In Christian tradition the Magi, also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men, (Three) Kings, or Kings from the East, are said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts.The Gospel of Matthew, the only place in the Bible which describes the visit of the magi, says that they came “from the east” to worship the Christ, “born King of the Jews”. Although Matthew does not mention their number, because three gifts are recorded as having been given to the Christ Child, traditionally there are thought to have been three Magi. The Magi, as the “Three Kings” or “Three Wise Men” are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity and in celebrations of Christmas.

The identification of the Magi as kings is linked to Old Testament prophesies such as that in Isaiah 60:3, which describe the Messiah being worshiped by kings. Early readers reinterpreted Matthew in light of these prophecies and elevated the Magi to kings. This interpretation was common until the Protestant Reformation.

from Matthew 2:1-12:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. In Bethlehem in Judea, they replied, for this is what the prophet has written: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.This prompted Herod to resort to killing all the young children in Bethlehem, an act called the Massacre of the Innocents, in an attempt to eliminate a rival heir to his throne. Jesus and his family had, however, escaped to Egypt beforehand. After these events they passed into obscurity. The story of the nativity in Matthew glorifies Jesus, likens him to Moses, and shows his life as fulfilling prophecy.

Names

The word Magi is a Latinization of the plural of the Greek word mago, from Old Persian maguŝ from the Avestan magâunô, i.e. the religious caste in which Zoroaster was born into. The term refers to the priestly caste of Zoroastrianism. As part of their religion, these priests paid particular attention to the stars, and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time highly regarded as a science. Their religious practices and use of astrology caused derivatives of the term Magi to be applied to the occult in general and led to the English term magic. Translated in the King James Version as “wise men.”

Traditions identify a variety of different names for the Magi. In the Western Christian church they have been commonly known since the 8th century as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. These derive from an early 6th century Greek manuscript in Alexandria. The Latin text Collectanea et Flores continues the tradition of three kings and their names and gives additional details. This text is said to be from the 8th century, of Irish origin.

Caspar is also sometimes given as Gaspar or Jaspar.

In contrast, the Syrian Christians name the Magi Larvandad, Gushnasaph, and Hormisdas. These names have a far greater likelihood of being originally Persian, though that does not, of course, guarantee their authenticity.

In the Eastern churches, Ethiopian Christianity, for instance, has Hor, Karsudan, and Basanater, while the Armenians have Kagpha, Badadakharida and Badadilma. Many Chinese Christians believe that one of the magi came from China.

Origin and journey

The phrase “from the east” is the only information Matthew provides about the region from which they came. Traditionally the view developed that they were Babylonian or Arabs or Jews from Yemen as the Makrebs or kings of Yemen then were Jews, a view held for example by John Chrysostom. The majority belief was they were from Babylon, which was the centre of Zurvanism, and hence astrology, at the time. The author of Matthew probably did not have a specific location in mind and the phrase from the east is for literary effect and added exoticism.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, the Magi found Jesus by following a star, which thus traditionally became known as the Star of Bethlehem. Various theories have been presented as to the nature of this star.

After the visit the Magi leave the narrative by returning another way so as to avoid Herod, and do not reappear. There are many traditional stories about what happened to the Magi after this, with one having them baptised by St. Thomas on his way to India. Another has their remains found by Saint Helena and brought to Constantinople, and eventually making their way to Germany and the Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral.

Gifts

The Magi are described as “falling down”, “kneeling” or “bowing” in the worship of Jesus. This gesture, together with the use of kneeling in Luke’s birth narrative, had an important effect on Christian religious practices. They were indicative of great respect, and typically used when venerating a king. Inspired by these verses, kneeling and prostration were adopted in the early Church. While prostration is now rarely practiced in the West, it is still relatively common in the Eastern Churches, especially during Lent. Kneeling has remained an important element of Christian worship to this day.

Three gifts are explicitly identified in Matthew: gold, frankincense, and myrrh which is found only in Yemen. Many different theories of the meaning and symbolism of the gifts have been brought forward. While gold is fairly obviously explained, frankincense, and particularly myrrh, are much more obscure.

