Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Egyptian Archaeologists Unearth Large Black Sarcophagus In Alexandria

According to the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, there had been a remarkable find in the coastal city of Alexandria. During a routine excavation, experts have uncovered a Ptolemaic black stone sarcophagus. It is being hailed as a major find as it can provide insights into the great Hellenistic period in Egypt and its unique culture.

The Ptolemaic Dynasty

Alexander the Great conquered Egypt with a ‘mixed army of Macedonians and Greeks in 332 BC’, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. After the death of the great conqueror, Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s generals, ruled it as an independent kingdom. He and his successors created a powerful state in Egypt and made Alexandria their capital and one of the ancient world’s great cultural centers. The Ptolemies encouraged Greeks and Macedonians to settle in their kingdom and they formed the elite in Egyptian society.
The Ptolemies were accepted as their rulers by the Egyptians. While the dynasty retained their Macedonian identity and saw themselves as Hellenic rulers, they also adopted many of the cultural practices of Egypt. The dynasty ruled from 323 BC to 30 BC, until the death of the legendary Queen Cleopatra. Their legacy was a very Hellenized culture that survived in Egypt until the Muslim invasion in the 7th century AD.

The Sarcophagus

An Egyptian archaeological team discovered the tomb, according to the Indian Express, while working on the  ‘installation of sensors at a privately-owned land in Alexandria's Sidi Gaber neighborhood before its owner laid down building foundations.’ It is typical, in Egypt for archaeologists from the Ministry of Antiquities to conduct an excavation before any building project, as it is required by the government.  The archaeologists were stunned when during their routine work they came across a burial that had lain undisturbed for over two millennia.
The burial held a large black granite sarcophagus dating back to the Ptolemaic era based on its design. The Daily Mail  reports, that the archaeologists believe that it is ‘the largest granite sarcophagus ever found in Alexandria’.  The black stone coffin stands at approximately 6 feet (1.83 m) tall and over 5. 5 feet (1.65 m) wide. The sheer size of the granite tomb has stunned archaeologists.
In the burial was also discovered the remains of a large alabaster bust of a man and it seems likely that this represents the person who was interred in the coffin although the identity of the person who was buried in the huge sarcophagus is so far unknown. The bust has deteriorated, and the features of the face cannot be made out, but it is almost certain that it is of a Macedonian or a Greek male. The size of the sarcophagus and the bust would indicate that the person buried in the granite coffin was of high social status.
Finds from the Ptolemaic Dynasty and the later Roman period are common in Alexandria. Last May, archaeologists unearthed a Roman bathhouse, in it the team found a host of other objects including a statue of a ram and a precious gold coin, depicting the portrait of Ptolemy III. In the city’s bay, archaeologists in the 1990's, according to the Indian Express. found the sunken city of Cleopatra’.
The Take Away
The find of the black sarcophagus is exciting experts and it is adding to our knowledge of the funerary art and the burial practices of the Ptolemaic period. Further, investigations of the site are expected to reveal more evidence about the tomb and it is hoped that there could be further discoveries. It is hoped that the identity of the person buried in the stone coffin can be established.

Ancient Gods – When Darkness Ruled the World

Darkness is the opposite of brightness and it is characterized by the absence of visible light. The emotional response of humans to darkness has led to many culturally different metaphorical usages.
For example, in Christianity the first narrative of creation begins with darkness. Darkness is said to have existed before the world, then light was introduced. Ultimately, the separation of light from darkness followed. In Exodus 10:21, darkness appears as the “second to last plague” and, in Mathew 8:12, darkness is the location of “weeping and gnashing of teeth”.
In the Qur’an (Nab 78.25), the individuals who transgress the boundaries of what is right are doomed to “burning despair and ice-cold darkness”. These perceptions of darkness largely associate it with evil. However, this was not always so. In the past, darkness was seen as something that existed since the beginning of time, and there are many deities associated with darkness as well as with the night.
Greek Mythology
The best example is probably Erebus from Greek mythology. His name comes from the Greek “Erebos” meaning “deep darkness” or “shadow”. Erebus was a primordial deity seen as the personification or embodiment of darkness. He is one of the first five beings in existence born from Chaos.
Along with his sister Nyx, Erebus fathered other deities such as Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death). Aether, Hemera, the Hesperides, the Moirai, Geras, Styx, and Charon are other children that resulted from the same union. It is interesting to note here the fact that Nyx was the goddess of the night. She was very beautiful and powerful and it is said that even Zeus himself, the chief of all the gods, feared her. In his “ Theogony”, Hesiod writes: “From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night; but of Night were born Aether and Day, whom she conceived and bore from union in love with Erebus”.
Greek mythology also has other deities related to darkness and the night. Asteria was the goddess of nocturnal oracles and the stars, and Achlys was the primordial goddess of eternal night, misery, and sorrow.

Hindu Deities of Darkness

Rahu kala, the influence of Rahu in Vedic astrology, is regarded as inauspicious. In Hindu mythology, there is also Varuna, the ruler of all the sky gods.
Norse Mythology
In Norse mythology, Nott is the goddess which personifies the night. She is the grandmother of Thor and the daughter of Norvi. Nott is associated with the horse Hrimfaxi and she supposedly had three marriages. Her third marriage was to the god Dellingr and together they had a son: Dagr - the personification of the day. Also in Norse mythology, the trickster god Loki is considered a night deity.
Dark Roman Gods
In Roman mythology, Nox was the primordial goddess of the night. She was equivalent to the Greek Nyx. Scotus was the primordial god of darkness and linked the Greek god Erebus. Summanus was the god of nocturnal thunder.

