Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Our history

Posted by Fredsvenn on January 25, 2015

When the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in 1923, the Republic of Turkey was established. In its attempts to shroud the Armenian heritage of Turkey, the authorities of the republic began a systematic campaign to alter Armenian placenames. These attempts included the name change of the geographical expression “Armenian plateau” to “Eastern Anatolia.”

Turkey presents Armenian Portasar (called Gobekle Tepe in Turkish), a great ritualistic-religious-scientific building, which is situated in the Western Armenia, to the world as a Turkish Stonehenge. Portasar, which means Mountain Navel, has a lot in common with Karahunj; the builders belonged to the same culture. The name Portasar given to the monument means the centre of the Earth and life, navel, mountain.

Vachagan Vahradyan, candidate of biological sciences, adviser and chief scientist to the Armenian scientific party of Oxford University’s ‘Stones and Stars’ project, says the Portasar was built in the eon of Scorpion. According to Carl Schmidt, in the Armenian highland the haven was divided into constellations even 12-18 thousand years ago.

When ancient Armenians built Portasar about 12,000 years ago there was already some kind of level of sophisticated organization which was surely required to accomplish such a massive undertaken for it’s time period. This about 12 thousand year-old monument, discovered in Armenian Mesopotamia, is the archeological proof which, along with comparative linguistics allows to say that Armenia is the cradle of modern civilization.

The assemblage was built some 11,600 years ago dated 10th millennium BC, seven millennia before the Great Pyramid of Giza. It contains the oldest known temple. Indeed it is the oldest known example of monumental architecture — the first structure human beings put together that was bigger and more complicated than a hut. When these pillars were erected, so far as we know, nothing of comparable scale existed in the world.

Portasar is located in Western Armenia, in the historic Armenian region of Urha, often referred in Turkish as Urfa or Riha. The letter “F” is very rarely used in the Armenian language, it is speculated that the sound “F” perpetuates is unholy or not a correct sound.

By etymology the name “Urha” is Armenian, the word “Hurrian”. HUR comes from Armenian “fire”. AR, HAR, ER, HER, YER, HOR, KHAR, KHOR, UR, HUR, KHUR have the same meaning. But the r have in different occations been changed with l and s.

The Ossetians (Ossetian: ir, iratta, digora, digorantta) are an Iranian ethnic group of the Caucasus Mountains, indigenous to the region known as Ossetia.

The Ossetians and Ossetia received their name from the Russians, who adopted the Georgian designations Osi (sing., pl.: Osebi) and Oseti (“the land of Osi”), used since the Middle Ages for the Iranian-speaking population of the Central Caucasus and probably based on the old Alan self-designation “As”.

As the Ossetians lacked any single inclusive name for themselves in their native language, these terms were accepted by the Ossetians themselves already before their integration into the Russian Empire.

This practice was put into question by the new Ossetian nationalism in the early 1990s, when the dispute between the Ossetian subgroups of Digoron and Iron over the status of the Digoron dialect made the Ossetian intellectuals search for a new inclusive ethnic name.

This, combined with the effects of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, led to the popularization of “Alania”, the name of the medieval Sarmatian confederation, to which the Ossetians traced their origin, and inclusion of this name into the official republican title of North Ossetia in 1994.

Another example is Arran (Middle Persian form), also known as Aran, Ardhan (in Parthian), Al-Ran (in Arabic), Aghvank and Alvank (in Armenian), (Georgian: Ran-i ) or Caucasian Albania (in Latin), a geographical name used in ancient and medieval times to signify the territory which corresponded roughly to the territory of modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan. The native name for the country is unknown.

The vocal can change, just the consonant keeps on. Ar, Ur, Er, Ir etc. Words are made by one consonant and one or two vocals, which can change their place on either side of the consonant.

According to a number of scholars, Ar, was a shorter version of Ara or Arar(ich), Creator. The worship of Ar was wide spread amongst early Armenians who worshipped this deity and simply called him the Creator (Ara or Ararich).

Asha/Arta is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Vedic language ṛta) for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. Its Old Persian equivalent is arta-. In Middle Iranian languages the term appears as ard-.

In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism.” The significance of the term is complex, with a highly nuanced range of meaning. It is commonly summarized in accord with its contextual implications of truth and right(eousness), order and right working.

The word is also the proper name of the divinity Asha, the Amesha Spenta that is the hypostasis or “genius” of “Truth” or “Righteousness”. The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie.”

The Halaf culture is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 and 5500 BCE. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Pottery Neolithic and is located primarily in south-eastern Turkey, Syria, and northern Iraq, although Halaf-influenced material is found throughout Greater Mesopotamia. However, the most important site for the Halaf tradition was the site of Tell Arpachiyah, now located in the suburbs of Mosul, Iraq.

The Halaf period was succeeded by the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (~5500 – 5200 cal. BCE) and then by the Ubaid period (~5200 – 4000 cal. BCE).

