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History of education

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 16, 2018

The oldest existing, continually operating and first degree awarding educational institution in the world according to UNESCO and Guinness World Records is the University of al-Qarawiyyin or Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. The University of Bologna, Italy, was founded in 1088 and is the oldest one in Europe.

The Sumerians had scribal schools or Edubba (Sumerian: E-DUB-ba-a) soon after 3500BC. Most of the information known about edubas comes from cuneiform texts dating to the Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000-1600 BCE).

The eduba was the institution that trained and educated young scribes in ancient Mesopotamia during the late third or early second millennium BCE. It is written e-dub-ba-a in Sumerian. The literal meaning is uncertain. One possible interpretation is “house of tablets” (Sumerian: e dub.ak). Another is “house in which tablets are distributed” (Sumerian: e dub ba.a).

Many Sumerian literary compositions survive that describe life in these ancient Sumerian schools. They have suggested to modern scholars that the é. d u b . b a . a , with its elaborate hierarchy of staff, large student body and sophisticated and varied curriculum, was a ‘secular university’.

The fact that this literature survives on Old Babylonian tablets has led to a dating of this é. d u b . b a . a to the same period. Thus, according to one important and influential study, the ‘institution of learning, the eduba, is also specifically Old Babylonian, and as an institution of education, the eduba seems to die out at the end of the Old Babylonian period’.

This Edubba-literature, as it is often called, is a typical genre of the traditional literature copied out in the Old Babylonian period, when young boys (mostly) learning to be scribes had to master a complicated and progressively difficult corpus of sign-lists, lexical texts and literary compositions.

The tablets left behind by these young Babylonian apprentices, particularly at Nippur and Ur but also at Isin, Uruk and other sites. are the principal source that modern scholars have used over the past sixty years to reconstruct the canonical corpus of Sumerian literary texts, the first important body of literature anywhere in the world.

Scribal education in Mesopotamia was conducted in Sumerian, not in Akkadian. In the é.dub.ba.a a Sumerian monitor was even on hand to make sure that pupils spoke only the old language of literary expression. By the Old Babylonian period, if not earlier, Sumerian had long died out among the people as a spoken language, but it was still much in use as a written language.

Mesopotamian culture was famously conservative and since Sumerian had been the language of the first writing, more than a thousand years before, it remained the principal language of writing in the early second millennium.

A much greater volume of documentation was written in the Babylonian dialect of Akkadian, but Sumerian retained a particular prestige. Its primacy as the language of learning was enshrined in the curriculum that had to be mastered by the student scribe.

In order to learn how to use the cuneiform script, even to write Akkadian, the student traditionally had to learn Sumerian, for, as the proverb said, dub.sareme.gir nu.mu. un.zu.a a.na.àm dub.sare.ne ‘A scribe who knows no Sumerian, what sort of scribe is he?’

To prove he had mastered the art of writing and the traditions that went with it, the would-be scribe copied out, on dictation and from memory, texts in Sumerian. The most advanced Sumerian texts that he had to master were a prescribed corpus of traditional Sumerian literary compositions.

A successful student considered himself a ‘Sumerian’; other texts reveal that many later Babylonian scholars formally registered this new identity by adopting Sumerian versions of their names. Even in the Parthian period scribal families originally from Nippur were still adopting the pretence of Sumerian descent.

Ashurbanipal (685 – c. 627 BC), a king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, was proud of his scribal education. His youthful scholarly pursuits included oil divination, mathematics, reading and writing as well as the usual horsemanship, hunting, chariotry, soldierliness, craftsmanship, and royal decorum.

During his reign he collected cuneiform texts from all over Mesopotamia, and especially Babylonia, in the library in Nineveh, the first systematically organized library in the ancient Middle East, which survives in part today.

Nidaba or Nisaba (Sumerian: NAGA; later ŠE.NAGA), also known by the epithet Nanibgal (Sumerian: AN.NAGA; later AN.ŠE.NAGA) was the Sumerian goddess of writing, learning, and the harvest. She is the daughter of An and Urash. From Sumerian texts, the language used to describe Urash is very similar to the language used to describe Ninhursag. Therefore, the two goddess may be one and the same.

Enki organized the world after creation and gave each deity a role in the world order. Nisaba was named the scribe of the gods, and Enki then built her a school of learning so that she could better serve those in need.

She keeps records, chronicles events, and performs various other bookwork-related duties for the gods. She is also in charge of marking regional borders. She is also associated with grain, reflecting her association with an earth goddess mother. She is seen as a caretaker for Ninhursag’s temple at Kesh, where she gives commands and keeps temple records.

As the goddess of writing and teaching, she was often praised by Sumerian scribes. She is considered the teacher of both mortal scribes and other divine deities. As the goddess of knowledge, she is related to many other facets of intellectual study and other gods may turn to her for advice or aid.

She is the chief scribe of Nanshe, a goddess of social justice, prophecy, fertility and fishing. On the first day of the new year, she and Nanshe work together to settle disputes between mortals and give aid to those in need.

Nisaba keeps a record of the visitors seeking aid and then arranges them into a line to stand before Nanshe, who will then judge them. In the Babylonian period, she was replaced by the god Nabu, the ancient Mesopotamian patron god of literacy, the rational arts, scribes and wisdom.

Haya, was the spouse of Nidaba/Nissaba, and was known both as a “door-keeper” and associated with the scribal arts, and may have had an association with grain. He is an “agrig”-official of the god Enlil, and designated as “the Nissaba of wealth”, as opposed to his wife, who is the “Nissaba of Wisdom”.

Attempts have also been made to connect the remote origins of ha-ià with those of the god Enki or Ea (Ebla Ḥayya), although there remain serious doubts concerning this hypothesis. However, Isimud, who is characteristically shown with two faces, is a minor god, the messenger of the god Enki, in Sumerian mythology.

In ancient Sumerian artwork, Isimud is easily identifiable because he is always depicted with two faces facing in opposite directions in a way that is similar to the ancient Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.

As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys and exchange, and in his association with Portunus, a similar god of keys, doors, livestock, ports and gateways, he was concerned with travelling, trading and shipping.

He may have originally protected the warehouses where grain was stored, but later became associated with ports, perhaps because of folk associations between porta “gate, door” and portus “harbor”, the “gateway” to the sea, or because of an expansion in the meaning of portus.

Nabu, who was worshipped by the Babylonians and the Assyrians, took over her functions. In some instances, Nisaba was his instructor or wife before he replaced her. Due to his role as an oracle, Nabu was associated with the Mesopotamian moon god Sin.

In Babylonian astrology, Nabu was identified with the planet Mercury. Nabu wore a horned cap, and stood with his hands clasped in the ancient gesture of priesthood. He rode on a winged dragon known as Sirrush that originally belonged to his father Marduk.

In Hellenistic times, Nabu was identified, and sometimes syncretized, with the Greek god Apollo. As the god of literacy and wisdom, Nabu was linked by the Romans with Mercury, and by the Egyptians with Thoth.

In ancient Egypt, literacy was concentrated among an educated elite of scribes. Only people from certain backgrounds were allowed to train to become scribes, in the service of temple, pharaonic, and military authorities. The hieroglyph system was always difficult to learn, but in later centuries was purposely made even more so, as this preserved the scribes’ status.

In ancient India, during the Vedic period from about 1500 BC to 600 BC, most education was based on the Veda (hymns, formulas, and incantations, recited or chanted by priests of a pre-Hindu tradition) and later Hindu texts and scriptures.

Vedic education included: proper pronunciation and recitation of the Veda, the rules of sacrifice, grammar and derivation, composition, versification and meter, understanding of secrets of nature, reasoning including logic, the sciences, and the skills necessary for an occupation. Some medical knowledge existed and was taught. There is mention in the Veda of herbal medicines for various conditions or diseases, including fever, cough, baldness, snake bite and others.

The highly formalized methods of Vedic learning helped inspire the establishment of large teaching institutions such as Taxila, Nalanda, and Vikramashila which are often characterised as India’s early universities.

Nalanda was a Mahavihara, a large Buddhist monastery, in the ancient kingdom of Magadha (modern-day Bihar) in India. The site is located about 95 kilometres (59 mi) southeast of Patna near the city of Bihar Sharif, and was a centre of learning from the fifth century CE to c. 1200 CE. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nalanda flourished under the patronage of the Gupta Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries and later under Harsha, the emperor of Kannauj. The liberal cultural traditions inherited from the Gupta age resulted in a period of growth and prosperity until the ninth century. At its peak, the school attracted scholars and students from near and far with some travelling from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia.

The oldest of the Upanishads – another part of Hindu scriptures – date from around 500 BC. These texts encouraged an exploratory learning process where teachers and students were co-travellers in a search for truth. The teaching methods used reasoning and questioning. Nothing was labeled as the final answer.

In China there were five national schools in the capital city, Pi Yong (an imperial school, located in a central location) and four other schools for the aristocrats and nobility, including Shang Xiang, during the Zhou dynasty (1045 BC to 256 BC).

The schools mainly taught the Six Arts: rites, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy, and mathematics. According to the Book of Rites, at age twelve, boys learned arts related to ritual (i.e. music and dance) and when older, archery and chariot driving. Girls learned ritual, correct deportment, silk production and weaving.

It was during the Zhou dynasty that the origins of native Chinese philosophy also developed. Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC) founder of Confucianism, was a Chinese philosopher who made a great impact on later generations of Chinese, and on the curriculum of the Chinese educational system for much of the following 2000 years.

Later, during the Qin dynasty (246–207 BC), a hierarchy of officials was set up to provide central control over the outlying areas of the empire. To enter this hierarchy, both literacy and knowledge of the increasing body of philosophy was required: “….the content of the educational process was designed not to engender functionally specific skills but rather to produce morally enlightened and cultivated generalists”.

Emperor Wu of Han favored Confucianism and made it as the national educational doctrine. In 124 BC, The Origins of Statecraft in China was set up to turn out civil servant for the state, which taught the Five Classics of Confucianism. The traditional Chinese attitude towards education followed Mencius’s advice that “Those who labor with their minds govern others; those who labor with their strength are governed by others.”

Education in Ancient Greece was vastly “democratized” in the 5th century BCE, influenced by the Sophists, Plato and Isocrates. Later, in the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece, education in a gymnasium school was considered essential for participation in Greek culture. The first schools in Ancient Rome arose by the middle of the 4th century BC. These schools were concerned with the basic socialization and rudimentary education of young Roman children.

Literacy rates in the Greco-Roman world were seldom more than 20 percent; averaging perhaps not much above 10 percent in the Roman empire, though with wide regional variations, probably never rising above 5 percent in the western provinces. The literate in classical Greece did not much exceed 5 percent of the population.

History of Education

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education

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Posted by Fredsvenn on September 11, 2018

Anu or An is the divine personification of the sky, supreme God, and ancestor of all the deities in ancient Mesopotamian religion. Anu was believed to be the supreme source of all authority, for the other gods and for all mortal rulers, and he is described in one text as the one “who contains the entire universe”.

