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Stone Age site challenges old archaeological assumptions about human technology

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 24, 2015

The artifacts were discovered in 2008, after the Armenian military bulldozed a road and uncovered the ancient stone tools.https://aratta.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/e216c-stone-tools_02.png?w=440&h=853
This image shows Levallois and biface tools.</p>
<p>Credit: Royal Holloway, University of London

Levallois and biface tools.

The Lower to Middle Paleolithic transition (~400,000 to 200,000 years ago) is marked by technical, behavioral, and anatomical changes among hominin populations throughout Africa and Eurasia.

The replacement of bifacial stone tools, such as handaxes, by tools made on flakes detached from Levallois cores documents the most important conceptual shift in stone tool production strategies since the advent of bifacial technology more than one million years earlier and has been argued to result from the expansion of archaic Homo sapiens out of Africa.

Levallois technology is the name for the stone knapping technique used to create tools thousands of years ago. The technique appeared in the archeological record across Eurasia 200 to 300 thousand years ago (ka) and appeared earlier in Africa.

Adler et al. challenge the hypothesis that the technique’s appearance in Eurasia was the result of the expansion of hominins from Africa. Levallois obsidian artifacts in the southern Caucasus, dated at 335 to 325 ka, are the oldest in Eurasia.

This suggests that Levallois technology may have evolved independently in different hominin populations. Stone technology cannot thus be used as a reliable indicator of Paleolithic human population change and expansion.

Our data from Nor Geghi 1, Armenia, record the earliest synchronic use of bifacial and Levallois technology outside Africa and are consistent with the hypothesis that this transition occurred independently within geographically dispersed, technologically precocious hominin populations with a shared technological ancestry.

An early assemblage of obsidian artifacts

Stone Age site challenges old archaeological assumptions about human technology

Ancient Stone Toolmaking Evolved Multiple Times Across Continents

A new discovery of thousands of Stone Age tools

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The origin of obsidian

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 24, 2015

Lipari-Obsidienne (5).jpg

Obsidian

Obsidian, a black volcanic glass, was first recognized by Colin Renfrew and his colleagues J.E. Dixon and J.R. Cann in the 1960s as a uniquely sensitive indicator of prehistoric trade, both because of the great desirability of this material before the use of metals, and also because the trace-elements it contains are usually diagnostic of individual sources.

Work on Near Eastern obsidian in the Neolithic period has been a particular focus of interest, and a summary of current results has been published by M.-C. Cauvin et al., L’obsidienne au Proche et Moyen Orient: du volcan à l’outil (Oxford: BAR Int. Ser. 738), from which the information in the following maps has been extracted.

They indicate a remarkable story, from limited circulation (though still over impressive distances) by late-Pleistocene hunter-gatherers, to its increasing use by the first farming communities – initially distributed along a few axial routes but then flowing through a more reticulated network.

The maps are particularly useful since they indicate the flows of material from two major source-areas, initially separate but increasingly inter-penetrating. (Obsidian from other sources, e.g. around Lake Van and in the Transcaucasus, is not shown).

The Obsidian Trade in the Near East, 14,000 to 6500 BC

Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock. It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth. It is commonly found within the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flows, where the chemical composition (high silica content) induces a high viscosity and polymerization degree of the lava.

The history of obsidian merges with the history of early man . This volcanic glass was among the preferred raw materials from the Paleolithic , both for its technical qualities for the realization of effective tools, that for its aesthetic qualities. It will spread very locally first, then will accompany the colonization of new territories, and the creation of new trade roads.

The physico-chemical properties of obsidian allowed an identification of the sources and traceability by prehistorians of the human movements, exchanges of material, goods and expertise.

The oldest traces of use of obsidian on the Mediterranean rim dated Upper Paleolithic , and are found in caves on the southwest coast of Anatolia. The main sources identified are in Cappadocia, with Gollu Dag, Nenezi Dag and Nemrut Dag . It is found in Neolithic sites , as Catalhöyük. Obsidian from Anatolian volcanoes will travel south to Palestine, and west to Crete .

The currently available material on the market has its origin from the eastern part of Europe. It comes from the Caucasian mountains in Armenia where – for the time being – the sole important deposit is located. This place offers a great variety of different obsidian types but the Midnight Lace Obsidian is for sure the most spectacular one.

The first archaeological evidence known of usage were made from within Kariandusi and other sites of the Acheulian age (beginning 1.5 million years previously) dated 700,000 BC, although the number of objects found at these sites were very low relative to the Neolithic.

Obsidian was valued in Stone Age cultures because, like flint, it could be fractured to produce sharp blades or arrowheads. Like all glass and some other types of naturally occurring rocks, obsidian breaks with a characteristic conchoidal fracture. It was also polished to create early mirrors. Modern archaeologists have developed a relative dating system, obsidian hydration dating, to calculate the age of obsidian artifacts.

Obsidian is a volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock (SiO2 as main component ranging between 66% and 75%) that was used by Neolithic people (around 10000–3500 BC.) as a raw material in the manufacture of stone tools such as weapons tips, knives, or other cutting tools through a sophisticated chopping elaboration. Basically, obsidian can be found in locations which have experienced rhyolitic eruptions such as the Middle East and the Mediterranean area.

Almost all of the obsidian used to craft stone tools in the Near East from the Palaeolithic onward originated from volcanoes in two geographic regions: Central Anatolia and Eastern Anatolia. Anatolian sources of obsidian are known to have been the material used in the Levant and the Armenian Highland from a time beginning sometime about 12,500 BC.

Five decades of obsidian sourcing has led to the view that Central Anatolian obsidians largely followed the Mediterranean coast and rarely reached farther east than the Middle Euphrates, whereas Eastern Anatolian sources almost exclusively supplied sites east of the Euphrates.

Most (97%) of the obsidians at the Bronze-Age site of Tell Mozan (Urkesh) in northeastern Syria came from the Eastern Anatolian sources, as expected from established distribution models. Artefacts of Central Anatolian obsidian, however, were excavated from one wellconstrained context: the deposits on a palace courtyard that date to the height of the Akkadian empire’s influence at this third-millennium Hurrian religious and political centre. In particular, the obsidian came from the Kömürcü source of Göllü Daǧ. This obsidian might have “piggybacked” on the distribution of Central Anatolian metals or arrived at this city as royal gifts or prestige items.

Obsidian extracted from two regions, Central Anatolia and Eastern Anatolia were widely diffused in the Near-East. These raw materials were transported over hundreds of kilometers the most probably through exchange networks.

The first attested civilized use is from excavations at Tell Brak, a tell or settlement mound, in the Upper Khabur area in Al-Hasakah Governorate, northeastern Syria, dated the late fifth millennia. Acigöl town and the Göllü Dağ volcano were the most important sources in central Anatolia, one of the more important source areas in prehistoric Near East.

In around ca. 6000–4200 B.C the Shulaveri-Shomu and other Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Southern Caucasus use local obsidian for tools, raise animals such as cattle and pigs, and grow crops, including grapes.

Many of the characteristic traits of the Shulaverian material culture (circular mudbrick architecture, pottery decorated by plastic design, anthropomorphic female figurines, obsidian industry with an emphasis on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic (Hassuna, Halaf).

The settlement of Aratashen, situated about 25 km west of Yerevan and 5 km south-west of Vagharshapat (Echmiadzine), is positioned in a loop of the river Kasakh, which flows into the Arax a few kilometres to the south. This habitation site, of which the stratigraphy is now well understood, covers the Chalcolithic and Neolithic phases of the regional culture of the Ararat plain (5900-5600 BC).

The Arteni complex is situated at a most important crossroads that had always traversed Armenia: from west to east, from Turkey to Nakhicevan, via the Araxes basin and the Ararat plain, and from south to north connecting the Araxes basin with Georgia and Kars, via the Akhurian valley and the Shirak plain.
The obsidians from the Pokr Arteni deposit and from the Aragats flow, in particular, are very abundant and of exceptionally high quality.

