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In 1995 a German archeologist named Klaus Schmidt decided to begin work in Turkey at a place called Potbelly Hill, or Göbekli Tepe. He didn't know at the time that he was about to turn the world of archaeology upside down and re-write the story of our civilization. When it became apparent that he was on to something completely transforming, he declared: “In 10 or 15 years, Göbekli Tepe will be more famous than Stonehenge. And for good reason! ” He was right.
Ancient Site of Göbekli Tepe in Southern Turkey ( Brian Weed / Abode Stock )
What he found was a huge temple complex built of immense T-shaped stone pillars arranged in sets of rings. The tallest are 18 feet (5.4 meters) high and weigh 16 tons (14,515 kilograms). Carved into their surfaces are a whole menagerie of bas-relief totemic animals of prey. Littering the nearby hillside are thousands of flint tools from Neolithic times—knives, projectile points, choppers, scrapers, and files.
When Schmidt used standard, accepted methods to date the site he amazed even himself. Göbekli Tepe was built many thousands of years before the Great Pyramid of Giza, way earlier than even the first wooden beginnings of Stonehenge, and, it was then thought, way before the invention of agriculture. How could a work force consisting of the thousands of laborers needed to construct such a project possibly be mobilized, instructed, equipped, fed, and encouraged to stay on the job when the only people thought to have lived back then were stone-age primitives?
So far, there is no indication whatsoever of extensive agriculture going on in the surrounding area until after construction began. At least at first, evidence suggests, hunting teams would fan out, kill what game they could, and bring it back to the workers. The bones of their evening meals consist mostly of aurochs and gazelles. Then, later in the project, it appeared that the birth of agriculture started here, in Turkey, rather than down south at Sumer many thousands of years later as traditional history would claim it did.
During the so-called “Greek Dark Ages” before the Archaic period, people lived scattered throughout Greece in small farming villages. As they grew larger, these villages began to evolve. Some built walls. Most built a marketplace (an agora) and a community meeting place. They developed governments and organized their citizens according to some sort of constitution or set of laws. They raised armies and collected taxes. And every one of these city-states (known as poleis) was said to be protected by a particular god or goddess, to whom the citizens of the polis owed a great deal of reverence, respect and sacrifice. (Athens’s deity was Athena, for example so was Sparta’s.)
Did you know? Greek military leaders trained the heavily armed hoplite soldiers to fight in a massive formation called a phalanx: standing shoulder to shoulder, the men were protected by their neighbor&aposs shield. This intimidating technique played an important role in the Persian Wars and helped the Greeks build their empire.
The Swastika symbol, present in nearly every culture of the past
The Swastika, also referred to as the gammadion, is one of the oldest and most widespread symbols on planet Earth. And if you thought it is a symbol that represents evil and death, you are very very wrong. To make it short and clear, the Swastika symbol stands for peace and prosperity and is a very positive symbol.
It is considered a universal symbol and was used by numerous cultures and ancient civilizations throughout history. As we know it today, Swastika is actually a Sanskrit word which means “that which is good” or “all is well” but some translate it to “lucky or auspicious object”, whatever the translation it is a very positive symbol. In Hinduism it is a very sacred symbol deeply connected with luck and prosperity, and yes, there is a lot to be learned about this ancient symbol which has been misinterpreted since 1900’s.
Archaeologists have debated about the exact origin and date of the Swastika symbols. Recent research has shown that the earliest known object with swastika-motifs is a bird from the tusk of a mammoth from the Paleolithic settlement of Mezine, Ukraine which dates back between 10,000 and 12,000 BCE. The vinca culture is among the earliest cultures that utilized the swastika symbol. In Asia, many business organizations use the Swastika symbol officially for example the Ahmedabad Stock Exchange and the Nepal Chamber of Commerce use it.
Why the symbol of the Swastika spread across the entire planet is still a mystery that archaeologists and historians have failed to understand.
The Pine Cone Symbol: Found in nearly every culture around the Globe
From Ancient Rome to Ancient Mesopotamia, the Pine Cone symbols is without a doubt one of the most mysterious symbols found in ancient art and architecture. According to many researchers, the Pine Cone symbol points towards the highest degree of spiritual illumination possible, something that was recognized by nearly every single ancient cultures around the globe, embedded into their monuments and art including the Indonesians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
Strangely, the Pine Cone appeared to have had the same meaning for all of the ancient cultures, symbolizing the secret vestigial organ: the Pineal Gland, also referred to as the “Third Eye”
Why this ancient symbol spread across numerous ancient civilization is a mystery that just like the Pyramids and Metal Clamps, researchers have failed to understand.
