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Pietro della Valle visited the same hillsides of Shiraz which Barbaro had passed two hundred years before. He, too, was puzzled by the strange inscriptions on the ruins and being a painstaking young fellow, he copied them carefully and sent his report together with some remarks about the trip to a friend of his, Doctor Schipano, who practiced medicine in Naples and who besides took an interest in matters of learning.

Schipano copied the funny little figures and brought them to the attention of other scientific men. Unfortunately Europe was again occupied with other matters.

The terrible wars between the Protestants and Catholics had broken out and people were busily killing those who disagreed with them upon certain points of a religious nature.

Another century was to pass before the study of the wedge-shaped inscriptions could be taken up seriously.

The eighteenth century–a delightful age for people of an active and curious mind–loved scientific puzzles. Therefore when King Frederick V of Denmark asked for men of learning to join an expedition which he was going to send to western Asia, he found no end of volunteers. His expedition, which left Copenhagen in 1761, lasted six years. During this period all of the members died except one, by the name of Karsten Niebuhr, who had begun life as a German peasant and could stand greater hardships than the professors who had spent their days amidst the stuffy books of their libraries.

This Niebuhr, who was a surveyor by profession, was a young man who deserves our admiration.

He continued his voyage all alone until he reached the ruins of Persepolis where he spent a month copying every inscription that was to be found upon the walls of the ruined palaces and temples.

After his return to Denmark he published his discoveries for the benefit of the scientific world and seriously tried to read some meaning into his own texts.

He was not successful.

But this does not astonish us when we understand the difficulties which he was obliged to solve.

When Champollion tackled the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics he was able to make his studies from little pictures.

The writing of Persepolis did not show any pictures at all.

They consisted of v-shaped figures that were repeated endlessly and suggested nothing at all to the European eye.

Nowadays, when the puzzle has been solved we know that the original script of the Sumerians had been a picture-language, quite as much as that of the Egyptians.

But whereas the Egyptians at a very early date had discovered the papyrus plant and had been able to paint their images upon a smooth surface, the inhabitants of Mesopotamia had been forced to carve their words into the hard rock of a mountain side or into a soft brick of clay.

[Illustration: THE ROCKS OF BEHISTUN.]

Driven by necessity they had gradually simplified the original pictures until they devised a system of more than five hundred different letter-combinations which were necessary for their needs.

Let me give you a few examples. In the beginning, a star, when drawn with a nail into a brick looked as follows. [Illustration: Star]

But after a time the star shape was discarded as being too cumbersome and the figure was given this shape. [Illustration: Asterisk]

After a while the meaning of “heaven” was added to that of “star,” and the picture was simplified in this way [Illustration: Odd Cross] which made it still more of a puzzle.

In the same way an ox changed from [Illustration: Ox Head] into [Illustration: Pattern]

A fish changed from [Illustration: Fish] into [Illustration: Fish Scales] The sun, which was originally a plain circle, became [Illustration: Diamond] and if we were using the Sumerian script today we would make an [Illustration: Bike] look like this [Illustration: Pattern].

You will understand how difficult it was to guess at the meaning of these figures but the patient labors of a German schoolmaster by the name of Grotefend was at last rewarded and thirty years after the first publication of Niebuhr’s texts and three centuries after the first discovery of the wedge-formed pictures, four letters had been deciphered.

These four letters were the D, the A, the R and the Sh.

They formed the name of Darheush the King, whom we call Darius.

Then occurred one of those events which were only possible in those happy days before the telegraph-wire and the mail-steamer had turned the entire world into one large city.

While patient European professors were burning the midnight candles in their attempt to solve the new Asiatic mystery, young Henry Rawlinson was serving his time as a cadet of the British East Indian Company.

He used his spare hours to learn Persian and when the Shah of Persia asked the English government for the loan of a few officers to train his native army, Rawlinson was ordered to go to Teheran. He travelled all over Persia and one day he happened to visit the village of Behistun. The Persians called it Bagistana which means the “dwellingplace of the Gods.”

Centuries before the main road from Mesopotamia to Iran (the early home of the Persians) had run through this village and the Persian King Darius had used the steep walls of the high cliffs to tell all the world what a great man he was.

High above the roadside he had engraved an account of his glorious deeds.

The inscription had been made in the Persian language, in Babylonian and in the dialect of the city of Susa. To make the story plain to those who could not read at all, a fine piece of sculpture had been added showing the King of Persia placing his triumphant foot upon the body of Gaumata, the usurper who had tried to steal the throne away from the legitimate rulers. For good measure a dozen followers of Gaumata had been added. They stood in the background. Their hands were tied and they were to be executed in a few moments.

The picture and the three texts were several hundred feet above the road but Rawlinson scaled the walls of the rock at great danger to life and limb and copied the entire text.

His discovery was of the greatest importance. The Rock of Behistun became as famous as the Stone of Rosetta and Rawlinson shared the honors of deciphering the old nail-writing with Grotefend.

Although they had never seen each other or heard each other’s names, the German schoolmaster and the British officer worked together for a common purpose as all good scientific men should do.

Their copies of the old text were reprinted in every land and by the middle of the nineteenth century, the cuneiform language (so called because the letters were wedge-shaped and “cuneus” is the Latin name for wedge) had given up its secrets. Another human mystery had been solved.

[Illustration: A TOWER OF BABEL.]

But about the people who had invented this clever way of writing, we have never been able to learn very much.

They were a white race and they were called the Sumerians.

They lived in a land which we call Shomer and which they themselves called Kengi, which means the “country of the reeds” and which shows us that they had dwelt among the marshy parts of the Mesopotamian valley. Originally the Sumerians had been mountaineers, but the fertile fields had tempted them away from the hills. But while they had left their ancient homes amidst the peaks of western Asia they had not given up their old habits and one of these is of particular interest to us.

Living amidst the peaks of western Asia, they had worshipped their Gods upon altars erected on the tops of rocks. In their new home, among the flat plains, there were no such rocks and it was impossible to construct their shrines in the old fashion. The Sumerians did not like this.

All Asiatic people have a deep respect for tradition and the Sumerian tradition demanded that an altar be plainly visible for miles around.

To overcome this difficulty and keep their peace with the Gods of their Fathers, the Sumerians had built a number of low towers (resembling little hills) on the top of which they had lighted their sacred fires in honor of the old divinities.

