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 concept of freedom (Ama-gi) and justice

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on June 27, 2018

Bilderesultat for marianne

The concept of freedom (Ama-gi)

Manumission, or affranchisement, is the act of an owner freeing his or her slaves. Ama-gi is a Sumerian word written ama-gi or ama-ar-gi. It has been translated as “freedom”, as well as “manumission”, “exemption from debts or obligations”, and “the restoration of persons and property to their original status” including the remission of debts.

Other interpretations include a “reversion to a previous state” and release from debt, slavery, taxation or punishment. The word originates from the noun ama “mother” (sometimes with the enclitic dative case marker ar), and the present participle gi «return, restore, put back”, thus literally meaning “returning to mother”.

Assyriologist Samuel Noah Kramer has identified it as the first known written reference to the concept of freedom. Referring to its literal meaning “return to the mother”, he wrote in 1963 that “we still do not know why this figure of speech came to be used for “freedom.”

The earliest known usage of the word was in the reforms of Urukagina (c. 2400 BC), a ruler (ensi) of the city-state Lagash in Mesopotamia. He is best known for his reforms to combat corruption, which are sometimes cited as the first example of a legal code in recorded history.

In it, he exempted widows and orphans from taxes; compelled the city to pay funeral expenses (including the ritual food and drink libations for the journey of the dead into the lower world); and decreed that the rich must use silver when purchasing from the poor, and if the poor does not wish to sell, the powerful man (the rich man or the priest) cannot force him to do so.

Urukagina’s code has been widely hailed as the first recorded example of government reform, seeking to achieve a higher level of freedom and equality. It limited the power of the priesthood and large property owners, and took measures against usury, burdensome controls, hunger, theft, murder, and seizure (of people’s property and persons); as he states, “The widow and the orphan were no longer at the mercy of the powerful man”.

However, despite these apparent attempts to curb the excesses of the elite class, it seems elite or royal women enjoyed even greater influence and prestige in his reign than previously. Anyway, he is praised as a social reformer, getting rid of gross abuses of power that had taken hold in Lagash.

By the Third Dynasty of Ur, it was used as a legal term for the manumission of individuals. It is related to the Akkadian word anduraāru(m), meaning “freedom”, “exemption” and “release from (debt) slavery”.

The liberty cap

The Phrygian cap or liberty cap is a soft conical cap with the top pulled forward, associated in antiquity with several peoples in Eastern Europe and Anatolia, including Phrygia, Dacia, and the Balkans.

In early modern Europe it came to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty. In artistic representations it signifies freedom and the pursuit of liberty.

It is used in the coat of arms of certain Republics or of republican State institutions in the place where otherwise a Crown would be used (in the heraldry of monarchies). It thus came to be identified as a symbol of the republican form of government.

A number of national personifications, in particular France’s Marianne, are commonly depicted wearing the Phrygian cap. Marianne is a national symbol of the French Republic, a personification of liberty and reason, and a portrayal of the Goddess of Liberty.

Marianne is one of the most prominent symbols of the French Republic, and is officially used on most government documents. Marianne is a significant republican symbol. As a national icon she represents opposition to monarchy and the championship of freedom and democracy against all forms of oppression.

Although the image of Marianne did not garner significant attention until 1792, the origins of this “goddess of Liberty” date back to 1775, when Jean-Michel Moreau painted her as a young woman dressed in Roman style clothing with a Phrygian cap atop a pike held in one hand that years later would become a national symbol across France.

Gods and goddesses

Ishara is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. She first appeared in Ebla and was incorporated to the Hurrian pantheon from which she found her way to the Hittite pantheon. In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Inanna / Ishtar.

Ishara is a pre-Hurrian and perhaps pre-Semitic deity, later incorporated into the Hurrian pantheon. From the Hurrian Pantheon, Ishara entered the Hittite pantheon and had her main shrine in Kizzuwatna.

Variants of the name appear as Ašḫara (in a treaty of Naram-Sin of Akkad with Hita of Elam) and Ušḫara (in Ugarite texts). In Ebla, there were various logographic spellings involving the sign AMA “mother”. In Alalah, her name was written with the Akkadogram IŠTAR plus a phonetic complement -ra, as IŠTAR-ra.

She was associated with the underworld. Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and she is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars). Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath.

Hausos (*h₂éusōs) is the reconstructed name for the Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn. The Dawn Goddess is hypothesised to have been one of the most important deities to the Proto-Indo-Europeans, due to the consistency of her characterisation.

Her attributes have not only been mixed with those of solar goddesses in some later traditions, but have subsequently expanded and influenced female deities in other mythologies.

