Historical Reprints Ancient East

Ancient East

Ancient East
Catalog # SKU1152
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name D. G. Hogarth


The Ancient East


This book is a TGS Historical Reprint, chosen due to the forgotten history of Ancient Near East, which is continually being cast into the limelight of world affairs, due to events and pressures outside the inhabitants of the lands. The title of this book needs a word of explanation, since each of its terms can legitimately be used to denote more than one conception both of time and place. "The East" is understood widely and vaguely nowadays to include all the continent and islands of Asia, some part of Africa--the northern part where society and conditions of life are most like the Asiatic--and some regions also of South-Eastern and Eastern Europe. Therefore it may appear arbitrary to restrict it in the present book to Western Asia.

Excerpt from the Introduction:

It is more difficult to justify the restriction which will be imposed in the following chapters on the word Ancient. This term is used even more vaguely and variously than the other. If generally it connotes the converse of "Modern," in some connections and particularly in the study of history the Modern is not usually understood to begin where the Ancient ended but to stand only for the comparatively Recent. For example, in History, the ill-defined period called the Middle and Dark Ages makes a considerable hiatus before, in the process of retrospection, we get back to a civilization which (in Europe at least) we ordinarily regard as Ancient. Again, in History, we distinguish commonly two provinces within the undoubted area of the Ancient, the Prehistoric and the Historic, the first comprising all the time to which human memory, as communicated by surviving literature, ran not, or, at least, not consciously, consistently and credibly. At the same time it is not implied that we can have no knowledge at all of the Prehistoric province. It may even be better known to us than parts of the Historic, through sure deduction from archaeological evidence.

But what we learn from archaeological records is annalistic not historic, since such records have not passed through the transforming crucible of a human intelligence which reasons on events as effects of causes.

The boundary between Prehistoric and Historic, however, depends too much on the subjectivity of individual historians and is too apt to vary with the progress of research to be a fixed moment. Nor can it be the same for all civilizations. As regards Egypt, for example, we have a body of literary tradition which can reasonably be called Historic, relating to a time much earlier than is reached by respectable literary tradition of Elam and Babylonia, though their civilizations were probably older than the Egyptian.

For the Ancient East as here understood, we possess two bodies of historic literary tradition and two only, the Greek and the Hebrew; and as it happens, both (though each is independent of the other) lose consistency and credibility when they deal with history before 1000 B.C. Moreover, Prof. Myres has covered the prehistoric period in the East in his brilliant "Dawn of History". Therefore, on all accounts, in treating of the historic period, I am absolved from looking back more than a thousand years before our era. It is not so obvious where I may stop.

The overthrow of Persia by Alexander, consummating a long stage in a secular contest, which it is my main business to describe, marks an epoch more sharply than any other single event in the history of the Ancient East. But there are grave objections to breaking off abruptly at that date. The reader can hardly close a book which ends then, with any other impression than that since the Greek has put the East under his feet, the history of the centuries, which have still to elapse before Rome shall take over Asia, will simply be Greek history writ large--the history of a Greater Greece which has expanded over the ancient East and caused it to lose its distinction from the ancient West. Yet this impression does not by any means coincide with historical truth. The Macedonian conquest of Hither Asia was a victory won by men of Greek civilization, but only to a very partial extent a victory of that civilization. The West did not assimilate the East except in very small measure then, and has not assimilated it in any very large measure to this day. For certain reasons, among which some geographical facts--the large proportion of steppe-desert and of the human type which such country breeds--are perhaps the most powerful, the East is obstinately unreceptive of western influences, and more than once it has taken its captors captive.

Therefore, while, for the sake of convenience and to avoid entanglement in the very ill-known maze of what is called "Hellenistic" history, I shall not attempt to follow the consecutive course of events after 330 B.C., I propose to add an epilogue which may prepare readers for what was destined to come out of Western Asia after the Christian era, and enable them to understand in particular the religious conquest of the West by the East. This has been a more momentous fact in the history of the world than any political conquest of the East by the West.

Softbound, Illustrated 5x8, 160+ pages