Magic is a category in Western culture into which have been placed various beliefs and practices considered separate from both religion and science. The term had pejorative connotations, with things labelled magical perceived as being primitive and Other; the concept has been adopted by scholars in the study of religion and the social sciences, who have proposed various different—and mutually exclusive—definitions of the term. The term magic derives from the Old Persian magu, a word that applied to a form of religious functionary about which little is known. During the late sixth and early fifth centuries BCE, this term was adopted into Ancient Greek, where it was used with negative connotations, to apply to religious rites that were regarded as fraudulent and dangerous; this meaning of the term was adopted by Latin in the first century BCE. Via Latin, the concept was incorporated into Christian theology during the first century CE, where magic was associated with demons and thus defined against religion.
This concept was pervasive throughout the Middle Ages, when Christian authors categorised a diverse range of practices—such as enchantment, incantations, divination and astrology—under the label magic. In early modern Europe, Italian humanists reinterpreted the term in a positive sense to create the idea of natural magic. Both negative and positive understandings of the term were retained in Western culture over the following centuries, with the former influencing early academic usages of the word. Since the nineteenth century, academics in various disciplines have employed the term magic but have defined it in different ways and used it in reference to different things. One approach, associated with the anthropologists Edward Tylor and James G. Frazer, uses the term to describe beliefs in hidden sympathies between objects that allow one to influence the other. Defined in this way, magic is portrayed as the opposite to science. An alternative approach, associated with the sociologists Marcel Mauss and Émile Durkheim, employs the term to describe private rites and ceremonies and contrasts it with religion, which it defines as a communal and organised activity.
Many scholars of religion have rejected the utility of the term magic, arguing that it is arbitrary and ethnocentric. Throughout Western history, there have been examples of individuals who engaged in practices that their societies called magic and who sometimes referred to themselves as magicians. Within modern occultism, there are many self-described magicians and people who practice ritual activities that they term magic. In this environment, the concept of magic has again changed being defined as a technique for bringing about changes in the physical world through the force of one's will; this definition was pioneered by the influential British occultist Aleister Crowley. The historian Owen Davies stated that the word magic was "beyond simple definition"; the historian Michael D. Bailey characterised magic as "a contested category and a fraught label". Scholars have engaged in extensive debates as to how to define magic, with such debates resulting in intense dispute. Throughout such debates, the scholarly community has failed to agree on a definition of magic, in a similar manner to how they have failed to agree on a definition of religion.
Among those throughout history who have described themselves as magicians, there has been no common understanding of what magic is. Concepts of magic serve to demarcate certain practices from other, otherwise similar practices in a given society. According to Bailey: "In many cultures and across various historical periods, categories of magic define and maintain the limits of and culturally acceptable actions in respect to numinous or occult entities or forces. More they serve to delineate arenas of appropriate belief." In this, he noted that "drawing these distinctions is an exercise in power". The scholar of religion Randall Styers noted that attempting to define magic represents "an act of demarcation" by which it is juxtaposed against "other social practices and modes of knowledge" such as "religion" and "science"; the historian Karen Louise Jolly described magic as "a category of exclusion, used to define an unacceptable way of thinking as either the opposite of religion or of science".
Within Western culture, the term "magic" has been linked to ideas of the Other and primitivism. In Styers' words, it has become "a powerful marker of cultural difference", it has been presented as the archetypally non-modern phenomenon. Among Western intellectuals in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, magic was seen as a defining feature of "primitive" mentalities and was attributed to marginal groups and periods; the concept and term "magic" developed in European society and thus using it when discussing non-Western cultures or pre-modern forms of Western society raises problems, as it may impose Western categories that are alien to them. While "magic" remains an emic term in the history of Western societies, it remains an etic term when applied to non-Western societies. During the twentieth century, many scholars focusing on Asian and African societies rejected the term "magic", as well as related concepts like "witchcraft", in favour of the more precise terms and concepts that existed within these specific societie
Mystery religions, sacred mysteries or mysteries were religious schools of the Greco-Roman world for which participation was reserved to initiates. The main characterization of this religion is the secrecy associated with the particulars of the initiation and the ritual practice, which may not be revealed to outsiders; the most famous mysteries of Greco-Roman antiquity were the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were of considerable antiquity and predated the Greek Dark Ages. The mystery schools flourished in Late Antiquity. Due to the secret nature of the school, because the mystery religions of Late Antiquity were persecuted by the Christian Roman Empire from the 4th century, the details of these religious practices are derived from descriptions and cross-cultural studies. "Because of this element of secrecy, we are ill-informed as to the beliefs and practices of the various mystery faiths. We know that they had a general likeness to one another". Much information on the Mysteries come from Marcus Terentius Varro.
