Monthly Archives: June 2013

Spotlight: Winchester Cathedral (originally built 642 AD) – of largest cathedrals

Winchester Cathedral

The Winchester Cathedral—one of the largest cathedrals in England and greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe—is located in Winchester, Hampshire, England.

In 2005, the building was used as a film set for The Da Vinci Code, with the north transept used as the Vatican. Following this, the cathedral hosted discussions and displays to debunk the book.

Winchester Cathedral is possibly the only cathedral to have had popular songs written about it. “Winchester Cathedral” was a UK top ten hit and a US number one song for The New Vaudeville Band in 1966. The cathedral was also the subject of the Crosby, Stills & Nash song, “Cathedral” from their 1977 album CSN. Liverpool-based band Clinic released an album titled Winchester Cathedral in 2004.

The cathedral possesses the only diatonic ring of 14 church bells in the world, with a tenor (heaviest bell) weighing 1.81 tons (4,000 lbs.).

Nowadays the cathedral draws many tourists as a result of its association with Jane Austen, who died in Winchester on 18 July 1817. Her funeral was held in the cathedral and she was buried in the north aisle. The inscription on her tombstone makes no mention of her novels, but a later brass tablet describes her as “known to many by her writings.”

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Spotlight: The Book of Kells (800 AD) – masterwork of calligraphy

Book of Kells

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created by Celtic Monks ca. 800 or slightly earlier.  It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure.

The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpass that of other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity. The decoration combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art. Figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts, together with Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colors, enliven the manuscript’s pages. Many of these minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasize the themes of the major illustrations.

The manuscript takes its name from the Abbey of Kells that was its home for centuries. Today, it is on permanent display at the Trinity College Library, Dublin. The library usually displays two of the current four volumes at a time, one showing a major illustration and the other showing typical text pages, and the entire manuscript can be viewed on the library’s Digital Collections portal.

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Spotlight: Muhammad the Prophet (c. 570 AD – c. 632 AD)

muhammad (1)

Muhammad was a religious, political, and military leader from Mecca who unified Arabia into a single religious group under Islam. He is believed by Muslims to be a messenger and prophet of God. Muhammad is almost universally considered by Muslims as the last prophet sent by God for mankind. While non-Muslims regard Muhammad to have been the founder of Islam, Muslims consider him to have been the restorer of an unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets.

Muhammad was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. He later worked mostly as a merchant, as well as a shepherd, and was first married by age 25. Being in the habit of periodically retreating to a cave in the surrounding mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer, he later reported that it was there, at age 40, that he received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that “God is One”, that complete “surrender” to Him is the only way acceptable to God, and that he himself was a prophet and messenger of God, in the same vein as other Islamic prophets.

Muhammad gained few followers early on, and was met with hostility from some Meccan tribes; he and his followers were treated harshly. To escape persecution, Muhammad sent some of his followers to Abyssinia before he and his followers in Mecca migrated to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in the year 622. This event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, which is also known as the Hijri Calendar. In Medina, Muhammad united the tribes under the Constitution of Medina. After eight years of fighting with the Meccan tribes, his followers, who by then had grown to 10,000, took control of Mecca in the largely peaceful Conquest of Mecca. He destroyed the pagan idols in the city and then sent his followers out to destroy all of the remaining pagan temples in Eastern Arabia. In 632, a few months after returning to Medina from The Farewell Pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and died. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam, and he had united Arabia into a single Muslim religious polity.

The revelations – which Muhammad reported receiving until his death – form the verses of the Quran, regarded by Muslims as the “Word of God” and around which the religion is based. Besides the Quran, Muhammad’s life (sira) and traditions (sunnah) are also upheld by Muslims as the sources of sharia law. They discuss Muhammad and other prophets of Islam with reverence, adding the phrase peace be upon him whenever their names are mentioned.

