AP World History Source Book
Compiled by Chad Hoge
Herodotus: The Histories, c. 430 BCE, Book III, A Description of Nubia
I went as far as Elephantine [Aswan] to see what I could with my own eyes, but for the country still further south I had to be content with what I was told in answer to my questions. South of Elephantine the country is inhabited by Ethiopians...Beyond the island is a great lake, and round its shores live nomadic tribes of Ethiopians. After crossing the lake one comes again to the stream of the Nile, which flows into it. ...After forty days journey on land along the river, one takes another boat and in twelve days reaches a big city named Meroë, said to be the capital city of the Ethiopians. The inhabitants worship Zeus and Dionysus alone of the Gods, holding them in great honor. There is an oracle of Zeus there, and they make war according to its pronouncements, taking it from both the occasion and the object of their various expeditions. . . .
The Ethiopians to whom this embassy was sent are said to be the tallest and handsomest men in the whole world. In their customs they differ greatly from the rest of mankind, and particularly in the way they choose their kings; for they find out the man who is the tallest of all the citizens, and of strength equal to his height, and appoint him to rule over them....The spies were told that most of them lived to be a hundred and twenty years old, while some even went beyond that age---they ate boiled flesh, and had for their drink nothing but milk.
Herodotus, The History, trans. George Rawlinson (New York: Dutton & Co., 1862)
Thucydides (c.460/455-c.399 BCE):
Pericles' Funeral Oration
from the Peloponnesian War (Book 2.34-46)
"Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favours the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.
Heracles depiction of Vajrapani as the protector of the Buddha, 2nd century Gandhara (A Buddhist kingdom situated between the lower Kabul Valley in present-day Afghanistan and the Indus river in Pakistan), British Museum.
There are almost no literary remains from Antiquity possessing greater human interest than these inscriptions scratched on the walls of Pompeii (destroyed 79 A.D.). Their character is extremely varied, and they illustrate in a keen and vital way the life of a busy, luxurious, and, withal, tolerably typical, city of some 25,000 inhabitants in the days of the Flavian Caesars. Most of these inscriptions carry their own message with little need of a commentary. Perhaps those of the greatest importance are the ones relating to local politics. It is very evident that the so-called "monarchy" of the Emperors had not involved the destruction of political life, at least in the provincial towns.
The gladiatorial troop of the Aedile Aulius Suettius Certus will fight at Pompeii May 31. There will be a hunt, and awnings will be provided.
Twenty pairs of gladiators furnished by Decimus Lucretius Satrius Valens perpetual priest of Nero, son of the Emperor, and ten pairs of gladiators furnished by Decimus Lucretius Valens his son, will fight at Pompeii April 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. There will be a big hunt and awnings. Aemilius Celer wrote this by the light of the moon.
Vesonius Primus requests the election of Gaius Gavius Rufus as duumvir, a man who will serve the public interest---do elect him, I beg of you.
His neighbors request the election of Tiberius Claudius Verus as duumvir.
The worshipers of Isis as a body ask for the election of Gnaeus Helvias Sabinus as Aedile.
At the request of the neighbors Suedius Clemens, most upright judge, is working for the election of Marcus Epidius Sabinus, a worthy young man, as duumvir with judicial authority. He begs you to elect him.
The sneak thieves request the election of Vatia as Aedile.
The whole company of late drinkers favor Vatia.
The whole company of late risers favor Vatia.
Here slept Vibius Restitutus all by himself his heart filled with longings for his Urbana.
To rent from the first day of next July, shops with the floors over them, fine upper chambers, and a house, in the Arnius Pollio block, owned by Gnaeus Alleius Nigidius Maius. Prospective lessees may apply to Primus, slave of Gnaeus Alleius Nigidius Maius.
To let, for the term of five years, from the thirteenth day of next August to the thirteenth day of the sixth August thereafter, the Venus bath, fitted up for the best people, shops, rooms over shops, and second-story apartments in the property owned by Julia Felix, daughter of Spurius.
A copper pot has been taken from this shop. Whoever brings it back will receive 65 sesterces. If any one shall hand over the thief he will be rewarded.
Restitutus has many times deceived many girls.
At Nuceria, I won 8552 denarii by gaming---fair play!
If you want to waste your time, scatter millet and pick it up again.
We two dear men, friends forever, were here. If you want to know our names, they are Gaius and Aulus.
At Nuceria, look for Novellia Primigenia near the Roman gate in the prostitute’s district.
I had sex with the barmaid
Antiochus hung out here with his girlfriend Cithera.
To the one defecating here. Beware of the curse. If you look down on this curse, may you have an angry Jupiter for an enemy.
