The way Peter splits chapters one through seven into two parts, the first being about early classical civilization explaining the cultures being born in Egypt and the Middle-East, the explanation of Buddhism, Jewish, and Christianity. The second being of postclassical cultural contacts; in which provides a view of a clear explanation of how everything was most likely formed and what became or has become of it. Within Chapters 1-5, Stearns provides vital information starting off with the Middle East and Egypt.
He expresses how the Greeks had borrowed Egypt and the Middle East culture and civilization, and even though it was fine it came to the point of where they just wanted some acknowledgement but the Greeks never wanted to admit their borrowing so that then led to the complication of being able to figure out the contacts. Following was the Hellenistic-Indian period, dealing with the “great and powerful” Alexander. This chapter made me see how insane Alexander was. He would start wars and win them, want more and get it. Until, his death bed reached him with his empire going down as fast as he got it.
From there, it went to the history of Buddhism, and the way Stearns explains all that went down for this religion such as human suffering and sacrifice; made me realize how extreme these religions can get. Although, it is nice to see how much respect and will one can have for something that doesn’t seem so important to others, but is too many. Adding to that, a big part of all these cultures is of course the spread of them. Learning how and where these civilizations would be spread is very difficult to keep up with.
In example, you have Buddhism in which many believe started in Asia but in reality started in classical India then spread to the north and east from trading and traveling, then followed into Southeast Asia continuing to migrate over in Hawaii and the Americas. Aside from that, the Jewish and Christianity spreading occurred. Having many killed and looked down on, those who were true believers stuck to their faith and helped continued to spread it. Finally, you reach the postclassical period describing how Islam and Christianity spread.
The spread of Islam began in Arabia and the Middle East, fleeing out to Africa, Asia, and Europe creating the works of actually more people learning about it through trade and missionary activities. As for Christianity, Europe was the one to spread it into the Americas not only bringing this important cultural contact but also new animals, diseases, and rulers. Once the culture was introduced it went on into North America where the religious heritage of Europe was being brought upon. Therefore, Peter N. Stearns provides history on how and where the many cultures came about in example from Egypt to the Middle East, to India and Asia, etc.
Where trading was being done and wars were being fought with hundreds of thousands of people from different cultures themselves. These cultures had many contacts in which many we will never know. Although, you come to the conclusion of realizing that cultures and civilization have a great amount of information, facts, and stories to be said to be able to learn and understand how a culture was created and what was happening during that moment; that is where Peter N. Stearns does a well job in explaining the “Cultures in Motion. ”