Derivatives of her found throughout various Indo-European mythologies include the Greek goddess Eos, the Roman goddess Aurōra, the Vedic goddess Uṣás, the Lithuanian goddess Aušrinė (cf. Lith. aušrà “dawn”), and possibly also the (West) Germanic goddess *Austrǭ (Old English Ēostre, Old High German *Ōstara).

Due to the dawn heralding the sun and inducing the daily routine, the Dawn Goddess is associated with instilling the cosmic order. Ushas is the arouser of Ṛta, while the role of Aušrinė as the maid of the sun renders her a moral example in Lithuanian traditions and helped her syncretism with the Virgin Mary.

In spite of the association of the dawn with life, counterintuitively the dawn was possibly also associated with aging and decay in Proto-Indo-European myth, probably under the assumption that each dawn brings human beings closer to death or alternatively that sun rays induce rot.

In the Rig Veda, Ushas is “The ancient goddess, born again and again, dressed in the same color, causes the mortal to age and wears away his life-span, as a cunning gambler carries off the stakes” and “Bringing old age, thou hast come, O unageing Dawn … Unageing, thou dost make to age all else”, while in Greek Mythology Eos famously asks Zeus for Tithonus to maintain his immortality but not his age, reducing him to a cricket.

The birch tree is consistently associated with purity, spring, moral purity and light in Indo-European religions, indicating that it was possibly emblematic of the Dawn Goddess.

The Dawn Goddess was associated with weaving, a behaviour sometimes used as a metaphor for the generative properties of sunlight. This characteristic is normally seen in solar goddesses and it might indicate a large amount of syncretism between dawn and solar deities.

Nearly all reflexes are associated with reddish horses, perhaps due to syncretism with solar goddesses as well as the hypothesised relation with the Divine Twins. Red cows are also sacred to Ushas, while Eos is linked with songbirds and cicadas. Spiders are also possibly illustrative of this goddess, due to their association with weaving.

Aya (or Aja) in Akkadian mythology was a mother goddess, consort of the sun god Shamash. She developed from the Sumerian goddess Sherida, consort of Utu.

Sherida is one of the oldest Mesopotamian gods, attested in inscriptions from pre-Sargonic times, her name (as “Aya”) was a popular personal name during the Ur III period (21st-20th century BCE), making her among the oldest Semitic deities known in the region.

As the Sumerian pantheon formalized, Utu became the primary sun god and Sherida was syncretized into a subordinate role as an aspect of the sun alongside other less powerful solar deities (c.f. Ninurta) and took on the role of Utu’s consort.

Aya is Akkadian for “dawn”, and by the Akkadian period she was firmly associated with the rising sun and with sexual love. and youth. The Babylonians sometimes referred to her as kallatu (the bride), and as such she was known as the wife of Shamash.

By the Neo-Babylonian period at the latest (and possibly much earlier), Shamash and Aya were associated with a practice known as Hasadu, which is loosely translated as a “sacred marriage.”

Utu, later worshipped by East Semitic peoples as Shamash, was the ancient Mesopotamian god of the sun, justice, morality, and truth, and the twin brother of the goddess Inanna, the Queen of Heaven.

Utu was the twin brother of Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, whose domain encompassed a broad variety of different powers. In Sumerian texts, Inanna and Utu are shown as extremely close; in fact, their relationship frequently borders on incestuous.

Utu was worshipped in Sumer from the very earliest times. The oldest documents mentioning him date to around 3500 BC, during the first stages of Sumerian writing.

His main temples, which were both known as E-babbar (“White House”), were located in Sippar and in Larsa. Utu continued to be venerated until the end of Mesopotamian culture and was worshipped for well over 3,000 years.

Utu’s main personality characteristics are his kindness and generosity, but, like all other Mesopotamian deities, he was not above refusing a request which inconvenienced him.

He was believed to ride through the heavens in his sun chariot and see all things that happened in the day. He was the enforcer of divine justice and was thought to aid those in distress. Utu was believed to take an active role in human affairs, and was thought to aid those in distress.

In the Sumerian flood myth, Utu emerges after the flood waters begin to subside, causing Ziusudra, the hero of the story, to throw open a window on his boat and fall down prostrate before him. Ziusudra sacrifices a sheep and an ox to Utu for delivering him to salvation.

The Sumerians believed that, as he rode through heaven, Utu saw everything that happened in the world. Alongside his sister Inanna, Utu was the enforcer of divine justice. At night, Utu was believed to travel through the Underworld as he journeyed to the east in preparation for the sunrise.

The Sumerians believed that, as he rode through heaven, Utu saw everything that happened in the world. Alongside his sister Inanna, Utu was the enforcer of divine justice. At night, Utu was believed to travel through the Underworld as he journeyed to the east in preparation for the sunrise.