Chinese Religions and Philosophies
Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism were the three main philosophies and religions of ancient China, which have individually and collectively influenced ancient and modern Chinese society.
Religion, Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations, World History
Lighting Incense for Luck
In Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong, hopeful Taoist devotees light incense sticks for luck the day before a major horse race.
Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are considered the &ldquothree pillars&rdquo of ancient Chinese society. As philosophies and religions, they not only influenced spirituality, but also government, science, the arts, and social structure. Though their specific beliefs and teachings have occasionally been at odds with each other, there has been much room for overlap. Instead of one tradition taking over and pushing the others out, the three philosophies have influenced society alongside each other, changed each other, and at times blended together. Understanding the unique interplay between these three traditions gives great insight into ancient Chinese society, as well as modern times.
Though closer to a philosophy than a true religion, Confucianism was a way of life for ancient Chinese people, and it continues to influence Chinese culture today. The founder of Confucianism, named Confucius, lived from 551 to 479 B.C.E. He was a philosopher and political figure who lived during a time when traditional Chinese principles began to deteriorate under competing political states. He took older religious precepts and translated them into guidelines for social mores. His teachings gave guidance on all levels of ancient Chinese life, from interactions between family members and in the public sphere, to educational standards and how states should be governed. Confucius saw every aspect of life as being made up of obligations between people and entities, and rituals to convey the mutual dependency between them. His teachings focused on humanism, including treating others the way you would want to be treated. He taught that if everyone fulfilled their roles and obligations with respect and kindness towards others, it would build a stronger state. While religious rituals were mentioned alongside all of the other rituals a person was expected to perform, Confucius did not focus on spiritual concerns like the afterlife, gods and goddesses, or mysticism. This is why Confucianism is considered a philosophy rather than a religion, even though it is often lumped in with other major religions.
Confucianism became the dominant political philosophy during the Han Dynasty from 206 B.C.E. to 220 C.E. Because Confucian teachings were conservative and told people to maintain their role in social order, the philosophy was used by the state to keep the status quo from that time forward. The structure of Chinese society and its focus on rituals, familial respect and obligation, worship of ancestors, and self-discipline, remains greatly influenced by Confucius and his teachings.
Taoism (also called Daoism) is a Chinese religion that developed a bit after Confucianism, around two thousand years ago. In contrast to Confucianism, Taoism is mainly concerned with the spiritual elements of life, including the nature of the universe. The guiding principle of Taoism is roughly translated as &ldquothe Way,&rdquo which is a harmonious natural order that arises between humans and the world, and that Taoists should strive to achieve. In the Taoist structure of the universe, humans are meant to accept and yield to the Tao and only do things that are natural and in keeping with the Tao. This is the concept of wu-wei, which translates as &ldquonon-action,&rdquo but really means to go with the true nature of the world and not strive too hard for desires. This puts Taoism in opposition to Confucianism in another way: it is not concerned about with humanistic morality, government, and society, all of which Taoists see as inventions of humans and not necessarily part of the Tao. At the same time, Taoists were interested in longevity, both of the human body and the soul. Achieving spiritual immortality through becoming one with nature is an important part of the Taoist religion.
Despite their differences, Taoist and Confucian ideas are not completely at odds with each other, so Chinese society was able to absorb concepts from both traditions. Taoism had influence on literature and the arts, but the biggest area of Taoist influence was in science. The Taoist focus on natural elements and observing how the natural world works helped to create Chinese medicine. Similar to the modern scientific method, Taoists observed how different medicines affected people and animals through experimentation. Their collective knowledge gained through trying to improve human longevity made a huge contribution to health sciences.
Buddhism was the third major belief system of ancient China. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, also called the Buddha, who lived in India around the sixth century B.C.E. Buddhism is a philosophy that focuses on personal development and attainment of deep knowledge. Buddhists seek to achieve enlightenment through meditation, spiritual learning, and practice. They believe in reincarnation and that life is impermanent and full of suffering and uncertainty the way to find peace is through reaching nirvana, a joyful state beyond human suffering. There are many different sects that place different emphasis on various aspects of Buddhism. The two largest sects are Theravada Buddhism, which is found primarily in southern Asia, and Mahayana Buddhism, which is found in east Asia, including China.
