Search

HistoryOnly

Do not leave the path

Month

September 2014

Horrors of War in the Ancient Near East

By: Jordi Vidal

War in the Middle East seems ever-present. But the study of war has been neglected, no more so than in the ancient Near East, and especially its impact on non-combatant populations.

After the Second World War, military history became a marginal discipline within academia. From 1960 to 1990, devoting oneself to the study of war meant the risk of being described as right-wing, a war-gamer or, in the best cases, second-rate. Some military history specialists explained this marginalisation as the direct result of the trauma caused by the 20th century, the nuclear threat, the prospect of non-conventional wars, peace movements, or just greater interest in socio-economic rather than political history.

“Standard of Ur,” ‘War’ panel, from the Royal Cemetery, ca. 2600 BC.

Since the 1990s military history has resurged and there are an increasing number of books, journals, articles, conferences and scientific meetings on the subject. I believe that the main reason is very simple: the military history being written now is better than what was written before. Today’s military history is no longer devoted solely to military matters but adopts an overall approach to the phenomenon of war, paying particular attention to the interaction between war and the society, the economy, politics and culture. The result is higher quality history.

In the framework of the Ancient Near East, Davide Nadali and I felt it appropriate to research the impact of war on non-combatants. Very good initial studies have already been published, such as the 1999 essay by Marc Van de Mieroop  that argued for a change in the study of warfare in the ANE. Van de Mieroop proposed a shift from history based on the great kings and generals to one that analysed the consequences of war on everyday people. He also sought to show that this new kind of history was possible using available sources. Van de Mieroop’s example was a small private archive from the late 7th century BC, found in the city of Nippur and belonging to a local nobleman. This archive described in detail the devastating effects on the city’s inhabitants of the siege led by Nabopolassar of Babylonia: the price of cereals rose, the lower classes were drastically impoverished, and traders appeared, offering to buy the children of ruined families.

Assyrian attack on town, from the Northwest Palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud, ca. 860 BC.

Assyrian soldiers piling war booty and prisoners, from the Southwest Palace at Nineveh, ca. 640-620 BC.

A convoy of prisoners being escorted by an Assyrian soldier, from the Southwest Palace of Tiglath-Pileser III at Nimrud, ca. 730-727 BC.

Recent episodes such as the massacres of Tutsis in Rwanda (1994), the massacre at Srebrenica during the war in Bosnia (1995), or the current civil war in Syria, to cite just a few examples, cruelly remind us that civilians are often the main victims of modern armed conflict. However, far from being an exclusively contemporary phenomenon, examples of violence against non-combatants are abundant even in the most ancient historical sources.

Following in the footsteps of Van de Mieroop, Nadali and I have edited a volume devoted to violence against non-combatants from the end of the third millennium BC (the Third Dynasty of Ur) to the middle of the first millennium BC (the Achaemenid period). The end result was The other face of the battle. The impact of war on civilians in the Ancient Near East, a set of seven contributions from Agnès Garcia, Jürgen Lorenz, John MacGinnis, Leticia Rovira, Ingo Schrakamp and Jeffrey Zorn.

Brass band from the Balawat gate of Shalmaneser III showing prisoners being tortured and dismembered, ca. 858-824 BC.

Prisoners being flayed during the siege of Lachish, from the Southwest Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh, 701 BC.

The studies cover a wide range related to the impact of war on non-combatants: (1) the influence of military campaigns during the Ur III period on the economic structures of that state; (2) the mass deportations recorded in the Mari texts, describing the situation of the deportees, who, completely unwillingly, underwent a process of cultural inter-breeding during resettlement; (3) the Hittite military strategy against enemy populations, which included systematic destruction of economic resources, mass deportations, the depopulation of territories and complete destruction of enemy settlements; (4) the economic motives that explained the attack against the populations of Ugarit, Sumur, Giluni, and Magdalu in the Late Bronze Age; (5) the condition of the first millennium BC civilian populations in Israel and southern Levant during wartime, with examples of massacres of people, forced labour, slavery and deportations; (6) the systematic Assyrian policy of capturing and deporting people, and the efforts of the Assyrian governors and officials to deal with high numbers of prisoners/deportees; and (7) the situation of non-combatants in Babylonia during the military campaigns carried out by the Assyrians, the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Achaemenids.

