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    “South America with a focus on Argentina”

    o Name: Argentina comes from the Latin word Argentum meaning “silver.”

    o Location:

    Argentina is in Federal republic in South America, bordered on the North by Bolivia and Paraguay; on the east by Brazil, Uruguay, and the Atlantic Ocean and Chile; and on the west by Chile. It occupies most of the Southern portion of the continent of South America. ( Encyclopedia Encarta ).

    o Population:

    According to the US Census International DB, 2007 the estimated population of Argentina is 40,301,927. In Argentine territory the first inhabitants were the indigenous peoples who, congregated in tribes. population growth rate: 0.938% (2007 est.). Worldpress.org: “Argentina” 1997-2007

    o GDP per capital (latest at PPP) in $ –

    It means the gross domestic product converted to international dollars using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates, and divided by the population of the country that year.

     According Worldpress.org the GDP per capita (latest at PPP in $) is $608.8 billion (2006 est.)

    o Official languages:

    The official language in Argentina is Spanish but there are also some languages used, e.g. English, Italian, German, French because according to Historycentral.com, Argentina is a land of immigrants. The majority of its people descend from early Spanish and Italian immigrants. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries immigrants from many parts of Europe arrived in the country.

    o Official religions

    According to Secretaria de Culto Argentine Republic There are over 2500 officially recognized cults and religions that are harmoniously existing, The Roman Catholic Apostolic Church is the most traditional and also with the largest organized body, has a juridical status different from the rest of churches in line with the National Constitution (Section 2º) that supports this religion, However, apart from Catholicism in Argentina, such as Protestantism, Pentecostalism, Judaism and Islamism, Orthodox Greeks, Orthodox Russians and other religions are found among many other creeds. There is freedom of cult and religion in consecrated in the National Constitution.

    Demographics

    Table 1. tabular presentation based on gender in Argentina

    Gender
    Percentage
    Male
    49.34%
    Female
    50.66%
    “Argentina” 2006. intute: Science, Engineering and Technology

    Based on information given in table 1, female was 1.32% higher than male.

    But there’s no reason sited why female are many than male.

    Table 2. Tabular presentation based on Races

    Group or Races
    Percentage
    White (mostly Spanish and Italian)
    97%
    Mestizo, Amerindian, or other Nonwhite groups
    3%
    “Argentina” 2006. intute: Science, Engineering and Technology

    According to the presented data in table 2, Regarding to races, white (Mostly Spanish, and Italian) has the higher percentage because majority of its people descend from early Spanish and Italian immigrants (Historycentral.com)

    Table 3. Tabular presentation of both male and female based from their age

    Age(Male and Female)
    Percentage
    0-14
    24.9%
    15-64
    64.4%
    65 – above
    10.7%
    “Argentina” 2006. intute: Science, Engineering and Technology

     Based on the information given in table 3, the age range of 15-64 has the higher percentage and the least are from the group of 65-above.

    Table  Religion 4. based on religious group.

    Religious Group
    Percentage
    – The Roman Catholic
    92%
    – Judaism
    2%
    – Islamism
    2%
    – Other religious group
    4%
    Worldpress.org: “Argentina” 1997-2007

    Table 4 shows that most of the Argentine are roman catholic having 92%, Judaism and Islamism has same amount of 2%, and the other religious group having 4%

    Table 5. Tabular presentation of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) based on sector, (2008 est.)

    Sector
    Percentage
    Agriculture
    8.5%
    Industry
    35.9%
    Services
    55.6%
    The World Fact book: “Argentina” 2007.

    Based on table 5, services got the highest percentage on GDP (55%), followed by Industry (35.9%) and the Agriculture got the lowest percentage (8.5%).

    Politics
    o Form of Government

    Argentina is a federal republic form of government. It has two legislative houses (Senate [72]; Chamber of Deputies [257]).

