Thursday, December 30, 2010

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” (Matthew 2:1,2 NKJV)

Fifteen hundred years before Christ, a Mesopotamian prophet named Balaam, whose history and prophecies are mentioned in the Book of Numbers in the Bible, spoke these words: “There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.”

His additional words explained that this Star and Scepter referred to a future great leader of Israel. The Jews considered this prophecy a major teaching about the coming of the Messiah.

At the time of Christ’s birth, wise men of Mesopotamia were trained in the ancient Scriptures, and were aware of the prophecies by Balaam and Daniel. They noted the unusual star in the heavens, appearing exactly at the time Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks of Years was being fulfilled, and they followed the star to Bethlehem, after taking care of the protocol for foreigners entering Jerusalem.

People who desire divine guidance must be students of Holy Scripture. The Apostle Paul wrote young Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2nd Timothy 21:15 KJV).

We have a great advantage over the ancient scribes and prophets, for today we have the entire body of Scriptures to study. Of course, knowledge brings with it responsibility. Once we know something, we never again can plead ignorance, and we will be held accountable for bringing our actions in line with what we know to be true. The Bible refers to this as “walking in the light.”

Stars have been used for navigation for thousands of years. In Navy boot camp, they taught us the basics of celestial navigation.

I remember the first time that my ship was scheduled to cross the equator into the Southern Hemisphere. As we sailed south from the Philippines, a cross-shaped constellation appeared above the horizon, and I thought I was seeing the famous Southern Cross that is used for celestial navigation south of the equator. An old sailor set me straight. He warned that the cross I was looking at was the False Cross. The True Cross would soon appear, and two bright stars known as The Pointer would indicate which of the two crosses was the True Cross. It turned out just as he said.

It’s important that we focus our lives on Christ, the Light of the World, and upon the cross where he offered up his innocent life for us, the guilty ones. Jesus said, “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He said, “I have come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.

We also have the wonderful privilege of pointing others to the True Cross where the Savior died for our sins, that we might have hope of eternal life.

Now walk in the light!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mesopotamia Religious spirit.......

Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilisation, was a hot spot of human activity five thousand years ago.

Nurtured by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the lands of Sumer and Akkad bloomed with fertile thought. It was Sumertime and the living was easy - with plenty of spare time to doodle with amazing inventions such as commerce, writing and politics.

Of course, this new-fangled writing did have its downside. For the first time in human history, intelligent people could earn a living by making little squiggles on pieces of paper instead of chasing animals across the landscape. Which soon led to the rise of Accountants, Lawyers... and Bureaucracy. (The world's first rule book was written by King Hammurabi, who explained in detail exactly what part of you would be cut off if you misbehaved.)

But writing also gave us literature; the world's first novel was written in Mesopotamia. It's called The Epic Of Gilgamesh and, no, it's not a murder mystery. In fact it's a roller-coaster adventure with the Gods, containing fantasy, love, bloodshed and allegorical insights into the human condition. It was first produced in clay tablet form - we had to wait several thousand years for the paperback edition.

Many Mesopotamian Gods have Sumerian and Akkadian variations. They're virtually identical, but with cunning changes of name. For example, TAMMUZ is the Akkadian equivalent of DUMUZI. (This can become confusing; is that one God or two? For the purposes of Godchecker we've tended to treat them separately.) Things became a little easier when the two regions joined together to form Babylonia. At least until the Tower of Babel came along and confused it all again.

Longshan Culture

Longshan Culture that were produced in the late period of the Neolithic Age (2900 BC to 2100 BC) can be found in the old town of Longshan, in the city of Zhangqiu which is located in Shangdong Province. Its influence can be found in the middle and lower areas of the Yellow River Valley flowing thru Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi, and Shanxi Provinces. Artifacts from the Longshan Culture are characterized with the applications of both copper and stone.

Compared with the Yangshao Culture, farming techniques in agriculture and the raising of livestock have greatly improved in the Longshan Culture. Farmers from the Longshan Culture planted millet as the main crop, and raised pigs, dogs, sheep and cattle. They also made great advancements in the area of tool making, and were able to create many tools made of stone that would include stone knives used to drill holes, as well as stone reaping hooks, and stone shovels to name just a few of their more common tools.

The Longshan Culture also made great advancements in the area of pottery making, with black pottery being one of the more striking examples of this remarkable culture. Pottery was made using techniques that enabled the artisans of the Langshan Culture to produce large numbers of pieces while at the same time maintaining a sense of quality. Some of the walls of the pottery were as thin as eggshells with surfaces that were quite bright. Some of the more common pieces produced were bowls, basins, jars, urns and a variety of cooking vessels. Nowadays, the black pottery that was and continues to be produced have been regarded as works of art, and are appreciated and sought after by many people.

