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.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oman Civilization

Inhabited by Bedouin tribes as early as third millennium BC, Oman was acutely under-developed until the discovery of oil and natural gas in the early 1970s.

Archaeological excavations have recently shown that much of Oman’s civilization predates the Arab period. The region embraced Islam during the lifetime of Mohammed in the seventh century AD.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the sultans of Muscat were powerful figures in Arabia and East Africa, who often came into conflict with the colonial powers in the region, particularly the Portuguese, who first settled here in the 16th century. Close ties have been maintained with Britain since 1798, when a treaty of friendship was concluded.

British influence remains strong but the number of British advisers occupying key positions in the Omani government, headed by the hereditary ruler Sultan Qaboos, has steadily declined and is now limited to a handful of advisors.

During the early years of the Sultan’s reign, which began in 1970, his top priority was to deal with an insurgency in the western part of his kingdom, conducted by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman (PFLO) with the backing of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.

The defeat of the insurgents served to increase both domestic and foreign pressure on Sultan Qaboos to introduce democratic reforms. A series of incremental measures have been introduced to modernise and liberalize this previously autocratic regime.

Two consultative assemblies, the Majlis as-Shura and the Majlis al-Dawlah, were originally groomed to assume the functions of a bicameral parliament at the turn of the millennium. This has not happened, nor is it likely to do so in the foreseeable future.

The two Majlis have some influence over domestic affairs, but no say in foreign and defence matters. Recently the franchise that elects them has been steadily expanding to include men and women over the age of 21. The most recent poll for the Majlis as-Shura in November 2003 registered little change in its make-up: no formal political parties are allowed but supporters of the Sultan are in the majority.

Relations with Oman’s immediate neighbours have been cordial, especially with Yemen, since the end of the PFLO insurgency and the unification of Yemen itself. In recent years, Omani concerns have been focused further a field. In 1981, Oman was a founding member of the Gulf Co-operation Council and has played a leading role in promoting its increasing involvement in regional security issues. The country holds strategic military importance to the West and has maintained friendly relations during the last two decades.

In 1994, Oman was the first Gulf state to establish official relations with Israel. Since 1998, it has also developed good relations with Iran, now extending as far as mutual security co-operation in the Gulf.

Oman has major oil trades with Japan, Korea (Rep), Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

Friday, December 3, 2010

World Oldest Cities...

There’s something fascinating about ancient cities that makes you want to explore everything they have to offer. If you too, love to explore ancient civilizations or what remains of them, there is a list of the 10 oldest cities in the world that are still standing, reminiscent of how people lived millenniums ago.

1 ) Gaziantep, Turkey (3650 B.C.?)

This is the capital city of Gaziantep Province informally known as Antep is the oldest city that’s still standing, with a history dating back to the Hittites period. During the Paleolithic age, It was continually inhabited and experiencing serious growth along with the Ottoman Empire. The stone houses and vibrant bazaars are bordered by beautiful gardens and vineyards, combining in a spectacular sight anywhere you turn.

2 ) Jerusalem, Israel (3000 B.C.?)

It’s a holy city for three different religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Jerusalem is the place where ancient values combine with modern culture to bring a fascinating metropolis. Jerusalem is divided into three parts – West Jerusalem, the rapidly developing commercial part of the city, East Jerusalem – home for the majority of the Arab population, and the Old City – a truly breathtaking location, declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.

3 ) Kirkuk, Iraq (3000 B.C.?)

With archaeological remains that are over 5,000 years old, Kirkuk is an important city for the Kurdish identity and also the center of the Iraqi petroleum industry. While it may not be the most inviting tourist destination, Kirkuk stands on the site of the ancient Assyrian, once being the battlegrounds for three empires, Assyria, Babylonia, and Media that took turns controlling the city.

4 ) Zurich, Switzerland (3000 B.C.?)

The oldest cities in Europe and also the biggest city in Switzerland, Zurich was established in Roman times under the name Turicum. Traces of these times can be found throughout the Old Town – narrow streets filed with antique shops, boutiques and cafes. Shopping is concentrated around the famous Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most beautiful shopping streets in Europe.

5 ) Konya, Turkey (2600 B.C.?)

Located 250 km from the Mediterranean Sea and 500 km from the Black Sea, at an altitude of over 1000 meters in the Anatolian steppe, Konya is one of Turkey’s most fascinating cities, full of mosques and museums. The most popular museums is the Green Mausoleum of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, a great Turkish poet. Konya has a vast array of historical finds, kept in several museums, such as the Archaeological Museum, the Koyunoglu Museum or the Ethnographical Museum.

6 ) Giza, Egypt (before 2568 B.C.)

