• darthbarracuda
    3.3k
    I'm confused by your comment, not sure what it means.
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    Are you being sarcastic or is that what you really believe. If that is what you believe we have read different books.Athena

    Well, if you have any evidence that Jesus and St Paul spread Christianity by force of arms, feel free to post it here. :smile:

    Anyway, as I said, the issue is very complex, and I don’t think you will be able to fix all the loose ends, to be quite honest. You would need a team of scholars and experts to sort out the historical and cultural background in the first place, let alone anything else ....

    IMO the concept of “European Dark Ages” does not really stand to objective scrutiny. The teaching of philosophy in the eastern part of the Roman Empire was carried on without interruption from Plato and Aristotle to the modern era.

    Where did the Arabs get Plato and Aristotle from? From the Greeks! Who translated Plato and Aristotle into Arabic for them? The Eastern Christians!

    Meantime, the West was overrun by Germanic tribes: the Ostrogoths in Italy, the Franks in France, the Vandals and Visigoths in Spain, etc. Latin and Greek were no longer widely used, and traveling was more difficult. The Western Empire disintegrated into separate kingdoms.

    In 797 AD, Irene of Athens became Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire.

    Pope Leo III did not like the idea of a female emperor, declared the throne vacant, and in 800 decided to crown Charlemagne, King of the Franks, as Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. The Greeks who saw themselves as the rightful heirs of the Roman Empire protested and this developed into hostile relations between East and West. The conflict led to the East-West Schism of 1054 and the Western sacking of the Eastern capital Constantinople in 1204.

    So, I think it can be seen that the West lost its Greek and Roman cultural heritage NOT because of the Church but because the Romans lost control of their Empire to Germanic barbarians. And the West began to translate Aristotle from Arabic into Latin, not because his works were not available in the Greek East, but because knowledge of Greek had been mostly lost in the West and because of the animosity between West and East.

    Moreover, this happened at a time when philosophy had begun to be suppressed in the Islamic world. After that, the Abbasid Caliphate was taken over by Turks and Mongols (1258) and that was the end of the “Golden Age of Islam”.

    The Italian scholar Petrarch who lived in the 1300’s and is widely regarded as the “Father of the Renaissance”, was in fact opposed to the Averroists who only knew Aristotle from Arabic commentaries translated into Latin. He started collecting manuscripts of the works of Classical authors and he was inspired by the Abbott Barlaam of Calabria who had lived most of his life in Greece (as head of the Monastery of St Gregory).

    Petrarch had read Augustine and Cicero (a manuscript of whom he had inherited from his father) as well as Plato's Phaedo and Timaeus that were available in Latin translation and received a Greek copy of Homer from the Greek scholar Gen. Nicholas Sygerus. Petrarch’s friend Boccaccio was another prominent promoter of Greek language and literature. Whilst commissioning the translation of Euripides and Aristotle from Greek into Latin, they introduced the idea of studying the Classics in the original Greek. Their follower Coluccio Salutati continued their work and in 1395 founded a chair of Greek at the University of Florence for the Greek scholar Manuel Chrysoloras. Other scholars and philosophers from Greece followed in the next decades.

    Petrarch | Encyclopedia

    Apparently, Petrarch coined the phrase “Dark Ages” and this was later used by Protestants to attack Catholics and blame them for the “Dark Ages”, etc.

    However, 1) Petrarch was referring to the western part of the Roman Empire (the Latin West), 2) as Petrarch (and everyone else) was obviously aware, the Eastern Roman Empire (the Greek East) was still extant (until it was conquered by the Muslim Turks in 1453), and 3) the concept of “European Dark Ages” is out of date and is no longer recognized by most scholars.

    There are many other misconceptions about the “Dark Ages” and the same goes for the “Islamic Golden Age” that, incidentally, was coined in the 1800’s as an expression of Western Orientalism.

    So, it seems that some are working with outdated concepts from a bygone era and wrong historical data.

    See also:

    Medieval Monasticism as Preserver of Western Civilization
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    I have been pondering how anyone could write a history book for the East that made them think democracy is their inheritance from the Greeks and Rome?Athena

    Some people seem to think that Islam is superior to anything human civilization has ever produced. But what puzzles me is why so many women feel the need to embrace Islam?

    In the Koran, Surah 4, an-Nisa (“Women”), Allah commands that men are to dominate women and beat them if they misbehave or disobey:

    Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds, beat them, but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great (Q. 4:34).

    Allah then commands that men can marry four wives:

    And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan-girls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (the captives and the slaves) that your right hands possess (Q. 4:3)

    (“That your right hands possess” is a frequent Koranic expression used to refer to slaves.)

    Allah also commands that men who cannot afford to marry free women, can take female slaves and women captured in war instead:

    And whoever of you have not the means wherewith to wed free, believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess (4:25)

    In Surah 33 al-Ahzab (“The Combined Forces”) Allah gives exclusive permission to Prophet Mohammad to take more wives than four from among women captured in war or any other women “that want to give themselves to him”:

    O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom God has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her; - this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large) (Q. 33:50)

    In Surah 66, at-Tahrim (“The Prohibition”), Allah has a special message to Mohammad’s wives in which he tells them that if they are disobedient and Mohammad divorces them, then Allah himself will give him new, better, submissive and obedient wives:

    Maybe, his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your place wives better than you, submissive, faithful, obedient, penitent, adorers, fasters, widows and virgins (Q. 66:5)

    Islamic Law says that a Muslim man can divorce his wife or wives by pronouncing the word “talaq” (“divorce”) three times. If divorce is so easy for an ordinary Muslim, presumably, it was even easier for Prophet Mohammad.

    The oral Hadith tradition has it that Mohammad had nine wives, and he may well have had more wives or partners:

    Narrated Anas bin Malik:
    The Prophet used to pass by (have sexual relation with) all his wives in one night, and at that time he had nine wives. (Sahih al-Bukhari 7.62.142)

    Obviously, as Mohammad was waging war on the Christian and Jewish tribes of Arabia, there was a constant supply of fresh captive women with whom the Muslim leadership could deal as they pleased.

    However, several eye-witness statements from the Hadith relate that Mohammad was eventually poisoned by a Jewish woman in retaliation for the torture and beheading of her husband Kinana, the chief of the Jews at Khaibar:

    Narrated Anas bin Malik:
    A Jewess brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. She was brought to the Prophet and he was asked, "Shall we kill her?" He said, "No." I continued to see the effect of the poison on the palate of the mouth of Allah's Apostle (Sahih al-Bukhari 3.47.786)

    Muhammad’s Death – WikiIslam

    Mohammad’s father-in-law and successor Caliph Omar, was similarly killed by a Persian slave, Piruz Nahavandi a.k.a. Abu Lulu. On seeing Persian children slaves in Medina, Piruz said:

    You have been enslaved at such a tender age. This Omar sees eaten my heart. I will take his heart out

    So saying, he made himself a dagger smeared with poison and, while Omar was leading the morning prayers, Piruz attacked him, stabbing him six times in the stomach.

    Piruz Nahavandi - Wikipedia

    Omar’s successor Uthman, Mohammad’s son-in-law, was assassinated by Kharijite rebels, a Muslim sect.

    Uthman’s successor Ali ibn Ali Talib, cousin and son-in-law of Mohammad, also was assassinated by Kharijite rebels.

    Husayn ibn Ali, Mohammad’s grandson, and son of Ali ibn Ali Talib, was killed by Yazid, second caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate ….

    In 750 AD the Umayyads were finally overthrown by a coalition of Arabs and Persians that founded the Abbasid Caliphate. However, in 861 though still under nominal Abbasid suzerainty, most of Persia, including the Abbasid capital Baghdad, was ruled by Persian dynasties such as the Samanids, Buyids, and Saffarids until about 1055. In addition to Baghdad, the learning centers established by these Persian rulers at Balkh, Bukhara, Gorgan, Hamadan, Herat, Isfahan, Khorasan, Khwarezm, Merv, Nishapur, Rey and elsewhere attracted great poets, mystics, philosophers and scholars like the Christian Abu Sahl Masihi, Avicenna, al-Biruni (“the Father of Comparative Religion”), Ferdowsi, and many others.

    Following the Turkish and Mongol invasions, the Safavid Sufi Order was established in the early 1300’s from whose members emerged the founders of the Safavid Empire which lasted from 1501 to 1736. The Safavid rulers revived the Greek- and Persian-inspired philosophy of Suhrawardi (who had been executed by the Abbasids in 1191, during the “Golden Age of Islam”), Avicenna, and others.

    Suhrawardi – Wikipedia

    M. A. Razavi, Suhrawardi and the School of Illumination

    I think an interesting question for modern philosophers would be, how to substitute Suhrawardi and others for religious and political extremism and initiate a new era of enlightenment, tolerance, and peace throughout the world.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    I have enjoyed your post and I do not want to ruin that because we disagree about religion. But I am troubled that you are attacking one of the God Abraham religions and not all of them.

    Solomon - Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Solomon
    According to the biblical account, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. The wives were described as foreign princesses, including Pharaoh's daughter and ...
    — wikipedia
    That is just how people lived back in the day.

