The oldest named person that we know belongs to an individual from Sumer, one of the earliest urban civilisations in southern Mesopotamia, in present day Iraq. A person’s name is an integral part of his or her identity, and the absence of this aspect of life is something that is hard to imagine. Whilst it is possible that human names had existed since prehistoric times, its preservation has not always been as easy as it is today. In much of the world today, one’s name may be preserved for posterity without much difficulty, be it through government records or through individual endeavour. In the past, however, this was not so easy a task as one might imagine, due to several factors, such as literacy (or lack thereof), and the materials on which an individual’s name could be written.
Hands at the Cuevas de las Manos upon Río Pinturas,(circa 7300 BC) near the town of Perito Moreno in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )
Leaving Your Mark
A name may be regarded to be a symbol of a person’s identity. It is likely that human names have existed long before the advent of writing. Without a script for writing, however, this aspect of an individual could not be written down for future generations. Yet, it seems that people sought to leave their personal marks in history. This may be seen in the hand paintings that have been left in caves all over the world by prehistoric people. It was only much later on that an individual’s name would be preserved for future generations.
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Ramses II's cartouches at Tanis (A cartouche indicates that the Egyptian hieroglyphs enclosed are a royal name. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )
Is it a God? A King or Queen? A Holy person?
The archaeological record of early societies is often biased towards the lifestyle of the elites. Royal palaces or sumptuous burials often receive the most attention in the world of archaeological discoveries. It may, perhaps be expected that the oldest named person that we know of would be a king or some other important person in a society. This however, is not the case, as the earliest human name that we know of belongs to… an accountant. Whilst accountants played an important role even in ancient civilisations, they were by no means on the very top of their societies’ hierarchy.
The name of this accountant is Kushim, who is believed to have lived in Sumer around the second half of the 4 th millennium BC. The name ‘Kushim’ appears on a clay tablet now known as the ‘Kushim Tablet’, which has an inscription detailing a trade transaction. One translation of this inscription is as follows, “29,086 measures barley 37 months Kushim”, which has been interpreted to mean “A total of 29,086 measures of barley were received over the course of 37 months. Signed, Kushim”. One suggestion is that Kushim was a job title. Whilst the syllables ‘Ku’ and ‘Shim’ have meaning on their own, they become meaningless when used together. Therefore, it has been speculated alternatively that this was indeed the name of an individual.
It may be pointed out that Kushim is not the only early human name that we have. In another clay tablet, the name of Gal-San can be found. Based on the inscription, Gal-San was a slave owner, and two of his slaves, Enpap-X and Sukkalgir are also named in the same inscription. Some scholars have argued that Gal-San, rather than Kushim, ought to be the oldest known human name. Yet another early name that we know of is that of Turgunu Sanga, who may have been an accountant for the Turgunu family.
Sumerian administrative tablet bearing the supposed name “Kushim” (3500 – 2000 BC). ( worldimages)
From these for names, it can be observed that the earliest known names did not belong to those occupying the top tiers of a society’s hierarchy, but to those belonging in the lower ranks. One inference that may be made from this is that writing started off with a utilitarian purpose in mind, i.e. as a means for people to keep a record of what they owned or owed, rather than as a tool for the great and powerful to proclaim their deeds. In fact, it was only about a generation after Kushim that the names of kings began to appear in the written records.
10 Oldest People in the Bible
All of the oldest people in the Bible are from the Book of Genesis and make up the patrilineal line that connects Adam to Noah. These ten men are known as the Antediluvian patriarchs, as they were alive before the Flood. They all lived to be incredibly old, a majority of them died when they were past 900 years old. Due to their long lifespans, many of the oldest men in their genealogy were still alive when the later men in their line were born.
While the ages of these men are hard to believe, many people do not see these stories as being literal and its up to you to decide how you want to interpret what the Bible says. There are a number of people who do believe that these men really lived to be nearly 1,000 years old and have tried to give their reasons.
10. Enoch – 365
Bible Passages: Genesis 5:18 – 24 Luke 3:37 Hebrews 11:5 and Jude 1:14 – 15
photo source: Wikimedia Commons
Enoch, along with Noah, is one of Adam’s most well-known descendants and is believed to be the author of the Book of Enoch. He was also known as Enoch the scribe of judgment. Enoch was the son of Jared, the father of Methuselah, and the great grandfather of Noah.
He did not live quite as long as the other men on this list as he was taken by God when he was 365 years old, which makes him one of the only people that God took to heaven without them dying.
9. Lamech – 777
Bible Passages: Book of Genesis Chapter 5 Luke 3:36
photo source: Pinterest
Lamech is known for being the father of Noah who died at age 777, a few years before the Great Flood occurred. He is the only patriarch before the Flood, besides Adam, who is given a quote – in Genesis 5:29, he names his first son Noah and says, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.”
Lamech was 182 when Noah was born and according to the Bible’s timeline, Adam was still alive for the first 56 years of Lamech’s life.
8. Mahalalel – 895
Bible Passages: Book of Genesis 5:12 – 17 1 Chronicles 1:1 Jubilees 4:14 – 15 and Luke 3:37
photo source: freebibleimages.org
Mahalalel is mentioned eight times throughout the Bible, mostly in the Book of Genesis as part of Adam and Eve’s genealogy. In the King James version of the New Testament, his name is spelled as Maleleel.
He is another one of Adam’s descendants who lived hundreds of years as Mahalalel died when he was 895 years old. He is the son of Kenan, who had Mahalalel when he was 70 years old, and the father of Jared.
7. Enos – 905
Bible Passages: Genesis 4:26 Genesis 5:6 – 11 and Luke 3:38
photo source: freebibleimages.org
Enos or Enosh (not to be confused with Enoch) is Adam’s grandson and the first son of Seth. According to the book of Genesis, Seth was 105 years old when Enos was born. The Bible says that Enos was 90 years old when his first son Kenan was born.
He lived to be 905 years old and outlived Adam, Seth, and Enoch and was one of Noah’s contemporaries for 84 years. According to Latter-day Saint Scripture (Mormon), Enos was ordained to the Priesthood when he was 134 years old.
6. Kenan – 910
Bible Passages: Genesis 5:9,10,12,13,14 Luke 3:36 – 37 and 1 Chronicles 1:2
photo source: freebibleimages.org
Kenan is another descendant of Adam as he is the grandson of Seth and the son of Enos. According to the Book of Jubilees (sometimes called the Lesser Genesis), Kenan’s mother was Noam, the wife and sister of Enosh.
His wife was Mualeleth, who was also his sister. Like several of the other men on this list, Kenan lived before the Great Flood and died when he was over 900 years old.
5. Seth – 912 Years Old
Bible Passages: Genesis 4 Genesis 5 1 Chronicles 1:1 – 3
photo source: Wikimedia Commons
Seth is the third son of Adam and Eve, who was born after his brother Abel’s murder. He is the first son in the line of patrilineal descendants of Adam and Eve that lead up to the birth of Noah. Seth and his brothers, Cain and Abel, are the only children of Adam and Eve to be named in the Bible.
According to his story in Genesis, Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old and Eve believed that God intended for Seth to be a replacement for Abel. Seth is revered in Jewish and Islamic tradition as being the righteous son of Adam and Eve. He is the fifth oldest man in the Bible and died when he was 912 years old.
4. Adam – 930 Years Old
Bible Passages: Genesis 1 Genesis 2:4 – 3:24 Genesis 4 and Genesis 5
photo source: Wikimedia Commons
Adam is best known as being the first man ever created by God in the Bible and his name is used as the word for man or mankind in the Book of Genesis.
The story of Adam and Eve and their fall from the Garden of Eden is widely known. After Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden for eating fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil, they have two sons, Cain and Abel, and the first story of murder is told in Genesis 4. They then have a third son, Seth, who kicks off the family line of Adam and Eve’s descendants that leads to Noah. Adam lived to be 930 years old, which means that he died right before the Genesis Flood.
