Heaven, or the heavens, is a common religious, cosmological, or transcendent place where beings such as gods, spirits, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or live. According to the beliefs of some religions, heavenly beings can descend to earth or incarnate, earthly beings can ascend to heaven in the afterlife, or in exceptional cases enter heaven alive. Heaven is described as a "higher place", the holiest place, a Paradise, in contrast to hell or the Underworld or the "low places", universally or conditionally accessible by earthly beings according to various standards of divinity, piety, faith, or other virtues or right beliefs or the will of God; some believe in the possibility of a heaven on Earth in a World to Come. Another belief is in an axis mundi or world tree which connects the heavens, the terrestrial world, the underworld. In Indian religions, heaven is considered as Svarga loka, the soul is again subjected to rebirth in different living forms according to its karma.
This cycle can be broken after a soul achieves Nirvana. Any place of existence, either of humans, souls or deities, outside the tangible world is referred to as otherworld; the modern English word heaven is derived from the earlier heven. By about 1000, heofon was being used in reference to the Christianized "place where God dwells", but it had signified "sky, firmament"; the English term has cognates in the other Germanic languages: Old Saxon heƀan "sky, heaven", Old Icelandic himinn, Gothic himins. All of these have been derived from a reconstructed Proto-Germanic form *hemina-. or *hemō. The further derivation of this form is uncertain. A connection to Proto-Indo-European *ḱem- "cover, shroud", via a reconstructed *k̑emen- or *k̑ōmen- "stone, heaven", has been proposed. Others endorse the derivation from a Proto-Indo-European root *h₂éḱmō "stone" and "heavenly vault" at the origin of this word, which would have as cognates Ancient Greek ἄκμων, Persian آسمان and Sanskrit अश्मन्. In the latter case English hammer would be another cognate to the word.
The ancient Mesopotamians regarded the sky as a series of domes covering the flat earth. Each dome was made of a different kind of precious stone; the lowest dome of heaven was the home of the stars. The middle dome of heaven was the abode of the Igigi; the highest and outermost dome of heaven was made of luludānītu stone and was personified as An, the god of the sky. The celestial bodies were equated with specific deities as well; the planet Venus was believed to be Inanna, the goddess of love and war. The sun was her brother Utu, the god of justice, the moon was their father Nanna. In ancient Near Eastern cultures in general and in Mesopotamia in particular, humans had little to no access to the divine realm. Heaven and earth were separated by their nature. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh says to Enkidu, "Who can go up to heaven, my friend? Only the gods dwell with Shamash forever." Instead, after a person died, his or her soul went to Kur, a dark shadowy underworld, located deep below the surface of the earth.
All souls went to the same afterlife, a person's actions during life had no impact on how he would be treated in the world to come. Nonetheless, funerary evidence indicates that some people believed that Inanna had the power to bestow special favors upon her devotees in the afterlife. Despite the separation between heaven and earth, humans sought access to the gods through oracles and omens; the gods were believed to live in heaven, but in their temples, which were seen as the channels of communication between earth and heaven, which allowed mortal access to the gods. The Ekur temple in Nippur was known as the "mooring-rope" of heaven and earth, it was thought to have been built and established by Enlil himself. Nothing is known of Bronze Age Canaanite views of heaven, the archaeological findings at Ugarit have not provided information; the 1st century Greek author Philo of Byblos may preserve elements of Iron Age Phoenician religion in his Sanchuniathon. The ancient Hittites believed that some deities lived in Heaven, while others lived in remote places on earth, such as mountains, where humans had little access.