    The South used the Bible to justify slavery just as the North used the Bible to argue God opposes slavery. How people interpret their holy books differs, and I see more agreements about the holy books as Christians argue with each Christians and Muslims argue with Muslims, and both of these religions have histories of division and killing each other.

    All God of Abraham religions are patriarchal and follow a war god. To continue to think like that is just wrong but that is what many religious people do, and it doesn't matter which holy book they use as their explanation for life and moral judgment. Religion is not compatible with democracy and since the US stopped educating for good citizenship and the defense of democracy, as Thomas Jefferson thought education was essential to a strong Republic, we are no longer a strong Republic and do not have a strong culture for democracy. Please, one religion is not better than the other because they are all about a past that was horrible.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Well, if you have any evidence that Jesus and St Paul spread Christianity by force of arms, feel free to post it here. :smile:Apollodorus

    “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.

    53 ‘Father will be divided against son
    and son against father;
    mother against daughter
    and daughter against mother;
    and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
    and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’
    — Bible

    He succeeded. Personally, I think that was a really awful thing to say.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    So, I think it can be seen that the West lost its Greek and Roman cultural heritage NOT because of the Church but because the Romans lost control of their Empire to Germanic barbarians. And the West began to translate Aristotle from Arabic into Latin, not because his works were not available in the Greek East, but because knowledge of Greek had been mostly lost in the West and because of the animosity between West and East.Apollodorus

    Pope Leo III did not like the idea of a female emperor, declared the throne vacant, and in 800 decided to crown Charlemagne, King of the Franks, as Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. The Greeks who saw themselves as the rightful heirs of the Roman Empire protested and this developed into hostile relations between East and West. The conflict led to the East-West Schism of 1054 and the Western sacking of the Eastern capital Constantinople in 1204.

    So, I think it can be seen that the West lost its Greek and Roman cultural heritage NOT because of the Church but because the Romans lost control of their Empire to Germanic barbarians. And the West began to translate Aristotle from Arabic into Latin, not because his works were not available in the Greek East, but because knowledge of Greek had been mostly lost in the West and because of the animosity between West and East.
    Apollodorus

    Oh yeah, the West did loose its Greek and Roman heritage, but it was regained during the renaissance and this ended the Dark Ages and we entered the Enlightenment and Age of Reason that was the beginning of modernization. And if that had not happened we would be as ignorant as people were in the Dark Ages, totally lacking even basic sanitation, throwing our waste into the streets, and burning witches and Jews when a well was polluted or a plague spread. Please, you are not arguing our better standard of living is because of Christianity, are you?
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    one religion is not better than the otherAthena

    In that case, I don't think we can say that Islam is superior to other religions.

    Father will be divided against son
    and son against father;
    mother against daughter
    and daughter against mother;
    and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
    and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’
    Athena

    He is simply stating a fact. He doesn't say he wants conflict to happen, he only predicts that it will happen. He introduced what he thought was a better religion that promoted higher values instead of sacrifices and rituals. So, of course there were going to be tensions between those who accepted the new religion and those who kept adhering to the old one.

    it was regained during the renaissance and this ended the Dark Ages and we entered the Enlightenment and Age of Reason that was the beginning of modernization. And if that had not happened we would be as ignorant as people were in the Dark Ages,Athena

    Sure. But it did happen. And if the Germanic tribes hadn't taken over the West, Greek and Roman culture would not have been lost and there would have been no "Dark Ages".
  • Athena
    1.6k
    In that case, I don't think we can say that Islam is superior to other religions.Apollodorus

    How could any one of these religions be superior when they all are based on the same supernatural beliefs including a humanized god and supernatural beings Satan and demons? They all are patriarchies that suppress women.

    He is simply stating a fact. He doesn't say he wants conflict to happen, he only predicts that it will happen. He introduced what he thought was a better religion that promoted higher values instead of sacrifices and rituals. So, of course there were going to be tensions between those who accepted the new religion and those who kept adhering to the old one.

    "I have come to divide people against each other!" Why did Jesus come to do that? Maybe we should move this to the thread about patriarchy and matriarchy because that is not a goal of matriarchy. Or we could start a new thread and talk about how changing circumstances changed people's concsiousness? There was a big change in consciousness when the Hebrews went from being nomadic herders to an agrarian society and being landowners. Then when they go from small-town farmers to big-city merchants there is another consciousness change. These changes increased their separation from nature and God. City dwellers focus intently on "the law" not people living in small towns and close to nature.

    [qutoe]Sure. But it did happen. And if the Germanic tribes hadn't taken over the West, Greek and Roman culture would not have been lost and there would have been no "Dark Ages".[/quote]

    Persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire began during the reign of Constantine the Great (306–337) in the military colony of Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem), when he destroyed a pagan temple for the purpose of constructing a Christian church.
    Status: Vassal state of the Eastern Roman Em...
    Historical era: Late Antiquity and Early Middle ...
    Legislature: Roman Senate
    Religion: Arianism; Chalcedonian Christianity

    Persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire - Wikipedia
    — wikipedia

    Those pagan temples were seats of learning. That is where people studied math and medicine and philosophy that later became science. The break between the knowledge of Athens and Roman began with the Christians. Christianity did not carry the math and knowledge of medicine, because they were destroying all that. Medically this set back Christians and kept them in the superstitious darkness of believing it is demons that make us sick.

    Have you read Jesus Wars by Philip Jenkins? The beginning of Christianity was anything but peaceful! People were killing each other over the disagreement about Jesus being the son of God or God himself. Constantine was horrified by how viciously Christians were fighting each other. He called the first Council of Nicaea with the hope of stopping the fighting, but it didn't stop the fighting, and in away it made matters worse because the Council of Nicaea ended the free and open unions of Christians, and put them all the control small group men who dictated the restrictions on Christians and held the all under a hierarchy of authority, exactly what Jesus stood against! And under this hierarchy of authority the God who told Hebrews they were not to be slaves because of their special relationship with Him, tells the Christians they honor God by being good slaves! :gasp:

    From there Christianity was spread across Europe wiping out all the people that were in their way, The Celts and others had a choice, be Christian or die. If they were not killed by the sword, they could die of starvation resulting from economic warfare. Christians would not do business with non-Christians. Finally, only Christians remained and that seemed to prove God favored them and they had God's truth.
    For a while, the Catholics were very much in the wrong, and Protestantism pushed them out of some areas, but they were no more tolerant of religious freedom nor were they respectful of people around the world. Spain, Portugal, and Britian subjected the natives and in the New Land Protestants drove them away and starved them to death on reservations.

    People lived in fear of Satan, demons, and God! God did not become the loving God he is today until our bellies were full. When people were starving to death and leaving their children in the forest with the hope they could fend for themselves, God was a fearsome and punishing God, who sent the Mongols and plagues to punish them. I am totally blown away by how Evangelic Christians swoon in the ecstasy of their God as though this loving God who blesses them, is the same God people once feared.
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k


    1. If none of those religions are superior then it seems pointless to talk of "Islamic Golden Age" vs. "Christian Dark Ages".

    2. Greek and Roman religions were just as patriarchal as Christianity.

    3. If you define patriarchy as oppression of women by men and matriarchy as oppression of men by women, where is the difference?

    Christianity did not carry the math and knowledge of medicine, because they were destroying all that.Athena

    This is not supported by the historical evidence:

    Study of Hippocratic and Galenic texts all but disappeared in the Latin West in the Early Middle Ages, following the collapse of the Western Empire, although the Hippocratic-Galenic tradition of Greek medicine continued to be studied and practiced in the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium). Beginning in the late eleventh century, the Hippocratic-Galenic tradition returned to the Latin West with a series of translations of the Classical texts, mainly from Arabic translations but occasionally from the original Greek. In the Renaissance, more translations of Galen and Hippocrates directly from the Greek were made from newly available Byzantine manuscripts.

    Ancient Greek medicine – Wikipedia
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Apollodorus
    2.5k
    ↪Athena

    1. If none of those religions are superior then it seems pointless to talk of "Islamic Golden Age" vs. "Christian Dark Ages".

    2. Greek and Roman religions were just as patriarchal as Christianity.

    3. If you define patriarchy as oppression of women by men and matriarchy as oppression of men by women, where is the difference?

    Christianity did not carry the math and knowledge of medicine, because they were destroying all that.
    — Athena

    This is not supported by the historical evidence:

    Study of Hippocratic and Galenic texts all but disappeared in the Latin West in the Early Middle Ages, following the collapse of the Western Empire, although the Hippocratic-Galenic tradition of Greek medicine continued to be studied and practiced in the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium). Beginning in the late eleventh century, the Hippocratic-Galenic tradition returned to the Latin West with a series of translations of the Classical texts, mainly from Arabic translations but occasionally from the original Greek. In the Renaissance, more translations of Galen and Hippocrates directly from the Greek were made from newly available Byzantine manuscripts.

    Ancient Greek medicine – Wikipedia[/quote]

    I love your post. Our disagreements seem more paradoxical than the head-on conflicts I was dealing with yesterday. I suspect maturity and education have a lot to do with this.

