The Parthenon

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Homeownertoo
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Re: The Parthenon

Post by Homeownertoo »

Just a few comments, not in reply to any specific posting.

The Parthenon was just one of a number of amazing ancient structures, some still existing, such as the Pantheon, some in ruins, such as the Colisseum, and some gone, such as the port of Caesarea and the lighthose of Alexandria.

Alexander Tyler's (lots of info available about his quote on the 'net) schematic for civilizations, which I believe is usually linked more specifically to democracies, doesn't really apply to the ancient Greek civilization, which disintegrated amongst inter-city state warfare (though a strong case can be made that Greek civilization actually reached its apex during the imperialistic Hellenistic period that followed Alexander the Great), nor to the ancient Persians, who went through several phases before finally succumbing to Islamic rule. Rome appears to echo our own period somewhat, though Rome's enfeeblement coincided with the rise of Christianity while western civilization's relative decline is marked by a decline in Christianity in the West.

As for the "Christian Dark Ages", that is definitely a misnomer. It was the Church, and more specifically the monasteries, where some classical knowledge was preserved and social order maintained during the darkest years. Unfortunately, they were more intent on preserving theological works than scientific ones that they did not understand.

The Dark Ages refers mainly to the collapse of the Roman order and the classical world, and its replacement by a variety of mostly unrelated barbarian groups from middle and eastern Europe. Some revisionist historians try to make the case that there was no Dark Ages, that this was merely a new phase of the declining Roman order.

The Islamic conquests played little or no role in undermining Greece and Athens. By then, the latter had long since been replaced by Alexandria and other cities as a centre of scholarship, and Greece did not come under Islamic control until the Renaissance. However, Islam did largely replace the dominant Greek civilization in the Middle East/Egypt/Anatolia following the decline of the (eastern) Roman Empire -- say, about 1000 AD. Ironically, Islamic thinkers preserved, and in some cases extended, classical ideas at a time they were largely extinguished in Europe.

Athenian leadership and construction skills can be overstated. The Romans were far superior in both areas.

Yes, it is unfortunate that we have lost much knowledge of old civilizations, though that is less due to the vicissitudes of warfare than the lack of written records produced by such civilizations. For example, the Persians (and earlier Mesopotamian nations), unlike the contemporary Greeks, appear to have produced extensive bureaucratic and commercial records but little literary or historical writing (the outstanding exception, of course, is Gilgamesh). Why this is so is interesting but beyond the scope of this posting.
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don_pepe
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Re: The Parthenon

Post by don_pepe »

"For example, the Persians (and earlier Mesopotamian nations), unlike the contemporary Greeks, appear to have produced extensive bureaucratic and commercial records but little literary or historical writing (the outstanding exception, of course, is Gilgamesh). Why this is so is interesting but beyond the scope of this posting."

The Persians were not Mesopotamian, they had come from modern day Iran and Babylon, Sumeria, ext were based around the Tigris and Euphrates of modern day Iraq. The Persians did eventually conquer Babylon but there civilization was still based out of Persepolis from southern Iran.

The Epic of Gilgamesh was probably Sumerian.

The biggest influence the Persians gave to the modern world was the concept of the devil. When the Israelites were slaves in Babylon they were freed by the Persians who were Zoroastrians. The Hebrews borrowed the idea of the devil from them.
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Homeownertoo
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Re: The Parthenon

Post by Homeownertoo »

I didn't say the Persians were Mesopotamian, though I suppose it could be misread that way. I put Mesopotamian nations in brackets because, unlike the Persians, they were not contemporary with the Greeks, but like the Persians they did leave extensive bureaucratic and commercial (cuneiform) records but little literature. The story of Gilgamesh is interesting partly because it is our earliest telling of the Flood but also because it was produced by one of the earliest, if not the earliest, Mesopotamian civilization.

I didn't know the Jews got the devil from the Persians, but the two cultures share many religious concepts such that it is difficult to say what was originally Jewish (pre-exodus) and what was incorporated into later written records.
“Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed.” -- Leftist icon Herbert Marcuse
“Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs.” -- Hillary Clinton, 25/10/2014

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