Dryland farming was practiced by the population. This type of farming was based on exploiting natural rainfall without the help of irrigation, in a similar practice to that still practiced today by the Hopi people of Arizona. Emmer wheat, two-rowed barley and flax were grown. They kept cattle, sheep and goats.

The Hassuna culture is a Neolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia dating to the early sixth millennium BC. It is named after the type site of Tell Hassuna in Iraq. Other sites where Hassuna material has been found include Tell Shemshara.

By around 6000 BC people had moved into the foothills (piedmont) of northernmost Mesopotamia where there was enough rainfall to allow for “dry” agriculture in some places. These were the first farmers in northernmost Mesopotamia. They made Hassuna-style pottery (cream slip with reddish paint in linear designs). Hassuna people lived in small villages or hamlets ranging from 2 to 8 acres (3.2 ha).

At Tell Hassuna, adobe dwellings built around open central courts with fine painted pottery replace earlier levels with crude pottery. Hand axes, sickles, grinding stones, bins, baking ovens and numerous bones of domesticated animals reflect settled agricultural life.

Female figurines have been related to worship and jar burials within which food was placed related to belief in afterlife. The relationship of Hassuna pottery to that of Jericho suggests that village culture was becoming widespread.

Shulaveri-Shomu culture is a Late Neolithic/Eneolithic culture that existed on the territory of present-day Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Armenian Highlands. The culture is dated to mid-6th or early-5th millennia BC and is thought to be one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures.

The Shulaveri-Shomu culture begins after the 8.2 kiloyear event which was a sudden decrease in global temperatures starting ca. 6200 BC and which lasted for about two to four centuries.

Shulaveri culture predates the Kura-Araxes culture and surrounding areas, which is assigned to the period of ca. 4000 – 2200 BC, and had close relation with the middle Bronze Age culture called Trialeti culture (ca. 3000 – 1500 BC). Sioni culture of Eastern Georgia possibly represents a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex.

In around ca. 6000–4200 B.C the Shulaveri-Shomu and other Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Southern Caucasus use local obsidian for tools, raise animals such as cattle and pigs, and grow crops, including grapes.

Many of the characteristic traits of the Shulaverian material culture (circular mudbrick architecture, pottery decorated by plastic design, anthropomorphic female figurines, obsidian industry with an emphasis on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic (Hassuna, Halaf).

The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to 5500–4800 BCE. It partially overlaps with Hassuna and early Ubaid.

Samarran material culture was first recognized during excavations by German Archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld at the site of Samarra. Other sites where Samarran material has been found include Tell Shemshara, Tell es-Sawwan and Yarim Tepe.

At Tell es-Sawwan, evidence of irrigation—including flax—establishes the presence of a prosperous settled culture with a highly organized social structure. The culture is primarily known for its finely-made pottery decorated against dark-fired backgrounds with stylized figures of animals and birds and geometric designs.

This widely-exported type of pottery, one of the first widespread, relatively uniform pottery styles in the Ancient Near East, was first recognized at Samarra. The Samarran Culture was the precursor to the Mesopotamian culture of the Ubaid period.

The Ubaid period (ca. 6500 to 3800 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from Tell al-`Ubaid where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted initially by Henry Hall and later by Leonard Woolley.

In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvium although it is likely earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium. In the south it has a very long duration between about 6500 and 3800 BC when it is replaced by the Uruk period.

In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BC. It is preceded by the Halaf period and the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period and succeeded by the Late Chalcolithic period.

The Leyla-Tepe culture is a culture of archaeological interest from the Chalcolithic era. Its population was distributed on the southern slopes of the Central Caucasus (modern Azerbaijan, Agdam District), from 4350 until 4000 BC. Similar amphora burials in the South Caucasus are found in the Western Georgian Jar-Burial Culture.

The culture has also been linked to the north Ubaid period monuments, in particular, with the settlements in the Eastern Anatolia Region (Arslan-tepe, Coruchu-tepe, Tepechik, etc.).

The settlement is of a typical Western-Asian variety, with the dwellings packed closely together and made of mud bricks with smoke outlets. It has been suggested that the Leyla-Tepe were the founders of the Maykop culture.

An expedition to Syria by the Russian Academy of Sciences revealed the similarity of the Maykop and Leyla-Tepe artifacts with those found recently while excavating the ancient city of Tel Khazneh I, from the 4th millennium BC.

The Maykop culture (also spelled Maikop), ca. 3700 BC—3000 BC, was a major Bronze Age archaeological culture in the Western Caucasus region of Southern Russia.

It extends along the area from the Taman Peninsula at the Kerch Strait to near the modern border of Dagestan and southwards to the Kura River. The culture takes its name from a royal burial found in Maykop kurgan in the Kuban River valley.

In the south it borders the approximately contemporaneous Kura-Araxes culture (3500—2200 BC), which extends into eastern Anatolia and apparently influenced it. To the north is the Yamna culture, including the Novotitorovka culture (3300—2700), which it overlaps in territorial extent. It is contemporaneous with the late Uruk period in Mesopotamia.