After its founding in India, Buddhism spread to and became popular in China in the first century C.E. Part of the reason Buddhism became popular in China was because of Taoism. Some Buddhist practices were similar to Taoist ones, and Buddhist monks would use Taoist concepts to explain Buddhism to the Chinese, overcoming the cultural and language barrier between Indian and the Chinese people. Buddhism also influenced Taoism with its institutional structure, which Taoists copied and modified. A competition between Buddhism and Taoism arose to gain more followers and greater government influence, and this competition increased the vitality of both religions. As Buddhism became more prevalent, its concepts merged with Taoist and Confucian ideas to become the basis of ancient Chinese society and government. Its influence is seen in Chinese art, architecture, and literature.
Values and ideas from Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are still prevalent in Chinese culture today. Despite the differences and occasional contradictions between the three traditions, the ancient Chinese society held each of these philosophies in high importance and incorporated the different teachings into multiple areas of life.
In Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong, hopeful Taoist devotees light incense sticks for luck the day before a major horse race.
In Mesopotamia the solar year was divided into two seasons, the “summer,” which included the barley harvest in the second half of May or in the beginning of June, and the “winter,” which roughly corresponded to today’s fall–winter. Three seasons (Assyria) and four seasons (Anatolia) were counted in northerly countries, but in Mesopotamia the bipartition of the year seemed natural. As late as about 1800 bce the prognoses for the welfare of the city of Mari, on the middle Euphrates, were taken for six months.
The months began at the first visibility of the New Moon, and in the 8th century bce court astronomers still reported this important observation to the Assyrian kings. The names of the months differed from city to city, and within the same Sumerian city of Babylonia a month could have several names, derived from festivals, from tasks (e.g., sheepshearing) usually performed in the given month, and so on, according to local needs. On the other hand, as early as the 27th century bce , the Sumerians had used artificial time units in referring to the tenure of some high official—e.g., on N-day of the turn of office of PN, governor. The Sumerian administration also needed a time unit comprising the whole agricultural cycle for example, from the delivery of new barley and the settling of pertinent accounts to the next crop. This financial year began about two months after barley cutting. For other purposes, a year began before or with the harvest. This fluctuating and discontinuous year was not precise enough for the meticulous accounting of Sumerian scribes, who by 2400 bce already used the schematic year of 30 × 12 = 360 days.
At about the same time, the idea of a royal year took precise shape, beginning probably at the time of barley harvest, when the king celebrated the new (agricultural) year by offering first fruits to gods in expectation of their blessings for the year. When, in the course of this year, some royal exploit (conquest, temple building, and so on) demonstrated that the fates had been fixed favourably by the celestial powers, the year was named accordingly for example, as the year in which “the temple of Ningirsu was built.” Until the naming, a year was described as that “following the year named (after such and such event).” The use of the date formulas was supplanted in Babylonia by the counting of regnal years in the 17th century bce .
The use of lunar reckoning began to prevail in the 21st century bce . The lunar year probably owed its success to economic progress. A barley loan could be measured out to the lender at the next year’s threshing floor. The wider use of silver as the standard of value demanded more flexible payment terms. A man hiring a servant in the lunar month of Kislimu for a year knew that the engagement would end at the return of the same month, without counting days or periods of office between two dates. At the city of Mari about 1800 bce , the allocations were already reckoned on the basis of 29- and 30-day lunar months. In the 18th century bce the Babylonian empire standardized the year by adopting the lunar calendar of the Sumerian sacred city of Nippur. The power and the cultural prestige of Babylon assured the success of the lunar year, which began on Nisanu 1, in the spring. When in the 17th century bce the dating by regnal years became usual, the period between the accession day and the next Nisanu 1 was described as “the beginning of the kingship of PN,” and the regnal years were counted from this Nisanu 1.
It was necessary for the lunar year of about 354 days to be brought into line with the solar (agricultural) year of approximately 365 days. This was accomplished by the use of an intercalated month. Thus, in the 21st century bce a special name for the intercalated month iti dirig appears in the sources. The intercalation was operated haphazardly, according to real or imagined needs, and each Sumerian city inserted months at will—e.g., 11 months in 18 years or two months in the same year. Later the empires centralized the intercalation, and as late as 541 bce it was proclaimed by royal fiat. Improvements in astronomical knowledge eventually made possible the regularization of intercalation, and, under the Persian kings (c. 380 bce ), Babylonian calendar calculators succeeded in computing an almost perfect equivalence in a lunisolar cycle of 19 years and 235 months with intercalations in the years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19 of the cycle. New Year’s Day (Nisanu 1) now oscillated around the spring equinox within a period of 27 days.
