Oxford Reference


Gurzil, the sun god, was worshiped among the Huwwara of Tripolitania well into the eleventh century, long after the Arab conquest. This deity was a protector, a guide, and a dispeller of darkness. In his solar aspect, he was identified with the two-horned Carthaginian Baal Hammon. He was not a major deity of cultivation or fertility, but rather a god of prophecy, a seer whose associations were with the departed, and whose—at times—enthroned, faceless mass appeared to represent the image of the deceased in a seated posture, wrapped for burial. He was the oracle of prophecy who advised by his foreknowledge, and who was also a divine guide.

In ancient times the Libyans were familiar with the priest-king who was at the same time a fighter for his faith. Nabis, who was a Libyan in Hannibal’s army, was a chief and priest of Amen. He was well-armed, and under the protection of Amen rode fearlessly into the thick of battle shouting the name of his god. From his helmet hung the sacred bands of Amen, while his dress was that of a priest. More often the symbol of the Libyan sun-god was a bull or a ram known as Gurzil. — Oxford Reference

Night prayers (tarawih) are special prayers said during the month of Ramadan. After breaking the fast, Muslims gather together and pray the ‘isha (night prayer), then hold long prayers (composed of twenty or eight rakʿas). The Imam recites one part of the Qur’an every night and thus completes all the thirty parts during the Ramadan night prayers.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar calendar, and Muslims around the world mark it by fasting. Read more about the Islamic calendar on Oxford Reference.

Image: Happy Ramadan by mohammad khedmati. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

Free Download Dk Illustrated Oxford Dictionary News

Free Download Dk Illustrated Oxford Dictionary News

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I’ve been researching Oxford University because of that last post I reblogged and jesus it’s old. There’s no exact date for when it was founded exactly, but people have been teaching and learning there since at least 1096. That’s over 900 years ago

To be fair it only got its big break in 1167, when Henry the Second banned students from travelling to the University of Paris and they all started going to Oxford instead. 

For reference, Ghengis Khan would have been about five years old when that happened. The Mongol Empire wouldn’t emerge for another forty years. 

Plus their first official international student arrived in 1190 and his name was “Emo of Friesland”, which is hilarious.


Highlights from the Oxford Reference medicine timeline:

  1. c. 2000 BCE Medicine men in Peru practice trephination, cutting holes in the skulls of brave or foolhardy patients.
  2. c. 100 BCE The practice of acupuncture is described in Nei Qing, a Chinese medical text.
  3. c. 1489 Leonardo da Vinci begins an unprecedented series of detailed anatomical drawings, based on corpses dissected in Rome.
  4. 1545 Ambroise Paré, the greatest surgeon of his day, publishes an account of how to treat gunshot wounds.
  5. 1665 The first recorded attempt at blood transfusion, at the Royal Society in London, proves that the idea is feasible.
  6. 1796 German physician Samuel Hahnemann coins the term ‘homeopathy’ and describes this new approach to medicine.
  7. 1860 Florence Nightingale opens a training school for nurses in St Thomas’s Hospital, establishing nursing as a profession.
  8. 1978 Louise Brown, born in England, is the first test-tube baby, having been conceived by IVF (In vitro fertilization).
  9. 2000 At the turn of the century, it is calculated that 36 million people worldwide are infected with the HIV virus.

Image credits: 1) Girl skull, trepanated with a silex, 2) Hua Shou. Expression of the fourteen meridians, 3) Vitruvian Man, 4) Ambroise Paré et l'examen d'un malade by James Bertrand,  5) Sample blood bag,6)  Samuel Hahnemann, 7) Three Quarter length portrait of Florence Nightingale, 8) ICSI sperm injection into oocyte, 9) Stylized rendering of a cross-section of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. All via Wikimedia Commons.

University of Oxford

University of Oxford The University of Oxford (informally referred to as Oxford University or simply Oxford) is a collegiate research university located in Oxford, England, United Kingdom. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the second-oldest surviving university in…

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The shot heard round the world…

On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, along with his wife Sophie, was assassinated in Sarajevo; by 4 August the world was at war. How did the death of one man lead to the deaths of 16 million from the trenches of northern France to the fort of Tsingtao? 

We have a timeline of events on Oxford Reference, another on our blog (also check it for some day-by-day blogging of events), and of course, the resources we’re sharing here on Tumblr .

One hundred years ago, no one knew what horrors lay ahead. Remember to wear your poppies this November and keep tumbling Great War history. 

Image credit: Heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, get into a motor car to depart from the City Hall, Sarajevo, shortly before they were assassinated by the Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip on 28 June 1914. Imperial War Museum. IWM Non Commercial Licence via Wikimedia Commons. 


Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

American Saint Patrick’s Day has been described as “Eiresatz: a sentimental slur of imagined memories, fine feeling and faux Irish talismans and traditions” (Dezell, Irish America, 17). It is a festival of soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, cardboard shamrocks, and green hats, bagels, and beer. In Ireland Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, but in America it has become a spectacle.

(via Saint Patrick’s Day - Oxford Reference)

Image credits:White House. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Empire State Building by Jonathan71. Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons. Dallas, Texas by adrian Valenzuela. Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons. Chicago River by niXerKG. Creative Commons via Flickr.

The Eiffel Tower was opened to the public 125 years ago today, on 6 May at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris

The construction of the Eiffel Tower (1887-89) was photographed by Petit Pierre, Henri Rivière, and Louis-Émile Durandelle, whose album in the Musée d'Orsay includes group photos of the workforce, intricate technical details, and long shots of the whole rising structure. Due mainly to photography, the Eiffel Tower fast became the world’s ultimate tourist icon.

From Oxford Reference.

Image: Construction Tour Eiffel. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.