Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Sidon

10 Ancient Cities Where People Still Live

MICHAEL VAN DUISEN APRIL 8, 2014

Even though much that links us to their founding years is gone, cities that reach back to the earliest human civilizations retain an undeniable allure. These 10 examples include some of the oldest cities in history, and people still call each one of them home.

10Ife (Nigeria)
Founded circa 350 B.C.

01

Photo credit: Tropenmuseum

The Yoruba people consider Ife the mythical birthplace of mankind. Two of their deities are said to have created the first humans out of clay, with one of them becoming the first king of the Yoruba.

By the 11th century, the city had become the capital of a kingdom, with its residents producing the region’s famed terra-cotta heads during the following two centuries.

Nearly destroyed as a result of a late 18th-century war, as well as by decades of trauma related to the slave trade, Ife is now home to one of Nigeria’s major universities, as well as the Historical Society of Nigeria. In addition, the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people, known as the Ooni, lives in a palace in the center of the city. Ife now has over 600,000 residents.

9Balkh (Afghanistan)
Founded circa 500 B.C.

02
Known as Bactra (Bactria) in its pre-Afghan days, the city of Balkh was the capital of the Greek territory of Bactria after its capture by Alexander the Great.

After several invaders conquered the city, it eventually became the capital of Khorasan, a political entity created by the Sasanian Empire of Iran. It was under their rule that Balkh became famous as a center of learning, earning itself the title “mother of cities.” In addition, the Zoroastrian religion is said to have been founded there.

Most of the city was destroyed during an invasion by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. It lay in ruins until the early 15th century, and the city is more of a village today, with a population of only a few thousand. But a handful of the original buildings have survived, including a number of ancient Buddhist reliquary mounds and the outer walls of the city.

Khorasan was the origin of the warriors who played big roles in deposing Caliphs in Baghdad.

8Luoyang (China)
Founded circa 1050 B.C.

03

Photo credit: Gary Lee Todd

One of the 8 Great Ancient Capitals of China, Luoyang was founded in the middle of the 11th century, at the start of the Zhou Dynasty.

In fact, 9 different dynasties, stretching over centuries, have used Luoyang as their capital. Unfortunately, the city underwent a great economic depression that lasted from a revolution in the eighth century up until the middle of the 1900s. Assistance from the USSR and industrialization brought Luoyang back from the dead.

One of the greatest architectural and spiritual treasures in the city is the White Horse Temple, the “cradle of Buddhism in China.” Built during the first century A.D., it was the first of up to 1,300 different temples, as Luoyang became the spiritual center for Buddhism in China.

In addition, the city is home to the Longmen Grottoes, a series of Buddhist caves that is a UNESCO heritage site and one of the masterpieces of Chinese Buddhist art.

7Patras (Greece)
Founded circa 1100 B.C.

04

Photo credit: Conudrum/Wikimedia

While evidence says people lived in the area as far back as the third millennium B.C., Patras as an actual city didn’t begin until about 1,000 years later.

Three small settlements existed in the area and remained there for hundreds of years, until the Achaeans, and the eponymous Patreus, combined them into one large city and named it Patras.

Relatively insignificant for much of its early existence, the city later became a major part of the founding of the second Achaean League, a confederation of various Greek city-states.

Thanks to its location by the sea, Patras played a huge role in Greek trade, even up to modern times. Unfortunately, very few buildings have survived from its early history, with the oldest surviving example being the Patras Roman Odeum, a small theater built by the Romans sometime in the early second century.

There is also a prehistoric acropolis, known as the Wall of Dymaeans, dating back to the 14th century B.C. It is said to have been built by Heracles himself.

6Kutaisi (Georgia)
Founded circa 1400 B.C.

05

Photo credit: Andrzej Wójtowicz

Among the oldest and largest cities in the nation of Georgia, Kutaisi was the capital of multiple ancient kingdoms, most notably Colchis from the sixth to first century B.C. That kingdom is perhaps best known for being the final destination of Jason and his Argonauts during their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Afterward, the city and the area around it suffered numerous invasions, including by the Mongolians and the Ottomans.

In the 12th century, during the reign of David IV, Kutaisi became the capital of the United Kingdom of Georgia and underwent a period of construction unrivaled in its history.

This time saw the construction of the Gelati Monastery, one of the most famous buildings in the city and a great example of medieval Georgian architecture. Remarkably well preserved, it is one of Georgia’s UNESCO heritage sites.

5Tyre (Lebanon)
Founded circa 2750 B.C.

06

Photo credit: Heretiq/Wikimedia

An ancient Phoenician port city, with a large number of mythical occurrences to its name, Tyre has seen its fair share of historical action as well.

Extremely prosperous thanks to its ideal location, the city was besieged by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, who unsuccessfully tried to conquer it over the course of 13 years. However, Tyre did fall to the army assembled by Alexander the Great, which resulted in most of the buildings being razed to the ground.

It was here (or perhaps nearby Sidon) that people were first able to create dye with a purple pigment, leading the Greeks to call them Phoinikes, which means “purple people” and is where we get the name “Phoenician.”