Anu was believed to be source of all legitimate power. He was the one who bestowed the right to rule upon gods and kings alike. He was the supreme source of authority among the gods, and among men, upon whom he conferred kingship. As heaven’s grand patriarch, he dispensed justice and controlled the laws known as the meh that governed the universe.

He is identified with the north ecliptic pole centered in the constellation Draco and, along with his sons Enlil and Enki, constitutes the highest divine triad personifying the three bands of constellations of the vault of the sky.

By the time of the earliest written records, Anu was rarely worshipped, and veneration was instead devoted to his son Enlil, but, throughout Mesopotamian history, the highest deity in the pantheon was always said to possess the anûtu, meaning “An-power”.

Anu’s consort in the earliest Sumerian texts is the goddess Uraš, but she is later the goddess Ki and, in Akkadian texts, the goddess Antu, whose name is a feminine form of Anu. However, Uras may only have been another name for Antu, Anu’s wife. The name Uras even became applied to Anu himself, and acquired the meaning “heaven”.

Anu’s primary role in myths is as the ancestor of the Anunnaki, the major deities of Sumerian religion. His primary cult center was the Eanna temple in the city of Uruk, whose name means “House of Heaven” (Sumerian: e-anna), but by the Akkadian Period (c. 2334 – 2154 BC), his authority in Uruk had largely been ceded to the goddess Inanna (“Queen of Heaven”).

The Amorite god Amurru was sometimes equated with Anu. Later, during the Seleucid Empire (213 BC — 63 BC), Anu was identified with Enmešara and Dumuzid. Amurru / Martu was probably a western Semitic god originally.

Enmesarra, or Enmešarra, in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology is an underworld god of the law. Described as a Sun god, protector of flocks and vegetation, and therefore he has been equated with Nergal. On the other hand, he has been described as an ancestor of Enlil, and it has been claimed that Enlil slew him.

In some later stories, Inanna-Ishtar is the sister of the Sumerian storm and rain god Ishkur (Akkadian: Hadad), and, in Hittite mythology, Ishtar is the sister of Teshub, the Hittite storm god. Hadad, Adad and Iškur are usually written with the logogram dIM, the same symbol used for the Hurrian god Teshub.

The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He appeared bearded, often holding a club and thunderbolt while wearing a bull-horned headdress. Hadad was equated with the Greek god Zeus; the Roman god Jupiter, as Jupiter Dolichenus; the Indo-European Nasite Hittite storm-god Teshub; the Egyptian god Amun.

In Akkadian, Adad is also known as Rammanu (“Thunderer”), which was a byname of Hadad. Occasionally Adad/Iškur is identified with the god Amurru, the god of the Amorites. Amurru He is sometimes described as a ‘shepherd’ or as a storm god, and as a son of the sky-god Anu.

In ancient Hittite religion, Anu is a former ruler of the gods, who was overthrown by his son Kumarbi. Kumarbi bites off Anu’s genitals and swallows them, causing him to become pregnant with Anu’s offspring, including Ishtar and her brother, the Hittite storm god Teshub.

Teshub overthrew Kumarbi, avenged Anu’s mutilation, and became the new king of the gods. This account later became the basis for the Greek story of Uranus’s castration by his son Cronus, resulting in the birth of Zeus and Aphrodite, described in Hesiod’s Theogony.

Aphrodite is an ancient Greek goddess associated with 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.

The cult of Aphrodite was largely derived from that of the Phoenician goddess Astarte, a cognate of the East Semitic goddess Ishtar, whose cult was based on the Sumerian cult of Inanna. Her main festival was the Aphrodisia, which was celebrated annually in midsummer. In Laconia, Aphrodite was worshipped as a warrior goddess.

Later in the Hittite myth, Ishtar attempts to seduce the monster Ullikummi, but fails because the monster is both blind and deaf and is unable to see or hear her. The Hurrians and Hittites appear to have syncretized Ishtar with their own goddess Išḫara.

Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. She was originally worshipped in Sumer and was later worshipped by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians under the name Ishtar.

She was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult center. She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star. She was associated with the planet Venus.

Inanna in her aspect as Anunītu, an Akkadian light goddess, was associated with the eastern fish of the last of the zodiacal constellations, Pisces. Her consort Dumuzi was associated with the contiguous first constellation, Aries.

Her husband was the god Dumuzid, who was later known as Tammuz, and her sukkal, or personal attendant, was the goddess Ninshubur, meaning “Queen of the East” in ancient Sumerian. Ninshubur accompanied Inanna as a vassal and friend throughout Inanna’s many exploits.

The gender of a sukkal always matches the gender of the deity it serves. Thus, Enki’s sukkal Isimud is male, but Ninshubur is female. In her primary aspect as the sukkal to Inanna, Ninshubur was female, but when she served as the sukkal to An, he was male.

In Sumerian mythology, Ninshubur is portrayed as “unshakably loyal” in her devotion to her mistress. In addition to being a source of great wisdom and knowledge, Ninshubur was also a warrior goddess. She was the guardian and messenger of the god An. She is said to have walked in front of An wherever he went, a position traditionally reserved for a bodyguard.

In later Akkadian mythology, Ninshubur was syncretized with the male messenger deity Papsukkal, the messenger god in the Akkadian pantheon. Much like Iris or Hermes in later Greek mythology, Ninshubur served as a messenger to the other gods.

In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon (see interpretatio romana), Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury, who, though inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics such as being the patron of commerce.

Romans associated Mercury with the Germanic god Wotan, by interpretatio Romana; 1st-century Roman writer Tacitus identifies him as the chief god of the Germanic peoples. Odin is associated with wisdom, healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg.

Baldr (also Balder, Baldur: “lord, prince, king”) is a god in Norse mythology, and a son of the god Odin and the goddess Frigg. He has numerous brothers, such as Thor and Váli. Baldr’s wife is Nanna Nepsdóttir or simply Nanna and their son is Forseti (Old Norse “the presiding one,” actually “president” in modern Icelandic and Faroese), the god of justice and reconciliation in Norse mythology.

Scholars have debated connections between Nanna and other similarly named deities from other cultures and the implications of the goddess’s attestations. The Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda contain numerous references to the death of Baldr as both a great tragedy to the Æsir and a harbinger of Ragnarök. After Baldr’s death, Nanna dies of grief.

Dumuzid is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with shepherds, who was also the primary consort of the goddess Inanna (later known as Ishtar). In Sumerian mythology, Dumuzid’s sister was Geshtinanna, the goddess of vegetation.

In the Sumerian King List, Dumuzid is listed as an antediluvian king of the city of Bad-tibira and also an early king of the city of Uruk. In the Sumerian poem Inanna Prefers the Farmer, Dumuzid competes against the farmer Enkimdu for Inanna’s hand in marriage.

In Inanna’s Descent into the Underworld, Dumuzid fails to mourn Inanna’s death and, when she returns from the Underworld, she allows the galla demons to drag him down to the Underworld as her replacement.

Inanna later regrets this decision and decrees that Dumuzid will spend half the year in the Underworld, but the other half of the year with her, while his sister Geshtinanna stays in the Underworld in his place, thus resulting in the cycle of the seasons.

Dumuzid was associated with fertility and vegetation and the hot, dry summers of Mesopotamia were believed to be caused by Dumuzid’s yearly death. During the month in midsummer bearing his name, people all across Mesopotamia would engage in public, ritual mourning for him.

Ishara (išḫara) is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. She is a pre-Hurrian and perhaps pre-Semitic deity, later incorporated into the Hurrian pantheon from which she found her way to the Hittite pantheon. The etymology of Ishara is unknown. Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. 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). The Babylonians called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, the signs can be literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’.

In some old descriptions the constellation of Libra is treated as the Scorpion’s claws. Libra was known as the Claws of the Scorpion in Babylonian. Scorpio is also associated with the Greek deity Artemis, who is said to have created the constellation Scorpius. She was worshipped with Teshub and Simegi, who was identified with the hittie sun god the Sun god of Heaven, and also at Ugarit, Emar and Chagar Bazar.

While she was considered to belong to the entourage of Ishtar, she was invoked to heal the sick. As a goddess, Ishara could inflict severe bodily penalties to oathbreakers, in particular ascites. In this context, she came to be seen as a “goddess of medicine” whose pity was invoked in case of illness. There was even a verb, isharis- “to be afflicted by the illness of Ishara”.

Sherida is one of the oldest Mesopotamian gods, attested in inscriptions from pre-Sargonic times. 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 (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. When the Semitic Akkadians moved into Mesopotamia, their pantheon became syncretized to the Sumerian. Inanna to Ishtar, Nanna to Sin, Utu to Shamash, etc.

The minor Mesopotamian sun goddess Aya became syncretized into Sherida during this process. 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 Ishtar became more prominent, several lesser or regional deities were assimilated into her, including Aya (the wife of Utu).

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. In fact, she was worshiped as part of a separate-but-attached cult in Shamash’s e-babbar temples in Larsa and Sippar.

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.” A room would be set aside with a bed, and on certain occasions the temple statues of Shamash and Aya would be brought together and laid on the bed to ceremonially renew their vows.

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Sky Father / Earth Mother – Tyr / Hel – Shiva / Kali – Yoga / Tantra

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 7, 2018

Tyr and Hel

In Germanic mythology, Týr (Old Norse), Tíw (Old English), and Ziu (Old High German) is a god. Stemming from the Proto-Germanic deity *Tīwaz and ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European deity *Dyeus, little information about the god survives beyond Old Norse sources.

Outside of its application as a theonym, the Old Norse common noun týr means ‘(a) god’ (plural tívar). In turn, the theonym Týr may be understood to mean “the god”. Rooted in the related but distinct Indo-European word *deiwos is the Latin word for deity, deus. The Latin word is also continued in English divine, “deity”.

Due to the etymology of the god’s name and the shadowy presence of the god in the extant Germanic corpus, some scholars propose that Týr may have once held a more central place among the deities of early Germanic mythology.

Týr is the namesake of the Tiwaz rune, a letter of the runic alphabet corresponding to the Latin letter T. The names Mannus and Tuisto/Tuisco seem to have some relation to Proto-Germanic Mannaz, “man” and Tiwaz, “Tyr, the god”.

Several authors consider the name Mannus in Tacitus’ work to stem from an Indo-European root. *Mannaz is the conventional name of the m-rune ᛗ of the Elder Futhark. Younger Futhark ᛘ is maðr (“man”). It took up the shape of the algiz rune ᛉ, replacing Elder Futhark ᛗ.

It is derived from the reconstructed Common Germanic word for “man”, *mannaz. As its sound value and form in the Elder Futhark indicate, it is derived from the letter M (𐌌) in the Old Italic alphabets, ultimately from the Greek letter Mu (Μ).

By way of the process of interpretatio germanica, the deity is the namesake of Tuesday (‘Týr’s day’) in Germanic languages, including English. Interpretatio romana, in which Romans interpret other gods as forms of their own, generally renders the god as Mars, the ancient Roman war god, and it is through that lens that most Latin references to the god occur.

For example, the god may be referenced as Mars Thingsus (Latin ‘Mars of the Thing’) on 3rd century Latin inscription, reflecting a strong association with the Germanic thing, a legislative body among the ancient Germanic peoples still in use among some of its modern descendants.

