Friday, August 24, 2012
Like AJANTA, Ellora in India is the location of a series of cave temples hewn into the living rock. It is located 80 kilometers (48 mi.) southwest of Ajanta. There are 34 individual temples extending along a distance of two kilometers (1.2 mi.). Twelve of these are Buddhist, 17 are Hindu, and five are Jain. The Buddhist temples, which date between 200 B.C.E. and 600 C.E., include sancturaries and monasteries, with sleeping areas for monks cut into the rock. The most remarkable Hindu structure is the Kailasanatha temple. It is one of the world’s largest statues, because by removing more than 200,000 tons of basaltic rock, the makers created a highly decorated free-standing monolith. Its inspiration lay in the recreation of Mount Kailasa, the home of SIVA. Its construction falls in the reign of King Krishna I (c. 756–773). It is 50 meters long by 33 wide, and it stands to a height of 30 meters (165 by 109 by 99). Remarkably, it is covered in carvings depicting scenes from Hindu epics, including the demon Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa. A contemporary copperplate INSCRIPTION described it as “compelling the admiration of even the celestials, who pause on their heavenly course to gaze at the beauty of so magnificent a monument, and wonder how anyone could create such an extraordinary structures.”
Further reading: Burgess, J. Cave Temple of Ellora. Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Books, 1999; Malandra, G. H. Unfolding a Mandala: The Buddhist Cave Temples at Ellora. SUNY Series in Buddhist Studies. New York: State University of New York, 1993; Pant, P. Ajanta and Ellora: Cave Temples of Ancient India. Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Books, 1998.
The city site of Dhanyawadi is located on the ARAKAN (now Rakhine) coast of western Myanmar (Burma). It was here that a cast statue of the Buddha, held to be a precise image of the Buddha himself, was housed until Arakan was conquered by King Bodawpaya in 1784 and the statue was taken to Mandalay. The city includes an encircling brick wall and moat that encloses an area of 442 hectares (1,105 acres). The central part of the city covers 26 hectares (65 acres) and is dominated by a second walled and moated precinct that housed the palace. The site lies on the Tarechaung River, by which boats can reach the Kaladan River and thence the Bay of Bengal. The Rakhine coast is strategically located to take advantage of trade with India, including participation in the maritime exchange route that developed during the early centuries C.E. In addition, the city commanded good lowland rice land and had easy access to forest products in the hills to the east. Aerial photographs reveal canals and water tanks in the city, which might well have been used to irrigate rice fields. The entire area within the walls almost certainly included open areas for fields as well as settlements.
The early history of the site is recorded on the inscription of King Anandcandra of MRAUK-U, dated to 729 C.E. The text recorded the kings who preceded him, noting that it was King Dvan Candra who first defeated 101 rivals before founding the city in the mid-fourth century C.E. and who ruled from 370 to 425 C.E. His city, so the inscription records, “laughed with heavenly beauty.” The PALI name Dhannavati means “grainblessed.”
A hill adjacent to the royal palace houses the MAHAMUNI shrine, still one of the most venerated places in Burma, where the famous statue of Buddha once stood. The statue’s original form cannot be determined because it is so covered in gold. The origin of this image is buried deep in a tradition that describes how the Buddha visited Arakan; it was at that time that the statue was cast. While this deeply venerated image is no longer located at Dhanyawadi, many sandstone images that once formed part of the original temple complex survive, albeit in a damaged or modified condition. These represent BODHISATTVAS, door guardians, and guardians of the four cardinal points. One such image still bears an inscription naming Yaksasenapati Panada, in the late Gupta style, while the statues themselves also reveal Gupta influence of the fifth century C.E.
Hannibal's Carthage destroyed by the Romans.
Imperial Roman Carthage
After its new foundation in 44 BC by Caesar and in a continuous process of integration into the structures of the Roman Empire, C. had developed economically, politically and culturally; especially under the Severi it became one of the important metropolises of the ancient world. It was able to maintain this status well into Late Antiquity – a development in stark contrast to the political and economic crisis which started in the 3rd cent. in the other western provinces. According to panegyrics of Late Antiquity celebrating cities, C. competed for second place after Rome within the Empire (Auson. Urb. 2 and already Hdn. 7,6,1). Together with Alexandria, Milan and Antioch, C. was known as one of largest cities of its time (Lib. Or. 15,59; 20,40). While the epoch of the Severi was a time of assimilation into Roman culture, the fate of the city after the 3rd cent. was marked by Christianisation. After Rome, C. had one of the oldest and earliest organized Christian communities of the ancient West. It quickly developed into the centre of North African Christianity. As a late Roman metropolis, C. experienced the conflicts with the schismatic Donatists and hosted important Church gatherings. The activities of the Church Fathers Tertullian, Cyprian and Augustine in the area, influenced by the metropolis C. and its rich intellectual traditions, stimulated numerous movements which would be important for the whole of Christianity. When the Vandals, who had invaded North Africa as early as 429, conquered C. in 439, their goals were economic and political-strategic. Therefore the Roman element (romanitas) remained dominant in many areas of life. The conquerors limited themselves to the installation and the provisioning of a ruling class and to the introduction of Arianism. Justinian’s intervention in 533 ended the Vandals’ rule. In line with the restructuring of the regained territory now known as Carthago Iustiniana, with C. as its capital, there was an attempt to consolidate the new status of the city as an administrative centre and, beginning in the 6th cent., as residence of the exarch, through building measures and bestowal of privileges. However, the intended renaissance of C. was hindered by military conflicts with hostile Berber tribes and by disagreements within the army. A short phase of regeneration was followed by economic decline and the end of romanitas. The plans of the exarch Heraklius to make C. the capital of the Empire were doomed to failure. The city’s demise was sealed by its conquest by the Arabs: in 698 C. was destroyed. Its successor cities were Kairouan and, especially, Tunis. After the 7th cent. the city’s ruins were used for a long time as a marble quarry, for Arab buildings as well as for cathedrals, for instance those in Genoa and Pisa.