Some forward looking people are building rockets and planning a colony on Mars – an exciting prospect. I think I will stay here, on beautiful planet Earth.
So many places, cultures, and natural wonders to enjoy! There is nothing more rewarding than experiencing the vast variety of cultures, beliefs, tastes, and viewpoints of people who share planet Earth. We all have a commonality, the desire to live a happy life, secure, and free to believe and live as we choose.
Cultures that Have Shaped Civilization
The modern world is a culmination of the cultures of the past. The Roman Empire continues to influence art and architecture. The ancient Greeks were the masters of their time, building arches, columns, bridges, which were advanced by the Romans. The massive, tiered stadiums where we enjoy our favorite sports teams or artists reflect the forms first created during the Roman Empire. The engineers and artisans of those ancient times created wonders that we still enjoy today, with stunning cathedrals and castles built with an unbelievable level of craftsmanship and artistry, with cathedrals that often took over 100 years to complete.
The Roman Empire is also credited with influencing the greats in literature and poetry, with works by Virgil, Horace, and Ovid inspiring the greats such as Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Dante, to mention just a few.
Middle-Eastern medicine laid a foundation for what we know as modern medicine. These early physicians were far ahead of their time. Ibn Al-Nafis, an Arab, described the human circulatory system three hundred years before William Harvey, who was the first in the Western world to describe the circulatory system. The Middle-Eastern model for medicine is still seen today, such as separate wards for men and women, hospital hygiene, medical records, and pharmacies.
Food and Civilization
Few human needs are more critical than access to food. Early societies on planet Earth were built around food production and developed into more complex structures as various spices and foodstuffs were traded. As food became more plentiful in a culture, tastes grew more refined. The flavors of exotic spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, and saffron all came to the West via the Silk Road, the overland trading routes that brought new flavors to the Western world. We may take these flavors for granted as we add some cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to our pumpkin pie, apple pie, or toss some pepper on pasta, but our tastes are the culmination of centuries of trading by horse, camel, or on foot.
When we buy clothing, we may seek out natural fibers, as they are breathable and more comfortable than synthetics. In the Pakistan Indus River Valley, cotton was grown, spun, and woven, and the ancient Egyptians also produced cotton clothing. Wool, with its warmth and water-shedding properties, has been used by humans since the stone age, and woolen clothing was one of the riches of Babylon, which was in present-day Iraq. The art of weaving wool into cloth and blankets extended across the globe, but England had what is termed the “empire of wool” during the reign of King Henry VIII. The plaid designs of the Scots emerged in the 1700’s and are still seen today, not just in a Scotsman outfitted in a kilt, but in designs of all types.
I love history and seeing the impact of our talented ancestors on the cultures of today. As I travel abroad, I feel nothing but respect for the artisans of the past, from the stonemasons to the architects, and the joy they have brought to generation after generation.