When the Jews visited the town of Bab-Illi (which we call Babylon) many centuries after the last of the Sumerians had died, they had been much impressed by the strange-looking towers which stood high amidst the green fields of Mesopotamia. The Tower of Babel of which we hear so much in the Old Testament was nothing but the ruin of an artificial peak, built hundreds of years before by a band of devout Sumerians. It was a curious contraption.

The Sumerians had not known how to construct stairs.

They had surrounded their tower with a sloping gallery which slowly carried people from the bottom to the top.

A few years ago it was found necessary to build a new railroad station in the heart of New York City in such a way that thousands of travelers could be brought from the lower to the higher levels at the same moment.

It was not thought safe to use a staircase for in case of a rush or a panic people might have tumbled and that would have meant a terrible catastrophe.

To solve their problem the engineers borrowed an idea from the Sumerians.

And the Grand Central Station is provided with the same ascending galleries which had first been introduced into the plains of Mesopotamia, three thousand years ago.


We often call America the “Melting-pot.” When we use this term we mean that many races from all over the earth have gathered along the banks of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans to find a new home and begin a new career amidst more favorable surroundings than were to be found in the country of their birth. It is true, Mesopotamia was much smaller than our own country. But the fertile valley was the most extraordinary “melting-pot” the world has ever seen and it continued to absorb new tribes for almost two thousand years. The story of each new people, clamoring for homesteads along the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates is interesting in itself but we can give you only a very short record of their adventures.

[Illustration: HAMMURAPI.]

The Sumerians whom we met in the previous chapter, scratching their history upon rocks and bits of clay (and who did not belong to the Semitic race) had been the first nomads to wander into Mesopotamia. Nomads are people who have no settled homes and no grain fields and no vegetable gardens but who live in tents and keep sheep and goats and cows and who move from pasture to pasture, taking their flocks and their tents wherever the grass is green and the water abundant.

Far and wide their mud huts had covered the plains. They were good fighters and for a long time they were able to hold their own against all invaders.

But four thousand years ago a tribe of Semitic desert people called the Akkadians left Arabia, defeated the Sumerians and conquered Mesopotamia. The most famous king of these Akkadians was called Sargon.

He taught his people how to write their own Semitic language in the alphabet of the Sumerians whose territory they had just occupied. He ruled so wisely that soon the differences between the original settlers and the invaders disappeared and they became fast friends and lived together in peace and harmony.

The fame of his empire spread rapidly throughout western Asia and others, hearing of this success, were tempted to try their own luck.

A new tribe of desert nomads, called the Amorites, broke up camp and moved northward.

Thereupon the valley was the scene of a great turmoil until an Amorite chieftain by the name of Hammurapi (or Hammurabi, as you please) established himself in the town of Bab-Illi (which means the Gate of the God) and made himself the ruler of a great Bab-Illian or Babylonian Empire.

This Hammurapi, who lived twenty-one centuries before the birth of Christ, was a very interesting man. He made Babylon the most important town of the ancient world, where learned priests administered the laws which their great Ruler had received from the Sun God himself and where the merchant loved to trade because he was treated fairly and honorably.

Indeed if it were not for the lack of space (these laws of Hammurapi would cover fully forty of these pages if I were to give them to you in detail) I would be able to show you that this ancient Babylonian State was in many respects better managed and that the people were happier and that law and order was maintained more carefully and that there was greater freedom of speech and thought than in many of our modern countries.

But our world was never meant to be too perfect and soon other hordes of rough and murderous men descended from the northern mountains and destroyed the work of Hammurapi’s genius.

The name of these new invaders was the Hittites. Of these Hittites I can tell you even less than of the Sumerians. The Bible mentions them. Ruins of their civilization have been found far and wide. They used a strange sort of hieroglyphics but no one has as yet been able to decipher these and read their meaning. They were not greatly gifted as administrators. They ruled only a few years and then their domains fell to pieces.

Of all their glory there remains nothing but a mysterious name and the reputation of having destroyed many things which other people had built up with great pain and care.

Then came another invasion which was of a very different nature.

A fierce tribe of desert wanderers, who murdered and pillaged in the name of their great God Assur, left Arabia and marched northward until they reached the slopes of the mountains. Then they turned eastward and along the banks of the Euphrates they built a city which they called Ninua, a name which has come down to us in the Greek form of Nineveh. At once these new-comers, who are generally known as the Assyrians, began a slow but terrible warfare upon all the other inhabitants of Mesopotamia.

In the twelfth century before Christ they made a first attempt to destroy Babylon but after a first success on the part of their King, Tiglath Pileser, they were defeated and forced to return to their own country.

Five hundred years later they tried again. An adventurous general by the name of Bulu made himself master of the Assyrian throne. He assumed the name of old Tiglath Pileser, who was considered the national hero of the Assyrians and announced his intention of conquering the whole world.

[Illustration: NINEVEH.]

He was as good as his word.

Asia Minor and Armenia and Egypt and Northern Arabia and Western Persia and Babylonia became Assyrian provinces. They were ruled by Assyrian governors, who collected the taxes and forced all the young men to serve as soldiers in the Assyrian armies and who made themselves thoroughly hated and despised both for their greed and their cruelty.

Fortunately the Assyrian Empire at its greatest height did not last very long. It was like a ship with too many masts and sails and too small a hull. There were too many soldiers and not enough farmers–too many generals and not enough business men.

The King and the nobles grew very rich but the masses lived in squalor and poverty. Never for a moment was the country at peace. It was for ever fighting someone, somewhere, for causes which did not interest the subjects at all. Until, through this continuous and exhausting warfare, most of the Assyrian soldiers had been killed or maimed and it became necessary to allow foreigners to enter the army. These foreigners had little love for their brutal masters who had destroyed their homes and had stolen their children and therefore they fought badly.

Life along the Assyrian frontier was no longer safe.

Strange new tribes were constantly attacking the northern boundaries. One of these was called the Cimmerians. The Cimmerians, when we first hear of them, inhabited the vast plain beyond the northern mountains. Homer describes their country in his account of the voyage of Odysseus and he tells us that it was a place “for ever steeped in darkness.” They were a race of white men and they had been driven out of their former homes by still another group of Asiatic wanderers, the Scythians.

The Scythians were the ancestors of the modern Cossacks, and even in those remote days they were famous for their horsemanship.