3. Noah – 950 Years Old
Bible Passages: throughout the Book of Genesis First Book of Chronicles, Books of Tobit, Wisdom, Sirach, Isaiah, Ezekiel, 2 Esdras, 4 Macabees in the Old Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke the Epistle to the Hebrews, 1 st Peter, and 2 nd Peter in the New Testament
photo source: Wikimedia Commons
Noah is one of the most well-known Biblical figures as his story is told in the Bible’s Genesis flood narrative. Most people are probably at familiar with the basics of the story of Noah’s Ark, which says that God flooded the Earth to wash away mankind’s misdeeds and rebuilt the world with the animals and Noah and his family aboard the Ark.
The story of Noah’s Ark is one of the many flood myths that appear throughout human culture and history. Noah is another direct descendant of Adam and Eve and one of the men in the Bible who lived to be over 900 years old. He is the son of Lamech, the grandson of Methuselah, and when he was 500 years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
2. Jared – 962 Years Old
Bible Passages: Genesis 5:18 – 21
photo source: crossexamined.org
Jared is the second oldest man in the Bible and is a sixth-generation descendant of Adam and Eve. His father was Mahalalel and although he had other sons and daughters, only one of them, Enoch, is named in the Bible, which makes Jared the grandfather of Methuselah.
Jared was 162 years old when Enoch was born and he lived to be 962 years old. The name Jared is very popular in North American English-speaking countries and means “descend.”
1. Methuselah – 969 Years Old
Bible Passages: Genesis 5:21 – 27
photo source: Wikimedia Commons
According to the Bible Methuselah is the longest lived man as he died at the age of 969 years old. He is mentioned in he Book of Genesis as the son of Enoch, the father of Lamech, and the grandfather of Noah. His story in the Bible is significant as he is a part of the genealogy that links Adam to Noah.
In most versions of the Bible, Methuselah was nearly 200 years old when his son, Lamech, was born and died sometime after the Flood from Noah’s story. Due to his old age, Methuselah has become a part of popular culture and his name is typically used when referring to the advanced age of people or things.
Authorship, date and genre Edit
The Gospel of Mark is anonymous.  Its composition is usually dated through the eschatological discourse in Mark 13: most scholars interpret this as pointing to the First Jewish–Roman War (66–74 AD) that would lead to the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70, with the composition of Mark taking place either immediately after the destruction (the majority position) or during the years immediately prior.  Earlier dates in the range AD 35–45 are sometimes proposed,  but are usually dismissed. 
It was written in Greek, for a gentile audience, and probably in Rome, although Galilee, Antioch (third-largest city in the Roman Empire, located in northern Syria), and southern Syria have also been suggested.   Early Christian tradition, first attested by Papias of Hierapolis (c. 60– c.130 AD), attributes it to the John Mark mentioned in Acts, but scholars generally reject this as an attempt to link the gospel to an authoritative figure.  The author used a variety of pre-existing sources, such as conflict stories,  apocalyptic discourse,  and collections of sayings (although not the Gospel of Thomas and probably not the Q source). 
The consensus among modern scholars is that the gospels are a subset of the ancient genre of bios, or ancient biography.  Ancient biographies were concerned with providing examples for readers to emulate while preserving and promoting the subject's reputation and memory, and also included morals, rhetoric, propaganda and kerygma (preaching) in their works. 
Synoptic problem Edit
The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke bear a striking resemblance to each other, so much so that their contents can easily be set side by side in parallel columns. The fact that they share so much material verbatim and yet also exhibit important differences has led to a number of hypotheses explaining their interdependence, a phenomenon termed the Synoptic Problem. It is widely accepted that this was the first gospel (Marcan Priority) and was used as a source by both Matthew and Luke, who agree with each other in their sequence of stories and events only when they also agree with Mark. 
In the 19th century it became widely accepted that Mark was the earliest of the gospels and therefore the most reliable source for the historical Jesus, but since about 1950 there has been a growing consensus that the primary purpose of the author of Mark was to announce a message rather than to report history.  The idea that the gospel could be used to reconstruct the historical Jesus suffered two severe blows in the early part of the 20th century, first when William Wrede argued strongly that the "Messianic secret" motif in Mark was a creation of the early church rather than a reflection of the historical Jesus, and in 1919 when Karl Ludwig Schmidt further undermined its historicity with his contention that the links between episodes are the invention of the writer, meaning that it cannot be taken as a reliable guide to the chronology of Jesus' mission: both claims are widely accepted today.  The gospel is nevertheless still seen as the most reliable of the four in terms of its overall description of Jesus's life and ministry. 
Christianity began within Judaism, with a Christian "church" (or ἐκκλησία, ekklesia, meaning "assembly") that arose shortly after Jesus's death, when some of his followers claimed to have witnessed him risen from the dead.  From the outset, Christians depended heavily on Jewish literature, supporting their convictions through the Jewish scriptures.  Those convictions involved a nucleus of key concepts: the messiah, the son of God and the son of man, the suffering servant, the Day of the Lord, and the kingdom of God. Uniting these ideas was the common thread of apocalyptic expectation: Both Jews and Christians believed that the end of history was at hand, that God would very soon come to punish their enemies and establish his own rule, and that they were at the centre of his plans. Christians read the Jewish scripture as a figure or type of Jesus Christ, so that the goal of Christian literature became an experience of the living Christ.  The new movement spread around the eastern Mediterranean and to Rome and further west, and assumed a distinct identity, although the groups within it remained extremely diverse. 
The gospels were written to strengthen the faith of those who already believed, not to convert unbelievers.  Christian "churches" were small communities of believers, often based on households (an autocratic patriarch plus extended family, slaves, freedmen, and other clients), and the evangelists often wrote on two levels, one the "historical" presentation of the story of Jesus, the other dealing with the concerns of the author's own day. Thus the proclamation of Jesus in Mark 1:14 and the following verses, for example, mixes the terms Jesus would have used as a 1st-century Jew ("kingdom of God") and those of the early church ("believe", "gospel").  More fundamentally, Mark's reason for writing was to counter believers who saw Jesus in a Greek way, as wonder-worker (the Greek term is "divine man") Mark saw the suffering of the messiah as essential, so that the "Son of God" title (the Hellenistic "divine man") had to be corrected and amplified with the "Son of Man" title, which conveyed Christ's suffering. Some scholars think Mark might have been writing as a Galilean Christian against those Jewish Christians in Jerusalem who saw the Jewish revolt against Rome (66–73 CE) as the beginning of the "end times": for Mark, the Second Coming would be in Galilee, not Jerusalem, and not until the generation following the revolt. 
There is no agreement on the structure of Mark.  There is, however, a widely recognised break at Mark 8:26–31: before 8:26 there are numerous miracle stories, the action is in Galilee, and Jesus preaches to the crowds, while after 8:31 there are hardly any miracles, the action shifts from Galilee to gentile areas or hostile Judea, and Jesus teaches the disciples.  Peter's confession at Mark 8:27–30 that Jesus is the messiah thus forms the watershed to the whole gospel.  A further generally recognised turning point comes at the end of chapter 10, when Jesus and his followers arrive in Jerusalem and the foreseen confrontation with the Temple authorities begins, leading R.T. France to characterise Mark as a three-act drama.  James Edwards in his 2002 commentary points out that the gospel can be seen as a series of questions asking first who Jesus is (the answer being that he is the messiah), then what form his mission takes (a mission of suffering culminating in the crucifixion and resurrection, events only to be understood when the questions are answered), while another scholar, C. Myers, has made what Edwards calls a "compelling case" for recognising the incidents of Jesus' baptism, transfiguration and crucifixion, at the beginning, middle and end of the gospel, as three key moments, each with common elements, and each portrayed in an apocalyptic light.  Stephen H. Smith has made the point that the structure of Mark is similar to the structure of a Greek tragedy. 
- Jesus is first announced as the Messiah and then later as the Son of God he is baptised by John and a heavenly voice announces him as the Son of God he is tested in the wilderness by Satan John is arrested, and Jesus begins to preach the good news of the kingdom of God.
