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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ISIS targets 2,000-year-old ancient Nineveh walls in Iraq

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on January 4, 2015

The Great City of Nineveh.

Adad Gate outside of Nineveh, Iraq.

Nineveh

ISIS targets 2,000-year-old ancient Nineveh walls in Iraq

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) set their eyes on another historical site to demolish as they continue to establish their caliphate across Iraq. Residents near Mosul told Assyrian website Ankawa the militants’ plan to blow up the walls of Nineveh,  an ancient Mesopotamian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, which date back to almost 700 BC.

Unnamed sources said the Islamic State leaders told members to set booby traps along the walls. If the Iraqi army attempts to liberate the area, the militants must “complete the bombing of the historic walls.”

Nineveh was one of the oldest and greatest cities in antiquity. The area was settled as early as 6000 BC and, by 3000 BC, had become an important religious center for worship of the Akkadian goddess Ishtar. The early city (and subsequent buildings) were constructed on a fault line and, consequently, suffered damage from a number of earthquakes. One such event destroyed the first temple of Ishtar, which was then rebuilt in 2260 BC by the Akkadian king Manishtusu.

The origin of the name Nineveh is obscure. Possibly it meant originally the seat of Ishtar, since Nina was one of the Babylonian names of that goddess. The ideogram means “house or place of fish,” and was perhaps due to popular etymology (comp. Aramaic “nuna,” denoting “fish”).

It was Sennacherib who made Nineveh a truly magnificent city (c. 700 BC). It was the largest city in the world for some fifty years until, after a bitter period of civil war in Assyria itself, it was sacked by an unusual coalition of former subject peoples, the Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Chaldeans, Scythians and Cimmerians in 612 BC. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq.

Following the defeat in 612 BC, the site remained largely unoccupied for centuries with only a scattering of Assyrians living amid the ruins until the Sassanian period, although Assyrians continue to live in the surrounding area to this day.

The city is mentioned again in the Battle of Nineveh in 627 AD, which was fought between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Sassanian Empire of Persia near the ancient city. From the Arab conquest 637 AD until modern time, the city of Mosul on the opposite bank of the river Tigris became the successor of ancient Nineveh.

The site of Nineveh have been exposed to decay of its reliefs by a lack of proper protective roofing, vandalism and looting holes dug into chamber floors. Future preservation is further compromised by the site’s proximity to constantly expanding suburbs.

In an October 2010 report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, Global Heritage Fund named Nineveh one of 12 sites most “on the verge” of irreparable destruction and loss, citing insufficient management, development pressures and looting as primary causes.

The Islamic State moved to the Nineveh Plain in early August, “the last stronghold of Assyrians in Iraq.” Over 200,000 Assyrians fled to the Dohuk and Arbel areas.

When militants captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, in June, they proceeded to destroy shrines and tombs important to Christians and Muslims because they allegedly “distort Islam” and encourage “worship of others besides God.”

They destroyed a shrine to Jonah, the biblical prophet, and Yunus in the Koran. The shrine was built in the eighth century BC. Worshippers believe that the prophet Jonah, most famous for surviving being swallowed by a whale in the Biblical legend, is buried there. Saddam Hussein renovated the shrine, and it remained a popular site for pilgrims.

Jonah and Nineveh are connected in the Book of Jonah in the Hebrew Bible. God tells Jonah to walk to Nineveh to tell the Ninevites about their destruction. The people fasted and repented and God allowed them to live, which upset Jonah. God provided Jonah a plant, but proceeded to destroy the plant.

This also upset Jonah, but God turned it into a lesson to help Jonah understand why he saved the Ninevites: But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. ¹¹And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

The story is so important that the Assyrian Christians started The Fast of Nineveh, later also adopted by other Oriental Orthodox religions. The three-day fast commemorates the three days it took Jonah to travel to Nineveh and the three days he spent in the belly of the whale when he did not go to Nineveh as God asked him.

It is also connected to a plague leashed upon northern Iraq in the 9th century. The bishop used the Book of Jonah and “ordered a 3-day fast to ask for God’s forgiveness.” The plague went away after three days.

Islamic State jihadists have targeted a number of ancient structures in the region. The group attempted to destroy the Crooked Minaret, an 840-year old tower, but residents immediately protected it and told the terrorists they would have to kill the people as well.

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