One of the most important Phoenician cities, Tyre used to be an island, but Alexander the Great demolished buildings to create a causeway linking it to the mainland. Now known as Sour in the country of Lebanon, the city is home to many significant ancient Roman sites, including the second-century hippodrome, one of the largest existing in the world.

4Sidon (Saida, Lebanon)
Founded circa 3000 B.C.

07

Photo credit: Heretiq/Wikimedia

Derived from the Greek word for “fishery,” Sidon was an ancient Phoenician port city and is famous for its fishing and trade industries, as well as its glass manufacturing—the Greek author Homer had a lot of praise for the people of Sidon when it came to that specific fact.

Like its sister city Tyre, Sidon was captured by Alexander the Great, yet it was spared complete destruction because it surrendered without a fight.

Commanded by multiple kingdoms, Sidon flourished under Ottoman rule, though it has been ravaged and rebuilt multiple times. One of the oldest pieces of architecture in the city is the Temple of Eshmun, dedicated to the Phoenician god of healing and dating back to the seventh century B.C.

3Argos (Greece)
Founded circa 5000 B.C.

08
Perhaps the oldest city in Europe, Argos was originally a Greek city-state.

Thanks to its bountiful natural resources in the fertile lowlands known as the Plain of Argos, the city rose to prominence during the Mycenaean period at the end of the second millennium B.C.

In fact, until Sparta’s rise, Argos was the dominant city-state of the region.

Unlike many of its Greek partners, Argos flourished under Roman and Byzantine rule, as evidenced by the monumental civic works undertaken during these eras. The city and surrounding area played a huge role in Greek mythology, with the heroes Perseus, Diomedes, and Agamemnon believed to have been born there.

The present city of Argos is built over much of the ancient city, with very little architecture remaining from its early years.

The ruins of the Heraion of Argos, a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Hera, form probably the oldest existing structure in the area, dating back to the seventh century B.C.

2Byblos (Jbeil, Lebanon)
Founded circa 6000 B.C.

09

Photo credit: BlingBling10/Wikimedia

The oldest existing Phoenician city, Byblos was home to much scientific and technological advancement during its existence.

Historians credited it as the place where the Phoenician alphabet was conceived, and the city’s name derives from the Greek word for “paper,” a major export.

Byblos was burned to the ground near the end of the third millennium B.C. by invading Amorites, yet traces of that period still exist.

Originally, Byblos was an Egyptian protectorate, supplying crucial timber and other goods in exchange for protection. By the 11th century B.C., it was independent and became Phoenician territory. It remained relatively important for much of its existence, first losing its importance as capital of Phoenicia to Tyre and then fading to obscurity just after the Crusades.

The present-day city of Jbail, Lebanon is partially built on the ruins of much of Byblos, with the remaining ruins being designated a UNESCO heritage site.

1Jericho (Tell es-Sultan, Palestine)
Founded circa 9000 B.C.

10
Perhaps the oldest (and currently the lowest by altitude) city in the history of humanity, Jericho is located in the West Bank, just past the northern half of the Dead Sea.

Thanks to a spring that supplies the area with extremely fertile soil, Jericho made a great place for early hunter-gatherers to settle down and begin domesticating animals.

After about 2,000 years of loosely being considered a city, Jericho’s first walls were erected, forming the earliest known example of urban fortifications.

Known as Tell es-Sultan in its early days, Jericho flourished for many years before being completely destroyed by nomadic tribes toward the end of the second millennium B.C.

Fire destroyed it again a few hundred years later. The modern city of Jericho comprises part of this ancient area, as well as space that used to be out of Tell es-Sultan’s city limits. Jericho was also said to be home to many spiritual events from Judaism and Christianity.

Note 1: From a link on FB Pamela Hakim via Ama Sadaka

Note 2: Most of the city-states on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea are still inhabited since antiquity.  Ashkelon, Akka, Yafa, Haifa, Beirut, Tripoli, Tartous….

Probably, Damascus is the oldest city that has been inhabited since mankind civilization. Most of the trade caravans ended in Damascus, to span in smaller caravans. Aleppo is also another of the oldest of cities, and Jarash in Jordan and Jerusalem.

What’s with ancient Athens? (Feb. 10, 2010)

            There is this Western civilization tendency of focusing mainly on ancient city-state Athens as the roots of its knowledge (with extension to all kind of knowledge and everywhere!).  The European and northern America civilizations insist that the “Greek miracle” between the 6th and 5th century BC was the cornerstone for dissemination of knowledge and the improvement of human cultures.  Worse, this tendency would like you to believe that enlightenment of city-state of Athens is a unique experience that was never witnessed before, later and in nowhere else at any periods of history!

            Based on that comforting assumption, most scholars gave up attempting to explain this phenomenon and just applied to describing this status as fact.  First, we can explain it pretty rationally. The City-Sates of Byblos, Sidon, Tyr, and countless other eastern Mediterranean cities preceded Athens in enjoying their Golden Ages at least one thousand years before Athens was built. Competition among the City-states for dominance in trade, industry, and schools of learning, and mastery of the seas was the main factor for the changes in their political-economic structures that shifted from monarchy, oligarchy, or democratic systems within the City-State limits. The constitutions were valid for the City-State residents.

