Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the first of the Major Prophets in the Christian Old Testament. It is identified by a superscription as the words of the 8th-century BCE prophet Isaiah ben Amoz, but there is extensive evidence that much of it was composed during the Babylonian captivity and later. Bernhard Duhm originated the view, held as a consensus through most of the 20th century, that the book comprises three separate collections of oracles: Proto-Isaiah, containing the words of Isaiah. While no scholars today attribute the entire book, or most of it, to one person, the book's essential unity has become a focus in more recent research. Isaiah 1–33 promises judgment and restoration for Judah and the nations, chapters 34–66 presume that judgment has been pronounced and restoration follows soon, it can thus be read as an extended meditation on the destiny of Jerusalem after the Exile. The Deutero-Isaian part of the book describes how God will make Jerusalem the centre of his worldwide rule through a royal saviour who will destroy her oppressor.
Isaiah speaks out against corrupt leaders and for the disadvantaged, roots righteousness in God's holiness rather than in Israel's covenant. Isaiah 44:6 contains the first clear statement of monotheism: "I am the last; this model of monotheism became the defining characteristic of post-Exilic Judaism, the basis for Christianity and Islam. Isaiah was one of the most popular works among Jews in the Second Temple period. In Christian circles, it was held in such high regard as to be called "the Fifth Gospel", its influence extends beyond Christianity to English literature and to Western culture in general, from the libretto of Handel's Messiah to a host of such everyday phrases as "swords into ploughshares" and "voice in the wilderness"; the scholarly consensus which held sway through most of the 20th century saw three separate collections of oracles in the book of Isaiah. A typical outline based on this understanding of the book sees its underlying structure in terms of the identification of historical figures who might have been their authors: 1–39: Proto-Isaiah, containing the words of the original Isaiah.
While one part of the consensus still holds – no contemporary scholar maintains that the entire book, or most of it, was written by one person – this perception of Isaiah as made up of three rather distinct sections underwent a radical challenge in the last quarter of the 20th century. The newer approach looks at the book in terms of its literary and formal characteristics, rather than authors, sees in it a two-part structure divided between chapters 33 and 34: 1–33: Warnings of judgment and promises of subsequent restoration for Jerusalem and the nations. Seeing Isaiah as a two-part book with an overarching theme leads to a summary of its contents like the following: The book opens by setting out the themes of judgment and subsequent restoration for the righteous. God has a plan which will be realised on the "Day of Yahweh", when Jerusalem will become the centre of his worldwide rule. On that day all the nations of the world will come to Zion for instruction, but first the city must be punished and cleansed of evil.
Israel is invited to join in this plan. Chapters 5–12 explain the significance of the Assyrian judgment against Israel: righteous rule by the Davidic king will follow after the arrogant Assyrian monarch is brought down. Chapters 13–27 announce the preparation of the nations for Yahweh's world rule; the oppressor is about to fall. Chapters 34 -- 35 tell. Chapters 36–39 tell of the faithfulness of king Hezekiah to Yahweh during the Assyrian siege as a model for the restored community. Chapters 40–54 state that the restoration of Zion is taking place because Yahweh, the creator of the universe, has designated the Persian king Cyrus the Great as the promised messiah and temple-builder. Chapters 55–66 are an exhortation to Israel to keep the covenant. God's eternal promise to David is now made to the people of Israel/Judah at large; the book ends by enjoining righteousness as the final stages of God's plan come to pass, including the pilgrimage of the nations to Zion and the realisation of Yahweh's kingship.
The older understanding of this book as three discrete sections attributable to identifiable authors leads to a more atomised picture of its contents, as in this example: Proto-Isaiah/First Isaiah:1–12: Oracles against Judah from Isaiah's early years.
Archaic Greek alphabets
Many local variants of the Greek alphabet were employed in ancient Greece during the archaic and early classical periods, until they were replaced by the classical 24-letter alphabet, the standard today, around 400 BC. All forms of the Greek alphabet were based on the shared inventory of the 22 symbols of the Phoenician alphabet, with the exception of the letter Samekh, whose Greek counterpart Xi was used only in a sub-group of Greek alphabets, with the common addition of Upsilon for the vowel /u, ū/; the local, so-called epichoric, alphabets differed in many ways: in the use of the consonant symbols Χ, Φ and Ψ. The system now familiar as the standard 24-letter Greek alphabet was the regional variant of the Ionian cities in Asia Minor, it was adopted in Athens in 403 BC and in most of the rest of the Greek world by the middle of the 4th century BC. A basic division into four major types of epichoric alphabets is made according to their different treatment of additional consonant letters for the aspirated consonants and consonant clusters of Greek.