    Table 6, alignment of the position on the Government of Argentina

    President
    Vice President
    Chief of Cabinet
    Min. of Defense
    Min. of Economy & Production
    Min. of Education & Culture
    Min. of Federal Planning, Public Investment, & Services
    Min. of Foreign Relations, Intl. Trade, & Worship
    Min. of Health
    Min. of Interior
    Min. of Justice, Security, & Human Rights
    Min. of Labor, Employment, & Social Security
    Min. of Social Development
    Pres., Central Bank
    Ambassador to the US
    Permanent Representative to the UN, New York
    The head of the state of government is President next is Vice-President could be also the president of the Senate. The cabinet, appointed by the President, underwent major changes on 2005-11-28, after the elections, and is currently composed of a Chief of Cabinet and 10 Ministers.

    The Legislative Branch is a bicameral Congress, which consists of the Senate (72 seats), presided by the Vice-President, and the Chamber of Deputies (257 seats),The General Auditing Office of the Nation and the Ombudsman are also part of this branch.

    The Judiciary Branch is composed of federal judges and others with different jurisdictions, and a Supreme Court with nine members, appointed by the President with approval of the Senate, who may be deposed by Congress.

    o Head of Government

    The president shall be directly elected for a four-year term, renewable once. The current President of Argentina was Néstor Carlos Kirchner (Kirchner 2007) but His wife Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner will take the office on December 2007 because Fernandez de Kirchner was the elected President on the previous General election last October 2007

    o Popular support for current government

    Argentina in According to “Politics of Argentina” – 2001), people fearing the worst began withdrawing large sums of money from their bank accounts, turning pesos into dollars and sending them abroad, causing a run on the banks because the investors are loosing their confidence which causes to flight the of money away from the country, The government then enacted a set of measures (informally known as the corralito) that effectively froze all bank accounts for twelve months, allowing for only minor sums of cash to be withdrawn.
    Streets of important cities n Argentina, especially Buenos Aires took by the enrage Argentines Because of the allowance limit and the serious problems it caused,. They engaged in a form of popular protest that became known as cacerolazo (banging pots and pans). At first the cacerolazos were simply noisy demonstrations, but soon they included property destruction, often directed at banks, foreign privatized companies, and especially big American companies These protests occurred especially during the period of 2001 to 2002. Many businesses installed metal barriers because windows and glass facades were being broken, and even fires being ignited at their doors. Billboards of such companies as Coca Cola and others were brought down by the masses of demonstrators.

    Eduardo Duhalde finally managed to stabilized the situation to a certain extent, and he called for elections. On 25 May 2003 the former governor of Santa Cruz, became Argentina’s president, Néstor Kirchner,  Kirchner kept Duhalde’s Minister of Economy. Argentina’s economy has been rebounding since its near collapse in 2001, with an impressive growth rate of about 8% since, Roberto Lavagna, in his post. Lavagna, a respected economist with centrist views, showed a considerable aptitude at managing the crisis, with the help of heterodox measures. In March 2005, Kirchner announced that the country’s debt had been successfully restructured. In Jan. 2006, Argentina paid off its remaining multi-million IMF debt early, a dramatic move that not all economists thought was beneficial. (“Politics of Argentina” – 2001)
    Society
    o Influence of religion

    In the times of Dictatorship in Argentina, the religion and Violence has a very contrasting relationship, in Argentina the Pentecostals became the prominent actor in the religious fields because of its charismatic rituals, it also attempts to influence the state institutions

    o Tolerance of homosexuality

    Homosexuality – The human sexual attraction behavior between of the same sex, or to a sexual orientation. Etymologically, the word homosexual is a Greek and Latin hybrid with homo (often confused with the later Latin meaning of “man”, as in homo sapiens) deriving from the Greek word for same, thus connoting sexual acts and affections between members of the same sex, including lesbianism.[ There is far greater tolerance for homosexuality in major Latin American countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. Opinion in Europe is split between West and East. Majorities in every Western European nation surveyed say homosexuality should be accepted by society, while most Russians, Poles and Ukrainians disagree. Americans are divided – a thin majority (51 percent) believes homosexuality should be accepted, while 42 percent disagree.” The Pew Research Center’s 2003 Global Attitudes Survey found that “[p]eople in Africa and the Middle East strongly object to societal acceptance of homosexuality.

