Με το πέρασμα των αιώνων, οι περισσότεροι πολιτισμοί είτε άρχισαν σταδιακά να παρακμάζουν, είτε εξαφανίστηκαν από φυσικές καταστροφές ή εισβολές. Υπάρχουν, όμως κάποιοι πολιτισμοί, των οποίων η εξαφάνιση έχει προβληματίσει πραγματικά τους επιστήμονες. Θα επικεντρωθούμε σε τρεις – τέσσερις από αυτούς. Η χαμένη Ατλαντίδα – οι Mayas – οι Incas… Τι απέγιναν; Ποιες είναι οι αιτίες του αφανισμού τους; Είναι από τα άλυτα μυστήρια της Ιστορίας: τι πυροδότησε το τέλος του πολιτισμού τους; Κατά καιρούς, έχουν διατυπωθεί διάφορες θεωρίες, ανάμεσά τους και αρκετές που σχετίζονται με το περιβάλλον. Σκοπός μας να ψηλαφίσουμε την ύπαρξή τους, τα επιτεύγματά τους, την τοποθεσία, τις συνήθειές τους, τι ιδιαιτερότητές τους. Θα μελετήσουμε θεωρίες επιστημόνων, αρχαιολόγων, περιηγητών, ιστορικών και φιλοσοφικών κειμένων όπου αναφέρεται η ύπαρξή τους. Και πιστεύουμε να προσεγγίσουμε τις αιτίες του αφανισμού τους…
1ος Εξάσκηση των μαθητών στην αγγλική γλώσσα 2ος Ενημέρωση για την ύπαρξη και την εξαφάνιση των αρχαίων πολιτισμών 3ος Διαθεματική προσέγγιση των πολιτισμών: χαρακτηριστικά, επιτεύγματα, ακμή και παρακμή
The history of Greece can be traced back to Stone Age hunters. Later came early farmers and the civilizations of the Minoan and Mycenaean kings. This was followed by a period of wars and invasions, known as the Dark Ages. In about 1100 BC, a people called the Dorians invaded from the north and spread down the west coast. In the period from 500-336 BC Greece was divided into small city states, each of which consisted of a city and its surrounding countryside. There were only a few historians in the time of Ancient Greece. Three major ancient historians, were able to record their time of Ancient Greek history, that include Herodotus, known as the 'Father of History' who travelled to many ancient historic sites at the time, Thucydides and Xenophon. Most other forms of History knowledge and accountability of the ancient Greeks we know is because of temples, sculpture, pottery, artifacts and other archaeological findings.
Ancient Greece was a Greek civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (ca. 600 AD). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the period of Classical Greece, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Classical Greece began with the repelling of a Persian invasion by Athenian leadership. Because of conquests by Alexander the Great, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean region and Europe, for which reason Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture.
Ancient Greece is called 'the birthplace of Western civilisation'. About 2500 years ago, the Greeks created a way of life that other people admired and copied. The Romans copied Greek art and Greek gods, for example. The Ancient Greeks tried out democracy, started the Olympic Games and left new ideas in science, art and philosophy (thinking about life). The Ancient Greeks lived in mainland Greece and the Greek islands, but also in what is now Turkey, and in colonies scattered around the Mediterranean sea coast. There were Greeks in Italy, Sicily, North Africa and as far west as France. Sailing the sea to trade and find new land, Greeks took their way of life to many places.
Some of the most important people in ancient Greece were: Playwrights Aeschylus Aristophanes Euripides Sophocles Philosophers Aristotle Epicurus Plato Socrates
Historians Herodotus Thucydides Xenophon Mythical Characters Antigone Electra Heracles Jason Oedipus Orpheus Epic Poets Hesiod Homer + Leaders Pericles Alexander the Great Sculptors Phidias Praxiteles Mathematicians Archimedes
The Parthenon (Greek: Παρθενών) is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron deity. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece Athenian democracy, western civilization and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a program of selective restoration and reconstruction to ensure the stability of the partially ruined structure.
Αρχαία Ελλάδα: ο ελληνικός κόσμος κατά την περίοδο της αρχαιότητας. Η ιστορία της Ελλάδας μπορεί να ιχνηλατηθεί στη Λίθινη Εποχή και αργότερα στον Μινωικό και Μυκηναϊκό πολιτισμό. Η Αρχαία Ελλάδα ήταν σημαντική για τους υπόλοιπους πολιτισμούς διότι αυτή αποτέλεσε πηγή έμπνευσης για κάθε άλλο πολιτισμό. Σε αυτήν αναπτύχθηκαν επιστήμες όπως η φιλοσοφία, τα μαθηματικά, η αστρονομία και πολλές άλλες. Σπουδαίοι άνθρωποι, όπως φιλόσοφοι και επιστήμονες, ήταν ο Πλάτωνας, ο Σωκράτης, ο Αριστοτέλης, ο Ξενοφών και ο Αριστοφάνης. Σε θεωρήματά τους βασίζονται πολλές μελέτες και έρευνες που διεξάγονται ακόμα και σήμερα. Η Αρχαία Ελλάδα ήταν από τους πρώτους, ίσως και ο πρώτος πολιτισμός που αναπτύχθηκε τόσο νωρίς. Εκείνη την εποχή γνώρισε άνθιση οικονομική, πολιτισμική και κοινωνική διότι από τότε είχε ανεπτυγμένο εμπόριο και εξήγαγε και εισήγαγε σχεδόν σε όλη την Μεσόγειο. Πάντα θα αναγνωρίζεται η αξία της που βοήθησε να αναπτυχθούν όλοι οι υπόλοιποι πολιτισμοί.
Ancient Roman civilization is one of the greatest chapters in the book of history. Its depth and vastness is unmatched. The Roman civilization is considered to be the most leading among all due to its wide spread popularity and acceptance around the world. The influence of the Roman Civilization can be felt even in the modern times in the fields of law, art, battles, language and architecture etc.
As the legend goes, two twins named Romulus and Remus were born to the war god Mars and a Latin princess. The Latin king was afraid these boys would take his throne so he sent them floating down the Tiber River, thinking they would die. However a female wolf found these boys, and a shepherd found them and raised them. The boys later vowed to build a city where they were born. Eventually each of them chose a hill, and they began to quarrel. These quarrels led to Romulus killing Remus, and leaving Romulus's hilltop, Palatine, which was the center of the new city- Rome. Rome is probably the most well known civilization of all time, and with good reason, because the Romans were highly sophisticated, and very ahead of their time. The truth of this legend cannot be proved, but what is certain is that villages in the area of Rome began around 753 BC and started settling around the Tiber River. These areas slowly built up and by 200 BC Rome had become a powerful empire. This is right around the time the Punic Wars began. Carthage and Greece broke into war and Greece asked Rome to join its side. This would begin the first of three Punic Wars. The First Punic War (264-241 BC) was fought for control of Sicily, the Carthaginians wanted the Greek city Sicily. These battles took place over land and sea, and the Carthaginians were better sea fighters but the Romans won. In the Second Punic War (218-201 BC) Hannibal decided to invade Italy. He marched to Rome with 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry, and 40 elephants, and over half of his soldiers died on the way. At the end of this war Hannibal lost 8,000 men in the fighting, and Rome lost 70,000. Hannibal won this fight. In the Third (149-146 BC), and final Punic War, the Roman army defeated Hannibal. After this war the Carthaginians were either killed or sold as slaves. After all of this fighting Rome had become the most powerful civilization in the world, and decided to become bigger, so they began to conquer land. This is when Caesar took power and expanded the borders of Rome, and Rome's power also expanded. After his conquests Caesar was killed, and willed Rome to Octavian. However, Marc Antony also wanted power of Rome and they became Rivals. Eventually Antony committed suicide leaving Octavian, who would later rename himself Augustus, in power. Rome went through a state of peace for over 200 more years, and had few problems, but when Marcus Arelius died in 180 AD, Rome was ruled by decadence. Then eventually Rome was split into Rome and Byzantium. Rome eventually fell to the army of the Alaric.
