The Gates of Alexander was a legendary barrier supposedly built by Alexander the Great in the Caucasus to keep the uncivilized barbarians of the north (typically associated with Gog and Magog) from invading the land to the south. The gates were a popular subject in medieval travel literature, starting with the Alexander Romance in a version from perhaps the 6th century.
The wall, also known as the Caspian Gates, has been identified with two locations: the Pass of Derbent, Russia or with the Pass of Dariel, west of the Caspian Sea. Tradition also connects it to the Great Wall of Gorgan (Red Snake) on its south-eastern shore.
The name Caspian Gates originally applied to the narrow region at the southeast corner of the Caspian Sea, through which Alexander actually marched in the pursuit of Bessus, although he did not stop to fortify it. It was transferred to the passes through the Caucasus, on the other side of the Caspian, by the more fanciful historians of Alexander.
Josephus, a Jewish historian in the 1st century, is known to have written of Alexander's gates, designed to be a barrier against the Scythians. According to this historian, the people whom the Greeks called Scythians were known (among the Jews) as Magogites, descendants of Magog in the Hebrew Bible. These references occur in two different works. The Jewish War states that the iron gates Alexander erected were controlled by the king of Hyrcania (on the south edge of the Caspian), and allowing passage of the gates to the Alans (whom Josephus considered a Scythic tribe) resulted in the sack of Media. Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews contains two relevant passages, one giving the ancestry of Scythians as descendants of Magog son of Japheth, and another that refers to the Caspian Gates being breached by Scythians allied to Tiberius during the Armenian War.[a]
The Gates occur in later versions of the Alexander Romance of Pseudo-Callisthenes, in the interpolated chapter on the "Unclean Nations" (8th century). This version locates the gates between two mountains called the "Breasts of the North" (Greek: Μαζοί Βορρά). The mountains are initially 18 feet apart and the pass is rather wide, but Alexander's prayers to God causes the mountains to draw nearer, thus narrowing the pass. There he builds the Caspian Gates out of bronze, coating it with fast-sticking oil. The gates enclosed twenty-two nations and their monarchs, including Goth and Magoth (Gog and Magog). The geographic location of these mountains is rather vague, described as a 50-day march away northwards after Alexander put to flight his Belsyrian enemies (the Bebrykes, of Bithynia in modern-day North Turkey).
A similar story also appears in the Qur'an, Surat al-Kahf 83-98. The Qur'an describes a figure known as Dhul Qarnayn, widely believed to be Alexander the Great, who built a wall made of iron between two mountains to defend the people from Yajuj and Majuj.
During the Middle Ages, the Gates of Alexander story was included in travel literature such as the Travels of Marco Polo and the Travels of Sir John Mandeville. The identities of the nations trapped behind the wall are not always consistent, however; Mandeville claims Gog and Magog are really the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who will emerge from their prison during the End Times and unite with their fellow Jews to attack the Christians. Polo speaks of Alexander's Iron Gates, but says the Comanians are the ones trapped behind it. He does mention Gog and Magog, however, locating them north of Cathay. Some scholars have taken this as an oblique and confused reference to the Great Wall of China, which he does not mention otherwise. The Gates of Alexander may represent an attempt by Westerners to explain stories from China of a great king building a great wall. Knowledge of Chinese innovations such as the compass and south-pointing chariot is known to have been diffused (and confused) across Eurasian trade routes.
The medieval German legend of the Red Jews was partially based on stories of the Gates of Alexander. The legend disappeared before the 17th century.
It is not clear which precise location Josephus meant when he described the Caspian gates. It may have been the Gates of Derbent (lying due east, nearer to Persia), or it may have been the Darial Gorge, (lying west, bordering Iberia or Georgia proper. Both are situated in present-day Dagistan.
However, neither these were within Hyrcania, but lay to the north and west of its boundaries. Another suggestion is some mountain pass in the Taurus-Zagros Mountains, somewhere near Rhaegae, Iran, in the heart of Hyrcania.
