Friday, March 17, 2017

Hodgepodge 138/365 – Things I Didn’t Know Before (3/16/17)

If I had wifi right now, I might choose to do a little research and then write about one of the sights we saw today: Caesareum, perhaps, which was founded by Herod the Great in the first century B.C. as a great port city; or the Baha’i Temple in Haifa—the mother ship, in fact (little did I know where the Baha’i faith was centered: I would have thought Iran, perhaps).

Or I might write about the Druze, one of whose villages we drove through today and ate a scrumptious lunch in: about eight plates of mezze (pickled carrots and beets, vinegary salad, hummus, felafel, a creamy eggplant dish, spicy tomatoes, etc.) followed by, for me, dolmades. The Druze split off from Islam 900 years ago in Egypt; for fifty years they allowed conversions into their new faith, but not since: today, conversion is still not allowed—the only way to be Druze is to be born to two Druze parents.

I might mention—and again, I did not know this before—that the Hellenistic period is divided into three parts: the Greek, the Roman, and, after Christianity took over, the Byzantine. What the heck are the Romans and Byzantines doing in the Hellenistic period? This blows my mind.

I don’t even know all that much about American history, and ours is only a few hundred years old, never mind a couple thousand. I really don’t know much about the history of the Middle East, or of Europe, or of . . . very much at all. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.

But then too, the more you learn, the more you know, even if it’s tiny dribbles. I am learning a lot here. I hope I can remember some of it. Writing it down helps.

Today’s personages: Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, who lived in the great palace at Caesareum; and Elijah, whom Avsha mentioned in passing as being associated with Mt. Carmel, which we drove up and over today, and down into Haifa. I will have to find out his connection to that place. When I have wifi again.

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