The Kuban River is navigable for much of its length and provides an easy water-passage via the Sea of Azov to the territory of the Yamna culture, along the Don and Donets River systems. The Maykop culture was thus well-situated to exploit the trading possibilities with the central Ukraine area.

Gamkrelidze and Ivanov suggest that the Maykop culture (or its ancestor) may have been a way-station for Indo-Europeans migrating from the South Caucasus and/or eastern Anatolia to a secondary Urheimat on the steppe. This would essentially place the Anatolian stock in Anatolia from the beginning, and only in this instance, agrees with Colin Renfrew’s Anatolian hypothesis.

Considering that some attempt has been made to unite Indo-European with the Northwest Caucasian languages, an earlier Caucasian pre-Urheimat is not out of the question.

Ghassulian refers to a culture and an archaeological stage dating to the Middle Chalcolithic Period in the Southern Levant (c. 3800–c. 3350 BC). Considered to correspond to the Halafian (6100 and 5500 BCE) culture of North Syria and Mesopotamia, its type-site, Tulaylat al-Ghassul, is located in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea in modern Jordan and was excavated in the 1930s.

The Ghassulian stage was characterized by small hamlet settlements of mixed farming peoples, and migrated southwards from Syria into Palestine Canaan. The Ghassulians were a Chalcolithic culture as they also smelted copper. Funerary customs show evidence that they buried their dead in stone dolmens.

Ghassulian culture has been identified at numerous other places in what is today southern Israel, especially in the region of Beersheba. The Ghassulian culture correlates closely with the Amratian of Egypt and may have had trading affinities (e.g., the distinctive churns, or “bird vases”) with early Minoan culture in Crete.

The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture was a civilization that existed from 3400 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end, but it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BC. The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain.

There is evidence of trade with Mesopotamia, as well as Asia Minor. It is, however, considered above all to be indigenous to the Caucasus, and its major variants characterized (according to Caucasus historian Amjad Jaimoukha) later major cultures in the region.

The name of the culture is derived from the Kura and Araxes river valleys. Its territory corresponds to parts of modern Armenia, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia, Ingushetia and North Ossetia. Their metal goods were widely distributed, recorded in the Volga, Dnieper and Don-Donets systems in the north, into Syria and Palestine in the south, and west into Anatolia.

Aratta is a land that appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list.

It is described in Sumerian literature as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them. It is remote and difficult to reach. It is home to the goddess Inana, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk, but is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk.

Hurrian names occur sporadically in northwestern Mesopotamia and the area of Kirkuk in modern Iraq by the Middle Bronze Age. Their presence was attested at Nuzi, Urkesh and other sites. They eventually infiltrated and occupied a broad arc of fertile farmland stretching from the Khabur River valley in the west to the foothills of the Zagros Mountains in the east.

  1. J. Gelb and E. A. Speiser believed East Semitic speaking Assyrians/Subarians had been the linguistic and ethnic substratum of northern Mesopotamia since earliest times, while Hurrians were merely late arrivals, but it now rather looks like the Hurrians were in northern Mesopotamia since earliest times, while the Semites were merely late arrivals.

Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) was a Hurrian-speaking kingdom, known from Assyrian sources beginning in the 13th century BC, located in what was much later to become the Armenian Highland, to the southwest of Lake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. Scholars have linked the district in the area called Arme or Armani, to the name Armenia.

It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî. There are certain Bronze Age records identified with the toponym in both Mesopotamian and Egyptian sources.

The land of Subartu (Akkadian Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri, Assyrian mât Šubarri) or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. The name also appears as Subari in the Amarna letters, and, in the form Šbr, in Ugarit, and came to be known as the Hurrians or Subarians and their country was known as Subir, Subartu or Shubar.

Weidner interpreted textual evidence to indicate that after the Hurrian king Shattuara of Mitanni was defeated by Adad-nirari I of the Middle Assyrian Empire in the early 13th century BC, he then became ruler of a reduced vassal state known as Shubria or Subartu.

Together with Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other populations of the region such as the Nairi fell under Urartian (Kingdom of Ararat) rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants, according to most scholars, later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the early Armenians.

The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land (the Amorites). Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name Subartu as one of these quarters around Akkad, along with Martu, Elam, and Sumer.

The whole area allows agriculture without artificial irrigation; cattle, sheep and goats were raised. It is very similar to Assyria in climate, and was settled by both indigenous Hurrian and Amoritic-speaking (Amurru) populations.

Assyria was also sometimes known as Subartu prior to the rise of the city state of Ashur after which it was Aššūrāyu, and after its fall, from 605 BC through to the late 7th century AD variously as Athura and also referenced as Atouria according to Strabo, Syria (Greek), Assyria (Latin) and Assuristan.

After its dissolution in the mid 7th century AD it remained The Ecclesiastical Province of Ator. The term Assyria can also refer to the geographic region or heartland where Assyria, its empires and the Assyrian people were (and still are) centered.

The modern Assyrian Christian (AKA Chaldo-Assyrian) ethnic minority in northern Iraq, north east Syria, south east Turkey and north west Iran are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians (see Assyrian continuity).

