Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Invention of Writing

Founded: Between 3200-2900 B.C.

Location: In the present-day Iraq.

History: Writing emerged in many different cultures and in numerous locations throughout the ancient world. It was not the creation of any one people. However, the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia are credited with inventing the earliest form of writing, which appeared ca. 3500B.C. The clay tablets shown on the left date from around 3200 B.C. They were unearthed by Oriental Institute archaeologists at the site of Tell Asmar in Iraq.

The writings on these tablets are simple pictures, or pictograms, which represent an object or an idea. Because clay is a difficult material on which to draw lines and curves, the Mesopotamians eventually reduced pictograms into a series of wedge-shaped signs that they pressed into clay with a reed stylus. This wedge-shaped writing is called cuneiform.

The invention of writing was the dawn of the information revolution. This great technological advance allowed news and ideas to be carried to distant places without having to rely on a messenger's memory. Like all inventions, writing emerged because there was a need for it. In Mesopotamia, it was developed as a record-keeping vehicle for commercial transactions or administrative procedures. There are also texts that served as "copy books" for the education of future scribes. Eventually, cuneiform script was used to produce some of the greatest literary works in recorded history.

Source:
http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/MUS/ED/TRC/MESO/writing.html

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Ancient Civilizations & World Wonders in Arabia

The Ancient Mesopotamia (Cradle of Civilization)

Existed: From 9000 B.C. until 500 B.C

Location: Between the present-day Syria and Iraq.

History: Mesopotamia, called the "cradle of civilization", was the site of early river valley settlement. Conditions in the area led to people constructing permanent communities, practicing sustained farming methods, and evolving from a hunter-gatherer society into agriculture communities. Housing evolved into walled cities. Similar river valley civilizations soon followed in the Indus and Nile River regions. Today Mesopotamia is part of Iraq. This river-valley region was the site of a series of city-state kingdoms including Sumer, Babylon, and Assyria.




Petra (The Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans)

Existed: From about 300 B.C. until 600 A.C.

Location: The area of present-day northern Saudi Arabia and southern Jordan .

History: The queen of the caravan cities, the legendary Petra at the edge of the Arabian Desert was the glittering capital of the Nabataean King Aretas IV (9 B.C. to 40 A.D.). Masters of water technology, the Nabataeans provided their city with great tunnel constructions and water chambers. An amphitheatre, built after Greek-Roman prototypes, offered space for an audience of no fewer than 4,000 persons. Still today, the Palace Tombs of Petra, with the 42-metre-high Hellenistic temple façade on the El-Deir Monastery, belong to the most impressive achievements of Middle Eastern culture.

The Pyramids of Egypt

Built: From about 2700 to 2500 B.C.

Location: Giza, Egypt, on west bank of Nile River near Cairo

History: The Egyptian Pyramids are the oldest and only surviving member of the ancient wonders.

Of the 10 pyramids at Giza, the first three are held in the highest regard. The first, and largest, was erected for the Pharaoh Khufu. Known as the Great Pyramid, it rises about 450 feet (having lost about 30 feet off the top over the years) and covers 13 acres.
It's believed to have taken 100,000 laborers about 20 years to build the mammoth Khufu pyramid, using an estimated 2.3 million blocks. By one theory, crews dragged or pushed limestone blocks up mud-slicked ramps to construct the royal tombs.

Many scholars think the pyramid shape was an important religious statement for the Egyptians, perhaps symbolizing the slanting rays of the sun. Some speculate the sloping sides were intended to help the soul of the king climb to the sky and join the gods.

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Picture Source:
http://www.exfoleyation.co.uk/photography/egypt2/images/3_%20Nine%20pyramids%20of%20Giza_JPG.jpg

The Pharos (Lighthouse) of Alexandria

Built: About 270 B.C.

Location: On ancient island of Pharos in harbor of Alexandria, Egypt

History: Upon its completion, the Alexandria lighthouse -- commonly estimated to have been about 400 feet high -- was one of the tallest structures on Earth. The Greek architect Sostratus designed it during the reign of King Ptolemy II.

The Pharos guided sailors into the city harbor for 1,500 years and was the last of the six lost wonders to disappear. Earthquakes toppled it in the 14th century A.D.
An Arab traveler made notes in 1166 that provide intricate details on the structure. From his writing, archaeologists have deduced that the lighthouse was constructed in three stages. At the top, a mirror reflected sunlight during the day, and a fire guided sailors at night.
The structure was so famous that the word "pharos" came to mean lighthouse in French, Italian and Spanish.

In November 1996, a team of divers searching the Mediterranean Sea claimed to have found the ruins of the fabled lighthouse of Pharos.


