Asceticism is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their practices or continue to be part of their society, but adopt a frugal lifestyle, characterised by the renunciation of material possessions and physical pleasures, time spent fasting while concentrating on the practice of religion or reflection upon spiritual matters. Asceticism has been observed in many religious traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Contemporary mainstream Islam practices asceticism in the form of fasting during Ramadan by abstaining from all sensual pleasures, including food and water from sunrise until sunset; the observation of fasting during Ramadan is purely done for God and to increase one's spiritual connection with God. Sufi tradition has included strict asceticism throughout history; the practitioners of these religions abandoned sensual pleasures and led an abstinent lifestyle, in the pursuit of redemption, salvation or spirituality.
Asceticism is seen in the ancient theologies as a journey towards spiritual transformation, where the simple is sufficient, the bliss is within, the frugal is plenty. Inversely, several ancient religious traditions, such as Zoroastrianism, Ancient Egyptian Religion and the Dionysian Mysteries, as well as more modern Left Hand traditions reject ascetic practises and focus on various types of hedonism; the adjective "ascetic" derives from the ancient Greek term askēsis, which means "training" or "exercise". The original usage did not refer to self-denial, but to the physical training required for athletic events, its usage extended to rigorous practices used in many major religious traditions, in varying degrees, to attain redemption and higher spirituality. Dom Cuthbert Butler classified asceticism into natural and unnatural forms: "Natural asceticism" involves a lifestyle which reduces material aspects of life to the utmost simplicity and to a minimum; this may include minimal, simple clothing, sleeping on a floor or in caves, eating a simple minimal amount of food.
Natural asceticism, state Wimbush and Valantasis, does not include maiming the body or harsher austerities that make the body suffer. "Unnatural asceticism", in contrast, covers practices that go further, involves body mortification, punishing one's own flesh, habitual self-infliction of pain, such as by sleeping on a bed of nails. Self-discipline and abstinence in some form and degree are parts of religious practice within many religious and spiritual traditions. Ascetic lifestyle is associated with monks, fakirs in Abrahamic religions, bhikkhus, sannyasis, yogis in Indian religions. Christian authors of late antiquity such as Origen, St. Jerome, St. Ignatius, John Chrysostom, Augustine interpreted meanings of Biblical texts within a asceticized religious environment. Scriptural examples of asceticism could be found in the lives of John the Baptist, the twelve apostles and the Apostle Paul; the Dead Sea Scrolls revealed ascetic practices of the ancient Jewish sect of Essenes who took vows of abstinence to prepare for a holy war.
An emphasis on an ascetic religious life was evident in both early Christian practices. Other Christian practitioners of asceticism include individuals such as Simeon Stylites, Saint David of Wales and Francis of Assisi. According to Richard Finn, much of early Christian asceticism has been traced to Judaism, but not to traditions within Greek asceticism; some of the ascetic thoughts in Christianity Finn states, have roots in Greek moral thought. Virtuous living is not possible when an individual is craving bodily pleasures with desire and passion. Morality is not seen in the ancient theology as a balancing act between right and wrong, but a form of spiritual transformation, where the simple is sufficient, the bliss is within, the frugal is plenty; the deserts of the Middle East were at one time inhabited by thousands of Christian hermits including St. Anthony the Great, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Simeon Stylites. In 963 CE, an association of monasteries called Lavra was formed on Mount Athos, in Eastern Orthodox tradition.
This became the most important center of orthodox Christian ascetic groups in the centuries that followed. In the modern era, Mount Athos and Meteora have remained a significant center. Sexual abstinence such as those of the Encratites sect of Christians was only one aspect of ascetic renunciation, both natural and unnatural asceticism have been part of Christian asceticism; the natural ascetic practices have included simple living, begging and ethical practices such as humility, compassion and prayer. Evidence of extreme unnatural asceticism in Christianity appear in 2nd-century texts and thereafter, in both the Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the Western sister tradition, such as the practice of chaining the body to rocks, eating only grass, praying seated on a pillar in the elements for decades such as by the monk Simeon Stylites, solitary confinement inside a cell, abandoning personal hygiene and adopting lifestyle of a beast, self-inflicted pain and voluntary suffering; such ascetic practices were linked to the Christian concepts of redemption.