In architecture, the rectangular earth-platform pattern buildings were set up during that time which can be seen in the remains of the Longshan Culture found in Shangdong Province. The earth platforms were constructed by a technique known as 'rammed earth' that came into being during the Shang Dynasty (16th B.C-11th B.C.). In recent years, at least ten of these kinds of platforms have been found with seven of them closely situated in a group in Shandong Province.

The Longshan Culture also had some rather interesting customs when it came to burying their dead family members in a cemetery that was usually separated from the area where they actually lived. It was common for one person to be buried in a rectangle pit, while occasionally a few would be buried together in a single pit. Children, as those of the Bampo Culture period would be put into urns before being buried. Bones used for predicting one's fortune, and made from the bones of sheep, pigs, deer and cow have been found in the graves from that period. With this in mind it is believed that the custom of augury or divination may have been popular and practiced.

With the development of social productivity, women's dominate place in the Longshan Culture began to give way to men as they began to play more important roles in farming and the developing handicrafts industry. Family life based on the principle of monogamy was established, and at the same time polarization between the rich and poor also began to gradually appear. With the advancements being made in so many areas of the society, the Longshan Culture like so many other cultures was subjected to changes that needed to be made in order to continue its remarkable development.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moche civilization

The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about AD 100 to AD 800, during the Regional Development Epoch. While still the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as monolithic empire or state but rather as a group of autonomous polities that shared a common elite culture as seen in the rich iconography and monumental architecture that survive today.

They are particularly noted for their elaborate painted ceramics, gold work, monumental constructions (huacas) and irrigation systems. Moche history may be broadly divided into three periods – the emergence of the Moche culture in Early Moche (AD 100–300), its expansion and florescence during Middle Moche (AD 300–600), and the urban nucleation and subsequent collapse in Late Moche (AD 500–750).

The mystery of the sacrifices

Both iconography and the finds of human skeletons in ritual contexts seems to indicate that human sacrifice played a significant part in Moche religious practices. These rites appear to have involved the elite as key actors in a spectacle of costumed participants, monumental settings and possibly the ritual consumption of blood.

The Gold Mausoleum

Walter Alva prompted the construction of a museum called the Royal Tombs of Sipan, which was inaugurated in 2002. It is located in Lambayeque, and was inspired by the ancient pyramids of the truncated pre-Hispanic Moche civilization, (I to VII century AD). The museum displays more than two thousand pieces of gold.

Material culture

Moche pottery is some of the most varied in the world. The use of mould technology is evident which would have enabled the mass production of certain forms. But despite this, they had a large variation in shape and theme with most important social activities documented in pottery including war, sex, metal work, and weaving. Given the unusual emphasis on life-like depictions on the famous elite portrait vases, some have suggested that individuality was an important aspect of Moche political culture.

Recent discoveries

In 2005, a mummified Moche woman was discovered at the Huaca Cao Viejo, part of the El Brujo archeological site on the outskirts of Trujillo, Peru. It is the best-preserved Moche mummy found to date and the tomb that housed her had unprecedented elaborateness.

The archaeologists on the site believe that the tomb had been undisturbed since approximately 450 AD. The tomb also contained various military and ornamental artifacts, including war clubs and spear throwers. A garroted young girl, probably a servant, was found in the tomb with her. Peruvian and U.S. archaeologists in collaboration with National Geographic announced news of the discovery in May 2006.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Olmec civilization

The ancient Olmec civilization is now considered to be one of the earliest great civilizations in Mesoamerica. This civilization came and went long before the Aztec empire was even thought of, and yet they left their mark on the peoples of Mexico and beyond, and developed a complex culture which is still echoed today, probably in ways we don't yet even realize.

The ancient Olmec civilization is believed to have been centred around the southern Gulf Coast of Mexico area (today the states of Veracruz and Tabasco) - further south east than the heart of the Aztec empire. The Olmec culture developed in the centuries before 1200BC (BCE), and declined around 400BC.

Olmec civilization

The major Olmec urban area in early times was San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, at the time the largest city in Mesoamerica. This was probably a ritual and political place, housing thousands and using an elaborate water and drainage system. The city and in fact the ancient Olmec civilization is often remembered because of the gigantic stone heads that have been found here.

There are a couple of reasons why the Olmecs are so important.

  • First, they used and perhaps developed many things culturally and religiously that were later used by the Mayans and Aztecs and many other cultures.
  • Second, they had a wide influence in their day, which gives us reason to believe that they may be responsible for spreading some of these ideas.

The Olmecs carved stone, jade, and the volcanic rock basalt (used for the great stone heads). The stone was quarried and imported.

We can see similar types of sculpture as far away as central Mexico (the land of the Aztecs) and the states of Oaxaca, Morelos, Guerrero, perhaps even farther.

