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讀史摘抄(一)Why the West Rules—For Now : Ian Morris

(2021-02-04 13:51:15) 下一個

某日,購得Why the West Rules—For Now : Ian Morris著 書,略翻一二,置之高閣。日前重拾此書,跳過第一章原始人類之種種,方入正題,茲將有趣益處,摘錄戲評。

1.中國官員之大國情懷,愛國精神可嘉,客觀態度須存。--書中說: "In 1995 State Councillor Song Jian, one of China's top scientific administrators, made an official visit to Egypt. He was not happy when archaeologists told him that its antiquities were older than China's, so on returning to Beijing he launched the Three Dynasties Chronology Project to look into the matter. Four years and $2 million later, it announced its findings: Egypt's antiquities really are older than China's. Buw now at least we know exactly how much older".

2.最早文明,的確發於中東一帶?。--書中說:"The East was moving along a path lke the West's, but at least fifteen hundred years behind; and, staying on schedule, between 2500 and 200 BCE the East went through transformations rather like those the West hd seen between 4000 and 3500 BCE".

3.西方文明(早期)覆滅斷層,得無痼疾乎?--書中說:"Before the collapse of 1200-1000 BCE, Western social development had been running well ahead of Eastern for thirteen thousand years. There was every reason to think the West's lead was permanent. After the collapse, the West's lead was wafer-thin; another such setback could wipe it out altogether. The paradox of social development, played out so brutally and so often between 5000 and 1000 BCE, showed that nothing lasts forever. No simple long-term lock-in theory can tell us why the West rules"

4.外國學者自然不避諱周公(言有學者認為周公政變奪權),真假難辨,歸於塵土。--書中說:"According to the Zhou dynasty's official version, written of course by the winners, Wu's son Cheng was too young to rule, so the Duke of Zhou, Wu's younger brother, loyally agreed to serve as regent (many historians think the duke actully launched a coup)."

5.非常奇葩的政治鬥爭故事。--書中說:" Cyrus led his armies to the Aegean Sea and the borders of what are now Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. His son Cambyses conquered and held Egypt, then, in a story quite as bizarre as anything in Sima Qian, his distant relative Darius seized the throne in 521 BCE. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Cambyses misinterpreted a dream as meaning that his brother Smerdis was plotting against him, and had Smerdis secretly murdered. To Cambyses' horror, though, a priest--who happened to be named Smerdis too, and happended to look exactly like the dead Smerdis--now seized the throne, pretending to be the real Smerdis. Cambyses jumped onto his horse to rush home and reveal the fraud (and the fact that he had murdered his own brother) but accidentally stabbed himself in the thigh and died. Meanwhile, Fake Smerdis was exposed when one of his wives discovered that he had no ears (Fake Smerdis' ears haaving been cut off as a punishment some time earlier). Seven noblemen then murdereed Fake Smerdis and held a contest for the throne: each plotter brought his horse to a chosen place, the plan being that whoever's horse neighed first when the sun rose would become king. Darius won (he cheated)"

6. 東西方都在相近的幾百年間出現百家爭鳴,思想迸發的時代。東西方的思想不是簡單的黑白區別。書中說:"In the introduction to this book I talked another long-term lock-in theory, which holds that the West rules today not because ancient Greeks invented democracy per se but because they created a uniquely rational, dynamic culture while ancient China was obscurantist and conservative. I think this theory is wrong too. It caricatures Eastern, Western, and South Asian thought and ignores their internal variety, Eastern thought can be just as rational, liberal, realist, and cynical as Western; Western thought can be just as mystical, autoritarian, relativist, and obscure as Eastern. The real unity of Axial thought is unity in diversity".

7. 秦始皇被荊軻行刺的時候,原來是因為佩劍太長不容易拔出來才一開始很被動,這個細節倒是挺有意思的,隻是不知道真假和如何研究得到的。書中說:”Zheng ducked behind a pillar, thrashed around to get his ridiculously long cerermonial sword out of its scabbaard, then hacked the assassin to bits"

8. 羅馬的殘暴不遜於秦。書中說:” And like Qin, Rome redefined brutality. "The Roman custom", said Polybius, was " to exterminate every form of life they encountered, sparing none... so when cities are taken by the Romans you may often see not only the corpses of human beings but also dogs cut in half, and the dismembered limbs of other animals". Carthage finally gave up in 201 BCE"

9. 秦始皇讓700000人工作36年造陵墓。書中說:“the First Emperor--perhaps as insurance(前麵提到秦始皇尋找不老藥)--also had 700000 men spend thirty-six years building his tomb"

10. 秦始皇埋了460個儒生(真假確切?)。書中說:”when interllectuals complained, he buried 460 of them alive; and when peasants complained, he cut them in half".

11. 羅馬議會就開始打架了,這讓現在日本韓國還有台灣那些打架的議員們情何以堪啊(論打架,你們還嫩了點哦)。書中說:“In one policy dispute in 133 BCE the august senators smashed up the wooden benches they sat on and used the legs to club one another to death, and by the 80s BCE no one knew for sure who was actually running the empire".

12. 大國經營在於妥協。這句話很有水平。書中說:”but only one way to stay together: compromise. Han and Roman rulers showed a positive genius for this."

13. 這句話很幽默,所以摘錄下來。書中說:"Han emperors were not as megalomaniacal as the Qin First Emperor, although they had their moments."

14. 中國的英文讀音,看來應該(可能)是源自於秦,有人說契丹,我不太明白那個說法的具體。書中說:“in their own mispronunciation of Qin, call China"

15. 地中海文明發展初期快於漢朝,得力於水路交通便利。書中說:”The sea now allowed cheap water transport to link almost everone, and development shot up".

待續。

 

 

 

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