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Note : The Near East, Hellenistic art, a fusion of Greek and Near East artistry an imaginative one hour talk & presentation. THE UNTOLD  STORY OF SOAP : an ancient product, 40 centuries later, directly from the Soapmakers on The Silk Route, The Persian Royal Road, continuing making history. Awakening the activity, THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST, more untold then we thought.

The atmosphere of Antioch, third largest City of The Roman Empire.The only Roman City illuminated at night for more than 800 years.

The presence and importance  of The Silk Route 2nd Century BC where oil in soaps travelled from Mardin (near the Persian border), Aleppo City and just a short distance from The Imperial Palace, Antioch to be traded in Antioch Market, later in the 10th century AD Nablus soap from Palestine continued history at Antioch Market the finest first pressed olive oil from olive groves of 5000 years, still today.

PALMYRA, the home of Queen Zenobia, an oasis in the Syrian dessert. The important link on The Silk Route, Unesco World Heritage Site, now continuing to stay on the 'The List of World Heritage in Danger'.

The Ancient World’s impressive culture and inventions : Sumerians, Babylonians, WHERE TIME BEGAN, where children of the world need to know.

SUMERIANS : the first astronomers to map the stars into different constellations. They identified five planets that were visible to the naked eye.They documented a rudimentary cluster of constellations and noted the movements of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury. Their month began with the sunset and the first crescent of the new moon. This was seen for 18 hours after the 36 hours when the old crescent disappeared. The crescent was the thinnest of all its forms. The day consisted of 12 hours and it started and ended with sunset.They were also the first to create a lunar calendar. Phases of the moon were used to count the 12 months of the year. Assigning symbols to large numbers was also necessary as they wanted to track the course of the night sky in order to prepare the lunar calendar. They started using a small clay cone to denote the number 1, a ball for 10, and a large clay cone for 60. An elementary abacus was invented between 2700 and 2300 BC.

BABYLONIANS : The rise to power of The Babylonians in Mesopotamia around 1900 BC, known as 'Old Babylonian Period’ later, Neo-Babylonian period 626 BC - 539 BC.

6th Century BC, late Babylonian. Cartography, Latin word Charta, Greek word Graphein : tablet, draw, creating the first circular MAP 'Bitter River' written on a clay tablet The British Museum.

INCREDIBLE ASSYRIANS building Dams, Canals, Aqueducts and  bronze water screws (four centuries before Archimedes, 500 years before The Romans built aqueducts).

PERSIANS : Darius 1 allows The Soapmakers to travel on The Persian Royal Road later, Persian Sogdian Traders, 2nd Century BC, travelled on The Silk Route for more than 800 years.

SILK : 2696 BC Lei Zu, daughter of Xi Ling, Empress, Wife of The Yellow Emperor, the implementer of silk; by chance a silkworm cocoon fell from a tree into her tea cup unwrapping the silk and strong but, soft thread. Ancient Greek word for China 'Seres' 'The Land of Silk'. Han Dynasty, four immense innovations : Gunpowder, Paper, Printing, Compass. Paper arriving first in Samarkand as late as 700 AD destined for Europe. 138 BC, Emperor Wu Di instructs Zhang Qian, diplomat, envoy, to open up The Silk Route to the West to trade outside of China for the first time and later, silk for gold with The Roman Empire. Chang'an, Capital of China-Antioch, 3rd largest City of The Roman Empire on the Mediterranean waters, 4,025 miles. By 102 BC China controlled traffic and taxes at  Tun-Huang Oasis later, called Dunhuang Oasis. Traders from the West were compelled to wait until Chinese soldiers checked for silkworms or, cocoons. The Roman Empire's Pliny the Elder 'At least a hundred million sesterces flow out of the empire every year to India, China and Arabia, that is how much luxury and women cost us'. Yellow silk : a class distinction. 552 AD : Emperor Justinian Ist sends two emissaries (Nestorian monks) to China to smuggle silkworm eggs, hidden in rods of bamboo, tired of paying exorbitant silk prices. Later, sericulture (silk farming) began.

By the 1st century BC silk reached Rome, initiating the first ’Silk Route’. Pliny, writing about silk, thought it was made from the down of trees. The Roman Emperor Augustus (ruled 27 BC-14 AD) was the first from Europe to arrive in China confirmed by Roman historian Florus. 166 AD, Rumour reported at the time an emissary from Andun (China) on behalf of Emperor Marcus Aurelius brought gifts of ivory, tortoiseshell, rhinoceros horn to the Chinese. Romans are believed by some to have made it as far east as the Gobi Desert. The people in Liqian, a village in Gansu Province in western China on the fringes of the Gobi Desert, near the Qilian mountains, say they are descendants of Romans and say the curly hair, straight noses, and light-coloured eyes that some of them have proved it.The Romans that made it to China are said to have been soldiers under Crassus a Roman leader who formed the First Triumvirate with Julius Caesar and Pompey who survived a battle against the Parthians in Syria and Persia and then made their way east, working as mercenaries for the Huns, until they were captured by Chinese troops during a Chinese attack on the Hun ruler Zhizhi, Uzbekistan.

THE HAN DYNASTY wanted a formidable cavalry horse and found a special breed of horse large and of great stamina located in the Ferghâna Valley, north of the Hindu Kush, the valley being continuous across eastern Uzbekistan, south of Kyrgyzstan, northern Tajikistan. Ferghâna was especially noted for its horses, and attracted the attention of the Chinese who wanted to improve the breed they used for their cavalry. An envoy was sent to purchase the desired animals, but was not only turned down, he was killed. General Li Guangli was then sent in 104 BC with an army of 60,000 over the Pamirs to seek revenge and to bring back the Ferghâna horses, known to the Chinese as 'blood-sweating’ or, ‘heavenly' horses. Li besieged the city of Tashkent but, failed to take it and returned with the remnant of his army. Reaching the frontier of China, he asked for permission to proceed on to the capital. This was denied and reinforcements were sent, he was told not to come back without the horses. This gave him added determination, and the second expedition was successful, returning in 101 BC with 1000 horses. 

THE ISHTAR GATE, one of The Seven Wonders of The Ancient World, Unesco World Heritage Site, Hanging Garden of Nineveh, one of The Seven Wonders of The Ancient World, celebrated Theatres, Libraries of THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST.

The BIBLICAL presence of THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST (where Christianity began).

Centuries Later, Still Preserved Today, 10 year project, over 27 feet below ground level, 4 acres of Antioch ( City of Antioch 1,100 acres, Savonerrie, where the Soapmakers made history) excavating, authenticity preserved, still today. 30,000 objects dating back to the 3rd Century BC : The Necmi Asfuroğlu Archaeology Museum, Hatay Archaeology Museum overlooking Mt. Silpius.

SOAP : the greatest medical discovery in human history, cleans away something you cannot see, soap does not attract germs, water doesUNICEF :  doctors wash their hands half as frequently as they should, if every cook used soap it would cut the world’s rate of respiratory infections by 25%. Saves the life of a healthy person oblivious to the bullet they dodged, has saved more lives than penicillin, doesn't just make cities healthier it makes them possible, enabling our existence.

ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA : continuing the ethical and sustainable ethos, the culture and spirit of the first Soapmakers of the world remarkably, still handmade today from the original historical areas whilst supporting their families.

Your event enquires :

Ancient Mesopotamia Gifts
644 Charlton Horethorne

Maps & Sketches : Rowen Salt, Katheryn Lockey

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