In Norse mythology, from which most narratives about gods among the Germanic peoples stem, Týr sacrifices his arm to the monstrous wolf Fenrir, who bites off his limb while the gods bind the animal. Týr is foretold to be consumed by the similarly monstrous dog Garmr during the events of Ragnarök.

In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. In the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and Heimskringla, Hel is referred to as a daughter of Loki. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim.

In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance. The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.

Scholarly theories have been proposed about Hel’s potential connections to figures appearing in the 11th-century Old English Gospel of Nicodemus and Old Norse Bartholomeus saga postola, that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali.

Dyeus

Dyēus (Proto-Indo-European: *dyḗws, also *Dyḗus Phtḗr, alternatively spelled dyēws) is believed to have been the chief deity in the religious traditions of the prehistoric Proto-Indo-European societies. 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 society.

According to this scholarly reconstruction, Dyeus was known as Dyḗus Ph2tḗr, literally “sky father” or “shining father”, as reflected in Latin Iūpiter, Diēspiter, possibly Dis Pater and deus pater, Greek Zeu pater, Vedic Dyáuṣ Pitṛ́.

As the pantheons of the individual mythologies related to the Proto-Indo-European religion evolved, attributes of Dyeus seem to have been redistributed to other deities. In Greek and Roman mythology, Dyeus remained the chief god; however, in Vedic mythology, the etymological continuant of Dyeus became a very abstract god, and his original attributes and dominance over other gods appear to have been transferred to gods such as Agni or Indra, who is known as an aspect (avatar) of Shiva.

Although some of the more iconic reflexes of Dyeus are storm deities, such as Zeus and Jupiter, this is thought to be a late development exclusive to Mediterranean traditions, probably derived from syncretism with Canaanite deities and Perkwunos.

The deity’s original domain was over the daylight sky, and indeed reflexes emphasise this connection to light: Istanu (Tiyaz) is a solar deity (though this name may actually refer to a female sun goddess), Helios is often referred to as the “eye of Zeus”, in Romanian paganism the Sun is similarly called “God’s eye” and in Indo-Iranian tradition Surya/Hvare-khshaeta is similarly associated with Ahura Mazda.

Even in Roman tradition, Jupiter often is only associated with diurnal lightning at most, while Summanus is a deity responsible for nocturnal lightning or storms as a whole.

Dīs Pater was a Roman god of the underworld, later subsumed by Pluto or Hades (Hades was Greek). Originally a chthonic god of riches, fertile agricultural land, and underground mineral wealth, he was later commonly equated with the Roman deities Pluto and Orcus, becoming an underworld deity.

In De Natura Deorum, Cicero derives the name of Dīs Pater from dives, suggesting a meaning of “father of riches”, directly corresponding to the name Pluto (from Greek Ploutōn, meaning “wealthy”). Alternatively, he may be a secondary reflex of Dyeus Ph₂ter or “Zeus-Pater”.

Tiwas

The name of the Proto-Anatolian Sun god can be reconstructed as *Diuod-, which derives from the Proto-Indo-European word *dei- (“shine”, “glow”). Tiwaz (Stem: Tiwad-) was the Luwian Sun-god. In Luwian cuneiform of the Bronze Age, his name appears as Tiwad-. It can also be written with the Sumerogram dUTU (“God-Sun”). In Hieroglyphic Luwian of the Iron Age, the name can be written as Tiwad- of with the ideogram (DEUS) SOL (“God-Sun”).

Tiwaz was the descendant of the male Sun god of the Indo-European religion, Dyeus, who was superseded among the Hittites by the Hattian Sun goddess of Arinna. While Tiwaz (and the related Palaic god Tiyaz) retained a promenant role in the pantheon, the Hittite cognate deity, Šiwat (de) was largely eclipsed by the Sun goddess of Arinna, becoming a god of the day, especially the day of death.

The Sun god of Heaven and The Sun goddess of the Earth

The Sun god of Heaven (Hittite: nepišaš Ištanu) was a Hittite solar deity. He was the second-most worshipped solar deity of the Hittites, after the Sun goddess of Arinna. As a result of the influence of the Mesopotamian Sun god Šamaš, the Sun god of Heaven also gained an important role as the god of law, legality, and truth.

He was identified with the Hurrian solar deity, Šimige. From the time of Tudḫaliya III, the Sun god of Heaven was the protector of the Hittite king, indicated by a winged solar disc on the royal seals, and was the god of the kingdom par excellence. He played an important role as the foremost oath god in interstate treaties.

The Sun goddess of the Earth (Hittite: taknaš dUTU, Luwian: tiyamaššiš Tiwaz) was the Hittite and Hurrian goddess of the underworld. She played an important role in the death cult and was understood to be the ruler of the world of the dead. In Hittite texts she is referred to as the “Queen of the Underworld” and possesses a palace with a vizier and servants.

For the Luwians there is a Bronze Age source which refers to the “Sun god of the Earth” (cuneiform Luwian: tiyamašši- dU-za): “If he is alive, may Tiwaz release him, if he is dead, may the Sun god of the Earth release him”.

Her Hurrian equivalent was Allani (de) and her Sumerian/Akkadian equivalent was Ereshkigal, both of which had a marked influence on the Hittite goddess from an early date. In the Neo-Hittite period, the Hattian underworld god, Lelwani was also syncretised with her.

In ancient Sumerian mythology, Ereshkigal is the queen of the Underworld. She is the older sister of the goddess, Inanna, associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. Inanna and Ereshkigal represent polar opposites. Inanna is the Queen of Heaven, but Ereshkigal is the queen of Irkalla.

Ishara / Sherida

Ishara (išḫara) 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. Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath.

As a goddess, Ishara could inflict severe bodily penalties to oathbreakers, in particular ascites (see Hittite military oath). In this context, she came to be seen as a “goddess of medicine” whose pity was invoked in case of illness. There was even a verb, isharis- “to be afflicted by the illness of Ishara.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. 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.

Ishara first appears in the pre-Sargonic texts from Ebla and then as a goddess of love in Old Akkadian potency-incantations (Biggs). In Mari she seems to have been very popular and many women were called after her. Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar. In the Epic of Gilgamesh Ishara is called upon to bless the couple on the honeymoon. Within the Hurrian pantheon she was associated with the underworld.

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.

When the Semitic Akkadians moved into Mesopotamia, their pantheon became syncretized to the Sumerian. Inanna to Ishtar, Nanna to Sin, Utu to Shamash, etc. The minor Mesopotamian sun goddess Aya became syncretized into Sherida during this process. The goddess Aya in this aspect appears to have had wide currency among Semitic peoples, as she is mentioned in god-lists in Ugarit and shows up in personal names in the Bible.

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. In fact, she was worshiped as part of a separate-but-attached cult in Shamash’s e-babbar temples in Larsa and Sippar.

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.” A room would be set aside with a bed, and on certain occasions the temple statues of Shamash and Aya would be brought together and laid on the bed to ceremonially renew their vows. This ceremony was also practiced by the cults of Marduk with Sarpanitum, Nabu with Tashmetum, and Anu with Antu.

Ushas and Ratri

Ushas is a Vedic goddess of dawn in Hinduism. She is identified with dawn, revealing herself with the daily coming of light to the world, driving away oppressive darkness, chasing away evil demons, rousing all life, setting all things in motion, sending everyone off to do their duties. She is the life of all living creatures, the impeller of action and breath, the foe of chaos and confusion, the auspicious arouser of cosmic and moral order called the Ṛta in Hinduism.

Vedic uṣás is derived from the word uṣá which means “dawn”. Uṣás is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is uṣásas, whereby it connotes “dawn goddess” in Indo-European languages. This word comes from Proto-Indo-Iranian *Hušā́s (“ušā” in Avestan), which in turn is from Proto-Indo-European *h₂éusōs (“dawn”), and is related to “héōs” in Greek and “aušrà” in Lithuanian.

She is portrayed as a beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot or a hundred chariots, drawn by golden red horses or cows, on her path across the sky, making way for the Vedic sun god Surya. Her sister is Ratri, or the night, the wife of Surya. In medieval Hinduism, Surya is also an epithet for the major Hindu gods Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. In some ancient texts and arts, Surya is presented syncretically with Indra, Ganesha or others.

In latter times, Ratridevi (Goddess Ratri’ or ‘Goddess of the Night) came to be identified with a variety of goddesses – for example in the Atharva Veda, where Ratridevi is called Durga. Black references primal darkness before creation and also darkness of ignorance. Hence this form of goddess is considered as one who destroys the darkness of ignorance.

Invoking Goddess Kaalratri therefore empowers the devotee with the devouring quality of kala (time) and the all-consuming nature of ratri (night) – allowing all obstacles to be overcome and guaranteeing success in all undertakings. In summary, Kaalratri is the personification of the night of all-destroying time. This form primarily depicts that life also has a dark side – the violence of Mother Nature that encompasses death and destruction.

Shiva

Shiva (“the auspicious one”) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. He is the Supreme Being who creates, protects and transforms the universe within Shaivism, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism. According to the Shaivism sect, the highest form of Shiva is formless, limitless, transcendent and unchanging absolute Brahman, and the primal Atman (soul, self) of the universe.

Shiva is known as “the destroyer” within the Trimurti (“three forms”), the Hindu trinity of supreme divinity in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified as a triad of deities, typically Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer. When all three deities of the Trimurti incarnate into a single avatar, the avatar is known as Dattatreya.

Sati is the first consort of Shiva who is the previous incarnation of Parvati. also known as Dākṣāyaṇī (“daughter of Daksha”). An aspect of Adi Parashakti, Dakshayani is the first consort of Shiva, the second being Parvati who is the reincarnation of Sati. Both Sati and Parvati, successively play the role of bringing Shiva away from ascetic isolation into creative participation with the world.

There are many both benevolent and fearsome depictions of Shiva. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash as well as a householder with wife Parvati (whose other different forms are Kali, Bhairavi, Navadurgas, Mahavidyas and Durga) and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya. In his fierce aspects, Shiva is often depicted slaying demons.

Kartikeya, also known as Murugan, Skanda, Kumara, and Subrahmanya, is the Hindu god of war. He is the son of Parvati and Shiva, brother of Ganesha, and a god whose life story has many versions in Hinduism. He grows up quickly into a philosopher-warrior, destroys evil in the form of demon Taraka, teaches the pursuit of ethical life and the theology of Shaiva Siddhanta. The Roman equivalent is Mars.

The iconography of Kartikeya varies significantly; he is typically represented as an ever-youthful man, riding or near a peacock, dressed with weapons sometimes near a rooster. Most icons show him with one head, but some show him with six heads reflecting the legend surrounding his birth where six mothers symbolizing the six stars of Pleiades cluster who took care of newly born baby Kartikeya.

Yoga / Kundalini

Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga, a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. meditation and arts. The origins of yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions; it is mentioned in the Rigveda, but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BC.