On his way through the Underworld, Utu was believed to pass through the garden of the sun-god, which contained trees that bore precious gems as fruit.

According to Sumerian mythology, he helped protect Dumuzid when the galla demons tried to drag him to the Underworld and he appeared to the hero Ziusudra after the Great Flood. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, he helps Gilgamesh defeat the ogre Humbaba.

The Sun goddess of Arinna is the chief goddess and wife of the weather god Tarḫunna in Hittite mythology. She protected the Hittite kingdom and was called the “Queen of all lands.” Her cult centre was the sacred city of Arinna.

In addition to the Sun goddess of Arinna, the Hittites also worshipped the Sun goddess of the Earth and the Sun god of Heaven, while the Luwians originally worshipped the old Proto-Indo-European Sun god Tiwaz.

Distinguishing the various solar deities in the texts is difficult since most are simply written with the Sumerogram dUTU (Solar deity). As a result, the interpretation of the solar deities remains a subject of debate.

During the Hittite New Kingdom, she was identified with the Hurrian-Syrian goddess Hepat, also transcribed, Khepat, also spelled Hepa or Hepatu. Her name has been compared to Hebrew Ḥawwa (Eve) and with Greek Hecate.

Hebat was the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as the mother of all living and “Queen of heaven”. She is represented as a matronly figure either standing on a lion or seated on a throne. The mother goddess is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubileya/Kubeleya Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”).

Cybele is an Anatolian mother goddess; she may have a possible precursor in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük in Anatolia, where statues of plump women, sometimes sitting, have been found in excavations dated to the 6th millennium BC and identified by some as a mother goddess.

She is Phrygia’s only known goddess, and was probably its state deity. Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies around the 6th century BC. In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partially assimilated to aspects of the Earth-goddess Gaia, her Minoan equivalent Rhea, and the harvest–mother goddess Demeter.

In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater (“Great Mother”). Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome’s eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanized forms of Cybele’s cults spread throughout the Roman Empire.

In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (“praised”) was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (Venus). His father was a first cousin of King Priam of Troy (both being grandsons of Ilus, founder of Troy), making Aeneas a second cousin to Priam’s children (such as Hector and Paris).

He is a character in Greek mythology and is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad. Aeneas receives full treatment in Roman mythology, most extensively in Virgil’s Aeneid, where he is an ancestor of Romulus and Remus

Many of her Greek cults included rites to a divine Phrygian castrate shepherd-consort Attis, who was the consort of Cybele in Phrygian and Greek mythology. His priests were eunuchs, the Galli, as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis and castration. Attis was also a Phrygian god of vegetation. In his self-mutilation, death and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth which die in winter only to rise again in the spring.

The Hilaria (“cheerful, merry”) were ancient Roman religious festivals celebrated on the March equinox to honor Cybele. It was a day on which a person married, and on which a son was born. The day of its celebration was the first after the vernal equinox, or the first day of the year which was longer than the night. The winter with its gloom had died, and the first day of a better season was spent in rejoicings.

Adonis was the mortal lover of the goddess Aphrodite in Greek mythology. Adonis’s name comes from a Canaanite word meaning “lord”, which is related to Adonai, one of the titles used to refer to the God of the Hebrew Bible and still used in Judaism to the present day. Modern scholars consider the story of Aphrodite and Adonis to be derived from the earlier Mesopotamian myth of Inanna (Ishtar) and Dumuzid (Tammuz).

Aphrodite is the ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. She is identified with the planet Venus, which is named after the Roman goddess Venus, with whom Aphrodite was extensively syncretized. Aphrodite’s major symbols include myrtles, roses, doves, sparrows, and swans.

Isis was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. Isis was first mentioned in the Old Kingdom (c. 2686–2181 BCE) as one of the main characters of the Osiris myth, in which she resurrects her slain husband, the divine king Osiris, and produces and protects his heir, Horus.

The worship of Isis was ended by the rise of Christianity 400-500 CE. Her worship may have influenced some Christian beliefs and practices, such as the veneration of Mary, but the evidence for this influence is ambiguous and often controversial. Isis continues to appear in Western culture, particularly in esotericism and modern paganism, often as a personification of nature or the feminine aspect of divinity.

She was usually portrayed in art as a human woman wearing a throne-like hieroglyph on her head. During the New Kingdom (c. 1550–1070 BCE), as she took on traits that originally belonged to Hathor, the preeminent goddess of earlier times, Isis came to be portrayed wearing Hathor’s headdress: a sun disk between the horns of a cow.

