Minggu, 26 Desember 2010

The 'Land of Israel' History

In Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty about 1300BC, Habiru nomadic tribesmen were taken to Egypt as forced labor on building projects. During the reign of Ramesses II (1304-1237BC), Moses led twelve tribes--each believed to be descended from a great-grandson of Abraham--back to the Levant.

This became a revered tradition--the Exodus--among the Israelites, Moses's chosen people. While wandering they forged a collective faith and identity, and received Mosaic Law on Mount Sinai.

They then invaded the peaceful land of milk and honey, Canaan, with great slaughter.

Another map from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows the supposed extent, some few hundred years later, of the Kingdoms of David and Solomon.

Their description: "King David ruled Israel from 990 BCE to 968 BCE; and his son Solomon ruled after him until 928 BCE. David enlarged his kingdom and brought it to the peak of political and military power. Solomon "ruled over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River from Tiphsah to Gaza; he was at peace with all his neighbors" (I Kings, 4:24)."

The entire 'David/Solomon Empire' lasted just 62 years.

Note that the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers that 'Modern Israel' fills the entire area of British-Mandated Palestine.
This rather more realistic map of the southern Levant, c.830 BC, shows the multitude of small states that actually ruled the area.
The Philistine and Phoenician city-states, the kingdoms of Aram-Damascus, Ammon, Moab and Edom all existed during the time of David and Solomon, and for a long time after, but an Israeli propaganda map always has to show the wishful thinking of an aggressive state that then, as now, invaded all its neighbours.

With the rise of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires in Mesopotamia, some of the inhabitants of Judah and Israel were taken into captivity in Mesopotamia, to the East.

The two separate nations of Israel in the north with capital at Samaria, and Judah in the south with capital at Jerusalem, went downhill at separate rates.

Israel went into paganism first and God allowed them to be taken captive in two separate waves by the Assyrians.

The Israelites never returned.

I'm sorry, I'll read that again....

The Israelites never returned.
Judah worshipped God a little longer, but God sent the Babylonians to take them into captivity about 120 years after Israel. Some Jews returned after 70 years to rebuild Jerusalem.

But enough remained in Mesopotamia for Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, to say, 700 years later, about 100AD: "The ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers."
Around 200 BC some of the returned Jews lived as an autonomous people in the land of Israel, referred to, by most, as Judea, which at that time was controlled by the Seleucid king of Syria. The Jewish people paid taxes to Syria and accepted its legal authority, and by and large were free to follow their own faith, maintain their own jobs, and engage in trade.

By 175 BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes ascended to the Seleucid throne. At first little changed, but under his reign, the Temple in Jerusalem was looted, Jews were massacred, and Judaism was effectively outlawed. In 167 BC Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple.
The king may have been intervening in an internal civil war between the traditionalist Jews in the country and the Hellenized elite Jews in Jerusalem. These competed violently over who would be the High Priest, with traditionalists with Hebrew/Aramaic like Onias overthrown by Hellenizers with Greek names like Jason and Menelaus. As the conflict escalated, Antiochus took the side of the Hellenizers by prohibiting the religious practices the traditionalists had rallied around. This may explain why the king, in a total departure from Seleucid practice in all other places and times, banned the traditional religion of a whole people.

Antiochus' actions provoked a large-scale revolt. Mattathias, a Jewish priest, and his five sons Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah led a rebellion against Antiochus. Judah became known as Judah Maccabee ("Judah the Hammer"). There's an almost drinkable Israeli beer, and a football tem, named after him.

By 166 BC Mattathias had died, and Judah took his place as leader. By 165 BC the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful. The Temple was 'liberated'.

The festival of Hanukkah was instituted by Judah Maccabee and his brothers to celebrate this event. After recovering Jerusalem and the Temple, Judah ordered it to be cleansed, a new altar to be built in place of the polluted one and new holy vessels to be made. According to the Talmud, oil was needed for the menorah in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. But there was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight-day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Nowadays, Hannukah is about as religious a festival as Christmas, and just about as holy.

By Jesus Christ's time, the Holy Land had become the Kingdom of Herod (30 BCE to 70 CE).
King Herod, an Edomite, was Rome's puppet king of Israel from 40 BCE to 4 BCE. He conquered the kingdom from the Hasmoneans. When Augustus became Caesar in the year 30 BCE, Herod convinced him of his loyalty, and Augustus rewarded him by adding Jericho, the coastal region south of Dor and the region east of the Sea of Galilee. In 23 BCE, he was given the Bashan, Horen, and Tarchon regions, and three years later, the Golan Heights.

