[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

Ancient history (-5000 - 500)

Related: history - Pompeii - Rome - Greece - writing

Preceded by: prehistory

Followed by: Middle Ages

Piranèse, Deuxième frontispice - Le Antichità Romane, tome II

Circus Maximus
photo sourced here.

Pollice Verso (1872) - Jean-Léon Gérôme
photo sourced here.

Ancient history (-5000 - +500)

Ancient history is the study of significant cultural and political events from the beginning of human history until the Early Middle Ages. Although the ending date is largely arbitrary, most Western scholars use the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD as the traditional end of ancient history. Another term that is often used to refer to ancient history is antiquity, although this term is most often used to refer specifically to the civilizations of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000-5,500 years, with Sumerian cuneiform being the oldest form of writing discovered so far. Genetic evidence, however, points to the first appearance of human beings about 150,000 years ago. There is also a growing body of evidence that Homo sapiens first left Africa about 60,000 years ago. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_history [Oct 2005]

Roman empire

The Roman Empire's influence on government, law, and monumental architecture, as well as many other aspects of Western life remains inescapable. Roman titles of power were adopted by successor states and other entities with imperial pretensions, including the Frankish kingdom, the Holy Roman Empire, the Russian/Kiev dynasties (see czars), and the German Empire (see Kaiser). See also: Roman culture. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Roman_Empire [Jun 2004]

Ancient erotic art [...]

The pious Emperor Theodosius abstained from destroying the not very decent statues and other relics of the heathen, in order to perpetuate and expose all the absurdity and infamy of false religions, and to inspire contempt and hatred of them." --Sylvain Mareschal.

The ancient Roman and Greek cultures had a very different attitude about sexuality than successive European cultures, more akin to that of the Kama Sutra. This, of course, was unimaginable to latter day Europeans, who rigidly compartmentalized body, mind and spirit, and to whom any sexuality was sinful and morbid.

Some of the best artistic expressions of this can be found in the recovered city of Pompeii. Pompeii was frozen in time by the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D., and not unearthed until 1748. Pompeii was a seaside resort, devoted to the arts, relaxation, and the pursuit of pleasure. The excavators were horrified to discover erotic frescos, mosaics, statuary and phallic votive objects. The moveable erotic artifacts were taken to Naples and kept in seclusion in the Royal Museum. The erotic wall and floor art had lockable metal boxes constructed over them and were displayed to tourists for an extra fee (women and children excluded). When I visited Pompeii in the late 1960s, this peepshow was still in operation. --J. B. Hare http://www.sacred-texts.com/sex/rmn/ [Sept 2004]

Ars Amatoria

Panem et circenses

Juvenal (Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis) was a Roman satiric poet of the 1st century AD. Very little is known about his life, the ancient biographies being generally fictitious. He is best known for coining the phrase "panem et circenses" ("bread and circuses") to describe the primary pursuits of the Roman populace. Also the rhetorical question "Who shall guard the guardians?" is attributed to him.

He was known to be from Aquinum, and described himself as middle-aged at the time of publication of his first satire, which was sometime in the 100s AD. The latest known date for his activity is 127. For a time he was very poor and was dependent on the rich people in Rome, and never became well known; the only known contemporary mention is in Martial. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juvenal [Jun 2004]

Greece and Rome: Sexual morality

The sexual revolution was an outgrowth of a process in recent history. It was a development in the modern world which saw the collapse of the values of a morality rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition and the rise of permissive societies, of attitudes that were accepting of greater sexual freedom and experimentation that spread all over the world and were captured in the phrase free love.

This was a perhaps a throwback to over 2,000 years ago during the times of ancient Greece and Rome that provided the Graeco-Roman component of Western culture. During those times there was a different sexual and moral code. There were specific gods of love like the Greek Eros, from whom the word "erotic" is derived, and the Roman Cupid, who is the center of the modern Valentine's Day. In Greek mythology these characters seduced, romanced, made love, lusted, cheated, and even raped each other in very graphic and colorful ways. This can be contrasted with the teachings of the Christian Church.

The power of religion as wielded by the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches of Europe was radically undermined by the French Revolution of 1789 which saw the First Estate the clergy and the Second Estate made up of the ancien regime (nobles) give way to the power of the Third Estate of the peasants and bourgeoisie which surged towards a secular way of life. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_revolution [Oct 2004]

Babylon [...]

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications