Beyond Price: Pearls and Pearl-fishing : Origins to the Age of Discoveries

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American Philosophical Society, 1998 - Philosophy - 448 pages
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Man has been intrigued by the origin of pearls, sensitive to their beauty, & convinced of their medicinal value for at least five millennia. A mixture of folklore & observation preceded the earliest scientific inquiries. Fishing & trade commenced in southern Asia, between India & Sri Lanka & around the Persian Gulf. In Western & Central Europe, Inner Asia & China, & North America, freshwater pearls were probably known & treasured before those of marine origin. R.A. Donkin combines written sources with the results of archaeological & philological research. A refined nomenclature lends support to other evidence pointing to long familiarity, & etymologically related words for 'pearl'- reflecting former trading connections or colonization. Pearls were prominent among the luxury products which, for many centuries, the West associated with the legendary East & South; conversely, the Chinese looked to the West & South. From the opening of the Age of Discoveries & for the next two & a half centuries marine pearls were high among the objectives of expeditions to the eastern & western Tropics. The often remote centers of demand were affluent & culturally advanced societies where dealers & purchasers exercised fine judgment in matters of shape & color & iridescence, as they continue to do today. Beyond Price: Pearls & Pearl-Fishing, organized both chronologically & by region is called by reviewer, James Parsons, "the crowning achievement of a world-class scholar....The folklore regarding pearls has created an endlessly imaginative literature, here analyzed meticulously." The book is enhanced with over 100 maps & illustrations.

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The nucleus of the Achaemenid empire (538—331 BC), the kingdom of Persia (principalities of Anshan and Persia), lay to the north and east of the head of the Persian Gulf (Map 12). Three-quarters ot a century ot extraordinary expansion commenced under Cyrus who annexed, first, western Elam (556 BC), then the Median empire (549 BC), Assyria (548-547 BC), Lydia (546 BC) and, finally, the Neo-Babylonian empire (539-8358 BC). Cambyses II added Egypt, Cyrene and Cyprus (525 BC). Darius I (521-486 BC) advanced the eastern frontier from the Oxus and Jaxartes to the Indus (ca. 520 BC), and his son, Xerxes I (486-465 BC), occupied Macedonia and Thessaly. Athens fell in 480 BC. For the first time, all the most ancient centers of civilization in the Old World (except China) were brought under the nominal control of a single power. P.50 ************ Alexander and Porus meet each other near the river Hydaspes. P.52*****************map of iran achaemenid P.45************* 

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