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.