In Shaivism, yoga is used to unite kundalini (“coiled one”), a form of primal energy (or shakti) said to be located at the base of the spine, with Shiva. The Kundalini experience is frequently reported to be a distinct feeling of electric current running along the spine.

Kundalini awakening has been said to occur as a consequence of deep meditation which results in a feeling of enlightenment and bliss. However, Kundalini awakenings may happen through a variety of methods.

Many systems of yoga focus on awakening Kundalini through meditation; pranayama breathing; the practice of asana and chanting of mantras. Kundalini Yoga is a school of yoga that is influenced by Shaktism and Tantra schools of Hinduism. It derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of Mantra, Tantra, Yantra, Yoga or Meditation.

In Hindu tradition, Bhairavi is the goddess of Kundalini. She is the consort of Bhairava (“frightful”), who in Shaivism is a fierce manifestation of Shiva associated with annihilation. Bhairavi is associated with the Mahavidyas (“Great Wisdoms”) a group of ten aspects of Adi Parashakti (“First (or Primal) Supreme-Power”) in Hinduism, or a list which combines Sakta and Buddhist goddesses. It is the ten great goddesses of Tantra. They are meant to encompass all aspects of the great mother, and each is considered a path to enlightenment.

Shakti

In the tradition of Hinduism called Shaktism, the sect dedicated to the god Shiva, the Goddess, or Devi, is described as supreme, yet Shiva is revered along with Vishnu and Brahma. Shakti is worshipped as the Supreme Being. She is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe.

She is stated to be the energy and creative power or Shakti (“power, ability, strength, might, effort, energy, capability”) of each, with Parvati (Sati) the equal complementary partner of Shiva. She symbolises his consort.

Shakti is the concept or personification of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as “The Great Divine Mother” in Hinduism. She embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva and is synonymously identified with Tripura Sundari or Parvati.

Hindus believe that Shakti is both responsible for creation and the agent of all change. Shakti is cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most significant form being the Kundalini Shakti, a mysterious psychospiritual force.

On the earthly plane, Shakti most actively manifests through female embodiment and creativity/fertility, though it is also present in males in its potential, unmanifest form.

Adi Parashakti

As a mother, Shakti is known as “Adi Shakti” or “Adi Parashakti” meaning “First (or Primal) Supreme-Power”. Adi Parashakti”, popularly referred to as “Parama Shakti”, “Maha Shakti”, “Mahadevi”, or even simply as “Shakti”, is the Supreme Being goddess in the Shaktism sect of Hinduism. The Devi-Bhagavata Purana states that Adi Parashakti is the original creator, observer and destroyer of the whole universe.

Adi Parashakti is the Power beyond this universe. She is the active energy that can both create and destroy the entire universe. When there was nothing in existence, a light emerged and took the form of adishakti. She had three eyes, trishul, shield, mace, bow, arrow, chakra, long sword, one hand shown as abhaya mudra and she was sitting on a lion. She took the form of Kushmanda, when she did not find anything around her.

She opened her left eye and Mahakali was born. With her third eye, Mahasaraswati was born. Mahalakshmi was born when she opened her right eye. Her smile before her eyes opened, created the entire universe.

Mahakali, literally translated as Great Kali, is the Hindu goddess of time and death, considered to be the consort of Mahakala, the god of consciousness, the basis of reality and existence, was born. Mahakali in Sanskrit is etymologically the feminized variant of Mahakala or Great Time (which is interpreted also as Death), an epithet of the god Shiva in Hinduism.

Mahakali is the form of Adi parashakti, who is beyond time and space. Kali is the force of anger of Adi parashakti and therefore her color is black. She is the greatest aspect of Kali whom many Hindus hold as a Divine Mother.

Mahasaraswati or Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning, was born. In Shanti Parva of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Saraswati is called the mother of the Vedas, and later as the celestial creative symphony who appeared when Brahma created the universe. She is usually depicted near a flowing river or other body of water, which depiction may constitute a reference to her early history as a river goddess.

Saraswati is the active energy and power of Brahma. Brahma represents the abstract, while she represents action and reality. She is a part of the trinity (Tridevi) of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to create, maintain and regenerate-recycle the Universe respectively.

In some regions of India Saraswati is part of the Devi Mahatmya mythology, in the trinity (Tridevi) of Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. This is one of many different Hindu legends that attempt to explain how the Hindu trinity of gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) and goddesses (Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati) came into being. Various Purana texts offer alternate legends for Maha Saraswati.

Mahalakshmi, or Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity, was born when she opened her right eye. Lakshmi is the wife and shakti (energy) of Vishnu, one of the principal deities of Hinduism and the Supreme Being in the Vaishnavism Tradition. Lakshmi is the divine strength of Vishnu. With Parvati and Saraswati, she forms Tridevi, the holy trinity.

Tantra

Tantra (“loom, weave, system”) denotes the esoteric traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism that co-developed most likely about the middle of 1st millennium AD. The term tantra, in the Indian traditions, also means any systematic broadly applicable “text, theory, system, method, instrument, technique or practice”.

The term is based on the metaphor of weaving where the Sanskrit root tan means the warping of threads on a loom. It implies “interweaving of traditions and teachings as threads” into a text, technique or practice.

In the Smritis and epics of Hinduism (and Jainism), the term means “doctrine, rule, theory, method, technique or chapter” and the word appears both as a separate word and as a common suffix, such as atma-tantra meaning “doctrine or theory of Atman (soul, self)”.

Starting in the early centuries of common era, newly revealed Tantras centering on Vishnu, Shiva or Shakti emerged. In Buddhism, the Vajrayana tradition is known for its extensive tantra ideas and practices. Tantric Hindu and Buddhist traditions have influenced other Eastern religious traditions such as Jainism, the Tibetan Bön tradition, Daoism and the Japanese Shintō tradition.

Kali

Kālī, also known as Kālikā, is a Hindu goddess. She is one of the ten Mahavidyas. Her earliest appearance is that of a destroyer of evil forces. Shakta Hindu and Tantric sects additionally worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also seen as divine protector and the one who bestows moksha, or liberation.

She is the goddess of one of the four subcategories of the Kulamārga, a category of tantric Saivism. Over time, she has been worshipped by devotional movements and tantric sects variously as the Divine Mother, Mother of the Universe, Adi Shakti, or Adi Parashakti.

Kālī is the feminine form of kālam (“dark blue, dark coloured”). Kālī also shares the meaning of “time” or “the fullness of time” with the masculine noun “kāla”—and by extension, time as “changing aspect of nature that bring things to life or death.” Other names include Kālarātri (“the deep blue night”), and Kālikā (“the deep blue one”).

Kālī is also the feminine form of Kāla, an epithet of Shiva, and thus the consort of Shiva. She is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her. She is often regarded as the Shakti of Shiva, and is closely associated with him in various Puranas.

Regarding the relationship between Kali, Parvati, and Shiva, Kali appears to play the opposite role from that of Parvati. Parvati calms Siva, counterbalancing his antisocial or destructive tendencies; she brings him within the sphere of domesticity and with her soft glances urges him to moderate the destructive aspects of his tandava dance.

Kali is Shiva’s “other wife,” as it were, provoking him and encouraging him in his mad, antisocial, disruptive habits. It is never Kali who tames Siva, but Siva who must calm Kali. When Shiva addresses Parvati as Kali, “the dark blue one,” she is greatly offended. Parvati performs austerities to lose her dark complexion and becomes Gauri, the golden one. Her dark sheath becomes Kausiki, who while enraged, creates Kali.

Parvati is typically portrayed as a benign and friendly goddess. The Linga Purana describes Shiva asking Parvati to defeat the demon Daruka, who received a boon that would only allow a female to kill him. Parvati merges with Shiva’s body, reappearing as Kali to defeat Daruka and his armies. Her bloodlust gets out of control, only calming when Shiva intervenes.

There are several interpretations of the symbolism behind the commonly represented image of Kali standing on Shiva’s supine form. A common one is that Shiva symbolizes purusha, the universal unchanging aspect of reality, or pure consciousness. Kali represents Prakriti, nature or matter, sometimes seen as having a feminine quality. The merging of these two qualities represent ultimate reality.

A tantric interpretation sees Shiva as consciousness and Kali as power or energy. Consciousness and energy are dependent upon each other, since Shiva depends on Shakti, or energy, in order to fulfill his role in creation, preservation, and destruction. In this view, without Shakti, Shiva is a corpse—unable to act.

Lingam and Yoni

Shiva is usually worshipped in the aniconic form of Lingam (“sign, symbol or mark”), also linga or Shiva linga, an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity Shiva, used for worship in temples, smaller shrines, or as self-manifested natural objects.

The lingam is often represented as resting on disc shaped platform called a yoni (“vulva”, “abode”, or “source”) or pitha, an abstract representation of the goddess Shakti, the creative force that moves through the entire universe.

Shiva Purana says Adi Parashakti incarnated in complete materialistic form as Parama Prakriti from the left half of Lord Shiva. Linga Purana states Adi Shakti’s saguna swaroopa i.e. Parvati assumed the form of Yoni and Shiva assumed the form of Linga and their union brings evolution of life.

Skanda Purana and Markandeya Purana talks about Durga or Chandi as divine mother of all creation and truest material form of Adi Shakti. Parvati is Durga by the same above-mentioned scriptures.

The union of the yoni and lingam represents the eternal process of creation and regeneration and all existence. In art and sculpture, this is represented by a cylinder resting within a spouted dish.

In Hindu philosophy, according to tantra, yoni is the origin of life. The birth and rebirth (the cycle of life) of a human happen in various yonis. A human who achieves (Mokshya) breaks the cycle of reincarnation and adjoins Brahman.

Lingam-yonis have been recovered from the archaeological sites at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, part of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Terracotta Shiva Linga figurines found in excavations at Indus Valley Civilization site of Kalibangan and other sites provide evidence of early Shiva Linga worship from circa 3500 BCE to 2300 BCE.

Moksha

Moksha, also called vimoksha, vimukti and mukti, is a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism which refers to various forms of emancipation, liberation, and release. In its soteriological and eschatological senses, it refers to freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth. In its epistemological and psychological senses, moksha refers to freedom from ignorance: self-realization and self-knowledge.

In Hindu traditions, moksha is a central concept and the utmost aim to be attained through three paths during human life; these three paths are dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life), and kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment). Together, these four concepts are called Puruṣārtha in Hinduism.

Brahman

In Hinduism, Brahman connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe. In major schools of Hindu philosophy, it is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists. It is conceptualized as the creative principle which lies realized in the whole world.

It is the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind diversity in all that exists in the universe.

Brahman is a key concept found in the Vedas, and it is extensively discussed in the early Upanishads. The Vedas conceptualize Brahman as the Cosmic Principle. In the Upanishads, it has been variously described as Sat-cit-ānanda (truth-consciousness-bliss) and as the unchanging, permanent, highest reality.

Brahman is discussed in Hindu texts with the concept of Atman (Soul, Self), personal, impersonal or Para Brahman, or in various combinations of these qualities depending on the philosophical school.

