Written history is at least six thousand years old. During half this period the center of human affairs, so far as they are now known to us, was the Near East.
These people occupied the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley in modern Iraq and may have developed the first civilization with agriculture, commerce, and writing thousands of years ago. Durant considers them the first civilization of history because they left written records behind.
The names of the city-states carry a special ring today: Akkad, Lagash, Ur – are these the last audio we have of their forgotten language?
About 2800 bc, a king, Sargon, conquered all of Sumeria and then the fertile crescent of land to the Mediterranean Sea. How could he have ruled such a vast territory? It was either with a very light hand or a higher level of administration than we normally associate with primitive civilizations. I suspect that the Sumerians advanced closer to classical civilization (e.g. Greece, Rome) than we are used to thinking.
Sumeria gets 20 pages in Durant.
Durant's Brief Outline
- The Historical Background
- Economic Life
- Religeon and Morality
- Letters and Arts
I believe that this series is one of the great works of modern history literature. Its material is essential knowledge.