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Ancient Egypt and the Modern World


Much modern history has been made since August, metal and the first sea-going ships, many things fun1914, in the valley of the Somme in northern France. damental to our own material progress at the present The soil of the battle-scarred hills overlooking the day, as every one knows, were discovered or devised river is thickly sown with fragments of steel shells and developed by the Egyptians as their early power which have deeply penetrated the slopes and natural

over the material processes of life expanded. Hand terraces made by the river ages ago, when it was at

in hand with these went the growth of finer capacities a higher level and before it had sculptured out its of the human mind, as we see emerging the earliest present valley and bed. These steel fragments bur writing, the first great architecture in stone, portrait ied here represent man's latest and most terrible effort sculpture of remarkable power in spite of the fact in the art of self-destruction.

that it is the earliest known, decorative art which for You may go to this valley when the guns are silent,

the first time drew upon flowers and other vegetable and a few moments' work with a shovel on the gravel

motives for its fundamental forms, and brought the slopes along the brow of the upper terraces will un

whole world of such natural beauty into decorative cover the gravels which were lapped by the river a design for all time. hundred and fifty thousand years ago and more.

If While all this had been going on, it had stimulated you know the proper places a little search will reveal and itself had been greatly furthered by the second among these gravels, fint fist' hatchets, the earliest process, the development of a great social and admin surviving weapons and handiwork of man, wrought

istrative organization, resulting in the first human not less than fifty thousand and perhaps a hundred

society organized on a large scale.

a large scale. After a long and fifty thousand years ago. They are man's first

struggle for leadership among many petty states up devices, or at least the earliest that have survived to and down the lower Nile between the First Cataract us, for hunting, for self-defence and for destruction

and the Sea, the result of the competition was the of his kind. There they lie as you unearth them, side

final triumph of Menes, the leader of the valley comby side with the fragments of steel shells in the same

munities above the Delta, who conquered the Delta gravels, and the whole sweep of human history lies

kings, and welded the upper and lower kingdoms into between them. From the flint fist hatchet to the mod the first great nation of the early world. Enormous ern explosive shell of steel-what a story of human prestige was rapidly acquired by the Pharaonic house endeavor leads us age by age from the one to the

thus founded. Upon the imagination of the Egyptian other!

there gradually dawned the unapproachable power It is only as we view the career of man in a pano

and splendor of a supreme personality, involving with ramic vista like this, that we gain impressions of the

it also the conception of a great state, with which it unity of that career in the long upward struggle

was identical. For the control of the economic and toward civilization, the attainment of which we ear

social life of the prosperous Nile communities, the liest discern on the Nile. The progress, and with

Pharoahs developed a detailed organization of local it the discoveries which displaced the European's government, forming a vast administrative machine, stone implements, and put into his hand the copper

the like of which did not arise in Europe until far hatchet and dagger, were first achieved in Egypt. In

down in the later history of the Roman Empire. In that progress, among many other of its aspects, two

this first great fabric of human organization, the indiprocesses of fundamental importance to the modern

vidual member of a community disappeared or was world may be discerned. The graves of the earliest engulfed, and the state was supreme. Here, then, Egyptians as we find them in the desert gravels along

was manifested and developed for the first time that the margin of the Nile Valley, contain an equipment power of the state, unknown in the life of the primifor the next world-an equipment in which we see

tive hunter with his fist hatchet on the banks of the the incoming of metal and the Nile-dweller's gradual Somme-a power over life and death, to which milconquest of the material world about him. That con

lions of men are to-day unquestioningly bowing, as quest went on with an effectiveness and complete they sacrifice themselves and all that human life holds ness, leading to a mechanical and technical supre

most dear, to international rivalries. This Egyptian macy, which made the thirtieth century B. c., the organization of men into an elaborately detailed magreatest century in man's growing control of the chinery of state, survived far down into Roman times, material world before the nineteenth century A. D.

