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Olympic Games (interesting, actually)
#46
I share Jame´s worry that it is fashionable to try and oenplay western civilization. I also sypport Wayn's observation that we must keep an open mind.

I have som obesrvation that I still do not know how they will affect this converstation.

1. Talk about Greeks and only classical period comes to mind of most people. Bronze Age Greece that perhpas inveted some things and was perhaps more advanced is omited.

2. Mythos (lore) talks about funerary games that had their origins in Bronze Age. Hoplitodromy comes to mind. There is also a Bronze Age sigil showing runners passing by what seems to be a monument. (Nat. Museum Athens)

3. Orientalizing influence. No one in his right mind can deny that there was influence. As ofr the "mantra" that East is the source of everything and "barbaric" Europeans were influenced by it - I do not agree.
Example the pottery fragments with Greek letters found in Tel El Yahudiyia - dated in the Bronze Age and predated the "Phoinician alphabet".

Lots of things originated in the East but NOT everything.

Why it is hard to believe that some forms of "higher civilazation" (my quotes) simply originated in the West.

Kind regards
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#47
Hi guys,

Sorry I am replying late have been away for the weekend.

I’ll respond to James first.

The Assyriologist Stephanie Dalley – a modern scholar - not only hypothesised about the Sennacherib’s water screw pump but following directions from his cuneiform annals went on to recreate and confirm them in a BBC documentary titled, Hanging Gardens of Babylon.’

Quote:I have looked at the list, and considered it at great length. What's shocking is that 90% of the items on that list are completely irrelevant to the spirit of the games; it is a a careful compilation of Olympic aspects that are utterly incidental: the "banquet", the "votive offerings", the "guardian". Who cares if there was a statue of Zeus there? Does it really matter? All of the supposed parallels you listed were irrelevant to the nature of the Olympics, which was the hero-worship of the human body. But the aspects of the Olympics that were actually distinctive, you wrapped up and mentioned in just one lonely category out of eleven: "athletic events". Did they have some sort of athletic events? Yes. Did Babylonians have some sort of athletic events? Yes. Then we have a match, Babylonian Olympics!
They are not irrelevant if one is to consider the theme of the event. I subjectively feel that after having been adopted by the Greeks and Hellenised the Gilgamesh games in fact lost part of their original meaning and theme. To the ancient Sumerians-Babylonians and Assyrians these games were 9 day mourning rites in which athletes followed in the footsteps of their hero Gilgamesh and competed for immortality. All of the parallels I listed are important because they are the threads that weave the story of the Gilgamesh games. Not to say that the Greeks didn’t Hellenise and refine it but this coherent theme is unfortunately missing from the Greek Olympic Games. The hero worship of the human body is a theme I have never heard of before.

Quote:This is a sleight of hand scholarship, not the real thing.
Also, I am stunned that anybody would try to defend the Assyrian pyramids made out of skulls. I think this may just dissuade me from further responses.
I will be the first to admit that some lone Assyrian Kings were brutal during the course of the 800 years they refined and protected civilisation so that it could flower and blossom, however it is a fact that they were no more brutal than the Empires that followed them. Here’s a quote from Assyriologist Henry Saggs,
"There is no proven case of any atrocities committed by individual Assyrian soldiers as matters of mere sadism. It is true that there are some scenes on bas reliefs which do show the mutilation or barbarous killing (as by skinning) of prisoners, but the indications are that these represent what was done to ringleaders by order of the king, not random acts of barbarity by private soldiers. Indeed, there are indications that the king insisted on very strict discipline in the matter of treatment of prisoners-of-war, and one royal letter to an Assyrian administrator dealing with provisions for such prisoners actually warns the official: 'You shall not be negligent. If you are, you shall die.'" (H.W.F. Saggs, The Might That Was Assyria, pp.262-3)

Furthermore:
"Amongst all the aspects of ancient Mesopotamian life, there are few which have been more widely misunderstood and misrepresented than the nature of Assyrian imperialism. Few historians or other writers who touch upon Assyria in the period between 900 B.C. and its final fall just before 600 B.C. can resist the temptation to gather up their skirts and add yet another shocked comment upon barbarism, brutality and unmatched ruthlessness of the Assyrians. It is rare to find any attempt to look at Assyrian warfare and imperialism as a whole in its perspective. Yet, as it is hoped to show below, when one considers the whole functioning of the Assyrian Empire, and particularly when one passes judgement in accordance with the standards, not of our own times but of the other peoples of the ancient world, a very different picture emerges.
The Assyrian Empire was efficient and would not gladly bear those who wished to upset the civilised world order, but it was not exceptionally bloody or barbaric. The number of people killed or mutilated in an average Assyrian campaign in the interest of efficient administration was, even in proportion to the population, probably no more than the number of dead and mangled humans that most Western countries offer annually as a sacrifice to the motor-car, in the supposed interest of efficient transport." (H.W.F. Saggs, Everyday Life In Babylonia and Assyria, p.99)

Regards,
David Chibo
http://www.gilgameshgames.org
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#48
Hi Sean,

Quote:I've finished reading that site through, and I think their basic argument is sound, but their conclusions go too far. Its now clear that there were sacred sporting events in Mesopotamia, and that these have definite similarities with the ancient Olympics. It does make some leaps in time. For example, we don't know if the custom recorded in the Death of Bilgames poem was still common by the Iron Age. The text about the Abu festival is from the early second millennium BCE.


There are references to the festival of ghosts and the Gilgamesh games during the reign of Ashurbanipal showing that the Games were not only continuously conducted during the Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian periods of Middle Eastern history but even after the fall of the empire under Greek ruke they continued to practise the games.

In fact four hundred years after Homer wrote the Iliad and following in the tradition of Gilgamesh and Achilles, Alexander the Great, during his military campaigns, also mourned the death of his friend Hephaistion with similar extravagant funerary games in 324 BC in the heart of Mesopotamia, at Babylon, in which about 3000 athletes took part!

Quote:It also uses evidence from other events when they can't find a parallel with the little we know about the Gilgamesh games. For example, since the earliest Olympics were a running event not a wrestling event like the Gilgamesh games, he argues that they were modeled on the foot-race of Nabu. I don't understand the argument that page makes for some of its points, such as the connection between the laurel wreath of victory in Greece, and Gilgamesh's poplar leaves, is also weak. But some of the parallels are convincing.

As stated in the thesis we don't have any mention of what type of athletic events the 'feats of strength' consisted of which is why I was trying to show that the athletic games conducted during the Olympic Games were neither new or unique to Greece and various athletic events were being conducted by the Hittities and Mesopotamians.

Quote:I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Greeks borrowed the idea of sacred games from the Hittites, including some bits from the major Babylonian games. That would make the four pan-Hellenic games just like astronomy, or the alphabet, or other foreign ideas which the Greeks borrowed and put their own unique twist on. How close and direct was the borrowing? I'm not sure. But its definitely worth studying some more!

Thank you for daring to explore our shared civilisation, both Eastern and Western.

This link requires a paradigm shift but is important to make. Because once we acknowledge we recognise this culutral continuity we can then see our modern view of history in a new light and begin to hopefully give importance to a barely gleened chapter of our history.

Regards,
David Chibo
http://www.gilgameshgames.org
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#49
Quote:In exactly the same way, one could say that somebody like Aeschylus was a writer who "made himself" -- although it was the early man who had to discover writing for him, and that the Phoenicians taught him their alphabet.

And I'm willing to bet that the only "Oriental" writer you've ever read, and accidently at that, has been Aesop.
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#50
Quote:Why it is hard to believe that some forms of "higher civilazation" (my quotes) simply originated in the West.

I have never said that the Greeks or Romans never took some elements of "Eastern" civilisation and elevated them higher. Of course they did. Just as the Assyrians adopted and elevated the civilisation bestowed upon them by the Babylonians who in turn adopted it from the Sumerians.
What I am championing is cultural continuity.
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#51
Quote:
Quote:I've finished reading that site through, and I think their basic argument is sound, but their conclusions go too far. Its now clear that there were sacred sporting events in Mesopotamia, and that these have definite similarities with the ancient Olympics. It does make some leaps in time. For example, we don't know if the custom recorded in the Death of Bilgames poem was still common by the Iron Age. The text about the Abu festival is from the early second millennium BCE.


There are references to the festival of ghosts and the Gilgamesh games during the reign of Ashurbanipal showing that the Games were not only continuously conducted during the Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian periods of Middle Eastern history but even after the fall of the empire under Greek ruke they continued to practise the games.

In fact four hundred years after Homer wrote the Iliad and following in the tradition of Gilgamesh and Achilles, Alexander the Great, during his military campaigns, also mourned the death of his friend Hephaistion with similar extravagant funerary games in 324 BC in the heart of Mesopotamia, at Babylon, in which about 3000 athletes took part!

Regards,
David Chibo
http://www.gilgameshgames.org
Very interesting! Thank you.
Nullis in verba

I left this forum around the beginning of 2013, but I hope that these old posts have some value
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#52
Quote:
Quote:Why it is hard to believe that some forms of "higher civilazation" (my quotes) simply originated in the West.

I have never said that the Greeks or Romans never took some elements of "Eastern" civilisation and elevated them higher. Of course they did. Just as the Assyrians adopted and elevated the civilisation bestowed upon them by the Babylonians who in turn adopted it from the Sumerians.
What I am championing is cultural continuity.

What if the Eastern civilizations took and elevated previous Eastern concepts while keeping them essentially the same -- the question of which type of government is proper etc; while the Greeks took and elevated previously Eastern concepts to something completely different? That in many ways they took the Eastern concepts and then completely broke with Eastern civilization in most things? On that basis you could say that a conceptually new entity had emerged. Nobody can deny that Greek government is fundamentally different from the East, although there isn't anybody who would deny that Eastern monarchs served as the first models for primordial Greek chiefs.
Multi viri et feminae philosophiam antiquam conservant.

James S.
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#53
Quote:
Quote:In exactly the same way, one could say that somebody like Aeschylus was a writer who "made himself" -- although it was the early man who had to discover writing for him, and that the Phoenicians taught him their alphabet.

And I'm willing to bet that the only "Oriental" writer you've ever read, and accidently at that, has been Aesop.


Where is this notion that Aesop was Oriental, just because he came from Eastern Greece? Was Herodotus "Oriental"? And even if it's granted that Aesop was, you can surely find the advancement of Western civilization in that difference between simple stories of Aesop and between Aeschylus.
Multi viri et feminae philosophiam antiquam conservant.

James S.
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#54
Aesop's fables?

Many of Aesop's fables in this compilation have in fact since been found on Egyptian papyri known to date between 800 and 1000 years before Aesop's time. This clearly cast doubts on the authorship of many of the fables attributed to Aesop. Many of the fables were possibly merely compiled by Aesop from existing fables, much in the same way that the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes were but a new compilation of existing rhymes!


Source: http://www.aesops-fables.org.uk/
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#55
Another blog release regarding the Gilgamesh games.


OLYMPIC GAMES BEGAN IN MESOPOTAMIA (IRAQ)

Well, the Olympic Games, as the name shows, is a Hellenic thing, originating in Greece in 776 BCE and continuing till 393 AD/CE.

But, however, nevertheless, notwithstanding (though sitting at the computer is what gives me a pain in the bottom) be prepared to be amazed at the discovery that has been made by David Chibo (in Victoria, Australia). This is not one of Ripley's "Believe it or not" pieces, but a case of "You had better believe it or else". It all began in ancient Iraq, with the Gilgamesh Games.

http://www.gilgameshgames.org

The model for the Greek games was the funerary games conducted to remember the celebrated King Gilgamesh of Uruk. The festival took place annually in the month named Abu, which is Ab or Av on the Hebrew calendar still used by Jews; my personal diary has all the Hebrew dates for 2008, which is the year 5768/9, and Av corresponds to August, which is the month in which the Olympic Games happen. Originally the Olympiad was held every year, but was changed to a fourth yearly event.

The focal point of the games in Mesopotamia was a statue of Gilgamesh (as divine judge of the netherworld) in a temple; and in Greece it was the statue of Zeus in the temple at Olympia.

A feature of the Gilgamesh celebration was the lighting of torches (because of the underworld connections, presumably), and of course the Olympiad was associated with a torch.

On a summary table, eleven compelling comparisons are shown.

http://www.gilgameshgames.org/ggamestable.html

I will have more to say on the Epic of Gilgamesh ....

There is a website named ANCIENT OLYMPICS which will answer all your questions in English, Dutch, Chinese, and Arabic.

You can download a nice little book, which will tell you about the ancient history of the Olympics, in words and pictures.

http://olympics.bib-arch.org/ebook.asp
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#56
Hi guys,

I’m not sure if you recall the ‘Olympic Games’ thread in which Eleatic Guest responded to my post below with a remark indicating that catapults were a genuinely Greek invention.


Quote:I could show that military tactics, such as the Phalanx were depicted on the Stele of Vultures, that siege engines and military engineers, sappers and even hoplite armour and shields all have their antecedents in the Middle East.

Quote:Yes, you can do that, but you wont find there catapults, which were a genuinely Greek innovation. You will also note that Assyrian siege towers rarely exceeded the height of 8 m, while there are - admittedly overengineered - examples in the Greek world which hit the 40 m mark, were clad with iron plates, and featured artillery throwing up to 78 k projectiles.


At the time I also made the assumption that he was correct and did not even think of questioning this “self-evidentâ€
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#57
This is too much. The ballista was invented in the court of Dionysius I, and every single post 19th century book on artillery will say as much. Inventions don't just appear in a vacuum, they appear from a confluence of scientific influences, such as existed at the court of Dionysius and in Greece at the time generally.

There's not a single person who takes that Chronicles passage seriously, just as nobody will think that it was right by making Uzziah invent "coats of mail" for his men. Mail was invented in the later part of the 4th century BC.

Instead of using critical thinking to disect useful data from not, you're pilloring every possible source to support your desired conclusion.
Multi viri et feminae philosophiam antiquam conservant.

James S.
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#58
Quote:There's not a single person who....
I suppose you have asked every single person? That's not a fair statement if you have not.

I've read that linked ring armor was invented earlier than that, by the "Celts" north of Greece. The kind of armor called "scale", (or squamata) is called "scale maille" by some. We know there was scale armor early enough to have been available, but not knowing the Hebrew word that is translated as "maille" offhand, nor the way the sentence is constructed, I can't say much about that. It could be that the "engines" were not intended to be connected to the "arrows and stones" in the original syntax.

There are a number of things that it could mean, including perhaps the stones and arrows clause should have been connected with the slings and bows, and the "machines" [translated "engines" in King James] could have been no more complicated than cauldrons to dump rocks or hot liquid. I'd defer to those who can read Hebrew before I personally made a big issue of that quotation. But that's just me.
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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#59
Quote:This is too much. The ballista was invented in the court of Dionysius I, and every single post 19th century book on artillery will say as much. Inventions don't just appear in a vacuum, they appear from a confluence of scientific influences, such as existed at the court of Dionysius and in Greece at the time generally.

You of course mean every single EUROPEAN and hence WESTERN post 19th century book. Hence the purpose of an "Oriental" source. And yes inventions and civilisation don't appear in a vacuum they are built on the foundation of previous civilisations.

And while common sense suggest that the same people who invented siege towers would naturally have invented catapults and ballistas I will not pass judgment until I have seen the bas releif depicted in Barnett and Falkner 1962: 172, plate 118;

http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?hl ... i=scholarr

I unfortunatley don't have access to this book in my city so I would ask that someone who attends a major University to please look it up and post it on the forum for us all to judge.

Thanks again people.
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#60
Quote:I will not pass judgment until I have seen the bas releif depicted in Barnett and Falkner 1962: 172, plate 118;

http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?hl ... i=scholarr

The university library in my vicinity lists the book as checked out, so it will have to wait. But I ask, how is it that you're citing the book as evidence without even having looked inside?
Multi viri et feminae philosophiam antiquam conservant.

James S.
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