Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Roman

Islamophobia is anathema to rational thinking; (October 18, 2009)

 

            Islam is quickly becoming an integral religion in the Western world.  There is a growing sense of uneasiness for Islam devotees: they pray at least three times a day facing Mecca (the Kaaba) and take seriously the fasting month of Ramadan. The various Christian sects barely practice their religion; the “Christians” mostly use their religion as political platforms during voting seasons to discriminate among cultures for the “proper way of life”.  A recent scandal broke out in England: the government is wire taping the Moslems on ground of social study.  In France there was an attempt at disqualifying Arabs as carrier of any philosophical civilization that could have impressed on European Renaissance.  The Arabic media didn’t respond to “Aristotle on Mount St. Michelle” simply because the book talked of philosophical import and didn’t discuss the scientific aspects.

            The main confusion in Europe or in the Arab/Islamic world is about what Empires we are alluding to: Arabic Empires (culture) or Islamic Empires (civilization) and how to discriminate among the cultures of each one of the Empires.  The modern nationalistic models (brainchild of emerging Europe) could not correspond to ancient models of thinking and thus, the attempts to explaining past Empires with modern models of what constitute a nation is confusing research and biasing facts with awkward interpretations.

            In all periods, elites of Empires needed an ideology to assure the articulation of various heritages (Arab, Persian, Byzantium, Roman, Greek, and Aramaic).  The unstable structure of ancient Empires frequently pressed upon its elites to rethink the new culture of the emerging Empire and re-construct it via a mould where diverse elements were poured in (ethnicity, community, belief systems, and language).  Thus, social thinkers struggled to present a coherent understanding of the new Empire; the purpose was not an erudite analysis for posterity but to get the new Empire functioning properly.

            This post is meant to investigate the allegation that European civilization is fundamentally the heritage of ancient Greece civilization.  I have examined the contention that “Europe civilization is because of Christianism”, a proposal that I refuted in a previous post (read “The Barbaric Catholic Church of Rome”) where the centralized church prohibited the influx of “heretic” scientific manuscripts to Europe from the Near Eastern Byzantium Empire and later from the Islamic Empire till way the 16th century.

            The best route for this examination is to consider two civilizations that imbibed the Islamic Empires.  The first Umayyad Arabic Empire 650 to 800 AC had for Capital Damascus; the culture in the Near East in that period was principally Hellenistic in the sense that scholars and educated people wrote in two languages, the Greek and Syriac languages (Aramaic dialect developed in Edesse, current Turkey) ; the common people spoke the language of the land or Aramaic.  Aramaic is the root language for Hebrew and the various local languages, especially the two Arabic branches that were spoken in Mecca and in Yemen.  It is in this period that lasted 150 years that translation of Greek and Syriac manuscripts into Arabic received its impetus.  Translation of Greek works to Syriac continued way into the 9th century. The people easily assimilated the spoken Arabic of Mecca and gave Arabic its proper alphabet and grammar.

            The second period can be called the Islamic Empire when the Capital was re-located to the newly erected city of Baghdad (Baghdad was to become the largest metropolis in this Empire of over one million inhabitant); this Islamic civilization was marked by the Persian culture and language with high import from India: trade was cut off with Europe for many centuries first during the Mamluk Empires after kicking out the last remnant of the Crusaders and later the early Ottoman Empire as Constantinople fell in around 1450. 

            The Umayyad Dynasty exported to Islamic Persia the embryo of the current scientific works and the nascent Islamic philosophy (falsafa); the more developed scientific works were later mostly written in Persian language; the same scholars wrote the disciplines that were related to religion, philosophy, rhetoric, legal, mathematics, and algebra, in Arabic because they were needed for the proper function in the administration of the Empire.  Educated and cultured people who were familiar with Greek works met in “salons” (majalis) to discuss on various subjects, philosophical incursions into the possible, the intellect, the sensibility and the soul. 

            Schools of learning were erected and knowledge was no longer the prerogative of the initiation of master to disciple for rich people. By the first century of Islam (8th century), schools were exploding everywhere with targeted practical disciplines (algebra, geometry, arithmetic, trigonometry, jurisprudence, theology (kalam), science of tradition (hadith), history, linguistic, lexicography, math combinatorial analysis, cryptography, and grammar) mainly to support the functions of the Empire administration and train cadres for offices such as fiscal, heritage, religious calendar, and army logistics. The schools were inspired by different traditions such as Greek, Persian, Indian, and Syriac).  By the second century of Islam specialized schools in theoretical mathematics, medicine, physics, optics, and astronomy were booming.