- Jesus gathers his disciples he begins teaching, driving out demons, healing the sick, cleansing lepers, raising the dead, feeding the hungry, and giving sight to the blind he delivers a long discourse in parables to the crowd, intended for the disciples, but they fail to understand he performs mighty works, calming the storm and walking on water, but while God and demons recognise him, neither the crowds nor the disciples grasp his identity. He also has several run-ins with Jewish law keepers especially in chapters 2–3.
- Jesus asks the disciples who people say he is, and then, "but you, who do you say I am?" Peter answers that he is the Christ, and Jesus commands him to silence Jesus explains that the Son of Man must go to Jerusalem and be killed, but will rise again Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus and God tells the disciples, "This is my son," but they remain uncomprehending.
- Jesus goes to Jerusalem, where he is hailed as one who "comes in the name of the Lord" and will inaugurate the "kingdom of David" he drives those who buy and sell animals from the Temple and debates with the Jewish authorities on the Mount of Olives he announces the coming destruction of the Temple, the persecution of his followers, and the coming of the Son of Man in power and glory.
- A woman perfumes Jesus' head with oil, and Jesus explains that this is a sign of his coming death Jesus celebrates Passover with the disciples, declares the bread and wine to be his body and blood, and goes with them to Gethsemane to pray there Judas betrays him to the Jews interrogated by the high priest, he says that he is the Christ, the Son of God, and will return as Son of Man at God's right hand the Jewish leaders turn him over to Pilate, who has him crucified as one who claims to be "king of the Jews" Jesus, abandoned by the disciples, is buried in a rock tomb by a friendly member of the Jewish council.
- The women who have followed Jesus come to the tomb on Sunday morning they find it empty, and are told by a young man in a white robe to go and tell the others that Jesus has risen and has gone before them to Galilee "but they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid" 
The earliest and most reliable manuscripts of Mark end at Mark 16:8, with the women fleeing in fear from the empty tomb: the majority of recent scholars believe this to be the original ending,  and this is supported by statements from the early Church Fathers Eusebius and Jerome.  Two attempts were made in later manuscripts to provide a more satisfactory conclusion. A minority have what is called the "shorter ending", an addition to Mark 16:8 telling how the women told "those around Peter" all that the angel had commanded and how the message of eternal life (or "proclamation of eternal salvation") was then sent out by Jesus himself. This addition differs from the rest of Mark both in style and in its understanding of Jesus. The overwhelming majority of manuscripts have the "longer ending", possibly written in the early 2nd century and added later in the same century,   with accounts of the resurrected Jesus, the commissioning of the disciples to proclaim the gospel, and Christ's ascension. 
The author introduces his work as "gospel", meaning "good news", a literal translation of the Greek "evangelion"  – he uses the word more often than any other writer in the New Testament besides Paul.  Paul uses it to mean "the good news (of the saving significance of the death and resurrection) of Christ" Mark extends it to the career of Christ as well as his death and resurrection.  Like the other gospels, Mark was written to confirm the identity of Jesus as eschatological deliverer – the purpose of terms such as "messiah" and "son of God". As in all the gospels, the messianic identity of Jesus is supported by a number of themes, including: (1) the depiction of his disciples as obtuse, fearful and uncomprehending (2) the refutation of the charge made by Jesus' enemies that he was a magician (3) secrecy surrounding his true identity (this last is missing from John). 
The failure of the disciples Edit
In Mark, the disciples, especially the Twelve, move from lack of perception of Jesus to rejection of the "way of suffering" to flight and denial – even the women who received the first proclamation of his resurrection can be seen as failures for not reporting the good news. There is much discussion of this theme among scholars. Some argue that the author of Mark was using the disciples to correct "erroneous" views in his own community concerning the reality of the suffering messiah, others that it is an attack on the Jerusalem branch of the church for resisting the extension of the gospel to the gentiles, or a mirror of the convert's usual experience of the initial enthusiasm followed by growing awareness of the necessity for suffering. It certainly reflects the strong theme in Mark of Jesus as the "suffering just one" portrayed in so many of the books of the Jewish scriptures, from Jeremiah to Job and the Psalms, but especially in the "Suffering Servant" passages in Isaiah. It also reflects the Jewish scripture theme of God's love being met by infidelity and failure, only to be renewed by God. The failure of the disciples and Jesus' denial by Peter himself would have been powerful symbols of faith, hope and reconciliation for Christians. 
The charge of magic Edit
Mark contains twenty accounts of miracles and healings, accounting for almost a third of the gospel and half the first ten chapters, more, proportionally, than in any other gospel.  In the gospels as a whole, Jesus' miracles, prophecies, etc., are presented as evidence of God's rule, but Mark's descriptions of Jesus' healings are a partial exception to this, as his methods, using spittle to heal blindness  and magic formulae,  were those of a magician.   This is the charge the Jewish religious leaders bring against Jesus: they say he is performing exorcisms with the aid of an evil spirit  and calling up the spirit of John the Baptist  .  "There was [. ] no period in the history of the [Roman] empire in which the magician was not considered an enemy of society," subject to penalties ranging from exile to death, says Classical scholar Ramsay MacMullen.  All the gospels defend Jesus against the charge, which, if true, would contradict their ultimate claims for him. The point of the Beelzebub incident in Mark  is to set forth Jesus' claims to be an instrument of God, not Satan. 
Messianic secret Edit
In 1901, William Wrede identified the "Messianic secret" – Jesus' secrecy about his identity as the messiah – as one of Mark's central themes. Wrede argued that the elements of the secret – Jesus' silencing of the demons, the obtuseness of the disciples regarding his identity, and the concealment of the truth inside parables – were fictions and arose from the tension between the Church's post-resurrection messianic belief and the historical reality of Jesus. There remains continuing debate over how far the "secret" originated with Mark and how far he got it from tradition, and how far, if at all, it represents the self-understanding and practices of the historical Jesus. 
Christology means a doctrine or understanding concerning the person or nature of Christ.  In the New Testament writings it is frequently conveyed through the titles applied to Jesus. Most scholars agree that "Son of God" is the most important of these titles in Mark. It appears on the lips of God himself at the baptism and the transfiguration, and is Jesus' own self-designation.  These and other instances provide reliable evidence of how the evangelist perceived Jesus, but it is not clear just what the title meant to Mark and his 1st century audience.  Where it appears in the Hebrew scriptures it meant Israel as God's people, or the king at his coronation, or angels, as well as the suffering righteous man.  In Hellenistic culture the same phrase meant a "divine man", a supernatural being. There is little evidence that "son of God" was a title for the messiah in 1st century Judaism, and the attributes which Mark describes in Jesus are much more those of the Hellenistic miracle-working "divine man" than of the Jewish Davidic messiah. 
Mark does not explicitly state what he means by "Son of God", nor when the sonship was conferred.  The New Testament as a whole presents four different understandings:
- Jesus became God's son at his resurrection, God "begetting" Jesus to a new life by raising him from the dead – this was the earliest understanding, preserved in Paul's Epistle to the Romans, 1:3–4, and in Acts 13:33
- Jesus became God's son at his baptism, the coming of the Holy Spirit marking him as messiah, while "Son of God" refers to the relationship then established for him by God – this is the understanding implied in Mark 1:9-11 
- Matthew and Luke present Jesus as "Son of God" from the moment of conception and birth, with God taking the place of a human father
- John, the last of the gospels, presents the idea that the Christ was pre-existent and became flesh as Jesus – an idea also found in Paul. 
Mark also calls Jesus "christos" (Christ), translating the Hebrew "messiah," (anointed person).  In the Old Testament the term messiah ("anointed one") described prophets, priests and kings by the time of Jesus, with the kingdom long vanished, it had come to mean an eschatological king (a king who would come at the end of time), one who would be entirely human though far greater than all God's previous messengers to Israel, endowed with miraculous powers, free from sin, ruling in justice and glory (as described in, for example, the Psalms of Solomon, a Jewish work from this period).  The most important occurrences are in the context of Jesus' death and suffering, suggesting that, for Mark, Jesus can only be fully understood in that context. 
