Saturday, June 23, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Empire
Distribution of Races in Austria-Hungary from the Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1911Scholars debate about what exactly constitutes an empire (from the Latin "imperium", denoting military command within the ancient Roman government). Generally, they may define an empire as a state that extends dominion over and populations distinct culturally and ethnically from the culture/ethnicity at the center of power. Other definitions may emphasize economic or political factors. The term generally implies military hegemonic power.

Like other states, an empire maintains its political structure at least partly by coercion. Land-based empires (such as the Mongol Empire or the Persian Empire) tend to extend in a contiguous area; sea-borne empires, also known as thalassocracies (the Athenian, Portuguese and the British empires provide examples), may feature looser structures and more scattered territories.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Christian Music
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. -Matthew 3:16The Christian church creates Christian music or adapts existing music for Christian use. Contemporary Christian music explores Christian themes, but not always in the confines of the church. Music makes up a large part of Christian worship and includes the singing of hymns, vocalized psalms, vocal and instrumental versions of spiritual songs for the purpose of uplifting and praising God. Musical instruments often accompany singing in the service, either through live performance or the use of soundtracks. Some churches employ only a cappella music to worship God. On other occasions instrumental music only expresses praise toward God. Churches today use these methods of musical expression in many different combinations to offer their praise to God.

Being Jewish, Jesus and his disciples would most likely have sung the psalms from memory.

However, without a centralised music industry, the repertoire of ordinary people was much greater than it is today, so they probably knew other songs too. Early Christians continued to sing the psalms much as they were sung in the synagogues in the first century.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Achaemenid Empire
Maximal extension of the Achaemenid EmpireThe Achaemenid (uh-kee-muh-nid) Empire (Old Persian: Hakhāmanishiya) was a dynasty in the ancient Persian Empire with high cultural and economical achievements during its highest power [After Achaemenes, legendary ancestor of Cyrus II the Great, founder of the dynasty.] . At the height of their power, around 500 BC, the Achaemenid rulers of Persia ruled over territories roughly encompassing today's Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Bulgaria, eastern parts of Greece, Egypt, Syria, much of what is now Pakistan, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Caucasia, Central Asia, Libya, and northern parts of Arabia. The empire ruled by Persia eventually became the largest empire of the ancient world (see also: Iraq Maps).

Darius I was the first to speak of Achaemenes, who he claimed was an ancestor of Cyrus the Great, (ca. 576 - 529 BC) and therefore the progenitor of the entire line of Achaemenid rulers. However, some scholars hold that Achaemenes was a fictional character used to legitimize Darius' rule, and that Darius the Great usurped the Persian throne. In any case, the name Achaemenid has been commonly accepted for the line of Persian kings beginning at least with Darius the Great. When the name refers to the entire line of early Persian rulers, including Cyrus and his son Cambyses, the Achaemenid era stretches from about 650 to 330 BC.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Hasmonean Kingdom
At the beginning of the 2nd century BCE, the Seleucid Empire (in yellow) expanded into Israel at the expense of Ptolemaic Egypt (blue). The Hasmoneans (Hebrew: חשמונאים, Hashmonaiym) were the ruling dynasty of the Hasmonean Kingdom (140 BCE–37 BCE), an autonomous Jewish state in ancient Israel. The Hasmonean dynasty was established under the leadership of Simon Maccabaeus, two decades after his brother Judah the Maccabee defeated the Seleucid army during the Maccabee Revolt in 165 BCE. The Kingdom was the only independent Jewish state to exist in the four centuries after the Kingdom of Judah was destroyed by Babylonia in 586 BCE. It survived for over 100 years before becoming a client Kingdom of the Roman Empire under the Herodian Dynasty, in 37 BCE.

According to historical sources including the books 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees and the first book of The Wars of the Jews by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37–c.100 CE), the Hasmonean Kingdom rose after a successful revolt by Jews against the Seleucid Antiochus IV. After Antiochus' successful invasion of Ptolemaic Egypt was turned back by the intervention of the Roman Republic, he moved instead to assert strict control over Israel, sacking Jerusalem and its Temple, suppressing Jewish religious and cultural observances, and imposing Hellenistic practices.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Cyrus the Great
‘Pasargad’ consists of private palaces, watching castles, Cyrus the Great’s tomb and other constructionsCyrus the Great (Old Persian: Kuruš, modern Persian: کوروش, Kourosh; ca. 576 or 590 BC — July 529 BC), also known as Cyrus II of Persia and Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty and the creator of the Cyrus Cylinder, considered to be the first declaration of human rights. As the ruler of the Persian people in Anshan, he conquered the Medes and unified the two separate Iranian kingdoms.

In historical artifacts discovered in the ancient ruins of Babylon and Ur, Cyrus identifies himself as King of Iran, where he reigned from 559 BC until his death. He is the first ruler whose name was suffixed with the words the Great (Vazraka in Old Persian, Bozorg in modern Persian), a title adopted by many others after him, including the eventual Acheamenid Shah, Darius the Great, and Alexander the Great, who overthrew the Achaemenid dynasty two centuries after the death of Cyrus.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire at its greatest extent The Roman Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Ancient Roman society in the centuries following its reorganization under the leadership of Caesar Augustus in the late 1st century BC. After Constantinople had been made capital and the Western parts were lost, the Eastern part continued its existence, in what is currently known as Byzantine Empire.

"Roman Empire" is also used as translation of the expression, Imperium Romanum, probably the best known Latin expression where the word imperium is used in the meaning of a territory, the "Roman Empire", as that part of the world under Roman rule.

The expansion of this Roman territory beyond the borders of the initial city-state of Rome had started long before the state organization turned into an Empire. In its territorial peak after the conquest of Dacia by Trajan, the Roman Empire controlled approximately 5

900 000 km². (2,300,000 sq.mi.) of land surface, thereby being the largest of all empires during the classical antiquity period of European history.