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Ancient beams of Lebanese cedar, preserved by the desert, shoring up a chamber in the Bent Pyramid seen in the Bent Pyramid of Seneferu c.

Whole cedar boats have been found in pits next to the Great Pyramid. At first it was not believed that they were real boats, since the remains just looked like piles of lumber. They were just "symbolic" boats. It was also confusing that there were no nails.

The planks had actually been tied together with rope, and then caulked for waterproofing. The reconstructed boats are impressive examples. Nothing else like this survives from the 3rd Millennium BC; and known later boats are generally from shipwrecks, whose sinking makes recovery and reconstruction that much more difficult. The Viking boats used in burials come the closest to the quality of the Egyptian ships. Another product the Phoenicians eventually traded in was a purple dye produced at Tyre from local marine snails, Murex brandaris and Murex trunculus now gratuitously[?

Depending on how it was processed -- it was only discovered in the 's that this could be accomplished merely with exposure to sunlight -- the dye could also be a blue color, which thus is likely the dye specified in the Bible for the blue on Jewish prayer shawls and other applications -- blue is still used, also on the flag of Israel.

If so, this use would antedate the familiarity of the Greeks with the purple dye. The most famous statement about "the Purple" is certainly that of the Empress Theodora , who, rather than flee the Nika Revolt of , is supposed to have said, "the Purple makes the noblest shroud.

Unfortunately, like many other famous quotes in history, this is not quite right. Press, , , p. The traditional misquotation thus deftly combines two actual quotations. See " The Grammar of Theodora's Statement. The map below illustrates this activity and its implied competition. Greek colonies came to ring the Aegean and Black Seas, the southern coast of Italy, eastern Sicily, Cyrenaica in Libya, and in places on the coast of Gaul modern France and northeastern Spain.

The largest modern cities derived from Greek colonies are probably Marseille in France Massilia , Naples in Italy Neapolis , , the "New City" -- remembered in the name of "Neapolitan" icecream , and Istanbul originally Byzantion , , later Constantinopolis -- Constantinople. Phoenician colonies coexisted with Greek cities in Cyprus and Sicily, but excluded Greeks on Sardinia and Corsica, in the south of Spain, and especially along North Africa. Phoenician colonial power was particularly concentrated at Carthage -- Qart H.

In the south of Spain Cadiz Gades was a Phoenician city. In the course of that expansion, the city later known in Latin as Carthago Nova , "New Carthage" Cartagena , was founded. From Spain, the Phoenicians did something the Greeks did not -- venture out into the Atlantic. They probably went as far as Britain from which tin was obtained , and certainly went well down the coast of Africa -- how far is unclear, since the Phoenicians kept their doings as secret as possible. The best evidence that this was accomplished there is no other is the very idea that it was possible: Phoenician trading posts in Greece itself, reflected even in Greek mythology with stories like the foundation of Thebes by the Phoenician Cadmus, initiated Greek trading in the years after about BC.

But after all this, we may then ask, that if trade is to be associated with the origin of philosophy, why did not philosophy start with the Phoenicians? After a fashion, perhaps it did. The man credited with being the first Greek philosopher, Thales of Miletus , c. However, he was living in a Greek city; and even later philosophers who were certainly ethnic Phoenicians, like Zeno of Citium , moved to Greek cities to learn and practice philosophy.

The clue to what happened in the Greek cities may be found in something else that seems to be a unique characteristic of Greek history: By the time we know much about events, traditional kings in Greeks cities are mostly gone. This had never happened before. When ancient kings were overthrown, which happened often enough, they were simply replaced by other kings. The Phoenician cities all had traditional kings.

But in Greece, the institution of kingship lost its traction. It was filled at first by hereditary nobles, then by elected nobles with life tenure, then by elected nobles with ten year tenure starting in , then with elected nobles by annual tenure starting in , and then with the office opened by Solon, c. After some conflict and the rule of tyrants especially Pisitratus , overthrown in , Cleisthenes led Athens into essentially pure democracy [ note ].

Unlike the Phoenician cities, which had been engaged in commerce for centuries, and where the kings were merchants themselves, the creation of wealth by trade in the Greeks cities seems to have undermined traditional authority.

Whoever jumped into the game first would become, perhaps for the first time in history, a nouveau riches class that chaffed at hereditary privilege and had the means, by bribery and hire, to marshal forces against it.