            It happened that before Athens’ Golden Age the Phoenician city-states were subjugated by one of the Persian kingdoms.  Scholars and traders immigrated to Athens and transmitted their know-how in trade, learning, forms of governments, and schools of thoughts to the Athenians.  The pre-Socratic philosophers and the sophist teachers were the founders of rhetoric and sciences among the aristocratic Athenian classes who were required to be eloquent and learned in order to vying for political positions.

            This is the same process that occurred to many other Golden Age cities and nations.  For example, Venice and Genoa captured the scholars and artisans fleeing or emigrating from Constantinople after the sack by the second European crusaders.  It is what happened to Germany when the French armies sacked Rome and scholars bolstered the Reformist movement of Martin Luther and disseminated the Bible in the German language and encouraged printing.  It is the same when the French aristocracy fled France to London during the French Revolution and carried with them their knowledge and money and started a new era for the coming industrial revolution.

The barbaric Catholic Church;(October 13, 2009)

There is a resurgence of Islamophobia in France couched under the pretext of discovering the origins of European civilization as a combination of Greek and Christian cultures. It would be worthwhile to set the historical facts straight for any meaningful reply.

By 324 AC, the Roman Emperor Constantine had defeated the three other co-Emperors and is the sole ruler of the Mediterranean Sea Empire, including England, France, northern Africa, Egypt, Turkey, and the Near East to the Euphrates River. Emperor Constantine ordered the Bishops of all the Christian sects in his Empire (they were a dozen at least) to meet in Nicea (Turkey) to adopt a unifying “dogma” for a central Orthodox Church based in Constantinople. By a slight majority, bishops who agreed to Constantine’s radical abstract dogma (he was a new convert) started to persecute the “heretic” Christian sects who fled to the western side of the Euphrates River that was under Persia Empire.

From 325 AC to around 700 AC there was a Christian Empire dominated by Byzantium with Capital in Constantinople. This empire was to the east of the Euphrates River, crossing Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, all the way to England and including North Africa. To the west of the Euphrates River there was a Persian Empire, mostly under the Sassanid Dynasty.  For four centuries, the Christians of the Orient under the central power of the Church of Constantinople shied rational thinking and sciences were halted.

The Arabic Empire, around 650 AC, did not conquer the western part of Turkey which remained with the Byzantium Empire until 1450 when the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad 2 entered Constantinople and spread all the way to the borders of Vienna in Austria. The Christians of the Orient, especially the heretic sects, converted to Islam that represented a pragmatic common denominator religion away from the Orthodox Church. Rational thinking got a boost; translation of foreign knowledge and Greek manuscripts to the Syriac and Arabic languages got underway; it was about time.

In around 1000 a major schism in Christianity split the Catholic Church of Rome with the Christian Orthodox Church of Constantinople. Actually, the initial Crusade campaigns had for objective to conquer Constantinople and coerce the Orthodox Church into uniting with Rome. That is what took place and Constantinople was ransacked and burned before the Crusading forces marched on toward Jerusalem. The other successive Crusading incursions had for objective to capture Egypt and free the spice routes directly to Europe without paying taxes to the Moslem Kingdoms along the maritime and land caravan routes.

The Koran was translated in Constantinople in the 9th century. It was translated in Toledo (Spain) in the 12th century but was not disseminated in Europe.  Europe got aware of Islam’s concept of decentralized religious power in the 16th century when printing made it feasible; this was the period when the Catholic Church of Rome experienced its decline on holding on absolute religious and civilian power.

Thus, from 325 to 1450 Europe was Christian.  Why Greek civilization, if Europe insists on taking the source of its culture from antique Greece, was not prevalent during over 11 centuries?  Why Europe remained barbaric till the 15th century?  Is it because the Christian dogma of Rome was barbaric and refused other civilizations and cultures to infiltrate Europe?

Certainly the Christian clerics were at least bilingual, mostly Latin and Greek, and consequently, if Greece had any culture it would have been translated into Latin. Some would give the lame excuse that the scholars in Europe, mostly the clerics, could read the Greek manuscripts in their original forms and had no need to translate any manuscripts into Latin or other live languages; this would be another proof that the Catholic Church of Rome was barbaric and refused philosophical and scientific disciplines to penetrate into Europe.

Europe experienced a demographic surge around 1000 AC; it is after getting in contact with the Near East culture and civilization (under Arabic/Islamic kingdoms) during the Crusading campaigns that culture entered Europe from the open door.  Even after the total defeat of the Crusaders in 1200 the Near East culture permeation would continue via Andalusia in southern Spain. The Arabic/Moslem civilization in Spain was the main source for the transfer of sciences into Europe until the “Christian” Spanish monarchs conquered completely Spain in around 1400 and chased out Moslems and Jews from its territory.

Greece after Aristotle did not produce much in culture.  It was just a brilliant century for the City-State of Athens during Pericles period, as so many glorious periods for a dozen other City-States that dotted the Mediterranean shores and the Euphrates River, from Mary, Harran, Edessa, Ugarit, Tripoli, Byblos, Beirut, Sidon, Tyr, and much later Alexandria, Antiochus, and Ephesus, and on that scholars and archeologists have to start focusing on for the origins of civilizations.  The proof is that the Byzantium Empire that was established in Greece for over 11 centuries is no where mentioned as source for any worthwhile civilization.

