Building the World

November 26, 2013
by buildingtheworld

Benghazi: ancient city, modern future?

Flag of Libya. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Benghazi was one of five cities, the Pentapolis, of Cyrene, known for achievements in science, art, and culture. Founded in 630 BCE by Therans migrating from drought-plagued Santorini, who may have been among the first climate refugees, Cyrene extended Greek culture to Libya. Measurement of the earth’s circumference, mechanics of doubling a cube, early ideas about prime numbers, a timeline of world history — all these advances in knowledge originated in Cyrenaica. Astronomers drew the first map of the stars, tallied at 675 at the time. Second largest in Libya, the city has had many names: Berenice, Hesperides, Euesperides, Barneeq, Marsa ibn Ghazi, and finally Benghazi. Can modern day Libya, and specifically Benghazi, take inspiration from Cyrene’s impressive history? Will the land that produced Eratosthenes and Apollonia give the world another great scientist or poet?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

April 17, 2012
by zoequinn001

The Oracle at Delphi

Temple of Apollo, Delphi, from Sweet Briar College, at

The Oracle at Delphi is credited as having told the Greeks to settle at Cyrene, among many other prophesies, but who was the Oracle? She has most traditionally been associated with Apollo, but her beginnings were more humble than that. Her powers were actually discovered by a shepherd and his sheep. The shepherd noticed his sheep near a chasm and acting rather strangely; when he went to investigate, he was overcome with a fit. The vapors coming from the cavern that caused the strange behavior in the shepherd and his sheep were the source of the Oracle’s powers.

The Oracle fell from favor with the introduction of Christianity to the area, but she did not fall from interest. More recently a group of scientists studied the prophetic vapors, and discovered that they have a narcotic effect on people, and in large concentrations could send one into a trance similar to that of the Oracle.

To read more please visit National Geographic

Creative Commons License
Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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