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LOST Theories So you think you know some secrets of the island? Maybe you can explain everything. If it's original and you can back it up, we'd love to hear it.

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Old 06-08-09, 12:15 PM   #1
jaystao
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+ The rise of civilization and our island...(with Beethoven, romance, trekkies and Samoans)

Note: This should take you about half the hiatus to read and the other half to digest, please rip me for all my amateur history sleuthing is worth, I found it very enlightening to put it all together and it is still far from finished (ethiopians, stonemasons and the portuguese yet to come). Really it is in support of alot of other theories out there. You'll find there is reference to many ideas that are prevalent on these boards, but mainly it is in regards to my exploration of Egypt as a LOST symbol of... well... read it for yourself.

PART ONE:

This was just going to be a mish mash of different theories but as I wrote it, it really became more about a mish mash of different periods in history. And why? Because Lost is trying to convey to us a sense of history that is truly transitory and in that continuing. A narrative thread which runs through the grand human story whereby different cultures have surpassed one another and influenced each other as history ‘progresses’. Originally what I wrote was quite long winded and tiresome so I’ve condensed my original writing into fragments, rather to give you a better (and quicker) understanding of how this ‘tapestry’ of the human story takes place and how it has been referred to on lost. I actually started writing this a few episodes ago, mainly to understand all the Egyptian stuff that was being shown on lost – because, though I got why Egypt was being signified as a civilization particular to ‘mystery’ and as a catalyst for all, I didn’t quite get why the writers would be in many ways so obvious and rudimentary – yet in looking back it occurs that this theme of the ‘ancient’ past and in particular Egypt has always been hinted at in the show and fits quite naturally in terms of Egypt as being a ‘symbol’ for world change and its spiritual and social symbolism being tantamount to an idea of the past and in that change.


A constant egyption/ancient theme is expressed in LOST. Locke and Jack open the 'hatch' to the sound of metenee
styled 'horror' similar to the opening of the tomb belonging to 'the mummy'.


The island has influenced the world through out human history. Or more exact various peoples have come to the island at various stages in ‘time’ and place and played out an operatic theatre or game which is a metaphor for the grand human condition. A story that has repeated itself again and again on a greater stage within the worlds changing climate of social evolution. Ultimately the question being ‘why are we’ ‘why do we matter’ “why should we continue to matter” in the scheme of the Universe.


Egypt. Perhaps the oldest civilization.



Spoiler: Egypt
Egypt. Ancient Egypt in many ways is perhaps the ‘first’ true civilization in the world. Running from 6000 years it outshines many other ancient civilizations by the mere fact of its age, its ‘grandness’, lasting mystique, spiritual complexity and defined social evolution.


The island is a grand allegory for the scope of human history and endeavour….


Elemental Cycles on our island.

Spoiler: In the beginning...
In the beginning of our narrative we find on our island the losties struggling to survive, overcoming essential problems such as water, food and themselves, always with the over hanging threat of the ‘others’.

Once they became more secure however they began to consolidate their position and arm themselves against outside threats. Forming plans and even assigning ‘treaties’ with their nefarious enemy. They explored more of the island and even came to dwell in other areas established by previous people. Essentially this is classic society building.



The losties explore various aspects of survival and society building.


Egypt like many other civilizations around the globe came to power by an agricultural based surplus of food brought about by access to water. The Cycles of which began early ritual based religion.



Spoiler: Egypt came about
Egypt came about over 6000 years ago on a then fertile land along the Nile. The Nile gave them food and water, trade and travel. Excess food/resources being tantamount to the development of civilization as you can then concentrate on other things such as religion, language and architecture. Like many other concentrated societies the hunter became the farmer and Egyptians came to worship the success of their agriculture as they developed assigned stories to ‘why’ this should be so. Ancient survival methods required sacrifice which were transferred as Ritual, inspiring conceptual religion as man sought to ‘control’ his world and premeditate events. Eventually as they prospered this worship spread to every part of their social progress in particular as class systems developed and elemental worship evolved into personification, the rise of the temple hierarchy, the head being the pharaoh.



As they developed from this earthen agricultural base, they ascended in placement of ‘spirituality’ from their earthen origin, revering the sun and stars above. They saw the cycles in life all along the Nile and its seasonal ‘tides’ seemingly orchestrated by the heavenly gestalt above. They became obsessed with immortality, the flow of life and death and ‘rebirth’. They thought they could influence the ‘here’ now so that they could truly live for ever in the ‘after’.


EGYPT. Land of many faces, of many masks.



Spoiler: Egyptians built to last.
Egyptians built to last. They built the great pyramids, statues and temples many of which survive today even as other civilizations crumbled. But one thing is important to understand. Egypt in its entirety was never just Egyptians, particularly in its later periods. Once they had established themselves, for all their bluster about eternal life, they too fell to the ravishes of time and ‘change’ and the ‘face’ of Egypt often held the visage of ‘foreigners’ who, along with the substantial haunting of a very long past, defined Egypt as truly the land of many faces – a multicultural odyssey of various would be world rulers.


EGYPT influences early Hebrew development.


The writings on the wall. The infamous invisible text. Early hebrew stories about the coming of the mesiah and the liberation of the Jewish people concerning their enslavement to the Babylonians. Eko talks to Locke about the destruction of the first temple in Jarusalem and upon it's reconstruction the finding of the first testament.

Spoiler: Which is where our story starts.
Which is where our story starts. First of all after watching the finale it occurred to me that old testament references were just as prevalent as the Egyptian architecture and symbolism. As a historical reference to the importance of Egypt on the world stage, the ancient Hebrews developing in the shadow of Egypt often reference Egypt in almost every book of the old testament. It is without doubt that the two cultures interacted; the spiritual development of the old testament people has many similar stories that appear in Egyptian and mesopotamian mythology. Hebrews themselves were a people still finding their identity and often at odds and subservient too the two major civilizations of the time – Mesopotamia (Persia) and Egypt.


Egypt influences Mesopotamia and vice versa, both are found in the bible as comparable civilizations to Judah’s emerging one…


-"In ancient Mesopotamia... older then Jesus Christ"


Spoiler: Egypt foreshadowed ancient mesopotamia
Egypt foreshadowed ancient Mesopotamia in grandeur even though the later was older in civilized urban antiquity. Mesopotamia however grew as a power and culture in its own right, to rival Egypt and its ‘great’ works with its own. A people stepped heavy in mysticism, as Babylonians, they were considered sinful idol worshippers in the old testament who are constantly being taught a lesson by God (perhaps due to the rise and fall of various empires and rulers attributed to the area). This was mainly because it was a meeting place between many cultures, beliefs and people and this presented a dialectic opposition to the developing One God of the consolidating Hebrews, themselves subjugated by the Babylonians. Nimrod or Nebakaneza (who built the tower of Babel) is a Mesopotamian ruler found in the bible who interacted with the ancient Jewish cast either as slaves or as servants. They are eventually released by the benevolent Persian conquer, Cyrus the Great. Most of this interaction concerns the development of the Hebrew people, their kingdom and the construction of the first and later temples of Israel, specifically in the time of the mystic king Solomon and is a struggle that occurs once the Hebrews have left Egyptian slavery to find the Promised Land. Like Egypt Mesopotamia has been an area of considerable conflict and as a result has been ruled by various world orders.


Cyrus the great liberates the hebrews and aids in the rebuilding of Jarusalem. Considered the first cosmopolitan emperor, respecting the rites and cultures of those he conquered.


Egypt. The old Kingdom and the new.

Spoiler: Eyptian history is split
Egyptian history is split into two main periods of ‘stable’ rule. The old kingdom and the new kingdom. Between these periods are dark times of instability and social change. The old kingdom began with the rise of the pharaohs, namely the Khofu dynasty, and the building of the first pyramids. The new kingdom is defined for its stable dynasties and prosperity. Characters of note in this period are Ramasis the great (considered the last of the true pharaohs), Akanaton (who briefly instigated the first monotheistic worship with the sun God Aten) and his child son Tutankhamen (who’s prestige in later times far out weighed his brief time as pharaoh).


The Egyption God manifest, Pharaoh Akhenaten with his family, Nefateri and tutankhaton (renamed Tutankhamon). They give worship to the monotheistic sun God Aten (above). Akenaten has been claimed to be the first 'individual', scientist and romantic though he was definately revolutionary. His image of 'god manifest' will be carried on in future 'messianistic figures', such as Cyrus the great, Alexander, Ceasor, Jesus and Buddha Dharma.

The later periods are periods of decline where several conquering foreign powers rule Egypt at one time or another and is where our stories ‘continue’.


The late period of Egypt. A place of interchanging foreign rulers.

Spoiler: Late period
Late period – in which black Egyptians from the lower kingdom or Nubians rule Egypt after defeating Assyrian conquerors who centuries later retake Egypt briefly before various Persian dynasties rule. After this period is the Ptolemaic Greek rule.


Egypt and Mesopotamia influenced Greece who in turn came to influence the world.

Spoiler: Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece rose on the scene relatively later in comparison to Egypt and Persia/Babylon who definitely influenced its development. In 500 Ad onwards Greece was a thriving hub of ideas, art, spirituality and philosophy. As they arose in power, more or less squabbling with themselves, it was subsequent invasions by Persia which really consolidated the ‘Greeks’ as a people. Having a common enemy, an ‘other’, helps.


Alexander the Great. The great unifier brings Greek to the ancient world.



Spoiler: Alexander the great
Alexander the great however is perhaps the single greatest ‘unifier’ of not just Greece but the entire ancient world. By conquering the Persians, Iranians, indians and the Egyptians he mastered the ancient world and, whilst importing the wealth of that world, exported the one commodity that Greece held above all. Its culture. Specifically its language.

The world had a new ‘class’ in which to distinguish itself. Greek.

The Persians and Egyptians all now spoke Greek at some level. Traders bartered in Greek. Persian rulers often wrote and spoke Greek in their courts. Egyptians were ruled by a Greek higher class of Pharaoh usurpers, the pale skinned Ptolemaic dynasty. Incidentally ending with Cleopatra, herself a Greek who attempted reforms by declaring herself Egyptian first and foremost as Rome invaded in the first century BC.


The Library of Alexandria in Egypt. A centre of world learning, in which antiquity is recorded.


The light house in Alexandria - one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Alexandrea became a world capital during the pan Greco period of the mediteranian even well after the rise of Rome.

Spoiler: Thanks to Alexander
Thanks to Alexander, Egypt was also a new centre of world learning. Alexandria and its library were famed throughout the ancient world as a centre of collaborated knowledge. Egypt was once again on the world pedestal albeit under foreign rule.

The Library of Alexander or institutes approximating this are apparently destroyed by fire or ransacked three times in history. First by the Romans who establish their own order of ‘glorified’ ascendance, then by Roman Christian reformists seeking to destroy pagan temples (in particular Mithraic temples apparently resident in Alexandria) and lastly by Islamic invaders as an inclination of pseudo fundamentalist rulers. Each occurs almost as a whim, an accident or an act of propaganda and it would seem that in each case scholarly protective elements are at work restoring the depleted knowledge in some form, re appropriating the conquering power in order to safe guard the remaining treasures .


The colossus of Rhodes, a 7th wonder of the ancient world. Rhodes became a sister port to Alexandria, and the two cities dominated trade in the region. The colossus was the God Helios, a sun god who is substituted sometimes with the God Apollo.


Egyptians traded with the Phoenicians who sired ancient Carthage. Rome and Carthage battle for the Mediterranean. Rome wins and inherits the future empire, having evolved significantly from that struggle.

- various sides battling, out manuevering one another. Each commiting atrocities on one another, eventually leading to the others defeat.

Spoiler: Centuries before
Centuries before the Ptolemy dynasty ended the Mediterranean was being fought over by two great city states. The Romans and the Phoenician descended Cathagians (who the Romans called Punic’s). Ancient Carthage was based in what is now Tunis in Tunisia (and we all know what lies there). A marvellous civilization by all accounts, its city boasting terraced apartments, huge walls, and advanced plumbing. It lay at the mouth of a great river much like Egypt was based along the Nile, which added to its prosperous fertility. Carthage had superior warships which the Romans captured, learnt how to use, then stemmed and reversed the tide of Punic power in the Mediterranean. The Spanish Punic Hannibal was one of the greatest military genius’s of all time (invading Rome from Spain over the Alps and transporting elephants of all things), he defeated the Romans in battle countless times using superior tactics that changed the face of warfare.

The Romans were good at learning from others, and eventually out evolved Hannibal and Carthage destroying Carthage completely in the third Punic War. It is an important historical moment. Two civilizations, two ‘sides’ competing, to the victor the spoils of the known world. To the loser their glorious past destroyed, becoming a forgotten people until archaeologists unearth them millennia later. On our island we have a similar conflict – Dharma lost, we’re still finding their ruined carcasses around the island. But in away Carthage lived on, in the Romans (who evolved dramatically due to them) and in the ruins of their own civilization and the people who would come after. We are haunted by the past.

The Romans were good at incorporating other ‘people’ into their empire, their culture. In many ways being ‘Roman’ wasn’t about race or nationality it was about a ‘Roman’ mindset. The Romans conquered people and made them ‘Romans’. Their main act of conquest was their culture. They brought Latin, the ‘lingua franka’, to all parts of the known world (as Greek had been before). With the death of Cleopatra after much fraternizing with Roman conquerors (Julius Caesar who Cleopatra tried to baptize as an Egyptian God and Mark Anthony). The Romans conquered Egypt and the ancient Egyptian world was no more. But not it’s history.


In Egypt you now have Egyptian, Latin, Persian, Assyrian, Nubian, Greek, Hebrew cultures all meshed together not disregarding countless other tongues that were recorded in the Greek themed library of Alexandria.

The Rise of Christianity in the Roman empire. Egypt eventually becomes a Christian state under Rome. Early Gnostics and Greco Coptic scribes grow in strength in Egypt. As the religion establishes itself however, mysticism is criticized along with pagan worship and Old temples are torn down or built over. Following invasions from the Northern parts of Europe the Holly Roman Empire splits in two in order to safe guard its foundations.

Spoiler: Meanwhile christianity arose...
Meanwhile Christianity arose in Roman occupied Jerusalem, Jesus was crucified and his followers went on to preach and be persecuted all over the Roman world. Interesting enough an early form of Christianity known as the Gnostics gained influence in Egypt and their tenants are recorded in Greek Egyptian Coptic texts in Alexandria (which then housed huge Jewish and Greek communities), much later the country is defended by Christian Byzantine armies against Arab invaders. Christian martyrdom and preaching was so infuriatingly different and obstinate that eventually the Romans (who’s civilization was declining due to centuries of bad government and lack of reforms) gave up and converted. The ‘holy’ Roman Empire was born – just in times for its collapse a few centuries after. As all the pagan temples were being closed, tribes from the west (whom the Romans referred to as barbarians) kept appearing at the gates of a troubled Rome to ask for their overdue pay as loyal foreign legions (who considered themselves part of the Roman Empire). A bit wary of their coffers and their security Rome vacated to Byzantine, Constantinople and set up ‘two’ capitals where two heads of the church held office. The Byzantine emperor and the holy Western emperor in Rome.


The fall of the Roman Empire. The Romans leave their legacy as ruinous antiquity to invading barbarians from the west, some technical innovations survive and prosper in Europe merging with native traditions. The Western Roman Church struggles but eventually converts the pagans and though isolated, holds a candle to civilization. Knowledge inherited from the ancient world falls to the East.

- (edited) Following the fall of the Roman empire the established orders of learning were hampered but continued in some fasion, mostly due to the support of eclestic monastic orders seeking to continue and promote church traditions. At first they used an out dated translation of Ariststotle as a supporting text to biblical scripture and other works. Monks established monastries which acted as sanctuaries for scripture and knowledge. To ensure they had some custom they brewed beer, whiskey and wine in order to garner some money from various pilgrims and travellers.

Spoiler: When Rome fell
When Rome fell to countless hoards of roving barbarians some looking for their pay check, Byzantine turned east and ‘puppet’ emperors appeared in the west continuing the tradition of the church as a symbol whilst plundering the ancient world in the process – of this it is the ‘Latin’ language that continues on, as the official language of the church, who eventually convert the Pagan tribes. Plagued with increasing disasters (plague being very prominent) Europe becomes insular and obsessed with salvation, the present is a terrible place one should get through as quickly as possible, and the past is looked at with suspicion as various superstitious tribal factions squabbled over the rest of Europe. The dark ages of European history had begun.


The rise of Islam in the east puts an end to the Persian Empire. Islam spreads through out the world, conquering Egypt and West Africa, after swift and brutal conquests, settles into established civilization; spreading and developing this knowledge with other parts of the Islamic world. Crossing the Gibraltar strait in the 8th century Islam finds a paradise in Iberia, Spain.

Spoiler: Meanwhile in the 7th century AD
Meanwhile in the 7th century AD the Arabs rose in the east and conquered the remnants of the Persian empire in the name of Islam. From the Persians they continued traditions of social civility and government and inherited urban ways of living. They became adept at converting others by adapting their traditions with merging cultures (as other middle eastern empires had done before) and promising them ‘the world’. They conquered Egypt and hit the jack pot. Because in Egypt of coarse is Alexandria where the bulk of the ancient world has been recorded (though only the remnants of its famous library still remain). In particular the ancient Greek world is gifted to certain outward looking Arabs who continue the process by recording it into Arabic and contributing to its progress (of note Algebra and our own numerical symbolism). Regardless of inner disputes the Islamic empire conquers all the way to the tip of Northern Africa and crosses the Mediterranean in 8th century AD invading Vandal Iberia or what is now known as Spain.



- the middle east has a long history of religious and cultural conflict as various empires rose and fell.

The Moors bring trade and a wealth of recorded knowledge of developed antiquity to Europe. Crusades not with standing Islam influences the west, opening up burgeoning trade routes and creating an ‘outward’ looking optimism that would eventuate the Renaissance centuries later. Europe evolves from this interaction as Rome had done before.