[Illustration: NINEVEH DESTROYED.]

The Cimmerians, hard pressed by the Scythians, crossed from Europe into Asia and conquered the land of the Hittites. Then they left the mountains of Asia Minor and descended into the valley of Mesopotamia, where they wrought terrible havoc among the impoverished people of the Assyrian Empire.

Nineveh called for volunteers to stop this invasion. Her worn-out regiments marched northward when news came of a more immediate and formidable danger.

For many years a small tribe of Semitic nomads, called the Chaldeans, had been living peacefully in the south-eastern part of the fertile valley, in the country called Ur. Suddenly these Chaldeans had gone upon the war-path and had begun a regular campaign against the Assyrians.

Attacked from all sides, the Assyrian State, which had never gained the good-will of a single neighbor, was doomed to perish.

When Nineveh fell and this forbidding treasure house, filled with the plunder of centuries, was at last destroyed, there was joy in every hut and hamlet from the Persian Gulf to the Nile.

And when the Greeks visited the Euphrates a few generations later and asked what these vast ruins, covered with shrubs and trees might be, there was no one to tell them.

The people had hastened to forget the very name of the city that had been such a cruel master and had so miserably oppressed them.

Babylon, on the other hand, which had ruled its subjects in a very different way, came back to life.

During the long reign of the wise King Nebuchadnezzar the ancient temples were rebuilt. Vast palaces were erected within a short space of time. New canals were dug all over the valley to help irrigate the fields. Quarrelsome neighbors were severely punished.

Egypt was reduced to a mere frontier-province and Jerusalem, the capital of the Jews, was destroyed. The Holy Books of Moses were taken to Babylon and several thousand Jews were forced to follow the Babylonian King to his capital as hostages for the good behavior of those who remained behind in Palestine.

But Babylon was made into one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Trees were planted along the banks of the Euphrates.

Flowers were made to grow upon the many walls of the city and after a few years it seemed that a thousand gardens were hanging from the roofs of the ancient town.

As soon as the Chaldeans had made their capital the show-place of the world they devoted their attention to matters of the mind and of the spirit.

Like all desert folk they were deeply interested in the stars which at night had guided them safely through the trackless desert.

They studied the heavens and named the twelve signs of the Zodiak.

They made maps of the sky and they discovered the first five planets. To these they gave the names of their Gods. When the Romans conquered Mesopotamia they translated the Chaldean names into Latin and that explains why today we talk of Jupiter and Venus and Mars and Mercury and Saturn.

They divided the equator into three hundred and sixty degrees and they divided the day into twenty-four hours and the hour into sixty minutes and no modern man has ever been able to improve upon this old Babylonian invention. They possessed no watches but they measured time by the shadow of the sun-dial.

They learned to use both the decimal and the duodecimal systems (nowadays we use only the decimal system, which is a great pity). The duodecimal system (ask your father what the word means), accounts for the sixty minutes and the sixty seconds and the twenty-four hours which seem to have so little in common with our modern world which would have divided day and night into twenty hours and the hour into fifty minutes and the minute into fifty seconds according to the rules of the restricted decimal system.

The Chaldeans also were the first people to recognize the necessity of a regular day of rest.

When they divided the year into weeks they ordered that six days of labor should be followed by one day, devoted to the “peace of the soul.”

[Illustration: THE CHALDEANS.]

It was a great pity that the center of so much intelligence and industry could not exist for ever. But not even the genius of a number of very wise Kings could save the ancient people of Mesopotamia from their ultimate fate.

The Semitic world was growing old.

It was time for a new race of men.

In the fifth century before Christ, an Indo-European people called the Persians (I shall tell you about them later) left its pastures amidst the high mountains of Iran and conquered the fertile valley.

The city of Babylon was captured without a struggle.

Nabonidus, the last Babylonian king, who had been more interested in religious problems than in defending his own country, fled.

A few days later his small son, who had remained behind, died.

Cyrus, the Persian King, buried the child with great honor and then proclaimed himself the legitimate successor of the old rulers of Babylonia.

Mesopotamia ceased to be an independent State.

It became a Persian province ruled by a Persian “Satrap” or Governor.

As for Babylon, when the Kings no longer used the city as their residence it soon lost all importance and became a mere country village.

In the fourth century before Christ it enjoyed another spell of glory.

It was in the year 331 B.C. that Alexander the Great, the young Greek who had just conquered Persia and India and Egypt and every other place, visited the ancient city of sacred memories. He wanted to use the old city as a background for his own newly-acquired glory. He began to rebuild the palace and ordered that the rubbish be removed from the temples.

Unfortunately he died quite suddenly in the Banqueting Hall of Nebuchadnezzar and after that nothing on earth could save Babylon from her ruin.

As soon as one of Alexander’s generals, Seleucus Nicator, had perfected the plans for a new city at the mouth of the great canal which united the Tigris and the Euphrates, the fate of Babylon was sealed.

A tablet of the year 275 B.C. tells us how the last of the Babylonians were forced to leave their home and move into this new settlement which had been called Seleucia.

Even then, a few of the faithful continued to visit the holy places which were now inhabited by wolves and jackals.

The majority of the people, little interested in those half-forgotten divinities of a bygone age, made a more practical use of their former home.

They used it as a stone-quarry.

For almost thirty centuries Babylon had been the great spiritual and intellectual center of the Semitic world and a hundred generations had regarded the city as the most perfect expression of their people’s genius.

It was the Paris and London and New York of the ancient world.

At present three large mounds show us where the ruins lie buried beneath the sand of the ever-encroaching desert.


High above the thin line of the distant horizon there appeared a small cloud of dust. The Babylonian peasant, working his poor farm on the outskirts of the fertile lands, noticed it.

“Another tribe is trying to break into our land,” he said to himself. “They will not get far. The King’s soldiers will drive them away.”

He was right. The frontier guards welcomed the new arrivals with drawn swords and bade them try their luck elsewhere.

They moved westward following the borders of the land of Babylon and they wandered until they reached the shores of the Mediterranean.

There they settled down and tended their flocks and lived the simple lives of their earliest ancestors who had dwelt in the land of Ur.

Then there came a time when the rain ceased to fall and there was not enough to eat for man or beast and it became necessary to look for new pastures or perish on the spot.

Once more the shepherds (who were called the Hebrews) moved their families into a new home which they found along the banks of the Red Sea near the land of Egypt.

