Peter Pan is a fictional character that was created by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie. The character who is best known for his ability to fly and unwillingness to grow up was introduced in the novel The Little White Bird in 1902.
Eventually the character was spun off in to a play and later a novel of his own. Peter Pan has appeared in numerous adaptations most notably the 1953 animated Walt Disney version, the stage play starring Mary Martin, and the the 1991 film Hook starring Robin Williams.
The story begins with Peter visiting the nursery of Wendy, John and Michael Darling. With the help of his fairy friend Tinkerbell, Peter takes the children on a magical flight to his island home, Never Land. On the island we meet Peter's gang of runaways the Lost Boys, the evil Captain Hook and the tick-tocking crocodile. The adventure continues as the children become involved in the on-going struggle on the island between Peter and his gang and the scheming Captain Hook.
Peter Rabbit is another character from a children's book who was created by the British author, illustrator and conservationist Beatrix Potter. The character first appeared in The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902. Over the next ten years an additional six books involving the character were published.
Ms. Potter initially created The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1893, as a picture story to cheer up the sick young son of her former governess, Annie Moore.
The Peter Rabbit stories tell of the interactions of Peter and his family, friends and neighbors. The reader is introduced to his mother, Mrs. Josephine Rabbit, his sisters, Flopsy, and Mopsy, his cousin Benjamin Bunny and Benjamin's father Mr. Benjamin Bunny. The family live in a furnished rabbit hole and behave as humans.
The books are extremely popular and have not been out of print since their initial publishings.
Rounding out the category of characters named Peter in children's literature is the title character in Peter and The Wolf.
Peter and The Wolf is a musical composition which tells a story using text spoken by a narrator as well as music played by an accompanying orchestra. In 1936, Sergei Prokofiev wrote the piece in only four days after being commissioned by Natalya Sats and the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow to write a symphony for children.
Although it had an inauspicious debut, the composition is used to this day to introduce a world of children to the appreciation of music and an understanding of the instruments of the Orchestra. Peter and The Wolf along with Camille Saint-Saens Carnival of The Animals and Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra provide children a fun and spirited introduction to music.
The story tells of Peter, a young boy who lives in his grandfather's house in the big woods. One day he leaves his home and ventures into the woods without permission. The tale continues by telling of his adventure in the woods, the animals he meets and how he saves the day. The story is unique in that it is told in both word (narration) and music (accompanying orchestra). Each character is depicted by a particular instrument.
The story has been recorded by numerous orchestras and celebrities, and has been presented in various forms including live theatre, film, puppetry and animation.
Peter The Great (officially Peter I) was born in 1672 and died in 1725. He ruled Russia and later the Russian Empire from 1682 until his death. Although he was named Tsar and his mother Regent in 1682 he did not gain independent rule until 1696 due to much political fighting for control between the ruling families.
Initially due to an uprising led by his half sister Sophia, Peter was forced to co-rule with his sickly half brother Ivan, and his half-sister Sophia as Regent. Sophia would direct the rule of the two young boys by issuing directives to them through a hole in a two seated throne which was shared by the boys. The throne can still be seen today at the Kremlin musem in Moscow. Eventually Peter was able to win power away from Sophia who was forced to enter a convent and give up her name and position. Still not of age, his mother Nataliya was named Regent. Peter gained control in 1694 when his mother died and finally became sole ruler when Ivan died in 1696.
Peter the Great was credited with bringing great reforms to Russia. He centralized the government, modernized the army and created a navy. Peter opened Russia to Western influences, encouraging the best European engineers, architects, craftsmen and shipbuilders to come to Russia to help modernize the country.
Another of Peter's goals was to regain access to the Baltic Sea and Baltic trade. In 1700 he started the Northern War with Sweden which after 21 years resulted in victory for Russia. This success as well as others helped to transform Russia into a major European Empire encompassing 3-billion acres.
He was very large in stature, almost 7 feet tall and was massive and powerful. He was described as "loud-mouthed, violent, ruthless and impetuous". He had varied interests, was learned in many subjects and had a constant thirst for knowledge.
Visually breathtaking and hidden amidst nearly impenetrable mountains to the east running from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Dead Sea the ancient city of Petra is an abandoned necropolis of temples and tombs cut directly into towering cliffs of red, pink and orange sandstone.
The city of Petra (meaning ‘the rock’ in Greek) was discovered in 1812 by the young Swiss explorer Johan Ludwig Burckhardt. The area harbors archaeological evidence of many cultures from many periods. Around 1200 BCE, the Edomites (Edom, meaning red, is the Biblical name for this region of the Middle East) occupied the area. During the 6th – 4th centuries BCE, the Nabataeans, a nomadic tribe from the northwestern part of Arabia, began to take over the lands making this area their capital.
The Nabataeans may have settled in this area for religious and/or economic reasons. According to Arab tradition, Petra which is located at the mouth of the Valley of Moses (Wadi Musa) is the spot where Moses struck a rock with his staff and water came forth. The city was also an important economic crossroad for Persian and western Arabian trade routes. One route connected the Persian Gulf (and the silks and spices of India and China) with the Mediterranean Sea (and the Greek and Roman empires), and the other connecting Syria with the Red Sea. The Nabataeans appeared to have levied tolls upon the trade caravans as a guarantee of safe passage through the region. By the third and second centuries BCE, the city had grown rich and powerful.
The city continued to flourish until 106, when the Nabataeans came under the control of the Roman Empire. Decline slowly set in. With the establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad in 750, the region became neglected and disappeared from historical record until its discovery in 1812.
By far the best known tourist attraction in Jordan, the "lost city" of Petra was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Tours enter through a 1.5 km winding narrow gorge (Siq) surrounded by soaring vertical cliffs of sandstone which exit upon the most famous Petra structure, the 40 meter high Treasury (Al-Khazneh). Petra may be reached by day tour from the Israeli resort city of Eilat or Amman, Jordan.