Spoiler: The Berber Moors
The Berber Moors, using an advanced understanding of agriculture, founded a fabulously wealthy kingdom (Al Andulus), unequalled even in other parts of Islam converting many of the Iberian Spanish in the process. It is from the interaction with the more outwardly astute looking Moorish ‘culture’ of Spain that Europe finally brings itself out of the dark ages when, among countless other works, a Greek-Arab-Latin translation of Aristotle falls into the hands of the newly established Universities of Europe. This new wealth of knowledge sows the seed that would precipitate the Renaissance, a hysteria for ancient discourse follows, art discovers ‘perspective’ and Latin truly is the language of the ‘enlightened’. Thus we come full circle in our history books.
When Moorish Spain flounders in a spectacular civil war between two competing beliefs, Europe inspired by the opulent riches spewing forth from the disintegrating nation once again turns to the east and, by way of the Crusades, opens up rich trade roots across the Mediterranean and first hand interactions with the Byzantines (whom accosted from two sides are eventually destroyed centuries later) and the Islamic world. Islam, eventually consolidating various differences under Saladin, becomes irrevocably militant toward the invaders and eventually after repeated conflicts throw the infidel out of the holy land so they can concentrate on their own disputes once again. By then however Europe had a taste for travel, exploration and above all else trade.



Before Byzantine Alexandria was considered the main proprieter of established Christian orthodoxy and even after Byzantine fell, the Eastern orthodox Christian church is carried on by surviving Christian states particularly in the Baltic region and Russia (after the tsar Peter 1st declares himself its head).


The Age of exploration. The Mercantile system and the rise of imperial colonialism bring about changes in developed society and technology that will change the face of the entire globe.

Spoiler: Following the decline
Following the decline of European Islamic culture, Coastal ports of Spain, Portugal and Italy having grown fat on Crusader travel expenses and being innovators of burgeoning renaissance ideas become major players on the conquest of the known world and more importantly the opening of important trade routes for commodities the European elite had become accustomed too. In the 15th century inspired by the tales of Marko Polo, the Italian Christopher Columbus travels across the Atlantic to find a passage to the east. Instead he finds America and a great deal of death later colonial Latin America is founded for the Spanish and Portuguese as is North America for the French and English a comparatively easier century later. The wealth of resources gained from these often plundered off shore colonies eventually helps to fund economic and social upheavals in Europe that result in the industrial revolution centuries to come. First however the institution of slavery reaches unsurpassed levels of implementation and cruelty as native work forces decline in America and Black Africans are brought from across the Atlantic as a substitute work force.


Empires across the Atlantic. The mysterious Olmec influence Mayan civilization who are in turn ascended by the Aztecs. Climate and agricultural difficulties often instigates social change and open revolt. For all his progress man cannot change fundamental problems in world-social mechanics. The conquistadors put an end to native empire in the region but the wealth of the new world and other colonies, the opening of new burgeoning lands for optimistic pilgrims looking to escape a volatile social climate in Europe, deeply affects that very same climate.

Spoiler: Long before this however
Long Before all this however, in retrospect to the fertile economies of the Nile, Mesopotamia and Indus valley, the arable low lands of Mexico were ideal for the rise of civilization. In Mesoamerican history (central Mexico), over three thousand years past the mysterious Olmec’s appear creating architectural wonders, including huge stone heads and strange artefacts that are found through out the Mesoamerican region today. We know little of their culture accepting that they influenced others that came after. Centuries later after a period of decline, a fabulously grandiose city arises in the lingering shadow of Olmec art. From around 1st century AD Teotihuacan is a multi-cultural hub of several ‘areas’ in Mesoamerica. They practiced ritual blood letting and sacrifice on scales that are echoed in future civilizations, including the ‘ball game’ often associated with these cultures. Teotihuacan also boasts the avenue of the dead, and the second largest pyramid in Mesoamerica, the Pyramid of the sun. Modern day inhabitants of the region still give homage to Teocan mythology, incorporating it into their Christian rituals. Fascinatingly they believe in a snake like being that haunted an underground labyrinth beneath the city and sat in judgment of others.



Changing climates and agricultural aridity often turned to revolution, as aristocratic elite classes were turned upon and city states simply abandoned in favor of manageable villages. It is with out doubt however that these urban centers migrated as ‘refugees’ to other Mesoamerican cultures, as later Mayan and Zapotec civilizations all have similar rituals, beliefs, elite class structures and architectural likeness, a cultural inheritance that invading Aztecs appropriated displacing the regions history (very similar to other world invasions); this was the last civilization to rise in the Mesoamerican region before the Spaniards appear at the end of the 15th century.

There is a line of inquire that has been postulated that these civilizations were connected somehow to Egyptian culture, and though this may have been possible it is certainly unlikely due to transcontinental voyages. Regardless these cultures make a fascinating comparison to the rise of civilization in Africa and the middle-east, spirituality, class struggle and as an example of how one culture and people influences the rise of those who come after. The hybridism of Latin-America, where native inhabitant culture has been both colonized and appropriated has created a strange sense of cacophony juxtaposition, where cultures merge and catholic churches are often built on older institutions that are in turn built on even older civilizations (much the same in Europe and its past antiquity). This volatile yet impassioned multi-cultural and social discourse has continued on in the mindset of modern times today as people all over the globe struggle with issues of identity and empowerment. None the less, after America was colonized by various factions, it is the vast wealth of these previous civilizations and the land they possessed which has a direct bearing on the various political struggles between European nations across the sea, particularly in regards to agriculture.



- After an initial fever for gold and silver, Wealth of various materials and raw agricultural product were transported enmass across the atlantic in such forms as coffee, cotton, sugar and cocoa. Slave and Indentured labour run Industrial Plantations that would spread across the colonial world.

The Reformation and later the Emancipation brings about changes to the sovereign and tyrannical governments in Europe.


Spoiler: The reformation begins
The reformation begins in Europe and is tantamount in creating a burgeoning separatist class which wanted to remove itself from papal autonomy and lavish Catholic trappings. Following ghastly religious wars, this freedom often reflected in social reforms, where the divine privilege of king and aristocracy were questioned, the opulent lifestyles of the rich were ‘viewed’ as excessive and moral sensibilities began to play a part on acceptable social standards. Just as Slavery was an abominable sign of avarice in European class attitudes (where due to the urban industrialization of its rural populations its own lower class people lived in conditions only marginally better), the abolition of the slave trade (particularly in England) is one of the great achievements of moral activism in our history. A rising class of social moralists no longer saw the production of coffee, cocoa and sugar as worth the total debasing of fellow human beings and this theme spread as a symbol for all future liberation of human endeavour. This activism has changed the face of Euro-western platitudes and, as revolution occurred and independent nationalism developed, would eventually see democracy prosper, women get the vote and various ‘rights’ movements increase. As God had commanded mercy, Humanism had come into the age of reason.



- slavery, appropriation, uprising and displacement. We are haunted by our past.

A rise in a middle class of craftsmen and merchants begins to see landed gentry on equal parity with rich houses for the first time. Mercantile Europe progresses from opportunistic Machiavellian governments to opportunistic free market profiteers. Innovations in industry and technology soon see old orders swept away with new dynamic institutions given voice. England weathers the storm of a troubled Europe, whilst supplying it with the wealth of its ‘empire’ and trading partners across the seven seas.

Spoiler: As the noble land owners
As the noble land owners and even the mercantile system itself began to be replaced by an equally opportunistic free market of rich profiteers, class inequalities reached new lows as the industrial age saw a ‘working’ class of urban factory employee with even children put into factory labour. England, always rich in steel, became a powerhouse for the industrial world, producing goods, particularly textiles, for a troubled Europe and spear heading the steam powered modern age which migrated throughout the world, particularly across the Atlantic to the promising states of America. This sudden change in civil society created traumatic upheavals particularly in the frontier world where entire peoples were displaced and uprooted to make way for modern progression. At home in urban centres the affects were just as distressing as rural people were uprooted into urban living, and treated as if mere cogs of an ever turning machine.



Centuries before this, the social plight of Europe was such that man began to question its role in the scheme of Universe, searching for moral foundations in which to seek its path in an uncertain future. Philosophers such as John Locke, David Hume and Roseau begin a period known as the enlightenment that pre-empted the age of revolution and the industrial age.

Spoiler: I would like to
I would like to refer to several major contributions to the explosion of European development after the 16th century. One was the overwhelming success of its explorations and in that the development of it’s off shore colonies. As these off shore colonies produced excess resources this mercantile attitude in state affairs meant an increasing conglomeration of urban based industry over a previously agricultural rural existence allowing the development of a middle class that often complimented and sometimes rivalled its higher class nobility who had in many instances become excessively lavish and distant from social realities (causing many Europeans to immigrate across the Atlantic). The introduction of the potato from America was one commodity which changed the face of agricultural dependency. Because the potato could be farmed out of season and was a durable crop which resisted harsh climates and the ravishes of war, the potato generally increased the day to day prosperity of the peasantry. In all the countries whom adopted the potato as a national crop over wheat, a general rise of livelihood appeared within lower class circles generally increasing the middle class and institutional society by various increments and creating a comparable culture in Europe (particularly England) for others to aspire too.

Coffee: The first coffee house in England was named Angel and started by a Jewish entrepreneur named Jacob, in 1650. Coffee houses were a centre of social discourse, and in oxford were known as ‘penny Universities’ because the academic elite often gathered there to talk. Coffee houses were in full swing in Paris during the 18th century and is where many of the philosophers of the enlightenment found communal expression. The Café Procope is where Diderot and D’Alembert decided to create the Ency lopédie.



REVOLUTION! As the Industrial Revolution slowly gathered momentum, Europe suddenly exploded in a long awaited revolt of political and social reforms. The French revolution appeared on the heels of the American revolt against England and undoubtedly sowed the inspiration for revolution in the rest of Europe. Once again, as we have seen with Mesoamerican society, agriculture and climate were in part the instigating force in initiating the revolution with Marie Antoinette’s famous line “let them eat cake”.


'The terror' is unleashed on our island. Monster as metaphor for change and subsequently 'revolution'. Ending of coarse with the dreaded gillotine as is demonstrated by Jack about to 'operate' on a bloodied Boone. One episode was named "a tale of two cities' by charles Dickens, and is precisely about this change in society.

Spoiler: France however failed
France however failed to adapt to changing crop methods, whom due to monarchical tyranny, remained almost stagnant in it’s treatment of it’s peasant class. Bizarrely, in dissatisfaction to the catatonic seizure of ‘change’ in its monarchy as it’s people starved (and only years after French colonials had aided north America against their English ‘oppressors’), a group of dissenters appeared who were free to openly criticize and reflect upon the human condition, preaching to an ambiguous aristocracy and ever despairing populace. Rousseau, Sartre, Voltaire are all names belonging to this group which had its roots in a period of so called ‘enlightenment’ beginning in socially radical Europe from the 17th century onwards and had considerable success impart due to advances in the printing press invented centuries earlier. With the haphazard guidance of an educated middle class the starving lower classes soon revolted and the French revolution began (this is classic revolution structure). Things didn’t work out however and after violently removing any anti-republic aristocratic supporters in a wave of hysteria brought on by possible invasion, a new ‘committee’ of governance appeared that instigated appalling blood shed as the revolutionaries vied for control. This period was known as ‘the terror’. When the warring leaders of the ‘revolution’ were themselves executed; the period of the enlightenment came to an end in Europe but not its ideals nor its social foundations. Change was inevitable.

John Locke - "a meat and potatoes mand".

During the violent social instability of the revolutionary periods a new class of ‘police’ force appeared in Europe – this branch of often ‘brutal’ law enforcement included a segment of society which turned the normal social world into one of hushed whispers and paranoia, where even your neighbour might be an informant of the government. The secret police were charged with discovering and stamping out any ‘revolutionary’ elements, in almost every other revolution since, this idea of secret informants seems always to be associated with tyrannical oppression and terrorism on either side.


Revolution inspires change, but not all change is an act of violance. As the world is explored so to is mans explanation of things. Learned men begin to gather in free thinking groups and soon established orders freely discuss the nature of the physical world in terms that are more then simply conjecture but with proofs based on experiment and exploration. The age of science has begun.

Spoiler: A not so brief note on Freemasonry...
In many ways the rise of civilization, of human evolution itself, is really the development and aspiration of spirituality; the chief expression of this being Art. Art essentially seeks to tell people that life is meaningful, that there is something more then merely the physical world we exist at least as defining time, the spirit and the imagination. That something exists both inside us and has a connection to another metaphysical realm entirely.

The real ‘enlightenment’ of the ages is a simple homage to the role of the ‘craftsman’ or artist in civilization. Whether one is looking at the Taj Mahal, the Great pyramid or the statue of liberty one particular note is always over looked as opposed to the symbolic grandeur of what it stands for and who it was built for. That is who built it, or in many instances the ‘team work’ and the supported individual genius that went into its creation. The very existence of such structures automatically prove the ‘endeavour’ of their construction. This really was what the pyramids undeniably created, a de facto relationship between different craftsmen, different fields of knowledge, using various artistic means from hieroglyphic art, architectural drawings to the engraving that came after, each area helping to develop each others progress. Much like what goes on in a film set with modern day movies.

As an example of what sort of ‘fraternity’ this might resemble in our modern age, a close look at a particularly interesting order of people is essential to understanding the role of the craftsmen through out history, as society builders. Because no man stands alone, each genius is but a gestalt of human endeavour that rides on a wave of social development long in the making.

The stonemasons of early medieval Europe; was one such fraternal group. The church had become as important to European culture as pyramids were to the Egyptians. These large buildings that could house scores of people became places of sanctuary and were often at the heart of the community; accordingly these sacred buildings were built with the utmost reverence.


The idea of craftmanship, of individual genius, of people working together to build something is evident through out the show. In a later scene, whilst trying to get into the elusive hatch, John Locke discusses the genius of Micheal Angelo aboat to create the Statue of David and how he 'envisioned' it's creation long before he actually began sculpting. Archetecture, craftmenship, art is really about looking into the future to pull something tangible into the now; something which captures time, a moment manifested.

The stonemasons were a collection of craftsmen who travelled around Europe making churches and cathedrals to whom ever would pay for their services. Because the freemasons had no landed lord and were able to roam freely to apply their trade they were considered ‘free masons’. They built lodges around various trade roots so that they could house themselves during jobs. The religious nature of their craft often created a sort of spiritual pride that they felt made them a band apart from other stately professions. They created a mythology that was heavily influenced by symbolism found in the bible. Because many of their members were illiterate but gifted in architectural language, they developed a highly honed sense of oratory that relied on memory. Building a ‘story’ in their head, as if moving through a cathedral.

Because of the reformation and the anglicising of Britain, new churches were commissioned to represent the new religious regime. Particularly in Scotland the masons were able to freely apply their trade, using symbolism and craftsmanship they had developed from all over Europe.


Emblem books sought to establish a proverbial juxstaposition between various symbols and common held wisdom. They used words, often proverbs, in relation to various symbols (often borrowed from various areas) and pictorial connotations (much like comic books and advertisements today) that could only be 'translated' once the script had been read as the symbols often had multiple meanings. Later these symbolic references were used in 'personal devices' such as a coat of arms that told a personal history of the proprieter through its juxstaposed symbolism. Likewise, on LOST we have various symbols and emblems which are juxstaposed with scenes and narrative connotations, enhancing the mystery of the story and asking us to think about what we are witnessing.

The lodges in Scotland were some of the most recognized of the time, giving a sense of established hierarchy. Their popularity increased when gentry were allowed into the lodges as honorary members. Some of these gents were particularly taken by the fraternity’s sense of brother hood and mystic ritual which had borrowed symbols dating all the way back to Egyptian antiquity using biblical scripture and emblematic occultism. This educated group increased the popularity of the lodges and it became a regular venue for educated men to exchange ideas and knowledge as the masons had done so before and Just as masonry is a ‘hands on’ approach, this circle too was engendered to physical experiment over conjecture.


Modern day masonic gatherings? Hospital establishments often had their roots in religious institutes such as temples and later churches. The Hospitalers for instants, were a group of knights who vowed to protect pilgrims in Jarusulem creating a hospital on the site of John the babtist under authority of Muslim rulers. During the crusades they built several strongholds and fortresses through antiok and the mediteranian particularly in Rhodes and Malta after Jarusalem fell -as with the Templars many of these architectual oddities exist today. The restored order of St Johns was initially the hospitaller institute and many modern hospitals often still bare their religious origens - the last ruling state of the hospitalers was in Malta which was destroyed when Napolion invaded Egypt.

When the great fire of London occurred in 1666 an English gent and brief member of the masons, Sir Robert Moray was placed in charge of the new construction of London. Masonic architecture was used in the design of London’s various cathedrals and government buildings creating a similar fraternity of various guilds, craftsmen, merchants and gentry. The first ‘grand lodge’ of ‘free masons’ was held in 1717 centred on this new age of idealism. This fraternal network, already well in progress, had helped to establish a new society, otherwise known as the Royal Academy of Sciences which in turn inspired similar academies through out Europe. For the first time men of various fields of expertise could gather together and talk freely without fear of political or religious interference and with a sense of ‘fraternal’ kinship with the idea of humanism being strongly applied to this relationship. The ideals and principles of the Masonic fraternity and the science academies while being products of a ‘scientific revolution’, has in turn influenced a cadre of discovery, achievement and inquiry all over the globe, particularly in the development of new nations, like the U.S. People could now speak more freely on scientific matters that in the past may have caused persecution as Galileo himself was afflicted.



After 1821 reforms were made in the academic order to institutionalise collective learning rather then leaving it up to individual endeavours and interested amateurs, this in some way was a reaction to the political climate and the rise of industrial trades, where the old guilds were supplanted by various trade groups or tradesmen. Interestingly enough the reforms coincided with the translation of the Rosetta Stone; found in Egypt decades before by the French, and it was that fated French expedition which clearly defined the academic institute as a power in itself; helping to institutionalize and in that nationalize, as political factions bickered, the academic world for better or worse.




Under Napoleon the French invade EGYPT and the modern worlds understanding of the ancient is changed forever.