Macedonian warriors under Alexander conquered the Near East.  It is not because the Near East people, from Alexandria, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and coastal Turkey, who assimilated the Greek language and spread their own culture and civilization in the Greek language that Europe has to claim its civilization to Greece. Europe should not.

It is the Near East culture and civilization that assimilated the languages of the various conquerors (Mesopotamians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula, Ottomans from the Turkish Plateau, and the most recent French colonialism, and English colonialism) that absorbed and disseminated the fundamental cultures and civilizations to its neighboring environment.

It is not because of the invasion of nomadic warriors from the Arabic Peninsula that Arabic civilization should be labeled Arab.  Why the Mogul Empires that lasted longer than many Empires and stretched much further than many are not given any civilization?  It is a shame that Europe still feels the urge to attribute civilization to military conquering warriors.

Europe would have remained barbaric if it was not superseded as a superpower by the USA and Russia after WWII. The recent colonial dominations and the slaughtering of indigent people is a striking proof.  The single streak that the USA inherited mostly from Europe is its barbaric pre-emptive wars against smaller nations and its racist tendency for hegemony whenever the chance knocks.

Thus, the break up of the “heretic” protestant sects with the Catholic Church of Rome opened the way for Europe’s renaissance and the transfer of Islamic scientific discoveries and scientific methods with sound mathematical discipline. Strong with new sciences the “heretic” Protestant sects created models of nationalism to civilize the “barbarians” of the world.  Renaissance of Europe turned out not to be driven toward humanitarian purposes but based on exclusive nationalism proprietary that exhibited its brutal and ugly racist behavior for many decades.

After the 18th century, Papal Rome tried hastily to catch up with the scientific trend and put up a face of progress and the conservator of scientific investigation.  This obscurantist religious central power initiated and backed all European invasions; it supervised the extermination of aborigines under the guise of “Christianize” the pagan barbarians.

Note: I use shock titles to lure readers; those who patronize my blog comprehend that my posts are highly rational: They are the work of much analysis and reflection. I have no zeal to dwell into religions of any kinds. I would like readers to refer to my recent post “Damascus saved the Greek culture and language”.

The devil is NOT in the details; (October 16, 2009)

 

            Details are what bring people together to communicate, dialogue, and negotiate to reach compromises.  The main wall that separate among communities is the concrete wall mixed with myths, general concepts, and abstract notions.  Strong with draft details each organization can start to sort out the differences and comprehend the big picture; it is never the way around in social behavior. I will discuss two cases, one religious and the other of political nature.

            After the crucifixion of Jesus many Christian sects were born in the Near East in the first four centuries.  Fundamentally, these sects were almost identical in applying the Jewish daily rituals or the Jewish 650 laws of “correct” conduct. What separated these sects were abstract concepts that did not harm their peaceful coexistence in separate communities of believers: they never attacked by force one another; military persecutions started when the Church acquired central power in Constantinople; whole “heretic” sects and entire communities had to flee to safety. 

            Thus, The Mighty Wall was erected after 325 AC when Byzantium Empire decided to adopt Christianity as the main religion of the Empire.  Thus, the central power concept of the Empire dictated that church should be centralized.  Instead of focusing in negotiating on the details that split the various sects an upper abstract super-structure on concepts was imposed; concepts such as the dual nature of Christ, the deity of the threes (the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit), the virginity of the mother Mary and on.  This time around, the sects were to join the Orthodox Church by force if need be: a central Empire cannot permit disunity, even on totally nonsense abstract conjectures!

            Consequently, the labeled “heretic” sects had to flee beyond the eastern shores of the Euphrates River (to the Persia Sassanide Dynasty).  The Nestourian sect reached China and translated “their” Bible into the Chinese language. Many other “heretic” sects settled in the Arabic Peninsula; the Christian-Jewish “Ebionite” sect was firmly entrenched in Mecca; the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Ain Warkat, was the Patriarch of this sect and Muhammad learned to read in the Aramaic Ebionite Bible; Muhammad aided his uncle in the translation of this specific Bible into the Arabic slang of Mecca.  Thus, Islam is originally a common denominator “heretic” Christian sect, one of many Christian sects in the Arabic Peninsula; the Prophet had to delete all the abstract notions to unite the sects; it was named Islam or the belief in the One and only God.

            The strong animosity of the Catholic Church of Rome against Islam was not directed at a religion such as Buddhism or Mazdean but at a new “heretic” Christian sect usurping its central power in the Near East. The Orthodox Church in Constantinople was more lenient with Islam because it understood its genesis and the causes for the need of this new “heresy”; for Constantinople Islam was the oriental counterpart of Protestantism to Rome when Islam became the dominant religion in the region. 

            It is said: “the enemy of my enemy is my ally”; this Machiavellian principle was lost to obscurantist Catholic Church. Rome was too far away and fought Islam with the ignorance of abstract concepts. For the Catholic Church in 1,000 AC, Islam was doubly “heretic” instead of just the counterpart to the central Orthodox Church of the Byzantium Empire: it failed to realize that if Islam spread so fast and so widely it is mainly because most the labeled Christian heretic sects quickly converted to Islam as representing their system of belief against the monopole of Constantinople.