But hunger and want had followed them upon their voyage and they were forced to go to the Egyptian officials and beg for food that they might not starve.

The Egyptians had long expected a famine. They had built large store-houses and these were all filled with the surplus wheat of the last seven years. This wheat was now being distributed among the people and a food-dictator had been appointed to deal it out equally to the rich and to the poor. His name was Joseph and he belonged to the tribe of the Hebrews.

As a mere boy he had run away from his own family. It was said that he had escaped to save himself from the anger of his brethren who envied him because he was the favorite of their Father.

Whatever the truth, Joseph had gone to Egypt and he had found favor in the eyes of the Hyksos Kings who had just conquered the country and who used this bright young man to assist them in administering their new possessions.

As soon as the hungry Hebrews appeared before Joseph with their request for help, Joseph recognized his relatives.

But he was a generous man and all meanness of spirit was foreign to his soul.

He did not revenge himself upon those who had wronged him but he gave them wheat and allowed them to settle in the land of Egypt, they and their children and their flocks–and be happy.

For many years the Hebrews (who are more commonly known as the Jews) lived in the eastern part of their adopted country and all was well with them.

Then a great change took place.

A sudden revolution deprived the Hyksos Kings of their power and forced them to leave the country. Once more the Egyptians were masters within their own house. They had never liked foreigners any too well. Three hundred years of oppression by a band of Arab shepherds had greatly increased this feeling of loathing for everything that was alien.

[Illustration: MOSES.]

The Jews on the other hand had been on friendly terms with the Hyksos who were related to them by blood and by race. This was enough to make them traitors in the eyes of the Egyptians.

Joseph no longer lived to protect his people.

After a short struggle they were taken away from their old homes, they were driven into the heart of the country and they were treated like slaves.

For many years they performed the dreary tasks of common laborers, carrying stones for the building of pyramids, making bricks for public buildings, constructing roads, and digging canals to carry the water of the Nile to the distant Egyptian farms.

Their suffering was great but they never lost courage and help was near.

There lived a certain young man whose name was Moses. He was very intelligent and he had received a good education because the Egyptians had decided that he should enter the service of Pharaoh.

If nothing had happened to arouse his anger, Moses would have ended his days peacefully as the governor of a small province or the collector of taxes of an outlying district.

But the Egyptians, as I have told you before, despised those who did not look like themselves nor dress in true Egyptian fashion and they were apt to insult such people because they were “different.”

And because the foreigners were in the minority they could not well defend themselves. Nor did it serve any good purpose to carry their complaints before a tribunal for the Judge did not smile upon the grievances of a man who refused to worship the Egyptian gods and who pleaded his case with a strong foreign accent.

Now it occurred one day that Moses was taking a walk with a few of his Egyptian friends and one of these said something particularly disagreeable about the Jews and even threatened to lay hands on them.

Moses, who was a hot-headed youth hit him.

The blow was a bit too severe and the Egyptian fell down dead.

To kill a native was a terrible thing and the Egyptian laws were not as wise as those of Hammurapi, the good Babylonian King, who recognized the difference between a premeditated murder and the killing of a man whose insults had brought his opponent to a point of unreasoning rage.

Moses fled.

He escaped into the land of his ancestors, into the Midian desert, along the eastern bank of the Red Sea, where his tribe had tended their sheep several hundred years before.

A kind priest by the name of Jethro received him in his house and gave him one of his seven daughters, Zipporah, as his wife.

There Moses lived for a long time and there he pondered upon many deep subjects. He had left the luxury and the comfort of the palace of Pharaoh to share the rough and simple life of a desert priest.

In the olden days, before the Jewish people had moved into Egypt, they too had been wanderers among the endless plains of Arabia. They had lived in tents and they had eaten plain food, but they had been honest men and faithful women, contented with few possessions but proud of the righteousness of their mind.

All this had been changed after they had become exposed to the civilization of Egypt. They had taken to the ways of the comfort-loving Egyptians. They had allowed another race to rule them and they had not cared to fight for their independence.

Instead of the old gods of the wind-swept desert they had begun to worship strange divinities who lived in the glimmering splendors of the dark Egyptian temples.

Moses felt that it was his duty to go forth and save his people from their fate and bring them back to the simple Truth of the olden days.

And so he sent messengers to his relatives and suggested that they leave the land of slavery and join him in the desert.

But the Egyptians heard of this and guarded the Jews more carefully than ever before.

It seemed that the plans of Moses were doomed to failure when suddenly an epidemic broke out among the people of the Nile Valley.

The Jews who had always obeyed certain very strict laws of health (which they had learned in the hardy days of their desert life) escaped the disease while the weaker Egyptians died by the hundreds of thousands.

Amidst the confusion and the panic which followed this Silent Death, the Jews packed their belongings and hastily fled from the land which had promised them so much and which had given them so little.

As soon as the flight became known the Egyptians tried to follow them with their armies but their soldiers met with disaster and the Jews escaped.

They were safe and they were free and they moved eastward into the waste spaces which are situated at the foot of Mount Sinai, the peak which has been called after Sin, the Babylonian God of the Moon.

There Moses took command of his fellow-tribesmen and commenced upon his great task of reform.

In those days, the Jews, like all other people, worshipped many gods. During their stay in Egypt they had even learned to do homage to those animals which the Egyptians held in such high honor that they built holy shrines for their special benefit. Moses on the other hand, during his long and lonely life amidst the sandy hills of the peninsula, had learned to revere the strength and the power of the great God of the Storm and the Thunder, who ruled the high heavens and upon whose good-will the wanderer in the desert depended for life and light and breath.

This God was called Jehovah and he was a mighty Being who was held in trembling respect by all the Semitic people of western Asia.

Through the teaching of Moses he was to become the sole Master of the Jewish race.

One day Moses disappeared from the camp of the Hebrews. He took with him two tablets of rough-hewn stone. It was whispered that he had gone to seek the solitude of Mount Sinai’s highest peak.

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 himself had spoken amidst the crash of his thunder and the blinding flashes of his lightning.

From that moment on, no Jew dared to question the authority of Moses.

When he told his people that Jehovah commanded them to continue their wanderings, they obeyed with eagerness.

For many years they lived amidst the trackless hills of the desert.

They suffered great hardships and almost perished from lack of food and water.

