Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity. It encompasses the study of the Greco-Roman world of its languages and literature but of Greco-Roman philosophy and archaeology. Traditionally in the West, the study of the Greek and Roman classics was considered one of the cornerstones of the humanities and a fundamental element of a rounded education; the study of classics has therefore traditionally been a cornerstone of a typical elite education. Study encompasses a time-period of history from the mid-2nd millennium BC to the 6th century AD; the word classics is derived from the Latin adjective classicus, meaning "belonging to the highest class of citizens". The word was used to describe the members of the highest class in ancient Rome. By the 2nd century AD the word was used in literary criticism to describe writers of the highest quality. For example, Aulus Gellius, in his Attic Nights, contrasts "classicus" and "proletarius" writers. By the 6th century AD, the word had acquired a second meaning.
Thus the two modern meanings of the word, referring both to literature considered to be of the highest quality, to the standard texts used as part of a curriculum, both derive from Roman use. In the Middle Ages and education were intertwined. Medieval education taught students to imitate earlier classical models, Latin continued to be the language of scholarship and culture, despite the increasing difference between literary Latin and the vernacular languages of Europe during the period. While Latin was hugely influential, Greek was studied, Greek literature survived solely in Latin translation; the works of major Greek authors such as Hesiod, whose names continued to be known by educated Europeans, were unavailable in the Middle Ages. In the thirteenth century, the English philosopher Roger Bacon wrote that "there are not four men in Latin Christendom who are acquainted with the Greek and Arabic grammars."Along with the unavailability of Greek authors, there were other differences between the classical canon known today and the works valued in the Middle Ages.
Catullus, for instance, was entirely unknown in the medieval period. The popularity of different authors waxed and waned throughout the period: Lucretius, popular during the Carolingian period, was read in the twelfth century, while for Quintilian the reverse is true; the Renaissance led to the increasing study of both ancient literature and ancient history, as well as a revival of classical styles of Latin. From the 14th century, first in Italy and increasingly across Europe, Renaissance Humanism, an intellectual movement that "advocated the study and imitation of classical antiquity", developed. Humanism saw a reform in education in Europe, introducing a wider range of Latin authors as well as bringing back the study of Greek language and literature to Western Europe; this reintroduction was initiated by Petrarch and Boccaccio who commissioned a Calabrian scholar to translate the Homeric poems. This humanist educational reform spread from Italy, in Catholic countries as it was adopted by the Jesuits, in countries that became Protestant such as England and the Low Countries, in order to ensure that future clerics were able to study the New Testament in the original language.
The late 17th and 18th centuries are the period in Western European literary history, most associated with the classical tradition, as writers consciously adapted classical models. Classical models were so prized that the plays of William Shakespeare were rewritten along neoclassical lines, these "improved" versions were performed throughout the 18th century. From the beginning of the 18th century, the study of Greek became important relative to that of Latin. In this period Johann Winckelmann's claims for the superiority of the Greek visual arts influenced a shift in aesthetic judgements, while in the literary sphere, G. E. Lessing "returned Homer to the centre of artistic achievement". In the United Kingdom, the study of Greek in schools began in the late 18th century; the poet Walter Savage Landor claimed to have been one of the first English schoolboys to write in Greek during his time at Rugby School. The 19th century saw the influence of the classical world, the value of a classical education, decline in the US, where the subject was criticised for its elitism.
By the 19th century, little new literature was still being written in Latin – a practice which had continued as late as the 18th century – and a command of Latin declined in importance. Correspondingly, classical education from the 19th century onwards began to de-emphasise the importance of the ability to write and speak Latin. In the United Kingdom this process took longer than elsewhere. Composition continued to be the dominant classical skill in England until the 1870s, when new areas within the discipline began to increase in popularity. In the same decade came the first challenges to the requirement of Greek at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, though it would not be abolished for another 50 years. Though the influence of classics as the dominant mode of education in Europe and North America was in decline in the 19th century, the discipline was evolving in the same period. Classical scholarship was becoming more systematic and scientific with the "new philology" created at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century.
Its scope was broadening: it was during the 19th century that ancient history and classical archaeology began to be s
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus, a distinct city prior to its 5th century BC incorporation with Athens. A center for the arts and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, in particular the Romans. In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, industrial, maritime and cultural life in Greece. In 2012, Athens was ranked the world's 39th richest city by purchasing power and the 67th most expensive in a UBS study. Athens is a global one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe.
