A crystal ball known as an orbuculum, is a crystal or glass ball and common fortune telling object. It is associated with the performance of clairvoyance and scrying in particular. In the 1st century AD, Pliny the Elder describes use of crystal balls by soothsayers. By the 5th century AD, scrying was widespread within the Roman Empire and was condemned by the early medieval Christian Church as heretical. Dr. John Dee was a noted British mathematician, astrologer and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I, he devoted much of his life to alchemy and Hermetic philosophy, of which the use of crystal balls was included. Crystal gazing was a popular pastime in the Victorian era, was claimed to work best when the Sun is at its northernmost declination. Before the appearance of a vision, the ball was said to mist up from within; the art or process of "seeing" is known as "scrying", whereby images are claimed to be seen in crystals, or other media such as water, are interpreted as meaningful information. The "information" gleaned is used to make important decisions in one's life.
When the technique of scrying is used with crystals, or any transparent body, it is known as crystallomancy or crystal gazing. Crystal balls are popular props used in mentalism acts by stage magicians; such routines, in which the performer answers audience questions by means of various ruses, are known as crystal gazing acts. One of the most famous performers of the 20th century, Claude Alexander, was billed as "Alexander the Crystal Seer". A crystal ball is a bi-convex spherical lens with a uniform radius of curvature, although without its edges and center material truncated as in a conventional lens construction, thus the principles of optics may be applied to analyze its imaging characteristics. As a lens, a transparent sphere of any material with refractive index greater than one bends rays of light to a focal point. An image is formed with significant coma, field curvature, other optical aberrations inherent to spherical lenses; the refractive index of typical materials used for crystal balls, produces a central focal point just outside the surface of the sphere, on the side diametrically opposite to where the rays entered.
For materials with refractive index greater than 2, the focus will be located inside the sphere. In this case the image is not directly accessible, while the closest accessible point is on its surface directly opposite the source of light. However, few materials have a refractive index this high. For a refractive index of 2, the image forms on the surface of the sphere, the image may be viewed on an translucent object or diffusing coating on the imaging side of the sphere. Since a crystal ball has no edges like a conventional lens, the image-forming properties are omnidirectional; this effect is exploited in the Campbell–Stokes recorder, a scientific instrument which records the brightness of sunlight by burning the surface of a paper card bent around the sphere. The device, itself fixed, records the apparent motion and intensity of the sun across the sky, burning an image of the sun's motion across the card; the omnidirectional burning glass effect can occur with a crystal ball, brought into full sunlight.
The image of the sun formed by a large crystal ball will burn a hand, holding it, can ignite dark-coloured flammable material placed near it. Ball lenses such as are used to couple fiber optics are identical to crystal balls, but in tiny form 1mm to 10mm in diameter. A crystal ball lies in the Sceptre of Scotland, said to have been possessed by pagan druids. Philadelphia's University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology displays the third largest crystal ball as the central object in its Chinese Rotunda. Weighing 49 pounds, the sphere is made of quartz crystal from Burma and was shaped through years of constant rotation in a semi-cylindrical container filled with emery, garnet powder, water; the ornamental treasure was purportedly made for the Empress Dowager Cixi during the Qing dynasty in the 19th century, but no evidence as to its actual origins exists. In 1988, the crystal ball and an ancient Egyptian statuette which depicted the god Osiris were stolen from the Penn Museum but were recovered three years with no damage done to either object.
