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Civilizations

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In Civilizations, Felipe Fernndez-Armesto once again proves himself a brilliantly original historian, capable of large-minded and ... Weiterlesen
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Beschreibung

In Civilizations, Felipe Fernndez-Armesto once again proves himself a brilliantly original historian, capable of large-minded and comprehensive works, here he redefines the subject that has fascinated historians from Thucydides to Gibbon to Spengler to Fernand Braudel: the nature of civilization. To Fernndez-Armesto, a civilization is &quote,civilized in direct proportion to its distance, its difference from the unmodified natural environment&quote,...by its taming and warping of climate, geography, and ecology. The same impersonal forces that put an ocean between Africa and India, a river delta in Mesopotamia, or a 2,000-mile-long mountain range in South America have created the mold from which humanity has fashioned its own wildly differing cultures. In a grand tradition that is certain to evoke comparisons to the great historical taxonomies, each chapter of Civilizations connects the world of the ecologist and geographer to a panorama of cultural history. In Civilizations, the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is not merely a Christian allegory, but a testament to the thousand-year-long deforestation of the trees that once covered 90 percent of the European mainland. The Indian Ocean has served as the world's greatest trading highway for millennia not merely because of cultural imperatives, but because the regular monsoon winds blow one way in the summer and the other in the winter. In the words of the author, &quote,Unlike previous attempts to write the comparative history of civilizations, it is arranged environment by environment, rather than period by period, or society by society.&quote, Thus, seventeen distinct habitats serve as jumping-off points for a series of brilliant set-piece comparisons, thus, tundra civilizations from Ice Age Europe are linked with the Inuit of the Pacific Northwest, and the Mississippi mound-builders and the deforesters of eleventh-century Europe are both understood as civilizations built on woodlands. Here, of course, are the familiar riverine civilizations of Mesopotamia and China, of the Indus and the Nile, but also highland civilizations from the Inca to New Guinea, island cultures from Minoan Crete to Polynesia to Renaissance Venice, maritime civilizations of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea...even the Bushmen of Southern Africa are seen through a lens provided by the desert civilizations of Chaco Canyon. More, here are fascinating stories, brilliantly told -- of the voyages of Chinese admiral Chen Ho and Portuguese commodore Vasco da Gama, of the Great Khan and the Great Zimbabwe. Here are Hesiod's tract on maritime trade in the early Aegean and the most up-to-date genetics of seed crops. Erudite, wide-ranging, a work of dazzling scholarship written with extraordinary flair, Civilizations is a remarkable achievement...a tour de force by a brilliant scholar.

Autorentext

Felipe Fernández-Armesto is a Professorial Fellow of Queen Mary, University of London, and a member of the Modern History Faculty at Oxford University. He is the author of twelve books, including Millennium and Truth: A History.



Klappentext

In Civilizations, Felipe Fernández-Armesto once again proves himself a brilliantly original historian, capable of large-minded and comprehensive works; here he redefines the subject that has fascinated historians from Thucydides to Gibbon to Spengler to Fernand Braudel: the nature of civilization.

To Fernández-Armesto, a civilization is "civilized in direct proportion to its distance, its difference from the unmodified natural environment"...by its taming and warping of climate, geography, and ecology. The same impersonal forces that put an ocean between Africa and India, a river delta in Mesopotamia, or a 2,000-mile-long mountain range in South America have created the mold from which humanity has fashioned its own wildly differing cultures. In a grand tradition that is certain to evoke comparisons to the great historical taxonomies, each chapter of Civilizations connects the world of the ecologist and geographer to a panorama of cultural history. In Civilizations, the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is not merely a Christian allegory, but a testament to the thousand-year-long deforestation of the trees that once covered 90 percent of the European mainland. The Indian Ocean has served as the world's greatest trading highway for millennia not merely because of cultural imperatives, but because the regular monsoon winds blow one way in the summer and the other in the winter.

In the words of the author, "Unlike previous attempts to write the comparative history of civilizations, it is arranged environment by environment, rather than period by period, or society by society." Thus, seventeen distinct habitats serve as jumping-off points for a series of brilliant set-piece comparisons; thus, tundra civilizations from Ice Age Europe are linked with the Inuit of the Pacific Northwest; and the Mississippi mound-builders and the deforesters of eleventh-century Europe are both understood as civilizations built on woodlands. Here, of course, are the familiar riverine civilizations of Mesopotamia and China, of the Indus and the Nile; but also highland civilizations from the Inca to New Guinea; island cultures from Minoan Crete to Polynesia to Renaissance Venice; maritime civilizations of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea...even the Bushmen of Southern Africa are seen through a lens provided by the desert civilizations of Chaco Canyon.