 

            The other case is the concept of a Syrian Nation with well delimited natural borders including Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and part of Iraq to the west of the Tiger (Dujlat) River. This concept was highly widespread among the people of the region as the Ottoman Empire was dying during WWI.  It was still even more alive during the mandate of France and Britain to the region (Near East) after WWI. The people in the Syrian Nation speak one language and have the same customs and tradition.  This nation was as natural as ABC; the immigrants were first called Turks during the Ottoman Empire and then they were all called Syrians regardless of location or religion.

            The main problem is that the political parties spent two critical decades proving the evident (according to the newer definitions of the West for a Nation) instead of making the effort to developing draft detailed programs on the type of political administrative structure for this nation, the social representation, and election laws; (for example, is it a Federal structure like the USA where each mandated State is fully autonomous with local government and local parliament, or provinces tailored made to religious, ethnic, and sectarian majorities, or loosely united States with open borders, common money, central army, or centralized foreign affairs; is Syria to be a monarchy and what kind). 

            Instead of discussing detailed programs, political parties mushroomed with abstract concepts not based on facts or pragmatic long-term goals. The colonial “mandated powers” of France and England had field days of “dividing to rule”.  Every sect established its political party in every potential State claiming either total independence, or seeking a pan-Arabic Nation of Arabic speaking majorities in States, or Islamic Nation.  We watched the emergence of communist parties disclaiming the notion of affiliating to a nation, to sectarian parties claiming democracy, socialism, and progressive. The worst propaganda that was encouraged by the colonial powers is to incite citizens against the Syrian people with the objective of discrediting the word Syria and giving it a bad connotation.

              Natural borders of chain of mountains, desert, or large rivers do not necessarily protect from invasions; natural borders certainly encourage people to trade and interact inside the borders.  It is the internal rough geography and terrain that protects from outside military incursions.  Once a force crosses the border then Syria is an open land all the way to Egypt. Syria, or the Near East, was continuously occupied by foreign armies: these foreign invaders had to retreat quickly or get absorbed culturally. Whatever monuments, constructions, temples, sport arena, or scholarly works that were attributed to invading nations (Persia, Egypt, Greek, Rome, or Arab) are basically the work of the Near Eastern civilization, their scholars, their craftsmen, and their adventurous business acumen.

            The City-States in the Near East (Tyr, Sidon, Byblos, Ugharit, Mary …) competed in commerce and trade but never attacked one another militarily.  In Greece, City-States frequently waged military wars against one another.  The Near Eastern people adopted defensive strategy; even Carthage in its apogee refrained to antagonize Rome militarily.

            Egypt and Persia frequent invasions in the Near East did not last long.  The Greek were absorbed: what Europe claim as Greek civilization is nothing less than the civilization of the Greek writing Syrians who spoke Aramaic.  Rome was finally absorbed: the Roman Laws are of the legal minds from the school of Beirut and the latest Emperors were born, raised, and educated in Syria. The Byzantium Empire was fundamentally a Near Eastern Empire.  The Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula were absorbed when Damascus was selected as Capital during the Umayyad Dynasty; the Arabs were absorbed by the Persian civilization when the capital shifted to Baghdad.  The Mogul retreated quickly but established long lasting Empires in India and Afghanistan. The Ottoman conquered this land and could not be absorbed: the Syrian people were already exhausted from many years of successive invasions, religious obscurantism, and immigration by scholars to greener pastures.  France and England retreated within two decades.  Israel failed to retreat on time and is now being absorbed as Near Eastern regardless of Israel attempts to seeking European image.

            Consequently, failing to writing a draft on a possible administrative program for the Syrian Nation opened the door to abstract concept instead of working out negotiation and dialogue on pragmatic matters that concerned the people.

The barbaric Catholic Church; (October 13, 2009)

 

            There is a resurgence of Islamophobia in France couched under the pretext of discovering the origins of European civilization as a combination of Greek and Christian cultures. It would be worthwhile to set the historical facts straight for any meaningful reply.

            Since 325 AC to around 700 AC there was a Christian Empire dominated by Byzantium with Capital in Constantinople. This empire was to the east of the Euphrates River, crossing Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, all the way to England and including North Africa. It was basically a Mediterranean Sea Empire.  To the west of the Euphrates River there was a Persian Empire, mostly under the Sassanide Dynasty.  The Arabic Empire did not conquer the western part of Turkey which remained with the Byzantium Empire until 1450 when the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad 2 entered Constantinople and spread all the way to the borders of Vienna in Austria.

            In around 1000 a major schism in Christianity split the Catholic Church of Rome with the Christian Orthodox Church of Constantinople. Actually, the initial Crusade campaigns had for objective to conquer Constantinople and coerce the Orthodox Church into uniting with Rome. That is what took place and Constantinople was ransacked and burned before the Crusading forces marched on toward Jerusalem. The other successive Crusading incursions had for objective to capture Egypt and free the spice routes directly to Europe without paying taxes to the Moslem Kingdoms along the maritime and land caravan routes.