Justin Martyr in the 2nd century explicitly noted and identified them as "demonic imitations" of the true faith, that "the devils, in imitation of what was said by Moses, asserted that Proserpine was the daughter of Jupiter, instigated the people to set up an image of her under the name of Kore". Through the 1st to 4th century, Christianity stood in direct competition for adherents with the mystery schools, insofar as the "mystery schools too were an intrinsic element of the non-Jewish horizon of the reception of the Christian message". Beginning in the third century, after Constantine became emperor, components of mystery religions began to be incorporated into mainstream Christian thinking, such as is reflected by the disciplina arcani; the English word'mystery' appeared as the plural Greek Mystêria, developed into the Latin mysterium where the English term originates. The etymology of the Greek mystêrion is not clear though scholars have traditionally thought it to have derived from the Greek myo, meaning "to close or shut".
More a number of Hittite scholars have suggested that the Greek term derives from the Hittite verb munnae, "to conceal, to hide, to shut out of sight". Mystery religions formed one of three types of Hellenistic religion, the others being the imperial cult, or the ethnic religion particular to a nation or state, the philosophic religions such as Neoplatonism; this is reflected in the tripartite division of "theology"—by Varro—into civil theology, natural theology, mythical theology. Mysteries thus supplement rather than compete with civil religion. An individual could observe the rites of the state religion, be an initiate in one or more mysteries, at the same time adhere to a certain philosophical school. Many of the aspects of public religion such as sacrifices, ritual meals, ritual purification were repeated within the mystery, but with the additional requirement that they take place in secrecy and be confined to a closed set of initiates; the mystery schools offered a niche for the preservation of ancient religious ritual.
Though historians have given up trying to outline a rigid definition to categorize all mystery cults, a number of characteristics that the mystery cults shared can be outlined. All the mystery cults placed emphasis on the secrecy of their practices and an emotional initiation ritual for a new member to join the group; the members were voluntary participants, had nocturnal settings and preliminary purifications for their gatherings, there was an obligation to pay in order to participate, promised rewards for this life and the next, the older mysteries were located at a variable distance from the nearest city. Furthermore, they were all, with the exception of the Mithraic cult, open to all people, including men and women and freeman, the young and old, etc. However, the expenses required to participate in all the rituals precluded many from joining, and though the mysteries were secret, they were not mysterious. For this reason, what glimpses we do have of the older Greek mysteries have been understood as reflecting certain archaic aspects of common Indo-European religion, with parallels in Indo-Iranian religion.
The mystery schools of Greco-Roman antiquity include the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Dionysian Mysteries, the Orphic Mysteries. Some of the many divinities that the Romans nominally adopted from other cultures came to be worshipped in Mysteries, for instance, Egyptian Isis, Persian Mithras from the Mithraic Mysteries, Thracian/Phrygian Sabazius, Phrygian Cybele; the Eleusinian Mysteries were the earliest and most famous of the mystery cults and lasted for over a millennium. Whenever they first originated, by the end of the 5th century BC, they had been influenced by Orphism, in Late Antiquity, they had become allegorized; these mysteries were more concerned with prosperity than eschatalogy and hope in the afterlife, so belief in an afterlife had always belonged to a minority and no person initiated into the mysteries made reference to it on their tombstones until the 2nd century BC. In the 15th of the month of Boedromion in the Attic calendar, as many as 3,000 potential initiates would have gathered in the agora of Athens, the gathering limited to those that spoke Greek and had never killed (as the emphasis on purity grew, this ban
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
Witchcraft or witchery broadly means the practice of and belief in magical skills and abilities exercised by solitary practitioners and groups. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, thus can be difficult to define with precision, cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution. Witchcraft occupies a religious divinatory or medicinal role, is present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view; the concept of witchcraft and the belief in its existence have persisted throughout recorded history. They have been present or central at various times and in many diverse forms among cultures and religions worldwide, including both "primitive" and "highly advanced" cultures, continue to have an important role in many cultures today; the predominant concept of witchcraft in the Western world derives from Old Testament laws against witchcraft, entered the mainstream when belief in witchcraft gained Church approval in the Early Modern Period.
