Sunday, 17 June 2018

A new type of blog post coming soon

Poulnabrone Dolmen
We’ve covered a lot of history over the years. In particular we’ve looked at the civilisations of the Ancient Middle East and Greece in great detail. The blog posts on these will continue next year in full detail and I have already began to prepare for these. But there is something that has been weighing on my mind.

To some extent this blog is beginning to constitute a minor history of the world. It definitely has errors and flaws but I have enjoyed writing it. Chinese and Indian civilisations have been mentioned in earlier blog posts, as have the South American and Mesoamerican civilisations. The earlier blog posts are considerably less detailed than perhaps they should be. Possibly I may revise them at some stage but I am more worried about other omissions.

Slieve Gullion Passage Tomb
I love writing about ancient history but there is a tendency for historians to focus on their pet areas. I personally love Mesopotamian history so I often gravitate to writing about that. But in writing about the so-called Greek Dark Ages I have noticed how few resources there are. Writers will speak of the fall of the Mycenaean civilisation, mention a few facts about Archaic Pottery and a dark age and then boom, we’ve skipped straight to Homer. A few more sentences, or maybe even a page, mentioning Hesiod, Sparta, tyrants and maybe Sappho and Thales and boom, we’ve reached the Battle of Marathon, happily skipping over centuries of development. This is troubling. All of history is important, not just the few centuries that historians like writing about.

To properly understand a historical civilisation we need to know something about why they arose and who came before them, in the same way we study those civilisations to understand ourselves. So, I will spend some time over the next few years interrupting my normal blogs to give context to what is happening all over the world from the years 4000-500BC.

I will break these up into sections for better understanding. So, the first blog will probably be about what is happening in Africa or Europe for the years 4000-3000BC. This will hopefully keep things manageable.
Silbury Hill

I make no claims to be an expert on these areas or anything even close to it. I have never studied history as a discipline properly at a college level but I do have a degree in Greek and Roman Civilisation and have studied Biblical and Mesopotamian history as an amateur since I was a small child. So, while not an expert I can at least talk with some confidence about these time periods. But Stone Age Japan or Central Asia in the Bronze Age are just not things that I know. There is honestly no one in the world qualified as a full expert in the prehistory of the entire world, so this is a humbling and daunting task. So, this will be a challenging experiment. But it will be an interesting challenge and hopefully a fun one.

So, if you’re a follower of this blog and you notice that the series on Near Eastern history is discontinued for a while, don’t worry, it will return. But we’ll try and explore some new times and places first. I hope that you will enjoy this dive into lesser known history as much as I will!