A very sketchy history of China as a mirror for a History of Italy for Chinese

In all of my time as a student of China, which started in October 1979, the grand problem on the surface or hidden between the lines, has always been the same: why did China, which for most of its history was ahead of the West, suddenly lost steam and fell behind? The question is also at the root of the problems of modern China, which wants to recover the lost time and glory, and find its way back to the forefront of development and civilization.

Preface Why This Book? And Introduction

China has always believed in history. Since antiquity, since the times of Confucius and Mozi, since the Zhou dynasty compiled the Record of Rites, the Li Ji, one of the most important cultural elements, if not the most important, has been history and its recording rather than holy religious scriptures, be they something like the Bible or the Quran. Then comparing states and civilizations is to compare history and to look into other people’s histories to know them. Every dynasty considered its top ideological priority to set the record straight on the past dynasty or period. Writing history was the ultimate instrument of ideological justification and legitimacy of power.


Preface. Why this book?

Part I Ancient History, Italy’s origin and its shaping of the Mediterranean Chapter 1: Italy at the turn of the 1st millennium BC

1.1 The people of Italy at the turn of the millennium

Chapter 2: The rise of Ancient Rome and the early confrontation with the Greeks

2.1 The mythical foundation of Rome, blood of royals—and of scoundrels

Chapter 3: Conquering the Mediterranean and the Western world: the Punic and domestic wars

3.1 Context of the wars and the role of the Mediterranean

Chapter 4: Life of the Empire

4.1 Internal management of the empire

Chapter 5: Crisis of the empire and rise of early Christianity

5.1 Rome moves to Constantinople

A very sketchy Chinese History as a reference for the Western reader Part 2

Unlike in the Mediterranean, the miracle of unity occurred again in China at the end of the sixth century, at the time when Muhammad founded Islam. The coincidence of timing is interesting. Between the second and third centuries BC, Rome was defeating Carthage and becoming the main player of the Mediterranean; in 221 BC, the first Qin emperor vanquished all his enemies. In the third century AD, both the Roman and the Han empires suffered a crippling crisis, yet Rome survived, while the Han vanished. In the sixth century AD, China again found its unity, while the imperial Roman rule of the Mediterranean was never again recovered.

Part II: The Rise and Fall of Italy, its City-States and eventual Loss of Centrality of the Mediterranean Chapter 6: Wasted Italy of the high Middle Ages, and the beginning of its rebirth

6.1 Italy and the former Western Empire turned into a wasteland in the 7th century

Chapter 7: The Mediterranean split, Italy broken in two, and awaiting the year 1000, Armageddon

7.1 Splinters of Holy Western Empire and the conversion of the new Barbarians

Chapter 8. The rise of Italy in its first identity and the birth of the Italian city-states

8.1 The growth of the German Empire and its hold on northern Italy

Chapter 9: Italy, the new center of the world in the Renaissance

9.1 The new influence of Italy in Europe

Chapter 10: Italy and the Mediterranean lose centrality

10.1 The fight for Italian hegemony—Italy divided and under attack

Chapter 11: The Fall of the Mediterranean in the 17th Century

11.1 The new world around Italy – rise of the Atlantic and Pacific trade and the new isolation of the Peninsula

A very sketchy history of China as a mirror for a History of Italy for Chinese Part 3

The first Opium War (1839–42) opened the floodgates to modernity for China. Yet at the time the imperial court underestimated the significance, busy coping with the Russians who once again were pressing from the north. There was indeed debate at the court over whether the threat of the English in Canton was greater than that in the north. But actually, despite its massive trove of reserves (possibly 70% of all global silver was in the possession of Beijing), resources were stretched and politically Beijing was not prepared to face war on two fronts at the same time[1].

Part III: The Political History of Italy Chapter 12: Modern Italy and its drive to unity

12.1 Napoleon invents Italy

Chapter 13: Italy united—and lost

13.1 Italy under Giolitti: the rise of the workers movement and the northern enterprises

Chapter 14: World War II and its aftermath

14.1 Going to war, Italian ambitions, and the alliance with Hitler

Chapter 15: Times of stability and revolution: Italy in the 1970 and 1980s

15.1 The complex system of power of the Christian Democrats

Chapter 16: The end of the first republic

Chapter 16: The end of the first republic