Aztec Lords of the Night

Aztec mythology has many deities associated with the night and with darkness. The Lords of the Night were a group of nine gods. They each were said to have ruled over a particular type of night. Metztli was a deity of the night, the moon, and of farmers. Yohaulticetl was the lunar goddess known as the Lady of the Night.
Tezcatlipoca was the god of the night sky, the night winds, obsidian, rulership, divination, jaguars, sorcery, war, strife, and also beauty.

Egyptian Legends

In Egyptian mythology, Nephthys was the goddess of the night, death, and birth. Kuk was an uncreated god who personified the primordial darkness. Apep was the Egyptian serpent deity of evil and darkness.

More Deities of Darkness

Artume was the Etruscan goddess of the night and Shalim was the Canaanite god of dusk. In Arabian mythology, Al-Qaum was the Nabatean god of the night and of war, but also seen as a protector of caravans.
Ahriman is the Iranic god of darkness, night, and evil. In Lithuania, Breksta was the goddess of twilight and dreams who protects humans from sunset to sunrise. The Zorya were two guardian goddesses related to the morning and evening stars in Slavic mythology. In Maori mythology, Hine-nui-te-pō, the ruler of the underworld, is also the goddess of the night and of death.
As it can be seen, darkness was often, but not always, associated with evil. There have been many cases in mythology when “dark” deities were simply a personification of the primordial darkness which existed even before the appearance of the world.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Most Famous Statues of All Countries

In every country, especially in the capitals, there are many ancient and modern attractions, which annually attract millions of tourists. In addition to the castles, squares, palaces and parks, there are some statue that tourists are really interested in and must see. Let’s look at those who just want to see while visiting a country.

1. Easter Island, one of the most remote islands uninhabited by people, is known for its huge stone statues, as they are called moai. Perhaps they have created by the deified tribal leaders.
2. There are not many Christian statues, which were more popular than Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. The construction of this famous statue is in the Art Deco style, which later became a symbol of Rio, held in the period from 1922 to 1931.
3. Visit to Copenhagen would not be considered complete if you do not see a Little Mermaid. This small statue commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of the company Carlsberg, after looking the same name ballet.
4. Around the world, there are hundreds of Buddha statues installed, but one of the most impressive is a statue of Buddha in Leshan, carved out of rock in the south of Sichuan, China. The statue was created nearly a century and completed in 713 year. The creators of the statue had hoped that it will calm the dangerous waters of the river.
6. The majestic figure of a seated Abraham Lincoln looking at the visitors in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Experts say that his hands form a sign language version of the initials of the name of an American president. Allegedly, the sculptor Daniel Chester was a deaf-mute son, and he wanted to pay tribute to Lincoln for the university for the deaf  - Gallauden  -received a collegiate degree.
7. Statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson, stands proudly at the Corinthian column surrounded by four lions, looking at Trafalgar Square in London for over 150 years old. They say that Hitler wanted to take it to Berlin for the successful capture of the U.K. 
8. This bronze statue of Buddha is in the temple Kotok-in Kamakura, Japan. It was created in the 13th century, it weighs 93 tons, but from the inside it is a hollow, where visitors can go inside. Rudyard Kipling mentioned it in his poem in the preface to the novel “Kim.”
9. If you are in Brussels, most likely you will definitely see this Manneken Pis. This is the symbol of Brussels, this statue also known as Mannequin Pis.  Brussels say that it is installed as a reminder of the events grimbergenskoy War, when the cradle with her son Godfrey III of Leuven was hung on a tree for view of the future monarch to encourage citizens, and the child urinated on from there fighting soldiers under the tree.
10. The highest statue of Lord Shiva is in Sange, on the border districts of Bhaktapur in Nepal and Kavrepalankok. Its construction was completed a few years ago, it is made of copper, cement, steel and zinc, and is one of the first modern attractions of Nepal. 
11. Like many of the statues in this gallery, nude hero Michelangelo - David  had to stand outside, but he was kept in the protective walls of the museum since 1873. From the beginning he was a patriotic symbol of the Florentine Republic.
12. This statue has repeatedly called one of the ugliest in the world, but still worth a look at this monument to Peter the Great, if you pass by in Moscow. The statue is so unpopular in 1997 that she even offered to send it to St. Petersburg. However, this proposal was rejected he was a patriotic symbol of the Florentine Republic.
13. Thousands of people every day come to see multiple versions of “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin, who are scattered in museums around the world (the original is in the Rodin Museum in Paris).
14. 128 meters statue of the Buddha in the Buddha Temple in Spring County Lusha. China, is the highest in the world. The statue, completed in 2002, is in the building of Buddhist monastery.
15.The  Louvre`s famous Venus de Milo - the ancient Greek statue of the goddess of love and beauty. Experts believe that it was once brightly painted, and stood in a niche sports hall, holding an apple.
16. A gift from France, U.S. - Statue of Liberty holding a torch over New York since 1886. Originally the statue was bronze-colored, but eventually color has changed 
17. A huge statue of Genghis Khan’s simply impossible not to notice, he rises above the tourist center in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Visitors can get to the horse’s head, which offers an excellent panoramic view.
18. One of the most famous statues in Rome - a bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback, which is on the Capitol Square for many hundreds of years. The statue depicted on the reverse side of Italian euro coins in 0.50.

Landscapes in Silence, No .24, Egypt