            The first acknowledged Moslem philosopher Al Kindi (9th century) admitted that Aristotle was the most eminent Greek philosopher and wrote: “We have to thank the prior thinkers who shared with us what is right; they made it more accessible to us researching the truth and they provided the premises that leveled the way for what is true.  Offering reasons and demonstrations are part of the acquisition process in the sciences for veracity. Those strangers to scientific inquiries are trafficking in religion even though they have got no religion: indeed the one who sells one thing does no longer belong to him.”

            Personally, I tend to attribute the name of Islamic civilization for the import of scientific disciplines such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine, physics, optics, and chemistry.  Arabic civilization should be restricted to the Umayyad Dynasty period in matters of rhetoric, legal, practical mathematics, Kalam (reflection on the world according to the Koran paradigm), grammars, language, and the import of any outside scientific knowledge that the Old World reserved in Constantinople, Persia, India, and China.

            A follow up post will demonstrate that European Renaissance in the 16th century was fundamentally Islamic scientifically; the decentralization of the Christian power away from Rome was also inspired by the decentralization nature of Islam as a religion.  The title is “Europe’s Renaissance is Islamic”.  It is worthwhile for researchers not to confuse the recent period of Islamic radical decadence with early Islamic civilization that lasted from 650 to 1100 AC in the Orient and then re-surfaced in Andalusia (Spain) from 800 till 1400 AC.  After 1400 AC Christian Spanish monarchs chased out the Moslems and Jews from their kingdom; the Catholic Church in Rome instituted the Inquisition to harass the new converts to Christianity.

Complete story of Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem; (September 20, 2009)

For six months now, Jesus had been marching toward Jerusalem for the yearly celebration.

Thousands of pilgrims and followers were accompanying Jesus. Jesus was not a desk Rabi; not an urban Rabi. Jesus was a walking Rabi followed by thousands of long marching disciples.

All indications point to the possibility that Jesus never visited Jerusalem: his mother Mary and her close relatives never set foot in Jerusalem: They had their Great Temple on Mount Carmel; they belonged to the Essonite sect. They lived in the district attached to Tyr (in Phoenicia, Lebanon) and in Galilee which was also attached to Tyr district, administratively and judicially (read https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/the-virgin-mary-is-from-the-town-of-qana-in-lebanon-book-review/.

Of the 12 original disciples only Judas Iscariot was an “original” Jew belonging to the tribe of Benjamin.

The ancestors of Judas were from around Beer Sheba by the desert before they relocated close to Jerusalem; John the minor and Judas were practically the only literate of the group of 12.

Thus, 11 of the original disciples were new converts to Judaism, a religion imposed upon them by the sword by the Hessonite (Maccabees or Hasmodite) Kingdom a century ago.

The Hasmodite Kingdom had conquered most of Palestine and forced the population to be circumcised and to abide by the Jewish Laws of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, way south.

As new converts, the disciples were ultra conservatives with respect to the Jewish laws but they had their own Great Temple on Mount Carmel north of Samaria. They also had no liking for the two southern Jewish tribes and apprehended visiting Jerusalem, as did Jesus.

The yearly pilgrimage of Jesus and the disciples was to the Great Temple; the pilgrimage this year was to Herod Temple in Jerusalem.

Judas was a political Jewish zealot and hated the Romans because they destroyed the Hasmonide Kingdom 60 years ago.

After Judas’ father Simon suffered leprosy the family acquired a summer residence in Galilee; Jesus cured Judas’ father; Jesus later resuscitated Judas’ brother Lazarus from the dead; Marie Magdalena, the sweet heart of Jesus, was Judas’ sister as well as Martha.

Jesus loved this family even more than his own. Jesus trusted and loved Judas more than most; Judas had the purse because he was rich and was highly literate.

Jesus must have discussed and gone into lengthy arguments with Judas the zealot. The advance to Jerusalem was slow; Jesus and the disciples from Galilee were not that excited of entering Jerusalem because it was a hostile city in their mind.

Two factors might have kept Jesus marching on, though he received many intelligence that the multitude of followers joining the trip were not excited for it.

The first reason is that the Pharisee priests of Jerusalem have been scheming for over a year to lure Jesus in: they had neither legal hold on Jesus in the counties he preached nor any power there.

The second factor might be the permanent encouragement of Judas Iscariot coaxing Jesus on. Judas had political ambitions since he was rich and a learned Jew from the southern tribes. The large followers of Jesus have encouraged Judas to plan for a bolder and direct political job.

Jesus enters Jerusalem on a Friday and chased out the money changers and those doing business as usual by Herod Temple. Jesus was chocked by these practices that were never done in the Great Temple of Mount Carmel; his wrath had no limit; he borrowed a whip and ran after those who desecrated the Holy Place; a place for prayer.

Then Jesus camped outside the city limit (this sinful city was no place to honor) and was received as a popular Rabi leader on Sunday morning; Jesus is mounted on a donkey.