These four types are conventionally labelled as "green", "red", "light blue" and "dark blue" types, based on a colour-coded map in a seminal 19th-century work on the topic, Studien zur Geschichte des griechischen Alphabets by Adolf Kirchhoff. The "green" type is closest to the Phoenician; the "red" type is the one, transmitted to the West and became the ancestor of the Latin alphabet, bears some crucial features characteristic of that development. The "blue" type is the one from which the standard Greek alphabet emerged. *Upsilon is derived from waw. The "green" type uses no additional letters beyond the Phoenician set, also goes without Ξ. Thus, the aspirated plosives /pʰ/, /kʰ/ are spelled either as Π and Κ without a distinction from unaspirated /p/, /k/, or as digraphs ΠΗ, ΚΗ; the clusters /ps/, /ks/ are spelled ΠΣ, ΚΣ. This is the system found in Crete and in some other islands in the southern Aegean, notably Thera and Anaphe; the "red" type lacks Phoenician-derived Ξ for /ks/, but instead introduces a supplementary sign for that sound combination at the end of the alphabet, Χ.
In addition, the red alphabet introduced letters for the aspirates, Φ = /pʰ/ and Ψ = /kʰ/. Note that the use of Χ in the "red" set corresponds to the letter "X" in Latin, while it differs from the standard Greek alphabet, where Χ stands for /kʰ/, Ψ stands for /ps/. Only Φ for /pʰ/ is common to all non-green alphabets; the red type is found in most parts of central mainland Greece, as well as the island of Euboea, in colonies associated with these places, including most colonies in Italy. The "light blue" type still lacks Ξ, adds only letters for /pʰ/ and /kʰ/. Both of these correspond to the modern standard alphabet; the light blue system thus still has no separate letters for the clusters /ps/, /ks/. In this system, these are spelled ΦΣ and ΧΣ, respectively; this is the system found in several Aegean islands. The "dark blue" type is the one that has all the consonant symbols of the modern standard alphabet: in addition to Φ and Χ, it adds Ψ, Ξ; this system is found in the cities of the Ionian dodecapolis, Knidos in Asia Minor, in Corinth and Argos on the northeastern Peloponnese.
The letter eta had two different functions, both derived from the name of its Phoenician model, hēth: the majority of Greek dialects continued to use it for the consonant /h/, similar to its Phoenician value. However, the consonant /h/ was progressively lost from the spoken language, in those dialects where this had happened early on in the archaic period, Η was instead used to denote the long vowel /ɛː/, which occurred next in its name and was thus, in the /h/-less dialects, its natural acrophonic value. Early psilotic dialects include eastern Ionic Greek, the Aeolic Greek of Lesbos, as well as the Doric Greek of Crete and ElisThe distribution of vocalic Η and Ε differs further between dialects, because the Greek language had a system of three distinct e-like phonemes: the long open-mid /ɛː/, the long close-mid /eː/, the short vowel /e/. In the psilotic dialects of Anatolia and adjacent eastern Aegean islands, as well as Crete, vocalic Η was used only for /ɛː/. In a number of Aegean islands, notably Rhodes, Milos and Paros, it was used both for /h/ and for /ɛː/ without distinction.
In Knidos, a variant letter was invented to distinguish the two functions: Η was used for /h/, for /ɛː/. In south Italian colonies Taranto, after c. 400 BC, a similar distinction was made between Η for /ɛː/, for /h/. This latter symbol was turned into the diacritic sign for rough breathing by the Alexandrine grammarians. In Naxos the system was different: here, the same letter was used for /h/ and for a long vowel, but only in those cases where a long e-like sound had
Jonah or Jonas is the name given in the Hebrew Bible to a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel in about the 8th century BCE. He is the eponymous central figure of the Book of Jonah, in which he is called upon by God to travel to Nineveh and warn its residents of impending divine wrath. Instead, Jonah boards a ship to Tarshish. Caught in a storm, he orders the ship's crew to cast him overboard, whereupon he is swallowed by a giant fish. Three days after Jonah agrees to go to Nineveh, the fish vomits him out onto the shore. Jonah convinces the entire city of Nineveh to repent, but waits outside the city in expectation of its destruction. God shields Jonah from the sun with a plant, but sends a worm to cause it to wither; when Jonah complains of the bitter heat, God rebukes him. In Judaism, the story of Jonah represents the teaching of teshuva, the ability to repent and be forgiven by God. In the New Testament, Jesus calls himself "greater than Jonah" and promises the Pharisees "the sign of Jonah", his resurrection.