Evagrius Ponticus called Evagrius the Solitary was a educated monastic teacher who produced a large theological body of work ascetic, including the Gnostikos known as The Gnostic: To t
Aelia Eudocia Augusta called Saint Eudocia, was a Greek Eastern Roman Empress by marriage to Byzantine emperor Theodosius II, a prominent historical figure in understanding the rise of Christianity. Eudocia lived in a world where Greek paganism and Christianity existed side-by-side with both pagans and non-Orthodox Christians being persecuted. Although Eudocia's work has been ignored by modern scholars, her poetry and literary work are great examples of how her Christian faith and Greek heritage/upbringing were intertwined, exemplifying a legacy that the Roman Empire left behind on the Christian world. Aelia Eudocia was born circa 400 in Athens into a family of Greek descent, her father, a Greek philosopher named Leontius, taught rhetoric at the Academy of Athens, where people from all over the Mediterranean came to either teach or learn. Eudocia's given name was Athenais, chosen by her parents in honour of the city's protector, the pagan goddess Pallas Athena, her father was rich and had a magnificent house on the Acropolis with a large courtyard in which young Athenais played as a child.
When Athenais was 12 years old, her mother died and she became her father's comfort, taking on the responsibilities of household chores, raising her siblings and tending to her father. She had two brothers and Valerius, who would receive honours at court from their sister and brother-in-law. In return for her household activities, her father spent time giving her a thorough training in rhetoric and philosophy, he taught her the Socratic virtue of knowledge of moderation, predicted that she would have a great destiny. She had a gift for memorisation, learned the poetry of Homer and Pindar, which her father would recite to her. Both as a teacher and a role model, he had a great impact on her, prepared her for her destiny and influenced the literary work she created after she became Empress; when he died in 420, she was devastated. In his will, he left all his property to her brothers, with only 100 coins reserved for her, saying that "ufficient for her is her destiny, which will be the greatest of any woman."
Athenais had been her father's confidante and had expected more than this meager 100-coin inheritance. She begged her brothers to be fair and give her an equal share of their father's property, but they refused. Shortly after her father's death, at the age of 20, Athenais went to live with her aunt, who advised her to go to Constantinople and "ask for justice from the Emperor," confident she would receive her fair share of her father's wealth. Legend has it, he talked to his sister Pulcheria, who began to search for a maiden fit for her brother, either "patrician or imperial blood." His longtime childhood friend, Paulinus helped Theodosius in his search. The Emperor's search had begun fortuitously at the same time that Athenais had arrived in Constantinople. Pulcheria had heard about this young girl, who had only 100 coins to her name, when she met her, she was "astonished at her beauty and at the intelligence and sophistication with which she presented her grievance." Upon reporting back to her brother, she told him she had "found a young girl, a Greek maid beautiful and dainty, eloquent as well, the daughter of a philosopher," and young Theodosius, full of desire and lust fell in love instantly.
Athenais had been raised pagan, upon her marriage to Theodosius II converted to Christianity and was renamed Eudocia. They were married on June 7, 421 and there were "reports that Theodosius celebrated his wedding with chariot races in the hippodrome." Her brothers, who had rejected her after their father's death, fled since they were fearful of the punishment they thought they were going to receive when they learned that she became Empress. However, instead of punishing them, Eudocia called them back to Constantinople, Theodosius rewarded them; the emperor made Valerius magister officiorum. Both Gessius and Valerius were rewarded because Eudocia believed that their mistreatment of her was part of her destiny, he honoured his best friend, Paulinus with the title of magister officiorum, for he had helped find his wife. This rags-to-riches story, though it claims to be authentic and is accepted among historians, leads one to believe that the tale may have been twisted due to the detail of how the romance was portrayed.