Herod, of course, was the bloke who massacred the innocents and rebuilt the Temple. The foundations of that grandiose scheme are those worshipped by modern Jews at the Wailing Wall.

Then the Romans took over. In 70AD, the Jews revolted against them, and were treated like any other colonised people who ever became revolting.

The remaining Jews tried again. In 132, a revolt led by Bar Kokhba quickly spread across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Jerusalem.
Simon Bar Kokhba took the title Nasi Israel (ruler or prince of Israel) - a century earlier a certain JC was crucified with INRI - King of Israel above his head.

The Bar-Kokhba Revolt was of decisive historic importance. The massive destruction and loss of life occasioned by the revolt has led some scholars to date the beginning of the Jewish diaspora from this date. They note that, unlike the aftermath of the First Jewish-Roman War chronicled by Josephus, the majority of the Jewish population of Judea was either killed, exiled, or sold into slavery after the Bar-Kokhba Revolt, and Jewish religious and political authority was suppressed far more brutally. After the revolt the Jewish religious center shifted to the Babylonian Jewish community and its scholars.

Judea would not be a center of Jewish religious, cultural, or political life again until the modern era, though Jews continued to live there and important religious developments still occurred there.

Although: in Galilee, the Jerusalem Talmud was compiled in the 2nd–4th centuries. Eventually, Safed became known as a center of Jewish learning, especially Kabbalah in the 15th century.

So the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs comes up with yet another map, showing Jewish presence in the intervening centuries before modern times.

Their description says:
"Jewish Communities in the Land of Israel (7th - 11th Centuries)After the death of Emperor Julian II, in 363 CE, most of the Jewish settlements in the south were destroyed. The Jews remained mainly in the Galilee and in the larger cities.

This is pure propaganda, designed deliberately to make you feel that poor Jews were persecuted in their own ancient homeland.
What a bunch of absolute codswallop.

Thousands of Jews were the intellectual stars of Andalucia, in Spain, fully adopted by the sympathetic Moslems.
They were just about as persecuted as Presbyterians or Mormons in the USA.
Mark Cohen, Norman Stillman, Uri Avnery, M. Klien and Bernard Lewis opine that antisemitism in pre-modern Islam is rare, and did not emerge until modern times. Lewis argues that there is little sign any deep-rooted emotional hostility directed against Jews, or any other group, that can be characterized as antisemitism. There were, however, clearly negative attitudes, which were in part the "normal" feelings of a dominant group towards subject groups (which exists in virtually any society). More specifically, the contempt consisted of Muslim contempt for disbelievers. Wikipedia

Al-Andalus (Arabic: الأندلس al-andalus) was the Arabic name given to those parts of the Iberian Peninsula governed by Muslims, or Moors, at various times in the period between 711 and 1492. It refers to the Umayyad Caliphate province (711-750), Emirate of Córdoba (c. 750-929) and Caliphate of Córdoba (929-1031) and its "taifa" ("successor") kingdoms.
The first period of exceptional prosperity took place under the reign of Abd ar-Rahman III (882-942), the first independent Caliph of Cordoba. The inauguration of the Golden Age is closely identified with the career of his Jewish councillor, Hasdai ibn Shaprut (882-942). Originally a court physician, Shaprut's official duties went on to include the supervision of customs and foreign trade. It was in his capacity as dignitary that he corresponded with the kingdom of the Khazars, who had converted to Judaism in the 8th century.
With Hasdai as its leading patron, Cordoba became the "Mecca of Jewish scholars who could be assured of a hospitable welcome from Jewish courtiers and men of means"
During this period the achievements of Sephardic culture, which were in large measure a synthesis of different Jewish traditions, in turn enriched those other cultures to which it was indebted. Perhaps most notable of Sephardic achievements which occurred during and following Hasdai's time were in the literary and linguistic fields.
Hasdai brought a number of men of letters to Cordoba, including Dunash ben Labrat (innovator of Hebrew metrical poetry), Menahem ben Saruq (compiler of the first Hebrew dictionary, which came into wide use among the Jews of Germany and France), and philologist Dunash ben Labrat. Celebrated poets of this era include Solomon ibn Gabirol, Yehuda Halevi, Samuel Ha-Nagid ibn Nagrela, and Abraham and Moses ibn Ezra.

Jews also formed large respected and influential groups in Baghdad, Cairo, Tripoli, Tunisia, and Morocco, besides Spain, and began to move eastwards through Europe, towards the Rhine, the westward limit of Mittel-European barbarian tribes.
That's as far as Sephardi Jews ever went. They were met, around there, by Ashkenazi 'Jews' but that's a different story altogether.