     “List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people”, 2007

    o Gini Coefficient

    Income inequality in Argentina is amongst the highest in the world with a gini coefficient of 0.65.

    (berclo.net/page07/07en-argentina-1.html – 24k)

    o Women’s rights

    Women’s rights refer to freedoms granted to women and girls by law or custom in a particular society as the following:

    ·         rights to bodily integrity and autonomy

    ·         the right to vote

    ·         the right to hold public office

    ·         the right to work

    ·         the right to fair wages

    ·         the right to own property

    ·         the right to education

    ·         marital rights

    ·         parental rights

    ·         religious rights

    ·         the right to serve in the military

    ·         the right to enter into legal contracts

    o Literacy rate

    The literacy rates in Argentina was (96%) of its population, (The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition Copyright© 2004, Columbia University Press)

    .
    Economics
    Sectoral balance of agriculture vs manufacturing vs services

    Percent of GDP earned by:

    Agriculture, 2000

    5%

    8%

    X

    Industry, 2000

    28%

    29%

    X

    Sevices 2000

    68%

    63%

    X

    Development Data Group, The World Bank. 2002. World Development Indicators 2002 online (see

    http://publications.worldbank.org/ecommerce/catalog/product?item_id=631625) Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

    © EarthTrends 2003. All rights reserved. Fair use is permitted on a limited scale and for educational purposes.

    o Most important cash crop by $

    The traditional wealth of Argentina lies in the vast Pampas, which are used for extensive grazing and grain production.
    o Biggest manufacture or commodity

    Rank
    Commodity
    Production
    (Int $1000)  Footnote
    Production
    (MT)  Footnote

    1
    Soybeans
    8,345,187
    C
    38,300,000

    2
    Indigenous Cattle Meat
    6,255,277
    C
    3,024,386
    F

    3
    Wheat
    2,495,680
    C
    16,000,000

    4
    Maize
    2,265,900
    C
    19,500,000

    5
    Cow Milk, Whole, Fresh
    2,154,114
    C
    8,100,000
    F

    6
    Grapes
    1,097,124
    C
    2,365,000
    F

    7
    Indigenous Chicken Meat
    915,640
    C
    785,000
    F

    8
    Sunflower Seed
    862,566
    C
    3,652,000

    9
    Sugar Cane
    400,861
    C
    19,300,000
    F

    10
    Apples
    362,598
    C
    1,262,440
    F

    11
    Sorghum
    353,771
    C
    2,900,000

    12
    Lemons and Limes
    339,677
    C
    1,300,000
    F

    13
    Potatoes
    293,149
    C
    2,021,020
    F

    14
    Groundnuts in Shell
    286,561
    C
    593,000

    15
    Hen Eggs
    260,484
    C
    300,000
    F

    16
    Rice, Paddy
    218,761
    C
    1,027,000

    17
    Tobacco Leaves
    215,140
    C
    118,000
    F

    18
    Tomatoes
    159,928
    C
    675,000
    F

    19
    Indigenous Pigmeat
    152,100
    C
    150,200
    F

    20
    Pears
    145,156
    C
    509,749

    No symbol = official figure
    F = FAO estimate
    * = Unofficial figure
    C = Calculated figure

    Production in Int $1000 have been calculated based on 1999-2001 international prices

    (Food and agricultural Organization of the United Nations,

    Economic and Social Department, the Statistic Division)

    o Latest inflation rate

    Year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)
    Rank
    Percent Change
    Date of Information
    2003
    41.00 %
    7

    2002, yearend
    2004
    13.40 %
    29
    -67.32 %
    2003
    2005
    6.10 %
    162
    -54.48 %
    2004 est.
    2006
    9.60 %
    190
    57.38 %
    2005 est.
    2007
    9.80 %
    186
    2.08 %
    2006
    (Index mundi – “Argentina Inflation rate (consumer prices)”, 2007)

    o Balance of payments

    Current Account
    -4,553
    Balance on goods
    7,451
    Balance on services
    -4,092
    Balance on income
    -8,095
    Current transfers
    183
    Capital Account
    101
    Financial Account
    -13,590
    Direct investment abroad
    123
    Direct investment in Argentina
    3,214
    Portfolio investment assets
    2,019
    Portfolio investment liabilities
    -9,516
    Other investment assets
    -3,940
    Other investment liabilities
    -5,490
    Net Errors and Omissions
    -3,362
    Reserves and Related Items
    21,405
    (Encyclopedia Of the Nation: “Argentina”, 2007. Advameg Inc.)