In dualistic schools of Hinduism such as the theistic Dvaita Vedanta, Brahman is different from Atman (soul) in each being. In non-dual schools such as the Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is identical to the Atman, is everywhere and inside each living being, and there is connected spiritual oneness in all existence.

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Hurro-Urartians and Armenians of Mitanni

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 5, 2018

Shulaveri-Shomu culture is a Late Neolithic/Eneolithic culture that existed on the territory of present-day Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Armenian Highlands. The culture is dated to mid-6th or early-5th millennia BC and is thought to be one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures.

The earliest evidence of domesticated grapes in the world has been found in the general “Shulaveri area”, near the site of Shulaveri gora, in Marneuli Municipality, in southeastern Republic of Georgia. Specifically, the most recent evidence comes from Gadachrili gora, near the village of Imiri in the same region; carbon-dating points to the date of about 6000 BC.

Many of the characteristic traits of the Shulaverian material culture (circular mudbrick architecture, pottery decorated by plastic design, anthropomorphic female figurines, obsidian industry with an emphasis on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic (Hassuna, Halaf).

The Halaf culture is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 BC and 5100 BC. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Pottery Neolithic and is located primarily in south-eastern Turkey, Syria, and northern Iraq, although Halaf-influenced material is found throughout Greater Mesopotamia.

Halaf culture ended by 5000 BC after entering the so-called Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (ca. 5500/5400 to 5200/5000 BC). Many Halafians settlements were abandoned, and the remaining ones showed Ubaidian characters. The new period is named Northern Ubaid to distinguish it from the proper Ubaid in southern Mesopotamia, and two explanations were presented for the transformation.

The first maintain an invasion and a replacement of the Halafians by the Ubaidians, however, there is no hiatus between the Halaf and northern Ubaid which exclude the invasion theory. The most plausible theory is a Halafian adoption of the Ubaid culture, which is supported by most scholars including Oates, Breniquet and Akkermans.

The Ubaid period (c. 6500 to 3800 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from Tell al-`Ubaid where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted initially by Henry Hall and later by Leonard Woolley.

In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvial plain although it is likely earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium. In the south it has a very long duration between about 6500 and 3800 BC when it is replaced by the Uruk period. In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BC.

The Ubaid period in the south was associated with intensive irrigated hydraulic agriculture, and the use of the plough, both introduced from the north, possibly through the earlier Choga Mami, Hadji Muhammed and Samarra cultures.

The 5.9-kiloyear event at the end of the Older Peron was one of the most intense aridification events during the Holocene. It occurred around 3900 BC (5900 years Before Present), ending the Neolithic Subpluvial.

It is associated with the last round of the Sahara pump theory, and probably initiated the most recent desiccation of the Sahara, as well as a five century period of colder climate in more northerly latitudes.

At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, and there is no evidence of human presence in the area for approximately 1,000 years, the so-called “Dark Millennium”.

In the eastern Arabian Peninsula, the 5.9-kiloyear event may have contributed to an increase in relatively greater social complexity and have corresponded to an end of the local Ubaid period and the emergence of the first state societies at the lower end of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in southern Mesopotamia.

It triggered human migration to the Nile, which eventually led to the emergence of the first complex, highly organized, state-level societies in the 4th millennium BC. It may have contributed to the decline of Old Europe and the first Indo-European migrations into the Balkans from the Pontic–Caspian steppe.

By causing a period of cooling in Europe, it may have contributed to the decline of Old Europe and the first Indo-European migrations into the Balkans from the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Around 4200–4100 BCE a climate change occurred, manifesting in colder winters in Europe.

Between 4200–3900 BCE many tell settlements in the lower Danube Valley were burned and abandoned, while the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture showed an increase in fortifications, meanwhile moving eastwards towards the Dniepr. Steppe herders, archaic Proto-Indo-European speakers, spread into the lower Danube valley about 4200–4000 BCE, either causing or taking advantage of the collapse of Old Europe.

Shulaveri culture predates the Kura-Araxes culture which flourished in this area around 4000–2200 BC. Later on, in the middle Bronze Age period (c. 3000–1500 BC), the Trialeti culture emerged. Sioni culture of Eastern Georgia possibly represents a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex.

The Leyla-Tepe culture of ancient Azerbaijan belongs to the Chalcolithic era. It got its name from the site in the Agdam district. Its settlements were distributed on the southern slopes of Central Caucasus, mostly in Agdam District, from 4350 until 4000 B.C.

The appearance of Leyla-Tepe tradition’s carriers in the Caucasus marked the appearance of the first local Caucasian metallurgy. This is attributed to migrants from Uruk, arriving around 4500 BCE. Recent research indicates the connections rather to the pre-Uruk traditions, such as the late Ubaid period, and Ubaid-Uruk phases.

Discovery of Soyugbulaq in Azerbaijan provide substantial proof that the practice of kurgan burial was well established in the South Caucasus during the late Eneolithic. It is believed that this was the result of the migration of near-eastern tribes from Mesopotamia to South Caucasus, especially to Azerbaijan. The Leylatepe Culture tribes migrated to the north in the mid-fourth millennium, B.C. and played an important part in the rise of the Maikop Culture of the North Caucasus.

The site of Galayeri, belonging to the Leyla-Tepe archaeological culture, is located in the Qabala District of Azerbaijan. Galayeri is closely connected to early civilizations of Near East. Almost all findings have Eastern Anatolian Chalcolithic characteristics. The closest analogues of the Galayeri clay constructions are found at Arslantepe/Melid VII in Temple C, an ancient city on the Tohma River, a tributary of the upper Euphrates rising in the Taurus Mountains.

It has been suggested that the Leyla-Tepe were the founders of the Maykop culture (c. 3700 BC–3000 BC), a major Bronze Age archaeological culture in the western Caucasus region of southern Russia. It extends along the area from the Taman Peninsula at the Kerch Strait to near the modern border of Dagestan and southwards to the Kura River. The culture takes its name from a royal burial found in Maykop kurgan in the Kuban River valley.

In the south the Maykop culture borders the approximately contemporaneous Kura-Araxes culture (3500—2200 BC), which extends into eastern Anatolia and apparently influenced it. To the north is the Yamna culture, including the Novotitorovka culture (3300—2700), which it overlaps in territorial extent. It is contemporaneous with the late Uruk period in Mesopotamia.

The Maykop culture has been described as, at the very least, a “kurganized” local culture with strong ethnic and linguistic links to the descendants of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. It has been linked to the Lower Mikhaylovka group and Kemi Oba culture, and more distantly, to the Globular Amphora and Corded Ware cultures, if only in an economic sense.

Its inhumation practices were characteristically Indo-European, typically in a pit, sometimes stone-lined, topped with a kurgan (or tumulus). Stone cairns replace kurgans in later interments. The culture has also been linked to the north Ubaid period monuments, in particular, with the settlements in the Eastern Anatolia Region. The settlement is of a typical Western-Asian variety, with the dwellings packed closely together and made of mud bricks with smoke outlets.

The Yamna culture (lit. ‘pit culture’), sometimes rendered in English as Pit Grave culture or Ochre Grave culture, was a late Copper Age to early Bronze Age archaeological culture of the region between the Southern Bug, Dniester and Ural rivers (the Pontic steppe), dating to 3300–2600 BC. Its name refers to its characteristic burial tradition: kurgans containing a simple pit chamber.

The people of the Yamnaya culture were the likely result of admixture between eastern European hunter-gatherers (via whom they also descend from the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture or other, closely related people) and a Near Eastern people, with some research identifying the latter as hunter-gatherers from the Caucasus or a similar people also related to Chalcolithic people from what is now Iran.

The Yamna culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans, and is the strongest candidate for the urheimat (homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language. Their material culture is very similar to the Afanasevo culture, their contemporaries in the Altai Mountains; furthermore, genetic tests have confirmed that the two groups are genetically indistinguishable.

They are also closely connected to later, Final Neolithic cultures which spread throughout Europe and Central Asia, especially the Corded Ware people, but also the Bell Beaker culture as well as the peoples of the Sintashta, Andronovo, and Srubna cultures.

In these groups, several aspects of the Yamna culture (e.g., horse-riding, burial styles, and to some extent the pastoralist economy) are present. Genetic studies have also indicated that these populations derived large parts of their ancestry from the steppes.

According to Jones et al. (2015) and Haak et al. (2015), autosomic tests indicate that the Yamnaya people were the result of admixture between two different hunter-gatherer populations: distinctive “Eastern European hunter-gatherers” with high affinity to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture or other, closely related people from Siberia and a population of “Caucasus hunter-gatherers” who probably arrived from somewhere in the Near East, probably the Caucasus. Each of those two populations contributed about half the Yamnaya DNA.

According to co-author Andrea Manica of the University of Cambridge: The question of where the Yamnaya come from has been something of a mystery up to now […] we can now answer that, as we’ve found that their genetic make-up is a mix of Eastern European hunter-gatherers and a population from this pocket of Caucasus hunter-gatherers who weathered much of the last Ice Age in apparent isolation.

Several genetic studies performed since 2015 have given support to the Kurgan theory of Marija Gimbutas regarding the Indo-European Urheimat – that Indo-European languages spread throughout Europe from the Eurasian steppes and that the Yamna culture were Proto-Indo-Europeans.

According to those studies, haplogroups R1b and R1a, now the most common in Europe (with R1a also being common in South Asia), would have expanded from the Pontic–Caspian steppes, along with the Indo-European languages. They also detected an autosomal component present in modern Europeans which was not present in Neolithic Europeans, which would have been introduced with paternal lineages R1b and R1a, as well as Indo-European languages in the Bronze Age.

Leyla-Tepe metalwork tradition was very sophisticated right from the beginning, and featured many bronze items. Yet later, the quality of metallurgy declined with the Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture, a civilization that existed from about 4000 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end; in some locations it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BC.

The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain; it spread northward in Caucasus by 3000 BC. Altogether, the early trans-Caucasian culture enveloped a vast area approximately 1,000 km by 500 km, and mostly encompassed, on modern-day territories, the Southern Caucasus (except western Georgia), northwestern Iran, the northeastern Caucasus, eastern Turkey, and as far as Syria.

The name of the culture is derived from the Kura and Araxes river valleys. Kura–Araxes culture is sometimes known as Shengavitian, Karaz (Erzurum), Pulur, and Yanik Tepe (Iranian Azerbaijan, near Lake Urmia) cultures. It gave rise to the later Khirbet Kerak-ware culture found in Syria and Canaan after the fall of the Akkadian Empire.

Inhumation practices are mixed. Flat graves are found but so are substantial kurgan burials, the latter of which may be surrounded by cromlechs. This points to a heterogeneous ethno-linguistic population. Here one can come to the conclusion that the Kura–Araxes culture developed gradually through a synthesis of several cultural traditions, including the ancient cultures of the Caucasus and nearby territories.

According to Giulio Palumbi (2008), the typical red-black ware of Kura–Araxes culture originated in eastern Anatolia, and then moved on to the Caucasus area. But then these cultural influences came back to Anatolia mixed in with other cultural elements from the Caucasus.