On Thursday evening, and after the Last Supper Jesus is made prisoner and convicted of fomenting disruption by the Jewish Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.

From Sunday till the Last Supper what happened?

This year was not a run of the mill celebration; Jerusalem was swarmed by thousands of different brands of pilgrims and a walking Rabi entered preaching and speaking a new message; a walking Rabi who has been lambasting the Pharisee and the other Jewish sects of the priesthood for over six months by now.

The Jewish Sanhedrin has been gathering intelligence on Jesus for over a year and it has accumulated a thorough biography of Jesus and on his messages.

The Sanhedrin knew that Jesus of Galilee was the “son of Marie“; it was convinced, and their rumors aided a lot, that Joseph was not the genetic father of Jesus. And Mathew poured oil on the fire by relating a not convincing story 60 years later.

I don’t care one way or another who was the real father of Jesus but everyone else at that period did care and must have known, especially the Sanhedrin. The Jews named the sons and, especially, the eldest son after the patriarch of the family. The Sanhedrin knew that Jesus was a “gentile” who was circumcised by law during the century old Macabe Kingdom and followed the Jewish rituals.

The Sanhedrin was highly upset and frightened that this walking Rabi knew more on the Book and the history of the Jewish priesthood than the most learned among them. And yet, not a historian, not a document, not an anecdote recounted what happened between Sunday and Thursday.

These four days are as blank as the period of Jesus before he started disseminating his message at the age over 30.

From Sunday to Thursday we know nothing of the activities and whereabouts of Jesus or his apostles.

Were the disciples scattered to disseminate the new message?

Was Jesus preaching and meeting with the masses?

Has Jesus discussed with a few priests in the Sanhedrin?

What is certain is that the Roman Pilates had no facts or accounts on Jesus activities to substantiate fomenting any civil revolt. The Sanhedrin was reduced to asking Jesus abstract and metaphysical questions “Are you the son of God?

I am inclined to believe that Jesus camped outside the city limit and made scarce appearances. Jesus was awed and disoriented. The thousands of pilgrims in Jerusalem might be Jews but they didn’t look or behave like the Essonite (Essenien) sect he belonged to.

Jesus might have dispatched Iscariot to negotiate with the Sanhedrin for a peaceful pilgrimage; he would pray with his disciple in Herod Temple and leave.

Meanwhile, the Sanhedrin had actively fomented the southern Jews against Jesus and then lured Jesus within the city limit for Thursday’s Last supper. Plausibly, Jesus was to meet with the highest priests. The meeting was not to take place and Jesus realized that the trap is closed and that would be the last supper with his disciples.

Jesus was possibly no fool but he had no choice but to take that risk.

In the last year, Jesus realized that his message was not taking roots; he was followed out of his charisma and for performing miracles. Resuming the same wandering trips was leading to no where; his life was already nerve wracking and miracles were sapping his energy.

The other alternative was a kind of moratorium on his activities or an agreement to be included as a valued outsider member in the Sanhedrin. Judas might have thought that he had a win-win situation; whether the meeting between Jesus and the Sanhedrin is a success or a failure he was assured an honorable position.

Judas was rich and didn’t need these lousy 30 silver coins; maybe this money was a practical symbol as a first installment on a larger agreement. Judas had no intention of following Jesus any further and being settled in Jerusalem suited him grandly.

Most probably, the other disciples had no winds of the negotiations between Judas and the Sanhedrin; Judas was simply proselytizing the message, visiting old family relations, and preparing logistic accommodations. The other disciples (apostles later on) were pretty happy not to wander in this hostile city; they were as disoriented as Jesus was.

The Sanhedrin would not be humiliated by convicting a “gentile” on Jewish religious grounds; it would not legally stick with the Romans who did not meddle in sects divergences.

The Sanhedrin would not bring troubles to its structure of interests by spreading an accusation of a popular movement getting underway contesting its legitimacy. The Sanhedrin was in a major predicament but it would not allow Jesus to freely resume his teaching; Jesus was to die in Jerusalem before he gets out of their religious jurisdiction.

After Jesus was crucified, all the scared apostles huddled in a remote house. From the testimony of the apostles, all that they retained from Jesus’ message was that there is another “coming” and pretty soon.

After news of Jesus resurrection reached the apostles, the second coming was confirmed to the apostles with a twist: the second coming will take place during their lifetime; if they die before the “coming” then they will be resurrected within 3 days to participate in the final event.

Thomas would not be railroaded one more time: he wants to touch Jesus and check the wounds.

Jesus has been teaching his message in parabolas, the best technique for verbal retention; these parabolas were in the Gnostic literature of the Land and the examples were extracted from the customs and tradition of the Land.

