Why did the Shivaji's army wage guerrilla warfare

The periodization problem
John C. Plott, James M. Dolin, and Paul D. Mays
(first in: John C. Plott: Global History of Philosophy, vol. II. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1979. pp. 255-303)
From the English: Franz M. Wimmer

An excerpt from this translation was published in:
polylog. Journal for intercultural philosophizing. Vol. 2, volume 3, Vienna 1999
Editor: Vienna Society for Intercultural Philosophy - WiGiP
This investigation does not intend to provide a definitive solution to the very complex problem of providing a twentieth-century, post-Hegelian, post-Marxist periodization of world history; rather, it wants to articulate a challenge to find something more accurate and appropriate than the periodizations currently available.

Throughout human history, theories of history have been based on mythology, over-speculation, or exaggerated views of such historical factors as religion, economy, or politics. But none of these views has yet given us an adequate perspective of human history as a kaleidoscopic whole. The old periodization of history in terms of antiquity, medieval and modern times is obsolete even if it is applied only to the history of the West; and numerous attempts to force other cultures into the traditional framework of European history have created many distortions in the overall picture of the history of cultures and civilizations. Even the separation of "East" and "West" does not hit the facts at all.

We can no longer propose periodizations that do not include all historical facts, including art, literature, and music; and certainly the importance of transportation and intercultural communication in the development of all civilizations has also been greatly underestimated. Hence we hope the need for one multi-dimensional To underline the approach to the general philosophy of history as well as to world history itself.

The discrepancies between all common periodizations in world history make it a dubious question whether a periodization that is acceptable to all is possible at all. However, in view of the distortions that have become common practice, it is necessary to strive for a modus vivendi, something one can work with rather than what has been offered so far, something that can help future generations to break away from provincialism, cultural fanaticism and ethnocentrism to free those who have plagued humanity to this day.

Our periodization has three main goals. First, to explore the possibilities for a more applicable scheme, as we just said. Second, to connect the world history of philosophy more closely with general world history than has hitherto been done. Few, if any, proposed periodizations have taken philosophical developments even as a subordinate criterion for the delimitation of historical periods, although it could be argued that from about 500 B.C. up to the present the real key to everything else in the periodization of world history is philosophy, above, if not separate from, all other cultural and civilizational aspects. Even if such a thesis may seem too extreme to some, any periodization of world history that does not ascribe at least as much importance to the history of philosophy as to the history of religion, economics or politics must surely be inadequate for a comprehensive periodization of cultures be considered. Of course, we must not assume that there are correspondences between developments in philosophical traditions and systems on the one hand, and general cultural history on the other, at all times and in all places. Certainly there are (global) historical courses where philosophy apparently is in a subordinate position to the other factors which must be taken into account for a periodization of general world history.

Third, while the proposed periodization may be found to be as inadequate as any other, our investigation will be a success once we have helped clarify those issues and / or point out those confusions that are inherent in each periodization of the World history are to be considered. We hope to clarify the problems in question, including those relating to philosophy.

Every periodization may be quite arbitrary and at best pragmatic or pedagogically useful, by no means indisputable. In fact, we are faced with a kind of Kantian antinomy: even if every possible periodization runs the risk of being arbitrary or even dogmatic, we cannot have any historical knowledge without periodization.

The Axial Age

(750-250 BC)


Arnold Toynbee, Karl Jaspers, and others agree that there was a great breakthrough period around the year 500 BC. But what about the periods before that time? We tend to forget too easily that cultures then existed that had a past longer than the period we are considering since the Axial Age.

One of the first problems with attempting periodization is identifying the "beginnings". The year 5969 BC is proposed, of course in a speculative way, with a few others, mainly of Byzantine or Alexandrian origin, for the time of the creation of the world. Of course, such ideas would hardly be applauded by Hindus, Buddhists and Jainas, since these are not just every idea of ​​one creatio ex nihilo but also to have a much broader timescale, as can easily be seen from such well-known texts as the Bhagavata Purana can see what a yuga can extend for more than a million years. One of the suggested dates for the beginning of Kali yuga is the year 3102 BC. Is this stranger than Al Biruni's determination of the year 3760 for Adam, because at that time the year 4077, deduced from a 2700-year cycle, was assigned to the beginning of the Saptarsi-Kala according to Kashmiri sources?

Not only are non-mythological beginnings difficult to find, but even if we did find them, we should still know how about them goes on. The year 2700 BC is given as the beginning of the Chinese 60-year cycles, whereas today's western practice forces everything into the decimal 100-year system (although we keep a different system for the times of day, i.e. 60 seconds, 60 minutes, etc.). The sense of cyclical time has apparently been far stronger among the Chinese than in the West throughout the long history of the two cultures. In fact, in the overall perspective of human history, the modern-western, non-cyclical view may be inferior. After all, there are cycles in almost everything we know, from astronomical phenomena to psychophysical biological rhythms. In the traditional Chinese view, all of these cycles are perfectly natural, fluctuations of yin and yang, as comparatively also in the cosmologies of the Hindus and Jainas thrifty and vimarsa (Evolution and Involution) can be seen as the basic pattern of the entire "created" reality, which interrupt "Buddha's night" when everything in the pralaya remains in hidden potential for a while. Therefore the rhythms between the fundamental polarizations of all reality can prepare us for the cyclical conception of time.

The phenomenon of polarization and the resulting patterns affect our periodization problem very much, since one mode of periodization (which we do not necessarily follow) is to set period boundaries where these polarizations are most evident, whether they correlate with other factors or not - albeit they will undoubtedly do so.

The polarization between ancient Assyria and Babylon is not very evident because both together again demarcate themselves from Egypt; and further investigation may well show that there are internal polarizations in Egypt, Babylon, even Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Let us mention some clearer polarizations: within Israel the Pharisees versus the Sadducees; in Hinduism Vaisnavism and Saivism; in Buddhism Mahayana and Theravada; in China first between Confucianism and Taoism, later both together against Buddhism or even for a short time Buddhism and Taoism together against Confucianism; in Japan Buddhism versus Shintoism; in Christianity the early polarizations between Athanasius and Arius as well as between the Greek and Latin forms, then between these two more or less together against Nestorianism and / or the Monophysite Coptic tradition, as well as many centuries later the Latin Church in Catholicism and Protestantism polarized how, on the other hand, the Greek Church split between the Bogumils and the Orthodox.

Islam also did not escape this apparently inevitable law of history: Shiite and Sunni Islam soon began to separate ecumenism, and wherever they meet we find martyrs on both sides. The mysticism of "the enemy" is actually something difficult to understand, however fundamental it seems to be in human matters. Because even the games of people are matters of "we" and "them" or of "I" and "my opponent". Toynbee once points out that this could almost be considered an axiom in world history, so that federations are only likely to be successful if they are directed against a common enemy! But is it the same in nature as a whole? Yin and yang well; but necessarily Conflict? Opponent maybe; but Enemy? Does dialectic have to take this form? It seems that today the legacy of Heraklit-Hobbes-Marx weighs heavier on us than the Taoist wisdom of nature. The harmony of opposites - is it not always possible (whether it is realized or not) without covering up the dialectic? The diagram given by Chou Tun-i (1017-1073) of the last reason schematizes this for universal application and it may be that we find an echo of both traditions in the wisdom of Chairman Mao when he says: "One does two "polarization is as natural and therefore as predictable as bilateral symmetry or bisexuality in mammals. The fact that there is a polarization between capitalists and communists or between Moscow and Beijing - to name just one example - should therefore not surprise us. History should have taught us to expect this.

Polarization is also used in terms of north-south (instead of east-west): in India the Aryan north and the Dravidian south; in China the northern and southern Sung dynasties or the northern "gradualistic" and southern "sudden" schools of Ch'an Buddhism; in Japan the Buddhist and Shinto religions; in Europe the Latin South and the Germanic North; in Russia the Ukrainian Kiev and Moscow, later the split between the Slavophiles and the "Westerners"; in Indonesia between peaceful Bali and aggressive Java Sumatra; in Theravada Buddhism between Burma and Thailand, later between Thailand and Cambodia; in the USA the civil war between the northern "damn Yankees" and the southern "Confederates". The division of North and South Korea, North and South Vietnam is not entirely outside the logic of previous history. The rivalry between Mexico and Argentina for cultural supremacy in Latin America can also be mentioned here, but the polarity between Hispano-America and Lusitano-America (Brazil) cannot be overlooked. These polarizations affect not only political, military, and economic factors in history, but also the philosophies themselves.

