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Название: Encyclopedia of ancient Asian civilizations
Автор: Higham C.F.W.
This volume concentrates on the civilizations that arose
east of the Caspian Sea. These early civilizations of Asia
developed over a vast territory stretching from the region
of modern Afghanistan and the Aral Sea to Japan and
Korea, and from Sri Lanka (former Ceylon) to the islands
of Southeast Asia. These civilizations developed in the
oases that bordered the arid Taklamakan Desert in western
China and the tropical jungles of Java in Indonesia.
Virtually every major river basin sustained one or more
early states, along rivers like the Yalu, which flowed
through the icy cold of a Korean winter, or the Irrawaddy
and the Chao Phraya, which ran through the pervading
heat of their valleys. Early Western visitors to East and
Southeast Asia were invariably taken aback by the scale
and power of the rulers they encountered. Even the mighty
army of Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.E.) rebelled at
the prospect of advancing beyond the Beas River into
India. Romans, Greeks, and Persians were keen to trade
with the East but barely gained a foothold on Asian soil.