The Italian peninsula was the legendary base where the great civilization rose to power. Rome took its name from Romulus (who along with his twin brother Remus is regarded as the founder of Rome). Romulus is said to have killed Remus in a fight to construct their cities. Rome was born on the Palatine hill as a small community. Gradually the community began to spread into the nearby hills and gave birth to the city of Rome. Latin language became popular world over in the times of the Roman civilization as the various facts about this culture were discovered in this language. The Romans enriched their culture with that of the Etruscans (people from ancient Tuscany and Umbria) like gladiator wars and chariot races etc.
It all started as a small community and rose into a large empire. The remarkable civilization of ancient Rome has witnesses the following realms: Monarchy - the kind of government in which all political decisions are made by a single leader. Oligarchy - the kind of government in which the political powers are conferred upon a societal group on the basis of their family status and prosperity. Autocracy - this kind of government is more or less synonymous to monarchy. In this unlimited authorities are bestowed over the ruler. The massive spread of the civilization was into Europe, Middle East and some parts of Africa. The acceptance of the Roman culture among people was either by force or own will.
The three classes were as below: Servi - These were the slaves who lived a hard life with laborious jobs. They were the basic economy builders being ruled by the top classes. Liberti - These were slaves who were liberated and given Roman citizenship and were known as freedmen. The freedom was granted to the slave if he was highly educated or had delivered an exceptionally good service for long. The slave could also buy his freedom by paying the desired amount or possessions to the owner. Cives - These were the topmost class who were considered to be free-born. There were divisions within this class as well like the patricians (having one of the 100 patriarchs as their ancestors who founded Rome) and the plebeians (who became politically strong with their wealth).
The technological mastery can be traced on the basis of the outstandingly constructed structures like monuments, roads, bridges and theatres. The classic artisans secretly guarded their technological discoveries from each other. The transport network was unbeatable during the ancient Roman civilization wherein posts were constructed to provide refreshments to the weary travelers. The agricultural lands, cities and industries were well supplied with water through pipes of excellent architecture.
History of Ancient Rome is usually divided into three main periods: before the rise of Rome, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire. The Empire is usually divided up according to who was emperor. Before the rise of Rome: Stone Age (to 3000 BC) Bronze Age (ca. 3000 BC-1000 BC) Etruscans (ca. 1000 BC-500 BC) Roman Republic: The early period (ca. 500 BC-300 BC) The Punic Wars (ca. 275 BC-146 BC) The Civil Wars (ca. 146 BC-30 BC) Roman Empire: The Julio-Claudians (30 BC-68 AD) The Flavians (69 AD-96 AD) The Five Good Emperors (96 AD-161 AD) The Severans (161 AD-235 AD) The Third Century Crisis Constantine and his family (312 AD-363 AD) The Theodosians (363 AD-450 AD) The Fall of Rome (476 AD) After the fall of Rome: The Ostrogoths The Visigoths The Franks The Vandals The Byzantines The Lombards, the Pope, and Islam
Roman houses were so well built, if you were rich, that many examples of Roman houses exist throughout the Roman Empire. If you were poor in Rome, you lived in simple flats or apartments - the inside of these places was symbolic of your lack of wealth. These flats were known as insulae and only contained two rooms at the most. People tended to use them only for sleeping as they had to work, visit the baths (as their flats had no running water) and they usually ate in local inns as cooking in these flats was not safe. Rich family homes were very different. The rich lived in single-storey houses which were built around a central hall known as an atrium. Atrium had rooms opening up off of them and they were also open to the weather as they had no roofs. Many atriums had a trough built into their design so that water could be collected when it rained. Beyond an atrium was a second open courtyard known as a peristylum. This area included a garden and it also had rooms opening up off of it. In the homes of the wealthy, the gardens served as a meeting point so they were designed to be shady and comfortable so that people could meet in them regardless of whether the sun was fierce. Houses also had water piped straight to them - unlike flats and apartments. Lead pipes brought water to a house. However, these pipes were taxed according to size - the larger the pipes, the more the tax. Archaeologists can usually tell the wealth of an owner of a Roman house by simply looking at the size of the lead pipes that brought water to that house. Houses were also centrally heated by what was known as a hypocaust. This was under-floor heating. Slaves were charged with keeping the hypocaust both clean and alight during the day. This system of heating was also used to keep some Roman baths hot if they had no access to naturally heated water. Some Roman villas in Britain have survived in such good condition that we have a very clear idea about how the rich lived and what their homes were like. When the Romans left Britain, it appears that some villas were covered with dirt to 'trap' into them the spirits of the Romans - thus, they could not 'escape'. In 1960, a workman found substantial ancient building rubble at Fishbourne, West Sussex, while digging a trench. In 1961 a trial excavation took place and what was essentially a complete Roman villa was found. A huge variety of Roman homes can also be found at Pompeii, of course.
