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By Steppe Desert And Ocean

Author: Barry Cunliffe
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199689172
Size: 50.14 MB
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By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean is nothing less than the story of how humans first started building the globalized world we know today. Set on a huge continental stage, from Europe to China, it is a tale covering over 10,000 years, from the origins of farming around 9000 BC to the expansion of the Mongols in the thirteenth century AD. An unashamedly 'big history', it charts the development of European, Near Eastern, and Chinesecivilizations and the growing links between them by way of the Indian Ocean, the silk Roads, and the great steppe corridor (which crucially allowed horse riders to travel from Mongolia to the Great Hungarian Plainwithin a year). Along the way, it is also the story of the rise and fall of empires, the development of maritime trade, and the shattering impact of predatory nomads on their urban neighbours. Above all, as this immense historical panorama unfolds, we begin to see in clearer focus those basic underlying factors - the acquisitive nature of humanity, the differing environments in which people live, and the dislocating effect of even slight climatic variation - which havedriven change throughout the ages, and which help us better understand our world today.

On The Ocean

Author: Sir Barry Cunliffe
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191075345
Size: 36.74 MB
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For humans the sea is, and always has been, an alien environment. Ever moving and ever changing in mood, it is a place without time, in contrast to the land which is fixed and scarred by human activity giving it a visible history. While the land is familiar, even reassuring, the sea is unknown and threatening. By taking to the sea humans put themselves at its mercy. It has often been perceived to be an alien power teasing and cajoling. The sea may give but it takes. Why, then, did humans become seafarers? Part of the answer is that we are conditioned by our genetics to be acquisitive animals: we like to acquire rare materials and we are eager for esoteric knowledge, and society rewards us well for both. Looking out to sea most will be curious as to what is out there - a mysterious island perhaps but what lies beyond? Our innate inquisitiveness drives us to explore. Barry Cunliffe looks at the development of seafaring on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, two contrasting seas — the Mediterranean without a significant tide, enclosed and soon to become familiar, the Atlantic with its frightening tidal ranges, an ocean without end. We begin with the Middle Palaeolithic hunter gatherers in the eastern Mediterranean building simple vessels to make their remarkable crossing to Crete and we end in the early years of the sixteenth century with sailors from Spain, Portugal and England establishing the limits of the ocean from Labrador to Patagonia. The message is that the contest between humans and the sea has been a driving force, perhaps the driving force, in human history.

Europe Between The Oceans

Author: Barry W. Cunliffe
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780300170863
Size: 16.68 MB
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In this magnificent book, distinguished archaeologist Barry Cunliffe reframes our entire conception of early European history, from prehistory through the ancient world to the medieval Viking period. Cunliffe views Europe not in terms of states and shifting political land boundaries but as a geographical niche particularly favored in facing many seas. These seas, and Europe's great transpeninsular rivers, ensured a rich diversity of natural resources while also encouraging the dynamic interaction of peoples across networks of communication and exchange. The development of these early Europeans is rooted in complex interplays, shifting balances, and geographic and demographic fluidity. Drawing on archaeology, anthropology, and history, Cunliffe has produced an interdisciplinary tour de force. His is a bold book of exceptional scholarship, erudite and engaging, and it heralds an entirely new understanding of Old Europe.

Facing The Ocean

Author: Barry Cunliffe
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780192853554
Size: 33.23 MB
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In this highly illustrated book Barry Cunliffe focuses on the western rim of Europe--the Atlantic facade--an area stretching from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Isles of Shetland.We are shown how original and inventive the communities were, and how they maintained their own distinctive identities often over long spans of time. Covering the period from the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, c. 8000 BC, to the voyages of discovery c. AD 1500, he uses this last half millennium more as a well-studied test case to help the reader better understand what went before. The beautiful illustrations show how this picturesque part of Europe has many striking physical similarities. Old hard rocks confront the ocean creating promontories and capes familiar to sailors throughout the millennia. Land's End, Finistere, Finisterra--until the end of the fifteenth century this was where the world ended in a turmoil of ocean beyond which there was nothing. To the people who lived in these remote placesthe sea was their means of communication and those occupying similar locations were their neighbours. The communities frequently developed distinctive characteristics intensifying aspects of their culture the more clearly to distinguish themselves from their in-land neighbours. But there is an added level of interest here in that the sea provided a vital link with neighbouring remote-place communities encouraging a commonality of interest and allegiances. Even today the Bretons see themselvesas distinct from the French but refer to the Irish, Welsh, and Galicians as their brothers and cousins. Archaeological evidence from the prehistoric period amply demonstrates the bonds which developed and intensified between these isolated communities and helped to maintain a shared but distinctive Atlantic identity.

Britain Begins

Author: Barry Cunliffe
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199609330
Size: 50.62 MB
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Impressive in every sense, this hugely ambitious and assured book takes as its subject the entire history of the British Isles from the end of the last Ice Age and their physical emergence as islands all the way down to the Norman Conquest. Barry Cunliffe's magisterial narrative is abetted by correspondingly high production values, and whilst complex ideas are explained with admirable clarity, making the book an ideal introduction to Britain's prehistory and early history, there would be plenty here for the most seasoned professional to enjoy and profit from. Cunliffe kicks off with an examination of the ways in which our ancestors have conceived the distant past, from medieval myths to the dawn of modern archaeology. The remainder of the book is roughly chronological in structure. Prominent themes include the 'problem of origins', where Cunliffe's own research has been of such significance (the Celtic from the west hypothesis is synthesised here with concision and flair), and the importance of communication, connectivity and cultural transmission is emphasised throughout, with the Channel, the Atlantic and the North Sea seen as highways linking Britain and Ireland to the continent and building up an ongoing narrative which is anything but narrowly insular.