In the Middle Hittite myths, heaven is the abode of the gods. In the Song of Kumarbi, Alalu was king in heaven for nine years before giving birth to Anu. Anu was himself overthrown by Kumarbi; as in other ancient Near Eastern cultures, in the Hebrew Bible, the universe is divided into two realms: heaven and earth. Sometimes a third realm is added: either "sea", "water under the earth", or sometimes a vague "land of the dead", never described in depth; the structure of heaven itself is never described in the Hebrew Bible, but the fact that the Hebrew word š
A monarchy is a form of government in which a single person holds supreme authority in ruling a country performing ceremonial duties and embodying the country's national identity. Although some monarchs are elected, in most cases, the monarch's position is inherited and lasts until death or abdication. In these cases, the royal family or members of the dynasty serve in official capacities as well; the governing power of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic, to partial and restricted, to autocratic. Monarchy was the most common form of government until the 20th century. Forty-five sovereign nations in the world have monarchs acting as heads of state, sixteen of which are Commonwealth realms that recognise Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. Most modern monarchs are constitutional monarchs, who retain a unique legal and ceremonial role, but exercise limited or no political power under the nation's constitution. In some nations, such as Brunei, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Eswatini, the hereditary monarch has more political influence than any other single source of authority in the nation, either by tradition or by a constitutional mandate.
The word "monarch" comes from the Greek language word μονάρχης, monárkhēs which referred to a single, at least nominally absolute ruler. In current usage the word monarchy refers to a traditional system of hereditary rule, as elective monarchies are quite rare; the form of societal hierarchy known as chiefdom or tribal kingship is prehistoric. The Greek term monarchia is classical, used by Herodotus; the monarch in classical antiquity is identified as "king" or "ruler" or as "queen". From earliest historical times, with the Egyptian and Mesopotamian monarchs, as well as in reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion, the king held sacral functions directly connected to sacrifice, or was considered by their people to have divine ancestry; the role of the Roman emperor as the protector of Christianity was conflated with the sacral aspects held by the Germanic kings to create the notion of the "divine right of kings" in the Christian Middle Ages. The Chinese and Nepalese monarchs continued to be considered living Gods into the modern period.
Since antiquity, monarchy has contrasted with forms of democracy, where executive power is wielded by assemblies of free citizens. In antiquity, some monarchies were abolished in favour of such assemblies in Rome, Athens. In Germanic antiquity, kingship was a sacral function, the king was directly hereditary for some tribes, while for others he was elected from among eligible members of royal families by the thing; such ancient "parliamentarism" declined during the European Middle Ages, but it survived in forms of regional assemblies, such as the Icelandic Commonwealth, the Swiss Landsgemeinde and Tagsatzung, the High Medieval communal movement linked to the rise of medieval town privileges. The modern resurgence of parliamentarism and anti-monarchism began with the temporary overthrow of the English monarchy by the Parliament of England in 1649, followed by the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789. One of many opponents of that trend was Elizabeth Dawbarn, whose anonymous Dialogue between Clara Neville and Louisa Mills, on Loyalty features "silly Louisa, who admires liberty, Tom Paine and the USA, lectured by Clara on God's approval of monarchy" and on the influence women can exert on men.
Much of 19th-century politics featured a division between anti-monarchist Radicalism and monarchist Conservativism. Many countries abolished the monarchy in the 20th century and became republics in the wake of either World War I, World War II, the Palestine War, or the Cold War. Advocacy of republics is called republicanism. In the modern era, monarchies are more prevalent in small states than in large ones. Monarchies are associated with political or sociocultural hereditary reign, in which monarchs reign for life and the responsibilities and power of the position pass to their child or another member of their family when they die. Most monarchs, both and in the modern day, have been born and brought up within a royal family, the centre of the royal household and court. Growing up in a royal family, future monarchs are trained for their expected future responsibilities as monarch. Different systems of succession have been used, such as proximity of blood and agnatic seniority. While most monarchs have been male, many female monarchs have reigned in history.
Rule may be hereditary in practice without being considered a monarchy: there have been some family dictatorships, some political families in many democracies. The principal advantage of hereditary monarchy is the immediate continuity of leadership; some monarchies are non-hereditary. In an elective monarchy, monarchs are elected, or appointed by some body for life or a defined period, but once appointed they serve as any other monarch. Four elective monarchies exist today: Cambodia, Malaysia and th
Pottery is the process of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include earthenware and porcelain; the place where such wares are made by a potter is called a pottery. The definition of pottery used by the American Society for Testing and Materials, is "all fired ceramic wares that contain clay when formed, except technical and refractory products." In archaeology of ancient and prehistoric periods, "pottery" means vessels only, figures etc. of the same material are called "terracottas". Clay as a part of the materials used is required by some definitions of pottery, but this is dubious. Pottery is one of the oldest human inventions, originating before the Neolithic period, with ceramic objects like the Gravettian culture Venus of Dolní Věstonice figurine discovered in the Czech Republic dating back to 29,000–25,000 BC, pottery vessels that were discovered in Jiangxi, which date back to 18,000 BC.