The main Roman rooms were decorated with coloured plaster walls and, if they could be afforded, mosaics. These decorated floors were a statement of your wealth and importance. The grander mosaics had to be done by experts and they were expensive. A master mosaic craftsman would map out the picture while those who worked for him did the actual work in making a mosaic. Probably the most famous Roman mosaic in Britain is at Fishbourne Palace in West Sussex. Though mosaics could be spectacular, furniture, even in the homes of the rich, tended to be basic. Stools were common as opposed to chairs and reclining couches were used. Beds were simple affairs with 'springs' being provided by leather straps that criss-crossed a bed frame. Mosaic at Fishbourne Palace A Roman Atrium
The Romans were famous for their roads. Some Roman roads exist to this day, nearly 2000 years after they were made. Roman roads were superbly made. Why did the Romans put so much effort into building roads? Rome made a great deal of money from trade in Europe. Some of this trade involved transport by sea. More frequently, the Romans used roads. Also with so much of Western Europe conquered by the Romans, the Romans needed roads to move their troops around quickly. Poorly built roads would not help this. When the Romans arrived in England, they found no roads to use. Instead they had to make do with tracks used by the Britons. It was not unusual for these tracks to be in very poor condition as they were usually on high ground and open to all types of weather. A good road system also made it easier for the emperors to control their empire as messages and orders could be sent quickly. Roman roads were famed for being straight and well made. However, the Romans usually built roads around a natural obstacle rather than go through it. The Romans did not have a compass or maps to help them build roads. How did they manage it? Surveyors used a tool called a groma. This was an instrument that had two pieces of wood nailed together so that they formed a square cross with right-angles in all the corners. Each piece of wood had lead weights attached to the ends. When one lead weight from the same piece of wood lined up with the one in front of it, the surveyor knew that he had a straight line. Once the surveyor was convinced that he had mapped out a straight line, wooden posts were dug into the ground to mark out the straight line. The road was built along this line. Ditches were dug either side of the road to allow for drainage. Roman roads tended to be built higher than the level of earth around them – this, again, helped drainage. Roman roads were well used throughout the empire. However, many of those who used them had to walk - including merchants - as chariots and horses were expensive. A wealthy merchant could afford a wagon pulled by horses. The roads were built so that two of these wagons could pass on both sides of the roads
The rich Ancient Romans enjoyed their food. Expensive food, along with a lavish villa, was an obvious way of showing off your wealth to others. If you hosted a banquet at your villa to which other Roman worthies had been invited, it had to go well if your social standing was to be maintained - hence why elaborate and expensive foods were well provided. Roast peacock and ostriches and the like, would be provided. A different lifestyle also meant that the eating habits of the Ancient Romans were different to ours today. Breakfast (the Romans called this jentaculum) was taken in the master's bedroom and usually consisted of a slice of bread or a wheat pancake eaten with dates and honey. Wine was also drunk. Lunch (the Romans called this prandium) was eaten at about 11.00 a.m. and consisted of a light meal of bread, cheese and possibly some meat. In many senses, everything was geared up towards the main meal of the day - cena. This was eaten in the late afternoon or early evening. If the master of the house had no guests, cena might take about one hour. If he did have guests, then this meal might take as long as four hours. A light supper was usually eaten just before the Romans went to bed, consisting of bread and fruit. The Romans were usually not big meat eaters and a lot of their normal meals involved vegetables, herbs and spices together with a wheat meal that looked like porridge. However, for a rich man's banquet anything exotic that could be purchased was served. Many meals were served with sauces. The Romans seemed to be particularly fond of sauces as it gave a cook the opportunity to make a dish seem a little bit more exciting that it may have been without the sauce. One particular favourite was garum which was made by mixing up fish waste with salt water and leaving it for several weeks until it was ready for use. By all accounts, it was a salty and highly flavored sauce. Sauces made from vinegar, honey, pepper, herbs and spices were also popular. The Romans seemed to be very keen on sweet food and drink. One of the favoured drinks was called mulsum which was a mixture of boiled wine and honey. One sign that a meal or a banquet had gone down well was if guests asked for bags to take homes dishes that they had enjoyed. This in particular pleased a master as it showed to everyone who was there that at least some of the courses on offer had been well received. Most food was either boiled or fried in olive oil. Very few homes needed an oven as so little food was roasted.
Roman entertainment, like Roman roads, Roman baths, Roman villas etc, is etched in people's minds today as a result of recent films. Many people will know of the Roman gladiators, chariot racing, the Colosseum in Rome as we have a great deal of writing and other evidence about these things from the times of the Romans themselves. One of the most famous buildings in Rome is the Colosseum. This building is now a major tourist attraction on Rome. In Ancient Rome it was also a major attraction for those who wanted to see the various events that were put on at this vast building. The Colosseum could hold over 50,000 people and the viewing public were well looked after by the authorities. The temperature in Rome in the summer could be very hot and the audience at the Colosseum was protected from the sun by a huge canopy that was put over the top of the stadium when needed. The events staged at the Colosseum were many. Nearly all of them involved death and destruction. There were the well known gladiator fights and the feeding of Christians to lions. There were also a number of lesser known events such as mock sea battles involving ships, animal circus acts, animals fighting animals and animal hunts These shows were usually free to the public. The emperors believed it was a good way to keep the people of Ancient Rome happy and content with the way the city was being governed. The government provided free bread and free entertainment - a combination they believed would keep happy the many unemployed people in Rome. The Colosseum was the greatest building in Ancient Rome but much smaller amphitheatres were built in Roma Britain and gladiatorial fights may have occurred in these. Cirencester had an amphitheatre. Chariot racing was put on at the Circus Maximus. This was equally popular with the people of Ancient Rome and going to a race was seen as a family event. To many people today, Roman entertainment was cruel. However, not all forms of entertainment involved violence. Many educated Romans were appalled by the cruelty of the events put on at the Colosseum. They went to the theatre. However, records from the time indicate that theatres rarely put on serious works, preferring to show what we would now call farces and comedies. Poetry readings were also given in theatres.
Religion played a very important role in the daily life of Ancient Rome and the Romans. Roman religion was centred around gods and explanations for events usually involved the gods in some way or another. The Romans believed that gods controlled their lives and, as a result, spent a great deal of their time worshipping them. The most important god was Jupiter. He was the king of gods who ruled with his wife Juno, the goddess of the sky. Other gods were: Mars: God of War Mercury: The messenger of the gods Nepture: God of the Sea Janus: God of the Doorway Diana: Goddess of Hunting Vesta: Goddess of the Hearth Minerva: Goddess of Healing and Wisdom Venus: Goddess of Love. Animals being led to slaughter at a temple sacrifice A family shrine at a house in Pompeii
Education was very important to the Ancient Romans. The rich people in Ancient Rome put a great deal of faith in education. While the poor in Ancient Rome did not receive a formal education, many still learned to read and write. Children from rich families, however, were well schooled and were taught by a private tutor at home or went to what we would recognise as schools. In general, schools as we would recognise them, were for boys only. Also, Roman schools were rarely an individual building but an extension of a shop - separated from the crowd by a mere curtain! There were two types of schools in Ancient Rome. The first type of school was for younger children aged up to 11 or 12 where they learned to read and write and to do basic mathematics. At these schools, children worked on an abacus to learn basic mathematics. For writing, they used a stylus and a wax tablet. Older children would go to more advanced schools where they did specific studies on topics such as public speaking. They would also study the writings of the great intellects of Ancient Rome such as Cicero. Girls rarely went to these schools as they were allowed to get married at the age of 12 whereas boys had to wait until they were 14 to get married. Children worked a seven-day week - there was no break for the weekend! However, this was not as dire as it appears. There were many school holidays - religious holidays (and there were many of them) meant that children did not have to go to school. Market days also resulted in school closures and children also had a summer holiday! In general, girls did go to school. Girls from rich families did receive an education, but this was done at home. Here they were taught how to run a good household and how to be a good wife in general - in preparation for the time they got married. Part of their education would have been music, sewing and the competent running of a kitchen. For boys, practice made perfect. They were not allowed to write on what we would consider to be paper as it was very expensive. Boys first practised on a wax tablet. Only when they had shown that they could write well, were they allowed to write on paper - which was made on the Ancient Egyptian method of papyrus reeds. Their 'pens' were quills and their ink was a mixture of gum, soot and, sometimes, the ink from an octopus.