    I think the subject of Christianity should go in another thread. I know I am always wondering off topic but I am in favor of keeping threads comprehensible and maybe even good files that can be referred to later if we stay on topic. Also, I think you are I are the only ones participating in this thread and if we start a new one, that might attract others.

    However, comparing Islam's golden age with the want was happening in Europe at the time is directly related to this thread, because the success of Islam's golden years proves Islam can be just as successful as Christianity. It is not religious differences that determine their success or failure, but circumstances. Today we can see Muslims in some parts of the world doing very well and nowhere near the mentality of the Taliban. The difference in mentality is a difference in cultures- Islam finds itself in many different cultures, as the Jews existed in many different cultures. And there is the difference of rural or city people. And the difference of national wealth and technological advancement. It is by looking at all the influences other than religion, that we can see a path for the success of Afghanistan or why it can not succeed. It is a mistake to think the only thing that matters is the religion. Let us keep in mind, God's chosen people were sacrificing animals and stoning women, and those who followed Jesus are not God's chosen people. God did not choose the Christians, the Christians chose God.

    Greeks and Romans were very patriarchal! Spartan women were liberated but not Athenian women. And Rome, well "Our father who art in heaven" is very Roman! So is conformity very Roman, "When in Rome do as the Roman's do. Any universality of Christianity is Greek and Roman, not Hebrew.

    I do not define patriarchy as oppression of women and matriarchy is not oppression of men. Males organize in hierarchies of authority and power/ leaders and followers. Females organize in families. If people are patriarchal or matriarchal is very much about who owns and rules the home/property and that can lead to oppression but I don't think native American males were oppressable. Being submissive is not a male trait. But women in a patriarchy will be submissive when that appears to serve their interests well.

    I love your use of history to make a point. You are right, Orthodox Christianity in the east maintained ties to Greek and Roman culture and the West did not. The split of which you spoke is very important, and this goes back to the conditions of success or failure. Western Christians separated themselves from the Greek and Roman philosophy, and then they moved north into Europe where there never was advanced civilizations with global trading partners sharing technology and cultures. Basically the condition of the Taliban in Afghanistan with no ties to the cultures and advancements of Islam, except a book written long ago. Russia had Orthodox Christianity and none of the advancements that the west experienced after the renaissance and I think the Russian communist hatred of Christianity was at least in part the result of church-supported serfdom. Instead of Orthodox Christianity bring out the best in people, it brought the worst and I think climate had a lot to do with that, but also its distance and separation from the ancient civilizations.

    :lol: With all that thinking, I am exhausted, but I am also very, very happy. Communicating with someone who is refined, mature, and well informed and I can trust to meet my points of argument with facts and a different perspective is worth living for. This is totally different from what I was dealing with yesterday and that makes me extremely appreciative of your difference. Thank you!
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    I love your use of history to make a point. You are right, Orthodox Christianity in the east maintained ties to Greek and Roman culture and the West did not. The split of which you spoke is very important, and this goes back to the conditions of success or failure.Athena

    Well, the reason I am using history to make a point is that you cannot philosophize about a topic that involves historical events without first establishing what the historical facts are.

    History is largely open to interpretation of historical evidence and it can become subject to misinterpretation and distortion.

    The idea of “European Dark Ages” is a case in point. Precisely because it is often used to denigrate European or Western history and culture, it is necessary to see what the truth of it is.

    The first thing that becomes obvious is that there is a curious tendency among present-day Westerners to forget that the Roman Empire in the 300’s AD was split in two halves: the Eastern part centered on Constantinople (Greece) and controlled by the Greeks, and the Western part centered on Rome (Italy) and controlled by Romans.

    Equally forgotten (or deliberately ignored?) is the fact that the Eastern part lasted for more than a millennium and largely preserved the Greek and Roman culture of the original Roman Empire, including the civic structures, public baths, forums, monuments, and aqueducts of pre-Christian Rome in working condition.

    In contrast, the Western part from the 400’s onwards was overrun by Germanic tribes, disintegrated into many separate kingdoms, and lost much of its Greek and Roman heritage.

    The second thing that becomes evident from this is that if there was anything like a “Dark Ages”, it was a) in the Western half of the Empire only and b) it was not the result of Christian rule but the result of rule by Germanic warriors who were among the greatest fighters Europe had ever seen, but had no advanced culture and no knowledge or experience of running an empire based on urban civilization.

    Meantime, the so-called “Golden Age of Islam” came about in Muslim-dominated Persia, through the cultural fusion of mostly Greek and Persian traditions.

    For example, all the Greek medical works available to the Muslim rulers of Persia were obtained from the Christian Eastern Roman Empire and translated into Arabic by Christian scholars like Hunayn ibn Ishaq:

    Various translations of some works and compilations of ancient medical texts are known from the 7th century. Hunayn ibn Ishaq, the leader of a team of translators at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad played a key role with regard to the translation of the entire known corpus of classical medical literature. Caliph Al-Ma'mun had sent envoys to the Byzantine emperor Theophilos, asking him to provide whatever classical texts he had available. Thus, the great medical texts of Hippocrates and Galen were translated into Arabian, as well as works of Pythagoras, Akron of Agrigent, Democritus, Polybos, Diogenes of Apollonia, medical works attributed to Plato, Aristotle, Mnesitheus of Athens, Xenocrates, Pedanius Dioscorides, Kriton, Soranus of Ephesus, Archigenes, Antyllus, Rufus of Ephesus were translated from the original texts.

    Medicine in the medieval Islamic world - Wikipedia

    Moreover, this cultural fusion had already started in pre-Islamic times in urban centers like Harran, Ctesiphon, Gundeshapur, Bishapur and Nishapur, where Christian, Sabian, Zoroastrian, Pagan, Buddhist, and other scholars cooperated in the advancement of learning.

    So, the Muslim rulers merely continued what the Persians, Greeks and others had already started centuries before, and only after they were forced to do so by the Persian-Arab revolution of 751 that put the Abbasids in charge. At the same time, the Muslim Arab conquests cut off Europe’s links with Asia, arguably imposing a period of relative isolation on the whole continent. The Greek East had established contact with Persia and India, sending emissaries to China to obtain silk worms for the production of silk in the 500’s. Now all trade with India and the Far East had to be conducted through Muslim-controlled lands.

    The Greek East itself, whose Christian rulers provided the Muslims with all the medical, scientific and philosophical corpus of the Classical (Greek and Roman) tradition, was under extreme external pressure. It had already become greatly weakened as a result of endless wars with Persia and lost two important provinces, Syria and Egypt, to the Muslim Arabs early on. In addition to being under constant attack from Arabs, Slavs, Bulgars, Germanic and other tribes, the East was infamously attacked by the West.

    The Western attack on the Greek East happened as follows. On becoming Pope in 1198, Innocent III called for a Crusade to liberate the Holy Land from Muslim occupation. Unlike in the previous Crusade when the kings of England, Germany and France had personally led the armies, the new call to arms was answered by French and Venetian knights and barons. En route, a plan was hatched to reinstate Eastern Emperor Alexios Angelos (who had been deposed) in return for financial and military assistance in the campaign against the Muslims.

    The Greeks rejected the new emperor and the plan ended with the Crusader army in 1204 attacking, conquering, plundering, burning down, and largely destroying Constantinople, with priceless works of art being lost in the process, and many of its citizens slaughtered. The Crusade against Islam turned into a Crusade against Christians and the Pope himself called it “the work of darkness”. The Greeks finally recaptured their capital in 1261 but their empire never recovered.

    Fourth Crusade - Wikipedia

    We can see why, in these circumstances, Christian Europe at the time was unable to produce a Golden Age of its own. The causes of this were not religious but political. Europe was cut off from the rest of the world by Muslim states in North Africa and the Mid East. The West was too divided and caught up in internal conflict. The East was forced to defend itself against external attacks and gradually lost all its territories to finally fall to the Turks in 1453.

    So, I think it is critical to maintain a balance and some degree of objectivity when dealing with historical events that are at the center of the discussion.

    Besides, if we are saying that “Islam saved us from the Dark Ages”, then on what basis can we tell the Taliban that they are wrong to enforce Islam in their own country? IMO the “Dark Ages Theory” tends to undermine the Western claim that we can “enlighten” or “civilize” the Islamic world and seems to be the wrong strategy.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Well, the reason I am using history to make a point is that you cannot philosophize about a topic that involves historical events without first establishing what the historical facts are.

    History is largely open to interpretation of historical evidence and it can become subject to misinterpretation and distortion.

    The idea of “European Dark Ages” is a case in point. Precisely because it is often used to denigrate European or Western history and culture, it is necessary to see what the truth of it is.

    The first thing that becomes obvious is that there is a curious tendency among present-day Westerners to forget that the Roman Empire in the 300’s AD was split in two halves: the Eastern part centered on Constantinople (Greece) and controlled by the Greeks, and the Western part centered on Rome (Italy) and controlled by Romans.