The apostles learned nothing much of the spiritual message of Jesus; they didn’t even comprehend the message; they just discussed what in the message differed from the Jewish daily rituals and customs.

Maybe Jesus was funny and told his stories in a funny way but the testimonies of the apostles were not that funny; most probably the funny apostles with sense of humor were not taken that seriously and their accounts forgotten, burned, and destroyed.

These events did not take place in pre-history.

The Land was highly civilized and cultured. The elites spoke Greek, Roman, Aramaic, and Hebrew. The Land had been disseminating all sorts of philosophical schools, sciences, and literatures.

And yet, nothing to account from Sunday to Thursday! Could you say that we have a biography of Jesus? The Jews even created a biography for Noah! I love biographies and I am not at all satisfied with what I have got.

Thousands of Christian “heretics”, according to Imperial Byzantium Church, who believed only in the human nature of Jesus were persecuted, imprisoned, and crucified for not abiding by Byzantium orthodox dogma. Why did these “heretics” have to defy a stupid orthodox dogma since there were no confirmed documents describing the entire life of Jesus?

Thousands of Christian “heretics” who believed only in the spiritual nature of Jesus were persecuted and executed for not following the orthodox dogma; why did they have to revolt against the orthodox dogma since even the apostles did not care or comprehend that much about Jesus spiritual message?

The priest, the warrior, and the peasant; (August 22, 2009)

Another alternative title could be more realistic and comprehensive such as “Elder, male, and female” but it is not catchy enough.

George Dumezil, a French researcher who can speak over 20 languages, says “The first 10 languages are the hardest to learn; the remaining languages come pretty easy because it is the same routine and same thing”.

George Dumezil wrote the trilogy “Myth and Epic” that describes the mythologies in Ireland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Germany, Roman, Greek, Ossetia (Caucasus region), and then links all these mythologies to their hierarchical transmission from the Indian Mahabharata and Bhagavat mythology.

Dumezil calls this unifying mythology “The Indo-European mythology” and end up with a summary that this mythology is based on 3 fundamentals the Priesthood, Warrior, and Peasant classes with their respective Gods.

After over 40 years of detailed research to reach this common sense conclusion is a monstrous let down.

Da! This classification of society is common to all cultures and civilizations and going pretty strong nowadays. (The main Gods in all civilizations were of Justice, War, and Fecundity. The all-encompassing unifying God was barely worshiped by the people because not symbolizing their trade or class).

The Romans had the (Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus). The Scandinavian counties had Odinn reigning over the Val-Holl of (Porr, Mimir, and Odrerir) and  Ases was their unifying God. The Germans had Wotan reigning over their Walhalla.  In the Near East mythology we had (Shamsh, Baal, and Ashtarout); El or Allah in the Arab Peninsula was their unifying God.  In the Nile civilization we had Amon (Sun), Osiris, and Isis.

The major let down is this conventional direction of researchers of thinking top down or hierarchically.  Well, after the Scandinavian got their mythology from Ossetia that got their mythology from Northern India, then from whom did the Indian receive their mythology?  If there are any written records that go many thousands of years in antiquity (not probable) we might discover that mythology transmission is no longer hierarchical but cyclical.

Adopting the easy hierarchical line of reasoning is basically wrong. It is the wrong logic to consider: simply because it stick to the conventional that the King/Priesthood classes are the transmitters of culture and civilization. The Priesthood class is mainly the conservative maintainer of the status quo and barely the transmitter of much anything.

A more realistic and promising line of reasoning is to consider that it is the warrior classes that transmitted rituals, myths, and customs.

It is the soldiers and sub officers who were in direct and daily contact with the conquered people: they are the ones who interrogated prisoners, facilitated trade and communication, and learned by osmosis the new culture and civilization of the subjugated people.  The soldiers and sub officers returned to their hometowns and villages and disseminated their story telling testimonies and accounts of their war period.

The dissemination was quick because most soldiers were mercenaries from the neighboring countries to the powerful Kingdom. Once the war was over, the soldiers were disbanded to return mainly to their families and spread the news of alternative rituals, myths, customs, and techniques of the conquered culture.

Since frequent communication of central government of Empires with their neighboring vassal countries was not sustained, it stands to reason that the peasant classes managed to occasionally change their traditions before the government realized the changes.

When central government is strong then either of two possibilities was activated:

1.  If the mercenary warriors sided with the peasants then the King/Priesthood was defeated and the newer traditions and mythologies took roots.

2.  If the King/Priesthood vanquished then many varieties of sects and cults mushroomed in the neighboring kingdom.

Empires come and go, but the tank sources for mercenaries were constant.