The Romans put a great deal of effort into engineering. Roman engineering led to the building of some remarkable engineering feats that have survived to this day throughout western Europe - be they roads, theatres, baths or Hadrian's Wall. Engineering was used as a way of improving the lifestyle of the Romans even on day-to-day issues such as a frequent water supply. The Romans used the ideas of the Ancient Greeks to implement their own engineering plans. The whole issue of supplying Rome with water was solved using a system of 640 kilometers of aqueducts. The aqueduct at Segovia in Spain is 60 meters high in places. The fact that it has survived so long and in its current condition is testament to the engineering skills of the Romans. Another classic example of Rome's engineering skill has the be the numerous Roman roads that still exist all over western Europe. In England, the baths at Bath are not only indicative of the building skills that the Romans had but also their use of a natural resource for their own benefit. The Romans also built lighthouses, temples, palaces etc. many of which still exist today. Hadrian's Wall is 117 kilometers long and in places is 6 meters high and 3 meters thick. Built in an inhospitable part of England where soldiers would have suffered from the wind and cold, the Wall contained toilets, washrooms and forts that could hold up to 1000 men. The fact that parts are now in a poor state of repair has nothing to do with poor building. Over the years, local farmers have helped themselves to the well cut stones that make up the Wall for their own farms and as a result it has suffered accordingly. The Romans used basic building tools that had been around for years to complete their building work. The movement of large building blocks was done by the use of levers and pulleys. These were powered by slaves - there was a plentiful supply of these in Rome. A Roman aqueduct at Segovia The Roman baths in Bath
The 'tortoise' in action The Roman Army was extremely important in explaining the success of the Romans and the expansion of the Roman Empire. The Roman Army, at the peak of its power, conquered what we now call England/Wales, Spain, France, most of Germany, the northern coast of Africa, the Middle East and Greece. The Roman Army is recognised by historians as an extremely effective fighting machine. Ironically, its success also led to its downfall. The lowest level of soldier in the Roman Army was the legionnaire. Between 5000 and 6000 legionaries made up a legion that was commanded by a legatus. Legionnaires were trained to fight in a disciplined and co-ordinated manner. A whole legion could be punished for failing to fight well in battle - even if the Romans did win the battle itself! Training was brutal and tough but it paid huge dividends for the Romans.
A legionnaire went into battle equipped with three main weapons: The Pilum: This was similar to a javelin today. The legionaries would throw it at the enemy as they ran at them. It was not for hand-to-hand fighting. The main purpose of the pilum was to disrupt the defence of the enemy. They would be too concerned worrying about avoiding the incoming weapons to focus on what the legionnaires themselves were doing. By the time the enemy had re-organised itself, the Romans were upon them. If a pilum did hit you, it could do serious damage as the thinner top section would crumple into you on impact and removing it would be very painful. The wooden stock of the pilum was also re-useable as the Romans only had to add another spear head to it. The Gladius: The gladius was the main weapon for the Roman soldier when he got into close quarter fighting. This was a sword which was kept razor sharp. Anyone on the receiving end of a blow from a gladius would suffer severe injuries. The Pugio: The pugio was a small dagger used in combat if all else had been lost. Along with these weapons, the legionnaire carried a curved shield called a scutum. This gave the Roman soldier a great deal of protection as it curved around his body. It was also used by the Romans when they used what was known as a tortoise formation to move forward to a target that was well defended. A 'tortoise' was when the soldiers lifted the scutums flat above their heads so that they effectively interlocked and protected them from any missiles thrown at them from on high.
Ο Ρωμαϊκός πολιτισμός ήταν ένας από τους σπουδαιότερους του αρχαίου κόσμου. Οι Ρωμαίοι διακρίθηκαν σε πολλούς τομείς: στις εικαστικές τέχνες, στις φυσικές επιστήμες και στην τέχνη του πολέμου. Οι πρώτοι οικισμοί στη Ρώμη ιδρύθηκαν το 753 προ Χριστού και γύρω στο 200 προ Χριστού η Ρώμη είχε εξελιχθεί σε μια πανίσχυρη αυτοκρατορία. Έκανε πολλούς κατακτητικούς πολέμους και επέκτεινε τα σύνορά της στο έπακρο αλλά στο τέλος χωρίστηκε στη Ρώμη και στο Βυζάντιο. Η Ρώμη(Rome) πήρε το όνομα της από τον Ρωμύλο o οποίος σκότωσε τον αδερφό του Ρέμο και έγινε αυτός ιδρυτής της Ρώμης δίνοντας της το όνομά του. Οι Ρωμαίοι πήραν πολλά στοιχεία από τον πολιτισμό των Ετρούσκων, όπως τις μονομαχίες και τις αρματοδρομίες. Στη Ρωμαϊκή αυτοκρατορία αναπτύχθηκε μία από τις αρχαιότερες γλώσσες, η Λατινική καθώς και πολλά πολιτεύματα όπως: η μοναρχία, η ολιγαρχία και η αριστοκρατία. Στην αρχαία Ρώμη υπήρχαν τρεις κοινωνικές τάξεις: οι σκλάβοι, οι ελεύθεροι και οι πολίτες. Οι θεότητες τις οποίες λάτρευαν οι αρχαίοι Ρωμαίοι ήταν: ο Άρης, η Αφροδίτη, ο Ποσειδώνας, ο Ερμής, η Δήμητρα, η Αθηνά κ.ά. Ακόμη, στην αρχαία Ρώμη βρέθηκαν πολλά σημαντικά και μεγαλοπρεπή έργα όπως μνημεία, δρόμοι, ναοί, γέφυρες, θέατρα και συστήματα ύδρευσης και αποχέτευσης. Οι αρχαίοι Ρωμαίοι διασκέδαζαν πολύ συχνά πηγαίνοντας στο Κολοσσαίο. Εκεί διεξάγονταν μονομαχίες μεταξύ ζώων και ανθρώπων, σχεδόν πάντα πολύ σκληρές. Η εκπαίδευση ήταν πολύ σημαντική για τα παιδιά των αρχαίων Ρωμαίων, τα οποία ξεκινούσαν το σχολείο στα 11 και μάθαιναν γραφή, ανάγνωση και μαθηματικά. Τέλος, αξιοσημείωτη ήταν η ισχύς του στρατού των Ρωμαίων ο οποίος χρησιμοποιούσε δόρατα (pilums), κοφτερά σπαθιά (gladius) και μεγάλες ασπίδες (scutums) καταφέρνοντας να κατακτήσει πολλές χώρες και να επεκτείνει τα σύνορά του σε όλη την Ευρώπη και τη Μεσόγειο. Πασίγνωστη είναι επίσης η παράταξη της χελώνας που χρησιμοποιούσαν οι Ρωμαίοι στις μάχες.
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompeii. Pompeii was destroyed and buried of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Pompeii was lost for about 1500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery almost 150 years later.
People buried in the ash appear to be wearing warmer clothing than the light summer clothes that would be expected in August. The fresh fruit and vegetables in the shops are typical of October, and conversely the summer fruit that would have been typical of August was already being sold in dried, or conserved form. Wine fermenting jars had been sealed over, and this would have happened around the end of October.
Coins found in the purse of a woman buried in the ash include one which features a fifteenth imperatorial acclamation among the emperor's titles. These cannot have been minted before the second week of September.
Pompeii was a dynamic, commercial centre full of life. There were dozens of shops where shopkeepers sold jewellery and perfumes, potters worked with clay and metalworkers and glassblowers amazed passers-by with their skill. There were theatres, temples, bars, taverns and public baths where people used to go to relax and socialize. There was also an amphitheatre where people used to watch gladiators fight.
The history of Pompeii is immortal in our days and survive over the centuries…!
