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NIHIL NOVUM SUB SOLE

1001 deeds, sayings, curiosities and anecdotes of the ancient world

Gods and Religion

Articles relating to the varied world of gods and ancient religions; there are also included
references to the origin of Christianity.

Urbi et orbi: the city ruling an Empire (I)

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This Latin sentence, which means "for the city (Rome) and for the world", is applied today in a literal sense exclusively to the blessings that the bishop of Rome, that is, the Pope, imparts to all the faithful Catholics of the World by granting them plenary indulgence and remission of sins. In a broader sense it is used to refer to any type of message addressed in a general way to all the inhabitants of the earth.

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Prodigies, miracles, wonders, portents, phenomena, monsters (II)

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Among these prodigies, the lightnings, the apparitions of divine beings wrapped in marvelous lights and halos stand out and impress the Romans. The appearance of some goddess to small shepherds is documented already in an Egyptian text of the time of The Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2.000-1800 b.Ch.) to which I dedicate a next article.

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Ovid in the Prado Museum-Madrid (Ovid V)

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The most famous Latin poets of the three of the time of Augustus, Virgil, Horace and Ovid, undoubtedly the most influential of them all in Western culture has been Ovid, although not the best valued by literary criticism. The influence of Ovid has been felt since antiquity itself, during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the present day in all arts, in literature of course, but also especially in painting and even in music. This is a subject very attended by the scholars and to which perhaps I should on my part dedicate some ample comment at some time. Something of this I have said in some of the articles that I have published in the thread of the celebration of the bimillenary of the poet’s death.

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Crowned with laurel

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Laurel leaves crown the best poets and the most seasoned soldiers. It is true that "weapons and the letters" quite frequently go together, but it is curious that the same decorative and symbolic element that rewards intelligence and art also serve as recognition of the value and military courage. The bay also has other values that should know, but why?

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Pyramus and Thisbe: an old story of tragic love, like Romeo and Juliet

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It is difficult to escape the celebration of "Valentine's Day, the lovers day." A powerful tradition that has its roots in antiquity and in the Middle Ages and is currently anchored by the commercial interests of powerful corporations and business organizations, seems to prevail unchecked.

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Annum novum faustum felicem A good, happy, prosperous and fortunate New Year

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The ancient Romans celebrated the beginning of a new year with very special holidays, as it couldn’t be otherwise: not for nothing is very important in the ancient classical world is a mistaken idea of cyclical time just constantly reborn. See http://en.antiquitatem.com/what-is-century

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Very cruel pupils

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The Christian poet Prudentius wrote a series of singing hymns in the death of many Christian martyrs. He called his work "Peristephanon" or “Crowns of Martyrdom”. Prudentius, connoisseur of classical Latin literature and rhetoric, attempts to integrate the pagan tradition with Christian ideas.

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The eclipses announce extraordinary events (I)

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Man has taken thousands of years, from his appearing on earth, watching the sky, sometimes impressed by the thousands of bright spots, around 1,500 naked eye, moving or standing still, and other times frightened by the influence which the sky can have on their lives.

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The abduction of Hylas: a very peculiar mosaic of Italica (Spain)

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In Greek mythology there are numerous episodes in which powerful gods fall in love with beautiful mortals and procreate with them heroes, in their half immortal and in other half mortal. Also the goddesses fall in love sometimes with men, who are mortal. For example Venus is the mother of Aeneas, born from the mortal Anchises, from whom the race of Julius (Julius Caesar, Augustus, etc.) descended.

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The gods do not send young kings to people whom want to harm

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Phrases, sentences, proverbs, maxims Apophthegmata , were in antiquity an effective instrument for moral and civic education of citizens. So they are thousands of Latin and Greek sentences to be found in collections or never complete dictionaries. Besides the ancient world offers tons of material to build and permanently create attractive judgments at all times or to paraphrase or adapt the old they self.

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The myth of the ages of man (2)

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It is a topic or commonplace in many cultures that human life on Earth began in a time of happiness and absolute serenity, then interrupted by the amoral behavior of man, which since then has continued to get worse. These creations are not only literary, but they are part of the ideas of general cultural imaginary.

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The myth of the ages or races of man

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The old myth of the ages or races of man, with a first gold age which degenerates to the hard and fierce iron age as the moral behavior of man worsens, exists in many literatures. A thousand times told in antiquity and since antiquity, it was sufficiently known by Cervantes who was influenced significantly by it: after all, the "Knight of the Sorrowful Figure" aims to create a better world, perhaps like that existed in the "golden age", judging by the presence which this illusion has in Don Quixote.

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The festivals of fire are very old: the "Fallas”

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The Spanish word "fallas" derives, according to the dictionary of the “Real Academia de la Lengua”, from the Latin "facula", which means "torch". The “Fallas” are undoubtedly the most important festivals in the Spanish Levante, which revolve essentially around the destructive and purifying fire and they held between 15 and 19 March, the feast of Saint Joseph.

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“The Gods in Council” of Lucian of Samosata, an early example of irony, humor and freedom of expression

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Does the right to freedom of expression have limits? The great majority of people advocate general right to freedom of expression, but not everyone understands it in the same way. There is a particularly confusing area in which the agreement seems impossible; it is the field of religious beliefs.

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Some notes on the "Magi" , the three Wise Men

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One of the most deeply rooted festivals in folk and Christian religious life is the "Adoration of the Three Kings other Three Wise Men". In this event they come together many elements of different religious and cultural backgrounds. We can recall the religious ferment of the Roman Empire, precisely time when Jesus was born, flattering all syncretism. Christian religion have incorporated many elements of Eastern religions of Chaldea, Mesopotamia, Persia, Asia Minor, Egypt, Judea and especially of Greco-Roman and philosophical thought. In all these syncretic religions astral component, highly developed among the Chaldeans in Mesopotamia, is very important.

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Mithra, god of the sun, was born on December 25, day of the winter solstice

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On the night of 24 to 25 December it is celebrated in the West the birth of Christ. But it was not always so and today it is not in the whole Christian world; until the fourth century it was celebrated on January 6 and it continues so in the east, among the Orthodox.

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