Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Blogging Will Durant’s History of Civilization

You know Egypt is going to get lengthy treatment (80 pages). He begins with a travelogue of a voyage up the Nile River that he took himself. When he saw the pyramids,

We stand where Caesar and Napoleon stood, and remember that fifty centuries look down upon us; where the Father of History came four hundred years before Caesar, and heard the tales that were to startle Pericles. A new perspective of time comes to us, two millenniums seem to fall out of the picture, and Caesar, Herodotus and ourselves appear for a moment contemporary and modern before those tombs that were more ancient to them than the Greeks are to us.
- one of the highlights of the art of history writing.

Durant says that the minor arts were the major art of the Egyptians. He lovingly describes the jewelry and the furniture they produced. His favorite statue is a small piece of a satisfied supervisor/tradesman.

Blogging Durant forces me to review and try to remember what I had read before. I think that his Egypt writing was the first great high of his series. I’ve got to remember, so I must read this chapter again and again.

Durant's Brief Outline
  1. The Gift of the Nile (his travelogue)
  2. The Master Builders
  3. The Civilization of Egypt
  4. The Heretic King (Ikhnaton)
  5. Decline and Fall
- From Book One, The Near East, Chapter VIII. Egypt.
I believe that this series is one of the great works of modern history literature. Its material is essential knowledge.

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