Assyrian soldiers impaling prisoners after the siege of Lachish, from the Southwest Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh, 701 BC.

Mass grave in cave Lachish showing skulls of some individuals buried after the Assyrian conquest of Lachish under Sennacherib in 701 BC (from Lachish III, Pl. 4).

The studies collected in The Other Face of the Battle have helped to establish that violence against non-combatants in the ancient Near East had very similar causes to those seen in contemporary times. If we arrange the case studies discussed in the book thematically, we may conclude that there were three main causes: (1) the desire to obtain economic or territorial gains, (2) an eliminationist mentality that led attackers to decide their enemy’s very existence was dangerous from a moral, material and/or intellectual standpoint and thus had to be eradicated, and (3) an attempt to terrorise the enemy by systematically exercising violence against non-combatants, thus reducing the enemy’s combat capacity.

The three causes mentioned, already existing in the ancient world, can explain many of the examples that are taking place at the moment. Sadly, we must conclude by stating that violence against civilians is one of the long term features of history.

Jordi Vidal is “Ramón y Cajal” researcher at theUniversitat Autònoma de Barcelona

~~~

When were the Israelites? Understanding Israelite Identity in the Pre-Exilic Period

Scholars have long asked, “Who were the Israelites?” Less frequent is the question, “When were the Israelites?” Indeed, traditional discussions of Israelite identity have focused overwhelmingly on two periods: the emergence of Israel sometime between the twelfth and tenth centuries BCE and the experience of exile in the sixth century. Histories of Israel and Judah have all but ignored the question of Israelite identity in the intervening four hundred years. This reflects the working assumption that the identity concerns preserved in the Hebrew Bible reflect the real life identity issues of the exilic and post-exilic periods.

Contrary to this common consensus, the period between the late eighth and the early sixth centuries represents a key watershed in Israel’s identity issues. During this period the southern Levant witnessed significant political, economic and social change, spurred largely by the appearance of the Assyrian empire. We observe the impact of these changes on Judah in the archaeological record and may understand their effects through the judicious use of anthropological theories of ethnic identity formation.

Map of Assyrian Empire.

Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal from the Palace at Nineveh. Assyrian. 645-635 B.C.

A pax Assyriaca under Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal made the long seventh century a period of

significant cultural interaction among the people of the southern Levant. Commercial activities in particular were encouraged and facilitated by the Assyrian empire’s enormous economic interests. In the territories surrounding Judah, especially Philistia and the Transjordan, there are abundant material remains attesting to the presence of Judahites and the transmission of their cultural paraphernalia abroad. Within Judah, the material record is similarly rich, in cultural artefacts attesting to interactions with regions as diverse as Arabia, Philistia, Phoenicia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Cyprus, and the Transjordan.

In the Negev, for example, excavations along the heavily trafficked east-west trade routes have produced pottery assemblages reflecting stylistic influences from the Transjordanian and Philistine ceramic traditions. There are personal items with origins in Phoenicia, the Transjordan, and elsewhere, with cedar beams, figurines, jewellery, and ostraca all attesting to the diversity of the area’s visitors and residents.

Scene of Assyrian troops besieging an unknown city.