Since wealth by trade could be made away from home, it would be entirely outside the control of a hometown ruler. Returning home with a new sense of power and independence [ note ], a merchant could well have lost much of his awe and respect for authority by birth. Seeing Greece of the Dark Ages c. Also, we can say that for the first time in history these transformations could have been accomplished by money: Money, meaning coined precious metals, was invented soon after in the Kingdom of Lydia.

The Lydians were not Greeks, but the Lydian kings, after the Phoenician manner, were businessmen; and they worked closely with the adjacent Greek cities of Ionia.

Money thus facilitated the rise of a city like Thales's Miletus; and since coinage enhances the manner in which wealth can be concentrated and transferred, we can also imagine that it enhanced the process of social mobility and political conflict [ note ]. What happened in Greek cities politically and socially was extraordinary enough, but it is also our clue about the origin of philosophy.

Although we can only imagine the nature of the causal connection, the correlation between philosophy and the cities of commercial wealth and political transformation is obvious. Greek philosophy began in , Ionia today on the west coast of Turkey , in the wealthiest and most active cities of their time in Greece. Then philosophy migrated from every direction to Athens itself, at the center, the wealthiest commercial power and the most famous democracy of the time [ note ].

Socrates , although uninterested in wealth himself, nevertheless was a creature of the marketplace, where there were always people to meet and where he could, in effect, bargain over definitions rather than over prices.

Similarly, although Socrates avoided participation in democratic politics, it is hard to imagine his idiosyncratic individualism, and the uncompromising self-assertion of his defense speech, without either wealth or birth to justify his privileges, occurring in any other political context.

If a commercial democracy like Athens provided the social and intellectual context that fostered the development of philosophy, we might expect that philosophy would not occur in the kind of Greek city that was neither commercial nor democratic.

As it happens, the great rival of Athens, Sparta , was just such a city. Sparta had a peculiar, oligarchic constitution, with two kings and a small number of enfranchised citizens. Most of the subjects of the Spartan state had little or no political power, and many of them were helots , who were essentially held as slaves and could be killed by a Spartan citizen at any time for any reason -- annual war was formally declared on the helots for just that purpose.

The whole business of the Spartan citizenry was war. Unlike Athens, Sparta had no nearby seaport. It was not engaged in or interested in commerce. It had no resident alien population like Athens -- there was no reason for foreigners of any sort to come to Sparta. Spartan citizens were allowed to possess little money, and Spartan men were expected, officially, to eat all their meals at a common mess, where the food was legendarily bad -- all to toughen them up.

Spartans had so little to say that the term "Laconic," from Laconia , the environs of Sparta, is still used to mean "of few words" -- as "Spartan" itself is still used to mean simple and ascetic.

While this gave Sparta the best army in Greece, regarded by all as next to invincible, and helped Sparta defeat Athens in the Peloponnesian War , we do not find at Sparta any of the accoutrements otherwise normally associated with Classical Greek civilization: Socrates would have found few takers for his conversation at Sparta -- and it is hard to imagine the city tolerating his questions for anything like the thirty or more years that Athens did.

Next to nothing remains at the site of Sparta to attract tourists the nearby Mediaeval complex at Mistra is of much greater interest , while Athens is one of the major tourist destinations of the world. Indeed, we basically wouldn't even know about Sparta were it not for the historians e.

Thucydides and philosophers e. Plato and Aristotle at Athens who write about her. In the end, philosophy made the fortune of Athens, which essentially became the University Town of the Roman Empire only Alexandria came close as a center of learning ; but even Sparta's army eventually failed her, as Spartan hegemony was destroyed at the battle of Leuctra in by the brilliant Theban general Epaminondas , , who killed a Spartan king, Cleombrotus, for the first time since King Leonidas was killed by the Persians at Thermopylae in A story about Thales throws a curious light on the polarization between commercial culture and its opposition.

It was said that Thales was not a practical person, sometimes didn't watch where he was walking, fell into a well according to Plato , was laughed at, and in general was reproached for not taking money seriously like everyone else. Finally, he was sufficiently irked by the derision and criticisms that he decided to teach everyone a lesson. By studying the stars according to Aristotle , he determined that there was to be an exceptionally large olive harvest that year. Borrowing some money, he secured all the olive presses used to get the oil, of course in Miletus, and when the harvest came in, he took advantage of his monopoly to charge everyone dearly.