Campbell–Stokes recorder Crystal skull Gazing ball Palantír Salvator Mundi, da Vinci's "Savior of the World" painting depicting Christ holding a crystal ball Seer stone Andrew Lang, Crystal visions and civilised, The Making of Religion, Chapter V, Green, C°, New York and Bombay, 1900, pp. 83–104. A Translation of Grimm's Fairy Tale No. 197 The Crystal Ball A Translation of Grimm's Saga No. 119 Crystal Ball Gazing Geoffrey Munn, The Sphere of Magical Thinking: The Enchanting History of Crystal Balls. 2018 Media related to crystal balls at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of crystal ball at Wiktionary
Litany, in Christian worship and some forms of Judaic worship, is a form of prayer used in services and processions, consisting of a number of petitions. The word comes through Latin litania from Ancient Greek λιτανεία, which in turn comes from λιτή, meaning "supplication". For the "Litany" as used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, see Ektenia; the frequent repetition of the Kyrie was the original form of the litany, was in use in Asia and in Rome at a early date. The Council of Vaison in 529 passed the decree: "Let that beautiful custom of all the provinces of the East and of Italy be kept up, viz. that of singing with great effect and compunction the'Kyrie Eleison' at Mass and Vespers, because so sweet and pleasing a chant though continued day and night without interruption, could never produce disgust or weariness". The number of repetitions depended upon the celebrant; this litany is prescribed in the Roman breviary at the "Preces Feriales" and in the Monastic Breviary for every "Hora".
The continuous repetition of the "Kyrie" is used to-day at the consecration of a church, while the relics to be placed in the altar are carried in procession around the church. Because the "Kyrie" and other petitions were said once or many times, litanies were called planæ, ternæ, quinæ, septenæ. Public Christian devotions became common by the fifth century and processions were held, with preference for days which the pagans had held sacred; these processions were called litanies, in them pictures and other religious emblems were carried. In Rome and people would go in procession each day in Lent, to a different church, to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries, thus originated the Roman "Stations", what was called the "Litania Maior", "Major Rogation" or "Romana". It was held on 25 April, on which day the heathens had celebrated the festival of Robigalia, the principal feature of, a procession; the Christian litany which replaced it set out from the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina, held a station at San Valentino fuori le mura, at the Milvian Bridge.
From thence, instead of proceeding on the Claudian Way, as the pagans had done, it turned to the left towards the Vatican Hill, stopped at a cross, of which the site is not given, again in the atrium of St. Peter's, in the basilica itself, where the station was held. In 590, when an epidemic caused by an overflow of the Tiber was ravaging Rome, Gregory the Great commanded a litany, called "Septiformis". Giovanni Battista, the men from San Marcello, the monks from Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the unmarried women from Santi Cosma e Damiano, the married women from Santo Stefano Rotondo, the widows from San Vitale, the poor and the children from Santa Cecilia, were all to meet at Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore; the "Litania Minor" called Minor Rogations or "Gallicana", the Rogation Days before Ascension, was introduced by St. Mamertus, Bishop of Vienne, on account of the earthquakes and other calamities prevalent, it was prescribed in 511, by the First Council of Orléans. For Rome it was ordered by Leo III, in 799.
In the Ambrosian Rite this litany was celebrated on Monday and Wednesday after Ascension. In Spain we find a similar litany from Thursday to Saturday after Pentecost, another from the first to third of November, ordered by the Council of Gerunda in 517, still another for December, commanded by the synod of Toledo in 638. In England the Litany of Rogation Days was known in the earliest periods. In Germany it was ordered by a Synod of Mainz in 813; because the Mass Litany became popular through its use in processions, numberless varieties were soon made in the Middle Ages. Litanies appeared in honour of God the Father, of God the Son, of God the Holy Ghost, of the Precious Blood, of the Blessed Virgin, of the Immaculate Conception, of each of the saints honoured in different countries, for the souls in Purgatory, etc. In 1601 Baronius wrote. To prevent abuse, Pope Clement VIII, by decree of the Inquisition of 6 September 1601, forbade the publication of any litany, except that of the saints as found in the liturgical books and that of Loreto.
Litanies of the Holy Name of Jesus, the Sacred Heart, the Precious Blood, St. Joseph were approved for publication and public recitation; the Anglican Communion has a Litany in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. This is the same as Thomas Cranmer's original English vernacular service from 1544, Exhortation and Litany. Cranmer drew on a variety of sources, chiefly two medieval litanies from the Sarum rite, but the German Litany of Martin Luther, he retained the invocation of the Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary in shortened form, but these were omitted in 1549, he made a notable change in the style of the service by expanding and grouping together said by the priest and provided but a single response to the whole group. An anti-papal clause was omitted in 1559; the processional aspect was soon eliminated and the service said or sung kneeling in the church. The term "the Lesser Litany" is sometimes used to refer to the versicles and responses, with the Lord's Prayer, that follow the Apostles' Creed at Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer.
