The Greeks accepted slavery as a necessary institution,
without which no city could possibly become the home of a truly
civilised people.

The slaves also took care of those tasks which nowadays are
performed by the business men and the professional men. As
for those household duties which take up so much of the time
of your mother and which worry your father when he comes
home from his office, the Greeks, who understood the value of
leisure, had reduced such duties to the smallest possible minimum
by living amidst surroundings of extreme simplicity.

To begin with, their homes were very plain. Even the rich
nobles spent their lives in a sort of adobe barn, which lacked
all the comforts which a modern workman expects as his natural
right. A Greek home consisted of four walls and a roof.
There was a door which led into the street but there were no
windows. The kitchen, the living rooms and the sleeping quarters
were built around an open courtyard in which there was a
small fountain, or a statue and a few plants to make it look
bright. Within this courtyard the family lived when it did not
rain or when it was not too cold. In one corner of the yard the
cook (who was a slave) prepared the meal and in another
corner, the teacher (who was also a slave) taught the children
the alpha beta gamma and the tables of multiplication and in
still another corner the lady of the house, who rarely left her
domain (since it was not considered good form for a married
woman to be seen on the street too often) was repairing her
husband's coat with her seamstresses (who were slaves,) and
in the little office, right off the door, the master was inspecting
the accounts which the overseer of his farm (who was a slave)
had just brought to him.

When dinner was ready the family came together but the
meal was a very simple one and did not take much time. The
Greeks seem to have regarded eating as an unavoidable evil
and not a pastime, which kills many dreary hours and eventually
kills many dreary people. They lived on bread and on
wine, with a little meat and some green vegetables. They
drank water only when nothing else was available because
they did not think it very healthy. They loved to call on each
other for dinner, but our idea of a festive meal, where everybody
is supposed to eat much more than is good for him, would
have disgusted them. They came together at the table for
the purpose of a good talk and a good glass of wine and water,
but as they were moderate people they despised those who
drank too much.

The same simplicity which prevailed in the dining room
also dominated their choice of clothes. They liked to be clean
and well groomed, to have their hair and beards neatly cut,
to feel their bodies strong with the exercise and the swimming
of the gymnasium, but they never followed the Asiatic fashion
which prescribed loud colours and strange patterns. They
wore a long white coat and they managed to look as smart as
a modern Italian officer in his long blue cape.

They loved to see their wives wear ornaments but they
thought it very vulgar to display their wealth (or their wives)
in public and whenever the women left their home they were as
inconspicuous as possible.

In short, the story of Greek life is a story not only of moderation
but also of simplicity. ``Things,'' chairs and tables and
books and houses and carriages, are apt to take up a great
deal of their owner's time. In the end they invariably make
him their slave and his hours are spent looking after their
wants, keeping them polished and brushed and painted. The
Greeks, before everything else, wanted to be ``free,'' both in
mind and in body. That they might maintain their liberty, and
be truly free in spirit, they reduced their daily needs to the

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