A TIMELINE OF MATTER
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The basic consciousness of matter begins in the western world with the pre-historic recognition of the four states of matter: Fire, Air, Water, and Earth.
In the Enuma Elish, the Sumerian creation epic, "Khubur" is the ocean (Water) encircling the known world, upon which the Earth floats, and beyond which the Sun-God (Fire) pastures his cattle. Heaven (Air) is a solid vault which also rests upon the ocean -- "Tiamat" (chaos) -- which surrounds and supports it.
Metallurgy : from previous to 6000 BCE copper is smelted from malachite which is found in surface deposits and later mined; copper is molded into many types of household items, cooking vessels and utensils, and tools, but is too soft to hold an edge, and therefore of limited use in the production of weapons. Around 3500 BCE however, a method of strengthening copper is finally discovered: by mixing the molten metal with around 15% molten tin, the alloy called bronze is produced.
"The Bronze Age" begins, which produces not only new household articles and tools, but also the reliable sword blade, so that the technology is founded upon which new military politics and the State are based.
Democritus of Adera (460-497 BCE ) : tutored by Magi priests who remained at the estate of his father, following a visit by the Persian king Xerxes, Democritus learned the arts of theology and astrology. He later traveled to Egypt to learn geometry, then also to Persia, India, and Ethiopia. Aristotle relates the origin of Democritus theory of matter to the Eleatic school, who argued that what is truly real is one and motionless, and that empty space is not a real existent, since motion is impossible without empty space, and plurality is impossible without something to separate the units one from another. According to Aristotle, Leucippus first proposed to rescue the sensible world of plurality argued against this system by asserting that empty space, the non-existent, may nevertheless serve to separate parts of what does exist from each other. Therefore the world has two ingredients: being, which satisfies the Eleatic criteria by being full, unchanging and homogeneous, and non-being or empty space. By contrast, the pieces of real being are by characteristic indivisible units, are called atoms, solid, invisibly small, and undifferentiated in material. They differ from one another in shape and size only, perhaps also in weight. The only change they undergo is in their relative and absolute position, through movement in this non-being empty space. By their changes of position these atoms produce the compounds of all seen matter in the visible world, which differ in quality according to their shape and arrangement, their congruence and their tendency to latch together because of their shape, and the amount of space between them.
Epicurus. The ideas of Democritus were adopted by Epicurus, the originator of a school of reflective thought, as the materialistic basis of his own philosophy.
"Precession of the Equinox": During the time of the Roman Republic it
was discovered from a review of the earliest Babylonian records that the time
of the vernal equinox had shifted earlier in the sideral year from the constellation
of Taurus into the sector of Aries. (In modern times it has further shifted into
the break between Aries and Pisces.) Higher into the zenith above Aries stands
Perseus, depicted in ancient charts of the heavens in the act of slaying Taurus.
This is the basis of the Cult of Mithra, the Babylonian name of Perseus, popular
among the Roman Legions, as representing a force powerful enough to twist the
entire Firmament of the heavens from above the northern axis of the universe.
Lucretius (99-55BC). In Book 2 of his De Rerum Natura, Lucretius discusses the Movements and Shapes of Atoms on the level of the motion of dust observed in a beam of sunlight: "their dancing is an actual indication of the underlying movements of matter that are hidden from our sight; you see many particles under the impact of invisible blows changing their course this way and that in all directions. This movement mounts up from the atoms and gradually emerges to the level of our senses." [cf. Chaos Theory concerning the motions of fluids in closed pipes.]
Henry A. Boorse, Lloyd Motz, Jefferson Hane Weaver, The Atomic Scientists, (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1989).
J.L.E. Dreyer, A History of Astronomy from Thales to Kepler, (Dover Publications, New York, 1953).
The Oxford Classical Dictionary; Second Edition; Edited by N.G.L. Hammond and H.H. Scullard;(Oxford at the Clarendon Press; Oxford, England; 1970).
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