Early Christian interpreters viewed Jonah as a type for Jesus. During the Reformation, Jonah came to be seen instead as an archetype for the "envious Jew". Jonah is regarded as a prophet in Islam and the biblical narrative of Jonah is repeated, with a few notable differences, in the Quran. Mainstream Bible scholars regard the Book of Jonah as fictional and at least satirical, but the character of Jonah may have been based on the historical prophet of the same name mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25. Although the word "whale" is used in English versions of the Jonah story, the Hebrew text uses the phrase dag gadol, which means "giant fish". In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the species of the fish that swallowed Jonah was the subject of speculation for naturalists, who interpreted the story as an account of a historical incident; some modern scholars of folklore have noted similarities between Jonah and other legendary figures, such as Gilgamesh and the Greek hero Jason. Jonah is the central character in the Book of Jonah, in which God commands him to go to the city of Nineveh to prophesy against it "for their great wickedness is come up before me," but Jonah instead attempts to flee from "the presence of the Lord" by going to Jaffa, sailing to Tarshish.
A huge storm arises and the sailors, realizing that it is no ordinary storm, cast lots and discover that Jonah is to blame. Jonah admits states that if he is thrown overboard, the storm will cease; the sailors refuse to do this and continue rowing, but all their efforts fail and they are forced to throw Jonah overboard. As a result, the storm calms and the sailors offer sacrifices to God. Jonah is miraculously saved by being swallowed by a large fish, in whose belly he spends three days and three nights. While in the great fish, Jonah prays to God in his affliction and commits to thanksgiving and to paying what he has vowed. God commands the fish to vomit Jonah out. God again commands Jonah to prophesy to its inhabitants; this time he goes and enters the city, crying, "In forty days Nineveh shall be overthrown." After Jonah has walked across Nineveh, the people of Nineveh begin to believe his word and proclaim a fast. The king of Nineveh puts on sackcloth and sits in ashes, making a proclamation which decrees fasting, the wearing of sackcloth and repentance.
God spares the city at that time. The entire city is broken with the people in sackcloth and ashes. Displeased by this, Jonah refers to his earlier flight to Tarshish while asserting that, since God is merciful, it was inevitable that God would turn from the threatened calamities, he leaves the city and makes himself a shelter, waiting to see whether or not the city will be destroyed. God causes a plant to grow over Jonah's shelter to give him some shade from the sun. God causes a worm to bite the plant's root and it withers. Jonah, now being exposed to the full force of the sun, becomes pleads for God to kill him, and God said to Jonah: "Art thou angry for the Kikayon?" And he said: "I am angry unto death."And the LORD said: "Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow, which came up in a night, perished in a night. The Book of Jonah is one of the twelve minor prophets included in the Tanakh. According to one tradition, Jonah was the boy brought back to life by Elijah the prophet in 1 Kings 17.
Another tradition holds that he was the son of the woman of Shunem brought back to life by Elisha in 2 Kings 4 and that he is called the "son of Amittai" due to his mother's recognition of Elisha's identity as a prophet in 2 Kings 17:24. The Book of Jonah is read every year, in its original Hebrew and in its entirety, on Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement, as the Haftarah at the afternoon mincha prayer. According to Rabbi Eliezer, the fish that swallowed Jonah was created in the primordial era and the inside of its mouth was like a synagogue. According to the Midrash, while Jonah was inside the fish, it told him that its life was nearly over because soon the Leviathan would eat them both. Jonah promised the fish. Following Jonah's directions, the fish swam up alongside the Leviathan and Jonah threatened to leash the Leviathan by its tongue and let
Makara (Hindu mythology)
Makara is a sea-creature in Hindu culture. It is depicted as half terrestrial animal in the frontal part and half aquatic animal in the hind part. Though Makara may take many different forms throughout Hindu culture, in today's modern world, its form is always related to the Marsh Crocodile or a Water Monitor. In Hindu astrology, Makara is equivalent to the sign of Capricorn, tenth of the twelve symbols of the Zodiac. Makara appears of the sea god Varuna. Makara are considered guardians of gateways and thresholds, protecting throne rooms as well as entryways to temples. Makara-shaped earrings called Makarakundalas are sometimes worn by the Hindu gods, for example Shiva, the Destroyer, or the Preserver-god Vishnu, the Sun god Surya, the Mother Goddess Chandi. Makara is the insignia of the love god Kamadeva, who has no dedicated temples and is known as Makaradhvaja, "one whose flag depicts a makara". Makara is a Sanskrit word which means "sea dragon" or "water-monster", it is the origin of the Hindi word for crocodile, मगर, which has in turn been loaned into English as the name of the Mugger crocodile, the most common crocodile in India.