The Babylonian month names were Nisanu, Ayaru, Simanu, Duʾuzu, Abu, Ululu, Tashritu, Arakhsamna, Kislimu, Tebetu, Shabatu, Adaru. The month Adaru II was intercalated six times within the 19-year cycle but never in the year that was 17th of the cycle, when Ululu II was inserted. Thus, the Babylonian calendar until the end preserved a vestige of the original bipartition of the natural year into two seasons, just as the Babylonian months to the end remained truly lunar and began when the New Moon was first visible in the evening. The day began at sunset. Sundials and water clocks (clepsydra) served to count hours.
The influence of the Babylonian calendar was seen in many continued customs and usages of its neighbour and vassal states long after the Babylonian empire had been succeeded by others. In particular, the Jewish calendar in use at relatively late dates employed similar systems of intercalation of months, month names, and other details (see below The Jewish calendar). The Jewish adoption of Babylonian calendar customs dates from the period of the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century bce .
Religion In Ancient India
The predominant religion in ancient India was Hinduism. The roots of Hindu religion can be traced back to the Vedic period. Hinduism is believed to be the oldest of major religions and originated in northern India. Early Aryan, or Vedic, culture was the early Hinduism whose interaction with non-Aryan cultures resulted in what we call Classical Hinduism. It is interesting to note that much of ancient, classical and modern Indian culture has been greatly shaped by Hindu thought.
The Mahabharata and Ramayana, both sacred Hindu texts, served as India's main motivating base for a great deal of literary, artistic and musical creations in subsequent millennia. The Epic Period was a golden era in Indian philosophical thought because of the tolerance of different opinions and teachings. The most popular form of Indian medicine, Ayurveda, was developed by Vedic saints and Jyotish, Hindu astrology, is the most popular form of astrology in India today. Yoga, an internationally-famous system of meditation, is one of six systems of Hindu thought.
Besides Hinduism, other main religions during ancient India were Buddhism, and Jainism. Buddhism originated in northern India in what is today the state of Bihar. It rapidly gained adherents during the Buddha's lifetime. Up to the 9th century, Indian followers numbered in the hundreds of millions. Buddhism, known in ancient India as Buddha Dharma, originated in northern India in what is today the state of Bihar. It rapidly gained adherents during the Buddha's lifetime. Up to the 9th century, Indian followers numbered in the hundreds of millions.
25 incredible Ancient Roman quotes you should know
Previously we have harped about Rome’s infrastructure and Rome’s army. But beyond impressive architecture and grand military traditions, some eminent Romans also boasted fascinating philosophical notions. So without further ado, let us take a gander at 25 incredible Ancient Roman quotes you should know – uttered by the crème de la crème of ‘friends, Romans, and countrymen’.
*Note – While these quotes were selected from a large pool, in NO WAY do we claim that they are the ‘best’ of all the quotes Romans had to offer. So please view this list as a subjective topic.
1) If you have overcome your inclination and not been overcome by it, you have reason to rejoice.
Plautus or Titus Maccius Plautus (254 BC – 184 BC), was a Roman playwright known as the originator of the Palliata comoedia genre. In fact, his comedic works are among the rarer (and earliest) surviving literary specimens from the so-called Old Latin period.
2) I’m never less at leisure than when at leisure, or less alone than when alone.
Scipio Africanus (236 BC – 183 BC), also known as Scipio Africanus the Elder, was arguably the greatest Roman general of his generation. He was responsible for ultimately defeating Hannibal Barca at the momentous Battle of Zama, in 202 BC.
3) If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC) is often considered as one of the greatest Roman orators and prose stylists of his time. Hailing from a wealthy Roman equestrian family, Cicero was also a philosopher, politician, lawyer, political theorist and a constitutionalist, who introduced neologisms such as evidentia, humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia.
4) Advice in old age is foolish for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach to our journey’s end.
Another jewel from Marcus Tullius Cicero. And since the quote talks about death, it should be noted that Cicero himself was killed at the orders of Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius). Apparently, Cicero’s last words to his captors were – “There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly.”.