The Gates of Alexander are most commonly identified with the Caspian Gates of Derbent, whose thirty north-looking towers used to stretch for forty kilometers between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, effectively blocking the passage across the Caucasus.
Derbent was built around the world's only surviving Sassanid Persian fortress, which served as a strategic location protecting the empire from attacks by the Gokturks. The historical Caspian Gates were not built until probably the reign of Khosrau I in the 6th century, long after Alexander's time, but they came to be credited to him in the passing centuries. The immense wall had a height of up to twenty meters and a thickness of about 10 feet (3 m) when it was in use.
An alternative theory links the Caspian Gates to the so-called "Alexander's Wall" (the Great Wall of Gorgan) on the south-eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, 180 km of which is still preserved today, albeit in a very poor state of repair.
and similar words are used to refer to any especially hard substance, whether composed of diamond, some other gemstone, or some type of metal. Both adamant and diamond derive from the Greek word ἀδάμας, ἀδάμαντος (adamas, adamantos), meaning "untameable". Adamantite and adamantium (a metallic name derived from the Neo-Latin ending -ium) are also common variants.
Adamantine has, throughout ancient history, referred to anything that was made of a very hard material. Virgil describes Tartarus as having a screeching gate protected by columns of solid adamantine (Aeneid book VI). Later, by the Middle Ages, the term came to refer to diamond, as it was the hardest material then known.
It was in the Middle Ages, too, that adamantine hardness and the lodestone's magnetic properties became confused and combined, leading to an alternate definition in which "adamant" means magnet, falsely derived from the Latin adamare, which means to love or be attached to. Another connection was the belief that adamant (the diamond definition) could block the effects of a magnet. This was addressed in chapter III of Pseudodoxia Epidemica, for instance.
Since the word diamond is now used for the hardest gemstone, the increasingly archaic term "adamant" has a mostly poetic or figurative use. In that capacity, the name is frequently used in popular media and fiction to refer to a very hard substance.Alexander the Great in legend
There are many legendary accounts surrounding the life of Alexander the Great, with a relatively large number deriving from his own lifetime, probably encouraged by Alexander himself.Alexander the Great in the Quran
Alexander the Great appears in the Quran as Dhul-Qarnayn (Arabic ذو القرنين), literally "The Two-Horned One".The majority of traditional and modern scholars have generally endorsed the identification of Dhul-Qarnayn with Alexander the Great, but some early Muslim scholars saw it as a reference to a pre-Islamic monarch from Persia or south Arabia. It has also been a matter of theological controversy amongst Muslim scholars since early times. In more recent times, some Muslim scholars have suggested other alternatives, for example that Dhul-Qarnayn may be Cyrus the Great instead of Alexander the Great. There have been many different cultural depictions of Alexander the Great since antiquity. Similarities between the Quran and the Alexander romance were also identified in recent research based on the translation of certain medieval Syriac manuscripts.Ali I of Shirvan
Shirvanshah Ali was fourth independent Shah of Shirvan, located in the modern day Azerbaijan Republic, after the death of his father Haytham II Shirvanshah. He fought along local feudals against Khazars around the Gates of Alexander. He also struggled against Rus' raids.Border barrier
Not to be confused with a "Border wall."
For the US-Mexico barrier, see Mexico–United States barrier.
A border barrier is a separation barrier that runs along an international border. Such barriers are typically constructed for border control purposes such as curbing illegal immigration, human trafficking, and smuggling. In cases of a disputed or unclear border, erecting a barrier can serve as a de facto unilateral consolidation of a territorial claim that can supersede formal delimitation.
Examples of border walls include the ancient Great Wall of China, a series of walls separating China from nomadic empires to the north. The construction of border barriers increased in the early 2000s; half of all the border barriers built since World War II ended in 1945 were built after 2000.Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains are a mountain system at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, it surrounds the eponymous Caucasus region and is home to Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe.