These warriors came from mountain chain regions and high plateaus or desert regions.  In “Indo-European civilization” the mercenaries flocked from the Turkish Anatole Plateau and its extension in the Caucasus of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ossetia, Chechnya, Albania, and Romania.  The people were known as Cherkessk, Kurd, Tatar, Parthian, Scythe, and so on.  The other sources of mercenaries came from Central Asia such as Turkmenistan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan, and Mongolia.

The main central EMPIRE was Persia that extended many times from coastal Turkey to all of Afghanistan and part of Pakistan.

Babylon and later Assyria empires were counties of current Iran that moved the Capitals to their provinces as central power weakened in Persia. The same is true for the Hittite Empire in Anatolia that expanded to Egypt and signed the first recorded peace treaty with Egypt after the battle of Caddish. The Hittite aided the Greek by all means to defeat the Empire of Troy: Troy was a major handicap to extending to the coast and building a navy.

The urban centers in plains, rich with major water resources and large river,s hires mercenaries to defend or expand empires. The Near East region was constituted of City-States) that hired mercenaries for the war effort to defend the cities. A City-State was the center for Priesthood/learning class and peasant/skilled artisans class (the bread basket).  Empires that could not maintain autochthonous soldiers as majority of their armies vanished in no times.

When studying civilizations and their continuity we should never dismiss the main factor: climate.

There are the cold, mild, and hot weather civilizations. Within these 3 categories there are the plain and mountain region people. Talking about “indo-European” languages or civilizations is stretching the imagination a tad too far and forcing issues.

It is not with the antiques written records of the elite class that civilizations and dissemination of culture can be described and comprehended, but with archeological finds of daily living, rituals, and customs within homogeneous climatic regions.

Note 1: I had the topic from “Smell of the Time” (Odeur du temps) by Jean d’Ormesson who published three articles on George Dumezil. I didn’t read “Myth and Epic” and hope that d’Ormesson did.

Notes 2:  The nomadic desert Jewish tribes could not invent but one God “Yahwa”; Jehovah ended up to be their warrior God. When the Jews of Moses got in contact with the Canaanites in Palestine, Yahwa was set aside during peaceful period to be resurrected during war period and his statues and temples moved closer to God Baal in order for the Jews to be hired as mercenaries.

Turkey and Iran: Same and Different (April 25, 2009)

 

Brief history

hroughout antiquity till our modern days, three main empires dominated the landscape of the Middle East. Turkey, Iran, and Egypt were vast empires and advanced urbanely and economically before the advent of Islam.

Turkey and Iran managed to enjoy a semi-continuous existence of empires but Egypt had large vacuums of many centuries in between empires since the Pharaohs.

Egypt enjoyed special status during the Greek, Roman, Arab, and Ottoman empires and was a world apart as wheat basket and advanced civilization. Turkey and Iran could benefit from stable “national” entities but Egypt experienced foreign leaders as kings or sultans and relied on foreign officers to lead its armies, the latest dynasty was from Albania with Muhammad Ali

The three empires are currently mostly Moslems and they were in general lenient with the minority religious sects. 

The three empires have vast lands, rich in water, and have currently about the same number of population of around 70 millions and increasing at high rates, especially Egypt (90 million).

The Iranian empires relied on the Afghanistanis and the central Asian tribes for their armies.  As the frequent Mogul raids descended on Persia its armies went on the defensive.

The Turkish and Ottoman empires relied on the Caucasus tribes from current Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia States, and also from Albania and Romania.  As Russia started to expand southward and occupied many of these regions then Turkey curtailed most of its vast military campaigns and went on the defensive. 

The Caucasus triangle of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia is still a hot spot for domination among Russia, Turkey, and to a lesser extent Iran, especially with the oil and gas pipelines that pass through them.  My post “Cursed Cities: Kars” would shed detailed historical accounts on that tragic triangle.

 

Modern Status

In around 1920’s two military dictators ruled over Iran and Turkey

Rida “shah” in Iran and “Ataturk” in Turkey were attempting to modernize their infrastructure and civil administrations by emulating the European examples.  Ataturk went as far as changing the Turkish alphabet to Latin and abolishing the Caliphate in Islam. 

Both dictators confronted the religious clerics for establishing secular States with unequal long term successes.  Iran has reverted to religious oligarchy after Khomeini came to power.

While Iran was historically more clement with its minorities it appears that Turkey is practically taking steps to outpacing Iran in that advantage. For example, Turkey is translating the Koran into the ethnic languages such as Kurdish. 

Women in Turkey are prominent in businesses such as Goler Sabanji; 9% of women are represented in the Parliament.  In Iran, Shireen Abadi is Nobel laureate for defending women’s rights; Iranian women represent only 3% in the Parliament though they represent 65% in universities.

In the 70’s Iran was flush with oil revenue while Turkey was struggling to establish an industrial infrastructure. It appears that in the long term oil is definitely a curse for emerging nations because wealth is not invested on the human potentials and stable modern political structure.