The earliest version of this story appeared more than a century after Eudocia's death in the "World Chronicle of John Malalas, an author who did not always distinguish between authentic history and a popular memory of events infused with folk-tale motifs." The facts are that she was the daughter of Leontius and she did have the name Athenais, according to the Greek historian Socrates of Constantinople, a contemporary historian named Priscus of Panion. The historians Sozomen and Theodoret did not include Eudocia in their respective historical works because they wrote after 443 when Eudocia had fallen into disgrace. While on her pilgrimage to Jerusalem in spring of 438, Eudocia stopped in Antioch, during her stay she addressed the senate of that city in Hellenic style and distributed funds for the repair of its buildings, she was conscious of her Greek heritage, as demonstrated in her famous address to the citizens of Antioch where she included the line "Υμετέρης γενεής τε καί αίματος εύχομαι είναι".
The last words of Eudocia's oration brought down the house, which resulted in the c
Church of Saint Simeon Stylites
The Church of Saint Simeon Stylites is a building that can be traced back to the 5th century, located 30 kilometres northwestern part of Aleppo, Syria. It is one of the oldest surviving church complexes, it was constructed on the site of the pillar of a renowned recluse monk. The church is popularly known as either Qalaat Deir Semaan. Saint Simeon was born in 386 AD in the Amanus mountains village, he lived in a monastery in this village at an early age, however on, he opted to transform into a religious solo hermit monk. Saint Simeon resolved that he would not live in a cave, but instead, he would move to the top of a pillar, 12–18 meters high and estimated to be 2 meters in diameter to get closer to God. Significant multitude would soon be attracted by the preaching of Saint Simeon, offered twice a day. Saint Simeon stayed on top of the pillar for about 37 years and died in 459 AD, his remains were majestically escorted to Antioch by seven bishops, numerous soldiers and a crowd of his devoted disciples.
After the burial, Saint Simeon's grave in Antioch became a revered site for the pilgrimage, so, did his pillar on the hill where he spent few decades of his life as a holy place for worshiping God. A few decades following Saint Simeon's death, a huge church was constructed in his honor in the rocky sites where his pillar stood; the church was made up of four basilicas that were glowing from the sides of a central octagon where the famous column was enshrined. The church's floor space is over 5,000 square meters the same as that of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. However, as opposed to Hagia Sophia, the church of Saint Simeon was situated on top of a barren hill nearly 60 kilometers from the nearest town; the church was not lonely. It was just a part of the magnificent walled structure that encompasses a monastery, two minor churches, numerous significant hostels. Given that the church has long fallen into ruins, it forms part of the enormous multipart of ruins referred as the Dead Cities of Syria.
Until just the pillar of Saint Simeon still stood despite being carved down to a few meters from years of artifact seekers who cut down small parts for themselves. As opposed to many cathedrals that were constructed in medieval Europe, the idea of the church of Saint Simeon was born and realized as one project over a short span of time, it was designed in a cruciform made up of four distinct basilica complexes. The grounds for construction of the church were born by the imperial authorities who promoted the course; the high number of pilgrims who flocked to the column of Saint Simeon to pray necessitated the construction of the church in 473 AD. The ambitious plan of the church of Saint Simeon complex portrays numerous architectural designs; the fundamental concept of the three-aisled basilica can be traced to the lasting traditions of the Romans. It is reported that the baptistery were the first to be constructed. Subsequently, the monastery and the fixtures to the baptistery followed; the other parts of the complex including the colossal arch on the Via Sacra concluded the construction process.
The best relics that are evident from the church of Saint Simeon are the massive arch, located at the beginning of the start of the Via Sacra on the way to the cathedral on the mountain. Besides, two monasteries are visible from the church; the following are the numerous grouped buildings. The shaped like cross church was finely preserved, it offers an excellent view in the spring with all the freshly blossomed flowers; when viewed from inside, the pillar of Saint Simeon is still apparent, only that it has been reduced to 2 meters high boulder in the middle of the courtyard. The reduction in the length of the pillar can be attributed to many years of relic-gathering by pilgrims; the courtyard is octagonal and is bordered by four basilicas in the shape of a rood-tree and described as a four-basilica church. The idea of a crucifix was to represent the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. Evidently, the east basilica is bigger compared to other basilicas; the more significant size can be attributed to the critical role it played in hosting all the key ceremonies, making it most important.