In the Shephelah the differences between the late eighth century stratum at Lachish, destroyed by Sennacherib’s army in 701, and the early sixth century stratum, destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, reflect similar changes; in the wake of 701,this entire region was reoriented towards the Philistine coast and an expanded oil industry at Ekron. In the hill country there are scarabs and ceremonial objects from Egypt as well as witnesses to ceramic influences from the Transjordan, Cyprus, Phoenicia, and Assyria; Jerusalem itself has significant quantities of fish bones, attesting to regular trade with the coast, numerous personal items of Egyptian extraction or influence, imported wood and precious stones, and a full range of ceramic imports and influences. Weights calibrated to various international standards affirm the importance of trade as a driving factor in these cultural interactions.

How might the inhabitants of Judah have reacted to their interactions with increasing numbers of outsiders? Here it is useful to draw on the work of social anthropologists. Definitions of “ethnic identity” vary, but prominent in most are perception of differences between group members’ own cultural practices and those of outsiders. A critical point for the formation of group identity is when exposure to another culture challenges a group’s own way of doing things.

Assyrian troops leading captives.

5

The situation in the southern Levant during the long seventh century is an excellent example. The changes in the region resulting from Assyrian expansionism translated into real terms in the form of alien individuals and groups now passing through, and occasionally resident, in Judah. The majority of these strangers would have been Judah’s immediate neighbours and trading partners, the Philistines and Transjordanians, rather than the Assyrians themselves. The anthropological analogies suggest that a common reaction to this sort of experience is for a group to try to define and differentiate itself from the outsiders and to defend the borders of the group against the people and practices that might blur them. It would hardly be surprising, in other words, for the inhabitants of Judah to become more aware of their own identity as a result of the social, political and economic changes of the seventh century and to pay special attention to defining and defending what it meant to be an Israelite.

There are a number of specific ways in which groups go about identifying, articulating, and defending their distinctive identity: reference to a unique myth of origins, an emphasis on the genetic cohesiveness of the group’s membership (whether real or imagined), the discouraging of social interaction outside the group, the development of an “endo-culture” (the reinforcement of existing values and beliefs by encouraging in-group interaction), attempts to create physical proximity among members, and the elimination of sub-cultures in favour of homogeneity.

Siege of Lachish.

Plan of Tel Miqne-Ekron showing olive oil production zones.

One important Biblical text in which such identity-formation and -protection mechanisms are employed is the core of the book of Deuteronomy, especially chapters 12-26. Identity concerns have been a focal point in arguments over the pre- or post-exilic origin of this material.

The book’s overwhelming emphasis on an exclusive form of Yahwistic worship, for example, may be understood as an attempt to homogenise Israelite ritual, eliminating a diversity of Yahwistic and non-Yahwistic religious traditions in favor of a single, unified form of worship. Centralization of the cult in Jerusalem represents efforts to establish the spatial proximity of the Israelites, who are enjoined to appear at the central cult site at least three times a year.

The repeating refrain that the Israelites are the people whom Yahweh brought out from the land of Egypt reiterates a common origins myth, uniting the group around a sense of its shared history. Alongside these, the book works to eliminate the Israelites’ interaction with outsiders: prohibiting exogamy, placing specific limitations on the king’s role, mandating the destruction of local non-Israelites, and rejecting the possibility of membership for most non-locals. Much of this is articulated in the kinship language of “brotherhood,” appealing to the supposed genetic cohesiveness of the group’s membership. In various ways, these laws reflect a deuteronomic emphasis on Israelite differentiation, reinforcing a distinctively Israelite cultural tradition and protecting it from the encroachment of outsiders.