and had a profound influence on the early world, The first of these two processes was therefore the again illustrating the fundamental importance of the Egyptian's surprisingly ertended conquest of the geographical fact that the Nile flows into the Medimaterial world, which in the sovereign power and

terranean, and Egypt is part of the Mediterranean splendor of its great monuments, is comparable with cur own modern achivements in the conquest of our The two processes which we have been discussing vast dora.n in North America. Besides the earliest placed the Egyptian in control of forces, mechanical

and administrative, so remarkable and effective, that ances of the Hebrew prophets moved by similar they have left monuments which are still regarded as causes. Even the charge which the king delivered to marvelously impressive embodiments of organized the grand vizier when the latter assumed office was a capacity. The pyramids, especially those of Gizeh, veritable magna charta of justice and social kindness while they were intended as royal tombs, have be- toward the friendless and unknown individual. The come for us an index of the Egyptian's mechanical movement thus affected the organs of the state itself, and administrative ability to achieve, in the first great which from the sovereign down, was expected to funcperiod of his national development which we call the tion with full consideration of the individual. This Pyramid Age (about 3000 to 2500 B. C.).

sensitiveness to social justice was part of the earliest It was this remarkable unfolding of human life, great awakening to the imperishable value of characnationally organized, and proudly master of the mate ter, both here and in the life to come. It

gave us rial forces in the midst of which it had grown up, symbols like the balances of justice, and contributed which carried the first civilization to Europe after much to the symbolism and to the ideals of human 8000 B. C., and set going that succession of states, righteousness in the ancient world, which have become with civilized equipment, which is still contending the heritage of modern times. for supremacy. The first venturesome voyages of The struggle for imperial power in Asia, begun by Nile sailors across the eastern Mediterranean, evi- Egypt in the sixteenth century B. C., not only opened dently before 3000 B. C., were therefore as momen the tremendous drama of imperial ambition and intertous in unfolding a new world to early man, as was national rivalry, which is still going on in Europe, the voyage of Columbus in 1492. Europe had to be

but revealed to Egypt expanding vistas of universal discovered by civilization just as did America.


birth to a universalism able to conFor the first thousand years after the rise of the

ceive the earliest monotheism, to discern a sole God centralized Egyptian state, the individual was lost

of the universe, to whom all nations were admonished in the development of state power and efficiency; by the Egyptian Pharoah to bow down as the beneStrangely enough, however, with the rise of a feudal

ficent father of all men. Toward this lofty ideal, state toward 2000 B. C., the spectacle of social op

which in the hands of the Egyptian sovereign, failed pression, the cry for social justice, the earliest discernible in the ancient world, awoke a response

to maintain itself in the fourteenth century B. C., the among the ruling classes. A clearly evident move cyes of men are still looking in the present colossal ment for social justice took form and produced some

collapse of what we once thought was a practicable of the most remarkable tractates—the literature of and beneficent internationalism, but which has proven the earliest known campaign for just treatment of the

to be the old and familiar cloak of a selfish and sorpoor and the humble, which remind us of the utter did nationalism.

England Before the Norman Conquest


With the more recent chapters of English history In the study of prehistoric times there is a temptathronged with events the importance of which tion to dwell on the peculiarities of primitive life, on reaches far beyond the narrow limits of the British the forms (such as they were) of culture and civilizakingdom, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find tion. This may very properly be done as it illustime and patience for the study of the earlier cen trates the progress of society from the exceedingly turies of English life. In the minds of many teach- simple forms of existence in the cave dwellings to ers there is also doubt whether the study of distant the more complex life in the modern city. More images is really worth while; in these imperialistic portant, however, are the facts of racial development. days when statesmen aim at world power and reckon The Stone Worker was subdued by the more efficient in billions it seems futile to give precious hours to warrior of the Bronze Age. The Bronze Worker in tracing the fortunes of little kingdoms that were his turn had to yield to the Celt who was armed with scarcely larger than shires to-day. This objection weapons of iron. But neither of these older races is not wholly without force; there is much in ear was wholly wiped out, and consequently the Britons lier history that may and should be omitted; but there whom Cæsar described for us were a somewhat mixed is also much that lies at the very roots of English and people. With the Romans came soldiers and merBritish development, without the knowledge of which chants from all the lands of the Mediterranean world. the growth and changes of modern times will scarcely During the early Middle Ages came the Anglobe understood. In those distant centuries the British Saxons and the Danes. The Normans arrived in the race was slowly being formed; the English kingdom eleventh century. Since then from time to time other was taking shape; and England was giadually being non-English elements have been added to the popudrawn into closer relations with the more important lation of Great Britain. Hodgkin's suggestion that parts of the European world.

the inhabitants of England should be called Anglo

Celts rather than Anglo-Saxons has much in its favor; with the Norse blood; this may not be entirely true, but the older strains should not be wholly ignored, but there can be no doubt that these characteristics and perhaps it is more nearly correct to speak of the were intensified by the addition of this new racial elemodern Englishman as of the English race.

ment. On the political side the importance of the An important feature of English history is the invasion lay in the destruction of nearly all the Engmany extensive and varied relations that England has lish kingdoms and the organization of the Danelaw established with other parts of the world. The Brit on their ruins. Two facts should be carefully noted: ish government and people are in certain respects in

1. Alfred's kingdom of Wessex alone survived, and terested in nearly all the lands of the earth; con

this state became the hope of all who wished to throw versely the world is often keenly interested in the cff the Danish yoke. The English kingdoms were plans and fortunes of England. So far as we know never united. The Anglo-Saxon monarchy grew out the first cultured peoples that developed an interest

of the expansion of Wessex northward into the Danein the British Isles were the Phænicians and the

law, a process that continued for a period of more Greeks whose traders visited Britain in the fourth

than two generations. century B. C. It is worth noting that British com

2. The Danelaw was not a political unit, but a merce which in modern times has grown to such im

group of independent states. Consequently the Danes mense proportions actually antedates the recorded his

were not able to hold their own against the constant tory of the islands, and this fact should lead to a

pressure from the south. For a long time, however, closer study of the physical features of the archi- they succeeded in making Saxon rule in the northern pelago and the advantages of its geographical posi- half of England extremely uncertain. tion.

The kingdom built up and organized by Alfred and The long period of Roman domination did not affect

his successors endured for nearly two hundred years. Britain so deeply as it affected other parts of the

The first half of this period was an age of growth and provincial world. It is therefore hardly expedient to dwell very long on the Roman period. In the past customary to attribute the downfall of the West

power; the second half was an age of decline. It is too much attention has been given to certain interest

Saxon dynasty to the incompetence of King Ethelred ing details of the process of conquest and too little

II; no doubt the king was incompetent, at least he did to the permanent results of Roman occupation. Dur

not possess the strength and the qualities of statesing these three centuries and a half the Britons were

manship that the age required. Other considerations, taught the forms of civilized life; Christianity was

however, are also important: introduced; and the material resources of the coun

1. The Danelaw was disloyal, at least the men of try were developed. It is doubtless true that the departure of the legions was followed by a reaction

the north gave very little assistance against the toward barbarism; but Christianity maintained itself Vikings; in return the pirates usually spared this part

of the kingdom. and sent forth missionaries like St. Patrick; when the English came they found a system of cultivated

2. There was much dissatisfaction north of the estates which probably affected their own plans of

Thames with Dunstan's reforms, especially with his settlement and methods of agriculture; when they efforts to build up monasticism at the expense of the were ready to utilize the mineral resources of the secular priesthood. island, they resumed work in the old mines that the 3. For more than thirty years the invading Danes Romans had opened and developed; when they began harried the loyal Anglo-Saxon territories south of the to build strongholds and cities they found the old Thames; Wessex was “ bled white." Roman sites conveniently at hand.

After 1016 the native English to a large extent lost The invasion of the Angles and Saxons was an

control of the government of their country; the naevent of the first importance. They built the Old

tive aristocracy was largely destroyed and Cnut adEnglish kingdom and drew its boundaries very near

ministered his kingdom largely by the aid of Scandiwhere they run to-day; they gave the greater part navian nobles and adventurers. His regime was of Great Britain a new language; with their poets the scarcely popular, but it gave peace and security and greatest literature of all time had its beginning. the natives murmured very little after the first years. There is, however, no need to dwell on these matters

Nor were the English wholly pleased with the govas the average text-book is quite sure to do justice to

ernment of Edward the Confessor; the Northmen the Old English period. Unfortunately the pupil is

were driven out, but the masterful Normans were betoo often made to feel that the Anglo-Saxons were the ginning to take their places. only important element in Great Britain. Doubtless

The events that center about the battle of Hastings they were the most important, but the native Britain, were full of meaning for the future of English his