    Equally forgotten (or deliberately ignored?) is the fact that the Eastern part lasted for more than a millennium and largely preserved the Greek and Roman culture of the original Roman Empire, including the civic structures, public baths, forums, monuments, and aqueducts of pre-Christian Rome in working condition.

    In contrast, the Western part from the 400’s onwards was overrun by Germanic tribes, disintegrated into many separate kingdoms, and lost much of its Greek and Roman heritage.

    The second thing that becomes evident from this is that if there was anything like a “Dark Ages”, it was a) in the Western half of the Empire only and b) it was not the result of Christian rule but the result of rule by Germanic warriors who were among the greatest fighters Europe had ever seen, but had no advanced culture and no knowledge or experience of running an empire based on urban civilization.

    Meantime, the so-called “Golden Age of Islam” came about in Muslim-dominated Persia, through the cultural fusion of mostly Greek and Persian traditions.

    For example, all the Greek medical works available to the Muslim rulers of Persia were obtained from the Christian Eastern Roman Empire and translated into Arabic by Christian scholars like Hunayn ibn Ishaq:

    Various translations of some works and compilations of ancient medical texts are known from the 7th century. Hunayn ibn Ishaq, the leader of a team of translators at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad played a key role with regard to the translation of the entire known corpus of classical medical literature. Caliph Al-Ma'mun had sent envoys to the Byzantine emperor Theophilos, asking him to provide whatever classical texts he had available. Thus, the great medical texts of Hippocrates and Galen were translated into Arabian, as well as works of Pythagoras, Akron of Agrigent, Democritus, Polybos, Diogenes of Apollonia, medical works attributed to Plato, Aristotle, Mnesitheus of Athens, Xenocrates, Pedanius Dioscorides, Kriton, Soranus of Ephesus, Archigenes, Antyllus, Rufus of Ephesus were translated from the original texts.

    Medicine in the medieval Islamic world - Wikipedia

    Moreover, this cultural fusion had already started in pre-Islamic times in urban centers like Harran, Ctesiphon, Gundeshapur, Bishapur and Nishapur, where Christian, Sabian, Zoroastrian, Pagan, Buddhist, and other scholars cooperated in the advancement of learning.

    So, the Muslim rulers merely continued what the Persians, Greeks and others had already started centuries before, and only after they were forced to do so by the Persian-Arab revolution of 751 that put the Abbasids in charge. At the same time, the Muslim Arab conquests cut off Europe’s links with Asia, arguably imposing a period of relative isolation on the whole continent. The Greek East had established contact with Persia and India, sending emissaries to China to obtain silk worms for the production of silk in the 500’s. Now all trade with India and the Far East had to be conducted through Muslim-controlled lands.

    The Greek East itself, whose Christian rulers provided the Muslims with all the medical, scientific and philosophical corpus of the Classical (Greek and Roman) tradition, was under extreme external pressure. It had already become greatly weakened as a result of endless wars with Persia and lost two important provinces, Syria and Egypt, to the Muslim Arabs early on. In addition to being under constant attack from Arabs, Slavs, Bulgars, Germanic and other tribes, the East was infamously attacked by the West.

    The Western attack on the Greek East happened as follows. On becoming Pope in 1198, Innocent III called for a Crusade to liberate the Holy Land from Muslim occupation. Unlike in the previous Crusade when the kings of England, Germany and France had personally led the armies, the new call to arms was answered by French and Venetian knights and barons. En route, a plan was hatched to reinstate Eastern Emperor Alexios Angelos (who had been deposed) in return for financial and military assistance in the campaign against the Muslims.

    The Greeks rejected the new emperor and the plan ended with the Crusader army in 1204 attacking, conquering, plundering, burning down, and largely destroying Constantinople, with priceless works of art being lost in the process, and many of its citizens slaughtered. The Crusade against Islam turned into a Crusade against Christians and the Pope himself called it “the work of darkness”. The Greeks finally recaptured their capital in 1261 but their empire never recovered.

    Fourth Crusade - Wikipedia

    We can see why, in these circumstances, Christian Europe at the time was unable to produce a Golden Age of its own. The causes of this were not religious but political. Europe was cut off from the rest of the world by Muslim states in North Africa and the Mid East. The West was too divided and caught up in internal conflict. The East was forced to defend itself against external attacks and gradually lost all its territories to finally fall to the Turks in 1453.

    So, I think it is critical to maintain a balance and some degree of objectivity when dealing with historical events that are at the center of the discussion.

    Besides, if we are saying that “Islam saved us from the Dark Ages”, then on what basis can we tell the Taliban that they are wrong to enforce Islam in their own country? IMO the “Dark Ages Theory” tends to undermine the Western claim that we can “enlighten” or “civilize” the Islamic world and seems to be the wrong strategy.
    Apollodorus

    Your account of history is not the same as mine and I rather we stay on good terms than be right about a different account of history. But I think there are somethings we need to consider that are releviant to today and Aghanistans chances of surviving.

    All advanced nations are dealing with a barbarian invasion today. In the past, some of those invaders were Christian, just not the same Christianity as Rome had settled on. You know the fight over if Jesus was God or the son of god and when a person must be baptized, etc..

    Many of those invading barbarians were people fleeing the Huns or disease, and they did not move in to fight with Rome, but as in the US they were just trying to survive, and some were treated very badly, leaving them to starve to death and to a buffer against violant invaders.

    The Celts were not insane and violent people but they did not have a centralized government. Instead, they were spread out and had an amazing road system connecting them. An argument can be made for them being morally superior to Romans because of how they cared for the young, injured, and elderly. And the Romans were chasing after tin the mineral resources held by Celts and others.
    After the Romans
    Celtic Britain was a valuable asset to Rome, producing significant amounts of grain and beef to feed the military. Its mineral reserves, especially iron, lead, tin, gold and copper, were also successfully exploited.Aug 18, 2020
    The Celts in Britain: everything you need to know - History Extra
    — Historyextra

    Constantine moved east because the silver and gold mines of the west were depleted and there was a huge gold mine in the east. Constantinople was closer to the gold and easier to defend and Rome in the west was bankrupt and hard to defend. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/currency-and-the-collapse-of-the-roman-empire/ Rome in Italy had been the center of world trade until its supply of silver and gold was exhausted. And here is Constantinope as the center of trade routs. https://www.google.com/search?q=constantinople+trade+routes&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS926US926&sxsrf=AOaemvJK8ZM_-CAGs9tDY31ZpiZ27iYaRw:1631634801596&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=MR5YwuA3bIXkbM%252CirPXjD8s2xW4BM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kSouV1aKEJhWJtTpCX5ZsW-jeQX3g&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjz9oGm6f7yAhXMxZ4KHaKgBUAQ9QF6BAgIEAE#imgrc=MR5YwuA3bIXkbM

    Aghanstan benefitted from the Silk road and cultural exchange, but the Silk road, and all cities along it, declined when shipping replaced the need for this land route. https://en.unesco.org/silkroad/countries-alongside-silk-road-routes/afghanistan . Afghanistan is land locked and I can not think of any landlocked nation that has done well.

    We can not expect landlocked and poor nations to succeed as Roman succeeded long before it was Christian. That is totally unrealistic. And so is the notion that Christianity is what causes nations to succeed and that not being Christian is why nations fail. The success of a nation does not depend on religion. The success of a nation depends on resources, trade routes, liberty and cultural exchange. We are in serious trouble if people believe national success is about religion. That just is not so, however, liberty is very important to success, and Christians who became literate in Greek and Roman classics did become more liberal and did replace Biblical kingdoms with democracy.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    The Greek East itself, whose Christian rulers provided the Muslims with all the medical, scientific and philosophical corpus of the Classical (Greek and Roman) tradition, was under extreme external pressure. It had already become greatly weakened as a result of endless wars with Persia and lost two important provinces, Syria and Egypt, to the Muslim Arabs early on. In addition to being under constant attack from Arabs, Slavs, Bulgars, Germanic and other tribes, the East was infamously attacked by the West.Apollodorus

    That seems like a distorted history to me. Christians destroyed the pagan temples that were places for studying math and medicine and they clung to Jesus's word that we do not have to wash our hands or follow the laws practiced in Judism that were based on experience and health issues. A problem for the Jews, was an incomplete understanding of the science of sanitation and avoiding food poisoning. Moses took his people through a desert where burying human waste was a good health practice, but in a wetter Juresalem, it meant contaminating the water supply and lead to spreading disease and death. At the same time, Christians picked up the eastern notion of demons and demons possessing us and making us sick and that lead to returning to superstition and an inferior understanding of health issue that the Greek medicine. Come on, Christian Europeans dumped their waste in the streets, and burned Jews as witches because they were using herbs for healing, and when plagues came they really persecuted Jews, because the Christians had a very superstitious notion of disease, and to this day some of them are rejecting science and refuse to wear masks or to get vacinated while they pray to Jesus to protect them.

