History 104A, September 12: Contributions of the Ancients!

               I wanted to do a sort of review of the contributions of the

          various Mesopotamian middle eastern groups in a sense of, we've gone

          through at least the history through to the Persians, obviously very

          scantly, more specifically, kinds of history you would prefer to do in

          a more advanced class at the upper division level.  This was the only

          nice part I enjoyed about a four year school.  You could take some of

          those strange classes as a freshman or a sophomore, but we can't offer

          them here because the universities tend to not want to transfer them

          because they see them as upper division.

               In any case, we identified that the Sumerians were the first to

          create basically a code of law.  They developed the wheel from the

          pottery wheel that they used.  They developed canals, waterway

          irrigation ditches.  The Sumerians also developed weights and

          measures, cuneiform, and of course something I did mention, military

          strategies that called phalanxes, which is sort of like a web-shaped

          cuneiform.  These are sort of groups of soldiers marching together in

          groupings where we can envelope people or enclose around them.  And

          this was used throughout the Middle East and of course into Roman

          times.  The ziggurat, that temple that was built up for storage and

          perhaps earlier sacrifice.  They were also famous for the square root,

          which I give them a hell of a lot of credit for.  How many of you know

          how to do that square root still?

          A    With a calculator.

               THE PROFESSOR:  With the nice little -- how many raised your


          hand.  You know how to do a square root?  Six more without the

          calculator.  With the calculator, yeah, I can figure it out.

               The Sumerians also began the development of a calendar with the

          study of the heavens.  And of course that was important to try and

          realize the growing seasons the flooding, et cetera, that were

          important.  Obviously we're dealing with Sumerians as the major

          source of most of the information that was to be built up by later

          groups such as the Akkadians.

               However, the Babylonians added a little different to it in that

          the early Babylonians in their study of the stars, were much more

          calculating on them, really developed both astronomy and astrology.

          And so much of what we know as astrology and perhaps the hat of

          Merlin, certainly the outfits came from the Babylonians, which put a

          lot of emphasis on the stars.  And of course the codification which

          we're going to deal with further of the law codes of a Samarians, but

          posting them, creating a unified law throughout the Fertile Crescent

          reasons for the Babylonians.

               The Hittites comes out of the Anatolian peninsula, the mountains

          that were there.  I'm sorry, my mind just wanders as it does into a

          movie I saw the other day about the Armenian massacre by the Turks

          coming out of that area and out of those mountains.  I think the was

          Arafat.  I don't know how many have seen that.  It was a very

          interesting film.  I don't know how many of you are aware of what's

          often called the Armenian genocide after World War 1 in the

          unification of Turkey.  Millions of Armenians were killed by the


          Turkish government or so claimed.  And this has caused Armenian

          terrorism, even in California, against Turks.  Again, popping off into


               But the area of the Hittites, iron and the use of iron as

          obviously a strong metal.  And the Hittites were the first to use the

          horse-drawn chariot.  Chariots were used earlier, but the horse-drawn

          chariot and the fast mobility comes out of that Hittite area as well

          as despite the rocky of the mountains.

               The Phoenicians the purple dye, the royal purple from the

          mollusks, the shellfish that we mentioned.  The alphabet formalized

          that we know from the Greeks and passed onto the Greeks.  The

          Phoenicians were famous for blown glass and colorful glass.  And we

          have found a number of Phoenician ships with some of that class

          intact.  And of course, as I indicated, trade, perhaps with their

          ships not only going to England, which we're sure of, but perhaps

          reaching the coast of America and perhaps hitting the New England

          area.  And there is some good argument that they may have gone that

          far, easy enough to be blown off track as well.

               The Hebrews, code of law, the mosaic law as well as of course the

          old testament that was perhaps passed down to us as well.

               The Assyrians, well, theirs may not be as positive, terror in

          warfare and an organized warrior using, the term blitz kriek, what the

          Nazis used for rapid movement of troops and people.  The blitz kriek

          B-L-I-T-Z K-R-I-E-K, and the use of spoked wheels on their chariots.

          The Assyrians, as I mentioned, the library at Nineveh also known as


          the library of Assurbanipal A-S-S-U-R-B-A-N-I-P-A-L.  And the nice

          part again is, if you don't get my rapid spelling, Connie does.  And

          so it gets posted.  And if it doesn't, she e-mails me some strange

          words and I have to figure out what she's asking for.  We try to

          straighten it out as best we can.

               The Chaldeans or the new Babylonians for the hanging gardens,

          once of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

               And of course with the Persians, we deal with a form of

          government very structured, very organized, bringing together an

          empire.  I also mentioned pants as a contribution and the concern with

          beauty in the sense of oils and baths and that as well.  We had again

          a society that lasted for many years and perhaps 3,000 year history.

