“Ba Humanities: A Brief History of Ancient Civilizations” by David James is a quick, useful, and enjoyable primer on ancient civilisations. It is written in a very engaging style and includes some very interesting examples from around the world. Some of the most interesting chapters include “The Cradle of Civilization,” ” Civilization and the Adorable,” “The Fall of Western civilisation,” “The Renaissance,” and “A Brief History of Ancient Civilizations.”
The book rightly starts its history by taking a brief look at the role of art and literature in human societies. It then goes on to describe how different civilisations began, the places that they occupied, and how they developed religious rituals and practices. One thing that I found myself thinking was the similarities between early Greek and Egyptian culture. Not only were there similarities in architecture, there was also a shared belief in an afterlife. The belief in reincarnation was also common in both Greek and Egyptian culture. It was also interesting to note that there was apparently no difference between Greek and Roman gods, and that the two peoples practiced similar magic.
The book then delves into the role of warfare in history, with a look at how ancient Egyptians fought with each other and how their fighting styles may have been different to those practiced by other cultures. It also looks at how urbanisation and farming helped shape the world around them, especially in regard to the expansion of empires. It then delves into the development of organised crime in the Mediterranean world, which may have affected the level of literacy in many countries. Finally, it looks at how the changing political and social climates of Europe and Asia might have impacted upon these different aspects of history. The book ends with a short review of the impact of Empire, and the different civilisations that arose after it.
In addition to this brief history, this book has a few pages on what this book is about, and a table of contents, as well as a table of contents and introduction to the bibliography. I enjoyed the fact that James repeatedly stresses the need for a balance in literature. There is plenty of romance and fantasy in this book, and this was very noticeable in the book. However, the realistic historical accounts were also very noticeable and supported much of the evidence that was presented. Much of the evidence presented looked very real and it made sense when looked at. There were even examples, using very real situations, to support some of the claims that were being made in the book.
I would recommend this book to students of history, as well as adults. While the history aspect of this book may be dry, it is informative and interesting, and there are parts that will make you think. For instance, the chapter on magic and medieval Europe is very interesting, especially the discussions that follow. However, I felt that the focus on China, India, and Central . . . . . . Asia could have been better developed, and there were some lacunas among the chapters. Still, overall this is an enjoyable read and one that will make you think.
This book is not only for historians but for anyone who are interested in world history and the works of ancient civilisations. It will probably interest scholars as well as non-academics, because it is so thorough. It is also very appealing to a wide range of people. Recommended for students as well as people who enjoy reading historical novels. Highly recommended!