Josef Friedrich Kohl of Würzburg University and several German scientists claimed that makara is based on dugong instead, based on his reading of Jain text of Sūryaprajñapti. The South Asian river dolphin may have contributed to the image of the makara. In Tibetan it is called the "chu-srin", denotes a hybrid creature. During the Vedic times when Indra was the God of heaven, Varuna became the God of the seas and rode on makara, called "the water monster vehicle". Makara has been depicted as half mammal and half fish. In many temples, the depiction is in the form of half seal with head of an elephant, it is shown in an anthropomorphic with head and jaws of a crocodile, an elephant trunk with scales of fish and a peacock tail. Lakshmi sitting on a lotus is a depiction in which she pulls the tongue of the elephant shaped makara is meant to project Lakshmi's image as the goddess of prosperity and well being, it represents a necessary state of chaos before the emergence of a new state of order. Makara is the emblem of Kamadeva, the god of love and desire.
Kamadeva is known as'Makara-Ketu' which means "having the makara for an emblem" It is the tenth sign of the Zodiac, called rāśi in Sanskrit, equivalent to the zodiacal sign of Capricorn. In Hindu iconography, Makara is represented as the vahana of the river goddess. A row of makara may run along the wall of a Hindu temple, act as the hand rail of a staircase, or form an arch above a doorway; the leading Hindu temple architect and builder Ganapati Sthapati describes Makara as a mythical animal with the body of a fish, trunk of an elephant, feet of a lion, eyes of a monkey, ears of a pig, the tail of a peacock. A more succinct explanation is provided: "An ancient mythological symbol, the hybrid creature is formed from a number of animals such that collectively possess the nature of a crocodile, it has the lower jaw of a crocodile, the snout or trunk of an elephant, the tusks and ears of a wild boar, the darting eyes of a monkey, the scales and the flexible body of a fish, the swirling tailing feathers of a peacock."Traditionally, a makara is considered to be an aquatic mythical creature.
Makara has been depicted as half mammal and half fish. Some traditional accounts identify it with a crocodile Marsh Crocodile because of its etymological roots, it is depicted with the forequarters of the hindquarters as a fish tail. Crocodile was a form, used in the earlier days, shown with human body. In many temples, the depiction is in the form of half seal with head of an elephant, it is shown with head and jaws resembling a crocodile, an elephant trunk with scales of fish and a peacock tail. Other accounts identify it with Gangetic Dolphin having striking resemblances with the latter, now found in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary. Others portray it as a fish body with an elephant's head; the tradition identifies the makara with the source of all existence and fertility. In the medieval era of South India, Makara was shown as a fifth stage of development, symbolized in the form of an elephant head and body with an elaborately foliated fish tail. Most myths maintain this symbolism of this stage in the evolution of life.
In a Hindu temple, the Makara serves as the structural bookends of a thoranam or archway around a deity. The arch emerges up from the jaws of one Makara, rises to its peak, the Kirtimukha, descends into the gaping jaws of another Makara. Varuna is depicted as a white man sitting on the monster makara; as a marine monster, it is shown with the head and legs of an antelope, the body and tail of a fish. A makara made in iron shows the monster in the form of half stag and half fish; these elements are variously joined to form one of the most common recurring themes in Indian temple iconography. In Indian art, the makara finds expression in the form of many motifs, has been portrayed in different styles. Makara figures are placed on the entry points of several Buddhist monuments, including the stupa of Sanchi, a world heritage
In Greek mythology, Medusa was a monster, a Gorgon described as a winged human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Those who gazed upon her face would turn to stone. Most sources describe her as the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, though the author Hyginus makes her the daughter of Gorgon and Ceto. According to Hesiod and Aeschylus, she lived and died on an island named Sarpedon, somewhere near Cisthene; the 2nd-century BCE novelist Dionysios Skytobrachion puts her somewhere in Libya, where Herodotus had said the Berbers originated her myth, as part of their religion. Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who thereafter used her head, which retained its ability to turn onlookers to stone, as a weapon until he gave it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield. In classical antiquity the image of the head of Medusa appeared in the evil-averting device known as the Gorgoneion; the three Gorgon sisters—Medusa and Euryale—were all children of the ancient marine deities Phorcys and his sister Ceto, chthonic monsters from an archaic world.