Hurrian and Urartian language elements are quite probable, as are Northeast Caucasian ones. The presence of Kartvelian languages was also highly probable. Influences of Semitic languages and Indo-European languages are highly possible, though the presence of the languages on the lands of the Kura–Araxes culture is more controversial.

The expansion of Y-DNA subclade R-Z93 (R1a1a1b2), according to Mascarenhas et al. (2015), is compatible with “the archeological records of eastward expansion of West Asian populations in the 4th millennium BCE, culminating in the socalled Kura-Araxes migrations in the post-Uruk IV period.”

According to Pamjav et al. (2012), “Inner and Central Asia is an overlap zone” for the R -Z280 and R -Z93 lineages, implying that an “early differentiation zone” of R-M198 “conceivably occurred somewhere within the Eurasian Steppes or the Middle East and Caucasus region as they lie between South Asia and Eastern Europe”.

According to Underhill et al. (2014/2015), R1a1a1, the most frequent subclade of R1a, split into R-Z282 (Europe) and R-Z93 (Asia) at circa 5,800 before present, in the vicinity of Iran and Eastern Turkey. According to Underhill et al. (2014/2015), “[t]his suggests the possibility that R1a lineages accompanied demic expansions initiated during the Copper, Bronze, and Iron ages.”

Their pottery was distinctive. The spread of their pottery along trade routes into surrounding cultures was much more impressive than any of their achievements domestically. It was painted black and red, using geometric designs. Examples have been found as far south as Syria and Israel, and as far north as Dagestan and Chechnya.

The spread of this pottery, along with archaeological evidence of invasions, suggests that the Kura-Araxes people may have spread outward from their original homes and, most certainly, had extensive trade contacts. Jaimoukha believes that its southern expanse is attributable primarily to Mitanni and the Hurrians.

The Trialeti culture, also known as the Trialeti-Vanadzor [Kirovakan] culture), is named after the Trialeti region of Georgia. It is attributed to the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC. Trialeti culture emerged in the areas of the preceding Kura-Araxes culture. The flourishing stage of the Trialeti culture began near the end of the third millennium BC.

During the final phase of the Middle Bronze Age (c.1700–1500 BC), in addition to the Trialeti Kirovakan Vanadzor period culture, three other geographically overlapping material culture horizons predominate in the South Caucasus and eastern Anatolia: Karmir-Berd (a.k.a. Tazakend), Karmir-Vank (a.k.a. Kizil Vank, Van-Urmia), and Sevan-Uzerlik (a.k.a. Sevan-Artsakh).

Black-burnished and monochrome painted wares vessels from the cemeteries of Ani, and Küçük Çatma (Maly Pergit), both in the Kars Province of Turkey, and tr:Sos Höyük IV in Erzurum Province resemble those of Trialeti.

Trialeti-Vanadzor painted monochrome and polychrome pottery is very similar to that in the other areas of the Near East. In particular, similar ceramics are known as Urmia ware (named after Lake Urmia in Iran). Also, similar pottery was produced by the Uzarlik culture, and the Karmirberd-Sevan culture.

At that time, there was already strong social differentiation indicated by rich mound burials. There are parallels to the Early Kurgan culture. Cremation was practised. Painted pottery was introduced. Tin-based bronze became predominant.

Geographical interconnectedness and links with other areas of the Near East are seen in many aspects of the culture. For example, a cauldron found in Trialeti is nearly identical to the one from Shaft Grave 4 of Mycenae in Greece. The Trialeti culture shows close ties with the highly developed cultures of the ancient world, particularly with the Aegean, but also with cultures to the south, such as the Sumerians and their Akkadian conquerors.

Martqopi kurgans in Gardabani District of Georgia are somewhat similar, and are contemporary to the earliest among the Trialeti kurgans. Together, they represent the early stage of the Early Kurgan culture of Central Transcaucasia. This Early Kurgan period, known as Martkopi-Bedeni, has been interpreted as a transitional phase and the first stage of the Middle Bronze Age.

The Martqopi Culture may be dated before 2550 BC. This stage of the Early Bronze Age seems to represent the final stage of the Kura-Araxes culture. The launch of tin bronze production in South Caucasia is associated with the appearance of the so-called Early Kurgans, whereas artifacts of the Kura-Araxes (Early Transcaucasian) culture were made exclusively of copper-arsenic alloy.

The Trialeti culture was known for its particular form of burial. The elite were interred in large, very rich burials under earth and stone mounds, which sometimes contained four-wheeled carts. Also there were many gold objects found in the graves. These gold objects were similar to those found in Iran and Iraq.

This form of burial in a tumulus or “kurgan”, along with wheeled vehicles, is the same as that of the Kurgan culture which has been associated with the speakers of Proto-Indo-European. In fact, the black burnished pottery of especially early Trialeti kurgans is similar to Kura-Araxes pottery.

In a historical context, their impressive accumulation of wealth in burial kurgans, like that of other associated and nearby cultures with similar burial practices, is particularly noteworthy. This practice was probably a result of influence from the older civilizations to the south in the Fertile Crescent.

Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta is a legendary Sumerian account, of preserved, early post-Sumerian copies, composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC). It is one of a series of accounts describing the conflicts between Enmerkar, king of Unug-Kulaba (Uruk), and the unnamed king of Aratta (probably somewhere in modern Iran or Armenia).

Because it gives a Sumerian account of the “confusion of tongues”, and also involves Enmerkar constructing temples at Eridu and Uruk, it has, since the time of Samuel Kramer, been compared with the Tower of Babel narrative in the Book of Genesis.

Aratta appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list. It is described as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them. It is remote and difficult to reach. It is home to the goddess Inana, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk. It is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk.

Shupria or Arme-Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) was a Hurrian kingdom, known from Assyrian sources beginning in the 13th century BC, located in what is now known as the Armenian Highlands, to the southwest of Lake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. Some scholars have linked the district in the area called Arme or Armani, to the name Armenia.

The land of Subartu (Akkadian Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri, Assyrian mât Šubarri) or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. The name also appears as Subari in the Amarna letters, and, in the form Šbr, in Ugarit.

Subartu was apparently a polity in Upper Mesopotamia, at the upper Tigris. Most scholars suggest that Subartu is an early name for Assyria proper on the Tigris and westward, although there are various other theories placing it sometimes a little farther to the east and/or north. Its precise location has not been identified.

The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land (the Amorites).

Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name Subartu as one of these quarters around Akkad, along with Martu, Elam, and Sumer. From the point of view of the Akkadian Empire, Subartu marked the northern geographical horizon, just as Martu, Elam and Sumer marked “west”, “east” and “south”, respectively.

Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other populations of the region such as the Nairi fell under Urartian (Kingdom of Ararat) rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants, according to most scholars, later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the Armenians.

Mitanni (Hittite cuneiform KUR URUMi-ta-an-ni; Mittani Mi-it-ta-ni), also called Hurri (Ḫu-ur-ri) by the Hittites, Hanigalbat (Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) in Assyrian or Mitanni, Maryannu or Naharin in Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and southeast Anatolia from c. 1500 to 1300 BC.

Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Amorite Babylon and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia. The Mitanni dynasty ruled over the northern Euphrates-Tigris region between c. 1475 and c. 1275 BC.

At the height of its power, during the 14th century BC, Mitanni had outposts centred on its capital, Washukanni, whose location has been determined by archaeologists to be on the headwaters of the Khabur River.

At the beginning of its history, Mitanni’s major rival was Egypt under the Thutmosids. However, with the ascent of the Hittite Empire, Mitanni and Egypt struck an alliance to protect their mutual interests from the threat of Hittite domination. Eventually, Mitanni succumbed to Hittite and later Assyrian attacks and was reduced to the status of a province of the Middle Assyrian Empire.

The ethnicity of the people of Mitanni is difficult to ascertain. A treatise on the training of chariot horses by Kikkuli contains a number of Indo-Aryan glosses. Kammenhuber (1968) suggested that this vocabulary was derived from the still undivided Indo-Iranian language, but Mayrhofer (1974) has shown that specifically Indo-Aryan features are present.

While the Mitanni kings were Indo-Aryan, they used the language of the local people, which was at that time a non-Indo-European language, Hurrian. The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni, the Mitanni perhaps being Indo-Iranian speakers who formed a ruling class over the Hurrians.

The Hurro-Urartian languages are an extinct language family of the Ancient Near East, comprising only two known languages: Hurrian and Urartian, both of which were spoken in the Taurus mountains area. The present-day Armenians are an amalgam of the Indo-European groups with the Hurrians and Urartians.

The poorly attested Kassite language, a language spoken by the Kassites in the Zagros Mountains of Iran and southern Mesopotamia from approximately the 18th to the 4th century BC, may have been related to Hurrian.

However, the arrival of the Kassites has been connected to the contemporary migrations of Indo-European peoples. Several Kassite leaders and deities bore Indo-European names, and it is possible that they were dominated by an Indo-European elite similar to the Mitanni, who ruled over the Hurro-Urartian-speaking Hurrians of Asia Minor.

Their sphere of influence is shown in Hurrian place names, personal names and the spread through Syria and the Levant of a distinct pottery type. The Hurrians were masterful ceramists. Their pottery is commonly found in Mesopotamia and in the lands west of the Euphrates; it was highly valued in distant Egypt, by the time of the New Kingdom.

Mitannian ware (also called Nuzi, Alalakh, or Hurrian ware) are tall goblets with small, button bases, painted light floral and geometric designs on a dark (red or brown) background, approximately 10-20 cm high.

Archaeologists use the terms Khabur ware and Nuzi ware for two types of wheel-made pottery used by the Hurrians. Khabur ware is characterized by reddish painted lines with a geometric triangular pattern and dots, while Nuzi ware has very distinctive forms, and are painted in brown or black.

Khabur ware is a specific type of pottery named after the Khabur River region, in northeastern Syria, where large quantities of it were found by the archaeologist Max Mallowan at the site of Chagar Bazar. The pottery’s distribution is not confined to the Khabur region, but spreads across northern Iraq and is also found at a few sites in Turkey and Iran.

Four main Khabur ware phases are established, 1-4. While the starting date for phase 1 is inconclusive, a tentative date of ca. 1900 BC is suggested based on evidence from Tell Brak. The beginning of the second, and the main, phase of Khabur ware is dated to the reign of Shamshi-Adad I (ca. 1813 BC), based on evidence from Chagar Bazar, Tell al-Rimah, Tell Taya and Tell Leilan.

The third phase of Khabur ware is dated to ca. 1750, and lasts until ca. 1550. The fourth and last phase, is a period shared between Khabur ware and Nuzi ware, and ends with the its disappearance ca. 1400 BC.

Maryannu is an ancient word for the caste of chariot-mounted hereditary warrior nobility which existed in many of the societies of the Middle East during the Bronze Age. The term is attested in the Amarna letters written by Haapi.

Robert Drews writes that the name ‘maryannu’ although plural takes the singular ‘marya’, which in Sanskrit means young warrior, and attaches a Hurrian suffix. He suggests that at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age most would have spoken either Hurrian or Aryan but by the end of the 14th century most of the Levant maryannu had Semitic names.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people.

In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.

He was second in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.