All three gifts are ordinary offerings and gifts given to a king. Myrrh being commonly used as an anointing oil, frankincense as a perfume, and gold as a valuable.

The three gifts had a spiritual meaning: gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of priestship, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death.

Sometimes this is described more generally as gold symbolizing virtue, frankincense symbolizing prayer, and myrrh symbolizing suffering.

Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment and as a penitential incense in funerals and cremations until the 15th century. The “holy oil” traditionally used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for performing the sacraments of chrismation and unction is traditionally scented with myrrh, and receiving either of these sacraments is commonly referred to as “receiving the Myrrh”.

John Chrysostom suggested that the gifts were fit to be given not just to a king but to God, and contrasted them with the Jews’ traditional offerings of sheep and calves, and accordingly Chrysostom asserts that the Magi worshiped Jesus as God.

What subsequently happened to these gifts is never mentioned in the scripture, but several traditions have developed. One story has the gold being stolen by the two thieves who were later crucified alongside Jesus. Another tale has it being entrusted to and then misappropriated by Judas.

Relevance to Christmas

This visit generally referred to as the visit of the Magi must have taken place several months after the birth of Jesus. Evidence for that conclusion can be found in the Gospel of Matthew in the second chapter. “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother…” (Matthew 2:11) A careful observation of that verse reveals two things, firstly, Jesus Christ was not a baby when the wise men visited he was a young child of about two years old. Secondly, the visit did not take place at the manger where he was born but in a house Joseph (saint Joseph) and Mary (mother of Jesus) moved into after Jesus was born in a manger. The strongest indication that Jesus was about two years old at the time of the visit can be found in verse 16 of the second chapter in the Gospel of Matthew, which reads thus, Then Herod ,…, was exceedingly wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. (Matthew 2:16) It is safe to assume that there’s no way Herod would have ordered a massacre of the innocents from two years old and under if the Wise Men gave him the impression that the child they sought was born just a couple of days earlier. It can also be implied from the last line of Mathew 2:16 that from Herod’s inquiries he figured out that the Wise Men set out from their base from the day Jesus was born, when they saw the star and did not arrive in Bethlehem until two years later. “For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)

Religious significance

Christianity celebrates the Magi on the day of Epiphany, January 6, the last of the twelve days of Christmas, particularly in the Spanish-speaking parts of the world. In these Spanish-speaking areas, the three kings (Sp. “los Reyes Magos de Oriente”, also “Los Tres Reyes Magos”) receive wish letters from children and magically bring them gifts on the night before Epiphany. In Spain, each one of the Magi is supposed to represent one different continent, Europe (Caspar), Asia (Melchior) and Africa (Balthasar). According to the tradition, the Magi come from the Orient on their camels to visit the houses of all the children; much like Santa Claus with his reindeer, they visit everyone in one night. In some areas, children prepare a drink for each of the Magi, it is also traditional to prepare food and drink for the camels, because this is the only night of the year when they eat.

A tradition in most of Central Europe involves writing the initials of the three kings’ names above the main door of the home to confer blessings on the occupants for the New Year. For example, 20 + C + M + B + 08. The initials may also represent “Christus mansionem benedicat” (Christ bless this house). In Catholic parts of Germany and in Austria, this is done by so called Sternsinger (star singers), children, dressed up as the Magi, carrying the star. In exchange for writing the initials, they collect money for charity projects in the third world.

In France and Belgium, the holiday is celebrated with a special tradition: within a family, a cake is shared, which contains a small figure of baby Jesus, known as the broad bean. Whoever gets the “bean” is “crowned” king for the remainder of the holiday and wears a cardboard crown purchased with the cake. The practice is known as tirer les Rois: drawing the Kings. A queen is sometimes also chosen.

In Mexico they have the same ring-shaped cake Rosca de Reyes (Kings Bagel or Thread), it contains figurines of the baby Jesus. The figurine of the baby Jesus is typically hidden inside the cake. Whoever gets a figurine is supposed to take the figurine to the local church and buy tamales for the Candelaria feast on February the second, which is the feast of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple.