It has a large financial sector, its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe, the second largest in the world. While at the same time being the sixth busiest passenger port in Europe; the Municipality of Athens had a population of 664,046 within its administrative limits, a land area of 38.96 km2. The urban area of Athens extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,090,508 over an area of 412 km2. According to Eurostat in 2011, the functional urban area of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union, with a population of 3.8 million people. Athens is the southernmost capital on the European mainland; the heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery.
Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament and the so-called "architectural trilogy of Athens", consisting of the National Library of Greece, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Academy of Athens. Athens is home to several museums and cultural institutions, such as the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, the Acropolis Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, 108 years it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics, making it one of only a handful of cities to have hosted the Olympics more than once. In Ancient Greek, the name of the city was Ἀθῆναι a plural. In earlier Greek, such as Homeric Greek, the name had been current in the singular form though, as Ἀθήνη, it was rendered in the plural on, like those of Θῆβαι and Μυκῆναι.
The root of the word is not of Greek or Indo-European origin, is a remnant of the Pre-Greek substrate of Attica. In antiquity, it was debated whether Athens took its name from its patron goddess Athena or Athena took her name from the city. Modern scholars now agree that the goddess takes her name from the city, because the ending -ene is common in names of locations, but rare for personal names. During the medieval period, the name of the city was rendered once again in the singular as Ἀθήνα. However, after the establishment of the modern Greek state, due to the conservatism of the written language, Ἀθῆναι became again the official name of the city and remained so until the abandonment of Katharevousa in the 1970s, when Ἀθήνα, Athína, became the official name. According to the ancient Athenian founding myth, the goddess of wisdom, competed against Poseidon, the god of the seas, for patronage of the yet-unnamed city. According to the account given by Pseudo-Apollodorus, Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring welled up.
In an alternative version of the myth from Vergil's Georgics, Poseidon instead gave the Athenians the first horse. In both versions, Athena offered the Athenians the first domesticated olive tree. Cecrops declared Athena the patron goddess of Athens. Different etymologies, now rejected, were proposed during the 19th century. Christian Lobeck proposed as the root of the name the word ἄθος or ἄνθος meaning "flower", to denote Athens as the "flowering city". Ludwig von Döderlein proposed the stem of the verb θάω, stem θη- to denote Athens as having fertile soil. In classical literature, the city was sometimes referred to as the City of the Violet Crown, first documented in Pindar's ἰοστέφανοι Ἀθᾶναι, or as τὸ κλεινὸν ἄστυ. In medieval texts, variant names include Setines and Astines, all derivations involving false splitting of p
Brahmin is a varna in Hinduism specialising as priests and protectors of sacred learning across generations. The traditional occupation of Brahmins was that of priesthood at the Hindu temples or at socio-religious ceremonies and rite of passage rituals such as solemnising a wedding with hymns and prayers. Theoretically, the Brahmins were the highest ranking of the four social classes. In practice, Indian texts suggest that Brahmins were agriculturalists, warriors and have held a variety of other occupations in the Indian subcontinent; the earliest inferred reference to "Brahmin" as a possible social class is in the Rigveda, occurs once, the hymn is called Purusha Sukta. According to this hymn in Mandala 10, Brahmins are described as having emerged from the mouth of Purusha, being that part of the body from which words emerge; this Purusha Sukta varna verse is now considered to have been inserted at a date into the Vedic text as a charter myth. Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, a professor of Sanskrit and Religious studies, state, "there is no evidence in the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system", "the varna system seems to be embryonic in the Rigveda and, both and a social ideal rather than a social reality".
Ancient texts describing community-oriented Vedic yajna rituals mention four to five priests: the hotar, the adhvaryu, the udgatar, the Brahmin and sometimes the ritvij. The functions associated with the priests were: The Hotri recites invocations and litanies drawn from the Rigveda; the Adhvaryu is the priest's assistant and is in charge of the physical details of the ritual like measuring the ground, building the altar explained in the Yajurveda. The adhvaryu offers oblations; the Udgatri is the chanter of hymns set to melodies and music drawn from the Samaveda. The udgatar, like the hotar, chants the introductory and benediction hymns; the Brahmin recites from the Atharvaveda. The Ritvij is the chief operating priest. According to Kulkarni, the Grhya-sutras state that Yajna, dana pratigraha are the "peculiar duties and privileges of brahmins"; the term Brahmin in Indian texts has signified someone, good and virtuous, not just someone of priestly class. Both Buddhist and Brahmanical literature, states Patrick Olivelle define "Brahmin" not in terms of family of birth, but in terms of personal qualities.