In 2008, foreign investment in Turkey was 14 billions dollars and increasing while it amounted to just one billion in Iran.  Turkey has expanded its representation in Africa by opening 12 new Embassies and 20 new consulates.

Nisreen Ozaimy is from Iran by origin and fled to Turkey; when her family lived in Turkey it was impressed by the confidence that the Turks valued their various ethnic nationalities and they implicit feeling that Turkey is in fact a bridge between East and West.  The Turks managed to blend harmoniously the secular and religious inclinations.

The current crisis in the middle-east is changing the landscape: Turkey has alienated most of the Arab world by getting involved and engaged in “Arab” spring upheavals, siding with the Moslem Brotherhood movements, while Iran is heading the resistance front against extremist islam.

The Gods of beauty: Before the age of pimples (February 7, 2009)

 

Note:  I was inspired for this article by the critical introduction of Vincent-Mansour Monteil for his book “Abu Nawas”, the great Arab poet of the early Abbasseed period around the year 800.    

 

Through the ages, boys of 15 or a little less (khoumasi) were erotically more prized than girls of the same age in all civilizations.  Androgynous boys (effeminate, khanith) had grace in movement, they had pretty oval faces, fleshy, soft and smooth skins, and their muscle were firmer.  The western cultures are familiar with the tales and literatures of the antique Greek and Roman civilizations on that subject; for example, Socrates was a famous pedophile and his wife went as far as taking her husband to court.

            Abu Nuwass had Janane, an Iranian lesbian, as a front for his homosexuality and a particular penchant for the boys who were Christian Iranians serving as peons or slave pages in the courts of the affluent and powerful.  “You look like a boy but you are indeed a girl” (Abu Nawass) and “Man is a continent. Woman is a sea.  I prefer very much the firm land”.

I saw a movie done in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime; this very old sheikh purchased a pretty boy who was to be executed (she was indeed a girl who had her hair cut and dressed like a boy); when the sheikh was training the boys how to wash their testicles before prayer he was smitten by the boy/girl and repeated this verse of the Koran of those serving the predestined to Paradise “The peon (ghilman) are immortal Adonis, similar to hidden pearls”

            Rimbaud also had taken as front an indigenous woman in Harari (Ethiopia/Eritrea) so that he may reserve his total love for Djami, his companion and boy of 15.  Verlaine and Baudelaire had also the same preference.  Shakespeare wrote his sonnets, the first 126 sonnets for “My lovely boy; a very young man, barely an adolescent”; and also “A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted, Hast thou the Master Mistress of my passion”

            Leonardo Da Vinci had the same preferences as Abu Nawass for boys of 15 of age; he bequest his inheritance to Francesco Melzi whom he had known at the “fatal age”.  Michel Angelo dedicated 50 epitaphs to Cecchino Bracci, dead at age 15 and was hopelessly in love with the indifferent Tommaso de’ Cavalieri “Who will defend me of your beautiful face?”  The best and most beautiful characters in the paintings of these giant artists are the androgynous young boys.  The difference between these two great painters is that Michel Angelo never dared satisfy “Biblically” his pedophilic urges who was mocked by the Pope Jules II as suffering of “terribilita”.

            Pederasty was common phenomenon in England in the turn of the last century, as long as gentleman did not display their loved boy publicly.  Oscar Wilde paid for his exhibitionism and outlandish temperament a long prison term.  Pedophilia is rampant everywhere now and internet and special websites are serving secret desires.  The Roman Catholic Church is still battling court cases of priests taking advantage of multitude of young boys studying in Catholic schools.

            Sodom and Gomorra might be fictitious two towns in the Bible that were burned by Jehovah but it illustrate that pederasty is an ancient and a prevalent erotic tendency in all ages and all civilizations.  Maybe sex among the same gender is a front to cover a deeper emotional predilection: maybe societies should start to accept the fact that the majority of people of both genders are unable to taking the drastic decision and making the serious effort to comprehend the other sex and prefer the community of their own gender.

Lions and lionesses along the Fertile Crescent ancient Empires, (August 16, 2008)

 Major civilizations built empires and cities along major rivers such as the Nile, Euphrates, Tiger, Indus (Pakistan), Ganges (India), and the Yellow River in China.

The best approach to explaining the succession of civilizations and Empires in the Fertile Crescent that raided and conquered the Near East civilizations such as in Lebanon, Palestine and Syria (Phoenicia, Canaan, Aram) is the analogy of survival among the lions and lionesses.

Young lions that attained two years, after being chased out of the clan, prowl the region for lionesses to mate and establish clans of their own.