Spoiler: Napoleon Bonaparte appears
Napoleon Bonaparte appears on the scene and after a series of fabulous victories eventually proclaims himself emperor in complete respite to his revolutionary beginnings. He unleashes ‘the terror’ seemingly upon all of Europe completely changing the face of military conflict as entire populations are enlisted into the war effort. At one stage Bonaparte attempts to vie for the wealth of India and the tea trade with the British. Landlocked by English naval superiority he decides to bypass through Egypt and deploys a military expedition in its conquest, taking with him a number of Scientists from the French Academy of science (himself an honorary member). Thus French legions invade Egypt defeating the Ottomans and other Muslim forces including French Hospitaller’s at Malta. They are amazed at the share grandeur of the ruins they find in Egypt creating many artistic depictions of the area and various studies of the locale, discovering many artefacts one of which being the Rosetta stone that almost immediately falls into the hands of invading British forces.


The Rosetta stone begins to unravel the mystery of Egypt and is a corner stone for establishing modern day archaeology. Science and technology blossomed, creating a burgeoning movement on a global scale. The modern world had come of age. In Egypt no rock is left unturned, culminating in the discovery of Tutankhamen by the British in 1922. The mythical ‘curse’ of that event helps to re-establish Egyptian mystery in the minds of the world.


The idea of translation is constantly being applied to themes in LOST. From French, Korean, Egyption, latin we are asked to seek different perspectives in deciphering mystery.

Spoiler: Following a renewed interest
Following a renewed interest of historical category and scholarship, and romantic colonial ideas of appropriation these depictions later spur an interest in archaeological exploration, where, using the vast networks of the colonial world, various groups seek to discover the lost treasures of the ancients. A plethora of map makers, adventurers, treasure hunters and legitimate archaeologists descend upon Egypt and look through every nook and cranny in the pursuit of knowledge and riches. Prior to an accurate translation regarding the meaning of symbols from ancient Egypt; certain emblematic ‘mystical’ hypothesis within early historical interpretation are rife in supporting occult ideas and literature. The Rosetta stone however depicted both Egyptian and Greek writing of the same text, and this direct comparable ‘perspective’ allowed for its translation, thus the recorded mystery of Ancient Egypt was once again known to the modern world.


After this a range of different powers were in Egypt fighting various world wars. The ottoman rulers were defeated by the British, occupying Nazi Germans and the Italians were defeated by British and American forces and finally ending in the Islamic Arab Egypt we know today after several regime changes and conflicts many of which involving Israel, the west, displacement, social instability and modern times. This conflict has seen the rise of totalitarian and religious despots along side resource based governments and spoilt monarchs. The lands of Mesopotamia are once again a hot spot for world activity; religious conflict and social evolution, if they indeed ever stopped being so.



There is lots of other history I would like to discuss and I ended this rather abruptly to finally get to the point, but really the breadth and scale of the entire world is beyond the mere telling of this already to long post. I wanted to discuss the rise of society and spirituality in the east, particularly the relationship between China, India, Korea, Japan and Ancient Buddhist and Hindu ideas. I may yet do so. I wanted to even go further back to the dawn of mankind yee unto life on Earth. Indeed the very beginning of our cosmos et el. But rather I decided to look at the birth of society and civilization using Egypt as an axis, which really brings me at last to the point of this whole exorcise from the beginning.

WE ALL EVERYBODY.
EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE.


By using Ancient Egypt as a pivot for looking at the world, we see how various people and cultures have all influenced one another and one resounding point is that we are all a product of all that has come before. No man is an island, and no society can remain aloof from the influence of others, past or present. Our story is a continuing narrative, and even though one line of that narrative may end it continues on in other forms, in other ‘perspectives’. This is a theme I think LOST is truly discussing in relation to who we are ‘now’, by way of who have been before. By understanding our history we can clarify mystery and begin to define ourselves and our place in the world and in that where we are going. Everything before that is just “progress”. Another point I am making is that as ‘people’ as a race called ‘humanity’ we all roughly come from the same origin but from differing strands of connectivity. At any point in the story you can get of and say, this is me, but the story goes on, and we are all apart of that intricate tapestry that ascends the mere notion of the others, the thems, the us, the yous and the me’s. We all everybody.

...and yes there is a part two in which I try to corelate why all this matters and what truely is the 'mystery' surrounding LOST based on these historical signifiers. Anyway.... I don't know, we have alot of TiME on our hands before the last season so this seemed as a good a time as any to unload this.
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Old 06-09-09, 12:53 AM   #2
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Re: The rise of civilization and our island...(with Olmecs)

Wow! Jays! Truly a splendid post -- I got to the 7th century AD - I'll return for the rest later.
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Old 06-09-09, 01:58 AM   #3
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Re: The rise of civilization and our island...(with Olmecs)

I don't venture in here however the title of this thread caught my eye. Since it was new I decided to read it and I am very glad I did. Great post!

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Old 06-09-09, 12:39 PM   #4
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Re: The rise of civilization and our island...(with Olmecs)

Excellent post; it certainly requires a 2nd read-thru. Love the perspective it offers: take a few steps back, stop over-analyzing the details and look at the broad big picture.
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Old 06-17-09, 12:00 PM   #5
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Re: The rise of civilization and our island...(with Olmecs)

Hey, thanks for the kudos but theres still some more to come. PS I've summed up alot here at the expence of some accuracy and alot of detail. General synopsis of history not withstanding at any given moment there is always 'alot' going on. How can one center just on the Moors in Europe without extrapulating on the diverse changes that occured in Britain, where Celtic Christian churches and monastaries were helping to both keep and translate Roman Christian Antiquity for the rest of Europe, or indeed why discuss the Olmecs with out discussing the ancient chinese or the Indus valley? Ultimately I'm trying to express a certain perspective here and it will progress in various stages to what I hope is an ultimate 'prediction'. Anyway heres something else to consider....

The following is a history of the Free masons which I'm adding to the above and I think is important to the narrative template of our LOST saga as representative of mankinds progress.

Quote:
In many ways the rise of civilization, of human evolution itself, is really the development and aspiration of spirituality; the chief expression of this being Art. Art essentially seeks to tell people that life is meaningful, that there is something more then merely the physical world we exist at least as defining time, the spirit and the imagination. That something exists both inside us and has a connection to another metaphysical realm entirely.

The real ‘enlightenment’ of the ages is a simple homage to the role of the ‘craftsman’ or artist in civilization. Whether one is looking at the Taj Mahal, the Great pyramid or the statue of liberty one particular note is always over looked as opposed to the symbolic grandeur of what it stands for and who it was built for. That is who built it, or in many instances the ‘team work’ and the supported individual genius that went into its creation. The very existence of such structures automatically prove the ‘endeavour’ of their construction. This really was what the pyramids undeniably created, a de facto relationship between different craftsmen, different fields of knowledge, using various artistic means from hieroglyphic art, architectural drawings to the engraving that came after, each area helping to develop each others progress. Much like what goes on in a film set with modern day movies.

As an example of what sort of ‘fraternity’ this might resemble in our modern age, a close look at a particularly interesting order of people is essential to understanding the role of the craftsmen through out history, as society builders. Because no man stands alone, each genius is but a gestalt of human endeavour that rides on a wave of social development long in the making.

The stonemasons of early medieval Europe; was one such fraternal group. The church had become as important to European culture as pyramids were to the Egyptians. These large buildings that could house scores of people became places of sanctuary and were often at the heart of the community; accordingly these sacred buildings were built with the utmost reverence.


The idea of craftmanship, of individual genius, of people working together to build something is evident through out the show. In a later scene, whilst trying to get into the elusive hatch, John Locke discusses the genius of Micheal Angelo aboat to create the Statue of David and how he 'envisioned' it's creation long before he actually began sculpting. Archetecture, craftmenship, art is really about looking into the future to pull something tangible into the now; something which captures time, a moment manifested.

The stonemasons were a collection of craftsmen who travelled around Europe making churches and cathedrals to whom ever would pay for their services. Because the freemasons had no landed lord and were able to roam freely to apply their trade they were considered ‘free masons’. They built lodges around various trade roots so that they could house themselves during jobs. The religious nature of their craft often created a sort of spiritual pride that they felt made them a band apart from other stately professions. They created a mythology that was heavily influenced by symbolism found in the bible. Because many of their members were illiterate but gifted in architectural language, they developed a highly honed sense of oratory that relied on memory. Building a ‘story’ in their head, as if moving through a cathedral.

Because of the reformation and the anglicising of Britain, new churches were commissioned to represent the new religious regime. Particularly in Scotland the masons were able to freely apply their trade, using symbolism and craftsmanship they had developed from all over Europe.


Emblem books sought to establish a proverbial juxstaposition between various symbols and common held wisdom. They used words, often proverbs, in relation to various symbols (often borrowed from various areas) and pictorial connotations (much like comic books and advertisements today) that could only be 'translated' once the script had been read as the symbols often had multiple meanings. Later these symbolic references were used in 'personal devices' such as a coat of arms that told a personal history of the proprieter through its juxstaposed symbolism. Likewise, on LOST we have various symbols and emblems which are juxstaposed with scenes and narrative connotations, enhancing the mystery of the story and asking us to think about what we are witnessing.

The lodges in Scotland were some of the most recognized of the time, giving a sense of established hierarchy. Their popularity increased when gentry were allowed into the lodges as honorary members. Some of these gents were particularly taken by the fraternity’s sense of brother hood and mystic ritual which had borrowed symbols dating all the way back to Egyptian antiquity using biblical scripture and emblematic occultism. This educated group increased the popularity of the lodges and it became a regular venue for educated men to exchange ideas and knowledge as the masons had done so before and Just as masonry is a ‘hands on’ approach, this circle too was engendered to physical experiment over conjecture.


Modern day masonic gatherings? Hospital establishments often had their roots in religious institutes such as temples and later churches. The Hospitalers for instants, were a group of knights who vowed to protect pilgrims in Jarusulem creating a hospital on the site of John the babtist under authority of Muslim rulers. During the crusades they built several strongholds and fortresses through antiok and the mediteranian particularly in Rhodes and Malta after Jarusalem fell -as with the Templars many of these architectual oddities exist today. The restored order of St Johns was initially the hospitaller institute and many modern hospitals often still bare their religious origens - the last ruling state of the hospitalers was in Malta which was destroyed when Napolion invaded Egypt.

When the great fire of London occurred in 1666 an English gent and brief member of the masons, Sir Robert Moray was placed in charge of the new construction of London. Masonic architecture was used in the design of London’s various cathedrals and government buildings creating a similar fraternity of various guilds, craftsmen, merchants and gentry. The first ‘grand lodge’ of ‘free masons’ was held in 1717 centred on this new age of idealism. This fraternal network, already well in progress, had helped to establish a new society, otherwise known as the Royal Academy of Sciences which in turn inspired similar academies through out Europe. For the first time men of various fields of expertise could gather together and talk freely without fear of political or religious interference and with a sense of ‘fraternal’ kinship with the idea of humanism being strongly applied to this relationship. The ideals and principles of the Masonic fraternity and the science academies while being products of a ‘scientific revolution’, has in turn influenced a cadre of discovery, achievement and inquiry all over the globe, particularly in the development of new nations, like the U.S. People could now speak more freely on scientific matters that in the past may have caused persecution as Galileo himself was afflicted.



After 1821 reforms were made in the academic order to institutionalise collective learning rather then leaving it up to individual endeavours and interested amateurs, this in some way was a reaction to the political climate and the rise of industrial trades, where the old guilds were supplanted by various trade groups or tradesmen. Interestingly enough the reforms coincided with the translation of the Rosetta Stone; found in Egypt decades before by the French, and it was that fated French expedition which clearly defined the academic institute as a power in itself; helping to institutionalize and in that nationalize, as political factions bickered, the academic world for better or worse.
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Old 08-24-09, 09:52 AM   #6
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Re: + The rise of civilization and our island...(with freemasons)

A quick note on something I mentioned about universities being developed in opposition to Pagan beliefs. What a load of tripe. Initially this came about because of a documentary years ago I watched about the absorbtion of pagans into established monastic orders in Britain. However it should be made clear that this statement is essentially not true for the established university. After the fall of Rome Universities and schools remained in some fasion or another and in many respects the flame or memory of Rome never quite died. Monastic orders kept the written recordings and the use of Latin alive in Europe, in particular the monastaries of Britain but the idea of locations of group teachings had always been prevelant in Urban centers. The introduction of foreign learnings, particularly out of Moorish spain, was instrumental in establishing these places as centers of aquired knowledge. I have since edited this section and apologies for my frivalous histrionics.

The following is a history of the black kingdoms connected with Egyptian history and their own rize and part to play in world politics. I did this to contrast European development from an Egyptian angle and in that Mesoamerican development also. I asure you there is indeed eventually a point to this and you can skim and look at the pictures if you want, if anything both Mesoamerican society, ancient Egypt and ancient Nubia all constructed pyrimids.

Quote:
Upper Egypt.

Spoiler: Egypt was separated into two lands, upper Egypt and lower Egypt, just as the old kingdom and the new kingdom are two distinctions in time, the upper and lower directions of the Nile help to give Egypt a sense of spatial contrast in regards to various integral parts of its development and changing political hierarchy just as north and south effect America today;
Egypt was separated into two lands, upper Egypt and lower Egypt, just as the old kingdom and the new kingdom are two distinctions in time, the upper and lower directions of the Nile help to give Egypt a sense of spatial contrast in regards to various integral parts of its development and changing political hierarchy just as north and south effect America today; imagine that same struggle after thousands of years of history. Upper Egypt, or at least the borders pertaining that realm, is sometimes distinguished as the ‘black lands’ and although colour sometimes defines the inhabitants of these lands, it must be said that even with variances in culture; lower Egypt and upper Egypt were still of the same local identity and were both areas of Egypt in the way that we view Egyptian history as a whole in the present. This is impart because of a two way intercourse between the two locales which have the same ethnic root, and also have conquered and co-existed with one another for so long that it is virtually impossible to distinguish the two as separately ruling entities.



Orisis. The white crown and scepter, a common artifact in Egyptian and Nubian depictions.

Spoiler: For the most part Ancient Nubia, Kush and Ethiop all share a common relation to the idea of Nubians as a whole and all these kingdoms have often ruled in their own right at some point in their evolution.
For the most part Ancient Nubia, Kush and Ethiop all share a common relation to the idea of Nubians as a whole and all these kingdoms have often ruled in their own right at some point in their evolution. Nubian influence on Egypt is often related to the idea of ‘black’ Egyptians though as a whole the makeup of Egypt was fairly bicultural and often multicultural as various powers intermingled; I discuss race for the most part as being indifferent and rather I would like to discuss Egypt in terms of being ‘Africans’ and the development of an African identity through political struggle. Part of that however must use an understanding of the development of the upper Nile, or boarder kingdoms specifically in regards to an eventual African identity and movements of the recent century past, I do this in order to relate an idea of ‘god manifest’ (an important aspect in LOST) and what it means as a symbol of ideology and cult of personality.



Nubian pharaohs.

Nubia

Spoiler: Nubia (now located in Sudan and parts of Egypt) was a series of upper Nile kingdoms which developed conjointly with the rise of Egypt.
Nubia (now located in Sudan and parts of Egypt) was a series of upper Nile kingdoms which developed conjointly with the rise of Egypt. Egyptian ethnicity often shares its origin with Nubian and Sub-saharan migration. Culturally the two areas were similar in their pastoral and agricultural development of the Nile valley (5000 BC onwards), this twin relationship continued with the rise of civilization in both areas with Nubia forming its own distinctive solidarity around 2000BC under Egyptian occupation and the eventual solidarity under the Nubian kingdom of Kerma. Along with its own wealth of mines and other assets, trade with most of tropical Africa all came through Nubia for Egypt, and this created a binding mercantile relationship that strengthened cultural ties between the two. During the middle kingdom Egypt annexed Nubia, creating several outposts that were sometimes resented sometimes accepted by the Nubians. This however further strengthened the relationship of Nubia and Egypt; later the Nubians; following the formation of the kingdom of Kerma nearly occupied all of Egypt; withdrawing within a hair of destroying the kingdom entire. During the new Kingdom period of Egypt however; Egyptian relations intensified with their utter occupation of the Kerma by Thutmos the first.


Kush

Nubian pyrimids at Meroe.

Spoiler: After the fall of Nubian Kerma and the withdrawal of Egyptians from Nubia at the end of the New Kingdom period, the kingdom that rose in it’s shadow was Kush and it’s people referred to as the ‘kushites’.
After the fall of Nubian Kerma and the withdrawal of Egyptians from Nubia at the end of the New Kingdom period, the kingdom that rose in it’s shadow was Kush and it’s people referred to as the ‘kushites’. Kush continued a legacy of Egyptian cultural exchange, appropriating Egyptian and Nubian practices such as Pyrimid building and burial rituals; they used hieroglyphs but developed their own complex writing system using 23 signs. They ruled upper Egypt in the 8th century BC before they were forced out by invading Assyrians. Founding their capital city of Meroe further South, Kush would outlast its northern neighbour continuing on well into the next millennia and keeping a part of the Egyptian world alive for future prosperity. The area of Nubia however succumbed to feudalism of small independent states and eventually fell to the rising Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum.



Aksumite coinage.


Ethiop

Spoiler: Kush was eventually conquered by the mercantile kingdom of Aksum in the 4th century AD. Aksum having achieved prominence in the first century AD, continued the legacy of Nubia in the area and would later be known as Ethiop or Ethiopia as it is today.
Kush was eventually conquered by the mercantile kingdom of Aksum in the 4th century AD. Aksum having achieved prominence in the first century AD, continued the legacy of Nubia in the area and would later be known as Ethiop or Ethiopia as it is today. By this time Nubia had become distinctly Christian and Aksum, which had achieved trade domination in the area and had extended it’s empire through out the Arabian region, also converted to Christianity. Judaism and Christianity were strong influences on Aksum’s religious culture and it was one of the first ‘empires’ of the time to convert to Christianity, conjointly working with Byzantine Rome against the then Sassanid Persian empire. Aksum was a power among powers at this time and it is no wonder that many of the previous kingdoms of the region often become interlinked with the image of ‘ethiop’. When translations of Nubia are found in the bible and other ancient texts often Ethiop is applied to the ‘locale’ even though it is a later period of history. To say the least when Ethiop is mentioned in works as far a field as Shakespear and Plato; it rather stands for ‘black’ Africa on the whole showing the wealth and influence of this distinct mercantile empire at it’s height. More to the point, because of the cultural exchange between Egypt, Nubia and Judaic Christianity Ethiop has become enmeshed with the mythology of esoteric mysticism. Ethiop is supposedly the homeland of the queen of Sheba, the resting place of the ‘ark of the covenant’, at times has been attributed as the magical kingdom of ‘Prestor John’ and later became tantamount with the rise of African solidarity, nationalism, emancipation and the Rustafarian movement mainly due to the political struggle of one man, King Hale Salaise.



