Author: Dustin Savage

A Glimpse into the Mysterious Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Hanging Garden of BabylonLong ago in ancient times many cities were developed in the desert despite the inhospitable environment it provided. During this time mankind not only prevailed in this harsh environment, they thrived in it, building the most miraculous cities known to this day. Some of these cities were so spectacular that they are renowned as part of the ancient wonders of the world. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are one of the seven marvelous spectacles that existed in this time period with exotic flowers and other greenery cascading from the heavens. This city demanded attention and has been documented by many with its towering walls and beautiful landscape overlooking a vast, dry desert,  although its existence is still questionable today.

As the story tales by ancient sources the nature and idea of building this unbelievable feat came about through the King Nebuchadnezzar around 600 BC. The city was constructed for his wife Amytis because she was homesick from her verdant and mountainous homeland Media. She was depressed from the flat and arid landscape of Babylon, thus the elaborate garden was constructed to replicate her lush homeland (Ancient History).

New evidence provided by an 18 year study by Stephanie Dalley of Oxford University has concluded that the gardens were not built by the Babylonians but instead by the Assyrians in the north Mesopotamia. She believes that this unbelievable feature was achieved by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib. Sennacherib describes his city as an “unrivaled palace” and a “wonder for all peoples.” He goes on to describe the water – raising screw made using the new method of casting bronze. “Dalley said this was part of a complex system of canals, dams and aqueducts to bring mountain water from streams 50 miles away to the citadel of Nineveh and the hanging garden. The script records water being drawn up “all day” (The Guardian).

“A vast labour force was put to work producing mud bricks in uncountable numbers which, under the supervision of the royal architects, became palaces, temples, gates and magnificent city walls, on a scale that must have overawed visiting dignitaries and subject people alike. A particular hallmark of this architecture was the use of blue glazed bricks to face the most imposing monumnets, while similar bricks with moulded reliefs of lions, bulls and dragons were added to reinforce the splendour and power of the king’s city (Clayton and Price).”

Herodotus, a greek historian, wrote “ In addition to its size Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world.” “Herodotus claimed the outer walls were 56 miles in length, 80 feet thick and 320 feet high. Wide enough, he said, to allow two four-horse chariots to pass each other. The city also had inner walls which were “not so thick as the first, but harshly less strong.” Inside these doubled walls were fortresses and temples containing immense statues of solid gold. Rising above the city was the famous  Tower of Babel, a temple to the god Marduk, that seemed to reach to the heavens.” Although, archaeological excavations have disputed many of his claims (unmuseums). Berossus is the only writer to credit the king Nebuchadnezzar II with the construction of the Hanging Gardens by saying “In this palace he erected very high walks, supported by stone pillars; and by planting what was called a pensile paradise, and replenishing it with all sorts of trees, he rendered the prospect an exact resemblance of a mountainous country. This he did to gratify his queen, because she had been brought up in Media, and was fond of a mountainous situation.”

Diodorus Siculus, a writer from 60-30 BC, describes the city, “The park extended fourplethra on each side, and since the approach to the garden sloped like a hillside and the several parts of the structure rose from one another tier on tier, the appearance of the whole resembled that of a theatre. When the ascending terraces had been built, there had been constructed beneath them galleries which carried the entire weight of the planted garden and rose little by little one above the other along the approach; and the uppermost gallery, which was fifty cubits high, bore the highest surface of the park, which was made level with the circuit wall of the battlements of the city. Furthermore, the walls, which had been constructed at great expense, were twenty-two feet thick, while the passage-way between each two walls was ten feet wide. The roof above these beams had first a layer of reedslaid in great quantities of bitumen, over this two courses of baked brick bonded bycement, and as a third layer of covering of lead, to the end that the moisture from the soil might not penetrate beneath. On all this again earth had been piled to a depth sufficient for the roots of the largest trees; and the ground, when levelled off, was thickly planted with trees of every kind that, by their great size or other charm, could give pleasure to the beholder. And since the galleries, each projecting beyond another, all received the light, they contained many royal lodgings of every description; and there was one gallery which contained openings leading from the topmost surface and machines for supplying the gardens with water, the machines raising the water in great abundance from the river, although no one outside could see it being done. Now this park, as I have said, was a later construction.” 

