After almost fifteen years of intensive work, UNESCO presents an entirely revised and updated edition of this major work in seven volumes. The new edition, now called History of Humanity, is a radical new work providing an account of cultural and scientific achievements in the light of new facts and methods of historiographical investigation. This major undertaking required an International Commission and the co-operation of some 450 distinguished specialists, in a great number of disciplines, from all over the world. A truly interdisciplinary work, the History of Humanity sheds new light on many hitherto unknown features of our common past.
Volume III covers the period running from 700 B.C. to A.D. 700, marked by several turning-points, such as the spread of iron technology, the introduction of innovative irrigation systems and the development of new forms of urbanization. In China, India and the Mediterranean, in Central America and in parts of South America, the so-called "classical cultures" rose. For the first time, science attempted to develop independently of myth and religion, as a new method to explain nature and human destiny. But this period also witnessed the rise of universal religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and, in the seventh century, Islam. A conscious attempt has been made in this volume to present these fourteen centuries of cultural and scientific development in a balanced way.