Crete is the largest island inGreece and the second largestin the eastern MediterraneanSea (after Cyprus). It islocated in the southern part ofthe Aegean Sea separating theAegean from the Libyan Sea.
PREHISHTORIC PERIOD600BC-2600 BCThe earliest traces of human habitation in Crete go back to theNeolithic age. The first inhabitants of the island lived in caves,which later became places of worship and in houses with stonefoundations and brick walls. These people were farmers andshepherds. They used simple tools and utensils made of animalbones and stone, many of which have been turned up duringarchaeological excavations.We know very little about their religious beliefs. It ishypothesized that they worshipped Goea, the goddess offertility. Many figurines showing this female form have beenfound in Crete and throughout the eastern Mediterraneanbasin. For many centuries afterwards Mother was the mostimportant symbol for the cultures of the Mediterranean lands.
Minoan CivilizationAround 1700 BC, a highly sophisticated culture grew upon Crete: the Minoans. What they thought, what stories theytold, how they narrated their history, are all lost to us. All wehave left are their palaces, their incredibly developed visual art,and their recordsThe Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete.It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans. Will Durant referred to it as "the first link in the European chain”.
GEOGRAPHY Crete is a mountainous island with natural harbors locatedmidway between Turkey, Egypt and Greece. On the island, theclimate is comfortable and the soil fertile; as an island, it wasisolated from the mainland of Asia Minor, the Middle East,and Egypt . There are signs of earthquake damage at manyMinoan sites and clear signs of both uplifting of land andsubmersion of coastal sites due to tectonic processes all alongthe coasts .
CHRONOLOGY AND HISTORY Rather than associate absolute calendar dates for the Minoan period, archaeologists use two systems of relative chronology.The first, created by Evans•Early Minoan period(EM) 2,600 B.C.- 2,000 B.C.•Middle Minoan period(MM) 2,000 B.C. - 1,580 B.C.•Late Minoan period (LM) 1,580 B.C. - 1,100 B.C. Another proposed by the Greek archaeologist Nicolas Platon,is based on the development of the architectural complexesknown as "palaces" Minoan period into Prepalatial,Protopalatial, Neopalatial, and Post-palatial periods.
TRADE None of the earliest great cultures of the ancient world were seafaring cultures, so Crete was spared the great power struggles that troubled other ancient cultures. However, as an island, resources were limited. As the population began to thrive, it also began to increase, and it is evident that the resources of the island became increasingly insufficient to handle the increased population. So the Cretans improvised. Some migrated, populating other islands in the Aegean Sea. In doing so, they took their growing civilization with them and spread Minoan culture, religion, and government all over the Aegean Sea. For this reason, the Minoan culture is also called the "Aegean Palace civilization." The Cretans who remained on Crete turned to other economic pursuits in particular, they turned to trade. Crete became the central exporter of wine, oil, jewelry, and highly crafted works; in turn, they became importers of raw materials and food. In the process they built the first major navy in the world; its primary purpose, however, was trade, not war or conquest.
The "saffron-gatherers, saffron crocus flowers, represented as small red tufts, are gathered by two womenMinoans in Egypt
CLOTHING Minoan men wore loincloths and kilts. Women wore robes that had short sleeves and layered flounced skirts. These were open to the navel allowing their breasts to be left exposed, perhaps during ceremonial occasions. Women also had the option of wearing a strapless fitted bodice. The patterns emphasized symmetrical geometric design.
RELIGION Minoan sacred symbols include the Bull, Bulls Horns of Consecration, Double Axe, Pillar, Snakes, Sun, and Tree. There are numerous representations of goddesses, which leads to the conclusion that the Cretans were polytheistic, while others argue that these represent SNAKE manifestations of the one goddess. GODDESS The most popular goddess seems to be the "Snake Goddess," who has snakes entwined on her body or in her hands. Since the figurine is only found in houses and in small shrines in the palaces, it is believed that she is some sort of domestic goddess or goddess of the house. DEITY-MOTHER GODDESS
MINOAN SACRIFICE with a slaughtered bull in themiddle, two terrified animals below him and a womanoffering on the right. Notice the double axe and horns ofconsecration next to the altar.