Symbol of the Egyptian coptic church in Alexandria.

Christian Abyssinia

Spoiler: The esoteric Christian origin of Ethiopian spirituality continued a tradition of ancient pan Nubian exchange in the region, fostered by a stable merchantile dominion of trade in the sub-Saharan region and it’s tributary sea ports reaching as far a field as India and China.
The esoteric Christian origin of Ethiopian spirituality continued a tradition of ancient pan Nubian exchange in the region, fostered by a stable merchantile dominion of trade in the sub-Saharan region and it’s tributary sea ports reaching as far a field as India and China. When Nubia converted to Christianity Aksum followed suit and the roots of Christian Abyssinia was born. Coupled with rich agricultural reserves (the region being far more fertile during this period), strong cultural exchange with the middle east, tropical Africa and the far east meant that Ethiop became literally a door way between many worlds and a distinctive and vibrant pan-national culture developed within the Ethiopian region at this time. This was further extended with its relationship with the fellow Christian Empire of Byzantine which some times collaborated together against Persian dominion in the region.


Christian orthodox Ethiopia


Aksum monastic church

Spoiler: Traditionally Christian origins in Ethiop refers to the ‘coptic church’ of Egypt.
Traditionally Christian origins in Ethiop refers to the ‘coptic church’ of Egypt. Due to it’s own unique cultural history however an official state church was promoted and based it’s teachings on Coptic esoteric traditions (initially emulating the Egyptian coptic church) but expressed cultural signifiers such as the ark of the covenant (allegedly brought to Ethiop by the Queen of Sheba to be guarded for all time). It is the only church in the world which surrounds its ritual with effigies of the ark as essential to a ‘churches’ ordained spiritual rite. Prior to this Aksum worshipped proto pagan gods led by Ashtar to whom the emperors were descended from. An emperor of Aksum Ezakara was converted to Christianity by his slave/teacher Frumentius who became the first Coptic bishop of Ethiopia in the mid fourth century.


Muslim/Christian Ethiopia

Spoiler: The empire of Aksum declined in the region with the rise of the Islamic world. Its naval power slowly deteriorating (essentially becoming pirate economies) and its neighbours succumbing to Islamic conversion.
The empire of Aksum declined in the region with the rise of the Islamic world. Its naval power slowly deteriorating (essentially becoming pirate economies) and its neighbours succumbing to Islamic conversion. The two religious states were not dynamically opposed to one another spiritually but rather the Muslim nations slowly infiltrated on Aksum trade routes forming their own networks and possibly with the fall of the Roman empire and subsequent Islamic conquest of Christian Egypt did Aksum increasingly become isolated in it’s allies. Aksum still traded on good terms with the muslim world however and was one of the few Saharan kingdoms to never be invaded by Islamic conquest. This was mostly due to the fact that Mohammad’s first followers were sheltered by Aksum in their initial struggle and Mohammedans always respected this past act of refuge. This seemingly ‘untouchable’ relationship with Islam in the first millennia created a sense of wonder that future Europeans from even the time of the Crusades would marvel at; that an ancient Christian nation could exist in the heart of Islam causing many to think of Ethiop as a magical place; evoking later myths such as the holy grail and the mythical kingdom of Prestor John.


Portuegues period.

Spoiler: After centuries of isolation from Christian Europe, channels of communications were Re-opened when envoys were sent through Antioch and post muslim Spain to places as far a field as England and the Catholic church in Rome.
After centuries of isolation from Christian Europe, channels of communications were Re-opened when envoys were sent through Antioch and post muslim Spain to places as far a field as England and the Catholic church in Rome. Requesting support against the rise of Ottoman incursions in surrounding parts of east Africa. This resulted in the establishment of Portuguese Jesuit missionaries in Ethiopia during the 17th century and nearly managed to convert Ethiopia to Catholicism under Emperor Susenyos. However the populace so rejected this edict that the emperor was forced to abdicate in favour of his son and the Coptic orthodox church reinstated. The war between Ethiopia and Egypt which Ethiopia won was one of the first proxy wars as the Ottomans and Portuegues took sides in the war, mirroring future world war conflicts and the ‘cold war’ of later times.


Ottoman incursions and divided states.


Hand carved out of rock the monolithic Church of St Gearge in Ethiopia.

Spoiler: The empire of Aksum declined and fell to feudal Princedoms with the emperor increasingly becoming a figurehead and Muslim conversion of most of it’s tributary states after the first millennium AD.
The empire of Aksum declined and fell to feudal Princedoms with the emperor increasingly becoming a figurehead and Muslim conversion of most of it’s tributary states after the first millennium AD. Christian Aksum withdrew to hill footholds in Eastern Ethiopia and strangely enough it was the invasion of pagan kingdoms to the South (some legends even supposing a one eyed Jewish matriarchal nemesis as the cause) that spurred this migration. Successive incursions by foreign powers continued to destabilize the state though the succession of rule remained strong within the state itself, so much so that the rulers of Abyssinian Ethiopia have long argued their lineage to the emperors of Aksum in the first century (and some would further relate this to succession of the rule of Kush and the Pharaonic dynasties…. But then again who wouldn’t). Though the Abyssinian ‘emperors’ reinstated themselves after a period of derision in the 19th century following Ottoman incursions and civil turmoil, it was at the end of the century after defeating would be colonists from Italy that a formal alliance was made with Britain and Ethiopia was once again established as a unified nation.


Italian rule and Haile Selassie.

Spoiler: Napoleon attempted to conquer Egypt for quick access to the shores of India but it was as much a symbol of French imperialism as a strategic conquest. The Italians under Mussolini desired as much, wanting revenge for past defeats, an easy conquest against a weaker un-colonised state and to extend their influence across Northern Africa as the Roman empire had done before (it also lay between established Italian colonies of Eritrea and Somalia).
Napoleon attempted to conquer Egypt for quick access to the shores of India but it was as much a symbol of French imperialism as a strategic conquest. The Italians under Mussolini desired as much, wanting revenge for past defeats, an easy conquest against a weaker un-colonised state and to extend their influence across Northern Africa as the Roman empire had done before (it also lay between established Italian colonies of Eritrea and Somalia). They conducted an atrocious war against Ethiopia using weapons considered abhorrent even by modern standards, against a relatively undeveloped state. This proved fatal to Ethiopia’s own modernizing under pro-modern rule. This also proved the turning point for it’s emperor Haile Selassie, who became a figure head for the less developed world as victims of more modernized aggressor states and placed Ethiopia on the international platform when during the league of nations summit of 1935 the exiled emperor pleaded his case and the plight of his country and the plight of Africans as a whole. This proved to be a decisive moment in history as it placed a spot light on brewing difficulties for powers managing overseas colonies and national movements within those very same colonies and the essential uselessness of the league itself, which demonstrated it’s utter ineffectiveness in reigning it its members and it’s members own self interested agendas.



Emperor Haile Sellassie the first.

"It is us today. It will be you tomorrow."

Spoiler: Haile Selassie’s speech however preceded the ‘moral’ obligation of what would become the ‘united’ nations and would be one of the principle speeches that inspired African solidarity in later years.
Haile Selassie’s speech however preceded the ‘moral’ obligation of what would become the ‘united’ nations and would be one of the principle speeches that inspired African solidarity in later years. Ironically Haile Selassie predictions that if the League chose to do nothing then “God's judgment will eventually visit the weak and the mighty alike”, pre-empted the second world war which would lead Britain to finally side on the Abyssinians behalf. With British forces Ethiopia ousted the Italians and Hale Saliase was reinstated as emperor of Ethiopia.



The emperor on the cover of time magazine 1935.

African nationalism and the Rustafarian movement.


Church of the holy lady Mary of Zion where the Arc of the covenant is supposedly held.

Spoiler: Following Haile Selassie speech at the league of nations many African people both in Africa or of African origin having been deported as slaves during the trans Atlantic slave trade; were ignited and in that collectively united by his profound words.
Following Haile Selassie speech at the league of nations many African people both in Africa or of African origin having been deported as slaves during the trans Atlantic slave trade; were ignited and in that collectively united by his profound words. Particularly in regards to the plight of Africa as a victim of continuous land grabs by land hungry European powers. Emancipation of African slaves in the America’s and other places and the forming of nation states around a multi-cultural populace due to that very same trade and pan colonization created a growing sense of dislocation as these new formed states, such as Haiti and Jamaica came into being. National boarders in Africa created by the ‘carving’ up of geographic locations by world war 2 victory powers, placed many often competing tribal groups in close proximity to each other creating conflicts as rural populations also confronted the urbanization of cities and modern infrastructures. The rising movement of national independence as countries sought to find their voice against long held colonist rule also created a sense of combined solidarity as African peoples came together to voice their freedom in modern times as much as sometimes violently conflict against those very same colonizers. The voice that rang out at the end of the second world war was Haile Selassie and his league of nations speech propelling him instantly into a figure head for the African solidarity and nationalist movements, a personification he fuelled with public talks, visits and further speeches both at home and abroad. In one public act Haile Selassie gave Africa a sense of identity with itself and it’s past, and transplanted the chaos of the last three centuries of African turmoil, dependence and dislocation into the modern age.

\
Cult of personality and God manifest.

Spoiler: Haile Selassie was not the only notable African figure to denote independence, stand for injustice and promote African solidarity in the face of continuous abuse from oppression. But he was essential as one of the first of primarily ‘African’ speakers to transcend boarders and reach out across the globe to all those who have been effected by dislocation of some sort and became key to the ‘pan-African’ movement on a whole.
Haile Selassie was not the only notable African figure to denote independence, stand for injustice and promote African solidarity in the face of continuous abuse from oppression. But he was essential as one of the first of primarily ‘African’ speakers to transcend boarders and reach out across the globe to all those who have been effected by dislocation of some sort and became key to the ‘pan-African’ movement on a whole. Jamaica in particularly became particularly mesmerized by Haile Selassie and the seemingly esoteric and mystical nature of the Ethiopian royalty in general. When they heard of Salassie’s coronation in 1930 a movement began which proclaimed him to be the messiah incarnate and thus God manifest. This Rastafari movement, stepped in old and new testament versus, saw him as the ‘redeemer’ of the African Diaspora which consisted of slave descended Africans in the America’s and other parts of the world, who would bring these dislocated Africans back to the ‘promised land’. Though Haile Selassie spoke primarily on behalf of his own victimized people, his beliefs, in being the ordained head of the orthodox church of Ethiopia and his words of ‘freedom’ struck a cord with disaffected Jamaicans and West Indies Africans who were looking for a symbol of their own dislocation from their African roots and belonging to nations still young in their collective consciousness. Though Haile Selassie never formally proclaimed himself as the ‘messiah’ he never disputed the Rustafari claims even bestowing ordained gifts upon Rustafari leaders during his visit to Jamaica in the 1960’s. The Rastafarians in turn view this trip as a spiritual holiday along with his coronation. The Rastafarian movement gained particular fame when Reggae singer Bob Marly was converted to the movement by his wife, his later recordings essentially show some of the beliefs inherent within the Rastafarian religion.


Bob.

Thus we come full circle. From the god manifest Pharaohs of Egypt, the subjugation of Egypt off and by the Nubian people, the development of black kingdoms in the Nubian region and the spiritual, cultural and economic interchange between Ancient Nubia and Egypt unto the rest of the world resulting in the importing of Christianity to Aksum which continued on in Ethiopian culture and resulted finally in the eventual emancipation of Ethiopia under Italian oppression, raising Ethiopia onto the world stage and thus setting the scene for Haile Sellassie to become both a figurehead for African unity/solidarity and god manifest by way of the Rastafari movement in Jamaica and giving religious esoteric meaning to much of the Rastafari mythology whereby the African diaspora is highlighted and popularized in Reggae music, particularly in the works of Bob Marley. Which, as in the words of Sawyer in the season one finale after Micheal himself an Afro-American overhears him singing ‘redemption songs’ in itself a reference to a ‘displaced’ people trying to find redemption, Sawyer says “man, who dunt like Bob Marley”. Suggesting that we are all looking for redemption in some way or another in an increasingly alienating world.

Rastafari flag with Lion of Zion.

Thus the significance of that one scene which Yung23 has suggested is a reference to esoteric Gnosticism (being an early form of Christianity heavily stepped in kabalistic mysticism) denoting a relationship of the Rastafari movement with both old and new testament teachings, emancipation philosophies, and a heavy founded esoteric lore based on a central belief in Haile Sallassie as the messiah and Ethiopian mythology that in turn results from Ethiopia’s long history of freedom, its historical past and its pan Nubian relationship.


I had reservations about this face as seen in the room23 episode. I know it has been talked about and perhaps confirmed. Please enlighten me. At first I thought it was the secret 'evil' doer in the show ie Jacob, then thought it might be Rasputin whcih it sill might be, though it looks slightly Che Guevera at times. But I honestly actually think it is in fact Haile Sallaise which is what led me to research him in the first place. The similarity is striking.

I think for now that is enough, though I wanted to talk about the various socialist experiments that came about in Africa, rising out of the African solidarity movement and cult of personality as revolutionary leaders become dictators, their initial successes and their sometimes disastrous failings (because if anything they reminded me of the Dharma initiative and in that the ‘others’). I wanted to discuss the African plight in terms of various social struggles that have mainly come about due to continued conflict within war torn countries strife with social revolutions that have escalated from one power struggle to another. I wanted to discuss blood diamonds and child soldiers and the role that religion has played in shaping modern Africa but for now simply relaying how the history of one locale connects in it’s past and further connects to places across entire seas is equally important, because it also reflects the future or at least how the future was once hoped to impart be.

Once again we all everybody. Jah be with you.
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Old 03-31-10, 02:27 AM   #7
jaystao
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Re: + The rise of civilization and our island...(with Rustafarians)

EMPIRE This next few posts are set into three different types of ‘empire’ and how unity defines people as a collective whole but at a cost of alienating others indeed that a pyschological ethos has been inherited down the ages as various groups learn to both co-operate and conflict with one another. The first deals primarily with the expansion of the military state over many peoples and contrasts this with differing aspects of unifying imperialism such as trade. The second will deal primarily with commercial empires and entities that have been built specifically for the purposes of trade. The last will look at religious movements with expansionist doctrines that have created and inspired unity but also have been used to justify conflict.

Man lives in a cruel and dangerous world. Man must overcome the fear of this world, of death and of each other in order to work together and achieve great things. In order to do this people must learn to trust one another.

There have been many ways of achieving unity in history. Domination, subjugation, colonization and transaction for sometimes mutual benefit of many, other times for the significantly disproportionate gain of one over others. Always however there is an inherent desire to benefit ones position in the world for the promise of something better, whether by unfair principles or for some greater good, progress is attained by dreaming of a bigger world then one inhabits.

A single person became a god, and alot of other less fortunate people became corpses...



Sargon the great – the first empire builder.
Spoiler: Sargon
Brutal bloody campaign of slaughter, subjugation and plunder across what will become the Mesopotamian region nevertheless began an idea of empire that would influence others to come creating the blue print for the future of empirical rule. Regardless of the tyrannical regime’s bloody nature his short lived dynasty showed people that they could unify to create a greater world. In contrast to this however was the network of free cities that sprang up in the region prior to Sargon’s conquest, these pseudo cities including Mesopotamia, had created a network of trade which allowed them to prosper significantly beyond an enclosed society. This idea of dictatorship and empire would contrast and sometimes compliment later with social networks based on trade and socialization for mutual benefit.




Hammurabi – the Law giver.
Spoiler: Hammurabi
1000 years later, inheriting an extended kingdom from his father, Hammurabi models an empire after Sargon’s but for more nobler sentiments. Believes that people should be governed by one rule, one law for all introducing the ‘code of laws’ that all people should be governed. An idea that seems to be predominant in this age, echoing with Assyrian, Eygptian and Babylonian mythology, ancient Hebrews (Moses and the ten commandments) and what would become Zoastrianism. Rising out of Great Mesopotamia his dynastic order creates a vast trading network of cities and cultures but also subjugates people under the yoke of the city state. Nevertheless great endeavours are undertaken to rival that of Egypt, though his dynasty ends it is carried on by Kassite conquerors who adopt Babylonian ways and culture.



An inscription of the Code of Hammurabi, the first attempt at Universal Law for all people which would influence the Persians, the assyrians, the hebrews and the greeks.

Mesopotamia: Mesopotamia and the central region of the middle east has always been a meeting place between many worlds.
Spoiler: Mesopotamia
Here trade was an essential part of the region and any empire or kingdom that arose within it required control and access of trade in order to survive. Much of it’s movement came from wondering tribes and people who roamed the wilderness and sometimes fought one another and sometimes traded. Much of this trade found it’s way to the cities where materials such as slaves, gold, spices and other sought after riches were bartered at great markets. This trading culture became a cornerstone of social traditions and rituals including religious freedom creating a hodgepodge of culture, religion and language.