    o Estimated size of informal economy

    The researcher took only the very important part to the article discussing about the informal economy in Argentina, “LABOUR-ARGENTINA: Informal Economy Just Won’t Shrink” written  By Marcela Valente

    here is the article:
    June 12 – according to Inter Press Service(IPS) – The Argentine economy has been growing steadily for over four years, and unemployment has fallen 14 percent in that period. However, experts say that nearly half of all jobs are precarious and/or of poor quality.

    Artemio López, with the Equis polling firm, had already pointed last year to the worrying persistence of precarious labour in a context of high economic growth and declining unemployment.

    The expert said that although the proportion of unregistered employees had dropped somewhat, the gap between informal and formal sector worker had never been so large.

    According to INDEC statistics, workers with precarious jobs earn on average 37 percent of what is earned by registered workers with job stability, social security, paid vacations and the right to severance pay.

    These figures show that the distance between the formal and informal labour markets is much greater than in 2003, when precarious workers earned 49 percent of what formal economy employees earned.

    As a result, 40 percent of informal sector workers are poor — nearly six times the proportion of poor registered employees.

    López called for specific policies to reduce this “hard core of precarious workers” and improve the distribution of income.

    However, the Labour Ministry’s response to the phenomenon has been to merely increase the number of inspections. (END/2007)

    o Percentage of GDP consumed by government
    Government spending equaled 20.9 percent of GDP.

    ( Index of economic Freedom: “Argentina”)

    Geography
    o Location

    Argentina is located in southern South America, covering most of the southern portion of the continent. (“Argentina” 2007)

    o Total area:

    Has a total area of approximately (1,073,520 sq. miles) or (2,766,890 sq. km) – not including the Antarctic claim (“Argentina” 2007)

    o Land/water area %:
    Land Area: 2,736,690 sq km
    Water Area: 30,200 sq km

    Total Area: 2,766,890 sq kmc

    (“Argentina” 2007)

    o Time zone:

    According to“Argentina” 2006. intute: Science, Engineering and Technology

     the Time zone in Argentina is GWT – 3

    o Latitude/Longitude span

    The latitude and longitude of Argentina is 34º 00′ S and 64º 00′ W respectively. It is located in the southern part of South America and lies between Chile and Uruguay. The total area is slightly smaller than three-tenths of USA. The capital, Buenos Aires lies between the geographical latitude of 34º 36’S and 58º 27′ W longitude. There are 23 provinces and Argentina is 2 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time.

    (Mapsofworld.com 2007)

    o Climatic zones:

    Argentina has had the variety of climates because of its longitudinal and elevation amplitudes,. The climate is predominantly temperate with extremes ranging from subtropical in the north to subpolar in the far south. Because of its characteristic which is very hot, humid summers with mild drier winter, and are subject to periodic droughts. Central Argentina has hot summers with thunderstorms (in western Argentina producing some of the world’s largest hail), and cool winters. The southern regions experiencing the following climate: warm summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall, especially in mountainous zones. Higher elevations at all latitudes experience cooler conditions. The temperature is measured in Fahrenheit (“Argentina” 2007).

    o Altitude zones

    Mostly, the centre and east of the Argentina are flat and not very high; in contrary the west has much mountainous country rising to the higher peaks of the Andes which include Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America, Having the measurement of  7,000 m/22,800 ft; north of here the range rarely falls below 3,000 m/10,000 ft. The northern Andes in Argentina have surprisingly low precipitation, so that the snowline may be as high as 6,000 m/20,000 ft.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk

    o Principal landforms (biggest river/desert/mountain/rainforest/etc)

    The central grasslands of argentina are populated by the armadillo, pampas cat, mara and the rhea (ñandú), a flightless bird. Hawks, falcons, herons, partridges inhabit the region. There are also deer and foxes. Some of these species extend into Patagonia.

