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“A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality”  

Jean Jaques Rosseau

François-Marie Arouet (who published under the pen name Voltaire) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were two of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Both somewhat cynical about the ... More

“A Jewish Palestine”  

Henry Sacher

In this excerpt from an article in The Atlantic Monthly (July 1919), the British Zionist Harry Sacher (1882–1971) explains to an American audience why the issue of a Jewish homeland is such ... More

“A Procession of Artisans at Istanbul”  

Evliya Çelebi

Born on the Golden Horn and raised in the Sultan’s palace in Istanbul, Çelebi traveled throughout Ottoman domains between 1640 and 1680. He published an account of his travels and ... More

Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi on the Scholars of Timbuktu  

Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi

Born in Timbuktu in 1596, Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi wrote, in Arabic, a chronicle entitled Tarikh al-Sudan (History of the Sudan). The document addresses the political, cultural, and religious ... More

Abolition of Serfdom  

Alexander II

The defeat of Russia in the Crimean War (1853–1856) convinced the newly enthroned Alexander II (r. 1855–1881) of the need for fundamental reforms in his country. The first institution he ... More

Account of the Rus  

Ibn Fadlan

Ibn Fadlan was a tenth-century Arab chronicler. In 921 C.E., the Caliph of Baghdad sent Ibn Fadlan on an embassy to the King of the Bulgars of the Middle Volga (present-day Russia). Ibn ... More

Address to a Meeting in New York  

Malcolm X

The Black Muslims (or the Nation of Islam) were founded by an orthodox Muslim immigrant to America, Wallace Fard Muhammad, in 1931, and made into a powerful movement by Elijah Muhammad. ... More

Address to the Duma concerning the annexation of Crimea  

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin, the former KGB officer who has dominated Russian political life since 2000, delivered this remarkable oration after annexing the Crimea region from the nation of Ukraine in ... More

Addresses to the German Nation  

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

The beginnings of German national identity were not political but rather cultural. Already in the eighteenth century, Germans had begun to react against the intellectual domination of the ... More

The Adventures of Telemachus  

Francois Fénelon

A Catholic priest and writer, François Fénelon (1651–1715) was enlisted by the church to preach to French Protestants (Huguenots) in order to bring them back to orthodox belief. His ... More

Advice from a Royal Scribe to his Apprentice Middle Kingdom Egypt, Twelfth Dynasty  

Nebmare-nakht

The Papyrus Lansing is a letter of instruction from the royal scribe (and “chief overseer of the cattle of Amun-Re, King of Gods”) Nebmare-nakht to his apprentice Wenemdiamun. It seems to ... More

Against Nature (A rebours)  

Joris-Karl Huysmans

Huysmans (1848–1907) was a French novelist and art critic and one of the early supporters of Impressionism. While he supported himself financially as a member of France’s civil service, ... More

The Alchemy Of Happiness  

Abd al-Hamid, al-Ghazali

Born in 1058 to a family of spinners and sellers of wool in a small village in eastern Iran, Ghazali became one of the most prominent expounders of Islamic theology of his day. Traveling ... More

Amulet containing passages from the Qur’an, worn by Muslim slaves who rioted in Bahia, Brazil  

João José Reis

Although slavery was not abolished in Brazil until 1888, slave revolts were frequent and remarkable for their ambitions, success, and diversity of participating elements. Two urban revolts ... More

“An Essay Concerning Human Understanding”  

John Locke

John Locke (1632–1704), the noted English philosopher, scientist, and political theorist, was one of the leading intellectuals of his age and one of the most influential architects of the ... More

Analects  

Confucius

The details of Confucius’s life are murky, especially given the chaos surrounding the declining Zhou period in the 490s and 480s BCE. It is important to take into account the impact of ... More

Ancestor Worship and Human Sacrifice from the Shi Jing  

Anonymous

During both the Shang and Zhou dynasties (1556-1046 BCE; 1046-256 BCE) families, both noble and common, worshipped and sacrificed to their ancestors. These sacrifices were of the utmost ... More

Anonymous, Edicts of Aurangzeb  

Anonymous

When he became emperor in 1658, Aurangzeb attempted a radical “Islamification” of Mughal India, imposing a strict interpretation of Sharia law and implementing reforms that he thought would ... More

ANZAC troops at Gallipoli in August 1915  

C.E.W. Bean

In the aftermath of the Great War, the Allied nations compiled both regimental and general histories of the conflict. In these narratives, the experiences of the soldiers and their ... More

An Arab Merchant Visits TAng China  

Ibn Wahab

Ibn Wahab was an Arab merchant from Basra (Iraq) who sailed to China via the Indian Ocean around 872 CE. His travel account includes a description of his interview with the Chinese emperor. ... More

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