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 Ancients starting with gods and kingships

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Fri 21 Aug 2015, 21:54

Thinking about Priscilla's thread about the benefits of religion I came to the comparing of the great civilisations at the dawn of the first organized city states as Mesopotamia and Egypt and over the world the Chinese and South-American civilisations.

And I saw some parallels as about the big impact religion had and also the connection of that religion with the kingships which all seem on the first sight to have a relationship with the gods...the king seen as the spokesman to the gods or even the gods themselves...
And then came the French philosophers...?  And the French revolution...
As I have no time this evening to elaborate in full my thoughts I give first my links...
https://goo.gl/HlUCZj

http://www.amazon.com/Kingship-Gods-Religion-Integration-Institute/dp/0226260119
I was so Lucky to find the whole text:
http://oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/docs/kingship.pdf
And South America
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec_mythology
http://www.crystalinks.com/mayangods.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapa_Inca
http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsAmericas/CentralAztecEmperors.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Aztecs


Kind regards, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Sat 22 Aug 2015, 21:43

Paul :
I'm a bit bothered by the first link you give. I think the distinction is being overstated - after all, Gilgamesh was regarded as 2/3 god and 1/3 man, so rather more than the "first citizen" status suggested therein, and the King Lists refer to kingship being "let down by the gods" after the flood.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Sun 23 Aug 2015, 22:04

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Paul :
I'm a bit bothered by the first link you give. I think the distinction is being overstated - after all, Gilgamesh was regarded as 2/3 god and 1/3 man, so rather more than the "first citizen" status suggested therein, and the King Lists refer to kingship being "let down by the gods" after the flood.

 

Gil, I wasn't aware of the task I have entered to seek for the parallels allover the world. And I haven't yet started with China.
Still reading the book that I mentioned and skipping over all the not essential for my thesis...Just started with Mesopotamia Chapter 16 Page 215
And yes the environment seems to be primordial in the evolution of religion and kingship...
Will tomorrow elaborate more...today finish, have to go to sleep...

http://oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/docs/kingship.pdf

And look in the text for the meaning of "lugal"...

Happy to see you once back Gil.
Your friend, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Mon 24 Aug 2015, 21:55

Gil excuses...
spent my evening on the "Historum" with a message and research about the decline of the Dutch Republic...and further tried to research the English word "pity" to manage a reply in Caro's "pity" thread. Checked also Vizzer's faux ami "pitié", which has on the first sight the same meaning as in English and the same meaning as our Dutch "medelijden" (suffering together with the other). Still struggling with the "burning pity"...but will enter the discussion when I am ready Wink ...

And now I will read further on the religion and kingship in Mesopotamia and perhaps start with China...

Your friend, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Mon 24 Aug 2015, 23:50

Paul :
Be careful of "Lugal". It, "En" and "Ensi" seem to have differed in significance from place to place, and time to time. Lugulbanda seems to have been one of Enmerkar's subordinate commanders, but later he married the goddess Ninsun and was deified himself. If you can find the proto-epics of Lugulbanda and Enmerkar, or better still, that of Atrahasis, I'm sure you will conclude that there was probably a series of such epics which have failed to come down to us, probably because G. was used as a school text, much as Caesar's "Gallic Wars" was used in British public schools. Molesworth refers to characters and events from it in "How to be Topp" etc.

Regards
Ian

(ps - off to do my stationmastering for a few days, so entering an internet cone of silence)
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Wed 26 Aug 2015, 08:05

Right up to Roman times it was considered no big deal whatsoever for a secular boss (such as a pharaoh or even the Roman emperor) to simply become a god, either at death or even beforehand depending on the politics and levels of megalomania pertaining. One could even say that strong elements of this persisted right up to the despotic monarchs of more recent times in Europe. The Stuarts in England and Scotland definitely leaned towards the notion that people should consider them God's lieutenants with a private hotline open to the man upstairs.

The ease with which people's suspension of disbelief can be extended to allow the notion of divinity to encompass sometimes even the most obvious fraudsters in power certainly calls into question the validity of the concept in its entirety. However there is no doubt that a blurring of the lines between divine and secular power (and a resulting form of power-sharing between secular and heavenly bosses) has lain at the heart of many of the world's political systems throughout history.