Too the Roman missionary, and the Danish pirate also had tory, and should be studied with some care. a share in the making of England.

often the Conquest is regarded as being determined In the eighth century the Germanic population of by a single battle; but the study of the year 1066 Britain was further strengthened by the invasion and should bring out the following points: settlement of the Northmen (Danes). It has been 1. England was still disunited and the reign of said that the passion for individual freedom and the Edward the Confessor was not of such a character as love of a seafaring life came into the English to promote national feeling. The men of the Dane


law, though now under English leaders, in 1066 once

The presence

of the Danish alien affected the inmore refused to support a Saxon King.

tellectual as well as the political life of the English 2. The fate of England was virtually decided at people.

people. It is generally held that the decline of Stamford Bridge. The enemy was defeated, but the Anglo-Saxon literature was due to the Norman conbattle seriously weakened the English army. While quest; as a matter of fact it began about the time of Harold was in the north with his forces, the Nor the accession of Cnut (1016). The Danelaw was the mans landed in Sussex unopposed.

rock on which the Old English monarchy foundered.

Suggestions for the Course in Medieval History


It is a commonplace that each generation re-inter fathers will be most keen, and no one would advoprets the history of the past to suit its own needs. cate the neglect of the fundamental facts in their deFactors which were previously neglected are empha- velopment, but in teaching this history we certainly sized in order to explain matters which are of inter should not omit the influences exerted upon them by est to the people who are studying the history. Ex the higher civilization of the Empire which had its amples of this tendency may be seen in the new em capital at Constantinople. Moreover, as the numbers phasis on constitutional history which resulted from of the western peoples increased and their power bethe thought aroused by the French revolution, or in came greater, they were constantly brought into conthe change from the history of the monarchs to that tact with the peoples of the East. The Drang nach of the people, in the various countries, which was so Osten is not wholly a condition of modern times. In marked a characteristic of the nineteenth century as a order to understand the results of this contact for the whole. The present generation is confronted with peoples of western Europe it is essential to study the new problems, and naturally demands what light can civilization and former history of the peoples with be thrown upon these by history. This is entirely whom they came into contact, and with whom they legitimate. But there is danger lest in the enthusiasm mixed. for the new points of view, we should neglect the Even' a generation ago such a study would have well-known and fundamental features, and either per been difficult. There was very little knowledge of the vert or caricature the history of the past.

history of the Byzantine Empire, or of the Russians, In the articles which are to be published in this or the Slavs in general; and in this country there MAGAZINE points will be stressed which should re was even less interest. Since that time there has ceive more attention than in the past; but these arti been much study of these subjects; excellent books cles will do far more harm than good if they lead have been written, and the immense number of immiteachers to dwell upon these points to the neglect of grants who have come to us from eastern Europe has essential facts which are necessary for any correct in forced upon our attention the necessity of studying terpretation of the past.

their previous history and understanding their point In teaching medieval history it has been customary of view if we are to Americanize them. Now the war at the beginning of the course to emphasize three fac- has turned the attention of all of us to the problems tors, the Graeco-Roman civilization, the Christian of the Balkans, of the nearer East, and of the possiChurch, and the Germans. In the remainder of the bilities of success for the Russian revolution. No one course the first of these three has usually received lit of these subjects can be understood without a study tle attention; something has been said about the in of the past history. fluence upon the German of the Roman institutions, This is a fascinating story!“ The abiding power and especially of the Roman law; little or no empha- of Rome ” had one of its manifestations in the Byzansis has been laid upon the fact that the Roman Em tine Empire, which for eight hundred years served as pire lasted on in the East for 1,000 years, although a & bulwark to the West, Christianized and civilized the lesson or two has usually been allotted to the later peoples of eastern Europe, maintained European comRoman, or Byzantine, Empire. One of the best of merce, and preserved for the peoples of a later age the text-books limits itself expressly to the history of much that had been best in the civilization of Greece Western Europe. For some time there has been a and of Rome. feeling that this was a mistake, and was due mainly In studying the Byzantine Empire it is necessary to our ignorance of the importance and interest of the to take up some conditions in Asia, and especially to history of the Byzantine Empire. Since the war be master the fundamental features of the Mohammedan gan history teachers have been constantly confronted history. Some study has frequently been given to with questions for which they had no adequate an this because of its connection with the Crusades, and swers because of their neglect to study the history of because of the Moslem civilization in Spain. But too Europe east of the Adriatic, by far the larger half of little attention has been paid to the Mohammedan Europe.