Quintus Curtius Rufus, active in the 1st century AD, referred to the writings of Cleitharchus when writing his own documentation about the Hanging Gardens describing it, “The Babylonians also have a citadel twenty stades in circumference. The foundations of its turrets are sunk thirty feet into the ground and the fortifications rise eighty feet above it at the highest point. On its summit are the hanging gardens, a wonder celebrated by the fables of the Greeks. They are as high as the top of the walls and owe their charm to the shade of many tall trees. The columns supporting the whole edifice are built of rock, and on top of them is a flat surface of squared stones strong enough to bear the deep layer of earth placed upon it and the water used for irrigating it. So stout are the trees the structure supports that their trunks are eight cubits thick and their height as much as fifty feet; they bear fruit as abundantly as if they were growing in their natural environment. And although time with its gradual decaying processes is as destructive to nature’s works as to man’s, even so this edifice survives undamaged, despite being subjected to the pressure of so many tree-roots and the strain of bearing the weight of such a huge forest. It has a substructure of walls twenty feet thick at eleven foot intervals, so that from a distance one has the impression of woods overhanging their native mountains. Tradition has it that it is the work of a Syrian king who ruled from Babylon. He built it out of love for his wife who missed the woods and forests in this flat country and persuaded her husband to imitate nature’s beauty with a structure of this kind.”

Based of the lost account of Onesicritus Strabo from 64 BC – 21 AD describes the gardens, “Babylon, too, lies in a plain; and the circuit of its wall is three hundred and eighty-five stadia. The thickness of its wall is thirty-two feet; the height thereof between the towers is fifty cubits; that of the towers is sixty cubits; and the passage on top of the wall is such that four-horse chariots can easily pass one another; and it is on this account that this and the hanging garden are called one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The garden is quadrangular in shape, and each side is four plethra in length. It consists of arched vaults, which are situated, one after another, on checkered, cube-like foundations. The checkered foundations, which are hollowed out, are covered so deep with earth that they admit of the largest of trees, having been constructed of baked brick and asphalt – the foundations themselves and the vaults and the arches. The ascent to the uppermost terrace-roofs is made by a stairway; and alongside these stairs there were screws, through which the water was continually conducted up into the garden from the Euphrates by those appointed for this purpose, for the river, a stadium in width, flows through the middle of the city; and the garden is on the bank of the river (World Public Library).”

To date there is no archeological evidence proving the existence of the Hanging Gardens in Babylon, even with Dallas’ research concluding a huge garden was built by the Assyrians the true identity and whereabouts of this remarkable city are still unknown. However, there are accounts documenting this marvelous city and therefore allow it to remain as one of the ancient wonders of the world.

http://www.unmuseum.org/hangg.htm

http://www.ancient.eu/article/129/

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/may/05/babylon-hanging-garden-wonder-nineveh

http://netlibrary.net/articles/hanging_gardens_of_babylon

https://books.google.com/books?id=vGhbJzigPBwC&pg=PA38&lpg=PA38&dq=hanging+gardens+of+babylon+peer+review&source=bl&ots=2ssNBw3IBd&sig=s5OxhQTCNhbX04TGCXYY7EqBMxM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=w7c6VYW6CeTlsATCl4GoBg&ved=0CDwQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Genii

   As a part of your subconscious, the genii is a specific divine figure with an unspecific content flowing through every living creature representing the intercessor between the realms of God and man. The genii attends man throughout the duration of a life as his second or spiritual self, forever influencing and shaping ideals that the Gods set forth. As far as the literary testimonies concerned, what stands out is the overwhelming ratio of personal individual Genii, a revealing aspect for the central feature of this religious phenomenon, it’s paradoxical character that can be seen in every culture and religion.

   Every Human at birth receives a genius. The genius can be conceived as a friendly towards one person, and as a hostile towards another, or that it manifested itself to the same person in different ways at different times. The other popular theory is that we obtain two genii, one for the power of good with the other to the power of evil, and that at death depending on the influence we either rise to a higher state of existence or are condemned to a lower one. Along with the two different types of genius there are two different names regarding the gender that it resides in. Women called there genius Juno, regarding the genii of men as being in some way connected with Jupiter (mythindex.com). Among the Romans the name genius was given to the God who had the power of doing all things. The genius was a God who had the power of generating all things and presiding over them when produced. The Genii are emanations from the great gods that would act as the mediator; the agent that interprets the gods’ wills onto mankind, to keep the harmony between dimensions in order (Encyclopaedia Perthensis).

   The genii was normally depicted as a winged character by the cultures of the near middle east. However, the interpretation of this 5th-6th century bottle can more accurately describe the role the genii plays. On the outside there is a flowing pattern using four main characters who have  women’s bodies with a men’s faces representing the genii is equally a part of both genders. Each of these characters hold different objects, such as; a child, a plant, a bird and an offering plate, alluding to the fact that the genii resides in all living aspects of the world. The object being the bottle describes the idea of the genii living inside of every living thing, as part of who we are, how are personality is, our life blood.

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc. <http://fsf.org/>

– Dustin Savage

Works Cited:

Encyclopaedia Perthensis; Or Universal Dictionary of the Arts, Science, Literature, etc. : Volume 10

http://www.mythindex.com/roman-mythology/G/Genius.html

Looting of Ancient Artifacts Continues in the Near Middle East

looting  Looting of Ancient Artifacts Continues in the Near Middle East

   The act of looting has been around since the time of the first creatures to walk the Earth. It is a part of the natural habitat to take something from someone/something else whether it’s over envy, food or protection. This action becomes intensified when living quarters change drastically, In the since of humans, the main cause is war and poverty. Since the near middle east is the birth place of human civilization it is only logical that many wars and looting have taken place in this area. The issue in today’s society is the extreme continuation of this negative ancient habit in countries such as Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq and many others in that region.  Many of these regions are at war or are having rebellions creating uncivilized actions in which terrorist organizations, regimes and even normal citizens are raiding museums and historical sites to reek the easy profits of ancient relics.

   These ancient treasures are fueling the market with unknown parties scooping them away as fast as they come. UNESCO and other international and national agencies are trying to prevent this illicit trafficking, but still the world’s museums are full of objects that many people believe don’t belong there(Stanford 1). As the main focus of the Collier and Moeffler defense group suggests, viewing looting as a product of conflict is not enough to bring these acts to a halt (MacGinty 858). In northern Cambodia, 1998, the site of the ancient Banteay Chhmar temple, a small convoy of military trucks from a rogue militia set up road blocks not allowing anything to pass through. They began excavating the site by dragging near by villagers to work with jackhammers. In only two weeks this 800 year old once preserved site was destroyed with a 98-foot-long section of the wall carted off and sold on the black market. This and other evidence from Iraq and Afghanistan advocate that the smuggling of artifacts or “blood antiquities”  network are helping finance terrorism through violent insurgent groups.Benteay Chhmar These looting techniques have all but rose in the past three decades. In 2010, a Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk was established by the International Council of Museums, alerting international law enforcement agencies and customs officials to try and prevent the blood antiquities trade from further flourishing(Pringle 1-4). In the 2011, the revolution of Egypt created more illegal excavations leaving behind, “hundreds of looters’ pits, exposed tombs, destroyed walls and even human remains, including remnants of dismembered mummies and strewn mummy wraps, littering the site like trash,”(Popular Archaeology 2). No longer obtaining permission to work or even enter Egypt Professor and Archaeologist Carol Redmount of U.C. Berkley established a Facebook page dedicated to the attention to the El Hibeh’s Plight in Egypt in an attempt to prevent other sites from this same horrific incident(Popular Archaeology 5). While this and other social media pages did create some media attention and recognition to the problem at hand it was also considered not as big of a deal as it should have been. Many viewed this as “the kid crying wolf” because the same problem happened years earlier after the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s Regime, where looters entered the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad steeling and destroying thousands of artifacts while also damaging the museum. This became a huge international controversy because the United States was informed before war about the security of the objects. American archeologist and other international archaeologists teamed up against the United States through live media coverage by petitioning against the war and blaming the United States for not securing the most infamous museum before the looting took place. Millions of dollars were spent to try to reclaim these artifacts in which was not very successful until “the late spring and summer of 2003 when it became increasingly clear that the events at the museum did not conform to the initial narrative. Most of the missing high-quality artifacts had indeed been hidden in various vaults and locations by the staff. The staff portrayed its deception as necessary to protect the holdings, but some journalist were enraged about the manipulation(Joffe 1-10).” With the manipulation of media, preventive agencies and museums failing to protect the artifacts other actions have to be established before everything is either damaged or carted off to private owners to never be seen again. Since all other approaches have not been panning out maybe it time for other resources and plans to be put into action, for instance, there has been recent research using a Geographic Information System (GIS) for mapping out these illegal excavation sites along with other attempts of taking out the “Janus Point,” of the underground market and also fixing the poverty level of these countries.

