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Harmonia

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The Uniting Goddess of Love and War

Harmonia, daughter of Aphrodite and Ares, played a significant role in mythology, connecting the realms of love and war.

Harmonia’s Lineage and Legacy

Born to the union of the love and war deities, Harmonia had legendary ties to the Amazons. She established the Theban dynasty and became the mother of prominent Dionysian women, shaping the course of mythology Leto.

Magical Wedding Gifts

During Harmonia’s wedding, the Olympians presented magical gifts. Aphrodite gifted a renowned necklace, known for conferring irresistible sexuality or undying beauty upon its wearer. This symbolized the harmonious blend of love and allure in Harmonia’s existence.

Lydia Rich Lands and Shifting Empires

Lydia, located in western Asia Minor with its capital Sardis, had a history marked by fertile soil, abundant gold and silver deposits, and shifting imperial powers.

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Leto

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A Goddess’s Struggles and Triumphs

Leto, daughter of Coeus and Phoebe, faced a tumultuous journey intertwined with love, jealousy, and divine protection.

Love and Jealousy

Leto became Zeus’s beloved early on, but their union faced challenges. Zeus, already married to Hera, tied the knot while Leto was pregnant. Despite the pre-existing pregnancy, Hera harbored jealousy, making Leto’s life difficult.

Hera’s Pursuit

Throughout her pregnancy, Hera relentlessly pursued Leto. Exiled from Olympus, Leto wandered the earth, rejected by every place fearing Hera’s wrath. To protect her, Zeus sent Boreas (North Wind), carrying her to sea. Hera, undeterred, sent Python to chase Leto.

Birth on Delos

The barren island of Delos, having little to lose, accepted Leto. Goddesses gathered to assist in childbirth, except Hera. Eileithyia, delayed by Hera Py

Pythagoreans and the Quest for Celestial Harmony

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Pythagoreans The Hearth of the Universe

The Pythagoreans introduced a groundbreaking non-geocentric system driven by moral and religious convictions. They envisioned the divine, symbolically known as the “Hearth of the Universe” or “Throne of Zeus,” at the center of a finite, spherical universe (Aristot. de. caelo B13, 293a-b30). The sun was conceptualized as a glass sphere (Aetius 20.12) reflecting the divine hearth-light. To maintain the harmony of ten planetary spheres, they postulated a counter-earth, the “antichthon Harmonia,” along with the visible planets, earth, moon, sun, and heavenly sphere containing the stars (Aetius 2.7.7, Aristot. Met. A5,986a1). This intricate system reflected the Pythagoreans’ fascination with number, harmony, and music, culminating in the idea of concentric celestial orbits and “the music of the spheres.”

The Socratics and beyond A Geocentric System

Roots of Pharmacy

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Recording Centuries of Medical Wisdom

In the times of Roman imperial power and culture, scholars started documenting all the medical knowledge gathered through years of study and conquest. The renowned book “De Materia Medica” by military doctor Dioscorides, outlining over six hundred remedies from plants, animals, and minerals, laid the foundation for pharmacology. Dioscorides also wrote about poisons and their antidotes. A bit earlier, physician Cornelius Celsus compiled an extensive encyclopedia of Greek and Alexandrian medicine Galen.

Shaping the Course of Pharmacy

In the second century of the Christian era, Galen (Claudius Galenus), born in Pergamum, Asia Minor, became a pivotal figure. Born on September 22, 131, he passed away in Rome in 201. This Greco-Roman doctor, pharmacist, and philosopher authored around five hundred books and treatises, emerging as the leading scientist of his time. Galen’s writings on med

Galen

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A Notable Greek Physician (130-200)

Early Life and Education

Galen, a renowned Greek physician and teacher, was born in Pergamun. His father, inspired by a dream, carefully educated him and chose the medical profession for him. Galen received education in Pergamun, Smyrna, Corinth, and Alexandria.

Medical Practice and Achievements

After completing his studies, Galen practiced medicine in his hometown and later became the physician to Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Rome. He wrote an impressive 500 works on medical and philosophical topics, and today, 83 of these treatises are still available.

Contributions to Medicine

Galen served as a surgeon to gladiators, conducting vivisections and post mortems on animals like the Barbary ape but not on humans. He followed a mix of medical philosophies, combining the teachings of Hippocrates and Plato while also introducing his own ideas.