Reconstruction of Tel Miqne-Ekron olive oil production.

Though identity concerns are not the only issue on Deuteronomy’s agenda, they are prominent. Understanding the major changes in Judah and the southern Levant between the late eighth and early sixth centuries, particularly the heightened awareness of cultural differences which this era of intensified cultural interaction provoked, is vital to recognizing it as a key period for Israelite identity formation. The period between the emergence of Israel and the Babylonian exile does not comprise centuries of ethnic stagnation. In its final stages it is a turbulent period of dramatic changes in understandings of what it meant to be an Israelite. Not every expression of Israelite identity in the Hebrew Bible should be interpreted as arising during the long seventh century, but neither can it be assumed that all such texts must derive from an exilic context in Babylonia or from the Persian period.

Carly Crouch is Lecturer in Hebrew Bible at the University of Nottingham and author of The Making of Israel (Brill, 2014) andIsrael and the Assyrians (SBL, 2014).

A newly discovered scarab of Sheshonq I: recent Iron Age explorations in southern Jordan

As part of a ‘deep-time’ study of the role of ancient mining and metallurgy in the copper-ore-rich region of Faynan in southern Jordan, large-scale excavations and surveys have been carried out along the major wadis of this arid zone, some 50km south of the Dead Sea and 25km north-west of Petra. Beginning in 2002, the Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project (ELRAP) of UC San Diego and the Department of Antiquities of Jordan focused investigations on the social dynamics of copper production during the Iron Age (c. 1200–500 BC), when the first industrial scale copper production began in this region (Pyatt et al. 1999; Hauptmann 2007). After more than 10 years of fieldwork, the final project monograph has now been published (Levy et al. 2014a) summarising excavations at Khirbat en-Nahas (the largest copper production site in the region), the Wadi Fidan 40 cemetery, test soundings at a wide range of sites, and intensive pedestrian surveys along major drainages in the area (Wadi Fidan, Wadi Jariyah, Wadi Guwayba, Wadi Feid and others). Here we report on the accidental discovery of an extremely rare epigraphic find: a small Egyptian scarab bearing the name of the Pharaoh Sheshonq I, who is the only historical figure known from both the Hebrew Bible (as Shishak) and Egyptian monuments indirectly linked to narratives concerning King Solomon (I Kings 9.15–19). To date, the only other southern Levantine epigraphic artefact bearing the name of Sheshonq I was a stela fragment left in a dump at Megiddo by the Schumacher excavations and found by University of Chicago excavators in 1925 when they were constructing their dig house. The new Jordanian discovery adds an important data point for identifying the route of Sheshonq I’s Asiatic campaign.

The scarab (Figure 1)

The scarab was found at the site of Khirbat Hamra Ifdan (30.661394N/35.392700E), located along the Wadi Fidan, at the ‘gateway’ to the Faynan district. The site is primarily a copper manufactory dating to the Early Bronze Age, c. 3000–2000 BC (Levy et al. 2002). It features also a caravanserai from the Classical and Islamic periods and, most importantly, there are areas of copper smelting that date to the Iron Age IIA period, c. 980–830 BC. Unfortunately, the scarab reported here was a surface find and therefore, like the Sheshonq I stela found at Megiddo, not in situ.

Figure 2. Drawing of Sheshonq I scarab found at Khirbat Hamra Ifdan, Jordan.
Figure 2. Drawing of Sheshonq I scarab found at Khirbat Hamra Ifdan, Jordan.

The scarab is made of enstatite. It is light brown in colour with traces of green glaze in the recesses. Its dimensions are 12.7mm long × 9.2mm wide × 5.5mm high. The plinth at the base is horizontally arranged and bordered by a thin line. The enclosed hieroglyphs read (from right to left):ḥḏt (S1) and ḫpr (L1) with a small r‘ (N5) between the scarab beetle’s forelegs, followed to the left by stp (U21) atop an n (N35); above these two signs are again an r‘, a mn (Y5) and a second n (Figure 2).

Implications