Traveler, you eat bread in Pompeii but you go to Nuceria to drink. At Nuceria, the drinking is better.
Defecator, may everything turn out okay so that you can leave this place
Marcus loves Spendusa
Celadus the Thracian gladiator is the delight of all the girls
If anyone does not believe in Venus, they should gaze at my girl friend
Atimetus got me pregnant
Secundus likes to have sex with boys.
If anyone sits here, let him read this first of all: if anyone wants to have sex, he should look for Attice; she costs 4 sestertii.
A small problem gets larger if you ignore it.
Chie, I hope your hemorrhoids rub together so much that they hurt worse than when they every have before!
The man I am having dinner with is a barbarian.
O walls, you have held up so much tedious graffiti that I am amazed that you have not already collapsed in ruin.
From: William Stearns Davis, ed., Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts from the Sources, 2 Vols. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912-13), Vol. II: Rome and the West, pp. 260-265
Scanned by: J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton. Prof. Arkenberg has modernized the text.
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum; http://www.pompeiana.org/Resources/Ancient/Graffiti%20from%20Pompeii.htm
When I, Constantine Augustus, as well as I Licinius Augustus d fortunately met near Mediolanurn (Milan), and were considering everything that pertained to the public welfare and security, we thought -, among other things which we saw would be for the good of many, those regulations pertaining to the reverence of the Divinity ought certainly to be made first, so that we might grant to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred; whence any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens may be propitious and kindly disposed to us and all who are placed under our rule And thus by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the observance of the Christian religion, of that religion which he should think best for himself, so that the Supreme Deity, to whose worship we freely yield our hearts) may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence. Therefore, your Worship should know that it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever, which were in the rescripts formerly given to you officially, concerning the Christians and now any one of these who wishes to observe Christian religion may do so freely and openly, without molestation. We thought it fit to commend these things most fully to your care that you may know that we have given to those Christians free and unrestricted opportunity of religious worship. When you see that this has been granted to them by us, your Worship will know that we have also conceded to other religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases ; this regulation is made we that we may not seem to detract from any dignity or any religion.
Moreover, in the case of the Christians especially we esteemed it best to order that if it happems anyone heretofore has bought from our treasury from anyone whatsoever, those places where they were previously accustomed to assemble, concerning which a certain decree had been made and a letter sent to you officially, the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception, Those, moreover, who have obtained the same by gift, are likewise to return them at once to the Christians. Besides, both those who have purchased and those who have secured them by gift, are to appeal to the vicar if they seek any recompense from our bounty, that they may be cared for through our clemency,. All this property ought to be delivered at once to the community of the Christians through your intercession, and without delay. And since these Christians are known to have possessed not only those places in which they were accustomed to assemble, but also other property, namely the churches, belonging to them as a corporation and not as individuals, all these things which we have included under the above law, you will order to be restored, without any hesitation or controversy at all, to these Christians, that is to say to the corporations and their conventicles: providing, of course, that the above arrangements be followed so that those who return the same without payment, as we have said, may hope for an indemnity from our bounty. In all these circumstances you ought to tender your most efficacious intervention to the community of the Christians, that our command may be carried into effect as quickly as possible, whereby, moreover, through our clemency, public order may be secured. Let this be done so that, as we have said above, Divine favor towards us, which, under the most important circumstances we have already experienced, may, for all time, preserve and prosper our successes together with the good of the state. Moreover, in order that the statement of this decree of our good will may come to the notice of all, this rescript, published by your decree, shall be announced everywhere and brought to the knowledge of all, so that the decree of this, our benevolence, cannot be concealed.
from Lactantius, De Mort. Pers., ch. 48. opera, ed. 0. F. Fritzsche, II, p 288 sq. (Bibl Patr. Ecc. Lat. XI).
Texts translated in University of Pennsylvania. Dept. of History: Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European history, (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press [1897?-1907?]), Vol 4:, 1, pp. 28-30
Fu Hsüan: A 3rd C. CE Female Poet in China
How sad it is to be a woman!
Nothing on earth is held so cheap.
Boys stand leaning at the door
Like Gods fallen out of Heaven.
Their hearts brave the Four Oceans,
The wind and dust of a thousand miles.
No one is glad when a girl is born:
By her the family sets no store.
Then she grows up, she hides in her room
Afraid to look a man in the face.
No one cries when she leaves her home--
Sudden as clouds when the rain stops.
She bows her head and composes her face,
Her teeth are pressed on her red lips:
She bows and kneels countless times.
She must humble herself even to the servants.
His love is distant as the stars in Heaven,
Yet the sunflower bends toward the sun.
