One of my favorite facts offering some historical perspective

Voegelin notes that Joachim of Flora broke with the Augustinian philosophy of history and divided history into three periods: the period of the Father, the period of the Son, and the period of the Holy Spirit. This tripartite division is all over the modern philosophy of history: Comte turns it into the age of religion, the age of metaphysics, and the age of science. For Marx it becomes primitive communism, class-based society, and final communism. And in our history textbooks, we find ancient history, medieval history, and modern history.

This division tends to give us a false sense of the time periods involved, so that for many people, there is this period called “ancient” during which bopped about Egyptians and Sumerians and Persians and Babylonians and Chinese and Greeks and Romans and so on, all mingling together in “ancient times.”

But consider this: when Herodotus visited the pyramids, their construction was as far back in his past as he is in ours. Furthermore, the Greeks knew how much older Egyptian civilization was than theirs. Plato actually has an Egyptian tell a Greek “there’s no such thing as an old Greek.”

Comments

  1. I have no idea why everything before the fall of Rome is considered Ancient. I think it's better to further divide history into the stone, copper, bronze, and iron ages in addition to the usual ancient, medevial, and modern divides.

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