australian colonial history
Australian Colonial History
This course was prepared for a group of 30 adults and represents an interactive way of
combining mini lectures from the presenter peppered with recent DVDs from Youube and other
digital sources as well as podcasts from radio. These are provided by various lecturers and public
commentators from universities and forums in Europe, America and Australia. Discussion will be
a focal point of the series. As well participants can use hyperlinks to watch additional digital
material at home and read suggested books if they wish to follow in more detail, a particular
issue raised in any of these sessions.
History helps us understand some complex issues, even though it can’t and doesn’t predict future
outcomes. Today our Western Civilization is strongly attacked as corrupt, militaristic and nihilistic.
But is it? How did it evolve and what aspects of should we embrace and be proud of?
These history sessions will look at the current situation, then briefly explore those past cultures that have created our
complex Western world.
It all started with the Greeks and their vast cultural agenda. Art, sculpture, philosophy, science and much more was developed
by this squabbling, argumentative but lively group of city states and colonies, known as the Greek
Masters of war, engineering and administration. Their Pax Romana (The Roman Peace) was spread
across Europe in the largest ancient empire prior to the British Empire. The Romans would colonize
and ‘civilize’ other cultures but would brutally suppress any rebellion.
The Italian Renaissance:
The rich Italian city states of the thirteenth century rediscovered the Ancient World of the Greeks and
Romans through their discoveries of surviving sculptures and ancient manuscripts. The result was a
reintroduction of many of the achievements of these cultures that had been lost in the previous 1000
years. The Italians built on this foundation advancing both the practice of the arts and that of diplomacy in an era that was
fractured by minor wars between the city states and the Papacy.
In the early sixteenth century Martin Luther started a vast religious movement protesting against
some of the corruption and excesses that had developed in the Catholic Church. The succeeding
growth of Protestantism turned many parts of Europe into mercantile hubs where vast wealth started
to be made by a merchant class, while more austere religious and communal practices were adopted
by whole populations in Northern Europe.
The age of science burst into being in the eighteenth century in England and France. Gentlemen ‘scientists’ started to look at
the way the physical aspects of our world worked. In France the French Revolution in 1787 followed naturally from this
development as the middle classes refused to accept the older corrupt rule of King, Church and Nobles. This was the start of
our era in which science and government would dominate our thinking and lead to Western democracy as we know it and the
vast scientific knowledge that has changed our world and lives.
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