December 07, 2007

Professor sums up human history in 100 words
  • Add it to the Five Minute University.
  • Gibbon it ain't.
  • He forgot Hitler. There, Godwinned.
  • Pretty good, but ends abruptly.
  • Pretty good, but ends abruptly. Yup, that's what I'm afraid of. Hi, Brandon *does GramMa wave ~* The defaults beyond the intimate tribe were violence, aversion to difference, and slavery electing the wrong people. Superstition: everywhere. Make that 119 words.
  • Hmph. They'll still charge you $75 for the textbook at the Uni bookstore.
  • Brevity good.
  • Mostly harmful.
  • Excellent. However: I love how Athens is the first (only) place to get a name check. Egypt? Pfff. Let's talk (again) about how Greece started everything.
  • Yeah, I found it a little old fashioned and Whiggist. I believe the story could start (according to more recent research) - had lots of land, few people, so we could work less and be hunter gatherers - increasing numbers of people led to pressure to go into agriculture, which was/is a hell of a lot more work, and leads to increased class and status distinction, and slavery. (who ever heard of a hunter-gatherer society with slaves? They are just excess people to feed who aren't your family. It's FARMERS who take slaves - or rather, the powerful people in agricultural societies, who then force the slaves to farm for them.) Also, many so called "primitive" societies have far more rules about treating both your neighbours and strangers well - hospitality, the sacredness of a guest, etc. So basically, I have no idea where this is coming from, except for some nice old-fashioned ignorant modern-Western chauvenism.
  • Egypt didn't really contribute much to the Western wisdom stream. They did a lot of things first, and developed remarkable technology (don't think Pyramids, think schist and granite stoneware done on a lathe using techniques completely lost after the 4th Dynasty) but that stuff really didn't directly influence our historical development, because all of it was lost before modern times. Some stuff filtered down thru Mycenean & Greek contacts, & culturally they had a huge impact on the Hebrews ('King Solomon' was probably Ramses II, and monotheism was invented by Akhenaten) but for the most part the ancient Egyptians were a singular island in history. Same for the henge builders and Druids in Europe, who clearly had advanced mathematical and astronomical technology, and a few other lost civilizations we're only just beginning to find out about. They don't count, IOW. Yes, this link is a bit West-centric, but then it was just a bit of fun. If you meet the aliens, and you've memorised this, you have a good introduction ready, don't you?
  • You have to FEED slaves? Well, NOW you tell me.