In Puerto Rico children cut grass or greenery on January 5th and put it in a box under their bed. The grass is for the camels. Children receive gifts on January 6, which is called Epiphany, and is traditionally the day in which the Magi arrived bearing gifts for the Christ child. Christmas starts in December and ends in January after Epiphany.

In New Orleans, Louisiana, parts of south Texas, and surrounding regions, a similar ring-shaped cake known as a “King Cake” traditionally becomes available in bakeries from the Epiphany through Mardi Gras. The baby Jesus is represented by a small, plastic doll inserted into the cake from underneath, and the person who gets the slice with the figurine is expected to buy or bake the next King Cake.

Adoration of the magi in art

In Byzantine art they are depicted as Persians, wearing trousers and phrygian caps. Crown appear from the 10th century. Medieval artists also allegorised the theme to represent the three ages of man. Beginning in the 12th century, and very often by the 15th, the Kings also represent the three parts of the known (pre-Columbian) world in Western art, especially in Northern Europe. Balthasar is thus represented as a young African or Moor and Caspar may be depicted with distinctive Oriental features.

These images use Late Antique poses for barbarians submitting to an Emperor, and presenting golden wreaths, and indeed relate to images of tribute-bearers from various Mediterranean cultures going back many centuries. The earliest are from catacomb paintings and sarcophagus reliefs of the 4th century. Crowns are first seen in the 10th century, mostly in the West, where their dress had by now lost any Oriental flavour in most cases.

From the 14th century onwards, large retinues are often shown, the gifts are contained in spectacular pieces of goldsmith work, and the Magi’s clothes are given increasing attentention. By the 15th century, the Adoration of the Magi is often a bravura piece in which the artist can display their handling of complex, crowded scenes involving horses and camels, but also their rendering of varied textures: the silk, fur, jewels and gold of the Kings set against the wood of the stable, the straw of Jesus’s manger and the rough clothing of Joseph and the shepherds.

sources:

Yes, indeed. I finished the book in the end! Or rather, I stopped writing it. A book like this can easily be revised and improved for another 10 years, but I’ve been at it for 5 years already and perhaps now is a good time to stop. I’m actually pretty happy with it. All material, as you know, is available on this web page, but you can also buy it as a regular book when it appears sometime next year.

Erik Ringmar is professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul, Turkey. He has a PhD in political science from Yale University and taught for 12 years in the Government Department at the London School of Economics, and for seven years as a professor of international politics at Shanghai Jiaotong University, in Shanghai, China.  Erik has written five books and some 50 academic articles exploring the history of international relations both from European and non-European perspectives. His CV is here. His next book will deal with dance and international politics.

İstanbul is a very good place to be if the world is going crazy. This "white man" is going to Friday prayer.
https://t.co/RFPWG3lhKW

This seems to be a good time for Greece to demand to have the Parthenon marbles back. "Brexit: how would an extension to article 50 work?" https://t.co/BaasKwz4PT

Peter Adamson, smart and fun, as always: https://t.co/FIcbLCZsq4

Talk by yours truly. Religion is not something you believe in, it is something you do.

Load More...

Who was Muhammed?

Leader, Mecca 571 — writing — Quran — discussing Muhammed =–

tribes, isahba, hajj, Kabal

Huge traibes — sedentary peoples — trading routes — Quarash — traders in the area —  a lot of Arabs were merchants — trading through Somalia and OMan — Meccas, a lot of gods — no one could imagine that this society would be changed — system of slavery

all rejected everything — new ideas in this movement — isolated from the big families — doing this mvoement secretly for ten years —

consolidation rather thnn exclusivity — exclusiionary vs. inclusionary —  — fulfillment of a prophecy — the coming of the profet — as a promise of the religion — God sends profet — people start to forget — Abrahamic religions — in Islam they believed in the boois — the teachings are the same — they refuse to believe and accept

messangers — why are they always fighting? Bible and Jewish version as destorted versions. Many different books of the Bible —

politics and power — what power brings — the historical narrative that was told- — relioion as the opium of the soul — politics matters and not religion — they looik at the wrong thing —

if there are such a lot

all mankidn — religious project as well — every aspect of your life — Moses — trading with eah other — Christianity– political and social sactivities — plitics was there —

jihad — before Muhammed — the idea of expansion — they did not interfere in the political regime at all — we are loiving these ideas —

dhimmoi — Iran — bring this to whoever wants — come and worship — only if they reufes — ono freedom for paopel — not to let people control twhat they should believe.

