Wednesday, April 12, 2017

BCE: Highlights

"...the grandeur that was Rome."
(Painting by Giovanni Paolo Panini)

The BCE section of the Chronology starts here. The links there will lead you to the Listings.


(Note: BCE stands for "Before the Common Era." Previously we used "BC" [= "Before Christ"] for this era, but as the term is not applicable to events in India, East Asia, Africa, the pre-Columbian Americas, and so on, the more inclusive term will be used.)

The significant spheres of culture in this period can be summarized as follows: The Middle East (including Egypt); India; the Greco-Roman world; and China.

The Middle East brings forth such works as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Egyptian Book of the Dead, in addition to the so-called Old Testament of The Holy Bible (more appropriately, the "Hebrew Scriptures"), as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the intertestamental "Biblical Apocrypha."

In India, this is the era of The Vedas and Upanishads, as well as the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata (including the Bhagavad Gita), though the final forms of both of these are dated much later. Also from India are the Panchatantra (folk tales), and suchBuddhist writings (in addition to the Pali Canon, probably written down later) as the Jataka Tales and Milinda Panha.

Literature in the Greco-Roman world starts with Homer and Hesiod, then the Pre-Socratic philosophers; the philosophers, playwrights, poets, historians, and proto-scientists of the "Age of Socrates" (not to forget Aesop); then more of the same from the Romans.

Finally, in China, we have the foundational teachers Laozi, Kongzi (Confucius), and their followers, as well as some poetry and history.

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