"the Dude" said...
Richard, take a look at my blog post here: the town of Dedan, Arabia, aka La Ula, did you ever get over to that area? It used to be part of the Edom & Nabatean region, has some nice Petra-like ruins nearby. I'm wondering if there's a nice beach or if it's a desert oasis. Did you ever get over to Mount Carmel and see the neandertal caves? I've never had any interest in going to Jerusalem, but the Sea of Gallilee would be a nice inland place. I still think the Palesrael concept is cool, maybe the Bahai ARC complex could be a royal palace, that's on Mount Carmel, google it, pretty spiffy. But I'd really rather be diving on some tropical beach instead of chilling up here at the rainy redwood coast of Nor Calif. alas

Ancient Ships in art history: The Ceremonial Uses of Ships in ancient Egypt and Egyptian art

ceremonial boat in Ancient Egypt
Egyptian Wall panel Showing funeral shrine on a boat Relief in a tomb showing Egyptian ceremonial shrine carried on a river boat Circa 1500 BCE. 
During one of the greatest archeological finds in Egyptian History, in 1922 Howard Carter found similar  shrines and boat  models in Tutankhamen’s tomb. The symbols on the side of the Shrine shown on this relief sculpture are the same as were used in the Burial shrines of Tutankhamen. This indicates the Iconography was probably a standard convention used in Egyptian Art and funerary decorum during this historical time frame ancient Egypt.
Panel from the Egyptian book of the dead Illustration from the Egyptian Book of the Dead with funerary shrine and ceremonial ship taking the deceased to the afterlife. Papyrus  credited to the 18th Dynasty 1550 -1307 BCE
Moon Barque From the tomb of Tutankhamun Egyptian Art: Wall painting from the tomb of Menna Middle Egyptian Period
Solar Boat Pectorals from the Tutankhamen Tomb
Early in Egyptian history the ship was embraced symbolically and in allegory in union with the cycle of the sun as a natural reflection of the cycle of life.   This concept in their mythology can be paraphrased "As the sun is the spirit of the day as a man’s spirit is the light of his life. " In Egyptian art the sun was shown as carried through the sky on a solar barque, and mans spirit was shown to travel the afterlife in a spiritual barque. This remained a theme in funerary art for thousands of years and was often expressed universally in cultures related to seafaring.
Egytian history of ceremonial boats Wall paintings showing ships and boats from the tomb of Menna.
Menna was an Egyptian noble who lived in the 18th Dynasty either during the reign of Tuthmosis IV or that of his successor, Amenophis III.  Akhenaten was Co-regent with Amenophis III and his successor. This was approximately 1350BCE.  
Egyptian history : Ceremonial Barque made fo electrum and gold Barque of Ahotep
Was the Ark of the Covenant an archetype of the Egyptian Ceremonial Funerary Shrines depicted in Egyptian art? Attempting to put Biblical accounts of the Ark into a larger historical context has proven to be a tremendous stimulus for research and comparative   analysis. The desire to determine the likely appearance of the Ark of the Covenant lead me to attempt to determine the basis for and nature of the major cultural achievements of the Hebrews from the time of the Exodus from ancient Egypt, circa 1220 BCE, until the Assyrian Captivity of the Hebrews in 586 BCE. One aspect of the Ark that became evident when examining its scriptural descriptions was the Ark was itself an archetype of a portable ceremonial shrine.  The basic concept was a desert going transport vehicle modeled after the portable shrines Egyptians used in ceremony and ritual.  For a more detailed description see the iconography of the “Ark Of The Covenant” .   It can be argued that the installation of the Ark of the Covenant to the first temple in Jerusalem was considered one of the pinnacle events in the history of the Ark and the coming of age of the Hebrew culture as a political power in the eastern Mediterranean. The central government responsible for this achievement was that of Solomon.
One area of interest, which is key to the story of Solomon, was the fact that he was credited with having employed a large Naval force. In addition to Solomon’s NavySolomon's Navy traded with Egypt  he is credited with being a shrewd diplomat having alliances to the Sheba, Egypt  and Phoenicia  All of theses cultures were  known to have had extensive seafaring capabilities.  Sheba  alone at this time in history was credited with having over 400 ships in their fleet of trading vessels. Solomon is also credited with having been successful in diplomacy and trade with the majority of his neighbors. A prime example of this diplomacy was mentioned in 1 Kings Chapter 5.  Which relates his alliance with the ruler of Tyre, which was the chief seaport of the Phoenicians at that time. It was these key alliances in trade, diplomacy and the ability to keep the peace that lead to the apparent success of his administration. Other trade alliances credited to Solomon were, Chittim, Ophir and Tarshish. Add to this list of countries from which Solomon took wives he can truly be said to be an international figure. Israel was located at the crossroads of the Levant. The historic records from Egyptian history and other contemporary cultures before and leading up to the time of Solomon show this geographic region to have been a very volatile area and was usually governed as a vassal state of one of the more prominent powers in the Region.  