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eventsfy team


2013 NW Folklife Festival – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again…



Eventsfy’s 1st Festival: Folklife 2013 – Seattle, WA

Since this is our first year participating in music festivals to spread the word of eventsfy, we missed the deadlines for applying to the many festivals in the Northwest—deadlines typically were six months or more prior to the festival (seems quite excessive)…

Determined to participate at this year’s Folklife festival in Seattle with or without a reserved-and-designated booth for our company—eventsfy—we drove the eventsfy bus (aka ‘Shrek’) to the Folklife festival on opening day Friday, May 24th, eventually finding a parking space around the perimeter of the festival grounds next to an “information booth.”  After parking ‘Shrek,’ I confidently (without any reason) approached the information booth to ask for a parking pass.  The information-booth attendant lady—perplexed and quizzically looking at me—asked if we paid for a parking pass.  I politely stated that we didn’t but we NEED one.  She quickly informed me that all parking has been sold out.  Undeterred, I asked her to contact her supervisor and she radioed her (the supervisor).

A few minutes later, the supervisor lady came to speak with me and to inform me that there wasn’t anymore room at the inn…(biblical reference)…there wasn’t anymore room at the festival.  However, this supervisor lady was in communication with another person over her radio stating there wasn’t any room at the festival…so, naturally (or maybe unnaturally), I asked the supervisor lady, who is ACTUALLY saying NO to me and can I speak with them personally.  The supervisor lady reluctantly asked over the radio if her supervisor would like to come speak with me…after a relatively long pause, the voice over the radio said he would come.

Ten minutes went by and still no 2nd level supervisor arrived.  I asked the 1st supervisor if I was wasting my time—thinking this 2nd level supervisor was brushing us off.  Just when I felt defeated and about to leave, three gentlemen—led by Chandler—approached me by ‘Shrek.’  I explained to Chandler and Co. the eventsfy story and they all seemed intrigue and eager to help us find a parking spot not only around the festival perimeter but also inside the festival to participate as a sponsor.  Chandler told me he would have the Development Director contact me about potentially setting us up with a location.

Later on Friday, May 24th the Development Director, Phil O’Sullivan contacted me and he couldn’t have been more helpful with finding us a location to promote eventsfy.  On Saturday, Phil and the Folklife team placed ‘Shrek’ and our team right smack in front of Key Arena.  We had a wonderful experience talking with so many festival goers about eventsy—piquing much interest.  Realizing that foot traffic was a little light in front of Key Arena, we asked if we could move to a more trafficked area…Again, Phil and the team were so professional and efficient with providing us another location within the festival grounds that had much more foot traffic.  Thank you guys so very much for making our experience at the 2013 NW Folklife so wonderful—we felt a great camaraderie and so welcomed with the whole team!

On Sunday and Monday we worked hard spreading the word to the masses—persevering through the many “not interested” remarks… One of the highlights of our experience happened when my previous MBA professor, Bill Weis, along with his singing quartet group—KlapaDooWapella—stopped by the eventsfy location to perform several songs to the festival goers.  All-in-all, we couldn’t have asked for a better first-time festival experience.

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Spotlight: The Dome of the Rock – 691 AD

Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The structure has been refurbished many times since its initial completion in 691 AD.  The site’s significance stems from religious traditions regarding the rock, known as the Foundation Stone, at its heart.

The Dome of the Rock is in the centre of a greater Muslim shrine, known as the Haram ash Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), which Muslims believe commemorates Muhammad’s miraculous Night Journey into heaven.

The Dome of the Rock is located at the visual center of a platform known as the Temple Mount. It was constructed on the site of the Second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. In 637 AD, Jerusalem surrendered to the Rashidun Caliphate army during the Muslim conquest of Syria.

According to some Islamic scholars, the rock is the spot from which Muhammad ascended to Heaven accompanied by the angel Gabriel. Further, Muhammad was taken here by Gabriel to pray with Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.

The Foundation Stone and its surroundings is the holiest site in Judaism. Though Muslims now pray towards the Kaaba at Mecca, they once prayed with the Jews towards the raised platform on which the Dome of the Rock stands. Though Muhammad changed the direction of prayer for Muslims after a spat with a Jewish tribe, both groups traditionally regarded the location of the stone as the holiest spot on Earth, the site of the Holy of Holies during the Temple Period.