Additionally, the Anglican "Great Litany" was with some edits authorized as "The Litany" for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter of the Latin Rite. Many other litanies are used in private prayer. A M
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants. Although some indigenous peoples of the Americas were traditionally hunter-gatherers—and many in the Amazon basin, still are—many groups practiced aquaculture and agriculture; the impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas. Although some societies depended on agriculture, others practiced a mix of farming and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, city-states, states and empires. Among these are the Aztec and Maya states that until the 16th century were among the most politically and advanced nations in the world, they had a vast knowledge of engineering, mathematics, writing, medicine and irrigation, mining and goldsmithing. Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous peoples.
At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as the Quechuan languages, Guaraní, Mayan languages and Nahuatl, count their speakers in millions. Many maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, over time, cultures specific to many indigenous peoples have evolved to incorporate traditional aspects but cater to modern needs; some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western culture and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples. Indigenous peoples of the United States are known as Native Americans or American Indians and Alaska Natives. Application of the term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus, who, in his search for India, thought that he had arrived in the East Indies; those islands came to be known as the "West Indies", a name still used. This led to the blanket term "Indies" and "Indians" for the indigenous inhabitants, which implied some kind of racial or cultural unity among the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
This unifying concept, codified in law and politics, was not accepted by the myriad groups of indigenous peoples themselves, but has since been embraced or tolerated, by many over the last two centuries. Though the term "Indian" does not include the culturally and linguistically distinct indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions of the Americas—such as the Aleuts, Inuit or Yupik peoples, who entered the continent as a second more recent wave of migration several thousand years before and have much more recent genetic and cultural commonalities with the aboriginal peoples of the Asiatic Arctic Russian Far East—these groups are nonetheless considered "indigenous peoples of the Americas". Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, which includes not only First Nations and Arctic Inuit, but the minority population of First Nations-European mixed race Métis people who identify culturally and ethnically with indigenous peoplehood; this is contrasted, for instance, to the American Indian-European mixed race mestizos of Hispanic America who, with their larger population, identify as a new ethnic group distinct from both Europeans and Indigenous Americans, but still considering themselves a subset of the European-derived Hispanic or Brazilian peoplehood in culture and ethnicity.
The term Amerindian and its cognates find preferred use in scientific contexts and in Quebec, the Guianas and the English-speaking Caribbean. Indígenas or pueblos indígenas is a common term in Spanish-speaking countries and pueblos nativos or nativos may be heard, while aborigen is used in Argentina and pueblos originarios is common in Chile. In Brazil, indígenas or povos indígenas are common if formal-sounding designations, while índio is still the more often-heard term and aborígene and nativo being used in Amerindian-specific contexts; the Spanish and Portuguese equivalents to Indian could be used to mean any hunter-gatherer or full-blooded Indigenous person to continents other than Europe or Africa—for example, indios filipinos. The specifics of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the exact dates and routes traveled, are the subject of ongoing research and discussion. According to archaeological and genetic evidence and South America were the last continents in the world to gain human habitation.
During the Wisconsin glaciation, 50–17,000 years ago, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the land bridge of Beringia that joined Siberia to northwest North America. Alaska was a glacial refugium; the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered most of North America, blocking nomadic inhabitants and confining them to Alaska for thousands of years. Indigenous genetic studies suggest that the first inhabitants of the Americas share a single ancestral population, one that developed in isolation, conjectured to be Beringia; the isolat
Kenneth Grant was an English ceremonial magician and prominent advocate of the Thelemic religion. A poet and writer, he founded his own Thelemic organisation, the Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis—later renamed the Typhonian Order—with his wife Steffi Grant. Born in Ilford, Grant developed an interest in occultism and Asian religion during his teenage years. After several months serving in India with the British Army during the Second World War, he returned to Britain and became the personal secretary of Aleister Crowley, the ceremonial magician who had founded Thelema in 1904. Crowley instructed Grant in his esoteric practices and initiated him into his own occult order, the Ordo Templi Orientis; when Crowley died in 1947, Grant was seen as his heir apparent in Britain, was appointed as such by the American head of the O. T. O. Karl Germer. In 1949, Grant befriended the occult artist Austin Osman Spare, in ensuing years helped to publicise Spare's artwork through a series of publications. In 1954 Grant founded the London-based New Isis Lodge, through which he added to many of Crowley's Thelemic teachings, bringing in extraterrestrial themes and influences from the work of fantasy writer H. P. Lovecraft.