Systemizing Greco-Roman Medicine

Galen played a

Archaeological Discoveries in Ephesus

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Uncovering the Past

Exploring Ancient Streets and Buildings

Various parts of Ephesus have been uncovered, revealing historical streets and public structures:

City Market and Bouleuterion (Council Meeting Place)
Prytaneion (Meeting Quarters of Religious Authorities)
Roman Imperial Cult Sanctuaries
Tetragonos Agora (Trade Market)
Theatre for 24,000 Spectators
Inner-City Bath-Gymnasium Complexes

Late Antiquity Cathedral Marienkirche

The most significant building from late antiquity is the Marienkirche Roots of Pharmacy, a cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It stands on the site of the Olympieon, a temple honoring Emperor Hadrian, which was leveled around 400 A.D.

Public Library and South Gate Façade

Built around 110 A.D., the elaborate façade of the city’s public library, near the South Gate of the Agora, was constructed based on the wishes of Celsus Polemea

The Kingdom of the Maccabees

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Struggles and Expansion

John Hyrcanus I Maintaining Power and Expanding Territories

John Hyrcanus I (134-104), the Maccabean ruler, faced challenges to secure his crown. He first defeated rival Ptolemy and later withstood an attack by Antiochus VII, who besieged Jerusalem. To appease the Greeks, Hyrcanus agreed to their terms, including tearing down the towers on Jerusalem’s walls and paying a tribute of 3,000 talents. Facing a depleted treasury, he resorted to opening King David’s tomb for funds Mithradates II’s Rule and Military Reforms, diminishing the popularity of the Maccabees. Hyrcanus sought aid from Rome against potential Seleucid threats, and with Rome’s assistance, he built a professional Jewish army, expanding Judaea’s borders by conquering Idumaea and Samaria, forcefully converting their inhabitants to Judaism.

Religious Divide and Worldly Policies

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Mithradates II’s Rule and Military Reforms

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Western Frontiers and Client Kingdoms

Mithradates II faced challenges on the western frontiers, quelling rebellions in Iraq and Charax. He appointed Tigranes as the vassal king of Armenia and captured Seleucid king Demetrius III. In the east, Mithradates successfully redirected Saka raiders into India. The nearby Surens, or Indo-Parthians, became a client kingdom in southeastern Iran and Pakistan, while others established friendly states in India. The Parthian empire, characterized by loose organization, employed native satellite rulers near the borders rather than direct governance Mithradates II and the Flourishing Parthian Empire.

Military Reforms and New Army

Not forgetting the betrayal by Greek mercenaries, Mithradates II enhanced the army to reduce dependence on their services. While cavalry remained the primary force, Mithradates mandated landowners to provide peasants for infantry uni

Mithradates II and the Flourishing Parthian Empire

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Challenge from the Scythians

Following Antiochus VII’s defeat, the Parthians faced new challenges from Scythian raids into Iran. In response, Phraates, utilizing Greek captives from Antiochus’s defeat, confronted the Scythians. However, when the battle took a turn for the worse, the Greek captives turned on Phraates, aiding the nomads in defeating the Parthian army. This incident left a lasting impact on Parthian military strategy The Kingdom of the Maccabees.

Successors and Nomadic Threats

Artabanus II, Phraates’s uncle and successor, similarly fell victim to nomadic threats. The subsequent king, Mithradates II, emerged as the most significant ruler in Parthian history. Drawing a parallel between Mithradates II and Darius I, both notable for enriching their respective empires, Mithradates II played a crucial role in transforming the region. In contrast to the challenging arid landscape, the Part

Cultural Dynamics in the Wake of Alexander’s Empire

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Alexander, Seleucus, and Antiochus I sought to establish their rule in foreign lands by bringing in a significant number of Greeks, estimated at around 100,000 families. However, their ambition for complete cultural fusion fell short, contributing to the eventual disintegration of the kingdom. Nevertheless, western civilization found a lasting presence in Syria, particularly in the cities of Antioch, Laodicea, and Apamea, which became the pride and nerve center of the Seleucid kingdom.

Antioch rapidly expanded Fragmentation and the Spread of Hellenism, boasting a population between 90,000 and 150,000 inhabitants, making it the second-largest city globally, surpassed only by Alexandria in Egypt. Seleucia on the Tigris River replaced Babylon as the largest city in Iraq and served as the empire’s second capital, influencing commerce and dominating the economy of a vast region due to its strategic geographic location

Balkan Tours 2019

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Istanbul Tours

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Grand Balkan Tour

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