But Moses kept high their hopes of a Promised Land which would offer a lasting home to the true followers of Jehovah.

At last they reached a more fertile region.

They crossed the river Jordan and, carrying the Holy Tablets of Law, they made ready to occupy the pastures which stretch from Dan to Beersheba.

As for Moses, he was no longer their leader.

He had grown old and he was very tired.

He had been allowed to see the distant ridges of the Palestine Mountains among which the Jews were to find a Fatherland.

Then he had closed his wise eyes for all time.

He had accomplished the task which he had set himself in his youth.

He had led his people out of foreign slavery into the new freedom of an independent life.

He had united them and he had made them the first of all nations to worship a single God.


Palestine is a small strip of land between the mountains of Syria and the green waters of the Mediterranean. It has been inhabited since time immemorial, but we do not know very much about the first settlers, although we have given them the name of Canaanites.

The Canaanites belonged to the Semitic race. Their ancestors, like those of the Jews and the Babylonians, had been a desert folk. But when the Jews entered Palestine, the Canaanites lived in towns and villages. They were no longer shepherds but traders. Indeed, in the Jewish language, Canaanite and merchant came to mean the same thing.

They had built themselves strong cities, surrounded by high walls and they did not allow the Jews to enter their gates, but they forced them to keep to the open country and make their home amidst the grassy lands of the valleys.

After a time, however, the Jews and the Canaanites became friends. This was not so very difficult for they both belonged to the same race. Besides they feared a common enemy and only their united strength could defend their country against these dangerous neighbors, who were called the Philistines and who belonged to an entirely different race.

The Philistines really had no business in Asia. They were Europeans, and their earliest home had been in the Isle of Crete. At what age they had settled along the shores of the Mediterranean is quite uncertain because we do not know when the Indo-European invaders had driven them from their island home. But even the Egyptians, who called them Purasati, had feared them greatly and when the Philistines (who wore a headdress of feathers just like our Indians) went upon the war-path, all the people of western Asia sent large armies to protect their frontiers.

[Illustration: JERUSALEM.]

As for the war between the Philistines and the Jews, it never came to an end. For although David slew Goliath (who wore a suit of armor which was a great curiosity in those days and had been no doubt imported from the island of Cyprus where the copper mines of the ancient world were found) and although Samson killed the Philistines wholesale when he buried himself and his enemies beneath the temple of Dagon, the Philistines always proved themselves more than a match for the Jews and never allowed the Hebrew people to get hold of any of the harbors of the Mediterranean.

The Jews therefore were obliged by fate to content themselves with the valleys of eastern Palestine and there, on the top of a barren hill, they erected their capital.

The name of this city was Jerusalem and for thirty centuries it has been one of the most holy spots of the western world.

In the dim ages of the unknown past, Jerusalem, the Home of Peace, had been a little fortified outpost of the Egyptians who had built many small fortifications and castles along the mountain ridges of Palestine, to defend their outlying frontier against attacks from the East.

After the downfall of the Egyptian Empire, a native tribe, the Jebusites, had moved into the deserted city. Then came the Jews who captured the town after a long struggle and made it the residence of their King David.

At last, after many years of wandering the Tables of the Law seemed to have reached a place of enduring rest. Solomon, the Wise, decided to provide them with a magnificent home. Far and wide his messengers travelled to ransack the world for rare woods and precious metals. The entire nation was asked to offer its wealth to make the House of God worthy of its holy name. Higher and higher the walls of the temple arose guarding the sacred Laws of Jehovah for all the ages.

Alas, the expected eternity proved to be of short duration. Themselves intruders among hostile neighbors, surrounded by enemies on all sides, harassed by the Philistines, the Jews did not maintain their independence for very long.

They fought well and bravely. But their little state, weakened by petty jealousies, was easily overpowered by the Assyrians and the Egyptians and the Chaldeans and when Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, took Jerusalem in the year 586 before the birth of Christ, he destroyed the city and the temple, and the Tablets of Stone went up in the general conflagration.

At once the Jews set to work to rebuild their holy shrine. But the days of Solomon’s glory were gone. The Jews were the subjects of a foreign race and money was scarce. It took seventy years to reconstruct the old edifice. It stood securely for three hundred years but then a second invasion took place and once more the red flames of the burning temple brightened the skies of Palestine.

When it was rebuilt for the third time, it was surrounded by two high walls with narrow gates and several inner courts were added to make sudden invasion in the future an impossibility.

But ill-luck pursued the city of Jerusalem.

In the sixty-fifth year before the birth of Christ, the Romans under their general Pompey took possession of the Jewish capital. Their practical sense did not take kindly to an old city with crooked and dark streets and many unhealthy alley-ways. They cleaned up this old rubbish (as they considered it) and built new barracks and large public buildings and swimming-pools and athletic parks and they forced their modern improvements upon an unwilling populace.

The temple which served no practical purposes (as far as they could see) was neglected until the days of Herod, who was King of the Jews by the Grace of the Roman sword and whose vanity wished to renew the ancient splendor of the bygone ages. In a half-hearted manner the oppressed people set to work to obey the orders of a master who was not of their own choosing.

When the last stone had been placed in its proper position another revolution broke out against the merciless Roman tax gatherers. The temple was the first victim of this rioting. The soldiers of the Emperor Titus promptly set fire to this center of the old Jewish faith. But the city of Jerusalem was spared.

Palestine however continued to be the scene of unrest.

The Romans who were familiar with all sorts of races of men and who ruled countries where a thousand different divinities were worshipped did not know how to handle the Jews. They did not understand the Jewish character at all. Extreme tolerance (based upon indifference) was the foundation upon which Rome had constructed her very successful Empire. Roman governors never interfered with the religious belief of subject tribes. They demanded that a picture or a statue of the Emperor be placed in the temples of the people who inhabited the outlying parts of the Roman domains. This was a mere formality and it did not have any deep significance. But to the Jews such a thing seemed highly sacrilegious and they would not desecrate their Holiest of Holies by the carven image of a Roman potentate.

They refused.

The Romans insisted.

In itself a matter of small importance, a misunderstanding of this sort was bound to grow and cause further ill-feeling. Fifty-two years after the revolt under the Emperor Titus the Jews once more rebelled. This time the Romans decided to be thorough in their work of destruction.

Jerusalem was destroyed.

The temple was burned down.

A new Roman city, called Aelia Capitolina was erected upon the ruins of the old city of Solomon.

