The Sumerians

The Sumerians were one of the earliest urban societies to emerge in the world, in Southern Mesopotamia more than 5000 years ago. They developed a writing system whose wedge-shaped strokes would influence the style of scripts in the same geographical area for the next 3000 years. Eventually, all of these diverse writing systems, which encompass both logophonetic, consonantal alphabetic, and syllabic systems, became known as cuneiform. Continue reading The Sumerians

Ancient Civilization Appears Along the Nile

The waters of the Nile came from annual rains in the tropics to the south of Egypt. The Nile rose in early July, and in October it receded, leaving little water and a layer of black, fertile soil — inspiring people there to call the area the Black Land. Continue reading Ancient Civilization Appears Along the Nile

The Maccabaean Revolt

Antiochus IV, ruling his empire including Jerusalem from Syria, wrongly assumed that the worship of Yahweh among the Jews could be transformed into the worship of the universal god, Zeus, as easily as such transformations had been made in his dominions farther east — where Jews worshiped Yahweh under the name of Zeus Sabazions. He wrongly assumed that the Jews of Judea would easily accept the notion that all worshiped the same God. In 167 he had the temple in Jerusalem rededicated as a shrine to Zeus. A problem in semantics developed. Some Jews saw Antiochus as compelling them to practice idolatry — something neither the Persians nor the Ptolemies had tried to force upon them. Continue reading The Maccabaean Revolt

The Book of Ecclesiastes

The author of the Old Testament’s Book of Ecclesiastes called himself “the preacher.” And he claimed to be a “son of David,” an expression used commonly to describe oneself as a Jew rather than as an actual son of David. But some in modern times would believe that Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon, despite it being unlikely that Solomon in his old age would have turned his view of the world upside down and written about futility and the evils of oppression. Some others estimate that Ecclesiastes was written several hundred years after Solomon: around 200 BCE. Continue reading The Book of Ecclesiastes

The Ancient Persian Empire

Parthian Prince, from Sham-Izeh, Malamir, 50 BCE
Parthian Prince, from Sham-Izeh, Malamir, 50 BCE

The early history of man in Iran goes back well beyond the Neolithic period, it begins to get more interesting around 6000 BC, when people began to domesticate animals Continue reading The Ancient Persian Empire

Spiritualists versus the Materialists in Ancient India

In India, philosophy had its origins in a search of relations between self and the universe, done by people who were religious in outlook. These were people less interested in the monotonous routines of the ritual sacrifices and more interested in probing relations between self and the universe. Continue reading Spiritualists versus the Materialists in Ancient India