Empires Of The Silk Road

Author: Christopher I. Beckwith
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400829941
Size: 74.55 MB
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The first complete history of Central Eurasia from ancient times to the present day, Empires of the Silk Road represents a fundamental rethinking of the origins, history, and significance of this major world region. Christopher Beckwith describes the rise and fall of the great Central Eurasian empires, including those of the Scythians, Attila the Hun, the Turks and Tibetans, and Genghis Khan and the Mongols. In addition, he explains why the heartland of Central Eurasia led the world economically, scientifically, and artistically for many centuries despite invasions by Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Chinese, and others. In retelling the story of the Old World from the perspective of Central Eurasia, Beckwith provides a new understanding of the internal and external dynamics of the Central Eurasian states and shows how their people repeatedly revolutionized Eurasian civilization. Beckwith recounts the Indo-Europeans' migration out of Central Eurasia, their mixture with local peoples, and the resulting development of the Graeco-Roman, Persian, Indian, and Chinese civilizations; he details the basis for the thriving economy of premodern Central Eurasia, the economy's disintegration following the region's partition by the Chinese and Russians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the damaging of Central Eurasian culture by Modernism; and he discusses the significance for world history of the partial reemergence of Central Eurasian nations after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Empires of the Silk Road places Central Eurasia within a world historical framework and demonstrates why the region is central to understanding the history of civilization.

The History Of Central Asia

Author: Christoph Baumer
Publisher: I.B.Tauris
ISBN: 1780760604
Size: 49.97 MB
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An illustrated history of one of the most compelling and mysterious regions on earth. It is a unique travelogue and resource and will appeal to scholars and students of antiquity, history, archaeology and religious studies. The epic plains and arid deserts of Central Asia have witnessed some of the greatest migrations, as well as many of the most transformative developments, in the history of civilization. Christoph Baumer's ambitious treatment of the region charts the 3000-year drama of Scythians and Sarmatians; Soviets and transcontinental Silk Roads; trade routes and the transmission of ideas across the steppes; and, the breathless and brutal conquests of Alexander the Great and Chinghiz Khan.

The Horse The Wheel And Language

Author: David W. Anthony
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 069114818X
Size: 80.11 MB
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Roughly half the world's population speaks languages derived from a shared linguistic source known as Proto-Indo-European. But who were the early speakers of this ancient mother tongue, and how did they manage to spread it around the globe? Until now their identity has remained a tantalizing mystery to linguists, archaeologists, and even Nazis seeking the roots of the Aryan race. The Horse, the Wheel, and Language lifts the veil that has long shrouded these original Indo-European speakers, and reveals how their domestication of horses and use of the wheel spread language and transformed civilization. Linking prehistoric archaeological remains with the development of language, David Anthony identifies the prehistoric peoples of central Eurasia's steppe grasslands as the original speakers of Proto-Indo-European, and shows how their innovative use of the ox wagon, horseback riding, and the warrior's chariot turned the Eurasian steppes into a thriving transcontinental corridor of communication, commerce, and cultural exchange. He explains how they spread their traditions and gave rise to important advances in copper mining, warfare, and patron-client political institutions, thereby ushering in an era of vibrant social change. Anthony also describes his fascinating discovery of how the wear from bits on ancient horse teeth reveals the origins of horseback riding. The Horse, the Wheel, and Language solves a puzzle that has vexed scholars for two centuries--the source of the Indo-European languages and English--and recovers a magnificent and influential civilization from the past.

Against The Grain

Author: James C. Scott
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300231687
Size: 19.52 MB
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An account of all the new and surprising evidence now available for the beginnings of the earliest civilizations that contradict the standard narrative Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today’s states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family—all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction. Scott explores why we avoided sedentism and plow agriculture, the advantages of mobile subsistence, the unforeseeable disease epidemics arising from crowding plants, animals, and grain, and why all early states are based on millets and cereal grains and unfree labor. He also discusses the “barbarians” who long evaded state control, as a way of understanding continuing tension between states and nonsubject peoples.

Environmental Crises In Central Asia

Author: Eric Freedman
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 131783609X
Size: 69.52 MB
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Environmental conditions do not exist in a vacuum. They are influenced by science, politics, history, public policy, culture, economics, public attitudes, and competing priorities, as well as past human decisions. In the case of Central Asia, such Soviet-era decisions include irrigation systems and physical infrastructure that are now crumbling, mine tailings that leach pollutants into soil and groundwater, and abandoned factories that are physically decrepit and contaminated with toxic chemicals. Environmental Crises in Central Asia highlights major environmental challenges confronting the region’s former Soviet republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. They include threats to the Caspian and Aral seas, the impact of climate change on glaciers, desertification, deforestation, destruction of habitat and biodiversity, radioactive and hazardous wastes, water quality and supply, energy exploration and development, pesticides and food security, and environmental health. The ramifications of these challenges cross national borders and may affect economic, political, and cultural relationships on a vast geographic scale. At the same time, the region’s five governments have demonstrated little resolve to address these complex challenges. This book is a valuable multi-disciplinary resource for academics, scholars, and policymakers in environmental sciences, geography, political science, natural resources, mass communications, public health, and economics.