Η πόλη της Πομπηίας καταστράφηκε και έμεινε θαμμένη για 1500 χρόνια μέχρι την ανακάλυψη της. Η Πομπηία, ένα αξιόλογο και εμπορικό κέντρο γεμάτο ζωή, βρισκόταν στην Ιταλία κοντά στη σημερινή Νάπολη. Στις 14 Αυγούστου του 79 π.Χ., όπως εκτιμάται, μετά από μια φοβερή έκρηξη του Βεζούβιου, ένα τεράστιο κύμα από λάβα και στάχτη έθαψε τη ρωμαϊκή πόλη, σβήνοντας έτσι έναν σπουδαίο πολιτισμό. Οι άνθρωποι είχαν στενή σχέση με τη θρησκεία και τις τέχνες γι’ αυτό στην πόλη δέσποζαν ναοί με τοιχογραφίες. Τέλος, σημαντικό ρόλο έπαιζε η ψυχαγωγία και η συμμετοχή στα κοινά, που αποτελούσε ένα μέσο για συζήτηση και κοινωνικοποίηση.
The Egyptian civilization lasted the longest of all the civilizations: nearly 3,500 years. Egypt lies in a valley between two deserts and the great river Nile crosses it from top to bottom. When it flooded, it left behind a thick layer of mud, which made the fields very fertile. That’s what helped Egypt develop really fast.
No one really knows how the Egyptians managed to lift the tremendously heavy stone blocks and lay them in place. Probably thousands of men dragged and pulled the blocks up specially made ramps. These imposing stone structures were constructed as tombs for their kings and queens, the Pharaohs. The Sphinx is a stone sculpture of a creature with a human head and a lion's body. It’s the greatest monumental sculpture in the ancient world.
The ancient Egyptians believed that man will be resurrected after death to life for ever. Man’s soul goes up to the sky and turns into a bird. When the body is healthy after burying it, the soul returns to it again. Therefore, the ancient Egyptians paid attention to a process called “mummification”. They should bury the dead far from water. They buried the dead with their favorite items, foods, drinks and clothes to help them live a happy life after death. The ancient Egyptians thought that there was no death without life and no life without death. They also said that death is the way to everlasting life.
The Egyptian hieroglyphics were a combination of symbols, which the Egyptians used to write. Because of the huge amount of symbols, it took a lot of years for the writers to learn how to write. A lot of tablets with hieroglyphics on them have been found, most of them talking about religion in Egypt.
Ο Αιγυπτιακός πολιτισμός είχε πολύ μεγάλη διάρκεια. Άκμασε για περίπου 3.500 χρόνια. Η Αίγυπτος είναι μια κοιλάδα ανάμεσα σε δύο ερήμους και ο ποταμός Νείλος τη διασχίζει. Με τις πλημμύρες του Νείλου, τα χωράφια ήταν πολύ γόνιμα και ο αιγυπτιακός πολιτισμός αναπτύχθηκε γρήγορα. Κανείς πραγματικά δεν ξέρει πώς οι Αιγύπτιοι κατάφεραν να σηκώσουν τις τεράστιες πέτρες και να τις τοποθετήσουν σωστά για να χτίσουν τις πυραμίδες. Τα μεγαλοπρεπέστατα αυτά κτίσματα χρησιμοποιήθηκαν ως τάφοι για τους Φαραώ, τους ηγεμόνες της Αιγύπτου. Η Σφίγγα είναι το πέτρινο άγαλμα ενός πλάσματος με κεφάλι ανθρώπου και σώμα λιονταριού. Είναι το μεγαλύτερο κτίσμα μνημειακής αρχιτεκτονικής στον αρχαίο κόσμο. Οι Αιγύπτιοι πίστευαν ότι οι άνθρωποι ανασταίνονταν μετά θάνατον. Γι’ αυτό και έδιναν μεγάλη σημασία σε μια διαδικασία, γνωστή ως “μουμιοποίηση”. Τύλιγαν, δηλαδή, το σώμα με λωρίδες υφάσματος, αφού το επεξεργάζονταν, και το έθαβαν μακριά από νερό. Μαζί με τους νεκρούς, έθαβαν και τα αγαπημένα αντικείμενα, φαγητά, ποτά και ρούχα τους, για να έχουν οι νεκροί μια ευτυχισμένη μετά θάνατον ζωή. Είχαν την άποψη ότι ο θάνατος οδηγούσε στην αιώνια ζωή. Τα αιγυπτιακά ιερογλυφικά ήταν ένας συνδυασμός από σύμβολα, τα οποία οι Αιγύπτιοι χρησιμοποιούσαν για να γράφουν. Οι γραφείς έκαναν πολλά χρόνια για να μάθουν να γράφουν, εξαιτίας του μεγάλου αριθμού συμβόλων. Οι πινακίδες με ιερογλυφικά που έχουν βρεθεί αναφέρονται κυρίως στη θρησκευτική ζωή στην Αίγυπτο.
India was a big civilization since the beginning of the mankind. The land of India was called back then Hindustan. Babur, a conqueror from the Fergana Valley, managed to take Hindustan in his possession and made it thrive in culture. This culture was influenced by other Asian ones. Before this, despite its charming beauty, Hindustan was a place were people behaved in a hostile way, had no culture specific kind of clothing. Hindustan was also the land of the diamond Kohinoor, whose value is priceless. The Indians believed in Islam. The Taj Mahal was built by one of Babur’s descendant, Shah Jahan. Many years later, in the 18 th century India was conquered by Great Britain.
Η μεγάλη αυτοκρατορία της Ινδίας υπήρχε από την εμφάνιση του ανθρώπινου είδους και άρχισε να αναπτύσσεται από το 2400 π.Χ.. Τα σύνορα της εκτείνονταν από τον Ινδικό ωκεανό μέχρι και τα Ιμαλάϊα. Η τότε ονομασία αυτής της αρχαίας αυτοκρατορίας ήταν Ινδουστάν. Χαρακτηριστικό της ήταν τα πλούτη και τα κοσμήματα και ιδιαίτερα το διαμάντι Κοχινούρ,το οποίο ήταν ανεκτίμητο. Ο πολιτισμός της Ινδίας επηρεάστηκε από άλλους Ασιατικούς λαούς, αλλά παρ’ όλα αυτά τα αποτελέσματα ήταν μοναδικά. Ωστόσο πριν την ακμή του πολιτισμού η Ινδία ήταν μια χώρα χωρίς οργάνωση, συγκεκριμένο ρουχισμό αλλά με εχθρική συμπεριφορά. Σήμα κατατεθέν της είναι το Ταζ Μαχάλ, ένα από τα εφτά θαύματα του κόσμου. Οι Ινδοί πίστευαν στο Ισλάμ. Σημαντικός κατακτητής της ήταν ο Μπαμπούρ, ενώ αργότερα κατακτήθηκε και από τους Βρετανούς.
With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations. Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River valleys. Much of Chinese culture, literature and philosophy further developed during the Zhou Dynasty, one of the greatest. Chinese people believed in Buddhism and Taoism. Also the Chinese developed a great number of martial arts. Marco Polo, a Venetian explorer, recorded many of his journeys in China in the 13 th century to his books. Many archaeological findings,such as papyrus, ancient books and murals were discovered by the Hungarian archaeologist Aurel Stein, especially in the Taklamakan Desert.