It seems to be the first "leisure" society in existence, in which a large part of human activity focused on leisure activities, such as sports. In fact, the Cretans seem to have been as sports addicted as modern people; the most popular sports were boxing and bull-jumping. Women actively participated in both of these sports. BULL JUMPING BOXIN G
Concentration of wealth played a large role in the structure of society. Multiroom constructions were discovered in even the ‘poor’ areas of town, revealing a social equality and even distribution of wealth. Cretan states of the first half of the second millennium BC were bureaucratic monarchies. While the government was dominated by priests and the monarch seemed to have some religious functions, the principle role of the monarch seemed to KNOSSOS MURAL, THE SO be that of "chief entrepreneur," or CALLED PRINCE WITH THE better yet. LILIES OR PRIEST KING Minoans had a written language known FRESCO (KNOSSOS, C. 1500 BC) as Linear A.
MINOAN ART The immense concentration of wealth in such a small population led to an explosion of visual arts, as well. Unlike the bulk of the ancient world, the Minoans developed a visual art culture that seems to have been solely oriented around visual pleasure. The Minoans seem to have been the first ancient culture to produce art for its beauty rather than its function The Minoans, however, not only decorated their palaces, they decorated them with art. To walk through a Minoan palace was to walk through room after room of splendid, wall- sized paintings. Minoan art frequently involves unimportant, trivial details of everyday life, such as a cat hunting a bird, or an octopus, or representations of sports events (rather than battles, or political events). The Minoan art is generally in the form of frescoes and ceramics. Ceramics were characterized by linear patterns of spirals, triangles, curved lines, crosses, fishbone motifs, and like. In the Middle Minoan period naturalistic designs such as fish, squid, birds, and lilies were common.
ARCHITECTURE The Minoan cities were connected with stone-paved roads, formed from blocks cut with bronze saws. Streets were drained and water and sewer facilities were available to the upper class, through claypipes. Minoan buildings often had flat tiled roofs; plaster, wood, or flagstone floors, and stood two to three stories high. Typically the lower walls were constructed of stone and rubble, and the upper walls of mudbrick. Ceiling timbers held up the roofs. The materials used in construction varied; could include sandstone, gypsum, or limestone. Equally, building techniques could also vary between different constructions; some palaces used ashlar masonry while others used roughly hewn megalithic blocks. The palaces and towns of the Cretans seem to have only minor defensive structures or forts. The presence of only a small amount of defensive works in the archaeological record leads us to a tentative conclusion: the Minoans throughout much of their history were relatively secure from attack. This conclusion helps to explain every other aspect of Minoan history: their concentration of economic resources on mercantilism, their generous distribution of wealth among their people, and, unfortunately, their downfall.
THOLOS TOMBS For centuries the Minoans used Tholos Tombs and sacred caves, along with pithoi(storage jars) and larnakes(ash- chest) for burial of their dead.MINOAN VILLAS The Late Minoan I villa at Ayia Triada in Crete functioned aspart of a larger administrative system. It was the center ofan estate. Produce and other items from this estate werecollected and dispersed as rations and wages to local workersand as tax payments to the palace of Phaistos. NeopalatialCrete was organized into an extensive system of such manorialestates which contributed to the palatial centers.
MINOAN PALACES They provided a forum for gathering and celebrations, while at the same time they offered storage for the crops, and workshops for the artists. They were built over time to occupy low hills at strategic places around the island in a manner so complex THE PALACE AT KNOSSOS U SHAPE PLAN WITH A CENTRAL that they resembled labyrinths to COURTYARD outside visitors. There were expanded drainage systems, irrigation, aqueducts, and deep wells that provided fresh water to the inhabitants. They were laced with impressive interior and exterior staircases, light wells, massive columns, storage RUINS magazines, and gathering outdoor places -- the precursor to ancient theaters.
DOWNFALL The island of Santorin, 70 miles north of Crete to the wealthy Minoan seaport of Akrotiri, a place where the wall paintings discovered portray their landscape with happy animals and farmers harvesting saffron. But the Minoans had built their prosperous city on one of the most dangerous islands on earth, next to the volcano Thera. Around 1600, B.C., Akrotiri was shaken by a violent earthquake. Some time later, an eruption occurred. The Theran eruption was one of largest in human history — blasting more than 10 million tons of ash, gas, and rock 25 miles into the atmosphere. Incredibly, despite Crete’s close proximity to the volcano, the debris from Thera largely missed the major Minoan towns.50 years later the civilzation was wiped out. Earthquakes and fires destroyed Knossos and the other palaces and the towns were deserted.
HANGING GARDENS of BABYLONThis probably the most romantic andpoetic wonder of the world is not onlylong gone, but its existence is alsoup for dispute.The lack of documentation of itssubsistence in the chroinicles ofBabylonian history makes manydoubt if the wonderful gardens everpleased the eye of a Human or were just a figment of ancient poets andnovelists.