Every time the US president is compelled through convention to relay "God's" blessing to the public, or every time a tinpot dictator like Kim-Jong Un insists on political obedience while modelling it on religious obeisance with him playing the role normally reserved for a deity, then they and others like them are tapping into the long tradition of intentional blurring of these lines.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Thu 27 Aug 2015, 22:09

Still reading the book from Henri Frankfort: "Kingship and the Gods" and in the meantime looked at the Chinese corner:
http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/Chinese_Customs/Chinese_Dynasties.htm
http://www.religionfacts.com/chinese-religion/history
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_mythology


What struck me in all my reads was the phenomenon of the relationship of the early civilisations with their environment that shaped their lives. And as they were aware of the impossibility to react to them and their own insignificance in that great pantheon of nature they made gods and godesses of it. And that on my first sight a bit the same all over the world.

From my first tour d'horizon, if you ask me, my heart goes most to the Mesopotamian civilisation as it is so "human"at least to me in their torment caused by the threatening natural environment...but perhaps the Chinese are also...

And yes I am struck that on different parts of the globe there was seemingly the same reaction in starting with gods...as they perhaps already did from the time of their tribes with their primitive democracy...

My first preliminary thoughts, tomorrow more...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Sun 30 Aug 2015, 20:59

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Paul :
I'm a bit bothered by the first link you give. I think the distinction is being overstated - after all, Gilgamesh was regarded as 2/3 god and 1/3 man, so rather more than the "first citizen" status suggested therein, and the King Lists refer to kingship being "let down by the gods" after the flood.

 Gil,

if you read the pages that I mentioned from the book you will see the nuances that the author brings in and that fit to your remarks.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Sun 30 Aug 2015, 21:50

Reading about the Chinese systems there seems to be some alternative philosophies? parallels with the Greeks? and the typical? Mandate of Heaven...



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Schools_of_Thought
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandate_of_Heaven

And during my reading of the last days there was a lot of "narration" that I recognized as learned at school in the lessons of Roman-Catholic religion in the Fifties...as the good and evil...the dualism from Zoroasterism...? Adam and Eva...?
Also as if one religion looked to the other ones to include a "bestselling" episode...? Or was it that people were moved by the same concepts and so ended with something similar...? Some point to the similarities between Egypt and the South-American style and rites...even the building of the stones on each other...everywhere pyramids, pyramidal towers, burial mounds...even in China and the Balkan...the typical size to be closer to the "Heaven" and the "Gods"...?

A bit as inventors, which use former inventions as starting point to find new ways...?

And I understand the primitive human in front of the powers of nature that he don't understand, but where he sees the cycles and where he tries to incorporate that in his lifeworld.

One last, especially for Nordmann, and the author of the book that I mentioned warned for it...one can perhaps with his nowadays thinking not that easely transpose himself in the thinking world of for instance some Egyptian workers on the pyramids who really believed that they did the right thing in accordance with their beliefs that they had learned from their childhood on...?

Kind regards, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Mon 31 Aug 2015, 21:51

I've often wondered if "pyramids" and other artificial mountains may point to a people's past being in mountainous regions.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Mon 31 Aug 2015, 22:46

Aren't the Egyptian pyramids thought to have come to represent crepuscular rays although they developed originally from putting a smaller mastaba type tomb on top of another, larger one?
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Tue 01 Sep 2015, 07:47

Hi Paul - not sure why you directed the last comment in your post specifically to me but yes, it is always a hazard when ascertaining ancient motives to fail to truly appreciate how our ancestors thought and what prompted them to think in any particular way. There is always a danger of presuming much based on modern perceptions that could never have been present at the time. Likewise there is a danger however in dismissing ancient thought processes as non-understandable due to their antiquity whereas rather basic motivations that still apply now applied then also.

On the subject of the overlap between divine and earthly power both dangers mentioned above are of course present. However it is reasonably safe to observe that the distinction between both representations of power in ancient societies (and in those of more recent times which we used to call "primitive") was necessarily blurred and the connection between both much tighter than pertains today. In a society where much that we know today as natural phenomena or the product of human activity in macro-social terms was attributed to divine activity then the tendency was to assume the presence of gods who were much more "in your face" than the modern version. It was inconceivable that gods who were so prepared to regularly micro-manage human affairs weren't rubbing shoulders to some extent with the actual powers that be. This assumption of course lends itself to manipulation by and to the benefit of those same powers, so that this happened too is a rather inevitable conclusion.
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Tue 01 Sep 2015, 22:08

@ferval wrote:
Aren't the Egyptian pyramids thought to have come to represent crepuscular rays although they developed originally from putting a smaller mastaba type tomb on top of another, larger one?

