I just finished reading Civilization One, a History/Science book written by Christopher Knight and Alan Butler. The book, published in 2004, focuses on a possible/probable measuring system used by the Megalithic builders of pre-history primarily in what is now Britain and France. It later compares that system to those used by other ancient cultures including the Sumerians, Minoans, and Egyptians.
While reading the book, I couldn’t help but think about John’s Journey to the Temple of Ra. In Part V — Fire — South toward the end of mini-chapter 2 of Wands, John and the Nuotos visit the remains of the first Palace of Knossos built by the Minoans on their homeland island now called Crete. Paolo plays tour guide and recites some Minoan history to the others. It is only at that time that John notices a pattern within his journeying.
Civilization One follows a similar pattern. When, toward the middle, it began speaking of the Minoans and discussed some of the same history John learned, my ears perked up. Toward the end, they only touch on Egypt, but then a subsequent book—Before the Pyramids—focuses on it, which I’ll likely read now.
Before writing Journey to the Temple of Ra, I had only laid out the most general plan. Clearly, Egypt was a destination, but I did not plot out a specific course to get him there. I considered a few choice locations along the way, specifically places I had visited, but otherwise I allowed the story to decide the details. Crete was never part of that early plan; it simply sprung forth within the story. I have not been to Crete myself, and yet, by the time John got close to it, I realize the perfection of it all!
For Scribe to the Pantheon of Rome, I followed the same approach. I knew the general itinerary ahead of time, but let the story fill in all of the details. Clearly Rome was a part of it, and also Barcelona, a city I am quite fond of and have visited multiple times. Again I was amazed at how it all came together.
Within the writing of both books, I found myself uncovering all sorts of historical, mathematical, scientific, and metaphysical nuggets. Some I knew ahead of time, some I only discovered through the process.
Civilization One, was not a book I went looking for. I found it at my parents house a year or three ago. My cousin had given it to my Dad. In fact, before breaking it open this past week, I thought it was a novel! And I certainly had no idea it would relate to my own books even if peripherally.
If you like early history, have an interest in Astronomy, and are curious about some of our measuring systems (like why we divide a day the way we do), you’ll enjoy the journey Knight and Butler take you on. [You can also find a couple lectures on YouTube.]
I still wonder if I have another book in me. I started writing it 15 months ago, and came up with the perfect title, but then haven’t found my way back to it for a while. I do think about it often.
Civilization One has rekindled that a bit. I guess we’ll have to see what comes of it.