After making this big financial killing, Thales announced that he could do this anytime and so, if he otherwise didn't do so and seemed impractical, it was because he simply did not value the money in the first place. This story curiously contains internal evidence of its own falsehood. One cannot determine the nature of the harvest by studying the stars; otherwise astrologers would make their fortunes on the commodities markets, not by selling their analyses to the public [ note ].

So if Thales did not monopolize the olive presses with the help of astrology, and is unlikely to have done what this story relates, we might ask if he was the kind of impractical person portrayed in the story in the first place. It would not seem so from all the other accounts we have about him.

The tendency of this evidence goes in two directions: First, Thales seems to engage in activities that would be consistent with any other Milesian engaged in business. The story about him going to Egypt, although later assimilated to fabulous stories about Greeks learning the mysteries of the Egyptians who don't seem to have had any such mysteries, and would not have been teaching them to Greeks anyway , is perfectly conformable to what many Greeks actually were doing in Egypt, i.

Indeed, the Greeks had another basic export besides olive oil and wine, and that was warriors. Since the Greek cities fought among themselves all the time, the occasional peace left many of them seeking to continue the wars by other means. Indeed, the kings relied so heavily on Greek mercenaries, and there were so many Greek traders swarming over Egypt, that considerable tensions arose. The Egyptians basically didn't like foreigners, and the Greeks, although awed by Egypt, also found the Egyptians more than a little strange and ridiculous.

Their references to things Egyptian were sometimes mocking: As a colony, Naucratis was a little unusual, existing under the sovereignty of Egypt, and also because several Greek cities joined in the founding. As it happened, Miletus was one of the founders of Naucratis. The degree of involvement with Miletus in Egypt thus makes it more than probable that Thales, engaged in the ordinary business of his fellow citizens, would have found himself there, probably more than once.

This is then consistent with the story of Thales discovering how to measure the height of the pyramids [ note ] -- and also with the story of Thales learning navigational techniques from the Phoenicians.

Since the Phoenicians were secretive about their affairs, especially to rivals, this reinforces the report, mentioned already, that Thales was of Phoenician derivation. The second insight into Thales's activities comes from the account of his work for King Alyattes of Lydia. A dreamer who goes around falling into wells does not sound like someone to hire for military engineering projects; but that is the account from Herodotus that we have of Thales, who is supposed to have actually diverted a river around behind the Lydian army so that it could avoid too deep a ford.

The war between the Medes and the Lydians, during which Thales accompanied the Lydian king, also provides us with the one solid date that we have for Thales's life. That is because the climactic battle between the Medes and Lydians, at which Thales would have been present, was stopped by a total eclipse of the sun.


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Visitors can participate in programs that demonstrate life in old Kentucky and feature activities such as hearthside cooking, crafts, music, activities for kids, seminars and lectures by eminent experts, exhibits, and events such as teas in the Orlando Brown parlor.

There are daily guided tours of Liberty Hall. Access to the gardens is free of charge. Liberty Hall Historic Site. Located on the outskirts of Frankfort, Cove Springs Park is a beautiful acre nature preserve and park that consists of wetlands, waterfalls, streams, springs, forests, ravines, and a number of historic features such as ruins of old stone dam and a crumbling limestone overflow tower.

The park is great area for hiking — there are six trails that total three miles together — environmental education, nature observation, picnicking, throwing Frisbee, and much more. Part of one trail is an elevated walkway over wetlands, and it has a number of interpretive signs.

There are also two shelters with interpretative displays on the historic and natural features of the park. Completed in , the Old Governor's Mansion in Frankfort is the oldest American official executive residence still in use, though it is the Lieutenant Governors of Kentucky who have been using the space since As the fashions changed, the building, which was originally designed in the Federal style, has undergone several changes, and certain Victorian details were added.

Thirty-five governors have lived and entertained at the mansion with their families. The last governor who lived here was James McCreary. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Elkhorn Creek has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best smallmouth bass streams in Kentucky, but it also offers great opportunities for paddling and floating.

Starting at the outskirts of Frankfort and flowing to the Kentucky River, this mile scenic stretch of water offers enough adventures for anyone. There are several campgrounds on its banks, and Canoe Kentucky rents boats and offers shuttle services. Fishing on the Elkhorn is so popular that there are now many yearly kayak fishing tournaments.