The most propitious site for Jewish prayer is the spot that is nearest the Foundation Stone. Because Muslim authorities refused to permit Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, the custom developed of praying near the Western Wall, since it was the site nearest to the Foundation Stone, or on the Mount of Olives facing the site of the Temple.  According to Jewish tradition, the stone is the site where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac; most Muslims believe it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was to be sacrificed.

In Christianity it is believed that during the time of the Byzantine Empire, near the spot where the Dome was later constructed was where Constantine’s mother built a small church, calling it the Church of St. Cyrus and St. John, later on enlarged and called the Church of the Holy Wisdom.

A number of buildings have been designed as copies of the Dome of the Rock. These include the octagonal Church of St. Giacomo in Italy, and the octagonal Moorish Revival style Rumbach Street synagogue in Budapest.

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eventsfy team


Spotlight: Ancient Library of Alexandria, Egypt – 640 AD destroyed


Ancient Library of Alexandria, built in the 3rd century B.C. and destroyed in 640 A.D.

The Ancient Library of Alexandria was the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. Built under the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt during the Hellenistic period, the library is famous for both its alleged 300,000 scrolls (books) and its destruction—resulting in the loss of so much knowledge and books. The library itself is known to have had an acquisitions department and a cataloguing department.

The Library at Alexandria was in charge of collecting all the world’s knowledge, and most of the staff was occupied with the task of translating works onto papyrus paper. According to philosopher Galen, any books found on ships were taken to this library.

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Spotlight: Hero and Leander – an epic Greek Poem from 550 AD


Hero and Leander is story of Hero–a priestess of Aphrodite—and Leander—a young man living on the opposite side of a strait from Hero. Leander fell in love with Hero and would swim every night across the strait to be with her. Hero would light a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way.

Succumbing to Leander’s soft words, and to his argument that Aphrodite, as goddess of love, would scorn the worship of a virgin, Hero allowed him to make love to her. These trysts lasted through the warm summer. But one stormy winter night, the waves tossed Leander in the sea and the breezes blew out Hero’s light, and Leander lost his way, and was drowned. When Hero saw his dead body, she threw herself over the edge of the tower to her death to be with him.

This great mythical story has been used extensively over the years in literature and the arts.

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Spotlight: Horyuji Temple (built in 607 A.D. in Japan) – oldest existing wooden building


Widely acknowledged as the oldest wooden building existing in the world, the Horyuji is a Buddhist temple in Nara Prefecture, Japan serving as both a seminary and monastery. The temple was dedicated to Yakushi Nyorai—the Buddha of healing.

The treasures of the temple are considered to be a time capsule of Buddhist art from the sixth and seventh century. Much of the frescoes, statues, and other pieces of art within the temple, as well as the architecture of the temple’s buildings themselves show the strong cultural influence from China, Korea and India and demonstrated the international connection of the countries of East Asia.

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Spotlight: Mayan Civilization and Culture


From Latin America, this Great civilization reached its highest state of development around 500 AD before falling to the Spanish conquistadors around the 16th century. Their Artwork was a high level of aesthetic and artisan sophistication. They also constructed grand pyramids and temples for religious purposes—Temple of the Cross at Palenque is pictured.

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Spotlight: The Gospels of the Bible (1st Century AD) – how much have these works influenced our culture??


These four renowned literary works (the Gospels of the Bible)—written in the 1st century AD—arguably have had the greatest impact on our life in the United States. These works changed forever human’s relationship with God, and almost every religion has taken inspiration from them.

The Gospels were originally oral accounts of Jesus’s life written down years after the Crucifixion. The Quran dedicates one of its four Islamic holy books to Jesus—Injil, translated as “gospel.”

The four Gospels taught us values that sustained over time:

Respect for the Life and Dignity of Each Individual; Trust in God; Honesty; Compassion; Forgiveness; Mercy; Community; Servant Leadership; Equality; Simplicity; Justice; Peace

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Spotlight: Constantinople (331 AD) – moving Rome east…


In 331 AD, the Romans moved its capital from Rome to Constantinople—now Istanbul—becoming the richest and largest city in Europe at its peak in the 12th century. Upon the city’s fall, the vast accumulated manuscripts in its library were smuggled to Italy and played a vital role in stimulating the Renaissance, which transitioned us to the modern world.