This obsidian has been exploited at least since the Middle Palaeolithic (or Mousterian) since bifaces have been recovered at several places on the slopes of Satani Dar and Pokr Arteni. These deposits are still exploited today. Dynamite, unfortunately, is used to extract blocs to prepare different objects, such as jewelry, figurines, and ashtrays.

Arteni obsidian was intensively exploited from the Neolithic period to the Iron Age, but mainly at a regional scale. Settlements on which more than 50% of the obsidian (up to 80%) belonged to this Pokr Arteni I group were tightly distributed up to 60 km. to the southeast of the source on the Ararat plain and c. 30-35 km. to the north of the source on the Shirak basin.

One of the most remarkable stone-tool types in the Old World Prehistory is the long and regular blades made by pressure with a lever and used in agricultural activities in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods.

The advanced and highly specialised technology required to produce these standardised blades defies the general idea that stone technology became less important in the Late Prehistory and later almost insignificant with the advent of metal tools.

So in the state of our present knowledge of the pressure technique using a lever, the super-blades made on local obsidian by the inhabitants of Aratashen would seem to be one of the oldest specimens to have been identified (that is nearly 2000 years before lever pressure is known from their neighbours of Northern Mesopotamia/ Canaanean blades) and one of the only example of this technique applied on obsidian.

In fact, this technique is known on flint in several Old World cultures: the Chalcolithic of Portugal, Sardinia, France (Toulouse region), Northern Mesopotamia, Bulgaria (Varna culture) and the early Neolithic in Greece.

Obsidian of the eastern islands come from Melos , with two nearshore sources , Dhemenegaki and Sta Nychia, exploited since the 11 millennium BCE. This Melos obsidian will circulate in the Aegean Sea between 11 ° and 8 ° millennium, certifying maritime trade between pre- Neolithic communities . Then she found in various parts of the Greek mainland and Knossos in Crete.

Obsidian from Giali, less favorable to the production of tools, only appears in the eight millennium , before being used as a semi- precious material at the 2nd millennium, by the Minoans in Crete .

In the western Mediterranean , obsidian is found in thousands of prehistoric sites , along an arc going from the eastern Maghreb , to Italy , southern France and of Catalonia , as well as in large islands , Sicily, Sardinia , Corsica, and the Aeolian archipelago . Exchanges are limited to coastal areas, and exceptionally more than 200 km. from the shore.

The main sources are in Sardinia, the Monte Arci volcanic complex , and three islanders sites : Pantelleria , Lipari in the Aeolian, and Palmarola in the Pontine Islands.

In Pantelleria , the main sources are Balata dei Turchi , south of the island, and Lagio di Venere , north -east . In Lipari, the obsidian is located in the lava flow of Gabellot , while at Palmarola , it comes from the Monte Tramontana and Punta Vardella .

Use of obsidian in pottery of the Neolithic in the area around Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the northern coast of Sicily, and the name of the island’s main town, was found to be significantly less at a distance representing two weeks journeying.

The obsidian of Lipari will spread in the Neolithic to Sicily and Calabria, Puglia and then to the Adriatic , even further north, in Friuli and the south of France. The obsidian of Palmarolla will travel to the Apennines, central Italy , Liguria and the south of France. From Sardinia, it will end up in Corsica and Tuscany. Obsidian from Pantelleria will spread further south to the neighboring islands and the coasts of eastern Maghreb.

These areas will gradually spread over time, to wither abruptly, with the advent of the metal Ages , Bronze Age and Iron Age , and the diversification of cultural traditions that accompanies it.

In the Ubaid in the 5th millennium BC, blades were manufactured from obsidian mined in what is now Turkey. Ancient Egyptians used obsidian imported from the eastern Mediterranean and southern Red Sea regions. Obsidian was also used in ritual circumcisions because of its deftness and sharpness. In the eastern Mediterranean area the material was used to make tools, mirrors and decorative objects.

Southeast of the Mediterranean, an area of ​​circulation moves on both sides of the Red Sea, departing Ethiopians deposits. The priests of ancient Egypt used obsidian knives in embalming ceremonies . In the absence of Egyptian texts in this field, the writings of Herodotus ( 5th century BC ) report ” a sharp blade in Ethiopian stone ” in the mummification techniques that appear in the Middle Empire around 2700 BC.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has in its collections obsidian vases, gold rimmed, dated of 12 ° to 18 ° dynasties, between 1990 and 1293 BC. It was used to make the eyes of many statues ; the most significant achievement is the funerary mask of Tutankhamun – 1323 BC.

Obsidian has also been found in Gilat, a site in the western Negev in Israel. Eight obsidian artifacts dating to the Chalcolithic Age found at this site were traced to obsidian sources in Anatolia. Neutron activation analysis (NAA) on the obsidian found at this site helped to reveal trade routes and exchange networks previously unknown.

The oldest obsidian bracelet ever identified was discovered in the 1990s at the site of Aşıklı Höyük in the vilayet of Niğde, ca. 25 km. south-east of Aksaray and ca. 1 km. south of Kızılkaya Köy, on the right bank of the Melendiz Çay, Turkey.

Using high-tech methods developed by LTDS to study the bracelet’s surface and its micro-topographic features, the researchers have revealed the astounding technical expertise of craftsmen in the eighth millennium BC. Their skills were highly sophisticated for this period in late prehistory, and on a par with today’s polishing techniques.

Dated to 7500 BC, the obsidian bracelet studied by the researchers is unique. It is the earliest evidence of obsidian working, which only reached its peak in the seventh and sixth millennia BC with the production of all kinds of ornamental objects, including mirrors and vessels.

The Hittites mined the igneous mountains of the Caucasus and Taurus ranges of eastern Anatolia for valuable obsidian (volcanic glass), used for weapons, tools, and religious pieces; that obsidian discovered way down at Jericho in the Levant.

And west of Jericho, in the Negev, twenty-five miles northwest of Beersheva (anciently Fort Abram), at the ancient canaanite city of Gilat, obsidian pieces from Nemrut Dag (upper Mesopotamia), the Mountain of Nimrod (son of Cush), have been uncovered, that ancient obsidian trade supposedly (according to the darwinists) begun circa 7000 b.c

Çatalhöyük

The high plateau of Central Anatolia is a pace of environmental extremes, with hot, arid summers and bitterly cold winters. Occupied since at least the 9th millennium BC, it has been home to a many human societies, which have left a complex and extensive archaeological record.

Archaeological studies at sites such as Çatalhöyük, the imperial Hittite capital of Hattuşa and the Phrygian capital of King Midas at Gordion, show how societies have adapted to the harsh climate and thrived within a network of regional social and political connections.

Excavations at the Cappadocian obsidian sources suggest regional connections, evidenced through the movement of obsidian (volcanic glass) across southwest Asia, go back into the Middle Palaeolithic.

The village of CatalḨuy̧k played a keyrole in the region, thanks to the unusual quantity and quality of the materials imported-over 35 different minerals-aswell as rocks for making groundstone axes. Besides, it has large a mounts of flint and obsidian, together with cowrie shells from the Mediterranean, copper, manganese and turquoise from eastern Anatolia-about 500 Km. away-and from the Sinai-1,000 Km a way, and mercury ore from Sizmar.

Obsidian from this area was traded to the Zagros area (probably for fir wood) as early as 30,000 BC – long before the birth of Catal Huyuk. The city did, however, trade for alabaster from the Kayseri district, marble from western Anatolia, and marine molluscs from coastal peoples of the Mediterranean. They received rock-crystal, jasper and apatite from unknown sources. The city of Beycesultan (4800 –> ) carried on trade with Crete, Greece, Samos, Lemnos, Thrace and Macedon.