More, here are fascinating stories, brilliantly told -- of the voyages of Chinese admiral Chen Ho and Portuguese commodore Vasco da Gama, of the Great Khan and the Great Zimbabwe. Here are Hesiod's tract on maritime trade in the early Aegean and the most up-to-date genetics of seed crops. Erudite, wide-ranging, a work of dazzling scholarship written with extraordinary flair, Civilizations is a remarkable achievement...a tour de force by a brilliant scholar.



Inhalt

Preface

Introduction: THE ITCH TO CIVILIZE

Civilizations and Civilization

The Civilizing Ingredient

The Glutinous Environment

The Mask and Apollo: Recent Definitions and Approaches

Reaching Between Civilizations -- and Reaching for the Unity of Civilization

Process and Progress

The Checklist of Civilization

Back to Nature: Array by Environment

Two Cheers for Civilization

Chapter One: THE HELM OF ICE

ICE WORLDS AND TUNDRA AS HUMAN HABITATS

The Ice Age in Europe -- Northern Scandinavia -- Asiatic Tundra -- Arctic America -- Greenland

Beyond the Gates of Gog: The Savage North

Followers of the Ice

The Tamers of Reindeer

Companions of the Seal Bladders: Deference to Nature in Arctic America

Better Than Civilization: The Inuit in Competition with Europeans

Chapter Two: THE DEATH OF EARTH

ADAPTATION AND COUNTERADAPTATION IN DESERTS OF SAND

The North American Southwest -- Northern Peru -- the Sahara -- the Gobi -- the Kalahari

Learning from Hohokam: How to Build Civilization in the Desert

The Lakes of Worms: The Limits of Civilization in the Sahara

Lands of Unrest: Desert Highways Between Civilizations

Spirits of the Slippery Hills: Bushmen and Civilization

Chapter Three: THE SWEEPINGS OF THE WIND

PRAIRIE AND GRASSY SAVANNA

The Great Plains -- the African Savanna -- the Sahel

The Intractable Grasslands

The Architects of the Savanna

Imperialists of the Sahel

Chapter Four: THE HIGHWAY OF CIVILIZATIONS

THE EURASIAN STEPPE
The Wastes of Gog

A Confucian Contemplates the Wild

The Making of Mongol Imperialism

The Mongol Roads: Causeways of Civilization

Chapter Five: THE WILD WOODS

POSTGLACIAL AND TEMPERATE WOODLAND

Cases of Deforestation -- the American Bottom -- North American Temperate Forests -- Europe

The Fear of Trees: Learning to Clear the Forests

The Great Wet: Early Civilizations of the North American Woodlands

The Longhouse of Elm: Civilization by the Evergreen Frontier

Riding the Lumber Raft: Europe After the Forest

The Retreat of the Trees: From Forests to Cities in Twelfth-Century Europe

Chapter Six: HEARTS OF DARKNESS

TROPICAL LOWLANDS

Frederik Hendrik Island -- the Olmec Heartland -- Low Amazonia -- the Lowland Maya Lands -- the Valleys of the Khmer -- Benin City

The Habitable Hell: Cultivating the Swamp

Amazon Lands: The Challenge of the Rain Forest

The Tongue in the Stones: The Lowland Maya

The Beloved of the Snake: Khmer Civilization on the Mekong

The City of Death: Benin

Chapter Seven: THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS

MISLEADING CASES IN THE NEAR EAST

The Çarsamba floodplain -- the Jordan Valley -- Sumer and Egypt

The Yielding Soil: Early Intensifiers of Agriculture

The Garden of the Lord: Alluvial Archetypes

Back from Diffusion: The Great River Valleys

From Sumer to Babylon

Out of the Underworld: The "Gift of the Nile"