The cities of Assur (also spelled Ashur or Aššur) and Nineveh, together with a number of other towns and cities, existed since at least before the middle of the 3rd millennium BC (c. 2600 BC), although they appear to have been Sumerian-ruled administrative centres at this time, rather than independent states.

According to some Judaeo-Christian writers, the city of Ashur was founded by Ashur the son of Shem, who was deified by later generations as the city’s patron god. However, it is not among the cities said to have been founded by him in Genesis 10:11–12, and the far older Assyrian annals make no mention of the much later Judeo-Christian figures of Shem and Ashur.

Assyrian tradition lists an early Assyrian king named Ushpia as having dedicated the first temple to the god Ashur in the city in the 21st century BC. It is highly likely that the city was named in honour of its patron Assyrian god with the same name.

Ushpia was an early Assyrian king who ruled circa 2030 BC, according to the Assyrian King List (AKL). Like most other of the “kings who lived in tents”, his name is not regarded as Semitic, but more likely Hurrian.

Archaeology reveals the site of the city was occupied by the middle of the third millennium BC. This was still the Sumerian period, before the Assyrian kingdom emerged in the 23rd to 21st century BC.

The oldest remains of the city were discovered in the foundations of the Ishtar temple, as well as at the Old Palace. In the following Old Akkadian period, the city was ruled by kings from Akkad. During the “Sumerian Renaissance”, the city was ruled by a Sumerian governor.

Aššur is the name of the city, of the land ruled by the city, and of its tutelary deity. At a late date it appears in Assyrian literature in the forms An-sar, An-sar (ki), which form was presumably read Assur. The name of the deity is written A-šur or Aš-sùr, and in Neo-assyrian often shortened to Aš.

In the Creation tablet, the heavens personified collectively were indicated by this term An-sar, “host of heaven,” in contradistinction to the earth, Ki-sar, “host of earth.”

In view of this fact, it seems highly probable that the late writing An-sar for Assur was a more or less conscious attempt on the part of the Assyrian scribes to identify the peculiarly Assyrian deity Asur with the Creation deity An-sar.

On the other hand, there is an epithet Asir or Ashir (“overseer”) applied to several gods and particularly to the deity Asur, a fact which introduced a third element of confusion into the discussion of the name Assur. It is probable then that there is a triple popular etymology in the various forms of writing the name Assur; viz. A-usar, An-sar and the stem asdru.

In the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish, Anshar (also spelled Anshur), which means “sky pivot” or “sky axle”, is a sky god. He is the husband of his sister Kishar. They might both represent heaven (an), the male principle, and earth (ki), the female principle.

Both are the second generation of gods; their parents being the serpents Lahmu and Lahamu and grandparents Tiamat and Abzu. They, in turn, are the parents of Anu, another sky god.

During the reign of Sargon II, Assyrians started to identify Anshar with their Assur in order to let him star in their version of Enuma Elish. In this mythology Anshar’s spouse was Ninlil, “lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”, also called Sud, in Assyrian called Mulliltu, in Sumerian mythology the consort goddess of Enlil.

The parentage of Ninlil is variously described. Most commonly she is called the daughter of Haia (god of stores) and Nunbarsegunu (or Ninshebargunnu, a goddess of barley, or Nisaba).

Another Akkadian source says she is the daughter of Anu (aka An) and Antu (Sumerian Ki). Other sources call her a daughter of Anu and Nammu. Theophilus G. Pinches noted that Nnlil or Belit Ilani had seven different names (such as Nintud, Ninhursag, Ninmah, etc.) for seven different localities.

In Enuma Elish Anshar and Ninlil do evil, unspeakable things. Then, Abzu decides to try to destroy them. They both hear of the plan and kill him first. Tiamat gets outraged and gives birth to 11 children. They then kill them both and then are outmatched by anyone.

Marduk (God of rain/thunder/lightning) kills Tiamat by wrapping a net around her and summoning the 4 winds to make her swell, then Marduk shoots an arrow into her and kills her. Half of her body is then divided to create the heavens and the Earth. He uses her tears to make rivers on Earth and take her blood to make humans.

If this name /Anšar/ is derived from */Anśar/, then it may be related to the Egyptian hieroglyphic /NṬR/ (“god”), since hieroglyphic Egyptian /Ṭ/ may be etymological */Ś/. Anšar might also be the same as Antum.

Asherah (Ugaritic: ‘ṯrt‎), in Semitic mythology, is a mother goddess who appears in a number of ancient sources. She appears in Akkadian writings by the name of Ashratum/Ashratu, and in Hittite as Asherdu(s) or Ashertu(s) or Aserdu(s) or Asertu(s). Asherah is generally considered identical with the Ugaritic goddess ʼAṯirat. The Ancient Greeks identified Hathor with the goddess Aphrodite, while in Roman mythology she corresponds to Venus.