Location: City State of Babylon (Modern Iraq)Built: Around 600 BCFunction: Royal GardensDestroyed: Earthquake, 2nd Century BCSize: Height probably 80 ft. (24m)Made of: Mud brick waterproofed with lead.Other: Only wonder whose archaeological remains cannot beverified.
WHO BUILDThere are two equally credible theoriesabout who build the Hanging Gardens ofBabylon, they are assumed to be thework either of semilegendary QueenSammu-ramat (Greek Semiramis), theAssyrian queen who reigned from 810 to783 BC, or of King Nebuchadrezzar II, theking of the Babylonian Empire, whoreigned c. 605 BC – 562 BC.Though there are no compellingarguments about the credibility of any ofthe assumptions, the hanging Gardens ofBabylon are often called the HangingGardens of Semiramis.
FIRST POSSIBLE BUILDER , SEMIRAMISA few words about the first possible builder,Semiramis: Through the centuries the legend ofSemiramis attracted not only the attention ofGreek historians, but she also was the muse ofnovelists, poets and other storytellers. Greatwarrior queens in history have been called theSemiramis of their times.A “gossip” around her name would have made abeautiful yellow press headline – “Semiramis issaid to have had a long string of one-night-standswith handsome soldiers”. Another “rumor” may become an inspiration forhorror film makers – they say that she had eachlover killed after a night of passion, so that herpower would not be threatened by a man whopresumed on their relationship.
THE OTHER SUPPOSED BUILDER– KINGNEBUCHADREZZAR IIAs for the other supposed builder –King Nebuchadrezzar II (reigned c. 605– c.561 BC), it is said that he built thelegendary gardens to console his wifeAmytis of Media, because she washomesick for the mountains andgreenery of her homeland. Nebuchadnezzar II is most widelyknown through his portrayal in theBible, according to the Bible, heconquered Judah and Jerusalem, andsent the Jews into exile.
LOCATIONThe gardens, presumed to have beenlocated on or near the east bank ofthe River Euphrates, about 31 milessouth of Baghdad, Iraq. A more recenttheory proposes that the gardens wereactually constructed in the city ofNineveh, on the bank of the river Tigris.It is possible that Through the ages,the location of the Hanging Gardensmay have been confused with gardensthat existed at the city of Nineveh,since tablets from the place clearlyshow gardens.
ABOUT THE GARDENThe gardens were about 75 feet (22meters) high. The image of the gardens isimpressive not only for its blossomingflowers, ripe fruit, gushing waterfalls,terraces lush with rich foliage, and exoticcreatures, but also for the engineering featof supplying the massive, raised gardenswith soil and water. German architect andarchaeologist Robert Koldewey who isknown for revealing the semilegendaryBabylon as a geographic and historicalreality, discovered huge vaults and archesat the site. He also uncovered an ancienthydraulic system like a pump drawingwater from the river.
Babylon, too, lies in a plain; and the circuit of its wall is threehundred and eighty-five stadia. The thickness of its wall is thirty-two feet; the height thereof between the towers is fifty cubits;that of the towers is sixty cubits; the passage on top of the wallis such that four-horse chariots can easily pass one another; andit is on this account that this and the hanging garden are calledone of the SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
The garden is quadrangular in shape, and eachside is four plethra in length. It consists of archedvaults, which are situated, one after another, oncheckered, cube-like foundations. The checkeredfoundations, which are hollowed out, arecovered so deep with earth that they admit ofthe largest of trees, having been constructed ofbaked brick and asphalt — the foundationsthemselves and the vaults and the arches. Theascent to the uppermost terrace-roofs is madeby a stairway; and alongside these stairs therewere screws, through which the water wascontinually conducted up into the garden fromthe Euphrates by those appointed for thispurpose. For the river, a stadium in width, flowsthrough the middle of the city; and the garden ison the bank of the river.
The Garden was 100 feet (30 m) long by 100 ft wide and built up in tiers so that itresembled a theatre. Vaults had been constructed under the ascending terraces whichcarried the entire weight of the planted garden; the uppermost vault, which wasseventy-five feet high, was the highest part of the garden, which, at this point, was onthe same level as the city walls. The roofs of the vaults which supported the gardenwere constructed of stone beams some sixteen feet long, and over these were laid firsta layer of reeds set in thick tar, then two courses of baked brick bonded by cement, andfinally a covering of lead to prevent the moisture in the soil penetrating the roof. Ontop of this roof enough topsoil was heaped to allow the biggest trees to take root. Theearth was levelled off and thickly planted with every kind of tree. And since thegalleries projected one beyond the other, where they were sunlit, they containedconduits for the water which was raised by pumps in great abundance from the river,though no one outside could see it being done.