look at ti from the point how strong Islam — religious established centers — sedentary centers — easy for Muslims to baese their protectino of the basis of the as well as religious —  religion established wihtin the walls — you could not go around it — Islam as outside the walls of the city — they were eventually very good at — Ibn Haldun — would Muhammed have moved —

capture many areas — Muhammed fighting 10 times — exploited by the Christians — EUrope was not CHristian at this time — they were being welcomes to be Muslims —

the quality of the message — the unity of the religion — universal community — bedoinines — how to civlize them selves —

SUnni and SHia — from religion to political — not a process of succession — somenoe should take the place and the role — individauls survival of the fittest — provided the leadership — there is a political vacuum —

rotate between different groups — Christian — Shia —

the idea of a claiphate — different asgggremment within the comunity — supplement the the leadership — Huyain — there were no procedures —

there was no way to organize — the succession — Abu Bakr —

is this an important — who are these people — the subpower — the power at the top — this more skweded toward a partricular group —

ruling party and the oppositoin in a democracy — ummah told Abu Bakr what to do —

a caliphal international systme — they were qualified — prominent leaders at the time — een at the pfopherts time — the differences appear in the Karbala — first fitna — Omar assinated for that reason — Persian influence — the bigger picture abuot this — angry at the

Karbala — failed, Sunni as important — sahabah, liek a Sunni — for people who lost faith in –Ghana appealing to the northern people — religion for the peopole — the fundamentalist —

the translation movement — created so manyn different cultures in order to get to know one another -=-

from Muhammed’s time — sturing their writings and readings — like scientists — education and the importance the — take informatoin

wilolingly convertedinto Islam — it turns out to the be best way to benefit yourslef — they convert —

translation movement — also benefits — get the kind of message that they were expecting — world of Islam — when the push

caliphate —

 

how successful it was — civlizing the people — not slowing down — sedendary life-style — the Arabs break down — use politics for religion, not the other way around — 9

johad — India, very different — under pressure all the time — salvation for te

the aninomisty of the smallest difference

not all taht provincial — benefits for Bedouine society — provide benefits for them — the position of Islam they can

Queresh tribes — much more sophisciated — sedentary vs. nomadic tribes — human sacrifices —

complete version of — Abrahamic religion —

Why did they expand?

How were the able to do it?

What is a “caliphate”?

What is “jihad”?

What is the origin of the split between Sunni and Shia?

What is the Islamic “Golden Age”

Why did power move to Cairo?

What can you tell me about Muslim Spain?

Who are the Turks?

How was the Ottoman empire established?

Algeria was invaded by France in 1830 but the country soon proved difficult to govern and the French army was harassed by Arab guerrilla fighters. In 1837 they were forced to conclude a treaty which gave Algerians control of two thirds of their territory. Yet the French ignored the agreement and the following year the war recommenced. Looking for a more effective way to fight the Arabs, general Thomas Robert Bugeaud, the Governor-General of the colony, developed a new method of warfare – known as le système Bugeaud – which he argued was more suitable for African conditions. A main feature of the système was the razzia – the destruction of all resources that supported the lives and livelihoods of the Arab community, their crops, orchards and cattle. Only by declaring war on civilians, Bugeaud argued, and by terrorizing and starving them, could the enemy be subdued. Yet, he insisted, there was nothing immoral about such methods. After all, France’s aim was to civilize the Africans. “Gentlemen,” as he explained to the parliament in Paris, “war is not made philanthropically; he who wills the end wills the means.”