In Egypt, beginning in the 18th dynasty, a Semitic goddess named Qudshu (‘Holiness’) begins to appear prominently, equated with the native Egyptian goddess Hathor. Some think this is Athirat/Ashratu under her Ugaritic name. If Asherah is to be associated with Hathor/Qudshu, it can then be assumed that the cow is what’s being referred to as Asherah.

The Kura Araxes culture may have given rise to the later Khirbet Kerak (Arabic: Khirbet al-Karak, “the ruins of the castle”) or Beth Yerah (Hebrew: “House of the Moon god”) ware culture found in Syria and Canaan after the fall of the Akkadian Empire.

Beth Yerah means “House of the Moon (god)”. Though it is not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible or other Bronze or Iron Age sources, the name may preserve, at least in part, the Canaanite toponym of Ablm-bt-Yrh, “the city/fort (qrt) of his-majesty Yarih”. As Ablm (Heb. Abel), this location is mentioned in the 14th century BCE Epic of Aqht, and is thought to be a reference to the Early Bronze Age structure extant at Khirbet Kerak.

Khirbet Kerak is a archaeological mound located on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee in modern day Israel. The tell spans an area of over 50 acres—one of the largest in the Levant—and contains remains dating from the Early Bronze Age (c. 3000 BC – 2000 BC) and from the Persian period (c. 450 BC) through to the early Islamic period (c. 1000 AD).

A form of Early Bronze Age pottery first discovered at the tell but also seen in other parts of the Levant (including Jericho, Beth Shan, Tell Judeideh, and Ugarit) is known as “Khirbet Kerak ware.” Khirbet Kerak culture appears to have been a Levantine version of the Early Transcaucasian Culture.

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Jebusites were a Canaanite tribe who built and inhabited Jerusalem prior to its conquest by King David. The Books of Kings state that Jerusalem was known as Jebus prior to this event. According to some biblical chronologies, the city was conquered by King David in 1003 BCE, or according to other sources 869 BCE.

In the Amarna letters, mention is made that the contemporaneous king of Jerusalem was named Abdi-Heba, which is a theophoric name invoking the Hurrian mother goddess Hebat; unless a different ethnic group occupied Jerusalem in this period. This implies that the Jebusites were Hurrians themselves, were heavily influenced by Hurrian culture, or were dominated by a Hurrian maryannu class.

According to Genesis, the ruler of Jerusalem in the time of Abraham was Melchizedek (also Melchizedeq), and that as well as being a ruler, he was also a priest. Rashi points out that Melchizedeq was another name for Shem, son of Noah. Later, Joshua is described as defeating a Jebusite king named Adonizedek.

The first parts of their names mean king and lord, respectively, but though the zedek part can be translated as righteous (making the names my king is righteous and my lord is righteous), most Biblical scholars believe that it is a reference to a deity named Zedek or Sydyk, who was the main deity worshipped by the Jebusites (making the names my king is Zedek and my lord is Zedek).

Scholars are uncertain, however, whether Melchizedek was himself intended in the Genesis account to be understood as a Jebusite, rather than a member of another group in charge of Jerusalem prior to the Jebusites – Jerusalem is referred to as Salem rather than Jebus in the passages of Genesis describing Melchizedek.

Melchizedek, Melkisetek, or Malki Tzedek (translated as “my king (is) righteous(ness)”; Armenian: Melkisetek), was a king and priest who blesses Abram in the 14th chapter of the Book of Genesis.

He is introduced as the king of Salem, and priest of El Elyon (“God most high”). He brings out bread and wine and blesses Abram and El Elyon. Chazalic literature — specifically Targum Jonathan, Targum Yerushalmi, and the Babylonian Talmud — presents the name as a nickname title for Shem, the son of Noah.

In Christianity, according to the Letter to the Hebrews, Jesus Christ is identified as a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek, and so Jesus assumes the role of High Priest once and for all.

Adonizedek (variously transliterated as Adoni-zedec or Adoni-Cedeq (in Hebrew, Adoni-Tzedek) was, according to the Book of Joshua, king of Jerusalem at the time of the Israelite invasion of Canaan (Joshua 10:1-3). His name means “my lord is righteousness” in Hebrew.

Adonizedek led a coalition of five of the neighboring Amorite rulers (Hoham, king of Hebron; Piram, king of Jarmuth; Japhia, king of Lachish; and Debir, king of Eglon) in resisting the invasion, but the allies were defeated at Gibeon, and suffered at Beth-horon, not only from their pursuers, but also from a great hail storm.

The five allied kings took refuge in a cave at Makkedah and were imprisoned there until after the battle, when Joshua commanded that they be brought before him; whereupon they were brought out, humiliated, and put to death.

According to the Midrash, the name Adoni-zedek is translated as “Master of Zedek” — that is, “of Jerusalem,” the city of righteousness (Genesis Rabbah xliii. 6).

The author of the article for the Easton’s Bible Dictionary states that amongst the Amarna letters are some letters from Adonizedek to the Pharaoh of Egypt, which add to the history recorded in Josh. 10. However, the only king of Jerusalem mentioned in this archive is one `Abdi-Heba (whose name translates as “servant of Heba”), who is said to have succeeded Lab’ayu.