Egypt: Egypt never obtained the size of great empires such as the Romans, Persians and Chinese dynasties but especially during the new kingdom, the Egyptian empire stretched over ancient Kush, Syria and Palestine.
Spoiler: Egypt
It’s prosperous civilization was built primarily on the absolute authority of it’s all powerful Pharaoh’s, its state religion in the form of many Gods and cults and it’s military strength to maintain the status qua in its subjects and to defend it’s boarders against invaders. Egypt’s technological advancement was impressive in the grandeur of it’s achievements but Egypt was also slow to modernise in the face of future dynamic changes. What initially allowed Egypt to prosper in the face of neighbouring regions also held back much of it’s ability to evolve. It was almost as if Egypt having shown its greatness culminating in the Pyramids became weighed down by the tremendous building blocks of tradition, ritual and political stagnation on which their society had been built though at the same time the durability of Egyptian culture and identity remained strong through out its three thousand year history precisely because of this ritualized obsession with tradition. The period to which the old kingdom fell and various future dynasties struggled with the impetus of climatic and geographic changes demonstrates a lack of dynamism.

ramisis II

Radical changes in rule, policy and outlook came with the New kingdom in varying success particularly with successful campaigns under Thutmosis to establish the Egyptian empire itself. It declined however in the revolutionary reign of Akanaton who literally withdrew from the realities of Egypt. Later Remises the Great renewed Egyptian prosperity as never before but his dynasty and the empire still fell only a century or so after his death. Ancient Egypt was still hounded by its long history and the Absolute rule of the pharaoh’s coupled with religious dictum domesticated it’s people some what and allowed foreign invasion to be more readily accepted as long as they wore the ‘mask’ of authority heralded by the Gods.

Quote:
Egyptian and Hittite Empires, around the time of the Battle of Kadesh.



Ramesses II ("the Great") sought to recover territories in the Levant that had been held by the 18th Dynasty. His campaigns of reconquest culminated in the Battle of Kadesh, where he led Egyptian armies against those of the Hittite king Muwatalli II and was caught in history's first recorded military ambush, but thanks to the arrival of the Ne'arin, Ramesses was able to rally his troops and turn the tide of battle against the Hittites. The outcome of the battle was undecided, both sides claiming victory at their home front, ultimately resulting in a peace treaty between the two nations.




Tablet of treaty between Hattusili III of Hatti and Ramesses II of Egypt, at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The first peace treaty ever recorded was between the Hittite empire and Ancient Egypt in the 13th century BC, possibly heralding an idea of mutual existence that would later influence civilized policy.


Quote:
The rules and ethics emanating from Zoroaster's teachings were strictly followed by the Achaemenids who introduced and adopted policies based on human rights, equality and banning of slavery. Zoroastrianism spread unimposed during the time of the Achaemenids and through contacts with the exiled Jewish people in Babylon freed by Cyrus, Zoroastrian concepts further propagated and influenced the Abrahamic religions. The Golden Age of Athens marked by Aristotle, Plato and Socrates also came about during the Achaemenid period while their contacts with Persia and the Near East abounded. The peace, tranquility, security and prosperity that were afforded to the people of the Near East and Southeastern Europe proved to be a rare historical occurrence, an unparalleled period where commerce prospered, and the standard of living for all people of the region improved. wiki


Cyrus the Great, messiah to the Jewish people, founder of the Persian Empire, defender of freedom in religion and in culture. Unifier of nations. Of any of the ‘great’ figures in history it is Cyrus who truly deserves the title.
Spoiler: Cyrus
Cyrus comes into power after inheriting the throne from his father. He extends his Persian kingdom to create the largest empire the world had ever seen and creates an ideology of extension, in which Persian influence come to dominate all areas of trade and contact through out all three continents and throughout the ages, as his legacy is reflected in the chivalric civility of Greece, Rome, Islam, Europe until to day. In the interim of his surprisingly short reign he also comes to symbolize freedom, ‘delivering’ people from the slavery of masters wherever he conquers; allowing people in some cases to return to their own countries and to some extent rule themselves, to practice their cultural and religious traditions without interference of the state albeit under the watchful shadow of a central Persian administration.

Quote:
Cyrus was distinguished equally as a statesman and as a soldier. By pursuing a policy of generosity instead of repression, and by favoring local religions, he was able to make his newly conquered subjects into enthusiastic supporters.[63] Due in part to the political infrastructure he created, the Achaemenid empire endured long after his death.

If anyone man could symbolize the idea of ‘unity’ and of co-operation under the seeming dichotomy of an all powerful dictatorship it would be Cyrus the Great, however though one man can change the world by extension of his own ‘ascendance’ this is often a form of moral luck. Cyrus died early in his reign and never had to deal with the consequences of his mercy. There have been just as many bad rulers as good if not more, but however briefly lived, the mark of greatness can inspire people to a ‘greater good’ in later times. Greece in particular seemed to hold the principles of Cyrus in high regard and even in retrospect of the Greeko Persian wars that proceeded his reign formed a lasting relationship with Persia that the Hellenistic period of Alexander would draw upon.
(wiki)


Quote:
Cyrus's legacy has been felt even as far away as Iceland and colonial America. Many of the forefathers of the United States of America sought inspiration from Cyrus the Great through works such as Cyropaedia. Thomas Jefferson, for example, had two personal copies of the book, "which was a mandatory read for statesmen alongside Machiavelli's The Prince."
(wiki)


The Greeks exemplified civilized exchange mostly in the rise of ordered city states that came to rule various regions around Greeks densely diverse terrain.
Spoiler: The greeks
For the most part of their history however even in the throes of Democratic development and philosophical cultivation in cities such as Athens, Greece was a fairly tribal society with cities constantly warring with one another, subjugating each and sometimes destroying each other as much as trading and co-operating. Greek identity however became more solidified when they had a universal enemy and this came in the form of outside invasion. Greeks often looked outward from their own society to find vulgar, uncivilized forms of what they perceived as their own higher culture (descended from the Gods themselves). This often translated as Xenophobia (a greek word meaning ‘fear of something foreign or ‘other’) though more often or not had a double face, where certain advantages of other great civilizations were looked upon with admiration that they were seen as cultures of similar origin, but downgrading other aspects of ‘strange’ people who had degenerative qualities and were the monstrous hoards that were constantly at the gates of civilized discourse. The adventures of Homer exemplify this xenophobia remarkably and his discovery of islands peopled by one eyed monsters, bird women and people turned into animals illustrates this idea of the dissemination of civilization the further you travel from home, meaning Greece. The very term Barbarian arises from Greek culture and is thought to refer to the term Barbar Greek citizens used to describe the hubbub of foreign tongues used by slaves, traders and mercenaries who it was feared would degrade Greek traditions.



Alexander.

Alexander unifies Greece and goes on to conquer all of the Persian empire.
Spoiler: Hellenistic culture
He seeks to Unify all the world under one banner and shows his willingness to create unity between peoples by marrying a Persian princess and offering Persian wives to his followers that this human union would symbolize a lasting peace and link between the two cultures. He exonerates Cyrus the Great who influenced his ideas and at times shows his Persian court as much respect as those of his Greek followers. After his demise it is this ‘partnership’ that lives on in the Hellenistic period as a pan Greek dynastic hegemony that Rules as far as Persia to Egypt and offers trade links between the west and the east in ancient times but it was also a period when an exchange of cultures between various regions was occurring that Persian architecture would rise in Macedonia and Greek poetry would be spoken by Persian kings. Unfortunately without the central leadership of a strong unifying leader the Empire almost immediately broke up into singular powers that inherited Alexander’s various realms but were still connected by cultural attachments and Greek Hellenistic influences.


The Hellenistic world - spanning three continants and birthing their eventual successor states in particular Rome.

Quote:
The conquests of Alexander had numerous consequences for the Greek city-states. It greatly widened the horizons of the Greeks and led to a steady emigration, particularly of the young and ambitious, to the new Greek empires in the east.[10] Many Greeks migrated to Alexandria, Antioch and the many other new Hellenistic cities founded in Alexander's wake, as far away as what are now Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdom survived until the end of the 1st century BC wiki
.


- the Olympic games continue to hold the tradition of Greece to 'unify' the world under a truce of competing games in hommage to the Gods of Olympia.

The idea of ‘living together’ was a strong signifier of Alexander’s personal ambition and though it was built on conquest and destruction it helped to pave the road to a greater understanding of human endeavour, co-operation and achievement.


Romulus and Remus, who founded Rome in 753 accordingly to legend.

The Romans: Rome has often been looked to as a symbol of civilized discourse and unity, it cannot be denied that they achieved greatness in the coarse of history and united many nations and people into a ‘Roman world’ who’s influence lasts until this day.
Spoiler: Rome
Like Persia Rome consumed surrounding territories and at the same time pillaged the treasures and innovations of those territories in the form of tribute and technology that they innovated and improved upon, they also learned and learned well the lessons taught by their enemies who they subjugated with urban ‘Romanized’ administrations.


The Roman senate.

Carthage and Greece were the first victims of Rome and with their downfall the vast riches that came with the annexing of these territories spear headed the Roman Empire to come. Rome defeated Carthage in the first Punic war by reverse engineering their war ships and beating them at their own game. It is a unique contrast of empirical enterprise. Carthage was a fairly commerce based civilization, that warred in order to trade and protect that trade without the use of heavy draconian aggression against their neighbours. They understood the nature of world economics and created a vastly wealthy civilization that helped build the comforts of their way of life to very sophisticated levels even managing to pay consolatory tribute to Rome in the midst of heavy Roman sanctions before the second and third Punic Wars. Likewise Greece had long been the centre of cultivated civilization, maths, art and philosophy; traits that they transfused with Persian and Egyptian culture and civilization. Rome had little interest in abstract philosophy but excelled in military tactics, engineering and political discourse all very physical attributes and once Greece was conquered it was the physical treasures of Greece that were taken as tribute. Rome a smaller player in many ways was something akin to a capitalist psychopath trying to take over wall street. With an aggressive expansionist mentality that was fuelled by an ever xenophobic paranoia that feared invasion from outside Rome sought conquest as a form of defence. Admittedly this xenophobia (itself cultivated from their ancestors the Greeks) was further enflamed by the successes of Hannibal (Rome’s ultimate nightmare) and the horrors that Rome herself meted out to their victims Carthage and Greece. Their fear was so much so that Roman ‘freedoms’ were supplanted by dictatorial supreme executive power in the form of Caesars many of whom were increasingly insane and extravagant (Nero and Caligula simply being a pick of a long litter). Rome truly feared that what had happened to Carthage could also happen to them and fought for the ‘Roman way of life’ which sought to dominate others before they dominated them in turn – this literally formed the Roman world, as after occupying one territory they would then have to defend their boarders against further foes who in turn would be occupied and ‘included’ into Rome, thus creating a cycle of conquest and inclusion.


The Roman empire.

The paranoia and Hubris of Rome turned it into a fascist military state that rather then supporting the freedom of thoughts and ideas necessary for cultural innovation and change in foreign territories, sought to control and ultimately curtail such activity to keep the status qua and protect against the continually expanding boarders and enemies that threatened Rome. The military unit became the ultimate economy and was indeed used at times to circulate wealth in foreign occupied countries that would return as tax or tribute in conquered infrastructures. Much needed reforms in politics and the economy were bogged down with the weight of tradition, aristocratic greed and fear of change. Unfortunately the military also became the means in which change necessitated in Roman leadership if not the system, with dissatisfied Roman legions ousting and supporting this or that Caesar just as military coos occur today, because many legions became comprized of foreign mercinaries it is no wonder that these forces came to conquer Rome at it's end.



The Great wall of China – Shi Wan Di.

Quote:
Qin Shi Huang is a pivotal figure in Chinese history. After unifying China, he and his chief advisor Li Si passed a series of major economic and political reforms.[3] He undertook gigantic projects, including the first version of the Great Wall of China, the now famous city-sized mausoleum guarded by a life-sized Terracotta Army, and a massive national road system, all at the expense of numerous lives. To ensure stability, Qin Shi Huang outlawed and burned many books.




Spoiler: China
The idea of creating a stable society through unity and ‘distinction’ is exemplified with some of China’s impressive two thousand year old imperial history and it’s ability to define itself within the confines of a set boundary. Qun shi Huang (Shi Wan Di), the Dragon emperor continued a centuries long quest of his Qin people to unify the seven warring kingdoms to create the single all encompassing entity we know as China today. He then created the ‘boundaries’ of this empire by building a wall on it’s fringes to keep invaders out, protect trade and in some sense keep people in defining the nature of Chinese identity as a nation.

Quote:
Though the unified reign of the Qin Emperor lasted only 12 years, he managed to subdue great parts of what constitutes the core of the Han Chinese homeland and to unite them under a tightly centralized Legalist government seated at Xianyang (close to modern Xi'an). The doctrine of legalism that guided the Qin emphasized strict adherence to a legal code and the absolute power of the emperor. This philosophy of Legalism, while effective for expanding the empire in a military fashion, proved unworkable for governing it in peace time. The Qin presided over the brutal silencing of political opposition, including the event known as the burning and burying of scholars. This would be the impetus behind the later Han Synthesis incorporating the more moderate schools of political governance.



Qin Shi Huang

Though Shi Wan Di’s reign only lasted a short period his achievement in regards to defining China as a body incorporating language, politics, philosophy as much as geography had lasting effects for future dynasties just as Hanurabi and Cyrus the Great effectively created the empirical blue print for the middle eastern region. Stability however came at a price and the absolute state of Emperor, law and military proved difficult to maintain in a country of many peoples and cultures. Without the impetus of war to justify the brutality of tyranny the natural state it seems was to choose more open degrees of co-operation and freedom with various up and down forms of moderation in empirical political power. It cannot be denied however that unity prospered China and great works of astounding grandeur resulted in the next 2000 years.



Genghis Khan - cute yet irrevokably brutal.

The Mongols. The Mongolian empire was the largest geographically continuous empire in world history and the second largest empire next to the British empire.
Spoiler: The mongols
Mongolia was first unified by Genghis Khan who went on to extend it’s power by conquering most of China and extending his forces west as far as Syria his successor's went on to further campaigns as far a field as Europe, Japan and Africa with varying success. The Mongols unified a vast territory of different lands and people and Genghis solidified his reign in a similar fashion to Cyrus by allowing people to practice their cultural and religious beliefs (even spearing some religious temples in his wars). At least those who were left and agreed to behave. Whatever benefits the Mongols gave in unifying people under one rule however their lasting legacy in terms of history was to invoke a terror as never before seen. The mercilessness and ruthlessness of the Mongolian war machine would haunt the world and all those who came in contact with the Mongols were forever scarred by their ravaging cruelty. None the less what can be said of positive light in the wake of this terror is that due to the stability of Mongolian connectivity new technologies, various commodities and ideologies were disseminated and exchanged across Eurasia. This allowed for an exploration between different parts of the world as had not hitherto been seen since ancient times if even then.

The west ultimately were spared the Mongol conquest but came close to utter defeat from the Mongolian war machine under Batu Khan and his chief general Sobotai, who campaigned into Europe getting as far as Poland and Hungary (ironically the descendants of the tartars) before having to return in the wake of the Great Khan Ogedai’s death in the east. Their brutal swath of destruction however left an endemic mark on Western psychosis and would haunt our perceptions of Barbarian hoards riding out of the dark to destroy civilization to this day. The face of the ‘other’ had been gifted by the Mongols as a demonic force bent on domination and destruction of all who stood before it and it is this lasting image of utter ruthlessness that would influence the ethos of the east and the ‘other’ in future Euro-Asiatic relations and fictions, a relationship which had long been developing under Christian/Muslim conflict; the crusades.



Marko Polo would later use the stability of the Mongolian empire to cross from Europe to China and bring back stories of his tales of the east to Europe that would in turn inspire future exploration for generations to come.

From the time of the Greeks barbarian invaders have long been associated with the east and beyond the boarders of their realms. The Romans always had boarders in which to defend their empire and fought long and bloody campaigns first against Hanible and Carthage and then against the Visigoths and the vandals in the north. The tartar warlord Tamer lain the terrible (his people ancient ancestors of the Mongols themselves) would exemplify this idea of ravaging barbarian hoards on the doorstep of civilized Rome and the lasting legacy of Rome’s fall would haunt Europe’s continued psychological state in defining itself against the ‘other’ particularly in the apocalyptic face of plague, famine and war.


The battle of Liegnitz, 1241. From a medieval manuscript of the Hedwig legend. - A multi-national force of templars, Poles and Moravians which the Mongols obliterated



KUBLAI KHAN

In direct contrast to this idea of the Mongol being the Barberous destroyers of civilization we have only to look at the remarkable rulership and inspiration to civilized discoarse that was Kublai Khan the grandson of Genghis who became great Khan in 1260 after ruling Northern China for a long period of prosperity. Kublai cultivated spiritual and philosophical advisers from all over, instituted a policy of apeasement and re-distribution to vanquished foes in particular the lower rural classes (creating greater social stability in vessal states) and was versed in confucious law having had a great deal of respect for chinese culture (where he grew up). Kublai inherited and improved the first truely global communications system which directed trade, messages and travel on a huge scale. His unification of a truely multi-cultural society is signified by his defeat of the Southern Sung dynasty which united all of China to form the Yuan dynasty (an I-ching reference meaning Unity) and roughly the boundaries that continue to this day. His fabled capital in Beijing which he called Xanado is legendary for it's tranquill near mystic beauty and from this lofty abode he ruled the largest empire on eath, and in china one of the great civilizations of history which he turned into perhaps the first truely 'modern' state.

THE AGE OF DISCOVERY: The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration was a period in history starting in the 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century, during which Europeans and their descendants intensively explored and mapped the world.

Spoiler: age of discovery
Quote:
Historians often refer to the 'Age of discovery' as the period of Portuguese and Spanish pioneer oceanic explorations, between the 15th and 16th centuries,[1][2] that established links with Africa, Americas and Asia in search for alternative trade routes to "the Indies", moved by the trade of gold, silver and spices. These explorations in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans were soon followed by France, England and the Netherlands, who explored the Portuguese and Spanish trade routes into the Pacific Ocean, reaching Australia in 1606 and New Zealand in 1642. European exploration spanned until accomplishing the global mapping of the world, resulting in a new world-view and distant civilizations acknowledging each other, reaching the most remote boundaries much later.[3]

The Age of Discovery marks the passage from the feudal Middle Ages of the 15th century to the Early Modern Period with the rise of European nation-states [4] in the 16th century. Along with the Renaissance and the rise of humanism, it was an important driver for the start of Modern era, ushering in a new age of scientific and intellectual inquiry.[5] European overseas expansion led to the rise of colonial empires, with the contact between the Old and New Worlds producing the Columbian Exchange[6], involving the transfer of plants, animals, foods, human populations (including slaves), communicable diseases, and culture between the Eastern and Western hemispheres, in one of the most significant global events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in history.