Long distance trade, one of the supposed features that some researchers have associated with social complexity, has been documented in the cases of obsidian and copper. Specifically for obsidian, we should mention two very distinct areas: the volcanic crater of Nemrut Dag, near LakeVan, and the Bingol region.

As a result, we can say that the trade routes are also ways to pass down certain traditions – architectural, symbolical from very different areas. One of these areas is represented by the north Levant, particularly Syria, and related to the settlements of Tell Abu Hureyra, Tell Mureybet and Tell Halula; the second area includes the Highlands of Mesopotamia and such significant sites as Jarmo, Nemriq-9, Tell Shimshara and Umm Dabaghiyah – the last one from the Ceramic Neolithic.

Mount Hasan (Turkish: Hasan Dağı) is an inactive stratovolcano in Aksaray province, Turkey. With an altitude of 3,253 m (10,672 ft.), it ranks as the second highest mountain of central Anatolia. A caldera 4-5 kilometres wide formed near the current summit around 7500 BC, in an eruption recorded in Neolithic paintings. The summit offers a view over the central Anatolian plateau, including distant Cappadocia.

The ancient settlement of Catal Huyuk, a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC., collected obsidian from the area of Hasan Dag, which was probably traded with other settlements for luxury goods.

The importance of Hasan Dag to the people of Catal Huyuk, the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date, may be shown by a wall painting, sometimes called the “first landscape” by art historians, which many believe is a depiction of Hasan Dağ towering over the settlement’s houses.

Thomas Holme writes this about the religious significance of obsidian to the people of Catal Huyuk: An even older resource equally as important as salt to these people was obsidian, the volcanic material which made for blades sharper than modern surgeon’s scalples. The greatest source for obsidian was the base of Hasan Dag volcano which was visible from Catal Huyuk. This valuable stone became the source of perhaps the most significant trading that went on in the upper paleolithic and neolithic.

Just as the first walls seem to have been formed in Jericho as a means of safeguarding stores of salt for trading purposes the first walls near Hasan Dag were probably formed to storehouse the valuable obsidian. The Hasan Dag stone was traded to the Lavant for lumber and Dead Sea bitumen.

Obsidian was a stone that required priests and priestesses. Because the obsidian blades and spearpoints must bear sacred incantations to insure their swiftness and true flight to bring down the kill, and to keep the hunter from harm. Half of all the buildings in Catal Huyuk were shrines. Not only was Catal Huyuk a major trade center but more importantly it was a religious center.

River valleys had always been ancient pathways for mesolithic peoples who followed herds with the seasons. Another ancient route in continual use was the Danube river to the Rhine river which they followed to the sea, and from the sea the same wanderers in turn made the trip east and arrived at the great freshwater Euxine Lake and south into Anatolia to Catal Huyuk.  We know this is so because a high percentage of the skulls unearthed at Catal Huyuk are of a type that come from western Europe.

Today, Central Anatolia is largely treeless, with rough grazing covering much of the region and arable land distributed along rich valleys and drained former wetlands. Human impact has been severe on the areas natural vegetation formations and continues with drainage and irrigation projects.

 

Obsidian

Mediterranean and Near East obsidian reference samples to establish artefacts provenance

Anatolia and the Caucasus, 8000–2000 b.c.

Obsidian, Trade and Society in the Central Anatolian Neolithic

Turkey : oldest obsidian bracelet reveals amazing craftsmen’s skills in the eighth millennium BC

The obsidian roads – 1. Around the Mediterranean basin

Obsidian circulation networks in Southwest Asia and Anatolia

Obsidian data webbase

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The end as we know it

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 24, 2015

Eschatology

“Empires do not in fact appear, rise, reign, decline, and fall according to some recurrent and predictable life cycle. It is historians who retrospectively portray the process of imperial dissolution as slow acting, with multiple over determining causes. Rather, empires behave like all complex adaptive systems. They function in apparent equilibrium for some unknowable period. And then, quite abruptly, they collapse… The shift from consummation to destruction and then to desolation is not cyclical. It is sudden.”

- Neil Furguson

A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilization could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Civilization

Eschatology is a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is commonly referred to as the “end of the world” or “end time”.

The word arises from the Greek eschatos meaning “last” and -logy meaning “the study of”, first used in English around 1550. The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as “The department of theological science concerned with ‘the four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell’.”

In the context of mysticism, the phrase refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and reunion with the Divine. In many religions it is taught as an existing future event prophesied in sacred texts or folklore. More broadly, eschatology may encompass related concepts such as the Messiah or Messianic Age, the end time, and the end of days.

History is often divided into “ages” (aeons), which are time periods each with certain commonalities. One age comes to an end and a new age or world to come, where different realities are present, begins.

When such transitions from one age to another are the subject of eschatological discussion, the phrase, “end of the world”, is replaced by “end of the age”, “end of an era”, or “end of life as we know it”.

Much apocalyptic fiction does not deal with the “end of time” but rather with the end of a certain period of time, the end of life as it is now, and the beginning of a new period of time.

It is usually a crisis that brings an end to current reality and ushers in a new way of living, thinking, or being. This crisis may take the form of the intervention of a deity in history, a war, a change in the environment, or the reaching of a new level of consciousness.

Most modern eschatology and apocalypticism, both religious and secular, involve the violent disruption or destruction of the world; whereas Christian and Jewish eschatologies view the end times as the consummation or perfection of God’s creation of the world.

For example, according to ancient Hebrew belief, life takes a linear (and not cyclical) path; the world began with God and is constantly headed toward God’s final goal for creation, which is the world to come.

Eschatologies vary as to their degree of optimism or pessimism about the future. In some eschatologies, conditions are better for some and worse for others, e.g. “heaven and hell”.

It’s the end of the world as we know it

The Story of Civilization

Collapse of Industrial Civilization

Societal collapse

Industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?

Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades

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Strong words about the ME conflict

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 24, 2015


Richard Gere:  Arabs are a burden on the world and should be annihilated.

Tom Cruise:  The Arabs are the source of terrorism, they don’t spare anyone without attacking them.  I hope that Israel destroys all of them.

Ralph Fiennes:  We are now living in a jungle where the strong eats the weak.  We are not better than the Arabs to despise them.

Sean Connery:  We are talking from the point of strength, what if we were the weak ones?

Wil Smith:  Both sides are wrong and the killing must be stopped.

Angelina Jolie:  Arabs and Muslims are not terrorits. The world should unite against Israel.

Mel Gibson:  Zionists are the soruce of destruction, I wish I can fight against them.

Anthony Hopkins:  Israel means war and destruction and we Americans are behind this war and I am ashamed of being American.

Al Pacino:  Take a look at Israel’s history and you would knwo who the terrorist is.

Dustin Hoffman:  Humanity seized to exist when Israel was established.

George Clooney:  Bush, Sharon, Blair and Rice are names that history will damn.

The case of Pr. Hawking

Professor Steven Plaut teaches business finance and economics at the University of Haifa. He also writes articles, pamphlets and blog posts intended to defend Israel.

This is what he offered in defense of Israel this week, in response to physicist Stephen Hawking’s decision to boycott next month’s Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

“I have a suggestion,” Plaut wrote on Wednesday, in a reference to the wheelchair-bound noted scientist, and to a 1985 incident in which Palestinian gunmen commandeered an Italian cruise ship, murdering a disabled American Jewish passenger and throwing his body overboard:

“I suggest that the people of Israel send Hawking for a free trip on the Achille Lauro!!”

Plaut’s argument, that the proper punishment for boycotting Israel should be execution, was only slightly more obscene than that of attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center Organization, a right-wing pro-Israel not-for-profit whose stated primary goals include “defending human rights” and conducting a “civil war” in court against global terror.

