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Who was Mithra? Zoroastrian god – West Asian religion

By |2018-04-15T00:38:16+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Ardashir II becomes the Persian king, in the center, with Mithra and Ahura Mazda by his side (Taq-e Bostan, Iran, 300s AD) (They're trampling on the Roman Empire Julian.) Mithra was the most important Zoroastrian god on the side of Truth. He was the god of contracts and keeping your promises, like the German god Tyr. [...]

Ba’al – the Levant – West Asian gods

By |2018-04-09T23:07:33+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Ba'al from Ugarit (Louvre Museum, Paris) All along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in what's now Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, and down into the Arabian Peninsula, there was (and still is) a feeling that it's wrong to say the name of your god aloud. Instead, people called their god "Lord". Baal is the Semitic word [...]

Who is Ahura Mazda? Zoroastrianism and West Asian religion

By |2018-06-01T08:20:46+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

A carving of the Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda, from the Louvre museum in Paris Who is Ahura Mazda? About 1500 BC, people in India and Iran worshipped a sky god they called Ahura Mazda. An Indo-European god Ardashir I was the first Sassanian ruler of the Parthian Empire. Here he gets the kingship from [...]

Science and the gods – History of Science

By |2017-09-06T12:54:33+00:00September 6th, 2017|History|

The Egyptian god Bes Gods are part of people's desire to know how the world works. It's one of the ways that people explain how the world works. People say that God or the gods make this happen. Or you could say that the gods are a way of talking about complicated things that happen. Maybe they're [...]

Plotinus and the Neoplatonists – Roman philosophy

By |2017-09-04T11:34:58+00:00September 4th, 2017|Philosophy, Romans|

Bust of Plotinus (Ostia, ca. 250 AD) Around the time of Jesus, philosophers (and regular people) in West Asia and the Roman Empire started to think a lot about what happened to you after you died. The afterlife was very important to the Christians and the Gnostics. But a little later on, Roman philosophers developed a new idea. They suggested that when [...]

Sodom and Gomorrah – Bible stories

By |2018-04-09T10:35:31+00:00August 25th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Lot's wife turns to a pillar of salt as God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah. Morgan Bible, France, 1250s AD (commissioned by Louis IX) One story from the Bible about how nomads were good and cities were bad is about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the time of Abraham, after the Jews had moved to [...]

Moses and Egypt – Bible stories

By |2018-05-22T23:49:22+00:00August 24th, 2017|Africa, Religion, West Asia|

The Pharaoh's daughter picks Moses up out of his basket (synagogue at Dura Europos, Syria, 200s AD) The Book of Exodus According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible ("Exodus" means leaving, because this is the book about the Jews leaving Egypt), the Jews did very well in Egypt after Joseph brought them there. (More about [...]

Creation and the Jewish Bible

By |2017-08-23T21:56:08+00:00August 23rd, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

God creates the Sun and the Moon, in a medieval European painting Many of the Jewish people in West Asia believed that at the beginning of time God created order out of Chaos. This is what is written in the beginning of the Bible, in the book called Genesis. Jewish ideas about the beginning of the [...]

Cain and Abel – Bible Stories

By |2017-10-09T17:17:02+00:00August 23rd, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

A door panel by Ghiberti showing Cain and Abel. According to the Book of Genesis in the Bible, after Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden, they began to have children. The first one they named Cain, and the second they named Abel. When these two children grew up, Cain became a farmer and Abel [...]

Tower of Babel – Bible stories

By |2017-10-09T17:17:39+00:00August 23rd, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Breughel's medieval painting of the Tower of Babel According to the Book of Genesis in the Bible, after the Flood people again began to get wicked. Then they had an awful idea. They wanted to build a tower that would go all the way up to Heaven. They wanted to be famous. These people called [...]