Category Archives: Arts, Virtual Museums tour.

Human civilization: Tour Eiffel


Tour Eiffel

 
Tour Eiffel Wikimedia Commons.jpg
Histoire
Ancien(s) nom(s)
« Tour de 300 mètres »
Architecte
Ingénieur
Construction
1887 – 1889
2 ans, 2 mois et 5 jours
Usage
tour d’observation et de télécommunications, attraction touristique
Architecture
Type
Matériau
Statut patrimonial
Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg inscrit MH (1964) +/-
Hauteur de l’antenne
324 m
Hauteur du dernier étage
279,11 m
Nombre d’étages
4
Nombre d’ascenseurs
61
Administration
Occupant
Société d’exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE)
Propriétaire
Site web
Géographie
Pays
Ville
Quartier
Coordonnées
Localisation sur la carte de France

voir sur la carte de France

Red pog.svg

today’s birthday: Vincent van Gogh (1853)


Vincent van Gogh (1853)

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch postimpressionist artist whose paintings include some of the world’s best known, most popular, and most valuable pieces in the world today. Yet, only one of his paintings was sold while he lived. The majority of the works for which he is best known were produced in 29 months of frenzied activity and intermittent bouts with epileptic seizures and profound despair that tragically ended in suicide. What iconic painting did van Gogh complete while in a mental hospital? More… Discuss

Silent Witnesses B-W Sketch: Amazing sketch from my SketchGuru


image

I’ve been using SketchGuru and I think you might like it. Check out from your Android phone:

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.seventeenmiles.sketch

Sent from my Android.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Iraq’s Lost Treasures (the treasure of Nimrud)


Iraq’s Lost Treasures (the treasure of Nimrud)

today’s picture: The Siege of the Alamo


The Siege of the Alamo

Davy Crockett fires his rifle from a kneeling position at the Alamo, March 6, 1836. Angered by a new Mexican constitution that removed much of their autonomy, Texans seized the Alamo in San Antonio in December 1835. Mexican president General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna marched into Texas to put down the rebellion. By late February, 1836, less than 200 Texans, led by Colonel William Travis, held the former mission complex against Santa Anna’s 6,000 troops. At 4 a.m. on March 6, Santa Anna’s troops charged. In the battle that followed, all the Alamo defenders were killed while the Mexicans suffered about 2,000 casualties. Santa Anna dismissed the Alamo conquest as ‘a small affair,’ but the time bought by the Alamo defenders’ lives permitted General Sam Houston to forge an army that would win the Battle of San Jacinto and, ultimately, Texas’ independence.

Related Articles:
The Alamo: 13 Days of Glory
Mysteries, myths and Texas-size legends surround the fortified Spanish mission that became a shrine after a few good men valiantly defended it to the death 160 years ago.

Frontier Hero Davy Crockett
Already one of the most celebrated men in America in 1835, the restless Tennessean sought adventure and new opportunity in Texas… where the Alamo and immortality awaited him.

- See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day#sthash.2s1IaOqB.dpuf

today’s birthday: Michelangelo (1475)


Michelangelo (1475)

Among the world’s most celebrated artists, Michelangelo was one of the foremost figures of the Renaissance. The marble David, completed before his 30th birthday, is a sculptural masterpiece, and his paintings in the Sistine Chapel are among the most influential frescoes in the history of Western art. A true “Renaissance man,” he also was an architect and poet and wrote hundreds of sonnets and madrigals. Where in the Sistine Chapel is there a disguised self-portrait of Michelangelo? More… Discuss

BBC – Culture – The Ajanta Caves: Discovering lost treasure


The Ajanta Caves, 30 spellbinding Buddhist prayer halls and monasteries carved, as if by sorcery, into a horseshoe-shaped rock face in a mountainous region of India’s Maharashtra state, 450km (280 miles) east of Mumbai, were ‘discovered’ by accident in 1819.

Unknown for more than 1,000 years except to wild animals, insects, flood waters, prodigious foliage and perhaps the local Bhil people, this magnificent work of art, architecture and contemplation, was abandoned by those who created it as long ago as AD 500. In 1983 it was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site.

John Smith, a young British cavalry officer, was on a tiger hunt when he spotted the mouth of a cave high above the Waghora (Tiger) River that could only have been man made. Scrambling up with his party, Smith entered the cave and, branding a flaming grass torch, encountered a great vaulted and colonnaded hall, its walls covered in faded paintings. Beneath a dome, a timeless praying Buddha fronted a mound-like shrine, or stupa

via BBC – Culture – The Ajanta Caves: Discovering lost treasure.

Ad Deir (‘The Monastery’), Petra, Jordan— AlluringArchitecture


the symbolism of the Rodia’s Towers — Old Pics Archive


more reading HERE

just a thought: “Pirates worst day at work: No matter how much they hammered at those statues…the gold was not hidden in there!”


just a thought: “Pirates worst day at work: No matter how much they hammered at those statues…the gold was not hidden in there!”

this pressed for history: Iraq’s National Museum To Open For First Time Since 2003 Invasion : The Two-Way : NPR


A man looks at ancient Assyrian human-headed winged bull statues at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad on Saturday.

Days after video emerged showing self-declared Islamic State extremists taking sledge hammers to pre-Islamic antiquities inside the Mosul museum, the Iraqi government has reopened the country’s national museum, shuttered since the 2003 U.S. invasion of the country that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The National Museum’s reopening was moved up as a retort to the move by ISIS in Mosul, which has been almost universally condemned as a most uncivilized act in a part of the world widely considered the cradle of civilization.

“The events in Mosul led us to speed up our work and we wanted to open it today as a response to what the gangs of Daesh did,” Iraq’s Deputy Tourism Minister Qais Hussein Rashid said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The National Museum, which displays artifacts from the Mesopotamian era, was looted and then closed after the U.S. invasion. Agence France-Presse quotes Rashid as saying that around 4,300 of the roughly 15,000 looted pieces have been recovered in the past 12 years. Authorities are still tracking down more than 10,000 items in markets and auctions.

via Iraq’s National Museum To Open For First Time Since 2003 Invasion : The Two-Way : NPR.

Cultural Museum of Mosul


Cultural Museum of Mosul

this pressed for humanity: The Plight Of Mosul’s Museum: Iraqi Antiquities At Risk Of Ruin : NPR


July 09, 2014 4:11 PM ET

(As you can see the issue was known to the civilized world for many months! but nothing but meetings and comdemnations were issued, and nothing done to prevent the distruction of humanity’s historic treasures)

http://www.npr.org/v2/?i=330183802&m=330183803&t=audio
http://www.npr.org/v2/?i=330183802&m=330183803&t=audio
http://www.npr.org/2014/07/09/330183802/the-plight-of-mosuls-museum-iraqi-antiquities-at-risk-of-ruin

Christopher Dickey, foreign editor for the Daily Beast, speaks to Melissa Block about the dangers facing antiquities in a museum and other archaeological sites in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I’m Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I’m Melissa Block. As Sunni insurgents have swept through Iraq seizing cities, they’ve also begun destroying ancient artifacts. Shrines, tombs and statues that the group ISIS believes are against Islam. Present day Iraq was once Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and considered the cradle of civilization. Now there’s great concern that antiquities and archaeological sites will be wiped out. As Christopher Dickey writes in the Daily Beast, it’s a virtual certainty that irreplaceable history will be annihilated or sold into the netherworld of corrupt and cynical collectors. Mr. Dickey joins me not from Paris. Thanks for being with us.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY: Sure thing Melissa.

BLOCK: And you write of particular concern about the province of Nineveh and the city of Mosul, in particular the Mosul Museum. Describe what’s there and the significance of these artifacts.

DICKEY: Well, what’s at risk are some beautiful monumental sculptures, these winged figures, lions and bulls, with the faces of bearded men – Kings, that clearly were idols in the time of the Assyrians. But that are now part and parcel of the history of Western civilization and biblical history especially. And then we’ve also got gorgeous gold jewelry which certainly will go onto the black market and all kinds of smaller pieces of sculpture, earthenware, the kinds of things that give you the texture as well as the beauty of life in that period. So it’s a rich museum but all of that collection is now in the hands of ISIS.

via The Plight Of Mosul’s Museum: Iraqi Antiquities At Risk Of Ruin : NPR.

this pressed for history of civilization: BBC News – Iraq country profile – overview


Cradle of civilisation

Ziggurat of Ur Iraq is home to several ancient sites, such as the Ziggurat of Ur, a temple thought to be 4,000 years old

Straddling the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and stretching from the Gulf to the Anti-Taurus Mountains, modern Iraq occupies roughly what was once ancient Mesopotamia, one of the cradles of human civilisation.

In the early Middle Ages, Iraq was the heartland of the Islamic Empire, but a brutal Mongol invasion in the 13th century destroyed its importance. Part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th century, it came under British control after World War I, gaining independence in 1932.

The British-installed monarchy was toppled in 1958, and a coup in 1968 brought the Arab nationalist Ba’ath (Renaissance) party to power. Oil made the country rich and, when Saddam Hussein became president in 1979, petroleum made up 95% of its foreign exchange earnings.

But the 1980-88 war with Iran and the 1991 Gulf War, sparked by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, together with the subsequent imposition of international sanctions, had a devastating effect on its economy and society.

via BBC News – Iraq country profile – overview.



History Of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Vol. 1, by Gaston Maspero, Audiobook

History of Human Society – Civilizations: The_Encyclopedia_of_Ancient Civilizations_Arthur_Cotterell


The_Encyclopedia_of_Ancient Civilizations_Arthur_Cotterell

The_Encyclopedia_of_Ancient Civilizations_Arthur_Cotterell (click to enlarge)


THE BEST ANCIENT EGYPT DOCUMENTARY (MUST SEE !!!): Kudos to Egypt for Fighting for its rightful place among the civilized nations of the Earth including the fight for revenge its kidnapped and slaughtered citizens by ISIS


THE BEST ANCIENT EGYPT DOCUMENTARY (MUST SEE !!!)

Bizantine. Christ (portion of a Deesis mosaic) 13th century Hagia Sophia Istanbul


Bizantine. Christ (portion of a Deesis mosaic) 13th century Hagia Sophia Istanbul

Bizantine. Christ (portion of a Deesis mosaic) 13th century Hagia Sophia Istanbul

 

just a thought just a thought: Christianity already lost many churches under the Yatagan. Can Christians afford to loose St.Peters Basilica too? – George-B.


just a thought: “Christianity already lost many churches under the Yatagan. Can Christians afford to loose St.Peters Basilica too?
– George-B. 


Copyright © 2015 [George-B]. All Rights Reserved.

read more  about :  Yatagan

Further reading:  HereHere

 

Human Civilization: Magna Carta Copy Found in Scrapbook


Magna Carta Copy Found in Scrapbook

A previously unknown version of the Magna Carta—the most famous document in British constitutional history—has been found tucked in a scrapbook by an archivist in the British town of Sandwich. The discovery comes just days after four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta went on display in London. The Magna Carta, issued in 1215 by King John of England, asserted that no one, not even the king, was above the law. The newly found version appears to have been published under King Edward I in 1300. More… Discuss

Human Civilization Heritage – Historic Sites: Petra – Jordan (Listed by UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists) and Smithsonian Magazine’s – “28 Places to See Before You Die”


Petra

This article is about the Jordanian ancient city of Petra. For other uses, see Petra (disambiguation).
Petra
Al Khazneh.jpg

Al Khazneh or The Treasury at Petra
Location Ma’an Governorate, Jordan
Coordinates 30°19′43″N 35°26′31″ECoordinates: 30°19′43″N 35°26′31″E
Elevation 810 m (2,657 ft)
Built possibly as early as 5th century BC [1]
Visitation 580,000 (in 2007)
Governing body Petra Region Authority
 
Type Cultural
Criteria i, iii, iv
Designated 1985 (9th session)
Reference no. 326
State Party Jordan
Region Arab States
 
Website www.visitpetra.jo
Petra is located in Jordan

Petra
 
Location of Petra in Jordan

Petra (Arabic: البتراء, Al-Batrāʾ; Ancient Greek: Πέτρα) is a historical and archaeological city in the southern Jordanian governorate of Ma’an that is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. Another name for Petra is the Rose City due to the color of the stone out of which it is carved.

Established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans,[2] it is a symbol of Jordan, as well as Jordan’s most-visited tourist attraction.[3] It lies on the slope of Jebel al-Madhbah (identified by some as the biblical Mount Hor[4]) in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” in a Newdigate Prize-winning poem by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”.[5] See: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Petra was chosen by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “28 Places to See Before You Die”.[6]

Geography

Pliny the Elder and other writers identify Petra as the capital of the Nabataeans and the center of their caravan trade. Enclosed by towering rocks and watered by a perennial stream, Petra not only possessed the advantages of a fortress, but controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza in the west, to Bosra and Damascus in the north, to Aqaba and Leuce Come on the Red Sea, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf.

Map of Petra

 

The narrow passage (Siq) that leads to Petra

Excavations have demonstrated that it was the ability of the Nabataeans to control the water supply that led to the rise of the desert city, creating an artificial oasis. The area is visited by flash floods and archaeological evidence demonstrates the Nabataeans controlled these floods by the use of dams, cisterns and water conduits. These innovations stored water for prolonged periods of drought, and enabled the city to prosper from its sale.[7][8]

In ancient times, Petra might have been approached from the south on a track leading across the plain of Petra, around Jabal Haroun (“Aaron’s Mountain”), where the Tomb of Aaron, said to be the burial-place of Aaron, brother of Moses, is located. Another approach was possibly from the high plateau to the north. Today, most modern visitors approach the site from the east. The impressive eastern entrance leads steeply down through a dark, narrow gorge (in places only 3–4 m (9.8–13.1 ft) wide) called the Siq (“the shaft”), a natural geological feature formed from a deep split in the sandstone rocks and serving as a waterway flowing into Wadi Musa. At the end of the narrow gorge stands Petra’s most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh (popularly known as and meaning “the Treasury”), hewn into the sandstone cliff. While remaining in remarkably preserved condition, the face of the structure is marked by hundreds of bullet holes made by the local Bedouin tribes that hoped to dislodge riches that were once rumored to be hidden within it.[9]

A little farther from the Treasury, at the foot of the mountain called en-Nejr, is a massive theatre, positioned so as to bring the greatest number of tombs within view. At the point where the valley opens out into the plain, the site of the city is revealed with striking effect. The amphitheatre has been cut into the hillside and into several of the tombs during its construction. Rectangular gaps in the seating are still visible. Almost enclosing it on three sides are rose-colored mountain walls, divided into groups by deep fissures and lined with knobs cut from the rock in the form of towers.

History

One of the many dwellings in Petra

 

General view of Petra

 

Some of the earliest recorded farmers settled in Beidha, a pre-pottery settlement just north of Petra, by 7000 BC.[10] Petra is listed in Egyptian campaign accounts and the Amarna letters as Pel, Sela or Seir. Though the city was founded relatively late, a sanctuary has existed there since very ancient times. Stations 19 through 26 of the stations list of Exodus are places associated with Petra.[11] This part of the country was biblically assigned to the Horites, the predecessors of the Edomites.[12] The habits of the original natives may have influenced the Nabataean custom of burying the dead and offering worship in half-excavated caves. Although Petra is usually identified with Sela, which means a rock, the Biblical references[13] refer to it as “the cleft in the rock”, referring to its entrance. In the parallel passage, however, Sela is understood to mean simply “the rock” (2 Chronicles xxv. 12, see LXX).

Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews iv. 7, 1~ 4, 7), Eusebius and Jerome (Onom. sacr. 286, 71. 145, 9; 228, 55. 287, 94) assert that Rekem was the native name, and this name appears in the Dead Sea Scrolls[14] as a prominent Edomite site most closely describing Petra, and associated with Mount Seir. But in the Aramaic versions, Rekem is the name of Kadesh, implying that Josephus may have confused the two places. The Semitic name of the city, if not Sela, remains unknown. The passage in Diodorus Siculus (xix. 94–97) which describes the expeditions which Antigonus sent against the Nabataeans in 312 BC is understood to throw some light upon the history of Petra, but the “petra” referred to as a natural fortress and place of refuge cannot be a proper name and the description implies that the town was not yet in existence.

 
The Rekem Inscription before it was buried by the bridge abutments.

The name “Rekem” was inscribed in the rock wall of the Wadi Musa opposite the entrance to the Siq,[15] but about twenty years ago[timeframe?] the Jordanians built a bridge over the wadi and this inscription was buried beneath tons of concrete.[citation needed]

More satisfactory evidence of the date of the earliest Nabataean settlement may be obtained from an examination of the tombs. Two types of tombs have been distinguished: the Nabataean and the Greco-Roman. The Nabataean type starts from the simple pylon-tomb with a door set in a tower crowned by a parapet ornament, in imitation of the front of a dwelling-house. Then, after passing through various stages, the full Nabataean type is reached, retaining all the native features and at the same time exhibiting characteristics which are partly Egyptian and partly Greek. Of this type close parallels exist in the tomb-towers at Mada’in Saleh in north Arabia, which bear long Nabataean inscriptions and supply a date for the corresponding monuments at Petra. Then comes a series of tombfronts which terminate in a semicircular arch, a feature derived from north Syria. Finally come the elaborate façades copied from the front of a Roman temple; however, all traces of native style have vanished. The exact dates of the stages in this development cannot be fixed. Few inscriptions of any length have been found at Petra, perhaps because they have perished with the stucco or cement which was used upon many of the buildings. The simple pylon-tombs which belong to the pre-Hellenic age serve as evidence for the earliest period. It is not known how far back in this stage the Nabataean settlement goes, but it does not go back farther than the 6th century BC. A period follows in which the dominant civilization combines Greek, Egyptian and Syrian elements, clearly pointing to the age of the Ptolemies. Towards the close of the 2nd century BC, when the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms were equally depressed, the Nabataean kingdom came to the front. Under Aretas III Philhellene, (c.85–60 BC), the royal coins begin. The theatre was probably excavated at that time, and Petra must have assumed the aspect of a Hellenistic city. In the reign of Aretas IV Philopatris, (9 BC–40 AD), the tombs of the el-I~ejr[clarification needed] type may be dated, and perhaps also the High-place.

Roman rule

In 106 AD, when Cornelius Palma was governor of Syria, the part of Arabia under the rule of Petra was absorbed into the Roman Empire as part of Arabia Petraea and became its capital. The native dynasty came to an end but the city continued to flourish under Roman rule. It was around this time that the Petra Roman Road was built. A century later, in the time of Alexander Severus, when the city was at the height of its splendor, the issue of coinage comes to an end. There is no more building of sumptuous tombs, owing apparently to some sudden catastrophe, such as an invasion by the neo-Persian power under the Sassanid Empire. Meanwhile, as Palmyra (fl. 130–270) grew in importance and attracted the Arabian trade away from Petra, the latter declined. It appears, however, to have lingered on as a religious centre. Another Roman road was constructed at the site. Epiphanius of Salamis (c.315–403) writes that in his time a feast was held there on December 25 in honor of the virgin Khaabou (Chaabou) and her offspring Dushara (Haer. 51).[citation needed]

Byzantine era – decline

Petra declined rapidly under Roman rule, in large part from the revision of sea-based trade routes. In 363 an earthquake destroyed many buildings, and crippled the vital water management system.[16] The last inhabitants abandoned the city (further weakened by another major earthquake in 551) when the Arabs conquered the region in 663. The ruins of Petra were an object of curiosity in the Middle Ages and were visited by Sultan Baibars of Egypt towards the end of the 13th century. The first European to describe them was Swiss traveller Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.

Because the structures weakened with age, many of the tombs became vulnerable to thieves, and many treasures were stolen. In 1929, a four-person team, consisting of British archaeologists Agnes Conway and George Horsfield, Palestinian physician and folklore expert Dr Tawfiq Canaan and Dr Ditlef Nielsen, a Danish scholar, excavated and surveyed Petra.[17]

T. E. Lawrence

 Petra siq in 1947 (left) compared with the same location in 2013

In October 1917, as part of a general effort to divert Ottoman military resources away from the British advance before the Third Battle of Gaza, a revolt of Syrians and Arabians in Petra was led by British Army officer T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) against the Ottoman regime. The Bedouin women living in the vicinity of Petra and under the leadership of Sheik Khallil’s wife were gathered to fight in the revolt of the city. The rebellions, with the support of English military, were able to devastate the Ottoman forces.[18]

Religion

 The Theatre
See also: Nabataean art

The Nabataeans worshipped the Arab gods and goddesses of the pre-Islamic times as well as a few of their deified kings. One, Obodas I, was deified after his death. Dushara was the primary male god accompanied by his female trinity: Al-‘Uzzá, Allat and Manāt. Many statues carved in the rock depict these gods and goddesses.

A stele is dedicated to Qos-Allah ‘Qos is Allah’ or ‘Qos the god’, by Qosmilk (melech – king) is found at Petra (Glueck 516). Qos is identifiable with Kaush (Qaush) the God of the older Edomites. The stele is horned and the seal from the Edomite Tawilan near Petra identified with Kaush displays a star and crescent (Browning 28), both consistent with a moon deity. It is conceivable the latter could have resulted from trade with Harran (Bartlett 194). There is continuing debate about the nature of Qos (qaus – bow) who has been identified both with a hunting bow (hunting god) and a rainbow (weather god) although the crescent above is also a bow.

Nabatean inscriptions in Sinai and other places display widespread references to names including Allah, El and Allat (god and goddess), with regional references to al-Uzza, Baal and Manutu (Manat) (Negev 11). Allat is also found in Sinai in South Arabian language. Allah occurs particularly as Garm-‘allahi – god dedided (Greek Garamelos) and Aush-allahi – ‘gods covenant’ (Greek Ausallos). We find both Shalm-lahi ‘Allah is peace’ and Shalm-allat, ‘the peace of the goddess’. We also find Amat-allahi ‘she-servant of god’ and Halaf-llahi ‘the successor of Allah’.[19]

The Monastery, Petra’s largest monument, dates from the 1st century BC. It was dedicated to Obodas I and is believed to be the symposium of Obodas the god. This information is inscribed on the ruins of the Monastery (the name is the translation of the Arabic “Ad Deir“).

Christianity found its way to Petra in the 4th century AD, nearly 500 years after the establishment of Petra as a trade center. Athanasius mentions a bishop of Petra (Anhioch. 10) named Asterius. At least one of the tombs (the “tomb with the urn”?) was used as a church. An inscription in red paint records its consecration “in the time of the most holy bishop Jason” (447). After the Islamic conquest of 629–632 Christianity in Petra, as of most of Arabia, gave way to Islam. During the First Crusade Petra was occupied by Baldwin I of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and formed the second fief of the barony of Al Karak (in the lordship of Oultrejordain) with the title Château de la Valée de Moyse or Sela. It remained in the hands of the Franks until 1189. It is still a titular see of the Catholic Church.[20]

Two Crusader-period castles are known in and around Petra. The first is al-Wu’ayra and is situated just north of Wadi Musa. It can be viewed from the road to “Little Petra”. It is the castle of Valle Moise which was seized by a band of Turks with the help of local Muslims and only recovered by the Crusaders after they began to destroy the olive trees of Wadi Musa. The potential loss of livelihood led the locals to negotiate surrender. The second is on the summit of el-Habis in the heart of Petra and can be accessed from the West side of the Qasr al-Bint.

According to Arab tradition, Petra is the spot where Moses (Musa) struck a rock with his staff and water came forth, and where Moses’ brother, Aaron (Harun), is buried, at Mount Hor, known today as Jabal Haroun or Mount Aaron. The Wadi Musa or “Wadi of Moses” is the Arab name for the narrow valley at the head of which Petra is sited. A mountaintop shrine of Moses’ sister Miriam was still shown to pilgrims at the time of Jerome in the 4th century, but its location has not been identified since.[21]

Threats to Petra

The site suffers from a host of threats, including collapse of ancient structures, erosion due to flooding and improper rainwater drainage, weathering from salt upwelling,[22] improper restoration of ancient structures, and unsustainable tourism.[23] The last has increased substantially, especially since the site received widespread media coverage in 2007 during the controversial New Seven Wonders of the World Internet and cell phone campaign.[24]

In an attempt to reduce the impact of these threats, Petra National Trust (PNT) was established in 1989. Over this time, it has worked together with numerous local and international organizations on projects that promote the protection, conservation and preservation of the Petra site.[25] Moreover, UNESCO and ICOMOS recently collaborated to publish their first book on human and natural threats to these sensitive World Heritage sites. They chose Petra as its first, and the most important example of threatened landscapes. A book released in 2012, Tourism and Archaeological Heritage Management at Petra: Driver to Development or Destruction?, was the first in a series of important books to address the very nature of these deteriorating buildings, cities, sites, and regions. The next books in the series of deteriorating UNESCO World Heritage Sites will include Macchu Picchu, Angkor Wat, and Pompeii. (25).

 
Camel sitting in front of Al Khazneh

Petra today

On December 6, 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage Site. Some of the sights of Petra are available on Google Street View.

In popular culture

Petra is the main topic in John William Burgon‘s sonnet (rhyme scheme aabbccddeeffgg) “Petra” which won the Newdigate Prize in 1845. The poem refers to Petra as the inaccessible city which he had heard described but had never seen:

It seems no work of Man’s creative hand,

by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;

But from the rock as if by magic grown,

eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,

where erst Athena held her rites divine;

Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,

that crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;

But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,

that first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;

The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,

which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,

match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,

a rose-red city half as old as time.

In 1977, the Lebanese Rahbani brothers wrote the musical “Petra” as a response to the Lebanese Civil War.[26]

The site is featured in films such as: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Arabian Nights, Passion in the Desert, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, The Mummy Returns and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

It was recreated for the video games Spy Hunter (2001), King’s Quest V, Lego Indiana Jones, Sonic Unleashed, Knights of the Temple: Infernal Crusade and Civilization V.

Petra appeared in the novels Left Behind Series, Appointment with Death, The Eagle in the Sand, The Red Sea Sharks, the nineteenth book in The Adventures of Tintin series and in Kingsbury’s The Moon Goddess and the Son. It featured prominently in the Marcus Didius Falco mystery novel Last Act in Palmyra. In Blue Balliett‘s novel, Chasing Vermeer, the character Petra Andalee is named after the site.[27]

The Sisters of Mercy filmed their music video for “Dominion/Mother Russia” in and around Al Khazneh (“The Treasury”) in February 1988.

In 1994 Petra featured in the video to the Urban Species video Spiritual Love.

Petra was featured in episode 3 of the 2010 series An Idiot Abroad.

In 1979 Marguerite van Geldermalsen from New Zealand married Mohammed Abdullah, a Bedouin in Petra.[28] They lived in a cave in Petra until the death of her husband. She authored the book Married to a Bedouin. Geldermalsen is the only western woman who has ever lived in Petra.

Petra was featured in episode 20 of Misaeng_(TV_series). [29][30]

Sister cities

Views of Petra
The road to the Siiq 
The Siiq, path to Petra 
El Deir (“The Monastery”) 
Byzantine mosaic in the Byzantine Church of Petra 
The end of the Siq, with its dramatic view of Al Khazneh (“The Treasury”) 
The Hadrian Gate and the Cardo Maximus in Petra 
Petra is known as the Rose-Red City[31] for the colour of the rocks from which Petra is carved 
The Great Temple of Petra 
Ad Deir (“The Monastery”) in 1839, by David Roberts 
The Petra Visitors Centre in Wadi Musa, the closest town to the historic site 
Drimia maritima bulbs in Petra in early December (2010) 
Sandstone Rock-cut tombs (Kokhim) in Petra 
Obelisk Tomb and the Triclinium 
Street of Façades 
The Silk Tomb 
Uneishu Tomb 
Lonely cave 
Sandstone rocks 
Main entrance (Al Khazneh) 
Theatre 
General view 
Ancient columns 
Tourist attraction 

See also

Petra one of the most Mysterious Archaeological Sites on Earth [FULL DOCUMENTARY]

this pressed: Les luminessences d’Avignon | Palais des Papes – Avignon


Seeing it in all its majesty, standing proud in the historical heart of Avignon, people often wonder: but what were popes doing here in Provence? Why did they leave the Roman hillsides to come to the banks of the Rhône? The monumental video projection, music and story-telling reveal the history of the building, the city and the region like never before. At the meeting of Europe’s great rivers, in the centre of old Avignon, come and experience an extraordinary 360° journey in time and space. For an unforgettable evening, on a unique and exceptional site: the cour d’Honneur of the Palais des Papes.

via Les luminessences d’Avignon | Palais des Papes – Avignon.

quotation: ― Augustine of Hippo


 

“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1490.

Augustine of Hippo by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1490. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Christianity (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Christianity

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch, Danish painter, d. 1890.

Christianity (from the Ancient Greek word Χριστός, Christos, a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, Māšîăḥ, meaning “the anointed one”,[1] together with the Latin suffixes -ian and -itas) is an Abrahamic, monotheistic[2] religion based on the life and oral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. Christianity is the world’s largest religion,[3][4] with about 2.4 billion adherents, known as Christians.[5][6][7][8] Christians believe that Jesus has a “unique significance” in the world.[9] Most Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and fully human, and the saviour of humanity whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament. Consequently, Christians refer to Jesus as Christ or the Messiah.

The foundations of Christian theology are expressed in ecumenical creeds. These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father. Most Christian denominations teach that Jesus will return to judge everybody, living and dead, and to grant eternal life to his followers. He is considered the model of a virtuous life. His ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection are often referred to as “the gospel“, meaning “good news” (a loan translation of the Greek: εὐαγγέλιον euangélion). The term gospel also refers to written accounts of Jesus’s life and teaching, four of which – the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – are considered canonical and included in Christian Bibles.

Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century.[10][11] Originating in the Levant region of the Middle East, it quickly spread to Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Egypt. It grew in size and influence over a few centuries, and by the end of the 4th century had become the official state church of the Roman Empire, replacing other forms of religion practiced under Roman rule.[12] During the Middle Ages, most of the remainder of Europe was Christianized, and adherents were gained in the Middle East, North Africa, Ethiopia, and parts of India.[13][14] Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity spread to the Americas, Australasia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization.[15][16][17] Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization.[18][19][20][21][22]

Worldwide, the three largest groups of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the various denominations of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox patriarchates split from one another in the schism of the 11th century, and Protestantism came into existence during the Reformation of the 16th century, splitting from the Roman Catholic Church.[23]

Beliefs

Christians share a certain set of beliefs that they hold as essential to their faith, though there are many important differences of interpretation and opinion of the Bible on which Christianity is based.[24]

Creeds

Main article: Creeds

Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds (from Latin credo, meaning “I believe”). They began as baptismal formulae and were later expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.

Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. The Baptists have been non-creedal “in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another.”[25]:p.111 Also rejecting creeds are groups with roots in the Restoration Movement, such as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada and the Churches of Christ.[26][27]:14–15[28]:123

 An Eastern Christian Icon depicting Emperor Constantine and the Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea (325) as holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.

The Apostles’ Creed remains the most popular statement of the articles of Christian faith which are generally acceptable to most Christian denominations that are creedal. It is widely used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical Churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and Western Rite Orthodoxy. It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries. Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The creed was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome.[29]

Its main points include:

The Nicene Creed, largely a response to Arianism, was formulated at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 respectively[30][31] and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.[32]

The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451,[33] though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox Churches,[34] taught Christ “to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably”: one divine and one human, and that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are nevertheless also perfectly united into one person.[35]

The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: “We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance.”[36]

Most Christians (Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Protestants alike) accept the use of creeds, and subscribe to at least one of the creeds mentioned above.[37]

Ten Commandments

Main article: Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, theft, and adultery. Different groups follow slightly different traditions for interpreting and numbering them. According to the synoptic gospels, Christ generalised the law into two underlying principles; The first is “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” While the second is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[Matthew 22:34–40][Mark 12:28–33]

These are quotes from Deuteronomy 6:4 and Leviticus 19:18. Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament comments on these verses saying: “These comprehend the substance of what Moses in the law, and what the prophets have spoken. What they have said has been to endeavour to win men to the love of God and each other. Love to God and man comprehends the whole [of] religion; and to produce this has been the design of Moses, the prophets, the Saviour, and the apostles.”[38]

Jesus Christ

The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus’ coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept. The core Christian belief is that through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.[39]

While there have been many theological disputes over the nature of Jesus over the earliest centuries of Christian history, Christians generally believe that Jesus is God incarnate and “true God and true man” (or both fully divine and fully human). Jesus, having become fully human, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, but did not sin. As fully God, he rose to life again. According to the Bible, “God raised him from the dead”,[40] he ascended to heaven, is “seated at the right hand of the Father”[41] and will ultimately return[Acts 1:9–11] to fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the Resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment and final establishment of the Kingdom of God.

According to the canonical gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary. Little of Jesus’ childhood is recorded in the canonical Gospels, however infancy Gospels were popular in antiquity. In comparison, his adulthood, especially the week before his death, is well documented in the Gospels contained within the New Testament, because that part of his life was believed to be most important. The Biblical accounts of Jesus’ ministry include: his baptism, miracles, preaching, teaching, and deeds.

Death and resurrection

 
Crucifixion, representing the death of Jesus on the Cross, painting by D. Velázquez, 17th century

 
Resurrection of Christ by Noel Coypel, 1700, using a hovering depiction of Jesus.

Christians consider the resurrection of Jesus to be the cornerstone of their faith (see 1 Corinthians 15) and the most important event in history.[42] Among Christian beliefs, the death and resurrection of Jesus are two core events on which much of Christian doctrine and theology is based.[43][44] According to the New Testament Jesus was crucified, died a physical death, was buried within a tomb, and rose from the dead three days later.[Jn. 19:30–31] [Mk. 16:1] [16:6]

The New Testament mentions several resurrection appearances of Jesus on different occasions to his twelve apostles and disciples, including “more than five hundred brethren at once”,[1Cor 15:6] before Jesus’ Ascension to heaven. Jesus’ death and resurrection are commemorated by Christians in all worship services, with special emphasis during Holy Week which includes Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

The death and resurrection of Jesus are usually considered the most important events in Christian theology, partly because they demonstrate that Jesus has power over life and death and therefore has the authority and power to give people eternal life.[45]

Christian churches accept and teach the New Testament account of the resurrection of Jesus with very few exceptions.[46] Some modern scholars use the belief of Jesus’ followers in the resurrection as a point of departure for establishing the continuity of the historical Jesus and the proclamation of the early church.[47] Some liberal Christians do not accept a literal bodily resurrection,[48][49] seeing the story as richly symbolic and spiritually nourishing myth. Arguments over death and resurrection claims occur at many religious debates and interfaith dialogues.[50] Paul the Apostle, an early Christian convert and missionary, wrote, “If Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless.”[1Cor 15:14] [51]

Salvation

Paul the Apostle, like Jews and Roman pagans of his time, believed that sacrifice can bring about new kinship ties, purity, and eternal life.[52] For Paul the necessary sacrifice was the death of Jesus: Gentiles who are “Christ’s” are, like Israel, descendants of Abraham and “heirs according to the promise”.[Gal. 3:29] [53] The God who raised Jesus from the dead would also give new life to the “mortal bodies” of Gentile Christians, who had become with Israel the “children of God” and were therefore no longer “in the flesh”.[Rom. 8:9,11,16] [52]

Modern Christian churches tend to be much more concerned with how humanity can be saved from a universal condition of sin and death than the question of how both Jews and Gentiles can be in God’s family. According to both Catholic and Protestant doctrine, salvation comes by Jesus’ substitutionary death and resurrection. The Catholic Church teaches that salvation does not occur without faithfulness on the part of Christians; converts must live in accordance with principles of love and ordinarily must be baptized.[54][55] Martin Luther taught that baptism was necessary for salvation, but modern Lutherans and other Protestants tend to teach that salvation is a gift that comes to an individual by God’s grace, sometimes defined as “unmerited favor”, even apart from baptism.

Christians differ in their views on the extent to which individuals’ salvation is pre-ordained by God. Reformed theology places distinctive emphasis on grace by teaching that individuals are completely incapable of self-redemption, but that sanctifying grace is irresistible.[56] In contrast Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Arminian Protestants believe that the exercise of free will is necessary to have faith in Jesus.[57]

Trinity

Main article: Trinity

 The Trinity is the belief that God is one God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit

Trinity refers to the teaching that the one God[2] comprises three distinct, eternally co-existing persons; the Father, the Son (incarnate in Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Together, these three persons are sometimes called the Godhead,[58][59][60] although there is no single term in use in Scripture to denote the unified Godhead.[61] In the words of the Athanasian Creed, an early statement of Christian belief, “the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God”.[62] They are distinct from another: the Father has no source, the Son is begotten of the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father. Though distinct, the three persons cannot be divided from one another in being or in operation.[63]

The Trinity is an essential doctrine of mainstream Christianity. “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” represents both the immanence and transcendence of God. God is believed to be infinite and God’s presence may be perceived through the actions of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.[64]

According to this doctrine, God is not divided in the sense that each person has a third of the whole; rather, each person is considered to be fully God (see Perichoresis). The distinction lies in their relations, the Father being unbegotten; the Son being begotten of the Father; and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and (in Western Christian theology) from the Son. Regardless of this apparent difference, the three ‘persons’ are each eternal and omnipotent.

The word trias, from which trinity is derived, is first seen in the works of Theophilus of Antioch. He wrote of “the Trinity of God (the Father), His Word (the Son) and His Wisdom (Holy Spirit)”.[65] The term may have been in use before this time. Afterwards it appears in Tertullian.[66][67] In the following century the word was in general use. It is found in many passages of Origen.[68]

Trinitarians

Main article: Trinitarianism

Trinitarianism denotes those Christians who believe in the concept of the Trinity. Almost all Christian denominations and Churches hold Trinitarian beliefs. Although the words “Trinity” and “Triune” do not appear in the Bible, theologians beginning in the 3rd century developed the term and concept to facilitate comprehension of the New Testament teachings of God as Father, God as Jesus the Son, and God as the Holy Spirit. Since that time, Christian theologians have been careful to emphasize that Trinity does not imply three gods, nor that each member of the Trinity is one-third of an infinite God; Trinity is defined as one God in three Persons.[69]

Nontrinitarians

Main article: Nontrinitarianism

Nontrinitarianism refers to theology that rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. Various nontrinitarian views, such as adoptionism or modalism, existed in early Christianity, leading to the disputes about Christology.[70] Nontrinitarianism later appeared again in the Gnosticism of the Cathars in the 11th through 13th centuries, and by groups with Unitarian theology in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century,[71] and in the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, and in some groups arising during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century.

Scriptures

Christianity, like other religions, has adherents whose beliefs and biblical interpretations vary. Christianity regards the biblical canon, the Old Testament and the New Testament, as the inspired word of God. The traditional view of inspiration is that God worked through human authors so that what they produced was what God wished to communicate. The Greek word referring to inspiration in 2 Timothy 3:16 is Theopneustos, which literally means “God-breathed”.[72]

Some believe that divine inspiration makes our present Bibles inerrant. Others claim inerrancy for the Bible in its original manuscripts, although none of those are extant. Still others maintain that only a particular translation is inerrant, such as the King James Version.[73][74][75] Another view closely related is Biblical infallibility or limited inerrancy, which affirms that the Bible is free of error as a guide to salvation, but may include errors on matters such as history, geography or science.

 The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible

The books of the Bible accepted among the Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches vary somewhat, with Jews accepting only the Hebrew Bible as canonical; there is however substantial overlap. These variations are a reflection of the range of traditions, and of the councils that have convened on the subject. Every version of the Old Testament always includes the books of the Tanakh, the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Catholic and Orthodox canons, in addition to the Tanakh, also include the Deuterocanonical Books as part of the Old Testament. These books appear in the Septuagint, but are regarded by Protestants to be apocryphal. However, they are considered to be important historical documents which help to inform the understanding of words, grammar and syntax used in the historical period of their conception. Some versions of the Bible include a separate Apocrypha section between the Old Testament and the New Testament.[76] The New Testament, originally written in Koine Greek, contains 27 books which are agreed upon by all churches.

Modern scholarship has raised many issues with the Bible. While the Authorized King James Version is held to by many because of its striking English prose, in fact it was translated from the Erasmus Greek Bible which in turn “was based on a single 12th Century manuscript that is one of the worst manuscripts we have available to us”.[77] Much scholarship in the past several hundred years has gone into comparing different manuscripts in order to reconstruct the original text. Another issue is that several books are considered to be forgeries. The injunction that women “be silent and submissive” in 1 Timothy 12[78] is thought by many to be a forgery by a follower of Paul, a similar phrase in 1 Corinthians 14,[79] which is thought to be by Paul, appears in different places in different manuscripts and is thought to originally be a margin note by a copyist.[77] Other verses in 1 Corinthians, such as 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 where women are instructed to wear a covering over their hair “when they pray or prophesies”,[80] contradict this verse.

A final issue with the Bible is the way in which books were selected for inclusion in the New Testament. Other Gospels have now been recovered, such as those found near Nag Hammadi in 1945, and while some of these texts are quite different from what Christians have been used to, it should be understood that some of this newly recovered Gospel material is quite possibly contemporaneous with, or even earlier than, the New Testament Gospels. The core of the Gospel of Thomas, in particular, may date from as early as 50 AD, and if so would provide an insight into the earliest gospel texts that underlie the canonical Gospels, texts that are mentioned in Luke 1:1–2. The Gospel of Thomas contains much that is familiar from the canonical Gospels – verse 113, for example (“The Father’s Kingdom is spread out upon the earth, but people do not see it”),[81] is reminiscent of Luke 17:20–21[82][83] – and the Gospel of John, with a terminology and approach that is suggestive of what was later termed Gnosticism, has recently been seen as a possible response to the Gospel of Thomas, a text that is commonly labelled proto-Gnostic. Scholarship, then, is currently exploring the relationship in the Early Church between mystical speculation and experience on the one hand and the search for church order on the other, by analyzing new-found texts, by subjecting canonical texts to further scrutiny, and by an examination of the passage of New Testament texts to canonical status.

Catholic and Orthodox interpretations

 St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, the largest church in the world and a symbol of the Catholic Church.

In antiquity, two schools of exegesis developed in Alexandria and Antioch. Alexandrine interpretation, exemplified by Origen, tended to read Scripture allegorically, while Antiochene interpretation adhered to the literal sense, holding that other meanings (called theoria) could only be accepted if based on the literal meaning.[84]

Catholic theology distinguishes two senses of scripture: the literal and the spiritual.[85]

The literal sense of understanding scripture is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture. The spiritual sense is further subdivided into:

Regarding exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation, Catholic theology holds:

  • the injunction that all other senses of sacred scripture are based on the literal[86][87]
  • that the historicity of the Gospels must be absolutely and constantly held[88]
  • that scripture must be read within the “living Tradition of the whole Church”[89] and
  • that “the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome“.[90]

today’s birthday: H.R. Giger (1940)


H.R. Giger (1940)

Giger was a Swiss painter, sculptor, and set designer who became popular for providing concept art for the movies Alien and Species and won an Oscar for his work on the former in 1980. His work is often surreal and nightmarish and is recognizable for its frequent blending of human forms and mechanical or industrial elements. It is this “biomechanical” style for which Giger is best known. From where did the artist draw much of his early inspiration? More… Discuss

Google Art Project originally shared: Enjoy the tour! #museweb #art #museum #Uffizi


 
250 years ago, in 1765, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence was officially opened to the public. Have you ever been to this art museum, one of the oldest and most famous in the world?

If you haven’t, you definitely should! And in the meantime, you can take a virtual peak at the splendid galleries with #StreetView at:  http://goo.gl/d9p0Iq
Enjoy the tour! #museweb #art #museum #Uffizi

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit over Disputed Painting


Judge Dismisses Lawsuit over Disputed Painting

A British man’s negligence lawsuit against Sotheby’s has been dismissed despite his claims that the auction house’s experts did not do enough research when they sold a painting for him in 2006. At the time, the owner was assured by Sotheby’s that the painting he was selling was a copy of the Italian master Caravaggio‘s The Cardsharps. The piece sold for 42,000 pounds to a Caravaggio expert, who later declared it to be the work of the master himself and worth 10 million pounds. Scholars disagree about whether the painting is by Caravaggio or one of his followers. More… Discuss

this day in history: The British Museum Opens (1759)


The British Museum Opens (1759)

When the British Museum opened to the public in 1759, its exhibits were based largely on personal collections, including Sir Hans Sloane‘s Cabinet of Curiosities, Robert Harley’s library, and Sir Robert Cotton‘s antiquities. Today, the museum is home to more than 13 million historical items. Its assortment of prints and drawings is one of the world’s finest, and it houses such famous relics as the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. Why is the ownership of the latter collection in dispute? More… Discuss

Ancient History, Really?!? Where Was the Land of Punt (and a inspired video on YouTube, by David S. Rosado


Where Was the Land of Punt

A relief depicting Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt.

The ancient Egyptians documented everything. Surviving paintings and writings show details about almost every aspect of life in that place and era. Wars and religion and rulers are all recorded in ways that have fortunately lasted into modern times.

Business and trade were no different–extensive documentation chronicled who the ancient Egyptians were doing trade with and what exactly that trade was.

According to information unearthed by archeologists, the land called Punt was a great source of riches and slaves and exotic spices and wild animals. From the descriptions that survived, the land of Punt was a peaceful and prosperous country that seemed to have a wide variety of highly valued goods to trade. The discovery of such a society would be a huge accomplishment for an archeologist.

The only problem is that nobody today knows where Punt was.

But people have looked. The first problem is that we have to rely solely on ancient Egyptian information. No other ancient civilization, so far, has unearthed a single reference to the land of Punt–which is unusual. This would imply that either Punt only dealt with Egypt (not likely), or else other societies referred to it by other names.

Any country with so many riches and expensive goods would be ripe for conquest, and yet there is no mention of Egypt (who went to war frequently with neighbors) ever going to war with Punt.