Six of his letters to the king of Egypt (EA 285-290) are included in the Amarna letters, and he is mentioned in a seventh (EA 280). Perhaps the Dictionary author saw how `Abdi-Heba complained of the raids by the Habiru, who at the time were unquestioningly identified with the Hebrews, and forced the identification.

Habiru or Apiru (Egyptian: pr.w) was the name given by various Sumerian, Egyptian, Akkadian, Hittite, Mitanni, and Ugaritic sources (dated, roughly, between 1800 BC and 1100 BC) to a group of people living as nomadic invaders in areas of the Fertile Crescent from Northeastern Mesopotamia and Iran to the borders of Egypt in Canaan.

Depending on the source and epoch, these Habiru are variously described as nomadic or semi-nomadic, rebels, outlaws, raiders, mercenaries, and bowmen, servants, slaves, migrant laborers, etc.

The names Habiru and Apiru are used in Akkadian cuneiform texts. The corresponding name in the Egyptian script appears to be pr.w, conventionally pronounced Apiru (W,or u-vowel “quail-chick” being used as the Egyptian plural suffix).

In Mesopotamian records they are also identified by the Sumerian logogram SA.GAZ. The name Habiru was also found in the Amarna letters to Egyptian pharaohs, along with many names of Canaanite peoples written in Akkadian.

Though found throughout most of the Fertile Crescent, the arc of civilization “extending from the Tigris-Euphrates river basins over to the Mediterranean littoral and down through the Nile Valley during the Second Millennium, the principal area of historical interest is in their engagement with Egypt.”

Labaya (also transliterated as Labayu or Lib’ayu) was a 14th-century BCE ruler or warlord in the central hill country of southern Canaan. He lived contemporaneously with Pharaoh Akhenaten. Labaya is mentioned in several of the Amarna Letters (abbreviated “EA”, for ‘el Amarna’), which is practically all scholars know about him. He is the author of letters EA 252–54.

Labaya was active over the whole length of Samaria and slightly beyond, as he gave land to Habiru in the vicinity of Šakmu (Shechem) and he and his sons threatened such powerful towns as Jerusalem and Gazru (Gezer) to the south, and Megiddo to the north.

Though the beginning of Israel’s history as a nation is usually placed at the time of her departure from Egypt, an account of her history must start with Abraham and the patriarchs. Only after Israel had moved across Egypt’s border did she have size and identity with which other nations would have to reckon with, but she already had a history that stretched back through the years to her fathers, Jacob and Abraham. To Jacob the twelve heads of the respective tribes had been born, and to Abraham God had given His promise of a nation.

Archaeological discoveries in the Middle East support and illuminate Scripture. Discoveries continue to fill in the picture of the ancient civilization in which the patriarchs lived. It may be that archaeology will never prove that Abraham really existed, but what we can prove is that his life and times, as reflected in the stories about him, fit perfectly within the early second millennium.

Critics of the biblical account of the patriarchs are forced to accept the historicity of these accounts on the basis of finds at such places as Mari and Nuzi. Hurrians had inhabited the region northeast of the river Tigris, around the modern Kirkuk. This was the kingdom of Arrapha. Excavations at Yorgan Tepe, ancient Nuzi, proved this to be one of the most important sites for our knowledge about the Hurrians.

Nuzi was a city in the Hurrian kingdom of Arrapha, whose capital is today buried under the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. It was founded by the Hurrians around 1500 BC Arrapha was situated along the southeastern edge of the area under Mittanian domination. Babylonia lay to the south. To the west was Assyria, whose revolt against the Hurrian kingdom of Mittani probably led to Nuzi’s destruction in the 14th century, and ultimately contributed to Mittani’s collapse.

The tablets, which are in Akkadian, reveal much about ancient laws and customs. Nearly 5000 tablets were found in the excavations at Nuzi, mostly business and legal documents, and they were located in both the palace as well as in private residences.

Hurrian kings such as Ithi-Teshup and Ithiya ruled over Arrapha, yet by the mid-fifteenth century BCE they had become vassals of the Great King of Mitanni. The kingdom of Arrapha itself was destroyed by the Assyrians in the mid 14th century BCE and thereafter became an Assyrian city.

Jaimoukha believes that the southern expanse of the Kura Araxes culture is attributable primarily to the Hurrians and Mitanni (Mi-ta-an-ni; also Mittani Mi-it-ta-ni), referred to as the Maryannu, Nahrin or Mitanni by the Egyptians, the Hurri by the Hittites, and the Hanigalbat (Assyrian Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) by the Assyrians, a Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and southeast Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC.

The different names seem to have referred to the same kingdom and were used interchangeably, according to Michael C. Astour. Egyptian sources call Mitanni “nhrn”, which is usually pronounced as Naharin/Naharina from the Assyro-Akkadian word for “river”, cf. Aram-Naharaim.