 Ferval,

not sure what you mean with "crepuscular rays"...

But due to your mentioning I did some research as I was not satisfied wint my sentence in an earlier message:
"everywhere pyramids, pyramidal towers, burial mounds...even in China and the Balkan...the typical size to be closer to the "Heaven" and the "Gods"...?"

I don't think, as you studied the phenomenon closer, that it had something to do with to be closer to the "Heaven" but the tumuli, burial mounds, pyramids are perhaps a sign in the landscape in order to mark the importance of the deceased? Or was it to protect the grave from grave robbers?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastaba

And the Mesopotamian ziggurats, where the mastabas had some ressemblance with, were not burial mounds but temples and as the religion was others than the Egyptian the burial was also otherwise
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziggurat
http://factsanddetails.com/world/cat56/sub363/item1523.html


But then that Egyptian method of burial mound seems to be a bit universal? How can that be explained? Some copying of the Egyptians or each local development ending in the same method by some related thinking...? And what with the mesoamerican pyramids?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_pyramids
http://gallery.sjsu.edu/oldworld/asiangate/chinesetombs/tomb-tombs-page.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumulus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesoamerican_pyramids


Kind regards, Paul.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Wed 02 Sep 2015, 01:01

Here you are Paul, these are crepuscular rays:



Piling earth in great mounds over the dead certainly didn't start with the Egyptians, nearly 1000 years before the pyramids at Giza were built, people errected this chambered tomb on far away Orkney:



and just a little later, its big brother in Ireland. It's been 'tidied up' somewhat....



The big difference with the Meso-American pyramids is that they, amongst their other functions were, like ziggurats, designed to be arenas for ceremony, they were intended to be climbed for the performance of rituals.

However, it's late and I must away to bed...
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Wed 02 Sep 2015, 09:45

The biggest mystery of the Egyptian pyramids has always been why they - above almost all other ancient megalithic structures excepting Stonehenge - attract such copious amounts of crapological theory regarding their function, design and conception.

However they are rather striking (and easy to understand) symbolic representations of the belief that divine authority was considered an extension of secular authority, the death of the ruler simply a stage in the development of that authority which continued afterwards in divine form. The same trick is claimed for Catholic saints, amongst others. I imagine however that those who had the job of extricating the pharaoh's brains out through his nose and loading his more slippery bits into clay jars might have entertained some small doubts about the whole process, whatever the priestly foremen might have told them.
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Sat 05 Sep 2015, 20:15

@nordmann wrote:
Hi Paul - not sure why you directed the last comment in your post specifically to me but yes, it is always a hazard when ascertaining ancient motives to fail to truly appreciate how our ancestors thought and what prompted them to think in any particular way. There is always a danger of presuming much based on modern perceptions that could never have been present at the time. Likewise there is a danger however in dismissing ancient thought processes as non-understandable due to their antiquity whereas rather basic motivations that still apply now applied then also.

On the subject of the overlap between divine and earthly power both dangers mentioned above are of course present. However it is reasonably safe to observe that the distinction between both representations of power in ancient societies (and in those of more recent times which we used to call "primitive") was necessarily blurred and the connection between both much tighter than pertains today. In a society where much that we know today as natural phenomena or the product of human activity in macro-social terms was attributed to divine activity then the tendency was to assume the presence of gods who were much more "in your face" than the modern version. It was inconceivable that gods who were so prepared to regularly micro-manage human affairs weren't rubbing shoulders to some extent with the actual powers that be. This assumption of course lends itself to manipulation by and to the benefit of those same powers, so that this happened too is a rather inevitable conclusion.


Nordmann,

excuses for the delay of my reply.

" not sure why you directed the last comment in your post specifically to me but yes, it is always a hazard when ascertaining ancient motives to fail to truly appreciate how our ancestors thought and what prompted them to think in any particular way."

Because you are the authority here on this board about such in depth questions Wink ...

"This assumption of course lends itself to manipulation by and to the benefit of those same powers, so that this happened too is a rather inevitable conclusion"

It is indeed inevitable that there were profits from there status as privileged ones...
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Sat 05 Sep 2015, 20:37

Seems that I have touched the "save" button when a new message was sent to me...and now my unachieved message shows twice...?

Further where I ended...

