THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
THESE ARE THE 7 WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD
From the tallest man-made structures of the Ancient World to the controversial Hanging Gardens, NOMADSofORIGIN presents to you the lasting fame of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Mat Reding
29 April 2020
Ever wanted to know more about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? We list them dating from the 1st-2nd century BC. There is a predominant praise of the Greek architecture and art culture in the list. This has to do with the fact that the known world to the Greeks at that period in history extended to the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean areas and landmarks beyond those regions were not considered.
The list was essentially a guide of travel recommendations to exploring the Ancient World. The word ‘sights’ preceded the description ‘wonders’ when the list was originally created by Hellenistic travellers. The Greek conquest a significant part of the western world prior to the 4th century BC. They allowed travellers to explore the civilizations of the Persians, Egyptians and Babylonians.
Most of the original Seven Wonders were destroyed throughout time and evidence for their existence is found in the writing works of poets, philosophers and scholars. Greek historian Diodorus Siculus was the first to refer to a list of seven significant landmarks. Later, manuscripts covering the same monuments were written by more observers such as ancient Greek historian Herodotus, mathematician and engineer Philo of Byzantium, poet and scholar Callimachus of Cyrene, etc.
Only the Great Pyramid of Giza is intact to this day, while there are speculations regarding the location and even the existence of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, also featured among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. All seven landmarks coexisted for a period of less than 60 years. The Colossus of Rhodes was remarkably not only the last of the seven wonders to be completed but also the first that was destroyed in 226/5 BC.
Great pyramid at Giza
For nearly 4,000 years the Great Pyramid at Giza existed as the tallest man-made structure in the world. It was built for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu between 2584 and 2561 BCE. What impressed ancient travellers was the perfect symmetry and the never-before-witnessed height of the landmark. Up to present day modern humanity is intrigued by the interior of the pyramids. Ancient writers were unfamiliar with any aspect of the pyramid’s interior as excavations were issued in late 18th and early 19th century CE.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
To this day the existence and the fate of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon have not been officially confirmed. The Hanging Gardens were described by ancient writer Diodorus Siculus as self-watering planes of exotic flora and fauna. He wrote about a series of climbing terraces, reaching a height of over 23 metres (75 feet). Siculus wrote that Nebuchadnezzar II requested the gardens to be built between 605-562 BCE as a gift to his wife, Amtis of Media. She missed the flowers and landscapes of her homeland, which inspired the king’s command to have a mountain built for her in Babylon.
The controversy: there is no mention of the Hanging Gardens in Babylonian history, not even by ‘the Father of History’, Herodotus. However, he was confirmed to have been wrong on occasions, while he also failed to mention other figures and facts of the Ancient World. Diodorus, Philo and other historians claimed the gardens existed and that an earthquake caused their destruction at some period in time after the 1st century CE.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The massive sculpture portrayed Zeus seated on his throne with robes of hammered gold and skin of ivory. The 12 metres (40 feet) height of the monument was designed to awe and inspire those, who visited the Temple of Zeus at Olympia to worship the Greek God. Phidias, who was considered the finest sculptor in the Ancient World, created the monument in the 5th century BCE. He was also known to have worked on the famous statue of Athena in Athens and on the Parthenon.
The Statue of Zeus was taken to Constantinople after the rise of Christianity lead to the fall of the temple at Olympia and the ban on the Olympic Games. Speculations state that the statue was destroyed either in the 5th or 6th centuries CE by an earthquake, while others claimed people stole it and melted down the bronze.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Over 120 years were needed to build the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (a Greek colony in Asia Minor) and it took a single night to destroy the landmark. Poets and historian alike describe the temple as one of the most amazing structures to have ever been created by humans. I was sponsored by King Croesus of Lydia, who gladly invested a vast expanse to have the landmark completed by 550 BCE. The Temple of Artemis was about 129m (425ft) long and 69m (225ft) high, supported by 18m (around 127ft) high columns.
A man named Herostratus set the temple on fire on July 21, 356 BCE. He wanted eternal historical fame for destroying such a beautiful and significant construction and the Ephesians insisted his name never to be recorded or remembered. The night of the fire was the time Alexander the Great was born, who later offered to rebuild the temple and faced rejection by the Ephesians. After his death, the Temple of Artemis was rebuilt at a smaller scale and ceased to exist after the Goths invasion. It was rebuilt for the second time, but Saint John Chrysostom lead a Christian mob initiating its final destruction in 401 CE.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Halicarnassus and his wife Artemisia put great efforts into creating a city with unseen beauty in any other part of the world. In 351 BCE the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was built as the tomb of the Persian Satrap Mausolus. It was decorated with prestigious sculpture and artwork, reaching 41m (135ft) height.
In 353 BCE Mausolus died and Artemisia wanted to create a resting place worthy of the great king her husband was. Two years later, Artemisia died too, and her ashes were entombed with Mausolus’ in the mausoleum, while the work on the temple continued with the belief that the structure will serve as a tribute to the everlasting fame of its two patrons. A series of earthquakes stroke the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Hundreds of years later, in 1494 CE, the Knights of St. John of Malta used the remaining ruins to build their castle at Bodrum, where visitors can see some of the ancient stones of the mausoleum to this day.
Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was a massive statue constructed between 292 and 280 BCE. It was built to worship the god Helios, who was the Greek sun-god and patron of the island of Rhodes. The structure overlooked the harbour of the island reaching a height of over 33m (110ft). The Statue of Liberty in New York City, USA, was modelled on the Colossus of Rhodes.
In 304 BCE the invading army of Demetrius was defeated, and Rhodians sold the left behind weaponry for around 300 talents (approx. 360 million U.S.D) to build the Colossus. It was the tallest statue of the Ancient World for only 56 years. In 226 BCE an earthquake destroyed the Colossus of Rhodes but for the next 8 centuries the ruins still attracted tourists from around the world. Historian, Theophanes, claims that around 654 CE the remaining were sold to ‘a Jewish merchant of Edessa’, who melted them down.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Commissioned by Ptolemy I Soter, the Lighthouse at Alexandria was built on the island of Pharos reaching a height of around 134m (440ft). It was the third tallest man-made structure in the Ancient World, after the Pyramids. It was built around 280 BCE, having had a square base, an octagonal section in the middle and a circular top. The light of the landmark was created by a fire at night and by day a mirror was positioned to reflect the sunrays so that the light could be seen at 35 miles out in sea. Earthquakes stroke the Lighthouse at Alexandria in 956 CE, 1303 CE and 1323 CE causing significant damage, while the year 1480 CE saw the structure’s final days. The lighthouse was described as utterly beautiful. Stones from the ruins were used to build the Egyptian fort Quaitbey, which is now found at the site.