The hieroglyphic sequence reads ‘bright is the manifestation of Re, chosen of Amun/Re’ which corresponds with great certainty to the throne name of the founder of the Twenty-second Egyptian Dynasty, Sheshonq I (946/45–925/24 BC (cf. von Beckerath 1997: 191; see also Shortland 2005)). After the well-known stela found at Megiddo (Fischer 1929: 12–16; Kitchen 1986: 299; Schipper 1999: 129–32; Ritner 2009: 218–19), this is only the second epigraphic attestation of Pharaoh Sheshonq I ever discovered in Cis- and Transjordan. An in-depth study of the parallels to this scarab is published in the UC San Diego–Department of Antiquities of Jordan monograph noted above (Levy et al. 2014a). This research suggests a production date for the scarab during the reign of Sheshonq I.

Figure 3. Map of Sheshonq I campaign in the southern Levant (map by Matt Howland, UC San Diego).
Figure 3. Map of Sheshonq I campaign in the southern Levant (map by Matt Howland, UC San Diego).

A radiocarbon date from the 2000 excavations in Area L at the site of Khirbat Hamra Ifdan confirms that Iron Age copper production activities took place at the site (2910±41 BP: 1192–1021 BC (68.2% probability) or 1261–995 BC (95.4% probability)) (Levy et al. 2012: 207–208), as do the technological artefacts found at the site. In an earlier publication, Levy et al. (2008) suggested that the disruption of copper production at Khirbat en-Nahas observed in the slag mound in Area M (see Levy et al. 2014b) may be attributed to the military activities of Sheshonq I’s army during their campaign in the southern Levant. This conclusion is based on the stratigraphy, high precision radiocarbon dating and a small assemblage of Egyptian amulets dating to the time of Sheshonq I. The scarab from Khirbat Hamra Ifdan contributes to understanding of what Kenneth Kitchen (2003: 296) describes as the “flying column” of Sheshonq I’s forces during their Asiatic campaign when they made their way across the northern Negev, to the southern end of the Dead Sea and then south through the Wadi Arabah. Figure 3 highlights this route which, no doubt, passed through the Faynan region. As suggested by the data concerning the late tenth century BC interruption of industrial-scale copper production at Khirbat en-Nahas, Sheshonq I’s forces aimed to disrupt this local industrial activity. Not only did they attack the main copper production centre at Khirbat en-Nahas, but also those in secondary production areas in Faynan such as Khirbat Hamra Ifdan reported here. The discovery of the Sheshonq I scarab in Jordan’s Faynan copper ore resource zone raises new research questions concerning the geopolitical aims of the Twenty-second Dynasty’s campaign in the southern Levant as well as the nature of the rapid technological changes observed in the archaeometallurgical record during the tenth to ninth centuries BC.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Ben Volta, the UC San Diego graduate student, who discovered the scarab presented here.  Many thanks to Ulrike Zurkinden for drawing the scarab described in this paper. Thanks to Matt Howland for producing the map of the Sheshonq I campaign. We are especially grateful to the late Fawwaz al-Karaysheh and Monther Jamhawi, Directors General of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan, and Barbara Porter, Director of the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman for their logistical support.

References

  • CHAPMAN, R.L., III. 2009. Putting Sheshonq I in his place. Palestine Exploration Quarterly 141: 4–17.
  • FISCHER, C.S. 1929. The excavation of Armageddon (Oriental Institute Communications 4). Chicago (IL): Chicago University Press.
  • HAUPTMANN, A. 2007. The archaeo-metallurgy of copper: evidence from Faynan, Jordan. New York: Springer.
  • KITCHEN, K.A. 1986. The Third Intermediate period in Egypt (1100–650 BC). Warminster: Aris & Phillips.
    – 2003. On the reliability of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids (MI): Eerdmans.
    – 2004. The Third Intermediate period in Egypt. Oxford: Aris & Phillips.
  • LEVY, T.E., R.B. ADAMS, A. HAUPTMANN, M. PRANGE, S. SCHMITT-STRECKER & M. NAJJAR. 2002. Early Bronze Age metallurgy: a newly discovered copper manufactory in southern Jordan. Antiquity 76: 425–37.