caliphates, and there has not been an adequate underNaturally our interest in the history of our fore- standing of the part which they played in influencing

the history of western Europe. The Turks and the infiltration of ideas from the more advanced civilizaTartars are little more than names to the average

tion of the East. pupil of history, and the recent revolution in Arabia All of these things should be made a part of the seems incomprehensible because of a lack of knowl course in history. To return to the thought of the edge of the past history of that country.

first paragraph, the great danger is that these may be The routes of commerce between Europe and Asia, and fundamental facts which have usually been

so emphasized as to exclude some of the well-known as well as within Europe itself, need careful attention. Especially, because it was along these routes, taught. This danger is all the greater because anyand because of this commerce that many ideas were

one who has studied these subjects and has come to

have some knowledge of their intense interest, is apt imported into western Europe. The prominence of

to exaggerate their importance. The teacher must the Italian cities, the growth of heresies and free

discriminate, not neglecting to bring out the imthought in southern France and other centers of trade, portance of the fundamental features, whether they the Renaissance, and the Reformation itself, cannot have usually been taught or have just been brought be explained without the background of this steady into prominence by the interests of to-day. .

Suggestions on the Relation of American to

European History




In deciding to enter the great European war, the It is, of course, true that the experience of each United States has realized as never before that Amer passing generation in the new home modified these ica can no longer be regarded as a world apart. This inherited ways of thinking, and produced American is a fact which the teacher of American history can “ folkways different in one way or another from not leave out of account as he plans his work for the those of the old country. Radicals who got off in coming year. He will naturally be thinking more the wilderness by themselves could try social experithan ever of the relation between our own history and ments quite impossible at home. The frontier life that of Europe of what America owes to the old itself, as Professor Turner has so ably pointed out, world and what has been our special contribution to tended to change men's thinking, emancipating them the

stock of civilization. Each teacher from conventions, breaking down class distinctions, should, of course, work out these problems largely for and stimulating self-reliance. Much was gained by himself, and the results will not all be alike; but a few this experience; but, unless we accept Rousseau's suggestions are offered in this introductory article, theory that the ideal state is the state of nature, someand others will follow in later issues of this MAGA thing was also lost for the time being; some of the

virtues, as well as the vices of civilization, were left It will certainly help us to a right interpretation behind to be slowly recovered as the new society deof American history if we remember that it is really veloped. a part of the history of Europe; that it records, for What sort of civilization we should have had if the the most part, the expansion of European peoples and frontier had worked freely on the succeeding generaEuropean civilization. It is, therefore, not reasonable tions without any reinforcement of the European to complain, as some writers do, that we have failed element, no man can tell; but of course that has practo develop a culture fundamentally different from that tically never happened. Europe has not been for of Europe. The culture of the United States may America like the God of the deists, who set the world and should differ from that of any particular Euro- going and then left it very much to itself. We have pean country, as the French does from the English never been left to ourselves. Colonization, for inor the Italian from the German, but to expect it to be stance, did not stop with the seventeenth century, but something essentially non-European is quite absurd. continued with the Scotch-Irish and German immi

The nucleus of this nation, the European immi- grants of the eighteenth century, the Germans and the grants who came here in the seventeenth century, Irish of the middle nineteenth century, the Scandichiefly from the British Isles, had to work almost ex navians, the Mediterranean peoples, and the Slavs of clusively, for the first generation at least, with the the last few decades. These people have not only stock of ideas which they brought over with them. come as individuals to seek their fortunes, but they Governor Berkeley in Virginia had rather conserva have often maintained a distinct community life of tive ideas about religion and politics; Roger Williams their own. The later immigrants especially have and William Penn found in America the opportunity connected us with parts of Europe with which we had to try out radical theories of church and state. But, previously had little or nothing to do. after all, the radicalism of Williams and the Quakers Not only has the old European blood been conwas just as much a European product as Berkeley's stantly reinfused into our society, but we have phyold-fashioned loyalty to Church and King.

sically come much closer to Europe. The ocean is

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