A series of Europeans took advantage of these to explore eastwards. These were almost all Italians as the trade between Europe and the Middle East was almost completely controlled by traders from the Maritime Republics. The close Italian links to the Levant created great curiosity and commercial interest in countries which lay further east. The first of these travelers was Giovanni de Plano Carpini who journeyed to Mongolia and back from 1241–1247.[8] The most famous traveler, however, was Marco Polo who wrote of journeys throughout Asia from 1271 to 1295 in which he described being a guest at the Yuan Dynasty court of Kublai Khan. His journey was written up as Travels and the work was read throughout Europe
.


The Portuguese empire was the first global empire in history. It began with a series of explorations out of Europe in order to establish direct trade routs to the Indies that had been closed to Europe since the fall of the Mongul empire. The explorations of the Italian merchants previously had created great interest in the east with tales of far away kingdoms and exotic riches as told by ‘the traveler’ by Marko Polo detailing his exploits to the Yuan dynasty of Kublai Khan.

The Iberian peninsula.

With the fall of the Muslim kingdom of Al Andalus and the fragmentation of it’s parts into Christian hands, the Iberian peninsular became a series of Catholic kingdoms that still had strong ties to it’s Islamic past and the trading world that represented. The visages of this trading network would help pave the roads that Portugal and Spain would use to bring about their world exploration and domination of the seas.



The Canary islands – one of the first territories to be ‘discovered’ and claimed by Portugal. The spanish kingdom of Castille’s attempts to usurp this claim stepped up Portugal’s naval activities.

Spoiler: Portuguese sailers began exploring
Quote:
Portuguese sailors began exploring the coast of Africa in 1419, leveraging the latest developments in navigation, cartography and maritime technology such as the caravel, in order that they might find a sea route to the source of the lucrative spice trade. In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and in 1498, Vasco da Gama reached India. In 1500, by an accidental landfall on the South American coast for some, by the crown's secret design for others, Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil. Over the following decades, Portuguese sailors continued to explore the coasts and islands of East Asia, establishing forts and factories as they went. By 1571, a string of outposts connected Lisbon to Nagasaki along the coasts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. This commercial network brought great wealth to Portugal.
Quote:
Henry the Navigator was an infante (prince) of the Kingdom of Portugal and an important figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire, being responsible for the beginning of the European worldwide explorations. Henry became aware of the profit possibilities in the Saharan trade routes that terminated there and became fascinated with Africa in general; he was most intrigued by the Christian legend of Prester John and the expansion of Portuguese trade.
The Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)
Quote:
Main article: Treaty of Tordesillas


The 1494 Tordesilhas Treaty meridian (purple) and the later Moluccas antimeridian (green), set at the Treaty of Zaragoza, 1529
After Columbus arrival at the "West Indies", a division of influence became necessary to avoid conflict between Spanish and Portuguese.[37] This was resolved in 1494, with the Treaty of Tordesillas that "divided" the world between the two powers.

With Brazil falling under Portuguese rule and other dominions such as East Temor, Mecau, Abbysnia, madagasca, Shri-lanka and countless other coastal forts gaining the Portuguese a string of ‘outposts’ allowing Portugal to become a global sea fearing power, creating a vast network of ports in which it’s navy could traverse.



The Catholic Monarchs (Isabella of Castille and King Ferdinand of Aragon), united the Iberian Paninsular after the last Islamic visage of power The Emirate of Grenada became a vassal state to the Christian Kingdom of Castille. Their marridge united the kingdoms of Castille and Aragon and further marriadges between their children notably with Alfonzo of Portugal and many other European royal houses began what would become a great Spanish dynasty that interspersed ties through out Europe. It is the Catholic Monarchs who oversea the exploration of Christaphor Columbus which discovers the America’s for Europe in a mistaken search for the spice trades of India.

Portugal became a sub-partner to Spain following the invasion of Philip 1st of Spain in 1580 though the two ‘empires’ were kept distinct in their administrations (with reference to the treaty of Tordesillas). With councils of Aragon, Castille, Portugal and ‘the indies’ each taking a bureaucratic role within designated territories.



The other great sea fearing trading empire was the Dutch who equally created out posts in the eastern and southern regions. This initial conflict helped enflame naval superiority and design and also created a culture of piracy as traders became pirates and plundered one another across the seven seas. It is this conflict that helped stall the two empires, greatly benifiting Britains later emergence as a dominant sea power in the region


The British Empire:

Using the British empire as an example the following exert discusses the age of Empire as a successive form of global colonisation, where the world became a series of outposts, colonies, territories, protectorates and domains to European nations often a world away, as Europe carved up the world into global empires. Here colonial enterprise, ruled by an often unsympathetic monarchical ruling class system and out dated mercantile philosophy was superseded by a more open free market profiteering, where far flung outposts and ports were used as economic gateways for goods and resources to be shipped and transported allowing local administrations to govern themselves. This intern proved to be itself impractical in handling social unrest in many territories with the British monarchy taking a more hands on approach, as with the case of the British Raja in India.



The AGE OF COLONIAL EMPIRE: Britain – Following on from the successful if not violently exploitive exploration and colonization of the America’s by Spain and Portugal, Britain supplanted Portugal and the Dutch for domination in the Eastern region and along with the French began it’s own colonization of the America’s with the founding of the 13 colonies.
Spoiler: Following the
Britain conflicted with France and the Netherlands in the Eastern sea’s and elsewhere, however following the French Revolution Britain’s naval superiority soon became the dominant sea power in the world creating a vast empire that consisted of territories they had won off other empirical trade powers and by treaty and force from native populations, particularly in India where the Mughal empire was in recline at the later part of the 18th century.

With the loss of the 13 colonies Britain leased control of much of it’s eastern territories to merchant companies that had jurisdiction and support of the military, however with a lack of administrative vision and general ill care of their native populations this proved to be disastrous. With advances in warfare and naval technology Britain was able to set up a monopoly of the seas, where forces could quickly be brought in to quell any civil unrest and colonists and workers equally could safely be transported to selected colonies such as the America’s, New Zealand and Australia (whom received much of Britain’s convicts). This created essentially a vast global administrative body which instigated the building of infrastructure and spreading of British culture, particularly in the use of English and other colonial languages such as French, German (who had pretensions of a similar empire at the turn of the century) and Spanish.

At the turn of the 19th century in what is referred to as the 2nd British empire large territories such as India were directly ruled by the monarchy and state giving the title “empress’ to Queen Victoria and creating a feeling of inclusion which helped to promote the idea of a ‘common wealth’ at the end of British rule. It could not be denied however that the tactics of the British as much as any preceding colonial power was one of self interest and although the monarchy proved a more empathetic body then the mercantile bodies that preceded it, the fact of the matter was that brute force often under pinned any diplomatic solution in native strife and caused a conflict not just with imperial forces (who were often impartial to native interests) and native populations but also with the very colonists themselves (many of whom superseding previous empires losses), echoing the disaster of the America’s in places such as South Africa, India and New Zealand. This created an ever escalating conflict where uprising after uprising had to be put down with more and more force that taxed the colonizing countries sorely. When problems on the European continent itself escalated into conflict the over seas territories would in turn be drawn from for military and monetary resources (further escalating rebellion) and were used as bartering, reparation and extortionist enterprises by various warring empires.

After the advent of Napoleonic wars, the mark of social change in Europe also mirrored the rise of nationalism in increasingly modernizing native territories that represented the decline of the colonial system. Britain and other European powers may have won the war against France but the monarchical rulers of Europe were shaken by the near overthrow of the aristocratic institutions. Britain’s isolation from the main troubles of Europe proved vital in their uncontested century as the dominant navel super power around the globe but as a counter measure Britains use of brutal force against native populations, particularly in the scramble for Africa reflected badly in the rising social philosophies of Humanism in Europe (particularly Britain) that had abolished slavery and started the ‘emancipation’ movements of the later 19th century. These campaigns were sympathetic to the plight of native populations which had seen terrible subjugation and unscrupulous exploitation from colonial empires. However with the advent of increasing technological advancement, Britain and other European powers, particularly Germany (a steadily growing economic powerhouse in Europe) saw an increasing conflict of Global domains (the scramble for Africa), and the lethargic and uselessness of the aristocratic class system in Europe overall (who had failed to instigate much needed reforms). This ushered forth a build up of forces and conflicting territory in Europe which culminated with the horrendous carnage of the first world war.


- Common wealth flag.


Flag for the common wealth games held every four years. Paying hommage to the 'family' of nations brought together under the British empire

Aftermath: After world war 1 it was clear that both Germany and America were rising industrial and economic powers in competition to Britain. By the end of world war 2 with the defeat of the totaltarian aggressors of Italia, Germany and Japan it was also clear that Britain was both exhausted from the war and incapable of defending their over seas territories from aggressors (as had been the case with Japan's ease of occupation in these regions). The rise of nationhood with the replacing of the redundant league of nations with the more global 'United nations' also increased the eventual hand over of colonies and domains to native administrations. A common wealth however was instituted to represent the connections that all of these nation states, some of whom choosing to remain under the British crown, have with their British history and celebrated annually with an olympic style series of games.

- two sides deeply distrustful of one another, with knives literally at each others throats poised to destroy each other. With the prospect of untold world wide destruction and the possible annihilation of the human race, coming together and even 'talking' is a milestone for diplomatic achievement.

The COLD WAR: With the rise of idealogical political social movements, that saw the worst of it's protagonists in the totalitarian regimes of the war, the two great powers that arose from the ashes were America (who had long isolated themselves from much of the worlds politics up untill then) and Russia who had claimed half of Europe in the wars aftermath. With the advent of Nucleur warfare immanent it was important that these two supposedly 'opposing' ideological super powers never come into direct conflict with one another, thus instead each side supported the smaller conflicts of other nations and attempted to supplant their own ideological philosophies on foreign territories thus creating a 'cold war' between the two sides. Communism which in many ways only partially ever reflected it's socialist/marxist origins and was always enforced by a military government, failed to appeal to it's people as a viable means of governance and even though Rusia had ruled with an Iron fist for nearly a century democracy and variant forms of capitalism gained supremacy in the country at the centuries end. Partially symbolized with the toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
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Old 04-21-10, 12:17 AM   #8
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Re: + The rise of civilization and our island...(with portuguese)

TRADE In Western China a number of mummies have been uncovered that share distinctive and genetic properties with Indo-european origens going back two thousand years. Tests have shown that these people originate from a wide range of areas such as India, the middle east and lower Europe. What it tells us is that even before the time of the silk road there were ancient pathways that allowed migration and contact between the far reaches of the east and western realms, that culture and people from around the world have hidden histories of contact that we are only yet beggining to understand with modern science.



The following is an exert on how trade has influenced the spread of empire in the world, and follows on briefly from the various powers mentioned above.

In many ways a successful established order or Empire often arose on the success of their trading networks, some simply due to their unique position as centres of trade routs others because of their subjugation of pre existing established orders in order to control trade within a greater region.


Ur, Nenevah, Babylon, Susa, Kish, Nipur, Uraq and Anshan were a collection of cities that formed a network of commerce, interaction and tribal warfare in the Babylonian, Sumerian, Assyrian and Elamite periods. The cradle of civilation can often be attributed with these city based societies with the first 'written' languages appearing here some five to six thousand years ago.

Sargon conquered the trading cities of his locality and the dynastic empire of Hanurabi built at the centre of a vast trade network, created the blue print for future dynasties and empires in the region exemplified with the Persians who were expert traders and explorers.


Raw materials such as gold, copper, precious stones such as lapis lazuli were used to fashion Jewlery in ancient Egypt and other places, often ceremonial in nature.

Egypt expanded their domains through Syria, Nubia and Palestine during the 2nd Kingdom under Thutmoses and created outposts which also brought trade, taxes, tribute and communications from afar financing many of the grand endeavour’s of the pharaoh’s as well as instigating diplomatic relations with neighbouring peoples. Later the Ptolemaic dynasty merges Hellenistic culture with Egyptian antiquity making Egypt a great gateway of trade and culture through Alexandria and Rhodes.


Carthage controlled lands at the height of it's power.

Carthage fought battles in order to procure and secure outposts through out the Mediterranean and subjugated the Iberian paninsular (as the Muslims would also do later in Al-Andalus), like Egypt in the second kingdom these outpost ports helped to evolve Carthage into an economic powerhouse.


Equally Greece began to expand themselves as a colonial nexus for outward immigration and cultural export, creating self ruling colonies such as Rome and Pompei and contributing outposts to a large trade net work that was used by prominent surrounding powers such as the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Persians, Carthage and later the Roman’s.


A phoenician coin -
The hebrews refer to them as the Canaanites, the Phoenicians were sea fearing people who traded through out the mediteranian. They founded the city of Carthage who used their naval prowess to controll trade throughout the region.

After Alexander a Unified Greece used the vast networks of the Persian empire to expand themselves as a trading culture creating the Hellenistic period and exporting their cultural civilization as much as importing foreign civilizations through much of the known world.


A Roman coaster bringing goods across the sea.
Roman commerce had influence as far as China, where contact was attempted by later emperors. The Roman economy was the back bone of it's emperical infrastructure and military might, further enhanced by it's naval superiority in the mediteranian.

The Romans rose foremost as an expansionist trade city then conquered Carthage and sacked ancient Greece to control trade in the Mediterranean, they created an economy that was part tax, tribute and trade between nation states and instituted oppressive administrations that promoted Roman rule but also created a vast network of communication, infrastructure and travel. Though the upper echelons of Rome were forbidden to engage in open merchantile selling (in contrast to house hold and noble luxuries) freedmen, foriegners and slaves were allowed and created the back bone in which the cogs of the Roman empire 'progressed' particularly in it's later periods. After the fall of Western Rome the Byzantine empire carried on this administrative culture based on ‘records’ which helped impart to transport the ancient world to future regimes and allow trade through east to west.


The route of the spice trade.


The Romans built roads, ports, bridges and outposts all across their empire in order for commerce, military and communications to easily traverse between cities.


A series of fabulously rich empires rose in North western Africa based primarily on the Gold trade. The Emperor Mansa Musa (king of kings) of the Malian empire (superseeding ancient Ghana) pilgrimage to Cairo and Mecca brought so much gold into the city that the value of gold was reduced by several times. Africa had long been the primary source of gold in Europe for countless centuries untill expeditions into America discovered gold and silver (some of which already fashioned from native civilizations), untill the transporting of slaves became profitable gold and ivory continued to be the richest export out of Africa.


Spices - occasionally equalling and surpassing gold in value.

Islam’s chief export after religion was trade, both culturally and materially. Islam flourished as an empire that based it’s prosperity on established trade and cultural interaction between regions, Al-Andalus helps to re-establish antiquity in Europe but also becomes the ‘doorway’ to a vast trading empire that would later be controlled by Christian rulers after the Recon Questa.

- the capturing of Constantinople and the formation of a briefly lived 'Latin' empire.

Equally the Crusaders used the conquering of the Holy land to create trade networks between Europe and the middle East, routs which even after the Holy land was Lost created a lust for trade and a wedge in the door of Eastern inclusion personified in the Holy land and briefly in the ‘latin empire’ after the sacking of Constantinople by Crusaders.


Based on Muslim and Persian practices of using ledgers or 'cheque' systems to distribute credit along the trade routs (as far afield as Bagdad to China under the Yuan dynasty of Kublai Khan), the Templars create the first European international banking system using a similar credit distribution with their fortified castles that followed the rout to Jerusalem.


Radhanite's were a vast social network run by jewish merchants in the dark age and middle ages of Europe that kept the ancient trade routes of the Roman's open to Western Europe. Radhanites may have evolved from social systems of ancient Rome where lower class non Roman's were the effective servants who operated their administrative and market professions. Instability in Eurasia and China effectively saw the end of the Radhanite age as Europe became more fragmented into nation states and hungry merchant cities arose such as genoa and Venice, who saw the Radhanites as competitors.

An inclusion that was further established by the Mongols after conquering most of the known world came to control a vast network of trade with the ‘silk road’ and extended them particularly under the reign of Kublei Khan, allowing the Western realms direct access to the mysteries of the East after a long transitional lapse during its dark ages.


The bank note - invented by the Song dynasty in 900AD, The Yuan dynasty later uses a paper based currency in a wide circulatory fashion.

The Venetian exploring family the ‘Polo’s’ explore the orient and the Mongol empire and bring back tales of the far off east that inspires the Venetians, the Spanish and Portuguese to expand their Mediterranean sea fearing ports into Africa creating the Age of Discovery as the junket’s of Europe quest for the fabled lands of the orient.

- Marco Polo in costume.

An early monarchical Machiavellian trading culture evolves in mideival Europe based on mercantile plundering as merchant kingdoms seek to plunder off shore nations of rich metals in particular Gold and silver, hoarding these as a form of prestige and might over other kingdoms.


The phoenicians founded their trading culture on a much prized purple dye grounded from sea shells.

Generally speaking a number of prime commodities have dominated the economic market through out history. In ancient times raw materials were either traded, plundered or mined from surrounding territories. Gold, copper, tin, stones, gems and other raw materials were used in a vast aray of architecture, mechanics and fashion and still continued to be valued. As cultures matured however luxury materials became tantamount competing with rare metals such as gold in value. Rare metals mined or plundered from subjugated lands was the prime mechantile policy of many European kingdoms until the trade lanes opened more lucrative options. The silk trade dominated the Persian and later muslim markets and was later superseded by the spice trade in Spanish and Portueguese periods. The textile trade eventually surpassed the spice trade which led Britain to surpass the Dutch in the East since treaty had given them monopoly rights to this commodity over spices. As plantations, mines and factories spread over occupied and subjugated territories slavery became a lucrative buisness creating an agricultural boom in the form of cotton, cocoa, coffee, sugar and other farmed goods. Raw fuels and materials such as iron, tin, rubber, coal and oil became predominant in the industrial revolution and fueled a competitive market in which empires and nations saught to controll lands rich in these resources as well as exploit their own.