These virtues and characteristics mirror the values cherished in Hinduism during the Sannyasa stage of life, or the life of renunciation for spiritual pursuits. Brahmins, states Olivelle, were the social class; the Dharmasutras and Dharmasatras text of Hinduism describe the expectations and role of Brahmins. The rules and duties in these Dharma texts of Hinduism, are directed at Brahmins; the Gautama's Dharmasutra, the oldest of surviving Hindu Dharmasutras, for example, states in verse 9.54–9.55 that a Brahmin should not participate or perform a ritual unless he is invited to do so, but he may attend. Gautama outlines the following rules of conduct for a Brahmin, in Chapters 8 and 9: Be always truthful Teach his art only to virtuous men Follow rules of ritual purification Study Vedas with delight Never hurt any living creature Be gentle but steadfast Have self-control Be kind, liberal towards everyoneChapter 8 of the Dharmasutra, states Olivelle, asserts the functions of a Brahmin to be to learn the Vedas, the secular sciences, the Vedic supplements, the dialogues, the epics and the Puranas.
The text lists eight virtues that a Brahmin must inculcate: compassion, lack of envy, tranquility, auspicious disposition and lack of greed, asserts in verse 9.24–9.25, that it is more important to lead a virtuous life than perform rites and rituals, because virtue leads to achieving liberation. The Dharma texts of Hinduism such as Baudhayana Dharmasutra add charity, refraining from anger and never being arrogant as duties of a Brahmin; the Vasistha Dharmasutra in verse 6.23 lists discipline, self-control, truthfulness, Vedic learning, erudition and religious faith as characteristics of a Brahmin. In 13.55, the Vasistha text states that a Brahmin must not accept weapons, poison or liquor as gifts. The Dharmasastras such as Manusmriti, like Dharmsutras, are codes focussed on how a Brahmin must live his life, their relationship with a king and warrior class. Manusmriti dedicates 1,034 verses, the largest portion, on laws for and expected virtues of Brahmins, it asserts, for example, A well disciplined Brahmin, although he knows just the Savitri verse, is far better than an undisciplined one who eats all types of food and deals in all types of merchandise though he may know all three Vedas.
John Bussanich states that the ethical precepts set for Brahmins, in ancient Indian texts, are similar to Greek virtue-ethics, that "Manu's dharmic Brahmin can be compared to Aristotle's man of practical wisdom", that "the virtuous Brahmin is not unlike the Platonic-Aristotelian philosopher" with the difference that the latter was not sacerdotal. According to Abraham Eraly, "Brahmin as a varna hardly had any presence in historical records before the Gupta Empire era", when Buddhism dominated the land. "No Brahmin, no sacrifice, no ritualistic act of any kind even once, is referred to" in any Indian texts between third century BCE and
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
Plutarch named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, was a Greek biographer and essayist, known for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works were intended for both Greek and Roman readers. Plutarch was born to a prominent family in the small town of Chaeronea, about 80 kilometres east of Delphi, in the Greek region of Boeotia, his family was wealthy. The name of Plutarch's father has not been preserved, but based on the common Greek custom of repeating a name in alternate generations, it was Nikarchus; the name of Plutarch's grandfather was Lamprias, as he attested in Moralia and in his Life of Antony. His brothers and Lamprias, are mentioned in his essays and dialogues, which speak of Timon in particular in the most affectionate terms. Rualdus, in his 1624 work Life of Plutarchus, recovered the name of Plutarch's wife, from internal evidence afforded by his writings. A letter is still extant, addressed by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not to grieve too much at the death of their two-year-old daughter, named Timoxena after her mother.