A third important title, "Son of Man", has its roots in Ezekiel, the Book of Enoch, (a popular Jewish apocalyptic work of the period), and especially in Daniel 7:13–14, where the Son of Man is assigned royal roles of dominion, kingship and glory.   Mark 14:62 combines more scriptural allusions: before he comes on clouds  the Son of Man will be seated on the right hand of God,  pointing to the equivalence of the three titles, Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, the common element being the reference to kingly power. 
Christ's death, resurrection and return Edit
Eschatology means the study of the end-times, and the Jews expected the messiah to be an eschatological figure, a deliverer who would appear at the end of the age to usher in an earthly kingdom.  The earliest Jewish Christian community saw Jesus as a messiah in this Jewish sense, a human figure appointed by God as his earthly regent but they also believed in Jesus' resurrection and exaltation to heaven, and for this reason they also viewed him as God's agent (the "son of God") who would return in glory ushering in the Kingdom of God. 
The term "Son of God" likewise had a specific Jewish meaning, or range of meanings,  one of the most significant being the earthly king adopted by God as his son at his enthronement, legitimising his rule over Israel.  In Hellenistic culture, in contrast, the phrase meant a "divine man", covering legendary heroes like Hercules, god-kings like the Egyptian pharaohs, or famous philosophers like Plato.  When the gospels call Jesus "Son of God" the intention is to place him in the class of Hellenistic and Greek divine men, the 'sons of God" who were endowed with supernatural power to perform healings, exorcisms and other wonderful deeds.  Mark's "Son of David" is Hellenistic, his Jesus predicting that his mission involves suffering, death and resurrection, and, by implication, not military glory and conquest.  This reflects a move away from the Jewish-Christian apocalyptic tradition and towards the Hellenistic message preached by Paul, for whom Christ's death and resurrection, rather than the establishment of the apocalyptic Jewish kingdom, is the meaning of salvation, the "gospel". 
Mark and the New Testament Edit
All four gospels tell a story in which Jesus' death and resurrection are the crucial redemptive events.  There are, however, important differences between the four: Unlike John, Mark never calls Jesus "God", or claims that Jesus existed prior to his earthly life unlike Matthew and Luke, the author does not mention a virgin birth, and apparently believes that Jesus had a normal human parentage and birth unlike Matthew and Luke, he makes no attempt to trace Jesus' ancestry back to King David or Adam with a genealogy. 
Christians of Mark's time expected Jesus to return as Messiah in their own lifetime – Mark, like the other gospels, attributes the promise to Jesus himself,  and it is reflected in the Pauline Epistles, the Epistle of James, the Epistle to the Hebrews and in the Book of Revelation. When return failed, the early Christians revised their understanding. Some acknowledged that the Second Coming had been delayed, but still expected it others redefined the focus of the promise, the Gospel of John, for example, speaking of "eternal life" as something available in the present while still others concluded that Jesus would not return at all (the Second Epistle of Peter argues against those who held this view). 
Mark's despairing death of Jesus was changed to a more victorious one in subsequent gospels.  Mark's Christ dies with the cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Matthew, the next gospel to be written, repeats this word for word but manages to make clear that Jesus's death is the beginning of the resurrection of Israel Luke has a still more positive picture, replacing Mark's (and Matthew's) cry of despair with one of submission to God's will ("Father, into your hands I commend my spirit") while John, the last gospel, has Jesus dying without apparent suffering in fulfillment of the divine plan. 
Leaving A Mark in History: The Oldest Known Named Person - History
A Brief Introduction to the History of Names
By Scolastica la souriete
© 1997 Kristine Elliott
The history of names is so ancient that no one knows the beginning of the story. Since written history began, and as far back as oral history reaches, people have had names. It is therefore impossible to do more than guess at how the earliest given names were chosen. Most names appear to have had some sort of original meaning, usually descriptive, rather than being simply a pleasing collection of sounds.
These descriptive names developed both from nouns and adjectives. Examples of name descended from nouns are the Irish Gaelic names Conan "hound, wolf" and Aed "fire." Irish Gaelic names derived from adjectives are such names as Fial "modest, honorable, generous" and Finn "fair, bright, white." A more elaborate descriptive naming practice is exemplified in the Bible, when Rachel names her last son Benoni or "son of my sorrow" and his father Jacob renames him Benjamin "son of the right hand" (Genesis 35:18).
Many early names were compounds. For example, the following Frankish names are compounds: Sigibert (victoryshining), Childeric (battlepowerful), Fredegund (peacebattle) and Radegund (counselbattle). Sometimes such compounds in pagan societies referred to their gods. For instance, the ancient Norse had many names which were compounds containing the name of the god Thor. Among the male names were Thorbjorn, Thorgeir, Thorkell, Thorsteinn and Thorvald, and among the feminine names were Thordis, Thorgunna, Thorhalla, Thorkatla and Thorunn.
Early in prehistory some descriptive names began to be used again and again until they formed a name pool for that particular culture. Parents would choose names from the pool of existing names rather than invent new ones for their children. As time went on the language changed and in many cases the words that formed the original name passed out of use, leaving the fossilized form in the name. This is why we do not recognize the meanings of many names today. Their origins are in ancient languages from words that have passed out of use. For instance, the name Edwin was originally composed of the Old English words ead, which means "prosperity, fortune, riches" and wine, which means "friend." Both of these words have passed out of the language in the intervening thousand or so years. On the other hand, a word which has not radically changed forms the first part of the Old English name Wulfgar. The word may have changed spelling somewhat, but the word wolf is still recognizable. (The second element gar means "spear.")
With the rise of Christianity, certain trends in naming practices manifested. Christians were encouraged to name their children after saints and martyrs of the church. The oldest of these names were Jewish and GrecoRoman names. The names of the apostles and other prominent early Christians mentioned in the New Testament were often Jewish, such as Mary, Martha, Matthew, James, Joseph and John. The early Christians lived in the Roman empire, and it is among the other peoples of the empire that they first began to convert nonJews. As a result of the persecutions in the early centuries, many GrecoRoman names entered the Christian name pool in commemoration of the martyrs and saints, such as Anthony, Catherine, Margaret, Mark, Martin, Nicholas and Paul.
These early Christian names can be found in many cultures today, in various forms. These were spread by early missionaries throughout the Mediterranean basin and Europe. At the same time pagan nations newly converted to Christianity did not abandon their original name pool. Native martyrs and saints soon arose in every culture and their names would be added to the pool of Christian names available to Christian parents. The Christian name pool sometimes preserved names that would have otherwise fallen out of use. For example, most AngloSaxon names fell out of use within two centuries of the Norman Conquest of England. One that did not, because it was the name of a famous saint, is the name Edward, which is still in use today.
By the Middle Ages, the Christian influence on naming practices was pervasive. Each culture had its pool of names, which were a combination of native names and early Christian names that had been in the language long enough to be considered native. The naming pools did continue to evolve, so that a selection of ninth century Frankish names bears little resemblance to a selection of twelfth century French names. The interesting thing is that the "early Christian names" changed the least in most name pools.
The pool of names in use in England changed radically with the Norman conquest in 1066. Previous to this, dithematic (compound names with two elements) such as Bealdwine, Cuthbert, Eadgyth, Ethelwine, Etheldreda, Wilfrith and Wulfgar predominated. With the political ascendancy of the Normans, French names of Germanic origin became prevalent within two or three generations of the Conquest. As a result names like Emma, Matilda, Richard, and William, became constants in English nomenclature. At the same time a few Old English names, like Edward and Alfred, were preserved because they were names of saints or prominent kings others were preserved because they were reinforced and modified by Germanic names from the Normans like Robert. Since the Middle Ages, this pool has continued to expand and change due to various influences, which are explained in E. G. Withycombe's The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names .