  • LEVY, T.E., T. HIGHAM, C. BRONK RAMSEY, N.G. SMITH, E. BEN-YOSEF, M. ROBINSON, S. MÜNGER, K. KNABB, J.P. SCHULZE, M. NAJJAR & L. TAUXE. 2008. High-precision radiocarbon dating and historical biblical archaeology in southern Jordan. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 16460–65.
  • LEVY, T.E., E. BEN-YOSEF & M. NAJJAR. 2012. New perspectives on Iron Age copper production and society in the Faynan region, Jordan, in V. Kassianidou & G. Papasavvas (ed.) Eastern Mediterranean metallurgy and metalwork in the 2nd millennium BC: 197–214. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • LEVY, T.E., M. NAJJAR & E. BEN-YOSEF. 2014a. New insights into the Iron Age archaeology of Edom, southern Jordan—surveys, excavations and research from the Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project (ELRAP). Los Angeles (CA): Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.
  • LEVY, T.E., M. NAJJAR, T. HIGHAM, Y. ARBEL, A. MUNIZ, E. BEN-YOSEF, N.G. SMITH, M. BEHEREC, A.D. GIDDING, I.W.N. JONES, D. FRESES & M. ROBINSON. 2014b. Excavations at Khirbat en-Nahas 2002–2009: unearthing an Iron Age copper production center in the lowlands of Edom (southern Jordan), in T.E. Levy, M. Najjar & E. Ben-Yosef (ed.) New insights into the Iron Age archaeology of Edom, southern Jordan—surveys, excavations and research from the Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project (ELRAP). Los Angeles (CA): Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.
  • PYATT, F.B., G.W. BARKER, P. BIRCH, D.D. GILBERTSON, J.P. GRATTAN & D.J. MATTINGLY. 1999. King Solomon’s miners—starvation and bioaccumulation? An environmental archaeological investigation in southern Jordan. Ecotoxicology & Environmental Safety 43: 305–308.
  • RITNER, R.K. 2009. The Libyan anarchy: inscriptions from Egypt’s Third Intermediate period (Writings from the Ancient World 21). Leiden: Brill.
  • SCHIPPER, B.U. 1999. Israel und Ägypten in der Königszeit. Die kulturellen Kontakte von Salomo bis zum Fall Jerusalems (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 170). Fribourg: Universitätsverlag; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
  • SHORTLAND, A.J. 2005. Shishak, King of Egypt: the challenges of Egyptian calendrical chronology, in T.E. Levy & T. Higham (ed.)The Bible and radiocarbon dating—archaeology, text and science: 43–54. London: Equinox.
  • VON BECKERATH, J.F. 1997. Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägypten. Die Zeitbestimmung der ägyptischen Geschichte von der Vorzeit bis 332 v. Chr. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

Authors

  • Thomas E. Levy
    Department of Anthropology, Levantine and Cyber-Archaeology Laboratory, Qualcomm Institute, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA (Email: tlevy@ucsd.edu)
  • Stefan Münger
    Faculty of Theology, Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Bern, Hochschulstrasse 4, 3012 Bern, Switzerland (Email:stefan.muenger@theol.unibe.ch)
  • Mohammad Najjar
    Levantine and Cyber-Archaeology Laboratory, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA (Email: m.najjar@joscapes.com)

Massive 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument Revealed in Israel

By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor

5 Ancient Greek Civilization ‘Firsts’ That Were Not

Greek_alphabet

The Greek Alphabet

New research suggests the Greeks borrowed their system known as alphabetic numerals from the Egyptians, and did not develop it themselves as was long believed, the BBCreports.

Greek alphabetic numerals were favored by the mathematician and physicist Archimedes, the scientific philosopher Aristotle and the mathematician Euclid, among others.

A 2003 analysis by Stephen Chrisomalis, Ph.D., a linguistic anthropologist at McGill University in Montreal, showed striking similarities between Greek alphabetic numerals and the Egyptian demotic numerals, used in Egypt from the late eighth century B.C. until around A.D. 450.

Both systems use nine signs in each “base” so that individual units are counted 1-9, tens are counted 10-90 and so on. Both systems also lack a symbol for zero.

Chrisomalis proposes that an explosion in trade between Greece and Egypt after 600 B.C. led to the system being adopted by the Greeks.

Greek merchants may have seen the demotic system in use in Egypt and adapted it for their own purposes.

