In 1935, in the preface to the second edition of his book Ancient Times: A History of the Early World, James Henry Breasted wrote, “The discovery of the tomb of Tutenkhamon by Howard Carter has proved to be an epoch-making disclosure of the beauty and refinement of civilization under the Egyptian Empire, and has perhaps done more to interest a large public in the story of the human past than any other single discovery in the history of archaeological research.”
If anyone had the authority to make such a sweeping statement, it was Breasted. Born in 1865 in Rockford, Illinois, spurred on early by Austen Henry Layard’s drawings of ancient Assyrian ruins (proof that the Old Testament was rooted in reality), Breasted received a master’s in Hebrew from Yale in 1892 (so that he could study ancient Biblical cities), headed to the University of Berlin where in 1894 he earned a doctorate in Egyptology (the first American to do so), and then robed in knowledge took a command post at the University of Chicago, where as first chair of Egyptology and Oriental History he fathered the field of ancient history in America. This is the man who forever relocated the origins of western civilization—WESTERN CIVILIZATION!!!—from white Europe (ancient Greece and Rome) to the scythe of land he named the Fertile Crescent, a territory that followed the upper Nile northward to curve east and southeast along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In other words, the Near and Middle East. Think about it.