Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma, is an ancient, non-theistic, Indian religion. Followers of Jainism are called "Jains", a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths through an ethical and spiritual life. Jains trace their history through a succession of 24 victorious saviours and teachers known as tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who according to Jain tradition lived millions of years ago, twenty-third being Parshvanatha in 8th century BC and twenty-fourth being the Mahāvīra around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal dharma with the tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology; the main religious premises of Jainism are anekāntavāda, aparigraha and asceticism. Devout Jains take five main vows: ahiṃsā, asteya and aparigraha; these principles have impacted Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle that avoids harm to animals and their life cycles.
Parasparopagraho Jīvānām is the motto of Jainism. Ṇamōkāra mantra is the most basic prayer in Jainism. Jainism has Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras; the Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras have different views on ascetic practices and which Jain texts can be considered canonical. Jain mendicants are found in all Jain sub-traditions except Kanji Panth sub-tradition, with laypersons supporting the mendicants' spiritual pursuits with resources. Jainism has between five million followers, with most Jains residing in India. Outside India, some of the largest Jain communities are present in Canada, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Suriname and the United States. Major Jain festivals include Paryushana and Daslakshana, Mahavir Jayanti, Diwali; the principle of ahimsa is a fundamental tenet of Jainism. It believes that one must abandon all violent activity, without such a commitment to non-violence all religious behavior is worthless. In Jain theology, it does not matter how correct or defensible the violence may be, one must not kill any being, "non-violence is one's highest religious duty".
Jain texts such as Acaranga Sūtra and Tattvarthasūtra state that one must renounce all killing of living beings, whether tiny or large, movable or immovable. Its theology teaches that one must neither kill another living being, nor cause another to kill, nor consent to any killing directly or indirectly. Furthermore, Jainism emphasizes non-violence against all beings not only in action but in speech and in thought, it states that instead of hate or violence against anyone, "all living creatures must help each other". Violence negatively affects and destroys one's soul when the violence is done with intent, hate or carelessness, or when one indirectly causes or consents to the killing of a human or non-human living being; the idea of reverence for non-violence is founded in Hindu and Buddhist canonical texts, it may have origins in more ancient Brahmanical Vedic thoughts. However, no other Indian religion has developed the non-violence doctrine and its implications on everyday life as has Jainism.
The theological basis of non-violence as the highest religious duty has been interpreted by some Jain scholars not to "be driven by merit from giving or compassion to other creatures, nor a duty to rescue all creatures", but resulting from "continual self-discipline", a cleansing of the soul that leads to one's own spiritual development which affects one's salvation and release from rebirths. Causing injury to any being in any form creates bad karma which affects one's rebirth, future well being and suffering. Late medieval Jain scholars re-examined the Ahiṃsā doctrine when one is faced with external threat or violence. For example, they justified violence by monks to protect nuns. According to Dundas, the Jain scholar Jinadatta Suri wrote during a time of Muslim destruction of temples and persecution that "anybody engaged in a religious activity, forced to fight and kill somebody would not lose any spiritual merit but instead attain deliverance". However, such examples in Jain texts that condone fighting and killing under certain circumstances are rare.
The second main principle of Jainism is anekāntavāda or anekantatva, a word derived from anekānta and vada. The anekāntavāda doctrine states that reality is complex and always has multiple aspects. Reality can be experienced, but it is not possible to express it with language. Human attempts to communicate is Naya, explained as "partial expression of the truth". Language is not Truth. From Truth, according to Mahāvīra, language returns and not the other way round. One can experience the truth of a taste, but cannot express that taste through language. Any attempts to express the experience is syāt, or valid "in some respect" but it remains a "perhaps, just one perspective, incomplete". In the same way, spiritual truths are complex, they have multiple aspects, language cannot express their plurality, yet through effort and appropriate karma they can be experienced. Since reality is many-sided the great error, according to Jainism, is ekānta where some relative truth is treated as an absolute truth to the exclusion of others.
The anekāntavāda premise of the Jains is ancient, as evidenced by its mention in Buddhist texts such as the Samaññapha
The gada is a club or blunt mace from the Indian subcontinent. Made either of wood or metal, it consists of a spherical head mounted on a shaft, with a spike on the top. Outside India, the gada was adopted in Southeast Asia, where it is still used in silat; the gada is the main weapon of the Hindu God Hanuman. Known for his strength, Hanuman is traditionally worshipped by wrestlers in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Vishnu carries a gada named Kaumodaki in one of his four hands. In the Mahabharata epic, the fighters Bhima, Duryodhana and others were said to be masters of the gada; the martial art of wielding the gada is known as gada-yuddha. It can either be wielded singly or in pairs, can be handled in twenty different ways. Various gada-yuddha techniques are mentioned in the Agni Purana and Mahabharata such as aahat, prabrita, udarvagatra, vamadakshina, paraavrita, avaplata and vibhag; the gada is one of the traditional pieces of training equipment in Hindu physical culture, is common in the akhara of north India.
Maces of various weights and heights are used depending on the strength and skill level of the practitioner. It is believed. For training purposes, one or two wooden gada are swung behind the back in several different ways and is useful for building grip strength and shoulder endurance; the Great Gama was known for excessive use of gada. Winners in a kushti contest are awarded with a gada. Chi'ishi, a karate conditioning equipment and its exercise pattern was inspired by the gada and mugdar; the war clubs were inspired by gada. Mace
Naga or Nagi is a Sanskrit word which refers to a "serpent" or "snake" the King cobra. The term Naga in Hinduism and Jainism denotes divine, semi-divine deities, or a semi-divine race of half-human half-serpent beings that resides in the heavenly Patala and can take human form, they are principally depicted in three forms: wholly humans with snakes on the necks. A female naga is a "nagi", "nagin", or "nagini". Nagaraja is seen as the king of nāginis, they are common and hold cultural significance in the mythological traditions of many South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures. In Sanskrit, a nāgá is the Indian cobra. A synonym for nāgá is phaṇin. There are several words for "snake" in general, one of the commonly used ones is sarpá. Sometimes the word nāgá is used generically to mean "snake"; the word is cognate with English'snake', Germanic: *snēk-a-, Proto-IE: *nēg-o-. The mythological serpent race that took form as cobras can be found in Hindu iconography; the nāgas are described as the powerful, splendid and proud semidivine race that can assume their physical form either as human, partial human-serpent or the whole serpent.
Their domain is in the enchanted underworld, the underground realm filled with gems and other earthly treasures called Naga-loka or Patala-loka. They are often associated with bodies of waters — including rivers, lakes and wells — and are guardians of treasure, their power and venom made them dangerous to humans. However, they took beneficial protagonist role in Hindu mythology, such as in Samudra manthan mythology, Vasuki, a nāgarāja who abides on Shiva's neck, became the churning rope for churning of the Ocean of Milk, their eternal mortal enemies are the legendary semidivine birdlike-deity. Vishnu is portrayed in the form sheltered by Śeṣanāga or reclining on Śeṣa, but the iconography has been extended to other deities as well; the serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many forms: around the neck, use as a sacred thread wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne. Shiva is shown garlanded with a snake. Maehle states that "Patanjali is thought to be a manifestation of the serpent of eternity".
As in Hinduism, the Buddhist nāga has the form of a great cobra with a single head but sometimes with many. At least some of the nāgas are capable of using magic powers to transform themselves into a human semblance; the nāga is sometimes portrayed as a human being with a dragon extending over his head. One nāga, in human form, attempted to become a monk. In the "Devadatta" chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the daughter of the dragon king, an eight year old longnü, after listening to Mañjuśrī preach the Lotus Sutra, transforms into a male Bodhisattva and reaches full enlightenment; this tale appears to reinforce the viewpoint prevalent in Mahayana scriptures that a male body is required for Buddhahood if a being is so advanced in realization that they can magically transform their body at will and demonstrate the emptiness of the physical form itself. Nagas are believed to both live on Nagaloka, among the other minor deities, in various parts of the human-inhabited earth; some of them are water-dwellers, living in the ocean.
The nāgas are the followers of Virūpākṣa, one of the Four Heavenly Kings who guards the western direction. They act as a guard upon Mount Sumeru, protecting the dēvas of Trāyastriṃśa from attack by the asūras. Among the notable nāgas of Buddhist tradition is Nāgarāja and protector of the Buddha. In the Vinaya Sutra, shortly after his enlightenment, the Buddha is meditating in a forest when a great storm arises, but graciously, King Mucalinda gives shelter to the Buddha from the storm by covering the Buddha's head with his seven snake heads; the king takes the form of a young Brahmin and renders the Buddha homage. It is noteworthy that the two chief disciples of the Buddha and Moggallāna are both referred to as Mahānāga or "Great Nāga"; some of the most important figures in Buddhist history symbolize nagas in their names such as Dignāga, Nāgāsēna, although other etymons are assigned to his name, Nāgārjuna. In the Vajrayāna and Mahāsiddha traditions, nagas in their half-human form are depicted holding a naga-jewel, kumbhas of amrita, or a terma, elementally encoded by adepts.
According to tradition, Prajñapāramita sutras had been given by the Buddha to a great Naga who guarded them in the sea, were conferred upon Nāgārjuna later. In Thailand and Java, the nāga is a wealthy underworld deity. For Malay sailors, nāgas are a type of dragon with many heads. In Laos they are beaked water serpents; the seven-headed nagas depicted as guardian statues, carved as balustrades on causeways leading to main Cambodian temples, such as those found in Angkor Wat. They represent the seven races within naga society, which has a mythological, or symbolic, association with "the seven colors of the rainbow". Furthermore, Cambodian naga possess numerological symbolism in the number of their heads. Odd-headed naga symbolise the Male Energy, Infinity and Immortality; this is because, all odd numbers come from One. Even
Hindu mythology are narratives found in Hindu texts such as the Vedic literature, epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, the Puranas, the regional literatures like Periya Puranam. Hindu mythology is found in translated popular texts such as the Panchatantra and Hitopadesha, as well as Southeast Asian texts. Hindu mythology does not have a consistent, monolithic structure; the same myth appears in various versions, can be represented differently across socio-religious traditions. These myths have been noted to have been modified by various philosophical schools over time and in the Hindu tradition; these myths are taken to have deeper symbolic and have been given a complex range of interpretations. The Hindu Epic literature is found in genre of Hindu texts such as: Vedic literature Epics Puranas VedasMany of these legends evolve across these texts, the character names change or the story is embellished with greater details, yet the central message and moral values remain the same. According to Wendy Doniger, Every Hindu epic is different.
Each Hindu epic celebrates the belief that the universe is boundlessly various, that everything occurs that all possibilities may exist without excluding the other. There is no single basic version of a Hindu epic. Great epics are richly elusive. Moreover, epics are living organisms. Hindu epic shares human values found in epic everywhere. However, the particular details vary and its diversity is immense, according to Doniger; the Hindu legends embed the Indian thought about the nature of existence, the human condition and its aspirations through an interwoven contrast of characters, the good against the evil, the honest against the dishonest, the dharma-bound lover against the anti-dharma bully, the gentle and compassionate against the cruel and greedy. In these epics, everything is impermanent including matter and peace. Magic and miracles thrive, gods are defeated and fear for their existence, triggering wars or debates. Death threatens and re-threatens life, while life finds a way to creatively re-emerge thus conquering death.
Eros persistently prevails over chaos. The Hindu epics integrate in a wide range of subjects, they include stories about how and why cosmos originated and why humans or all life forms originated along with each's strengths and weaknesses, how gods originated along with each's strengths and weaknesses, the battle between good gods and bad demons, human values and how humans can live together, resolve any disagreements, healthy goals in stages of life and the different ways in which each individual can live, the meaning of all existence and means of personal liberation as well as legends about what causes suffering and the end of time with a restart of a new cycle. A significant collection of Vaishnavism traditional reincarnations includes those related to the avatars of Vishnu; the ten most common of these include: Matsya: It narrates a great flood, similar to one found in many ancient cultures. The savior here is the Matsya; the earliest accounts of Matsya mythology are found in the Vedic literature, which equate the fish saviour to the deity Prajapati.
The fish-savior merges with the identity of Brahma in post-Vedic era, still as an avatar of Vishnu. The legends associated with Matsya expand and vary in Hindu texts; these legends have embedded symbolism, where a small fish with Manu's protection grows to become a big fish, the fish saves earthly existence. Kurma: The earliest account of Kurma is found in the Shatapatha Brahmana, where he is a form of Prajapati-Brahma and helps with the samudra manthan. In the Epics and the Puranas, the legend expands and evolves into many versions, with Kurma becoming an avatar of Vishnu, he appears in the form of a tortoise or turtle to support the foundation for the cosmos and the cosmic churning stick. Varaha: The earliest versions of the Varaha or boar legend are found in the Taittiriya Aranyaka and the Shatapatha Brahmana, both Vedic texts, they narrate. The earth was trapped in it; the god Prajapati in the form of a boar brings the earth out. In post-Vedic literature the Puranas, the boar mythology is reformulated through an avatar of god Vishnu and an evil demon named Hiranyaksha who persecutes people and kidnaps goddess earth.