Old lions are attacked and displaced and the cubs are eaten and slaughtered by the new King in order to quickly attract the lioness in heat and then new progenitors are formed.  The lioness fights valiantly to preserve her cubs but ends up giving up. Since a lion lives on average to be 10 year-old, while the lioness can outlive him by 7 years and manages to diffuse many progenitors of her owns, then the survival of these mammal carnivores is mainly due to the survival of the lionesses.  The lionesses chase and bring meat to the clan and care for the cubs.

Almost all the ancient civilizations in the Middle East, the Nile River of Egypt excluded, were established along the Fertile Crescent longing the main Rivers of Litany, Al Assi, Euphrates and the Tiger (for example, the people inhabiting Lebanon, Syria, the southern part of Turkey, the Western part of Iran and Iraq). The warrior Empires were Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Pharaonic Egypt, Hittite, Greek, Seleucia, Roman, and later Byzantium, Sassanid, Arab (Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid), Seljuk, Crusaders, Mamelukes, and Ottomans.

The young male lions from emerging warrior Empires, during their conquests and expansion, reclaimed the civilized glory and achievements of the Near East people as their own proper.  The Near East people were constantly behaving like the lionesses: they first fight the good fight for their cubs, and when they inevitably fail against the young lions, then they mate with the conquerors after the invaders had tried to kill all their progenitors.

A few citizens of City-States like Sidon and Tyr, and much later Carthage, burned down their cities and then set fire on themselves to avoid servitude and surrender. While the young occupying lions were strutting and showing off in the regions, and adapting to the new civilizations, it was the constant duty of the lionesses to chase and bring the meat to the table and care for the household.

The Near East people were bringing the food to the tables of the invaders and caring for the glamour and wants of the occupation forces, whose sole job was to making war and killing on their war paths.

I read chapters from an Arabic book by Georges Masrou3a.  Masrou3a asked an archeologist about the Achmoun Temple in Sidon “Saida”, built around 550 BC.  The foreign archeolog replied that it was a Persian design from King Kourush One period. Masrou3a then asked the archeologist why he claimed that it is Persian, and the latter said because that is what the archeology archives claim to be.

Fact is, Persia had no such Temple at Kourush’s time; even if the Persian King paid for the monuments and palaces at the expense of the invaded people, that should not be a basis to claim achievements of other civilizations.

This is the same repeat story with the temples in Baalbek.  The archeologists would claim that it was the work of the Romans since 200 BC, but if this monument was of Roman style and glory, then why the Romans failed to build something close to it in Rome or in Italy?

We have the same contentions for the impressive horse track and humongous amphitheater in Tyr (500 by 200 meters) that was built before 500 BC according to Herodotus. If this amphitheater was the work and style of the Romans, then why did the Roman wait another three centuries to build their Coliseum?

The same goes to the Jerusalem Temple even though the architects, builders and foramen and craftsmen and master workers were from Tyre during King Hiram or “Ahiram”.

Euclid, Zeno, Plotin, Tales, Homer, Pythagoras and scores of great thinkers were born and lived in our coastal City-States stretching from Palestine to Turkey such as Akka, Tyr, Sidon (called the eldest son of Canaan in the Bible), Beirut, Byblos, Ugarit, Antakya, and so on and yet they were labeled as Greeks.

Is it simply because we were under Greek dominion that our famous thinkers should be Greeks, simply because they learned the Greek language, even if they didn’t enjoy the privileges of Greek Athens citizens?  Scores of our famous people were labeled Romans simply because we were under Roman hegemony.

For example, the eminent legal masters during the third century Papinian and Olympian lived in Beyrouth (Beryt); Olympian is indeed the martyr of jurists because he adamantly refused to offer a legal opinion in favor of Emperor Caracalla for killing of his brother Jetta.  If this is the case, then why Jesus is to be simply a Jew and not Roman?  St. Paul was actually a Roman citizen inherited from his father and great father and yet, Paul is said to be simply a Jew.

There is undoubtedly a systematic disinformation concerning the cultural heritage of the Near Eastern civilizations.

The Europeans, even before the Renaissance period, purposely have chosen to start their civilization from Ancient Greek in 600 BC because they claimed to be democratic nations and had to emulate the democratic system in Greek City-State Athens.  Democracy was developed in the City-States of Byblos, Sidon, Tyr, Ugarit and Mary several centuries before Athens existed.  These City-States had democracy within their city limits as Athens and Rome emulated later on. Why within city-State limits?  Because communication and transport were limited and the administration of such a complex democratic system was not feasible at a larger magnitude at the time; thus democracy was not translated to the colonies as Greek Athens also failed to do.

