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ANCIENT MAN THE BEGINNING OF CIVILIZATION
     

ANCIENT MAN THE BEGINNING OF CIVILIZATION

by Hendrik Willem Van Loon
 

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CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. PREHISTORIC MAN
II. THE WORLD GROWS COLD
III. END OF THE STONE AGE
IV. THE EARLIEST SCHOOL OF THE HUMAN RACE
V. THE KEY OF STONE
VI. THE LAND OF THE LIVING AND THE LAND OF THE DEAD
VII. THE MAKING OF A STATE
VIII. THE RISE AND FALL OF EGYPT
IX. MESOPOTAMIA--THE COUNTRY BETWEEN THE

Overview

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. PREHISTORIC MAN
II. THE WORLD GROWS COLD
III. END OF THE STONE AGE
IV. THE EARLIEST SCHOOL OF THE HUMAN RACE
V. THE KEY OF STONE
VI. THE LAND OF THE LIVING AND THE LAND OF THE DEAD
VII. THE MAKING OF A STATE
VIII. THE RISE AND FALL OF EGYPT
IX. MESOPOTAMIA--THE COUNTRY BETWEEN THE RIVERS
X. THE SUMERIAN NAIL WRITERS
XI. ASSYRIA AND BABYLONIA--THE GREAT SEMITIC MELTING-POT
XII. THE STORY OF MOSES
XIII. JERUSALEM--THE CITY OF THE LAW
XIV. DAMASCUS--THE CITY OF TRADE
XV. THE PHOENICIANS WHO SAILED BEYOND THE HORIZON
XVI. THE ALPHABET FOLLOWS THE TRADE
XVII. THE END OF THE ANCIENT WORLD



PREHISTORIC MAN

It took Columbus more than four weeks to sail from Spain to the West
Indian Islands. We on the other hand cross the ocean in sixteen hours in
a flying machine.

Five hundred years ago, three or four years were necessary to copy a
book by hand. We possess linotype machines and rotary presses and we can
print a new book in a couple of days.

We understand a great deal about anatomy and chemistry and mineralogy
and we are familiar with a thousand different branches of science of
which the very name was unknown to the people of the past.

In one respect, however, we are quite as ignorant as the most primitive
of men--we do not know where we came from. We do not know how or why or
when the human race began its career upon this Earth. With a million
facts at our disposal we are still obliged to follow the example of the
fairy-stories and begin in the old way:

"Once upon a time there was a man."

This man lived hundreds of thousands of years ago.

What did he look like?

We do not know. We never saw his picture. Deep in the clay of an ancient
soil we have sometimes found a few pieces of his skeleton. They were
hidden amidst masses of bones of animals that have long since
disappeared from the face of the earth. We have taken these bones and
they allow us to reconstruct the strange creature who happens to be
our ancestor.

The great-great-grandfather of the human race was a very ugly and
unattractive mammal. He was quite small. The heat of the sun and the
biting wind of the cold winter had colored his skin a dark brown. His
head and most of his body were covered with long hair. He had very thin
but strong fingers which made his hands look like those of a monkey. His
forehead was low and his jaw was like the jaw of a wild animal which
uses its teeth both as fork and knife.

[Illustration: PREHISTORIC MAN.]

He wore no clothes. He had seen no fire except the flames of the
rumbling volcanoes which filled the earth with their smoke and
their lava.

He lived in the damp blackness of vast forests.

When he felt the pangs of hunger he ate raw leaves and the roots of
plants or he stole the eggs from the nest of an angry bird.

Once in a while, after a long and patient chase, he managed to catch a
sparrow or a small wild dog or perhaps a rabbit These he would eat raw,
for prehistoric man did not know that food could be cooked.

His teeth were large and looked like the teeth of many of our own
animals.

During the hours of day this primitive human being went about in search
of food for himself and his wife and his young.

At night, frightened by the noise of the beasts, who were in search of
prey, he would creep into a hollow tree or he would hide himself behind
a few big boulders, covered with moss and great, big spiders.

In summer he was exposed to the scorching rays of the sun.

During the winter he froze with cold.

When he hurt himself (and hunting animals are for ever breaking their
bones or spraining their ankles) he had no one to take care of him.

He had learned how to make certain sounds to warn his fellow-beings
whenever danger threatened. In this he resembled a dog who barks when a
stranger approaches. In many other respects he was far less attractive
than a well-bred house pet.

Altogether, early man was a miserable creature who lived in a world of
fright and hunger, who was surrounded by a thousand enemies and who was
for ever haunted by the vision of friends and relatives who had been
eaten up by wolves and bears and the terrible sabre-toothed tiger.

Of the earliest history of this man we know nothing. He had no tools and
he built no homes. He lived and died and left no traces of his
existence. We keep track of him through his bones and they tell us that
he lived more than two thousand centuries ago.

The rest is darkness.

Until we reach the time of the famous Stone Age, when man learned the
first rudimentary

Product Details

BN ID:
2940013469136
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
12/05/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
73 KB

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