The most evidence about the land of Punt comes from a temple dedicated to the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut, who ruled for more than 20 years circa 1465 BCE. A large relief of a trading mission to Punt is featured on the walls of the temple. We even know the names of the rulers of Punt during Hatshepsut’s reign: King Parahu and Queen Ati. But the Egyptians either forgot to put concrete directions to Punt in their temples and such, or else we haven’t uncovered such evidence yet.

A wall relief in Egypt depicting a typical Punt House.

According to the art that has survived, men from the land of Punt, unlike ancient Egyptians, had long hair and little facial hair. The people of Punt lived in round houses built on stilts–most likely to avoid damage from flooding in their land.

Wherever that land was.

There are various clues. Animals living in Punt, according to the Egyptian paintings, lived primarily in the area around the Red Sea on the Arabian peninsula. But other scholars, due to the origin areas of some of the traded goods, have proposed a location south of ancient Egypt in Africa. The surviving evidence is just not clear.

No remains have been unearthed by archeologists showing a civilization that equates itself to the land of Punt.

Author Bill Price even questions whether Punt existed at all, or was the equivalent of an ancient Egyptian imaginary utopia. This is possibly reinforced by an alternate name of Punt that translates into “Land of the God(s).”

There are even some tantalizing allusions that the Egyptians believed they originally came from Punt and journeyed and founded ancient Egypt after leaving that homeland.

Punt may currently lie below mounds of earth and sand and we won’t know the location of this marvelous land until future excavations unearth an ancient paradise.

Hatshepsut. A travel to Punt

References:
Price, Bill. “History’s Greatest Mysteries”.
Punt“, Wikipedia, pulled June 11, 2014

GARDENIA: FotoSketcher Oil Painting * (expressive Brushstroke) (My Art Collection)


Cazmelia: FotoSketcher Oil Painting *= (expressive Brushstroke

GARDENIA: FotoSketcher Oil Painting *= (expressive Brushstroke

Caught up in time, poetic thought by George-B (the smudge and other poems page)


Caught up in time, poetic thought by George-B
(the smudge and other poems page)

time starts to be appeasing: it weighs 26 hours and 35 minutes.

I do recall another line,
long,
long ago,
when time was light and swift as a mountain river,
fluid, well…

I guess time is taking its time lately so even I can catch-up with.
©
George-B.

the persistance of memory-Salvador Dali

the persistence of memory-Salvador Dali

 

today’s image Alexander Hamilton (Image: Library of Congress)



Alexander Hamilton
American patriot and statesman Alexander Hamilton, the illegitimate son of a Scottish merchant, was born on St. Croix probably on January 11, 1755. After showing remarkable promise in finance, the young Hamilton was sent by a benefactor to King’s College in New York. In 1776, Hamilton joined the Continental Army, where he soon joined George Washington’s staff. After the war, Hamilton became active in New York politics, gaining a reputation as a supporter of a strong central government. In the struggle for the ratification of the Constitution, Hamilton collaborated with James Madison and John Jay in writing the Federalist Papers, which were instrumental in the passage of the Constitution. In 1789, newly elected President George Washington named Hamilton secretary of the treasury. During his tenure, Hamilton established the National Bank, introduced an excise tax, suppressed the Whiskey Rebellion and spearheaded the effort for the federal government to assume the debts of the states. In the presidential election of 1800, Hamilton broke the deadlock between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr by supporting Jefferson. The enmity between Hamilton and his longtime political enemy Burr grew worse during the 1804 campaign for governor of New York. Finally, on July 11, at Weehawken, N.J., the two men fought a duel. Hamilton was shot and died the next day of his injuries.

Image: Library of Congress

- See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day#sthash.M0AXGY3A.dpuf

It is the year 1456 and Gutenberg Produces the First Printed Bible


It is the year 1456  and Gutenberg Produces the First Printed Bible:  Using his revolutionary invention—printing from movable type—he made the Scriptures potentially accessible to every person. MORE HERE (http://www.ctlibrary.com/ch/1990/issue28/2825.html)

Gutenberg Bible

Gutenberg Bible of the New York Public Library. Bought by James Lenox in 1847, it was the first copy to come to the United States.

Gutenberg Bible of the New York Public Library. Bought by James Lenox in 1847, it was the first copy to come to the United States.

The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the first major book printed in the West using movable type. It marked the start of the “Gutenberg Revolution” and the age of the printed book in the West. Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities,[1] the book has an iconic status. Written in Latin, the Gutenberg Bible is an edition of the Vulgate, printed by Johannes Gutenberg, in Mainz, in present-day Germany, in the 1450s. Forty-eight copies, or substantial portions of copies, survive, and they are considered to be among the most valuable books in the world, even though no complete copy has been sold since 1978.[2][3] The 36-line Bible, believed to be the second printed version of the Bible, is also sometimes referred to as a Gutenberg Bible, but is likely the work of another printer.

Printing history

“All that has been written to me about that marvelous man seen at Frankfurt [sic] is true. I have not seen complete Bibles but only a number of quires of various books of the Bible. The script was very neat and legible, not at all difficult to follow—your grace would be able to read it without effort, and indeed without glasses.”

Future pope Pius II in a letter to Cardinal Carvajal, March 1455[4]

The Bible was not Gutenberg’s first work.[5] Preparation of it probably began soon after 1450, and the first finished copies were available in 1454 or 1455.[6] It is not known exactly how long the Bible took to print. The first precisely datable printing is the Gutenberg’s 31-line Indulgence which is known to already exist on 22 October 1454.[7]

Gutenberg made three significant changes during the printing process.[8] The first sheets were rubricated by being passed twice through the printing press, using black and then red ink. This was soon abandoned, with spaces being left for rubrication to be added by hand.

 Spine of the Lenox copy

Some time later, after more sheets had been printed, the number of lines per page was increased from 40 to 42, presumably to save paper. Therefore, pages 1 to 9 and pages 256 to 265, presumably the first ones printed, have 40 lines each. Page 10 has 41, and from there on the 42 lines appear. The increase in line number was achieved by decreasing the interline spacing, rather than increasing the printed area of the page.

Finally, the print run was increased, necessitating resetting those pages which had already been printed. The new sheets were all reset to 42 lines per page. Consequently, there are two distinct settings in folios 1-32 and 129-158 of volume I and folios 1-16 and 162 of volume II.[8][9]

The most reliable information about the Bible’s date comes from a letter. In March 1455, the future Pope Pius II wrote that he had seen pages from the Gutenberg Bible, being displayed to promote the edition, in Frankfurt.[10] It is not known how many copies were printed, with the 1455 letter citing sources for both 158 and 180 copies. Scholars today think that examination of surviving copies suggests that somewhere between 160 and 185 copies were printed, with about three-quarters on paper. [11][12] However, some books say that about 180 copies were printed and it took about three years to produce them.[citation needed]

The production process: Das Werk der Bücher

 A vellum copy of the Gutenberg Bible owned by the U.S. Library of Congress

In a legal paper, written after completion of the Bible, Gutenberg refers to the process as “Das Werk der Bücher”: the work of the books. He had invented the printing press and was the first European to print with movable type.[13] But his greatest achievement was arguably demonstrating that the whole process of printing actually produced books.

Many book-lovers have commented on the high standards achieved in the production of the Gutenberg Bible, some describing it as one of the most beautiful books ever printed. The quality of both the ink and other materials and the printing itself have been noted.[1]

Pages

 First page of the first volume: The Epistle of St. Jerome from the University of Texas copy. The page has 40 lines.

The paper size is ‘double folio’, with two pages printed on each side (four pages per sheet). After printing the paper was folded once to the size of a single page. Typically, five of these folded sheets (10 leaves, or 20 printed pages) were combined to a single physical section, called a quinternion, that could then be bound into a book. Some sections, however, had as few as 4 leaves or as many as 12 leaves.[14] Some sections may have been printed in a larger number, especially those printed later in the publishing process, and sold unbound. The pages were not numbered. The technique was not new, since it had been used to make blank “white-paper” books to be written afterwards. What was new was determining beforehand the correct placement and orientation of each page on the five sheets to result in the correct sequence when bound. The technique for locating the printed area correctly on each page was also new.

The folio size, 307 x 445 mm, has the ratio of 1.45:1. The printed area had the same ratio, and was shifted out of the middle to leave a 2:1 white margin, both horizontally and vertically. Historian John Man writes that the ratio was chosen to be close to the golden ratio of 1.61:1.[5] To reach this ratio more closely the vertical size should be 338 mm, but there is no reason why Gutenberg would let this non-trivial difference of 8 mm go by in a work so detailed in other aspects.

A single complete copy of the Gutenberg Bible has 1,286 pages (usually bound in two volumes); with 4 pages per folio-sheet, 322 sheets of paper are required per copy.[15] The handmade paper used by Gutenberg was of fine quality and was imported from Italy. Each sheet contains a watermark left by the papermold.

Ink

In Gutenberg’s time, inks used by scribes to produce manuscripts were water-based. Gutenberg developed an oil-based ink that would better adhere to his metal type. His ink was primarily carbon, but also had a high metallic content, with copper, lead, and titanium predominating.[16] Head of collections at the British Library Dr Kristian Jensen described it thus:” if you look (at the pages of The Gutenberg Bible) closely you will see this is a very shiny surface. When you write you use a water based ink, you put your pen into it and it runs off. Now if you print that’s exactly what you don’t want. One of Gutenberg’s inventions was an ink which wasn’t ink, it’s a varnish. So what we call printer’s ink is actually a varnish, and that means it sticks to its surface.” [17]

Type

The first part of the Gutenberg idea was using a single, hand-carved character to create identical copies of itself. Cutting a single letter could take a craftsman a day of work. A single page taking 2500 letters made this way was impractical. A less labour-intensive method of reproduction was needed. Copies were produced by stamping the original into an iron plate, called a matrix. A rectangular tube was then connected to the matrix, creating a container in which molten type metal could be poured. Once cooled, the solid metal form was released from the tube. The fundamental innovation is that this matrix can be used to produce many duplicates of the same letter. The result of each molding was a rectangular block of metal with the form of the desired character protruding from the end. This piece of type could be put in a line, facing up, with other pieces of type. These lines were arranged to form blocks of text, which could be inked and pressed against paper, transferring the desired text to the paper.

Each unique character requires a master piece of type in order to be replicated. Given that each letter has uppercase and lowercase forms, and the number of various punctuation marks and ligatures (e.g. the sequence ‘fi’ combined in one character, commonly used in writing) the Gutenberg Bible needed a set of 290 master characters. It seems probable that six pages, containing 15600 characters altogether, would be set at any one moment.[5]

Type style

The Gutenberg Bible is printed in the blackletter type styles that would become known as Textualis (Textura) and Schwabacher. The name texture refers to the texture of the printed page: straight vertical strokes combined with horizontal lines, giving the impression of a woven structure. Gutenberg already used the technique of justification, that is, creating a vertical, not indented, alignment at the left and right-hand sides of the column. To do this, he used various methods, including using characters of narrower widths, adding extra spaces around punctuation, and varying the widths of spaces around words.[18][19] On top of this, he subsequently let punctuation marks go beyond that vertical line, called Hanging punctuation, thereby using the massive black characters to make this justification stronger to the eye.

Rubrication, illumination and binding

 Detail showing both rubrication and illumination.

Copies left the Gutenberg workshop unbound, without decoration, and for the most part without rubrication.

Initially the rubrics — the headings before each book of the Bible — were printed, but this experiment was quickly abandoned, and gaps were left for rubrication to be added by hand. A guide of the text to be added to each page, printed for use by rubricators, survives.[20]

The spacious margin allowed illuminated decoration to be added by hand. The amount of decoration presumably depended on how much each buyer could or would pay. Some copies were never decorated.[21] The place of decoration can be known or inferred for about 30 of the surviving copies. Perhaps 13 of these received their decoration in Mainz, but others were worked on as far away as London.[22] The vellum Bibles were more expensive and perhaps for this reason tend to be more highly decorated, although the vellum copy in the British Library is completely undecorated.[23] There has been speculation that the Master of the Playing Cards was partly responsible for the illumination of the Princeton copy, though all that can be said for certain is that the same model book was used for some of the illustrations in this copy and for some of the Master’s playing cards.[24]

Although many Gutenberg Bibles have been rebound over the years, nine copies retain fifteenth-century bindings. Most of these copies were bound in either Mainz or Erfurt.[22] Most copies were divided into two volumes, the first volume ending with The Book of Psalms. Copies on vellum were heavier and for this reason were sometimes bound in three or four volumes.[1]

Early owners

The Bible seems to have sold out immediately, with initial sales to owners as far away as England and possibly Sweden and Hungary.[1][25] At least some copies are known to have sold for 30 florins – about three years wages for a clerk.[26][27] Although this made them significantly cheaper than manuscript Bibles, most students, priests or other people of ordinary income would have been unable to afford them. It is assumed that most were sold to monasteries, universities and particularly wealthy individuals.[20] At present only one copy is known to have been privately owned in the fifteenth century. Some are known to have been used for communal readings in monastery refectories; others may have been for display rather than use, and a few were certainly used for study.[1] Kristian Jensen suggests that many copies were bought by wealthy and pious laypeople for donation to religious institutions.[23]

Influence on later Bibles

The Gutenberg Bible had a profound effect on the history of the printed book. Textually, it also had an influence on future editions of the Bible. It provided the model for several later editions, including the 36 Line Bible, Mentelin’s Latin Bible, and the first and third Eggestein Bibles. The third Eggestein Bible was set from the copy of the Gutenberg Bible now in Cambridge University Library. The Gutenberg Bible also had an influence on the Clementine edition of the Vulgate commissioned by the Papacy in the late sixteenth century.[28][29]

Forgeries

Dr. Niels Henry Sonne, the Head Librarian, said, “A notable possession of the General Theological Seminary Library is a complete and excellent copy of the Gutenberg Bible.”[30] The copy of the Gutenberg Bible held by the General Theological Seminary Library, was found to have a forged leaf. The forged leaf was discovered by Mr. Joseph Martini, a New York book dealer. The leaf carried part of Chapter 14, all of Chapter 15, and part of Chapter 16 of the Book of Ezekiel. It was impossible to tell when the forged leaf had been inserted into the volume. In the fall of 1953, a generous friend of the Seminary gave a copy of the missing leaf to the General Theological Seminary Library, “…and the Seminary’s great Bible became the first imperfect Gutenberg Bible ever restored to completeness. The substitute leaf was taken from a defective copy of volume two, which was being broken up for sale in parts and leaves.”[31]

Surviving copies

 Another Gutenberg Bible

 

Locations of known complete Gutenberg Bibles.

As of 2009, forty-eight 42-line Bibles are known to exist, but of these only 21 are complete. Others have leaves or even whole volumes missing. In addition, there are a substantial number of fragments, some as small as individual leaves, which are likely to represent about another 16 copies. Many of these fragments have survived because they were used as part of the binding of later books.[25] There are twelve surviving copies on vellum, although only four of these are complete and one is of the New Testament only.

Copy numbers listed below are as found in the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue, taken from a 1985 survey of existing copies by Ilona Hubay; the two copies in Russia were not known to exist in 1985, and so were not catalogued.

