Why Europe? Why was it that the second great transformation in human existence - the development of capitalism and industrial society - was pioneered on the western edge of the Eurasian land-mass?
In Part 9 of A Marxist History of the World, we paused to discuss ‘how history works’. It would be useful to pause again to review some general lessons of the history of the ancient and medieval civilisations we have looked at since.
The early civilisations of the Americas were limited by geography - in only two areas did urban revolution occur and civilisations develop: in parts of Mesoamerica, and in the Central Andes.
Neil Faulkner looks at the early civilisations in Africa and how geography ensured the continent would develop differently from Eurasia.
Neil Faulkner examines China's imperial history, where for two millennia political revolution did not lead to social transformation, but simply to the replacement of one dynasty by another.
More than half a millennium separated the fall of India’s Mauryan Empire in the late 3rd century BCE (before the common era) from the rise of the Gupta Empire in the early 4th century CE (common era). Economic and social change during the interval altered the foundations of imperialism.
Islam created a single overarching allegiance throughout the Arab-ruled world yet the Middle East came to be a divided region of weak and unpopular states. Neil Faulkner looks at the conflicts that lay behind this process.
This week Neil Faulkner describes the rise and explosive spread of the third great monotheistic religion, where compassion, charity, and protection became moral imperatives - Islam.
Neil Faulkner charts the transformation of the Huns from tribal nomads into continent-straddling militarists.
Neil Faulkner examines how the three great monotheistic religions produced by the contradictions of the ancient world owed their extraordinary power to their origins in the myths and rituals of the oppressed.
Neil Faulkner looks at how the growth of private property altered the position of women - from occupying a central role in society to suffering what Engels called ‘the world historic defeat of the female sex’.
Neil Faulkner explains how the Roman Empire entered its terminal crisis as its military imperialism came up against geographical, economic, and sociological barriers to expansion.