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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Turkic Peoples – Name Etymology

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on November 30, 2013

The first known mention of the term Turk it was applied to a Turkic group was in reference to the Göktürks in the 6th century. A letter by Ishbara Qaghan to Emperor Wen of Sui in 585 described him as “the Great Turk Khan.” The Orhun inscriptions (735 CE) use the terms Turk and Turuk.

The Chinese Book of Zhou (7th century) presents an etymology of the name Turk as derived from “helmet”, explaining that taken this name refers to the shape of the Altai Mountains.

Previous use of similar terms are of unknown significance, although some strongly feel that they are evidence of the historical continuity of the term and the people as a linguistic unit since early times. This includes Chinese records Spring and Autumn Annals referring to a neighbouring people as Beidi.

There are references to certain groups in antiquity whose names could be the original form of “Türk/Türük” such as Togarma, Turukha, Turukku and so on. But the information gap is so substantial that we cannot firmly connect these ancient people to the modern Turks.

According to Persian tradition, as reported by 11th-century ethnographer Mahmud of Kashgar and various other traditional Islamic scholars and historians, the name “Turk” stems from Tur, one of the sons of Japheth (Turan).

Tūrān iis the Persian name for a region around Central Asia, literally meaning “the land of the Tur”. As described below, the original Turanians are an Iranian tribe of the Avestan age. As a people the “Turanian” are one of the two Iranian peoples both descending from the Persian Fereydun but with different domains and often at war with each other.

In fact according to the Shahnameh’s account, at least 1,500 years later after the Avesta, the nomadic tribes who inhabited these lands were ruled by Tūr, who was the emperor Fereydun’s elder son.

The association with Turks is also primarily based on the Shahnameh’s geographical account where Turkification of Central Asia was partially completed during that time.

Tur/Turaj (Tuzh in Middle Persian) is the son of emperor Fereydun in ancient Iranian mythology. In the Shahnameh, he is identified with the Turks although culturally, there is no relationship between Turanians of the Shahnameh and the culture of ancient Turks.

In 19th century and early 20th century discourse, now obsolete, Turan was primarily an ideological term designating Altaic and Uralic languages.

According to the assumptions of the Turkologists Peter Golden and András Róna-Tas, the term Turk could be rooted in the East Iranian Saka language.

However, it is generally accepted that the term “Türk” is ultimately derived from the Old-Turkic migration-term “Türük” or “Törük”, which means “created”, “born”, or “strong”.

“Tùrk” would find a suitable Turkic etymology, being conflated with the word tùrk, which means one in the prime of youth, powerful, mighty” (Rona-Tas 1991,10-13).

It seems hard to avoid the conclusion that the Tùrks, per se, had strong connections with — if not ultimate origins in — Irano-Tocharian east Turkistan.

They, or at least the Ashina, were migrants to southern Siberia-northern Mongolia, where we seem to find the major concentration of Turkic-speaking peoples.

There are a considarable number of Tocharian and Iranian loan words in Old Turkic — although a good number of these may have been acquired, especially in the case of Soghdian terms, during the Tùrk impérial period, when the Soghdians were a subject people, an important mercantile-commercial element in the Tùrk state, and culture-bearers across Eurasia. It also should be noted here that the early Tùrk rulers bore names of non-Turkic origin.

Turukkaeans (Turukkum, Turukku) were an ancient near eastern people in the northern parts of Mesopotamia during the Bronze Age. In particular, they inhabited the Urmia basin and the valleys of northwestern Zagros Mountains. Turukkum appears to have consisted of a group of kingdoms whose populations were of mixed stock, perhaps predominantly Hurrian but with significant Semitic components.

The Turukkaeans were long considered to be a semi-nomadic tribal people who repeatedly raided the cities and kingdoms of northern Mesopotamia. But according to Eidem and Laessøe, evidence provided by the Shemshara archives indicated that Turukkum was made up of a number of polities with a relatively complex political organization and systems of noble lineage sharing territorial power.

The kingdom of Itabalhum seems to have been the most important of these polities. Itabalhum (Itab/pal) was an ancient kingdom of the Turukkaeans in the middle part of the Bronze Age. It is located in the northwestern parts of Zagros mountain region.

The kingdom was attested in the texts of Shemshara (Shusharra). As viewed from Shemshara the Turukkean kingdom of Itabalhum appears to be a peripheral polity, with a largely Mesopotamian material culture.

The Turukkaeans were a constant threat to the security of the Old Assyrian kingdom during the reign of Shamshi-Adad I (1796 – 1775 BC) and his son and successor Ishme-Dagan. The name of Hammurabi’s 37th year records his defeat of Turukku.

The etymology of Turkey (Tur-ki-a), or Turukki (Tur-uk-ki), but it can also come from (Tu-ru-ki) – Tocharians (To-cha-ri-ans). Togarma, son of Gomer, brother of Ashkenaz (Indo-Iranians) and Riphat (Indo-Aryans) answering to Armenia, and Ar-ma (Armenia), but also Tocharians (Tok-ar-ians), from Toka (tu-ka), Sanskrit for tribe or race. Togarma, also answering to Armenia from To-ka, Sanskrit for tribe or race, and Ar-ma (Armenia). At the same time Armenians comes from Aram, son of Shem.

The Tocharians or Tokharians (/təˈkɛəriənz/ or /təˈkɑriənz/) were inhabitants of medieval oasis city-states on the northern edge of the Tarim Basin (modern Xinjiang, China). Their Tocharian languages (a branch of the Indo-European family) are known from manuscripts from the 6th to 8th centuries AD, after which they were supplanted by the Turkic languages of the Uyghur tribes.

Some scholars have linked the Tocharians with the Afanasevo culture of eastern Siberia (c. 3500 – 2500 BC), the Tarim mummies (c. 1800 BC) and the Yuezhi of Chinese records, most of whom migrated from western Gansu to Bactria in the 2nd century BC and then later to northwest India where they founded the Kushan Empire.

The Kushan Empire was an empire in South Asia originally formed in the early 1st century CE under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria around the Oxus River (Amu Darya), and later based near Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Kushans spread from the Kabul River Valley to defeat other Central Asian tribes that had previously conquered parts of the northern central Iranian Plateau once ruled by the Parthians, and reached their peak under the Buddhist emperor Kanishka (127–151), whose realm stretched from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic Plain.”

The Kushans were one of five branches of the Yuezhi confederation, a possibly Tocharian, Indo-European nomadic people who had migrated from the Tarim Basin and settled in ancient Bactria.

Turkic Peoples – Name Etymology

Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: On Tocharian origins

Res Obscura: Vanished Civilization II: The Tocharians

Tocharians

Tocharian languages

Tocharian alphabet

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