In a statement, Darshan-Leitner alluded to the fact that Hawking is almost entirely paralyzed and communicates through a speech generating device:

“”Hawking’s decision to join the boycott of Israel is quite hypocritical for an individual who prides himself on his whole intellectual accomplishment. His whole computer-based communication system runs on a chip designed by Israel’s Intel team. I suggest that if he truly wants to pull out of Israel he should also pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet.”

Hawking’s letter to the conference organisers has now been published on the Bricup website and confirms what the group was saying all along.

“I accepted the invitation to the Presidential Conference with the intention that this would not only allow me to express my opinion on the prospects for a peace settlement but also because it would allow me to lecture on the West Bank. However, I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster.”

According to Shurat HaDin, an Israel law centre which represents victims of terrorism, the equipment has been provided by the hi-tech firm, Intel, since 1997.

Intel could not be reached for comment, but their website quotes Justin Rattner, chief technology officer, as saying earlier this year: “We have a long-standing relationship with Professor Hawking.” He added: “We are very pleased to continue to … work closely with Professor Hawking on improving his personal communication system.”

Cambridge University declined to comment on allegations of hypocrisy regarding Hawking’s communications system.

• This article was amended on 9 May 2013 to remove a reference to Intel being an Israeli firm. It is a US multinational with bases in Israel.

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Graffiti art in Los Angeles dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 24, 2015

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A beautiful Armenian love story

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 24, 2015

Artashes I.jpg

Artaxias I, King of Armenia

The invasion of the Kingdom of Armenia by the Alans during the reign of King Artashes I (189–160 BC) serves as the backdrop of the romantic tale between Artashes and Satenik.

Satenik was the name of the Alanian princess who married Artashes, the king of Armenia. Their love story, known as Artashes and Satenik, is presented by the Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi in his History of Armenia.

Movses noted that the story, which he directly quotes from, was a well-known epic during his time among the common people of Armenia told by traveling storytellers and minstrels. Satenik is a popular feminine name among Armenians today.

Satenik

Artashes

Armenia

Alans

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Historien om eremitten Mar Mattai (St. Mattias)

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 24, 2015

Dette er et syrisk-ortodokst kloster i de nordirakiske fjellene, 35 km nordøst fra Ninive eller Mosul, og regnes som et av de eldste kristne klostre som fremdeles er i bruk. Det kalles Dayro d-Mor Mattai, eller klosteret til St. Mattias.

Klosteret ble grunnlagt av eremitten Mar Mattai (St. Mattias), som senere ble en lokal helgen, som flyktet fra forfølgelse i byen Amid, som ligger hvor dagens Diyarbakır i Tyrkia nå befinner seg, under den romerske keiseren Julian, også kjent som Julian den frafalne og som Julian filosofen.

De romerske forfatterne Ammianus Marcellinus og Procopius anser Amid for å ligge i Mesopotamia, men det er mer riktig å anse den som en by i Stor Armenia, navnet gitt til staten Armenia i det armenske høylandet under kong Artaxias I (190/189–160/159 BC).

Ifølge syrisk tradisjonen ble Mar Behnam, en helgen og martyr i den syriske tradisjon, sønnen til Sennacherib II, den hedenske assyriske kongen av Asuristan, døpt av Mar Mattai.

Under en jakt til fjellet Alfaf møtte han Mar Mattai som konverterte Mar Behnam til kristendommen. Han ble disippel av Mar Mattai. Senere brakte han sin søster Sara slik at hun kunne bli helbredet for spedalskhet og de ble begge døpt sammen med Behnams 40 venner.

Da Sennacherib, som på denne tid var påvirket av zoroasterismen, hørte om at hans barn hadde konvertert forsøkte han å overbevise dem om å vende tilbake, men de flyktet til Mar Behnams eremittbolig. Kongen sendte soldater som drepte dem og deres 40 venner på en ås i næheten av Nimrud.

Kongen angret senere på dette, og ble selv døpt av Mar Mattai. Han kom senere til å bygge et kloster på stedet hvor Mar Mattai helbredet hans datter, på fjellet Alfaf. Mattai, som grunnla klosteret i 361, ble raskt fulgt av en liten syrisk gruppe, og under hans lederskap utviklet samfunnet seg til å bli et kloster.

Nord-Irak var i middelalderen et av sentrene for den syrisk-ortodokse kirke, og klosteret skal i sin blomstringstid ha hatt over 7000 munker.

Fra 484 hadde klosterets abbed rang som biskop («av Assyria og Ninive-slettene») og ble i 629 overordnet alle persiske syrisk-ortodokse klostre. Fra 1155 var klosteret sete for den syrisk-ortodokse kirkens mafrian, dvs. kirkens øverste biskop i Perserriket.

Klosteret ble delvis ødelagt gjennom flere mongolske og kurdiske angrep fra slutten av 1100-tallet og utover. I dag har de fleste kristne forlatt området.

På grunn av sin store betydning for syrisk-ortodoks kristendom har klosteret fremdeles status som erkebispedømme, som omfatter selve klosteret med landsbyen Merga samt byene Bahzani, Bartalla og Bashiqa. Klosterets abbed er dermed en av Iraks tre syrisk-ortodokse erkebiskoper.

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Tyrkia benekter ennå at det fant sted et folkemord

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 23, 2015

I år markeres det at det har gått 100 år siden folkemordet. Armenerne markerer massakrene hver 24. april som minnedag. Dagen da tusener av armenske ledere ble deportert og henrettet i Istanbul og som hvert år blir markert av det armenske folk, deres venner i Armenia, samt den armenske diasporaen rundt om i verden.

Folkemordet på armenerne er verdens nest mest studerte folkemord, men Tyrkia benekter fortsatt at det var et folkemord og påstår at de høye dødsfallene på denne tiden skyldtes borgerkrig, sykdomsbølger, angrep fra landveisrøvere og hungersnød.

Mange aktivister innen den armenske diasporaen, som er på hele 10 millioner, har forsøkt å kreve formell anerkjennelse vedrørende folkemordet fra ulike regjeringer og internasjonale organer.

Internasjonale organisasjoner som har anerkjent folkemordet inkluderer blant annet EU parlamentet, som nylig oppfordret alle EU land til å anerkjenne folkemordet, Europarådet, Kirkenes verdensråd (KV), Human Rights Association (Tyrkia), Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, Mercosur osv.

Mer enn 22 land har anerkjent folkemordet, mens USA (til tross for at Utenrikskomiteen i representantenes hus, samt 44 stater, har anerkjent det) og Storbritannia (til tross for at både Wales, Skottland og Nord Irland har anerkjent det) ikke har gjort det. Den svenske Riksdagen anerkjente folkemordet i 2010, mens det i Norge fortsatt hersker stor diskusjon.

For tiden representerer de kjente menneskerettighetsadvokatene Amal Clooney og Geoffrey Robertson Armenia i Den europeiske menneskerettsdomstol (EMD), noe som har fått frem hvilke holdninger som den tyrkiske stat preges av.

Tyrkiske myndigheter fortier og fornekter folkemordet, og i frykt for tyrkiske reaksjoner velger Norge en taushetslinje som kan bidra til at et tragisk kapitel i menneskehetens historie glemmes.

Norge tar avstand fra alle overgrep og brudd på menneskerettigheter, men nekter å kalle massakren for et folkemord. Dette på grunn av at de ser på dette som noe som skjedde for lang tid siden og anser ikke at det er hensiktsmessig i forhold til fred og forsoning å gå inn i spørsmålet. Uansett støtter man med dette opp om Tyrkias offisielle linje.

Over hele verden ser vi at enkeltmennesker og grupper sprer intoleranse og frykt. De dyrker voldelige ideologier og hat mot minoriteter. Å drive holdningene deres ut av mørket med kunnskapens lys er et ansvar som påhviler hver og en av oss. Norge kan være med på å gjøre noe med dette – ikke kun for armenernes del, men for menneskeheten.