It is indeed inevitable that there were profits from their status as privileged ones...
Even in the book that I mentioned on page 223...about the temple communities of the first city states in Mesopotamia...

"Urukagina of Lagash, at the end of the Early Dynastic period describes certain abuses to which he put an end"
As the "governor" of the temple using communal labour and all to his own purposes and enrichment...

Nevertheless, I am for the moment busy on Historum with Philip II of Spain, it will be always a question what a Philip II was thinking of themselves? Were they thinking really that they were designed to act as the representatives of God on earth or did they consider it just as a neccesary trick to add some weight to their functions in front of the common man...?

Kind regards and with esteem as always, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Sat 05 Sep 2015, 20:47

correction:

"what a Philip II and other monarchs wer thinking of themselves..."
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Sat 05 Sep 2015, 21:10

Ferval,

thank you for your reply about the "crepuscules"... and your photos of the "tumuli"...

"The big difference with the Meso-American pyramids is that they, amongst their other functions were, like ziggurats, designed to be arenas for ceremony, they were intended to be climbed for the performance of rituals. "

yes Meso-American pyramids and ziggurats...
But still asking myself, why all these grave monuments were that similar allover the ancient world...all a kind of "tumuli"...?
And while we are on it, the Meso-American pyramids and the ziggurats...why the similarities in design...and that far from each other...an ancient man came obligatory by a similar thinking process to a similar shape...?

Kind regards and with esteem to your always to the point remarks, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Tue 08 Sep 2015, 08:14

Paul wrote:
But still asking myself, why all these grave monuments were that similar allover the ancient world...all a kind of "tumuli"...?

But they're not, are they? Some monumental structures went in the opposite direction. It seems to me that if you're going to inter a prestigious corpse you're pretty much faced with only two alternatives - dig a fancy hole or build a monument at ground level up around the cadaver (or if you want to be really cute, a bit of both).

Paul wrote:
And while we are on it, the Meso-American pyramids and the ziggurats...why the similarities in design

Well, if you've discovered how to cut, dress and assemble stone structures but have yet to master counterforting then the ziggurat/Mesoamerican-pyramid form is really all one has to use if one wants to go really big. The surprise would be if the laws of physics had been obeyed using radically different designs in different non-counterforting architectural styles. The evidence however suggests that different cultures at different times when faced with the same challenge and with the same limitations regarding lateral load bearing tended to the most logical conclusion.
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Tue 08 Sep 2015, 22:04

@nordmann wrote:
Paul wrote:
But still asking myself, why all these grave monuments were that similar allover the ancient world...all a kind of "tumuli"...?

But they're not, are they? Some monumental structures went in the opposite direction. It seems to me that if you're going to inter a prestigious corpse you're pretty much faced with only two alternatives - dig a fancy hole or build a monument at ground level up around the cadaver (or if you want to be really cute, a bit of both).

Paul wrote:
And while we are on it, the Meso-American pyramids and the ziggurats...why the similarities in design

Well, if you've discovered how to cut, dress and assemble stone structures but have yet to master counterforting then the ziggurat/Mesoamerican-pyramid form is really all one has to use if one wants to go really big. The surprise would be if the laws of physics had been obeyed using radically different designs in different non-counterforting architectural styles. The evidence however suggests that different cultures at different times when faced with the same challenge and with the same limitations regarding lateral load bearing tended to the most logical conclusion.

"Well, if you've discovered how to cut, dress and assemble stone structures but have yet to master counterforting then the ziggurat/Mesoamerican-pyramid form is really all one has to use if one wants to go really big. The surprise would be if the laws of physics had been obeyed using radically different designs in different non-counterforting architectural styles. The evidence however suggests that different cultures at different times when faced with the same challenge and with the same limitations regarding lateral load bearing tended to the most logical conclusion"

Yes, Nordmann, there you have a point. And those ancients were not that stupid too as they had learned by trial and error what was possible and what not. Stupid not at all, look at Stonehenge...and I read today that they have discovered now a mega Stonehenge...

"But they're not, are they? Some monumental structures went in the opposite direction. It seems to me that if you're going to inter a prestigious corpse you're pretty much faced with only two alternatives - dig a fancy hole or build a monument at ground level up around the cadaver (or if you want to be really cute, a bit of both)."

