Friday, December 23, 2011

The winged horse from Pegasus to Al-buraq

The winged horse is a mythological creature. But for Muslims it's a real creature: Al-buraq(Lighting). It bore the prophet Muhammad on his Isra(night journey) from Mecca to Jerusalem, to a place near the Western wall of the 2nd wall, and from there to heaven on his miraj.
The name seems to be derived from the Greek name Pegasus that means "lighting". The winged horse that bore Perseus after beheading Medusa, the only immortal among the gorgon monsters, to rescue Andromeda.
Indeed the Greeks believed that the winged horse existed thousands of years before the Muslims, so can we ask ourselves about the origin of the popular mythologies that 70% is not contradictory with the monotheist religions including Islam?

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Cyclops in the Vulcan den(dougga 3rd century AD)

Three cyclops, Brontes(thunder), Steropes(lighting) and Arges(bright) forging the thunderbolt of Jupiter in Vulcan den.
The cyclops were the armourer of Gods, they forged the trident of Neptune, the bow of  Diana, Pluto Helmet of darkness....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Islam in Tunisia "The Ibadhites in Djerba"

The Ibadis are a moderate branch of Khawarrij named after Abdallah Ibn Ibadh (7th century). They are tolerant of other sects of Islam, believing that Muslims who are not of their persuation are not mushrikoun(polytheists), as the extreme kharijites hold.. This means that they reject the notion that those Muslims must be killed for apostasy. Marriage with non-ibdhi is possible, but they are resistant to outside contact. They are found today chiefly in Oman and North Africa.

Fadhloun Mosque Djerba: Typically Ibadhite mosque 14th century

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The mosaic of Virgil(3rd century AD) in Bardo museum

Virgil inspired by two muses(Clio the muse of History with the writing tablet and Melpomene the muse of tragedy with mask)  writing the Aeneid (the 8th verse):
Musa mihi causas memora quo numine laes....
O muse put me in mind.....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Saint Cyprian

Cyprian was born around 200 AD in North Africa, of pagan parents. He was a prominent trial lawyer and teacher of rhetoric. Around 246 he became a Christian, and in 248 was chosen Bishop of Carthage. A year later the persecution under the Emperor Decius began, and Cyprian went into hiding. He was severely censured for this (unjustly on my view -- see Mt 2:13; 10:23; 24:16). After the persecution had died down, it remained to consider how to deal with the lapsed, meaning with those Christians who had denied the faith under duress. Cyprian held that they ought to be received back into full communion after suitable intervals of probation and penance, adjusted to the gravity of the denial. In this he took a middle course between Novatus, who received apostates with no probation at all, and Novatian, who would not receive them back at all, and who broke communion with the rest of the Church over this issue, forming a dissident group particularly strong in Rome and Antioch. (Novatus, somewhat surprisingly, ended up joining the party of Novatian.) Cyprian, who held the same position as the Bishop of Rome on the treatment of the lapsed, wrote urging the Christians of Rome to stand with their bishop. Later, the question arose whether baptisms performed by heretical groups ought to be recognized as valid by the Church, or whether converts from such groups ought to be rebaptized. Cyprian favored re-baptism, and Bishop Stephen of Rome did not. The resulting controversy was not resolved during Cyprian's lifetime.
During the reign of the Emperor Valerian, Carthage suffered a severe plague epidemic. Cyprian organized a program of medical relief and nursing of the sick, available to all residents, but this did not prevent the masses from being convinced that the epidemic resulted from the wrath of the gods at the spread of Christianity. Another persecution arose, and this time Cyprian did not flee. He was arrested, tried, and finally beheaded on 14 September 258. (Because 14 is Holy Cross Day, he is usually commemorated on a nearby open day.) We have an account of his trial and martyrdom.
Many of his writings have been preserved. His essay On the Unity of The Catholic Church stresses the importance of visible, concrete unity among Christians, and the role of the bishops in guaranteeing that unity. It has greatly influenced Christian thought, as have his essays and letters on Baptism and the Lord's Supper. He has been quoted both for and against the Roman Catholic claims for Papal authority.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tertullian by Reza Aslan

The term trinity was coined by one of the oldest and most formidable church fathers, Tertullian of Carthage, early in the third century C.E. He, as a Montanist christian believed that Jesus possessed the same divine quality as God, but not in the same quantity as God.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The New Arab Debates

Monday 22nd f November, in Kobet Enhas Manouba
The motion debated: This house believes that Tunisia Islamists has won a dangerously large majority in the recent elections.
Guest-speakers: Yosra Ghannouchi From Nahdha & Sana Wechteti from Pole Democrate Moderniste
Moderated by Tim Sebastian                                          