Η κινεζική αυτοκρατορία υπήρξε μία από τις λαμπρότερη όλων των εποχών. Η ιστορία της ξεκίνησε, κατά γραπτή ομολογία, περίπου το 1700 π.Χ. και γι’ αυτό το λόγο θεωρείται μία από τις αρχαιότερες. Ο πολιτισμός της δημιουργήθηκε και αναπτύχθηκε σε ποικίλα τοπικά κέντρα κατά μήκος του Κίτρινου ποταμού και του ποταμού Γιάντσε, κυρίως στη Νεολιθική εποχή. Η Κίνα ανέπτυξε σε μεγάλο βαθμό τη φιλοσοφία, τη λογοτεχνία και τις πολεμικές τέχνες ενώ έφτασε σε μεγάλης σημασίας ανακαλύψεις. Μάλιστα εκεί γεννήθηκε και έζησε ο μεγάλος δάσκαλος Κομφούκιος. Οι Κινέζοι πίστευαν στο Βουδισμό και στον Ταοϊσμό. Σημαντικές δυναστείες της αυτοκρατορίας της Κίνας είναι αυτές των Χαν, Ξια και Ζου. Χαρακτηριστικά απομεινάρια της είναι η Απαγορευμένη Πόλη στο Πεκίνο, ο Πήλινος Στρατός στα ανατολικά της χώρας καθώς επίσης και το Σινικό Τείχος.
The name Africa was first used by the Romans around 200B.C. The name was most likely taken from the ‘’Afaricas’ ’tribe who lived around ancient Karchidona, near modern Tunida. The name was applied to the whole continent. In central South Africa there are ruins of a mythical city of stone houses, Greater Zimbabwe. In 1865 a German archeologist and explorer, Karl Maou, explored the northern regions of South Africa and made the first maps of the hinterlands. In 1871 he discovered the stone city, the capital of the Queen of Sava. 50 years later, in 1926, another archeologist Gertrude Thomson visited Greater Zimbabwe. She discovered a superb local culture which thrived in the sub-Saharan area from the 9 th to the 14 th century A.D. They had developed surprising industry and sea faring relations. Great Zimbabwe was a huge black African city at the centre of a complicated trading system. Through it passed the trade routes for gold and ivory from the hinterlands to the coasts where trading with Arab nations was conducted. Gertrude tried to prove this relationship through archeological digs in Arabia in 1938. Greater Zimbabwe was established as an African nation between 1250 and 1450. The ruins of the stone city are well-constructed & spread over an area of 7200 stremma. Alters, ceremonial halls, sanctuaries and symbolic animals were found there. What remains of the central building is a stone garden with a circumference of 250m. It is evidence of the Shona culture. UNESCO named the monument as a World Heritage site in 1986.
Στο κέντρο της νότιας Αφρικής υπάρχουν τα ερείπια μιας μυθικής πόλης, της Μεγάλης Ζιμπάμπουε, που σημαίνει πέτρινα σπίτια. Τα ερείπια είναι από πέτρες καλά συναρμολογημένες, διάσπαρτα σε έκταση 7200 στρεμμάτων. Κατασκευάστηκε από ιθαγενείς μεταξύ του 1250 και 1450 μ.Χ. Εκεί άκμασε ένας σπουδαίος ντόπιος πολιτισμός με εκπληκτική βιομηχανία και υπερπόντιες εμπορικές σχέσεις. Από εκεί περνούσε ο δρόμος που μετέφερε χρυσό και ελεφαντόδοντο από την ενδοχώρα προς τις ακτές όπου γίνονταν οι συναλλαγές με τους Άραβες. Ανακαλύφθηκε το 1871 από την Καρλ Μάιν. Η UNESCO συμπεριέλαβε το μνημείο στον κατάλογο της Παγκόσμιας Κληρονομιάς.
Tibet is located 4.900 m above sea level and is the highest place on earth. This is why it is called the roof of the world. The spiritual leaders are called the Dalai Lama and are also the centre of the Tibetan Government. Today it is a part of the People’s Republic of China. The traditional capital is Lassa. In 1865 the British began secretly mapping this mountain range. Before then the western world had no idea where Lassa was. It was the forbidden city. A British army officer, Montgomery, trained a teacher, Nen Sing, to find a road towards it. Counting his feet (2.500.000 or 1.900 km from India) he entered the city disguised as a monk Padit. He lived there 3 months spying on the economic and religious life of the Tibetans. He was one of the greatest and more successful spies and succeeded in mapping southern Tibet. In 1904 another British mission, head by an ambitious officer who wanted to be a famous explorer, Francis Youngasmont, got into Tibet. On route to Lassa, he encountered Tibetan soldiers who he killed. He managed to reach Lassa and came to an agreement which was later cancelled by the British Government and so their attempt was ended. Both men were later honoured with a gold medal from Royal Geographic society.
Το Θιβέτ βρίσκεται σε υψόμετρο 4900 μέτρων και αποτελεί τη μεγαλύτερη σε ύψος περιοχή της γης. Γι’αυτό ονομάζεται η οροφή του κόσμου. Πρωτεύουσά του είναι η Λάσα. Οι πνευματικοί ηγέτες του Θιβέτ ονομάζονται Δαλάι Λάμα και είναι το κέντρο της Θιβετιανής κυβέρνησης. Για πρώτη φορά το 1865, οι Βρετανοί ξεκίνησαν κρυφά τη χαρτογράφηση του οροπεδίου. Ένας εκπαιδευμένος κατάσκοπος μεταμφιεσμένος σε μοναχό, διήνυσε μια απόσταση 19.000 χμ. από την Ινδία μέχρι τη Λάσα μετρώντας τα βήματά του (2.500.000). Ζώντας για 3 μήνες στη Λάσα, κατόρθωσε να καταγράψει την οικονομική και θρησκευτική ζωή των Θιβετιανών και να χαρτογραφήσει το νότιο Θιβέτ. Το 1904 για δεύτερη φορά, οι Βρετανοί με αρχηγό έναν φιλόδοξο αξιωματικό, εισέβαλαν στο Θιβέτ και κατόρθωσαν να φτάσουν μέχρι τη Λάσα. Αργότερα, και οι δύο άντρες τιμήθηκαν με το χρυσό βραβείο της Γεωγραφικής Βασιλικής Εταιρείας.
The Inca Empire (Quechua) was the largest empire in pre- Columbian America. The center of the empire was located in Cusco, in modern – day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century.
From 1438 to 1533, the Incas tried to incorporate a large part of western South America, centered on the Andean mountain ranges, including, besides Peru, large parts of modern Ecuador,Bolivia,Argentina,Chile, and Colombia into a state comparable to the historical empires of Eurasia. The official language of the empire was Quechua. The Incas worshipped Inti — the sun god and they considered their King, the Sapa Inca, to be the "child of the sun." They named their empire as Tawantinsuyu, meaning "four parts together." Under the leadership of Manco Cápac, they formed the small city-state Kingdom of Cuzco and later they tried to expand to other areas as well. After an expedition in 1529 Pizarro a Spanish conqueror travelled to Spain and received royal approval to conquer the Inca region. When he came back to Peru a civil war started between two brothers and their forces and Pizarro played his role in that. Religion The Incas also practised cranical deformation by wrapping tight cloth straps around the heads of newborns in order to alter the shape of their soft skulls into a more conical form and distinguish themselves as nobles. They also made a lot of human sacrifices after very important events. Social structure
On top was the Sapa Inca, or the emperor. Then came the nobles who were the priests and relatives of past emperors or the current ones. Then, there were craftsmen and architects; they were very high on the social ladder because of the skill they had, which was required by the Empire for their magnificent buildings. Then came the working class, often just farmers and after this, were the servants and peasants of the society. Monumental architecture Architecture was by far the most important of the Inca arts, with textiles reflecting motifs that were at their height in architecture. The main example is the capital city of Cusco. The site of Machu Picchu was constructed by Inca engineers. Measures The Incas employed physical measures based on human body parts. Fingers, the distance between thumb to forefinger, palms, cubits, and wingspans were among those units used. Their calendars were strongly tied to astronomy. Art Ceramics were painted using the polychrome technique portraying numerous motifs including animals, birds, waves, felines and geometric patterns. Almost all of the gold and silver work of the empire was melted down by the conquistadors.. The Inca Army The Inca army was the most powerful in the area at that time, because they could turn an ordinary villager or farmer into a soldier, ready for battle. The Incas had no iron or steel. They went into battle with the beating of drums and the blowing of trumpets. The armor used by the Incas included: Helmets made of wood, copper, bronze, cane, or animal skin; some were adorned with feathers. Round or square shields made of wood and cloth tunics padded with cotton and small wooden planks to protect the spine.