Their hearts more sundered than water and fire--
A hundred evils are heaped upon her.
Her face will follow the years' changes:
Her lord will find new pleasures.
They that were once like substance and shadow
Are now as far as Hu from Ch'in. (2)
Yet Hu and Ch'in shall sooner meet
Than they whose parting is like Ts'an and Ch'en. (6)
All translated by Arthur Waley (1919)
Hymns from the Rig Veda
Purusa, the Cosmic Person
Thousand-headed is Purusa, thousand-eyed, thousand-footed. Having covered the earth on all sides, he stood above it the width of ten fingers.
Only Purusa is all this, that which has been and that which is to be. He is the lord of the immortals, who grow by means of [ritual] food.
Such is his greatness, yet more than this is Purusa. One-quarter of him is all beings; three- quarters of him is the immortal in heaven.
Three-quarters of Purusa went upward, one-quarter of him remained here. From this [one-quarter] he spread in all directions into what eats and what does not eat.
From him the shining one was born, from the shining one was born Purusa. When born he extended beyond the earth, behind as well as in front.
When the gods performed a sacrifice with the offering Purusa, spring was its clarified butter, summer the kindling, autumn the oblation.
It was Purusa, born in the beginning, which they sprinkled on the sacred grass as a sacrifice. With him the gods sacrificed, the demi-gods, and the seers.
From that sacrifice completely offered, the clotted butter was brought together. It made the beasts of the air, the forest and the village.
From that sacrifice completely offered, the mantras [Rig Veda] and the songs [Samaveda] were born. The meters were born from it. The sacrificial formulae [Yajurveda] were born from it.
From it the horses were born and all that have cutting teeth in both jaws. The cows were born from it, also. From it were born goats and sheep.
When they divided Purusa, how many ways did they apportion him? What was his mouth? What were his arms? What were his thighs, his feet declared to be?
His mouth was the Brahman [caste], his arms were the Rajanaya [Ksatriya caste], his thighs the Vaisya [caste]; from his feet the Sudra [caste] was born.
The moon was born from his mind; from his eye the sun was born; from his mouth both Indra and Agni [fire]; from his breath Vayu [wind] was born.
From his navel arose the air; from his head the heaven evolved; from his feet the earth; the [four] directions from his ear. Thus, they fashioned the worlds.
Seven were his altar sticks, three times seven were the kindling bundles, when the gods, performing the sacrifice, bound the beast Purusa.
The gods sacrificed with the sacrifice to the sacrifice. These were the first rites. These powers reached the firmament, where the ancient demi-gods and the gods are.
Translated by Michael Myers
The Creation of the World According to the Upanishads
1. There was nothing
whatsoever here in the beginning. By death indeed was this covered, or by
hunger, for hunger is death. He created the mind, thinking 'let me have a self'
(mind). Then he moved about, worshiping. From him, thus worshiping, water was
produced. . . .
2 . . . .. That which was the froth of the water became solidified; that became the earth. On it he [i.e., death] rested. From him thus rested and heated (from the practice of austerity) his essence of brightness came forth (as) fire.
3. He divided himself threefold (fire is one-third), the sun one-third and the air one-third. He also is life [lit., breath] divided threefold, . . . (Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad, 1, 2, 1-3.)
1. The Sun is Brahman-this is the teaching. An explanation .thereof (is this). In the beginning this (world) was non-existent. It became existent. It grew. It turned into an egg. It lay for the period of a year. It burst open. Then came out of the eggshell, two parts, one of silver, the other of gold.
That which was of silver is this earth; that which was of gold is the sky. What was the outer membrane is the mountains; that which was the inner membrane is the mist with the clouds. What were the
veins were the rivers. What was the fluid within is the ocean.
(Chandogya Upanishad, III, 19, 1-2.)
