Hyperhistory covers the major epochs of world history during the last 3000 years. (Before 1000 BC see here) The date of 1000 BC has been chosen as the beginning of the main part of Hyperhistory because at around that time four very distinctive civilized traditions began to take shape in Greece, the Middle East, India and China.

Those four major civilizations were set apart by different cultural traditions, and by distinctive religious and philosophical world views, all of which found their initial expressions before the end of the sixth century BC.

    The sixth century was indeed important in the history of humanity. It was an age when Buddha was searching for a path to enlightenment in India, Confucius was teaching new rules for society in China, Ionian philosophers were initiating a tradition of scientific thinking in Greece, and when the exiled Jews in Babylon were collecting the warnings and messages of their prophets in a holy scripture. On the other flank of Mesopotamia another religious movement was initiated by an Iranian prophet, Zoroaster, who preached his message of cosmic strife between the God of Light and the principle of evil.
The relationship between the four major civilizations may be thought of as an equilibrium. Any serious disorder might influence other parts of the system, but not until AD 1500 did any one civilization gain such superiority as to upset the fourfold balance of the whole. This balance did, however, encounter a number of jolts:
  • First, Alexander the Great pushed Greek civilization far beyond its original borders.
  • Then, Indian Buddhism advanced along the silk road into the heart of China.
      But the Hellenization of the Middle East, like the Indianization of China did not last and was soon either repudiated or absorbed into native concepts.
  • Next came the explosive conquest of Islam, first across the Middle East, North Africa and Spain, and then into India, eastern Europe and central Asia.
The final collapse of the cultural balance of the Old World happened after AD 1500 when Europeans first opened the Americas, and then explored the rest of the earth's habitable coastlines, using the oceans as highways for their commerce and conquests.
Next : The birth of Global History