SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Ancient Mesopotamian religion

Mesopotamian religion refers to the religious beliefs and practices of the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia Sumer, Akkad and Babylonia between circa 3500 BC and 400 AD, after which they gave way to Syriac Christianity. The religious development of Mesopotamia and Mesopotamian culture in general was not influenced by the movements of the various peoples into and throughout the area the south. Rather, Mesopotamian religion was a consistent and coherent tradition which adapted to the internal needs of its adherents over millennia of development; the earliest undercurrents of Mesopotamian religious thought date to the mid 4th millennium BC, involved the worship of forces of nature as providers of sustenance. In the 3rd millennium BC objects of worship were personified and became an expansive cast of divinities with particular functions; the last stages of Mesopotamian polytheism, which developed in the 2nd and 1st millenniums, introduced greater emphasis on personal religion and structured the gods into a monarchical hierarchy with the national god being the head of the pantheon.

Mesopotamian religion declined with the spread of Iranian religions during the Achaemenid Empire and with the Christianization of Mesopotamia. In the fourth millennium BC, the first evidence for what is recognisably Mesopotamian religion can be seen with the invention in Mesopotamia of writing circa 3500 BC; the people of Mesopotamia consisted of two groups, East Semitic Akkadian speakers and the people of Sumer, who spoke a language isolate. These peoples were members of small kingdoms; the Sumerians left the first records, are believed to have been the founders of the civilisation of the Ubaid period in Upper Mesopotamia. By historical times they resided in southern Mesopotamia, known as Sumer, had considerable influence on the Akkadian speakers and their culture; the Akkadian-speaking Semites are believed to have entered the region at some point between 3500 BC and 3000 BC, with Akkadian names first appearing in the regnal lists of these states c. 29th century BC. The Sumerians were advanced: as well as inventing writing, they invented early forms of mathematics, early wheeled vehicles/chariots, astrology, written code of law, organised medicine, advanced agriculture and architecture, the calendar.

They created the first city-states such as Uruk, Ur, Isin, Umma, Adab, Sippar and Larsa, each of them ruled by an ensí. The Sumerians remained dominant in this synthesised culture, until the rise of the Akkadian Empire under Sargon of Akkad circa 2335 BC, which united all of Mesopotamia under one ruler. There was increasing syncretism between the Sumerian and Akkadian cultures and deities, with the Akkadians preferring to worship fewer deities but elevating them to greater positions of power. Circa 2335 BC, Sargon of Akkad conquered all of Mesopotamia, uniting its inhabitants into the world's first empire and spreading its domination into ancient Iran, the Levant, Anatolia and the Arabian Peninsula; the Akkadian Empire endured for two centuries before collapsing due to economic decline, internal strife and attacks from the north east by the Gutian people. Following a brief Sumerian revival with the Third Dynasty of Ur or Neo-Sumerian Empire, Mesopotamia broke up into a number of Akkadian states.

Assyria had evolved during the 25th century BC, asserted itself in the north circa 2100 BC in the Old Assyrian Empire and southern Mesopotamia fragmented into a number of kingdoms, the largest being Isin and Eshnunna. In 1894 BC the minor city-state of Babylon was founded in the south by invading West Semitic-speaking Amorites, it was ruled by native dynasties throughout its history. Some time after this period, the Sumerians disappeared, becoming wholly absorbed into the Akkadian-speaking population. Assyrian kings are attested from the late 25th century BC and dominated northern Mesopotamia and parts of eastern Anatolia and northeast Syria. Circa 1750 BC, the Amorite ruler of Babylon, King Hammurabi, conquered much of Mesopotamia, but this empire collapsed after his death, Babylonia was reduced to the small state it had been upon its founding; the Amorite dynasty was deposed in 1595 BC after attacks from mountain-dwelling people known as the Kassites from the Zagros Mountains, who went on to rule Babylon for over 500 years.

Assyria, having been the dominant power in the region with the Old Assyrian Empire between the 20th and 18th centuries BC before the rise of Hammurabi, once more became a major power with the Middle Assyrian Empire. Assyria defeated the Hittites and Mitanni, its growing power forced the New Kingdom of Egypt to withdraw from the Near East; the Middle Assyrian Empire at its height stretched from the Caucasus to modern Bahrain and from Cyprus to western Iran. The Neo-Assyrian Empire was the most dominant power on earth and the largest empire the world had yet seen between the 10th century BC and the late 7th century BC, with an empire stretching from Cyprus in the west to central Iran in the east, from the Caucasus in the north to Nubia and the Arabian Peninsula in the south, facilitating the spread of Mesopotamian culture and religion far and wide under emperors such as Ashurbanipal, Tukulti-Ninurta II, Tiglath-Pileser III, Shalmaneser IV, Sargon II, Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. During the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Mesopotamian Aramaic became the lingua franca of the empire, Mesopotamia proper.

The last written records in Akkadian were astrological texts dating from 78 CE discovered in Assyria. The empire fell between 61

Newton Food Centre

Newton Food Centre is a major food centre in Newton, Singapore. The food centre was promoted by the Singapore Tourism Board as a tourist attraction for sampling Singaporean cuisine, it was first opened in 1971 and it closed down in 2005 as the government wanted to revamp the food centre. The food centre went through a major renovation before reopening on 1 July 2006. During the renovations, Newton Food Centre was temporarily moved to an open space nearby along Bukit Timah Road. However, the stall owners suffered some losses. Due to lack of parking facilities, some motorists parked illegally along the side of the roads near the temporary food centre; the police, knowing about this situation, put up barriers to prevent illegal road-side parking and encourage motorists to park at the food centre's parking lot. After the renovations, stall owners at the temporary food centre moved back to the new food centre; the newly built food centre follows the design elements from the nearby old colonial houses.