Nå, under 100 års markeringen for folkemordet, sa den tyrkiske presidenten Recep Tayyip Erdogan at man vil møte alle armenske minnesmarkeringer for folkekemordet med tilsvarende motarrangementer. Man kan tenke seg hvordan stemningen hadde vært om Tyskland skulle ha erklært det samme vedrørende krystallnatten eller minnesmarkeringer vedrørende Holocaust.

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The history of economy

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 23, 2015

Detailed account of raw materials and workdays for a basketry workshop.

Clay, ca. 2040 BC (Ur III)

Among many other things,

the Code of Hammurabi recorded interest-bearing loans.

Throughout the Paleolithic Era the primary socio-economic unit was the band (small kin group). Communication between bands occurred for the purposes of trading tools, foods, skins and other commodities, and for the exchange of mates.

Economic resources were constrained by typical ecosystem factors: density and replacement rates of edible flora and fauna, competition from other consumers (organisms) and climate.

Throughout the Upper Paleolithic, humans both dispersed and adapted to a greater variety of environments, and also developed their technologies and behaviors to increase productivity in existing environments taking the global population to between 1 and 15 million.

It has been estimated that throughout prehistory, the world average GDP per capita was about $158 per annum (adjusted to 2013 dollars), and did not rise much until the Industrial Revolution. This age was from 500,000- 10,000 BC.

This period began with the end of the last glacial period over 10,000 years ago involving the gradual domestication of plants and animals and the formation of settled communities at various times and places.

Within each tribe the activity of individuals was differentiated to specific activities, and the characteristic of some of these activities were limited by the resources naturally present and available from within each tribes territory, creating specializations of skill.

By the “… division of labour and evolution of new crafts … (Cameron p.25)” tribal units became naturally isolated through time from the over-all developments in skill and technique present within their neighbouring environment. To utilize artifacts made by tribes specializing in areas of production not present to other tribes, exchange and trade became necessary.

The first object or physical thing specifically used in a way similar enough to the modern definition of money, i.e. in exchange, was (probably) cattle. Trading in red ochre is attested in Swaziland, shell jewellery in the form of strung beads also dates back to this period, and had the basic attributes needed of commodity money.

To organize production and to distribute goods and services among their populations, before market economies existed, people relied on tradition, top-down command, or community cooperation.

In Politics Book 1:9 (c.350 B.C.) the Greek philosopher Aristotle contemplated on the nature of money. He considered that every object has two uses, the first being the original purpose for which the object was designed and the second possibility is to conceive of the object as an item to sell or barter.

The assignment of monetary value to an otherwise insignificant object such as a coin or promissory note arises as people and their trading associate evolve a psychological capacity to place trust in each other and in external authority within barter exchange.

With barter, an individual possessing any surplus of value, such as a measure of grain or a quantity of livestock could directly exchange that for something perceived to have similar or greater value or utility, such as a clay pot or a tool.

The capacity to carry out barter transactions is limited in that it depends on a coincidence of wants. The seller of food grain has to find the buyer who wants to buy grain and who also could offer in return something the seller wants to buy.

There is no agreed standard measure into which both seller and buyer could exchange commodities according to their relative value of all the various goods and services offered by other potential barter partners.

David Kinley considers the theory of Aristotle to be flawed because the philosopher probably lacked sufficient understanding of the ways and practices of primitive communities, and so may have formed his opinion from personal experience and conjecture.

In his book Debt: The First 5000 Years, anthropologist David Graeber argues against the suggestion that money was invented to replace barter. The problem with this version of history, he suggests, is the lack of any supporting evidence. His research indicates that “gift economies” were common, at least at the beginnings of the first agrarian societies, when humans used elaborate credit systems.

Graeber proposes that money as a unit of account was invented the moment when the unquantifiable obligation “I owe you one” transformed into the quantifiable notion of “I owe you one unit of something”. In this view, money emerged first as credit and only later acquired the functions of a medium of exchange and a store of value.

In a gift economy, valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards (i.e. there is no formal quid pro quo). Ideally, simultaneous or recurring giving serves to circulate and redistribute valuables within the community.

There are various social theories concerning gift economies. Some consider the gifts to be a form of reciprocal altruism. Another interpretation is that implicit “I owe you” debt and social status are awarded in return for the “gifts”.

Consider for example, the sharing of food in some hunter-gatherer societies, where food-sharing is a safeguard against the failure of any individual’s daily foraging. This custom may reflect altruism, it may be a form of informal insurance, or may bring with it social status or other benefits.

Bartering has several problems most notably that it requires a “coincidence of wants”. For example, if a wheat farmer needs what a fruit farmer produces, a direct swap is impossible as seasonal fruit would spoil before the grain harvest.

A solution is to trade fruit for wheat indirectly through a third, “intermediate”, commodity: the fruit is exchanged for the intermediate commodity when the fruit ripens. If this intermediate commodity doesn’t perish and is reliably in demand throughout the year (e.g. copper, gold, or wine) then it can be exchanged for wheat after the harvest.

The function of the intermediate commodity as a store-of-value can be standardized into a widespread commodity money, reducing the coincidence of wants problem. By overcoming the limitations of simple barter a commodity-money makes the market in all other commodities more liquid.

Many cultures around the world eventually developed the use of commodity-money. Ancient China, Africa, and India used cowry shells. Trade in Japan’s feudal system was based on the koku – a unit of rice.

The shekel was an ancient unit of weight and currency. The first usage of the term came from Mesopotamia circa 3000 BC and referred to a specific weight of barley, which related other values in a metric such as silver, bronze, copper etc. A barley/shekel was originally both a unit of currency and a unit of weight.

Wherever trade is common, barter systems usually lead quite rapidly to several key goods being imbued with monetary properties. In the early British colony of New South Wales, rum emerged quite soon after settlement as the most monetary of goods.

When a nation is without a currency it commonly adopts a foreign currency. In prisons where conventional money is prohibited, it is quite common for cigarettes to take on a monetary quality. Contrary to popular belief, precious metals have rarely been used outside of large societies. Gold, in particular, is sufficiently scarce that it has only been used as a currency for a few relatively brief periods in history.

Anatolian obsidian as a raw material for stone-age tools was distributed as early as 12,000 B.C., with organized trade occurring in the 9th millennium.(Cauvin;Chataigner 1998). In Sardinia, one of the four main sites for sourcing the material deposits of obsidian within the Mediterranean, trade in this was replaced in the 3rd millennium by trade in copper and silver.

As early as 9000 BC both grain and cattle were used as money or as barter (Davies) (the first grain remains found, considered to be evidence of pre-agricultural practice date to 17,000 BC).

In the earliest instances of trade with money, the things with the greatest utility and reliability in terms of re-use and re-trading of these things (their marketability), determined the nature of the object or thing chosen to exchange.

So as in agricultural societies things needed for efficient and comfortable employment of energies for the production of cereals and the like were the most easy to transfer to monetary significance for direct exchange.

As more of the basic conditions of the human existence were met to the satisfaction of human needs, so the division of labor increased to create new activities for the use of time to solve more advanced concerns.

As people’s needs became more refined so indirect exchange became more likely as the physical separation of skilled laborers (suppliers) from their prospective clients (demand) required the use of a medium common to all communities to facilitate a wider market.

Aristotle’s opinion of the creation of money as a new thing in society is: When the inhabitants of one country became more dependent on those of another, and they imported what they needed, and exported what they had too much of, money necessarily came into use.

The worship of Moneta is recorded by Livy with the temple built in the time of Rome 413 (123); a temple consecrated to the same god was built in the earlier part of the fourth century (perhaps the same temple). The temple contained the mint of Rome for a period of four centuries.