Pythagorean Theorem

Pythagorean Theorem

Since the fourth century A.D., Pythagoras has commonly been given credit for creating the theorem in geometry that states that in a right-angled triangle the area of the square on the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares of the other two sides—that is, a^2 + b^2 = c^2. This is commonly called the Pythagorean theorem.

But the theorem was known and previously used by the Babylonians, Indians and Egyptians.  The way in which the Babylonians handled Pythagorean numbers implies that they knew that the principle was generally applicable, and knew some kind of proof, which has not yet been found in the (still largely unpublished) cuneiform sources.

Because of the secretive nature of Pythagoras’ school and the custom of its students to attribute everything to their teacher, there is no evidence that Pythagoras himself worked on or proved this theorem. For that matter, there is no evidence that he worked on any mathematical or meta-mathematical problems, says Walter Burkert, a German scholar of Greek mythology and cult.

Greek Architecture

Greek Architecture

In his book, “The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality”, Cheikh Anta Diop argues that even Greek architecture has its roots in Egypt.  Proto-Doric columns, the Egyptian cliff tombs of Beni Hasan, were found dating back as early as the 12th dynasty.

Greco-Roman monuments are mere miniatures compared to those built by the Egyptians. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, with all its towers, could easily be placed in the hypostyle hall of the temple of Karnak; the Greek Parthenon could fit into those walls even more easily.

Fathers of Modern Medicine

Fathers of Modern Medicine

The Egyptians — not the ancient Greeks — were the true fathers of medicine, according to a study that pushes back the origins by at least a millennium, writes Roger Highfield, science editor for the U.K. -based The Telegraph.

Scientists examining documents dating back 3,500 years say they have found proof that the inception lies not with Hippocrates (460 B.C. -370 B.C.) and the Greeks, but in ancient Egypt and the likes of Imhotep (2667 B.C. – 2648 B.C.), who designed the pyramids at Saqqara and was elevated to the god of healing.

The research team from the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at the University of Manchester discovered the evidence in medical papyri written in 1,500 B.C. — some 1,000 years before Hippocrates was born.

Rosalie David, professor of biomedical Egyptology and director of the KNH Centre, said: “These results are very significant and show that the ancient Egyptians were practicing a credible form of pharmacy long before the Greeks.”

egyptian philosophy

Originators of Philosophy

Philosophy is a classical Greek creation, at least that is what we are supposed to accept if we are to believe prominent European scholars like Martin Litchfield West. However, the ancient Greek philosophers themselves gave the Egyptians credit for creating the discipline.

Molefi Kete Asante, Ph.D., scholar, historian and philosopher, said: “There is a common belief among whites that philosophy originates with the Greeks. The idea is so common that almost all of the books on philosophy start with the Greeks as if the Greeks pre-dated all other people when it came to discussion of concepts of beauty, art, numbers, sculpture, medicine of social organization. In fact, this dogma occupies the principal position in the academies of the Western world, including the universities and academies of Africa.”

“Diodorus Siculus, the Greek writer, in his ‘On Egypt,’ written in the first century before Christ, says that many who are ‘celebrated among the Greeks for intelligence and learning, ventured to Egypt in olden times, that they might partake of the customs, and sample the teachings there. For the priests of Egypt cite from their records in the holy books that in the former times they were visited by Orpheus and Musaeus, Melampos, Daedalos, besides the poet Homer, Lycurgus the Spartan, Solon the Athenian, and Plato the philosopher, Pythagoras of Samos and the mathematician Eudoxos, as well as Democritus of Abdera and Oenopides of Chios, also came there.’”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