Theaters and plays, via their verbal communications, were the main medium for spreading democracy and the clashing of ideas of various opposition groups; plays created a citizen consciousness that is different from immediate civic consciousness of oratorical speeches.  The Near Eastern civilizations were ahead of Athens several centuries in theater plays; Athens got the attention because a few of its written literatures were preserved and translated.  For example, Aeschylus wrote over 90 works but only seven of his tragedies remained to prove the dynamics of Athens’ democratic system.

Although these City-States developed commercial empires, they never built theocratic warrior Empires because their citizens focused on civilized endeavors and opted in armed struggles to just defending their central Cities. Athens managed to defend its civilization outside its City limits and even asked the cooperation of other Greek City-States like Sparta and the famous Thebes that the Phoenicians had built centuries before Athens existed, and which Alexander erased completely before launching his Asian campaign.

 We can confirm that the Near East region was the bedrock of all civilizations of the Mediterranean Sea in religion, philosophy, sciences, literature and arts. Regardless of genetic sources, which are an amalgamation of many nations and which is not that important for the purpose of this article, anyone from current States in the Near East should take pride in their ancient civilizations and their original identity as the forefathers of contemporary modern democratic civilizations in Europe and the Greater Mediterranean Sea regions.

 Note 1:  Many USA and Western diplomats have described Lebanon during its civil war (1975-1991) as a special quarantine area, sustained by the super powers to retaining the quarantine, in order to prevent the spread of the Middle East social and political diseases of feudalism, sectarianism, tribalism, caste systems, and extremist ideologies in the Arabic and Islamic States to the surrounding and eventually the Western nations.

These diplomats failed to add the disease of apartheid which is the trademark of the State of Israel. This quarantine lasted for more than 17 years and in the meanwhile the USA administrations in the 80’s and 90’s created, financed and trained a potent disease in Afghanistan.

Note 2: Every stated rescue mission to Lebanon was not meant for the stability and security of the Lebanese people, but for the purpose of larger strategic geopolitical interests in the Middle East with the land of Lebanon as a staging base.  It is the Lebanese who encouraged the other nations to look at them, not as a Nation, but anonymous people living on a piece of land that the UN admitted among the “independent” States.

This is so because all the successive Lebanese governments never behaved as administering a Nation, but as fief hoods for sectarian leaders who rule over modern serfs.  Even after an unimaginably lengthy and terrible civil war, which lasted 17 years, every single monster of war-lord was pardoned by a decree from the Parliament and the ferocious sectarian leaders were inducted into the successive governments and Parliaments.

Note 3: Arnold Toynbee said that for certain people, history necessarily repeat itself because they are lazy students. Most probably, it seems that history repeats itself because philosophical concepts or paradigms on life, death, the nature of Gods, free will, predestination keep repeating themselves.

The Lebanese certainly are not very hot on archiving their history and even less on reading and revisiting their past: we have the tendency to say that what is past is past and we don’t care but for the present, and how to live a good life. This saying is true for the public consumption because, on the individual level, family feuds never vanish or are forgotten, or forgiven:  Grandchildren still hate the grandchildren of another family simply because they overheard that their grand-grand parents were in feud.

Lebanon and Palestine have suffered the same calamities of past history again and again. These two States might never had chance for lasting peace and stability. Syria could have fallen in the same trap because it was seriously targeted by the super powers if this dictatorship in Syria didn’t manage to re-read its history and learn from past adversities at the expense of democracy. Syria never managed to bed with theocratic systems, except Damascus.

In ancient history, the City-States in  “inland Syria” barely put a fight to a powerful invader, as if it learned to normally change skins and share in the dominion of the new Empire that displaced the former, as if Syria believed it was actually the new invader.

Note 4:  At the current rate of modernization and deforestation, most of the aborigines tribes would disappear within a few decades. Many civilizations have vanished but a few have managed to survive precariously so far.  Currently we still have the ethnic Saamis (Norway and Finland), Inuits (Siberia, Alaska, and Canada), Ainous (Japan), Indians (USA and Canada), Zapotec (Mexico), Mosquitos (Nicaragua), Quiches (Guatemala), Cunas (Panama), Yanomamis and Guaranis (Brazil), Galibis and Akawaios (Guyana), Paez ans Guambianos (Colombia), Waoranis (Equator), Amueshas (Peru), Chimanes (Bolivia), Araucans (Chili), Touaregs and Bororos (Sahel in Northern Africa), Tigres (Ethiopia and Somalia), Dinkas (Sudan), Masais (Kenya and Tanzania), Pygmees (Zaire), Sans or Bushmen (Namibia and Botswana), Kalingas (Philippines), Kachins and Rohingas (Myanmar or Birmani), Hmongs (Laos), Santals and Gonds (India), Punans (Malaysia), Uzbeks and Tadjiks (Afghanistan), Aborigines (Australia), Maoris (New Zealand), Papous (New Guinea).


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2020
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