History and the Hebrew Bible | The First Civilizations

The Hebrews were the first people to record their history in a series of books, providing a consecutive story over many centuries. Today this traditional history is contained in the Bible, especially in Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. But one also finds genealogy and ritual law (Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy), tales (Ruth and Job), proverbs (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes), prophetic utterances (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the rest), and lyric poems (Psalms, The Song of Songs).

Peter the Great

Interpretations of Peter the Great vary enormously. Voltaire considered him to be the model of the “enlightened despot.” Nicolai M. Karamzin (1766-1826), who was Russia’s first widely read novelist, attacked the Petrine myth and argued that Peter was subverting traditional Russian values:

Basil I through the "Time of Troubles," 867-1081 | Byzantium and Islam

Although intrigue and the violent overthrow of sovereigns remained a feature of Byzantine politics, the people developed a deep loyalty to the new ruling house that was established in 867 by the Armenian Basil I (r. 867-886) and called the Macedonian dynasty because of his birth there. As political disintegration began to weaken the opposing Muslim world, the Byzantines counterattacked in the tenth century. They captured Crete in 961 and Antioch and much of northern Syria in 962.

Peacemaking and Territorial Settlements, 1918-1923 | The First World War

The peace conference first met formally on January 18, 1919. Nearly thirty nations involved in the war against the Central Powers sent delegates. Russia was not represented. The defeated nations took no part in the deliberations; the Germans, in particular, were given little chance to comment on or criticize the terms offered them. German anger over this failure of the Allies to accept their new republic was to play a large part in the ultimate rise of Adolf Hitler.

The English Aristocracy

Historians today emphasize that the political differences between England and the Continent reflected differences in social structure. England had its nobility or aristocracy ranging from barons to dukes. These nobles, plus Anglican bishops, composed the House of Lords. But in England, the younger sons of nobles were not themselves titled nobles, as they were on the Continent.