The Spanish discover America and the colonies created there fuel Europe’s growing expansion and lead the Portuguese to dominate the eastern seas whilst allowing Spain dominion in the Western America’s. The Portuguese create outposts, factories and forts all around the globe as the other European nations follow suit.


Bankrupted by continued failure in over seas ventures Scotland was so stigmatized by their overseas dysfunction that they finally accepted a union with the English so that both countries would share in mutual trading agreements and were united in more then just monarchy, creating the United kingdom as we know it today.

Just as the Mongols used horses to out manoeuvre their opponents in the past, middle Eastern regimes such as the Ottomans and the Mughal’s domination over land fell victim to European naval superiority allowing various European countries to create global empires and economies in similar vein to how the Romans and the Punic’s establish themselves in the Mediterranean.

Britain already accustomed to colony in Ireland and having proven it’s naval capability against the Spanish became the dominant global power after the Dutch and the Portuguese exhausted their resources in fighting each other over the east.


Quote:
Thanks to British leadership in the Industrial Revolution, the country enjoyed unparalleled shipbuilding capacity and financial resources, which ensured that no rival could take advantage of the potential of these revolutionary changes to negate the British advantage in ship numbers. The Navy was thus able to preserve a numerical dominance based on the 'two power standard', which stipulated that it should remain larger than its two most powerful competitors combined. During the 19th century the Royal Navy enforced a ban on the slave trade, acted to suppress piracy, and continued to map the world. To this day, Admiralty charts are maintained by the Royal Navy. Royal Navy vessels on surveying missions carried out extensive scientific work. Charles Darwin travelled around the world on HMS Beagle, making scientific observations which led him to propose the idea of evolution.
These economies further fuel the Industrial revolution in Europe culminating in terrible wars and social economic changes in class and distribution but also advance Europes technological strength as they draw from a global distribution of wealth, people and knowledge.


For as long as trade and wealth has travelled by sea or by land bandits and pirates have operated around the world. Empires and kingdoms have also played their part in piracy eating away at rival states. The Romans, the Phoenicians, the tartars, the Mongols, the vikings all played their part in piracy and banditry. Later European powers attack each others verchant vessals particularly if war was about. Specialized pirate group however existed all about history, from the Thracian pirates of Lemnos in ancient times, the vikings or the Pirate lords of Ireland to more recent times.

Powerful commercial companies are established to create order in over sea ventures which are rife with native uprisings and piracy wars from opposing European empires. Establishments such as the East-Indian trading companies create vast wealth with brutal enforcement of their colonies and outposts that fuel ever growing hunger in Europe for foreign commodities and resources such as textiles and raw produce like Sugar and coffee.


The trans-atlantic slave trade becomes one of the most successful trading industries of European empires of the 18th and 19th centuries. When Britain successfully wins the right to sole transport slaves to the America's from the Spanish, creates a boom in the deportation of slaves and prisoners around the world. Britain would contribute a third of the entire trans-atlantic slave trade over all.

Indigenous populations are put to work as indentured labour and slaves are imported in mass from all over the world to work the plantations and factories of the empire, in particular Africans are deported to the America’s to work the mines, sugar refineries and cotton fields of new founded countries and off shore territories.


The East Indian trading company was given a virtual monopoly in India and the east after the battle of Plassey and the decline of the Mughal empire. Trading in tea, spices, cotton, dyes, silk and Opium the company grew in tramendous wealth and power. The free market expansion of such royal chartered companies created an industrial powerhouse of factories around the world. The company often came into conflict with native interests however such as the first Opium war in which China attempted to stop the illegal trade and resulted in the British obtaining dominion over Canton (Hong Kong).

Ultimately these trading companies proved too self interested too sustain order through out the empire and many are dissolved; all or partially of their jurisdiction in the colonies.

Britain and the monarchy take direct control of India and other territories for instance establishing their own administrations in the second British Empire (after such disastrous turns as the loss of the 13 colonies in America).

This corresponds with a period of enlightenment in Europe where moral questioning of the world takes place and abhorrent practices such as Slavery are abolished and the emancipation movements gain power and begin to spread through out the empirical world.


First train of East Indian Railway companies - just one of thousands of initiatives created by economist engineers, though some perhaps might call it 'paving the road to war'.

Just as past empires such as the Romans and Yuan paved roads and centralized administrations, infrastructures such as trains, buildings and ports were created to bolster the production of overseas colonies and outposts but also arose as a consequence to a new found social responsibility Britain and Europe felt at least in theory as world rulers.


The whaling industry became a huge enterprize in the 18th and 19th century turning rich whale oils into tallow and fuel for candles and lanterns. Some species of whale such as the 'right wale' were nearly brought to extinction by the trade.

The industrial age brought new found trading fuels however and Oil becomes a rich natural resource in countries all over the world such resources further fuel conflicts and as Empires clash and ‘nationhood’ emerges, terrible wars are fought on a global scale.


A string of old oil wells in California. Oil and petrolium had been used by ancient civilizations such as the Chinese and Roman's for thousands of years. In modern times however the industrial economy created a vast market first for Coal and then for crude oil supplies as machinary became more and more hungry for fossil fuels.

An initially furtive scramble for discovery and trading rights to these new riches takes place that would blossom into a vast economy where entire countries are controlled or threatened in order to procure access to it’s raw resources for Western dominated modernization.


The British empire was a drug dealer! The opium wars that resulted in the annexing of Hong kong and the defeat of Chinese forces by Britain was primarily over China's prohibition of the Opium trade which British merchants were heavily invovled.


Today the drug trade is one of the most profitable economies with huge drug empires and cartels existing around the world, turning the 'war' on drugs into a global conflict.

Economic empires are carved up from the control of such resources often falling into the hands of singular powerful corporate Moguls.


Desired commodities such as oil, cigarettes, alchohol and even weapons have created countless billionairs, barons, tycoons and mogul (short for Mhugal or Mongal) magnates around the world.


Bill Gates, the richest man in the world created a vast monopoly in the computer industry with his Microsoft computer program plat form.

1890's advertisement for cocacola. Advertising of the 20th century developed along side propaganda posters for ideological movements particularly in time of war. News papers and magazines often associated 'informative' stories along side their advertising spaces, giving the advertisement a degree of authenticity. Occasionally rival companies selling the same commercial product would go to 'war' over which product the 'consumer' should choose.



Quote:
Pepsi-Cola hits the spot
Twelve full ounces, that's a lot!
Twice as much for a nickel, too
Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you.
The cocacola and pepsi companies spent fortunes on advertising to promote their very similar products. .

In the aftermath of the second world war America has produced the most successful global industrialist economies the world has ever seen. With such notions of 'free speech' and 'the pursuit of happiness' being indemic to their constitional values as a democracy, the American way of life has influenced civilization around the globe with little need for physical colonization or invasion unless drawn into conflict by self interested motivations or protectionist mechanisms. Their success has in many ways been due a colonist infrastructure based on indoctrination and this has primarily been done by way of open commercialism and entertainment, presenting the American way of life as a viable 'product' in itself.



"More stars then there are in Heaven'. Hollywood has been one of the greatest assets in creating and importing the American market and Western civilization as a whole, around the world. The Hollywood mogul houses such as Warner, Disney, Paramount and MGM cultivated movie stars turning them into cults of personality similar to the diefic Ceasors, messiahs and pharoas of the ancient world and just as they promoted relgious ideas of rule and reward, stars are used to promote a way of life, from products ranging from cigarettes to kitchen ware. The American Dream became the ultimate weapon in a new form of 'cultural' imperialism and indoctrination that represented global commercialism centered around the Western world, where people were told 'what to think' by competitive commercial markets.



Stars 'people' themsevles become like a commodity.


Even the Flinstones were used to sell smokes. Winstone advertising company were their sponcers.
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Old 05-12-10, 02:41 AM   #9
jaystao
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Re: + The rise of civilization and our island...(with Hebrews)

EDIT: not finished still to add the Eastern Religions and dust up some places.

RELIGION:

Animism and Polytheism:

Early man worships local deities based on animism, totem based worship and ritual often associated with a locale or ‘place’ of homage.

Gods evolve from these tribal spiritual concepts to represent conceptual devices and observations such as day and night, the stars and love.

The development of God really is a complex battle of monotheism over polytheism particularly in a time known as the ‘axial age' of world history. Occurring about seven - four hundred BC the Axis represented a period in which people began to live in large urban cities from rural communities and also gave rise to great empires which fought and contested their territory in ever escalating violence. As a reaction to this and almost like an evolution if the human spirit, as more and more cultures interacted, the revelation of religion increasingly began to call out for unity, tolerance and empathy for one another. The great monotheistic and ‘unitary’ religions would appear at this time. Monotheistic Judaism and the Greek existentialism of the west. Hindiuism, Janinism and Buddhism in the India. And Confucianism and Taoism in China. In many ways these religions would become religious empires and dynasties converting world populations in their wake.

EGYPT:

Ra accompanies other gods in his travels in the Underworld. Egypt developed a complex system of polytheistic, pantheistic and some times even monothiestic worship. Ra was one of the chief Gods that came to rule over many during various times of Egypt's long history.

The Egyptians created a complex ritual based society that gave homage to a collection of local deities that often represented and coincided with a seasonal observation of the Nile and it’s agricultural cycles.


Breifly a type of monotheism was practiced with the ascent of Aton as chief of the Gods and perhaps a diety that was 'above' all. In the second kingdom the pharoah Akhenaton swept the existing religious order away, instating his personal God as the only God that others must worship through him. His desire for a unified, harmonic religious state under 'one' divine sympathetic presence was short lived however and after his death the old religous orders were reinstated and Archenaton deliberately lost to the sands.

Priests and religion become tantamount to the day to day activities of life and behaviour, ultimately represented by the Pharaohs as living embodiments of the Gods on earth. This idea of Deific Personification in a living man represented a social class system as much as a divine head of state, in which priests worked through the Pharaoh to keep the status of the aristocracy and theocracy intact for millennia. Though Egypt’s long history saw countless Gods come into fashion the religious state saw a strong continued Egyptian culture survive through many turbulent centuries, centred around the dynasties of the pharaohs and their temple based state.

JUDAISM:
Quote:
If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?[47]
Mark Twain.

In the beginning the Hebrew’s are a group of nomadic wondering people. Abraham the father of the 12 tribes and the Hebrew people enters Canaan and begins to worship amidst the local deities of the region. He encounters EL or Elohim, the head of a pantheon of local Gods. There is a strong relationship with the development of the Hebrew God with El of Canaan. The Canaanites (or Phoenicians) practice human sacrifice (a ritual their descendants ‘Carthage’ would also practice), in particular child sacrifice. Abraham unites his particular group under the banner of one God who cannot be named.

- Abraham about to sacrifice his son Isaac for God. The command by God to instead offer a symbolic sacrifice is a strong signifier of the development of God to something more then the polytheism of the times.

Abraham is given a choice by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac for God. Abraham is about to when God stops him and states that a ‘symbolic’ sacrifice is enough. There are hints here that circumcision was part of this symbolism, sacrificing the ‘flesh’ of the child as much as the killing of animals. This metaphysical sacrifice in the form of an animal would allow Abraham to take his show on the road allowing his people to worship with little controversy. It was also a clear distinction between the followers of Canaan’s gods and Abraham’s tribal god YEWAH who cannot be named. Abraham’s grandson Jacob leaves Cannaan during a great famine and his descendents come to prosper in ancient Egypt.


Jacob wrestling with 'God'. In Abraham's time God is a fairly domestic diety who appears almost as if a household guest. Abraham constantly talks to God and God is often seen walking amongst mortals as he does in the Garden of Eden. At one point Abraham's son even Jacob wrestles with a being refered to as 'God' before he is ordained as 'good' and chosen of God.

In Egypt Abraham’s people are enslaved by the Egyptians for four hundred years. Being far from their land of origin gives rise to the idea that Yewah is everywhere and not merely a god of the Hebrews but a God that exists above all others. With the coming plagues God places upon the Egyptians and the emancipation of the Hebrew’s by Moses the Hebrew God is most definitely a vengeful God who will allow no other. A practice of perseverance, deliverance, sympathy and servitude begins to emerge and after a disastrous turn of disobedience at Mt Sanai the Hebrews are given the Ten Commandments.

Still a local deity of sorts Abraham’s God formed from many polytheistic ideas and totem superstitions slowly merging into one monotheistic concept. God than commands the Hebrews to choose between him and his rival in Canaan, the God Bhaal (the offspring of El who had risen in power in Canaan). Two alters are built. God destroys the alter of Bhaal and commands his followers to kill the priests of Bhaal. The God of Yewah is now the undisputed GOD of the Hebrew people.


- YEWAH, the god that cannot be boxed, cannot be named. This was in stark contrast to the worship of other gods where once a name is known allows the worshiper to have power over that entity. The God of the Hebrew's is clearly disassociation himself with common worship as an entity 'beyond' the physical realms.

Returning to the upper regions of Canaan to form the twin kingdoms of Palestine and Judea the now strong Jewish traditions allow the Hebrew kingdoms to prosper, building great temples and cities built on trade and inspired by religion. The time of the Axial age however is upon them and their kingdoms are caught in the cross fire of great empires. Palestine is destroyed, it’s people dispersed. In Judea, looking for guidance in these troubled times, a line of Prophets appear, warning the people of the world and the Jew’s in particular that the time for repentance has come that the kingdom of God and the messiah is close at hand. It is by their continuing debate between God and the people that much of the ‘personality’ of the Hebrew God is refined and evolved.

The Babylonians under Nebacaneza destroy the temple in Judea and take many of the higher classes to work in his city of Babylon, Judea becomes a puppet state and their leaders become servants of Babylon. After being freed by Cyrus the Great, Judaism is a dispersed international religion with a great diaspora of peoples setting up communities through out the middle east along trade ports from city to city. Through all this the values of religion and it’s unity create a ‘community’ that offers education, comfort and social benefits for it’s practitioners though conformity is still not quite attained with many people practicing in different ways.

With the development of written testaments testament’s and instructional texts such as the Torah a more unified religion comes into being where Jews from all around the world can practice in accordance with a set conformity of rituals and behaviour that are set down in holy scripture. With the written word and developing a more international mindset, God becomes a more silent and metaphysical being that gives comfort in the reciting of prayers and the enacting of rituals. Just as God’s name cannot be intoned as the almighty cannot be ‘boxed’, so is the nature of scripture not always defined in literal terms and is discussed in the echelons of Jewish traditions such as the Kabala and midrash. This refines a sense of moral astuteness and inquisitiveness that creates ‘Good’ men in the face of the brutality of foreign regimes and empires.

Just as the Greek philosophers begin to question the deific traditions of the past to form a vastly evolved moral debate so to does morality begin to play an increasing role in how a Jew or a person should ‘behave’ and that this is seen as a greater sacrifice then the blood letting of animals. The vengeful god of thunder and war has become a quite gentle whisper on the winds of change requiring men to lead moral lives as opposed to the simple dictates of want. These ideas of tradition, ritual, perseverance, revelation, tolerance, sanctuary and dignity help to build a truly lasting community that is both segregated within a society and yet dynamic enough in it’s world view as too be truly cosmopolitan in it’s relations something that was obtained from a long history of social interaction, tribulation and change.

The Greek philosophers and Hellenistic Culture:


Greek philosophy flourished in the time of the axle, emerging around about 700 AD as their society developed and coming into a golden age in the fourth century BC. During this period the founding of Western philosophy as we understand it is exemplified in the writings of the empirical philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (himself the teacher of such notables as Alexander the Great). The unifying nature of the empirical teachings was one of abstract humanism and an idea of the Universe that transcended the metaphysical realms with a very real physical observation. An observation that would persist and influence philosophical debate in ancient times until the rise of the Abrahamic Religion’s displace it and in many ways merge with it. In the Empirical world the God’s themselves become more and more an abstract symbolism of greater conceptual motifs, and their struggle is set as the back drop for a grand entrance of scientific debate, invention and reasoning.

Plato’s forms, Aristotle’s categories are just some of the ideas that have fathered modern philosophy as we know today as is the ‘scientific method’, as described by Plato, the development of a system of thought that didn’t pertain in some way to an abstract religious concept but rather an observational technique in order to define an inherent truth. The practice of thinking in certain logical ways in order to define a logical conclusion also formed the basis of much of the Socratic and platonic dialogues and that of other philosophers.



COME WALK WITH ME: The Peripatetic school was named after the method in which Aristotle preferred to teach and was popular in scholarly circles. It revolved around the principle of wondering, walking or meandering whilst teaching and using the surrounding landscape as an observation testing board for ideas. The peripatetic method was not all together uncommon and spiritual prophets, teachers and scholars use it in many religions from the traveling monks of Buddhism to the teachings of Jesus, who may have been using the peripatetic method himself. The Muslim philosopher Al-kindi was an advocate of the method and the school of thought.

Later, after Alexander, as Hellenistic culture emerges around the world Greek philosophy interacts, influences and is merged with other cultural understandings and developments. Hellenistic Judaism (and later extended into Greek Christianity), Egyptian, Hindu and the Persian Parthia’s are just some of the cultures and religions that interact with the Greeks creating a vibrant and international culture that transcended the boarders of nations, language and religious and cultural exclusion.

THE POWER TO CHOOSE: After Platonism and Aristotle’s categories a series of periods succeeded in Greek philosophy. In the century proceeding ‘the academy’’ was ascended by a group known as ‘the sceptics’ who believed that absolute truth could never be known. As they fell out of popular favour middle Platonism represented a return to some of the fundamental’s of Plato’s ideas with a form of ‘moral’ virtue known as stoicism that represented the virtuous man’s ‘power to choose’ through wisdom or ‘stoicism’ as an expression of good over evil. At the time this also began to merge with the existing mysticism found in Judaism prevalent in Greece toward the end of the first century BC as an extension of Neoplatonism.