               I did not mention the Lydians and perhaps should have, at perhaps

          600 BCE.  Lydia was basically a Greek center in Turkey.  And they are

          famous or having the first development in 600 BCE of formalized coins.

          They did weigh out gold and silver in the exchange, but they did not

          formally stamp an equal amount with coinage.  So that they would have

          to weigh it out, even some of it being stamped with pictures or

          symbols.  But the fact was that it was the Lydians who created what we

          today know of coins made out of gold or silver.  And of course that

          passes onto the Greeks and the Romans.  And of course some of you

          probably have even the replicas of the Greek or Roman coins.  And

          Roman coins are easy to come about because there were so many of them

          during the period of time.

               In any case, those I think give us a little run down of the


          contributions that came through the middle eastern area.  And of

          course much of same coming out of Egypt, only Egypt was consistent for

          3,000 years, and that of course included weights and measures and

          canals.  And it included irrigation ditches.  It included a calendar

          and a solar calendar.  That if you read Velikovsky, when the sun gives

          you the time?

          A    Sun dial.

               THE PROFESSOR:  The thing that goes in the back yard.

          A    It's a sun dial.

               THE PROFESSOR:  I don't know why in the world I'm talking too

          fast, the sun dials.  Velikovsky says that they work if you use the

          tilt of the axis of the earth.  And if the Earth tilted since that

          period of time, it would explain why they don't give correct time

          today from ancient Egypt, verifying in his mind, the position that the

          Earth has tilted on its axis.  Certainly the telling of time was

          important to the ancient Egyptians as well.

               The Sumerians actually built with an arch.  And they actually

          built and used the arch as support.  Again, that got lost during the

          early part of the middle ages, but the arch was certainly one of their

          contributions historically.

               Well, I'm going to try this again and see if I get somebody

          beside the nerd that I used last time.  The Egyptians had very heavy

          eye makeup and I didn't understand it until I watched baseball.  That

          went over with the thought to reflect on the sun coming in and the

          reflection that was thrown off your eyes.  Never mind.


          Q    Is that really why they wore a lot of eye makeup?

               THE PROFESSOR:  Yeah in part, yeah.

               One interesting -- civilizations, generally men, are always drawn

          darker than women.  And I'm not sure why that fully was, but we have

          the sense that women are supposed to be light and men dark.  Maybe

          that's why women are identified with purity and piousness and men are

          identified with evil, leading women astray.

          A    Could it be that men work outside.

               THE PROFESSOR:  I think it probably started out that way.

          Although women were the gatherers while men were hunting.

          A    Maybe in the higher class society.

               THE PROFESSOR:  It had something to do perhaps with class status.

          Also with Egyptian stylization, the higher caste, the wealthier

          mobiles were drawn larger and the pharaohs drawn larger than all.

          Common people were smaller in their appearance on the drawings not

          necessarily obviously in reality and a sense of giving the imaging

          that you could best identify people.  So we saw the side view because

          that's what you think of.  Of the female, you saw the front view of

          the body because that's generally what we visualize.  And this was to

          help the Gods identify you, help you go to the afterlife.  When people

          were born, they were born with two souls, not one.  See, in our sense

          of Christianity, we have one God and only one soul; but Egyptians had

          multiple Gods and at least two souls.  One soul left the body and

          floated in the heavens.  The other stayed with the body.  Souls were

          called the ba and the ka, B-A and K-A.  When an Egyptian died, the


          souls were to unite.  The ba had to find the ka or the ka could not go

          to heaven, or not heaven, to the afterlife.  Once they united in their

          death, they would then meet the Gods that would direct them and

          determine whether they would enter the afterlife.

          Q    Was it the God, Sheera (phonetic), would come down and suck the

          ka out of people that were murdered or died unjust deaths, or am I

          completely throwing something out --

               THE PROFESSOR:  Sucking out the ka when people were murdered et

          cetera?  I don't know.  Again, you've been studying or reading more of

          the ancient stuff from the book of the dead elsewhere, but that does

          not stick in my memory banks at all.  I'll just go with that, you

          know, standard traditionalists say.

               In the waiting room for the afterlife, you were presided over by

          the God Osiris.  Osiris was the God of the afterlife in the

          underworld.  Osiris, like the Egyptian pharaohs, married his sister

          Isis.  Apparently before we got married, another brother of them, of

          Isis and Osiris, a man or a God -- this is not California -- wanted to

          Mary Isis.  And Isis loved Osiris.  And he was very jealous, so one

          day he captured Osiris, tricked him into getting within a sarcophagus

          made out of the cedars of Lenin, and floated him down the Nile, and he

          went off into the horse.  But Isis, with her undying love, searched

          for him and found him.  But that wasn't the end of it.  He did not

          give up easily.  He was impulsive.  He once again captured Osiris and

          he cut him up into little pieces this time.  And he spread the pieces

          all around Egypt, each city had a little piece of Osiris.  And Isis


          went around and collected all the pieces except one that had been

          eaten by a big fish.  The one piece that was eaten by a fish is really

          interesting, I guess, because it's the sexual organ that disappeared.