There are some great stretches for paddlers and kayakers, and the rapids that can reach class III when the water levels are high offer some extra excitement. Capital City Museum is a curious small museum in Frankfort that manages to depict years of history of this charming historic small town with extraordinary exhibits displayed in what is basically one room.

The museum is located in what is left of the famous year-old Capital Hotel, which is itself a museum piece. Collections of memorabilia cover such diverse aspects of life in Frankfort as local fire fighters, police department, various election buttons, early furniture, agricultural tools, and much else.

Many history tours of Frankfort start at the museum. The museum also has a research library with maps, historic documents, books, journals, and genealogical information.

The Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands on a hill overlooking the state capitol building. Completed in November of , the memorial is an amazing piece of mathematics-based architectural design. It consists of a huge sundial with a stainless steel gnomon and a granite plaza beneath it.

The names of the Kentuckians who died in Vietnam are carved into the plaza, and the shadow of the dial touches each name on the anniversary of his death. The memorial is a majestic tribute to the fallen and garners large crowds of visitors each year. The house has undergone many changes over the years, but now has been restored to a style reminiscent of its original appearance.

Today the house is once again used as a state meeting house. Please contact the Division of Historic Properties for scheduling information.

The Josephine Sculpture Park is a rural park decorated with sculptures and artwork from international artists. Guests can view and interact with dozens of works of art and explore native plants and wildlife. In addition, the sculpture park offers workshops, classes, and theater events to further promote the arts in Kentucky.

The park is open every from dawn until dusk and is free to the public. The grounds can also be rented for parties, weddings, and family gatherings for a rental fee.

The clock was commissioned In , by then-governor Bert. I Combs commissioned the clock, whose face stretches 34 feet across and is covered by flowers exclusively grown in the state of Kentucky.

Beneath the clock is a pool of water that is often used as a wishing well, and the coins thrown into the well are used to fund scholarships. The Floral Clock is one of the most-visited attractions in Frankfort and is open to the public every day from dawn until dusk. Switzer Covered Bridge Kentucky is home to many scenic back roads and thirteen classic covered bridges. The bridge was originally built in and has been restored three times throughout its plus year history, most recently in after the original bridge was completely washed away in a flood.

The Switzer was designated as the official covered bridge of the state of Kentucky and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in The Grand was originally constructed in as a vaudeville house. It was then used as a movie theater for decades.

Tickets can be purchased online, by phone, or at the theater ticket office. It is situated on both sides of the Kentucky River and provides beautiful views of the water from many different angles. The park also features 16 historical sites with information about prehistoric, Native American, and early settlers to the area.

Guided tours are given seasonally, weather permitting. Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary is made up of acres of land situated along the Kentucky River. The land was donated to be used as a preserve by Mrs. The sanctuary exists to protect and showcase the native plant and wildlife of eastern Kentucky. It includes two ponds, fifty acres of fields, and limestone and mineral deposits. The sanctuary is also an excellent place for birdwatching.

Guided bird walks through the area are offered periodically. From May to October, boat tours are offered from the Nancy Wilkinson, a spacious and comfortable pontoon boat. The tour is free and highlights the beautiful scenery of the Kentucky River as well as the history of life along the water.

Tours must be reserved in advance by telephone or in person at the Capitol City Museum, and they are not offered during inclement weather. Fort Hill stands just outside of Frankfort and was the site of a Civil War skirmish between the Union troops and Confederate invaders. Two Civil War forts are preserved on the site, along with the Sullivan family log home.

The park offers hiking trails, picnic pavilions, and beautiful views of downtown Frankfort. It is open to vehicles year-round, and guided walking tours are available for free from Memorial Day through the end of October.

The park can be reached on foot from downtown Frankfort via a trail that starts behind the Capitol plaza. Kentucky Military History Museum For more than years, the men and women of Kentucky have been involved in the military. That rich history is on display at the Kentucky Military History Museum, which is housed in the building that served as the state arsenal for over years.

Women manufactured munitions for the Civil War in this very location. Interactive exhibits teach visitors about the government and geography of Kentucky, and they provide information on sustainability and the local environment. Make a Donation Help Someone. Event Calendar Get Involved. The Latest Read our Blog. Check out our tear away flyers, they are perfect for school, work, the gym or just about anywhere.

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