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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