Early Neolithic pottery artefacts have been found in places such as Jōmon Japan, the Russian Far East, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. Pottery is made by forming a ceramic body into objects of a desired shape and heating them to high temperatures in a kiln and induces reactions that lead to permanent changes including increasing the strength and solidity of the object's shape. Much pottery is purely utilitarian, but much can be regarded as ceramic art. A clay body can be decorated after firing. Clay-based pottery can divided in three main groups: earthenware and porcelain; these require more specific clay material, higher firing temperatures. All three are made for different purposes. All may be decorated by various techniques. In many examples the group a piece belongs to is visually apparent, but this is not always the case; the fritware of the Islamic world does not use clay, so technically falls outside these groups. Historic pottery of all these types is grouped as either "fine" wares expensive and well-made, following the aesthetic taste of the culture concerned, or alternatively "coarse", "popular" "folk" or "village" wares undecorated, or so, less well-made.
All the earliest forms of pottery were made from clays that were fired at low temperatures in pit-fires or in open bonfires. They were hand undecorated. Earthenware can be fired as low as 600°C, is fired below 1200°C; because unglazed biscuit earthenware is porous, it has limited utility for the storage of liquids, eating off. However, earthenware has a continuous history from the Neolithic period to today, it can be made from a wide variety of clays, some of which fire to a buff, brown or black colour, with iron in the constituent minerals resulting in a reddish-brown. Reddish coloured varieties are called terracotta when unglazed or used for sculpture; the development of ceramic glaze which makes it impermeable makes it a popular and practical form of pottery. The addition of decoration has evolved throughout its history. Stoneware is pottery, fired in a kiln at a high temperature, from about 1,100°C to 1,200°C, is stronger and non-porous to liquids; the Chinese, who developed stoneware early on, classify this together with porcelain as high-fired wares.
In contrast, stoneware could only be produced in Europe from the late Middle Ages, as European kilns were less efficient, the right sorts of clay less common. It remained a speciality of Germany until the Renaissance. Stoneware is tough and practical, much of it has always been utilitarian, for the kitchen or storage rather than the table, but "fine" stoneware has been important in China and the West, continues to be made. Many utilitarian types have come to be appreciated as art. Porcelain is made by heating materials including kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C; this is higher than used for the other types, achieving these temperatures was a long struggle, as well as realizing what materials were needed. The toughness and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Although porcelain was first made in China, the Chinese traditionally do not recognise it as a distinct category, grouping it with stoneware as "high-fired" ware, opposed to "low-fired" earthenware.
This confuses the issue of. A degree of translucency and whiteness was achieved by the Tang Dynasty, considerable quantities were being exported; the modern level of whiteness was not reached until much in the 14th century. Porcelain was made in Korea and in Japan from the end of the 16th century, after suitable kaolin was located in those countries, it was not made outside East Asia until the 18th century. Before being shaped, clay must be prepared. Kneading helps to ensure an moisture content throughout the body. Air trapped within the clay body needs to be removed; this is called de-airing and can be accomplished either by a machine called a vacuum pug or manually by wedging. Wedging can help produce an moisture content. Once a clay body has been kneaded and de-aired or wedged, it is shaped by a variety of techniques. After it has been shaped, it is dried and fired. Greenware refers to unfired objects. At sufficient moisture content, bodies at this stage are in their most plastic form (as they are soft and mal
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, the longest east-flowing river in Africa and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is 1,390,000 square kilometres less than half of the Nile's; the 2,574-kilometre-long river rises in Zambia and flows through eastern Angola, along the north-eastern border of Namibia and the northern border of Botswana along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe to Mozambique, where it crosses the country to empty into the Indian Ocean. The Zambezi's most noted feature is Victoria Falls. Other notable falls include the Chavuma Falls at the border between Zambia and Angola, Ngonye Falls, near Sioma in Western Zambia. There are two main sources of hydroelectric power on the river, the Kariba Dam, which provides power to Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique, which provides power to Mozambique and South Africa. There are additional two smaller power stations along the Zambezi River in Zambia, one at Victoria Falls and the other one near Kalene Hill in Ikelenge District.