The essential point that concerns us in connection with these "beginning" problems and with the question of how to "continue" from there is that we must have a metaphysics behind every possible scientific periodization.

The pre-axial time

We have to wonder whether there was an "Axial Age" sometime around 3500 BC. because it quickly becomes quite clear that at that time (whatever pattern of causes we may ascribe to this "period") there were qualitative leaps in such fundamental things as religion, metallurgy, means of production, social organization, in astronomical or astrological observation and especially in the field of means of transport and communication.

It also seems quite clear that in the period between 3500 and 1600 BC those basic mythologies have taken their present form which have given meaning to our unconscious cultural inheritance in all its richness and diversity. It is true that myths may not be reliable in the sense of history or even proto-history; but myths do Stories: 'holy' wars, holy places, holy persons, taboos (positive and negative), relics and temple architecture, art and music - the list is getting exhausted. All of this has mythological origins, but very constant effects; and we carry most of it with us to this day. It was then that our moral and legal tables of law were set up, such as those of Hammurabi, Moses or "Manu", and finally Solon and Shotoku in other areas. Our aesthetic standards, the basic patterns of poetry and drama, were also found; and above all they have greatly influenced our notions of time and of man's position in the universe, the notion of history itself.

Our earliest reflections must not overlook Egypt, for the duration of Egyptian culture is extremely difficult for us to understand. Although we know such things as the Egyptian hieroglyphs (beginning: about 4000 BC) and Sumerian cuneiform libraries from clay tablets, there are undoubtedly very few people who realize the importance of these things even today. We still have to wait for the final judgment of the specialists as to whether it is a matter of independent developments or mutual influence, when the ancient cultures have invented different scripts and kept completely different reports, such as that in China, Mesopotamia, Mohenjodaro, Harappa , Phenicia and Egypt is the case. (It would be fascinating to see the use of different scripts as patterns of periodization. Are they parallel to other periodizations? Of course we cannot answer that question now, but once the periodization problem as such is posed, serious research can begin.)

The next periodization point or spurt of development appears around 1600 BC. happened to be. Besides the mention of the "ancestor" Abraham, the Elamites, Amalekites, the Hittites and similar stories of the Old Testament - there was some connection between the famous Trojan wars and the equally famous and half-legendary struggle of the Mahabharata up to mutual extermination, from which Ulysses and Krishna emerge as heroes and avatars? Sagas appear together with sages and mythology begins to become sacred scripture - sacred because of its uniqueness, but also because it preserves the "soul" of the peoples. Perhaps behind it lies a world war and a migration of peoples, not dissimilar to those in later cycles of Eurasian history. If that were different, we would not so easily speak of Indo-European languages ​​or of other "Indo-European", "Aryan" or "Caucasian" people and cultures with their pets and horses. If that weren't the case, would we then have those ethnocentrisms that confuse humanity to this day?

Indeed, in this period romantics like Kurt Schilling extol "pre-philosophical wisdom" in contrast to the development of science and systematic philosophy among the primitives. We would rather be more discretion here, based on the "wisdom of the middle way" between the myth of progress and the myths of a "fall" or descent of people from the "golden age" of primeval times. Here, too, our interest remains centered on cycles, epochs, ages and historical periods, on both expired and emerging.

Early Axial Age (750-500 BC)

One of the most striking, because most dramatic, period boundaries is the one around 500 BC. with some beginnings around 750 BC and further reaching up to around 250 BC. This was referred to as "Axial Age" by Karl Jaspers, Arnold Toynbee, and others. It is about the Axial Age in which philosophy appears in the technical sense.

If we do not overlook the "coincidence" of some relatively simultaneous events - the calculation of the Olympiads (776), the era of Nebuchadnezzar (747), the beginning of the Iron Age in Etruria (called Hallstatt by others, around 750), the development of feudalism in the Chan dynasty ... and the relocation of the Chinese capital to Loyang (approx. 722), as well as similar developments - then a second pattern emerges as a prelude to the dramatic developments around 500 BC. on, and this deserves more attention than it has hitherto been granted. We call it the "Early Axial Age".

Middle Axial Age (500-325 BC)

Regarding the mean axial time, one cannot overlook how close the dates are: Buddha Sakyamuni (566-486), Vardhamana Mahavira (599-527), Confucius (551-497), Zarathustra (660-583; although he is after most of them current dates should be set a little earlier), Socrates (470-399), who occurs at the height of the encounter between the Hellenic and Persian cultures; the possible development of Japanese culture (cf. Jimmu, approx. 660) and the testimony of the best Old Testament prophets.

But perhaps the most important periodization point is the date 544 BC, which is given for the nirvana of the Buddha, from which the vast majority of calendars in Buddhist Asia get their orientation. In parentheses we could ask: why should it be less significant than the birth of Christ? For example, it is just as wrong to periodize Egyptian dynasties or Chinese history in terms of Christian time as it would be wrong to periodize all of human history in terms of Egyptian or Chinese dynasties. In fact, if it were possible to accept it universally, the year 544 BCE would be a better place to emphasize the fundamental importance of Axial Age. While dating "before Christ" and "after Christ" has undoubtedly skewed many of our perspectives, it is so ingrained that we cannot easily set it aside in favor of a new method of dating.

Late Axial Age (325-250 BC)

This next period boundary, which today has received almost universal attention, is linked to Alexander, the disciple of Aristotle. Indeed, it is ironic that it was Plato's intellectual grandson, and not Plato himself or even Socrates, who made the story emotional has - although not necessarily in the directions as shown in the Politeia or in the Laws are idealized. In 333 Alexander invaded Phenicia ... Babylon; but the most dramatic date is ... where it reaches the Indus.

Alexander's career is of "axis-like" importance. We must remember, for example, that Aristotle sent scientists with Alexander's army, and we must state that there were no images of Buddha in India before the Greek influence. It is also very significant that Pyrrho became a skeptic rather than a mystic because of his trip to India with Alexander. The extent to which pre-Alexandrinian Greece was influenced by Persia and India has yet to be investigated; but the simplest and most plausible assumption is that it must have been quite a lot, enough to arouse Alexander and Aristotle's curiosity enough to make the expedition worth the effort. The fact that the political administration established in the satrapies after this military conquest was not particularly successful is far less significant than the fact that lines of communication were obviously already open, and to an increasing extent thanks to the excellent Persian roads and roads Postal routes remained open, right up to the rise of the Bactrian kingdoms and the opening of the Silk Roads to and from China.

In the midst of these pan-Eurasian communications, the greatest of the world's religions and philosophical syntheses later emerged and blossomed - Mahayana Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity, Manichaeism, and finally Kashmiri Shaivism. They are all more or less influenced by Neoplatonism and the Upanishads. That is why this period of three-way communication between India, Greece and China (but also with Israel and Persia) results in the date of 325 BC. Admittedly, based on the data available, the following time from 325 to about 250 could easily be counted as part of the next period rather than as the late Axial, but it seems to us a reasonable compromise to let the Axial end at 250 and then start a new period, because the separation between two periods can never be very strict and a certain amount of overlap can be expected.

The Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period

(250 BC-325 AD)


With regard to the periodization of the subsequent period, M. Mujeeb determines in his "World History, Our Heritage" the period from 600 BC. up to 200 AD as "The Spiritual Revolution" and 200 AD to 900 AD as "The Religious Wold-State". Mujeeb's divisions, however, span a period too long for our purposes. William H. McNeil only slightly improved this in "The Rise of the West". McNeil usually divides his larger periods into more appropriate units and does not insist that one and the same grouping of dates should be applicable to all areas at the same time, even if some of them overlap dramatically. For example, he sets a Hellenic period between 500 and 146 BC. at the same time with a non-Hellenic Eurasian culture between 500 and 100 BC. This periodization does not refute an implicit Eurocentrism, but allows the objection to McNeil that he placed the Hellenic above other things, even if this was certainly not his intention. Then he sets a period for Rome and Western Europe from 336 to 146 BC. (? ...) as well as the Eurasian high culture between 100 BC and 200 a. Such periodizations undoubtedly correspond more closely to the data; but they are unfortunately also rather confusing, especially from an educational point of view. But at least he tries, like Jean Duché ("Histoire du Monde"), to find a middle way between a senseless, atomistic chronology without any characterization and such new mythologizations as we inherited from Aurelius Augustine.