The earliest places of storage were thought to be money-boxes containments made similar to the construction of a bee-hive, as of the Mycenae tombs of 1550–1500 BC.

An early type of money was cattle, which were used as such from between 9000 to 6000 BCE onwards. Both the animal and the manure produced were valuable; animals are recorded as being used as payment as in Roman law where fines were paid in oxen and sheep and within the Iliad and Odyssey, attesting to a value c.850–800 BCE.

It has long been assumed that metals, where available, were favored for use as proto-money over such commodities as cattle, cowry shells, or salt, because metals are at once durable, portable, and easily divisible.

The use of gold as proto-money has been traced back to the fourth millennium BC when the Egyptians used gold bars of a set weight as a medium of exchange, as had been done earlier in Mesopotamia with silver bars.

The first mention of the use of money within the Bible is within the book “Genesis” in reference to criteria of the circumcision of a bought slave. Later, the Cave of Machpelah is purchased (with silver) by Abraham, during a period dated as being the beginning of the twentieth century B.C.E., some-time recent to 1900 BC. The currency was also in use amongst the Philistine people of the same time-period.

The shekel was an ancient unit used in Mesopotamia around 3000 BC to define both a specific weight of barley and equivalent amounts of materials such as silver, bronze and copper. The use of a single unit to define both mass and currency was a similar concept to the British pound, which was originally defined as a one-pound mass of silver.

A description of how trade proceeded includes for sales the dividing (clipping) of an amount from a weight of something corresponding to the perceived value of the purchase. From this one might understand the development of how coinage was imagined from the small metallic clippings (of silver) resulting from trade exchanges.

The word used in Thucydides writings History for money is chremata, translated in some contexts as “goods” or “property”, although with a wider ranging possible applicable usage, having a definite meaning “valuable things”.

According to Herodotus, and most modern scholars, the Lydians were the first people to introduce the use of gold and silver coin. The talent in use during the periods of Grecian history both before and during the time of the life of Homer weighed between 8.42 and 8.75 grammes.

It is thought that these first stamped coins were minted around 650-600 BC. A stater coin was made in the stater (trite) denomination. To complement the stater, fractions were made: the trite (third), the hekte (sixth), and so forth in lower denominations.

Later during the Achaemenid Empire (c. 550–330 BC), also called the First Persian Empire or Medo-Persian Empire, an empire based in Western Asia in Iran, founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great, further evidence is found of banking practices in the Mesopotamia region.

The first economist (at least from within opinion generated by the evidence of extant writings) is considered to be Hesiod, by the fact of his having written on the fundamental subject of the scarcity of resources, in Works and Days.

Greek and Roman thinkers made various economic observations, especially Aristotle and Xenophon. Many other Greek writings show understanding of sophisticated economic concepts. For instance, a form of Gresham’s Law is presented in Aristophanes’ Frogs. Bryson of Heraclea was a neo-platonic who is cited as having heavily influenced early Muslim economic scholarship.

The history of banking

The history of banking begins with the first prototype banks of merchants of the ancient world, which made grain loans to farmers and traders who carried goods between cities. This began around 2000 BC in Assyria and Babylonia.

Later, in ancient Greece and during the Roman Empire, lenders based in temples made loans and added two important innovations: they accepted deposits and changed money. Archaeology from this period in ancient China and India also shows evidence of money lending activity.

Banking, in the modern sense of the word, can be traced to medieval and early Renaissance Italy, to the rich cities in the north such as Florence, Venice and Genoa. The Bardi and Peruzzi families dominated banking in 14th century Florence, establishing branches in many other parts of Europe.

Perhaps the most famous Italian bank was the Medici bank, established by Giovanni Medici in 1397. The oldest bank still in existence is Monte dei Paschi di Siena, headquartered in Siena, Italy, which has been operating continuously since 1472.

The development of banking spread from northern Italy throughout the Holy Roman Empire, and in the 15th and 16th century to northern Europe. This was followed by a number of important innovations that took place in Amsterdam during the Dutch Republic in the 17th century, and in London in the 18th century.

During the 20th century, developments in telecommunications and computing caused major changes to banks’ operations and let banks dramatically increase in size and geographic spread. The financial crisis of 2007–2008 caused many bank failures, including some of the world’s largest banks, and provoked much debate about bank regulation.

More stable economic relations were brought about with a change in socio-economic conditions from a reliance on hunting and gathering of foods to instead agricultural practice, during periods beginning sometime after 12,000 BC, at approximately 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, in northern China about 9,500 years ago, about 5,500 years ago in Mexico and approximately 4,500 in the eastern parts of the United States.

The history of banking depends on the history of money—and on grain-money and food cattle-money used from at least 9000 BC, two of the earliest things understood as available to barter (Davies), Anatolian obsidian as a raw material for stone-age tools being distributed as early as 12,500 B.C., with organized trade occurring in the 9th millennium.(Cauvin;Chataigner 1989).

By the 5th millennium BC. the settlements of Sumer, such as Eridu, were formed around a central temple. In the fifth millennium, people began to build and live in the civilization of cities, providing a structure for the construction of institutions and establishments. Tell Brak and Uruk were two early urban settlements.

Wealth was usually deposited in temples (thêsaurus “treasure houses”) and treasuries. The earliest banks were used exclusively by rulers to fund the more important and larger festivals and for building expenses.

Banking as an archaic activity (or quasi-banking), is thought to have begun at various times; during a period as early as the latter part of the 4th millennia, to within the 4th to 3rd millennia.

Prior to the reign of Sargon I of Akkad (2335-2280) the occurrence of trade was limited to the internal boundaries of each city-state of Babylon and the temple located at the centre of economic activity there-in; trade at the time for citizens external to the city was forbidden.

In Sardinia one of the four main sites for sourcing the material deposits of obsidian within the Mediterranean, trade of this were replaced in the 3rd millennia by trade in copper and silver. The society adapted from relating from one fixed material as valued deposits available for trade to another.

Objects used for record keeping, “bulla” and tokens, have been recovered from within Near East excavations, dated to a period beginning 8000 B.C.E and ending 1500 B.C.E., as records of the counting of agricultural produce.

Commencing the late fourth millennia mnemonic symbols were in use by members of temples and palaces to serve to record stocks of produce. Types of records accounting for trade exchanges of payments were being made firstly about 3200.

A very early writing on clay tablet called the Code of Hammurabi, the best preserved ancient law code, created ca. 1760 BC (middle chronology) in ancient Babylon, refers to the regulation of a banking activity of sorts within the civilization (Armstrong), during the era, dating to ca. 1700 BCE, banking was well enough developed to justify laws governing banking operations.

The Code of Hammurabi was enacted by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi. Earlier collections of laws include the code of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur (ca. 2050 BC), the Code of Eshnunna (ca. 1930 BC) and the code of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (ca. 1870 BC).

These law codes formalized the role of money in civil society. They set amounts of interest on debt… fines for ‘wrongdoing’… and compensation in money for various infractions of formalized law.

Economic organization in the earliest civilizations of the fertile crescent was driven by the need to efficiently grow crops in river basins. The Euphrates and Nile valleys were homes to earliest examples of codified measurements written in base 60 and Egyptian fractions.

Egyptian keepers of royal granaries, and absentee Egyptian landowners reported in the Heqanakht papyri. Historians of this period note that the major tool of accounting for agrarian societies, the scales used to measure grain inventory, reflected dual religious and ethical symbolic meanings.

The Erlenmeyer tablets give a picture of Sumerian production in the Euphrates Valley around 2200-2100 BC, and show an understanding of the relationship between grain and labor inputs (valued in “female labor days”) and outputs and an emphasis on efficiency. Egyptians measured work output in man-days.