And then there were the Hanging Gardens.Paracleisos going up to the top is like climbing amountain. Each terrace rises up from the last likethe syrinx, the pipes of pan, which are made ofseveral tubes of unequal length. This gives theappearance of a theater. It was flanked by perfectlyconstructed walls twenty-six feet thick. The gallerieswere roofed with stone balconies. Above thesethere was the first of a bed of reeds with a greatquantity of bitumen, then a double layer of bakedbricks set in gypsum, then over that a covering oflead so that moisture from the soil heaped above itwould not seep through. The earth was deepenough to contain the roots of the many varieties oftrees which fascinated the beholder with their greatsize and their beauty. There was also a passagewhich had pipes leading up to the highest level andmachinery for raising water through which greatquantities of water were drawn from the river, withnone of the process being visible from the outside.
DIFFERENT LEVELSThe hanging gardens didn’t actuallyhang… The name “hanging” comesfrom the Greek word “kremastos”or the Latin word “pensilis”, whichmean more “overhanging” than just“hanging” as in the case of aterrace or balcony. The gardenswere probably developed on astructure like a ziggurat and built inthe form of elevated terraces, sothat the gardens were at differentlevels which grew around and ontop of a building.
HERE IS A PUZZLEIn Herodotus’ description of the city of Babylon(Histories, Book I, sections 178-184), where heclaims to have been to Babylon himself, he fails tomention the gardens, this is usually taken as proofthat they did not exist. But a Dutch historian JonaLendering thinks that Herodotus’ description ofBabylon is so extraordinary that he evencharacterises it as “nonsensical”.The 18th-century Historian, Edward Gibbon goeseven further and accuses Herodotus of neverhaving set foot in Babylon at all. Despite theseconsiderations, if you try to sketch out the city planas herodotus describes it, you’ll see that it’s prettyaccurate in relation to archaeological maps… sohow come that he never mentions the Gardens?
ANOTHER PROOFAnother proof of the consideration that theHanging Gardens of Babylon never actuallyexisted are many thousands of clay tabletsfrom that period in Babylon. Stone tabletsfrom Nebuchadnezzar’s reign give detaileddescriptions of the city of Babylonia, its walls,and the palace, but do not refer to theHanging Gardens. Some historians claim thatthe warriors in the army of Alexander theGreat were amazed at the immense prosperityof the thriving city of Babylon and tended toexaggerate their experiences greatly. Whenthe soldiers returned to their stark homeland,they had incredible stories to relate about theremarkable gardens, palm trees, and imposingbuildings of rich and fertile Mesopotamia.
IN ANCIENT WRITINGS In ancient writings the Hanging Gardensof Babylon were first described byBerossus, a Chaldaean (a dynasty inBabylonian history) priest who lived in thelate 4th century B.C. In his bookBabyloniaca, written around 280 B.C. Thebook is lost, but it was summarized byAlexander Polyhistor in C1 BC in a treatiseof 42 books on world history andgeography which is also lost. Thattreatise, however, was used by Josephus(37–100 AD), who discussed the gardenstwice – once in Jewish Antiquities, andonce in Contra Apionem (Against Apion,or Against the Greeks).
Ancient Greek historians, Strabo, Philo and Diodorusgave us these description of the hanging gardens ofBabylon:
STRABO“The Garden is quadrangular, andeach side is four plethra long. Itconsists of arched vaults which arelocated on checkered cube-likefoundations.. The ascent of theuppermost terrace-roofs is madeby a stairway…”
PHILO“The Hanging Garden has plants cultivatedabove ground level, and the roots of the treesare embedded in an upper terrace rather thanin the earth. The whole mass is supported onstone columns… Streams of water emergingfrom elevated sources flow down slopingchannels… These waters irrigate the wholegarden saturating the roots of plants andkeeping the whole area moist. Hence the grassis permanently green and the leaves of treesgrow firmly attached to supple branches… Thisis a work of art of royal luxury and its moststriking feature is that the labor of cultivation issuspended above the heads of the spectators.”
DIODORUS“The approach to the Gardensloped like a hillside and theseveral parts of the structure rosefrom one another tier on tier. Onall this, the earth had beenpiled…and was thickly planted withtrees of every kind that, by theirgreat size and other charm, gavepleasure to the beholder. Thewater machines [raised] the waterin great abundance from the river,although no one outside could seeit.”
ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGSRecent archaeological digs at Babylon have uneartheda major palace, a vaulted building with thick walls(perhaps the one mentioned by Greek historians), andan irrigation well in proximity to the palace. Althoughan archaeological team surveyed the palace site andpresented a reconstruction of the vaulted building asbeing the actual Hanging Gardens, accounts by Straboplace the Hanging Gardens at anotherlocation, nearer the Euphrates River. Otherarchaeologists insist that since the vaulted building isthousands of feet from the Euphrates, it is too distantto support the original claims even if Strabo happenedto be wrong about the location. The latter teamreconstructed the site of the palace, placing theHanging Gardens in a zone running from the river tothe palace. Interestingly, on the banks of theEuphrates, a newly discovered, immense, 82-footthick wall may have been stepped to form terraceslike those mentioned by the ancient Greek sources.
HISTORIANS BELIEVEArchaeologists and historiansbelieve that the Hanging Gardens ofBabylon were not destroyed by anearthquake but by other minordisasters such as: erosion andwarfare. The huge constructionprobably started falling apart underthe influence of the weather. Armiesand other raiders could have beenfor its eventual destruction anddisappearance. After about 600 or700 years, the whole structure hadbeen levelled to the ground.
POSSIBILITYA more recent theory proposes thatthe gardens were actually constructedunder the orders of Sennacherib, whotook the throne of Assyria in 705 BC,reigning until 681 BC. During newstudies of the location of Nineveh(Located on the eastern bank of theTigris in ancient Assyria) his gardenswere placed close to the entrance ofhis palace, on the bank of the riverTigris. It is possible that in theintervening centuries, the two sitesbecame confused, and the hanginggardens were attributed to Babylon.
Nearly all the Greeks agreed that the Lighthouse should beincluded as one of the wonders of the world. It was built around 290 BCE on the Island of Pharos in the harbor of Alexandri a, Egypt.
It was a working lighthouse that helped ships find their way safely into harbor.It was also atourist attraction.
In ancient times, visitors could buy foodat the observation platform on the firstlevel.Anyone who wished to do could climbnearly to the top. There were not many places in the ancient world that visitors could climb a man-made structure, 300 feet up, to view the sea.
The Lighthouse atAlexandria stoodfor over 1500years.Scientists believe anearthquake toppedthe Lighthouseduring the 12thcentury CE, about250 years beforeColumbusdiscovered America!
LOCATION & ORIGIN The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, was located in Alexandria, Egypt. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC.
The library of Alexandria had many names because of itsgreatness and the number and variety of books it contained.It was named "the royal library of Alexandria, the GrandLibrary, or the great library of Alexandria. The library actedas a major center for science and culture for manycenturies.The design of the libraryThe design of the modern library of Alexandria consisted offour underground stores and six upper stores. The specialshape of the modern library of Alexandria is considered aspecial architectural germ.The oval shape of library from outside that is a symbol ofthe continuity of life as the sun comes out of the sea andgoes from the highest point till the lowest point overlookingthe sea. The library is sounded by a great wall that wasmade out of Aswan Granite and it contains writing andinscriptions in 120 languagesThe library is 10 stores height which have an oval shapecover with a radius of 60 meters. The library is divided intoreading sections which is 14.4 × 9.6 meters in size. Thelibrary was designed to last for two centuries but there arefears that this period might be exaggerated because of itscloseness to the sea.
The ancient Libraryof Alexandria in 300BC captured much of the world’s science by collecting over 700,000 papyrusscrolls giving birth to the first university.
What was the Ancient Libraryof Alexandria?*The most famous among allancient and medieval libraries*Largest library in all antiquity*Largest research institutionwell known by scholars fromall over the Mediterranean.Even after its disappearancesince 1600 years ago, itcontinues to survive in thememory of all scholars to thisday.
The Library•Built in the Brucheion (Royal Quarter) in the style ofAristotles Lyceum, adjacent to and in service of theMusaeum (a Greek Temple or "House of Muses", hence theterm "museum"), the library comprised a Peripatos walk,gardens, a room for shared dining, a reading room, lecturehalls and meeting rooms.•However, the exact layout is not known.•The library itself is known to have had an acquisitionsdepartment (possibly built near the stacks, or for utilitycloser to the harbour), and a cataloguing department.