            Thus, from 325 to 1450 Europe was Christian.  Why Greek civilization, if Europe insists on taking the source of its culture from antique Greece, was not prevalent during over 11 centuries?  Why Europe remained barbaric till the 15th century?  Is it because the Christian dogma of Rome was barbaric and refused other civilizations and cultures to infiltrate Europe?  Certainly the Christian clerics were at least bilingual, mostly Latin and Greek, and consequently, if Greece had any culture it would have been translated into Latin. Some would give the lame excuse that the scholars in Europe, mostly the clerics, could read the Greek manuscripts in their original forms and had no need to translate any manuscripts into Latin or other live languages; this would be another proof that the Catholic Church of Rome was barbaric and refused philosophical and scientific disciplines to penetrate into Europe.

            Europe experienced a demographic surge around 1000 AC; it is after getting in contact with the Near East culture and civilization (under Arabic/Islamic kingdoms) during the Crusading campaigns that culture entered Europe from the open door.  Even after the total defeat of the Crusaders in 1200 the Near East culture permeation would continue via Andalusia in southern Spain. The Arabic/Moslem civilization in Spain was the main source for the transfer of sciences into Europe until the “Christian” Spanish monarchs conquered completely Spain in around 1400 and chased out Moslems and Jews from its territory.

            Greece after Aristotle did not produced much in culture.  It was just a brilliant century for the City-State of Athens during Pericles period, as so many glorious periods for a dozen other City-States that dotted the Mediterranean shores and the Euphrates River, from Mary, Harran, Edessee, Ugharite, Tripoli, Byblos, Beirut, Sidon, Tyr, and much later Alexandria, Antiochus, and Ephesus, and on that scholars and archeologists have to start focusing on for the origins of civilizations.  The proof is that the Byzantium Empire that was established in Greece for over 11 centuries is no where mentioned as source for any worthwhile civilization.

            Macedonian warriors under Alexander conquered the Near East; it is not because the Near East people, from Alexandria, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and coastal Turkey, who assimilated the Greek language and spread their own culture and civilization in the Greek language that Europe has to claim its civilization to Greece. Europe should not. It is the Near East culture and civilization that assimilated the languages of the various conquerors (Mesopotamians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula, Ottomans from the Turkish Plateau, French colonialism, and English colonialism) that absorbed and disseminated the fundamental cultures and civilizations to its neighboring environment.  

            It is not because of the invasion of nomadic warriors from the Arabic Peninsula that Arabic civilization should be labeled Arab.  Why the Mogul Empires that lasted longer than many Empires and stretched much further than many are not given any civilization?  It is a shame that Europe still feels the urge to attribute civilization to military conquering warriors.

 

Note: The title was meant to be catchy to drive through the purpose of the topic. I have no zeal to dwell into religions of any kinds. I would like readers to refer to my recent post “Damascus saved the Greek culture”.

Beirut: Crazy Demographics (April 3, 2009)

 

Beirut counted five thousand inhabitants in 1821.  Tripoli and Sidon (Saida) were far more populous and more prosperous. 

When the Egyptian General Ibrahim Pasha defeated the Ottoman armies in Lebanon and Syria and ruled the Near East region (from 1830 to 1840), many Egyptian soldiers married and settled in Beirut. Beirut experienced the highest expansion and wealth for centuries.

The European consulates, mainly France, Britain, Tuscany, and Sardinia, selected Saida for headquarters but the Ottoman governor Ahmad Pasha restricted their commerce.  The foreign traders moved out to Beirut, followed by their respective consulates.

 By 1841, Beirut counted 30,000 inhabitants.  Still, the European insisted on modernizing the port of Saida instead of Beirut.  The problem was that the people in Saida would not hear of it on the ground that the European mariners would ultimately destroy the conservative moral character of the city.

Thus, the Europeans reluctantly were forced to modernize the port of Beirut in 1887.  

In 1859, a road was built to link Beirut to Damascus and then followed by a railroad linking Beirut to Damascus and Houran. 

In 1877, the US Protestant clergy established a university in Rass Beirut and the French Jesuits followed suit by relocating their college from Ghazir to Beirut. It is worth noting that the US Protestants initially contemplated their university to be located in Homs (Syria) because it had many more Christians to convert. Thus, most employees and educators of the American University were from Homs in origins such as the families of El Khal, Refka, Yaziji, and Barakat.

By 1887, the Ottoman Empire decided to concentrate its administrative headquarters in Beirut from where it managed the other provinces (sonjouk) such as Acre, Tripoli and Lataquieh.

Author Ussama Al Aref in his “This Life, my Sweetheart” said that his wife was frustrated for marrying a resident of Beirut.  She was from Beirut but her family was of Crete in origin. Ussama was from Beirut but his family was Turcoman from the neighboring city of Dyar Bakr in Turkey. The family had relocated to the northern borders with Syria of the town of Zara. They had no relatives outside Beirut to flee to during Lebanon civil war (1975-1991).  They were stuck in Beirut and had to dance the dance from street to street.

Not a single resident of Beirut is of Beirut in origin.