A heathenish temple devoted to the worship of Jupiter was built upon the site where the faithful had worshipped Jehovah for almost a thousand years.

The Jews themselves were expelled from their capital and thousands of them were driven away from the home of their ancestors.

From that moment on they became wanderers upon the face of the Earth.

But the Holy Laws no longer needed the safe shelter of a royal shrine.

Their influence had long since passed beyond the narrow confines of the land of Judah. They had become a living symbol of Justice wherever honorable people tried to live a righteous life.


The old cities of Egypt have disappeared from the face of the earth. Nineveh and Babylon are deserted mounds of dust and brick. The ancient temple of Jerusalem lies buried beneath the blackened ruins of its own glory.

One city alone has survived the ages.

It is called Damascus.

Within its four great gates and its strong walls a busy people has followed its daily occupations for five thousand consecutive years and the “Street called Straight” which is the city’s main artery of commerce, has seen the coming and going of one hundred and fifty generations.

Humbly Damascus began its career as a fortified frontier town of the Amorites, those famous desert folk who had given birth to the great King Hammurapi. When the Amorites moved further eastward into the valley of Mesopotamia to found the Kingdom of Babylon, Damascus had been continued as a trading post with the wild Hittites who inhabited the mountains of Asia Minor.

In due course of time the earliest inhabitants had been absorbed by another Semitic tribe, called the Aramaeans. The city itself however had not changed its character. It remained throughout these many changes an important center of commerce.

It was situated upon the main road from Egypt to Mesopotamia and it was within a week’s distance from the harbors on the Mediterranean. It produced no great generals and statesmen and no famous Kings. It did not conquer a single mile of neighboring territory. It traded with all the world and offered a safe home to the merchant and to the artisan. Incidentally it bestowed its language upon the greater part of western Asia.

Commerce has always demanded quick and practical ways of communication between different nations. The elaborate system of nail-writing of the ancient Sumerians was too involved for the Aramaean business man. He invented a new alphabet which could be written much faster than the old wedge-shaped figures of Babylon.

The spoken language of the Aramaeans followed their business correspondence.

Aramaean became the English of the ancient world. In most parts of Mesopotamia it was understood as readily as the native tongue. In some countries it actually took the place of the old tribal dialect.

And when Christ preached to the multitudes, he did not use the ancient Jewish speech in which Moses had explained the Laws unto his fellow wanderers.

He spoke in Aramaean, the language of the merchant, which had become the language of the simple people of the old Mediterranean world.


A pioneer is a brave fellow, with the courage of his own curiosity.

Perhaps he lives at the foot of a high mountain.

So do thousands of other people. They are quite contented to leave the mountain alone.

But the pioneer feels unhappy. He wants to know what mysteries this mountain hides from his eyes. Is there another mountain behind it, or a plain? Does it suddenly arise with its steep cliffs from the dark waves of the ocean or does it overlook a desert?

One fine day the true pioneer leaves his family and the safe comfort of his home to go and find out. Perhaps he will come back and tell his experience to his indifferent relatives. Or he will be killed by falling stones or a treacherous blizzard. In that case he does not return at all and the good neighbors shake their heads and say, “He got what he deserved. Why did he not stay at home like the rest of us?”


But the world needs such men and after they have been dead for many years and others have reaped the benefits of their discoveries, they always receive a statue with a fitting inscription.

More terrifying than the highest mountain is the thin line of the distant horizon. It seems to be the end of the world itself. Heaven have mercy upon those who pass beyond this meeting-place of sky and water, where all is black despair and death.

And for centuries and centuries after man had built his first clumsy boats, he remained within the pleasant sight of one familiar shore and kept away from the horizon.

Then came the Phoenicians who knew no such fears. They passed beyond the sight of land. Suddenly the forbidding ocean was turned into a peaceful highway of commerce and the dangerous menace of the horizon became a myth.

These Phoenician navigators were Semites. Their ancestors had lived in the desert of Arabia together with the Babylonians, the Jews and all the others. But when the Jews occupied Palestine, the cities of the Phoenicians were already old with the age of many centuries.

There were two Phoenician centers of trade.

One was called Tyre and the other was called Sidon. They were built upon high cliffs and rumor had it that no enemy could take them. Far and wide their ships sailed to gather the products of the Mediterranean for the benefit of the people of Mesopotamia.

At first the sailors only visited the distant shores of France and Spain to barter with the natives and hastened home with their grain and metal. Later they had built fortified trading posts along the coasts of Spain and Italy and Greece and the far-off Scilly Islands where the valuable tin was found.

[Illustration: THE PHOENICIANS.]

To the uncivilized savages of Europe, such a trading post appeared as a dream of beauty and luxury. They asked to be allowed to live close to its walls, to see the wonderful sights when the boats of many sails entered the harbor, carrying the much-desired merchandise of the unknown east. Gradually they left their huts to build themselves small wooden houses around the Phoenician fortresses. In this way many a trading post had grown into a market place for all the people of the entire neighborhood.

Today such big cities as Marseilles and Cadiz are proud of their Phoenician origin, but their ancient mothers, Tyre and Sidon, have been dead and forgotten for over two thousand years and of the Phoenicians themselves, none have survived.

This is a sad fate but it was fully deserved.

The Phoenicians had grown rich without great effort, but they had not known how to use their wealth wisely. They had never cared for books or learning. They had only cared for money.

They had bought and sold slaves all over the world. They had forced the foreign immigrants to work in their factories. They cheated their neighbors whenever they had a chance and they had made themselves detested by all the other people of the Mediterranean.

They were brave and energetic navigators, but they showed themselves cowards whenever they were obliged to choose between honorable dealing and an immediate profit, obtained through fraudulent and shrewd trading.

As long as they had been the only sailors in the world who could handle large ships, all other nations had been in need of their services. As soon as the others too had learned how to handle a rudder and a set of sails, they at once got rid of the tricky Phoenician merchant.

From that moment on, Tyre and Sidon had lost their old hold upon the commercial world of Asia. They had never encouraged art or science. They had known how to explore the seven seas and turn their ventures into profitable investments. No state, however, can be safely built upon material possessions alone.

The land of Phoenicia had always been a counting-house without a soul.

It perished because it had honored a well-filled treasure chest as the highest ideal of civic pride.