Surnames developed from bynames, which are additional identifiers used to distinguish two people with the same given name. These bynames tend to fall into particular patterns. These usually started out as specific to a person and became inherited from father to son between the twelfth and sixteenth century. The aristocracy usually adopted inherited surnames early on and the peasants did so later. Some of the specific types are: the patronymic (referring to the father or mother), a locative or toponymic (indicating where a person is from), an epithet (which describes a person in some way) or a name derived from occupation, office or status. Most cultures use surnames developed from one or more of these types of bynames. P. H. Reaney's Origins of English Surnames covers the formations of these various types of bynames in much greater detail than is possible here.
Patronymics are common in almost all European cultures. These are usually formations that mean "x son of y" or "x daughter of y". The parent indicated is usually the father, but the mother's name may also occur in some cases. Patronymics were formed in various ways in English Johnson, Richards and Henry are representative. Johnson shows the full development it obviously means son of John or John's son. The "son" could also be understood, by the position in the name, so Richard's son Martin might be called Martin Richards instead of Martin Richardson. At the same time, Henry's son Martin might be known as Martin Henry, because to the medieval mind the position of the name Henry would imply that Martin was Henry's son. Other cultures used different ways of indicating patronymics. In Welsh, the usual form was ap X. If the father's name (X) was Rhys, it would form ap Rhys. Over the centuries this form yielded the names Reese and Price. In Scotland and Ireland the typical patronymic form was mac X, yield names such as MacAndrew, MacDougall, MacGregor and MacLeod.
Locative and toponymic bynames are another common form of byname. Locatives are very typical of the aristocracy in England and France. A locative byname indicates that you are from some named place. Typical forms in Old and Middle English are: aet x, atte x, de x, of x. For example æt Lintone, atte Homwode, de London, de Ebor. Sometimes the name of the place followed the given name directly, without a preposition, thus forming the bynames Linton, Homwode, London and York. An excellent list of placenames in England can be found in Ekwall's Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Placenames .
Toponymic bynames are derived from topographic or other local features of the landscape. For example, a man dwelling near a prominent beech tree might use "atte Beche", " de Beche" or " de la Beche" as his byname. A man dwelling on or near a hill might use "del Hill," "atte Hil" or "of the Hill." A man dwelling near marshy ground might use "atte Fen" or "del Fen." Names of this type are quite common in England. Eventually, of course, these usually wore down to Beech, Hill and Fen.
Epithets are bynames that refer to some personal characteristic of the bearer. In the Middle Ages, a person acquired this from friends and acquaintances. An appellation of this sort can be complimentary, uncomplimentary or simply descriptive. Nicknames can take various forms: descriptive of physical characteristics of some kind like Blakloc, the Small, Armstrong or Grenehod, or descriptive of character or mental or moral characteristics, such as Wastepenny, Slyman, Careless, Bonfaith. Sometimes a nickname can be metaphoric (i.e. "John is like a ") yielding names like "Peppercorn" for a small person and "Fairweather" for a cheerful, sunny person. A wonderful source for English nicknames is Jan Jönsjo's Studies on Middle English Nicknames .
Occupational names are often the most obvious in origin. Baker, Brewer, Weaver, Taylor and Smith are fairly obvious in meaning. Some of these occupational bynames also have feminine versions which became hereditary surnames. For example, the feminine of Baker is Baxter, the feminine of Brewer is Brewster and the feminine of Weaver is Webster. However, more than half of the recorded people with these feminine surnames are male. Occupational surnames as a class are considered to also contain office names. Examples of office names are those such as Marshall (a tender of horses, or an office of high state) and Steward (a manager of an estate) and Abbott (the head of an abbey).
This is a brief overview of a vast amount of material. Many trends in naming practices have been touched on briefly, if at all. Many interesting points in the history of names have been neglected completely. If you are interested in researching more on the subject, whether it be on your own name specifically or on the history of nomenclature in general, a good academic library is invaluable. I have included below a short bibliography of useful books on the subject.
Bahlow, H. Deutsches Namenlexikon . Munich, 1985.
Black, G. F. The Surnames of Scotland . NY: NY Public Library, 1946.
Brice, Christopher. Names for the Cornish . Truro, 1984.
Darton, M. The Dictionary of Scottish Place Names . Scotland: Lochar Publishing, 1990.
Dauzat, A. Dictionnaire Etymologique des Noms de Famille et Prenoms de France . 1989.
Dauzat, A. and C. Rostaing. Dictionnaire etemologique des noms de lieux en France . 1963.
Dorward, D. Scotland's PlaceNames . Edinburgh: Mercat Press, 1979.
Ekwall, E. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Placenames . 1960.
. Early London Personal Names . Sweden: Lund, 1947.
. Studies of the Population of Medieval London . Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1956.
Forssner, Thorvald. ContinentalGermanic Personal Names in England in Old and Middle English Times . Uppsala Press, 1916.
Geirr Bassi Haraldsson. The Old Norse Name . Private Press, 1977.
Jönsjo, Jan. Studies on Middle English Nicknames . Sweden: Lund, 1979.
MacLysaght, E. The Surnames of Ireland . Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1980.
Mills, A. D. A Dictionary of English PlaceNames . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Morgan, T. J. and P. Morgan. Welsh Surnames . Cardiff: Univ. of Wales P., 1985.
Morlet, MarieTherese. Les Noms de Personne sur le Territoire de L'ancenne Gaule du Vi au XII Siecle . 1968.
O'Corrain, D. and F. Maguire. Irish Names . Dublin: Academy Press, 1981.
Reaney, P. H. and R. M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames . London: Routledge, 1991.
. The Origins of English Surnames . London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967.
Redin, Mats. Studies on Uncompounded Personal Names in Old English . Uppsalla, 1919.
Searle, William George. Onomasticon AngloSaxonicum . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1897.
Selten, Bo. The AngloSaxon Heritage in Middle English Personal Names, Volume 2 . 1979.
Thuresson, Bertil. Middle English Occupational Terms . Lund, 1968.
Withycombe, E. G. The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names . 3rd Ed. 1977.
The Strange History of Vaccines—and Why People Fear Them
A conversation with Meredith Wadman about the history of vaccines. The story of these life-saving shots includes aborted fetuses, snatched cells, and a discredited theory that refuses to die.
One of the oldest known diseases in the world, rabies is caused by a virus, Lyssavirus, that causes inflammation of the brain. Without vaccination, rabies has a mortality rate of over 99 percent, but is preventable with the administration of the rabies vaccine, first developed in 1885, either before or just after exposure.
Photograph by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Before vaccines, millions of children died horrific deaths each year from infectious diseases like whooping cough, polio, and measles. Today, thanks to vaccines, most of these diseases have been eradicated. Yet people in different corners of the world are rejecting vaccines. In the United States, more and more parents are refusing to have their children vaccinated because they believe a debunked theory that vaccines cause autism. Meanwhile, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, health workers are regularly targeted because vaccines are thought to be a Western plot to make Muslims infertile.
In The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease, Meredith Wadman investigates the ground-breaking science that led to some of the most important vaccines&mdashand the ethical and institutional battles that were fought over them. Speaking from her home in Arlington, Virginia, she explains why scientists now agree there is no link between vaccines and autism, how prisoners were used as human guinea pigs to test vaccines, and how the cells from one Swedish woman, known as Mrs. X, were&mdashand still are&mdashused to create many of the world&rsquos vaccines.
According to Robert Kennedy Jr., Donald Trump asked him to chair a commission on vaccines. Kennedy has been described as a &ldquovaccine conspiracy theorist.&rdquo Is there any scientific merit to his views?
I&rsquod like to start by making a correction. What happened was, Kennedy was summoned to Trump Tower and met with the president-elect and a couple of advisors for about an hour. When he emerged, he told the press that he&rsquod been appointed to chair a vaccine safety and scientific integrity commission. Within a couple of hours, a Trump spokeswoman said this is not final and, moreover, it&rsquos an autism committee. She didn&rsquot use the word vaccine at all. And it&rsquos not at all clear that a) this commission is going to go forward, and b) if it does, what exactly it will concern itself with.