Bordering the south partition of the eastern basilica laid a chapel and a monastery. Deir Semaan bore the name of Telanissos and was established to make the most of the two productive plains that surrounded it. In the mid of the 5th century AD, the locals established a monastery on the plains and in 412 AD, Saint Simeon opted to be part of it. On, he left the locals to live there as he went to live in the mountain above the plains where the monastery was situated; the baptistery was located on the opposite side of the southern basilica, down the sacred road known as Via Sacra. The baptistery was constructed shortly after the construction of the main church, it served as a crucial part of the pilgrimage complex; the design of the baptistery was impeccable and was regarded to be amongst the remarkable artifacts of the Christian architecture in the entire Syria. The baptistery was constructed in two phases; the baptistery took the form of an octagonal drum that lay on the top of the square base of the building.
At some point, it was filled with a wooden roof
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Eastern Orthodox Church the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with 200–260 million members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia; the church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Near East. Eastern Orthodox theology is based on the Nicene Creed; the church teaches that it is the One, Holy and Apostolic church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles. It maintains, its patriarchates, reminiscent of the pentarchy, autocephalous and autonomous churches reflect a variety of hierarchical organisation.
Of its innumerable sacred mysteries, it recognises seven major sacraments, of which the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in synaxis. The church teaches that through consecration invoked by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; the Virgin Mary is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the God-bearer, honoured in devotions. The Eastern Orthodox Church shared communion with the Roman Catholic Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, triggered by disputes over doctrine the authority of the Pope. Before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, the Oriental Orthodox churches shared in this communion, separating over differences in Christology; the majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Southeast and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and other communities in the Caucasus region, communities in Siberia reaching the Russian Far East. There are smaller communities in the former Byzantine regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East where it is decreasing due to persecution.
There are many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora and missionary activity. In keeping with the church's teaching on universality and with the Nicene Creed, Orthodox authorities such as Saint Raphael of Brooklyn have insisted that the full name of the church has always included the term "Catholic", as in "Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church"; the official name of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the "Orthodox Catholic Church". It is the name by which the church refers to itself in its liturgical or canonical texts, in official publications, in official contexts or administrative documents. Orthodox teachers refer to the church as Catholic; this name and longer variants containing "Catholic" are recognised and referenced in other books and publications by secular or non-Orthodox writers. The common name of the church, "Eastern Orthodox Church", is a shortened practicality that helps to avoid confusions in casual use. From ancient times through the first millennium, Greek was the most prevalent shared language in the demographic regions where the Byzantine Empire flourished, Greek, being the language in which the New Testament was written, was the primary liturgical language of the church.
For this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as "Greek" before the Great Schism of 1054. After 1054, "Greek Orthodox" or "Greek Catholic" marked a church as being in communion with Constantinople, much as "Catholic" did for communion with Rome; this identification with Greek, became confusing with time. Missionaries brought Orthodoxy to many regions without ethnic Greeks, where the Greek language was not spoken. In addition, struggles between Rome and Constantinople to control parts of Southeastern Europe resulted in the conversion of some churches to Rome, which also used "Greek Catholic" to indicate their continued use of the Byzantine rites. Today, many of those same churches remain, while a large number of Orthodox are not of Greek national origin, do not use Greek as the language of worship. "Eastern" indicates the geographical element in the Church's origin and development, while "Orthodox" indicates the faith, as well as communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
There are additional Christian churches in the east that are in communion with neither Rome nor Constantinople, who tend to be distinguished by the category named "Oriental Orthodox". While the church continues to call itself "Catholic", for reasons of universality, the common title of "Eastern Orthodox Church" avoids casual confusion with the Roman Catholic Church; the first known use of the phrase "the catholic Church" occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another. The letter states: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be as where Jesus may be, there is the universal Church." Thus from the beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy and Apostolic Church". The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same early Church. A number of other Christian churches make a similar claim: the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox.
In the Eastern Orthodox v
Kozan is a city in Adana Province, Turkey, 68 kilometres northeast of Adana, in the northern section of the Çukurova plain. The city is the capital of the ilçe of Kozan; the Kilgen River, a tributary of the Ceyhan, flows through Kozan and crosses the plain south into the Mediterranean. The Taurus Mountains rise up behind the town. Sis was the capital of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, today's Sis, now called Kozan Kalesi, was built on a long rocky ridge in the center of the modern city; the population of the city has grown in recent years, from 15,159 in 1960, to 54,451 in 1990, to 72,463 in 2007 and to 74,521 in 2009. The oldest known name is Siskia. Under the Roman Empire, it was for a time named Flaviopolis; the Greek version of the older name, Σίσιον Sision, came back into use in the Byzantine period. In Armenian, it is called Sis Sissu; the name "Kozan" comes from the Qōzānoğlu dynasty of derebeys, descendants of a tribe which originated in the village of Qōzān near Gaziantep. Kozan has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate.