    If Evanical Christians and Texas Republicans were not so anti science and anti education for indepentent thinking, I would not care so much about how the religion effects our lives. But there is also knowing how Christians displacing all the indignous people in their path. Not even converting to Christianity saved some of these people, and certianly not people with dark skin who the Bible said were cursed by God and justified their slavery. Please, can we get away from religion? The subject has been very damaging to my friendships with Christians. I am so torn between keeping friends and everything thing I think is very important like liberty and justice and what truth has to do with all our understanding of the world and our decisions, such as occupying Aghanstan with a complete disrespect of Islam and totally failing to help them achieve a strong and united nation. What we did was wrong and we seriously need to give up the notion that we are superior. Our superiority is only temporary as civilizations rise and fall. Our democracy and the search for truth was supposed to avoid the pit falls of previous civilizations, but instead of this making us stronger, it has us pitted against each other as strongly as Sunni and Shia Muslims and the Taliban are pitted against each other. I stand for democracy and that necessrialy is a stand against religion. God did not reveal knowledge of health and good government. Both were the result of human beings trying to figure things out.
  • Bailey Gaunt
    4
    difficult and debatable...
  • Olivier5
    2.9k
    That seems like a distorted history to me.Athena

    Indeed. Apo has a strong bias in favour of Christianity and against Islam. It colors everything he says about history. He's basically a Christian apologetic.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Indeed. Apo has a strong bias in favour of Christianity and against Islam. It colors everything he says about history. He's basically a Christian apologetic.
    7 hours ago
    Olivier5

    He is very well informed and makes good arguments and he really makes me think. There is a thread about what we want from philosophy and he gives me everything I want. I just worry about offending him. We all feel passionate about something and it is really hard when someone is attacking what we feel passionate about. I would settle for some Christians have done wonderful things, and some Muslims have done wonderful things, and most people mean well. However, the success of a nation is about resources, climate, and trading.

    One other point I want to make is, our efforts in Afghanistan may have succeeded if we had built on Islam. It is just as good for democracy as Christianity is. When everything is made legitimate with a belief in a God it goes much better. That is what people will fight for.
  • Olivier5
    2.9k
    He is very well informedAthena

    He thinks he is, yes. I happen to disagree, often. He looks at history with Walt Disney's eyes, searching for vilains and heroes.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    I don't think complicated historical events can be broken down into monolithic stages like this. Metaphysical mutations don't seem like good explanations for historical events, IMO. The material basis (like advancements in trade technology) is what drives events; ideological changes are an effect, not the cause. It doesn't make any sense to me that one region of the planet progressed simply because the inhabitants started believing in something different. It just seems more like mythology than history.darthbarracuda

    I want to bring this post in play because I agree with it.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=countries+surrounding+afghanistan&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS926US926&sxsrf=AOaemvKStUpx_tH7CK5ZZ7NRxKrvbbnoqQ:1631714083731&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=EJNHhDRYoVHDHM%252CXMbzPN4GBml2lM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kSP-vxUoxiGbyeXoFpeVLzwU2Yw3Q&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjWodfSkIHzAhVhCjQIHY-SAeIQ9QF6BAgHEAE#imgrc=EJNHhDRYoVHDHM

    Look at the countries around Afghanistan. Which ones is the US friendly with? Do you suppose the US failed because it has absolutely no interest in those countries succeeding? What would trade agreements with those countries look like? Afghanistan is land locked so how is it going to trade with the rest of the world? And darthbarracuda, might you tell us what can be expected if there is no trade because you may understand this better than I do.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    He thinks he is, yes. I happen to disagree, often. He looks at history with Walt Disney's eyes, searching for vilains and heroes.Olivier5

    This thread is not about him and it should be against the rules to derail threads by making the topic the person who made a post. If anyone wants to make personal comments, please send me a personal message and when posting in the thread, please stay on topic.
  • Olivier5
    2.9k
    This thread is not about himAthena

    Then don't mention him...
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    Your account of history is not the same as mine and I rather we stay on good terms than be right about a different account of history.Athena

    The way I see it, it's just a discussion. We may have different accounts of history, but discussions are supposed to consider different views, are they not? :smile:

    Anyway, the fact is that the Greek East was known to the Arabs by its proper name, “Mamlaka al-Rum” i.e., “Kingdom of the Romans”, the Greeks themselves calling it “Empire of the Romans” (Basileia Romaion) right through to 1453.

    In contrast, Western Europe in Arabic was either called by the name of individual countries e.g. “Land of the Franks”, or by the generic term “Europe” (Arufa). In the 10th century, Muslim geographers begin to include Western Europe in the “Kingdom of the Romans” but even then it is ruled by the “King of the Romans” (Malik al-Rum), who resides in Constantinople, the Great City of the Romans (Rūmiyyat al-Kubra).

    But for some strange reason, in the popular history or mythology of the post-war era the Eastern Roman Empire never existed!

    This is why I think it is important to keep history separate from politics and politically-influenced cultural trends. Otherwise, terminology used by historians can be misused as a political or cultural weapon that actually distorts history.

    There may have been a “Golden Age of Islam” but this refers to a period within the history of Islam. It should not be read to mean that the rest of the world was in darkness.

    The same goes for the European “Dark Ages”. As used by Petrarch who introduced it, the idea referred to certain aspects of cultural development in Western Europe as compared to the Classical era, no to Islam.

    It was never meant to compare Christian Europe with the Islamic world. It must have been after WWII, when it was fashionable to denigrate European history and culture, and above all, Christianity, that the trend emerged to contrast a “European Dark Age” with an “Islamic Golden Age”.

    The name of the period refers to the movement of so-called barbarian peoples—including the Huns, Goths, Vandals, Bulgars, Alani, Suebi, and Franks—into what had been the Western Roman Empire. The term “Dark Ages” is now rarely used by historians because of the value judgment it implies.

    - Encyclopedia Britannica

    In addition to the value judgment, the term is also based on a number of historical inaccuracies and falsehoods. In reality, Europe experienced a high degree of sophistication and, especially, technological development at this time.

    Also, we need to remember that the “Islamic Golden Age” would not have taken place without the Greek and Roman culture preserved by the Greek East which was Christian.

    IMHO the claim A, that “Christianity destroyed Greek and Roman culture” is contradicted by the fact B, that the Muslim Arabs got their knowledge of Classical science, medicine, philosophy, etc. from Christian Europe!

    As to the Celts, their religion reportedly involved human sacrifice:

    According to Roman sources, Celtic Druids engaged extensively in human sacrifice. According to Julius Caesar, the slaves and dependents of Gauls of rank would be burnt along with the body of their master as part of his funerary rites. He also describes how they built wicker figures that were filled with living humans and then burned.

    Human sacrifice - Wikipedia

    And it would be useful if you had some sources for "Christians starving Celts to death" as personally I am not aware of any ....
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k


    Which-hunt may have been practiced centuries ago in Europe, but it still exists in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam:

    Witchcraft or sorcery remains a criminal offense in Saudi Arabia, although the precise nature of the crime is undefined.
    The frequency of prosecutions for this in the country as whole is unknown. However, in November 2009, it was reported that 118 persons had been arrested in the province of Makkah that year for practicing magic and "using the Book of Allah in a derogatory manner", 74% of them being female.

    Witch-hunt - Wikipedia
  • Athena
    1.6k
    But for some strange reason, in the popular history or mythology of the post-war era the Eastern Roman Empire never existed!Apollodorus

    Yes, I have noticed that. I think it is done to give legal status or authorization to the government and their religion. That legitimacy is weakened by a division in the religion. Considering how divided Christianity is, it is amazing it remains strong but it is mostly Protestants who make our government legitimate and control our national story. It is not in their best interest to include an explanation of Orthodox Christianity and its connection with serfdom. In Russia serfdom wasn't ended until 1861. There is a lot to the Christian story that Christians do not want to remember.

    This is why I think it is important to keep history separate from politics and politically-influenced cultural trends. Otherwise, the terminology used by historians can be misused as a political or cultural weapon that actually distorts history.
    I believe the opposite. I think history is very important. All people tell a story about themselves, but they all clean up their story. When people share the same land but tell different stories of history, there is conflict. If Israel and Palestine taught their children the same history, it would reduce conflict. If the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants told the same history of the US as the many people of color and Native Americans, it would be a whole different understanding of reality and we seem to be working on that now.

    There may have been a “Golden Age of Islam” but this refers to a period within the history of Islam. It should not be read to mean that the rest of the world was in darkness.
    . But it was in darkness. The Christians in Rome made that so when they destroyed pagan temples. To be fair the Christians were fighting against each other as much as they fought against non-Christians. It was a fight for power and control and the Roman Catholic Church won. That same fight separated Orthodox Christians in the east from Christians in the west. That fight did turn out the lights in the West. It cut the west off from thousands of years of civilized development and knowledge. That is why the renascence is a generation of knowledge.

