Civilizations and Historical Patterns. An Approach to the Comparative Study of History

The book was written in French and published in Paris in 1975 at the Mouton Publishing House, Paris – La Haye (now Mouton De Gruyter, Berlin-New York), with the title Civilisations et lois historiques. Essai d'étude comparée des civilisations. The work is based on state doctor degree thesis presented at the Sorbonne, under the guidance of the reputed sociologist and philosopher Raymond Aron. In 1976 the book was awarded a history prize of the French Academy.

This theory of the cyclic history of civilizations is just as valid today as it was 30 years ago when it was written. Moreover, now the book gains additional interest by the study of the present situation of the western civilization and by the prognostic considerations ventured at the time it was written (between 1960-1970) and fully confirmed since. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the steady ascension of the American leadership all over the world, were clearly foreseen.

The book was also translated in Romanian and published in Bucharest in 1999 at the Humanitas Publishing House.

The complete English translation of the book is now available.

Mouton Publishing House (1975), Humanitas Publishing House (1999), 448 p.

First Part
The civilizations: definition and enumeration
-Egyptian civilization
-Babylonian civilization
-Cretan civilization
-Hellenic or Greco-Roman civilization
-Byzantine civilization
-Western civilization
-Arabic or Islamic civilization
-Indian civilization
-Chinese or Far Eastern civilization
-Pre-Columbian civilizations
Second Part
Recurrent phenomena


Dimension and longevity of civilizations. Civilizations of the first, second and third generation. Duration of each phase. Plain characteristics of each phase in the political, economic, cultural and religious domains; the heroic age; the others phases. Sub-civilizations within and without the area of the imperial state; displacement of the center of gravity; accession of one of the peripheral states to the empire.


Contacts, in space and time, between civilizations. Acculturation; resistance and rejection phenomena. Incubation period. Certain effects of acculturation (costume, habitat, language a.o.). Race; what is the meaning of race that should be adopted by historians? Stability and change of ethnical characters. Possible cases of “hibernation”. What is transmitted in time? Continuity or non-continuity of civilizations?


A number of signs that accompany the birth, the growth, the flourishing and the disintegration of cultures. Psychological fatigue, comparison with the individual psychology. Effect of psychological fatigue on restricted groups; destiny of a family, of a lineage, hereditary genius and its limitations, stimulating handicaps. Effect of psychological fatigue on the great ensembles: the phenomenon of effacement of the “centrals” and ascension of the “peripherals”; the case of the Roman Empire, of France, of Great Britain, of Russia and of the United States. Role played by the “peripherals” in the present cultural development of the Western Civilization.  


1.Some already mentioned facts.
2.Possible consequences for the historical method.
3.The present state of the Western Civilization:
Attempt of prognosis. Pax Americana?
The last competitors in the struggle for hegemony.
A new Middle Ages or an Intermediary Period?

APPENDIX I A. Synchronic section I
Age of the living civilizations around 480 B.C.
APPENDIX I B. Synchronic section II
Age of the living civilizations 2.000 years later, around 1520 A.D.
APPENDIX II. Nobel prices for science (physics, chemistry, medicine and physiology)
APPENDIX III. The great talents of the Italian Renaissance (with place of birth or family place of origin)
APPENDIX IV. List of Roman emperors (from 68 A.D. to 395 A.D.) after the extinction of the Julian-Claudian dynasty with indications of their place of origin
APPENDIX V. A. List of French ministers of Louis XV and Louis XVI
B. List of French prime-ministers (from 1871 to 1969)
APPENDIX VI. List of British prime-ministers (from 1721 to 1970)
APPENDIX VII. A. List of Russian prime-ministers (from 1905 to 1917)
B. List of ministers of Foreign Affairs in Russia (from 1818 to 1917)
C. List of Politburo members (from 1917 to 1966)
APPENDIX VIII. List of Presidents of the United States of America, Vice-presidents, Secretaries of State and Chief Justices (from 1789 to 1974) with the ethnic origin of their families.

World rights available.