"dig a fancy hole"

Nordmann, where have you those fancy holes...?
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2003JHA....34..219G
And now I start to see more and more some relation between all these burial mounds?
http://www.britannica.com/topic/burial-mound
http://world-pyramids.com/en/world-pyramids/northern-america/monk-mound,-great-pyramid-of-the-usa.html#.Ve9MpP3osdV
http://archive.archaeology.org/online/features/neolithic/


Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Wed 09 Sep 2015, 07:46

Paul wrote:
Nordmann, where have you those fancy holes...?

Oooh, Paul, you are awful - but I like you!  Smile

But seriously, and at the risk of inviting even more scorn from certain quarters here, the burial of Chinese emperors in monumental structures from the third century BCE right up to the Ming dynasty tended to favour giant underground palatial complexes. Qin Shi Huang and Dingling are the two most famous examples (and book-end the entire period rather beautifully) but there are literally hundreds more, some reckoned to be as impressive if not even more so, and which largely remain unexcavated, presently by order of the authorities.

The Valley of the Kings in Egypt is another good example of quite complex and extensive monumental building taking place almost entirely underground.

The prehistoric passage graves can also be cited as examples, but in truth there is huge debate about how prevalent the practise of covering these with tumuli might have been. At one time it was presumed that this was always true but that is by no means accepted belief now. For the purpose of this discussion I'd suggest they straddle both camps - being often but not always having been built through excavation and often but not always built at ground level and then covered with impressive earthworks.
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Thu 10 Sep 2015, 20:38

Nordmann thanks for the answer. and yes after I wrote it I started to think that you were right. After all I was both in Egypt and China to visit what you mentioned.

Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.

PS: Many times my English has perhaps some special twisted sentences in het eyes of the natives..
      I understood "fancy" as "capricious" while in my Collins paperback stays "special, unusual and elaborate"...
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Wed 13 Apr 2016, 22:24

Especially for Nordmann and Priscilla

Further  to this thread and after some weeks of digging through the web about my thread on the French Passion-Histoire:
http://passion-histoire.net/viewtopic.php?f=82&t=38982
"Antiquité partout démarrée avec dieux et rois? (Antiquity everywhere started with gods and kings?)

Perhaps first some general remarks...
I can understand that after a mere 5000 years, let's say some 200 à 300 generations, there remains some "heridity" in the observation of the univers, the environment and the fellow humans. I can understand that even in the 21th century after most of the mysteries of that univers, that environment, their human existence are elucidated are still many times inclined to adhere to the myths emerged during that period. After all with each generation they were impregnated through customs, behaviours, oral and written stories with the history of their forebears and I can understand that it is not easy to resist with ones level-headed judgment to these seducing myths.
I even wonder if there is in our genetic heridity not a hang for myth forming as part of surviving methodology to protect against existential anxiety, which, if wide spread can derail the society in which one exist?

And then about my French thread, which is nearly an equivalent of this thread:
"Mais peut-être dans toute ma lecture je pense d'avoir appris:
Les premières sociétés sont en contact avec leur environnement, un environnement qu'ils ne comprennent pas et qu'ils craignent. Et ils voient que leur survie dépend de la nature, comme la pluie, le soleil, les saisons...Et ils contemplent ces élements comme des "dieux". Dieux qu'ils devont plaire pour n'avoir pas des catastrophes, pour avoir une chasse réussie, une récolte opulente...et là au bout du temps on avait des "shaman", qui pretendent d'avoir une relation avec les "dieux" ou peuvent interpréter les désirs des "dieux"...
Et là j'ai des difficultés: Est-ce que le "chef" émergant ètait un gerrier qui d'abord assurait la sécurité et ça en collaboration avec le "prêtre" ou est-ce que dès le début les deux fonctions sont mixtes? J'ai aussi lu d'une sorte de démocracie primitive où la "réunion des ainés" avait la parole décisive...

Une deuxiéme remarque et c'est maintes fois abordé dans le livre que j'ai mentioné en haut "Kings and gods" et que j'ai parcouru une deuxième fois pour les questions de ce fil:
On ne doit pas avoir une perception moderne de la réligion des anciens. Pour eux leur "roi" intermediaire entre eux et les dieux ou même apartenant à ces dieux mêmes, était d'une valeur prémordiale et ils étaient prêts à des tâches exorbitantes tout pour gagner la faveur des dieux qui résultait dans leur bien-être."

