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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On the Origin of Baklava

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on January 15, 2020

Reality show star Kourtney Kardashian posted a photo of pakhlava (baklava), one of the most famous and exquisite dishes of Armenian cuisine, on her Instagram page.”Homemade Armenian Pakhlava”, wrote Kourtney Kardashian.

According to Ermenihaber, this post has angered Turk users. They wrote various comments under the photo. Here are some of the comments: “Pakhlava is our red line. Don’t go overboard”. “Pakhlava is ours, ours will remain”.

Pakhlava is one of the most famous and exquisite dishes of Armenian and eastern cuisine. In Armenia, there are several widespread variations of pakhlava, including Yerevan and Gavar.

Baklava is a rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the Levant and the broader Middle East, along with Greece, the South Caucasus, Balkans, Maghreb, and Central Asia.

The word baklava is first attested in English in 1650, a borrowing from Ottoman Turkish. The name baklava is used in many languages with minor phonetic and spelling variations. Linguist Sevan Nişanyan considers its oldest known forms (pre-1500) to be baklağı and baklağu, and labels it as being of Proto-Turkic origin.

Historian Paul D. Buell argues that the word “baklava” may come from the Mongolian root baγla- ‘to tie, wrap up, pile up’ composed with the Turkic verbal ending -v; baγla- itself in Mongolian is a Turkic loanword. Another form of the word is also recorded in Persian bāqlabā. Though the suffix -vā might suggest a Persian origin, the baqla- part does not appear to be Persian and remains of unknown origin.

Although the history of baklava is not well documented, its current form was probably developed in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapı Palace, or the Seraglio, that has served as the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans, in Istanbul. The Sultan presented trays of baklava to the Janissaries every 15th of the month of Ramadan in a ceremonial procession called the Baklava Alayı.

There are three proposals for the pre-Ottoman roots of baklava: the Roman placenta cake, as developed through Byzantine cuisine,  the Central Asian Turkic tradition of layered breads, or the Persian lauzinaq.

The oldest (2nd century BCE) recipe that resembles a similar dessert is the honey covered baked layered-dough dessert placenta of Roman times, which Patrick Faas identifies as the origin of baklava: “The Greeks and the Turks still argue over which dishes were originally Greek and which Turkish. Baklava, for example, is claimed by both countries.

Greek and Turkish cuisine both built upon the cookery of the Byzantine Empire, which was a continuation of the cooking of the Roman Empire. Roman cuisine had borrowed a great deal from the ancient Greeks, but placenta (and hence baklava) had a Latin, not a Greek, origin—please note that the conservative, anti-Greek Cato left us this recipe.”

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