Civilization Libraries - Historical Eras
The complete Heritage History Library contains over 500 children's histories and simplified classics. In order to present our collection in an organized manner we have divided our collection into ten categories that cover recorded history from Biblical times until the early 20th century. These historical subjects provide the basis for our Curriculum CDs and Academy Courses.
Additional information about several other special-interest libraries are provided below.
Online libraries already exist for all ten of the following topics and Curriculum CDs are available for eight of them. We are currently developing Academy courses for each of these primary civilizations. Five courses are already released; three more will be released in 2015 and all ten should be complete by 2016. In the meantime, the books in all ten of Heritage History's civilization libraries are accessible to students who purchase a Library pass.
Many of these civilization libraries are organized along expected lines. Greek Roman, and American history, for example are long established fields of study. In the case of European history, however, there is so much material that we have created several divisions. Europe is not a single civilization, but a collection of unique societies that share an ethnic and religious heritage and our divisions allow appreciation of its complexity.
Another consideration was that we wanted to organize our books so that they could be used as to supplement several different classical World History programs. The following pages provide suggestions for using the Heritage History libraries described above as the foundation for a systematic study of World History.
Since our libraries reflect the content of children's libraries 100 years ago they deal primarily with western history, but many of the collections listed above (especially Spanish Empire, British Empire, and Early America) include excellent histories of non-western and indigenous peoples. More information about our collection of non-Western histories is provided below.
In addition to the Civilization Libraries described above, there are two additional library collections. The Young Readers collection is intended for elementary school students and is composed of eighty of our easiest to read books selected from the civilization libraries described above.
The Independent Study collection includes fifteen books that cover so many diverse periods of history that they do not fall conveniently into any of the above categories. Most of the books contain historical anecdotes from many historical periods. The Independent Study library is made available to all registered Academy students.
The Young Readers Academy course is Heritage History's "Introductory" unit. It was designed for children who are reading fluently but are not ready for systematic history. The Independent Study Academy course is not associated with any particular civilization, but it allows student select books from any library and design their own study program.
The Civilization Libraries described above are useful for organizing hundreds of history classics on the Heritage History website into meaningful categories. These libraries are also the basis for our Curriculum CDs and Academy Courses. Once a student begins to focus on a particular civilization, however, it becomes necessary to define historical subdivisions within each civilization topic. These divisions serve as milestones for students enrolled in the Academy courses and the reading recommendations and study aids are organized along these lines.
Most of the Civilization topics are divided into eight subdivisions. In a few cases, one or more of these historical divisions is not yet complete. In other cases one or more of the historical divisions is provided for enrichment or special interest, but is not an essential part of the program. The list below shows the subdivisions of all of our available and pending Academy courses. Divisions that are currently incomplete are greyed out. Divisions that are not part of the 'core' assignments are indicated in brown.
Historical Divisions of Ancient Greece
Historical Divisions of Ancient Rome
Historical Divisions of British Middle Ages
Historical Divisions of British Empire
Historical Divisions of Early America
Historical Divisions of Modern Europe
Historical Divisions of Young Readers
Only one of the Historical Divisions listed above is dedicated entirely to Non-Western civilizations. The Eastern Empires collection includes histories of China, Japan, India, and Moslem Empires.
Several of the other collections, however, provide an excellent selection of books about non-western civilizations. Dozens of books touching on the history of American Indians can be found in the Spanish Empire and Early America libraries, and the British Empire library also includes a large selection of books about the indigenous peoples of India, Africa, and Australasia.
It is true that most of our books in our collection feature Western civilization, but it also includes dozens of books published by authors who actually traveled extensively in foreign civilizations during the nineteenth century, (or even earlier) and wrote first hand accounts of their experiences. In many cases their accounts offer personal observation and contemporary insights that cannot be found in more recent histories. Some of these writers include:
Some of these books give very harrowing accounts of the adventures encountered by the authors do a great deal to illustrate the enormous differences between western and foreign cultures as they actually existed at the time, and to dispel a great deal of modern misrepresentations. The point of course, is that it was not narrow-mindedness that prevented many of our forefathers from learning about other world civilizations, but rather, tremendous barriers to travel and communication.
With today's, jet-setting "international community", McDonalds-ification of commerce, and sugar-coated smorgasbord approach to multiculturalism, it is easy to forget how utterly isolated and remote the farthest reaches of the world were for most of recorded history and how stark the differences in human societies truly were.
Ironically, reading histories of these diverse non-western cultures as they were written in the 19th century by writers who observed them as they were at the time, gives a unique and valuable perspective that is not possible to duplicate by reading histories written by modern scholars.
The opportunity to study an indigenous culture before the full effects of modernity transformed it is long past. There is no longer any indigenous culture anywhere in the world that has not been dramatically transformed, for good or evil, by modernity. Yet in the 19th century, the coming tsunami had not yet washed ashore on all continents, and there were still pockets of native culture in African villages, Chinese towns, Japanese hamlets, Arabian deserts, and Polynesian islands. It was the mission of most of these traveling authors to report what they actually saw and experienced in these foreign cultures, and many of their works are refreshingly frank, unsentimental, and free from modern posturing.