I have told you how the Egyptians preserved speech by means of little figures. I have described the wedge-shaped signs which served the people of Mesopotamia as a handy means of transacting business at home and abroad.

But how about our own alphabet? From whence came those compact little letters which follow us throughout our life, from the date on our birth certificate to the last word of our funeral notice? Are they Egyptian or Babylonian or Aramaic or are they something entirely different? They are a little bit of everything, as I shall now tell you.

Our modern alphabet is not a very satisfactory instrument for the purpose of reproducing our speech. Some day a genius will invent a new system of writing which shall give each one of our sounds a little picture of its own. But with all its many imperfections the letters of our modern alphabet perform their daily task quite nicely and fully as well as their very accurate and precise cousins, the numerals, who wandered into Europe from distant India, almost ten centuries after the first invasion of the alphabet. The earliest history of these letters, however, is a deep mystery and it will take many years of painstaking investigation before we can solve it.

This much we know–that our alphabet was not suddenly invented by a bright young scribe. It developed and grew during hundreds of years out of a number of older and more complicated systems.

In my last chapter I have told you of the language of the intelligent Aramaean traders which spread throughout western Asia, as an international means of communication. The language of the Phoenicians was never very popular among their neighbors. Except for a very few words we do not know what sort of tongue it was. Their system of writing, however, was carried into every corner of the vast Mediterranean and every Phoenician colony became a center for its further distribution.

It remains to be explained why the Phoenicians, who did nothing to further either art or science, hit upon such a compact and handy system of writing, while other and superior nations remained faithful to the old clumsy scribbling.

The Phoenicians, before all else, were practical business men. They did not travel abroad to admire the scenery. They went upon their perilous voyages to distant parts of Europe and more distant parts of Africa in search of wealth. Time was money in Tyre and Sidon and commercial documents written in hieroglyphics or Sumerian wasted useful hours of busy clerks who might be employed upon more useful errands.

When our modern business world decided that the old-fashioned way of dictating letters was too slow for the hurry of modern life, a clever man devised a simple system of dots and dashes which could follow the spoken word as closely as a hound follows a hare.

This system we call “shorthand.”

The Phoenician traders did the same thing.

They borrowed a few pictures from the Egyptian hieroglyphics and simplified a number of wedge-shaped figures from the Babylonians.

They sacrificed the pretty looks of the older system for the benefit of speed and they reduced the thousands of images of the ancient world to a short and handy alphabet of only twenty-two letters. They tried it out at home and when it proved a success, they carried it abroad.

Among the Egyptians and the Babylonians, writing had been a very serious affair–something almost holy. Many improvements had been proposed but these had been invariably discarded as sacrilegious innovations. The Phoenicians who were not interested in piety succeeded where the others had failed. They could not introduce their script into Mesopotamia and Egypt, but among the people of the Mediterranean, who were totally ignorant of the art of writing, the Phoenician alphabet was a great success and in all nooks and corners of that vast sea we find vases and pillars and ruins covered with Phoenician inscriptions.

The Indo-European Greeks who had migrated to the many islands of the Aegean Sea at once applied this foreign alphabet to their own language. Certain Greek sounds, unknown to the ears of the Semitic Phoenicians, needed letters of their own. These were invented and added to the others.

But the Greeks did not stop at this.

They improved the whole system of speech-recording.

All the systems of writing of the ancient people of Asia had one thing in common.

The consonants were reproduced but the reader was forced to guess at the vowels.

This is not as difficult as it seems.

We often omit the vowels in advertisements and in announcements which are printed in our newspapers. Journalists and telegraph operators, too, are apt to invent languages of their own which do away with all the superfluous vowels and use only such consonants as are necessary to provide a skeleton around which the vowels can be draped when the story is rewritten.

But such an imperfect scheme of writing can never become popular, and the Greeks, with their sense of order, added a number of extra signs to reproduce the “a” and the “e” and the “i” and the “o” and the “u.” When this had been done, they possessed an alphabet which allowed them to write everything in almost every language.

Five centuries before the birth of Christ these letters crossed the Adriatic and wandered from Athens to Rome.

The Roman soldiers carried them to the furthest corners of western Europe and taught our own ancestors the use of the little Phoenician signs.

Twelve centuries later, the missionaries of Byzantine took the alphabet into the dreary wilderness of the dark Russian plain.

Today more than half of the people of the world use this Asiatic alphabet to keep a record of their thoughts and to preserve a record of their knowledge for the benefit of their children and their grandchildren.


So far, the story of ancient man has been the record of a wonderful achievement. Along the banks of the river Nile, in Mesopotamia and on the shores of the Mediterranean, people had accomplished great things and wise rulers had performed mighty deeds. There, for the first time in history, man had ceased to be a roving animal. He had built himself houses and villages and vast cities.

He had formed states.

He had learned the art of constructing and navigating swift-sailing boats.

He had explored the heavens and within his own soul he had discovered certain great moral laws which made him akin to the divinities which he worshipped. He had laid the foundations for all our further knowledge and our science and our art and those things that tend to make life sublime beyond the mere grubbing for food and lodging.

Most important of all he had devised a system of recording sound which gave unto his children and unto his children’s children the benefit of their ancestors’ experience and allowed them to accumulate such a store of information that they could make themselves the masters of the forces of nature.

But together with these many virtues, ancient man had one great failing.

He was too much a slave of tradition.

He did not ask enough questions.

He reasoned “My father did such and such a thing before me and my grandfather did it before my father and they both fared well and therefore this thing ought to be good for me too and I must not change it.” He forgot that this patient acceptance of facts would never have lifted us above the common herd of animals.

Once upon a time there must have been a man of genius who refused any longer to swing from tree to tree with the help of his long, curly tail (as all his people had done before him) and who began to walk on his feet.

But ancient man had lost sight of this fact and continued to use the wooden plow of his earliest ancestors and continued to believe in the same gods that had been worshipped ten thousand years before and taught his children to do likewise.

Instead of going forward he stood still and this was fatal.

For a new and more energetic race appeared upon the horizon and the ancient world was doomed.

We call these new people the Indo-Europeans. They were white men like you and me, and they spoke a language which was the common ancestor of all our European languages with the exception of Hungarian, Finnish and the Basque of Northern Spain.