          And then she wrapped Osiris back together so that he was put back

          together in a mummified form.  And then she had a virgin birth because

          the piece wasn't there.  And so she gave birth to Horus H-O-R-U-S.

          Harus became identified with the sun, Isis with the moon, and Osiris,

          I guess, with the afterlife.  Now, Osiris would sit there, the jackal

          headed God Anubis would weigh the heart of the dead departed soul now

          that ba and ka had come together on a scale of justice -- perhaps this

          is where our first scales of justice appear.  And the heart was

          weighed against a feather.  If the heart was a heavy heart and it

          unbalanced that feather, the heart was then given to this creature

          which I call the hearty eater because he ate up the heart with a mouth

          of a crocodile and the body of a -- oh well, there were three

          different animals that made up this quote/unquote hardy heart eater.

          However, if the heart was light or balanced, then you would go on to

          the river Nile that traveled under the earth to the afterlife.  Of

          course you had to have a coin with you to bribe the boatman to get you

          there, to pay you to get you there.  And that was all spelled out in

          call it the Bible, if you will, of ancient Egypt called The Book of

          the Dead.  So that again, all of these drawings had to reflect what

          you look like, what your life was like, what your servants were like,

          so that you could continue the good life in the afterlife.  Just

          again, sort of an interesting relationship to the development of life


          in Egypt.

               Now, as I indicated earlier, in the old kingdom, it was believed

          that only the pharaohs could go on to the afterlife.  In the middle

          kingdom, nobles bought their way in as well.  And by the new kingdom,

          every common person accepted the fate.  And The Book of the Dead and

          people could continue in life after death as well.  And so

          mummification took place for everyone, not just for the pharaohs.  I'm

          just trying to find what's in here and the development.  The reason

          for wigs.  Anybody know why they shaved their heads?

          A    Lice.

               THE PROFESSOR:  Yeah.  Both men and women shaved their heads.

          Lice was part of the problem so that wigs became very ornate.  Wigs

          are still worn by Jewish women who are orthodox.  They shave their

          head upon marriage and keep their heads closed or shaved and they wear

          wigs once they're married, for whatever reason, but that the tradition

          perhaps has come down from the Jews in Egypt.  I'm not sure where it

          comes from.

               Clothing -- clothing is not change dramatically in ancient Egypt.

          As I said, men wore skirts.  However, these loincloths, full leather,

          generally varied in size from below the knees to mini skirts from time

          to time as the generations changed.  So style became -- it changes

          just like of course it has in our own days.  We see changes.  We come

          back and ties get wider and get narrower and lapels get bigger.  I

          don't know what happened to color.  You don't wear much color anymore

          like back when I started with Ohlone and everybody wore flowered


          shirts, tie-dyed shirts.  You people are dull now.  Some professor was

          saying the students have gone downhill since the Roman empire.

          They're stupid.  They can't write.  I think you've been stupid and

          dumb all along.  I don't say that there's a real difference in

          students but there has been in the clothing.

               With women, the dresses that they wore became, what's the word?

          Shear or more translucent.  In other words, sometimes you could see

          through them and sometimes you could not, depends on the era of time.

          I know which time most of you guys would want to live in but that's

          another story.  That basically transferred through 3,000 years of

          Egyptian history without dramatic change in the style of clothing or

          the style of art, except during one period when, even then, it was not

          that traumatic.  And that was the period of the pharaoh Akhenaton who

          was originally Amenhotep IV I believe, and he

          changed his name to Akhenaton.  Akhenaton means God is satisfied.  At

          around 1350 BCE -- rays of light.  All right.  He set up a capitol in

          between Memphis and Thebes down here, T-H-E-B-E-S.  And at this

          capital (AKHETON) of today it's called Tel-El-Amarna.  He created a new religion, a

          monotheistic religion and the new art style.  The art style became far

          more realistic.  It showed him with this tremendous beer belly even

          though he was skinny.  I've got a friend like that.  The guy is as

          skinny as hell but he's got this stomach sticking out.  It showed him

          with some distortion of the head and his appearance.  And there's

          belief that it was from the interbreeding between brothers and sisters

          throughout Egyptian history.  He married a woman named Nefertiti, one


          of many of his wives.  She was not his sister directly.  But again,

          they were allowed to sometimes marry as well as their sisters.  Her

          name means the beautiful one comeeth, which my history teacher in

          college said that's why Akhenaton took the name God was satisfied.  I

          had a bad history teacher.

