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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Historien om eremitten Mar Mattai (St. Mattias)

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on March 24, 2015

Dette er et syrisk-ortodokst kloster i de nordirakiske fjellene, 35 km nordøst fra Ninive eller Mosul, og regnes som et av de eldste kristne klostre som fremdeles er i bruk. Det kalles Dayro d-Mor Mattai, eller klosteret til St. Mattias.

Klosteret ble grunnlagt av eremitten Mar Mattai (St. Mattias), som senere ble en lokal helgen, som flyktet fra forfølgelse i byen Amid, som ligger hvor dagens Diyarbakır i Tyrkia nå befinner seg, under den romerske keiseren Julian, også kjent som Julian den frafalne og som Julian filosofen.

De romerske forfatterne Ammianus Marcellinus og Procopius anser Amid for å ligge i Mesopotamia, men det er mer riktig å anse den som en by i Stor Armenia, navnet gitt til staten Armenia i det armenske høylandet under kong Artaxias I (190/189–160/159 BC).

Ifølge syrisk tradisjonen ble Mar Behnam, en helgen og martyr i den syriske tradisjon, sønnen til Sennacherib II, den hedenske assyriske kongen av Asuristan, døpt av Mar Mattai.

Under en jakt til fjellet Alfaf møtte han Mar Mattai som konverterte Mar Behnam til kristendommen. Han ble disippel av Mar Mattai. Senere brakte han sin søster Sara slik at hun kunne bli helbredet for spedalskhet og de ble begge døpt sammen med Behnams 40 venner.

Da Sennacherib, som på denne tid var påvirket av zoroasterismen, hørte om at hans barn hadde konvertert forsøkte han å overbevise dem om å vende tilbake, men de flyktet til Mar Behnams eremittbolig. Kongen sendte soldater som drepte dem og deres 40 venner på en ås i næheten av Nimrud.

Kongen angret senere på dette, og ble selv døpt av Mar Mattai. Han kom senere til å bygge et kloster på stedet hvor Mar Mattai helbredet hans datter, på fjellet Alfaf. Mattai, som grunnla klosteret i 361, ble raskt fulgt av en liten syrisk gruppe, og under hans lederskap utviklet samfunnet seg til å bli et kloster.

Nord-Irak var i middelalderen et av sentrene for den syrisk-ortodokse kirke, og klosteret skal i sin blomstringstid ha hatt over 7000 munker.

Fra 484 hadde klosterets abbed rang som biskop («av Assyria og Ninive-slettene») og ble i 629 overordnet alle persiske syrisk-ortodokse klostre. Fra 1155 var klosteret sete for den syrisk-ortodokse kirkens mafrian, dvs. kirkens øverste biskop i Perserriket.

Klosteret ble delvis ødelagt gjennom flere mongolske og kurdiske angrep fra slutten av 1100-tallet og utover. I dag har de fleste kristne forlatt området.

På grunn av sin store betydning for syrisk-ortodoks kristendom har klosteret fremdeles status som erkebispedømme, som omfatter selve klosteret med landsbyen Merga samt byene Bahzani, Bartalla og Bashiqa. Klosterets abbed er dermed en av Iraks tre syrisk-ortodokse erkebiskoper.

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