In folklore, a mermaid is an aquatic creature with the head and upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, including the Near East, Europe and Africa. In ancient Assyria the goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms and drownings. In other folk traditions, they can be benevolent or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans; the male equivalent of the mermaid is the merman a familiar figure in folklore and heraldry. Although traditions about and sightings of mermen are less common than those of mermaids, they are assumed to co-exist with their female counterparts; the male and the female collectively are sometimes referred to as merpeople. The conception of mermaids in the West may have been influenced by the Sirens of Greek mythology, which were half-birdlike, but came to be pictured as half-fishlike in the Christian era.

Historical accounts of mermaids, such as those reported by Christopher Columbus during his exploration of the Caribbean, may have been sightings of manatees or similar aquatic mammals. While there is no evidence that mermaids exist outside folklore, reports of mermaid sightings continue to the present day. Mermaids have been a popular subject of art and literature in recent centuries, such as in Hans Christian Andersen's literary fairy tale "The Little Mermaid", they have subsequently been depicted in operas, books, comics and live action films. The word mermaid is a compound of the Old English mere, maid; the equivalent term in Old English was merewif. They are conventionally depicted as beautiful with long flowing hair; the sirens of Greek mythology, conceived of as half-bird and half-woman shifted to the image of a fish-tailed woman. This shift started as early as the Hellenistic Period, but is evident in mermaid-like depictions of "sirens" in Christian bestiaries; some attributes of Homer's sirens, such as the enticement of men and their beautiful song became attached to the mermaid.

There are naturalist theories on the origins of the mermaid, postulating they derive from sightings of the manatee, or dugong or seals. Depictions of entities with the tails of fish, but upper bodies of human beings appear in Mesopotamian artwork from the Old Babylonian Period onwards; these figures are mermen, but mermaids do appear. The name for the mermaid figure may have been kuliltu, meaning "fish-woman"; such figures were used in Neo-Assyrian art as protective figures and were shown in both monumental sculpture and in small, protective figurines. The first known mermaid stories appeared in Assyria c. 1000 BC. The goddess Atargatis, mother of Assyrian queen Semiramis, loved a mortal and unintentionally killed him. Ashamed, she jumped into a lake and took the form of a fish, but the waters would not conceal her divine beauty. Thereafter, she took the form of a mermaid—human above the waist, fish below—although the earliest representations of Atargatis showed her as a fish with a human head and arm, similar to the Babylonian god Ea.

The Greeks recognized Atargatis under the name Derketo. Sometime before 546 BC, Milesian philosopher Anaximander postulated that mankind had sprung from an aquatic animal species, he thought. There is a mermaid legend attached around the sister of Alexander the Great, but that legend is of modern mintage. In the second century AD, the Hellenized Syrian writer Lucian of Samosata wrote about the Syrian temples he had visited in his treatise On the Syrian Goddess, written in Ionic Greek: Among them – Now, the traditional story among them concerning the temple, but other men swear that Semiramis of Babylonia, whose deeds are many in Asia founded this site, not for Hera but for her own mother, whose name was Derketo. I saw Derketo's likeness in a strange marvel, it is woman for half its length. But the image in the Holy City is a woman, the grounds for their account are not clear, they consider fish to be sacred, they never eat them. And these things are done, they believe, because of Derketo and Semiramis, the first because Derketo has the shape of a fish, the other because Semiramis turned into a dove.

Well, I may grant. For among the Egyptians some people do not eat fish, and, not done to honor Derketo. In his Natural History 9.4.9–11, Pliny the Elder describes numerous sightings of mermaids off the coast of Gaul, noting that their bodies were covered all over in scales and that their corpses washed up on shore. He comments that the governor of Gaul wrote a letter to Emperor Augustus to inform him; the One Thousand and One Nights collection includes several tales featuring "sea people", such as "Jullanâr the Sea-born and Her Son King Badr Bâsim of Persia". Unlike depictions of mermaids in other mythologies, these are anatomically identical to land-bound humans, differing only in their ability to breathe and live underwater, they can interbreed with land humans, the children of such unions have the ability to live underwater. In the tale "Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merm

Shangchan Temple

Shangchan Temple is a Buddhist temple located on Mount Jiuhua in Qingyang County, China. The temple was first established by Zongyan under the Qing dynasty. In 1758, in the reign of Qianlong Emperor, abbot Tianshi added the Hall of Guanyin to the temple, it was devastated by war between the Qing army and the Taiping Rebellion during ruling of Xianfeng Emperor. In 1862 abbot Kaitai refurbished it. In the Guangxu period, Chan master Qingyong erected the Hall of Thousand Buddhas. During the Republic of China in 1928, abbot Zhifang redecorated the Mahavira Hall. After the founding of the Communist State in 1956, local government repaired the temple, but one year the Hall of Guanyin turned to ashes by a catastrophic fire. In 1983 it has been designated as National Key Buddhist Temple in Han Chinese Area by the State Council of China. A modern reconstruction of the entire temple complex was carried out in 1987; the existing main buildings include the Shanmen, Four Heavenly Kings Hall, Mahavira Hall, Hall of Guanyin and Buddhist Texts Library.

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President of Serbia and Montenegro

The president of Serbia and Montenegro was the head of state of Serbia and Montenegro. From its establishment in 1992 until 2003, when the country was reconstituted as a confederacy via constitutional reform, the head of state was known as the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. With the constitutional reforms of 2003 and the merging of the offices of head of government and head of state, the full title of the president was President of Serbia and Montenegro and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Serbia and Montenegro. In 2006 the office was abolished as the state union was dissolved, with Serbia and Montenegro becoming independent countries; as head of state, the president had the power to represent the country at home and abroad appoint and recall heads of diplomatic and consular missions receive letters of credence and recall from foreign diplomatic representatives confer medals and other decorations promulgate laws passed by the Parliament call for parliamentary electionsIn 2003, the powers of the president were extended to include the right to chair the Council of Ministers and propose the composition of the Council of Ministers to the parliament merging the powers of the head of government into the office.

From 1992 to 2000, the president was elected at the proposal of the president and vice president of the Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia for a four-year term. After the constitutional amendments of 2000, direct elections for the office of President were introduced. After the constitutional reforms of 2003, the president was elected at the proposal of the president and vice president of the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro for a four-year term; the president of Serbia and Montenegro was a member of the Supreme Defence Council together with the president of Serbia and the president of Montenegro. The results of the direct presidential elections of 2000 were as follows: There were six presidents of FR Yugoslavia after its assertion of independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992 up until its dissolution in 2003. Svetozar Marović of the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro was the only President of the FR Yugoslavia after its constitutional reforms and reconstitution as a confederacy.

He was inaugurated on March 7, 2003. After the declaration of independence of Montenegro, on June 3, 2006, the president announced on June 4, 2006 the termination of his office. Socialist Party of Serbia Democratic Party of Serbia Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro Independent Politics of Serbia and Montenegro Serbia and Montenegro Prime Minister of Serbia and Montenegro List of heads of state of Yugoslavia List of Deputy Heads of State of Yugoslavia President of Montenegro List of presidents of Montenegro President of Serbia List of presidents of Serbia