One might assume that the UNESCO "History of Mankind" would come to our aid. But she doesn't; and we suspect that Hegelian influences are still obscuring the facts here. Or it could be that Eusebius is still behind it, even if he knew very little about the "non-Greek" cultures of Eurasia - although one could perhaps more correctly speak of the "non-Chinese" cultures of the same time and the same areas. Like McNeil's, UNESCO's perspective is that we still find Greece and Rome in the leading position. In addition, the periodization of 500 BC is up to 1 n. rather strange, the one from 1 n. to 500 n. completely arbitrary, if not pointless at all. On the other hand, the UNESCOHistory that other fatal error of using only a single characteristic of an epoch for periodization. For each chronological unit, the UNESCOHistory As Martin and Brunn do in the "Graphic Guide to World History", equally economic, political, social, religious, artistic and also philosophical, scientific and technical factors.

Therefore, taking into account the weaknesses of these periodizations, we propose for the period from 250 B.C. and 325 AD the term Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period before. In cultural history one can clearly see a watershed around 250 BC. which marked the end of the Axial Age, during which the classical canons for the basic religions and philosophies were set and the basic characteristics of every culture were established, whereupon the Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period begins. In the Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period, syncretism at best and eclecticism at worst are widespread in religion, art history and other areas. Fascination with esotericism and exaggeration of the erotic are the salient features of this `sensate '... period.

From a cultural point of view, it should be noted that during the Han Hellenistic-Bactrian period India and China made the main contributions to world cultures. For example, the "Arabic numerals", which are universally used today, emerged in India and have since replaced the clumsy use of letters as numerals, as was common among the Greeks and Romans; Calculating with the zero and the decimal system also originated in India; Students from everywhere came to Taxila, not Athens or Alexandria, to study medicine, just as monastic scholars from all over Asia could be found in Nalanda in numbers unmatched by any school in the Mediterranean. Astronomy in China was sophisticated enough to record the appearance of Halley's (?) Comet; and of course many of the things we take for granted came into use in China during this period: paper, china, silk, the construction of canals for both transportation and irrigation, windmills and wheelbarrows.

In contrast to Caesar's Gaul, this long period cannot be "divided into three parts"; but all in all it is too extensive to deal with under a single heading. We have therefore divided the Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period into an early and a late Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period parallel to the separation between the early and late Han dynasties and with the transition of the intellectual center from Athens to Alexandria.

The early Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period (250 BC - 50 AD)

The beginning of the early Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period was marked in the area of ​​the political Asoka Maurya (ruled approx. 272-approx. 232), who unified India and sent peace embassies to Greece, China and other countries. In this context, the subconscious idea must be corrected that India has always only been the recipient of cultural influences, because Indian culture has spread both deliberately and naturally, certainly from the time of Asoka, if not much earlier, and has continued up to the time of the British Raj. In China, obscured by the "War of the Warring States", a new cultural cycle begins with the unification of the empire (221 BC) under Shi Huang-ti (259-210 BC). The great academy of Hien-yang is founded in 124 BC. set up. The Great Wall was 204 BC. completed and the "western" or "early" Han dynasty existed from 202 BC. to 9 AD (According to Jean Duché, the Chinese dragon and the Roman she-wolf divide the world among themselves around 200 BC.) Southeast Asia also seems to emerge at this time and Hellenistic Judaism appears with the Septuagint (around 170 BC).

Even if the trends within the early Han Hellenistic-Bactrian period are by no means uniform, the polarizations that take place here have an implicit unit within which they occur. Buddhism is divided into Mahayana and Hinayana, with the strongly Hellenized "Questions of Milinda" (Menander, approx. 155 BC) still being debated between them. There is also a growing polarization between Confucianism and Taoism, while other Chinese schools are being forgotten (except perhaps legalism, which has always prevailed in practice even though Confucianism was nominally on the rise). In the same way, the polarization between Herodians and Zealots is clearly emerging in Israel, as is that between Platonists (who again split up into Skeptics and Neoplatonists) and Aristotelians, but also between Stoics and Epicureans. But such polarizations should be taken as indicators of liveliness rather than weakness.

All in all, the early Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period with the development of Mahayna Buddhism, Neo-Taoism and Neo-Confucianism carries the origins of the cultural trends that marked the transition from skepticism via eclecticism and syncretism to fascination with mysticism, esotericism and Mark erotic. During this period, the political, military and commercial decline of Greece occurs combined with the rise of the Roman Empire, the full cycle of the early Han dynasty, the decline of the Maurya Empire after Asoka, the emergence and rise of Bactria and Sogdiana as the pivotal point between the three cultures of Rome, China and India.

Late Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period (A.D. 50-325)

As for dates and events that concern the beginning of the later Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period, we can, among other things, date the year 45 BC. name as the beginning of the Julian calendar; 38 BC as the Spanish age; 31 BC as the post-Actian era of Macedonia; 37/36 BC than the era of Cleopatra in Syria; 57 BC than the Malava (Malwa) or Vikramaditya era. Loyang becomes the capital of China around A.D. 25, the year A.D. 9, the date of Wang Mang's coup. There are some other differentiating dates such as the year 9 BC. for the Ethiopian era and 78 AD for the Saka era. The Saka era coincides very closely with the Adi Saka era in Bali and is very close to the era of Commagenius (Samosatus), while 7 or 8 AD is considered to be the beginning of the Hungrvrka calendar of "Ireland".

In philosophy, the late Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian period is the time of Nagarjuna (c. 100), Philo (20 BC to 50 AD) and Seneca (4 BC to 65 AD); in China Pan Ku (32-92) the historian, but also Wang Ch'ung (27-107) the skeptic and uncoverer of empty traditions, the neo-Taoists Wang Pi (226-249), Wie Po-yang (flourishes 147- 167) and others a little later with the motif of "back to nature" (although they were preceded by the great Tung Chungshu (approx. 179-104 BC) who, according to his opponents, hypocritically made Confucianism the state religion). Of course, one should not overlook Wang Mang (ruled 9-23 AD), who is said to have been a socialist dictator or one of the greatest known failures of socialism. Meanwhile, the Dravidian culture (re) emerges in South India after a temporary submission to the Aryans. The later Han Hellenistic-Bactrian period included both the rise and fall of "pagan" Rome and the emergence of Iberian culture. At its end it turns to Mani (215-276) as the result of both Nestorian Christianity and Sassanid Zoroastrianism, not forgetting his connections with India as well, because Mani was the "supersyncretist" of all times and thus characterizes his epoch. At least we have to add the "wonder of India" and the "splendor and decline of China" to the wonder of Greece and the greatness that Rome was to modify Duché's phrase.

This is an opportunity to question the subject of an abundance of time that led to the introduction of the Christian year counting. This period could also be viewed from a non-Christian point of view as the "fulfillment of time", because at that time the trans-Eurasian communication channels were open to an extent that they have seldom been up to our time. However, there is a risk of bigotry or even ethnocentrism in interpreting an "era of incarnation". For, as Toynbee observed, there were many other "fulfillments of time", both in the first Christian century and in other "Axial Ages", there were other avatars, other incarnations, other prophets. Therefore, for Christian, Muslim, Hindu and other neo-orthodoxy, one should emphasize universality rather than uniqueness, especially in this period, as a Syncretism ruled all of Eurasia, which was soon followed by a fascination with the esoteric, be it an indication of "decadence" or an expansion of horizons.

Patristic Sutra Period (325-800)


In contrast to most traditional European philosophical historians, who completely ignore the patristic period and treat the entire period between Augustine and the Italian Renaissance as the "Middle Ages", Paul Deussen names the period between 500 and 800 as Late Patristics in his "General History of Philosophy" - even if he does not synchronize with other cultures here. Kurt Schilling follows him very closely in his "World History of Philosophy"; here he and Deussen are very similar to our perspective. Volume III of UNESCO History was far too demanding without adequate periodization, in that it was attempted to everything between about 400 and 1300 to be treated as the "Middle Ages" period. It is really unfortunate that the authors followed the traditional European pattern of periodization, because it is precisely this that does not exactly represent the rest of the world up to 1500 in one, but also deals with the geographical units separately.

