Humanity has been around for some 300,000 years and far indeed we have come in that time! Let’s look back at our common roots with 10 gems from our catalog.
“Where do we come from” is one of humankind’s oldest questions, and it was finally answered by Darwin. In Man and His Ancestor, Charles Morris explains the state of the theory of evolution at the beginning of the 20th century to laypersons.
Not much is known for sure about prehistoric times, but ancient myths explain how our forefathers saw the world. Dakota woman Zitkala-Sa tells 14 Old Indian Legends about Native American trickster god Iktomi.
Iktomi tricked the humans, but a famous Titan tricked God Zeus instead. Hear about the crimes and punishment of Prometheus Bound and his predictions for the future in the classic Greek play by Aeschylus.
The future looks bleak for Amuba and Chebron when they uncover a conspiracy among the Egyptian priesthood. And then, the boys accidentally kill The Cat of Bubastes in the novel by G. A. Henty. Can Chebron’s father, the powerful high priest of Osiris, help them?
Help is also needed Under the Andes, where a lost tribe of Incas has fled to, according to the novel by Rex Stout. When a group of explorers stumbles upon the hidden caves, the Inca king becomes infatuated with a woman in the group and things get complicated…
Less complicated but decidedly more weird are the Strange Stories From a Chinese Studio. Songling Pu draws heavily from folk tradition and often blurs the boundary between reality and fantasy with his stories.
In The Golden Bough, James Frazer traces the origins of modern religious beliefs. He argues that some universal stories stem from fertility cults that need a king to be sacrificed for the circle of life to continue.
A similar idea had Rama’s stepmother, when she drove him out into the Indian wilderness. Valmiki tells the story of the following 14 years in exile before Rama’s return to be crowned as a king in The Ramayan.
Not just one person’s story, but that of a whole family clan, is related in the Völsungasaga from Iceland. With dragons, sword fights and family intrigues, this is the most famous of the Germanic heroic sagas.
But in the end, the heroes die just like the common people. Who knows how many unsung heroes George W. Greene encountered on his Visits to the Dead in the Catacombs of Rome around 1850.
Enjoy – and remember your ancestors (and those who are still around!)