Why did kings do this? And where one can still find it in today’s leaders

Probably the first king to declare himself a god (Wikipedia courtesy)

Naram-Sin of Akkad became the first Mesopotamian king to claim divinity for himself a little more than four millennia ago and with this probably one of the firsts in human history. His grandfather Sargon of Akkad, the founder of the empire had given all the credits to Enlil (the Zeus of Mesopotamian gods) and merely said that he was a pawn under the god’s infinite power but his grandson would have it otherwise.

Thus Naram-Sin’s self-imposed elevation to divinity begins a complicated history of kings and Gods, where the former tried to emulate the latter and use them for their…


A papyrus depicting a brothel in ancient Egypt

The papyrus in its original form

The papyrus in the full form below. User discretion is required.

The Papyrus

The Turin Erotica dates from the New Kingdom in ancient Egypt about 3150 years ago and although it surely isn’t the first representation of sexual acts it has been dubbed the world’s first man magazine. Its contents could be shocking for people even today and it surely is one of the most explicit sex scenes that we have recovered from antiquity.

Since its discovery, it underwent a lengthy period of censorship. During the Victorian era, women were banned from looking at it and even men had to get explicit…


The all too Human aspect of the Ottoman siege of Szigetvar

The Siege of Szigetvar by Johann Peter Krafft

Background

In 1566 an old and gout-stricken Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent set out for one final campaign in order to consolidate his position in vassal Hungary as well as try to conquer Vienna as he once had many years ago.

The plan was to seize one fortress lying on a crucial position in Hungary and thereafter push for Vienna. The army was led by his Grand Vizier, Sokollu Mehmet Pasha who afterward went on to give significant contributions to the empire.

Unfortunately for the Ottomans the mobilization of their huge army already took up a lot of time and they only…


Europe never quite ever matched during its long history the religious development of the ancient Indian civilization. That is a fact.

Brahmins as Kingmakers

As kingmakers (Rajakartarah), the brahmins formed an integral part of the ancient Hindu political machinery, nay they were indispensable as every (proto-)king had to get their approval and sanction before their consecration. Heredity alone did not entitle a person to be crowned as king: he had to accept his office from the Rajakaratarah.

Why were these brahmins of such importance to the ancient Indian political system? They established a system of governance based on the Dharmashastra and Arthashastra. And…


Beyond Good & Evil

Gaugin’s masterpiece. This article demands a different reading of the painting from the original, namely from left to right with the second stage starting with the girl eating an apple and the third with the man reaching the heights

Pre-Moral Period

This is the longest period of morality that mankind had, probably starting with the last great gene modifications and ending roughly with the birth of agriculture. During this part, the value or disvalue of an action was derived solely from its consequences and the community was oblivious to the action as well as the originator itself. One drew conclusions on an action based on its negative or positive consequences.

What then kept the communities at bay if there was no individual punishment? The enormous superstitious fear that one had if one breached custom and tradition. If one individual fails, the…


The psychological motivations at play

Photograph courtesy Johan Reinhard

The Sacrifice

The Incas called this practice Qhapaq hucha, the practice of sacrificing small children during or after important events such as the death of the Sapa Inca or famine and the likes.

Extremely important to note is that the children that were chosen for the sacrifice were the purest and most beautiful of all. Moreover, in the months preceding the sacrifice, they were treated like royalty, i.e. they were fed the best food and given the best clothes. In other words, the Incas sacrificed the best of their best for the gods.

The priests would then take the children up to…


An attempt to elucidate why there is so much difference

RyanMcGuire via pixabay

About two years ago, when I first started an international study program in Germany, I met Indian students for the first time. And lots of them!

I am from Albania, a small country in the western Balkans and this was my first time encountering any Indians at all. Actually, the first time encountering such a great deal of cultural diversity! It was terrific!

I had of course read a lot about India and already admired their culture and miscellaneous achievements in many fields of human endeavor. Meeting and talking to them in person, however, was a totally different experience and…


Where are your greatest dangers? ln pity.

How can there be on earth a woman alone, abandoned?

One should, to be sure, manifest pity, but take care not to possess it.

Possible Cause

Know, too, that there is nothing more common than to do evil for the pleasure of doing it.

Pity seems to be such an instance. The desire to evoke the pity of our fellow humans seems to stem from a desire to hurt and mortify them. And quite literally so.

If it is indeed true that the oldest means of the solace of man is to make someone else suffer for the various feelings of indisposition and misfortune in him (hence cruelty as the oldest festive…


Uruk 4000 BC (source IVA_2017) & Berlin 2020 AD

The first photo depicts the city of Uruk (complete simulation here), ancient Mesopotamia, one of the four cradles of civilization. The second one needs no explanation. It is the world as we see it today. These two photos span a mere 6,000 years and yet in this short amount of time (6 kyr being grains of sand to the age of our species, let alone the observable Universe) we as a species, have managed to achieve many a feat.

Let us, therefore, take a short journey at our history so far relative to Uruk. …


Feynman’s advice to one of his doctoral students

Wikipedia courtesy

It is a very important thing to really know oneself. Richard Feynman knew it. I was recently reading a letter that he once sent to one of his former Ph.D. students where they were discussing the latter’s work.

It seemed that the former student was on low spirits, largely because of his current work position, and Feynman was trying to drill down into the problem, find the roots, and point out some arrows of direction for him.

Humbleness

The first notable point in Feynman’s letter is a humbling view of the world. He stresses that the graveness of a problem, its…

Rejnald Lleshi

Master student in Web and Data Science/software developer.

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