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CAN read the book of the past? Who can tell us the story of Creation's morn? It is, not written in history, neither does it live in tradition. There is mystery here; but it is hid by the darkness of bygone ages. There is a true history here, but we have not learned well the alphabet used. Here are doubtless wondrous scenes; but our stand-point is removed by time so vast, the mist of years is so thick before us, that only the ruder outlines can be... more...

INTRODUCTION Three thousand years ago the world was still young. The western continent was a huge wilderness, and the greater part of Europe was inhabited by savage and wandering tribes. Only a few nations at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and in the neighbouring parts of Asia had learned to dwell in cities, to use a written language, to make laws for themselves, and to live in a more orderly fashion. Of these nations the most brilliant... more...

PROMETHEUS, THE FRIEND OF MAN Many, many centuries ago there lived two brothers, Prometheus or Forethought, and Epimetheus or Afterthought. They were the sons of those Titans who had fought against Jupiter and been sent in chains to the great prison-house of the lower world, but for some reason had escaped punishment. Prometheus, however, did not care for idle life among the gods on Mount Olympus. Instead he preferred to spend his time on the... more...

PREFACE The materials upon which this book is based have been collected from a wide range of sources and represent the observation and reflection of men who have seen life from very different points of view. This was necessary in order to bring into the perspective of a single volume the whole wide range of social organization and human life which is the subject-matter of a science of society. At the same time an effort has been made to bring... more...

CHAPTER I SCOPE OF ANTHROPOLOGY In this chapter I propose to say something, firstly, about the ideal scope of anthropology; secondly, about its ideal limitations; and, thirdly and lastly, about its actual relations to existing studies. In other words, I shall examine the extent of its claim, and then go on to examine how that claim, under modern conditions of science and education, is to be made good. Firstly, then, what is the ideal scope... more...


There existed formerly, in diplomatic circles, a curious custom, since fallen into disuse, entitled the Pêle Mêle, contrived doubtless by some distracted Master of Ceremonies to quell the endless jealousies and quarrels for precedence between courtiers and diplomatists of contending pretensions.  Under this rule no rank was recognized, each person being allowed at banquet, fête, or other public ceremony only such place as... more...

I A WORLD AT THE CROSSROADS For two thousand years Christianity has been an operative force in the world; for more than a century democracy has been the controlling influence in the public affairs of Europe and the Americas; for two generations education, free, general and comprehensive, has been the rule in the West. Wealth incomparable, scientific achievements unexampled in their number and magnitude, facile means of swift intercommunication... more...

Chapter One ~~ Introductory The institution of a leisure class is found in its best development at the higher stages of the barbarian culture; as, for instance, in feudal Europe or feudal Japan. In such communities the distinction between classes is very rigorously observed; and the feature of most striking economic significance in these class differences is the distinction maintained between the employments proper to the several classes. The... more...

CHAPTER I. THE WIDE EXTENT OF SLAVERY. Slavery still exists throughout a large portion of what we are accustomed to regard as the civilized world. In some countries, men are forced to take the chance of a lottery for the determination of the question whether they shall or shall not be transported to distant and unhealthy countries, there most probably to perish, leaving behind them impoverished mothers and sisters to lament their fate. In... more...

THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE OUTCAST. A man, with thin brown hair and a pale face, half ran, half walked, along the road that wound from the south to the town of Sligo. Many called him Cumhal, the son of Cormac, and many called him the Swift, Wild Horse; and he was a gleeman, and he wore a short parti-coloured doublet, and had pointed shoes, and a bulging wallet. Also he was of the blood of the Ernaans, and his birth-place was the Field of Gold; but... more...