This was anathema to Germer, who expelled Grant from the O. T. O. in 1955, although the latter continued to operate his Lodge regardless until 1962. During the 1950s he came to be interested in Hinduism, exploring the teachings of the Hindu guru Ramana Maharshi and publishing a range of articles on the topic, he was interested in the Hindu tantra, incorporating ideas from it into the Thelemic practices of sex magic. On Germer's death in 1969, Grant proclaimed himself Outer Head of the O. T. O; this title was disputed by the American Grady McMurtry, who took control of the O. T. O. Grant's Order became known as the Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis, operating from his home in Golders Green, north London. In 1959 he began publishing on occultism and wrote the Typhonian Trilogies as well as various novels and books of poetry, much of which propagated the work of Crowley and Spare. Grant's writings and teachings have proved a significant influence over other currents of occultism, including chaos magic, the Temple of Set and the Dragon Rouge.
They attracted academic interest within the study of Western esotericism from Henrik Bogdan and Dave Evans. Grant was born on 23 May 1924 in Ilford, the son of a Welsh clergyman. By his early teenage years, Grant had read on the subject of Western esotericism and Asian religions, including the work of prominent occultist Helena Blavatsky, he had made use of a personal magical symbol since being inspired to do so in a visionary dream he experienced in 1939. Aged 18, in the midst of the Second World War, Grant volunteered to join the British Army commenting that he hoped to be posted to British India, where he could find a spiritual guru to study under, he was never posted abroad, was ejected from the army aged 20 due to an unspecified medical condition. Grant was fascinated by the work of the occultist Aleister Crowley, having read a number of his books. Eager to meet Crowley, Grant unsuccessfully wrote to Crowley's publishers, asking them to give him his address, he requested that Michael Houghton, proprietor of Central London's esoteric bookstore Atlantis Bookshop, introduce him to Crowley.
Houghton refused remarking that Grant was "mentally unstable." Grant stated his opinion that Houghton had refused because he didn't wish to "incur evil karma" from introducing the young man to Crowley, but suggested that it was because Houghton desired him for his own organisation, The Order of Hidden Masters, thereby didn't want him to become Crowley's disciple. Persisting, Grant wrote letters to the new address of Crowley's publishers, asking that they pass his letters on to Crowley himself; these resulted in the first meeting between the two, in autumn 1944, at the Bell Inn in Buckinghamshire. After several further meetings and an exchange of letters, Grant agreed to work for Crowley as his secretary and personal assistant. Now living in relative poverty, Crowley was unable to pay Grant for his services in money, instead paying him in magical instruction. In March 1945, Grant moved into a lodge cottage in the grounds of Netherwood, a Sussex boarding house where Crowley was living, he continued living there with Crowley for several months, dealing with the old man's correspondences and needs.
In turn, he was allowed to read from Crowley's extensive library on occult subjects, performed ceremonial magic workings with him, becoming a high initiate of Crowley's magical group, the Ordo Templi Orientis. Crowley saw Grant as a potential leader of O. T. O. in the UK, writing in his diary, "value of Grant. If I die or go to the USA, there must be a trained man to take care of the English O. T. O." However, they argued, with Grant trying to convince Crowley to relocate to London. On one occasion Crowley shouted at him: "You are the most consummate BORE that the world has yet known, and this at 20!"Grant's family disliked that he was working for no wage, pressured him to resign, which he did in June 1945, leaving Netherwood. Crowley wrote to Grant's father, stating that he was "very sorry to part with Kenneth" and that he felt that Grant was "giving up his real future." To David Curwen, an O. T. O. member, another of his correspondents, Crowley related his opinion that "I may have treated him too severely."