The Caucasus Mountains include the Greater Caucasus in the north and Lesser Caucasus in the south. The Greater Caucasus runs west-northwest to east-southeast, from the Caucasian Natural Reserve in the vicinity of Sochi on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea nearly to Baku on the Caspian Sea. The Lesser Caucasus runs parallel to the Greater about 100 km (62 mi) south. The Greater and Lesser Caucasus ranges are connected by the Likhi Range, and to the west and east of the Likhi Range lie the Colchis Plain and the Kur-Araz Lowland. The Meskheti Range is a part of the Lesser Caucasus system. In the southeast the Aras River separates the Lesser Caucasus from the Talysh Mountains which straddle the border of southeastern Azerbaijan and Iran. The Lesser Caucasus and the Armenian Highland constitute the Transcaucasian Highland, which at their western end converge with the highland plateau of Eastern Anatolia in the far north east of Turkey. The highest peak in the Caucasus range is Mount Elbrus in the Greater Caucasus, which rises to a height of 5,642 metres (18,510 ft) above sea level. Mountains near Sochi hosted part of the 2014 Winter Olympics.Cyrus the Great in the Quran
Cyrus the Great in the Quran is a theory that identifies Dhul-Qarnayn, a figure mentioned in verses 18:83-98 of the Quran, with Cyrus the Great. (He is most commonly identified with Alexander the Great.) This "Cyrus theory" was first proposed by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (11 November 1888 – 22 February 1958) an Musilm scholar, activist and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement, and endorsed by many Sunni and Shia scholars and commentators since, including Israr Ahmed, Maududi, Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, Allameh Tabatabaei (in Tafsir al-Mizan),, Naser Makarem Shirazi (et al., in Tafsir Nemooneh), Muhammad Ali,Darial Gorge
The Darial Gorge (Georgian: დარიალის ხეობა, Darialis Kheoba; Russian: Дарьяльское ущелье; Ossetian: Арвыком, Arvykom; Ingush: Даьра Аьле, Dära Äle) is a river gorge on the border between Russia and Georgia. It is at the east base of Mount Kazbek, south of present-day Vladikavkaz. The gorge was carved by the river Terek, and is approximately 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) long. The steep granite walls of the gorge can be as much as 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) tall in some places.Derbent
Derbent (Russian: Дербе́нт; Persian: دربند; Azerbaijani: Dərbənd; Lezgian: Кьвевар; Avar: Дербенд), formerly romanized as Derbend, is a city in the Republic of Dagestan, Russia, located on the Caspian Sea, north of the Azerbaijani border. It is the southernmost city in Russia, and it is the second-most important city of Dagestan. Population: 119,200 (2010 Census); 101,031 (2002 Census); 78,371 (1989 Census).Derbent occupies the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south.
Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms. In the 19th century, the city passed from Iranian into Russian hands by the 1813 Treaty of Gulistan.Dhul-Qarnayn
Dhul-Qarnayn, (Arabic: ذو القرنين ḏū'l-qarnayn, IPA: [ðuːlqarˈnajn]), "he of the two horns" (or “he of the two ages”), appears in Surah 18 verses 83-101 of the Quran one who travels to east and west and erects a wall between mankind and Gog and Magog (called Ya'juj and Ma'juj). Elsewhere the Quran tells how the end of the world would be signaled by the release of Gog and Magog from behind the wall, and their destruction by God in a single night would usher in the Day of Resurrection (Yawm al-Qiyāmah). The story entered the Quran through a legendary version of the career of Alexander the Great current in the Middle East.Gog and Magog
Gog and Magog (; Hebrew: גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג Gog u-Magog) appear in the Hebrew Bible as individuals, peoples, or lands. In Ezekiel 38, Gog is an individual and Magog is his land; in Genesis 10 Magog is a man, but no Gog is mentioned; and centuries later Jewish tradition changed Ezekiel's Gog from Magog into Gog and Magog, which is the form in which they appear in the Book of Revelation, although there they are peoples rather than individuals.A legend was attached to Gog and Magog by the time of the Roman period, that the Gates of Alexander were erected by Alexander the Great to repel the tribe. Romanized Jewish historian Josephus knew them as the nation descended from Magog the Japhetite, as in Genesis, and explained them to be the Scythians. In the hands of Early Christian writers they became apocalyptic hordes, and throughout the Medieval period variously identified as the Huns, Khazars, Mongols, Ural-Altaic peoples or other nomads, or even the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
The legend of Gog and Magog and the gates was also interpolated into the Alexander romances. In one version, "Goth and Magoth" are kings of the Unclean Nations, driven beyond a mountain pass by Alexander, and blocked from returning by his new wall. Gog and Magog are said to engage in human cannibalism in the romances and derived literature. They have also been depicted on Medieval cosmological maps, or mappae mundi, sometimes alongside Alexander's wall.
The conflation of Gog and Magog with the legend of Alexander and the Iron Gates was disseminated throughout the Near East in the early centuries of the Christian era. They appear in the Quran as Yajuj and Majuj (Arabic: يأجوج ومأجوج Yaʾjūj wa-Maʾjūj), adversaries of Dhul-Qarnayn, who is mentioned in the Qu'ran as a great righteous ruler and is most commonly considered to be Alexander the Great. Muslim geographers identified them at first with Turkic tribes from Central Asia and later with the Mongols. In modern times they remain associated with apocalyptic thinking, especially in the United States and the Muslim world.Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe with an eye to expansion. Several walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC; these were later joined together and made bigger by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Later on, many successive dynasties have repaired, maintained, and newly built multiple stretches of border walls. The most well-known of the walls were built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).
Apart from defense, other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.
The frontier walls built by different dynasties have multiple courses. Collectively, they stretch from Dandong in the east to Lop Lake in the west, from present-day Sino-Russian border in the north to Qinghai in the south; along an arc that roughly delineates the edge of Mongolian steppe. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the walls built by the Ming dynasty measure 8,850 km (5,500 mi). This is made up of 6,259 km (3,889 mi) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches and 2,232 km (1,387 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measures out to be 21,196 km (13,171 mi). Today, the Great Wall is generally recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history.Great Wall of Gorgan
The Great Wall of Gorgan was a Sasanian-era defense system located near modern Gorgan in the Golestān Province of northeastern Iran, at the southeastern corner of the Caspian Sea. The western, Caspian Sea, end of the wall is near the remains of the fort at: 37.13981°N 54.1788733°E / 37.13981; 54.1788733; the eastern end of the wall, near the town of Pishkamar, is near the remains of the fort at: 37.5206739°N 55.5770498°E / 37.5206739; 55.5770498. The title coordinate is for the location of the remains of a fort midway along the wall.
The wall is located at a geographic narrowing between the Caspian Sea and the mountains of northeastern Iran. It is one of several Caspian Gates at the eastern part of a region known in antiquity as Hyrcania, on the nomadic route from the northern steppes to the Iranian heartland. The wall is believed to have protected the Sassanian Empire to the south from the peoples to the north, probably the White Huns. However, in his book Empires and Walls, Chaichian (2014) questions the validity of this interpretation using historical evidence of potential political-military threats in the region as well as the economic geography of Gorgan Wall's environs. It is described as "amongst the most ambitious and sophisticated frontier walls" ever built in the world, and the most important of the Sassanian defense fortifications.It is 195 km (121 mi) long and 6–10 m (20–33 ft) wide, and features over 30 fortresses spaced at intervals of between 10 and 50 km (6.2 and 31.1 mi). It is surpassed only by the walls systems of Great Wall of China as the longest defensive wall in existence.Iberian Gates
The Iberian Gates (Georgian: იბერიის კარი, Turkish: Gürcü Boğazı) is situated in the westernmost extension of historical Georgia (Zemo Kartli), on the plateau of the Mescit Mountains (Mount Uzundere), known as the Meschic mountains in Greco-Roman geography. The place is recorded as Gurji-Boghazi (საქართველოს ყელი) in the Description of the Kingdom of Georgia by 18th century, Georgian geographer Vakhushti Batonishvili.Iron Gate
Iron Gate may refer to:
Gates of Alexander, iron gates built by Alexander the Great
Iron Gates (Algeria), a pass through the Bibans mountains in Algeria
Iron Gate Pass, a gorge in central Xinjiang, People's Republic of China
Iron Gate (Central Asia), a defile between Balkh and Samarkand
Iron Gates is a gorge on the Danube River, forming part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania
Iron-Gate Square (Warsaw)
Iron Gate, Virginia, a small town located in Alleghany County, Virginia
Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station (Romania, Serbia)
Iron Gate II Hydroelectric Power Station (Romania, Serbia)
Iron Gate, one of the Gates of the Temple Mount
Iron Gates, a section of Samariá Gorge, Crete
Cairo Station, a 1958 Egyptian film also known as The Iron GateList of mythological objects
Mythological objects encompass a variety of items (e.g. weapons, armour, clothing) found in mythology, legend, folklore, tall tale, fable, religion, and spirituality from across the world. This list will be organized according to the category of object.Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire (; 247 BC – 224 AD), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy (province) under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia (r. c. 171–138 BC) greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han Empire of China, became a center of trade and commerce.
The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it eventually saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions. The Arsacid rulers were titled the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire; indeed, they accepted many local kings as vassals where the Achaemenids would have had centrally appointed, albeit largely autonomous, satraps. The court did appoint a small number of satraps, largely outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris (south of modern Baghdad, Iraq), although several other sites also served as capitals.
The earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Seleucids in the west and the Scythians in the east. However, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, and eventually the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients. The Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, and in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant except Tyre from the Romans. However, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia, although his successes were generally achieved in his absence, under the leadership of his lieutenant Ventidius. Various Roman emperors or their appointed generals invaded Mesopotamia in the course of the ensuing Roman-Parthian Wars of the next few centuries. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, but were never able to hold on to them. Frequent civil wars between Parthian contenders to the throne proved more dangerous to the Empire's stability than foreign invasion, and Parthian power evaporated when Ardashir I, ruler of Istakhr in Persis, revolted against the Arsacids and killed their last ruler, Artabanus V, in 224 AD. Ardashir established the Sassanid Empire, which ruled Iran and much of the Near East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty lived on through the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, and the Arsacid Dynasty of Caucasian Albania; all eponymous branches of the Parthian Arsacids.
Native Parthian sources, written in Parthian, Greek and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and even earlier Achaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, and the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is only known through external sources. These include mainly Greek and Roman histories, but also Chinese histories, prompted by the Han Chinese desire to form alliances against the Xiongnu. Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources.Tong Yabghu Qaghan
Tong Yabghu Qaghan (r. 618–628 or 630) (also known as T'ung Yabghu, Ton Yabghu, Tong Yabghu Khagan, Tun Yabghu, and Tong Yabğu, Traditional Chinese 統葉護可汗, Simplified Chinese: 统叶护可汗, pinyin Tǒngyèhù Kěhán, Wade-Giles: t'ung-yeh-hu k'o-han) was khagan of the Western Turkic Khaganate from 618 to 628 AD. His name is usually translated as "Tiger Yabgu" in Old Turkic. Another interpretation of his name is "sufficiency" or "completeness".He was the brother of Sheguy (r. 611–618), the previous khagan of the western Göktürks, and was a member of the Ashina clan. Tong Yabghu's reign is generally regarded as the zenith of the Western Göktürk Khaganate. His clan was syncretized Buddhist and native folk religion.