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 Armenians: Unsung supporters of Hellenism

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on February 8, 2015

Throughout the years of research and readings of the former Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America and current Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Armenian contribution to Hellenism hasn’t been fully explored.

“The Armenians are our brothers,” said Constantine Parthenis my Modern Greek instructor at St. Demetrios Greek American School in the 1950’s Astoria, New York. Dr. Emory, a medieval historian at Queens College, explained in a 1969 undergraduate class that “the Armenians are not recognized significantly in the Byzantine Empire.”

The Armenians in Byzantium who furnished it with its leadership were thoroughly integrated into its political and military life, identified themselves with its interest and adopted the principal features of its culture. In brief, like many other elements of different racial origins, as, for instance, Saracens, Slavs and Turks, who had a similar experience, they became Byzantines.” The meaning of the phrase “the Armenians are our brothers,” is more alive today through sources on the internet.

The Macedonian dynasty ruled the Byzantine Empire from 867 to 1056, following the Amorian dynasty. During this period, the Byzantine state reached its greatest expanse since the Muslim conquests, and the Macedonian Renaissance in letters and arts began.

The dynasty was named after its founder, Basil I the Macedonian, who came from the theme of Macedonia. The dynasty’s founder and many subsequent emperors were of Armenian descent, hence the dynasty is also referred to by some authors as the Armenian Dynasty.

Basil I, called the Macedonian (830/835 – August 29, 886) was a Byzantine Emperor who reigned from 867 to 886. Born a simple peasant in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia, he rose in the Imperial court, and usurped the Imperial throne from Emperor Michael III (r. 842–867).

Despite his humble origins, he showed great ability in running the affairs of state, leading to a revival of Imperial power and a renaissance of Byzantine art. He was perceived by the Byzantines as one of their greatest emperors, and the dynasty he founded, the Macedonian, ruled over what is regarded as the most glorious and prosperous era of the Byzantine Empire.

Basil was born to peasant parents in late 811 (or sometime in the 830s in the estimation of some scholars) at Charioupolis in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia (an administrative division corresponding to the area of Adrianople in Thrace).

Contemporary Byzantine Thrace was inhabited by people of Slavic, Greek and Armenian origins. Claims have been made for an Armenian, Slavic, or indeed “Armeno-Slavonic” origin for Basil I.

The Irish Byzantinist John Bagnell Bury dismissed claims of his being of Slavic origin on the basis that the Arabs viewed all Macedonians as Slavs (Saqaliba), a view supported by Peter Charanis, a prominent historian who specialized in ethnic studies of the Byzantine Empire.

It must also be understood that the contemporary term “Macedonian” referred to a theme (province) of that name located in western Thrace, rather than the ancient and modern region of Macedonia.

The author of the only dedicated biography of Basil I in English has concluded that it is impossible to be certain what the ethnic origins of the emperor were, though Basil was definitely reliant on the support of Armenians in prominent positions within the Byzantine Empire.

During his reign, an elaborate genealogy tree was produced that purported that his ancestors were not mere peasants, as everyone believed, but descendants of the Arsacid (Arshakuni) kings of Armenia and also of Constantine the Great.

Members of the Macedonian dynasty would come to use this tree to claim their descent from King Tiridates III of Armenia. According to the John Julius Norwich, the native language of Basil I was Armenian, whereas in Greek, he spoke with a strong accent. However, scholarship remains divided on this issue, as claims have also been made that members of the Macedonian dynasty spoke a Slavic dialect alongside Greek.

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