An Overview

God does not need to speak for himself in order for us to discover definitive signs of his will; it is enough to examine the normal course of nature and the consistent tendency of events.

Alexis de Tocqueville,

Democracy in America

 The Tales Within

The Countess and the Pope
The Humiliation of China
The Turks and the Crusaders
When Henry Wed Eleanor
Saladin the Icon, Richard the Lionheart
Islam in India

Genghis Khan, the Warlord of the Ages
Alfonso, Leonor, and the Reconquista
John’s Magna Carta; Philip’s Monarchy
The Annihilation of Islam?
Kublai Khan and the Pax Mongolica
Osman and his Dream

Dante, the Poet of Love
Vijayanagara, the Forgotten Empire
Global Cold, Black Death
A Hundred Years’ Suppression; A Hundred Years’ War
Tamerlane the Terrible

Summary: Connections of 1100 to 1400 with Today

The Theory Outlined

These is an Eastern philosophical tradition holding that all sentient life has three principal aspects: knowledge unto intelligence; love unto wisdom; and will unto power. After eons of gradual development, the whole of humanity is relatively quickly passing through these stages—each with its Axial Age—to our full realization.

In the centuries surrounding 3000 BC knowledge finally developed unto intelligence as civilization emerged almost simultaneously in six widely separated locales across the globe from coastal Peru to a Chinese river basin.

Jaspers’ Axial Age of love and wisdom occurred twenty-five hundred years later in the centuries surrounding 500 BC in four far flung locales—China, India, Iran, and Greece. With interaction impossible, all of them independently advocated a version of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and a “way” that when taken would lead to betterment and enlightenment.

Another twenty-five hundred years later we are dealing with power in the battle between empires and republics of the last two or three hundred years. Power is only manageable through its diffusion.

Dominant since the start of civilization have been empires and authoritarian states where power was concentrated in the hands of a very few. It is because power is only manageable through its diffusion that the identifying feature of our new Axial Age is the historically sudden appearance of much more egalitarian republics over the past couple of hundred years.

The Trilogy in Brief

Each book in the trilogy covers three hundred years starting in 1100 when began the momentous interactions of the world’s four leading civilizations empowered by their attendant religions evolving from Jaspers’ Axial Age—Confucian China, Hindu India, the Muslim Middle East, and the Christian West. With their spread, today they represent 85 percent of the world’s population. To know their story goes a long way to understanding today and tomorrow.

Through the tales of our trilogy, slowly and then more quickly, emerges the theme of our Age while providing an appreciation of these four civilizations that must engage it. In the first book, the premise is only vaguely visible; by the end of the second, the Age is born; in the third, it plays itself out up to the present day with all four civilizations struggling to embrace it. The whirlwind has a way to run.

How do we make this diffusion of power work? How do we find our “way” to channel the use of power in the world that we may be able to realize the potential of the inventions of our intellect without harm? Who can tell? Yet, there is no doubt about the outcome, only about how much we will have to suffer to attain it.

Tales of Invasions and Empires (c. 1100-1400), along with Our Axial Age, are now available on line. The second, Tales of Renaissance and Majesty (c. 1400-1700), will be available next year and the third, Tales of the Great Awakening (c. 1700-2000), the following year.