Ussama’s friends from Beirut have various origins; Kamal is of Orfeh in Turkey, Jalal from Mardine (Turkey/Syria), the Armenian Gerar from Adana (Turkey), and Jamal an Albanian.  Most of the famous families in Beirut that produced Prime Ministers and political leaders are not of Beirut and most of them not of Lebanese descendents.

The Moslem families such as Hariri, Seniora, and Solh are from Saida and south Lebanon; the families of Itani, Hoss, Biham, and Idriss are from Morocco; the Chatila from Wadi Taym, the Tuweiny and Fara3un from Houran (Syria), the Majdalani from Rashaya, the Sehnawy and the Kassatly from Damascus; and the Bustross from Cyprus.

The Christian families of Tutunji, Obaji, and Kneider are new comers from Aleppo and they considered the Lebanese Maronites as peasants compared to their bourgeois ranking. 

In fact, each of the families of Solh, Salam, Bustross, Tuweiny, and Sursok owned a dozen towns and villages in south Lebanon and north Palestine; they sold most of their vast real estates to Zionist organizations and removed to Beirut to purchase political power.

Beirut prospered with the influx of foreign and Arab oil money. With each military coup in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt (and they were many and frequent), more political and “financial” refugees flocked to Beirut.  Beirut became the hotbed of various political parties and a center for freedom of opinion, dailies, and publishing.

As the Palestinians were organized under the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), they moved its headquarters to Beirut along with the millions of dollars in contribution and support from Arab States.

The cost of living in Beirut skyrocketed by the 70’s. Beirut was invaded by all foreign mafiosos who transformed it into an international bordello and a Carrefour for flesh and slave trading The original residents of Beirut vacated it to the suburbs such as Aramoun, Burj Barajina, Ghobeiry and Dahiya: they could no longer afford its high cost of living. 

Every Prime Minister or politician who claimed that Beirut is the heart of Lebanon was not worth a penny of charity in his heart; they never contributed a dime from their own money. Those residents that vaunt Beirut the loudest are the strangest in it. They are the ones staunchly resisting social and political reforms.  They oppose administrative decentralization. They oppose equitable distribution of funds to all the districts in Lebanon. They oppose equitable distribution of electricity; they want to enjoy power 24 hours while the rest of Lebanon has to be satisfied with only six hours.  

Beirut has lost its popular souks and business versatility around Martyrs’ Square where dozens of movie theaters showed movies of every nationality; it lost its cosmopolitan character around the triangle of the American University, Hamra Street, and Rass Beirut.  Foreigners of all nations lived in that triangle and didn’t feel strangers and out of touch with their home states.

Beirut was a cultural center of the Arab World and there were more dailies than Arab States. Beirut is currently the depot of mounds of detritus and its seashore welcomed thousands of massacred civilians during the civil war. Beirut is a carcass of tall modern buildings built by investors lacking the Levantine soul and spirit and trying hard to submit us with illusions of modernity that no one sees or can afford to taste and experience.

Beirut is not for the Lebanese anymore. Ask any former middle class citizen if he can afford to buy any items in Beirut.  Ask any former bourgeois if he can rent a studio in Beirut. 

Beirut has suffered many earthquakes that destroyed it through the ages.  It has not been spared wars and plagues.

Beirut has never been a port until recently. Beirut has lost its character and its spirit.

As far as I am concerned, Beirut is a cursed city.  Anyone who wishes to own a piece in it he can have it all; stock and lock.

The Virgin Mary is from the town of Qana in Lebanon; Book Review; (March 17, 2009)

The reverend Father Youssef Yamine has recently published a book in Arabic “Jesus Christ was born in Lebanon”. 

The manuscript is of 730 pages and divided into four big chapters:

1. The other Bethlehem in the district of Phoenicia,

2. Who is Christ historically?

3. The Bethlehem of Canaan in the New Testaments, and

4.  Christ was born in the district of Phoenicia, and the Virgin Mary is from and was born in Qana (Lebanon). 

This voluminous book is packed with documentation, references, maps, and archeological facts.  I will reserve details in a series of notes at the end in order to recount smoothly the biography of the extended family of Jesus.

 

The story of the birth of Jesus goes as follows.

Joachim Omram and Hanna, the parents of the Virgin Mary, were from the village of Qana (ten kilometers south-east of the city of Tyr and at an altitude of 85 meters).  This town of Qana was called Qana of Upper Galilee and was within the district of Phoenicia during the Seleucid and early Roman Empires).  Joachim was one of the eminent personalities in the town of Qana and the region.  He was a priest and had been frustrated because he could not secure any descendents.

Joachim (Yuwakeem) took his sheep to a remote area and fasted and prayed for 40 days. Hanna was also frustrated with this extended absence and decided to take off her black cloth and washed her hair and went out in the garden. 

Hanna received an apparition that she will soon get pregnant and that Joachim is on his way home.

Mary was born in Qana and her parents dedicated her to the Great Temple on Mount Carmel (Mount Carmel was also in the district of Phoenicia). 

When Mary was 3 years of age, she was interned in the monastery of the Great Temple in Carmel.  Mary was one of the 12 virgins of the elite families in the region to be dedicated to serve in the temple and she was named “The Pigeon of Eel (God)“. (The Jews in Judea never allowed girls to serve in temples).

