Saturday, May 20, 2017

G0d and Mankind 4,000 Years Ago Neolithics of Europe Part VII

  Nadene Goldfoot                                                    

The  Second millennium BCE of 4,000 years ago that Abraham was born into was an unprecedented time of migration, warfare, and the building of territorial kingdoms. All believed in a pantheon of g0ds except Abraham.  

The earliest sources about religion in Europe  come from older sources of the Early Bronze Ear-or Oral History, which leaves the details of such religion to the findings of archaeology and their hypotheses.  Archaeologist Marija Gimbuta has her views on the Neolithic Religion, stating that the findings indicate a matriarchal society (old Europe) which practiced in Goddess Worship, naming a Bird and a Bear Goddess.  G0d to them was a female patron deity.   This clay goddess surely shows the female attributes.  It also shows feminine domination in their society.  Women must have had the leading and highest roles.  
This period was the end of the Stone Age and the beginning of the Neolithic or New Stone Age from 10,200 to about 4,5000 BCE , of farming.  

  • 5,200 years ago: (3200 BC): Writing is invented in Sumer, in today's Iraq in the Middle Bronze Age,  triggering the beginning of history.  This is why we know a lot about Abraham who lived in the 2nd millennium or 4,000 years ago, the first monotheist.  Other ancient people had their beliefs.

We are looking at the Neolithic people who had developed by 4,000 BCE.  Current evidence suggests that Neolithic material culture was introduced to Europe via western Anatolia, Turkey, and that similarities in cultures of North Africa and the Pontic steppes are due to diffusion out of Europe.

The first humans enter Europe about 50,000 years ago from Africa, by way of the Middle East. They cover most of the continent by about 10,000 BC when mammoths existed. At this point, all European peoples are homogenous, living as an extensive network of various tribes, but not yet divided into "nations". Only their lighter skin separates them from their Asian and African relatives, due to a skin pigmentation genetic alteration caused by the colder climate.

 Farming spread from the Fertile Crescent (Middle East) to Greece around 7000 BC, then to the rest of Europe by 2000 BC. Resulted in population explosion, commercial trade, and concept of land ownership.  Farming would have brought out the need for a higher power.  All Neolithic sites in Europe contain ceramics] and contain the plants and animals domesticated in Southwest Asia: einkornemmerbarleylentilspigsgoatssheep, and cattle.

 Genetic data suggest that no independent domestication of animals took place in Neolithic Europe, and that all domesticated animals were originally domesticated in Southwest Asia.   The only domesticate not from Southwest Asia was broomcorn millet, domesticated in East Asia.  The earliest evidence of cheese-making dates to 5500 BCE in KujawyPoland.  
 Cultures 4,000 years ago
 The diffusion across Europe, from the Aegean to Britain, took about 2,500 years (6500 BCE - 4000 BCE). The Baltic region was penetrated a bit later, around 3500 BCE, and there was also a delay in settling the Pannonian plain. In general, colonization shows a "saltatory" pattern, as the Neolithic advanced from one patch of fertile alluvial soil to another, bypassing mountainous areas. Analysis of radiocarbon dates show clearly that Mesolithic and Neolithic populations lived side by side for as much as a millennium in many parts of Europe, especially in the Iberian peninsula (Iberia is Spain)  and along the Atlantic coast.  
Neanderthal Man  (5'4" to 5'5" 170 lbs )who went extinct 40,000 years ago
Genes of Basques are strongest in Basques.  Modern man 

and Neanderthals share 99.7% of DNA.  
David Noel said that
"From a combination of old and new evidence, it appears that at last we have a satisfactory answer to the age-old question of ‘What Happened to the Neanderthals?’. If the current reasoning is correct, their descendants are still with us, and we call them the Basques."

Location: The ‘home country’ of the Neanderthals is well known to have been western Europe. One source says that they “dominated this area for at least a quarter of a million years”. Many of the best Neanderthal specimens have originated from the Iberian Peninsular. The Basque Country, lying on the western side of the Pyrenees and on the border between Spain and France, fits in neatly with this location.
The bones of 12 Neanderthals were discovered at El Sidron cave in the Atanuerca Mountains of Spain.  They are believed to have been a group killed and butchered about 50,000 years ago.  Analysis of the mtDNA showed that the 3 adult males belonged to the same maternal lineage, while the 3 adult females belonged to different ones.  This suggests a social struture where males remained in the same social group and females "married out."