The name of March comes from Martius, the first month of the earliest Roman calendar. It was named after Mars, the Roman god of war. Martius remained the first month of the Roman calendar year perhaps as late as 153 BC, and several religious observances in the first half of the month were originally new year’s celebrations.

Aries (meaning “ram”) is the first astrological sign in the zodiac, spanning the first 30 degrees of celestial longitude (0°≤ λ <30°). According to the tropical system of astrology, the Sun enters the sign of Aries when it reaches the March equinox, which time systems and the western calendar are rooted in, so as to occur on average on March 21.

Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this sign from approximately March 20 to April 21 each year. The symbol of the ram is based on the Chrysomallus, the flying ram that provided the Golden Fleece. The fleece is a symbol of authority and kingship.

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. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars)—hence the current name of the planet.

Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle. He has also been called “the king of sunset”.

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.

The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague.

Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. In the mythology, this occurred when Enlil and Ninlil gave him the underworld. Pluto was the ruler of the underworld in classical mythology.

The earlier name for the god was Hades, which became more common as the name of the underworld itself. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Pluto represents a more positive concept of the god who presides over the afterlife.

Ploutōn was frequently conflated with Ploutos, a god of wealth, because mineral wealth was found underground, and because as a chthonic god Pluto ruled the deep earth that contained the seeds necessary for a bountiful harvest.

The name Ploutōn came into widespread usage with the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which Pluto was venerated as a stern ruler but the loving husband of Persephone. The couple received souls in the afterlife, and are invoked together in religious inscriptions. Hades, by contrast, had few temples and religious practices associated with him, and he is portrayed as the dark and violent abductor of Persephone.

The word “Tuesday” in the Greco-Roman and other Indo-European calendars is also dedicated to planet Mars, referring to “Tīw’s Day”, the day of Tiw or Týr, the god of war and victory. Tiw was equated with Mars in other Indo-European mythologies.

In the Skanda Purana, a Hindu religious text, Mars is known as the deity Mangala and was born from the sweat of Shiva. Mangala is the root of the word ‘Mangalavara’ or Tuesday in the Hindu calendar.

The planet was known by the ancient Egyptians as “Horus of the Horizon”, then later Her Deshur (“Ḥr Dšr”), or “Horus the Red”. The earliest recorded form of Horus is the tutelary deity of Nekhen in Upper Egypt, who is the first known national god, specifically related to the ruling pharaoh who in time came to be regarded as a manifestation of Horus in life and Osiris in death.

Horus served many functions, most notably being a god of kingship and the sky. In early Egypt, Horus was the brother of Isis, Osiris, Set and Nephthys. As different cults formed, he became the son of Isis and Osiris. In another tradition Hathor is regarded as his mother and sometimes as his wife. Horus gradually took on the nature as both the son of Osiris and Osiris himself. He was referred to as Golden Horus Osiris.

In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was merged with the major state god Horus into Ra-Horakhty (“Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons”). When Ra was in the underworld, he merged with Osiris, the god of the dead, and through it became the god of the dead as well. He was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the earth, and the underworld.

Egyptian sources call Mitanni “nhrn”, which is usually pronounced as Naharin/Naharina from the Assyro-Akkadian word for “river”, cf. Aram-Naharaim, a region that is mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. Both Josephus and the Septuagint translate the name as Mesopotamia.

In Genesis, it is used somewhat interchangeably with the names Paddan Aram and Haran to denote the place where Abraham stayed briefly with his father Terah’s family after leaving Ur of the Chaldees, while en route to Canaan (Gen. 11:31), and the place from which later patriarchs obtained wives, rather than marry daughters of Canaan.

Paddan Aram refers to the part of Aram-Naharaim along the upper Euphrates, while Haran is mainly identified with the ancient Assyrian city of Harran on the Balikh River. According to one rabbinical Jewish tradition, the birthplace of Abraham (Ur) was also situated in Aram-Naharaim.

The name Mitanni is first found in the “memoirs” of the Syrian wars (c. 1480 BC) of the official astronomer and clockmaker Amenemhet, who returned from the “foreign country called Me-ta-ni” at the time of Thutmose I.

The first extant record of Indic Mitra, in the form mi-it-ra-, is in the inscribed peace treaty of c. 1400 BC between Hittites and the Hurrian kingdom of the Mitanni in the area southeast of Lake Van in Asia Minor. Mitra appears there together with four other Indic divinities as witnesses and keepers of the pact.

Vedic Mitra is a prominent deity of the Rigveda distinguished by a relationship to Varuna, the protector of rta. Together with Varuna, he counted among the Adityas, a group of solar deities, also in later Vedic texts. Vedic Mitra is the patron divinity of honesty, friendship, contracts and meetings.

Both Vedic Mitra and Avestan Mithra derive from an Indo-Iranian common noun *mitra-, generally reconstructed to have meant “covenant, treaty, agreement, promise.” This meaning is preserved in Avestan miθra “covenant.” In Sanskrit and modern Indo-Aryan languages, mitra means “friend,” one of the aspects of bonding and alliance.

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The book: “Hayastan – Why I Love Armenia”

Posted by Fredsvenn on August 4, 2018

Order the astonishing book “Hayastan – Why I Love Armenia” by Sven-Erik Rise today! Hayastan – Why I Love Armenia

“When an honest-to-goodness Activist for Armenia, Armenian by Choice, and Guy-Who-Left-His-Heart-in-Armenia writes a book about his overriding passion, it becomes nearly impossible to stay within the confines of traditional literary genres. The content and message of this book draw upon a combination of years of reading and studying, as well as real-life interactions with peoples, cultures, and languages.”

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Domestication of goats and sheep

Posted by Fredsvenn on August 4, 2018

At several sites (e.g. Hallan Çemi, Abu Hureyra, Mureybet) we can see a continuous occupation from a hunter-gathering lifestyle (based on hunting, and gathering and grinding of wild grains) to an economy based mainly on growing (still wild varieties of) wheat, barley and legumes from around 9000 BC.

Domestication of goats and sheep followed within a few generations, but didn’t become widespread for more than a millennium. Weaving and pottery followed about two thousand years later.

Neolithic farmers began to herd wild goats primarily for easy access to milk and meat, as well as to their dung, which was used as fuel, and their bones, hair and sinew for clothing, building and tools.

The most recent genetic analysis confirms the archaeological evidence that the wild Bezoar ibex of the Zagros Mountains is the likely original ancestor of probably all domestic goats today.

The earliest remnants of domesticated goats dating 10,000 years before present are found in Ganj Dareh (“Treasure Valley” or “Treasure Valley Hill”) in Iran. It is located in the Harsin County in east of Kermanshah Province, in the central Zagros Mountains. The oldest settlement remains on the site date back to ca. 10,000 years ago, and have yielded the earliest evidence for goat domestication in the world.

Goat remains have been found at archaeological sites in Jericho, Choga Mami, Djeitun, and Çayönü, dating the domestication of goats in Western Asia at between 8000 and 9000 years ago.

Researchers sequenced the genome from the petrous bone of a 30-50 woman from Ganj Dareh, GD13a. mtDNA analysis shows that she belonged to Haplogroup X. She is phenotypically similar to the Anatolian early farmers and Caucasus Hunter-Gatherers.

Her DNA revealed that she had black hair, brown eyes and was lactose intolerant. The derived SLC45A2 variant associated with light skin was not observed in GD13a, but the derived SLC24A5 variant which is also associated with the same trait was observed.

GD13a is genetically closest to the ancient Caucasus Hunter-Gatherers identified from human remains from Western Georgia (Satsurblia Cave and Kotias Klde), just north of the Zagros mountains.

She also shared genetic affinities with the Steppe populations of the Yamna culture and the Afanasevo culture that were part of one or more Bronze age migrations into Europe, as well as early Bronze age cultures in that continent (Corded Ware), in line with previous relationships observed for the Caucasus Hunter-Gatherers.

Her population did not contribute very much genetically to modern Europeans. She belonged to a population that was genetically distinct from the Neolithic Anatolian farmers.

In terms of modern populations, she shows some genetic affinity with modern Central South Asian populations such as the Brahui people, the Baloch people and the Makrani caste, a Muslim community found in the state of Gujarat in India and Pakistan that descendents of Baluchs who were brought to Saurashtra as mercenaries.

The Baloch or Baluch are a people who live mainly in the Balochistan region of the southeastern-most edge of the Iranian plateau in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, as well as in the Arabian Peninsula. They mainly speak the Balochi language, a branch of Northwestern Iranian languages, and are an Iranic people.

About 50% of the total Baloch population live in Balochistan, a western province of Pakistan; 40% of Baloch are settled in Sindh; and a significant number of Baloch people in Punjab of Pakistan. They make up nearly 3.6% of the Pakistani population, about 2% of Iran’s population (1.5 million) and about 2% of Afghanistan’s population.

Baloch people co-inhabit desert and mountainous regions along with Pashtuns. Baloch people practice Islam, are predominantly Sunni, and use Urdu as the lingua franca to communicate with other ethnic groups such as Pashtuns and Sindhis, as is the norm for Pakistan.

The exact origin of the word ‘Baloch’ is unclear. Rawlinson (1873) believed that it is derived from the name of the Babylonian king and god Belus. Dames (1904) believed that it is derived from the Persian term for cockscomb, said to have been used as a crest on the helmets of Baloch troops in 6th century BCE. Herzfeld (1968) proposed that it is derived from the Median term brza-vaciya, which describes a loud or aggressive way of speaking.

Naseer Dashti (2012) presents another possibility, that of being derived from the name of the ethnic group `Balaschik’ living in Balashagan, between the Caspian Sea and Lake Van in present day Turkey and Azerbaizan, who are believed to have migrated to Balochistan during the Sassanid times. The remnants of the original name such as ‘Balochuk’ and ‘Balochiki’ are said to be still used as ethnic names in Balochistan.

Balāsagān (literally meaning “country of Balas”) was a satrapy of the Sasanian Empire. Shapur I’s inscription at Naqsh-e-Rostam describes the satrapy as “extending to the Caucasus mountains and the Gate of Albania (also known as Gate of the Alans)”, but for the most part it was located south of the lower course of the rivers Kura and the Aras (Araxes), bordered on the south by Adurbadagan, and had the Caspian Sea on its east.

Balasagan is also mentioned separately from Albania as a province of the empire at Shapur’s inscription, which indicates that it was its own political entity even though it was subject to Albania. The monarch of Balasagan also gained the title of King under Ardashir, which would indicate it becoming a vassal.

After the conversion of Armenia to Christianity, and subsequently Iberia and Albania Balasagan was also slowly converted to Christianity. During the reign of Yazdegerd II, the king of Balasagan, Heran, sided with the Sassanids and helped crush an Armenian revolt, however he himself revolted later on and was executed.

Some writers suggest a derivation from Sanskrit words bal, meaning strength, and och meaning high or magnificent. An earliest Sanskrit reference to the Baloch might be the Gwalior inscription of the Gurjara-Pratihara ruler Mihira Bhoja (r. 836–885), which says that the dynasty’s founder Nagabhata I repelled a powerful army of Valacha Mlecchas, translated as “Baluch foreigners” by D. R. Bhandarkar. The army in question is that of the Umayyad Caliphate after the conquest of Sindh.