But perhaps in all my reading I think to have learned:
The first societies were in contact with their environment, an environment, which they didn't understand and that they feared. and they saw that their survival depended from nature, as the rain, the sun, the seasons...And they contemplated these elements as "gods". Gods to which they had to please to not occur to catastrophies, to have a successful hunt, an opulant harvest...and there through the years one had "shamans", who pretended to have a relationship with the "gods" or could interpret the desires of the "gods"...
And there I have some difficulties: Was the emergent "chief" a warrier, who first assured the security and that with the collaboration of the "priest" or are thes two functions from the start on already mixed? I have also read about a kind of primitive democracy where the  "council of the elders" had the decisive...
A second remark and it is frequently brought in the book that I have mentioned here above "Kings and gods" and that I a secont time skipped through concerning the questions of this thread:
One has not to have a modern perception of the religion of the ancients. For them theri "king" intermediary between them and the gods or even belonging to thes gods themselves, was of prmordial valour and they were ready for exorbitant tasks to gain the favour of gods, favour which resulted in their well- being.

I have still a conclusion of the thread to translate from French but too late thsi evening to start it, it will be for tomorrow...

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Thu 14 Apr 2016, 07:57

It seems an extraordinary amount of digging and time used to arrive at what look like rather self-evident conclusions, Paul. Or am I missing something?

Also, there seems to be a rather simplistic definition of "king" in all this that doesn't really square with the historic diversity of its application as a title (often purely in retrospect, we no longer have exact translations any more in many cases for whatever term the original society might have used and how they meant it). In Irish history, for example, there has never been any overlap whatsoever between the office of monarch and a divinity of any nature, and definitely none inferred in the title used and its etymological roots. And nor was there any shortage of them up to the English takeover either - so many often at one time that they had to be nominally graduated to avoid gradation! (Ceannaire, Taoiseach, Rí, Ard-Rí etc)
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Thu 14 Apr 2016, 21:49

Conclusion as promised yesterday:

"Mon interprétation de ce que j'ai lu jusqu'à maintenant est plutôt que la sédentarisation et l'agriculture ont provoqués la naissance de "dieux". Avec la sédentarisation on avait une plus grande différenciation des tâches et un surplus de vivres et plus de temps à se consacrer à des liens avec les "dieux"...et ces grandes civilisations deviennent possibles par un environnement favorables à cet entreprises (je me souviens un fil de vous, ici dans le même rubrique concernant "la nature responsable pour la civilisation), voir l'exemple de l' Egypte, la Mésopotamie, la Chine, l' Inde...

Et l'émergence des "rois" était d'abord lié au "dieu" local du "city-state" où je ne sais pas comment le "roi" par ses compétences guèrrières?, par le consentement des "vieux"?, par son érudité? était élu comme "roi", un "roi" qui pour le peuple est intermédiaire avec les "dieux" ou même comme le cas en Egypte le Pharao, dieu lui-même...
Et ces "rois" locaux obtiennent par des guerres ou des coalitions un pouvoir plus étendu et ce pouvoir est aussi confirmé par l'absorbtion des "dieux des "villes" rendus sous la dominance du "dieu" central du royaume dominant..."

(My interpretation of what I have read up to now, is that the sedentarisation and the agriculture have provoked the birth of "gods". With the sedentarisation one had a greater differenciation of the tasks and a surplus of lifehood and more time to devote to the relationship with the "gods"...and these great civilisations became possible by an environment favourable at such entrerprises. See the examples of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India...
And the emergence of the "kings" was first related to the local "god" of the "city state", where, I don't know how the "king" by his warrior competences? by the consentment of the "elders"?, by his own erudity? was chosen as "king", a "king" who was for the people the intermediator with the "gods" or even in the case of Egypt, the Pharao, god himself...
And the local "kings" received by wars or coalitions a more extended power and that power is also confirmed by the absorption of the "gods" of the conquered cities brought under the dominance of the central "god" of the dominant kingdom...)


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Thu 14 Apr 2016, 22:16

@nordmann wrote:
It seems an extraordinary amount of digging and time used to arrive at what look like rather self-evident conclusions, Paul. Or am I missing something?

Also, there seems to be a rather simplistic definition of "king" in all this that doesn't really square with the historic diversity of its application as a title (often purely in retrospect, we no longer have exact translations any more in many cases for whatever term the original society might have used and how they meant it). In Irish history, for example, there has never been any overlap whatsoever between the office of monarch and a divinity of any nature, and definitely none inferred in the title used and its etymological roots. And nor was there any shortage of them up to the English takeover either - so many often at one time that they had to be nominally graduated to avoid gradation! (Ceannaire, Taoiseach, Rí, Ard-Rí etc)
 Nordmann,

"It seems an extraordinary amount of digging and time used to arrive at what look like rather self-evident conclusions, Paul. Or am I missing something?"