Joseph (future husband of Mary) was also from Qana and one of Mary’s relatives; he was one of the superintendents at the temple and he cleaned, painted and did the various tasks of maintenance.

Mary and Joseph got married and Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem Tifone by the Carmel, close to the famous city of Dora by the seaside and north of current city of Haifa, within the district of Phoenicia (not in the Bethlehem of Judea). 

Mary visited her aunt Elizabeth in Galilee who was 6 months pregnant.  Jesus was presented to the Great Temple of Mount Carmel for sanctification. Jesus was lost in the same temple discussing with the priests when he was 12 of years. Jesus studied in the schools of Mount Carmel.

Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem by the Carmel. The town of Nazareth did not exist yet and the area was called Nazareth. When Joseph died Mary returned to her hometown of Qana where her father and grandparents were buried.

Jesus spent his youth in Qana. 

Jesus was called “Jesus of Mary” to distinguish him from the other Jesus.  Mary was also called “the sister of Jacob“:  Hanna had remarried after the death of Joachim and gave birth to 4 offspring; the eldest son of Hanna was apparently Jacob.

           

In the wedding of Qana, where Jesus showed his miraculous power of transforming water into wine, Mary was in her own town and it is Jesus who was invited and came up from Lake Tiberias to join the wedding. 

After the wedding, Mary and the brothers of Jesus (Jacob, Joseph, Simon, and Judah) followed him down to Cafarnaom (Capernaum) by the Lake and stayed there for a few days and then joined Jesus’ party from then on. 

            Qana of Upper Galilee (The Galilee of Nations) was the location where the disciples gathered for a while after the dilapidation of the first martyr Etienne. 

 Note 1: Mary received the “Good Tiding” from the Archangel while serving in Mount Carmel. Jesus was elevated to Heaven on Mount Carmel. The first church was built on Mount Carmel. 

A church was constructedt in the town of Qana by the disciples and the Moslems venerate the tomb of Joachim called “The tomb of the prophet Omran“. 

Qana was an important town for many centuries before Christ, and it became the main resting place of the disciples before venturing any further.

When Israel bombarded south Lebanon in 1996 for 15 days, one of the missiles made a large crater, 4 meters off the tomb of the prophet Omran.  The excavations uncovered a buried church and the tombs of the family of Omran.

Note 2: Qana is famous today because Israel massacred over 100 civilians and gravely injured 120 when her bombs targeted a UN compound in Qana in 1996.  Israel hit that same town again in 2006 and killed 50 more civilians.  

 

Note 3: I may conjecture that Mary retained the title of Virgin because she earned it serving as one of the virgins in the Great Temple.  There is this tradition in the Levant to bestow the title of nun and priest for even those who later relinquished their sacerdotal duties.

 

Note 4:  I may be bold to offer another conjecture.  Joachim was sterile and Hanna was impregnated by her relative who later became her second husband.

 

Note 5:  Jesus was not Jewish. His family and ancestors were forced by the Jewish King Arestopoulos to abide by Moses’ Law and be circumcised since the year 103 BC.

The Jewish historian of the Jews Josephus never mentioned Jesus or the crucifixion: Jesus was not considered a Jew!

 

Note 6: Jesus was highly educated.  He could speak Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. He studied Law and taught Law at the university in Sidon (Lebanon)

 

Note 7:  The name Jesus is also called Emanuel (Amanueel) which mean “Eel (God) is among us”. Thus, “God was made human“.

 

Note 8: The astrophysicist Reznicoff confirms that the Comet Halley that showed the way to the sages crossed Galilee and not Judea.

 

Note 9:  Jesus was born in the year 7 BC and Caesar’s census was done in the year 10 BC, 3 years before Jesus birth.

 

Note 10: Herod the Great learned about the birth of the “King of the Jews” from the magies as he was boarding a ship in Akka (Acre) to Rome. 

No historian ever confirmed the mass killing of males of two years and less during the reign of Herod.

 

Note 11:  There are indications that Jesus entered Jerusalem for the first time when he was crucified. 

No wonder that Jesus experienced a cultural chock when he witnessed business and usury transactions within the temple.

Jesus got hold of a whip and chased out the merchants and turned their tables over and declared: “It is said that the temple is the house of God and not a cavern for thieves”.

 

Note 12:  Jesus was also called Rabbi (Rabuny) which means teacher in Aramaic.  Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let anyone call you Rabbi since you have only one teacher in Christ and you are all brethren”

 

Note 13:  Jesus wore the same long white robe that the Essenes sect of Mount Carmel wore; the consecrated members were called “The White Brethren” and they were famous as healers. 

The Essenes had many branches in Galilee and a prosperous one in Alexandria (Egypt) and had places for welcoming travelers and the sick. 

John the Baptist, who never left the region of Galilee, baptized with water as of the Essenes traditions and baptized Jesus.

Note 14:  Israel bombed Qana twice: Once on April 18, 1996 on a UN refugee compound and a second time in July 2006.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party's photo.
Syrian Social Nationalist Party's photo.

‫#‏قانا‬ | 18 نيسان 1996


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

August 2020
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Blog Stats

  • 1,404,898 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 755 other followers

%d bloggers like this: