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The Great Wall of China
To the northwest and north of Beijing, a huge, serrated wall zigzags it's way to the east and west along the undulating mountains. This is the Great Wall, which is said to be visible from the moon. This massive wall has not only been one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World, but it has also been inspiration for many artists, and writers. The building of the Great Wall is one of the biggest tragedy?s, but through this tragedy arose triumph with the wall, being so much to so many people. The Great Wall of China is much more than a wall, and was built for many reasons that are hidden to most.
Construction of the Great Wall started in the 7th century B.C. The wall states that under the Zhou Dynasty in the northern parts of the country each built their own walls for defense purposes. After the state of Qin unified China in 221 B.C., it joined the walls to hold off the invaders from the Xiongnu tribes in the north and extended them to more than 10,000 li or 5,000 kilometers. This is the origin of the name of the "10,000-li Great Wall". (Karls, Robert 10,000-li Great Wall)
To understand everything about the Great Wall it is necessary to know the many components of the wall, and their purposes. The Great Wall was renovated
from time to time after the Qin Dynasty. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368, and took 200 years to complete. The wall
we see today is almost exactly the result of this effort. With a total length of over 6,000 kilometers, it extends to the jiayu Pass in Gansu Province in the west and to the mouth of the Yalu River in Liaoning Province in the east. What lies north of Beijing is but a small section of it. (Karls)
The Badaling section of the Great Wall snaking along the mountains northwest of Beijing was built at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century. Being 7.8 meters high and 5.8 meters wide at the top on the average, it has battle forts at important points, including the corners. (Karls)
Located 10 kilometers south of the Badaling section of the Great Wall and built in an 18.5-kilometre-long valley, the pass has always been an important gateway northwest of Beijing. The name is believed to have its origin in the workers and slaves conscripted to build the Great Wall in ancient times. Cloud Terrace, built in 1345, was originally the base of a pagoda over looking the main road of the town of the pass. The arched gate of the terrace and the walls inside the arch are decorated with carvings. Of elephants, lions, birds, flower and heavenly kings as well as charms in six languages-Sanskrit, Tibetan, Phats pa (Mongolian), Uygur, West Xia and Han. (Karls)
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, 70 kilometers northeast of Beijing, is linked to the Gubeikou section on the east and the Badaling section on the
west. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is crenellated for watching and shooting at the invading enemy. Some of the battle forts on the wall are as close
as 50 meters apart. It is one of the best sections of the Great Wall. (Karls)
Located in Miyun County northeast of Beijing, the Jinshanling division of the Great Wall, like the Simatai division, belongs to the Gubeikou section of the colossal defence barrier. The battlements in the Jinshanling division of the Great Wall are built along the ridge of a mountain, where the soldiers can resist the invading enemy by taking advantage of the high terrain. (Karls)
Located to the east of Jinshanling, the Simatai division of the Great Wall is 3,000 meters long and has 35 battle forts. The wall rises and falls with the precipitous mountain ridge, while the battle forts are located high up the hills.
From the Beakon Tower alarm was raised by means of smoke signals, at night by fire. Smoke was produced by burning a mixture of wolf dung, sulfur and saltpeter. Shots were fired at the same time. Thus an alarm could be relayed ... more
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Emperor Constantine I
The emperor Constantine has been called the most important emperor of the late antiquity. The many great events of his reign laid foundations that would affect the future of Europe and Western Civilization for centuries to come. His recognition and support of Christianity was one of the most important moments in world history. Moving the government of the Roman Empire to Constantinople and founding New Rome was one of the most significant decisions ever made by a Roman ruler. Ten emperors who reigned after Constantine took his name. This is just one more indication of his importance in history and the honor in which he was held by his people.
The one known as the emperor Constantine was born Flavius Valerius Constantinus in Naissus, a town in Serbia, on February 27 probably sometime in the 270s CE. His mother was a woman of humble background named Helena who would later become a Christian. Because of her good works, she was made a Christian saint after her death. Constantines father was a career military officer named Constantius. Constantine was married at least twice and had four sons: Crispus, Constantine II, Constantius, Constans.
Constantius, his father, was in charge of the Roman Province of Britannia. When Constantius died at York in 306 CE, Constantine, who was at his side, was immediately proclaimed emperor by the army. However, it took many years of political struggle and actual civil war before he could consolidate his power. Constantine finally became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 323 CE when he defeated the eastern Emperor Licinius.
Of Constantines major accomplishments, the most important was his recognition of the Christianity. In 311 CE, he ordered the end of the persecution of Christians. On October 28, 312 CE, Constantine faced one of his greatest battles as he tried to consolidate his power. He was greatly outnumbered by the forces of Maxentius, who also wanted to be emperor. In a dream the night before the battle, Constantine saw the initials for the name of Christ as well as the cross and was told, By this sign you will conquer. The next morning, he had the initials painted on his helmet and ordered them to be painted on the shields of all his soldiers. Constantines forces won the day and he credited the Christian God with the victory. He was closer to his goal of absolute power as sole emperor of Rome was now, for all practical purposes, a Christian.
In 313 CE, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan which allowed full freedom for Christians to practice their faith. The edict made Christianity equal to the religion of the Roman Empire. The Edict of Milan also ordered the return of all church and personal property that had been taken during past persecutions of Christians. Constantine now gave imperial property to the church including the Lateran in Rome. On this site, one of the great cathedrals of Rome, St. John Lateran, still stands today.
Constantine not only recognized Christianity but made many contributions and enacted laws that helped it spread. He also became involved in Christianity. He felt that, as emperor, he had a responsibility to help and protect the faith. He also believed that all Christians should have the same beliefs. These concerns led to another of Constantines great accomplishments, the Council of Nicea in 325 CE. The Council produced a statement of Christian faith known as the Nicene Creed. The creed defined the beliefs about Jesus for all Christians. It said that Jesus was not created by God but actually was God. There were some who did not accept these beliefs about Jesus. This disagreement was the beginning of what eventually would becomde a split in Christianity between the western church and the eastern or Orthodox church.
Constantines most important political accomplishment was moving the permanent capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Byzantium. He claimed that God had told him to move the capital which he renamed in his own honor as Constantinople. He also ordered the city to be rebuilt so it would be a worthy capital for the empire. The new city, which was dedicated in May of 330 CE, provided Constantine with a better location ... more
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