Exploring Ancient World Cultures (EAWC) is a college-level "on-line course supplement for students and teachers of the ancient and medieval worlds" covering the Near East, India, Egypt, China, Greece, Rome, Islam and Europe. The author/general editor of the site is Anthony Beavers, a professor of philosophy and religion at the University of Evansville.
The site contains a separate chapter for each cultural area. Each chapter includes an introductory essay, links to the major literary and religious works, a chronology, and some include quizzes. The title of the site is somewhat misleading in that it implies exploration of the entire culture, while in fact the information presented heavily reflects the author's background in philosophy and religious studies. The introductory essays are too short to explore other facets of the culture; for example, the introductory essay for "Ancient China" focuses on The Tao Te Ching and its philosophy of leading a modest, balanced life. However, highly selective links to resources outside the site are also included, which broaden the scope of the site considerably.
For each chapter, these outside links are organized into "Essays," "Images," "Internet Sites," and "Texts." The essays, which include other aspects of culture such as "The Coins of Ancient China," are scholarly and mostly from online journals or conference presentations. The images and texts are selected from museums, online archives, or mounted on the EAWC site. The Internet sites are high quality and provide a path to subjects such as art, politics, education, and economy. In addition to the lists in the chapters, all of the links can also be accessed through a separate "Index of Internet Resources" section.
EAWC has many hotlinked words in the text (indicated by small caps) which, when selected, will automatically run a search in Argos, a Web search engine limited to ancient and medieval studies sites. Argos can also be searched directly from the "Index of Internet Resources" pages.
EAWC is a fine source for undergraduates or graduate students studying the ancient history of these areas. Although the introductory essays will only be relevant to those focussing on religion or philosophy, the links to other texts, essays and Internet sites make EAWC a good starting point of exploration for any aspect of these cultures.
Electronic Resources Librarian
Austin Peay State University