My previous article was among others about alphabet and how the letters were evolving from glyphs to the modern form. The following were the major players in every era:
Egypt has a 5000 years tradition. We know mostly of pyramids and sphinx. Maybe for some of you also mentioning of Papyrus might ring a bell. Perhaps you know Egypt only from Raiders of the lost Ark or Mummy? Archaeology is also a term most often associated with Egypt.
Persia is a bit less known. I have played a few computer games, Prince of Persia being the first. Also some strategy games include Persians and their horse carriages loaded with bowmen decimating your troops. Recently a quite successful movie hit theatres. It was about battle between 300 Greeks and millions of Persians. Tower of Babylon also belongs to Persian part of the history.
Greece is known among others for sports (Olympic Games, Marathon), great philosophers, and all kinds of sciences as well as for introducing some things that are so common nowadays, but would be almost unheard of in ancient times. Democracy is one of these benefits that we enjoy nowadays. Also Greek mythology is a known topic.
Roman Empire is based on Greece’s foundations. They are not so commonly known for their contribution to education, but anyway worth mentioning it here. We know more about Roman laws that are still taught at universities around the world. Roman military was very advanced for its time. In religion most of the Roman gods are actually renamed Greek ones. Greek Aphrodite is Roman Venus. The list goes on: Ares-Mars, Hermes-Mercury, Chronos-Saturn, Zeus-Jupiter… Let’s also not forget about Roman technological achievements: paved roads, aqueducts and even flush toilets.
Where are these nations on the map now? Their empires shrunk in the centuries and millennia that followed.
Egypt is still on the map. Much smaller than it was 4000 years ago. When you check the news the first hits are Protests, Riots, Mubarak stepped down. The only “cultural” news was that mummies were stolen from museum. Egypt has fallen from its grace to ashes.
Persian empire is nowadays Iran. First hits on Google about Iran are: Ahmadinejad, Nuclear, Oil. Great Persian warriors are still ruling today. So not much change on the Eastern front.
Greece hit the news with their economic crisis and almost bringing the European common currency Euro down. The big empire has crumbled and it appears it is dragging the rest of the pack down as well.
When I was younger the Italy’s rising star was Cicciolina, Hungarian born porn star. She is famous for delivering political speeches with one breast exposed. Yes, she did that much before Janet Jackson. Forty years later Italy is again on the front pages of newspapers because Italian prime minister cannot keep his zipper closed. It is a big generalization, but it appears that Italy has not only lost its credibility on a political world map but it is also content with its role as court fool.