A hall contained shelves for the collections of scrolls (as the books were at this time on papyrus scrolls), known as bibliothekai Legend has it that carved into the wall above the shelves was an inscription that read: The place of the cure of the soul. The first known library of its kind to gather a serious collection of books from beyond its countrys borders, the Library at Alexandria was charged with collecting all the worlds knowledge. It did so through an aggressive and well-funded royal mandate involving trips to the book fairs of Rhodes and Athens and a policy of pulling the books off every ship that came into port.
They kept the original texts and made copies to send back to their owners. This detail is informed by the fact that Alexandria, because of its man-made bidirectional port between the mainland and the Pharos island, welcomed trade from the East and West, and soon found itself the international hub for trade, as well as the leading producer of papyrus and, soon enough, books. Other than collecting works from the past, the library was also home to a host of international scholars, well- patronized by the Ptolemaic dynasty with travel, lodging and stipends for their whole families. As a research institution, the library filled its stacks with new works in mathematics, astronomy, physics, natural sciences and other subjects. Its empirical standards applied in one of the first and certainly strongest homes for serious textual criticism. As the same text often existed in several different versions, comparative textual criticism was crucial for ensuring their veracity. Once ascertained, canonical copies would then be made for scholars, royalty and wealthy bibliophiles the world over, this commerce bringing income to the library.
•It is now impossible to determine the collections size in any era withany certainty. Papyrus scrolls comprised the collection, and althoughparchment codices were used after 300 BC, the Alexandrian Library isnever documented as having switched to parchment, perhaps becauseof its strong links to the papyrus trade. (The Library of Alexandria infact had an indirect cause in the creation of writing parchment — due tothe librarys critical need for papyrus, little was exported and thus analternate source of copy material became essential.)•A single piece of writing might occupy several scrolls, and this divisioninto self-contained "books" was a major aspect of editorial work.• King Ptolemy II Philadelphus (309–246 BC) is said to have set500,000 scrolls as an objective for the library.•Mark Antony supposedly gave Cleopatra over 200,000 scrolls (takenfrom the great Library of Pergamum) for the library as a wedding gift,but this is regarded by some historians as a propagandist claim meantto show Antonys allegiance to Egypt rather than Rome.• No index of the library survives, and it is not possible to know withcertainty how large and how diverse the collection may have been. Forexample, it is likely that even if the Library of Alexandria had hundredsof thousands of scrolls (and thus perhaps tens of thousands ofindividual works), some of these would have been duplicate copies oralternate versions of the same texts.
A possibly apocryphal or exaggerated story concerns how the librarys collection grew so large. By decree of Ptolemy III of Egypt, all visitors to the city were required to surrender all books and scrolls, as well as any form of written media in any language in their possession which, according to Galen, were listed under the heading "books of the ships". Official scribes then swiftly copied these writings, some copies proving so precise that the originals were put into the library, and the copies delivered to the unsuspecting owners. This process also helped to create a reservoir of books in the relatively new city.
Ancient and modern sources identify four possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria: Caesars conquest in 48 BC The ancient accounts by Plutarch, Aulus Gellius, Ammianus Marcellinus, and Orosius agree that Caesar accidentally burned the library down during his visit to Alexandria in 48 BC. Attack of Aurelian, 3rd century The library seems to have been maintained and continued in existence until its contents were largely lost during the taking of the city by the Emperor Aurelian (270– 275), who was suppressing a revolt by Queen Zenobia of Palmyra (ruled Egypt AD 269–274). During the fighting, the areas of the city in which the main library was located were damaged.
Decree of Theodosius, destruction of the Serapeum in 391 Paganism was made illegal by an edict of the Emperor Theodosius I in 391. The holdings of the Great Library were on the precincts of pagan temples. While this had previously lent them a measure of protection, in the days of the Christian Roman Empire, whatever protection this had previously afforded them had ceased. The temples of Alexandria were closed by PatriarchTheophilus of Alexandria in AD 391. Arabic sources In 642, Alexandria was captured by the Muslim army of Amr ibn al `Aas. There are five Arabic sources, all at least 500 years after the supposed events, which mention the fate of the library. Abdl Latif of Baghdad(1162–1231) states that the library of Alexandria was destroyed by Amr, by the order of the Caliph Omar. The story is also found in Al-Qifti (1172– 1248), History of Learned Men, from whom Bar Hebraeus copied the story.
