The title of this book needs a word of explanation, since each of its terms can legitimately be used to denote more than one conception both of time and place. The East is understood widely and vaguely nowadays to include all the continent and islands of Asia, some part of Africa the northern part where society and conditions of life are most like the Asiatic and some regions also of South Eastern and Eastern Europe. Therefore it may appear arbitrary to restrict it in the present book to Western Asia. But the qualifying term in my title must be invoked in justification. It is the East not of to day but of antiquity with which I have to deal, and, therefore, I plead that it is not unreasonable to understand by The East what in antiquity European historians understood by that term. To Herodotus and his contemporary Greeks Egypt, Arabia and India were the South; Thrace and Scythia were the North; and Hither Asia was the East: for they conceived nothing beyond except the fabled stream of Ocean. It can be pleaded also that my restriction, while not in itself arbitrary, does, in fact, obviate an otherwise inevitable obligation to fix arbitrary bounds to the East. For the term, as used in modern times, implies a geographical area characterized by society of a certain general type, and according to his opinion of this type, each person, who thinks or writes of the East, expands or contracts its geographical area.