"self-evident conclusions" Wink
Although my conclusion is already questioned on the French board...for instance the god "Enlil" of one city state although that city-state was not the most powerful, became nevertheless the upper god of the Sumerian pantheon...and it is only one example...
And I, at least, have by my painstaking research now for my own some broader insight of the "story" Wink ...

"Also, there seems to be a rather simplistic definition of "king" in all this that doesn't really square with the historic diversity of its application as a title (often purely in retrospect, we no longer have exact translations any more in many cases for whatever term the original society might have used and how they meant it). In Irish history, for example, there has never been any overlap whatsoever between the office of monarch and a divinity of any nature, and definitely none inferred in the title used and its etymological roots."

When I write the expression "king" I mean in fact "ruler"...any kind of ruler and there were overtime a lot of differences and their relation with the "religion" and yes also there were a lot of different "religions"...And I am in fact more speaking about the start, the emergence. As with the evolution of new blue prints for society the general people and even the monarchs became aware that the whole constellation was based on no firm ground...the most quick changes happened in the age of the Enlightenment...but for instance still the old myths were available, when a Wilhelm I of Prussia in the Hall of Mirrors of Versailles proclaimed : "The crown that I received by the grace of God..."(or something in that sense, I can find the exact wording)...

"And nor was there any shortage of them up to the English takeover either - so many often at one time that they had to be nominally graduated to avoid gradation! (Ceannaire, Taoiseach, Rí, Ard-Rí etc)"

Nordmann, I don't understand one word of that sentence...

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 08:26

The sentence meant only that within one culture, and within one time period, one society managed to come up with several titles for rulers which all can translate as "king" in modern parlance but which were different descriptions describing different roles in every respect except that they ruled. And none of them had a religious meaning or role in any shape or form at the time.

I am still not persuaded by your argument regarding cause and effect when it comes to kingship and deity. Rulers are often - indeed this is where one could use "always" with some confidence - manipulative people or the product of manipulative people, the target of their manipulation being everyone else in their defined community, if possible.

Religious belief and the associated belief in deities are time-honoured vulnerabilities to be exploited by such manipulative people. While monarchy and religion are ancient bed-fellows, I would tend to the view that their relationship was forged through rather different mechanisms than the ones upon which you theorise.
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 12:19

I think you also should be bearing in mind that ancient religions - and indeed many modern ones outside of monotheism - do not have within them expressions of hierarchical power under an "overlord" which neatly mirrors secular power structures, making it difficult to imagine how they could have been devised using secular authority as a guide. What's more, some of these - like Shinto - proved themselves totally amenable to the secular ruler, in this case the Japanese emperor, being insinuated to have divine authority based on the faith's religious tenets and his position of overlord allegedly confirmed through this assumption of divinity. This would indicate rather the reverse of your assumption, in this case a quite separately evolved belief system being shoe-horned into service in a power structure which even the most primitive society would understand regarding its hierarchical structure and the exercise of power along the chain from a single ruler at the top.

I think, if you are seeking a common origin for both secular power structures along with the ideologies that sustain them and for religious belief systems which arose within the same cultural context, you are rather limited to the rather self-evident observation that both require an acknowledgement of the presence of a higher authority than the average individual can exert, be it real or imaginary. After that the parallels are no longer so obvious, and when they do become obvious are equally obviously incidental in most cases. This duality, in fact, is what has sustained both ever since they embarked on what is now an ancient symbiosis of mutual exploitation. Secular authority's partnership with its religious counterpart quite depends on it, and vice versa. Had they both had absolutely common roots, and therefore very common rationale behind their purpose and development, this symbiosis would have been unwarranted, and in fact might never have started at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 21:30

@nordmann wrote:
The sentence meant only that within one culture, and within one time period, one society managed to come up with several titles for rulers which all can translate as "king" in modern parlance but which were different descriptions describing different roles in every respect except that they ruled. And none of them had a religious meaning or role in any shape or form at the time.

I am still not persuaded by your argument regarding cause and effect when it comes to kingship and deity. Rulers are often - indeed this is where one could use "always" with some confidence - manipulative people or the product of manipulative people, the target of their manipulation being everyone else in their defined community, if possible.

