Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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The Six Pointed Star of Armenia

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on November 29, 2013

Most people today associate the six pointed star (hexagram) with the Jewish Star of David (Magen David), as it is the modern symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism. In 1948 it was even adopted on the official flag of Israel. According to Wikipedia: “Its use as a symbol of the Jewish community dates to the 17th century.” However, like many other aspects of Armenian culture, not much has been written about the Armenian usage of the hexagram. Even though its usage in science, art, architecture, decorations and even for religious purposes has been extensive throughout the history.

Historically Armenians are skilled mathematicians, architects and craftsman. As such geometry has always been very special to the Armenians. The ancient Armenians had a refined knowledge of astronomy and were able to predict astral events. The oldest known observatories are located in Armenia.

Dated as early as 4200 BCE, Karahunj and the ca. 2800 BCE observatory at Metsamor allowed Ancestral Armenians to develop geometry to such a level they could measure distances, latitudes and longitudes, envision the world as round, and were predicting solar and lunar eclipses about 1000 years before the Egyptians began doing the same. Armenian architecture is often geometrically sound with straight lines connecting columns and mathematical precision.

The geometry of the Armenian architecture has stood the test of time by preserving many ancient buildings in a region dominated by war, poverty and natural disasters. The fortress cities and temples that have been excavated in Armenia (some going back as far as 7000 years) show a remarkable awareness of using geometry in constructing sacred buildings, using a complex system of squares, rectangles, circles, polygons with intersecting patterns.

Geometry emerges from the study of natural laws. With such knowledge one can build structures, create devices and predict astral events. As such geometrical shapes have been considered magical by the ancients. For without geometry, you cannot build anything, and its knowledge was the key to survival, and believed to be a key to unlocking the secrets of the universe. This love for creation/construction has enabled the early Armenians to value geometrical shapes and symbols giving them a prominent place in the Armenian Culture.

Among many symbols Armenians used the six pointed star for architectural purposes. Early Armenians believed the symbol to hold magical powers and incorporated it in architecture, astronomy and sacred art. Attesting to that are the numerous Armenian churches that are constructed in the shape of a six pointed star, the usage of hexagrams to support the dome or simply as sacred decoration protecting the Church like magic charms.

The first and the most important Armenian Cathedral of Etchmiadzin (301-303 AD, build by the founder of Christianity in Armenia) is in fact decorated with many types of ornamented hexagrams. Another example is seen on the tomb of an Armenian prince of the Hasan-Jalalyan dynasty of Khachen (1214 A.D.) in the Gandzasar Church of Artsakh.

Maybe the most famous example of architectural usage of a hexagram can be admired in the 12th century Armenian Church, the Cathedral of St. James in Jerusalem. Where the hexagram shaped arches are supporting the dome. Similar dome arches in the shape of a six pointed star can be found throughout ancient Armenia. To name a few; the excellent craftsmanship of the Khorakert monastery dome, or the 13th c. Khoranashat monastery.

That the Armenians are acquainted with this symbol from the times immemorial became once again clear when the oldest known depiction of a six pointed star (dating back to the 3rd millennium BC.) was excavated in the Ashtarak burial mound in “Nerkin Naver” (in Armenia). This was confirmed by a series of radiocarbon analysis of artifacts, conducted in laboratories in Germany and the USA. The handle of a dagger depicts the worlds earliest decoration of a six-pointed star buried in a burial mound containing over 500 graves.

As people who love to build and create Armenians have always valued science. Geometry in particular has a long history in Armenian arts, religion as well as sciences. While the usage of hexagrams (as I have demonstrated) has been significant throughout the course of Armenian history, there exist many other geometrical shapes and symbols prominent in Armenian culture. Geometry is after all bound to Armenian culture. The (eight pointed) Armenian Star for example deserves it’s own entry and will be covered next time around.

The Six Pointed Star of Armenia

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