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World History

World History: A Short, Visual Introduction

Caitlin Corning author
Joseph Novak illustrator
Copyright Date: 2015
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  • Book Info
    World History
    Book Description:

    World History: A Short, Visual Introduction is the ideal path to understanding the historical events that influence Christian history. Caitlin Corning’s introduction covers the most important people, places, and events with precision and clarity. The major scenes are creatively illustrated by artist Joseph Novak, whose crisp modern style brings history to life. The result is an articulate, no-nonsense approach that guides readers through the events of world history—from prehistory to the present day—that have shaped Christianity in the past and affect it today. World History is part of the Christianity and the Liberal Arts series, which recognizes that many Christians are eager to deepen their understanding of the liberal arts, yet have limited time to do so. By reviewing key fields—philosophy, history, literature, world religions, and the arts—in a concise, creative way, Christianity and the Liberal Arts books will inspire new insights for a new generation of Christian life and ministry.

    eISBN: 978-1-5064-0288-8
    Subjects: Religion
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. 1-5)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. 6-8)
  3. Series Introduction (pp. 9-10)

    Once, to be an educated person in Western culture meant to be educated in the liberal arts. The classical educational system of European society, passed down from the medieval university system to the modern age, emphasized a broadly based grounding in the humanities. Knowledge of history, literature, philosophy, and art were all seen as being the essential building blocks, not simply of a university degree, but of a well-lived life. Over the past several decades that presupposition has eroded significantly as Western education has undergone significant changes. It is no longer assumed that Christians in the United States in the...

  4. Volume Introduction (pp. 11-13)

    This book is a short survey of the last two millennia of world history. The focus is the political, economic, social, and cultural events that provide context for the history of Christianity. It should come as little surprise, given the aims of this text, that the emphasis remains primarily on Europe and the Middle East until after the sixteenth century. It is also important to know that this book does not explore church history in depth. It has been written as a companion volume to a church history textbook or course.

    The book begins with the Roman Empire because this...

  5. 1 The Roman Empire (pp. 14-30)

    The last hundred years of the Roman Republic was a period of chaos and upheaval. Generals marched their troops on the city of Rome demanding power, there were civil wars and assassinations. In 31 BCE, Octavian (31 bce–14 CE), the grandnephew and heir of Julius Caesar, defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium.¹ Within a year, Antony had committed suicide, leaving Octavian as the de facto leader of the Roman state. These events are traditionally regarded as inaugurating the Roman Empire. With few exceptions, Octavian and his successors for the next two centuries oversaw a period...

  6. 2 Early Medieval World (pp. 31-48)

    The fifth through the tenth centuries was a period of significant transformation for Europe. As a result of the Germanic invasions and the collapse of the economy, the last Roman Emperor in the West, Romulus Augustulus (475–76), was deposed in 476. The Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire would continue in a much-truncated form until the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453. Not only did the Germanic tribes continue their expansion into the Roman territories in the fourth and fifth centuries, the Arabs conquered substantial territory in the seventh and eighth, and Viking, Magyar, and Arab attacks tore apart Europe...

  7. 3 High and Late Medieval World (pp. 49-62)

    The High Middle Ages (1000–1300) was a period of growth for much of Europe. The major invasions and migrations were over. This, combined with the fact that people were generally better fed, meant that population was on the rise. More land was cultivated and urbanization increased. Central monarchies gained power and the church became more politically influential than it had been. New monastic orders, such as the Cistercians, Franciscans, and Dominicans, were founded. Increasing contact with the Muslims and the East meant that new scientific knowledge, technology, and the writings of ancient writers such as Aristotle streamed into Europe...

  8. 4 Early Modern World (pp. 63-75)

    Beginning in the fifteenth century, with new developments in navigation technology and shipbuilding, the Atlantic powers in Europe began searching for ocean routes to Asia. The goal was to bypass the overland routes from China and the Spice Islands to control the luxury markets of the Afro-Eurasian trade network focused on the Indian Ocean. From the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, this “Age of Discovery” saw the establishment of the European colonial empires and economic influence shifting in Europe to the Atlantic states.

    It is a myth that people in the Middle Ages thought the earth was flat. Europeans knew the...

  9. 5 The Enlightenment and Eighteenth Century (pp. 76-91)

    After the Reformation and the Wars of Religion, some questioned the received wisdom regarding human nature, political and economic systems, and social norms. Inspired by the discoveries of the scientific revolution, Enlightenment theorists (philosophes) argued that there were natural and social laws governing human behavior. Once these were understood, it would be possible to shape better societies. Meanwhile, this period witnessed continuing competition between the European nations, especially France and Great Britain.¹ These strands culminated in the American and the French Revolutions. As with all aspects of history, the Scientific Revolution built on earlier developments. In the medieval universities, natural...

  10. 6 The Nineteenth Century (pp. 92-103)

    This period is sometimes referred to as the “long nineteenth century,” for it could be argued that World War I (1914–18) was truly the dividing line between this century and the next. The nineteenth century witnessed industrialization, nationalism, imperialism, socialism, Darwinism, the rise of the women’s movement, and many other developments that transformed society. These ideas were influential worldwide because not only did imperialism spread European culture, but so too did emigration. In the first decade of the twentieth century alone, eleven million people emigrated; half to the United States, and the rest to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil,...

  11. 7 1914-1945 (pp. 104-114)

    World War I, the Great Depression, the rise of dictatorships and far-right governments, World War II, the Holocaust, and the invention of atomic weapons caused many to doubt seriously that humanity was racing toward a shining future. Since the Enlightenment, the hope had been that science and technology coupled with a firm understanding of the social sciences would enable the creation of better societies. Instead, it appeared that technology simply advanced the weapons of war, that economists and political scientists could not figure out how to solve major problems, and that even highly educated people could be easily deceived by...

  12. 8 Post-War World (pp. 115-129)

    Since 1945, there have been numerous, often conflicting, developments. New organizations such as the United Nations encouraged nations to negotiate disputes and work together to solve problems, but at the same time, the Cold War divided the world into major camps. The values of multiculturalism have been lauded, but media and entertainment are creating a more unified popular culture. In recent years, the tensions between internationalism and nationalism, and integration and diversity have only intensified. Through all this, Christians have debated how to effectively respond to a rapidly changing world.

    Although some nations had gained independence before World War II,...

  13. Suggested Reading (pp. 130-135)
  14. Back Matter (pp. 136-136)