Monday, May 28, 2007

7 Quick Facts on the Phoenicians

1. The were the Ancient inhabitants of Lebanon. The Phoenicians were probably the most commercially astute people of the Ancient World.

2. They developed a purple dye which was a big hit for monarchs around the Mediterranean who needed the colour for their tunics.

3. Carthage in North Africa was a Phoenician colony. It was the same Carthage that battled Rome for supremacy in the Middle East.

4. They had a few kings called Hiram. One of whom helped supply the cedar trees for King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem.

5. Their Main cities were Sidon and Tyre. Both of which still exist in Lebanon today.

6. They developed an early alphabet that influenced the Greeks. Not bad for a people who were more known for their sea trading exploits than anything else.

7. They were not a major power but did set up colonies in Spain, North Africa and Cyprus that enhanced their reach.

Ancient Hebrew Quiz

1. Who led the rebellion against the Syrian-Greeks that eventually drove the latter from the country?
2. What group of Jews did this person come from?
3. What two individuals were responsible for building the Second Temple?
4. Who was the Persian King Ahauseus’s chief wife before Esther?
5. Who was Esther’s uncle?
6. What was the name of Ahaseurus’s Chief Minister who was hanged at the gallows for trying to commit genocide against the Jews?
7. Who were Moses’ brother and sister?
8. What was Abraham’s name before it was changed?
9. What was the name of the Jewish high court?
10. Who was the Father of Tamar?
11. Which group of People destroyed the Second Temple?
12. Who was Jochanin Ben Zakai?
13. What are the two chief theories concerning the Origin of the Ethiopian Jews?
14. Which book contains the Sayings of Solomon?
15. On what Jewish holiday is the Book of Lamentations read?

Answers to Ancient Hebrew Quiz

1. Mathias the Maccabi and his sons of which Judah were the most renowned.
2. Hasmoneans
3. Ezra and Nehemiah.
4. Vashti
5. Mordechai
6. Haman
7. Aaron and Miriam.
8. Avram or Abram.
9. Sanhedrin
10. David
11. The Romans.
12. Leader of the Zealot Group that fought against the Romans.
13. The first claims they were the lost tribe of Dan, the second argues they were descendants of the offspring of Solomon with the Queen of Sheba.
14. Proverbs
15. Tisha B’Av.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

14 Facts about Tamerlane

1. Tamerlane was born in 1336. His real name was Timur Leng or ‘Timur the Lame’.

2. He was not a Mongol as is popularly believed but a Muslim Turk who spread his conservative brand of Islam across a large swath of Asia before his death in 1405.

3.He nevertheless borrowed many of the military techniques employed by Genghis Khan. Foremost amongst these were brutality, discipline and guile.

4. His base of operation was the White Horde (Chagtai Khanate) one of the survivor regions from the old Mongolian Empire.

5. In 1387 he pushed the Persian forces to the Euphrates River. This feat was accomplished very soon after Tamerlane had consolidated his hold over the White horde.

6. One of Tamerlane’s great rivals was Toktamish the Mongol Leader of the Golden Horde.

7. The Two butted heads between 1382 and 1395. Toktamish almost defeated Tamerlane at the Battle of the Steppes in 1391 but Tamerlane’s reserve troops saved the day.

8. The knockout blow for Tamerlane was his victory over Toktamish in 1395 at the Battle of Terek River. This defeat eliminated Toktamish as a power in Asia.

9. In 1399 Tamerlane defeated the Lithuanian forces of Witold at the Battle of Vorskla River. Tamerlane’s conquests extended to Poland.

10. Tamerlane planned an invasion of China but died before his ambition was realized.

11. He did however reach India (this guy really got around). In 1398 his troops attacked Delhi, burning the city and stealing much wealth. The city of Lahore was also laid waste. Much of the riches taken from the conquered city were used to build Tamerlane’s capital at Samarkand.

12. Tamerlane’s grandson Babur was the founder of India’s influential Mogul dynasty.
Tamerlane could have taken Moscow in 1395. His troops stopped short took the City of Yelets and then went on to subdue Persia instead.

13. Tamerlane was not tolerant of non-Muslims as a whole. His army often massacred non-Muslim populations in their advance to the next conquest.

14. His greatest victory is often thought to have occurred at the Battle of Angora in 1402 where Tamerlane defeated the forces of the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I.

History of the Far East Quiz

1. This Dynasty ruled China from the 16th to the 11th Century BC. Which Dynasty was this?
2. This 4000 mile network connected the Far East to Europe between 500 BC and 1500 AD. Which Network was this?
3. Put these three dynasties in order (earliest to latest): Ch’in, Zhou and Han?
4. This Emperor built the Great Wall of China. Who was he?
5. How many Kingdoms dominated China from AD 220-280?
6. This religion reached China in 50 AD. Which Religion was this?
7. What did Cai Lun invent in 150 AD?
8. Rebellions by this sect weakened the Chinese Empire between the 2nd and 3rd Ventury AD. What was this sect called?
9. Along which axis did China begin to divide politically between the 4th and 6th Century AD?
10. Wen di reunited China in the 580s, over which Dynasty was he the First Emperor?
11. Political and social reform known as Taika took place in this Country between 646-700 AD. Which Country was this?
12. The Angkorian Dynasty ruled over this Country from 802. Which Country was this?
13. This City became Capital of Japan in 794 AD. Which City was this?
14. This Clan would start to win control of the Japanese Emperors around 858 AD. Which Clan was this?
15. It sounds like a fruit drink and it collapsed around 907 AD. What is being described?

Answers to the History of the Far East

1. The Shang Dynasty.
2. The Silk Road/Route.
3. Zhou (1066 BC to 771 BC), Ch’in (771 BC to 206BC), Han (206 BC to 26 AD).
4. Shi Huangdi. The wall is 5,000km long.
5. Three. The Wei, Shu and Wu – during the early part of the Period of Disunity.
6. Buddhism. It would be banned in China in 845 AD.
7. Paper
8. The Yellow Turban Sect.
9. The North-South Axis.
10. The Sui Dynasty.
11. Japan
12. Cambodia or Khmer – founder was Jayawarman II.
13. Kyoto (aka Heian-kyo), marked the beginning of Heian period in Japanese history that lasted until 1185. Japan gained more independence from China during this period.
14. The Fujiwara.
15. The Tang Dynasty.