It posits a theosophical conflict between good and evil, where witchcraft was evil and associated with the Devil and Devil worship. This culminated in deaths and scapegoating, many years of large scale witch-trials and witch hunts in Protestant Europe, before ceasing during the European Age of Enlightenment. Christian views in the modern day are diverse and cover the gamut of views from intense belief and opposition to non-belief, in some churches approval. From the mid-20th century, witchcraft – sometimes called contemporary witchcraft to distinguish it from older beliefs – became the name of a branch of modern paganism, it is most notably practiced in the Wiccan and modern witchcraft traditions, no longer practices in secrecy. The Western mainstream Christian view is far from the only societal perspective about witchcraft. Many cultures worldwide continue to have widespread practices and cultural beliefs that are loosely translated into English as "witchcraft", although the English translation masks a great diversity in their forms, magical beliefs and place in their societies.
During the Age of Colonialism, many cultures across the globe were exposed to the modern Western world via colonialism accompanied and preceded by intensive Christian missionary activity. Beliefs related to witchcraft and magic in these cultures were at times influenced by the prevailing Western concepts. Witch hunts and killing or shunning of suspected witches still occurs in the modern era, with killings both of victims for their magical body parts, of suspected witchcraft practitioners. Suspicion of modern medicine due to beliefs about illness being due to witchcraft continues in many countries to this day, with tragic healthcare consequences. HIV/AIDS and Ebola virus disease are two examples of often-lethal infectious disease epidemics whose medical care and containment has been hampered by regional beliefs in witchcraft. Other severe medical conditions whose treatment is hampered in this way include tuberculosis, leprosy and the common severe bacterial Buruli ulcer. Public healthcare requires considerable education work related to epidemology and modern health knowledge in many parts of the world where belief in witchcraft prevails, to encourage effective preventive health measures and treatments, to reduce victim blaming and stigmatization, to prevent the killing of people and endangering of animal species for body parts believed to convey magical abilities.
The word witch is of uncertain origin. There are numerous etymologies. One popular belief is that it is "related to the English words wit, wisdom," so "craft of the wise." Another is from the Old English wiccecræft, a compound of "wicce" and "cræft". In anthropological terminology, witches differ from sorcerers in that they don't use physical tools or actions to curse; this definition was pioneered in a study of central African magical beliefs by E. E. Evans-Pritchard, who cautioned that it might not correspond with normal English usage. Historians of European witchcraft have found the anthropological definition difficult to apply to European witchcraft, where witches could use physical techniques, as well as some who had attempted to cause harm by thought alone. European witchcraft is seen by historians and anthropologists as an ideology for explaining misfortune; the witchcraft label has been applied to practices people believe influence the mind, body, or property of others against their will—or practices that the person doing the labeling believes undermine social or religious order.
Some modern commentators believe. The concept of a magic-worker influencing another person's body or property against their will was present in many cultures, as traditions in both folk magic and religious magic have the purpose of countering malicious magic or identifying malicious magic users. Many examples appear in early texts, such as those from ancient Babylonia. Malicious magic users can become a credible cause for disease, sickness in animals, bad luck, sudden death, impo
Modern Paganism known as Contemporary Paganism and Neopaganism, is a collective term for new religious movements influenced by or derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe, North Africa and the Near East. Although they do share similarities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse, no single set of beliefs, practices or texts are shared by them all. Most academics studying the phenomenon have treated it as a movement of different religions, whereas a minority instead characterise it as a single religion into which different Pagan faiths fit as denominations. Not all members of faiths or beliefs regarded as Neopagan self-identify as "Pagan". Adherents rely on pre-Christian and ethnographic sources to a variety of degrees. Academic research has placed the Pagan movement along a spectrum, with Eclecticism on one end and Polytheistic Reconstructionism on the other. Polytheism and pantheism are common features in Pagan theology. Rituals take place in private domestic settings.
The Pagan relationship with Christianity is strained. Contemporary Paganism has sometimes been associated with the New Age movement, with scholars highlighting both similarities and differences. From the 1990s onwards, scholars studying the modern Pagan movement have established the academic field of Pagan studies. There is "considerable disagreement as to the precise definition and proper usage" of the term "modern Paganism". Within the academic field of Pagan studies, there is no consensus regarding how contemporary Paganism can best be defined. Most scholars describe modern Paganism as a broad array of different religions rather than a singular religion in itself; the category of modern Paganism could be compared to the categories of Abrahamic religion and Dharmic religion in its structure. A second, less common definition found within Pagan studies – where it has been promoted by the religious studies scholars Michael F. Strmiska and Graham Harvey – characterises modern Paganism as a singular religion, into which groups like Wicca and Heathenry fit as denominations.
This perspective has been critiqued, given the lack of core commonalities in issues such as theology, ethics, holy days, or ritual practices within the Pagan movement. Contemporary Paganism has been defined as "a collection of modern religious and magical traditions that are self-consciously inspired by the pre-Judaic, pre-Christian, pre-Islamic belief systems of Europe, North Africa, the Near East." Thus, the view has been expressed that although "a diverse phenomenon", there is "an identifiable common element" running through the Pagan movement. Strmiska described Paganism as a movement "dedicated to reviving the polytheistic, nature-worshipping pagan religions of pre-Christian Europe and adapting them for the use of people in modern societies." The religious studies scholar Wouter Hanegraaff charactised Paganism as encompassing "all those modern movements which are, based on the conviction that what Christianity has traditionally denounced as idolatry and superstition represents/represented a profound and meaningful religious worldview and, that a religious practice based on this worldview can and should be revitalized in our modern world."Discussing the relationship between the different Pagan religions, religious studies scholars Kaarina Aitamurto and Scott Simpson stated that they were "like siblings who have taken different paths in life but still retain many visible similarities".
However, while viewing different forms of Paganism as distinct religions in their own right, there has been much "cross-fertilization" between these different faiths. Accordingly, many groups have exerted an influence on, in turn have been influenced by, other Pagan religions, thus making clear-cut distinctions between them more difficult for religious studies scholars to make; the various Pagan religions have been academically classified as new religious movements, with the anthropologist Kathryn Rountree describing Paganism as a whole as a "new religious phenomenon". A number of academics in North America, have considered modern Paganism to be a form of nature religion; some practitioners eschew the term "Pagan" altogether, choosing not to define themselves as such, but rather under the more specific name of their religion, like Heathen or Wiccan. This is because the term "Pagan" has its origins in Christian terminology, which the Pagans wish to avoid; some favor the term "ethnic religion" over "Paganism" – for instance the World Pagan Congress, founded in 1998, soon renamed itself the European Congress of Ethnic Religions – enjoying that term's association with the Greek ethnos and the academic field of ethnology.
Within linguistically Slavic areas of Europe, the term "Native Faith" is favored as a synonym for Paganism, being rendered as Ridnovirstvo in Ukrainian, Rodnoverie in Russian, Rodzimowierstwo in Polish. Alternately, many practitioners within these regions view "Native Faith" as a category that exists within modern Paganism but which does not encompass all Pagan religions. Other terms sometimes favored by Pagans are "traditional religion", "indigenous religion", "nativist religion", "reconstructionism". Various Pagans – including those like Michael York and Prudence Jones who are active in Pagan studies – have argued that, due to similarities in their respective spiritual world-views, the modern Pagan movement can be treated as part of the same global phenomenon as both pre-Christian religion, living indigenou
Doreen Edith Dominy Valiente was an English Wiccan, responsible for writing much of the early religious liturgy within the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca. An author and poet, she published five books dealing with Wicca and related esoteric subjects. Born to a middle-class family in Surrey, Valiente began practicing magic while a teenager. Working as a translator at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, she married twice in this period. Developing her interest in occultism after the war, she began practicing ceremonial magic with a friend while living in Bournemouth. Learning of Wicca, in 1953 she was initiated into the Gardnerian tradition by its founder, Gerald Gardner. Soon becoming the High Priestess of Gardner's Bricket Wood coven, she helped him to produce or adapt many important scriptural texts for Wicca, such as The Witches Rune and the Charge of the Goddess, which were incorporated into the early Gardnerian Book of Shadows. In 1957, a schism resulted in Valiente and her followers leaving Gardner in order to form their own short-lived coven.