From 3000 BC onwards, there were Hittite settlements in all these plains behind the Mediterranean coast, based on farming and grazing animals. Under the Roman Empire, it was Flaviopolis in the Roman province of Cilicia Secunda. In 704, Sis was relieved by the Byzantines; the Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil took it and refortified it, but it soon returned to Byzantine hands. It was rebuilt in 1186 by Leo II, king of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, one of the Rupenide dynasty who made the city the capital of the Kingdom of Lesser Armenia. During the Crusade the catholicate returned to Sis in 1294, remained there 150 years. In 1266 Sis, the capital of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, was captured and damaged by the Egyptian Mamluks led by Baibars. Al-Said Barakah sent Qalawun to attack the city in 1277, but in 1375, Sis was taken and demolished by the Ramadanids, under the flag of the Mamluke Sultan of Egypt; the town never recovered its prosperity, not when it passed into the power of the Ottomans in 1516.
Sis became Kozan during overlordship of Kozanoğulları, a Turkmen clan between 1700-1866. Sis had an important place in ecclesiastical history both the Armenian Apostolic Church and as a Roman Catholic titular see, it is first mentioned in Theodoret's life of St. Simeon Stylites. In the Middle Ages, Sis was the religious center of Christian Armenians, until the Armenians moved the seat of Catholicos back to Vagharshapat, in Armenia. Lequien gives the names of several bishops of Sis and after Gregory IX. Prior to the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Sis was an episcopal see and several names of bishops and patriarchs can be found in the literature: Alexander Bishop of Jerusalem and founder of the famous library of the Holy Sepulchre in the third century Nicetas, present at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 John, who lived in 451; the Catholicos of Sis maintained himself with under his jurisdiction several bishops, numerous villages and convents, was supported in his views by the Catholic Pope up to the middle of the 19th century, when the patriarch Nerses, declaring for Echmiadzin, carried the government with him.
In 1885, Sis tried to declare Echmiadzin schismatic, in 1895 its clergy took it on themselves to elect a Catholicos without reference to the patriarch. That Catholicos had the right to prepare the sacred myron and to preside over a synod, but was in fact not more than a metropolitan, regarded by many Armenians as schismatic. In the Ottoman period, Kozan was in the sanjak of Adana, the seat of the kaza of Kozan. At the turn of the twentieth century, about 5,600 of its population of 8,000 were Armenians, they were all deported during the course of the Armenian Genocide. Kozan was occupied by France between March 8, 1919 - June 2, 1920 during the Turkish War of Independence. After Turkey was declared a republic, Kozan was a province, compromising the districts of Kozan, Kadirli and Saimbeyli between 1923-1926. Today Kozan is a city surrounded by vineyards and groves of cypress, sycamore fig and lemon trees. In summer the great heat compels the inhabitants to desert Kozan, retreating to cool off in the wooded higher ground.
Nerses Palianetsi - Armenian ecclesiastical figure, book publisher of 13th-14th centuries Grigor Khul - Armenian musician of 12th century Manase Sevak - Armenian biochemist and public character, member of New York Academy of Sciences and Soviet Armenia's Academy of Sciences Grigor Kyulyan - Armenian writer Today ruins of churches, convents and palaces may be seen on all sides. The lofty castle and the monastery and church built by Leo II, containing the coronation chair of the kings of Cilician Armenia, were still noteworthy up until the Armenian Genocide. Nowadays they are at the center of a legal battle between the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate and T
Usury is the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loans that unfairly enrich the lender. Usury meant interest of any kind. A loan may be considered usurious because of other factors. In some Christian societies, in many Islamic societies today, charging any interest at all would be considered usury. Someone who practices usury can be called a usurer, but a more common term in contemporary English is loan shark; the term may be used in a moral sense—condemning, taking advantage of others' misfortunes—or in a legal sense where interest rates may be regulated by law. Some cultures have regarded charging any interest for loans as sinful; some of the earliest known condemnations of usury come from the Vedic texts of India. Similar condemnations are found in religious texts from Buddhism, Judaism and Islam. At times, many nations from ancient Greece to ancient Rome have outlawed loans with any interest. Though the Roman Empire allowed loans with restricted interest rates, the Catholic Church in medieval Europe banned the charging of interest at any rate.