Varaha-Vishnu kills the demon and rescues earth. Narasimha: The Narasimha mythology is about the man-lion avatar of Vishnu, he destroys an evil king, ends religious persecution and calamity on Earth, saves his devotee from the suffering caused by torments and punishments for pursuing his religious beliefs, thereby Vishnu restores the Dharma. Vamana Parashurama Rama Krishna Balarama Kalki Dowson, John. A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography and Literature. Trubner & Co. London. Buitenen, J. A. B. van. Classical Hindu mythology: a reader in the Sanskrit Puranas. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. ISBN 0-87722-122-7. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list Campbell, Joseph. Myths of light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal. Novato, California: New World Library. ISBN 1-57731
Lanka is the traditional name given to the main island of Sri Lanka meaning "island". It is known in the Hindu communities of India as the name given in the ancient epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Lanka was the classical name bestowed on the island by an ancient Indian epic. A possible theory is that the name Lanka is derived from the Tamil word "ilanku", which means "to shine" or "to glitter", thus making Lanka a name that means "that which glitters", it earned this name on gems found on its surface. Another theory states that the word Lanka means any island, it is still used by the aborigines of Central and Eastern India to mean an island and an islet in a river. The word is considered as belonging to Austro-Asiatic languages; the Veddas, the aborigines of Sri Lanka who might be of Austro-Asiatic origin, might have rendered the name Lanka to the island. As it is the biggest island in the South Asian context, Lanka became an exclusive term for it. Lak-vaesiyaa in Sinhala means an inhabitant of the island of Lanka.
Lak-diva in E'lu means the island of Lanka. Another traditional Sinhala name for Sri Lanka was Lakdiva, with diva meaning "island". A further traditional name is Lakbima. Lak in both cases is derived again from Lanka; the same name could have been adopted in Tamil as Ilankai. The island was situated on a plateau between three mountain peaks known as the Trikuta Mountains; the ancient city of Lankapura is thought to have been burnt down by Hanuman. After its king, was killed by Rama with the help of Ravana's brother Vibhishana, the latter was crowned king of Lankapura; the site of Lankā is identified with Sri Lanka. His descendants were said to still rule the kingdom during the period of the Pandavas. According to the Mahabharata, the Pandava Sahadeva visited this kingdom during his southern military campaign for the rajasuya of Yudhishthira. According to both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Lanka was ruled by a rakshasa named Sumali. According to Uttara Kanda, Lanka was built by the divine architect Vishwakarma for the gods, but was seized by the brothers, Malyavan and Mali.
The brothers invaded the heavens. After suffering a humiliating and disastrous defeat at the hands of Lord Vishnu, the brothers were too ashamed to return to Lanka. Kubera seized control of Lanka and established the Yaksha Kingdom and his capital was guarded by rakshasas, his half-brother Ravana, son of the sage Vishravaya and Sumali's daughter, fought with Kubera and took Lanka from him. Ravana ruled Lanka as king of the Rakshasa Kingdom; the battle in Lanka is depicted in a famous relief in the 12th-century Khmer temple of Angkor Wat. After Ravana's death, he was succeeded by Vibhishana; the Lanka referred to in the still-extant Hindu Texts and the Ramayana, is considered to be a large island-country, situated in the Indian Ocean. Some scholars asserted that it must have been Sri Lanka because it is so stated in the 5th century Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa. However, the Ramayana states that Ravana's Lanka was situated 100 Yojanas away from mainland India; some scholars have interpreted the content of these texts to determine that Lanka was located at the point where the Prime-Meridian of India passes the Equator.
This island would therefore lie more than a hundred miles South-west of present-day country of Sri Lanka. The most original of all the existing versions of Valmiki's Ramayana suggest the location of Ravana's Lanka to be in the western Indian Ocean. In fact it indicates that Lanka was in the midst of a series of large island-nations, submerged mountains, sunken plateaus in the western part of the Indian Ocean. There has been a lot of speculation by several scholars since the 19th century that Ravana's Lanka might have been in the Indian Ocean around where the Maldives once stood as a high mountain, before getting submerged in the Indian Ocean. Sumatra has been suggested as a possibility. Ravana's Lanka, its capital Lankapuri, are described in a manner that seems superhuman by modern-day standards. Ravana's central palace-complex was a massive collection of several edifices that reached over one yojana in height, one yojana in length, half a yojana in breadth; the island had a large mountain range known as the Trikuta Mountain, atop, situated Ravana's capital of Lanka, at the center of which in turn stood his citadel.
Many of the references to Lanka in the Mahabharata are found in sage Markandeya's narration of the story of Rama and Sita to king Yudhishthira, which narration amounts to a truncated version of the Ramayana. The references in the following summary are to the Mahabharata, adhere to the following form:. Markandeya's narration of the story begins at Section 271 of the Mahabharata. Sahadeva, the son of Pandu, conquered the town of Sanjayanti and the country of the Pashandas and the Karanatakas by means of his messengers alone, made all of them pay tributes to him; the hero brought under his subjection and exacted tributes from the Paundrayas and the Dravidas along with the Udrakeralas and the Andhras and the Talavanas, the Kalingas and the Ushtrakarnikas, the delightful city of Atavi and that of the Yavanas. And, He having arrived at the seashore dispatched with great assurance messengers unto the illustrious Vibhishana, the grandson of Pulastya and the ruler of Lanka. Lanka king is listed as present in the conclave of ki
Pali or Magadhan is a Middle Indo-Aryan language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is studied because it is the language of the Pāli Canon or Tipiṭaka, is the sacred language of some religious texts of Hinduism and all texts of Theravāda Buddhism; the earliest archaeological evidence of the existence of canonical Pali comes from Pyu city-states inscriptions found in Burma dated to the mid 5th to mid 6th century CE. The word Pali is used as a name for the language of the Theravada canon. According to the Pali Text Society's Dictionary, the word seems to have its origins in commentarial traditions, wherein the Pāli was distinguished from the commentary or vernacular translation that followed it in the manuscript; as such, the name of the language has caused some debate among scholars of all ages. Both the long ā and retroflex ḷ are seen in Pāḷi. R. C. Childers translates the word as "series" and states that the language "bears the epithet in consequence of the perfection of its grammatical structure".
In the 19th century, the British Orientalist Robert Caesar Childers argued that the true or geographical name of the Pali language was Magadhi Prakrit, that because pāḷi means "line, series", the early Buddhists extended the meaning of the term to mean "a series of books", so pāḷibhāsā means "language of the texts". However, modern scholarship has regarded Pali as a mix of several Prakrit languages from around the 3rd century BCE, combined together and Sanskritized; the closest artifacts to Pali that have been found in India are Edicts of Ashoka found at Gujarat, in the west of India, leading some scholars to associate Pali with this region of western India. There is persistent confusion as to the relation of Pāḷi to the vernacular spoken in the ancient kingdom of Magadha, located around modern-day Bihār. Pali, as a Middle Indo-Aryan language, is different from Sanskrit more with regard to its dialectal base than the time of its origin. A number of its morphological and lexical features show that it is not a direct continuation of Ṛgvedic Vedic Sanskrit.
Instead it descends from one or more dialects that were, despite many similarities, different from Ṛgvedic. However, this view is not shared by all scholars. Some, like A. C. Woolner, believe that Pali is derived from Vedic Sanskrit, but not from Classical Sanskrit. Paiśācī is a unattested literary language of classical India, mentioned in Prakrit and Sanskrit grammars of antiquity, it is found grouped with the Prakrit languages, with which it shares some linguistic similarities, but was not considered a spoken language by the early grammarians because it was understood to have been purely a literary language. In works of Sanskrit poetics such as Daṇḍin's Kavyadarsha, it is known by the name of Bhūtabhāṣā, an epithet which can be interpreted as'dead language', or bhuta means past and bhasha means language i.e.'a language spoken in the past'. Evidence which lends support to this interpretation is that literature in Paiśācī is fragmentary and rare but may once have been common; the 13th-century Tibetan historian Buton Rinchen Drub wrote that the early Buddhist schools were separated by choice of sacred language: the Mahāsāṃghikas used Prākrit, the Sarvāstivādins used Sanskrit, the Sthaviravādins used Paiśācī, the Saṃmitīya used Apabhraṃśa.