After investigating the Wiccan tradition of Charles Cardell, she was initiated into Raymond Howard's Coven of Atho in 1963. She went on the following year to work with Robert Cochrane in his coven, the Clan of Tubal Cain, although she broke from this group. Eager to promote and defend her religion, she played a leading role in both the Witchcraft Research Association and the Pagan Front during the 1960s and 1970s; that latter decade saw her involve herself in far right politics as well as becoming a keen ley hunter and proponent of Earth mysteries. As well as writing articles on esoteric topics for various magazines, from the 1960s onward she authored a number of books on the subject of Wicca, as well as contributing to the publication of works by Wiccan friends Stewart Farrar, Janet Farrar, Evan John Jones. In these works she became an early advocate of the idea that anyone could practice Wicca without requiring initiation by a pre-existing Wiccan, while contributing to and encouraging research into the religion's early history.
Living in Brighton during these years, she was a member of the Silver Malkin coven and worked with Ron Cook, both her partner and initiate. In her final years she served as patron of the Sussex-based Centre for Pagan Studies prior to her death from pancreatic cancer. Valiente's magical artefacts and papers were bequeathed to her last High Priest, John Belham-Payne, who donated them to a charitable trust, the Doreen Valiente Foundation, in 2011. Having had a significant influence in the history of Wicca, she is revered in the Wiccan community as "the Mother of Modern Witchcraft", has been the subject of two biographies. Valiente was born Doreen Edith Dominy on 4 January 1922 in the London outer suburb of Colliers Wood, Surrey, her father, Harry Dominy, was a civil engineer, he lived with her mother Edith in Colliers Wood. Harry came from a Methodist background and Edith from a Congregationalist one, however Doreen was never baptised, as was the custom of the time, due to an argument that Edith had had with the local vicar.
Doreen claimed that she had not had a close or affectionate relationship with her parents, whom she characterised as conventional and focused on social climbing. During her childhood they moved to Horley in Surrey, it was there, according to her account, that she had an early spiritual experience while staring at the moon. From there her family moved to the West Country and to the New Forest. In either late 1934 or 1935, Doreen's mother left her father and took her to live with maternal relatives in Southampton. Valiente first began practicing magic aged 13, performing a spell to prevent her mother being harassed by a co-worker, her early knowledge of magical practices may have derived from books that she found in the local library. Her parents sent her to a convent school, she left it at the age of 15, refusing to return. She had wanted to go to art school, but instead gained employment in a factory, before moving on to work as a clerk and typist at the Unemployment Assistance Board. During the Second World War, she became a Foreign Office Civilian Temporary Senior Assistant Officer, in this capacity working as a translator at Bletchley Park.
In relation to this work, she was sent to South Wales, it was there, in the town of Barry, that she met Joanis Vlachopolous, a Greek seaman in the Merchant Navy. Entering a relationship, they were married in East Glamorgan on 31 January 1941. However, in June 1941 he was serving aboard the Pandias when it was sunk by a U-boat off of the West African coast. Widowed, during 1942 and 1943 Valiente had a number of short-term jobs in Wales, which were a cover for intelligence work. After October 1943 she was transferred to the intelligence service's offices in Berkeley Street in the Mayfair area of London, where she was involved in message decryption. In London she met and entered into a relationship with Casimiro Valiente, a Spaniard who had fled from the Spanish Civil War, where he had fought on the side of the Spanish Republican Army before joining the French Foreign Legion, where he was wounded at the Battle of Narvik and evacuated to England, they were married on 29 May 1944 at St Pancras Registry Office.