    The western mountains are home to different animals. These include the llama, guanaco, vicuña, among the most recognizable species of South America. Also in this region are the fox, Andean Cat, viscacha and the largest flying bird in the New World, the condor.

    Southern Argentina is home to the cougar, huemul, pudú (the world’s smallest deer), and introduced, non-native wild boar.[15] The coast of Patagonia is rich in animal life: elephant seals, fur seals, sea lions, and species of penguin. The far south is populated by cormorant birds.

    The territorial waters of Argentina have abundant ocean life; mammals such as dolphins, orcas, and whales like the southern right whale, a major tourist draw for naturalists. Sea fish include sardines, argentine hakes, dolphinfish, salmon, and sharks; also present are squid and spider crab (centolla) in Tierra del Fuego. Rivers and streams in Argentina have many species of trout and the South American dorado fish.[16] Outstanding snake species inhabiting Argentina include boa constrictors, and the very venomous yarará pit viper and South American rattle snake.

    Iguazú National Park is a national park of Argentina, located in the Iguazú Department, in the north of the province of Misiones, Argentine Mesopotamia. It has an area of 550 km² (212 sq mi). (“Argentina” 2007).

    Rivers and lakes
    Pilcomayo, Paraguay, Bermejo, Colorado, Río Negro, Salado, Uruguay are some major river in argentina, and the largest river, the Paraná. The latter two flow together before meeting the Atlantic Ocean, forming the estuary of the Río de la Plata. Regionally important rivers are the Atuel and Mendoza in the homonymous province, the Chubut in Patagonia, the Río Grande in Jujuy, and the San Francisco River in Salta.

    Several of the lakes in Argentina can be found in Patagonia. Among these are lakes Argentino and Viedma in Santa Cruz, Nahuel Huapi in Río Negro and Fagnano in Tierra del Fuego, and Colhué Huapi and Musters in Chubut. Lake Buenos Aires and O’Higgins/San Martín Lake are shared with Chile. Mar Chiquita, the largest salt water lake in the country  is Córdoba,. There are numerous reservoirs created by dams. Argentina features various hot springs, such as those at Termas de Río Hondo with temperatures between 30 °C and 65 °C.

    one of the greatest natural beauties of Argentina, the Iguazu Falls, which is inside the Iguazu park that created during the year 1934 surrounded by the subtropical jungle. Across the Iguazu River lies its Brazilian counterpart (Iguaçu National Park). Both sites were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, in 1984 and 1986. (“Argentina” 2007).

    Coastal areas and seas
    The total coastline of Argentina was 4,665 kilometers (2,899 mi). The continental platform of the country is unusually wide and this shallow area of the Atlantic Ocean is called Mar Argentino. Argentina’s coastline varies between areas of sand dunes and cliffs. Brazil Current and the cold Falkland Current (Spanish: corriente antártica o corriente de las Malvinas).are the two major ocean currents which affecting the coast are the warm Because of the uneveness of the coastal landmass, the two currents alternate in their influence on climate and do not allow temperatures to fall evenly with higher latitude. The southern coast of Tierra del Fuego forms the north shore of the Drake Passage. (“Argentina” 2007).

    Enclaves and exclaves
    The Martín García Island is one Argentine exclave, that having the co-ordinates 34°11′S, 58°15′W. The exclave is near the confluence of the Paraná and Uruguay rivers, a kilometer (0.62 mi) inside Uruguayan waters, and 3.5 kilometres (2.1 mi) from the Uruguayan coastline near the small town of Martín Chico.(“Argentina” 2007).

    o Neighbors

    To the north border of the Argentina are the Bolivia and Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, and a part of Atlantic Ocean are to the East, Some part of Atlantic Ocean and Chile are to the a south, and a part of Chile are to the West

    o Physical security assessment

    The Sector At A Glance

    Key Insights On The Defence & Security Sector Of Argentina

    (A Market Leader in Country Risk, Industry Intelligence and Company Research)