The fact that Trump has broadcast fears about vaccines is seriously concerning for a couple of reasons. One is that Kennedy and other &ldquovaccine denialists,&rdquo I would call them, propound a completely discredited theory. The notion that childhood vaccines cause autism has been looked at from all angles and found to be without foundation. The unfortunate fact is that autism happens to set in at about the same age that children are receiving childhood vaccines, in the one-to-two age ranges. Of course parents are going to say, "My child was vaccinated and then got autism." I have empathy for a parent who is struggling with autism in a child. It&rsquos a terrible thing. However, scores of evidence-based scientific studies have looked at this question and found no evidence that either the MMR vaccine or any other childhood vaccine leads to autism.
Abortion is another hot-button issue today. But without it, many vaccines would not have been created. Tell us about the WI-38 cells and the extraordinary story of Mrs. X.
In 1962, in Sweden, a woman with several children and a not-ideal husband decided that she could not face having another child. Mrs. X, I&rsquoll call her, was nearly four months pregnant by the time she was able to obtain an abortion. That aborted fetus was dissected at the Karolinska Institute in the lab of an eminent virologist named Sven Gard.
Meanwhile, a young biologist named Leonard Hayflick at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia had been quietly obtaining aborted fetuses from the University of Pennsylvania Hospital across the street. Hayflick was setting out to create a cell line, a group of self-replicating cells, from the lungs of an aborted fetus which he thought would serve as a great tool for those seeking to make vaccines in a safe and clean environment.
At the time, monkey kidney cells were being used to make the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines, which were the great public health victory of the day. However, simian monkey viruses were found lurking in those monkey kidney cells. One of these, called SV40, caused lethal cancers in laboratory hamsters. Tens of millions of American and British children were vaccinated with Salk vaccine that may well have contained the SV40 virus. So regulators were extremely concerned. Hayflick thought, If I can get cells from one fetus, determine that they&rsquore clean, and not prone to cause cancer we can have a safe, clean micro-vaccine factory for making these viral vaccines.
The lungs of Mrs. X&rsquos aborted fetus were flown to Philadelphia and used by Hayflick to create the cell line known as WI-38, &ldquoWI&rdquo standing for the Wistar Institute. What&rsquos amazing is the power of exponential growth. Hayflick created about 800 tiny vials of these cells in 1962. Each vial had a couple of million cells in it, and each cell in each vial had the potential to multiply about another 40-50 times. This became known as the Hayflick Limit because that&rsquos when a normal cell in the lab will cease replicating and die. When you do the math you discover that one pint-sized lab bottle of these cells will produce around 20 million metric tons of cells. As a result, the supply is almost infinite and this cell line is still being used. It&rsquos important to note, though, that there are many vaccines, including vaccines that predate the ones described in my book, which do not rely on these cells.
Leonard Hayflick&rsquos story is at the heart of your book. Introduce us to this cantankerous scientist&mdashand tell us about the long battle he would eventually fight with the U.S. government over ownership of the WI-38 cells.
Leonard Hayflick was a brilliant, ambitious, dogged young scientist who grew up in working-class Philadelphia, one generation away from immigrant poverty. He was determined to make his mark in the world of biology, which he loved. He was 34 years old when he derived the WI-38 cell line.
Four months earlier, he had signed a contract with the U.S. government, with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). So the cells were derived under that contract. There was a stipulation that title to the cells would pass back to the U.S. government when the contract was terminated, as it was in 1968.
At that point there were about 375 vials left, each with a couple million cells, with enormously expandable potential. It was agreed that Hayflick&rsquos former boss at the Wistar Institute, Hilary Koprowski, could keep 10 ampules, Hayflick could keep 10, and the rest would go back to the U.S. government. But when Hayflick drove cross-country to begin his new job at Stanford University, in the backseat of the family sedan, along with two of his three kids, was a liquid nitrogen refrigerator packed with all the WI-38 ampules.
A protracted legal battle ensued. The NIH called Hayflick&rsquos actions theft. Hayflick fought back with a top intellectual property lawyer from Silicon Valley, Bill Fenwick, who would later represent Steve Jobs, the co-ounder of Apple Inc. Hayflick resigned from Stanford because they did not support him and found himself jobless, with a large family, and no immediate source of income because no one would hire him. Some people in the biological community were irate with the government for turning Hayflick into a thief. But, in 1974, Hayflick inked a deal with Merck worth up to $1 million to him personally to provide cells for Merck&rsquos rubella vaccine. I believe that was the death knell for the government, in terms of how hard they came after Hayflick.
During and after the Second World War, scientists used human guinea pigs to test vaccines in ways that would be inconceivable today. Tell us about the very different cultural context&mdashand some of the most egregious cases.
In the midst of World War II, it became an imperative to combat the spread of infectious diseases on the front lines. People in powerless positions were conscripted for tests, like an experimental flu vaccine involving young offenders breathing in flu virus through a gas mask. Or they were infected with typhus, with terrible results. When the war ended, the mentality of privileged access to these people for the greater good continued in the American medical establishment, not only among high-profile researchers, like Jonas Salk, but also the institutions that backed them, like the NIH.
The man who would go on to become the head of vaccine regulations for the entire U.S., Roderick Murray, infected healthy young men in federal penitentiaries with deadly hepatitis B virus. He was trying to see if the virus was carried in the blood of people who had had jaundice, so he took blood from people who had had episodes of jaundice and injected it into prisoners. More than a score of these previously healthy young men contracted what is a very serious and often fatal disease. But that was the ethic back then. In 1964, the first place the Wistar Institute&rsquos new rubella vaccine was tested was in an orphanage operated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The Archbishop of Philadelphia even gave the vaccine trial his blessing.
Mrs. X&rsquos cells have saved millions of lives. Merck earns vast sums of money for vaccines made from her cells. Yet she has never been paid. Isn&rsquot this an injustice? Did you attempt to meet her?
In the summer of 1962, shortly after the WI-38 cells were developed, Hayflick realized he needed a family history of the parents of this fetus to assure regulators that there were no abnormalities, cancer, or infectious diseases in the family, which would scare vaccine makers and regulators. A lovely young Swedish epidemiologist named Margareta Böttiger was sent by Sven Gard to track back to Mrs. X and find out her medical history. And that is when Mrs. X first learned that her cells were being used in this research.
Fast forward to 2013. I was able to track down Mrs. X but, through my Swedish translator, I learned that she did not want to be interviewed. Understandably, she wanted to leave this chapter of her life behind. She did say one thing, however, which was, &ldquoI was not asked. Today, this would never be allowed." Merck makes more than $1 billion per year from vaccines using these cells. But Mrs. X&rsquos fetus was used without her consent or knowledge. All I can say is that she is living in modest circumstances and has never received any compensation for the use of her cells.
Is tissue from aborted fetuses still used to create vaccines today? And what are the challenges facing us now?
The WI-38 cell line and one other cell line created in 1966 from the lungs of an aborted fetus (known as MRC-5, after Britain&rsquos Medical Research Council) are available in such quantity that there&rsquos not a need to go on deriving new fetal cell lines. A Chinese company did do that last year because they were getting worried about access to MRC-5 cells. But, by and large, new technologies have come along, making cells derived from aborted fetuses no longer necessary.
There are constantly new or resurgent viruses, as in the case of the yellow fever outbreak in Angola in recent months. The battle is not over. But though there are new technologies, what there isn&rsquot always is quick political action to make vaccines. There was a political logjam in the summer of 2016, with tragic consequences, when hundreds of babies were born with Zika while Congress was unable, or unwilling because of political reasons, to free up more than a billion dollars President Obama had requested to speed the development of a vaccine. It&rsquos important that some politically insulated national or international funds can be called on in emergency so that research doesn&rsquot get held up.
