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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T / D (S) – Dingir, Dyeus, Tian, Shen

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on May 22, 2019

Dingir (𒀭, usually transliterated DIĜIR) is a Sumerian word for “god.” Its cuneiform sign is most commonly employed as the determinative for religious names and related concepts, in which case it is not pronounced and is conventionally transliterated as a superscript “D” as in e.g. DInanna.

The cuneiform sign by itself was originally an ideogram for the Sumerian word an (“sky” or “heaven”); its use was then extended to a logogram for the word diĝir (“god” or goddess) and the supreme deity of the Sumerian pantheon An, and a phonogram for the syllable /an/. Akkadian took over all these uses and added to them a logographic reading for the native ilum and from that a syllabic reading of /il/. In Hittite orthography, the syllabic value of the sign was again only an.

The concept of “divinity” in Sumerian is closely associated with the heavens, as is evident from the fact that the cuneiform sign doubles as the ideogram for “sky”, and that its original shape is the picture of a star. The original association of “divinity” is thus with “bright” or “shining” hierophanies in the sky.

Dyēus or Dyēus Phter (Proto-Indo-European: *dyḗws ph₂tḗr, also *Dyḗus Ph2tḗr, *Dyḗus Pḥatḗr, or Dyēus Pətḗr, alternatively spelled dyēws) is believed to have been the chief deity in Proto-Indo-European mythology. Part of a larger pantheon, he was the god of the daylit sky, and his position may have mirrored the position of the patriarch or monarch in Proto-Indo-European society.

Tiān (天) is one of the oldest Chinese terms for heaven and a key concept in Chinese mythology, philosophy, and religion. During the Shang dynasty (17–11th centuries BCE), the Chinese referred to their supreme god as Shàngdì (上帝, “Lord on High”) or Dì (帝,”Lord”). During the following Zhou dynasty, Tiān became synonymous with this figure. Heaven worship was, before the 20th century, an orthodox state religion of China.

In Taoism and Confucianism, Tiān (the celestial aspect of the cosmos, often translated as “Heaven”) is mentioned in relationship to its complementary aspect of Dì (地, often translated as “Earth”). These two aspects of Daoist cosmology are representative of the dualistic nature of Taoism.

They are thought to maintain the two poles of the Three Realms (三界) of reality, with the middle realm occupied by Humanity (人, Rén), and the lower world occupied by demons (魔, Mó) as false gods or idols and ghosts (鬼, Guǐ) as disembodied souls, spirits of the deceased of faint shadowy semblance to only reveal an image not clearly substantial.

Shen (神) is the Chinese word for “god”, “deity”, “spirit” or theos. This single Chinese term expresses a range of similar, yet differing, meanings. The first meaning may refer to spirits or gods that are intimately involved in the affairs of the world. Spirits generate entities like rivers, mountains, thunder and stars.

A second meaning of shen refers to the human spirit or psyche; it is the basic power or agency within humans that accounts for life, and in order to further life to its fullest potential the spirit must be grown and cultivated. A third understanding of shen describes an entity as spiritual in the sense of inspiring awe or wonder because it combines categories usually kept separate, or it cannot be comprehended through normal concepts.

Shen plays a central role in Christian translational disputes over Chinese terms for God. Among the early Chinese “god; God” names, shangdi 上帝 or di was the Shang term, tian 天 was the Zhou term, and shen was a later usage (see Feng Yu-Lan 1952:22–6, 30–1). Modern terms for “God” include shangdi, zhu 主, tianzhu 天主 (esp. Catholics), and shen 神 (esp. Protestants).

A starting point for an understanding of shen is the meeting place of Heaven and Earth, which is mankind. Heaven is the origin of the spiritual aspect of humanity and provides ongoing spiritual influences, while Earth is the origin of the physical aspect of humankind. The ongoing harmonious interaction of Heaven and Earth in man is essential to maintaining life. In Chinese religious tradition, balancing yin and yang is important to provide organization of life and prevent harm to body and spirit.

The Chinese language has many compounds of shen. For instance, it is compounded with tian 天 “sky; heaven; nature; god” in tianshen 天神 “celestial spirits; heavenly gods; deities; (Buddhism) deva”, with shan 山 “mountain” in shanshen 山神 “mountain spirit”, and hua 話 “speech; talk; saying; story” in shenhua 神話 “mythology; myth; fairy tale”. Several shen “spirit; god” compounds use names for other supernatural beings, for example, ling 靈 “spirit; soul” in shenling 神靈 “gods; spirits, various deities”, qi 祇 “earth spirit” in shenqi 神祇 “celestial and terrestrial spirits”, xian 仙 “Xian (Taoism), transcendent” in shenxian 神仙 “spirits and immortals; divine immortal”, guai 怪 “spirit; devil; monster” in shenguai 神怪 “spirits and demons; gods and spirits”, and gui 鬼 “ghost, goblin; demon, devil” in guishen 鬼神 “ghosts and spirits; supernatural beings”.

The earliest discovered character form for shen suggests two components. The right side of the character gives the basic meaning and pronunciation, as well as providing a graphic representation of flashing lightning from the clouds. This visual displays ancient people’s belief that lightning was the manifestation of god. The left side displays a modified character shi which pertains to ritual ceremonies, worship, or prayer. This concept originally referred to stone table used for offering ceremonial sacrifices to the gods.

The earliest written forms of shen 神 “spirit; god” occur in Zhou dynasty bronzeware script and Qin dynasty seal script characters (compare the variants shown on the “Chinese etymology” link below). Although 神 has not been identified in Shang dynasty oracle bone script records, the phonetic shen 申 has.

Paleographers interpret the Oracle script of 申 as a pictograph of a “lightning bolt”. This was graphically differentiated between dian 電 “lightning; electricity” with the “cloud radical” and shen 神 with the “worship radical”, semantically suggesting both “lightning” and “spirits” coming down from the heavens.

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