Banking during the Roman Empire was different from modern banking. During the Principate, most banking activities were conducted by private individuals who operated as large banking firms do today. Anybody that had any available liquid assets and wished to lend it out could do so; the annual rates of interest on loans varied in the range of 4–12 percent, but when the interest rate was higher, it was not 15–16 percent but either 24 percent or 48 percent. The apparent absence of intermediate rates suggests that the Romans may have had difficulty calculating the interest on anything other than mathematically convenient rates, they quoted them on a monthly basis, the most common rates were multiples of twelve. Monthly rates tended to range from simple fractions to 3–4 percent because lenders used Roman numerals. Moneylending during this period was a matter of private loans advanced to persons persistently in debt or temporarily so until harvest time, it was undertaken by exceedingly rich men prepared to take on a high risk if the profit looked good.
Investment was always regarded as a matter of seeking personal profit on a large scale. Banking was of the small, back-street variety, run by the urban lower-middle class of petty shopkeepers. By the 3rd century, acute currency problems in the Empire drove such banking into decline; the rich who were in a position to take advantage of the situation became the moneylenders when the increasing tax demands in the last declining days of the Empire crippled and destroyed the peasant class by reducing tenant-farmers to serfs. It was evident; the First Council of Nicaea, in 325, forbade clergy from engaging in usury. At the time, usury was interest of any kind, the canon forbade the clergy to lend money at interest rates as low as 1 percent per year. Ecumenical councils applied this regulation to the laity. Lateran III decreed that persons who accepted interest on loans could receive neither the sacraments nor Christian burial. Pope Clement V made the belief in the right to usury a heresy in 1311, abolished all secular legislation which allowed it.
Pope Sixtus V condemned the practice of charging interest as "detestable to God and man, damned by the sacred canons, contrary to Christian charity." Theological historian John Noonan argues that "the doctrine was enunciated by popes, expressed by three ecumenical councils, proclaimed by bishops, taught unanimously by theologians."Certain negative historical renditions of usury carry with them social connotations of perceived "unjust" or "discriminatory" lending practices. The historian Paul Johnson, comments: Most early religious systems in the ancient Near East, the secular codes arising from them, did not forbid usury; these societies regarded inanimate matter as alive, like plants and people, capable of reproducing itself. Hence if you lent'food money', or monetary tokens of any kind, it was legitimate to charge interest. Food money in the shape of olives, seeds or animals was lent out as early as c. 5000 BC, if not earlier.... Among the Mesopotamians, Hittites and Egyptians, interest was legal and fixed by the state.
But the Hebrew took a different view of the matter. The Hebrew Bible regulates interest taking. Interest can be charged to strangers but not between Hebrews. Deuteronomy 23:19 Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother: interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of any thing, lent upon interest. Deuteronomy 23:20 Unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest. Israelites were forbidden to charge interest on loans made to other Israelites, but allowed to charge interest on transactions with non-Israelites, as the latter were amongst the Israelites for the purpose of business anyway. Debt was to be avoided and not used to finance consumption, but only taken on when in need. Johnson contends that the
Syria was an early Roman province, annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey in the Third Mithridatic War, following the defeat of Armenian King Tigranes the Great. Following the partition of the Herodian Kingdom into tetrarchies in 6 AD, it was absorbed into Roman provinces, with Roman Syria annexing Iturea and Trachonitis. Syria was an early Roman province, annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey in the Third Mithridatic War, following the defeat of Armenian King Tigranes the Great. During the early empire, the Roman army in Syria accounted for three legions with auxiliaries, they defended the border with Parthia. Following the partition of the Herodian Kingdom into tetrarchies in 6 AD, it was absorbed into Roman provinces, with Roman Syria annexing Iturea and Trachonitis around 34 AD. Syrian province forces were directly engaged in the Great Jewish Revolt of 66–70 AD. In 66 AD, Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought the Syrian army, based on XII Fulminata, reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order in Judaea and quell the revolt.
