Themes in World Civilization
The historians used a wide array of questions and theses for the purpose of guiding and shaping
the research they did. These questions were based on already existent knowledge about the
events that took place in the past. For each of the topics discussed in the books, the researchers
had to ask questions about how current societies in different parts of the world came to be and
how their current state may have been influenced by historical occurrences. The thesis statements
that the historians and authors had during their preparation of the different publications
highlighted sought to highlight the significance of the historical events being illustrated. In
“Isolation” for instance, the historians’ thesis statement was about the significance that the
religious affiliation had on the fight for control of Jerusalem (Payne, 39). Questions that were
asked sought to establish a link between apparently separate historical issues. In “Frontiers of
Motion 1,” the historians want to establish if Islamic science of the time had a profound impact
on Europe’s Renaissance.
To answer the questions and investigate the theses that had been forwarded, the historians relied
on both primary and secondary sources of data. Most of the historical events highlighted in the
publications have been researched over and over again in different contexts such as
anthropology, religion, culture, geography, archeology and also political history. The sources of
information that the historians used were the typical ones, the only difference being that they did
their investigations in a novel way based on the titles that they were operating under. This
narrowed down the material they highlighted during authoring to information relevant to the title
and possible hypotheses they had developed (Saliba, 178). The use of primary sources is mostly
based on government documents that were published during the periods when the historical
events in question took place. These sources were the best and it was only practical to use them.
Looking for fresh primary information for events that took place is tantamount to reinventing the
wheel given that other respected historians had gathered the same.
The answers the historians gave to the questions are quite satisfactory since they maintain the
theme and provide solutions to the titles they were operating under. As a reader, I have to admit
that my knowledge on the topics discussed was expanded in line with the direction taken by the
respective historians. Their narrowing down of the topics from broad areas that I had general
knowledge about brought my attention to specific elements and I got to see them from a different
perspective. From “Frontiers of Motion 2” I got to empathize with the victims of the invasion
and also better understand the motives that the Mongols had in as far as territorial expansion was
concerned (Gernet, 19). It was a strategy that had proven effective and there was no need to
attempt another method. With respect to the answering of questions posed, I believe that all the
historians did an excellent job. My understanding of the dynamics that directly impacted world
civilization is deeper based on the arguments I was exposed to.
Paine, Mike “Isolation”, The Crusades (Pocket Essential, 2001), pp. 7-46.