The Inca civilization came to an end in 1532 after the population had been weakened by European diseases that the Spanish conquistadores brought with them.
Οι Ίνκας, η μεγαλύτερη αυτοκρατορία στην προ-Κολομβιανή Αμερική. Αναδύθηκε από τα υψίπεδα του Περού στις αρχές του 13 ου αιώνα. Οι Ίνκας κυριάρχησαν στη Νοτιοδυτική Αμερική με επίκεντρο την οροσειρά των Άνδεων. Στην αυτοκρατορία τους συμπεριλαμβάνονταν περιοχές του Περού, του Εκουαδόρ (Ισημερινού), της Βολιβίας, της Αργεντινής, της Χιλής, και της Κολομβίας. Επίσημη γλώσσα τους η Κέτσουα. Λάτρευαν τον Ίντι, το θεό ήλιο, που θεωρούσαν Βασιλιά τους. Κέντρο της αυτοκρατορίας τους το Κούσκο στο σημερινό Περού. Μετά από μια αποστολή, ο Ισπανός κατακτητής Πιζάρο επέστρεψε στην Ισπανία για να πάρει άδεια από τους βασιλείς, ώστε να κατακτήσει την περιοχή τους. Όταν γύρισε στο Περού ξέσπασε εμφύλιος πόλεμος με τη συμβολή του μεταξύ δύο αδερφών. Θρησκεία Πίστευαν στη μετενσάρκωση και ο θάνατος ήταν ένα πέρασμα σε κόσμο απαλλαγμένο από δυσκολίες. Με σφιχτά τυλιγμένα τα κεφαλάκια των νεογέννητων που προέρχονταν από οικογένειες ευγενών, πετύχαιναν κωνική παραμόρφωση των κρανίων τους και μεγαλύτερη κοινωνική διάκριση. Επίσης έκαναν συχνά ανθρωποθυσίες.
Κοινωνική δομή Στην κορυφή ο αυτοκράτορας, κατόπιν οι ευγενείς, στη συνέχεια οι αρχιτέκτονες και οι τεχνίτες, η εργατική τάξη και τέλος οι δούλοι και οι χωρικοί. Αρχιτεκτονική των μνημείων Εξαίρετη και πολύ σημαντική μορφή τέχνης. Υπάρχουν υφάσματα που απεικονίζουν τα πιο δημοφιλή αρχιτεκτονικά μοτίβα. Μονάδες μέτρησης Χρησιμοποιούσαν φυσικούς τρόπους μέτρησης (δάχτυλα και αποστάσεις μεταξύ τους, παλάμες, πήχες, άνοιγμα φτερών των πουλιών κλπ ). Το ημερολόγιό τους βασιζόταν στην αστρονομία. Τέχνη Πολύχρωμες τεχνικές, αναρίθμητα μοτίβα από τη φύση καθώς και γεωμετρικά σχέδια. Οι Ισπανοί κατακτητές έλιωσαν σχεδόν όλα τα ασημένια και χρυσά έργα τους. Σημαντικές ιατρικές ανακαλύψεις Πραγματοποιούσαν χειρουργικές επεμβάσεις κρανίου. Ο στρατός τους Ο πιο δυνατός στην περιοχή. Δε χρησιμοποιούσαν σίδερο ή ατσάλι. Η πανοπλία τους είχε κράνη από φύλο, χαλκό, μπρούντζο, καλάμια ή δέρμα ζώου συχνά διακοσμημένα με φτερά. Οι ασπίδες τους ήταν φτιαγμένες από ξύλο και χιτώνες επενδυμένους με βαμβάκι και ξύλινες σανίδες. Πώς έφτασαν στο τέλος; Οι Ισπανοί κατακτητές έφεραν μαζί τους ευλογιά και άλλες ασθένειες που αποδεκάτισαν τον πληθυσμό. Κατάφεραν να τους ανατρέψουν και να πάρουν τον έλεγχο της κοινωνίας τους το 1532.
The Maya civilization lived in three different areas: the southern Maya highlands, the central lowlands, and the northern lowlands. They had many different types of land, including mountains and dry plains. People living in the lowplans by the sea were affected by hurricans and tropical storms from the Caribbean.
The Maya Empire, centered in the tropical lowlands of what is now Guatemala, reached the peak of its power and influence around the sixth century A.D. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar- making and mathematics, and left behind an astonishing amount of impressive architecture and symbolic artwork. Most of the great stone cities of the Maya were abandoned by A.D. 900, however, and since the 19th century scholars have debated what might have caused this dramatic decline.
The Maya civilization was one of the most dominant indigenous societies of Mesoamerica (a term used to describe Mexico and Central America before the 16th century Spanish conquest). Unlike other scattered indigenous populations of Mesoamerica, the Maya were centered in one geographical block covering all of the Yucatan Peninsula and modern-day Guatemala Belize and parts of the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas and the western part of Honduras and El Salvador. This concentration showed that the Maya remained relatively secure from invasion by other Mesoamerican people.
The Classic Maya built many of their temples and palaces in a stepped pyramid shape, decorating them with elaborate reliefs and inscriptions. These structures have earned the Maya their reputation as the great artists of Mesoamerica. Guided by their religious ritual, the Maya also made significant advances in mathematics and astronomy, including the use of the zero and the development of a complex calendar system based on 365 days. Though early researchers concluded that the Maya were a peaceful society of priests and scribes, later evidence--including a thorough examination of the artwork and inscriptions on their temple walls--showed the less peaceful side of Maya culture, including the war between rival Mayan city-states and the importance of torture and human sacrifice to their religious ritual.
From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed. The reason for this mysterious decline is unknown, though scholars have developed several competing theories.
Some believe that by the ninth century the Maya had exhausted the environment around them to the point that it could no longer sustain a very large population. Other Maya scholars argue that constant warfare among competing city-states led the complicated military, family (by marriage) and trade alliances between them to break down, along with the traditional system of dynastic power. As the stature of the holy lords diminished, their complex traditions of rituals and ceremonies dissolved into chaos. Finally, some catastrophic environmental change--like an extremely long, intense period of drought--may have wiped out the Classic Maya civilization. Drought would have hit cities like Tikal--where rainwater was necessary for drinking as well as for crop irrigation--especially hard.
Excavations of Maya sites have unearthed plazas, palaces, temples and pyramids, as well as courts for playing the ball games that were ritually and politically significant to Maya culture. Maya cities were surrounded and supported by a large population of farmers. Though the Maya practiced a primitive type of "slash-and-burn" agriculture, they also displayed evidence of more advanced farming methods, such as irrigation and terracing.