In 2006, archaeologists unearthed a city that they believed was influenced by the Olmecs, only 40km / 25mi south of Mexico City. A new urban society related to the Olmecs suggests that their influence may have been stronger than we ever suspected.
The Olmecs had a rich society, traded with far away peoples and ate a wide variety of foods

Influence of the Olmecs

So aside from trade and carving, how did the Olmecs influence Mexico, and eventually the Aztec empire? We're uncertain, but it's believed that they may have been early adopters of the complex religious system that the Mayans and the Aztecs would use. Temple mounds, jaguars, many gods, and perhaps even human sacrifice were used by the Olmec society. The jaguar is a common figure in Olmec religion - especially combined with a snake or human child.

The layout of their newer city (after the decline of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán), La Venta, would be copied by future societies.

The calendar used for centuries in Mexico may also have originated with the Olmec. Their astronomy was also carried on by later groups. They were probably obsess with the timing of religious ritual, as the Mayans and Aztec would be after them.

Even the ritual ball game so popular among the Aztecs is believed to have been played in the ancient Olmec civilization.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Roman Civilization

According to legend, Rome was a resolution of a mixture of native Latins and the survivors of the Trojan War who were brought to Italy in the 12th century. On a date corresponding to April 21, 753BC, the city of Rome was founded at the place where it stands today. Since then Rome underwent some drastic changes and the whole Roman civilization kept evolving with the changing times.

Romans were very creative and aesthetic which is evident from their exotic architectural designs. They appreciated beauty but at the same time took interest in some of the ugliest bloody fights in the name of entertainment.

This write-up talks about some of the events that were the major highlight of the Roman Empire.

Roman Architecture

Roman architecture is still known for it's unique and novel designs and arches. It has given birth to several new designs that are a part of architecture even today. Roman architecture, sculpture and literature were strongly influenced by Greek models. However, the Roman buildings were large and ornate with an exclusive touch of their own. Another thing that separated Roman architecture from Greek architecture was the use of the semi-circular arches to form vaults and domes.

Aqueducts were the main advantage of these arches. They helped Romans to channel the water from the hillside to a container. They contained pipes lined with cement, on the top of the arches, which carried the water. Smaller architectural works included triumphal arches, pillars of victory and fountains. Arches and pillars were built to pay tribute to the great achievements of emperors and generals.

The Romans built hundreds of public and private fountains in their cities. Running water was one of the exotic trademark of the Romans and they simply loved it. These fountains were also built in memory of some of the distinguished people.

Roman Army

Roman army is still remembered for the adroitness of its members and their civilized way of achieving victory.

There were three main reasons for this:

Discipline, hard and efficient training, and speed at which they learnt new tactics.

The Gladiator Culture.

The gladiators were armed with daggers, swords, forks and nets and they fought with slaves and criminals who were often not armed, or armed only with the net. The fight would go on and on endlessly unless one participant lost his life. If a man was wounded, he would throw down his shield, and raise the index finger of his left hand. This was a plea for mercy, from the crowd. The crowd would then decide whether he should live or die.

The Famous Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar was probably the most popular figure in the whole Roman Empire. His determination and strong will power was envied by many people and that kept him out of consulship. He finally became consul in 59 BC. At the time of his birth, Rome was still a republic and was gradually taking shape of an empire. The senators who ruled were motivated by the greed of power in the hope of becoming either a consul or a praetor, the two senior posts which carried imperium, the legal right to command an army!

Roman Art

Roman Art is a style of artistic expression that flourished in Italy from about 200 B.C into the 4th century A.D. Quality wise it is considered a step lower than the Greek Art but was more diversified and progressive.

The influence of Greece on Roman Art was imminent because thousands of plundered statutes and paintings were shipped to Italy after the conquest of Greece. The beauty of the Greek painting provided inspiration to the budding Roman artists and finally they etched out pieces of art that although had a striking resemblance to Greek art were unique in its subject and outlook.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ancient Tibetan Sky Burial

We human get buried after death in different way according to our religion but in ancient tibetian who buried the human in cruel manner.....

Tibet is a region in Central Asia and the native place for the Tibetans. With an average altitude of 4.900 meters (16.000 feet), Tibet is the highest country on earth and is often styled “world tube”. For the religious community of Tibet Buddhist, the land of their residence is located on the mountain where no soft ground. Almost all of them covered with stones or snow / water stone.

Therefore potter caused no geographical situation, they gave the corpse to be eaten by birds. Besides, that way the spirit of the is believed to be conserved in the mountain with regard birds. The dead man above are cut and destroyed to facilitate the bird accelerate this process. They also do not want the bird carrying members of an intact body (such as head, hands, etc.) to another place.