Our name for a patristic sutra period derives from the fundamental trends in religion and philosophy that were almost entirely merged.From this point of view it was a very fruitful period and by no means a "dark age", although admittedly there was no progress in the applied or theoretical sciences, except perhaps in Byzantium and northern India, where Aryabhatta (heyday around 476) made some new discoveries in mathematics and did astronomy.

Since the Patristic Sutra period does not necessarily include the "barbarians", "Gotik-Gupta" sounds good, but is not comprehensive enough, as it omits Byzantium, ignores Persia / Sogdiana and takes no notice of South India, Japan or Southeast Asia. By using the word "patristic" to mean the trans-Eurasian expansion of Nestorian and Monophysite Christianity, but also of the Greek and Latin "fathers", and by "sutra" we mean all of the Hindu and Mahayana literature that spreads across Asia from From Damascus to Kyoto, from Korea to Bali, we propose the "Patristic Sutra Period" as the best, albeit imperfect, term for the period between 325 and 800.

One of the most prominent features of the Patristic Sutra period is the predominance of theology. This appears to be the Age of Avatars, Bodhisattvas, and Trinity, with Buddhology and Christology standing side by side (and even, as in the story of Barlaam and Josaphat, mingled together). A decidedly theological system begins to form around the figures of Visnu-Krsna and Siva. The idea of ​​the Blessed Mother spreads across Eurasia, along with the halo. Indeed, the Byzantine epithet becomes Hagia Sophia for the Theotokos equally applicable for Kuan Yin in China and Japan, for Saraswati and Parvati in India. Brahma, Siva, Visnu; Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Dharmakaya, Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya - they are all "logified", whereas empirical science is almost entirely lacking. During this time, culture takes refuge in monasteries, from which it radiates again - from Beijing to York, from Mount Hiei in Japan to Kandy in Ceylon, from the Ethiopian plateau to the Andalusian fortresses, from the Indonesian rainforests to the desert on the mountain Sinai. Dark Age? There was cultivation throughout Eurasia, with the preponderance of inner Light.

It was also a time of translation. Not only does St. Jerome (c. 340-420) translate the Bible into Latin, Boethius (480-542) endeavors to translate Greek philosophy into Latin, but the entire canon of Greek culture and also the Christian scriptures were translated into Syriac Edessa being the center of this activity. (In fact, it was these Syrian translations that made the Muslims, when they later encountered Greek heritage and were Hellenized, aware of the importance of Greek culture.) More importantly, the Buddhist classics from Sanskrit were translated over and over again , first into Chinese, then into Tibetan, Korean and Japanese, and the Pali canon was also adapted to the vernacular languages ​​in Ceylon, Burma and generally in Southeast Asia. In the meantime, the spread of Christianity in Northern Europe - first in the Arian, later in the Irish form - brought with it a remarkable zeal for translation. And undoubtedly there were other areas in which translation was carried out, such as the emergence of Coptic translations and own literature in Egypt and Ethiopia, as well as the beginning of the Slavic culture with Cyril (827-869) and Method (815-885).

Another major feature of this period, as is particularly evident in art, language, religion and philosophy, is the triumph of mysticism, whether in Neoplatonic (both "pagan" and "Christian") form or in multiples Versions of Mahayana Buddhism on its migration through Central Asia to China - this was no longer just the philosophy of the intellectual elite, but the religion of the masses. In the Gospels of the New Testament (the canonical as well as the apocryphal) as in the Lotus Sutra, salvation is equally promised for all and no longer only for a select few. These promises of a better future replaced the cultivation of an ideal antiquity and the idea of ​​one remodeling human nature replaced the earlier philosophizing about human nature as something given by nature. It seems that a transition from the eclecticism and syncretism of the previous period to the via negativa, to fascination through esotericism and not infrequently from real discipline to mystical enlightenment took place (a sometimes desperate and sometimes successful endeavor to eradicate the degeneration into which all older cultures had fallen). "Hereafter" triumphed and this is also the time when we find the "mystical east" - but it is spreading everywhere, including the "west".

The world had not come to an end with Mani, who was obviously not the second coming of Christ either. Rather, trade and economy flourished, at least in Central Asia, capitalists and proletarians - at that time quite international - seem to have boom-and-bust cycles not only in Byzantium, but also in Edessa, Alexandria, Babylon, Nisibis and other centers along the so-called Silk Roads as in other centuries. The Byzantines relied on seafaring, which they preferred to the more expensive land routes to China, with the result that the Arabs, like the Persians, became prosperous. Dravidian southern India and Indonesia also got their share of international communication, thanks in part to improved navigation techniques that allowed the monsoon winds to be exploited for the benefit of the people.

Byzantium remains in pomp and splendor; China, says Duché, "is always renewing itself", while "Persia at the Cross" is waging a "holy and foolish war" with Byzantium, trying to make a bigger profit on the silk trade that has had to run across its borders for the to satisfy the luxury-loving Byzantine aristocracy. The "barbarians" had added all the vices of every culture to their own and had become "civilized" and "Christianized" themselves; or better, as Duché puts it: "the West had been barbarized and Christianized".

We will divide the Patristic Sutra Period into two units, namely the Earlier Patristic Sutra Period (325-625) and the Later Patristic Sutra Period (625-800).

Earlier Patristic Sutra Period (325-625)

The Earlier Patristic Sutra Period is often referred to as the Early Middle Ages. We could go on using the term "medieval" by giving it a new meaning; however, we prefer not to use "medieval" at all, except as an occasional concession to common usage in westernized circles. Instead, we prefer to use the term "scholasticism" for what is commonly referred to as the "Middle Ages", but it doesn't really come into its own until around 800. In fact, the traditional word "Middle Ages" does not make any sense of any universal or world history, either literally or figuratively.

For the year 325 as the date of the separation between the Later Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian and the Early Patristic Sutra Period, the following dates exist: the transition of the Chinese capital from Loyang (western China) to Nanking (eastern China) takes place around 317 instead of; the beginning of the Gupta period (320-ca.535) in India; the beginning of the Mayan calendar in Central America (approx. 330); the Council of Nicaea (325 - marks the triumph of Constantine); the Lankavatara Sutra (approx. 333) and the Kojiki in Japan (approx. 300).

Heresy and orthodoxy become the main themes in the Christian as well as in the Buddhist world, and this also has an impact on political and economic issues. We do not need to enumerate all of the Christian councils and their results in defining "heresies", nor is it necessary to enumerate in detail all of the Mahayana and Hindu sutras; but we can refer to the global importance of such characters as Buddhaghosa (heyday 412-434) and Nestorius (380-451) and we should pay attention to the translation work of Boethius (480-524) in the Latin Christian world as well as of Kumarajiva ( 344-413) in the Chinese Buddhist world, where Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism takes shape with Bodhidharma (heyday 429-479). It is well known that Proclus (412-485) was the last of the great "pagan" philosophers and that Augustine (354-430) was the first truly influential Christian philosopher in the Latin West; but it is often forgotten that they belong to this period, along with other less famous people.

The Earlier Patristic Sutra Period was not a good time for those of the ancient mainstream cultures; but it was a good time for the so-called barbarians. (...)

But was it a "fall" of ancient cultures or the rise of Northern European and Central Asian cultures? They had not been recognized as "civilized", firstly because of language difficulties and secondly because they had fast horses and made everything from wood, which was in abundance, leaving little permanent evidence of their culture. But they were highly mobile; and above all, they had a very good social and political organization. Their mythology, for example, was certainly no more primitive than that of other cultures. The mythological firebird who Coq d'or or phoenix, cyclically inheritable but terrible and also of terrible beauty, the Valkyries, Thor and the other Germanic gods - were they in any way more "barbaric" than the gods of Greece and Rome? Or were they somehow less "real" than Siva and Visnu? Much research remains to be done to understand the true role of these "barbarians".

But the phenomenon of this Great Migration (German in the original) was by no means unique; and the proximity of these "barbaric" invasions to the Islamic conquest of Eurasian ecumenism represents, if any sequence of events so, a period in world history.

