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Order of Culture 1: The order of time

The Jordan National Museum covers a time span of about 200,000 years mainly focusing on the history of about 20,000 years, i.e. it covers a span from the Paleolithic Age to the present day.

It is just 3 years since I started engaging in the exhibition planning of the National Museum. The 3 years seem to be quite long thinking from a lapse of personal time, however, thinking of the covered time span, the word that it is only in the twinkling of an eye tends to come out unawares.

 

I have come to Jordan 3 years ago, bought one book after another and worked hard, rather than cramming study for the examination, being absorbed in reading them. At first I felt disgusted with the extremely different sense of time from Japan.

It is often said that the everlasting 4 thousand years of China or the 5 thousand year ancient history of Egypt, however in the historical sense of Jordan and its vicinity Chinese civilization had started in about the middle of the Bronze Age and even Egyptian civilization had started in about the beginning of the Bronze Age as well, hence it is concluded they had started their civilization comparatively newly.

In this connection, in Jordan, the time after the Bronze Age starting about 5000 years ago is called the historical age i.e. the age having a record written in letters, and the time before that is clearly defined as the pre-historical age i.e. the age having no, or yet unfound, record in letters.

The maximum time period of the archaeology is until between the Iron Age starting about 3000 years ago and the Expedition of Alexander the Great in 334 BC, and the time after that is treated as a subject of the historical science.

The time of Alexander the Great was in the transition from the Jomon Period to the Yayoi Period in Japan when Himiko, ancient Japanese queen described in the old Chinese book, was not yet born. Furthermore, Muhammad, the patriarch of Islam, more exactly the last and true prophet, lived almost in the same generation as Shotoku-taishi, the former left a lot of clear records such as many expedition ones and the story about his marriage with a widow, but the latter left Horyuji-temple and several books only and is still veiled mysteriously.

Incidentally, well known Salaf ad-Deen who flourished in the time of the Crusaders lived almost in the same generation as Minamoto Yoshitsune, in Arabia they never call the Crusaders but the Frankish Invasion, as well as the invasion to Iraq by the Bush administration is called so.

Even the Roman Empire is grasped in the sense of the Kamakura Age of Japan. The time after the beginning of the Islamic Empire that was in the same age as the Taika-no-kaishin started in Japan tends to be set aside from a subject of the historical science. Especially in the Arabic cultural sphere where the language revealed to Muhammad by God, Allah, was directly edited as the Qur' an and the language has never changed for more than 1300 years and daily spoken as living Arabic standard language, as of the NHK' s one, in all over Arabic language spoken region from Iraq, the east end, to Mauritania in the west end of North Africa, the west end, the Qur' an is not a historical relic but daily scriptures. Therefore, such a tendency may probably be remarkable.

Probably because of their tribal humiliation, no Jordanian wants to talk of the time of the Ottoman Turk' s conquest after 16th century, 100 years before the start of the Edo period in Japan. They suddenly become talkative and begin talking of the present-day history, not the modern one, starting from the Great Arab Revolt in 1916 renowned for the Lawrence of Arabia.
Today' s Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was born through the Great Arab Revolt as its opportunity, however I was at first confused with this abruptness as well.

When I became accustomed with the out-order of the time sense, the next conflict fell upon me.

(18/7/2005)
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