He hinted at a belief in reincarnation in that letter of consolation. The exact number of his sons is not certain, although two of them and the second Plutarch, are mentioned. Plutarch's treatise De animae procreatione in Timaeo is dedicated to them, the marriage of his son Autobulus is the occasion of one of the dinner parties recorded in the "Table Talk". Another person, Soklarus, is spoken of in terms which seem to imply that he was Plutarch's son, but this is nowhere stated, his treatise on marriage questions, addressed to Eurydice and Pollianus, seems to speak of the latter as having been an inmate of his house, but without any clear evidence on whether she was his daughter or not. Plutarch studied mathematics and philosophy at the Academy of Athens under Ammonius from 66 to 67. At some point, Plutarch received Roman citizenship; as evidenced by his new name, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, his sponsor for citizenship was Lucius Mestrius Florus, a Roman of consular status whom Plutarch used as a historical source for his Life of Otho.
He lived most of his life at Chaeronea, was initiated into the mysteries of the Greek god Apollo. For many years Plutarch served as one of the two priests at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the site of the famous Delphic Oracle, twenty miles from his home. By his writings and lectures Plutarch became a celebrity in the Roman Empire, yet he continued to reside where he was born, participated in local affairs serving as mayor. At his country estate, guests from all over the empire congregated for serious conversation, presided over by Plutarch in his marble chair. Many of these dialogues were recorded and published, the 78 essays and other works which have survived are now known collectively as the Moralia. In addition to his duties as a priest of the Delphic temple, Plutarch was a magistrate at Chaeronea and he represented his home town on various missions to foreign countries during his early adult years. Plutarch held the office of archon in his native municipality only an annual one which he served more than once.
He undertook the humblest of duties. The Suda, a medieval Greek encyclopedia, states that Emperor Trajan made Plutarch procurator of Illyria. However, most historians consider this unlikely, since Illyria was not a procuratorial province, Plutarch did not speak Illyrian. According to the 8th/9th-century historian George Syncellus, late in Plutarch's life, Emperor Hadrian appointed him nominal procurator of Achaea – which entitled him to wear the vestments and ornaments of a consul. Plutarch spent the last thirty years of his life serving as a priest in Delphi, he thus connected part of his literary work with the sanctuary of Apollo, the processes of oracle-giving and the personalities who lived or traveled there. One of his most important works is the "Why Pythia does not give oracles in verse". More important is the dialogue "On the E in Delphi", which features Ammonius, a Platonic philosopher and teacher of Plutarch, Lambrias, Plutarch's brother. According to Ammonius, the letter E written on the temple of Apollo in Delphi originated from the following fact: the wise men of antiquity, whose maxims were written on the walls of the vestibule of the temple, were not seven but five: Chilon, Thales and Pittakos.
However, the tyrants Cleobulos and Periandros used their political power in order to be incorporated in the list. Thus, the E, which corresponds to number 5, constituted an acknowledgment that the Delphic maxims originated from the five real wise men; the portrait of a philosopher exhibited at the exit of the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, dating to the 2nd century AD, had been in the past identified with Plutarch. The man, although bearded, is depicted at a young age, his hair and beard are rendered in thin incisions. The gaze is due to the heavy eyelids and the incised pupils; the portrait is no longer thought to represent Plutarch. But a fragmentary hermaic stele next to the portrait did once bear a portrait of Plutarch, since it is inscribed, "The Delphians along with the Chaeroneans dedicated this to Plutarch, following the precepts of the Amphictyony". Plutarc
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to proselytize or perform ministries of service, such as education, social justice, health care, economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send"; the word was used in light of its biblical usage. The term is most used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology. A Christian missionary can be defined as "one, to witness across cultures"; the Lausanne Congress of 1974, defined the term, related to Christian mission as, "to form a viable indigenous church-planting movement". Missionaries can be found in many countries around the world. In the Bible, Jesus is recorded as instructing the apostles to make disciples of all nations; this verse is referred to by Christian missionaries as the Great Commission and inspires missionary work. The Christian Church expanded throughout the Roman Empire in New Testament times and is said by tradition to have reached further, to Persia and to India.