The colour scheme of the food centre is white and brown and the ceilings are seven metres high, ensuring cross-ventilation and a cooler environment. The newly built food centre will protect some of the patrons sitting in the open space from being wet during the rain as they are shaded by large umbrellas which does not protect customers from the rain as the rain drips on their seat, unlike the previous food centre where patrons had more seating capacity when it was raining. Blinds are available for extra shade from the scorching sun in the afternoons. There are 83 stalls and they are arranged in a horseshoe configuration, featuring the same hawkers who cooked their own-style local favourites like fishball noodles, popiah and fried oyster omelette. CCTVs have been installed. Spaces have been created so buskers can perform and entertain the patrons. Small flea markets can be set up. More than 50 species of flowers, including pink frangipani, wedelia creepers and several species of palms, have been planted around the food centre area at the main entrance and around the seats in the middle section of the hawker centre.

These plants had been incorporated into the landscape to re-create a plantation feel. Despite being promoted by the STB for sampling Singaporean cuisine, the food sellers at Newton Food Centre are criticised by locals for overpricing and mediocre food quality; the food centre is infamous for incessant touting and harassment of customers by over-zealous stall owners. On March 14, 2009 six American tourists were charged S$491 for a meal at Tanglin's Best BBQ Seafood. In this case of flagrant overcharging, The National Environment Agency imposed a 3-month ban on the stall and banned his assistant from working there for five years. "Newton Food Centre". The Economist. Retrieved 2006-09-19. "Newton Food Centre closes For Makeover, Re-opens Next Year". National Environment Agency. 2005-09-21. Archived from the original on 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2006-09-19. "Newton Food Centre". Uniquely Singapore. Retrieved 2007-09-14. "NEA suspends Newton hawker stall's licence for overcharging tourist". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 2009-03-23

Pablo Clain

Paul Klein was a Jesuit missionary, botanist, author of an astronomic observation, rector of Colegio de Cavite as well as the rector of Colegio de San José and Jesuit Provincial Superior in the Philippines, the highest ranking Jesuit official in the country. Klein is known as an important personality of life during the 18th-century Manila. Klein is known for writing a standardized Tagalog dictionary as well as the first person to describe Palau for the Europeans and to draw the first map of Palau, an act which equated to the discovery of Palau, he is known to write the first astronomic observation from Manila of a moon eclipse and an overview of medicinal plants in local as well as European languages as well as recipes for their usage. Paul Klein was born in the town of Cheb, Kingdom of Bohemia in 1652. Klein entered the Society of Jesus in 1669, he applied for a travel to the colonies in 1678. Klein traveled to the Philippines alongside the fourth Jesuit mission dispatched from Bohemia in 1678, which consisted of doctors and pharmacists through Genova and Mexico, arriving to the Philippines in 1682.

Klein first became a pharmacist. Pharmacy in those days was connected to the use of herbs and botanizing. Klein thus became the first person to describe native Philippine medicinal plants, using their names in several languages including Tagalog and Kapampangan when he published his renowned Remedios fáciles para diferentes enfermedades...in 1712. Klein was a respected educator,a professor at the Jesuit college and the rector of Colegio de Cavite and as well as the rector of Colegio de San José, he published a number of religious texts. He was known to play an important role in the establishment of Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary in 1684 in Manila as the spiritual director of the congregation's founder, he is regarded by the said congregation as their second founder. In 1686 Klein described the moon eclipse in Manila. During the years of 1708-1712 Klein reached to the highest Jesuit position, becoming the provincial superior of the Jesuit order in the Philippines. Klein's main language and the language of several of his letters sent back home to Bohemia was Czech.

Besides Czech, Klein spoke Latin, German and he learned the Philippine languages of Tagalog and Kapampangan. Klein became the author of the first substantial Tagalog dictionary passing it over to Francisco Jansens and José Hernandez. Further compilation of his substantial work was prepared by P. Juan de Noceda and P. Pedro de Sanlucar and published as Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala in Manila in 1754 and repeatedly reedited with the last edition being in 2013 in Manila. In 1696 a group of natives were stranded on the northern coast of the Philippine island of Samar. Paul Klein was able to meet them on 28 December 1696 and to send a letter in June 1697 to the Jesuit Superior General, in which he described this encounter and included the first map of Palau sketched from a set of 87 pebbles arranged by the islanders, representing the approximate map. Klein's letter reappears again and again in documents, it is considered a key map, giving strong stimulus to a new missionary endeavour from the Philippine Jesuits.

The first ships were sent to the islands in 1700, 1708 and 1709 but sunk, the first boat arriving to Palau in 1710. Because of his previous studies of pharmacy, Klein described medicinal plants of the Philippines and collected their names in the languages of Latin, Tagalog and Kapampangan as well as their use in medicine; the best known are his recipes of medicines made of local herbs and ingredients published in 1712. In comparison to the vast pharmaceutical and scientific work done by his compatriot Georg Joseph Kamel, which stirred interest in Europe, Klein's latter work was focused on curing Filipinos while using local languages. Many of his formulations are still used today; as for natural sciences, botany was not his only interest. His observations were published in vol. 7, Paris. Besides his botanical and pharmaceutical work, Klein authored many religious publications, published in the 18th century in Manila in Spanish and in Tagalog. Remedios fáciles para differentes enfermedades apuntados por el Padre Pablo Clain de la Companía de Jesús para el alivio y socorro de los Ministros evangélicos de las doctrinas de los naturales...

Universidad de Santo Tomás de Aquino, Manila 1712, 2nd edition, Madrid 1852.