Crowley put Curwen in contact with Grant, with Grant claiming that he learned much from Curwen regarding the
The concept of the supernatural encompasses anything, inexplicable by scientific understanding of the laws of nature but argued by believers to exist. Examples include immaterial beings such as angels and spirits, claimed human abilities like magic and extrasensory perception. Supernatural entities have been invoked to explain phenomena as diverse as lightning and the human senses. Naturalists maintain that nothing beyond the physical world exists and hence maintain skeptical attitudes towards supernatural concepts; the supernatural is featured in paranormal and religious contexts, but can feature as an explanation in more secular contexts. Occurring as both an adjective and a noun, descendants of the modern English compound supernatural enters the language from two sources: via Middle French and directly from the Middle French's term's ancestor, post-Classical Latin. Post-classical Latin supernaturalis first occurs in the 6th century, composed of the Latin prefix super- and nātūrālis; the earliest known appearance of the word in the English language occurs in a Middle English translation of Catherine of Siena's Dialogue.
The semantic value of the term has shifted over the history of its use. The term referred to Christian understandings of the world. For example, as an adjective, the term can mean'belonging to a realm or system that transcends nature, as that of divine, magical, or ghostly beings. Obsolete uses include'of, relating to, or dealing with metaphysics'; as a noun, the term can mean'a supernatural being', with a strong history of employment in relation to entities from the mythologies of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The metaphysical considerations of the existence of the supernatural can be difficult to approach as an exercise in philosophy or theology because any dependencies on its antithesis, the natural, will have to be inverted or rejected. One complicating factor is that there is disagreement about the definition of "natural" and the limits of naturalism. Concepts in the supernatural domain are related to concepts in religious spirituality and occultism or spiritualism. For sometimes we use the word nature for that Author of nature whom the schoolmen, harshly enough, call natura naturans, as when it is said that nature hath made man corporeal and immaterial.
Sometimes we mean by the nature of a thing the essence, or that which the schoolmen scruple not to call the quiddity of a thing, the attribute or attributes on whose score it is what it is, whether the thing be corporeal or not, as when we attempt to define the nature of an angle, or of a triangle, or of a fluid body, as such. Sometimes we take nature for an internal principle of motion, as when we say that a stone let fall in the air is by nature carried towards the centre of the earth, and, on the contrary, that fire or flame does move upwards toward firmament. Sometimes we understand by nature the established course of things, as when we say that nature makes the night succeed the day, nature hath made respiration necessary to the life of men. Sometimes we take nature for an aggregate of powers belonging to a body a living one, as when physicians say that nature is strong or weak or spent, or that in such or such diseases nature left to herself will do the cure. Sometimes we take nature for the universe, or system of the corporeal works of God, as when it is said of a phoenix, or a chimera, that there is no such thing in nature, i.e. in the world.
And sometimes too, that most we would express by nature a semi-deity or other strange kind of being, such as this discourse examines the notion of. And besides these more absolute acceptions, if I may so call them, of the word nature, it has divers others, as nature is wont to be set or in opposition or contradistinction to other things, as when we say of a stone when it falls downwards that it does it by a natural motion, but that if it be thrown upwards its motion that way is violent. So chemists distinguish vitriol into natural and fictitious, or made by art, i.e. by the intervention of human power or skill. We say that wicked men are still in the state of nature, but the regenerate in a state of grace; the term "supernatural" is used interchangeably with paranormal or preternatural — the latter limited to an adjective for describing abilities which appear to exceed what is possible within the boundaries of the laws of physics. Epistemologically, the relationship between the supernatural and the natural is indistinct in terms of natural phenomena that, ex hypothesi, violate the laws of nature, in so far as such laws are realistically accountable.