               Nefertiti is often seen or projected as the most beautiful woman

          in history.  We have her bust -- I'm talking about the top part of the

          head -- in the new in this particular museum.  She looks much like, in

          my mind, Jacqueline Kennedy.  She had that Jacqueline Kennedy

          realness.  I never did like Jackie Kennedy's looks but that's another

          story.  Many years ago we used to have sisters from the convent take

          classes here and they could come in before they entered to become

          nuns.  They were postulate.  I always got it confused with

          prostitutes.  And there was this woman in class and funny as hell,

          this nun or sister -- they're not nuns.  There is a difference between

          a nun and a sister?  Sisters go out into the world.  Nuns are

          cloistered, meaning they live in a monastery or in a nunnery.  And so

          the Dominicans next door are a teaching order that goes into the

          community.  In any case, I was circulating one time this article from

          Time magazine.  They had found the temple of Nefertiti that had been

          restructured after Akhenaton was removed.  And within the tomb they

          also showed some of the pictures or reliefs of her body.  And as I

          passed it around, it was Nefertiti, but this was her figure.  And the

          sister raised her hand and said, Isn't she supposed to have been the

          most beautiful woman in history?  Then she looks at me and she says,


          We have better bodies than that in the convent -- just to let you know

          how we get stereotypes about people, but even sisters and others have

          quote/unquote sense of humor if you will.

               Let's move on again.  How about a little entertainment here?

          Let's go on with the guided tour.

                                      (playing tour)

               When the treasury came here about 20 years ago, I had an

          opportunity to go watch it in San Francisco to see it.  I'll tell you,

          I had been to many Egyptian exhibits and many Egyptian museums

          including of course the one in San Jose, the Louvre in Paris, and the

          one in Britain, but I had seen nothing as striking as the materials

          that they brought out, the gold, the mummy, the sarcophagus, whatever

          they brought here was just so spectacular my mouth was left watering

          open.  And so I really got a feel for the wealth that exhibited there.

          I actually bought some slides that I used to use in class, but once

          again, all of that stuff was dumped in the reserve section in the

          library.  They didn't tell me about it.  Do any of you -- we have

          about four or five minutes left, I think you get a picture of the

          spender, shall we say, that was Egypt.  I'm sure there are some


          Q    When Howard Carter discovered that was that considered all of his

          property?  Who's property was that?

               THE PROFESSOR:  Most of the time when the archaeologists worked

          in these countries, they worked on their own through -- like National

          Geographic, but all of the wealth, all of the discovers would go to


          country itself.  And that is why almost all of this remains in the

          Egyptian museum in Cairo.  We'll talk a little about a guy named

          Sleeman who did the work on the City of Troy.  He snuck some stuff out

          that the Greeks refused to put in their museum, maybe because of a

          fear of the Turkish invasion.  They kicked him out after they found

          out he was sneaking a few pieces out.  You got the glory of the

          discovery and you go down in history.  And that's often more important

          than the wealth for most of these archaeologists.

               Any other question on ancient Egypt?

          A    How did he die so young?

               THE PROFESSOR:  The king?  We're not sure how -- we believe he

          was killed by the priests of Amen because they wanted to restore their

          power.  And even though he took the name Tutankhamen from -- he was

          probably an Aton worshipper.  There were also of course uprising at

          times in the palace, rivalries that often created the assassination,

          but there was a crack in the back of his skull.  I mean, the fact that

          he ascended the thrown at nine and died by the age of eighteen or

          nineteen.  People didn't last that long.  They often took the thrown

          early.  Lafayette, who came here to help the American revolutionaries

          from France as a full general, was only 19.  If you're 19 and you

          haven't become a general or conquered the world yet, you can feel like

          a loser.

          Q    How come if he was so young and so little reign yet had the most


               THE PROFESSOR:  He doesn't have most of the wealth.  He's the


          only wealth that we have found.  A lot of the stuff that we found by

          grave robbers were melted down.  Some of it is still probably sitting

          around in private collections.  You've all seen those movies where

          somebody has got this room with all these goodies.  It's valid.  We've

          got a lot of things historically even in modern times when museums are

          robbed.  And for many years the Mona Lisa disappeared and was in a

          private collection.

          Q    Someone had the Mona Lisa in their house?

               THE PROFESSOR:  Somebody had it sitting somewhere, yeah.  People

          have that need and they're collectors.  Most of it is melted down.

          There were actually some intrusions into King Tuts tomb, but they

          never got into the main burial chambers.  The tombs have fake doors

          that look real, so you don't know where to go.  And there are all

          kinds of chambers that you can get lost in.  And of course the tombs

          cut in the south of Egypt in the upper kingdom at Karnak are cut into

          the mountainside here.  There's a copy of one if you go down to the

          Egyptian museum, you can crawl through an actual tomb down there

          similar to the ones that were cut into the mountain.  Some elaborate

          and some not so elaborate.

               On Wednesday I'm going to read an article about the law code in

          ancient Mesopotamia, the Hamurabi law code in the Bible.