The development of sophisticated economic administration continued in the Euphrates and Nile valleys during the Babylonian Empire and Egyptian Empires when trading units spread through the Near East within monetary systems.

Egyptian fraction and base 60 monetary units were extended in use and diversity to Greek, early Islamic culture and medieval cultures. By 1202, Fibonacci’s use of zero and Vedic-Islamic numerals motivated Europeans to apply zero as an exponent, birthing modern decimals 350 years later.

The city-states of Sumer developed a trade and market economy based originally on the commodity money of the Shekel which was a certain weight measure of barley, while the Babylonians and their city-state neighbors later developed the earliest system of economics using a metric of various commodities that was fixed in a legal code.

The early law codes from Sumer could be considered the first (written) economic formula, and had many attributes still in use in the current price system today: codified amounts of money for business deals (interest rates), fines in money for ‘wrongdoing’, inheritance rules, laws concerning how private property is to be taxed or divided, etc. For a summary of the laws, see Babylonian law.

Earlier collections of (written) laws, just prior to Hammurabi, that could also be considered rules and regulations as to economic law for their cities include the codex of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur (c. 2050 BC), the Codex of Eshnunna (c. 1930 BC) and the codex of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (c. 1870 BC).

The Mesopotamian civilization developed a large scale economy based on commodity money. The Babylonians and their neighboring city states later developed the earliest system of economics as we think of it today, in terms of rules on debt, legal contracts and law codes relating to business practices and private property. Money was not only an emergence, it was a necessity.

In Babylonia of 2000, people depositing gold were required to pay amounts as much as one sixtieth of the total deposited. Both the palaces and temple are known to have provided lending and issuing from the wealth they held—the palaces to a lesser extent.

Such loans typically involved issuing seed-grain, with re-payment from the harvest. These basic social agreements were documented in clay tablets, with an agreement on interest accrual. The habit of depositing and storing of wealth in temples continued at least until 209 BC., as evidenced by Antioch having ransacked or pillaged the temple of Aine in Ecbatana (Media) of gold and silver.

Cuneiform records of the house of Egibi of Babylonia describe the families financial activities dated as having occurred sometime after 1000 BC and ending sometime during the reign of Darius I, show according to one source a “lending house” (Silver 2002),a family engaging in “professional banking…” (Dandamaev et al 2004) and economic activities similar to a degree to modern deposit banking, although another states the families activities better described as entrepreneuship rather than banking (Wunsch 2007).

Ubaid/Uruk

The Ubaid period (ca. 6500 to 3800 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from Tell al-Ubaid where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted initially by Henry Hall and later by Leonard Woolley.

In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvium although it is likely earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium. In the south it has a very long duration between about 6500 and 3800 BC when it is replaced by the Uruk period.

In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BC. It is preceded by the Halaf period and the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period and succeeded by the Late Chalcolithic period.

Ubaid culture originated in the south, but still has clear connections to earlier cultures in the region of middle Iraq, Samarra culture to the north. This phase saw the establishment of the first permanent settlement south of the 5 inch rainfall isohyet. These people pioneered the growing of grains in the extreme conditions of aridity, thanks to the high water tables of Southern Iraq.

The appearance of the Ubaid folk has sometimes been linked to the so-called Sumerian problem, related to the origins of Sumerian civilisation. Whatever the ethnic origins of this group this culture saw for the first time a clear tripartite social division between intensive subsistence peasant farmers, with crops and animals coming from the north, tent-dwelling nomadic pastoralists dependent upon their herds, and hunter-fisher folk of the Arabian littoral, living in reed huts.

The Ubaid period as a whole, based upon the analysis of grave goods, was one of increasingly polarised social stratification and decreasing egalitarianism. Bogucki describes this as a phase of “Trans-egalitarian” competitive households, in which some fall behind as a result of downward social mobility.

Morton Fried and Elman Service have hypothesised that Ubaid culture saw the rise of an elite class of hereditary chieftains, perhaps heads of kin groups linked in some way to the administration of the temple shrines and their granaries, responsible for mediating intra-group conflict and maintaining social order.

It would seem that various collective methods, perhaps instances of what Thorkild Jacobsen called primitive democracy, in which disputes were previously resolved through a council of one’s peers, were no longer sufficient for the needs of the local community.

Stein and Özbal describe the Near East oikumene that resulted from Ubaid expansion, contrasting it to the colonial expansionism of the later Uruk period. “A contextual analysis comparing different regions shows that the Ubaid expansion took place largely through the peaceful spread of an ideology, leading to the formation of numerous new indigenous identities that appropriated and transformed superficial elements of Ubaid material culture into locally distinct expressions”.

The archaeological record shows that Arabian Bifacial/Ubaid period came to an abrupt end in eastern Arabia and the Oman peninsula at 3800 BC, just after the phase of lake lowering and onset of dune reactivation.

At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, and there is no evidence of human presence in the area for approximately 1000 years, the so-called “Dark Millennium”. This might be due to the 5.9 kiloyear event at the end of the Older Peron.

History of money

Economic history of the world

Ancient economic thought

History of economic thought

History of accounting

Economy and agriculture

Economic history

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Opprinnelsen til Danebrog

Posted by Fredsvenn on March 22, 2015

Dannebrog er Danmarks flagg som ifølge legenden falt ned fra himmelen under et av Valdemar Sejrs (1170 – 28. mars 1241 i Vordingborg) slag i Estland. Flagget er rødt med et hvit kors som går helt ut til kantene av flagget, og den vertikale korsarmen er forskjøvet mot stangen. Dannebrog betyr danenes fane eller rødfarget fane.

Det regnes som Europas eldste offisielle flagg i kontinuerlig bruk. Det var også Norges flagg i unionstiden med Danmark til 1814. Det selvstendige Norge innførte samme år som et foreløpig norsk flagg Dannebrog med Norges riksvåpen i kantonen, det øvre feltet nærmest stangen.

Korsutformingen på det danske flagget ble senere overtatt av de andre nordiske landene; Sverige, Norge, Finland, og Island, og av de selvstyrte områdene Åland og Færøyene. Flere regioner med tilknytning til Norden har offisielt eller uoffisielt tatt i bruk varianter av nordiske korsflagg.

Ifølge legenden ble ikke flagget laget av mennesker, men falt ned fra himmelen under Slaget ved Lyndanisse (i dag Tallinn i Estland) den 15. juni 1219, som i dag kalles valdemarsdag. Korstoget i 1219 var med en mektig hær som estlenderne ikke kunne stå seg imot.

Det er usikkerhet om hvorvidt tid og sted er korrekt. Blant danskenes allierte under dette slaget var Malteserordenen, hvis flagg ble overtatt av danskene under navnet Dannebrog. Malteserordenen er også kjent som johanitterordenen, og kom til Danmark ca. 1160.

Johannitterordenen, også kjent som hospitalsbrødrene, var en kristen ridderorden som oppstod i Jerusalem med militære funksjoner som ble opprettet under korstogene. Dette som en av de tre store ridderordenene under korstogstiden; de to andre var Tempelridderordenen og Den tyske orden.

Johannitterne hadde svart drakt med hvitt kors på venstre side av brystet. Ordenens fane var rød med et hvitt kors, og i 1259 fikk ordenen lov til å bære røde overkjortler med hvitt kors. Mange johannittersegl viste Døperen Johannes hode på et sølvfat – ordenen er oppkalt etter ham.

Etter at ridderordenene ble presset ut av Palestina slo ordenen seg ned på Rhodos i 1309 og virket der til de ble drevet ut av den osmanske sultanen Suleimans hær i 1522. Etter Rhodos flakket ordenen rundt om i Europa før den fikk etablere seg på Malta i 1530 etter ordre fra paven og spanskekongen. Som leie for øya skulle ordenen gi kongen en Malteserfalk hvert år på allehelgensdag. Ordenen regjerte på Malta frem til den ble kastet ut av Napoleon i 1798.

