Friday, 7 April 2017

Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms


  • The Mandaeans have a demon called Dinanukht, who is half man and half book, and "sits by the waters between the worlds, reading himself."

  • The first Indian elected to the British Parliament was a Parsee, Dadabhai Naoroji - in 1892.
  • A Zoroastrian who accidentally kills a dog is supposed to perform a list of penances 18 lines long - one of which is to kill 10,000 cats!

  • Most Druze don't know what their own core religious doctrines are. Religious truth is a secret only for the initiated (but we do know it includes reincarnation).
  • Pythagoreans believed that numbers, the building blocks of the universe, had spiritual meanings. 2 was the number of Woman, 3 the number of Man, 4 the number of Justice, 5 the number of Marriage. The classic Pythagorean triangle with sides in a ratio of 3:4:5 spelled out a message written into the fabric of the universe: "Man must behave justly in marriage".

I don't post book reviews. But I enjoyed Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms SO MUCH that I just had to say, if you are into this sort of thing you will love this book:
Despite its reputation for religious intolerance, the Middle East has long sheltered many distinctive and strange faiths: one regards the Greek prophets as incarnations of God, another reveres Lucifer in the form of a peacock, and yet another believes that their followers are reincarnated beings who have existed in various forms for thousands of years. These religions represent the last vestiges of the magnificent civilizations in ancient history: Persia, Babylon, Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs.

Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms, former diplomat Gerard Russell ventures to the distant, nearly impassable regions where these mysterious religions still cling to survival. He lives alongside the Mandaeans and Ezidis of Iraq, the Zoroastrians of Iran, the Copts of Egypt, and others. He learns their histories, participates in their rituals, and comes to understand the threats to their communities.

And here's a proper review, if that's what you want ...

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