Aug 30, 2012
Michael R. Drew
I’ve been discussing some iconic persons who’ve had an impact on civilization, and some of the events that capture the spirit of the zeniths of a “We” cycle over the past 3,000 years. The first two: Solomon and Homer.
Following that, still in the Greco-Biblical eras, we have several notable events that demonstrate the birth of public sports, great leadership, the growth of human rights and the rule of law:
777 BC The Olympic Games
The Olympic Games were born in the year following this zenith according to the Bibliotheca historica (Historical Library) of Diodorus Siculus, an ancient Greek historian. Modern scholars consider the date reliable. During a celebration of these ancient Games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the Games in safety. As long as they met the entrance criteria, athletes from any country or city-state were allowed to participate. The prizes for the victors were olive wreaths or crowns.
697 BC Hezekiah
Hezekiah ruled Judah in Israel, 726-697 BC. (Other sources say his reign began in 715 BC, but either way, his reign began during the upswing of this “We.”) To bring the people into unity, Hezekiah sent letters across Judah and Israel asking everyone to attend a Passover celebration. The event was a huge success. “There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.” Hezekiah strengthened Judah politically, expanded its borders and built an underground tunnel to bring water into Jerusalem, in case of a siege. Most scholars consider Hezekiah one of best kings of any society in antiquity.
617 BC Athenian Law
Athenian Law is codified by Draco a legislator of ancient Athens, in 620 B.C., 3 years prior to the zenith. Draco replaced the prevailing system of oral law delivered by eupatrid thesmothetai, “those who lay down the law,” with a written code to be enforced only by a court. Meanwhile in Persia, the other locus of civilization, This is also about the time that Aesop was born in Greece. His fables will do much to accelerate the next “We” as it swings upward.
537 BC Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great created the earliest known Bill of Rights in 539 BC immediately following his conquest of Babylon. The document has been called “the first declaration of human rights, which, for its advocacy of humane principles, justice and liberty, must be considered one of the most remarkable documents in the history of mankind.” This assessment has been hotly contested by those who would prefer to disparage all things Persian. (Persia is current-day Iran.) It is notable, however, that this same Cyrus, according to the Bible, allowed the captive Jews to return to Jerusalem during the first year of his reign (2nd Chronicles 36:21-23).
If you were to define someone who had an impact, or who is having an impact during our current “We” cycle, who would that person be? And why? There’s probably someone you admire (or even if you don’t admire this person, perhaps you admire the way so-and-so embodies the spirit of the age, for better or worse).
Thanks for sharing!