The planet Mars is named after the Roman god of war Mars. In Babylonian astronomy, the planet was named after Nergal, their deity of fire, war, and destruction, most likely due to the planet’s reddish appearance. The planet was known by the ancient Egyptians as “Horus of the Horizon”, then later Her Deshur (“Ḥr Dšr”), or “Horus the Red”.

In the Skanda Purana, a Hindu religious text, Mars is known as the deity Mangala and was born from the sweat of Shiva. The planet is called Angaraka in Sanskrit, after the celibate god of war who possesses the signs of Aries and Scorpio, and teaches the occult sciences.

Arta / rta – Druj

Asha (also arta; Avestan: aša/arta) is a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism”. Its Old Persian equivalent is arta-. In Middle Iranian languages the term appears as ard-.

Avestan aša and its Vedic equivalent ṛtá both derive from Proto-Indo-Iranian *ṛtá- “truth”, which in turn continues Proto-Indo-European *hr-to- “properly joined, right, true”, from the root *har.

It is unclear whether the Avestan variation between aša and arta is merely orthographical. Benveniste suggested š was only a convenient way of writing rt and should not be considered phonetically relevant. According to Gray, š is a misreading, representing – not /ʃ/ – but /rr/, of uncertain phonetic value but “probably” representing a voiceless r.

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, “deceit, falsehood”. Avestan druj, like its Vedic Sanskrit cousin druh, appears to derive from the PIE root *dhreugh, also continued in Persian d[o]rūġ “lie”, German Trug “fraud, deception”. Old Norse draugr and Middle Irish airddrach mean “spectre, spook”. The Sanskrit cognate druh means “affliction, afflicting demon”.

In Avestan, druj- has a secondary derivation, the adjective drəguuaṇt- (Later Avestan druuaṇt-), “partisan of deception, deceiver” for which the superlative draojišta- and perhaps the comparative draoj(ii)ah- are attested.

The concept of Ṛta originally arose in the Indo-Aryan period from a consideration of the natural order of the world and of the occurrences taking place within it as doing so with a kind of causal necessity. Ṛta was understood to manifest itself as the imperative force behind both the moral order of society as well as the correct performance of Vedic rituals.

The notion of a universal principle of natural order is by no means unique to the Vedas, and Ṛta has been compared to similar ideas in other cultures, such as Ma’at in Ancient Egyptian religion, Moira and the Logos in Greek paganism, and the Tao.

In Sumerian mythology, a me ( Sumerian: me; Akkadian: paršu) is one of the decrees of the gods that is foundational to those social institutions, religious practices, technologies, behaviors, mores, and human conditions that make civilization, as the Sumerians understood it, possible.

They are fundamental to the Sumerian understanding of the relationship between humanity and the gods. The mes were originally collected by Enlil and then handed over to the guardianship of Enki, who was to broker them out to the various Sumerian centers, beginning with his own city of Eridu and continuing with Ur, Meluhha, and Dilmun.

Maat or Ma’at refers to the ancient Egyptian concepts of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also the goddess who personified these concepts, and regulated the stars, seasons, and the actions of mortals and the deities who had brought order from chaos at the moment of creation.

Her ideological opposite was Isfet or Asfet (meaning “injustice”, “chaos”, or “violence”; as a verb, “to do evil”), an ancient Egyptian term from Egyptian mythology used in philosophy, which was built on a religious, social and politically affected dualism.

Isfet was thought to be the counterpart of the term Ma’at (meaning “(world-) order” or “harmony”). According to ancient Egyptian beliefs, Isfet and Ma’at built a complementary and also paradoxical dualism: one could not exist without its counterpart. Isfet and Ma’at balanced each other.

Ma’at was to overcome isfet, “that which is difficult,” “evil,” “difficult,” “disharmonious,” and “troublesome.” Isfet was to be overcome by good and to replace disunity with unity and disorder with order.

An Egyptian king (pharaoh) was appointed to “achieve” Ma’at, which means that he had to keep and protect justice and harmony by destroying Isfet. A responsible kingship meant that Egypt would remain in prosperity and at peace of Ma’at.

However, if Isfet were to rise, humanity would decay and return to a primordial state. Decay was unacceptable as a natural course of events, which meant that the world was separated from the cosmos and away from order.

The universe was cyclical meaning it had repeated sequences: the daily sunsetting and its rising, annual seasons and flooding of the Nile. On the other hand, when Ma’at was absent, and Isfet unleashed then the Nile flood failed and the country fell into famine.

Therefore, Ancient Egyptians believed through their rituals of the cosmic order it would bring forth prosperity to the gods and goddesses who controlled the cosmos. The principles of the contrariness between Isfet and Ma’at are exemplified in a popular tale from the Middle Kingdom, called “the moaning of the Bedouin”.

Armenia (Ara)

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