History Of Mankind (Chapter 5). Topics Crete-A Western Preface, Israel, The land of the landless and Epics Of India, Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabharat.
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Ancient Knossos in Crete built a splendid record of civilisation since 2500 B. C ., – nourished as they were by the influence of the progressive Egyptians. The Cretans had a thriving kingdom with its imposing palaces and fine pottery.
The Aryans came to Greece with their horses and cattle about 1500 B. C. They conquered some of the Mediterranean cities and began to settle there. About 1200 B. C ., the Aryans overran the island of Crete. The story of the civilisation of Knossos was thus brought to an end. The glory of Crete is however the first glimpse of the civilisation that spread its roots in the European continent centuries later.
Israel, The land of the landless
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are great names in the history of Hebrew awakening. Jacob’s son Joseph was sold as a slave to the Egyptians. The Israelites owed their prosperity to the influence of Joseph, who eventually became the prime minister of Egypt. But ages afterwards the Egyptians became jealous of the Israelites and they took to tyranny. From this oppression the people of Israel were delivered by Moses. These people settled in Palestine and gradually grew up to be a powerful nation.
Joshua succeeded Moses, and Samuel was the last of the prophets. The Jews enjoyed their greatest glory and progress under their two kings, David and Solomon. The kingdom of Israel was the home of the Jews until captured by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. Since then, for over 2500 years, the Israelites have come to be known as a homeless, wandering people.
Epics Of India, Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabharat
The Aryan immigrants in India wrote some of the most famous books of the world-the Vedas, the Upanishads and the two epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata
The Ramayana, the older book, is the story of Rama, the ideal son, ideal king and the ideal warrior who fought and won over the demon Ravana. The Ramayana is said to be composed by Valmiki, the first poet of India.
Culture, traditions and the morals recorded are fundamentally religious even in the two epics. The next two thousand years of India’s social history is steeped in this religion of the Vedas, the Upanishads and the epics. These are to the Indians the supreme art and the profoundest philosophy at the same time. India’s art and literature have been drawing inspirations from these sources throughout her many epochs of civilisation.