 Tim Sebastian


Monday, November 21, 2011

The Mosaic of Daniel in Bardo Museum

Octagon once at the center of a pavement in the mausoleum of a roman family. The scene is treated in schematic style, borrowed from the old testament figuring Daniel in the lion's den. Tunisia 5th C AD

Daniel is usually considered by Muslims to have been a prophet. Although he is not mentioned in the Qur'an, there are a few Hadith and Muslim records which bear his name and which refer to his time spent in the den of the lions. There are debates, however, that go on about Daniel's time of preaching and some Muslims believe that he was not a prophet but a saintly man. Some Muslim records suggest that a book regarding apocalyptic revelations was found in a coffin, which is supposed to have contained the remains of Daniel, which was brought to light at the time of the Muslim conquest of Tustar, and buried again at the request of Umar.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Donatism

Is a 4th,5th century Christian schismatic movement in North Africa. Theologically, Donatism claimed the validity of a sacrament depended  on the state of  grace of minister who dispensed it.
The election of Caecilian as a bishop of Carthage in 311 triggered the controversy. A rigorous  minority charged that his consecration was invalid because Felix of Aptunga, one of the consecrating bishops, was a traditor*, that is one who escaped the martyrdom during the Diocletian persecutions by handing over the sacred books of the church. No traditor in their, view, could confer valid orders. The Numidians bishops rejected Caecillian and consecrated Majorinus in 312 and then Donatus, the moving spirit of  Donatism, in 312.
Donatism raised the question of the relation of the empire to religious controversy, because the Donatist appealed 3 times the Emperor Constantine. He had 3 synods appointed(313, 314 and 316) to hear the case, and all of them found in favor of Caecilian. Rejecting these decisions, the Donatist questioned the right of the Emperor to interfere in church. Donatus appealed to the native North African population, and the controversy took on anti-roman aspects. Constantine exiled the Donatist bishops, confiscated their property, and sent them to army.
When repressive policies failed, a tolerant attitude was adopted in 321 toward the Donatist. Thereafter repression depended on the policy of the incumbent emperor and the violence of the Donatists. Terrorist bands known as Circumcillion roamed about forcing conversions to Donatism. The controversy caused Augustine to clarify the theology of church and the sacraments in order to reply to the Donatists. After fruitless conversations in Carthage to settle the dispute, the Donatists were outlawed by the empire again in 411. With the vandal invasions in the 5th century, Donatism became to decline, however, Donatism continued to exist until the Arab conquest in the 7th century.

The Roman aqueducts

Probably the greatest ancient builders of aqueducts were the Roman engineers, Italy, France and North Africa benefited from their engineering knowledge. Much is known about the works of these early builders, largely through the detailed writings of Sextus Frontinus and Vitrivius.
The accompanying table gives gives details on some of the early aqueducts. The dimensions listed are approximate. It was not possible to work to a high degrees of tolerance with the materials available, and therefore the size of the conduit and its slope varied considerably along it's entire length. The flows were computed by Claudio Di Fenizio(1916).
Man's work reflect his knowledge, his technical abilities, and the materials available to him. This is clearly illustrated by the construction of Roman aqueducts. The major portion of most of the early aqueducts was below ground. The technique of building great bridges had not been developed, the art of leveling had not been perfected, and there was a constant fear of destruction by enemies. Thus, ditches were dug in the ground, and large stone blocks,keyed with cement-filled slots, were put in the ditches. The bottom of the conduit consisted of flat blocks. The sides were two massive blocks cut to meet above the center of the channel. The channel was lined with mortar.      

Opus Africanum or building with stone uprights

Is a Latin term used to describe a method of building with stone uprights. Essentially,walls were constructed out of rubble stone but strengthened at regular intervals with large carefully made squared slabs and stones uprights, referred to in technical language as orthostats.In general these orthostats are as thick as the wall in which they are placed.There are no rules however for their other dimension, varying from one wall to an other. In any given wall, orthostats of different heights and outside facing widths can be observed.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The new "Tunisia"

January 14th the Tunisians destitute their tyrant and dictator president, Ben Ali by demonstrating in the streets.
Demonstrations and striking started when a street vendor,Mohamed Bouazizi, burned himself after the confiscation of his scale by a policewoman that slapped him and with the help of her colleagues forced him to the ground.
A deep feeling of humiliation, he went to the municipality building to seek recourse  but ignored, fired and insulted by the staff.
The hopeless boy decided to express otherwise, he brought paint fuel, returned to the municipality building and set himself on fire.
To be continued................


I'm Ahmed Jaouadi, Tunisian touristic guide, I've created this blog to invite people to discover Tunisia, my beautiful country.
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