Strong opinions, weakly held

Comparative history

I was reading about Thrace in an article in National Geographic, and wondered about whether a resource exists that provides a comparative timeline of ancient history for many known civilizations. Or why not all of them? For example, Wikipedia has a timeline of Chinese history. There’s also a timeline of the Persian empire that looks completely different. You can piece together timelines of many other ancient civilizations in a similar fashion using information in Wikipedia and elsewhere.

What I think would be cool is a resource that cross references among many civilizations, making it easy to find out what was going on in, say, India when the First Punic War was being fought by Carthage and Rome. (India at the time was ruled by Ashoka the Great, who was the first Indian emperor to embrace Buddhism.)

Wikipedia does have various time-based views of data. Here’s the page for the 3rd century BC. I think, though, that a better resource could be created (probably within the context of Wikipedia). I’m going to give it some thought.


  1. The Penguin atlas of ancient history (originally, I think, a German production) had charts like this. And I seem to remember that there was a similar chart covering the period 600-400BC in one of the endpapers of Gore Vidal’s novel about confucius, the buddha, and zoroaster. I certainly read it, and may have reviewed it, but I can’t for the life of me remember the name. “Creation” sounds right. Worth reading, anyway.

  2. I just saw this mentioned @ AKMA’s site. Worth a look? It’s a great idea, thanks for bringing it up.

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