Founded by Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, it was the capital city of Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire.  Constantinople was famed for its massive defenses. Although besieged on numerous occasions by various peoples, it was taken only in 1204 by the army of the Fourth Crusade, in 1261 by Michael VIII Palaiologos), and – finally – in 1453 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II.

It was also famed for architectural masterpieces such as the church of Hagia Sophia, the sacred palace of the emperors,the hippodrome, and the Golden Gate, lining the arcade avenues and squares.

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Spotlight: The Pont du Gard (1st Century AD) – now give us water…

Pont du Gard

The Pont du Gard–the most famous aqueduct and built around 1st century A.D.—is one of France’s most visited tourist attractions.  It was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 on the criteria of “Human creative genius; testimony to cultural tradition; significance to human history.”

This aqueduct—engineered with precision by Romans—carried fresh water to the Roman Empire for centuries.   It is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50 km-long (31 mi) structure built by the Romans to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because the terrain between the two points is hilly, the aqueduct – built mostly underground – took a long, winding route that crossed the gorge of the Gardon, requiring the construction of an aqueduct bridge.

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Spotlight: Rosetta Stone (196 BC) – not the learning-language software…


The Rosetta Stone—pictured above and inscribed with a decree at Memphis, Egypt in 196 B.C.—was rediscovered in 1799 by a French soldier in a small village in the Delta called Rosetta.  This stone has been the key to understanding and decoding Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Today, it is the most visited object in the British Museum (Britain defeated France in Egypt in 1801 and took ownership ever since), and a very popular computer-assisted language learning program named its company based on this rock.

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Spotlight: Aristotle’s Rhetoric (4th Century BC) – Art of Persuasion


Aristotle’s Rhetoric, is his great literary work on ‘the art of persuasion.’  He saw poetry and rhetoric as tools that were used too often to manipulate others by manipulating emotions and omitting facts. Many of our politicians today use this type of hyperbole to sway opinions.

The Rhetoric is regarded by most rhetoricians as the most important single work on persuasion ever written.  Gross & Walzer concur, indicating that, just as Alfred North Whitehead considered all Western philosophy a footnote to Plato, “all subsequent rhetorical theory is but a series of responses to issues raised” by Aristotle’s Rhetoric.

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Spotlight: Villa of the Mysteries – quite mysterious and intriguing…

Villa of Mysteries

This Villa from Pompeii (ancient Rome) was rediscovered after volcanic ash buried it for nearly 1700 years—featuring mural paintings of a dramatic ritual for women to go through before marriage.

The Villa is named for the paintings in one room of the residence.  Although the actual subject of the frescoes is hotly debated, the most common interpretation of the images is scenes of the initiation of a woman into a special cult of Dionysus, a mystery cult that required specific rites and rituals to become a member.

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Spotlight: Venus de milo (140 BC) simply beautiful…

Venus de Milo

Created around 140 B.C., the Venus de Milo statue’s great fame came from not only its beauty but also the major propaganda effort by the French Authorities to enhance this treasure.  It currently is on permanent display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

This statue is from ancient Greek and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture.  It is a marble sculpture, slightly larger than life size at 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) high. The arms and original plinth were lost following its discovery. From an inscription that was on its plinth, it is thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch.

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Spotlight: Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), such a magnificent thinker!


Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) believed imitation—what poetry, comedy, tragedy, and music to be—is one of mankind’s advantages over animals.

He was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry,theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato’s teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle’s writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing ethics, aesthetics, logic, science, politics, and metaphysics.

His views on the physical sciences profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the Renaissance, although they were ultimately replaced by Newtonian physics.

His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today.

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Spotlight: Parthenon (438 BC), a symbol of democracy


The Parthenon is a temple in Greece, dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron deity. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power.  It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order.

The Partheon is regarded as an enduring symbol of democracy and western civilization, and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments.

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