"The wisdom of the Egyptians was a proverb with the Greeks, who felt themselves children beside this ancient race." Plato, Timaeus, 22B, (Quoted from Will Durant, the Story of civilization:I)
As summarized by Will Durant, the development of agriculture helped people to settle in villages and create communities, where the early civilizations gradually developed. Ancient people developed their specialized trades, arts, and crafts, establishing an economy based on trade, which led to the first civilizations. Since there were but few written records, as in the case of ancient Egypt, archaeologists have patiently recreated the history of the first civilizations by putting together artifacts and studying ruins which have been discovered over time. A cardinal characteristic of civilizations was that each had a leader, ruler, priests, and civil administrators. It has been discovered also that early civilizations were tinted by a class system of rich and poor people. First great civilizations were built around rivers, which were crucial to their development, and became a catalyst for the growth of agricultural civilization.
The Humanistic Tradition:
This colorful work is a thoughtful, methodical topical approach to the first classical civilizations that helps not only humanity students but all seekers of common global experience understand humanity's creative traditions as a continuum in space and time, rather than isolated events by human races or nations. This compelling acclaimed survey offers a global perspective, through a gifted editor of many vivid illustrations, integrating an amazing ocean of literary sources. It explores the sociopolitical, economic, and artistic contexts of human culture, providing an analytical perspective of the global multicultural quest which humanity pursued. Gloria Fiero's popular work offers the reader an opportunity to be introduced to 'The Humanistic Tradition' clearly demonstrating the close relationship between the culture of the past and sophisticated life and rich culture of the present. The book explores the arts and thought of the West in relation to ideas of other world cultures, from the ancient mid-East to the modern far East.
Ancient World's Light:
The above being said, I would like to caution the reader that the colorful author, and creative editor adopts a rather questionably biased theory, lately in great doubt (Ps. see: Barnel's Black Athena,) that Greek philosophy is the foundation of the Humanistic tradition, at least/ even in the West. Late Medieval Alexandria, Egypt was no doubt, the "Mind of Western Tradition". Eugene Holley Jr. expressed it beautifully, "Historians of philosophy have been wont to begin their story with the Greeks. It may be that we are all mistaken; for among the most ancient fragments left to us by the Egyptians are writings that belong under the rubric of moral philosophy. The Egyptians were the light of the ancient world. They produced many early medical instruments, designed the world's first step pyramid, and laid the empirical groundwork for scientific reasoning. Akhenaton, the rebel pharaoh, is cited as "the Father of Monotheism." Asante stresses throughout the book that these developments came from a confluence of African cultures, and not from other parts of the world. "The practice of the African philosophers along the Nile was a practice of maintaining Maat [the principle of truth, order, and justice] in every aspect of life," he writes. "If we could only learn from them the value of harmony, balance, and righteousness, we would be on our way toward a revival of the spirit of human victory."
Sonia's fine Review:
"The Humanistic Tradition is quite simply the finest book of its type. Fiero manages to integrate the political, cultural, and social history of the world into one coherent and fascinating whole. It is a masterpiece of scholarship... balanced, interesting, easy to read, and consummately beautiful." -- Sonia Sorrell, Pepperdine University