The name Mitanni is first found in the “memoirs” of the Syrian wars (ca. 1480 BC) of the official astronomer and clockmaker Amememhet, who returned from the “foreign country called Me-ta-ni” at the time of Thutmose I, who in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) mention the people of Ermenen (Armenians), and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”. Under the reign of Tuthmosis IV, friendly relations were established between the Egyptians and the Mitanni.

Founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class governing a predominantly Hurrian population, Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Amorite Babylon and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia.

Kammenhuber (1968) suggested that this vocabulary was derived from the still undivided Indo-Iranian language, but Mayrhofer (1974) has shown that specifically Indo-Aryan features are present. A Hurrian passage in the Amarna letters – usually composed in Akkadian, the lingua franca of the day – indicates that the royal family of Mitanni was by then speaking Hurrian as well.

Maryannu is an ancient word for the caste of chariot-mounted hereditary warrior nobility which dominated many of the societies of the Middle East during the Bronze Age. The term is attested in the Amarna letters written by Haapi.

Robert Drews writes that the name ‘maryannu’ although plural takes the singular ‘marya’, which in Sanskrit means young warrior, and attaches a Hurrian suffix. He suggests that at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age most would have spoken either Hurrian or Aryan but by the end of the 14th century most of the Levant maryannu had Semitic names.

The names of the Mitanni aristocracy frequently are of Indo-Aryan origin, but it is specifically their deities which show Indo-Aryan roots (Mitra, Varuna, Indra, Nasatya). The tradition of “Mithra’ was observed during the early ages of civilization among all ancient Indo–European cultures in one form of another.

The primary force of the cosmos who gave the life to this planet and all the living being to survive, to facilitate growth and prosperitywas sun God “Mitra” to Vedic-Indians and “Mithra” to Persians in the known history.

Queen Thiy was of Armenian origin and she brought the Aten religion (Mitraism) to Egypt from her native land – Armenian Kingdom of Mitanni – and taught it to her son. She is the mother of Akhenaten, mother in law to another future Egyptian queen of Mitannian origin, Nefertiti, and grandmother of Tutankhamun.

Tiye was married to Amenhotep III by the second year of his reign. He had been born of a secondary wife of his father and needed a stronger tie to the royal lineage. He appears to have been crowned while still a child, perhaps between the ages of six to twelve. They had at least seven, possibly more children.

The population of the Indo-European-speaking Hittite Empire in Anatolia included a large population of Hurrians, and there is significant Hurrian influence in Hittite mythology. By the Early Iron Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated with other peoples, except perhaps in the kingdom of Urartu.

By the thirteenth century BC all of the Hurrian states had been vanquished by other peoples, with the Mitanni kingdom destroyed by Assyria. The heartlands of the Hurrians, the Khabur river valley and south eastern Anatolia, became provinces of the Middle Assyrian Empire (1366 – 1020 BC) which came to rule much of the Near East and Asia Minor.

It is not clear what happened to these early Hurrian people at the end of the Bronze Age. Some scholars have suggested that Hurrians lived on in the country of Nairi north of Assyria during the early Iron Age, before this too was conquered by Assyria. The Hurrian population of northern Syria in the following centuries seems to have given up their language in favor of the Assyrian dialect of Akkadian, and later, Aramaic.

However, a power vacuum was to allow a new and powerful Hurrian state whose rulers spoke Urartian, similar to old Hurrian, to arise. The Middle Assyrian Empire, after destroying the Hurri-Mitanni Empire, the Hittite Empire, defeating the Phrygians and Elamites, conquering Babylon, the Arameans of Syria, northern Ancient Iran and Canaan and forcing the Egyptians out of much of the near east, itself went into a century of relative decline from the latter part of the 11th century BC.

By the Early Iron Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated with other peoples, except perhaps in the kingdom of Urartu, corresponding to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat or Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili) was an Iron Age kingdom centred on Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands.

The Urartians were thus able to impose themselves around Lake Van and Mount Ararat, forming the powerful Kingdom of Urartu. During the 11th and 10th centuries BC, the kingdom eventually encompassed a region stretching from the Caucasus Mountains in the north, to the borders of northern Assyria and northern Ancient Iran in the south, and controlled much of eastern Anatolia.

“Urartu” is cognate with the Biblical “Ararat,” Akkadian “Urashtu,” and Armenian “Ayrarat.” The name used by the local population as a toponym was Biainili (or Biaineli), which forms the root of the Armenian (“Van”), hence the names “Kingdom of Van (Bianili)” or “Vannic Kingdom.”

Scholars believe that Urartu is an Akkadian variation of Ararat of the Old Testament. Indeed, Mount Ararat is located in ancient Urartian territory, approximately 120 km north of its former capital.

In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.

Scholars such as Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt (1910) believed that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after their god Khaldi (also known as Haldi or Hayk), one of the three chief deities of Ararat (Urartu). His shrine was at Ardini. The other two chief deities were the weather-god, notably the god of storms and thunder, Theispas of Kumenu, and the solar god Shivini or Artinis of Tushpa.