5) It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.
Julius Caesar (100 BC – 44 BC), was a Roman statesman and notable author of Latin prose. But he is mostly known for being the greatest Roman general of his time, who completed the conquest of Gaul and launched the first Roman invasion of Britain.
6) If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.
Another interesting quote of Julius Caesar, this time dealing with a political scope. In fact, from the historical perspective, it was his political maneuvers (rather than generalship) that had long-lasting effects on Rome and Europe as his critical role in going against the senate led to the eclipse of the Roman Republic and the emergence of the Roman Empire.
7) Those most moved to tears by every word of a preacher are generally weak and a rascal when the feelings evaporate.
Sallust or Gaius Sallustius Crispus (86 BC – 34 BC), was a Roman historian, politician and the very first man from his provincial plebeian family to serve in the Roman senate. He was also a known partisan of Julius Caesar himself (and might have even commanded a legion), who always maintained his strict opposition to the old Roman aristocracy. Later on in his life, Sallust was instrumental in developing the landscaped pleasure gardens in the northwestern sector of Rome, better known as the Horti Sallustian (Gardens of Sallust).
8) An angry man is again angry with himself when he returns to reason.
Publilius Syrus (85 BC – 43 BC) was a Latin mime writer contemporary to Cicero, who was known for his collection of moral aphorisms in iambic and trochaic verse. Interestingly enough, Publilius probably started out as a slave from Syria and climbed up the ladders of the literary world by defeating his rival Decimus Laberius. Historians over time have determined that his authentic verses run to a total of around 700 maxims, including the famous one – “iudex damnatur ubi nocens absolvitur” (The judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted).
9) Fear is proof of a degenerate mind.
Virgil or Publius Vergilius Maro (70 BC – 19 BC), was one of ancient Rome’s greatest poet corresponding to the Augustan period. His massive contribution to Latin literature is espoused by three significant works – the Eclogues (or Bucolics), the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. The latter literary specimen is often considered as ancient Rome’s national epic, with the work following the traditions of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
10) A shoe that is too large is apt to trip one, and when too small, to pinch the feet. So it is with those whose fortune does not suit them.
Horace or Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC – 8 BC), was the foremost Roman lyric poet contemporary to the Augustan period, who dabbled in both hexameter verses and caustic iambic poetry. He was also an officer in the republican army that was defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC. But later on he was offered amnesty by Octavian, and thus Horace became the became a spokesman for the new regime (though he lost his father’s estate to a colony of veterans).
11) The lofty pine is oftenest shaken by the winds High towers fall with a heavier crash And the lightning strikes the highest mountain.
Another interesting quote of Horace, the sentence harks back to the ‘delicate’ balance that the poet himself had to maintain in the post-civil wars period (in late 1st century BC) when it came to his political affiliations. However, it still manages to evoke Horace’s strong penchant for individualistic independence.
12) Young men, hear an old man to whom old men hearkened when he was young.
Augustus (63 BC – 14 AD), born Gaius Octavius, was the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor who ruled till his death in 14 AD (additionally he was also Julius Caesar’s adopted heir). The reign of Augustus kick-started what is known as Pax Romana (the Roman Peace), an extensive period of almost two centuries when the Roman realm was not disturbed by any long-drawn major conflict, in spite of the empire’s ‘regular’ territorial expansions into regions like Egypt, Dalmatia, Pannonia, Germania and complete annexation of Hispania.
13) Rome has grown since its humble beginnings that it is now overwhelmed by its own greatness.
Livy or Titus Livius (59 BC – 17 AD) is arguably the oft-quoted Roman when it comes to their history. That is primarily because of the Roman historian’s monumental work Ab Urbe Condita Libri (Books from the Foundation of the City) that covers the ‘dark ages’ before Rome’s traditional founding in 753 BC to Livy’s contemporary times. Livy’s fame during the latter half of his life is often presented through an anecdote when a man from Cadiz (a port in southwestern Spain) was said to have traveled all the way to Rome to just meet the author, and then after fulfilling his wish returned to his homeland without delay.
14) Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
Seneca the Elder or Marcus Annaeus Seneca (54 BC – 39 AD), was a Roman rhetorician and writer who hailed from distant Cordoba, Hispania. Born into a wealthy equestrian family, Seneca (later in his life) lived in the momentous period of the early Roman Empire that encompassed the reign of three emperors – Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula.
