Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

“Historia” means “inquires”

Having just stated Tom Holland’s “Persian Fire, The First World Empire and the Battle for the West”, I am excited to tell the world (ha! This blog has been visited just over 1000 times – my self-published books, which must be purchased, have gleaned a much larger readership, perhaps even with time factored into consideration…) of some exciting information of which I’d been unaware.
The ancient Khorasan Highway, leading from Gandhara and the upper Indus River, through Sogdiana and Bactria to Mesopotamia, is so ancient that only warrior-goddess Semiramis is given credit for building it (she’s credited as the founder of Babylon, too). Along this “highway” (often but a narrow mountain trail), early horse-people came west, and conquered early agrarian societies – including the greatest king of the Assyria, Sargon II. In 615 BCE, the chief over all the clans of the Medes, Cyaxares, razed Ninevah, the greatest of Assyrian strongholds. His heir Astyages, as powerful as the Pharoah in Egypt, built a mighty capital at the “assembly point” (Ecbatana) where the tribes had met (something, I’m guessing, like an Icelandic All-thing). In winter savagely cold, with roads in and out blocked by snow, in the summer its valley was a paradise – green (as opposed to the Persian lowlands), with snow-capped mountain peaks providing cooling breezes, their slopes terraced with orchards and gardens, the new palace was within seven gleaming walls, each painted a different color, with plates of gold and silver bolted to the battlements of the two innermost circuits. This palace guarded approaches to the Iranian plateau, commanding trade between east and west.
Ah, but after less than a quarter century, a related tribe, most likely aided by a resentful traitor of high position in the Median army, took over, and the head of the Archaemenids, later to be known as Cyrus the Great, became king. But not without stories of the Magi interpreting dreams, an heir ordered killed but the orders defied (“The baby… abandoned on a mountainside, to be discovered and brought up by a Shepard; or perhaps, some said, a bandit; or maybe even a bitch, her teats conveniently swollen with milk”), and even a son presented to a general (Harpagus) as a lamb dinner (and consumed).
Then Croesus, King of Lydia, attacked… Cambyses succeeded to the Persian throne and conquered Egypt, and descendents of people who’d invaded from the east returned to exert great influence, especially in south and south-east Asia.

Wow. Good stuff. And what do they teach in our schools?

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