Quote:
Neoplatonism

In the third century, Plotinus recast Plato's system, establishing Neoplatonism, in which Middle Platonism was fused with oriental mysticism. At the summit of existence stands the One or the Good, as the source of all things.[4] It generates from itself, as if from the reflection of its own being, reason, the nous, - wherein is contained the infinite store of ideas.[4] The world-soul, the copy of the nous, is generated by and contained in it, as the nous is in the One, and, by informing matter in itself nonexistent, constitutes bodies whose existence is contained in the world-soul.[4] Nature therefore is a whole, endowed with life and soul. Soul, being chained to matter, longs to escape from the bondage of the body and return to its original source.[4] In virtue and philosophical thought it has the power to elevate itself above the reason into a state of ecstasy, where it can behold, or ascend up to, that one good primary Being whom reason cannot know.[4] To attain this union with the Good, or God, is the true function of human beings.[4] - wiki
At this time you can almost see the merging of converging philosophies into an evolved understanding within several such as zaroathustrianism, Indian meditations, Judaism and later Christianity. The ‘One’ is given a sense of metaphysical contemplation that will echo in future religious dialogues such as the ‘trinity’, Kabalistic teachings and esoteric understandings as found with the Gnostics and eastern traditions.

Mysteries -



spiritual rituals performed by various cults in honor of a God or God's were performed all over the pagan world. Mystery cults came in to high fashion during the Hellenistic period and later during the Roman empire. The eleusian mysteries were a set of rituals that were practiced for over two thousand years in the ancient world and involved the consumption of a mystical potion (some believe the ancient brew kykeon mixed with some kind of ergot or psychedelic) at it's end that would bestow divine knowledge, power and in some cases longevity on the subject.

Quote:
The Eleusinian Mysteries are believed to have begun about 1600 BC, during the Mycenean Age. One line of thought by modern scholars has been that these Mysteries were intended "to elevate man above the human sphere into the divine and to assure his redemption by making him a god and so conferring immortality upon him."[10] Comparative study shows significant parallels between these Greek rituals and even older systems: Religions of the Ancient Near East.

The lesser mysteries were probably held every year; the greater mysteries only every five years.[11] This cycle continued for about two millennia. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, King Celeus is said to have been one of the first people to learn the secret rites and mysteries of her cult. He was also one of her original priests, along with Diocles, Eumolpos, Polyxeinus and Triptolemus, Celeus' son, who had supposedly learned agriculture from Demeter.[12]

Under Pisistratus of Athens, the Eleusinian Mysteries became pan-Hellenic and pilgrims flocked from Greece and beyond to participate. Around 300 BC, the state took over control of the Mysteries; they were specifically controlled by two families, the Eumolpidae and the Kerykes. This led to a vast increase in the number of initiates. The only requirements for membership were a lack of "blood guilt", meaning having never committed murder, and not being a "barbarian" (unable to speak Greek and sometimes latin). Men, women and even slaves were allowed initiation.[13]

ZOROASTRIANISM:



Quote:
The rules and ethics emanating from Zoroaster's teachings were strictly followed by the Achaemenids who introduced and adopted policies based on human rights, equality and banning of slavery. Zoroastrianism spread unimposed during the time of the Achaemenids and through contacts with the exiled Jewish people in Babylon freed by Cyrus, Zoroastrian concepts further propagated and influenced the Abrahamic religions. The Golden Age of Athens marked by Aristotle, Plato and Socrates also came about during the Achaemenid period while their contacts with Persia and the Near East abounded. The peace, tranquility, security and prosperity that were afforded to the people of the Near East and Southeastern Europe proved to be a rare historical occurrence, an unparalleled period where commerce prospered, and the standard of living for all people of the region improved. wiki
An ancient religion that was practiced in the area of Iranian culture by ancient Persia from around 600 BC onwards. Based on the prophet Zoroaster, Zoroastrianism was an elemental religion which promoted the ‘creator’ Ahura Mazda as the supreme deity above all. A mystical cult that became the state religion of Persia, the Zoroastrian’s instituted many state reforms particularly in the Achaemenid empire of Cyrus the Great, himself heavily influenced by the religions moral dictates. Zoroatrinism and it’s mystic principles of human regulation and ritual had a strong influence on Judaic and Greek metaphysics. Particularly in regards to their concept of dualism, where Ahura Mazda being absolutely ‘good’ and representing creation and law must have a ‘dual’ opposite which is absolutely evil and representing destruction and chaos. This dualistic property would eventually form the archetype of the devil in Judaic and mostly later Christian understandings, freeing God from the constraints of an unjust and cruel creation. Because the Persian population was predominantly Zoroastrian ISLAM having defeated the Sassanid’s briefly gave the Zoroastrian’s the title ‘dhimmi’ or protected people. However as a sub-class to their Murlim rulers it was considered more profitable to convert to Islam and slowly Zoroastrian practices faded out.

The Christians under ROME:



Christianity flourished in a time when many small religious and pagan groups or cults flowered under Roman oppression. Youthful movements that were rebellious and angry at Roman brutality in Palestine questioned the dominated older institution which had suffered under Roman rule and what many saw as a colonization of culture more interested in appeasing Rome and profiting from it’s empire then the plight of it’s people. The Roman empire though oppressive off native interests had none the less opened up travel and in that the exchange of ideas. The institution of slavery on a mass scale also exported people and their cultures to various parts of the world that had previously little contact with each other.

Many of these Palestine groups channelled the wrath and fury of the Old Testament God whilst incorporating and drawing on radical ideas and at the same time seeking to convert followers in order to expand their numbers. Once again the Roman Empire unwittingly helped by creating a lot of the hostility ordinary people felt towards them. It is no wonder that the Roman’s saw the rise of Christianity as a slave religion as well as a revolutionary movement and because of the Roman’s excesses it was very clear that there was a lot of support for such movements.

As an ‘international’ religion Christianity was a weapon that subjugated people used to collectively unite, plan and organize within the Roman empire. The agility of an educated Jewish people to persevere, consolidate within a foreign community, work within an established hierarchy added to the double edged sword of an unusual singular concept found both in a wrathful vengeful God and a more tolerant, loving God. A religion that taught the promise of salvation both physically and spiritually and most importantly was open to anyone willing to convert, creating a movement that was dynamic and subversive.


Demonstrating the lengths Christians sought to hide their religion from persecution and showing the 'merging' of ideas in the Roman empire, Easter originated as a celebration to the fertility Goddess Estar and her day of celebration (unpersecuted by Roman rule) was supplanted by Christians in order to celebrate the death of Christ and the resurrection under Roman noses. Many of the celebratory symbols indoctrinated by the Christians were pagan symbols of other religions such as the Christmas tree or easter eggs, some to hide from persecution others as a direct means to indoctrinate other cultures by supplanting the original meanings of pagan cultural beliefs with their own

It was the Roman Empire than that ultimately imparted the success of Christianity as much as killed them. By persecuting them they antagonized their fury, inspiring their rebellion and subversion among the oppressed as martyrs for a cause, at the same time giving them the very means to spread within it’s empire and to practice that conversion in often subtle and clandestine ways. Christianity was becoming an international mixture of cultural and spiritual adherents from all over the empire. Equally the excesses of mad Roman emperors such as Nero or Caligula and the volatile political nature of the empire on the whole created curiosity and sympathisers even among Romans themselves.


Christians were persecuted by the Roman's with terrible public tortures as found in the Arena.

The final victory of Christendom and the age old conflict between Monotheism over Polytheism comes with the eventual conversion of the Roman empire under Constantine at the beginning of the fourth century. Rome had broken up into four distinct regions each ruled by an emperor. Constantine and Christendom used one another to dispose of his enemies by uniting under one banner, the fervent fanaticism of a militant religion with a strong desire for social change and unification within the Roman Empire itself.


Constantine used religion as a weapon in his war to unify Rome. The battle between Polytheism and Monotheism reached it's conclusion with the defeat of the Eastern Roman empire where Constantine would later build a new capital Constantinoble. Initially he practiced a policy of 'tolerance' for all religions but this slowly faded into Christian supremacy at the end of his reign.

In a truly controversial move Constantine, who had always coveted multiple belief systems to support his ambitions, eventually converted to Christianity and the slow decline and the closing of Pagan temples in the empire was sealed. Thus began the Holy Roman Empire and also the standardising of Christianity was undertaken at behest of the emperor in several councils, the Orthodox Christian Church had been established.

- the idea of the 'trinity' is one of the founding principles that has defined Western Christianity. The initial concept was defined by the Greek Christians and the Byzantines as a spiritual 'unclearness' in which GOD is a metaphysical construct that cannot be defined by mere physical associations. Later Western Christian philosophers, disliking the metaphysical Greek definitions, place a more literal connotation on the trinity defining it in clear psychological constructs.

The Silent God.

The trinity is impart the early idea that God cannot be named or defined in mortal understandings. The 'gesture' found in Christian spirituality and art is part of the three way dialog of the trinity, that there are some things that cannot be written nor spoken and vice versa. Only by taking all three into context can an idea of God be understood.


ISLAM: Mohammad the last prophet.



Like their Jewish predecessors the Arab’s had begun to take an interest in trade within their region as trade routs brought various people together at markets in urban centres. As they interacted with various cultures in particular religious groups such as Christian, Persian and Jewish travellers there became a great polytheistic culture where idol’s and alters were dedicated to various external and local deities, spirits and tribal beliefs. However their origin being loosely connected with the regions of these religions gave them a relationship of sorts. Allah, which may have already existed as a local deity was often attributed to be the same God as the Jews and Christians even before Mohammad. Terrible tribal wars however meant that there was little peace in which to debate metaphysical theology and this is the world in which Mohammad was brought up. Islam was originally intended as a means in which to unite the Arab people under one God Allah and stop the blood shed of increasing tribal wars. However though a few tribes close to Mohammad converted a great conflict was necessary in order to unite all the tribes under one banner. A conflict in which Mohammad and the religion of Islam and it’s Muslim followers won.

- Al-aqsa-mosque in Jerusalelm, a city where three religiouns must co-exist.
The two brother religions to Islam in the Koran were Christianity and Judaism, whom were treasured as predecessors to the last revelation. Possibly developing from a strong sense of Arabic trade and customary hospitality, Islam displayed a very humanistic attitude to most religions (where trade and tax was feasible) and proved dynamic when incorporating different cultures and rituals (as Christianity had done before) particularly the religions of Abraham, tolerating them with mutual respect and hospitality and on general principle this was the norm unless domestic political turmoil proved otherwise. Under Islamic rule Jerusalem became a religious centre for the three religion’s, with temples and churches within close proximity.

This militant Islam may not have been what was intended by Mohammad and the Kuran in it’s written beauty is more like an abstract verse of poetic metaphysics then a call to arms, however the needs of the times meant that a fervent warrior conversion was necessary in order to survive amidst powerful military enemies in particular the militant Sassanid’s of the Persian empire whom the Muslim’s defeated and ultimately inherited their empire and culture that was at the time in decline due to successive wars with the Byzantine’s. The Sassanid’s were a much more totalitarian state then their predecessors the more libertarian Hellenistic Parthian empire that had predominantly evolved after Roman conflicts. Islam as a conquering order fused the Arabian ruling culture with Sassassanid and Parthian histories that had prior practiced Zoastrianism, at first tolerating the local cultures and religions as well as inheriting the dual sword of a vast radical enterprise and an intensely philosophical dialogue that was still continuing from the days of Alexander and Plato.


Al Kindi – ‘The Arab philosopher’. As demonstrative of this continuing dialogue and ‘merging’ of ideas, Al kindi was the master philosopher who continued the Aristototalian Peripatetic school which had since been lost to the west. He is attributed to have introduced Greek philosophy to Islam and it is the merging of these two spiritual gestalts that bridges the gap between antiquity and the European middle ages creating a ‘golden age’ of Islamic philosophy that would lead into the renaissance.

As Islam spread across Africa, into Europe, the far east and indo China their conversionist fervor was often softened by advanced social practices in agriculture, medicine and philosophic discourses that complimented and merged with existing cultural practices. Islam was dynamic and tolerant as often as intolerant and radical depending on the political and social circumstance giving extending privileged status or dhimmi to different religious beliefs when entire populations were involved though as secondary citizens who had to pay extra taxes and abide by Islamic law.

HINDUISM:

Statue of the Hindu God Shiva, in meditative stance representing the delopment of the soul towards Bhraman, the supreme being.

The Indus valley:
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The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE) which was centred mostly in the western part[1] of the Indian Subcontinent[2][3] and which flourished around the Indus river basin.[n 1] Primarily centered along the Indus and the Punjab region, the civilization extended into the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley[7] and the Ganges-Yamuna Doab,[8][9] encompassing most of what is now Pakistan, as well as extending into the westernmost states of modern-day India, southeastern Afghanistan and the easternmost part of Balochistan, Iran.
Currently the worlds third largest religion, Hinduism developed from several different traditions, cults and cultural customs in India and a caste system that may have revolved around the Indo-Aryan invasions during the 2nd millennia though it’s root origins go back much further in individual customary beliefs and societies in India. Similar to the development of Judaism and the first testament, Hinduism is based on the continuing development of a multitude of sacred revelatory texts which evolve the concept of Hinduism throughout the ages. The main branch of texts are the ‘veda’s’ which form the fundamental tenants of general Hinduism (though there are many branches). The basic tenant is promoting a correct way in which to live, the ‘dharma’ and by way of repeated cycles of reincarnation modelling ones ‘atma’ or ‘eternal soul’ on the nature of Brahmin (the supreme being) as depicted in the archetypes of several God’s (such as shifa) and exemplified by divine natures (diva’s) such as Krishna.


Hindu relief depicting various stages of riencarnation in person's life cycle. We all everybody

Hinduism is a multi-faceted religion which has many forms of worship with a diverse range of belief structures found in various cults and sects that include polytheism, monotheism and even atheism, demonstrating the many influences on Indian tradition from Persian Zoroastrianism, Greek philosophy to later Muslim interactions. The basic core tenants of the ‘veda’s’ however give conformity to the majority of Hindu worship though it has also given rise to several other major religions in the world making India truly a melting pot of world spirituality and social discourse.



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While Diwali is popularly known as the "festival of lights", the most significant spiritual meaning is "the awareness of the inner light". Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Diwali is the celebration of this inner light, in particular the knowing of which outshines all darkness (removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance), awakening the individual to one's true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With the realization of the Atman comes universal compassion, love, and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings Ananda (inner joy or peace).
BUDDHISM:




Ashoka the great - What have I done? If this is a victory, what's a defeat then? Is this a victory or a defeat? Is this justice or injustice? Is it gallantry or a rout? Is it valor to kill innocent children and women? Do I do it to widen the empire and for prosperity or to destroy the other's kingdom and splendor? One has lost her husband, someone else a father, someone a child, someone an unborn infant.... What's this debris of the corpses? Are these marks of victory or defeat? Are these vultures, crows, eagles the messengers of death or evil?

Associated with the axial age Buddhhism was part of a new wave of Hindu thought that flourished with the unification of India under Ashoka the great and the Maurya empire in the sixth century BC. Buddhism is the fourth largest religion and has devotees through out the east due to impart to the propogation of it's tenants by Ashoka and the practice of wondering teachers who would set up monasteries in far off lands such as China and Japan. There are many sub-sects of Buddhism that include various local traditions and spiritual practices. Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama who preached the fundamental tenants of Hinduism and following the caste system but went one step further by denying the existence of a supreme being and instead arguing that one can achieve ‘awaking’ or ‘nirvana’ by ones own inner spiritual development.


The DharmaChakra wheel representing the eight noble trigrams or 'paths'.

The practice of Buddhism revolves around the basic tenants of the three jewels, which represent how a Buddhist should exemplify himself to achieve liberation from the physical world. The jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community). Buddhist also adhere to moral precepts, renouncement of material worth, meditation, study of scripture and devotion. The main purpose of this devotional and meditative life is to become awakened and achieve the state of ‘Buddha’ by freeing oneself from the trappings of the physical world, it has similarities to Greek stoicism in it’s meditative stance and Gnostic values of Christianity found in the west.


The saga of the sutra's is described in the 16th century chinese novel "journey to the west" and involves an idiot monk attempting to reach India to bring back the holy sutra's in order to restore harmony to a dark time in China's history. Accompanying him are four archetypes in particular "monkey" magic, the monkey king, who is a metaphor for human evolution and enlightenment.

By way of wondering teachers, Buddhism became a truly international religion with advocates building monasteries in China where it incorporated it’s doctrine with local deific caste traditions particularly the celestial court of Confucianism which was used as a tapestry to relate the same path of enlightenment as found in Hindu mythological scripture. In Japan Buddhism was highly received with the development of it’s feudal caste system and its meditative qualities and adherence to ritual were incorporated into everyday practices.
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Old 05-14-10, 09:58 PM   #10
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Re: + The rise of civilization and our island...(with Hebrews)

Enjoyed the post so much!!
P.K. Dick summed it up in 4 words : "The empire never ended".

Now, in tune with one motif of Lost is the idea of the "rise and fall of civilizations" (let's call "civilisation" a differentiated group with a more or less cohesive social structure, common history, similar values and one or more common languages shared by a large majority to inter-communicate; ex. "The Romans", "Dharma", "815ers").

There are different metaphors created to explain the progress and fall of civilisations and various factors influencing them; famous explanations are for instance, Gibbon's The rise and fall of the Roman Empire and, for a wider comparative approach, there's Toynbee's A study of history.

You'll find interesting plates in Barraclough's Time Atlas of World History.

What metaphors we use to describe history? Is it like a succession of layers (geological metaphor), a succession of steps (implicit teleology, either optimistic like in the enlightenment from the mud to paradise, or pessimistic like in the idea of decay from a golden age to an iron age), a constant turning of the wheel...
Is historical change caused by a dialectic of ideas, a fight for the means of production, social conflicts, ethnic conflicts, gender conflicts, religious conflicts, the survival of the fittest, an ascent to the universal consciousness... or is there progress at all? Is history real or illusory?

What would you guys think is each character's interpretation and what do you gleam from the narrative is the message the narrator is trying to convey?

What would you guys think would make a civilisation successful on the island thinking about what brought the end to previous civilisations?
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