The longest version of the story is in the Syriac Christian author Bar- Hebraeus (1226–1286), also known as Abul Faraj. He translated extracts from his history, the Chronicum Syriacum into Arabic, and added extra material from Arab sources. In this Historia Compendiosa Dynastiarum he describes a certain "John Grammaticus" (490–570) asking Amr for the "books in the royal library". Amr writes to Omar for instructions, and Omar replies: "If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them." Al-Maqrizi (1364–1442) also mentions the story briefly, while speaking of the Serapeum. There is also a story in Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) which tells that Omar made a similar order about Persian books.
PARTHIAN EMPIRE The Parthian empire was the most enduring of the empires of the ancient Near East. After the Parni nomads had settled in Parthia and had built a small independent kingdom, they rose to power under king Mithradates the Great (171-138 BCE). The Parthian empire occupied all of modern Iran, Iraq and Armenia, parts of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and -for brief periods- territories in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. The end of this loosely organized empire came in 224 CE, when the last king was defeated by one ofA barrel vaulted iwan at the their vassals, the Persians of the entrance of Hatra Sassanid dynasty.
BRIEF HISTORY When Alexander died in 323 B.C., he had conquered the great Achaemenid empire, which stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to India. His successor as ruler of Syria, Mesopotamia, and Iran was one of his generals, Seleucus I, who established the Seleucid dynasty. Along the trade routes that linked ancient and newly established cities, Hellenistic art and culture, a fusion of the various Near Eastern and classical Greek traditions, permeated the Near Eastern world. While in the west the Seleucids faced the Ptolemies, Alexanders successors in Egypt, in the east, a seminomadic confederacy, the Parni, were on the move.
BRIEF HISTORY Parni’s advanced from NE Iran toward the frontier of the Seleucid satrapy of Parthia, near Caspian Sea. In ca.250 B.C., they launched an invasion under their leader Arsaces. The Parthians as they were known after conquering Parthia they made their own imperial aspirations clear by instituting a dynastic era in 247 B.C., and subsequent rulers assumed the name Arsaces as a royal title. 185 B.C. – Parthians expand into eastern Iran Under Mithradates I (r. ca. 171–139 B.C.) and his successors, the Parthians grew into the dominant power in the Near East . The Romans, who were ambitious to dominate the Near East in the style of Alexander, underestimated the capabilities of the Parthian kings and had to negotiate peace under Augustus.
Parthia, now impoverished and without any hope to recover theBRIEF HISTORY lost territories, was demoralized. The kings had to do more concessions to the nobility, andDecline And Fall the vassal kings sometimesRoman emperor Trajan decided to refused to obey. In 224 CE, theinvade Parthia. In 114 CE and the Persian vassal king ArdaširParthians were severely beaten. TheRomans conquered Armenia, and revolted. Two years later, he tookCtesiphon, and established new Ctesiphon, and this time, it meantprovinces in Assyria and Babylonia.However, rebellions broke out. At the the end of Parthia.same time, the diasporic Jews revoltedand Trajan was forced to send an army Parthia, impoverished & without ato suppress them. hope to recover the lostNonetheless, it was clear that the territories, was demoralized. TheRomans had learned how to beat theParthians. Thirty years later King kings had to do more concessionsVologases V tried reconquering to the nobility, and the vassalMesopotamia during a Roman civil war(193 CE), but when general Septimius kings sometimes refused to obey.Severus was master of the empire, he In 224 CE, the Persian vassal kingattacked Parthia. Ctesiphon wascaptured (198 CE), and large spoils Ardašir revolted. Two years later,were brought to Rome. he took Ctesiphon, and this time, it meant the end of Parthia.
GEOGRAPHY The core land areas of ancient Parthia lay between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and its boundaries included all of modern Iran and contained portions of what are now modern Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azarbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. These borders moved fluidly during the reign of the Arsacids, and areas to the west as far as Gaza and Palestine at one time fell under Parthian rule. There are four basic land regions in Iran: • The mountains - cover almost one-fourth of Iran, and most of the people in Iran live in the mountain area. The valleys among the mountains are the main area of agriculture production • The desert • The Caspian Sea coast - extends in a narrow strip between Alborz mountains and the sea. Almost all of Irans forests are located there. It is the only region in Iran with heavy rainfall • The Khuzestan plain The area covered by ancient Parthia, which roughly corresponds to modern Iran, was approximately 648,000 square miles
CULTURE The empire was a part of Achaemenid Empire & Religion later Seleucid Empire. The Parthians worshiped the So it was influenced by cult of Mithra. Which spread both Achaemeind and to entire Roman Empire, its Greek in Parthian rituals festivals etc. culture. absorbed into Christianity. It is also believed that This can be seen clearly Parthians widely practiced through their arts. Zoroastrianism
ART Parthian art can be divided into three geo-historical phases: the art of Parthia proper; the art of the Iranian plateau; and the art of Parthian Mesopotamia. The first genuine Parthian art, found at Nisa, combined elements of Greek and Iranian art in line with Achaemenid and Seleucid traditions. In the second phase, Parthian art found inspiration in Achaemenid art, as exemplified by the investiture relief of Mithridates II at Mount Behistun.The third phase occurred gradually after the Parthian conquest of
ART Common motifs of the Parthian period include scenes of royal hunting expeditions and the investiture of Arsacid kings. Common art mediums were rock-reliefs, frescos, and even graffiti. Geometric and stylized plant patterns were also used on stucco and plaster walls.