Chapter Eight: OF SHOES AND RICE

TRANSCENDING ENVIRONMENTS OF ORIGIN IN CHINA AND INDIA

The Indus, Yellow, and Yangtze Rivers

Seals in the Sand: Lost Cities of the Indus and the Origins of India

Millet and Rice, River and River: The Making of China

The Checklist of Shang Civilization

The Phoenix of the East: The Survival of China

Expansion Without Mutation: The Chinese Grossraum

Chapter Nine: THE GARDENS OF THE CLOUDS

The Highland Civilizations of the New World

Mesoamerica and the Andes

Altitude and Isolation: Classifying Highland Civilizations

Ascent to Tiahuanaco: Predecessors of the Inca

Places for the Gods: The Context of the Aztecs

Contrasting Worlds: The Aztecs and Inca Juxtaposed

The Vengeance of the Tribute-Bearers: Environment and Empire

Chapter Ten: THE CLIMB TO PARADISE

THE HIGHLAND CIVILIZATIONS OF THE OLD WORLD

New Guinea -- Zimbabwe -- Ethiopia -- Iran -- Tibet

The Last El Dorado

The African Predicament

The Mountains of Rasselas: Civilization in Ethiopia

High Roads of Civilization: Overlooking Asian Trade Routes

Looking Down from Tibet

Chapter Eleven: THE ALLOTMENTS OF THE GODS

SMALL-ISLAND CIVILIZATIONS

The "South Seas" -- Hawaii and Easter Island -- the Aleutians -- the Maldives -- Malta -- Minoan Crete -- Venice

The Tangle of Isles: Polynesian Navigation

Surviving Isolation: Hawaii and Easter Island

The Wind's Nest: The Islands of the Aleut

Ports of Call: From the Maldives to Malta

The Wreck of Paradise: Minoan Crete

The Creature of the Lagoon: Venice as a Small-Island Civilization

Chapter Twelve: THE VIEW FROM THE SHORE

THE NATURE OF SEABOARD CIVILIZATIONS

The Oran laut -- Phoenicia and Scandinavia -- the Maritime Netherlands

The Sea People: Adapting to the Waves

The Narrow Shores: Phoenicia and Scandinavia

The Atlantic Edge

The Frustrations of Rimland: The Early Phase

"An Equilibrium of Mud and Water": Coaxing Civilization from the Shoals

Beyond the Beach: Identifying Seaboard Civilizations

Chapter Thirteen: CHASING THE MONSOON

SEABOARD CIVILIZATIONS OF MARITIME ASIA

Japan -- Maritime Arabia -- Southeast Asia -- Coromandel and Gujarat -- Fukien

Riders of the Typhoon: Maritime Japan

Caravans of the Monsoon: The Arabs and Their Seas

The Ring of the Snake: The Seas of Southeast Asia

The Seas of Milk and Butter: Maritime India

China's Frontier to the Sea: Fukien

Chapter Fourteen: THE TRADITION OF ULYSSES

THE GREEK AND ROMAN SEABOARDS

Boeotia -- the Greeks Overseas -- Athens -- the Aegean and Ionian Seas -- Rome -- the Roman Empire -- the Renaissances and Their Settings

The Plow and the Prow: A Conversation with Hesiod

The Pursuit of Galatea: Greece Takes to the Sea

The Claim of Poseidon: Athens and the Sea

A Hellenic Cruise: Five Wonders of Antiquity

Around the Middle Sea: Ancient Rome as a Seaboard Civilization

The Reach of the Classics: The Global Spread of the Greek and Roman Legacies

Chapter Fifteen: ALMOST THE LAST ENVIRONMENT

THE RISE OF OCEANIC CIVILIZATIONS

From the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic -- from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean

The Muslim Lake

The Precocity of the Indian Ocean

From the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic: The Shadow of Vasco da Gama

The Round Trip of Vasco da Gama

Chapter Sixteen: REFLOATING ATLANTIS

THE MAKING OF ATLANTIC CIVILIZATION

Cultural Transmission from Europe to America and Back

The Origins of the European Atlantic

The Technological Strand

The Power of Culture

The Tyranny of the Timing

Atlantic Civilization in Black and White: The Imperial Phase

The World the Slaves Made

Chapter Seventeen: THE ATLANTIC AND AFTER

ATLANTIC SUPREMACY AND THE GLOBAL OUTLOOK

From the Atlantic to the Pacific -- from the Pacific to the World

Crises and Renewals of Atlantic Civilization

The Limits and Limitations of Western Civilization

Next Stop after the Atlantic

The Revenge of Nature

The Self-Threatened Menace

The Last Ocean

Epilogue: In Derek Jarman's Garden

Notes

Index

Produktinformationen

Titel: Civilizations
Untertitel: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature
Autor:
EAN: 9780743216500
ISBN: 978-0-7432-1650-0
Digitaler Kopierschutz: Adobe-DRM
Format: E-Book (epub)
Herausgeber: Simon + Schuster Inc.
Genre: Geschichte
Anzahl Seiten: 560
Veröffentlichung: 14.09.2001
Jahr: 2001
Untertitel: Englisch
Dateigrösse: 0.8 MB