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Ancient Israelites Could Carve in Ivory, Too

Aug. 30 2017

In the 1920s and 1930s, archaeologists discovered elaborate carvings in ivory, dating to the 8th or 9th centuries BCE, near the city of Samaria, once the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. New research upends long-standing assumptions about how the carvings got there. Bible History Daily reports:

In excellent condition, the ivories depict scenes of exotic wildlife and flora, mythological creatures, foreign deities, and much more. . . . When the Samaria ivories were first excavated, they were immediately explained as Phoenician products and therefore considered foreign to their discovery site. However, there is currently no archaeological evidence to indicate that the Samaria ivories were, in fact, Phoenician. Recently some scholars have challenged the long-accepted assumption about the ivories’ origins. . . .

[More recent] discoveries suggest that there was a local tradition of wood, bone, and ivory carving of inlays (decorative materials inserted in something else), featuring recurring themes, during both the Bronze and Iron Ages in the southern Levant. The early interpretation of categorizing the Samaria ivories as Phoenician has impacted the subsequent discovery of other southern Levantine ivory artifacts. The [presumptive association of] any such ivory find with the Phoenicians has caused the region’s local ivory tradition to be overlooked.

Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, History & Ideas, Phoenicia, Samaria

 

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy