Catherine, Czarina of all the Africas (Vanilla, Monarch, Sol III map) As a child my father used to tell me that our people, the Russians, were an ancient people. But like the phrase "I come from an old family," the notion of any nation of people being older than any other people is, on the face of it, absolutely silly. No, think about it. All people are ancient, since we are all descendents of Adam and Eve, who were certainly ancient people by any measure. Or--if you prefer--assuming we all descended from apes or monkeys or marmosets, or what have you, you can certainly say that all families, being siblings in the brotherhood of man, are equally old. Or even equally young. To say that Russians are any older than, say, Aztecs or Zulus or Babylonians, is an absurdity. The claim rests solely on the conceit that our people dwelled first in the cradle of mankind, the grasslands of eastern Africa. But even then all our cousins, the other nations of humanity, are just as old. They just happen to be the offspring of wanderers, while we stayed home and built what my father assures me is the perfect civilization. Papa is myopic like that. But I'm not here to tell you about my papa (tho undoubtedly I shall during our studies mention dear Papa a bit). Instead, I'm here to educate you. I'm your tutor, young Alek, and my job is to get you ready for your world history classes this fall. Your mama says you have a sharp wit, but a niggling impatience when it comes to acquiring facts. My task is to get your spongy wit to soak up a few facts before you face the hazards of university scholarship. So sit up, now, and pay attention. I'm going to give you a few facts. The world is large, little Alek. It is large and 70% of it is covered by water. Yes, 70%. So you see we humans are already a bit less important than we think. The world, according to geologists, is 4 billion years old, and even the oldest of families have only walked upon it, according to anthropologists, for one million years. So now you should feel even less important. Of course theologians will tell you humans have been here a mere 6000 years, and logically speaking that would make us yet even less important than what the anthropologists say. Do you feel small and insignificant and cowering before the vastness of all creation now, Alek? Good! Then hold onto that feeling and soon you'll be ready to experience life as a university freshman. Now where was I? Ah, yes, cradle of humanity. Well, long after the nations of the world migrated off--mostly heading north into Eurasia and Oceana and the Americas, our ancestors started to learn tricks to make them mightier than the pumas and elephants and rhinoceri we shared the continent with. No, lad, not just spears and flint knives. The most powerful weapon of early man was the plow. With that and the calendar to time his harvests, there was no animal that could hope to defeat humans. Our people's first permanent settlement was in the grasslands known as the Horn of Russia. Where man settled, the wild game often fled to escape his voracious hunger and the hunger of his plentiful children. By the 4th millennium BC, the travelers and seminomadic huntsmen of our nation knew of the mountains along the Great Rift Valley and the coastal savannahs along the equatorial latitudes. It was in these last days of prehistory that our people learned the secret of creating incense from the plants of the deserts and began to value ivory and gems in commerce and the arts. We learned of lands far to the south where our excess populations could migrate and settle. Even in these despotic ages, we were gradually shaping our culture into a true civilization. The People of the South It was in the 4th millennium that Russians first met the people of the south--the Iroquois. Where other early hominids had migrated north to the outer continents, the ancestors of the Iroquois (or "Haudenosaunee" as they called themselves) had moved south and found the excellent farmlands of the Subcongo. We greeted them and we spoke as neighbors, cousins. No ill will passed between us in this epoch. We greeted them as brothers and they met us as friends. It is said, by anthropologists who study such things, that the earliest religious practices were borrowed from the rich and symbol-laden traditions of the southerners. Perhaps it is true. But truly patriotic historians would also note that the development of bronze tools (and the refinement of bronze metalsmithing) did not emerge in the Subcongo until after contact with Russia and their advances shows the distinct influence of Russian techniques. So we gave them metals and they gave us gods. You could say (as my father often did) it was a fair trade. Sadly, our little Eden of fair trades and kindly neighbors was not to last... Table of Contents Spoiler : Chapter 1: Anthropology and God + Chapter 2: The People of the South Ch 3: The Downside of Being Nice to Indians Ch 4: Incensed! Ch 5: When in(spired by) Rome... Ch 6: Let Russia be Russia Ch 7: Roman Deal Bread Ch 8: WAR! (*huhnh!*) What IS It Good For? Absolutely Nuthin' (Say it again!) Ch 9: Forgotten Bits of History Ch 10: The Second Roman Wars Ch 11: How Old Gandon Could Have Saved Us All a Lot of Trouble Ch 12: The Brief Times Between the Violence Ch 13: The Bad News Bearers Ch 14: Round 2 Ch 15: Catherine's Quick Little War Ch 16: A Cure for Pride Ch 17: The Dark Age Ch 18: Burgundians are Basically Stupid Ch 19: Renaissance Ideas Ch 20: Years of Turbulence and Change Czarina Catherine's 1130 AD World Atlas Ch 21: Final Musings about the Renaissance Ch 22: The Final Teuto-Roman War Ch 23: Balancing Acts Ch 24: Without Honor by Mikhail Herskowitz Preface: Coffeechat Ch 25: Without Honor Chapter Three: Prime Minister at Last and Chapter Four: November Ninth Ch 26: Without Honor Chapter Five: The Partition of Englandia Ch 27: Without Honor Chapter Seven: Englandia's Sorriest Hour Ch 28: Without Honor Chapter Eight: Bloody Faith Ch 29: Without Honor Chapter Ten: Endgame Ch 30: A Sunday Stroll Ch 31: The Glorious Monarch Ch 32: The Auction, or how Kathy got her groove back Primary source documents for The Auction of 1578 Ch 33: All That Glitters Fades Ch 34: The Septembrists A review of Russia's diplomatic relations as of 1630 Ch 35: The Golden Age of Democracy Ch 36: The Age of Colonization Ch 37: The Unsteady East Ch 38: The Franco-Japanese Conflict Ch 39: Might As Well Jump! The gross chapter about evolution Ch 40: Give War a Chance Ch 41: coming in June!