Empire, Oil, and Disaster - blog about my new book

A religious sect getting more and more attention of the world. Jews in the Middle East already have problems with them. Coincidentally, a terrible terract happens in the largest city of the empire. The same religious sect is blamed for it. The year is 64 AD. The sect is Christians. The place is Rome of the emperor Nero.
Beware of September Ides!

Location: United States

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Science in Ancient Egypt by Geraldine Woods

Science in Ancient Egypt by Geraldine Woods – Franklin Watts, 1998, ISBN 0-531-15915-9

A wonderful book for children, and a funny one for adults. While I would not recommend this book as a serious reference – it’s really targeted to children – I would definitely recommend it to young people for school reading, especially if you have a school project on the science in Ancient Egypt.

As any American popular book on Egypt, it has a lot of illustrations, but most of them are relevant, which is a great advantage over similar books. Also, the set of facts to describe is done very intelligently. Apparently, 64 pages book could not really go into details and cover everything, but what to cover and what to leave is picked up well.

Here are a few things mentioned in the book: using triangulation for measuring land, Egyptian ships, building pyramids (sure, how you can miss this one…), using levels, and more. By the way, did you know that Egyptians employed binary base system for multiplication and division (like we use in computers now). By the way, they also put the foundation to the modern decimal system, while alternative civilization of Mesopotamia used 64-base system instead (some traces of it we can see today in a 16-base system popular in the software development).

Also, pay attention to bibliography and links, especially, Egyptology Resources: http://www.newton.cam.ac.uk/egypt/


Monday, January 09, 2006

If you fancy Latin or Greek...

...but never had a time to really learn these languages, here is a good start. :-)


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Who were the priests retained by Nero in Rome?

Joseph Flavius tells that he was on the mission to Rome somewhere in 62/63-65 to release Judean priests who were held as hostages by Nero. In the book, he will have to meet them, so who were they?

Here is a quote from another Joseph Flavius book, Antiquities of the Jews ([1]):

11. About the same time king Agrippa built himself a very large dining-room in the royal palace at Jerusalem, near to the portico. Now this palace had been erected of old by the children of Asamoneus. and was situate upon an elevation, and afforded a most delightful prospect to those that had a mind to take a view of the city, which prospect was desired by the king; and there he could lie down, and eat, and thence observe what was done in the temple; which thing, when the chief men of Jerusalem saw they were very much displeased at it; for it was not agreeable to the institutions of our country or law that what was done in the temple should be viewed by others, especially what belonged to the sacrifices. They therefore erected a wall upon the uppermost building which belonged to the inner court of the temple towards the west, which wall when it was built, did not only intercept the prospect of the dining-room in the palace, but also of the western cloisters that belonged to the outer court of the temple also, where it was that the Romans kept guards for the temple at the festivals. At these doings both king Agrippa, and principally Festus the procurator, were much displeased; and Festus ordered them to pull the wall down again: but the Jews petitioned him to give them leave to send an embassage about this matter to Nero; for they said they could not endure to live if any part of the temple should be demolished; and when Festus had given them leave so to do, they sent ten of their principal men to Nero, as also Ismael the high priest, and Helcias, the keeper of the sacred treasure. And when Nero had heard what they had to say, he not only forgave (22) them what they had already done, but also gave them leave to let the wall they had built stand. This was granted them in order to gratify Poppea, Nero's wife, who was a religious woman, and had requested these favors of Nero, and who gave order to the ten ambassadors to go their way home; but retained Helcias and Ismael as hostages with herself. As soon as the king heard this news, he gave the high priesthood to Joseph, who was called Cabi, the
son of Simon, formerly high priest.

[1] Antiquities of the Jews - Book XX, From Fadus The Procurator To Florus, Chapter 8 - http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-20.htm

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