Substantially complete copies of the 42-line Bible
Country Holding institution Hubay
nbr
length material Notes,
Images,
Scans
Austria (1) Austrian National Library, Vienna 27 complete paper Online images (German)
Belgium (1) Library of the University of Mons-Hainaut, Mons 1 incomplete paper Vol. I. Part of the same copy as the volume in Indiana (see below)[11]
Denmark (1) Danish Royal Library, Copenhagen 12 incomplete paper Vol. II
France (4) Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris 15 complete vellum  
17 incomplete paper Contains note by binder dating it to 24 August 1456[32]
Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris 16 complete paper  
Bibliothèque Municipale, Saint-Omer 18 incomplete paper  
Germany (13) Gutenberg Museum, Mainz 8 incomplete paper One copy is vol. I; the other both vols. It is unclear which is which.
Online images of the 2 volume copy (German)
9
Landesbibliothek, Fulda 4 incomplete vellum Vol. I. Two individual leaves from Vol. II survive in other libraries.[25]
Leipzig University Library, Leipzig 14 incomplete vellum  
Göttingen State and University Library, Göttingen 2 complete vellum Online images
Berlin State Library, Berlin 3 incomplete vellum  
Bavarian State Library, Munich 5 complete paper Online images of vol. 1 vol. 2 (German)
Frankfurt University Library, Frankfurt am Main 6 complete paper  
Hofbibliothek, Aschaffenburg 7 incomplete paper  
Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart 10 incomplete paper Online images Purchased in April 1978 for 2.2 million US dollars (ex General Theological Seminary)
Stadtbibliothek, Trier 11 incomplete paper Vol. I
Landesbibliothek, Kassel 12 incomplete paper Vol. I
Gottorf Castle, Schleswig - incomplete paper The Rendsburg Fragment[11]
Japan (1) Keio University Library, Tokyo 45 incomplete paper Vol. I, Purchased in October 1987 for 4.9 million (plus an auction house commission of $490,000) for a total of 5.4 million US dollars[33]
Online images
Poland (1) Biblioteka Seminarium Duchownego, Pelpin 28 incomplete paper Online images of vol. 1 vol. 2 (Polish)
Portugal (1) Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisbon 29 complete paper  
Russia (2) Russian State Library, Moscow - incomplete vellum Confiscated in 1945 from the Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum, Leipzig
Moscow State University, Moscow - complete paper Confiscated in 1945 from the Library of the University of Leipzig
Spain (2) Biblioteca Universitaria y Provincial, Seville 32 incomplete paper New Testament only
Online images (Spanish)
Biblioteca Pública Provincial, Burgos 31 complete paper  
Switzerland (1) Bodmer Library, Cologny 30 incomplete paper  
United Kingdom (8) British Library, London  ? complete vellum Online images
 ? complete paper Online images
National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh 26 complete paper Online images
Lambeth Palace Library, London 20 incomplete vellum New Testament only
Eton College Library, Eton College 23 complete paper  
John Rylands Library, Manchester 25 complete paper Online images of 11 pages
Bodleian Library, Oxford 24 complete paper High Resolution Online images
Cambridge University Library, Cambridge 22 complete paper Online images of vol. 1; vol. 2
United States (11) The Morgan Library & Museum, New York 37 incomplete vellum PML 13 & PML 818
38 complete paper PML 19206–7
44 incomplete paper PML 1. Old Testament only
Online images
Library of Congress, Washington DC 35 complete vellum Online images
New York Public Library 42 incomplete paper  
Widener Library, Harvard University 40 complete paper  
Beinecke Library, Yale University 41 complete paper  
Scheide Library, Princeton University 43   paper Online images
Lilly Library, Indiana University 46 incomplete paper New Testament only. Part of the same copy as the volume in Mons (see above).
Online images
Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA 36 complete vellum  
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin 39 complete paper Purchased in 1978 for 2.4 million US dollars.
Online images
Vatican City (2) Vatican Library 33 incomplete vellum  
34 incomplete paper Vol I

Recent history

 Binding of the copy at the University of Texas at Austin

Today, few copies remain in religious institutions, with most now owned by university libraries and other major scholarly institutions. After centuries in which all copies seem to have remained in Europe, the first Gutenberg Bible reached North America in 1847. It is now in the New York Public Library.[34] In the last hundred years, several long-lost copies have come to light, considerably improving the understanding of how the Bible was produced and distributed.[25] The only copy held outside Europe or North America is the first volume of a Gutenberg Bible (Hubay 45) at Keio University in Tokyo. The HUMI Project team at Keio University is known for its high-quality digital images of Gutenberg Bibles and other rare books.[35]

In 1921 a New York rare book dealer, Gabriel Wells, bought a damaged paper copy, dismantled the book and sold sections and individual leaves to book collectors and libraries. The leaves were sold in a portfolio case with an essay written by A. Edward Newton, and were referred to as “Noble Fragments”.[36][37] In 1953 Charles Scribner’s Sons, also book dealers in New York, dismembered a paper copy of volume II. The largest portion of this, the New Testament, is now owned by Indiana University. The matching first volume of this copy was subsequently discovered in Mons, Belgium.[11]

The last sale of a complete Gutenberg Bible took place in 1978. It fetched $2.2 million. This copy is now in Stuttgart.[34] The price of a complete copy today is estimated at $25−35 million.[2][3] Individual leaves now sell for $20,000–$100,000, depending upon condition and the desirability of the page.

A two-volume edition of the Gutenberg Bible was stolen from Moscow State University in 2009 and subsequently recovered in a FSB sting operation in 2013.[38] This particular copy had been looted by the Soviet Army after World War II from the Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum, Leipzig, Germany, and is estimated to be worth in excess of $20.4 million.

See also

Muslim conquest of Egypt: “We have conquered Alexandria. In this city there are 4,000 palaces, 400 places of entertainment, and untold wealth. -‘Amr”


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Muslim conquest of EgyptPart of the Muslim conquests and the Arab–Byzantine WarsGiza Plateau - Great Sphinx with Pyramid of Khafre in background.JPG

Date 639–642
Location Egypt, Libya
Result Rashidun victory.
Territorial
changes
Muslims annexed Egypt, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan.

BelligerentsEastern Roman EmpireRashidun CaliphateCommanders and leadersEmperor Heraclius
Theodorus
Aretion
Constans II

Cyrus of Alexandria

Caliph Umar
Amr ibn al-Aas
Zubair ibn al-Awam
Miqdad bin Al-Aswad
Ubaida bin As-Samit

Kharija bin Huzafa

At the commencement of the Muslim conquest of Egypt, Egypt was part of the Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire with its capital at Constantinople. However, it had been conquered just a decade before by the Persian Empire under Khosrau II (616 to 629 AD). Emperor Heraclius re-captured Egypt after a series of campaigns against the Sassanid Persians, only to lose it to the Muslim Rashidun army ten years later. Before the Muslim conquest of Egypt had begun, the Eastern Romans had already lost the Levant and its Arab ally, the Ghassanid Kingdom, to the Muslims. All this left the Eastern Roman Empire dangerously exposed and vulnerable.[1]

Rashidun invasion of Egypt

Prologue

Rashidun army crossing the Egyptian border

 

Pyramids of Gizah.

In December 639 ‘Amr ibn al-‘As left for Egypt with a force of 4,000 troops. Most of the soldiers belonged to the Arab tribe of ‘Ak, although Al-Kindi mentions that one third of the soldiers belonged to the Arab tribe of Ghafik. The Arab soldiers were also joined by some Roman and Persian converts to Islam. However, ‘Umar, the Muslim caliph, reconsidered his orders to Amr, thinking it foolhardy to expect to conquer such a large country as Egypt with a mere 4,000 soldiers. Accordingly, he wrote a letter to ‘Amr commanding him to come back.[2]

The messenger, ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amr, caught up to Amr at Rafah, a little short of the Egyptian frontier. Guessing what might be in the letter, ‘Amr ordered the army to quicken its pace. Turning to ‘Uqbah, ‘Amr said that he would receive the caliph’s letter from him when the army had halted after the day’s journey. ‘Uqbah, being unaware of the contents of the letter, agreed and marched along with the army. The army halted for the night at Shajratein, a little valley near the city of El Arish, which ‘Amr knew to be beyond the Egyptian border.[3] ‘Amr then received and read the ‘Umar’s letter and went on to consult his companions as to the course of action to be adopted. The unanimous view was that as they had received the letter on Egyptian soil, they had permission to proceed.

When ‘Umar received the reply, he decided to watch further developments and started concentrating fresh forces at Madinah which could be dispatched to Egypt as reinforcements. On Eid al-Adha, the Muslim army marched from Shajratein to El Arish,[2] a small town lacking a garrison. The town put up no resistance, and the citizens offered allegiance on the usual terms. The Muslim soldiers celebrated the Eid festival there.

Conquering of Pelusium and Belbeis

In the later part of December 639 or in early January 640, the Muslim army reached Pelusium, an Eastern Roman garrison city that was considered Egypt’s eastern gate at the time. The Muslims siege of the town dragged on for two months. In February 640 an assault group led by a prominent field commander Huzaifah ibn Wala successfully assaulted and captured the fort and city.[4][5][6][7][8][9] Armanousa, the daughter of Cyrus who fiercely resisted the Muslims in Pelusium and fell hostage in their hands, was sent to her father in the Babylon Fortress.[10]

The losses incurred by the Arab Muslim army were ameliorated by the number of Sinai Bedouins who, taking the initiative, had joined them in conquering Egypt.[11] These Bedouins belonged to the tribes of Rashidah and Lakhm[12] The ease with which Pelusium fell to the Muslim Arabs, and the lack of Byzantine reinforcements to aid the city during the month-long siege is often attributed to the treachery of the Egyptian governor, Cyrus, who was also the Melchite (i.e., Byzantine–Chalcedonian Diaphysite) Patriarch of Alexandria.[13][11]

After the fall of Pelusium the Muslims marched to Bilbeis, 40 miles from Memphis via desert roads and besieged it. Belbeis was the first place in Egypt where the Byzantines showed some measure of resistance towards the Arab invaders. Two Christian monks accompanied by Cyrus of Alexandria and the famous Roman general Aretion came out to negotiate with ‘Amr ibn al-‘As. Aretion was previously the Byzantine governor of Jerusalem, and had fled to Egypt when the city fell to the Muslims. ‘Amr gave them three options: to either convert to Islam, or to pay Jizya, or to fight the Muslims. They requested three days to reflect, then – as mentions al-Tabari – requested two extra days. At the end of the five days, the two monks and the general decided to reject Islam and Jizya and fight the Muslims. They thus disobeyed their ruler, Cyrus of Alexandria, who wanted to surrender and pay Jizya. Cyrus subsequently left for the Babylon Fortress, while the two monks and Aretion decided to fight the Arabs. The fight resulted in the victory of the latter and the death of Aretion. ‘Amr ibn al-‘As subsequently attempted to convince the native Egyptians to aid the Arabs and surrender the city, based on the kinship between Egyptians and Arabs via Hagar.[14] When the Egyptians refused, the siege of Bilbeis was continued until the city fell after a month. Towards the end of March 640 the city surrendered to the Muslims.[13] With the fall of Belbeis, the Arabs were only one day away from the head of the Delta.

Siege of Babylon

 

Map detailing the route of the Muslims’ invasion of Egypt.

Amr had visualized that the conquest of Egypt would be a walkover. This expectation turned out to be wrong. Even at the outposts of Pelusium and Bilbeis the Muslims had met stiff resistance. The siege of Pelusium had lasted for two months and that of Bilbeis for one month. Both battles were preludes to the siege of Babylon, which was a larger and more important city. Here resistance on a larger scale was expected.[15] After the fall of Bilbeis the Muslims advanced to Babylon, near modern Cairo. The Muslims arrived at Babylon some time in May 640 AD.[16] Babylon was a fortified city, and the Romans had prepared it for a siege. Outside the city, a ditch had been dug, and a large force was positioned in the area between the ditch and the city walls. The Muslims besieged the fort of Babylon some time in May 640. The fort was a massive structure 60 ft. high with walls more than 6 ft. thick and studded with numerous towers and bastions. A Muslim force of some 4,000 men attacked the Roman positions unsuccessfully. Early Muslim sources place the strength of the Byzantine force in Babylon about six times the strength of the Muslim force.[17] For the next two months fighting remained inconclusive, with the Byzantines having the upper hand by repulsing every Muslim assault.[18]

Some time in May 640 AD, ‘Amr sent a detachment to raid the city of Fayoum. The Byzantines had anticipated this raid, and thus strongly guarded the roads leading to the city. They had also fortified their garrison in the nearby town of Lahun. When the Muslim Arabs realized that Fayoum was too strong for them to invade, they headed towards the Western Desert where they looted all the cattle and animals they could. They subsequently headed to Oxyrhynchus (Per-Medjed), which was defeated. The Arabs then returned to Lower Egypt down the River Nile.[19]

Reinforcements from Madinah

In July, ‘Amr wrote to ‘Umar requesting reinforcement; but before the letter reached him, the caliph had already dispatched the first reinforcement, which was 4000 strong. The army was composed mostly of the veterans of Syrian campaigns. Even with these reinforcements, ‘Amr was unsuccessful. By August 640, ‘Umar’s assembling of the 4000 strong elite force had been completed. It consisted of four columns. Each column was one thousand strong and appointed a commander each, while Zubair ibn al-Awam, a renowned warrior and commander, veteran of the Battle of Yarmouk and once a part of Khalid ibn Walid‘s elite force mobile guard, was appointed the supreme commander of army. ‘Umar had indeed offered Zubair the chief command and governorship of Egypt, but Zubair had declined the offer. Other commanders were Miqdad ibn al-Aswad; Ubaidah ibn as-Samit, and Kharijah ibn Huzaifah. These reinforcements arrived at Babylon sometime in September 640. The total strength of the Muslim force now rose to 12,000, quite a modest strength to resume the offensive.[3]

Battle of Heliopolis

Ten miles from Babylon was Heliopolis.[20] The Muslim army reached Heliopolis in July 640.[21] It was the city of the Sun Temple of the Pharaohs, and was famous for its grandiose monuments and learning institutions.[22] There was the danger that forces from Heliopolis could attack the Muslims from the flank while it was engaged with the Roman army at Babylon. With some detachments ‘Amr and Zubair marched to Heliopolis. There was a cavalry clash near the current neighbourhood of Abbaseya. The engagement was not decisive although it resulted in the occupation of the fortress located between the current neighbourhoods of Abdyn and Azbakeya. The defeated Byzantine soldiers retreated to either the Babylon Fortress or the fortress of Nikiû.[23] At an unguarded point of the wall of Heliopolis, Zubair and some of his picked soldiers scaled the wall of the city, and after overpowering the guards, opened the gates for the main Muslim army to enter the city. Heliopolis was thus captured by the Muslims. ‘Amr and Zubair returned to Babylon.

