Upon hearing that there is to be a book about discovery and exploration in the ancient world, many people
express some surprise: “Were there explorers in the ancient world?” “What did they discover?”
Such doubts are understandable because there are so many preconceptions and misconceptions about the nature of discovery and exploration.
It is more difficult to justify the restriction which will be imposed in the following chapters on the word
Ancient. This term is used even more vaguely and variously than the other. If generally it connotes the
converse of "Modern," in some connections and particularly in the study of history the Modern is not usually
understood to begin where the Ancient ended but to stand only for the comparatively Recent.
During the last half of the second century before Christ Rome was undisputed mistress of the civilised world.
A brilliant period of foreign conquest had succeeded the 300 years in which she had overcome her neighbours
and made herself supreme in Italy. In 146 B.C. she had given the death-blow to her greatest rival, Carthage,
and had annexed Greece. In 140 treachery had rid her of Viriathus, the stubborn guerilla who defied her
generals and defeated her armies in Spain.
It is one of the most amazing countries in the world. The
Japanese call it Nippon or Nihon, meaning the source of the Sun.
Others call it the Land of the Rising Sun.We call it Japan. This
small nation of scattered islands off the eastern coast of mainland
Asia is often called the “Miracle of the Orient.” It has risen from
obscurity and self-imposed isolation to a position as a global
economic giant in little more than a century. Yet considering the
country’s physical geography, its history, and its huge population,
Japan should have been a huge failure.