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

    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 story of Hermes

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on May 19, 2016

The Hymn to Hermes invokes him as the one “of many shifts (polytropos), blandly cunning, a robber, a cattle driver, a bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, a thief at the gates, one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds among the deathless gods.”

Hermes, as an inventor of fire, is a parallel of the Titan Prometheus. In addition to the lyre, Hermes was believed to have invented many types of racing and the sports of wrestling and boxing, and therefore was a patron of athletes.

The herald and messenger of the gods, Hermes was like a breath of fresh air on Mount Olympus. For Hermes, a friendly, likable young god, became the patron not only of travelers and merchants, but of thieves and rogues as well.

The son of Zeus and Maia (a daughter of the Titan Atlas), Hermes was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia in southern Greece. Nursed by the nymph Cyllene, the precocious young boy grew incredibly fast. Within hours of birth, he had wandered out of his cave, killed a tortoise, and stretched seven strings of sheep gut across it to build the first lyre. He then quickly taught himself how to play.

That same day, the baby Hermes slipped out of his mother’s sight and went searching for adventure. When he found himself in the pastures of the gods, Hermes impulsively stole 50 cows from Apollo, then still the herdsman of the gods.

Though he had been in the world less than a day, Hermes already had a cunning mind. He disguised his tracks by cobbling together “shoes” made of bark from a fallen oak tree. To make it even harder to track him, he confused the herd’s trail by driving the cows backward and traversing sandy places that left no prints.

While driving the cattle, he came across an old man named Battus. Hermes bought the old man’s silence, but the young god doubted whether he could trust the stranger. So he disguised himself and returned, offering a reward for any news of the stolen cattle. Battus quickly sold him out, telling him what he knew, so Hermes punished the old man by turning him to stone.

At the river Alpheus, Hermes stopped to sacrifice two of the cows. Once again he demonstrated his wiliness, burning the hooves and heads to leave no trace of his actions. After hiding the cows, Hermes returned home, slipped through the keyhole, again put on his swaddling clothes, and lay down to sleep. Despite his attempted deception, Hermes did not fool Maia. His mother warned him that the gods would be angry at his pranks.

Meanwhile, Apollo searched throughout the world, but could not find his cows. An omen led him to the cave where he found Hermes. The boy god feigned innocence, swearing by his father’s head that he had not stolen the cows. He may have protested too much, however, when he claimed he didn’t even know what a cow was.

Apollo, disbelieving the scamp, carried Hermes before Zeus and charged him with theft. Though he found his son’s devilishness amusing, Zeus prompted Hermes to confess and lead Apollo to the herd. When Apollo spotted the two slaughtered cows, Hermes explained that he had divided the meat into 12 equal portions for the gods. Raising an eyebrow, Apollo asked who the twelfth god was. “Me, of course,” acknowledged the not-so-humble but lovable Hermes. Reportedly, this was the very first sacrifice of flesh to the gods.

While Apollo gathered his herd together, Hermes began playing on his new lyre. Enchanted by the music—and by the song that flattered Apollo for his cleverness, nobility, and generosity—the older god offered to exchange the entire herd of cattle for the younger god’s lyre.

Hermes agreed, and immediately began building another musical instrument for his amusement: a reed-pipe. Equally charmed by this instrument, Apollo asked Hermes to name his terms for it. Hermes agreed to trade it for Apollo’s golden staff—and with it, the honor of being the god of herdsmen and shepherds—as well as instruction from Apollo’s old nurses in how to use pebbles to divine the future.

When Zeus called Hermes to Olympus to chide him for stealing and lying, Hermes promised he would never again lie if Zeus named him as his messenger and herald. Zeus quickly accepted this offer, and told his son that his duties would also include protecting travelers, promoting trade, and negotiating treaties.

Hermes was also credited with helping the Fates to invent the Greek alphabet. On his own, he reportedly invented the musical scale, astronomy, and the sports of boxing and gymnastics.

To ensure rapid delivery of his messages, Zeus presented Hermes with golden winged sandals as swift as the wind. He also gave the young god a round hat to protect him from rain and a herald’s staff. Zeus’s brother Hades soon asked Hermes to serve as his herald as well. As the herald of death, Hermes thereafter gently collected and guided the dead to the Underworld.

Hermes did not remain a boy forever. The god fathered several children. Among them were several who displayed at least one of his most defining characteristics: Echion, who served as herald for the Argo, Autolycus, a notorious thief, and Myrtilus, the swiftest of all charioteers.

As the herald of Zeus, Hermes kept his promise not to lie. (On the other hand, he didn’t always tell the whole truth.) In gratitude, Zeus made Hermes his most constant companion. Whenever Zeus visited Earth, Hermes went with him.

Though usually in disguise, Hermes often visited Earth on his own, too. Despite his roguishness, Hermes truly enjoyed helping travelers. His acts of kindness did not go unnoticed by the mortals of Earth. Soon every traveler who became lost or suffered from some hardship called upon Hermes for help. And more often than not, the god swiftly arrived to deliver them.

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