The ancient Araratian cities of Teyseba and Teishebaini were named after Theispas. He is a counterpart to the Assyrian god Adad, and the Hurrian god, Teshub. He was often depicted as a man standing on a bull, holding a handful of thunderbolts. His wife was the goddess Huba, who was the counterpart of the Hurrian goddess Hebat.

Of all the gods of Ararat (Urartu) pantheon, the most inscriptions are dedicated to him. His wife was the goddess Arubani, the Urartian’s goddess of fertility and art, but also Bagmashtu (also known as Bagparti, Bagvarti, Bagbartu).

Although throughout most of Urartu Arubani is known as Khaldi’s wife, at the excavation of Musasir references to “Khaldi and his wife, Bagmashtu” were found inscribed on some of the items. It is assumed that when Urartu expanded its territories to include the area Musasir, local gods were incorporated and a new pantheon was created for that region. The locality and addition of Bagmashtu are supported by the fact that her name is of Armenian origin.

Muṣaṣir (Assyrian Mu-ṣa-ṣir and variants, including Mutsatsir, Akkadian for Exit of the Serpent/Snake), in Urartian Ardini (likely from Armenian Artin, meaning “sun rising” or to “awake”) was an ancient city of Urartu, attested in Assyrian sources of the 9th and 8th centuries BC. It was acquired by the Urartian King Ishpuini ca. 800 BC. The city’s tutelary deity was Ḫaldi. The name Musasir in Akkadian means exit of the serpent.

Chaldea or Chaldaea (from Ancient Greek: Chaldaia; Akkadian: māt Ḫaldu; Hebrew: Kaśdim; Aramaic: Kaldo) was a small Semitic nation which emerged between the late 10th and early 9th century BC, surviving until the mid 6th century BC, after which it disappeared, and the Chaldean tribes were absorbed into the native population of Babylonia.

Unlike the East Semitic Akkadian speaking Akkadians, Aramaic and Babylonians whose ancestors had been established in Mesopotamia since the 30th century BC, the Chaldeans are a native Mesopotamian people, the indigenous and natives of modern day Iraq, but were late 10th or early 9th century BC West Semitic migrants to the far south eastern corner of the region.

They seem to have appeared there sometime between c. 940 – 860 BC, a century or so after other new Semitic peoples, the Arameans and the Suteans appeared in Babylonia, c. 1100 BC. This was a period of weakness in Babylonia, and its ineffectual native kings were unable to prevent new waves of semi-nomadic foreign peoples invading and settling in the land.

Though belonging to the same West Semitic ethnic group, and migrating from the same Levantine regions as the slightly earlier arriving Arameans, they are to be differentiated from them; and the Assyrian king Sennacherib, for example, is careful in his inscriptions to distinguish them.

When they came to briefly possess the whole of southern Mesopotamia, the name “Chaldean” became synonymous with “Babylonian” for a short time, particularly to the Greeks and Jews, this despite the Chaldeans not being Babylonians, and their tenure as rulers of Southern Mesopotamia lasting a mere five decades or so.

Though foreign settlers, and eventual brief conquerors, the Chaldeans were rapidly and completely assimilated into the dominant East Semitic Akkadian Assyro-Babylonian culture, as the Amorites, Kassites, Suteans and Arameans before them had been.

By the time Babylon fell in 539 BC, the Chaldean tribes had already disappeared as a distinct race, becoming completely absorbed into the general population of southern Mesopotamia, and the term “Chaldean” was no longer used or relevant in describing a specific ethnicity. However the term lingered for a while, but being used specifically and only in relation to describing a socio-economic class of astrologers, and not a race of men.

Made famous by the account of the New Testament, by which they were said to have followed a start to the birth of the Christian Messiah, the Magi were priests of the Persian Empire, who were renowned throughout antiquity for their knowledge of magic, astrology and alchemy. Thus, our own word for magic refers to the occult arts of the Magi.

Basically, the cult of the Magussaeans was a combination of heretical Zoroastrianism and Babylonian astrology. When Cyrus the Great conquered the great city of Babylon in the sixth century BC, the Magi came into contact with the teachings of the city’s astrologers, known as Chaldeans.

Assyria began to once more expand from circa. 935 BC, and Urartu and Assyria became fierce rivals. Urartu successfully repelled Assyrian expansionism for a time, however from the 9th to 7th century BC it progressively lost territory to Assyria. It was to survive until the 7th century BCE, by which time it was conquered fully into the Neo Assyrian Empire (911 – 605 BCE).

The Assyrian Empire collapsed from 620 to 605 BCE, after a series of brutal internal civil wars weakened it to such an extent that a coalition of its former vassals; the Medes, Persians, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Scythians and Cimmerians were able to attack and gradually destroy it.

Urartu was ravaged by marauding Indo-European speaking Scythian and Cimmerian raiders during this time, with its vassal king (together with the king of neighbouring Lydia) vainly pleading with the beleaguered Assyrian king for help. After the fall of Assyria during the late 6th century BCE, Urartu became under the controll of the Armenian Orontid Dynasty. The Hurri-Urartians seem to have disappeared from history after this, almost certainly being absorbed into the Indo-European Armenian population.

In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.

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