S. Radhakrishnan (editor and translator), The Principal Upanishads (New York: Harper & Row, 1953), PP. 151-2, 399, 447-9
The Bhagavad Gita
Translated by Ramanand Prasad
Excerpt from Chapter 2 on eternal existence
Know That, by which all this (universe) is pervaded, to be indestructible. No one can destroy the indestructible (Atma) . (2.17)
Bodies of the eternal, imperishable, and incomprehensible soul are said to be perishable. Therefore, fight, O Arjuna. (2.18)
The one who thinks that Atma is a slayer, and the one who thinks that Atma is slain, both are ignorant, because Atma neither slays nor is slain. (2.19)
The Atma is neither born nor does it die at any time, nor having been it will cease to exist again. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval. The Atma is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. (2.20)
O Arjuna, how can a person who knows that the Atma is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and imperishable, kill anyone or cause anyone to be killed? (2.21)
Just as a person puts on new garments after discarding the old ones, similarly Atma acquires new bodies after casting away the old bodies. (2.22)
Weapons do not cut this Atma, fire does not burn it, water does not make it wet, and the wind does not make it dry. (2.23)
This Atma cannot be cut, burned, wetted, or dried up. It is eternal, all pervading, unchanging, immovable, and primeval. (2.24)
The Atma is said to be unmanifest, unthinkable, and unchanging. Knowing this Atma as such you should not grieve. (2.25)
If you think that this (body) takes birth and dies perpetually, even then, O Arjuna, you should not grieve like this. (2.26)
Because, death is certain for the one who is born, and birth is certain for the one who dies. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable. (2.27)
All beings, O Arjuna, are unmanifest before birth and after death. They are manifest between the birth and the death only. What is there to grieve about? (2.28)
Some look upon this Atma as a wonder, another describes it as wonderful, and others hear of it as a wonder. Even after hearing about it no one actually knows it. (2.29)
O Arjuna, the Atma that dwells in the body of all (beings) is eternally indestructible. Therefore, you should not mourn for any body. (2.30)
Sermons and Teachings (6th century B.C.E.)
THE SERMON AT BENARES
On seeing their old teacher approach, the five bhikkhus agreed among themselves not to salute him, nor to address him as a master, but by his name only. "For," so they said, "he has broken his vow and has abandoned holiness. He is no bhikkhu but Gotama, and Gotama has become a man who lives in abundance and indulges in the pleasures of worldliness."
But when the Blessed One approached in a dignified manner, they involuntarily rose from their seats and greeted him in spite of their resolution. Still they called him by his name and addressed him as "friend Gotama."
When they had thus received the Blessed One, he said: "Do not call the Tathagata by his name nor address him as 'friend,' for he is the Buddha, the Holy One. The Buddha looks with a kind heart equally on all living beings, and they therefore call him 'Father.' To disrespect a father is wrong; to despise him, is wicked.
"The Tathagata," the Buddha continued, "does not seek salvation in austerities, but neither does he for that reason indulge in worldly pleasures, nor live in abundance. The Tathagata has found the middle path.
"There are two extremes, O bhikkhus, which the man who has given up the world ought not to follow-the habitual practice, on the one hand, of self-indulgence which is unworthy, vain and fit only for the worldly-minded and the habitual practice, on the other hand, of self-mortification, which is painful, useless and unprofitable.
"Neither abstinence from fish or flesh, nor going naked, nor shaving the head, nor wearing matted hair, nor dressing in a rough garment, nor covering oneself with dirt, nor sacrificing to Agni, will cleanse a man who is not free from delusions.
"Reading the Vedas, making offerings to priests, or sacrifices to the gods, self-mortification by heat or cold, and many such penances performed for the sake of immortality, these do not cleanse the man who is not free from delusions.
"Anger, drunkenness, obstinacy, bigotry, deception, envy, self-praise, disparaging others, superciliousness and evil intentions constitute uncleanness; not verily the eating of flesh. "
A middle path, O bhikkhus, avoiding the two extremes, has been discovered by the Tathagata-a path which opens the eyes, and bestows understanding, which leads to peace of mind, to the higher wisdom, to full enlightenment, to Nirvana!
"What is that middle path, O bhikkhus, avoiding these two extremes, discovered by the Tathagata - that path which opens the eyes, and bestows understanding, which leads to peace of mind, to the higher wisdom, to full enlightenment, to Nirvana?
"Let me teach you, O bhikkhus, the middle path, which keeps aloof from both extremes. By suffering, the emaciated devotee produces confusion and sickly thoughts in his mind. Mortification is not conducive even to worldly knowledge; how much less to a triumph over the senses !
"He who fills his lamp with water will not dispel the darkness, and he who tries to light a fire with rotten wood will fail. And how can anyone be free from self by leading a wretched life, if he does not succeed in quenching the fires of lust, if he still hankers after either worldly or heavenly- pleasures. But he in whom self has become extinct is free from lust: he will desire neither worldly nor heavenly pleasures, and the satisfaction of his natural wants will not defile him. However, let him be moderate, let him eat and drink according to the needs of the body.
"Sensuality is enervating: the "self-indulgent" man is a slave to pleasure to his passions, and pleasure-seek. ing is degrading and vulgar.
"But to satisfy the necessities of life is not evil. To keep the body in good health is a duty for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus-flower, but does not wet its petals.
"This is the middle path, O bhikkhus. that keeps aloof from both extremes.