Parapsychologists use the term psi to refer to an assumed unitary force underlying the phenomena they study. Psi is defined in the Journal of Parapsychology as "personal factors or processes in nature which transcend accepted laws" and "which are non-physical in nature", it is used to cover both extrasensory perception, an "awareness of or response to an external event or influence not apprehended by sens
A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from Latin: sedere, lit.'to sit'. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, defensive position. An opportunity for negotiation between combatants is not uncommon, as proximity and fluctuating advantage can encourage diplomacy; the art of conducting and resisting sieges is called siegecraft, or poliorcetics. A siege occurs when an attacker encounters a city or fortress that cannot be taken by a quick assault, which refuses to surrender. Sieges involve surrounding the target to block the provision of supplies and the reinforcement or escape of troops; this is coupled with attempts to reduce the fortifications by means of siege engines, artillery bombardment, mining, or the use of deception or treachery to bypass defenses. Failing a military outcome, sieges can be decided by starvation, thirst, or disease, which can afflict either the attacker or defender.
This form of siege, can take many months or years, depending upon the size of the stores of food the fortified position holds. The attacking force can circumvallate the besieged place, to build a line of earth-works, consisting of a rampart and trench, surrounding it. During the process of circumvallation, the attacking force can be set upon by another force, an ally of the besieged place, due to the lengthy amount of time required to force it to capitulate. A defensive ring of forts outside the ring of circumvallated forts, called contravallation, is sometimes used to defend the attackers from outside. Ancient cities in the Middle East show archaeological evidence of having had fortified city walls. During the Warring States era of ancient China, there is both textual and archaeological evidence of prolonged sieges and siege machinery used against the defenders of city walls. Siege machinery was a tradition of the ancient Greco-Roman world. During the Renaissance and the early modern period, siege warfare dominated the conduct of war in Europe.
Leonardo da Vinci gained as much of his renown from the design of fortifications as from his artwork. Medieval campaigns were designed around a succession of sieges. In the Napoleonic era, increasing use of more powerful cannon reduced the value of fortifications. In the 20th century, the significance of the classical siege declined. With the advent of mobile warfare, a single fortified stronghold is no longer as decisive as it once was. While traditional sieges do still occur, they are not as common as they once were due to changes in modes of battle, principally the ease by which huge volumes of destructive power can be directed onto a static target. Modern sieges are more the result of smaller hostage, militant, or extreme resisting arrest situations; the Assyrians deployed large labour forces to build new palaces and defensive walls. Some settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization were fortified. By about 3500 BC, hundreds of small farming villages dotted the Indus River floodplain. Many of these settlements had planned streets.
The stone and mud brick houses of Kot Diji were clustered behind massive stone flood dikes and defensive walls, for neighbouring communities quarrelled about the control of prime agricultural land. Mundigak in present-day south-east Afghanistan has defensive walls and square bastions of sun-dried bricks. City walls and fortifications were essential for the defence of the first cities in the ancient Near East; the walls were built of mudbricks, wood, or a combination of these materials, depending on local availability. They may have served the dual purpose of showing presumptive enemies the might of the kingdom; the great walls surrounding the Sumerian city of Uruk gained a widespread reputation. The walls were 9.5 km in length, up to 12 m in height. The walls of Babylon, reinforced by towers and ditches, gained a similar reputation. In Anatolia, the Hittites built massive stone walls around their cities atop hillsides, taking advantage of the terrain. In Shang Dynasty China, at the site of Ao, large walls were erected in the 15th century BC that had dimensions of 20 m in width at the base and enclosed an area of some 2,100 yards squared.
The ancient Chinese capital for the State of Zhao, founded in 386 BC had walls that were 20 m wide at the base. The cities of the Indus Valley Civilization showed less effort in constructing defences, as did the Minoan civilization on Crete; these civilizations relied more on the defence of their outer borders or sea shores. Unlike the ancient Minoan civilization, the Mycenaean Greeks emphasized the need for fortifications alongside natural defences of mountainous terrain, such as the massive Cyclopean walls built at Mycenae and other adjacent Late Bronze Age centers of central and southern Greece. Although there are depictions of sieges from the ancient Near East in historical sources and in art, there are few examples of siege systems that have been found archaeologically. Of the few examples, several are noteworthy: The late 9th-century BC siege system surrounding Tell es-Safi/Gath, consists of a 2.5 km long siege trench and other elements, is the earliest evidence of a circumvallation system known in the world.
