Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Ashburnham, John

The son of Sir John Ashburnham (d. 1620), he began a career at court under the patronage of a prominent kinsman, George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham. He was treasurer of the Royal army during the first Civil War and commissioner in the Uxbridge negotiations (1644) before escaping abroad, to

Antigonid Dynasty

Ruling house of ancient Macedonia from 306 to 168 BC. The Antigonid dynasty was established when Demetrius I Poliorcetes, the son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus, ousted Cassander's governor of Athens, Demetrius of Phaleron, and conquered the island of Cyprus, thereby giving his father control of the Aegean, the eastern Mediterranean, and all of the Middle East except Babylonia.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Judaism, Ceremonies marking the individual life cycles

There are within Jewish life two cycles corresponding to the individual and the synagogal focuses, although they necessarily intermingle. The life of the individual is marked by observances that single out the notable events of personal existence. A male child is circumcised on the eighth day following birth, as a covenantal sign (Gen. 17); the rite of circumcision

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Attic Dialect

Ancient Greek dialect that was the language of ancient Athens. Its closest relative was the Ionic dialect of Euboea. With the ascendance of the Athenian empire in the course of the 5th century BC, Attic became the most prestigious of the Greek dialects and as a result was adopted later as the standard language by the Macedonian kings. Moreover, it became in Hellenistic

Vajra

Vajra, in Sanskrit, has both the meanings of “thunderbolt” and “diamond.” Like the thunderbolt, the vajra cleaves through ignorance. The thunderbolt was originally the symbol of the Hindu rain god Indra (who became the Buddhist Sakra)

Friday, April 01, 2005

Amidism

Sect of Mahayana Buddhism centring on worship of Amida (in Japanese; Sanskrit Amitabha; Chinese O-mi-t'o-fo), Buddha (Buddha of Infinite Light), whose merits can be transferred to a believer. Amidism holds that the faithful—by believing in Amida, hearing or saying his name, or desiring to share in his Western Paradise—can be reborn in the Pure Land (see Pure Land Buddhism). Originating

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Korku

Tribal people of central India concentrated in the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. At the end of the 20th century, they numbered about 560,000. However, poverty and restricted use of ancestral land due to government attempts to save the Bengal tiger have led to a serious problem of malnutrition and starvation among the Korku. Most are settled agriculturalists, and

Pridi Phanomyong

After studies at the Royal Law School, Pridi won a government scholarship to study law in France; he earned a doctorate in law from Paris in 1927. While in Paris he was strongly influenced by French socialism,

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Encyclopédie

In full  Encyclopédie, Ou Dictionnaire Raisonné Des Sciences, Des Arts Et Des Métiers  (French: “Encyclopaedia, or Classified Dictionary of Sciences, Arts, and Trades”), the 18th-century French encyclopaedia that was one of the chief works of the Philosophes, men dedicated to the advancement of science and secular thought and the new tolerance and open-mindedness of the Enlightenment. The Encyclopédie was a literary and philosophical enterprise with

Rabelais, François

Pseudonym  Alcofribas Nasier  French writer and priest who for his contemporaries was an eminent physician and humanist and for posterity is the author of the comic masterpiece Gargantua and Pantagruel. The four novels composing this work are outstanding for their rich use of Renaissance French and for their comedy, which ranges from gross burlesque

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

World War Ii, Allied policy and strategy: Octagon (Quebec II) and Moscow, 1944

The progress of the Soviet armies toward central and southeastern Europe made it all the more urgent for the western Allies to come to terms with Stalin about the fate of the “liberated” countries of eastern Europe. London had already proposed to Moscow in May 1944 that Romania and Bulgaria should be zones for Soviet military operation, Yugoslavia and Greece—whose royalist