When we first hear of them they had for many centuries made their home along the banks of the Caspian Sea. But one day (for reasons which are totally unknown to us) they packed their belongings on the backs of the horses which they had trained and they gathered their cows and dogs and goats and began to wander in search of distant happiness and food. Some of them moved into the mountains of central Asia and for a long time they lived amidst the peaks of the plateau of Iran, whence they are called the Iranians or Aryans. Others slowly followed the setting sun and took possession of the vast plains of western Europe.

They were almost as uncivilized as those prehistoric men who made their appearance within the first pages of this book. But they were a hardy race and good fighters and without difficulty they seem to have occupied the hunting grounds and the pastures of the men of the stone age.

They were as yet quite ignorant but thanks to a happy Fate they were curious. The wisdom of the ancient world, which was carried to them by the traders of the Mediterranean, they very soon made their own.

But the age-old learning of Egypt and Babylonia and Chaldea they merely used as a stepping-stone to something higher and better. For “tradition,” as such, meant nothing to them and they considered that the Universe was theirs to explore and to exploit as they saw fit and that it was their duty to submit all experience to the acid test of human intelligence.

[Illustration: A COLONY.]

Soon therefore they passed beyond those boundaries which the ancient world had accepted as impassable barriers–a sort of spiritual Mountains of the Moon. Then they turned against their former masters and within a short time a new and vigorous civilization replaced the out-worn structure of the ancient Asiatic world.

But of these Indo-Europeans and their adventures I give you a detailed account in “The Story of Mankind,” which tells you about the Greeks and the Romans and all the other races in the world.


I can not give you any positive dates connected with Prehistoric Man. The early Europeans who appear in the first chapters of this book began their career about fifty thousand years ago.


The earliest civilization in the Nile Valley developed forty centuries before the birth of Christ.

3400 B.C. The Old Egyptian Empire is founded. Memphis is the capital.

2800–2700 B.C. The Pyramids are built.

2000 B.C. The Old Empire is destroyed by the Arab shepherds, called the “Hyksos.”

1800 B.C. Thebes delivers Egypt from the Hyksos and becomes the center
of the New Egyptian Empire.

1350 B.C. King Rameses conquers Eastern Asia.

1300 B.C. The Jews leave Egypt.

1000 B.C. Egypt begins to decline.

700 B.C. Egypt becomes an Assyrian province.

650 B.C. Egypt regains her independence and a new State is founded with
Sais in the Delta as its capital. Foreigners, especially Greeks,
begin to dominate the country.

525 B.C. Egypt becomes a Persian province.

300 B.C. Egypt becomes an independent Kingdom ruled by one of Alexander the Great’s generals, called Ptolemy.

30 B.C. Cleopatra, the last princess of the Ptolemy dynasty, kills herself and Egypt becomes part of the Roman Empire.


2000 B.C. Abraham moves away from the land of Ur in eastern Babylonia
and looks for a new home in the western part of Asia.

1550 B.C. The Jews occupy the land of Goshen in Egypt.

1300 B.C. Moses leads the Jews out of Egypt and gives them the Law.

1250 B.C. The Jews have crossed the river Jordan and have occupied Palestine.

1055 B.C. Saul is King of the Jews.

1025 B.C. David is King of a powerful Jewish state.

1000 B.C. Solomon builds the Great Temple of Jerusalem.

950 B.C. The Jewish state divided into two Kingdoms, that of Judah and that of Israel.

900-600 B.C. The age of the great Prophets.

722 B.C. The Assyrians conquer Palestine.

586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar conquers Palestine. The Babylonian captivity.

537 B.C. Cyrus, King of the Persians, allows the Jews to return to Palestine.

167-130 B.C. Last period of Jewish independence under the Maccabees.

63 B.C. Pompeius makes Palestine part of the Roman Empire.

40 B.C. Herod King of the Jews.

70 A.D. The Emperor Titus destroys Jerusalem.


4000 B.C. The Sumerians take possession of the land between the Tigris and
the Euphrates.

2200 B.C. Hammurapi, King of Babylon, gives his people a famous code of law.

1900 B.C. Beginning of the Assyrian State, with Nineveh as its capital.

950-650 B.C. Assyria becomes the master of western Asia.

700 B.C. Sargon, the ruler of the Assyrians, conquers Palestine, Egypt and Arabia.

640 B.C. The Medes revolt against the Assyrian rule.

530 B.C. The Scythians attack Assyria. There are revolutions all over
the Kingdom.

608 B.C. Nineveh is destroyed. Assyria disappears from the map.

608-538 B.C. The Chaldeans reestablish the Babylonian Kingdom.

604-561 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem, takes Phoenicia and makes
Babylon the center of civilization.

538 B.C. Mesopotamia becomes a Persian province.

330 B.C. Alexander the Great conquers Mesopotamia.


1500-1200 B.C. The city of Sklon is the chief Phoenician center of trade.

1100-950 B.C. Tyre becomes the commercial center of Phoenicia.

1000-600 B.C. Development of the Phoenician colonial Empire.

850 B.C. Carthage is founded.

586-573 B.C. Siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. The city is captured and destroyed.

538 B.C. Phoenicia becomes a Persian province.

60 B.C. Phoenicia becomes part of the Roman Empire.

[Illustration: A Persian altar]


At an unknown date the Indo-European
people began their march into Europe and into India.

The year 1000 B.C. is usually given for Zarathustra, the great teacher of the Persians, who gave an excellent moral law.
650-B.C. The Indo-European Medes found a state along the eastern boundaries
of Babylonia.

550-330 B.C. The Kingdom of the Persians. Beginning of the struggle
between Indo-Europeans and Semites.

525-8.C. Cambyses, King of the Persians, takes Egypt.

520-485 B.C. Rule of Darius, King of the Persians, who conquers Babylon
and attacks Greece.

485-465 B.C. Rule of King Xerxes, who tries to establish himself in eastern Europe but fails.

330 B.C. The Greek, Alexander the Great, conquers all of western Asia and Egypt and Persia becomes a
Greek Province.

The ancient world which was dominated by Semitic peoples lasted almost forty centuries. In the fourth century before the birth of Christ it died of old age.

Western Asia and Egypt had been the teachers of the Indo-Europeans who had occupied Europe at an unknown date.

In the fourth century before Christ, the Indo-European pupils had so far surpassed their teachers that they could begin their conquest of the world.

The famous expedition of Alexander the Great in 330 B.C. made an end to the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia and established the supremacy of Greek (that is European) culture.