An NFL player named after the Taliban?!

It seems the ancient Greeks had an awareness of the winter weariness caused by the lack of sunlight.

What today is called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) was in those days handled not by therapy but by comedy.

In ancient Greek cities, people crowded into amphitheaters in the winter.  That was the season when they could see comedies.  Laughter IS the best medicine!

Tragedies, by contrast, were held during the warmer months.

The Greek word for “tragedy,” by the way, derives from two words that mean “goat song.”  It was believed that eating the flesh of a newly killed goat was a way to commune with a god.

Apparently there was some singing accompanying the ritual.  Since communing with gods was serious business, this solemn rite of a “goat song” came to be the word for the solemn plays–tragedies.


More from the ancient world:

Goodness and manhood were regarded in ancient times very narrowly.

The Greek word for “goodness” is “aretee” (“a-reh-TEE”).  The word “aretee” is from “Ares,” the Ram, the Greek god of war.  Goodness was defined as a man being able to fight in a war.

Likewise, in ancient Rome, the word for “man” was “vir”, which is the root of “virtue” (as well as “virile”).  The “vir-tuous” man in ancient Rome was one who could handle a sword, procreate and vote in democratic assemblies.”

The Romans called “Ares” by the name “Mars,” from which we get the word “martial.”


The concept of a life after death was not common in the ancient world.

The Egyptians believed it happened only for royalty (thus, the Pyramids are great but few).

The ancient Hebrews who composed the writings that we call the Old Testament did not generally hold a belief in the after-life.

That is, they (along with the Greeks) didn’t think that souls went to heaven.  Rather, only a shadowy, neutral underground existence awaited the dead (a placed called “Hades” in Greek).

Belief in an after-life arose in Greek circles with the cult of worship over the goddess Demeter.  She was the goddess who ruled agriculture.  Seeing plants die and return to life inspired belief in an after-life.

In the Bible, the period when belief in going to heaven became more popular happened in the four centuries before the birth of Christ–that is, between the writing of the Old Testament and  the New Testament.  It’s called the “inter-testamental period.”

The belief was largely influenced by the Babylonians, among whom the Jewish people lived as captives after the invasion of Jerusalem in the late 6th Century BCE.

Still, even during the time of Jesus, some did not believe in an after-life (like the sect called the Sadducees as opposed to the Pharisees).


Having lived in Tanzania (East Africa) for two years, I learned Swahili–and I see more & more Swahili being used here in the USA.

The board game called “Jenga”, in which a tower is constructed with tiny “logs”, is the Swahili word for “build.”

There was a running back for Penn State named “Ki-jana” Carter.  “Kijana” means “sonny.”

There was a defensive back named “Asante” Samuels.  “Asante” means “thank you.”

By the way, there’s a defensive back for Denver whose last name is “Talib”–which is the singular version of the word “Taliban” (which means “disciples” or “students”).  A noble name–though the Taliban have corrupted the word (along with their religion).


Swahili is also used in “The Lion King.”

The baboon who plays the role of a priest is “Rafiki” (“friend”).

The baby lion is “Simba” (“lion”).

The wart hog is “Pumbaa” (“joker”).

The opening song, however, is not using lyrics from a language of East Africa (Swahili)–rather, a language from South Africa (Zulu).




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