.  The bones of the El Sidron group show signs of defleshing, suggesting that they were victims of cannibalism, and as their bones also show signs that they suffered from food shortage, they may have been victims of "survival cannibalism" by another Neanderthal group

Inception of Basque People  of NW Spain and SW France (Before 5000 BC): Genetic & linguistic studies show that the Basque are not a sub-branch from Proto-Indo-European culture & language. Therefore, the Basque have been a distinct people since before 5000 BC.  They are thought to have inhabited the southwestern corner of the continent since before Indo-European peoples came to the area approximately 5,000 years ago.  They are a group with shared ancestry to the ancient Vascones and Aquitanians

Pre-Christian belief seems to have focused on a goddess called Mari. A number of place-names contain her name and would suggest these places were related to worship of her such as Anbotoko Mari who appears to have been related to the weather. According to one tradition, she travelled every seven years between a cave on Mount Anboto and one on another mountain (the stories vary); the weather would be wet when she was in Anboto, dry when she was in Aloña, or Supelegor, or Gorbea.  Mari's consort is Sugaar. This chthonic couple seem to bear the superior ethical power and also the power of creation and destruction. It's said that when they gathered in the high caves of the sacred peaks, they engendered the storms. These meetings typically happened on Friday nights, the day of historical akelarre or coven. Mari was said to reside in Mount Anboto; periodically she crossed the skies as a bright light to reach her other home at mount Txindoki.

Legends also speak of many and abundant genies, like jentilak (equivalent to giants), lamiak (equivalent to nymphs), mairuak (builders of the cromlechs or stone circles, literally Moors), iratxoak (imps), sorginak (witches, priestess of Mari), and so on. Basajaun is a Basque version of the Woodwose. This character is probably an anthropomorphism of the bear. There is a trickster named San Martin Txiki ("St Martin the Lesser").

It has been shown that some of these stories have entered Basque culture in recent centuries or as part of Roman superstition. It is unclear whether neolithic stone structures called dolmens have a religious significance or were built to house animals or resting shepherds. Some of the dolmens and cromlechs are burial sites serving as well as border markers.

Ioaldunak dancers of Navarre, Spain, a medieval Basque kingdom.
The jentilak ('Giants'), on the other hand, are a legendary people which explains the disappearance of a people of Stone Age culture that used to live in the high lands and with no knowledge of the iron. Many legends about them tell that they were bigger and taller, with a great force, but were displaced by the ferrons, or workers of ironworks foundries, until their total fade-out. They were pagans, but one of them, Olentzero, accepted Christianity and became a sort of Basque Santa Claus. They gave name to several toponyms, as Jentilbaratza.  This shows the long life of their ancient religion and how it continued into Christianity from the 4th century CE. 
Surviving invasions by the Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, French, and Spanish, they resisted domination by outsiders until the Middle Ages (AD 476–1450).  "Through centuries of storytelling, the Basques have evolved a rich and colorful mythology. In ancient times their land was supposed to have been peopled by a race of giants called jentillak.These giants lived side by side with human inhabitants.  They have embraced Catholicism today.  

                                              Inception of IberianPeoples (Before 5000 BC):  

Other original inhabitant of Iberia were referred to as the Iberians.  Unlike the Basque, they would not remain a distinct ethnogroup throughout history.  Instead, they would be absorbed by the Celts around 400 BCE.  Irerian culture and language would disappear, although their genetic imprint remains with modern Spanish and Portuguese.  

  • c. 1800 BC – The El Argar civilization appears in Almería, south-east of Spain, replacing the earlier civilization of Los Millares. The adoption of bronze metallurgy allows gradual dominance and influence in the region.[1]
  • c. 1500 BC
    • A culture of smaller fortified villages known as Bronze of Levante appears in the modern-day region of Valencia, particularly in the southern half, being close culturally to El Argar. This people starts to install the first settlements in the semi-desertic La Mancha called Motillas (fortifications in the top of man-made hills).[1]
    • For the first time the cattle-herding tribes of the central plateau get organized into a single culture, known as Cogotas I, practising transhumance herding.
    • The presence of strategic tin resources in the North Western Iberia is probably the cause of some development in this region. The Montelavar group is characterized especially by its bronze axes.

  • A wide range of peoples have settled in Iberia since the end of the last Ice Age. Phoenicians, Celts, Greeks, Jews, Romans, Goths, Suebi, Franks, Arabs and Berbers. All have left their genetic print on the populations of the regions where they settled. 

  • In SE Spain is el Argar- and the funerary customs found: Death seems to have brought out the need for G0d.  Burial is an important consideration.  
  • Argaric culture, (which flourished from the town of Antas, in what is now the province of Almería in southeastern Spain, between c. 2200 BC and 1550 BC)

  • The collective burial tradition typical of European Megalithic Culture is abandoned in favor of individual burials. The tholos is abandoned in favour of small cists, either under the homes or outside. This trend seems to come from the Eastern Mediterranean, most likely from Mycenaean Greece (skipping Sicily and Italy, where the collective burial tradition remains for some time yet).
    In the phase B of this civilization, burial in pithoi (large jars) becomes most frequent (see: Jar-burials). Again this custom (that never reached beyond the Argarian circle) seems to come from Greece, where it was used after. ca 2000 BCE.:  
  • , these new burial customs will gradually and irregularly extend to the rest of Iberia.
Original Settlers of British Isles (Before 5000 BC): Genetic and archaeolical evidence shows that the British Isles were originally settled before the Proto-Indo-European revolution, by settlers from nothern Iberia (Spain), including the Basque and other nearby related peoples.  The Celt culture and language would arrive later to the British Isles from the mainland, around 800 to 400 BCE.  Very little changed genetically as time went on.  The original Iberian genetic compostion is therefore reserved in modern Irish and Scots.  The English are preserved to a lesser extent.  
One g0d in their pantheon is Dagda.
Irish g0d of destruction and regeneration-rebirth,
name means "the good g0d." 
Celtic religion,The beginning of Celtic culture in the upper Danube region of central Europe happened in 1400 BCE, so Abraham lived about 600 years before this.  

Insular Celtic culture diversified into that of the Gaels (IrishScottish and Manx) and the Celtic Britons (WelshCornish, and Bretons) of the medieval and modern periods

Celtic polytheism was one of a larger group of Iron Age polytheistic religions of the Indo-European family. It comprised a large degree of variation both geographically and chronologically, although "behind this variety, broad structural similarities can be detected" allowing there to be "a basic religious homogeneity" among the Celtic peoples.
The Celtic pantheon consists of numerous recorded theonyms, both from Greco-Roman ethnography and from epigraphy. Among the most prominent ones are TeutatisTaranis and Lugus. Figures from medieval Irish mythology have also been adduced by comparative mythology, interpreted as later versions of pre-Christian Insular deities. The most salient feature of Celtic religion as reflected in Roman historiography is their extensive practice of human sacrifice. According to Greek and Roman accounts, in Gaul, Britain and Ireland, there was a priestly caste of "magico-religious specialists" known as the druids, although very little is definitely known about them.

What was the religious meaning of Stonhenge?  It is thought that Stonehenge was a domain of the dead. A journey along the Avon to reach Stonehenge was part of a ritual passage from life to death, to celebrate past ancestors and the recently deceased. Both explanations were first mooted in the twelfth century by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who extolled the curative properties of the stones and was also the first to advance the idea that Stonehenge was constructed as a funerary monument. Whatever religious, mystical or spiritual elements were central to Stonehenge, its design includes a celestial observatory function, which might have allowed prediction of eclipse, solstice, equinox and other celestial events important to a contemporary religion.

 "The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.  . The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.
Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Remember that Abraham comes from the time of 2,000 BCE of the 2nd millennium.  Situated in Wiltshire, England, Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings.  Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another five hundred years

Thursday, May 18, 2017

G0d and Mankind, 4,000 Years Ago, Part VI China's Xia and Shang Dynasties

Nadene Goldfoot                                              
Man of Shang Dynasty from 1600 BCE
the 2nd Dynasty that took over from the
Xia Dynasty from 2700-1600 BCE. 
China was known to Persia.  "China is a country in East Asia whose culture is considered the oldest, still extant, in the world. The name `China’ comes from the Sanskrit Cina (derived from the name of the Chinese Qin Dynasty, pronounced `Chin’) which was translated as `Cin’ by the Persians and seems to have become popularized through trade along the Silk Road from China to the rest of the world.

Religious practices in ancient China go back over 7,000 years.   Long before the philosophical and spiritual teachings of Confucius and Lao-Tzu developed or before the teachings of the Buddha came to China, the people worshipped personifications of nature and then of concepts like "wealth" or "fortune" which developed into a religion.
3 Lucky gods-Fu, Lu and Shou

In China, religious beliefs are evident in the Yangshao Culture of the Yellow River Valley, which prospered between 5000-3000 BCE. At the Neolithic site of Banpo Village in modern Shaanxi Province (dated to between c. 4500-3750 BCE) 250 tombs were found containing grave goods, which point to a belief in life after death. There is also a ritualistic pattern to how the dead were buried with tombs oriented west to east to symbolize death and rebirth. Grave goods provide evidence of specific people in the village who acted as priests and presided over some kind of divination and religious observance.  Females were found in the graves but no males.  It was more of a matrilineal society.   Male deities were to be feared.  