Their genealogy is shared with other sisters, the Graeae, as in Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound, which places both trinities of sisters far off "on Kisthene's dreadful plain": Near them their sisters three, the Gorgons, winged With snakes for hair— hatred of mortal man— While ancient Greek vase-painters and relief carvers imagined Medusa and her sisters as having monstrous form and vase-painters of the fifth century began to envisage her as being beautiful as well as terrifying. In an ode written in 490 BC Pindar speaks of "fair-cheeked Medusa". In a late version of the Medusa myth, related by the Roman poet Ovid, Medusa was a ravishingly beautiful maiden, "the jealous aspiration of many suitors," but because Poseidon had raped her in Athena's temple, the enraged Athena transformed Medusa's beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone. In Ovid's telling, Perseus describes Medusa's punishment by Minerva as just and well earned.
In most versions of the story, she was beheaded by the hero Perseus, sent to fetch her head by King Polydectes of Seriphus because Polydectes wanted to marry his mother. The gods were well aware of this, Perseus received help, he received a mirrored shield from Athena, winged sandals from Hermes, a sword from Hephaestus and Hades's helm of invisibility. Since Medusa was the only one of the three Gorgons, mortal, Perseus was able to slay her while looking at the reflection from the mirrored shield he received from Athena. During that time, Medusa was pregnant by Poseidon; when Perseus beheaded her, Pegasus, a winged horse, Chrysaor, a giant wielding a golden sword, sprang from her body. Jane Ellen Harrison argues that "her potency only begins when her head is severed, that potency resides in the head. Harrison's translation states "the Gorgon was made out of the terror, not the terror out of the Gorgon."According to Ovid, in northwest Africa, Perseus flew past the Titan Atlas, who stood holding the sky aloft, transformed him into stone when he tried to attack him.
In a similar manner, the corals of the Red Sea were said to have been formed of Medusa's blood spilled onto seaweed when Perseus laid down the petrifying head beside the shore during his short stay in Ethiopia where he saved and wed his future wife, the lovely princess Andromeda. Furthermore, the poisonous vipers of the Sahara, in the Argonautica 4.1515, Ovid's Metamorphoses 4.770 and Lucan's Pharsalia 9.820, were said to have grown from spilt drops of her blood. The blood of Medusa spawned the Amphisbaena. Perseus flew to Seriphos, where his mother was being forced into marriage with the king, turned into stone by the head. Perseus gave the Gorgon's head to Athena, who placed it on her shield, the Aegis; some classical references refer to three Gorgons. It is obvious that the Gorgons are not three but one + two; the two unslain sisters are mere appendages due to custom. A number of early classics scholars interpreted the myth of Medusa as a quasi-historical – "based on or reconstructed from an event, style, etc. in the past", or "sublimated" memory of an actual invasion.
According to Joseph Campbell: The legend of Perseus beheading Medusa means that "the Hellenes overran the goddess's chief shrines" and "stripped her priestesses of their Gorgon masks", the latter being apotropaic faces worn to frighten away the profane. That is to say, there occurred in the early thirteenth century B. C. an actual historic rupture, a sort of sociological trauma, registered in this myth, much as what Freud terms the latent content of a neurosis is registered in the manifest content of a dream: registered yet hidden, registered in the unconscious yet unknown or misconstrued by the conscious mind. In 1940, Sigmund Freud's "Das Medusenhaupt". In Freud's interpretation: "To decapitate = to castra
A dragon is a large, serpent-like legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world. Beliefs about dragons vary drastically by region, but dragons in western cultures since the High Middle Ages have been depicted as winged, four-legged, capable of breathing fire. Dragons in eastern cultures are depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence; the earliest attested dragons resemble giant snakes. Dragon-like creatures are first described in the mythologies of the ancient Near East and appear in ancient Mesopotamian art and literature. Stories about storm-gods slaying giant serpents occur throughout nearly all Indo-European and Near Eastern mythologies. Famous prototypical dragons include the mušḫuššu of ancient Mesopotamia; the popular western image of a dragon as winged, four-legged, capable of breathing fire is an invention of the High Middle Ages based on a conflation of earlier dragons from different traditions. In western cultures, dragons are portrayed as monsters to be tamed or overcome by saints or culture heroes, as in the popular legend of Saint George and the Dragon.