    Power at the top looks secure for the time being. One of Argentina’s main opposition parties, the UCR, recently demonstrated its inability to mount a credible challenge following a series of major set-backs. And there may be good reason to let the opposition remain ineffective – the current adminstration has presided over an exceptional economic recovery over recent quarters, and is doing a sucessful job in maintaining Argentina’s security in what has a tendency to be a troubled region. However, the government should be concerned about the risk of social unrest in Argentina, which has only recently started to recover from the upsurge in radical politics following the 2001 financial crisis. Ironically, the complete fragmentation of the political opposition would be largely responsible for radical politics, with public opposition to the government unable to find a voice within the political system.

    The government has had to pass anti-terrorism legislation, which is applicable to a number of Islamist groups in the Triple Border Area. Argentina and Brazil are also working towards bilateral defence cooperation, which will institutionalise existing co-operation on defence policy, with a view to coordinating on issues of regional security. However, despite the drive towards regional defence cooperation, Argentina has marked differences with Brazil over the issue of regional security. There is growing pressure on President Kirchner from the US to define his foreign policy stance, with concerns in Washington that Argentina is an unreliable ally. Prospects for the defence industry have been hit by Argentina’s economic crisis, with foreign investment plummeting and little hope for state-run industries. The Argentine defence industry is currently in a crucial phase. Government decisions over the next two years should determine the fate of several staterun factories. Should the enterprises survive the immediate future, collaboration with other South American companies could see the Argentine military-industrial infrastructure being put to use. In the longer term this should lead to greater investment in the industry, and increasing interest from multinational firms. (Business Monitor International
    A Market Leader in Country Risk, Industry Intelligence and Company Research).

    References:

    – “Argentina” 2007.

    – Encyclopedia Of the Nation: “Argentina”, 2007. Advameg Inc.

    – Encyclopedia Encarta

    – Food and agricultural Organization of the United Nations,

    Economic and Social Department, the Statistic Division)

    – Index mundi – “Argentina Inflation rate (consumer prices)”, 2007

     – Index of economic Freedom: “Argentina”

    – Kirchner N. C. 2007 (Argentina), in Europa World online. London, Routledge.

                Retrieved 13 r 2007 from

    – “LABOUR-ARGENTINA: Informal Economy Just Won’t Shrink” By Marcela Valente

    – “List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people”, 2007

     – Mapsofworld.com 2007

    – “Politics of Argentina” – (2001),

    – Secretaria de Culto,  Argentine Republic

    – The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition Copyright© 2004, Columbia University

    Press

    – Worldpress.org: “Argentina” 1997-2007

    Part 2 Description for Humanistic Paper

    Humanistic Traditions of the Greco-Roman World

    The ancient civilization of the Greece from the first century to eight century BC and the Rome from the first to fifth century A.D. were referred to as Greco-Roman or Classical. The word classical was first used in the Renaissance to describe the Greco-Roman Tradition, to denote “first class” or “best” These two civilizations differ in many aspects, but they shared common ways of thinking and creating, which are different from other civilizations. This influenced the development of the Western Humanistic Tradition.

    Confessions

                In St Augustine life and writings, he marks the point of transition from ancient to medieval world. St. Augustine’s personal odyssey in The Confessions culminates his conversion to Christianity;

    Ten Commandments

             “In Medieval time, Christianity emphasizes charity, for instance love of God and neighbor, democratic and humanitarian sentiments were not implied. Human beings, having the power of reason were expected to act according to that reason. As St. Augustine argues, a person whose love is correctly directed toward God can love and satisfy their own desires and still serve God and Humanity (Robertson, D.W., 1970).”