It was built by Hazael of Aram Damascus, as part of his siege and conquest of Philistine Gath in the late 9th century BC (mentio
In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiar spirits were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic. According to the records of the time, they would appear in numerous guises as an animal, but at times as a human or humanoid figure, were described as "clearly defined, three-dimensional… forms, vivid with colour and animated with movement and sound" by those alleging to have come into contact with them, unlike descriptions of ghosts with their "smoky, undefined form"; when they served witches, they were thought to be malevolent, while when working for cunning folk they were thought of as benevolent. The former were categorised as demons, while the latter were more thought of and described as fairies; the main purpose of familiars is to serve the witch or young witch, providing protection for them as they come into their new powers. Since the 20th century a number of magical practitioners, including adherents of the Neopagan religion of Wicca, have begun to use the concept of familiars, due to their association with older forms of magic.
These contemporary practitioners utilize pets, wildlife or believe that invisible spirit versions of familiars act as magical aids. Pierre A. Riffard proposed this definition and quotations A familiar spirit – is the double, the alter-ego, of an individual, it does not look like the individual concerned. Though it may have an independent life of its own, it remains linked to the individual; the familiar spirit can be an animal. The French poet Charles Baudelaire, a cat fancier, believed in familiar spirits, it is the familiar spirit of the place. When my eyes, drawn like a magnet To this cat that I love… A. P. Elkin studied the belief in familiar spirits among the Australian Aborigines: A usual method, or explanation, is that the medicine man sends his familiar spirit to gather the information. While this is occurring, the man himself is in sleep or trance. In modern phraseology, his familiar spirit would be the control. Mircea Eliade: The Goldi distinguish between the tutelary spirit, which chooses the shaman, the helping spirits, which are subordinate to it and are granted to the shaman by the ayami itself.
According to Sternberg the Goldi explain the relations between the shaman and his ayami by a complex sexual emotion. Here is the report of a Goldi shaman. "Once I was asleep on my sick-bed. It was a beautiful woman, her figure was slight, she was no more than half an arshin tall. Her face and attire were quite as those of one of our Gold women… She said:'I am the ayami of your ancestors, the Shamans. I taught them shamaning. Now I am going to teach you… I love you, I have no husband now, you will be my husband and I shall be a wife unto you. I shall give you assistant spirits. You are to heal with their aid, I shall teach and help you myself…' Sometimes she comes under the aspect of an old woman, sometimes under that of a wolf, so she is terrible to look at. Sometimes she comes as a winged tiger… She has given me three assistants-the jarga, the doonto and the amba, they come to me in my dreams, appear whenever I summon them while shamaning. If one of them refuses to come, the ayami makes them obey, they say, there are some who do not obey the ayami.
When I am shamaning, the ayami and the assistant spirits are possessing me. When the ayami is within me, it is she who speaks through my mouth, she does everything herself." Among those accused witches and cunning-folk who described their familiar spirits, there were certain unifying features. The historian Emma Wilby noted how the accounts of such familiars were striking for their "ordinariness" and "naturalism", despite the fact that they were dealing with supernatural entities. Familiar spirits were most small animals, such as cats, dogs, birds, frogs and hares. There were cases of wasps and butterflies, as well as pigs and horses. Familiar spirits were kept in pots or baskets lined with sheep’s wool and fed a variety of things including, bread and blood. Familiar spirits had names and "were given down-to-earth, affectionate, nicknames." One example of this was Tom Reid, the familiar of the cunning-woman and accused witch Bessie Dunlop, while other examples included Grizell and Gridigut, who were the familiars of 17th century Huntingdonshire witch Jane Wallis.
An Agathion is a familiar spirit which appears in the shape of a human or an animal, or within a talisman, bottle or magic ring. It is strongest at midday. Familiars can hold the form of human beings, living life as a human in the corporeal world; these familiars have child-like personalities closely identifying with mythical fairies, woodland nymphs, elves, small birds and cats. This form of familiar holds a great amount of purity, a type of energy and a metaphysical power, directly connected to their charge; this form of familiar acts as a spiritual battery or amplifier for their charge to help them focus or harness their spiritual energies. These familiars are u