Conquering of Fayoum and Babylon

When news of the Muslims’ victory at Heliopolis reached Fayoum, its Byzantine garrison under the command of Domentianus evacuated the city during the night and fled to Abuit. From Abuit, they fled down the Nile to Nikiu without informing the people of Fayoum and Abuit that they were abandoning their cities to the enemy. When news of this reached ‘Amr, he ordered a body of his troops to cross the Nile and invade Fayoum and Abuit. The Muslim soldiers captured the entire province of Fayoum without any resistance from the Byzantines.[24]

The Byzantine garrison at Babylon now grew bolder then ever before and had begun to sally forth across the ditch, though with little success. There had been a stalemate between the Muslim and Byzantine forces at Babylon, until the Muslim commanders devised an ingenious strategy and inflicted heavy casualties on the Byzantine forces by encircling them from three sides in one of their such sallies. The Byzantines were able to retreat back to the fort but were left too weak for any further offensive action. This situation forced the Byzantines to enter in negotiations with the Muslims. The Byzantine general Theodorus shifted his headquarters to the Isle of Rauda, whilst Cyrus of Alexandria, popularly known as Muqawqis in Muslim history entered in negotiations with the Muslims, which failed to give any productive results. Emissaries were also exchanged between Theodorus and ‘Amr, leading to ‘Amr meeting Theodorus in person. After fruitless negotiations, the Muslims acted on 20 December, when, in a night assault, a company of hand picked warriors led by Zubair managed to scale the wall, kill the guards and open the gates for the Muslim army to enter. The city of Babylon was captured by the Muslims on 21 December 640, using tactics similar to those used by Khalid ibn Walid at Damascus. However Theodorus and his army managed to slip away to the island of Rauda during the night.[25]

Surrender of Thebaid (Southeastern Egypt)

On the 22nd of December, Cyrus of Alexandria entered into a treaty with the Muslims.[26] By the treaty, Muslim sovereignty over the whole of Egypt, and effectively on Thebaid, was recognized, and the Egyptians agreed to pay Jizya at the rate of 2 diners per male adult.[27] The treaty was subject to the approval of the emperor Heraclius, but Cyrus stipulated that even if the emperor repudiated the treaty, he and the Copts of whom he was the High Priest would honor its terms, recognize the supremacy of the Muslims and pay them Jizya.[28] Cyrus submitted a report to Heraclius and asked for his approval to the terms of the treaty. He also offered reasons in justification of the acceptance of the terms of the treaty. ‘Amr submitted a detailed report to ‘Umar and asked for his further instructions. When ‘Umar received this report, he wrote back to say that he approved of the terms provided Heraclius agreed to submit to them.[29] He desired that as soon as the reactions of Heraclius were known, he should be informed so that further necessary instructions could be issued promptly.[30] Heraclius’s reaction to Cyrus’s report was violent. He removed him from the viceroyship of Egypt, but he remained the Head of the Coptic Church: this was a matter in which the emperor could not interfere. Heraclius sent strict orders to the commander-in-chief of the Byzantine forces in Egypt that the Muslims should be driven out from Egypt. Cyrus waited on ‘Amr and told him that Heraclius had repudiated the treaty of Babylon. He assured ‘Amr that so far as the Copts were concerned the terms of the treaty would be followed. ‘Amr reported these developments to ‘Umar. ‘Umar desired that before the Byzantines could gather further strength the Muslims should strike at them and drive them from Alexandria. It is recorded that Cyrus requested three favors from the Muslims, namely:

  1. Do not break your treaty with the Copts;
  2. If the Byzantines after this repudiation ask for peace, do not make peace with them, but treat them as captives and slaves; and
  3. When I am dead allow me to be buried in the Church of St. John at Alexandria.[3][31]

This position was to the advantage of the Muslims as the Copts were the natives of the land of Egypt and[32] both the Byzantines and the Muslims were strangers. Though some Copts from personal considerations continued to support the Byzantines, the sympathies of the Copts were now by and large with the Muslims. The Copts were not supposed to fight against the Byzantines on behalf of the Muslims, but they undertook to help the Muslims in the promotion of war effort and in the provision of stores, build roads and bridges for them, and provide them moral support.[33]

March to Alexandria

 

Ancient Roman theaters in Alexandria.

The Byzantine commanders knew that the next target of the Muslims would be Alexandria. They accordingly prepared for the expected siege of the city. Their strategy was to keep the Muslims away from Alexandria by destroying their power through continued sallies and attacks from the fort. Even if this did not keep them away, it would weaken them morally and physically. It would be more of a war of patience than strength.[34] In February 641, ‘Amr set off for Alexandria from Babylon with his army. All along the road from Babylon to Alexandria, the Byzantines had left regiments to delay, and if possible, inflict losses on the advancing Muslims. On the third day of their march from Babylon the Muslims’ advance guard encountered a Byzantine detachment at Tarnut on the west bank of the Nile.[35] The Byzantines failed to inflict heavy losses, but they were able to delay the advance by one more day. The Muslim commanders decided to halt the main army at Tarnut and send the advance guard cavalry forward to clear the way from the possible Byzantine detachments. This was done so that the main army could reach Alexandria as soon as possible without being delayed by Byzantine regiments mid-way. Twenty miles from Tarnut, the Byzantine detachment that had withdrawn from Tarnut the day before, joined the detachment already present at Shareek to form a strong offensive force. They attacked and routed the Muslim advance guard. The next day, before the Byzantines could resume their offensive to annihilate the Muslim advance guard completely, the main Muslim army arrived, prompting the Byzantines to withdraw. At this point the Muslim commanders decided not to send forward the advance guard, so the whole army marched forward, beginning the following day. The Muslims reached Sulteis where they encountered a Byzantine detachment. Hard fighting followed, but the Byzantine resistance soon broke down and they withdrew to Alexandria. The Muslims halted at Sulteis for a day. Alexandria was still two days’ march from Sulteis. After one day’s march the Muslim forces arrived at Kirayun, twelve miles from Alexandria. Here the Muslim advance to Alexandria was blocked by a Byzantine detachment about 20,000 strong. The strategy of the Byzantines was that either the Muslims would be driven away before they actually arrived at Alexandria, or that they would be as weak as possible if they did. The two armies were deployed and fighting followed, but action remained indecisive,.[3] This state of affairs persisted for ten days. On the tenth day the Muslims launched a vigorous assault. The Byzantines were defeated and they retreated to Alexandria. The way to Alexandria was now cleared, and the Muslim forces resumed the march from Kirayun and reached the outskirts of Alexandria in March 641 AD.

Conquest of Alexandria and fall of Egypt

The Muslims laid siege to Alexandria in March 641 AD.[36] The city was heavily fortified: there were walls within walls, and forts within forts. There was no dearth of provisions and food supply in the city. The city also had direct access to the sea, and through the sea route help from Constantinople in the form of men and supplies could come at any time.

As ‘Amr surveyed the military situation, he felt that Alexandria would be a hard nut to crack.[37] The Byzantines had high stakes in Alexandria, and they were determined to offer stiff resistance to the Muslims. They mounted catapults on the walls of the city, and these engines pounded the Muslims with boulders. This caused considerable damage to the Muslims and ‘Amr ordered his men back from the advance position so that they might be beyond the range of the missiles. A see-saw war followed.[3] When the Muslims tried to go close to the city they were hit with missiles. When the Byzantines sallied from the fort, they were invariably beaten back by the Muslims.

It is said that Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor, collected a large army at Constantinople. He intended to march at the head of these reinforcements personally to Alexandria. But before he could finalize the arrangements, he died. The troops mustered at Constantinople dispersed, and consequently no help came to Alexandria. This further demoralized the Byzantines. The siege dragged on for six months, and in Madinah ‘Umar got impatient. In a letter addressed to ‘Amr, the caliph expressed his concern at the inordinate delay in the invasion of Egypt. He further instructed that the new field commander would be ‘Ubaidah, and he would launch an assault on the fort of Alexandria. ‘Ubaidah’s assault was successful and Alexandria was captured by the Muslims in September 641. Thousands of Byzantine soldiers were killed or taken captive while others managed to flee to Constantinople on ships that had been anchored in the port. Some wealthy traders also left.[38]

On behalf of the Egyptians, Cyrus of Alexandria sued for peace, and his request was granted. After the invasion of Egypt ‘Amr is reported to have written to Caliph ‘Umar:

“We have conquered Alexandria. In this city there are 4,000 palaces, 400 places of entertainment, and untold wealth.”

The permanent loss of Egypt meant a loss of a huge amount of Byzantium’s food and money. The loss of Egypt and Syria, followed later by the invasion of the Exarchate of Africa also meant that the Mediterranean, long referred to as the “Roman lake”, was now contested between two powers: the Muslim Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire. In these events, the Byzantine Empire, although sorely tested, would be able to hold on to Anatolia, while the mighty walls of Constantinople would save it during two great Arab sieges, from the fate of the Persian Empire.[39]

An attempt was made in the year 645 to regain Alexandria for the Byzantine Empire, but it was retaken by ‘Amr in 646. In 654 an invasion fleet sent by Constans II was repulsed. From that time no serious effort was made by the Byzantines to regain possession of the country.

Invasion of Nubia

The land of Nubia lay to the south of Egypt. It stretched from Aswan to Khartoum and from the Red Sea to the Libyan Desert. The Nubians were Christians and were ruled by a king. The capital of the kingdom was Dongola. In the summer of 642, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As sent an expedition to Nubia under the command of his cousin ‘Uqbah ibn Nafi. The expedition was ordered by ‘Amr on his own account. It was not a whole scale invasion but merely a pre-emptive raid to show the arrival of a new ruling in Egypt to the bordering kingdoms.[40] ‘Uqbah ibn Nafi, who later made a great name for himself as the Conqueror of Africa, and led his horse to the Atlantic came in for an unhappy experience in Nubia. In Nubia, no pitched battle was fought. There were only skirmishes and haphazard engagements and in such type of warfare the Nubians excelled at. They were skilful archers and subjected the Muslims to a merciless barrage of arrows. These arrows were aimed at the eyes and in the encounter 250 Muslims lost their eyes.

The Nubians were very fast in their movements.[13] The Muslim cavalry was known for its speed and mobility, but it was no match for the Nubian horse riders. The Nubians would strike hard against the Muslims, and then vanish before the Muslims could recover their balance and take counter action. The hit-and-run raids by the Nubians caused considerable damage to the Muslims. ‘Uqbah wrote to ‘Amr of this state of affairs.[41] He said that the Nubians avoided pitched battle, and in the guerilla tactics that they followed the Muslims suffered badly. ‘Uqbah further came to know that Nubia was a very poor land, and there was nothing therein worth fighting for.[citation needed] Thereupon ‘Amr ordered ‘Uqbah to withdraw from Nubia. ‘Uqbah accordingly pulled out of Nubia with his forces.

Conquest of North Africa

After the preemptive raid on Nubia in the south ‘Amr decided to undertake campaigns in the west, so as to secure the western borders of Egypt and clear the region of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan from Byzantine influence. Some time in September 642, ‘Amr led his troops west. After one month of marching the Muslim forces reached the city of Pentapolis. From Burqa, ‘Uqbah bin Nafi was sent at the head of a column to undertake a campaign against Fezzan. ‘Uqbah marched to Zaweela, the capital of Fezzan. No resistance was offered, and the entire district of Fezzan, what is present day north-western Libya, submitted to the Muslims. ‘Uqbah then returned to Burqa. Soon after the Muslim army marched westward from Burqa. They arrived at Tripoli in the spring of 643 C.E. and laid siege to the city. The city fell after a siege of one month. From Tripoli, ‘Amr sent a detachment to Sabratha, a city forty miles from Tripoli. The city put up feeble resistance, and soon surrendered and agreed to pay Jizya. From Tripoli, ‘Amr is reported to have written to the caliph the details of the operations in the following words:

“We have conquered Burqa, Tripoli and Sabratha. The way to the west is clear, and if the Commander of the Faithful wishes to conquer more lands, we could do so with the grace of God.”

‘Umar, whose armies were already engaged in a massive campaign of conquering the Sassanid Empire did not wanted to engage himself further along north Africa, when Muslim rule in Egypt was as yet insecure. The caliph accordingly disapproved of any further advances and ordered ‘Amr to first consolidate the Muslims’ position in Egypt, and issued strict orders that there should be no further campaigning. ‘Amr obeyed, abandoning Tripoli and Burqa and returning to Fustat. This was towards the close of the year 643 AD.[42]

Stance of the Egyptians towards the invading Muslims

The Muslims were assisted by some Copts, who resented the persecutions of the Byzantines, and of these some turned to Islam. Others sided with the Byzantines, hoping that they would provide a defense against the Arab invaders.[43]

In return for a tribute of money and food for the occupying troops, the Christian inhabitants of Egypt were excused from military service and left free in the observance of their religion and the administration of their affairs. This system was a new institution, as a mandate by a religion. But it was adopted as an institution, by the Muslims from previous poll tax systems in the ancient Middle East. Indeed, the Egyptians had been subject to it – as non-Romans – during Roman rule before the adoption of Christianity by the Roman state. After that, all non-Christian subjects of the Roman Empire had to pay it, including non-Christian Egyptians. The Persians also had a similar poll tax system.

On the twentieth of Maskaram Byzantine general Theodorus and all his troops and officers set out and proceeded to the island of Cyprus, abandoning the city of Alexandria. Thereupon ‘Amr, the Muslim commander, made his entry into the city of Alexandria. The inhabitants received him with respect, for they were in great tribulation and affliction. ‘Amr exacted the taxes which had been determined upon, but he took none of the property of the churches, and he committed no act of spoliation or plunder.

Egypt under Muslim rule

 

Rashidun Empire at its peak under third Rashidun Caliph, Uthman- 654

  Strongholds of Rashidun Caliphate

Muslims gained control over Egypt due to a variety of factors, including internal Byzantine politics, religious zeal and the difficulty of maintaining a large empire. The Byzantines did attempt to regain Alexandria, but it was retaken by ‘Amr in 646. In 654 an invasion fleet sent by Constans II was repelled. From that time no serious effort was made by the Byzantines to regain possession of Egypt.

Amr ibn al-Aas had popular support in Egypt amongst the Coptic Christian population. In the book “The Great Arab Conquests” Hugh Kennedy writes that Cyrus the Roman governor had expelled the Coptic patriarch Benjamin into exile. When Amr occupied Alexandria, a Coptic nobleman (duqs) called Sanutius persuaded him to send out a proclamation of safe conduct for Benjamin and an invitation to return to Alexandria. When he arrived, after thirteen years in concealment, Amr treated him with respect. He was then instructed by the governor to resume control over the Coptic Church. He arranged for the restoration of the monasteries in the Wadi Natrun that had been ruined by the Chalcedonian Christians, which still exists as a functioning monastery in the present day.” [44]

On Amr’s return the Egyptian population also worked with Amr.[45] In the book “The Great Arab Conquests” Hugh Kennedy writes “The pious biographer of Coptic patriarch Benjamin presents us with the striking image of the patriarch prayed for the success of the Muslim commander Amr against the Christians of the Cyrenaica. Benjamin survived for almost twenty years after the fall of Egypt to the Muslims, dying of full years and honour in 661. His body was laid to rest in the monastery of St Macarius, where he is still venerated as a saint. There can be no doubt that he played a major role in the survival of the Coptic Church” [44] Coptic patriarch Benjamin also prayed for Amr when he moved to take Libya.[46]

In the book “The Great Arab Conquests” Hugh Kennedy writes “Even more striking is the verdict of John of Nikiu. John was no admirer of Muslim government and was fierce in his denunciation, but he says of Amr: ‘He extracted the taxes which had been determined upon but he took none of the property of the churches, and he committed no act of spoliation or plunder, and he preserved them throughout all his days'”[47] He writes “Of all the early Muslim conquests, that of Egypt was the swiftest and most complete. Within a space of two years the country had come entirely under Arab rule. Even more remarkably, it has remained under Muslim rule ever since. Seldom in history can so massive a political change have happened so swiftly and been so long lasting” [47]

Uqba ibn Nafi then used Egypt as a launch pad to move across North Africa all the way to the Atlantic ocean.[48] In the book “The Great Arab Conquests” Hugh Kennedy writes “When Uqba reached the Atlantic. The moment has passed into legend. He is said to have ridden his horse into the sea until the water came up to its belly. He shouted out ‘O Lord, if the sea did not stop me, I would go through lands like Alexander the Great (Dhu’l l-Qarnayan), defending your faith’ The image of the Arab warrior whose progress in conquering in the name of God was halted only by the ocean remains one of the most arresting and memorable in the whole history of the conquests.[49]

Fustat, the new capital

With the fall of Alexandria the Muslims were the masters of Egypt. At the time of their Egyptian campaign, Alexandria was the capital of the country. When Alexandria was captured by the Muslims, the houses vacated by the Byzantines were occupied by the Muslims. The Muslims were impressed and attracted by Alexandria, “the queen of cities”. ‘Amr wished for Alexandria to remain the capital of Muslim Egypt.[3] He wrote to Caliph ‘Umar seeking his permission to do this. ‘Umar rejected the proposal on the basis that Alexandria was a maritime city and there would always be a danger of Byzantine naval attacks.[50]

He suggested that the capital should be established further inland at a central place, where no mass of water intervened between it and Arabia.[51] As per the treaty with Cyrus of Alexandria, the wealth of the Egyptians in Alexandria was spared and that of Romans and Greeks was taken as booty. Greek citizens were given a choice, to return to Greek territories safely without their wealth, or to stay in Alexandria and pay Jizya. Some chose to stay, while others went to Byzantine lands.

