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Who is Tammuz? Mesopotamia – West Asian religion

By | 2018-04-24T12:02:10+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The god Tammuz (probably) with grain growing from his shoulders A West Asian god Tammuz (or Dumuzi) was a West Asian god who personified growing food, like Persephone in Greece or Osiris in Egypt. Like Osiris, Tammuz was male. The Sumerians worshipped Tammuz as early as 2600 BC - and probably much earlier - and so did all the other people [...]

Shepherd story – Epic of Gilgamesh – Mesopotamia

By | 2018-04-15T12:12:56+00:00 September 15th, 2017|History, West Asia|

Shepherd on a cylinder seal (Berlin Museum) When the Sumerian king Gilgamesh refused to fall in love with the goddess Ishtar, he gave her a lot of reasons why not, and he was pretty nasty about it. One of the reasons Gilgamesh gave Ishtar was that she treated all her lovers badly. For example, once she [...]

Moses and Egypt – Bible stories

By | 2018-05-22T23:49:22+00:00 August 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 [...]

Cain and Abel – Bible Stories

By | 2017-10-09T17:17:02+00:00 August 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 [...]

Judgment of Paris – Trojan War

By | 2018-04-23T13:41:07+00:00 July 16th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Judgment of Paris -Paris is on the right (A fresco from Pompeii, ca. 79 AD) Who is the most beautiful? Once upon a time, around 1250 BC, toward the end of the Bronze Age in Greece, three goddesses were having an argument (said the Greeks). The goddesses Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera were arguing about which one of them was the most beautiful. [...]

Oedipus Rex – Sophocles – Summary and Themes

By | 2018-04-23T09:06:11+00:00 July 10th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Oedipus Rex: The shepherd tells his story to Oedipus, while Jocasta listens in horror (now in the Getty Museum) Sophocles wrote this very famous play in the 400s BC. It is mainly about fate, and how men do not control their own fate, no matter how much they try. It's about accepting that [...]