Οι Μάγια είναι ένας λαός Ινδιάνων της Κεντρικής Αμερικής. Καταλαμβάνει μια συνεχή έκταση στο νότιο Μεξικό, στη Γουατεμάλα και στη βόρεια Μπελίσε και μιλά διάφορες γλώσσες της γλωσσικής οικογένειας των Μάγια. Οι αρχαιολόγοι και οι ερευνητές των Μάγια διαίρεσαν τις περιοχές που ζούσαν οι Μάγια σε 3 ζώνες- βόρεια, κεντρική, νότια. Η γεωγραφική, αυτή, διαίρεση συμπίπτει και με την γλωσσική διαίρεση. Πριν από τη κατάκτηση του Μεξικού από τους Ισπανούς οι Μάγια είχαν αναπτύξει τον λαμπρότερο πολιτισμό του Δυτικού Ημισφαιρίου. Ασκούσαν τη γεωργία, έκτιζαν πέτρινα σπίτια και πυραμιδοειδείς ναούς, κατεργάζονταν το χαλκό και το χρυσό και χρησιμοποιούσαν μια μορφή ιερογλυφικής γραφής. Οι ρίζες του πολιτισμού των Μάγια φτάνουν πολύ πίσω στην προϊστορία, πέρα από το 2000 π.Χ. όπου αντιστοιχεί η Αρχαϊκή περίοδος. Ανέπτυξαν σημαντικά την αρχιτεκτονική τους, δείγματα της οποίας έχουμε αρκετά. Έφτιαξαν πυραμίδες, ναούς, άλλα κτίρια που στολίστηκαν με αξιοθαύμαστα κομψά σχέδια, γλυπτά και ζωγραφιστά. Όπως όλες οι φυλές της Αμερικής, έτσι και οι Μάγια χτυπήθηκαν σκληρά απ' τους Ισπανούς κατακτητές και σιγά - σιγά άρχισαν να εξαφανίζονται.
Atlantis (in Greek, Ἀ τλαντ ὶ ς ν ῆ σος, "island of Atlas") is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written about 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules(Ηράκλειες στήλες)" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, or approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".
Scholars dispute whether and how much Plato's story or account was inspired by older traditions. In Critiαs, Plato claims that his accounts of ancient Athens and Atlantis stem from a visit to Egypt by the legendary Athenian lawgiver Solon in the 6th century BC. In Egypt, Solon met a priest of Sais, who translated the history of ancient Athens and Atlantis, recorded on papyri in Egyptian hieroglyphs, into Greek. Some scholars argue Plato drew upon memories of past events such as the Thera eruption or the Trojan War, while others insist that he took inspiration from contemporary events like the destruction of Helike in 373 BC or the failed Athenian invasion of Sicily in 415–413 BC.
The possible existence of a genuine Atlantis was discussed throughout classical antiquity, but it was usually rejected and occasionally parodied by later authors. Alan Cameron states: "It is only in modern times that people have taken the Atlantis story seriously; no one did so in antiquity".The Timaeus remained known in a Latin rendition by Calcidius through the Middle Ages, and the allegorical aspect of Atlantis was taken up by Humanists in utopian works of several Renaissance writers, such as Francis Bacon's New Atlantis and Thomas More's Utopia. Atlantis inspires today's literature, from science fiction to comic books to films. Its name has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations.
Most of the historically proposed locations are in or near the Mediterranean Sea: islands such as Sardinia, Crete, Santorin, Sicily, Cyprus, and Malta; land- based cities or states such as Troy, Tartessos, and Tantalus (in the province of Manisa, Turkey); Israel-Sinai or Canaan; and northwestern Africa.The Thera eruption, dated to the 17th or 16th century BC, caused a large tsunami that some experts hypothesize devastated the Minoan civilization(civilization named after the king of Crete Minoas on the nearby island of Crete, further leading some to believe that this may have been the catastrophe that inspired the story. G. Galanopoulos argued that Plato's dating of 9,000 years before Solon's time was the result of an error in translation, probably from Egyptian into Greek, which produced "thousands" instead of "hundreds". Such an error would also rescale Plato's Atlantis to the size of Crete, while leaving the city the size of the crater on Thera; 900 years before Solon would be the 15th century BC. In the area of the Black Sea the following locations have been proposed: Bosporus and Ancomah (a legendary place near Trabzon).
For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, 'the pillars of Hercules,' there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over the entire island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent. The four persons appearing in those two dialogues are the politicians Critias and Hermocrates as well as the philosophers Socrates and Timaeus of Locri, although only Critias speaks of Atlantis. In his works Plato makes extensive use of the Socratic dialogues in order to discuss contrary positions within the context of a supposition.
Several writers have speculated that Antarctica is the site of Atlantis, while others have proposed Caribbean locations such the alleged Cuban sunken city off the Guanahacabibes peninsula in Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Bermuda Triangle. Areas in the Pacific and Indian Oceans have also been proposed including Indonesia (i.e. Sundaland). Likewise some have speculated that the continent of South America bears striking similarities to the description of Atlantis by Plato, particularly the Altiplano region of the Andes. The stories of a lost continent off the coast of India, named "Kumari Kandam," have inspired some to draw parallels to Atlantis.
Some ancient writers viewed Atlantis as fiction while others believed it was real. The philosopher Crantor, a student of Plato's student Xenocrates, is often cited as an example of a writer who thought the story to be historical fact. His work, a commentary on Plato's Timaeus, is lost, but Proclus, a Neoplatonist of the fifth century AD, reports on it. The passage in question has been represented in the modern literature either as claiming that Crantor actually visited Egypt, had conversations with priests, and saw hieroglyphs confirming the story or as claiming that he learned about them from other visitors to Egypt. Crantor also says that Plato's contemporaries used to criticize him jokingly for not being the inventor of his Republic but copying the institutions of the Egyptians. Plato took these critics seriously enough to assign to the Egyptians this story about the Athenians and Atlanteans, so as to make them say that the Athenians really once lived according to that system.
Το νησί της Ατλαντίδος είναι ένα μυστήριο που προκαλεί ενδιαφέρον ακόμη και σήμερα. Έχει αναφερθεί σε πολλά αρχαία κείμενα, όπως του Πλάτωνα και υπολογίζεται ότι υπήρξε το 9.600 π.Χ. Η Ατλαντίδα, βρισκόταν «πέρα από τις Ηράκλειες στήλες» και ήταν μια ναυτική δύναμη που είχε κατακτήσει πολλά μέρη της δυτικής Ευρώπης και της Λιβυκής. Μετά από μια αποτυχημένη προσπάθεια να εισβάλει στην Αθήνα, η Ατλαντίδα βυθίστηκε μυστηριωδώς στο πέλαγος «σε μια μόνο ημέρα και νύχτα ατυχίας». Ο θεός προστάτης της Ατλαντίδος ήταν ο Ποσειδώνας. Καινούργιες έρευνες αποδεικνύουν ότι υπάρχει πιθανότητα να υπήρξε η Ατλαντίδα στον Ατλαντικό ωκεανό και να επαληθεύεται ο Πλάτωνας. Τέλος οι ιστορίες για την Ατλαντίδα είναι πολλές και όλες αφήνουν το ίδιο ερώτημα, εάν υπήρξε πραγματικά…