Chinese mythology starts with Pangu, the creator of the universe, who separated heaven and earth with one swipe of his sword and a succession of legendary sage-emperors and cultural hero's Huang Di, Yao and Shun, who taught the ancient Chinese to communicate and to find substance, clothing and shelter.

Before the 1st Dynasty of Xia, " The legendary Three August Ones and Five Emperors are said to have preceded it.  In this Bronze Age society, delicate jade work was crafted, a calendar was created, trade and commodity exchange developed and the hereditary system of succession replaced what was known as the "abdication" system, in which the ruler retired and a successor was chosen based on ability.

The later doctrine of the "mandate of heaven,"came along  by which a ruler only ruled when they enjoyed the approval of the Heavenly sphere, but only a just ruler would be blessed. Rebellion against an unjust ruler is justifiable, since he has already forfeited heaven's approval.                                                        

 It was the sixth Xia king who reputably initiated "ancestor worship," making the king the protector of their "bones" and linking events on earth with the approval of the spirits of the dead.

From the Xia Dynasty there also comes a Flood narrative, only it is most practical and involves the invention of building dams for protection.  " Legend also speaks of a great flood that occurred in the Yellow River Valley. This flood assumedly washed away entire villages as well as valuable crop land. Survivors of this flood where forced to relocate. Gun was elected to take charge of the fight against the flood. Nine years where spent under Gun's leadership building dams and dykes.Yu, Gun's son, built a better dam.  The villagers who where displaced by the floods where now able to return and convert the once flooded lands into an agricultural area. In doing so they where able to produce such crops as tea, rice, millet and various fruits. Yu would now be known as "Yu the Great" by those who benefited from his efforts.  Such stories are telling about their leaders, Gun, Yu, and now his son, Qi.  "Yu passed power to his son Qi, setting the precedence for dynastic rule. The Xia Dynasty thus began a period of family or clan control.
Women from Shang Dynasty
"It was during this period that Chinese civilization developed a ruling structure that employed both a benign civilian government and harsh punishment for legal transgressions. From this the earliest forms of Chinese legal codes came into being. The sixth emperor, it is said, grew anxious that unjust rule and high taxes was alienating the people, so he introduced reforms designed to regain popular support. He is also credited with founding ancestor reverence, thus creating an enduring link in Chinese thought between the earthly and heavenly realms. In this thought system, it is only by earning the blessing of the spirits that can anyone prosper, and no one who acts unjustly will ever be blessed.                                                 
The end of the Xia Dynasty saw an increase in conflict, abuse of power and oppression. Resources where exhausted from the building of places and pavilions, causing the masses to flee in an attempt to escape the oppressive rule. Jie, the last ruler, was said to be a corrupt king. He was overthrown by Tang, the leader of Shang people from the east."

 -In the Shang Dynasty (about 2000 BC), the earliest period we know much about, people in China worshipped a lot of different gods - weather gods and sky gods - and also a higher god who ruled over the other gods, called Shang-Ti.  This follows the pattern of the Greeks and Romans in having a King of all the gods in their pantheon.  

 People who lived during the Shang Dynasty also believed that their ancestors - their parents and grandparents - became like gods when they died, and that their ancestors wanted to be worshipped too, like gods. Each family worshipped their own ancestors. To get the gods on their side, they sacrificed animals to them.  This is quite similar to Egypt's beliefs.  They had believed that the pharaoh was a living god.                                                                

By the time of the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE) these religious beliefs had developed so that now there was a definite "king of the gods" named Shangti and many lesser gods of other names. Shangti presided over all the important matters of state and was a very busy god. He was rarely sacrificed to because people were encouraged not to bother him with their problems. Ancestor worship may have begun at this time but, more likely, started much earlier.

There were over 200 gods in the Chinese pantheon whose names were recorded during and after the Shang Dynasty. The early gods, before Shangti, were spirits of a place known as Tudi Gong ("Lord of the Place" or "Earth God").
The Great Wall of China came along much later.

It was an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.  Chinese started building it in about 700 BCE.  

Resource: clothing video through the ages