The river rises in a black marshy dambo in dense undulating miombo woodland 50 kilometres north of Mwinilunga and 20 kilometres south of Ikelenge in the Ikelenge District of North-Western Province, Zambia at about 1,524 metres above sea level. The area around the source is forest reserve and Important Bird Area. Eastward of the source, the watershed between the Congo and Zambezi basins is a well-marked belt of high ground, running nearly east-west and falling abruptly to the north and south; this distinctly cuts off the basin of the Lualaba from that of the Zambezi. In the neighborhood of the source the watershed is not as defined, but the two river systems do not connect; the region drained by the Zambezi is a vast broken-edged plateau 900–1200 m high, composed in the remote interior of metamorphic beds and fringed with the igneous rocks of the Victoria Falls. At Shupanga, on the lower Zambezi, thin strata of grey and yellow sandstones, with an occasional band of limestone, crop out on the bed of the river in the dry season, these persist beyond Tete, where they are associated with extensive seams of coal.
Coal is found in the district just below Victoria Falls. Gold-bearing rocks occur in several places; the river flows to the southwest into Angola for about 240 kilometres is joined by sizeable tributaries such as the Luena and the Chifumage flowing from highlands to the north-west. It turns south and develops a floodplain, with extreme width variation between the dry and rainy seasons, it enters dense evergreen Cryptosepalum dry forest, though on its western side, Western Zambezian grasslands occur. Where it re-enters Zambia it is nearly 400 metres wide in the rainy season and flows with rapids ending in the Chavuma Falls, where the river flows through a rocky fissure; the river drops about 400 metres in elevation from its source at 1,500 metres to the Chavuma Falls at 1,100 metres, in a distance of about 400 kilometres. From this point to the Victoria Falls, the level of the basin is uniform, dropping only by another 180 metres in a distance of around 800 kilometres; the first of its large tributaries to enter the Zambezi is the Kabompo River in the northwestern province of Zambia.
A major advantage of the Kabompo River was irrigation. The savanna through which the river has flowed gives way to a wide floodplain, studded with Borassus fan palms. A little farther south is the confluence with the Lungwebungu River; this is the beginning of the Barotse Floodplain, the most notable feature of the upper Zambezi, but this northern part does not flood so much and includes islands of higher land in the middle. Thirty kilometres below the confluence of the Lungwebungu the country becomes flat, the typical Barotse Floodplain landscape unfolds, with the flood reaching a width of 25 km in the rainy season. For more than 200 km downstream the annual flood cycle dominates the natural environment and human life and culture. Eighty kilometres further down, the Luanginga, which with its tributaries drains a large area to the west, joins the Zambezi. A few kilometres higher up on the east the main stream is joined in the rainy season by overflow of the Luampa/Luena system. A short distance downstream of the confluence with the Luanginga is Lealui, one of the capitals of the Lozi people who populate the Zambian region of Barotseland in Western Province.
The chief of the Lozi maintains one of his two compounds at Lealui. The annual move from Lealui to Limulunga is a major event, celebrated as one of Zambia's best known festivals, the Kuomboka. After Lealui, the river turns to south-south-east. From the east it continues to receive numerous small streams, but on the west is without major tributaries for 240 km. Before this, the Ngonye Falls and subsequent rapids interrupt navigation. South of Ngonye Falls, the river borders Namibia's Caprivi Strip; the strip projects from the main body of Namibia, results from the colonial era: it was added to German South-West Africa expressly to give Germany access to the Zambezi. Below the junction of the Cuando River and the Zambezi the river bends due east. Here, the river is broad and shallow, flows but as it flows eastward towards the border of the great central plateau of Africa it reaches a chasm into which the Victoria Falls plunge; the Victoria Falls are considered the boundary between the middle Zambezi.