Later Patristic Sutra Period (625-800)

Needless to say, we are leaving the year 500, which is so often used as the period boundary, behind us. There is simply no sense, whereas the year 622 (or: the year 1 of the Islamic calendar) does make one. That is why we name the years around 625 as the transition from the earlier to the later Patristic Sutra period.

officially tolerated in China; Maximus Confessor (580-622) developed Christian Neoplatonism in Byzantium; the Malaya kingdom flourishes in Sumatra (644); the era of Sri-Harsa in India (605-7); the Sakkaraj era begins in Burma (638) and the Magi-San era (638) in Chittagong; the Whitby Synod (c. 618) regulates affairs between Rome and the Irish Church (i.e. between Latin and Celtic cultures); Korea also appeared seriously with the Silla dynasty, which came to full power (670-780); the empire of Krhi-lde-srong-bcon in Tibet (620-650) marks the Baiduryakarpo cycle as Tibet's entry into world history. Many other details could be added to mark this century as a pivotal point, even without the prophetic "explosion" of Islam. In fact, the Hejra (year 1 of the Islamic calendar or 622 of the Christian calendar) can be described as a different "fulfillment of time", comparable to the year 1 after the birth of Christ.

Admittedly, before the year 622 (1 A.H.) the Academy of Athens had been closed (529); Justinian's code was enacted in 534; the Hagia Sophia Cathedral was completed in 537. But these dates mark the completion of the previous cycle rather than the opening of a new one, and that only with reference to Byzantium. Hence we think that the year 622 (1 A.H.) should be placed much sooner as the point of reversal between the Earlier and the Later Patristic Sutra Periods.

Above all, our dating of 625 should not let us forget the beginning of Islam, as it often happens. Because the impact of Islam was too catastrophic to be ignored by anyone except perhaps the Japanese. Christianity and Buddhism, too, had spread almost all over Eurasia, but they did not have the same impact on the overall order of things. A new "Axial Age", a new cultural cycle began with the Prophet Mohammed, and Eurasia was united like hardly ever before or since then. It also appears that "revelation" was not such a prominent topic until the rise of Islam, and scholasticisms now began to take remarkably similar forms across Eurasia. The Bible, the Vedas, the Koran, the Confucian classics, even Kojiki and Nihongi, not forgetting the Mahayana Sutras, began to be viewed as eternal and divine. Nevertheless, as we have already said, religion and philosophy as such should not be the only key to periodization, at least no more than art or technology, economic modes of production, or even patterns of transport and communication. And yet this is precisely the point in connection with Islam: it does not allow such fragmentation of the various aspects of life, rather it is a unifying overall order of all things.

The era of Islamic expansion - or, as Duché calls it, "Paradise under the shadow of the swords" with the "rise of the crescent", for which he puts the period between 622 and 842 - runs parallel to T'ang China (649- 907), a time for which Duché calls Japan "Sinized, Buddhized and feminized", while "Byzantium is involved in the iconoclasm (642-843)". Duché also registers the "decay of the Mayans" and characterizes the activities of Charlemagne as "the fortuitous empire (714-843)" and "an empire of piety" in which Europe is born.

Regarding the end of the Later Patristic Sutra Period around 800, we have the following dates: the era of Chola (or Kolamba or Parasuama) in Malabar and Travancore (825) as well as the Ganga dynasty around the same time; the Nara period in Japan (710-794); the Third Elder Maya Empire (731-987), with a serious decline around 830. As the previous period included the Hellenization, Sinization, and Nipponization of Buddhism, so this period includes the Hellenization, Iranization, and Indianization of Islam. It is difficult to deny that these encounters were two-way trials.

Period of scholasticism


With regard to the extension of this period, Mujeeb is not of great help to us, because after he had named the period between 200 and 900 as the "Religious World State", he called the period from 900 to 1450 simply "The Middle Ages" by following the thoughtless Euro-American tradition who apparently thinks of the "middle" as an inevitable transition from a collapsed "antiquity" to the "modern age". Duché, who puts his previous period between 616 and 907, makes a small overlap here, so that his next period extends from 850 to 1050, which agrees much better with our previous finds. In a more technical sense, however, we must ask ourselves whether it periodized at all, for one must systematically differentiate between the typifications of trends and the substance of a real grouping of sequences into meaningful patterns. McNeil gives us in one go unacceptable periods from 600 to 1000 and then from 1000 to 1500 without interruption; however, we tend to be more inclined to McNeil's original insight into "The Rise of the West," where he recognizes in many, if not all respects, that Latin Europe could not really keep up with the rest of the world until well after Columbus. "A History of Asia" by Bingham, Conroy and Ikl takes in the first volume Central Asia in its entirety from the first beginnings up to 1600 and then covers India, China and finally Japan in the same block diagram. Even if their subdivisions make more sense than many others in each of these areas, they do not help us to make a general periodization of world history.

As we noted earlier, the authors or editors of Volume III of UNESCO History hardly periodize at all, making their work less valuable than it could have been if they had made any subdivisions within the major developments between 400 and 1300. This volume of UNESCO history also has a strong tendency towards European ethnocentrism. Even the objections of the Soviet contributors still seem badly off to us when they write that the whole intention of the Mongol conquests was to facilitate the "birth" of Europe (as they say in the preface). In contrast, the facts are not only obvious, but brilliant: the cultural height of Baghdad and its cataclysmic destruction by the Mongols make the "fall" of Constantinople seem like a sandpit party for children.Arnold Toynbee notes somewhere that, if he had had the choice, he would have preferred to live in T'ang or Southern Sung China, because by most considerations mankind was most "civilized" in the sense of cultural refinement at that time, himself if the economic, political, military, and technological achievements weren't as overwhelming as some North Americans would like for their definition of a "civilized" life. As for India, the Dravidian culture that manifests itself in such things as art, architecture, literature and philosophy is underestimated. This move is even more significant than the overlying Muslim conquests, for these were little more than sporadic forays, arguably involving a lot of great art and architecture, but in reality practically untouched local tradition at the village level. This rise of South India is no less phenomenal than the rise of Europe, for it was decidedly parallel to the Indianization of Southeast Asia. Even if we ignore the Indianization of the rest of Asia by Buddhism, the fact that Islam itself is being indexed very quickly and almost entirely apparently requires more emphasis than the fact that the Muslims "conquered" India.

In addition to such things as pilgrimages, crusades, and monastic philosophers wandering on foot and on horseback, there is evidence of continued trade along the Silk Roads, as well as the presence of Nestorian and Monophysite Christians throughout Eurasia. (Incidentally, in those times people were not in as much of a hurry as they are today, and they learned by associating with Hinz and Kunz on the way, probably much more than the modern travelers of the jet age who "take a look at it and write a book about it" and rarely see more than airports and bars in hotels in the Euro-American style.) The speed and ease of the Muslim, Turkish and Mongolian conquests, moreover the fact that in these centuries paper, gunpowder, movable type, knowledge of navigation and many other essential components of civilization moved from China to Europe along with Indian mathematics - all of which reinforce the view that the lines of communication were remarkably open and contributed to a fundamental cultural unity in the scholastic period across Eurasia. Even if cases of national pride arise soon afterwards, largely as a defense against the exaggerated claims and claims of Western European explorers, pirates, conquistadors and missionaries, such cases are hardly to be found between 800 and about 1350.

The terms "medieval," "scholastic," "feudal," and "Mongolian," the prevalence of "crusades," "holy wars," and "pilgrimages" have been used so much to characterize the period from about 800-1350 that it is us it is very difficult to find a practicable, comprehensive expression. However, we prefer to use the term "scholasticism" to include all other factors and variables, as this is a period when ideal values ​​prevail over sensual values ​​across Eurasia.

During this period philosophy and theology developed a very sophisticated technique of weighing arguments and counter-arguments, objections and counter-objections, before proposing an opinion in the sense of a "conclusio", most of these architectural structures being in the form of comments on basic manual texts that were passed on as authoritative writings from ancient times or at least from the New Testament, the Puranas and the Koran. For these and many other related reasons, we propose the term "scholasticism" as a general typification of the whole cycle that precedes and follows the trans-Eurasian conquest and superimposes the unification among the Mongols. The term refers not only to Muslim, Jewish and Christian developments, but also to the compendia of the Hindus, Buddhists, the Chinese Neo-Confucians and even the Jainas. But not only that; these commentaries begin to develop sub-commentaries and even commentaries on commentaries on commentaries, which lasted into the 15th and 16th centuries, when the individual, supposedly original, shorter essays these architectural, theological and philosophical "cathedrals of learned exegesis" or "sums" , as they were often called, replace.

We choose the term "period of scholasticism" to denote this period in order to emphasize that the scholastic method, with its emphasis on thesis and antithesis and the endeavor to synthesize, was universally developed in Eurasia. Admittedly, from the abundance of data over the course of the scholastic period, there are no definitive dividing points for all of Eurasia - at least not for the outside world. And yet it seems to us that a pattern is developing in the cultural and intellectual realm. The monistic trends of the 9th and 10th centuries expand and unfold around the mid-12th century and fall into decay as the Mongolian migrations repeat the earlier cycles of "barbaric" invasions. We would like to emphasize the view that this period cycle between 800 and 1350 represents a second "Axial Age" and also that the fundamental unity of the "medieval" in universal history has never been adequately illuminated.

During this period philosophy had a place of honor everywhere in the hierarchy of values, it was higher than any other area of ​​culture. At least this can be said for the 12th and 13th centuries, which had been preceded by a second "pre-Socratic" development that led to syntheses, with the syntheses being followed by something like a "Han-Hellenistic-Bactrian" shine until the influence new forces brings with it a certain hybrid energy. We are well aware that this may come too close to a tendency towards "ideal types" and we therefore advance these speculations with great caution. In any case, the developments from Scotus to Anselm and Abailard to Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure, from Al-Kindi to Ibn Rushd (Averroes), from Sankara to Ramanuja and Madhva and his successors, from Han Yu and Li Ao to Chu Hsi and Lin Hsiang -shan, from Kukai and Saicho to Dogen - all these developments seem to be strikingly parallel. The fact that the Scandinavian, Slavic and Central American cultures follow essentially the same pattern certainly requires further explanation, and a cause for these simultaneous developments, which further support our claim of a second "Axial Age", has yet to be found. The high Indian cultures, however, represent a real puzzle for the philosopher and historian, if not for archaeologists and anthropologists, especially in this period cycle, because they seem to follow the same pattern.

In these truly great centuries, Islam was not only a bridge between East and West, but also established a positive unity in Eurasia that has never existed before and has not existed since. In fact, we could speak of a "period of Islamic unification" instead of the period of scholasticism, although this would of course under-emphasize much of the developments in China, Japan, Dravidian India and Southeast Asia. That fantastic episode of human mingling that depicts the Crusades of the Latin "Christian" world should be re-examined from the Muslim perspective to see such things in a global perspective. Civilized and highly educated, living in considerable luxury, but also promoting science, art and education, the Muslims of that time must have been amused, then alarmed, and finally provoked by these clumsy "Franks" who moved into their territories, barbaric but barbaric They sang beautiful melodies based on otherworldly romantic legends that could never be realized. It must be admitted that Pilgrimages in East and Southeast Asia were often hardly less fantastic. This period brought some of the greatest bhaktas and minstrels of the world, but also theologians and philosophers. In short, and in Sorokin's words, it was an overwhelmingly ideal rather than a sensual time. ...

We admit that we have not been able to find subdivisions for this period that would have satisfied us. That is why we have used such subdivisions that seem appropriate for the history of philosophy. We by no means propose to periodize only according to philosophical developments. We just want to add something like that, underlining that it is something significant in the midst of a very rich and complex context in a cycle of Eurasian culture. For the period of scholasticism (800-1350) we therefore propose the following subdivisions: the early period of scholasticism or "monism in many forms" (800-900); the Middle Period of Scholasticism, or "Development and Elaboration" (900-1150); and the Late Period of Scholasticism, or the "Time of the Great Sums" (1150-1350).

The most prominent feature in the context of the ninth century is a striking predominance of monistic philosophy - systematic monism, not just syncretistic confusion. Even what was commonly called the "mysticism of the Orient" is primarily the product of this particular context. It is not limited geographically, but rather the product of a certain period in the world history of philosophy. As representatives of this period we have the surprising constellation of the following philosophers: Sankara (788-820), Han Yu (768-824), Li Ao (blooming 798), Kukai (774-835), Saicho (ca.767-822) , Ennin (heyday: around 847), al-Kindi (801-873), al-Hallaj (858-922), Bayazid Bistami (dies 874), Photius (820-891), Kyrill (827-869) and Scotus Erigena (810-877). This is one of the most notable times in world history, a time when very similar trends are showing up across Eurasia.

In every culture, in the early period of scholasticism, the themes of philosophizing have clearly turned to theology. Its basic lines ran strikingly parallel, encompassing epistemology, ontology, and arguments for the transcendent, asceticism for spiritual fulfillments, ritual practices along with the reasons for them and the results hoped for, and an eschatology with implicit aesthetics in the form of emotional piety and a deep-seated sense of wonder and mysteries. Meanwhile, skills and techniques are developed in logic to high art, which parallels other trends in refinement and elaboration. The via negativa, taken over from the previous period, generally predominates; Analyzes are overgrown by analogies. Theories of emanation generally prevail over simple theories of creation.

At the end of the 9th century we have well-developed monisms and also often openly dualistic and pluralistic trends. From the unification in Islam in the outer world, a new unified metaphysics emerges that is almost monolithic; However, as the political and theological unity of Islam disintegrates, this monistic trend was soon lost in the expansion of the distinctions and subtleties of scholastic argumentation, until we arrive at the "large sums" (1150-1350). This trend from monistic simplicity through elaboration to excessive complexity and ornamentation has its striking parallels in architecture in the transition from Romanesque to sophisticated Gothic in Europe and in Dravidian India from the solidity of Tanjore to the filigree stone formations of Belur and Halebid. In the same way, we can see essentially the same transition in Islam from the early, puritanically bare mosques to the educated and even lavishly ornamented mosques of later centuries - of which Cordoba is only one of many. In the Buddhist world, the halo begins with the sheer simplicity of the early Gupta style, but eventually encompasses the entire universe in China, Japan, and India. Similar developments in the halo motif take place in Byzantium and even in Gothic Europe. During the later period of scholasticism, the greatest works of Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas, al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Ramanuja and Madhva, Lu Hsiang-shan and Chu Hsi, Dogen and Nichiren occur and develop from previously seed-like compositions Insights and formulations such as the "Sentences" of Petrus Lombardus, the Brahma Sutras and speculations about the Ultimate Supreme. They undoubtedly mark the climax of this cycle in terms of systematization in a way that has seldom been achieved.

The period of encounters (1350-1850)


The problem of periodizing the entire period from about 1300 to 1750 was puzzling to all who studied it, including the contributors and editors of the fourth volume of UNESCO's History of Mankind. In fact, the introductory "Note on the Preparation and Editing of Volume IV" on page XVIII contains the following discussion of the problem by Prof. Roland Mousnier ...

Of course, Prof. Gottschalk and his colleagues raise some objections to this (p. XIX) - which do not necessarily have our approval - by emphasizing that different authorities would not have made really different choices; but it does not answer the question of periodization directly, at least not in this context, and the classifications in Volume IV of the UNESCO History basically remain 1300-1500 and 1500-1755 with only a slight difference in the section on natural science, where a period between 1530 and 1775 is set. We must confess that this classification by the editors of UNESCO History is as useful as any other; however, the classification is still too arbitrary and does not answer Mousnier's request for structural features - which we emphatically share.

Jean Duché's third volume, entitled "L'Age de Raison", covers the period from 1500 to 1660 and then from here directly to 1815, although he makes some very precise observations of sub-periods within these 'periods' while walking the tightrope between art and Performs chronology. The brevity of these sub-periods reminds us of the danger of descent into the labyrinth of myopia the closer we get to the 20th century and thus "home"; for the perception of time, like the perception of space, is rather funnel-shaped for us humans, although it should seem that every century should be seen in the same length, if not the same meaning.