The legion, was ambushed and destroyed by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon, a result that shocked the Roman leadership. The future emperor Vespasian was put in charge of subduing the Jewish revolt. In the summer of 69, with the Syrian units supporting him, launched his bid to become Roman emperor, he defeated his rival Vitellius and ruled as emperor for ten years when he was succeeded by his son Titus. Based on an inscription recovered from Dor in 1948, Gargilius Antiquus was known to have been the governor of a province in the eastern part of the Empire Syria, between his consulate and governing Asia. In November 2016, an inscription in Greek was recovered off the coast of Dor by Haifa University underwater archaeologists, which attests that Antiquus was governor of the province of Judea between 120 and 130 prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt. Syria Palæstina was established by the merger of Roman Syria and Roman Judea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135; the Syria-based legion took part in the quelling of the revolt in 132–136, in the aftermath, the emperor Hadrian added the depopulated province of Judea to the province of Syria thus forming Syria-Palaestina.
The governor of Syria retained the civil administration of the whole large province undiminished, held for long alone in all Asia a command of the first rank. It was only in the course of the second century that a diminution of his prerogatives occurred, when Hadrian took one of the four legions from the governor of Syria and handed it over to the governor of Palestine, it was Severus who at length withdrew the first place in the Roman military hierarchy from the Syrian governor. After having subdued the province amidst resistance from the capital Antioch in particular, he ordained its partition into a northern and a southern half, gave to the governor of the former, called Coele-Syria, two legions, to the governor of the latter, the province of Syro-Phoenicia, one legion; the emperor Septimius Severus divided up Roman Syria in the fashion it would remain until the rule of the Tetrarchs. Under his reign it was divided into three parts, Coele Syria in the north with Antioch as its provincial capital, Syria Phoenice with Tyre as the provincial capital and in the south Syria Palestina with Caesarea Maritima as the provincial capital.
From the 2nd century, the Roman Senate included several notable Syrians, including Claudius Pompeianus and Avidius Cassius. Syria was of crucial strategic importance during the Crisis of the Third Century. In 244 AD, Rome was ruled by a native Syrian from Philippopolis in the province of Arabia Petraea; the emperor was Marcus Iulius Philippus, more known as Philip the Arab. Philip became the 33rd emperor of Rome upon its millennial celebration. Roman Syria was invaded in 252/253 after a Roman field army was destroyed in the battle of Barbalissos by the King of Persia Shapur I which left the Euphrates river unguarded and the region was pillaged by the Persians. In 259/260 a similar event happened when Shapur I again defeated a Roman field army and captured the Roman emperor, alive at the battle of Edessa. Again Roman Syria suffered as cities were captured and pillaged. From 268 to 273, Syria was part of the breakaway Palmyrene Empire. Following the reforms of Diocletian, Syria Coele became part of the Diocese of Oriens.
Sometime between 330 and 350, the province of Euphratensis was created out of the territory of Syria Coele along the western bank of the Euphrates and the former realm of Commagene, with Hierapolis as its capital. After c. 415 Syria Coele was further subdivided into Syria I, with the capital remaining at Antioch, Syria II or Syria Salutaris, with capital at Apamea on the Orontes. In 528, Justinian I carved out the small coastal province Theodorias out of territory from both provinces; the region remained one of the most important provinces of the Byzantine Empire. It was occupied by the Sassanids between 609 and 628 recovered by the emperor Heraclius, but lost again to the advancing Muslims after the battle of Yarmouk and the fall of Antioch; the city of Antioch was recovered by Nikephorus Phocas in 963 AD, along with other parts of the country, at that time under the Hamdanids, although still under the official suzerainty of the Abbasid caliphs and claimed by the Fatimid caliphs. After emperor John Kurkuas's failed to recover Syria up to Jerusalem a Muslim "reconquest" of Syria followed in the late 970s undertaken by the Fatimid caliphate which resulted in the o