15) There is no such thing as pure pleasure some anxiety always goes with it.
Ovid or Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC – 17 AD), was a contemporary Roman poet of the older Virgil and Horace, and together these three formed the ‘holy trinity’ of Latin canonical literature during the Augustan period. To that end, Ovid is mainly known his mythological narrative – the Metamorphoses, along with collections of love poetry like the Amores (“Love Affairs”) and Ars Amatoria (“The Art of Love”). In an odd turn of events, the poet was later exiled to a remote Black Sea province by Augustus himself. The historians still speculate on the numerous possible reasons, with Ovid himself simply alluding to the episode by saying carmen et error, “a poem and a mistake”.
16) Say not always what you know, but always know what you say.
Claudius or Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (10 BC – 54 AD), was a Roman Emperor who reigned from 41-54 AD and was Rome’s first ruler born outside of Italy. Interestingly, in spite of being slightly deaf and having a limp, Claudius proved himself to be an able administrator and patron of public building projects. His reign also saw concerted attempts to conquer Britain, while the emperor himself was known to have fought an actual killer whale trapped in the Ostia harbor (as mentioned by Pliny the Elder)!
17) The first and greatest punishment of the sinner is the conscience of sin.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, also known as Seneca the Younger (5 BC – 65 AD), was a Roman Stoic philosopher and a dramatist who also tried his hand in humor. One of the sons of Seneca the Elder, Lucius also acted as the Imperial adviser and tutor to Roman Emperor Nero. Unfortunately, his very connection to political affairs brought forth his demise – when Lucius was forced to commit suicide for his alleged role in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero.
18) Hope is the pillar that holds up the world. Hope is the dream of a waking man.
Pliny the Elder or Gaius Plinius Secundus (23 AD – 79 AD), was an ancient Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher – known for his encyclopedic work, Naturalis Historia. Like some eminent Romans of his time, Pliny also had a career in the military with his high-status post as a naval and army commander in the early Roman empire. Pliny later died in the catastrophic eruption of Mouth Vesuvius (AD 79) on the beach at Stabiae, and thus was one of the famous (yet unfortunate) eye-witnesses to the destruction of Pompeii (reconstructed in this animated video).
19) The gods conceal from men the happiness of death, that they may endure life.
Lucan or Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (39 AD – 65 AD), was another Roman literary icon from Cordoba (in fact he was the nephew of Seneca the Younger), who was known for his speed of composition in poems. Unfortunately, he too met his untimely demise at a young age of 25, when he was forced to commit suicide (like his uncle) during the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero.
20) I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.
Marcus Aurelius or Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (121 AD – 180 AD), was the Roman Emperor from 161-180 AD, who is considered as the last of the Five Good Emperors. Incredibly enough, he was also among the foremost Stoic philosophers of his time – as is evident from his tome Meditations, written entirely in Greek while the emperor was conducting his military campaign.
21) The universe is transformation: life is opinion.
Another insightful quote of Marcus Aurelius – the emperor who was also known to have taken his lessons in oratory from two Greek tutors and one Latin tutor. Regarding the choice of these tutors, it becomes evident on how the Roman aristocracy of the time still valued Greek as a language.
22) Another one of the old poets, whose name has escaped my memory at present, called Truth the daughter of Time.
Aulus Gellius (125 AD – after 180 AD) was an eminent Latin author and grammarian of his time, who was originally educated in Athens. He is renowned for Attic Nights, a book compiling comparable notes on different subjects including grammar, philosophy, history, antiquarianism and even geometry.
23) We find that the Romans owed the conquest of the world to no other cause than continual military training, exact observance of discipline in their camps, and unwearied cultivation of the other arts of war.
Vegetius or Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus (circa 4th century AD), was the most famous Roman military historian of the late fourth century, though not much is known about his life. However, in the opening passage of his brilliant work Epitoma rei militaris (also known as De Re Militari), Vegetius confirms his religion as Christianity. Incredibly enough, the author is also known (to some extent) for his other work Digesta Artis Mulomedicinae, which is a comprehensive treatise on veterinary medicine.
24) The Son of God became man so that we might become God.
Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (296 AD – 373 AD) was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria and a famed Christian theologian who defended Trinitarianism against Arianism. The famous Egyptian was also known for his run-ins with the Roman emperors, as was evident from his five exiles (from four different emperors) that equated to 17 years, over a period of 45 years of his episcopate.