It is apparent from these records that the region had fallen into political turmoil after the onset of invasions by the Sea Peoples against Egypt in 1250 BCE. The early invasions exploits of Merneptah 1224-1210 BCE    against the Sea Peoples are recorded at Karnak. The later invasions were repulsed during the rule of Rameses III and recorded at Mendinet Habu in graphic detail. Egypt’s influence, political and military dominance was not asserted again until the Palestinian campaign of Shishak 1 following the reign of Solomon in 941 BCE.  This was the same historic time frame in which the Hebrews Colonized the Levant according to the Biblical account.  See Timelines and Events. The concept that Solomon had and maintained a naval force is key to understanding the success of his administration. Without understanding the extent to which sea trade effected the economy of the Eastern Mediterranean nations it would be difficult to understand much at all about the diplomacy of this historic time frame. One of the most interesting stories that suggests the extent of travel and trade that occurred in the prehistoric era is the Milesian Myth of the Irish. This myth is considered to be legend and falls outside of the classification of history but the story line intimates the extent to which travel, trade and colonization may have occurred in the ancient world.  One account of this story attributes Milesius to be the brother in law of Solomon. This would be the case if both were married to the daughters of the same Egyptian Pharaoh, considering each had Egyptian wives. By this account travel and trade occurred between the British Isles, the Spanish Coast, the Mediterranean Island Nations, the Northern Black Sea, and the eastern Mediterranean coasts to Egypt as early as 1700BCE.  The Irish Milesians are not to be confused with the Miletian Greeks from Lydia. It is tempting to indulge in conjecture that although we do no have a reliable written record to verify this extensive travel did indeed occur. Navigation was accomplished not in the open ocean but primarily by short hops along and within view of coastlines.  For merchant ships powered by sail a daily sailing effort would have covered fro 50 to 75 miles under good conditions. Travel and extended trade may have been more prevalent than conservative estimates suggest. The best archeology confirming the extent of travel and trading patterns are the Uluburun Bronze Age Shipwreck  and shipwreck at Cape Gelidonya on the Turkish coast. Both cargos contain Egyptian art which suggests trading patterns that covered a wide territory including the Aegean Island Nations, parts of Africa and the Middle East. Written records verify trading patterns of the Egyptians included travel through the Red Sea to sub-Saharan Africa as far a Somalia, along the western coast as early 2450BCE. The fact that trade was conducted south makes it easy to speculate that similar length journeys would have been made into Mediterranean basin. The most adventuresome of estimates suggest that the Negroid features found on sculptures in Messo-America are due to the fact Africans did indeed arrive by sea in the western hemisphere as early as 1700BCE. Considering the fact that the history of the Levant indicates that it was generally void of strong civil government from the time of the Exodus until the time of Solomon, the ability of his administration to maintain the peace, conduct adequate diplomacy for trade and to guarantee the safety of his kingdom was nothing less than a formidable task. Solomon according to Biblical accounts had strong diplomatic and trading relationships with Hiram the ruler of the city state of Tyre in Phoenicia, the foremost seafaring nation in the Eastern Mediterranean. These relationships were beneficial to Israel to the extent that this foreign king assisted Solomon in the creation of a naval force. This piqued my curiosity as to the likely appearance and structure of the naval forces of Solomon and to find out what seafaring technologies were available at the time to put a naval force to sea. This file is an overview of the iconography of ships, naval technologies and developments in antiquity leading up to and encompassing the time of Solomon Circa 1000BCE. The ships and boating illustrated here are my findings from the Internet.  This material will be incorporated into a larger work called ”Discovering the Historic Solomon” which will highlight the various crafts and technologies in the Eastern Mediterranean region, where they were developed and how they may have been applied in the Levant by the early Hebrew Culture. These files constitute an overview of the Iconography of the ship from the earliest recorded history and a display of the modern models and illustrations of ancient ships.
This map of the Indian Ocean and the China Sea was engraved in 1728 by the Hungarian-born Ottoman cartographer and publisher Ibrahim Müteferrika; it is one of a series that illustrated Kâtib Çelebi’s Cihannuma (Universal Geography), the first printed book of maps and drawings to appear in the Islamic world.

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