And the Blessed One spoke kindly to his disciples, pitying them for their errors, and pointing out the uselessness of their endeavors, and the ice of ill-will that chilled their hearts melted away under the gentle warmth of the Master's persuasion.
Now the Blessed One set the wheel of the most excellent law rolling, and he began to preach to the five bhikkhus, opening to them the gate of immortality, and showing them the bliss of Nirvana.
From: Ephanius Wilson, Sacred Books of the East, rev. ed. (London: The Colonial Press, 1900), pp. 158, 160-61, 171-72, repr. In Mark A. Kishlansky, ed., Sources of World History, Volume I, (New York: HarperCollins CollegePublishers, 1995), pp. 67-71
from The Arthashastra, c. 250 BCE
On Gender Issues in Mauryan Empire
A woman who hates her husband, who has passed the period of seven turns of her menses, and who loves another, shall immediately return to her husband both the endowment and jewelry she has received from him, and allow him to lie down with another woman. A man, hating his wife, shall allow her to take shelter in the house of a beggar woman, or of her lawful guardians or of her kinsmen. . . A woman, hating her husband, cannot divorce her husband against his will. Nor can a man divorce his wife against her will. But from mutual enmity divorce may be obtained. . .
A Kshatriya who commits adultery with an unguarded Brahman woman shall be punished with the highest amercement; a Vaisya doing the same shall be deprived of the whole of his property; and a Shudra shall be burnt alive wound round in mats. Whoever commits adultery with the queen of the land shall be burnt alive in a vessel. A man who commits adultery with a woman of low caste shall be banished, with prescribed marks branded on his forehead, or shall be degraded to the same caste. A Shudra or an outcaste who commits adultery with a woman of low caste shall be put to death, while the woman shall have her ears and nose cut off.
From: Kautilya, Kautilya's Arthashastra, 2d Ed., trans. R. Shamasastry (Mysore: Wesleyan Mission Press, 1923), passim.
Chinese Accounts of Rome, Byzantium and the Middle East
From the Sung-shu, ch. 97 (written c. 500 C.E.), for 420-478 C.E.:
As regards Ta-ts'in [Roman Syria] and T'ien-chu [India], far out on the western ocean [Indian Ocean], we have to say that; although the envoys of the two Han dynasties [Chang Ch'ien, and Pan Ch'ao] have experienced the special difficulties of this road, yet traffic in merchandise has been effected, and goods have been sent out to the foreign tribes, the force of winds driving them far away across the waves of the sea. There are lofty ranges of hills quite different from those we know and a great variety of populous tribes having different names and bearing uncommon designations, they being of a class quite different from our own. All the precious things of land and water come from there, as well as the gems made of rhinoceros' horns and king-fishers' stones [chrysoprase], she-chu [serpent pearls] and asbestos cloth, there being innumerable varieties of these curiosities; and also the doctrine of the abstraction of mind in devotion to the shih-chu ["lord of the world" or "the Buddha"---here meaning "the Christ"] all this having caused navigation and trade to be extended to those parts.
From: F. Hirth, China and the Roman Orient: Researches into their Ancient and Mediaeval Relations as Represented in Old Chinese Records (Shanghai & Hong Kong, 1885), pp. 35-96.
A Record of the Buddhistic Kingdoms, (394-414 CE), Here he describes Gupta India
All south from this is named the Middle Kingdom. In it the cold and heat are finely tempered, and there is neither hoarfrost nor snow. The people are numerous and happy; they have not to register their households, or attend to any magistrates and their rules; only those who cultivate the royal land have to pay (a portion of) the gain from it. If they want to go, they go; if they want to stay on, they stay. The king governs with out decapitation or (other) corporal punishments. Criminals are simply fined, lightly or heavily, according to the circumstances (of each case). Even in the cases or repeated attempts at wicked rebellion, they only have their right hands cut off. The king's body-guards and attendants all have salaries. Throughout the whole country the people do not kill any living creature, nor drink intoxicating liquor, nor eat onions or garlic. The only exception is that of the Chandalas. That is the name for those who are (held to be) wicked men, and live apart from others. When they enter the gate of a city or a market-place, they strike a piece of wood to make themselves known, so that men know and avoid them, and do not come into contact with them. In that country they do not keep pigs and fowls, and do not sell live cattle; in the markets there are no butchers' shops and no dealers in intoxicating drink....Only the Chandalas a fishermen and hunters, and sell flesh meat.
From Fa-Hsien, A Record of the Buddhistic Kingdoms, trans. James Legge, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1886), repr. in Mark A. Kishlansky, ed., Sources of World History, Volume I, (New York: HarperCollins CollegePublishers, 1995), pp. 154-58