Growing Encounters: Synthesis and Refinement (1350-1550)

In this case, too, the cultural developments - and in particular the pattern of occurrence or non-occurrence of philosophy - seemed to us to be of greater importance than the political and economic, even more so than the military factors, which is why we for the section from 1350 to 1550 of synthesis and refinement speak. Should anyone prefer to speak of "renaissance" here, we have only one objection, that this term is easily misunderstood, although Arnold Toynbee cites a long list of "renaissance" in world history, including every process where a The transition from an ideal to a sensual culture (Sorokin) takes place, to liberation from the "darkness of the Middle Ages", as well as the emergence of competitive capitalism and commercialism with equal competition. Among others, Duché has the following suggestive themes during these centuries: "Seigneur Dieu, es-tu l ^?"; "La douloureuse danse"; "La marche turque"; "L'Asie s'endort"; "Le Japon choisit les plaisirs de la guerre"; "A l'Ouest: vers les morarchies absolues"; "A l'Est :: des monarchies fodales"; "Terre des hommes".

For a starting point around 1350, the following dates are significant: the Ming Dynasty (1368); Thailand establishes its identity (1350); Beginning of the Ashikaga period in Japan (1336); the Timurid Empire and the rise of the Uzbeks in Central Asia (around 1350); Casimir III the great in Poland (1333-1370); End of Mongol rule in Persia (1334); Beginning of the Muromachi period in Japan (1336); Establishment of the Empire of Vijayanagar in India (1336); Beginning of the so-called "100 Years War" in Europe (1339); Establishment of the Bahmanid dynasty in India (1337); Saint Bridgit of Sweden goes to Rome (1349); Uprising of southern China against the Mongols (1350); Nanjing is taken from the Mongols (1356); Murad, first sultan of the Ottomans (1359-1389), made Adrianople the capital in 1366; Tamerlane begins with the conquest of Central Asia (1363).

After the scholastic period, instead of creativity, originality, or systematization throughout, we find only a series of commentaries on commentaries in Europe, the Islamic world, India and China; and even in Japan and Byzantium we find little more than a further refinement of what had already been achieved. Hence the period from 1350 to 1550 is an age of over-refinement.

Although Pletho and Bessarion in the Byzantine world could indeed be referred to as a high point in humanistic philosophy, which was a major stimulus for the Italian Renaissance, another aspect of their work is that it is not so very creative and original rather than a reappraisal of the entire legacy of the past, done in a very refined (if not over-refined) style. However, what one sooner or later becomes clear about the story of the so-called "fall" of Constantinople to the "Turks" can just as largely be said of them: all in all too elitist - the price of refinement could have been too high. The Muslims were welcomed by the masses as liberators from the oppression of the aristocrats, the monasteries and the almost entirely corrupt government which imposed enormous taxes on all the underprivileged.

In Latin Europe some like in the works of Ockham (1280? -1348) and the so-called "Positivists of Paris", namely Johannes Buridanus (dies 1360), Nikolaus von Autrecourt (1300? -1350?) Or Nikolaus von Kues (1401- 1464) and others see real greatness, insofar as these thinkers reached a level in logic and epistemology that was seldom reached before or after - except, of course, in India much earlier with Dingnaga, Dharmakirti, Santaraksita and Kamalasila in the 5th century up to the 8th century, or among the Muslims in the time of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes), but also much earlier with Ibn Hasm or even al-Farabi. As brilliant as these achievements were in their own way, very little remains of the creative and original, after Francis Bacon and other founders of the well-known cycle of modern Euramerican philosophy once attached less importance to logical skills. All of this, or almost all of it, becomes a superstructure. Nikolaus von Kues can also be largely reduced to what was already there with Albertus Magnus (dies 1280), with the exception of an echo of proto-Renaissance suggestions from his trip to Byzantium, while Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) and Pico della Mirandola ( 1468-1533) are much more likely to be transmitters and translators of Byzantine materials (not to mention their completely decadent fascination with magic and Kabala) than truly creative and independent philosophers.

The German mystics (Eckhardt, Tauler, Suso and others) worked in a tradition that can be traced very far back into old Germanic literature; in the end they still influenced Luther, at least indirectly. Nonetheless, one can wonder whether this refuge in mysticism was really authentic, or rather a kind of retreat from real philosophy in the systematic sense. In other words: it may be that the yin and the yang, logical skill and its opposite in intuitive mysticism, no longer stimulated and complemented one another, and in mutual separation both soon became decadent and degenerated into unphilosophical sentimentality.

As far as the Islamic world is concerned, recent research has shown that the myth of the decline of Islam falls short because it arose from the very peculiar view that Muslim philosophy had nothing to offer except its contribution to the development of Latin scholasticism. Although Ibn Khaldun (dies 1406) is one of the greatest minds in the whole history of philosophy, it seems that most of the other philosophers of the Islamic world largely looked back during this period and merely sought further interpretations and adjustments of what had already been achieved in an overly refined way . Moreover, in the Islamic world, just as yin and yang polarized and separated in Latin and Germanic Europe, the Sufis seem to be losing touch with the scholastics, and although they also achieve great delicacy and grace in their poetry, they go all too often to the limits of play on words and mere ornamentation, are therefore "decadent" compared to al-Hallaj.

In India, Madhusudana Saraswati and Appeya Diksita can be cited as by no means "sterile" syntheses, although Madhusudana Saraswati did a good job of patching up the outdated Advaitic tradition, trying to strengthen Hinduism so that it could cleanse India of the "Islamic plague". As for Nanak and the Sikhs, like the German mystics, they achieved a great new revelation in religion, but very little of any philosophical importance. In fact, with the possible exception of the Navya-Nyaya School of Logic, India did not produce a really great thinker until it met the British. We can mention here the late scholastics of Vallabha and the second and third generation of commentaries on commentaries in the Sankara Advaitin and Ramanuja traditions.

Except for the new cycle, which seems to begin with Wang Yang Ming (1472-1529), we in China mostly only have the sterile scholasticism of commentary upon commentary on Chu Hsi during this period. And finally, in Japan, after Dogen, Nichiren, Honen and Shinran, there is very little new development in Japanese Buddhism, although there are notable representatives of the respective traditions. Of course there is the Neo-Shintoism of Kitbatake Chikafusa (1293-1354) and others after him, who continue to strive for a reconciliation between nationalism (or: Japanese ethnocentrism?) And Buddhist universalism. To cut a long story short: here, too, syntheses and refinements.

Maximum encounters: European expansion, discovery and exploitation (1550-1750)

The period between 1550 and 1750, which in Europe includes the Renaissance and Reformation, which have now been reduced to their due place in a world-historical perspective, we call the age of maximum encounters: European expansion, discovery and exploitation. During the rather colorless transition period from high scholasticism (1150-1350) to increasing encounters in the 15th and 16th centuries, there were apparently few real major developments; as soon as we approach the time around 1550, however, we find ourselves in a traumatically different world. It was not just the sea voyages of the Portuguese and Spaniards - who actually used Chinese nautical skills, only slightly improved by the Muslims - that made the difference. We should and will pay much attention to the effects of European expansion and (alleged) domination of the rest of the world, but too often we forget to examine the repercussions on Europe, many of which support Toynbee's "law" that military Conquerors very likely to be culturally conquered by their subjects. Another remark is in order here: How did this barbaric conception of Europeans become the law that discovery includes appropriation? Who "discovered" what? Could those explorers not have come as friends rather than conquerors, pirates (for many of them were nothing less than this), missionaries, and slave traders? At least it can be said that the concept of an age of "discoveries" needs to be revised.

Jean Duché emphasizes our view that from the sixteenth century onwards, Europeans raped both America, if not the rest of the world. In his third volume he formulates the chapter heading: "L'Europe au Center du Monde?" - he does not need to ask for whom, because it was certainly never like that for the Chinese, the Japanese or most of the others (even if some people in India and Africa were almost convinced that it was so).

The African slave trade and genocide in North and South America were just some of the many processes of exploitation that accompanied European expansion. Needless to say, none of the gold and silver that went into Dutch and British banks ever came back.

The cultural Describing the alienation that was going on here would fill many volumes. In addition to the Spaniards' ban on printing books in the colonies, it is sufficient to refer to British politics - which actually compared with Dutch and Portuguese liberal was - to set up an education system to create "nothing but little Englishmen" with brown, black or yellow skin. The role of missionaries is such an emotionally charged subject that it is doubtful that it will ever be possible to objectively assess their work. Even where they were able to mitigate the mischief wrought by the conquerors, perhaps their greatest merit was the pioneering work of translating the classical writings of the "natives" into European languages, albeit with the myth of the East as the mystical counterpart to the materialistic West strengthened. And even they sometimes spread more hatred than Christian love.