They are said to have ravenous appetites and to live in caves, where they hoard treasure. These dragons appear in western fantasy literature, including The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin; the word "dragon" has come to be applied to the Chinese lung, which are associated with good fortune and are thought to have power over rain. Dragons and their associations with rain are the source of the Chinese customs of dragon dancing and dragon boat racing. Many East Asian deities and demigods have dragons as their personal companions. Dragons were identified with the Emperor of China, during Chinese imperial history, was the only one permitted to have dragons on his house, clothing, or personal articles; the word dragon entered the English language in the early 13th century from Old French dragon, which in turn comes from Latin: draconem meaning "huge serpent, dragon", from Ancient Greek δράκων, drákōn "serpent, giant seafish".
The Greek and Latin term referred to any great serpent, not mythological. The Greek word δράκων is most derived from the Greek verb δέρκομαι meaning "I see", the aorist form of, ἐδρακόμην. Dragon-like creatures appear in all cultures around the globe. Nonetheless, scholars dispute where the idea of a dragon originates from and a wide variety of theories have been proposed. In his book An Instinct for Dragons, anthropologist David E. Jones suggests a hypothesis that humans, just like monkeys, have inherited instinctive reactions to snakes, large cats, birds of prey, he cites a study which found that 39 people in a hundred are afraid of snakes and notes that fear of snakes is prominent in children in areas where snakes are rare. The earliest attested dragons all bear snakelike attributes. Jones therefore concludes that the reason why dragons appear in nearly all cultures is because of humans' innate fear of snakes and other animals that were major predators of humans' primate ancestors. Dragons are said to reside in "dank caves, deep pools, wild mountain reaches, sea bottoms, haunted forests", all places which would have been fraught with danger for early human ancestors.
In her book The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs and Myth in Greek and Roman Times, Adrienne Mayor argues that some stories of dragons may have been inspired by ancient discoveries of fossils belonging to dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. She argues that the dragon lore of northern India may have been inspired by "observations of oversized, extraordinary bones in the fossilbeds of the Siwalik Hills below the Himalayas" and that ancient Greek artistic depictions of the Monster of Troy may have been influenced by fossils of Samotherium, an extinct species of giraffe whose fossils are common in the Mediterranean region. In China, a region where fossils of large prehistoric animals are common, these remains are identified as "dragon bones" and are used in Chinese traditional medicine. Mayor, however, is careful to point out that not all stories of dragons and giants are inspired by fossils and notes that Scandinavia has many stories of dragons and sea monsters, but has long "been considered barren of large fossils."
In one of her books, she states that "Many dragon images around the world were based on folk knowledge or exaggerations of living reptiles, such as Komodo dragons, Gila monsters, alligators, or, in California, alligator lizards." Ancient peoples across the Near East believed in creatures similar to what modern people call "dragons". These ancient peoples were unaware of the existence of dinosaurs or similar creatures in the distant past. References to dragons of both benevolent and malevolent characters occur throughout ancient Mesopotamian literature. In Sumerian poetry, great kings are compared to the ušumgal, a gigantic, serpentine monster. A dragon-like creature with the foreparts of a lion and the hind-legs and wings of a bird appears in Mesopotamian artwork from the Akkadian Period until the Neo-Babylonian Period; the dragon is shown with its mouth open. It may have been known as the nā’iru, which means "roaring weather beast", may ha
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place, now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes; the history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, ruling much of Nubia and a sizable portion of the Near East, after which it entered a period of slow decline. During the course of its history Egypt was invaded or conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Hyksos, the Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, the Achaemenid Persians, the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great; the Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom, formed in the aftermath of Alexander's death, ruled Egypt until 30 BC, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.
The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, a military intended to assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs; the many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids and obelisks.
Ancient Egypt has left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were copied, its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world, its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy; the Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history. The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization. Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region.
In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid. Large regions of Egypt were traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, this is the period when many animals were first domesticated. By about 5500 BC, small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs and beads; the largest of these early cultures in upper Egypt was the Badari, which originated in the Western Desert. The Badari was followed by the Amratian and Gerzeh cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements; as early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes. In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East Canaan and the Byblos coast.
Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley. Establishing a power center at Nekhen, at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile, they traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East to the east, initiating a period of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations. The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases, cosmetic palettes, jewelry made of gold and ivory, they developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, used well into the Roman Per