Below them the river continues to flow due east for about 20
Spiders are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs able to inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all orders of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, have become established in nearly every habitat with the exceptions of air and sea colonization; as of November 2015, at least 45,700 spider species, 113 families have been recorded by taxonomists. However, there has been dissension within the scientific community as to how all these families should be classified, as evidenced by the over 20 different classifications that have been proposed since 1900. Anatomically, spiders differ from other arthropods in that the usual body segments are fused into two tagmata, the cephalothorax and abdomen, joined by a small, cylindrical pedicel. Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae. In all except the most primitive group, the Mesothelae, spiders have the most centralized nervous systems of all arthropods, as all their ganglia are fused into one mass in the cephalothorax.
Unlike most arthropods, spiders have no extensor muscles in their limbs and instead extend them by hydraulic pressure. Their abdomens bear appendages that have been modified into spinnerets that extrude silk from up to six types of glands. Spider webs vary in size and the amount of sticky thread used, it now appears that the spiral orb web may be one of the earliest forms, spiders that produce tangled cobwebs are more abundant and diverse than orb-web spiders. Spider-like arachnids with silk-producing spigots appeared in the Devonian period about 386 million years ago, but these animals lacked spinnerets. True spiders have been found in Carboniferous rocks from 318 to 299 million years ago, are similar to the most primitive surviving suborder, the Mesothelae; the main groups of modern spiders and Araneomorphae, first appeared in the Triassic period, before 200 million years ago. The species Bagheera kiplingi was described as herbivorous in 2008, but all other known species are predators preying on insects and on other spiders, although a few large species take birds and lizards.
It is estimated that the world's 25 million tons of spiders kill 400–800 million tons of prey per year. Spiders use a wide range of strategies to capture prey: trapping it in sticky webs, lassoing it with sticky bolas, mimicking the prey to avoid detection, or running it down. Most detect prey by sensing vibrations, but the active hunters have acute vision, hunters of the genus Portia show signs of intelligence in their choice of tactics and ability to develop new ones. Spiders' guts are too narrow to take solids, so they liquefy their food by flooding it with digestive enzymes, they grind food with the bases of their pedipalps, as arachnids do not have the mandibles that crustaceans and insects have. To avoid being eaten by the females, which are much larger, male spiders identify themselves to potential mates by a variety of complex courtship rituals. Males of most species survive a few matings, limited by their short life spans. Females weave silk egg-cases. Females of many species care for their young, for example by carrying them around or by sharing food with them.
A minority of species are social, building communal webs that may house anywhere from a few to 50,000 individuals. Social behavior ranges from precarious toleration, as in the widow spiders, to co-operative hunting and food-sharing. Although most spiders live for at most two years and other mygalomorph spiders can live up to 25 years in captivity. While the venom of a few species is dangerous to humans, scientists are now researching the use of spider venom in medicine and as non-polluting pesticides. Spider silk provides a combination of lightness and elasticity, superior to that of synthetic materials, spider silk genes have been inserted into mammals and plants to see if these can be used as silk factories; as a result of their wide range of behaviors, spiders have become common symbols in art and mythology symbolizing various combinations of patience and creative powers. An abnormal fear of spiders is called arachnophobia. Spiders are chelicerates and therefore arthropods; as arthropods they have: segmented bodies with jointed limbs, all covered in a cuticle made of chitin and proteins.
Being chelicerates, their bodies consist of two tagmata, sets of segments that serve similar functions: the foremost one, called the cephalothorax or prosoma, is a complete fusion of the segments that in an insect would form two separate tagmata, the head and thorax. In spiders, the cephalothorax and abdomen are connected by the pedicel; the pattern of segment fusion that forms chelicerates' heads is unique among arthropods, what would be the first head segment disappears at an early stage of development, so that chelicerates lack the antennae typical of most arthropods. In fact, chelicerates' only appendages ahead of the mouth are a pair of chelicerae, they lack anything that would function directly as "jaws"; the first appendages behind the mouth are called pedipalps, serve different functions within different groups of chelicerates. Spiders and scorpions are members of the arachnids. Scorpions' chelicerae are used in feeding. Spiders' chelicerae have two sections and terminate in fangs that are venomous, fold away behind the upper sections while not in use.
The upper sections have thick "beards