    Ethical Monotheism

             “It offers the comforts and certainty and its violence. With its theory of divinely-sanctioned truth and right living, in the Christianized neo-platonism, believers are allowed to do whatever is necessary even the world does not conform with it. It encourages dramatic intervention against those who are sinful. Modern monotheism embraces ecumenism and tolerance. They stress modern monotheism not the classic. From this come inquisitions, persecution, religious wars, and so on. We may not now do post-facto surgery to excise what we don’t like from the hearts of men who insisted on their devotion to Christ. It’s from our commitment to my religious community that we feel the humility needed to look at our past and the ways we use to justify it. The pedigree of monotheistic violence is well-known. When monotheists say, we believe in our one God but acknowledge that your God is equally God to you, they are demonstrating a modernist and polytheist acceptance of multiplicity and contingency, and perhaps the accumulated wisdom that the alternative of one certain truth leads to no good” (Pally M., 2007).

    Critical Analysis of the Work of Art

    Catacomb

    “According to tradition, catacombs are burials where all of the martyrs are buried. It is a subterranean cemetery which is composed of galleries with side recesses for tombs. It was first applied to the cemetery under Basilica of St. Sebastian which serves as a temporary resting place for the bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul in the late 3rd century AD, but it became used to refer to all subterranean cemeteries around Rome. In early Christian Rome, aside from being burial sites, it serves as the sites of funeral feasts celebrated in family vaults on the day of burial and anniversaries, it serves also as hiding places during persecution. For instance, around 258 AD, during persecution of Valerian, Pope Sixtus II was supposedly captured and killed while hiding in the St. Sebastian’s catacomb. Catacombs may also be found in Silicy and other parts of Italy, Egypt, and Lebanon. Catacombs were by no means a Christian or Roman invention exclusively.” (“Catacomb,” 2007, Encyclopedia Britannica).

    Graffitti

     Graffitti is commonly found on the tombs or walls in the catacombs, these are messages left by early Christians. They have employed simple cutting tools in writing these messages, they did not use the modern day spray painting that we are using today.

    Frescoes

             The frescoes within the catacombs have been slowly deteriorating others have been lost the main factor that contributes to the decay the alteration of the circulation of air and changing temperature.

    Sculpture of “Christ as the Good Shepherd”

             In the catacomb statues can be found. This includes Jesus Christ, represented as the Good Shepherd. The figure of Orpheus was an artistic figure of the pagan, with a flute on his side and a lamp on his shoulder. Pagans adapted Orpheus to represent Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherds (The Art of Catacombs, 2002).

    Figures and Personalities

             In the frescoes and sarcophagi, a number of figures and historical personalities such as “The figure in Prayer,” “Saints and Personalities,” “The Banquet Scene,” and “The Deceased” can be found.

    Decorative Elements

             Both Christian and pagans have employed decorative elements such as vines, flowers, birds, architectural lines and drawings. For the pagans the vine symbolizes of rebirth, for the vine harvest represents continuous cycle of life. Christians however have developed new idea of the vine. According to John 15:5, “Jesus was the true vine of eternal life and those who believe in Him were the Branches”

    Signs and Symbols

             In the frescoes, signs and symbols can be found inscribed on the marble sarcophagi and slabs, and etched on the walls of the catacombs, based on Christian faith, and some symbols were taken from the repertoire of the pagan. The fish for instance, which is a Christian symbol for richness, the dove which symbolizes peace and happiness of the soul, are among the symbols that can be seen (The art of Catacomb, 2002).

    References:

    Catacomb. 2007. “Encyclopedia Britannica.” Retrieved Nov.10, 2007. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

    Pally, M. 2007. “Paganism for Our Times.” New York: Marcia Pally.

    “The Art of the Catacombs.” 2002 Ars Mar Film

    Robertson, DW. Ed., 1970. “The Literature of Medieval England.” New York: Mc Graw-Hill

    CHRISTIANITY SYNTHESIS:

    CHRISTIAN IN THE MEDIEVAL WEST

    Christianity spread beyond its origins within the Jewish religion in the mid-first Century. It was spread upon the leadership of Apostles like Peter and Paul. This happen in the generation where Episcopal hierarchy seen, this formed the structure of the Church. It was spread in the East Asia throughout the Roman Empire. Christianity was legalized by Emperor Constantine in the early fourth century despite the persecution of Roman Empire. The first Ecumenical Council was formed and called the Nicaea during the reign of Emperor Constantine. It was in 391 when Theodosius I established Nicene Christianity as the official and legal religion in the Roman Empire except for Judaism. When the political structure from the West was collapsed Church assumed political and cultural structure roles. Eremitic and Coenobitic monasticism developed, originating in Egypt around 300. The institution of the monasticism becomes a central part of the Medieval World. It was during the Migration of Late Antiquity, when various German people adopted Christianity. When the Western political unity dissolves, the linguistic division of Empire happened. It was the division between Latin speaking from west and the Greek speaking from East. The distinction of Latin and Greek increasingly separated from disciplinary disputes and cultural differences resulted to Great Schism. This separation formally result in the division of Christendom into the Catholic form West and the Orthodox from East. Western Christianity was characterized by conflict and cooperation between secular rulers and the Church. The Church was under by the Pope, by the development of philosophy and theology.

    Christianity began a long series of conflicts with Islam beginning in the 7th Century. They were conquered areas of the Byzantine Empire, North Africa and Southern Spain. There were number of military struggles including Crusades, Spanish Reconquista, the Fall of Constantine and the aggression of the Turks. It was in the early sixteenth century when Martin Luther King discontent with corruption and immorality among the clergy. It resulted in the attempts to reform the Church and society. When Martin Luther King published 95 theses in 1517, the Reformation of Protestant began. The competition between Catholicism and Protestantism became deeply involved with the political struggles among European states. Christianity spreads to the Americas, Oceania, East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa under the colonial expansion by the European powers. In the Modern Era, Christianity was said to be influenced by political ideologies, such as liberalism, nationalism and socialism. This included the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution, the Spanish Civil War and general hostility of Marxist movement especially the Russian Revolution.

    CHRISTIAN LITERATURE

                From the Book ‘OUR HEART AFTER GOD” by Elizabeth M. Hoekstra she was best described Christian Literature Today. For the author, Christian literature plays a very crucial role in the lives of many Christian. Families and individuals depend on the devotional literature for their daily spiritual life rather than the Bible. For them this Christian literature like book brings knowledge, experience, understanding and wisdom.  It exhorts them from living a faithful life with Jesus Christ. The book was based on selected verses from the bible and events narrated in the world of God. Christian Literature leads us to associate ourselves from our own experiences and knowledge. It helps us to decide on how to apply the writings for our own life from what we read from these devotional literatures. Millions have been blessed also by Christian literature. One important aspect of devotional literature is that it strengthens our spiritual beliefs to Jesus Christ. We believe in the will of God that takes over his own will. It is hard to bend to begin with our will but because of reading and applying what is written in the devotional literature we finally rely on the will of god.

    CHRISTIAN MUSIC

                Why does God desire for music? Music is a way of worshiping God. We are all singing out for the Lord because we want to praise him for his kindness and mercy. Worshiping him with music is an expression of our love. Sing from the heart, it is not important that web don’t have a good singing voice but as long as we sing truthfully and take heed to the message of the song. Today, we all have access to Christian songs. Music from different languages, different beat and melodies, different musical instruments used to worship the Lord Jesus Christ.

    CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE

                The Churches architecture was confused as the taste and faith of building committee members. Architectures assess for philosophical or artistic aspects inherent in their task. Churches were built as a house of worshipping from two thousand years of Christianity, but after the World War II churches have no longer built as beautiful as commodious and as durable. It is important to remember that churches are work of arts, often loaded with meaning which expressed our understanding between truth and daily life. What is the role of churches in Christianity?  It serves frame and enhance our worship as we give honor to the one we are worshipping. Today churches were constructing often fair to its function but more on the participation in the public square. The bottom line is that how can we spend all this money on a church building when there are so many poor and so many who have not yet heard the gospel. Our places of worship should be beautiful works of architecture, but it is possible to worship God in any place if people were truly seeking him. So we have to build churches helping us to focus on our faith. Let the church be a spiritual love feast and a banquet hall appropriate to a King.

    References:

    Elizabeth M. Hoekstra. A Heart After God.
    Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN. 2001.

    http://www.musiclyric4christian.com/

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