History has been studied and histories written for more than two millennia. From time to time attempts have been made to discern some pattern or design running through it. But they have usually failed because the data have been inadequate. You cannot see the pattern of a carpet when only a minute portion is uncovered, and you cannot discern the pattern of history until large portions of it are available for examination. It was not until the 19th century that really long vistas were opened up by archaeological exploration in the East. Here, in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Crete, there were found the remains of forgotten civilizations; and Sir Flinders Petrie, one of the pioneers in that work of epoch-making in the literal sense, has himself sketched an outline of the pattern he believes he can see emerging. The present essay is an attempt to interpret and explain that pattern.
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