ARCHITECTURE Parthian architecture was characterized by the use of sun-dried or kiln-baked bricks, with vaults to roof the buildings. The Parthians developed the iwan, an open-fronted vaulted hall. They are often covered with carved stucco reliefs, some of the finest examples of which are found at Uruk and Ashur. The palace at Ashur has the earliest example of four iwans opening onto a central square. This form of architecture supplanted Hellenistic styles in Iraq and Iran, and was adopted by the Sasanians and continued to set the model for architecture in the early Islamic period. While glaze was used on vessels and even coffins in the Parthian period, little architectural evidence exists of glazed brick. On vessels and other glazed items, turquoise and light green glaze were the most popular colours. Fresco painting was more popular for the decoration of buildings. An architectural form known as ogee to Europeans and zigzag molding to Iranian architects, is of Parthian origin. Parthian architects constructed palace walls with cut stones. They also used stucco to render the walls. The themes of their stuccos were geometrical lines and floral designs. In stone carving, a popular theme was equestrian statues in relief.
NISA Nisa was an ancient city, located near present day Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Nisa is described by some as one of the first capitals of the Parthians. It was traditionally founded by Arsaces I (reigned c. 250 BC–211 BC), and was reputedly the royal necropolis of the Parthian kings, although it has not been established that the fortress at Nisa was either a royal residence nor a mausoleum.
NISA The archaeological site consists of two distinct complexes, New Nisa and Old Nisa. The excavations carried out here have established that New Nisa was one of the most important cities of the region, which flourished from at least the Parthian period until the Middle Ages, while Old Nisa contains within its strong towered ramparts a series of monumental and service buildings which constituted a ceremonial center for the rulers of the Arsacid dynasty
EXCAVATIONS IN NISAGeneral view of the excavations General view of Nisa, east to west
EXCAVATIONS IN NISA ROUND HALL OF NISA VIEW OF SQUARE HALL
CTESIPHON The historically important site of Ctesiphon, about 30 km to the south east of Baghdad, was built by the Parthian Persians on the east side of the Tigris from Seleucia in the middle of the 2nd century BC.
ZHAHAK CASTEL Zahhak Castle is a castle or citadel in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. It is named after Zahhak, a figure in Persian mythology. Zahhak Castle has been unearthed slowly by archaeologists who have discovered that different parts of the castle were built in later periods. The castle with 10km length, 1-3km width and height of 150-250m includes a square shaped hall made of bricks built during the Parthia period.
ZHAHAK CASTEL The castle has a 11X11m square-shaped hall, walls 2.5m thick, and 4 entrances to 4 corridors built with bricks, decorated with beautiful plasterworks of human, vegetation and geometrical designs. During this time, Zoroastrianism was the religion of the ruling kings, who likely used part of the castle for a fire temple.
HATRA Hatra, it seems things started with a smallish Assyrian settlement which then grew sometime in the 3rd century BC to become a fortress and a trading center. In the 2nd century BC, it flourished as a major staging-post on the famous oriental silk road.
Hatra is the best preserved and mostHATRA informative example of a Parthian city. It is encircled by inner and outer walls nearly 4 miles (6.4 km) in circumference and supported by more than 160 towers. Atemenos surrounds the principal sacred buildings in the city’s centre. The temples cover some 1.2 hectares and are dominated by the Great Temple, an enormous structure with vaults and columns that once rose to 30 metres. The city was famed for its fusion of Greek, Mesopotamian, Syrian & Arabian pantheons. The city had temples to Nergal (Babylonian and Akkadian), Hermes (Greek), Atargatis (Syro- Aramaean), Allat and Shamiyyah (Ar abian) and Shamash (the Mesopotamian sun god)