One of the oldest known diseases in the world, rabies is caused by a virus, Lyssavirus, that causes inflammation of the brain. Without vaccination, rabies has a mortality rate of over 99 percent, but is preventable with the administration of the rabies vaccine, first developed in 1885, either before or just after exposure.
History of Pen and Ink
Pen is a general name for a writing tool that uses liquid pigment to leave a mark on the surface. This liquid pigment is ink.
History of pens starts in Ancient Egypt where scribes, trying to find replacement for styluses and writing in clay, invented reed pens. These pens were made from a single reed straw that is pointed at one end and with a slit that led the ink to the point and left the mark on the papyrus. This pen was too rigid and its point didn’t last long. Because of that people started using quills - pens made from molted flight feathers of large birds. These pens were also made by making a point at thicker end but feathers were cured before the use and could maintain the point longer. They were popular in the Western World from the 6th to the 19th century until steel pens appeared.
Metal nibs for dip pens were used in Ancient Rome but were not popular until they were mass produced in 19th century. Pens with reservoirs were known since 10th century but were not widely used. In 17th century, inventor Daniel Schwenter made a pen made from two quills that held the ink inside instead of being dipped into inkwell. The first fountain pens appeared in 19th century in France and revolutionized writing because they made much less mess and didn’t have to be dipped in inkwell all the time. End of the 19th century saw also the first ballpoint pen which was, when modernized, even more practical and cheaper than fountain pen. The first fiber or felt-tipped pen was invented in Japan in 1960s and it later developed into marker pen and highlighter which work on the similar principle. After that, in the 1970s, was invented rollerball pen, which is similar to ballpoint pen but uses water-based inks while ballpoint uses oil-based.
Ink is as old as pen and maybe even older. Chinese knew about ink in 23rd century BC. They made plant, animal, and mineral inks and used it for painting on silk and paper. The best ink they used was made from pine sap made from trees that were between 50 and 100 years old. They also made ink from mixture of hide glue, carbon black, lampblack, and bone black pigment which was mixed with pestle and mortar. In India, ink was made since 4th century BC. This ink called “masi” was made from burnt bones, tar, and pitch. Greeks and Romans made ink from soot, glue and water (so called “carbon inks”). They don’t damage the paper they reused on but are not resistant to moist and can smudge. “Iron gall ink” was popular from 5th century to the 19th century and was made from made from iron salts and tannic acids. Only problem with this ink was that it is corrosive and damages the paper it is on. In 12th century Europe, ink was also made from branches of hawthorn which were cut in the spring and left to dry. Then the bark from the branches would be peeled off and left to soak in water for eight days. That water would be boiled until it is thick and black but while boiling, wine would be added to it. That thick and black liquid would be poured in bags and left on sun to dry. When it is dried, wine (again) and iron salt would be mixed with it over fire. Resulting mixture would be ink ready to use.
Together, pen and ink changed the face of the humanity and are regarded because of that as one of the greatest inventions.
Leaving A Mark in History: The Oldest Known Named Person - History
1905 – U.S. Military adopts the use of fingerprints – soon thereafter, police agencies began to adopt the use of
1908 – The first official fingerprint card was developed
1911 - Fingerprints are first accepted by U.S. courts as a reliable means of Identification.
- Dec. 21, 1911, The Illinois State Supreme Court upheld the admissibility of fingerprint evidence concluding that
fingerprints are a reliable form of identification.
- Thomas Jennings was the first person to be convicted of murder in the United States based on fingerprint evidence.
Jennings appealed his conviction to the Illinois Supreme Court on the basis of a questionable new scientific
technique. The Illinois Supreme Court cited the historical research and use of fingerprints as a means of reliable
identification in upholding the conviction, and thus establishing the use of fingerprints as a reliable means of
- Jennings was executed in 1912.
1924 – Formation of ID Division of FBI
1980 – First computer data base of fingerprints was developed, which came to be known as the Automated Fingerprint
Identification System, (AFIS). In the present day, there nearly 70 million cards, or nearly 700 million individual
fingerprints entered in AFIS
Inanna is the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, sensuality, fertility, procreation, and also of war. She later became identified by the Akkadians and Assyrians as the goddess Ishtar, and further with the Hittite Sauska, the Phoenician Astarte and the Greek Aphrodite, among many others.
She was also seen as the bright star of the morning and evening, Venus, and identified with the Roman goddess. Inanna is one of the candidates cited as the subject of the Burney Relief (better known as The Queen of the Night), a terracotta relief dating from the reign of Hammurabi of Babylon (r. 1792-1750 BCE) although her sister Ereshkigal is the goddess most likely depicted.
In some myths she is the daughter of Enki, the god of wisdom, fresh water, magic and a number of other elements and aspects of life, while in others she appears as the daughter of Nanna, god of the moon and wisdom. As the daughter of Nanna, she was the twin sister of the sun god Utu/Shamash. Her power and provocation is almost always a defining characteristic in any of the tales told of her.
Inanna in Myth
Through the work of the Akkadian poet and high priestess Enheduanna (l. 2285-2250 BCE), daughter of Sargon of Akkad (r. 2334-2279 BCE), Inanna was notably identified with Ishtar and rose in prominence from a local vegetative deity of the Sumerian people to the Queen of Heaven and the most popular goddess in all of Mesopotamia. The historian Gwendolyn Leick writes:
Inanna was the foremost Sumerian goddess, patron deity of Uruk. Her name was written with a sign that represents a reed stalk tied into a loop at the top. This appears in the very earliest written texts from the mid-fourth millenium B.C. She is also mentioned in all the early god lists among the four main deities, along with Anu, Enki, and Enlil. In the royal inscriptions of the early Dynastic Period, Inanna is often invoked as the special protectress of kings. Sargon of Akkad claimed her support in battle and politics. It appears that it was during the third millenium that the goddess acquired martial aspects that may derive from a syncretism with the Semitic deity Ishtar. Inanna's main sanctuary was the Eanna (`House of Heaven') at Uruk, although she had temples or chapels in most cities. (89)
The goddess appears in many ancient Mesopotamian myths, most notably Inanna and the Huluppu-Tree (an early creation myth), Inanna and the God of Wisdom (in which she brings knowledge and culture to the city of Uruk after receiving the gifts from the god of wisdom, Enki, while he is drunk), The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi (the tale of Inanna's marriage to the vegetation-god), and the best known poem The Descent of Inanna (c. 1900-1600 BCE) in which the Queen of Heaven journeys to the underworld.
Besides these works and short hymns to Inanna, she is also known through the longer, more intricate hymns written by Enheduanna in honor of her personal goddess and the patroness of Uruk: Inninsagurra, Ninmesarra, and Inninmehusa, which translate as 'The Great-Hearted Mistress', The Exaltation of Inanna', and 'Goddess of the Fearsome Powers', all three powerful hymns which influenced generations of Mesopotamians in their understanding of the goddess and elevated her status from a local to a supreme deity. Inanna's personal ambition is attested to in a number of the works which feature her. Dr. Jeremy Black writes:
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Violent and lusting after power, she stands beside her favourite kings as they fight. In a Sumerian poem, Inanna campaigns against Mount Egih. Her journey to Eridu to obtain the meh and her descent to the underworld are both described as intended to extend her power. (108)
This ambition can also be seen through her manipulation of Gilgamesh in the tale of the Huluppu Tree: when she cannot handle the problem of the pests which infest the tree, and fails to find help from her brother Utu/Shamash, she attracts the attention of Gilgamesh who takes care of the situation for her. Still, her stated intentions in this story are honest. She only wants to cultivate the tree in order to harvest the wood and cannot handle the serious and threatening pests which make it their home. Her gift of the sacred drum and drum sticks to Gilgamesh for helping her eventually result in Enkidu's journey to the underworld to retrieve them and the fascinating revelations his spirit brings back to Gilgamesh.