I dag er ordenen mest kjent under navnet Malteserordenen, en geistlig ridderorden som idag fungerer som en veldedig organisasjon. Ordenen hevder suverenitet, har fulle diplomatiske relasjoner med et stort antall av verdens land og har permanent observatørstatus i FN. Organisasjonen inngår i Den katolske kirke, der dens fyrste og stormester – Fra’ Matthew Festing (fra 2008) – har protokollarisk rang rett etter kardinalene. Malteserordenen har idag hovedkvarter med ekstraterritoriell status i Roma.

Malteserordenen er en av verdens mest eksklusive ridderordener, og består fra gammelt av bare av adelige medlemmer (med visse nyere unntak). Medlemskap er kun ved invitasjon, og er inndelt i ulike klasser. Viktigst er skillet mellom riddere som avlegger religiøse ordensløfter og riddere som ikke gjør det.

Johanitterordenen slo seg på slaveri i korstogsområdene. Johanittene drev store sukkerplantasjer og -raffinerier i det hellige land. Hvis slavene gikk over til kristendommen, måtte de settes fri, så slaveeierne både i det hellige land og i Spania sørget for at misjonærer ikke fikk forkynne for dem. I første halvdel av 1200-tallet befalte derfor paven at alle slaver skulle ha adgang til Guds ord, men at de ikke skulle settes fri selv om de lot seg døpe.

Danmark er det første eksempelet på at et helt land ble skattlagt til inntekt for korstogene, idet Valdemar den store bevilget ordenen en penning i årlig skatt av hver eneste husholdning. Privilegiet medførte at johanitternes hovedkloster i Antvorskov ved reformasjonen i 1536 var Danmarks nest rikeste (etter Sorø).

Den eldste kilden sier: «Dansker i året 1208 kjempet i Livland, i dagens Estland på et sted som kalles Felin, og (da de nesten var slått) ydmykt påkalte Guds hjelp, da oppnådde de den nåde, at de straks mottok et flagg, som falt ned fra himmelen, tegnet med et hvitt kors på en ullduk.»

Tradisjonen forteller videre at et himmelsk røst samtidig fortalte at danskene ville seire under dette tegnet, noe som de også gjorde. Det er usikkert hva som egentlig skjedde under slaget ved Lyndanisse eller slaget ved Fellin, og kildene er først skrevet ned 300 år etter begivenhetene skulle ha funnet sted.

Flaggets utforming minner imidlertid om den tyske Johannitterordenens ordensdrakt; riddere fra denne korsfarerordenen deltok i invasjonen av Estland, og har muligens vært avgjørende for slagets utfall.

Det tidligere italienske kongehuset Savoias våpen stammer sannsynligvis også fra Johannitterordenen; det er nesten identisk med Dannebrog og sees fortsatt på offisielle bygninger fra kongedømmets tid 1860-1946, som i den franske regionen Haute-Savoie, stedet hvor slekten Savoia stammer fra.

Latvias flagg, som dog ikke er avbildet som et kors, kan også spore sine rød-hvite farger tilbake til slaget ved Felin. Det er grunn til å tro at dette er to begivenheter som kan være blandet sammen.

I antikken og middelalderen var det ikke vanlig at land hadde egne nasjonalflagg. Herskere og stormenn hadde derimot sine flagg, og kongens flagg var det som hans krigsfolk skulle samle seg rundt.

På Bayeux-tapetet fra omkring 1068 fører baktroppen et rødt flagg med et hvitt kors, muligens danske slektninger til Vilhelm Erobreren ( (født ca. 1027, død 9. september 1087) som i front fører Sankt Georg-korset i slaget ved Hastings i 1066.

Vilhelm Erobreren, født i Falaise i Normandie, var «uekte» sønn av Robert, hertug av Normandie, og garverdatteren Herleva. Han var en etterkommer av den norske vikingen Gange-Rolv, som ifølge Snorre ble utropt til hertug av Normandie på Harald Hårfagres tid (født ca. 850 og død ca. 931-932). Navnet på dette området skal være avledet av ordet “nordmann”.

Gange-Rolv var en norsk vikinghøvding og sagafigur som egentlig het Hrólfr Rögnvaldsson (ca. 860-932) og var sønn av Ragnvald Mørejarl, kjent som jarlen som klippet Harald Hårfagre etter at Norge var samlet til ett rike.

Harald Hårfagre (gammelnorsk: Haraldr hárfagri) (født ca. 850 og død ca. 931-932) regnes som den første kongen over en større del av Norge. Han var konge over Sogn fra om lag 860 og regnes ofte som konge over Vestlandet og Trøndelag fra ca. år 872 til sin død.

I følge norsk og islandsk tradisjon er Gange-Rolv identisk med den historiske Rollo, som i 911 ble utnevnt til hertug over Normandie. Rollos opphav er imidlertid omdiskutert. I følge tradisjonen skal han være fra øya Vigra ved Ålesund. En av dem som stiller seg bak de tidligere nevnte tradisjonene er Jón Viðar Sigurðsson.

En sannsynlig slektning, Vilhelm Erobreren av Normandie, erobret Englands krone ved å beseire Harald II av England i slaget ved Hastings i 1066, og ble dermed den første normanniske konge av England. Det er ikke bevart noen levninger etter Rollo, men høsten 2010 skal to av hans etterkommere gentestes for å slå fast hvor han har sitt opphav.

Ioannis Skylitzis Krønike fra Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, viser væringer fra Miklagaard omkring år 1100 med et rødt flagg med et hvitt kors. Dermed er både flagget og navnet dokumentert senest fra Valdemar Atterdags tid og kan stamme fra de estiske korstogene bare 150 år tidligere.

Den tidligste kilden som sikkert dokumenterer det røde flagget med hvitt kors som symbol for Danmark, er den nederlandske våpenboken «Gelre» (Wapenboek Gelre) fra midten av 1300-årene. Våpenboken avbilder rundt 1700 våpen for europeisk adel, blant dem det danske kongevåpen. Som en del av skjoldets tilbehør vises en lansespiss med en kvadratisk dannebrogsfane.

Dannebrog er også dokumentert som symbol for Danmark i kong Erik av Pommerns store unionssegl fra 1398. Seglet viser våpenet for Kalmarunionen, sammensatt av våpnene for de nordiske rikene og for Pommern.

I Danmarks våpen med de tre blå løver på gull i skjoldets øvre (heraldisk) høyre felt bærer den øverste løven et lite dannebrogsflagg. Korset som deler skjoldet har også vært tolket som et dannebrogskors, men det er mer sannsynlig at det viser til det unionsflagget som Erik forsøkte å innføre for Kalmarunionen, et rødt kors på gul bunn.

I borgerkrigen grevefeiden, en hovedsakelig dansk konflikt og innbyrdeskrig, men med ringvirkninger i hele Nord-Europa, anvendte den ene parten et stripet flagg, blått, gult og rødt i riksvåpenets farger, og den andre parten, den seirende, brukte et rødt-hvitt korsflagg med fire like lange armer.

Det svenske flagget har sitt opprinnelse på 1500-tallet og kan stamme fra et gult kors på blå bakgrunn som finnes i det store riksvåpenet som ble laget av Karl Knutsson (Bonde) på 1400-tallet eller en blå-gul kopi av Dannebrog, Danmarks flagg.

Karl Knutsson Bonde, Karl VIII, (født 1408 eller 1409, død 15. mai 1470), var svensk riksforstander 1438–1440, konge av Sverige tre ganger: 1448–1457, 1464–1465 og 1467–1470. Han var også konge av Norge 1449–1450 som Karl I. Karl var sønn av Knut Bonde (Tordsson) og Margareta Karlsdotter (Sparre av Tofta).

Dannebrog

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