    The same goes for the European “Dark Ages”. As used by Petrarch who introduced it, the idea referred to certain aspects of cultural development in Western Europe as compared to the Classical era, not to Islam.
    I do not understand that argument? The Koran tells people to educate themselves and when they were trading and enjoying a golden age, it was very much a Muslim goal to collect books and be educated. That was not at all true in Europe. Christianity still stands against science and seems to promote ignorance with a Republican argument about the literate elite not being with the people, and the 2012 Texas Republican agenda being to prevent education for higher-order thinking, and their fight to have creationism taught as science. The Bible begins with a story of God cursing humans because of their desire for knowledge and Christians have much to say about that. And as I said before, if it were not for pagan knowledge moving Europe toward science and the modern age, we would still be throwing our sewage out the window and wallowing in our filth and ignorance. Talk about distorted history. The belief that it is Christianity that got us to where we are today just isn't right. And even today, churches are telling their people not to wear masks or to get vaccinated. Yeah, just throw your sewage out the window and burn people as witches if the well is polluted and causing people to die. The old testament has rules for cleanliness and Christians not only ignored them but persecuted Jews.

    It was never meant to compare Christian Europe with the Islamic world. It must have been after WWII, when it was fashionable to denigrate European history and culture, and above all, Christianity, that the trend emerged to contrast a “European Dark Age” with an “Islamic Golden Age”.
    Huh? The facts are not the facts but only denigrate European history? That makes no sense to me.

    The name of the period refers to the movement of so-called barbarian peoples—including the Huns, Goths, Vandals, Bulgars, Alani, Suebi, and Franks—into what had been the Western Roman Empire. The term “Dark Ages” is now rarely used by historians because of the value judgment it implies.

    - Encyclopedia Britannica

    In addition to the value judgment, the term is also based on a number of historical inaccuracies and falsehoods. In reality, Europe experienced a high degree of sophistication and, especially, technological development at this time.

    Developing technology is not equal to understanding science. For thousands of years, civilizations developed technology. That does not become science until the right questions are asked, and that began in Athens. Science is investigated but technology is created and science conflicts with Christianity. Technology does not conflict with Christianity, but without science the development of technology is retarded and without science, people are living in the dark. This is a big problem when people are afraid of science and the lies of Satan.

    [/quote]Also, we need to remember that the “Islamic Golden Age” would not have taken place without the Greek and Roman culture preserved by the Greek East which was Christian.[/quote]

    For exactly the same reason Christians would still be in the dark ages if it were not for renasaunce.

    {quote]IMHO the claim A, that “Christianity destroyed Greek and Roman culture” is contradicted by the fact B, that the Muslim Arabs got their knowledge of Classical science, medicine, philosophy, etc. from Christian Europe![/quote] ? You are neglecting history.

    As to the Celts, their religion reportedly involved human sacrifice:
    So did the Hebrews leading to the story of God telling someone to kill his son and then saying not to do. And Jesus is a human sacrifice is he not? Why people believe this human sacrifice was necessary is beyond me. There is no science in that notion.

    According to Roman sources, Celtic Druids engaged extensively in human sacrifice. According to Julius Caesar, the slaves and dependents of Gauls of rank would be burnt along with the body of their master as part of his funerary rites. He also describes how they built wicker figures that were filled with living humans and then burned.

    Human sacrifice - Wikipedia

    And it would be useful if you had some sources for "Christians starving Celts to death" as personally I am not aware of any ....[/quote]

    I have to run but real quick, what you said of the Celts does not change the fact that they had better morals than the Romans and the world is still fighting over this moral issue, especially the Muslims and US Christians.
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    For exactly the same reason Christians would still be in the dark ages if it were not for renasaunce.Athena

    My point is that 1) the very existence of the "dark ages" is debatable and 2) there is no evidence that this was brought about by Christianity.

    The way I see it, the idea of a Christian “Dark Age” as opposed to an Islamic “Golden Age” has its roots in 1700’s European fantasies about sultans and seraglios that appealed to the anti-Catholic and anti-religious sentiments of the time. It was later promoted by far-left historians from Chicago like Daniel Boorstin.

    So, I think it is absolutely imperative to distinguish between actual history and pseudohistory, mythology, or propaganda.

    The fact is that the Muslim Arabs invaded Persia in 633 AD, Syria in 634, Egypt in 639.

    At the time of the invasions, Persia and the Eastern Roman Empire (to which Syria and Egypt belonged) had the most advanced civilization in the region. They were NOT in the Stone Age!

    Syria and Egypt had been under Greek and Roman rule from the time of Alexander the Great. The Egyptian city of Alexandria had been founded by Alexander in 331 BC and had been a leading intellectual center ever since.

    The most advanced medical tradition at the time was that of the Greeks, and the Muslim Arabs acquired knowledge of it from Alexandria.

    Persia had its own centers of learning in cities like Harran, Ctesiphon, Gundeshapur, where medicine, astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy were studied and taught.

    In 825, the Abbasid caliph Al-Ma'mun founded the House of Wisdom (Arabic: بيت الحكمة‎; Bayt al-Hikma) in Baghdad, modelled after the Academy of Gondishapur.

    He sent envoys to the Byzantine emperor Theophilos, asking him to provide whatever classical texts he had available.

    The Christian Hunayn ibn Ishaq was appointed to supervise the translation into Arabic of the works of Galen, Hippocrates, Ptolemy, Archimedes, Pythagoras, Akron of Agrigent, Democritus, Polybos, Diogenes of Apollonia, Plato, Aristotle, Mnesitheus of Athens, Xenocrates, Pedanius Dioscorides, Kriton, Soranus of Ephesus, Archigenes, Antyllus, Rufus of Ephesus.

    Later Greek scholars like Oribasius, Philagrius of Epirus, John Philoponus, Gesius of Petra, Alexander of Tralles, Aëtius of Amida, carried on the work of Classical authors and were also translated by Muslim rulers into Syriac and Arabic.

    Medicine in the medieval Islamic world – Wikipedia

    Constantinople, the capital of the Greek East, was Europe’s largest and culturally most advanced city that had no parallel in the Arab world.

    In addition to the Greeks, the Persians too made important contributions to the Islamic Golden Age.

    The Arab philosopher and historian Ibn Khaldun (1332 – 1406) wrote:

    It is a remarkable fact that, with few exceptions, most Muslim scholars both in the religious and intellectual sciences have been non-Arabs … Thus the founders of [Arabic] grammar were Sibawaih and, after him, al-Farisi and az-Zajjaj. All of them were of Persian descent ....

    - Unsur al-Ma’ali, Qabusnama (Mirror for Princes)

    And it was not just grammarians, there were Persian theologians, scientists, geographers, mathematicians, philosophers, architects, artists, poets, musicians and more.

    But there can be no doubt that the Christian Greeks facilitated the transmission of knowledge from the Classical world by preserving Classical texts and making them available to the Muslims.

    This would not have been possible if, as claimed by some, Christianity had “destroyed Greek and Roman culture”.


    Yes, Christian rulers did close down Pagan temples, but physicians and scholars were allowed to carry on their profession so long as they did not practice Paganism.

    Byzantine medicine encompasses the common medical practices of the Byzantine Empire from about 400 AD to 1453 AD. Byzantine medicine was notable for building upon the knowledge base developed by its Greco-Roman predecessors. In preserving medical practices from antiquity, Byzantine medicine influenced Islamic medicine as well as fostering the Western rebirth of medicine during the Renaissance.

    Byzantine medicine – Wikipedia

    In Western Europe too, even though much of Greek and Roman culture was lost as a result of barbarian invasions (not as a result of Christianity!), technological developments were able to build on Classical knowledge and were well ahead of their Islamic counterparts.

    The Muslim Arabs had no advanced architecture, no town planning, no streets and therefore no wagons, no draft horses and no wheels, no saddles, no stirrups, no evolved administrative system, no literature and no philosophy.

    Virtually all of their knowledge was obtained from Greeks, Persians, Syrians, Jews, Armenians and others.

    The Muslims did have knowledge of printing technology acquired from the Chinese but they did not actually use the printing press.

    Meantime, Europe continued to make advances in technology and without interference from the Christian Church. In fact, the Church actively encouraged economic and technological development and laid the foundations of capitalism.

    The Church was the largest landowner in Europe. The estates held by bishops and monasteries began to develop more productive management techniques, started selling their products for cash, and became the largest lenders, thus driving the emergence of capitalism. There were also many private banks, all approved by the Vatican.

    Similarly, Venice, which was under the rule of the Greek East, became a leader of Europe’s commercial economy, developing into a city-state and later republic, before being overtaken by Christian Portugal and Spain which had liberated themselves from Islamic rule.

    In contrast, in the Islamic world, production was gradually monopolized by the state and this tended to stifle the development of free market economies.

    So, if we look beyond appearances and propaganda I think we discover some interesting things that should not be ignored.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    At the time of the invasions, Persia and the Eastern Roman Empire (to which Syria and Egypt belonged) had the most advanced civilization in the region. They were NOT in the Stone Age!Apollodorus

    For sure that region had been civilized for thousands of years and the Christians outside of that civilized area did not have the benefit of it. Their belief that they were superior to all others, and God willed them to be all-powerful was just wrong. And boy, were the Christian Crusaders shocked when they saw civilizations far more advanced they were! It caused the Church quite a problem when the Crusaders came home with stories of people who were much more advanced than them and more knowledgeable than them. That must have been very confusing considering they saw themselves as God's favorite people and believed they were the superior people God chose to rule the earth. A belief they still have today. But back in the day, the Church wisely responded by paying attention to the classics and then beginning to educate the people. Scholasticism started by the Catholic Church was essential to pulling Christians out of the dark ages and that progress was because of the Greek and Roman classics, not because of the Bible.