The couple moved to Bournemouth – where Doreen's mother was living – and here Casimiro worked as a chef. Valiente would say that both she and her husband suffered racism after the war because of their foreign associations. Developing an interest in occultism, she began practicing ceremonial magic with
The civil service is independent of government and is composed of career bureaucrats hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure survives transitions of political leadership. A civil servant or public servant is a person employed in the public sector on behalf of a government department or agency. A civil servant or public servant's first priority is to represent the interests of citizens; the extent of civil servants of a state as part of the "civil service" varies from country to country. In the United Kingdom, for instance, only Crown employees are referred to as civil servants whereas county or city employees are not. Many consider the study of service to be a part of the field of public administration. Workers in "non-departmental public bodies" may be classed as civil servants for the purpose of statistics and for their terms and conditions. Collectively a state's civil servants form its civil public service. An international civil servant or international staff member is a civilian employee, employed by an intergovernmental organization.
These international civil servants do not reside under any national legislation but are governed by internal staff regulations. All disputes related to international civil service are brought before special tribunals created by these international organizations such as, for instance, the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO. Specific referral can be made to the International Civil Service Commission of the United Nations, an independent expert body established by the United Nations General Assembly, its mandate is to regulate and coordinate the conditions of service of staff in the United Nations common system, while promoting and maintaining high standards in the international civil service. The origin of the modern meritocratic civil service can be traced back to Imperial examination founded in Imperial China; the Imperial exam based on merit was designed to select the best administrative officials for the state's bureaucracy. This system had a huge influence on both society and culture in Imperial China and was directly responsible for the creation of a class of scholar-bureaucrats irrespective of their family pedigree.
Appointments to the bureaucracy were based on the patronage of aristocrats. In the areas of administration the military, appointments were based on merit; this was an early form of the imperial examinations, transitioning from inheritance and patronage to merit, in which local officials would select candidates to take part in an examination of the Confucian classics. After the fall of the Han dynasty, the Chinese bureaucracy regressed into a semi-merit system known as the nine-rank system; this system was reversed during the short-lived Sui dynasty, which initiated a civil service bureaucracy recruited through written examinations and recommendation. The first civil service examination system was established by Emperor Wen of Sui. Emperor Yang of Sui established a new category of recommended candidates for the mandarinate in AD 605; the following Tang dynasty adopted the same measures for drafting officials, decreasingly relied on aristocratic recommendations and more and more on promotion based on the results of written examinations.
The structure of the examination system was extensively expanded during the reign of Wu Zetian The system reached its apogee during the Song dynasty. In theory, the Chinese civil service system provided one of the major outlets for social mobility in Chinese society, although in practice, due to the time-consuming nature of the study, the examination was only taken by sons of the landed gentry; the examination tested the candidate's memorization of the Nine Classics of Confucianism and his ability to compose poetry using fixed and traditional forms and calligraphy. In the late 19th century the system came under increasing internal dissatisfaction, it was criticized as not reflecting the candidate's ability to govern well, for giving precedence to style over content and originality of thought; the system was abolished by the Qing government in 1905 as part of the New Policies reform package. The Chinese system was admired by European commentators from the 16th century onward. In the 18th century, in response to economic changes and the growth of the British Empire, the bureaucracy of institutions such as the Office of Works and the Navy Board expanded.
Each had its own system, but in general, staff were appointed through patronage or outright purchase. By the 19th century, it became clear that these arrangements were falling short. "The origins of the British civil service are better known. During the eighteenth century a number of Englishmen wrote in praise of the Chinese examination system, some of them going so far as to urge the adoption for England of something similar; the first concrete step in this direction was taken by the British East India Company in 1806." In that year, the Honourable East India Company established a college, the East India Company College, near London to train and examine administrators of the Company's territories in India. "The proposal for establishing this college came from members of the East India Company's trading post in Canton, China." Examinations for the Indian "civil service"—a term coined by the Company—were introduced in 1829. British efforts at reform were influenced by the imperial examinations system and meritocratic system of China.
Thomas Taylor Meadows, Britain's consul in Guangzhou, China argued in his Desu