25) If there is a God, whence proceed so many evils? If there is no God, whence cometh any good?
Boethius or Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius (480 AD – 525 AD), was a Roman senator, consul, magister officious, and philosopher of the early 6th century. He is unique in our list because the philosopher was born four years after the Western Roman Empire ‘technically’ ceased to exist when Odoacer took the title of the King of Italy (in 476 AD). Boethius himself served the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great and was ultimately imprisoned and executed by his patron.
Honorable mention for those who liked the previous Roman quotes –
Witticisms please as long as we keep them within boundaries, but pushed to excess they cause offense.
Phaedrus (15 BC – 50 AD) was a Roman fabulist and a Latin author, who was possibly born in Macedonia (at least according to the author’s own claims). On the other hand, a few self-references also hint at how he might have been a Thracian slave who was ‘personally’ freed by the Emperor.
Von Däniken and Sitchin Identify UFOs in Ancient Art
No such destabilization occurred when the paleo contact concept gained world wide popularity in the late 1960s and 1970s when it was adopted by Swiss author, Erich von Däniken, and the Russian-born American author, Zecharia Sitchin. Instead, their books proposing an explanation for human origins and evolution involving ancient astronauts sold millions of copies and inspired a generation of believers in ancient contact with extraterrestrials.
The resulting leap of consciousness has led to our current intense era of seeking to understand cosmic visitors and the disclosure movement which seeks the release of all the information the U.S. government has about extraterrestrials, UFOs, and its own alleged secret space program.
Both von Däniken and Sitchin point to ancient art as a repository of evidence of UFO or ancient alien contact. Most of these UFOs in ancient art are sacred or religious in nature. This is quite ironic as a core belief of “ancient astronaut theory” in that there is nothing spiritual going on during these ancient extraterrestrial visitations.
Ancient astronaut theory holds that the “gods” and “angels” of the ancient sacred/spiritual traditions are simply advanced humans with super powers given to them by advanced technology that was indistinguishable from magic to the ancient experiencers. Ancient astronaut theorists claim the aliens brought planes, helicopters, tanks, genetic technology, lasers, nuclear weapons, and computers with them.
These so-called gods came to earth from Sirius, Orion, the Pleiades, Cygnus and other worlds with an intelligent design program in mind.
Depending on which school one subscribes to, this program aims to either uplift humanity to the visitor’s level of spiritual existence (or even to exceed them), or to enslave humanity as workers to mine Earth’s resources. Were the ancient visitors slave masters? Or, were they here for the more spiritually inclined purpose of uplifting humanity and assisting us in our spiritual ascension? Or, could it be both?
The way one chooses to answer these questions determines the eye or perspective from which the UFO art of the ancients is observed, read and/or experienced.
Conclusion of ancient Greek civilization
No treatment of the main period of Greek civilization should end without emphasizing the continuity both with what went before and with what came after. Continuity is clearest in the sphere of religion, which may be said to have been “embedded” in Greek life. Some of the gods alleged to have been relatively late imports into Greece can in fact be shown to have Mycenaean origins. For instance, one Athenian myth held that Dionysus was a latecomer, having been introduced into Attica from Eleutherae in the 6th century. There is reference to Dionysus (or di-wo-no-so-jo), however, on Linear B tablets from the 2nd millennium bce .
Looking forward, Dionysus’s statue was to be depicted in a grand procession staged in Alexandria in the 3rd century bce by Ptolemy II Philadelphus. (The iconographic significance of the king’s espousal of Dionysus becomes clear in light of the good evidence that in some sense Alexander the Great had identified himself with Dionysus in Carmania.) Nor was classical Dionysus confined to royal exploitation: it has been shown that the festivals of the City Dionysia at Athens and the deme festival of the Rural Dionysia were closely woven into the life of the Athenian empire and the Athenian state. Another Athenian, Euripides, represented Dionysus in a less tame and “official” aspect in the Bacchae the Euripidean Dionysus has more in common with the liberating Dionysus of Carmania or with the socially disruptive Dionysus whose worship the Romans in 186 bce were to regulate in a famous edict. The longevity and multifaceted character of Dionysus symbolizes the tenacity of the Greek civilization, which Alexander had taken to the banks of the Oxus but which in many respects still carried the marks of its Archaic and even prehistoric origins.