‘Amr next proceeded to choose a suitable site for the capital of Egypt. His choice fell on the site where he had pitched his tent at the time of the battle of Babylon. His tent had been fixed about a quarter of a mile north east of the fort. It is reported that after the battle was over, and the army was about to march to Alexandria, the men began to pull down the tent and pack it for the journey, when it was found that a dove had nested on top of the tent and laid eggs. ‘Amr ordered that the tent should remain standing where it was. The army marched away but the tent remained standing in the plain of Babylon. In this unusual episode ‘Amr saw a sign from Heaven. He decided “where the dove laid its nest, let the people build their city”. As ‘Amr’s tent was to be the focal point of the city, the city was called Fustat, which in Arabic means the tent. The first structure to be built was the mosque which later became famous as Mosque of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As.[43] The city of Fustat was built due east of Babylon. In the course of time, Fustat extended to include the old town of Babylon. It grew to become a bustling city and the commercial centre of Egypt.[52]

Reforms of Caliph Umar

To consolidate his rule in Egypt, ‘Umar imposed the jizya on Egyptians. However, during later Umayyad rule higher taxes were imposed on the Egyptians.

By ‘Umar’s permission, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As decided to build a canal to join the Nile with the Red Sea; it would help the traders and Arabia would flourish through this new trade route. Moreover it would open new markets for the Egyptian merchants and open for them an easy route for the markets of Arabia and Iraq. This project was presented to Caliph ‘Umar, who approved it. A canal was dug, and within a few months was opened for merchants. It was named Nahar Amir ul-Mu’mineen i.e. The canal of Commander of the Faithful referring to the title of the Caliph ‘Umar.[53]

Amr proposed another project: digging a canal that would join the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.[54] The project was once again sent to ‘Umar for approval, but Umar viewed it as a threat to national security and rejected on the basis that it would open a way for Byzantine navy to enter the Red Sea via that canal and posing a threat to Madinah itself.[3] This project however was completed in the form of what is now known as the Suez Canal 1300 years later. Each year the caliph instructed a large amount of jizya to be used on the building and repairing of canals and bridges.[55] The Arabs remained in control of the country from this point until 1250, when it fell under the control of the Mamelukes.

Coptic Architecture


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Coptic Churches” redirects here. For the bodies of the Coptic religion, see  Coptic Church. For church buildings, see List of Coptic churches.
 

Pulpit and section of iconostasis inside the The Hanging Church in Cairo

St. Mark Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria

Origin and influenceSome authorities trace the origins of Coptic architecture to Ancient Egyptian architecture, seeing a similarity between the plan of ancient Egyptian temples, progressing from an outer courtyard to a hidden inner sanctuary to that of Coptic churches, with an outer narthex or porch, and (in later buildings) a sanctuary hidden behind an iconostasis. Others see the earliest Coptic churches as progressing, like those of the Byzantine and Roman churches, from the Graeco-Roman basilica. The ruins of the Cathedral at Hermopolis Magna (c.430–40) are the major survival of the single brief period when the Coptic Church represented the official religion of the state in Egypt.

Thus, from its early beginnings Coptic architecture fused indigenous Egyptian building traditions and materials with Graeco-Roman and Christian Byzantine styles. The fertile styles of neighbouring Christian Syria had a greatly increased influence after the 6th century, including the use of stone tympani.[2]

Over a period of two thousand years, Coptic architecture incorporated native Egyptian, Graeco-Roman, Byzantine and Western European styles.

 

The Hanging Church is Cairo’s most famous Coptic church first built in the AD 3rd or 4th century

After the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the influence of Coptic art and architecture on Egyptian Islamic architecture and the incorporation of some Coptic features in Islamic building in Egypt can be seen.[3] This can be explained by the fact that the early Muslim rulers of Egypt, much like the Ptolemaic and Byzantine rulers before them, recruited native Egyptians to undertake the building labor. In later centuries, Coptic art and architecture also incorporated motifs inspired by Islamic styles.[4] In particular, very early examples of the pointed arch appear in Coptic churches from the 4th century onwards, and this became a notable feature of Islamic architecture, and may have spread from there to European Gothic architecture, though this whole area remains controversial among architectural historians, with many now seeing the origins among the Assyrians, from whom it spread to Persia, where it joined the Islamic style.[5]

Features

The Coptic Church broke from the other Eastern Orthodox Churches in 451 AD. After that date, the Copts, then a great majority of the Egyptian population, were shunned and often persecuted by their Byzantine rulers until the conquest of Egypt by Islam, after which the slowly declining Coptic population was in a rather precarious position. Coptic architecture therefore lacked the lavish patronage of rulers and the Court, which was directly responsible for most of the important buildings of Byzantine and medieval Catholic architecture. Most buildings are small, conservative in design, and remain closer to vernacular styles. They also have a tendency to massive construction, which is partly a surviving Egyptian taste from the Pharaonic period, partly reflects the need to semi-fortify buildings, partly is an inevitable result of mudbrick construction of large structures, and is also partly to keep them cool in the Egyptian climate.

Well before the break of 451, Egyptian Christianity had pioneered monasticism, with many communities being established in deliberately remote positions, especially in Southern Egypt. The relatively large number of buildings surviving from the early periods of monasticism, from about the 5th century onwards, are one of the most important groups of early Christian buildings to remain, and offer a useful corrective to the Court art of Ravenna or Constantinople. Many very early wall-paintings also survive. Even the ruins of monasteries in many places have survived in a good enough condition to impress the visitor and inform the art historian. Early Coptic architecture is therefore of great importance in the study of Early Christian architecture in general.

 

Archangel Michael’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Aswan

Despite the break with the other churches, aspects of the development of the arrangement of Coptic churches have paralleled those in Orthodoxy, such as the emergence of a solid iconostasis to separate the sanctuary, and the West, such as the movement over the centuries of the place of baptism from the narthex or outer porch into the rear of the nave. However the existence of three altars in the sanctuary, sometimes in separate apses, is typically and distinctively Coptic. The altars themselves are always free-standing.

Especially between the Muslim conquest and the 19th century, the external facade of Coptic urban churches is usually plain and discreet, as is the roof-line. Equally the monasteries were often enclosed with high blank walls to defend them from desert raiders during the Middle Ages. However, internally the churches can be ornately decorated, although monumental sculpture of holy figures is avoided as in Orthodoxy.

Many Coptic monasteries and churches scattered throughout Egypt are built of mudbrick on the basilica plan inherited from Graeco-Roman architectural styles. They usually have heavy walls and columns, architraves and barrel-vaulted roofs, and end in a tripartite apse, but many variant plans exist.[6] Domes are small compared to Byzantine churches, and from the 10th-century naves are often roofed with domed cupolas. The dome raised on a circular supporting wall, which is so characteristic of later Byzantine architecture, is rarely used. Massive timber is often used across the nave, sometimes to support a flat roof, and sometimes to give structural strength to the walls. Inside the churches are richly decorated with frescoed murals and reliefs.[7]

Iconostasis

 

Example of modern Coptic Iconostasis of at St Mary and St Mercurius Coptic Orthodox Church in Wales

The screen known as the iconostasis separating the sanctuary from the main body of the church is one of the main features of any Coptic church. The Coptic iconostasis is usually less completely composed of icons than the Eastern Orthodox one, although there will always be several. It is very often an open-work screen, usually made of ebony and sometimes inlaid with ivory like that in Saint Mary Church (Harat Zewila). These may be in geometrical patterns comparable to the secular screens which are a feature of traditional Egyptian houses.

The iconostasis of Saint Mary Church in Harat Zewila in Old Cairo, rebuilt after 1321, shows the mixture of stylistic elements in Coptic architecture. The basic plan is that of the basilica, and recycled ancient columns are used. The older woodwork is Islamic in style, as are the Muqarnas in the pendentives, and a Gothic revival rood cross surmounts the iconostasis. This uses Islamic abstract motifs, which is also common. Some screens are pierced rather than solid.

There are many examples of Coptic iconostasis that predate the earliest surviving Eastern and Western counterparts.[8]

Khurus or Choir

Between the 7th and 12th centuries, many churches were built or modified with a distinctive Coptic feature, the khurus, a space running across the whole width of the church separating the naos or nave from the sanctuary, rather as the choir does in Gothic architecture.

 

Archangel Michael’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Aswan

Decorative carving

Early Coptic buildings contain elaborate and vigorous decorative carving on the capitals of columns, or friezes, some of which include interlace, confronted animals, and other motifs. These are also related to Coptic illuminated manuscripts and fabrics, and are often regarded as significant influences both on early Islamic art, like the Mshatta facade and on the Insular art of the British Isles (which appears to have been in contact with Coptic monasteries.[9] From Insular art these motifs developed into European Romanesque art.[10]

Examples

The architecture of many Coptic buildings remains poorly documented, as they become more at risk for abandonment, vandalism, and destruction. Time sensitive architectural and cultural research projects are awaiting initiation.

Examples of significant Coptic architecture include:

 

Rare Cezanne Coming to Auction


Rare Cezanne Coming to Auction

A Paul Cezanne painting of a Mediterranean landscape is expected to draw big money at auction in February, according to Christie’s auction house. The late-19th-century work, called Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Chateau d’If, is one of the few Cezanne works available for sale that was painted in his Estaque apartment. Cezanne’s paintings are known for fetching high sums. His painting The Card Players is widely regarded as the most expensive painting ever sold, reportedly costing $250 million. More… Discuss

Art with a Message: Rie Sinclair: Island of Loneliness Great Compositions/voices (Painting by Ilya Repin: Volga Boatmen)


Rie Sinclair Island of Loneliness

History of Art: Gemma Augustea: Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna – the story about this marvelous low-relief cameo


Gemma Augustea (detail) Kunsthistoriches Museum Vienna

Gemma Augustea (detail) Kunsthistoriches Museum Vienna (Click to enlarge)

The Gemma Augustea (Latin, Gem of Augustus) is a low-relief cameo engraved gem cut from a double-layered Arabian onyx stone. It is commonly agreed that the gem cutter who created the Gemma Augustea was either Dioscurides or one of his disciples, in the second or third decade of the 1st century AD.

Creation and characteristics

The Gemma Augustea is a low-relief cameo engraved gem cut from a double-layered Arabian onyx stone.[1] One layer is white, while the other is bluish-brown. The painstaking method by which the stone was cut allowed minute detail with sharp contrast between the images and background, also allowing for a great deal of shadow play. The size of the gem also made for easier manipulation and a grander scene. It stands 7½ inches tall with a width of 9 inches and an average thickness of ½ inch.

It is commonly agreed that the gem cutter who created Gemma Augustea was either Dioscurides or one of his disciples. Dioscurides was Caesar Augustus’ favorite gem cutter, and his work and copies of it are seen from all over the ancient Roman world. The gem is “set” as though in the period c. AD 10–20, although some scholars believe it to have been created decades later because of their interpretation of the scene.

If Dioscurides, or cutters following his example, made it, the gemma was probably made in the court of Caesar Augustus. At some time in antiquity it moved to Byzantium, perhaps after Constantine I had officially moved the capital of the empire there. Augustus, though fully accepting and encouraging cult worship of the emperor outside Rome and Italy, especially in more distant provinces with traditions of deified rulers, did not allow himself to be worshiped as a god inside Rome. If this gem was made during his lifetime (he died in AD 14), it would perhaps have been made as a gift to a respected family in a Roman province or client kingdom. Alternatively, if the gem was made after Augustus’ death, the identity of one or more of the portraits may be different from the usual identification. Another viewpoint is that the gem does portray Augustus as a god in his lifetime, but was cut specifically for a close friend or relative in the inner court circle. Similar issues arise with other Imperial cameos such as the Blacas Cameo in the British Museum.

The whereabouts of the gemma is undocumented, though it still remained relatively intact and was probably always above ground, until 1246 when it is recorded in the treasury of the Basilica of St. Sernin, Toulouse. In 1533, Francis I of France appropriated it and moved it to Paris, where it disappears from records around 1590. Not long thereafter it was sold for 12,000 ducats to Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor. During the 17th century, it was set in German gold. This setting shows that the gem must have been damaged, the upper left side being broken with at least one other figure missing, probably before Rudolph II bought it, but definitely before 1700. The gem is now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.[2]

Interpretations of the figures and scenes

 

Gemma Augustea, with reference numbers.

Upper tier

The throned figure, #1 in the numbered illustration, is usually taken to be Augustus, although in some interpretations, it could represent a later Roman ruler. Figure #3 is the most readily identifiable, having characteristics held by no other. The woman is Oikoumene – the personification of the inhabited world. This inhabited or civilized world is either that of the early Roman Empire, or more likely the Mediterranean world conquered by Alexander the Great.[3] She wears upon her head a mural crown and veil. She is crowning figure #1 with the corona civica of oak leaves – used to commend someone for saving the life of a Roman citizen. In this grand scale depiction, however, it is given to figure #1 because he saved a multitude of Roman citizens.

Figure #5 and #6 seem to be closely related. Figure #5 is Oceanus or Neptune whose significance is often seen as one balancing the scene across from #4 and #7, and also an important onlooker, as he represents the realm of water. Below him is a reclined personification of either Gaia or Italia Turrita. The scholars who see Gaia link her with the cornucopia and the children surrounding her, who may represent seasons. It might be odd that Gaia holds the horn of plenty when it seems as if the horn is not presently producing anything. This supports an argument that she is not Gaia, but Italia, for historically there was famine at the scene’s event. Also, she wears a bulla, a locket of some sort, around her neck, which, again, would seem odd for Gaia to wear. Either way, the children represent seasons, probably summer and fall, as one of them carries ears of corn.

Figure #10 is the eagle of Jupiter. The eagle could be showing that figure #1 is seated in the role of Jupiter. Seated next to figure #1 is Roma. The helmeted goddess holds a spear in her right arm while her left hand lightly touches the hilt of her sword, probably showing that Rome was always prepared for war. Besides showing her feet resting upon the armor of the conquered, Roma seems to look admiringly towards figure #1. Though there might be a dispute as to who #1 is, it is often said that the image of Roma strongly resembles Livia, Augustus’ long-lived wife. Not only was she his wife, but from a previous marriage, the mother of Tiberius. The reason for the cutting of this gem is also called into question when it is noted that Roma was not worshiped inside Rome till around the rule of Hadrian. Thus the gem might have been custom cut for a friend in the provinces.