Other European powers met with similar resistance. The British had to fight no fewer than five wars against the Asante, three wars in Afghanistan and Burma, and two opium wars in China. The French fought two wars in Dahomey and the Germans were fiercely resisted by the Herero of southwestern Africa. The problem in all cases was that the enemies were far away, the European forces actually quite small, and that it consequently was difficult to administer the lands to which they laid claims. Even if one expedition was successful, the natives soon reasserted themselves, and the European had to come back for a second expedition, and occasionally for several more. Colonial wars were not at all like wars in Europe, the Europeans concluded; they required tactics suitable to local conditions.

What settled these wars in the end was not military superiority as much as the ability to strike terror in the local population. Colonial warfare should have “pedagogical aims.” You should strike so hard and in such a devastating fashion that no one dared to resist. The système Bugeaud was an example of such state-sponsored terrorism, and it eventually proved effective. One by one the Algerian guerrilla fighters were killed or captured and in 1843 their independent state collapsed.

 

External links:

İstanbul is a very good place to be if the world is going crazy. This "white man" is going to Friday prayer.
https://t.co/RFPWG3lhKW

This seems to be a good time for Greece to demand to have the Parthenon marbles back. "Brexit: how would an extension to article 50 work?" https://t.co/BaasKwz4PT

Peter Adamson, smart and fun, as always: https://t.co/FIcbLCZsq4

Talk by yours truly. Religion is not something you believe in, it is something you do.

Load More...

Before it was occupied by the United States in 1893, Hawai’i was a sovereign country with it own royal house, foreign policy, bank notes and stamps. In fact, it had been recognized as independent by Europeans countries for close to one hundred years. The last ruler of independent Hawai’i was a woman, queen Liliʻuokalani, 1838-1917. She was an accomplished author and the composer of “Aloha ‘Oe,” the most famous of all Hawai’ian songs. She represented her country at Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in London in 1887. Queen Liliʻuokalani is still revered by indigenous Hawaiians.

By the 1890s, the European occupation of all of North America was secure and the U.S. government continued its expansion across the Pacific. In 1893, the Americans organized an uprising among the locals in Hawaii. In 1898, they proceeded to annex the islands, the same year that they occupied the Philippines. The Hawaiian flag was lowered at the royal palace in Honolulu and the U.S. flag was raised. Hawai’i became a U.S. state in 1959, following a referendum in which 93% of voters approved of statehood. As a result, the islands were removed from the United Nations’ list of territories subject to decolonization. In 1993, the U.S. Congress issued an apology in which they admitted that “the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i occurred with the active participation of agents and citizens of the United States” and that “the Native Hawai’ian people never directly relinquished to the United States their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people over their national lands.”

There are today some 150,00 Hawai’ians of pure indigenous ancestry and another 400,00 people who claim partial indigenous ancestry. Together they constitute about a third of the population of the islands. Native Hawaiians are over-represented among the homeless and unemployed. Although there is an active independence movement, it has only limited support. A more poplar proposal is that the islands should be given a semi-sovereign status within the United States and that native Hawai’ians should be recognized as an indigenous American tribe. Queen Liliʻuokalani still has descendants who claim a right to the vacant throne. There are today some 42,000 U.S. soldiers stationed on the islands.

External links:

For the longest time Europeans refused to believe that the enormous mounds they had discovered in the valley of the Mississippi river were constructed by native people. The sheer size of the monuments was just too impressive. The “Indians,” the Europeans had decided, were hunters and gatherers but the people of the Mississippi valley lived in large cities and they grew crops. The construction of the mounds must have required years of dedicated labor. Only a highly organized society could have managed that task. Perhaps it was the Vikings who had built the mounds, or the Chinese, the Greeks or perhaps the ancient Egyptians?

