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What did Manichaeans believe? – Christianity

By | 2017-08-22T13:35:09+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Manichaean painting (Turfan, western China, ca. 900s AD) In the 300s and 400s AD many Christians turned to believing in Manichaeism, a form of Christianity. A man named Mani started this movement in the late 200s AD. Mani lived in the Sassanian Empire, where lots of people were Zoroastrians. So Zoroastrianism influenced Mani's thinking a lot. Manichaeans believed [...]

Shahnameh – Islamic Literature

By | 2017-07-26T09:31:51+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

Death of Iskandar (Alexander), from the Great Mongol Shahnameh (Iran, 1330s AD) In the 900s AD, Central Asia was the most civilized part of the world. The universities and libraries of Iran and Afghanistan were famous for a thousand miles in every direction. The Iranian Al-Tabari had recently finished writing his huge Islamic History. Here, in [...]

Religion in India – Ancient India

By | 2017-07-21T08:57:27+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Lights of a Diwali celebration Three major world religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam - have been important in India. Hinduism started in India in the Stone Age. Buddhism started in India and spread from India to the rest of Asia. Islam went the other way: it started in West Asia and then came to India. Nobody knows much about the [...]

What are nomads? Definition and examples

By | 2017-06-29T23:17:42+00:00 June 29th, 2017|Government, History|

Khoisan painting at Springfontein, Zimbabwe Nomads are people who travel around from place to place without having one settled place where they live. Many are hunters and gatherers like the San. Often they are shepherds, goatherds, or cattle herders. Sometimes nomads do stay in one place all winter, and only travel in the [...]

History of chickens – India and China

By | 2017-10-19T08:21:50+00:00 June 12th, 2017|China, Food, India|

Clay hen whistle from Mohenjo Daro (ca. 2700 BC, now in Brooklyn Museum) Long ago, lots of wild chickens lived in India and East Asia (China, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam). That's where people first domesticated (tamed) chickens, maybe around 7000 BC. Recent genetic evidence shows that people tamed chickens in two different places: [...]

Buddhism and Islam – Central Asian religion

By | 2017-06-01T00:15:20+00:00 June 1st, 2017|Central Asia, Religion|

Bamiyan Buddhas (Afghanistan, ca. 500 AD, now destroyed by the Taliban) Central Asia's wide steppe is so easy to ride horses or camels over or walk over that there have always been a lot of people coming and going through Central Asia, and they bring their religious beliefs with them. So people in Central Asia [...]

Samanids – History of Central Asia

By | 2017-05-31T16:49:41+00:00 May 31st, 2017|Central Asia, History|

The tomb of the Samanid rulers. Bukhara, Uzbekistan, about 900 AD. The Samanids were people who lived in the easternmost part of the Abbasid Empire, in the 800s AD. The Samanids were pretty much the descendants of the Sogdians who lived in that area before them. Like the Sogdians, they were Indo-Europeans. Samanid people [...]