Napoleon Bonaparte to his soldiers before the Battle of Giza, 1798. Contrary to popular belief, Giza is a city in itself, but which got absorbed by the rapidly developing metropolis of Cairo. It holds one of the most important attractions in Egypt – the Pyramids of Giza, coupled with the Sphinx at the base of the Giza plateau. Giza’s desert plateau will be part of the Grand Museum of Egypt, a project to be completed in 2012 that will replace the Egyptian Museum in Midan Tahrir.

7 ) Xi’an, China (2205 B.C.?)

With a history of over 3,000 years, the city is one of the most important in Chinese history, being one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Xi’an, the eternal city, enjoys fame equal to that of other famous cities such as Athens, Cairo, or Rome. The abundance of relics and sites of important cultural significance gained the city the title of a Natural History Museum. Furthermore, the Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is often referred to as “the eighth major miracle of the world”.

8 ) Asyut, Egypt (before 2160 B.C.)

The shield of a king named Recamai, who reigned in Upper Egypt (probably during the “shepherd dynasty” in the “Lower Country”), has been discovered in Asyut [4]. Lycopolis has no remarkable ruins, but in the excavated chambers of the adjacent rocks are found mummies of wolves, confirming the origin of its name, as well as a tradition preserved by Diodorus Siculus [5], to the effect that an Aethiopian army, invading Egypt, was repelled beyond the city of Elephantine by herds of wolves. Osiris was worshiped under the symbol of a wolf at Lycopolis.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Egypt Civilization

Ancient Egypt was the home of one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It flourished for two thousand years, and then declined, slowly for nearly another thousand years.

The River Nile flows for a thousand miles through desert sands to the Mediterranean Sea. Once a year floods poured down and covered the desert with silt. The Nile valley was wonderfully fertile and it became a refuge for animals and men.

The valley dwellers learned how to grow barley and wheat from the Palestinians, and people settled in villages. From Asia Minor came the knowledge of how to make things of copper. Building with sun-dried bricks and pictographic writing may have been learned from Mesopotamia.

Pictographs are picture writing, in which each symbol is not a letter but a picture of an object or an idea. Egyptian pictographs are called hieroglyphs. This mixture of an African way of life with the Bronze Age culture of the Near East produced Egyptian civilization. The scattered villages of the Nile valley were united by Menes (or Narmer) about 3200 B.C. He was the first pharaoh of the first Dynasty, or family of rulers.

The pharaoh was god and king to his subjects. The word 'pharaoh' means 'great house', and the household of the pharaoh was the government of the country. It foretold the arrival of the Nile flood and planned irrigation works, so that the flood waters enriched the largest possible area. The pharaoh's household consisted of priests and scribes (men who could write). Artists and craftsman were employed.

Egyptians were masters of building and carving in stone. They made jewelry, and invented faience, a kind of plastic of a brilliant blue or green color. They also discovered a way of making a writing material (papyrus) from reeds.

Much Egyptian art was for the dead, who were buried with all the things which they would need in the after life. The early pharaohs built great stone tombs, the pyramids. Later pharaohs were buried in tombs cut in the rock. Many people had their bodies preserved. The god of the dead was Osiris. The Egyptians believed that he had married his sister, Isis, and that he was killed by another god, Seth, and revived by his son, Horus'.

Horus was the god of sky and rain and ruled over the living. He was also a falcon or hawk god. Many Egyptian gods were half animal. Hathor was a cow-goddess. Re was the sun god of Heliopolis, the city of the sun. When Thebes became the capital of Egypt under the eleventh dynasty, Amun, the local god, became Amun-Re and king of the gods.

Four different dynasties ruled a united Egypt from c. 3200 to c. 2500 B.C. This was the Old Kingdom. The unity of Egypt was symbolized in the Pharaoh's crowns. The Red Crown was for Lower Egypt, the White Crown for Upper Egypt, the upper reaches of the Nile valley.

The Old Kingdom collapsed but unity was restored about 2080 B.C. by the eleventh dynasty. The Middle Kingdom lasted until c.1640 B.C. Egypt was then ruled by Semitic peoples, the Hyksos, until Ahmosis, Count of Thebes, reunited the country under the eighteenth dynasty in 1570 B.C. The New Kingdom lasted until 1075 B.C.

The eighteenth dynasty had large regular armies and conquered much of Arabia. The Egyptian empire at that time was nearly lost by the Pharaoh Akhenaten who ruled in the 1340's. He tried to introduce the worship of a single god, Aten the sun, and built a new capital at Tell-el-Amarna.

His successor, Tutankhamun, restored the old gods. Tutankhamun's tomb was the greatest of all finds of treasure in Egypt. Rameses II, of the nineteenth dynasty, restored some of Egypt's power.

He was a great warrior king. But the power of the pharaohs was fading as new kingdoms appeared in the Middle East. Persians, and later Greeks, ruled in Egypt. Some of them became pharaohs. Cleopatra (51-30 B.C.), a descendant of one of Alexander the Great's generals, ruled as pharaoh with her brother. The last pharaoh (native Egyptian), Nectanebo, had died in 341 B.C.