The Europeans should have known better. There were still mound-builders in North America as late as in the eighteenth-century. In 1682 CE, French explorers visited the Natchez, a tribe living in the lower Mississippi. They were astonished to be greeted by their leader, known as the “Great Sun,” who lived in a large house on the top of a platform mound. The Great Sun was treated as a living god by his people and was carried in a litter wherever he went. His mother, known as “White Woman,” was his principal adviser and lived in a house on top of another mound. Ordinary members of Natchez society grew corn, beans, squash and tobacco. The Green Corn ceremony was the apex of their annual cycle of religious events. The Natchez were defeated in a war with French settlers in the 1730s. As a result some were sold into slavery in the Caribbean while others were forced to take refuge with other tribes. Today there is still a Natchez nation with some 6,000 members. It is led by a chief, still known as “Great Sun,” and by four “Clan Mothers.” The last fluent speaker of the Natchez language died in 1957. Today the Natchez are trying to revive their language.

 

External links:

History of the World in 100 Objects, “North American otter pipe”

The empires of the Americas are notorious for practicing human sacrifice, but what is less well known is that the rulers also practices a form of sacrifice on themselves. They cut themselves using sharp objects such obsidian, stingray spines or shark’s teeth. Any soft part of the body could be cut, but it was usually the tongue or the genitals. The scattered blood was then collected on paper made from bark and burned. The smoke conveyed the message to the gods.

Blood, to the Mayans, was the very force of life and in the beginning of time the gods had sacrificed their own blood in order for the world to come into being. Ever since humans have owed blood to the gods and the sacrifices were a way to repay this debt. Interestingly, the best blood was that of noblemen and the noblemen of the enemies were for that reason a prized catch in wars. The Maya would even maintain “farms” of noblemen who could be sacrificed on ceremonial occasions.

Anyone who claimed political authority would have to go through these ceremonies, and this included the kings and members of the royal family. A particularly gruesome scene from a Maya relief shows a queen with her tongue pierced. Through the hole a thread with thorns was then pulled. The agony must have been perfectly mind-altering. And that, indeed, seems to have been the point. The pain that the royals suffered put them in contact with transcendental realms and made clear to everyone else that they possessed unique spiritual powers. The bloodletting rituals were commonly performed when the ruler asked ordinary people to make sacrifices, such as when going to war. To make the point as effectively as possible, self-harm was performed in front of large gatherings of people – in a plaza or on the top of a pyramid. That the leaders of a country had to sacrifice themselves in these tangible ways surely meant that they were far more careful in embarking on risky ventures. If today’s political leaders were required to mutilate their genitals in public before declaring war, far fewer wars would surely be declared.

External links:

History of the World in 100 Objects, “Maya relief of royal blood-letting”

The Steven Spielberg movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981, finishes with a memorable scene. Throughout the movie, Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford, has been in pursuit of the Ark of the Covenant, the gold-covered wooden chest which, according to the Hebrew Bible, contains the stone tablets with the original version of the Ten Commandments (“Though shalt not kill …” etc.) Avoiding capture by German soldiers, and outsmarting a French competitor, Indiana Jones eventually brings the Ark back to the United States. Not realizing what they have laid their hands on, an overzealous government bureaucrat ships it off to an enormous warehouse where it, presumably, never again will be found.

Compare this story to the one Coptic Christians in Ethiopia tell. The Ark of the Covenant, they insist, is not at all lost, and it is not in a warehouse in the United States. It can instead be found in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, in Axum, in the Tigray province, Ethiopia. It was brought here by Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, after he had paid a visit to his father in Jerusalem. And the Ark of the Covenant has been here ever since. Since it is associated with such awesome powers, however, only one person – a guardian monk – is allowed to see it. Our Lady Mary of Zion is nevertheless a place of pilgrimage for members of the Coptic Church, especially during the festivities commemorating Mary on November 30 every year.

There are striking similarities between the Hollywood version of this tale and the Coptic version. In both cases, the Ark is a source of divine power. The divine object, moreover, has been appropriated by an imperial power and brought to the very center of the empire. This feat, moreover, has in both cases been accomplished by a young hero. At the same time, the Covenant is hidden from public view. This does not mean, however, that it has stopped radiating its power. In both cases it continues to provide divine support for the empire and its rulers. Whether the Ark in question actually exists is a far less important matter. It is the myth, conveyed by the legend and the movie, which provides legitimacy to the empire.

External links:

History of Philosophy, “Ethiopian philosophy”