In the famous Sumerian/Babylonian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2700 - 1400 BCE) Inanna appears as Ishtar and, in Phoenician mythology, as Astarte. In the Greek myth The Judgment of Paris, but also in other tales of the ancient Greeks, the goddess Aphrodite is traditionally associated with Inanna through her great beauty and sensuality. Inanna is always depicted as a young woman, never as mother or faithful wife, who is fully aware of her feminine power and confronts life boldly without fear of how she will be perceived by others, especially by men.
In The Epic of Gilgamesh, as Ishtar, she is seen as promiscuous, jealous, and spiteful. When she tries to seduce Gilgamesh, he lists her many other lovers who have all met with bad ends at her hands. Enraged at his rejection, she sends the husband of her sister Ereshkigal, Gugulana (the Bull of Heaven) to destroy Gilgamesh's realm. Gugulana is then killed by Enkidu, the best friend and comrade-in-arms of Gilgamesh, for which he is condemned by the gods to die. Enkidu's death is the catalyst for the famous quest Gilgamesh undertakes to discover the meaning of life. Inanna, then, is central to the story of one of the greatest of ancient epics.
Aspects of the Goddess
She is often shown in the company of a lion, denoting courage, and sometimes even riding the lion as a sign of her supremacy over the 'king of beasts'. In her aspect as goddess of war, Inanna is depicted in the armor of a male, in battle dress (statues frequently show her armed with a quiver and bow) and so is also identified with the Greek goddess Athena Nike. She has been further associated with the goddess Demeter as a fertility deity, and with Persephone as a dying-and-reviving god figure, no doubt a carry-over from her original incarnation as a rural goddess of agriculture.
Although some writers have claimed otherwise, Inanna was never seen as a Mother Goddess in the way that other deities, such as Ninhursag, were. Dr. Jeremy Black notes:
One aspect of [Inanna's personality] is that of a goddess of love and sexual behaviour, but especially connected with extra-marital sex and - in a way which has not been fully researched - with prostitution. Inanna is not a goddess of marriage, nor is she a mother goddess. The so-called Sacred Marriage in which she participates carries no overtones of moral implication for human marriages. (108)
Rather, Inanna is an independent woman who does as she pleases, quite often without regard for consequences, and either manipulates, threatens, or tries to seduce others to fix the difficulties her behaviour creates. There are no poems, tales, or legends which in any way portray her differently and none which depict her in the role of the Mother Goddess.
In the Mesopotamian pantheon Inanna's geneology varies with the era of the myth and the tale told. She is the daughter of the supreme god Anu but also is depicted as the daughter of the moon-god Nanna and his consort Ningal. Alternately, she is the daughter of the god of wisdom Enki and sister to Ereshkigal (goddess of the underworld), twin sister of the sun god Utu/Shamash, and sister of Ishkur (also known as Adad), god of storms. She is also sometimes referenced as the daughter of the Supreme God of the Air, Enlil.
Her husband Dumuzi - who suffers for her rash choices in the poem The Descent of Inanna - transforms in time into the dying-and-reviving god Tammuz and, annually at the autumn equinox, the people would celebrate the sacred marriage rites of Inanna and Dumuzi (Ishtar and Tammuz) as he returned from the underworld to mate again with her, thus bringing the land to life. The Sacred Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi was central to the fertility of the land and was re-enacted at important festivals (such as the Akitu Festival at Babylon) by the king and a priestess having sexual intercourse or, perhaps, only symbolically mating in a kind of pantomime.
Worship of Inanna
Her temple at Uruk was her central cult center but throughout Mesopotamia her temples and shrines were numerous and sacred prostitutes, of both genders, were employed to ensure the fertility of the earth and the continued prosperity of the communities. Male transgenders, known as kurgarra, castrated themselves, females who identified as males were known as galatur both were thought to have either been transformed by Inanna/Ishtar herself or created by the Father God Enki to rescue Inanna from the underworld. The Descent of Inanna notes that Enki made them "neither male nor female" and the clergy of Inanna's temple honored this tradition by embodying it. Scholar Colin Spencer comments:
Sacred prostiution was the central part of the ritual in the Temple. The priestess performed a sacred marriage to ensure the fertility of the country and the great fortune of the new king, for the king copulated with the holy priestess at the beginning of his reign. There were lesser priestesses who were also musicians, singers, and dancers, certainly some of these were men who also copulated with both men and women. The goddess Ishtar had turned these men into women as a demonstration of her awesome powers. Yet though Ishtar was an all-powerful presence and through prostitution was revered and was also an important economic factor in the running of the Temple, women's role in society began to be secondary to that of men. (29)
Inanna continued as a powerful and popular goddess until the decline of the prestige of female deities during the reign of Hammurabi which, according to scholar Samuel Noah Kramer, coincides with women's loss of status and rights in society. Still, as Ishtar of the Assyrians, she continued to be widely venerated and inspired the visions of similar deities in other cultures of the Near East and beyond.
The Enduring Goddess
Inanna is among the oldest deities whose names are recorded in ancient Sumer. She is listed among the earliest seven divine powers: Anu, Enlil, Enki, Ninhursag, Nanna, Utu, and Inanna. These seven would form the basis for many of the characteristics of the gods who followed. In the case of Inanna, as noted above, she would inspire similar deities in many other cultures.
A vastly different personality from that of the traditional Mother Goddess (as exemplified in Ninhursag), Inanna is a brash, independant young woman impulsive and yet calculating, kind and at the same time careless with other's feelings or property or even their lives. Jeremy Black writes:
The fact that in no tradition does Inanna have a permanent male spouse is closely linked to her role as the goddess of sexual love. Even Dumuzi, who is often described as her `lover', has a very ambiguous relationship with her and she is ultimately responsible for his death. (108)
The fact that the Sumerians could conceive of such a goddess speaks to their cultural value and understanding of femininity. In Sumerian culture women were regarded as equals and even a cursory survey of their pantheon shows a number of significant female deities such as Gula, Ninhursag, Nisaba, and Ninkasi, among many others. In time, however, these goddesses lost status to male deities.
Under the reign of the Amorite king Hammurabi of Babylon (r. 1792-1750 BCE) goddesses were increasingly replaced by gods. Inanna kept her position and prestige through her adoption by the Assyrian and Neo-Assyrian empire as Ishtar, goddess of war and sex, but many others did not fare so well. Nisaba, formerly the scribe of the gods and patroness of the written word, was assimilated into the god Nabu under Hammurabi's reign and this was the fate of many others.
Inanna endured, however, because she was so accessible and recognizable. Women and men both could relate to this goddess and it was no coincidence that both sexes served her as priests, temple servants, and sacred prostitutes. Inanna made people want to serve her because of who she was, not what she had to offer, and her devotees remained faithful to her long after worship in her temples had ceased. She was closely associated with the morning and evening star and, even the present day, she continues to be - even if few remember her name.
The oldest-photo title goes to .
This image may not look like much, but this is the world's oldest photo, shot in 1826 by Joseph Nicephore Niépce outside a window of his estate at Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France. Niépce used a pewter plate covered with a mixture that included bitumen and water. Niépce put the plate inside a camera and over a period of many hours (perhaps two days) the light hardened some of the bitumen on the plate that was in view of architectural features such as buildings. The unhardened parts were then washed away to produce this image. If you look closely you can see faint outlines of where a building or architectural feature is. This photography technique was called "heliographic" by Niépce.
Early History of Varanasi
Historians have now ascertained that the Aryans first settled in the Ganges valley and by the second millennium BC, Varanasi became the nucleus of Aryan religion and philosophy. The city also flourished as a commercial and industrial center famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, ivory works, perfumery and sculptures.
In the 6th century BC, Varanasi became the capital of the kingdom of Kashi. During this time Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon at Sarnath, just 10 km away from Varanasi. Being a center of religious, educational, cultural and artistic activities, Kashi drew many learned men from around the world the celebrated Chinese traveler Hsüan Tsang is one of them, who visited India around AD 635.