In all history, the most amazing or difficult to explain is the sudden rise of Greek civilization.
Most of the things that make up civilization have existed in Egypt and Mesopotamia for thousands of years, and spread from there to neighboring countries.
But some factors were always missing until Greece provided them.
The achievements of the Greeks in literature and art are well known, but their contributions in the field of pure knowledge are even more extraordinary.
They pioneered mathematics, science and philosophy.
They were the first to write history books that were different from pure chronology.
They are free to think about the nature of the world and the purpose of life, without being bound by the shackles of any traditional orthodox ideas.
What happened was so amazing that until recent times, people were content to marvel and talk mysteriously about Greek genius.
However, it is now possible to use scientific concepts to understand the development of Greece, and it is indeed worth doing so.
Philosophy began with Thales, who predicted a solar eclipse, so we are lucky to be able to date him based on this fact.
According to astronomers, the eclipse occurred in 585 BC.
Philosophy and science were inseparable, so they were born together in the early sixth century BC.
What happened to Greece and its neighbors in the past? Any answer must be partly speculative, but archaeology has given us much more knowledge in this century than our ancestors had.
The invention of writing in Egypt was about 4000 BC, and it was not too late in Babylon.
The characters of both countries begin with pictographic pictures.
These pictures quickly became conventional, so words are expressed in knowing words, just as they are still common in China.
In the course of thousands of years, this complex system has developed into Pinyin characters.
The early civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia developed due to the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, which made agriculture easy and productive.
In many ways, these civilizations are similar to those found by the Spanish in Mexico and Peru, where there is a holy king with autocratic power.
In Egypt, he also owned all the land.
There is a kind of polytheism, and the king has a special close relationship with the supreme god of this polytheism.
There are military nobles and priestly nobles.
If the monarch is cowardly or the war is unfavorable, the priests and nobles can often invade the royal power.
The cultivators of the land were serfs, subordinate to kings, nobles or priests.
Egyptian theology is quite different from Babylonian theology.
The main concern of the Egyptians was death.
They believed that the souls of the dead would enter the underworld, where Osiris would judge them according to their way of life on earth.
They thought the soul would come back to the body.
This led to mummies and luxurious mausoleum buildings.
The pyramids were built by successive kings in the late 4000 BC and early 3000 BC.
After this period, Egyptian civilization became more and more rigid, and religious conservatism made progress impossible.
About 1800 BC, Egypt was conquered by the Semites known as the Hyksos, who ruled Egypt for about two centuries.
They did not leave lasting traces in Egypt, but their presence here must have contributed to the spread of Egyptian civilization in Syria and Palestine.
The development history of Babylon is more militaristic and belligerent than that of Egypt.
The original ruling race was not the Semite, but the “Sumerian” people.
The origin of this kind of people is not clear.
They invented cuneiform, and it was from them that the Sumerians of the conquerors accepted cuneiform.
There was a time when many independent city states fought against each other.
But in the end Babylon ruled and established an empire.
The gods of other city states became subordinate gods, and Marduk, the God of Babylon, gained the position that Zeus later occupied among the Greek gods.
The same thing happened in Egypt, but much earlier.
The religions of Egypt and Babylon, just like other ancient religions, were originally a worship of reproductive performance.
The earth is negative and the sun is positive.
Bulls are generally considered to be the embodiment of positive reproductive performance, and bull gods are very common.
In Babylon, Ishtar, the goddess of the earth, was supreme among the goddesses.
The “great mother” is worshipped by people all over Western Asia under various names.
When the Greek colonists built a temple for her in Asia Minor, they called her Artemis and accepted the original worship ceremony.
This is the origin of “Diana of the Ephesians”.
Christianity transformed her into a Virgin Mary, but it was only at the Ephesian religious assembly that the title of “virgin” was added to our godmother.
As long as a religion is combined with an imperial government, political motives will greatly change the original appearance of religion.
A male god or a goddess will be associated with the country.
He should not only ensure a good harvest, but also ensure the victory of the war.
The rich priestly class prescribed a set of rites and theology, and arranged some gods of various parts of the Empire in a pantheon.
Through the connection with the government, God is also connected with morality.
Legislators accepted their code from God, so breaking the law is blasphemy.
The oldest known code is the code of Hammurabi, king of Babylon, around 2100 BC.
The king declared that this code was handed over to him by Marduk.
Throughout ancient times, the relationship between morality and religion became closer and closer.
The religion of Babylon is different from that of Egypt.
It is more concerned with the prosperity of this world than the happiness of the afterlife.
Witchcraft, divination and astrology, although not unique to Babylon, were more developed here than elsewhere, and it was mainly through Babylon that they gained their status in the late ancient times.
Some scientific things have also been handed down from Babylon: a day is divided into 24 hours and a circumference is divided into 360 degrees.
And the discovery of solar and lunar eclipse cycles.
This enables them to accurately predict lunar eclipses and solar eclipses with a certain probability.
This knowledge of Babylon will be seen below.