Protestants against Catholics, French against British and Dutch against both - despite Christian charity in theory, Europeans learned to hate one another in practice because of their struggle for empires. Not content with despising all non-Europeans, European hatred has even managed it, with the help of the classic "divide et impera" and imperialism, enmity between Japan and China, between Hindus and Muslims in India and Pakistan, between whites and blacks in the United States most parts of Africa and, perhaps worst of all, sowing between China and India, who had lived in peace and friendship for many millennia. Between Rousseau's innocent and noble savage and Hobbes' "nature red with tooth and claw" the truth was obliterated: indeed formed the rest of humanity just people like herself. But this insight came too late.

In relation to Akbar's (1556-1605) court in India, that of Elizabeth I was a doll's house. The Chinese contemporary of King George was not joking when he replied that China "had no need for the amulets of the barbarian king" because he was not only completely unimpressed, but undoubtedly also really surprised by the refusal of the British to be vassals of the "Middle Kingdom." "to become and thereby the blessings of Culture to accept. Later the tide partially turned: the French Physiocrats and not a few of the "Philosophes", including Leibniz (1646-1716), demanded that the court should be redesigned according to the model of the Chinese - until the Pope intervened and the matter was brought to an end made. Although Portugal got some cultural blessings from the "Orient" trade, no Europeans penetrated Japan, Thailand or Iran - at least not for a very long time, because these cultures figured out quickly enough to escape the lot, part European To become empires linked to the Pope in Rome. They already had their own "popes". "Europe as the center of the world"? - only for Europeans! So we must re-examine the section between 1550 and 1750, which has so often been called the "time of the discoveries" or the "epoch of European expansion"; and ironically, it becomes quite questionable whether the scientific and technical revolution could have taken place in Europe without the amassed fortune that has been withdrawn from the rest of the world. Nonetheless, Toynbee's "encounters between cultures" can be either positive (as in Indian Buddhism in China) or negative (as in the Islamic maxim: True Faith or the Sword!) Or both, as in the case of the British in India.

The importance of such data leads us to the question of whether there is not a possible "subperiod" that would naturally have to be set around 1660 - although at that time it was not yet clear which Europeans would get "possession" of which parts of the world would; and regardless of the dates, one cannot underestimate the importance of European expansion (which in some ways should perhaps be compared to the expansion on land by the Huns, Turks, and Mongols).

The scientific revolution was bought at a very high price, and we sometimes wonder whether it was really worth the price. A wise person would have predicted some kind of new age back then - but an age of uncertainty? However: with the science more certainty? Certainly not. Galileo untied the knot of tradition with his "Copernican Revolution" in natural science, and even the angels trembled. However: without the wealth from the other Worlds - how could science have flourished?

Withdrawal from Encounters: Nationalism and Naturalism (1750-1850)

After 1750 a reaction begins. Not only the USA tried to become independent from Europe; no one wishes to be colonized or called "native". It took a full two centuries to begin to correct this imbalance between Latin-Germanic Europe and the other cultures. At the peak of the 18th century, the beginning of the counter-currents, the retreat from the encounters, could already be seen. Even the tolerant Chinese had to withdraw their edicts of tolerance, just as Japan had done so in a more decisive way several years earlier.

It is noteworthy in confirming our characterization of the epoch as a "retreat from encounters" that McNeil describes the period between 1700 and 1850 as the epoch of "shaken world equilibrium" - which, as Toynbee has seen, was caused in part by the fact that it was Steamship replaced the overland routes, thereby reducing the communication routes across Eurasia overland and bringing the myth of the separation of "East" and "West" to bloom.

What we mean by withdrawal from encounters becomes very clear in the areas of religion and philosophy. There was, for example, in India, in sharp contrast to the syncretism between Hinduism and Islam under Akbar (1542-1605), Dara Sikoh (1615-1659), Ramananda (1299-1411), Kabir (1440-1518) and Nanak (1469-1538 ) a "back to the Koran" movement, especially in Sufism, but also in the anti-Hindu fanaticism of the later Mughal rulers. In Iran, the successors of Mullah Sadra Shirazi (1571-1640) tended more and more to distance themselves from his synthesis and to withdraw into a kind of scholasticism. From the facts as well as from the relative sterility of philosophy under the Ottomans, the myth of the "decline" of Islam arose during the 17th, 18th and even 19th centuries; however, we have growing evidence that this myth tends to refer to the defect of communication between European Islamists and the local tradition.

Among the Hindus there was an anti-Muslim "back-to-the-Vedas" movement under Sivaji as well as in Vijayanagar and with Madhusudna Saraswati and Appaya Diksita. We have already mentioned the "closure" of Japan to European missionaries and we could also have mentioned that the toleration of Buddhism has been withdrawn to a very critical extent. Nationalist Shintoism aggressively asserted itself as the state religion in an openly chauvinist manner. We also mentioned the revocation of the Edicts of Tolerance in China; Even more decisive was the "Reformation" of Tai Chen (1723-1777) "back-to-Confucius" with its puritanical morals, which were a reaction against the syncretistic tendencies of Wang Yang Ming. In fact, all of the Tung-ling Academy's activities went in this direction. We need not mention the parallel "back-to-the-Bible" movements in both Catholic and Protestant Christianity; but we should emphasize how the oppression of the Jesuits by the mid-18th century had repercussions everywhere, for whatever their vices they had had a policy of encouraging indigenous ways when these were not openly at odds with Christian ones Faith stood.

Nationalism and naturalism are features that seem to accompany this retreat from encounters not only in Western Europe but in most of the rest of the world as well. These Trends cannot be mechanically divided into precise annual periods, but rather represent overlaps and undercurrents; however, it can be said that they are very evident between about 1750 and 1850, or at least have their beginnings there. (Mujeeb also notes this when he calls the section between 1750 and 1850 a "century of revolutions".)

Indeed the expression seems nationalism rather to designate the Western European phenomenon of breaking up into smaller units that we now call nations. Nationalism is often - and rightly - rejected because it has become a pathological addiction to sharing, the main obstacle for the global community. Because the Myth of National Sovereignty is the successor to the older ideology of the divine right of kings. Obviously, under modern economic conditions in which no single nation on earth can be self-sufficient, this myth has little to no reality behind it; and without the colonial empires which the Europeans acquired, the national claim would never have had any possibility of acceptance anywhere.

We have to ask whether this phenomenon of nationalism is really applicable in the rest of the world, because nationality was not an issue until the others were Europeanized or "westernized". What it was basically about was the preservation of the identity of each culture in its entirety in the face of the conquering and exploiting powers. If "nationalism" were indeed to spread far enough in the world, the end result would be what Europeans might call a "balkanization of the world". India, which is much more diversified in terms of languages ​​and general cultural traditions, would have been "Balkanized" so much that it would no longer have represented a unit in any meaningful sense of the word, except perhaps as a geological unit, but much less as a geographical unit. The same would apply to Central Asia, even to China and certainly to the Indonesian island kingdom, while the Ottoman remainder of the great unity of the Islamic world would have "balkanized" itself beyond recognition.

And this has happened to an astonishingly high degree, the great exception perhaps being the "pax iberica" ​​in Hispanic America. The penetration of Africa by Europeans, who rivaled each other and also with Islam, forcibly led to a terrible artificial "Balkanization" of the entire continent. The map of India became so complex under British rule that hardly an expert was able to correctly enumerate all the principalities, naval abbeys and pseudo-autonomous regions. China retained a semblance of unity to the point of "Balkanization" through "spheres of influence" of rival Europeans, which led to the lowest phase in Chinese history.

The so-called "closure" of Japan is lightly interpreted as "nationalism", although this is only true with some reservations, for it was basically just a refusal to become part of any European colonial empire. However, it was also a continuation of chauvinistic ethnocentrism that at least goes back to Nichiren; and with leading figures like Arai Hakuseki (1657-1725) it was even a rejection of Buddhism as something imported and foreign. In order to strengthen the outward manifestations of this "nationalism", neo-Confucianism was freshly introduced; but with Kamo Mabuchi (1697-1769) and others, even this led to what is called National-