Figure #4 is Victoria driving the chariot that holds the descending figure #7. She is obviously the deliverer of the victorious but not necessarily there for celebration, as it seems she might be impatiently urging figure #7 on to his next campaign. In associating Victoria with the chariot, it is necessary to analyze some historical importance relating to the chariot and the horses around it. The two foreshortened horses in front of the chariot are part of the chariot team, whereas the single horse to the side cannot be, and might belong to figure #8. Historically, a victory chariot was driven by four horses forming a quadriga, not the mere two represented on the gemma, a bigae. This might show that figure #7 is not a triumphator.

Lower tier: erection of tropaion

 

The lower register

 

Key to lower register

 

A fully erected tropaion with shackled and adorsed seated male and female Sarmatian captives (the right-hand female with head resting on hand, possibly a representation of the defeated “Sarmatia”) tied to base. Dupondius from reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, AD 161-180

The lower scene, in which the figures are less readily identifiable, depicts the erection of a tropaion. In some interpretations of the scene, all the lower figures are by design anonymous. Other interpretations attribute definite real or mythological persons to the figures. At left, the seated male and female figures (combined in #11) are either Celts or Germans, as is apparent from their clothing and hair styles, including the man’s beard, and represent prisoners of war, symbolizing the Roman victory. The man is bound with his hands behind his back, and both are apparently about to be tied to the base of the as yet half-erected tropaion (figure #19_, a trophy of war displayed upon winning a battle, usually fixed into the ground at the position of the “turning-point” of the battle in favour of the victors. The trophy consists of a wooden cross, designed to support human clothing. A helmet is placed on top, and the breastplate and weaponry of the enemy is placed upon it. In the scene, four young men are raising the trophy into a vertical position. Figure #18 is the least identifiable, but his helmet has led some to believe that he may be a Macedonian soldier of King Rhoemetalces[disambiguation needed], who helped Tiberius in Pannonia.
Figure #15 is often identified as a personification of the god Mars with his armor and flowing cape. Although figures #16 and #17 seem less important, they look very much alike and may represent the constellation Gemini. Gemini is the more difficult constellation to pick out, and it might represent the hidden identity of figure #8. Two others, however, are more obvious. Figure #20 is a shield with a large scorpion emblazoned upon it. Tiberius was born in November, and thus might be represented with such an item. Figure #9 shows Augustus’ favorite sign, the Capricorn. Although Augustus might have been conceived during December, he claimed the Capricorn as his constellation. The sun or moon, which were necessary to show the full power of a constellation, is seen behind the sign. Mars is represented by figure (#15), andthus at least three signs of the Zodiac are evident.

Figure #13 is probably Diana, identified with the moon, although some commentators believe her to be a mere auxiliary troop with #14. Diana holds spears in her left hand and her right hand seems to rest on the head of the man in figure #12, but not gripping his hair as supposed by many. Another identifying feature of Diana is her bountiful hair, bound up for the hunt, and her hunting clothes. Figure #14 might be an auxiliary, but more likely he personifies Mercurius (Mercury/Hermes), identified by his rimmed hat. Mercurius seems to be dragging the female in figure #12 by her hair towards the tropaion. The scene is clearly complex. Many interpretations insist that the ‘auxiliaries’ are dragging the barbarian prisoners to join their kindred in being bound to the trophy. However, there are indications that this might not be the case at all. First, the man on his knees is begging for mercy from Diana, who does look down on him. That same man wears around his neck a torque, suggesting him to be a Celt or German. It may be significant that Diana has her back turned to the observer and possibly the scene itself. She is the only one as such, and perhaps to contrast the celebration of victory in battle, she shows instead mercy to one pleading for his life. In addition, since the man is a leader, it makes for better propaganda that he should beg for mercy before a Roman goddess. Mercurius might not be dragging the woman to be bound to the trophy, but might be bringing her to kneel before Diana to beg for mercy as well. She shows the sign of a truce by placing her hand upon her chest. Perhaps Diana and Mercurius are sheltering them, perhaps offering them salvation in the final moments of victory. Whatever the case, the couple in #12 are not comparable to the despairing couple in #11, with whom they appear both to balance and contrast; balance by having barbarians on the right and left, literally balancing the composition, and contrast as one couple being doomed to be bound at the trophy, and the other begging for what looks like a chance of mercy.

Overall scene

 

A different view

The upper and lower scenes take place at different times, and are basically cause and effect. The lower scene takes place at the northern frontiers, just after a battle won by the Romans, who erect a victory trophy. Gathered prisoners of war are waiting for their punishment in grief or begging for mercy at the hands of assisting gods. The triumph on the battlefield precedes the triumph on the upper plate.

The upper scene is a fusion of Rome, Olympus, and the world of cities. Augustus is conspicuously above the birth sign he claimed, while the eagle personifying him as Jupiter sits below. He ended many years of internal strife for Rome and will forever wear the oak crown. In his right hand he holds a lituus – his augury stick in which he reads the signs and declares wars to be just. He faces Roma, representing all he united and saved from civil bloodshed. He sits equal to Roma, personifying a god. His feet lay upon armor, which could be identified with the newly conquered barbarians, or it may depict the descent of the Julian family from Mars through his human children Romulus and Remus. Unlike all the other figures, except for #7 and #8, the depiction of Augustus is considered to be an actual portrait because of the iris seen in his eye. Tiberius, Augustus’ adopted son, recently having fought in the north, comes back momentarily – for Victoria anxiously urges that he continue on to fight new battles and receive his triumph.

There are problems with this interpretation, however. The chariot is not one of victory. It would be unusual for a two-horse chariot to be used for the triumph. Also, Tiberius wears the toga. The toga represents civility and peace, not war. Perhaps this is a way to hand the victory to Augustus’ auguries. Tiberius steps down from the chariot, doing obeisance to Augustus, giving his adoptive parent the triumph and victory. If all this is true, then figure #8 could still be one of two persons, Drusus or Germanicus. By this age, Drusus was probably already dead, having fallen from his horse and suffered irreparable injuries. It could be, then, a representation of Drusus, and his memory, since he was fondly regarded by almost all. Since he is clad in fighting garb, the helmet probably beside him under the chariot, and coincidentally standing next to a horse, this could very well be Drusus. In addition, there are three constellations relating to the three portraits. Drusus would claim Gemini, though the Gemini is quite covert. If the portrait represented Drusus as alive, however, the gem would have been made about the same time as the Ara Pacis and the Altar of Augustus, sometime before 9 B.C., the year of Drusus’ death.

Others, though, think that Figure #8 is Germanicus, son of Drusus.[4] If the gem was commissioned no earlier than A.D. 12 and referred to Tiberius’ triumph over the Germans and the Pannonians, it would stand to reason that Germanicus, born in 13 B.C., was old enough to don gear and prepare for war, years after his father’s death. Germanicus was also looked upon quite fondly by Augustus and others. The dispute carries on.

Gemma Augustea is a beautiful work of art that seems to be based on dramatic Hellenistic compositions. The refined style of execution was more common in the late Augustan or earlier Tiberian age, though more likely Augustan. It is said that the image of Augustus as Jupiter is linked to future Roman triumphs by Horace in his Odes:

He’ll be brave who trusts himself to perfidious foes,
and he will crush the Carthaginians in a second war
who has tamely felt the chains upon his fettered
wrists and has stood in fear of death.
Such a one, not knowing how to live life secure,
has mixed peace with war.
O mighty Carthage, you rise
all the higher upon Italian ruins!
Tis said he set aside his wife’s chaste kisses and his
little children, as one bereft of civil rights,
and sternly bent his manly gaze upon the ground
till he should strengthen the Senate’s wavering purpose
by advice ne’er given before,
and amid sorrowing friends should hurry forth a glorious exile.
Full well he knew what the barbarian torturer was making
ready for him; and yet he pushed aside the kinsmen
who blocked his path and the people who would halt his going
with no less unconcern than if some case in court
had been decided, and he were leaving the tedious
business of his clients, speeding to Venafran fields,
or to Lacedaemonian Tarentum.
– Horace, Odes III 5

Saint of the Day for Saturday, December 27th, 2014: St. John the Apostle


The traditional site of the tomb of John_the_A...

The traditional site of the tomb of John_the_Apostle — one of Jesus’ twelve apostles in the ancient city of Ephesus, an important religious centre of early Christianity. Ephesus is today located in Turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Five apostles: St. James, St. John the Apostle...

Five apostles: St. James, St. John the Apostle, St. Peter, St. Paul and St. Andrew. Harbaville Triptych: close-up on the bottom panel of the middle leaf, recto. Ivory with traces of polychromy, middle of the 10th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. John the Apostle

St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (Feast day – December 27th) St. John, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Great, was called to be an Apostle by our Lord in the first year of His … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

More Art relating to John The Apostle:
English: Damian. "Jesus Christ and St. Jo...

English: Damian. “Jesus Christ and St. John the Apostle”. A detail of the Last Supper fresco from Ubisi, Georgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Church dedicated to St. John the Apos...

English: Church dedicated to St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Polski: Kościół pw. św. Jana Apostoła i Ewangelisty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: Church dedicated to St. John the Apos...

English: Church dedicated to St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Polski: Kościół pw. św. Jana Apostoła i Ewangelisty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Outbrain recommends, but who’s listening? euzicasa does!


Outbrain recommend- but who's listening? euzicasa does! Check this and many other unique videos at the BBC

Outbrain recommends but who’s listening? euzicasa does! Check this and many other unique videos at the BBC This one too should open in a new window!

 

Inside secret vault holding long-lost art treasures

26 March 2014 Last updated at 20:32 GMT

Cornelius Gurlitt is a reclusive man, but he was recently found to be holding one of the world’s biggest private art collections – close to 1,500 pieces that he had stored at his homes in Munich and Salzburg.

It is though much of it came from his father, a dealer licensed by the Nazis to buy and sell art, and may have been stolen from Jewish families.

The works, by artist such as Picasso, Renoir, Monet, are now being held in secure warehouses and vaults by restorers and experts trying to trace their history.

The BBC’s Stephen Evans was granted exclusive access to look at some of the long-lost masterpieces which had been kept hidden for decades.

Greenpeace Sorry for Stunt at Peru’s Nazca Lines


Greenpeace Sorry for Stunt at Peru’s Nazca Lines

Members of the environmental activist group Greenpeace are now apologizing for a publicity stunt this week in which they placed banners next to one of Peru’s iconic Nazca Lines—without permission. Like the giant figure of a hummingbird next to where they were placed, the banners were meant to be seen from above. The message was directed at United Nations representatives meeting in Lima for global climate talks. However, the protestors angered Peruvian authorities by leaving footprints at the ancient site, where special footwear is required to be worn. More… Discuss


Fun to run into your Painting on YAHOO SEARCH (actually YELP…) click on the image to access the said image!


Fun to run into your Painting on YAHOO SEARCH - find my art work here

Fun to run into your Painting on YAHOO SEARCH:   (find my art work here (to find out which pic belongs to me…Click here!) #euzicasa

Maurice Ravel – Introduction & Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet & String Quartet(1905) : Great compositions/performances|Art by Jean-Léon Gérôme


Maurice Ravel – Introduction & Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet & String Quartet(1905)

Madame Tussauds


Madame Tussauds

A skilled wax sculptor, Marie Tussaud served as art tutor to Louis XVI’s sister until the French Revolution began. During the Reign of Terror, Tussaud made death masks from heads—often those of her friends—freshly severed by the guillotine. She moved to Britain with her collection of wax models, and, in 1835, established a museum that remains a principal tourist attraction, now known as Madame Tussauds. One of its main attractions is the Chamber of Horrors. What did it originally include? More… Discuss

new at #euzicasa: Widget – KINJI SAN-Martial Arts Supplies (Access Here or from the sidebar…your choice!)


KUNJI SAN-Martial Arts Supplies

KUNJI SAN-Martial Arts Supplies (Access here or visit the widget on the sidebar (way down with 100+ others!) they should open all in anew window, but only WPRESS can secure that!  

     新しい#euzicasaアット:ウィジェットKINJI SAN-格闘技用品(アクセスここまたはサイドバー…あなたの選択から!

Please blame (or held in higher respect) Google Translate service @ https://translate.google.com/:
because while you may not agree with all Google is doing, I think many of their initiatives are awesome, and I include Google Translate among those initiatives!
Once you accessed the website, save the page to your browser’s bookmarks, and for easy access place it on the bookmark toolbar! That way it is always in sight and at the tip of your finger! :)

Get back to me with how it worked for you here, by a  welcome comment!: go do it noow, what you’re waiting for!

Bushido


Bushido (read more here)

Bushido, which means “way of the warrior,” is a code of conduct of the Japanese samurai class. Along with self-discipline, honor, and austerity, the code emphasized the samurai’s obligation to his lord, which superseded even familial ties. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868 effectively ended feudalism and returned power to the emperor, the samurai’s obligation of loyalty and sacrifice shifted, becoming the basis for the cult of emperor worship. What is hara-kiri? More… Discuss

Pater Noster- St. Pope John Paul II-1982: a prayer, a monastery, a way of life, a civilization


https://www.youtube.com</span></span></b><span style="color:#0000ff;"><em>/watch?v=PyWBaIEkZ7w

Pater Noster (St. Pope John Paul II – 1982)

Pater Noster- Latin-l

Pater Noster- Latin-l

https://i2.wp.com/www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/images/JPN-pater.jpghttps://i2.wp.com/www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/images/JPN-pater-e.jpg

Lord's Prayer

Gallery

Human civilization: Arts and Crafts: Basket Weaving


Basket Weaving Basketry is the ancient art of weaving flexible materials to form vessels or other objects. Baskets used for storing grain in 4000 or 5000 BCE have been excavated in Egypt, and the tombs of Etruria have yielded ancient … Continue reading

this pressed: BBC News – Elgin Marbles: British Museum loans statue to Russia


The British Museum has loaned one of the Elgin Marbles statues to Russia.

The British Museum has loaned one of the Elgin Marbles statues to Russia.

A headless depiction of the river god Ilissos will go on display in St Petersburg‘s State Hermitage Museum until mid-January.

It is one of a number of relics acquired by Lord Elgin in Athens in the early 19th Century now known collectively as the Elgin Marbles.

Ownership of the artefacts, once part of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple, is disputed by Greece.

It maintains that Lord Elgin removed them illegally while the country was under Turkish occupation as part of the Ottoman Empire.

The items have remained in the British Museum ever since.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

The greatest things in the world should be… shared and enjoyed by as many people in as many countries as possible”

Neil McGregor Director, British Museum

The museum director, Neil McGregor, said: “The British Museum is a museum of the world, for the world and nothing demonstrates this more than the loan of a Parthenon sculpture to the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg to celebrate its 250th anniversary.”

In a blog for the museum’s website, he wrote that the British Museum had opened its doors in 1759 and the Hermitage just five years later – making them “almost twins… the first great museums of the European Enlightenment“.

The British Museum was today “the most generous lender in the world”, he said, “making a reality of the Enlightenment ideal that the greatest things in the world should be seen and studied, shared and enjoyed by as many people in as many countries as possible”.

“The trustees have always believed that such loans must continue between museums in spite of political disagreements between governments.”

He added: “When our colleagues at the Hermitage asked if we might also make an important loan to celebrate their 250th anniversary, the Trustees immediately answered yes.

“And no loan could more fittingly mark the long friendship of our two houses, or the period of their founding, than a sculpture from the Parthenon.”

via BBC News – Elgin Marbles: British Museum loans statue to Russia<