Religious belief and the associated belief in deities are time-honoured vulnerabilities to be exploited by such manipulative people. While monarchy and religion are ancient bed-fellows, I would tend to the view that their relationship was forged through rather different mechanisms than the ones upon which you theorise.


Nordmann,

"I am still not persuaded by your argument regarding cause and effect when it comes to kingship and deity. Rulers are often - indeed this is where one could use "always" with some confidence - manipulative people or the product of manipulative people, the target of their manipulation being everyone else in their defined community, if possible."

"I am still not persuaded by your argument regarding cause and effect when it comes to kingship and deity"
To be sure that I not misinterpret your sentence...do you mean with "cause and effect" that "kingship is the cause of "deity"? In any case that was not my argument...
Or do you mean that the kings were the result, the effect of the deities?

But if I understand it well we are, as I read you, agreeing on most...?
In fact if you read my French text that I translated as conclusion:


"And the emergence of the "kings" was first related to the local "god" of the "city state", where, I don't know how the "king" by his warrior competences? by the consentment of the "elders"?, by his own erudity? was chosen as "king", a "king" who was for the people the intermediator with the "gods" or even in the case of Egypt, the Pharao, god himself..."

"where I don't know how the "king" by his warrior competences? by the consentment of the "elders"? by his own erudity? was chosen as "king"
I had perhaps better said first the "candidate king"...?
And yes the "emerging" of a "ruler" is not fully elucidated as written sources are scarce, but there are hints that "rulers" were as manipulative as nowadays (for instance a Sumerian high priest who used public funds and services for his own advantage) and perhaps already nearly as clever as nowadays...but I suppose the great difference with now was that the common people ignoring that much about the "real" (I am thinking about the thread of Temperance and yours Wink ) world, that they were easely led into all kind of lurring and myth forming...?

And I agree also that already from earlier times as with the Greeks there were trials to separate the "ruler" from the "religion"...?

Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Ancients starting with gods and kingships   Fri 15 Apr 2016, 22:04

@nordmann wrote:
I think you also should be bearing in mind that ancient religions - and indeed many modern ones outside of monotheism - do not have within them expressions of hierarchical power under an "overlord" which neatly mirrors secular power structures, making it difficult to imagine how they could have been devised using secular authority as a guide. What's more, some of these - like Shinto - proved themselves totally amenable to the secular ruler, in this case the Japanese emperor, being insinuated to have divine authority based on the faith's religious tenets and his position of overlord allegedly confirmed through this assumption of divinity. This would indicate rather the reverse of your assumption, in this case a quite separately evolved belief system being shoe-horned into service in a power structure which even the most primitive society would understand regarding its hierarchical structure and the exercise of power along the chain from a single ruler at the top.

I think, if you are seeking a common origin for both secular power structures along with the ideologies that sustain them and for religious belief systems which arose within the same cultural context, you are rather limited to the rather self-evident observation that both require an acknowledgement of the presence of a higher authority than the average individual can exert, be it real or imaginary. After that the parallels are no longer so obvious, and when they do become obvious are equally obviously incidental in most cases. This duality, in fact, is what has sustained both ever since they embarked on what is now an ancient symbiosis of mutual exploitation. Secular authority's partnership with its religious counterpart quite depends on it, and vice versa. Had they both had absolutely common roots, and therefore very common rationale behind their purpose and development, this symbiosis would have been unwarranted, and in fact might never have started at all.


Nordmann,

you can be right that the "secular" power shaped sometimes the hiearchy of the religious power...for instance the local gods already linked to the local rulers were when these local rulers became united under a central dominant ruler, added to the pantheon. That was the advantage of polytheism Wink . But "religion" had also a life on its own, and many times "rulers" had to adapt to new emerged tendencies in religious belief...?

"Had they both had absolutely common roots, and therefore very common rationale behind their purpose and development, this symbiosis would have been unwarranted, and in fact might never have started at all."

Yes perhaps not "absolutely" common roots...

"and therefore very common rationale behind their purpose and development"

Not sure about that...the religious people making a "parallel" divine world, which always in a certain manner ha some relationship with their "earthly" reality...?

"this symbiosis would have been unwarranted, and in fact might never have started at all."
And somewhere looking to history I suppose that there in any case would have been a relationship between secular power and religion because the practicers of any belief have also an hiearchy in the caste of the priests...?

Kind regards, Paul.
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