    The Egyptian city of Alexandria had been founded by Alexander in 331 BC and had been a leading intellectual center ever since.Apollodorus

    The stories vary on the account of who destroyed the library in Alexandria. We know for a fact, Christians destroyed other people's holy places and made them Christian holy places. The Muslims came along and did the same thing, and this insanity continues to this day as Muslims and Jews fight for the holy city of Jerusalem. And Zionist Christians are very much a part of this problem and the injustice done to the Palestinians. You may not be a Zionist Christians but trying to convince me that Christians are better than Muslims goes against my own experience with Christians and Muslims.

    Here is an interesting comment about those Crusaders who did not have the benefits of ancient civilizations.

    Indeed, Christian holy wars such as these bear a striking resemblance—and, no doubt, owe at least some of their existence—to the Moslem custom of the jihad, which by then had become a very successful Islamic institution. By translating the notion of a "holy warrior" into Christian terms, a succession of medieval popes and churchmen created the crusader, a "knight for Christ."Mark Damen

    Today's Muslim fighters in Afghanistan are not the civilized people but the ones with nothing, who have distorted the meaning of jihad and have nothing else to make them feel important other than being holy warriors. As I have been trying to bring out, the cause of the behavior is not exactly religion, but circumstances and there is really not a significant difference between how human Muslims and human Christians behave. Humans do what humans do and it is circumstances that lead to the behaviors.

    The most advanced medical tradition at the time was that of the Greeks, and the Muslim Arabs acquired knowledge of it from Alexandria.Apollodorus

    The most advanced medical tradition at the time was that of the Greeks, and the Muslim Arabs acquired knowledge of it from Alexandria.Apollodorus

    Yes, and unfortunately the Church went through stages, like some Muslims and Christians today, where the people in leadership think that all people need to know is their holy book and they ignore or destroy everything else. It is a fight for power and control. Like a male lion killing all the lioness cubs if they are not his. We were not made by a God. We were made by nature.

    In ancient times people had their patron god or goddess and I don't think our intelligence would have advanced if people didn't have many different perspectives because they believed in many gods. From the day of there being only one god, the grounds for a dark age began. Jews, Christians, and Moslems who think their holy book can be the only thing they need to read, and believing their holy book is the best explanation of reality, are all equally wrong. That was true thousands of years ago and it is true today. I can accept a notion of God as a universal God who is not in conflict with science and nature but that is not the God of Abraham. The God of Abraham is a tribal God, and that makes the God of Christians and Muslims, a tribal God. When Christians deified Jesus, that made the problem even worse because that becomes the least abstract God. All the religions opposed worshiping images and Muslims get around this by making their images patterns. Christians however use images to tell their story. We can see God and Satan and demons. Maybe starting a thread about what is wrong with that would be a good idea.

    The Church was the largest landowner in Europe. The estates held by bishops and monasteries began to develop more productive management techniques, started selling their products for cash, and became the largest lenders, thus driving the emergence of capitalism. There were also many private banks, all approved by the Vatican.Apollodorus

    That is perhaps another worthy thread, but even less philosophical than this one. However, like a college debate, I would choose to take the Muslim side, so we are not left with only what we know about Christians, and therefore, a possibly false belief that they superior. Of course, your side of the story can include the church and slavery, right? Should there be an explanation of why Rome had slaves and serfs and how Christian wealth including the wealth of the church, was built with slaves and serfs? The Church was the largest landholder at a time when God changed his mind about his people not being slaves, to He wants them to honor Him by good slaves. And lets us talk about banking with knowledge of Babylon, Jews, Christians, and Islam in a thread for that purpose.

    Similarly, Venice, which was under the rule of the Greek East, became a leader of Europe’s commercial economy, developing into a city-state and later republic, before being overtaken by Christian Portugal and Spain which had liberated themselves from Islamic rule.Apollodorus

    The rule book for the people of Venice, was Roman law, not the Bible. That is important because the rules for cities based on trade were totally different from the rural estates with serfs that defined most of Europe. We have a lot to discuss but this is enough for today.
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    That is perhaps another worthy thread, but even less philosophical than this one.Athena

    IMO economy is a major key to economic and national success. If this thread is about “national success” and “Islam”, which I believe it is, then it should include a discussion of the reasons why Islamic countries have been less successful than Christian ones, and this in turn means discussing the rise of capitalism.

    Should there be an explanation of why Rome had slaves and serfs and how Christian wealth including the wealth of the church, was built with slaves and serfs?Athena

    Islam also had slaves. Slavery in the Islamic world was abolished in the 1900’s, it was practiced under ISIS (Islamic State) until a few years ago and it is still practiced in some places even now:

    Slavery in the Ottoman Empire was abolished in 1924. Slavery in Iran was abolished in 1929. Mauritania became the last state to abolish slavery - in 1905, 1981, and again in August 2007. Oman abolished slavery in 1970, and Saudi Arabia and Yemen abolished slavery in 1962 under pressure from Britain. However, slavery claiming the sanction of Islam is documented at present in the predominantly Islamic countries of the Sahel

    History of slavery in the Muslim world – Wikipedia

    Scholasticism started by the Catholic Church was essential to pulling Christians out of the dark ages and that progress was because of the Greek and Roman classics, not because of the Bible.Athena

    It was not because of the Koran either.

    And there are other unresolved issues. For example:

    If the Celts were “better” than Greeks and Romans, why admire Greek and Roman culture?

    If the Greeks and Romans were “patriarchal” and “worse than the Celts”, why object to Christianity closing down Greek and Roman temples and “destroying” their culture? Should we not welcome it instead?

    Moreover, if Christianity “destroyed Greek and Roman culture”, how was Greek and Roman knowledge transmitted to the Muslims?

    The truth of the matter is that Celtic religion did involve human sacrifice and Celtic society was dominated by the priestly class that had a monopoly on knowledge. Human sacrifice among the Celts is mentioned by many Roman writers and even in the oral tradition of the Irish Celts (Dindsenchas).

    Christianity did not destroy Classical culture. It only abolished the religion which was not a big loss as Roman religion was already developing in the direction of monotheism. The concept of a supreme God who was the Father and King of all other gods was already well-established especially among the educated classes who were also influenced by Platonic beliefs in the ultimate reality of the One.

    But Christianity also abolished questionable aspects of Greek and Roman culture like emperor worship, animal sacrifice and gladiator shows. But it did not destroy Classical culture as such. The Church Fathers, including St Paul, were educated men who had a Classical education, spoke Greek and had knowledge of Greek philosophy.

    The Church preserved most of the manuscripts of Classical authors like Plato and Aristotle and it saw philosophy as a preparation for Christian theology. It founded the Catechetical School of Alexandria in the 2nd century AD where Classical philosophy was taught alongside Christian theology, science, mathematics, literature, logic and the arts.

    In 425 AD the Christian Emperor Theodosius II founded the University of Constantinople (Pandidakterion) with chairs for law, philosophy, medicine, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, rhetoric and other subjects. Other schools, colleges, polytechnics, libraries and fine arts academies also operated in the city at the time.

    University of Constantinople – Wikipedia

    As the Christian Greeks in the East preserved the works of Classical Greek authors, the Christian Romans in the West preserved works by Juvenal, Ovid, Horace, Cicero, Terence, Tacitus, Seneca, Varro.

    Far from destroying Greek and Roman culture, Christianity in fact preserved most of it. To begin with, it preserved Greek and Latin as the language of government and of the Church. It preserved the administrative apparatus, the legal system, and the infrastructure of the Roman Empire. It preserved science, technology, medicine, literature, arts, philosophy, architecture, engineering, etc.

    Some Westerners imagine that Roman architecture was just Greek temples in the traditional rectangular style with a colonnade of columns round about and sloping roof. This style was indeed important and influenced even Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture.

    However, there were other styles with octagonal or circular structure and domed roof or a combination of the two styles as in the Pantheon of Rome.

    The St Sophia Cathedral of Constantinople which was built in the 500’s had a domed roof similar to that of the Pantheon. The Roman basilica style with aisled-hall plan was also widely used in Christian architecture.

    In addition, many Greek and Roman temples, bridges, aqueducts, and theaters are still standing!

    The Parthenon Temple to Athena was preserved as a church right in the middle of Athens until it was converted into a mosque (and later damaged) by the Turks in the 1460’s, after the fall of Constantinople and the same goes for many other temples.

    Parthenon – Wikipedia

    Temple of Hephaestus - Wikipedia

    Roman bridges – Wikipedia

    Roman aqueduct – Wikipedia

    The idea that Protestantism created capitalism was promoted by Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism). But Weber was a Marxist-influenced liberal who wrote that Catholicism was “otherworldly” and “polytheistic”. The reality is that the foundations of capitalism had been laid centuries before in non-Protestant parts of Europe such as Catholic Italy. At any rate, it is undeniable that capitalism became the dominant economic system in Christian Europe, not in the Islamic world, and was essential in the success of Western economies.

    Anyway, if we trace the roots of the myth of “Islamic Superiority” we can see that it emerged in the Western European fantasy of Islam as a world of unbound sexual liberty and culinary enjoyment where men could have up to four wives and an unlimited number of female slaves. Intellectuals and artists with overactive imagination and lots of spare time made a nice profit from encouraging their audience to indulge in imageries of sultans and large harems that were projected as “progress” from the more austere and “backward” culture of Christian Europe.

    Voltaire, Rousseau, Mozart and many others were afflicted to different degrees with the new mania.

    This was later promoted by atheist academics in the post-war era and was ecstatically embraced by the Hippy and New Age counter-culture influenced by Blavatsky, Gurdjieff, Idris Shah, and other self-appointed “gurus”.

    It must have been in the cannabis smog of the 60’s and 70’s that the belief emerged that Christians razed everything to the ground after which they retired to their cave dwellings where they have been practicing cannibalism ever since. Replacing Western civilization with Islam – accompanied perhaps by an a-la-carte garnishing of Buddhism, Yoga, and Marx – may have seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but I think al-Qaeda, Taliban, and Islamic State (ISIS) should long have been a wake-up call even for die-hards. :grin:
  • Athena
    1.6k
    It was not because of the Koran either.Apollodorus

    ? I think it was because of the Koran. I do not know why you feel a need to keep slamming Islam instead of the conditions that lead to human behavior. The commandments of the Koran did lead to collecting books and their control of the Silk Road brought the books and the technology of making paper and block printing into Europe. While Christians monks were bleaching these very valuable books to write their own idea of what was important at the time. Don't you get if you keep slamming Muslims, I will slam Christians? Christians experienced a dark age as Muslims in remote areas are going through a dark age of ignorance.

    Introduction
    Islam provided great impetus for the human pursuit of knowledge. The first verse that descended on the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Was Iqra, meaning "read,” opening the door to read, write, and ponder. The Quran urges the mankind to think, ponder, reflect and acquire knowledge that would bring them closer to God and his creation. The Quran uses repetition to embed certain key concepts in the consciousness of its listeners. Allah (God) and Rab (the Sustainer) are repeated 2,800 and 950 times, respectively, in the sacred text; Ilm (knowledge) comes third with 750 mentions.

    The prophet Muhammad (SAW) commanded knowledge upon all Muslims, and urged them to seek knowledge as far they could reach, and also to seek it all times. Ali ibn Abu Talib, 4th Caliph (may Allah be pleased with him), once said, "I would be slave of a person who teaches me a letter" accentuating the importance of knowledge. Following these commands and traditions, Muslim rulers insisted that every Muslim acquire learning and they gave considerable support to institution and learning in general. This contributed to making elementary education almost universal amongst Muslims.
    — University Nebraska
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Perhaps we could look at our argument in a new way? How were European Christians educated? What was deemed important in their education?
  • Athena
    1.6k
    If the Greeks and Romans were “patriarchal” and “worse than the Celts”, why object to Christianity closing down Greek and Roman temples and “destroying” their culture? Should we not welcome it instead?Apollodorus
    Huh? Our Father who art in heaven is very Roman.

    Christianity is very Roman and Roman was very and materialistic. Roman was also every institutional and the Celts said something to the effect, they not only enslave others but also themselves. I am starting a new thread to discuss Roman Christianity versus spirituality. The Greeks and Celtic people were more spiritual than Rome. The power and glory of Rome was morally inferior unless you like war and destroying our planet. The God of David is a war God from a time when people believed, the people with the strongest god, won the war. The story of Constantine converting Rome to Christianity begins with a war and his vision of God and the Christian Right continues to worship this God. Hegel claimed the state is God. That is Protestant nationalism and it has consumed the US, and Islam also became very bad when it connected with Nietzsche and Hegel.

    I offer the Minoan for another possibility.
    Minoan religion apparently focused on female deities, with women officiants.[67] While historians and archaeologists have long been skeptical of an outright matriarchy, the predominance of female figures in authoritative roles over male ones seems to indicate that Minoan society was matriarchal, and among the most well-supported examples known. — Wikipedia

    You have not commented on God saying his people are not to be slaves and then flipping this to
    "Ephesians 6:5-8 Paul states, “Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ” which is Paul instructing slaves to obey their master." This is very significant. The Bible is not a revealed work of God but the work of men, as are all holy books.

    Here is another very offence passage good for the Taliban but it is from the Bible.
    "Timothy 2:11, Women should learn in silence and all humility. I do not allow them to teach or to have authority over men; they must keep quiet. This passage seems to limit the role of women as subordinates to men." That is pretty oppressive don't you think?
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    The rule book for the people of Venice, was Roman law, not the Bible. That is importantAthena

    Very important, indeed.

    If the law was Roman, then this is one of the many aspects of Classical culture that Christianity did NOT destroy. In fact, Roman law was preserved in the Greek East into modern times!

    But we are talking about Christian society and therefore a Christian-inspired political philosophy and practice that enabled the rise of capitalism which in turn led to democratic systems. The fact that it didn’t happen in the Islamic world should not be ignored.

    For starters, I think it is important to understand that the Muslim Arabs’ success in conquering large territories in the beginning was not due to their “superior” culture or military skills as they had neither.

    The Greek-controlled Eastern Roman Empire and Persia had been at war with one another for decades which had weakened their defenses, and this enabled the Arabs to invade and conquer Syria, Persia, and Egypt.

    The Arabs did conquer parts of Spain but only because a faction of the Visigoths who controlled Spain sided with the Arabs.

    The truth of the matter is that Arab culture lacked some essential elements, such as the use of the wheel (which is why wagons and carts were replaced with camels and donkeys under Islamic rule), the solar calendar (that was more suitable for agriculture than the Arab lunar one), advanced knowledge of ship building and sailing, etc.

    Traditional Arab ships were sewn together with coconut and palm-tree fiber, and new techniques had to be learned from the Greeks and Persians. After some initial successes, the entire Arab fleet was annihilated by the Greeks at Constantinople in 672.

    Similarly, when the Arabs tried to conquer France from Spain, they were defeated by the Aquitanians at Toulouse in 721 and by the Franks at Tours in 732.

    The Arabs never managed to conquer Europe and were eventually conquered by Europeans.

    Additionally, Islamic society was highly repressive and discriminatory. Arab Muslims were at the top, followed by non-Arab and mixed-race Muslim converts, followed by the vast majority consisting of non-Muslim locals. The latter were subjected to severe taxation and other forms of discrimination.

    In Egypt, for example, the non-Muslim majority was initially allowed to build new places of worship. However, this changed when none other than Caliph Harun al-Rashid of the “Islamic Golden Age” issued an edict demanding the destruction of non-Muslim places of worship built after the Muslim conquest. This set a legal precedent that eventually deprived non-Muslims of their rights concerning religious buildings. At the same time, there were popular uprisings caused by maladministration and excessive taxation.

    Muslim discrimination, of course, was endemic not only against Christians but also against Jews. Unfortunately, Harun became the hero of Thousand and One Nights and this is how the mythology of “Islamic Enlightenment” was born. As Bernard Lewis put it:

    Even at its best, medieval Islam was rather different from the picture provided by Disraeli and other romantic writers. The golden age of equal rights was a myth, and belief in it was a result, more than a cause, of Jewish sympathy for Islam.

    - “The pro-Islamic Jews”, Jewish Life and Thought, Vol. 17, No. 4, 1968, p. 401

    Religious discrimination remains a serious problem in many Muslim countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia.

    “Persecution of Christians ‘coming close to genocide’ in Middle East – report” – The Guardian

    On the whole, we can see that not all claims of “Islamic superiority” stand to scrutiny and that a more balanced and nuanced reading of history is essential.

    Even if we were to suppose, for the sake of argument, that the Muslim Arabs did have this “great civilization” in the Middle Ages, the question remains as to 1) why they developed this civilization in places that had been part of the Roman and Persian empires (which already had an advanced civilization) and not in Arabia itself, and 2) why this civilization fell apart after just a few hundred years.

    The answer to question 1) is that the so-called “Islamic” civilization really was the civilization of the conquered peoples (B. Lewis, What Went Wrong?).

    The answer to question 2) is that “Islamic” civilization was not only built from elements of the conquered civilizations but by the conquered peoples themselves.

    Muslim Arabs had no advanced education system and no tradition of scholarship. For this reason they employed local scholars from the start in the same way they employed local architects, artisans, engineers, shipwrights, etc.

    Though the conquered populations adopted Arabic as the main language of communication with the Arab rulers, and even took on Arab or Arabized names, they retained their local religious and cultural identity.

    On average, it took Islam 250 years to spread to 50% of the populations of Syria, Persia, and Egypt. Conversion to Islam was very gradual and, in the beginning, minimal. This means that the scholars who built the “Islamic” civilization were for the most part non-Muslims.

    It was in this non-Muslim environment that “Islamic” civilization developed. As the Muslim element gradually increased, the non-Muslim environment decreased and this naturally led to the decline of the civilization it had produced ....
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