During the Middle Ages, the Christian monasteries and missionaries such as Saint Patrick, Adalbert of Prague propagated learning and religion beyond the European boundaries of the old Roman Empire. In 596, Pope Gregory the Great sent the Gregorian Mission into England. In their turn, Christians from Ireland and from Britain became prominent in converting the inhabitants of central Europe. During the Age of Discovery, the Catholic Church established a number of missions in the Americas and in other Western colonies through the Augustinians and Dominicans to spread Christianity in the New World and to convert the Native Americans and other indigenous people. About the same time, missionaries such as Francis Xavier as well as other Jesuits, Augustinians and Dominicans reached Asia and the Far East, the Portuguese sent missions into Africa. Emblematic in many respects is Matteo Ricci's Jesuit mission to China from 1582, peaceful and non-violent; these missionary movements should be distinguished from others, such as the Baltic Crusades of the 12th and 13th centuries, which were arguably compromised in their motivation by designs of military conquest.
Much contemporary Catholic missionary work has undergone profound change since the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965, with an increased push for indigenization and inculturation, along with social justice issues as a constitutive part of preaching the Gospel. As the Catholic Church organizes itself along territorial lines and had the human and material resources, religious orders, some specializing in it, undertook most missionary work in the era after the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West. Over time, the Holy See established a normalized Church structure in the mission areas starting with special jurisdictions known as apostolic prefectures and apostolic vicariates. At a stage of development these foundations are raised to regular diocesan status with a local bishops appointed. On a global front, these processes were accelerated in the 1960s, in part accompanying political decolonization. In some regions, they are still in course. Just as the Bishop of Rome had jurisdiction in territories considered to be in the Eastern sphere, so the missionary efforts of the two 9th-century saints Cyril and Methodius were conducted in relation to the West rather than the East, though the field of activity was central Europe.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, under the Orthodox Church of Constantinople undertook vigorous missionary work under the Roman Empire and its successor the Byzantine Empire. This had lasting effects and in some sense is at the origin of the present relations of Constantinople with some sixteen Orthodox national churches including the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church; the Byzantines expanded their missionary work in Ukraine after the mass baptism in Kiev in 988. The Serbian Orthodox Church had its origins in the conversion by Byzantine missionaries of the Serb tribes when they arrived in the Balkans in the 7th century. Orthodox missionaries worked among the Estonians from the 10th to the 12th centuries, founding the Estonian Orthodox Church. Under the Russian Empire of the 19th century, missionaries such as Nicholas Ilminsky moved into the subject lands and propagated Orthodoxy, including through Belarus, Moldova, Estonia and China.
The Russian St. Nicholas of Japan took Eastern Orthodoxy to Japan in the 19th century; the Russian Orthodox Church sent missionaries to Alaska beginning in the 18th century, including Saint Herman of Alaska, to minister to the Native Americans. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia continued missionary work outside Russia after the 1917 Russian Revolution, resulting in the establishment of many new dioceses in the diaspora, from which numerous converts have been made in Eastern Europe, North America, Oceania. Early Protestant missionaries included John Eliot and contemporary ministers
Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder; this "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India. Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Smṛti; these texts discuss theology, mythology, Vedic yajna, agamic rituals, temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Āgamas.
Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja and recitations, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, occasional pilgrimages; some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions engage in lifelong Sannyasa to achieve Moksha. Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, among others; the four largest denominations of Hinduism are the Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism. Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is the most professed faith in India and Mauritius, it is the predominant religion in Bali, Indonesia.
Significant numbers of Hindu communities are found in the Caribbean, North America, other countries. The word Hindū is derived from Indo-Aryan/Sanskrit root Sindhu; the Proto-Iranian sound change *s > h occurred between 850–600 BCE, according to Asko Parpola. It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. According to Gavin Flood, "The actual term Hindu first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the term Hindu in these ancient records did not refer to a religion. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by Xuanzang, 14th-century Persian text Futuhu's-salatin by'Abd al-Malik Isami. Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.
The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people. This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus"; the term Hindu was used in some Sanskrit texts such as the Rajataranginis of Kashmir and some 16th- to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata. These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas or Mlecchas, with the 16th-century Chaitanya Charitamrita text and the 17th-century Bhakta Mala text using the phrase "Hindu dharma", it was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus. The term Hinduism spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious and cultural traditions native to India. Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book.
Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, arriving at a comprehensive definition is difficult. The religion "defies our desire to define and categorize it". Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, "a way of life". From a Western lexical standpoint, Hinduism like other faiths is appropriately referred to as a religion. In India the term dharma is preferred, broader than the Western term religion; the study of India and its cultures and religions, the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by th