Alexandria Lighthouse

Image Source:
http://www.billmunnsgallery.com/images/SWGLH1.jpg


The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Built: About 600 B.C.

Location: In Babylon near modern-day Baghdad, Iraq

History: These gardens -- which may be only a fable -- are said to have been laid out on a brick terrace by King Nebuchadnezzar II for one of his wives. According to the writings of a Babylonian priest, they were approximately 400 feet square and 75 feet above the ground. His account says slaves working in shifts turned screws to lift water from the nearby Euphrates River to irrigate the trees, shrubs and flowers.



Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Image Source: http://home.cogeco.ca/~sbye/

The Ancient City of Sana'a

Founded: Between 5000 BC to 2500 BC.

Location: On the South West of Arabian Peninsula, Yemen.

History: According to popular legend Sana'a was founded by Shem, one of the three sons of Noah. The story tells of how Shem after coming a long way from the north, finally reached Yemen and found the plain of Sana'a most suitable for settlement. Shem chose originally the western part of the Sana'a plain close to Mount Aiban. When he began to lay the foundations a bird came and picked up his sounding lead. Shem followed the bird convinced that it was sent by Allah to show him a more suitable place. The bird flew to the eastern part of the Sana'a plain and dropped the lead at the foot of Mount Nugum.

Shem then laid the foundations for a city that was called "Madinat Sam" (the city of Shem). Later, the name changed to Azal (from the biblical Uzal -Gen. 10:27 - the sixth son of Joktan, the Arabic Qahtan). Finally, it was called Sana'a, meaning "the fortified one", in ancient inscription.

Bab El-Yaman, Sana'a


Picture source: http://www.geocities.com/Maldiveshores/Sana.jpg

Source of Information:
http://www.mideasttravelling.net/yemen/sanaa/sanaa_history.htm

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Who are The Arabs ?

In Islamic and Jewish tradition, Arabs are a Semitic people who trace their ancestry from Ismael (Isma3il), a son of the ancient patriarch Abraham and Hagar. Medieval Arab genealogists divided the Arabs into two groups:

*The "original Arabs" of South Arabia, descending from Qahtan (identified with the biblical Joktan). The Qahtanites are said to have migrated the land of Yemen following the destruction of the Dam of Ma'rib (Sad Ma'rib). The Qahtanite arabs were responsible for the ancient civilizations of Yemen including the biblically renowned Sheba (a descendent of Qahtan).

*The "Arabized Arabs" (musta`ribah) of North Arabia, descending from Adnan, supposed to be a descendant of Ishmael through Kedar. The Arabic language as it is spoken today in its classical Quranic form was the result of a mix between the original Arabic tongue of Qahtan and the northern Arabic which borrowed from other northern Semitic languages from the Levant.

Who are the Arabs? image ©MAF

And thus "An Arab, in the modern sense of the word, is one who is a national of an Arab state, has command of the Arabic language, and possesses a fundamental knowledge of Arabian tradition, that is, of the manners, customs, and political and social systems of the culture."

On its formation in 1946, the Arab League defined an "Arab" as follows:
"An Arab is a person whose language is Arabic, who lives in an Arabic speaking country, who is in sympathy with the aspirations of the Arabic speaking peoples."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab
For more information, please check the link above.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Arab World

Nowadays Arabia stretches on a very huge land. From the Persian-Arabian Gulf in the East, to the Atlantic Ocean in the West. It's population is reaching 300 millions. You might think it's a very huge population but they all spreaded within 22 countries (Egypt(80m) and Sudan(35m) covers more than 40% of the Arab Population). Arabia is devided into two geographical parts as follows:
East Arabia:
Including Arabian Gulf "Oil-Riched" Countries in the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Bahrian, Kuwait, Oman , United Arab of Emirates and Qatar) + Yemen, and the Northern Arabs of El-Sham (Syria, Jordan , Lebanon, Iraq and the land of Promise "Palestine") + Egypt, the political center of A.W. , also there are Arab-African countries in the region such as Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia and Comoros Islands !!!
West Arabia:
Including all the Saharan Countries of North Africa such as Lybia, Tunisia, Algeria, Muritania, Morocco and Westren Sahara !!!

The Arab World

Image Source: http://www.arabbay.com/images/arabmap.gif

Getting Started

Finally, I've just completed my first and new blog. I hope that it will be a very interesting one.
I'm not sure what to edit so far but I would like my site to be very informative and unique.
you can see from my title (Arooba) which relates to the Arabian World and all of it's news.
That's all for now, please contact me if you have any further advices or ideas for me.