    With new discoveries preventative actions can now be put in play to shut down the global black market. Sarah Parcak from the University of Alabama in Birmingham is one of the Archaeologist of the new frontier using the GIS, “To help halt the destruction, Parcak and her colleagues are working on new ways of tracking and monitoring looting. In Egypt, she explains, concentrations of looting holes can be seen from space, and her team is using high-resolution satellite images taken over time to look at changes in looting patterns.Sarah Parcak and her team are not only using satellite imagery to monitor looting from up in space. They’re also collecting images to identify buried landscapes with astonishing precision, thus contributing to archaeological finds. In 2011, relying on infrared satellite pictures, Parcak and her team identified 17 potential buried pyramids, some 3,000 settlements, and 1,000 tombs across Egypt.” This system is creating a tipping point where they can map, monitor and protect both known and unknown sites(Pringle 10).GIS layers In another effort to stop the looting of these ancient artifacts The University of Glasco, at the Scottish center for Crime and Justice Research, has researchers gathering data on the global black market for a multimillion dollar project dubbed the Trafficking Culture, with members analyzing how traffickers smuggle and launder looted artifacts, and how this can be prevented. “Our project is unique,” says team member Donna Yates, an archaeologist focusing on the antiquities trade in South and Central America. “We are the first academic group to have criminologists, lawyers, and archaeologists all working together.” These researchers traveled to Banteay Chhmar and five other substantially looted temple complexes in Cambodia and talked to nearby villages in hopes of assistance. Through the help of the Elders in the town they were able to track down and talk to people who witnessed or took part in the looting. Because of the religious views of karma many of them gave information about the ringleaders, which lead the team to find a former member of the Khmer Rouge as the next man up the latter. His information gave prices on the antiques they took and also the next link up the chain, the heads of an organized crime ring in Sisophon, in which it was rumored they were the cause of the two-week-long looting of Banteay Chhmar. From there the antiqities were passed to Bangkok, Thailand where the Janus Point was discovered. Janus is a Hindu God who has two different faces, one that gazed down on the criminal world and one that looked up into the world of wealthy collectors and buyers. Surprisingly there are not many steps involved from the looters to the buyers, making it a lot easier than first fathomed illusive black market, proving that with more effort the head of the snake could be cut off hopefully vanquishing the thirst for ancient antiquities(Pringle 4-5). The last effort; which should already have more effort put into it, is the crisis of the Middle East’s economy. The economy from the Middle East is detached from not only the world’s, but also from one another. However, it is a lot more easily said then done, if the blockade on Gaza was vanquished and the sanctions on Iran were demised the economy still would not prevail. “Oil importers need to replace costly fuel subsidies with targeted assistance to the poor and the creation of social safety nets. They also need to ease their dependency on external aid, reduce corruption, and make regulatory changes to encourage private-sector growth. Exporters need to reduce spending and diversify their economies. And both need to shrink their public sectors and modernize their educational systems. The United States and its allies should not only provide advice in overcoming these challenges but also incentivize regional governments to take it. That means working with regional allies that are seeking to diversify and modernize their economies, and coordinating economic aid and tying it to progress on reform, including the political steps necessary to make reforms successful.” Greater economic integration should also be a step by having america and other nations cooperate with wealthy oil producers to invest in the prosperity of their poorer neighbors and offering better access to Western markets, like the European Union (Singh 2-3). By grouping together with organizations such the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other that dedicate time and funds to the prevention of such acts(Looting in the Near Middle east). This process could allow America to lose the world police campaign and help promote long-term peace and stability(Singh 3).

   The solution to the looting problem might have more of an impact that first considered. Not only the can the end of looting ancient artifacts become real but also more extensive research in archaeology and the solution to world poverty could be a possibility if the adaptation of the Geographic Information System, the Trafficking Culture, and the diversity of economies were put into a global scale.

http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/june-2012/article/massive-looting-and-destruction-at-ancient-egyptian-archaeological-site

http://ancientart.as.ua.edu/looting-in-the-near-and-middle-east/

http://news.stanford.edu/news/multi/features/heritage/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/06/140613-looting-antiquities-archaeology-cambodia-trafficking-culture/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/20/opinion/the-real-middle-east-crisis-is-economic.html

http://www.meforum.org/609/museum-madness-in-baghdad