1. Simcha Treister: Reflections on names and Symbols
2. Royal Nubia lies under sand
Greetings Yair. Just some thoughts on the Brit Ish from Zefat.
1) The name Brit Ish means the Man of the Covenant in Hebrew.
This reflects the fact that (until Lady Di objected) all British kings
are circumcised. British royalty claim they have the Divine right to be
Kings because they are descended from King David. The fact that their
kings keep the brit is the reason why they, of all nations, were given
(by Divine providence) the final mandate over Israel - in order to pass
it to the people of the Brit.
British symbols are also kabbalistic. e.g. The highest British judges
wear red robes (red representing din or the ability to cause blood to
flow) and white wigs (representing judgement tempered with mercy). Also
of interest is the "Union Jack". Jack is the English name for Yaakov who
as a patriach symbol represents the sephira of tifferet. Tifferet is a
unifying sephira, uniting all directions of the compass and up and down.
If "Jack" is the sephira of tifferet, then the point in the middle of
the Union Jack represents Tifferet and the lines going out in the 6
directions show its (past) influence in all realms.
Regards and keep up the good work.
Royal Nubia lies under sand
Canadian archaeologists in Sudan, using magnetometers, have found a
2,000-year-old palace in the heart of the ancient black civilization
If his partner had not fallen into an
ancient tomb and broken both legs,
Professor Krzysztof Grzymski would have discovered the ancient Nubian royal
palace even sooner.
Still, Grzymski, a professor at the
University of Toronto and a curator at
the Royal Ontario Museum, is a happy archaeologist these days. He and his
colleague, who is walking again, have found what they believe are the
remains of a palace and a colonnade built more than 2,000 years ago by the
greatest black civilization ever.
"It's quite remarkable, we can see them
clearly beneath the sand," says
The discovery is in the ancient, and
for the most part buried, city of
Meroe", which was the royal capital of ancient Nubia. It is located about
200 kilometres northeast of present day Khartoum.
Meroe", considered one of the largest
and most important archaeological
sites in Africa, was at the heart of a powerful black civilization that
flourished along the upper Nile River from about 750 BC to 350 AD.
Grzymski and his colleagues plan to
start excavating the palace and
colonnade next winter. But for now Grzymski is content to pour over the
grainy images generated by a device that allowed the archaeolgists to "see"
the ruins buried beneath the sand without digging them out.
Explorers -- and tomb robbers -- have
long been aware of Meroe" and its
riches. But archaeologists were so pre-occupied with Egypt's pyramids and
kingdoms to the north -- and deterred by the political conflict in Sudan --
they largely ignored the ancient Nubian culture. Many assumed it was merely
an offshoot of a more advanced Egyptian culture.
"Here you've got this wonderful civilization
that was literate, which
extended over 1,000 miles, maybe more, up the Nile, and which built
pyramids and palaces and temples and at the same time was a major centre of
iron production, and yet it is generally unknown to scholars and the
general public," says Grzymski.
To find the most promising areas, Grzymski
recruited Tomasz Herbich, a
Polish archaeologist and geophysicist who specializes in using
magnetometers to find buried ruins. Magnetometers are sophisticated
versions of the hand-held devices people use to find coins on beaches and
parks. They can differentiate between the magnetic properties of materials
-- such as sand, pottery, bricks -- and feed the readings into a computer.
The readings then generate maps. Just before the archaeologists were to
start scanning the Meroe" site in the 2000-2001 season, Herbich, who works
on ruins throughout northern Africa, fell into an abandoned ancient tomb in
Egypt, breaking both his legs and injuring his spine.
"It was a terrible accident," says Grzymski.
And it set the Meroe" scan
back by one year.
In February, Hebrich and his magnetometer
went to the Sudan site. Within
days, Herbich homed in on the palace and colonnade.
The palace, about 400 square metres
in area, is about a half a metre
beneath the surface of the sand. "There are traces of staircases, so it
suggests there must have been upper floors," Grzymski says. The street in
front of the building also came into view.
To their surprise, they found what appears
to be a colonnade near one of
the gates to the ancient city.
"We were absolutely delighted," says
Grzymski. "It's really fascinating
when you can see the urban design without excavating."
In October, Grzymski will return to
Meroe" to start digging with his
It remains to be seen what treasure
lies beneath the sand, but the
materials uncovered in the region over the years have made it clear the
Nubian civilization was a powerful, inventive society.
The most incredible find was made almost
200 years ago in a pyramid near
Meroe". An Italian physician and tomb robber known as Ferlini accompanied
an Ottoman invasion of Sudan in 1821 and discovered exquisite gold amulets,
signet rings and necklaces by blasting open the pyramid of Queen
Amanishakheto, one of Nubia's most powerful rulers.
Ferlini tried to sell the treasure when
he returned to Europe. But
collectors would not believe such treasure could come from black Africa.
They thought he was trying to pass off fakes, says Grzymski. "They were
jewels of great quality and beauty and often influenced by Greek art, which
was really a surprise," he says. "People didn't expect deep in the heart of
Africa depictions resembling those of Egyptian or classical Greek art."
The ancient Nubians exchanged plenty
of ideas and goods with cultures
around them. Nubian pyramids, monuments and jewels were clearly influenced
by Egyptian, Mediterranean and Arabian cultures.
"They worshiped many of the same gods
as the Egyptians and the royalty was
buried in pyramids," says Grzymski.
Some of their pottery and burial talismans
predate similar discoveries in
Egypt, indicating Nubia may have influenced the Egyptians rather than the
other way around.
At the height of their culture, Nubian
kings are said to have ruled Egypt
from 750 to 650 BC. They were driven south by the Syrians, says Grzymski.
Ancient trash heaps have revealed many
details of daily life for the
Nubians. Olive pits suggest the Nubians either imported olives from the
Mediterranean or grew them on the banks of the Nile. And the animal bones
they left behind reveal much about the climate and environment they lived
in. Along with sheep and goats, the Nubians consumed gazelle, antelope,
warthogs and other wild animals now seldom seen in Sudan. The bones, and
ancient water reservoirs, suggest rainfall patterns have changed in the
past 2000 years, shifting 300 to 400 kilometres to the south. "There has
been quite a change in environment," says Grzymski.
But it is the Nubians' written language
that he finds most intriguing.
Borrowing 24 signs from Egyptian hieroglyphics and using them as an
alphabet, they developed their own writing system, Grzymski says.
"It's the second-oldest writing system
in Africa, but it has still not been
So far, 1,500 inscriptions written in
the ancient Nubian language have been
found, but no one knows what they mean. Grzymski and his colleagues are
sure to find more as they continue excavating.
While finding more palaces would make
Grzymiski happy, what he would most
like to find is some manner of bilingual inscription to enable scholars to
unlock the messages left by the Nubian people. He says the archaeologists
need something like a Rosetta Stone, the famed slab of black basalt
inscribed in Greek text and Egyptian hieroglyphs that enabled scholars in
the early 1800s to decipher the Egyptian writings.