This observation has lead some scholars to theorize connections between Pali and Paiśācī. Many Theravada sources refer to the Pali language as "Magadhan" or the "language of Magadha"; this identification first appears in the commentaries, may have been an attempt by Buddhists to associate themselves more with the Maurya Empire. But the four most important places in Buddha's life are all outside of it, it is that he taught in several related dialects of Middle Indo-Aryan, which had a high degree of mutual intelligibility. There is no attested dialect of Middle Indo-Aryan with all the features of Pali. Pali has some commonalities with both the western Ashokan Edicts at Girnar in Saurashtra, the Central-Western Prakrit found in the eastern Hathigumpha inscription; the similarities of the Saurashtran inscriptions to the Hathigumpha inscription may be misleading because the latter suggests the Ashokan scribe may not have translated the material he received from Magadha into the vernacular. Whatever the relationship of the Buddha's speech to Pali, the Canon was transcribed and preserved in it, while the commentarial tradition that accompanied it was translated into Sinhala and preserved in local languages for several generations.
In Sri Lanka, Pali is thought to have entered into a period of decline ending around the 4th or 5th century, but survived. The work of Buddhaghosa was responsible for its reemergence as an important scholarly language in Buddhist thought; the Visuddhimagga, the other commentaries that Buddhaghosa compiled and condensed the Sinhala commentarial tradition, preserved and expanded in Sri Lanka since the 3rd century BCE. T
The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been sourced during the era of the British Empire, it documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world; the British Museum was established in 1753 based on the collections of the Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It first opened in Montagu House, on the site of the current building, its expansion over the following 250 years was a result of expanding British colonisation and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the Natural History Museum in 1881. In 1973, the British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the British Museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997.
The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport, as with all national museums in the UK it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions. Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Parthenon Marbles. Although today principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities, the British Museum was founded as a "universal museum", its foundations lie in the will of the Irish physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, a London-based doctor and scientist from Ulster. During the course of his lifetime, after he married the widow of a wealthy Jamaican planter, Sloane gathered a large collection of curiosities and, not wishing to see his collection broken up after death, he bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for a sum of £20,000. At that time, Sloane's collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds including some 40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts, extensive natural history specimens including 337 volumes of dried plants and drawings including those by Albrecht Dürer and antiquities from Sudan, Greece, the Ancient Near and Far East and the Americas.
On 7 June 1753, King George II gave his Royal Assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The British Museum Act 1753 added two other libraries to the Sloane collection, namely the Cottonian Library, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dating back to Elizabethan times, the Harleian Library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford, they were joined in 1757 by the "Old Royal Library", now the Royal manuscripts, assembled by various British monarchs. Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf; the British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king open to the public and aiming to collect everything. Sloane's collection, while including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests; the addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary and antiquarian element and meant that the British Museum now became both National Museum and library.
The body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu House, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace, on the grounds of cost and the unsuitability of its location. With the acquisition of Montagu House, the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. At this time, the largest parts of collection were the library, which took up the majority of the rooms on the ground floor of Montagu House and the natural history objects, which took up an entire wing on the second state storey of the building. In 1763, the trustees of the British Museum, under the influence of Peter Collinson and William Watson, employed the former student of Carl Linnaeus, Daniel Solander to reclassify the natural history collection according to the Linnaean system, thereby making the Museum a public centre of learning accessible to the full range of European natural historians.
In 1823, King George IV gave the King's Library assembled by George III, Parliament gave the right to a copy of every book published in the country, thereby ensuring that the museum's library would expand indefinitely. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several further gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts and David Garrick's library of 1,000 printed plays; the predominance of natural history and manuscripts began to lessen when in 1772 the museum acquired for £8,410 its first significant antiquities in Sir William Hamilton's "first" collection of Greek vases. From 1778, a display of objects from the South Seas brought back from the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook and the travels of other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of unknown lands; the bequest of a collection of books, engraved gems, coins and drawings by Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode in 1800 did much to raise the museum's reputation. The museum's first notable addition towards its collection of antiquities, since its foundation, was by Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples, who sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts to