The Quarterly Review, Volume 212

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General Books LLC, 2009 - 448 pages
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Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1910. Excerpt: ... Art. 2.--A PALACE IN THE SYRIAN DESERT. History in retrospect suffers an atmospheric distortion. We look upon a past civilisation and see it, not as it was, but charged with the significance of that through which we gaze, as down the centuries shadow overlies shadow, some dim, some luminous, and some so strongly coloured that all the age behind is tinged with a borrowed hue. So it is that the great revolutions, 'predestined unto us and we predestined, ' take on a double power; not only do they turn the current of human action, but to the later comer they seem to modify that which was irrevocably fixed and past. We lend to the dwellers of an earlier day something of our own knowledge; we watch them labouring towards the ineluctable hour, and credit them with a prescience of change not given to man. At no time does this sense of inevitable doom hang more darkly than over the years that preceded the rise of Islam; yet no generation had less data for prophecy than the generation of Muhammad. The Greek and the Persian disputed the possession of western Asia in profitless and exhausting warfare, both harassed from time to time by the predatory expeditions of the nomads on their frontiers, both content to enter into alliance with this tribe or with that, and to set up an Arab satrap over the desert marshes. Thus it happened that the Beni Ghassan served the emperor of the Byzantines, and the Beni Lakhmid fought in the ranks of the Sassanian armies. But neither to Justin II nor to Chosroes the Great came the news that in Mecca a child was "born of the Qureish who was to found a military state as formidable as any that the world had seen, and nothing could have exceeded the fantastic improbability of such intelligence. I had set out from England determined to journey back behind this great div...

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