Walhaz

*Walhaz is a reconstructed Proto-Germanic word meaning “foreigner”, “stranger”, “Roman”, “Romance-speaker”, or “Celtic-speaker”. The term was used by the ancient Germanic peoples to describe inhabitants of the former Western Roman Empire, who were largely romanised and spoke Latin or Celtic languages (cf. Valland in Old Norse).

The adjectival form is attested in Old Norse valskr, meaning “French”; Old High German walhisk, meaning “Romance”; New High German welsch, used in Switzerland and South Tyrol for Romance speakers; Dutch Waals “Walloon”; Old English welisċ, wælisċ, wilisċ, meaning “Romano-British”; and Modern English Welsh.

The form of these words imply that they are descended from a Proto-Germanic form *walhiska-. It is attested in the Roman Iron Age from an inscription on one of the Tjurkö bracteates, where walhakurne “Roman/Gallic grain” is apparently a kenning for “gold” (referring to the bracteate itself).

*Walhaz is almost certainly derived from the name of the tribe which was known to the Romans as Volcae (in the writings of Julius Caesar) and to the Greeks as Οὐόλκαι / Ouólkai (Strabo and Ptolemy). This tribe occupied territory neighbouring that of the Germanic people and seem to have been referred to by the proto-Germanic name *Walhaz (plural *Walhōz, adjectival form *walhiska-).

It is assumed that this term specifically referred to the Celtic Volcae, because application of Grimm’s law to that word produces the form *Walh-. Subsequently, this term *Walhōz was applied rather indiscriminately to the southern neighbours of the Germanic people, as evidenced in geographic names such as Walchgau and Walchensee in Bavaria.

These southern neighbours, however, were then already completely Romanised. Thus, Germanic speakers generalised this name first to all Celts, and later to all Romans. Old High German Walh became Walch in Middle High German, and the adjective OHG walhisk became MHG welsch, e.g. in the 1240 Alexander romance by Rudolf von Ems – resulting in Welsche in Early New High German and modern Swiss German as the exonym for all Romance speakers.

For instance, the historical German name for Trentino, the part of Tyrol with a Romance speaking majority, is Welschtirol, and the historical German name for Verona is Welschbern.

In Central and Eastern Europe, the word for Romance peoples was borrowed from the Goths (as *walhs) into Proto-Slavic some time before the 7th century. The first source using the word was the writings of Byzantine historian George Kedrenos in the mid-11th century.

From the Slavs the term passed to other peoples, such as the Hungarians (oláh, referring to Vlachs, more specifically Romanians, olasz, referring to Italians), Turks (“Ulahlar”) and Byzantines (“Vláhi”) and was used for all Latin people of the Balkans. Over time, the term Vlach (and its different forms) also acquired different meanings.

Ottoman Turks in the Balkans commonly used the term to denote native Balkan Christians (possibly due to the cultural link between Christianity and Roman culture), and in parts of the Balkans the term came to denote “shepherd” – from the occupation of many of the Vlachs throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The Polish words Włoch (pl. Włosi), “Italian”, and Włochy, “Italy”, and the Slovenian lah, a mildly derogatory word for “Italian”, can also be mentioned.

The Volcae were a tribal confederation constituted before the raid of combined Gauls that invaded Macedonia c. 270 BC and fought the assembled Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae in 279 BC. Tribes known by the name Volcae were found simultaneously in southern Gaul, Moravia, the Ebro valley of the Iberian Peninsula, and Galatia in Anatolia.

The Volcae appear to have been part of the late La Tène material culture, and a Celtic identity has been attributed to the Volcae, based on mentions in Greek and Latin sources as well as onomastic evidence.

Driven by highly mobile groups operating outside the tribal system and comprising diverse elements, the Volcae were one of the new ethnic entities formed during the Celtic military expansion at the beginning of the 3rd century BC.

Collecting in the famous excursion into the Balkans, ostensibly, from the Hellene point of view, to raid Delphi, a branch of the Volcae split from the main group on the way into the Balkans and joined two other tribes, the Tolistobogii and the Trocmi, to settle in central Anatolia and establish a new identity as the Galatians.

The English translation of the Greek Galatai or Latin Galatae, Galli, or Gallograeci refer to either the Galatians or the Gauls in general. The Gauls were a group of Celtic peoples of West-Central Europe in the Iron Age and the Roman period (roughly from the 5th century BC to the 5th century AD). The area they inhabited was known as Gaul. Their Gaulish language forms the main branch of the Continental Celtic languages.

The Gauls emerged around the 5th century BC as the bearers of the La Tène culture north of the Alps (spread across the lands between the Seine, Middle Rhine and upper Elbe).

By the 4th century BC, they spread over much of what is now France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Southern Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia by virtue of controlling the trade routes along the river systems of the Rhône, Seine, Rhine, and Danube, and they quickly expanded into Northern Italy, the Balkans, Transylvania and Galatia.

Gaul was never united under a single ruler or government, but the Gallic tribes were capable of uniting their forces in large-scale military operations. They reached the peak of their power in the early 3rd century BC.

The rising Roman Republic after the end of the First Punic War increasingly put pressure on the Gallic sphere of influence; the Battle of Telamon of 225 BC heralded a gradual decline of Gallic power over the 2nd century, until the eventual conquest of Gaul in the Gallic Wars of the 50s BC.

After this, Gaul became a province of the Roman Empire, and the Gauls were ethnically and culturally largely assimilated into Latin (Roman settlers) majority, losing their tribal identities by the end of the 1st century AD.

The terms “Galatians” came to be used by the Greeks for the three Celtic peoples of Anatolia: the Tectosages, the Trocmii, and the Tolistobogii. All three tribes were beaten in 189 BCE by the Roman consul Gnaeus Manlius Vulso at the battles of Mt. Olympus and Mt. Magaba.

Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia (Ankara, Çorum, Yozgat Province) in modern Turkey. Galatia was named for the immigrant Gauls from Thrace (cf. Tylis), who settled here and became its ruling caste in the 3rd century BC, following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC. It has been called the “Gallia” of the East, Roman writers calling its inhabitants Galli (Gauls or Celts).

By the 4th century BC the Celts had penetrated into the Balkans, coming into contact with the Thracians, Macedonians and Greeks. In 380 BC they fought in the southern regions of Dalmatia (present day Croatia), and rumors circulated around the ancient world that Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II of Macedonia had been assassinated by a dagger of Celtic origins.

Arrian writes that “Celts established on the Ionic coast” were among those who came to meet Alexander the Great during a campaign against the Getae in 335 BC. Several ancient accounts mention that the Celts formed an alliance with Dionysius I of Syracuse who sent them to fight alongside the Macedonians against the Thebans.

In 279 BC two Celtic factions united under the leadership of Brennus and began to push southwards from southern Bulgaria towards the Greek states. According to Livy, a sizable force split off from this main group and head toward Asia Minor.

For several years a federation of Hellespontine cities, including Byzantion and Kalchedon prevented the Celts from entering Asia Minor but this changed when Nikomedes I of Bithynia allied with some of the Celtic leaders in a war against his brother Zipoetes and the Seleucid king Antiochus I.

When the Celts finally entered Asia Minor chaos ensued until the Celts were briefly routed by Antiochus’ army in the Battle of Elephants. In the aftermath of the battle the Celts withdrew to Phrygia, eventually settling in Galatia.

By the 1st century BC the Celts had become so Hellenized that some Greek writers called them Hellenogalatai. The Romans called them Gallograeci. Though the Celts had, to a large extent, integrated into Hellenistic Asia Minor, they preserved their linguistic and ethnic identity.

Although originally possessing a strong cultural identity, by the 2nd century AD, the Galatians had become assimilated (Hellenization) into the Hellenistic civilization of Anatolia. The fate of the Galatian people is a subject of some uncertainty, but they seem ultimately to have been absorbed into the Greek-speaking populations of Anatolia.

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Posted by Fredsvenn on August 4, 2018

Hell

Hell, in many religious and folkloric traditions, is a place of torment and punishment in the afterlife. Hell appears in several mythologies and religions. It is commonly inhabited by demons and the souls of dead people.

Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as eternal destinations while religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations.

Typically these traditions locate hell in another dimension or under the Earth’s surface and often include entrances to Hell from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations include Heaven, Purgatory, Paradise, and Limbo.

Other traditions, which do not conceive of the afterlife as a place of punishment or reward, merely describe Hell as an abode of the dead, the grave, a neutral place located under the surface of Earth.

The modern English word hell is derived from Old English hel, helle (first attested around 725 AD to refer to a nether world of the dead) reaching into the Anglo-Saxon pagan period, and ultimately from Proto-Germanic *halja, meaning “one who covers up or hides something”.

This Germanic word also gave rise to similar forms in other Germanic languages, such as Old Frisian helle, hille, Old Saxon hellia, Middle Dutch helle (modern Dutch hel), Old High German helle (Modern German Hölle), Danish, Norwegian and Swedish hel and helvede/helvete (hel + Old Norse víti, “punishment” whence the Icelandic víti “hell”), and Gothic halja.

The Germanic word comes from an Indo-European root to do with hiding, with Indo-European cognates including Latin cēlāre (“to hide”, related to the English word “cellar”) and early Irish ceilid (“hides”). Subsequently, the word was used to denote a concept in Christian theology.

Some have theorized that English word hell is derived from Old Norse hel. However, this is very unlikely as hel appears in Old English before the Viking invasions. Furthermore, the word has cognates in all the other Germanic languages and has a Proto-Germanic origin.

Among other sources, the Poetic Edda, compiled from earlier traditional sources in the 13th century, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, provide information regarding the beliefs of the Norse pagans, including a being named Hel, who is described as ruling over an underworld location of the same name.

Helvetii

The Helvetii (Latin: Helvētiī; anglicized Helvetians) were a Gallic tribe or tribal confederation occupying most of the Swiss plateau at the time of their contact with the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC. Posidonius described the Helvetians of the late 2nd century BC as “rich in gold but peaceful,” without giving clear indication to the location of their territory.

In his Natural History (c. 77 AD), Pliny provides a foundation myth for the Celtic settlement of Cisalpine Gaul in which a Helvetian named Helico plays the role of culture hero. Helico had worked in Rome as a craftsman and then returned to his home north of the Alps with a dried fig, a grape, and some oil and wine, the desirability of which caused his countrymen to invade northern Italy.

The Helvetians were subjugated after 52 BC, and under Augustus, Celtic oppida, such as Vindonissa or Basilea, were re-purposed as garrisons. In AD 68, a Helvetian uprising was crushed by Aulus Caecina Alienus. The Swiss plateau was at first incorporated into the Roman province of Gallia Belgica (22 BC), later into Germania Superior (AD 83).

The Helvetians, like the rest of Gaul, were largely Romanized by the 2nd century. In the later 3rd century, Roman control over the region waned, and the Swiss plateau was exposed to the invading Alemanni. The Alemanni and Burgundians established permanent settlements in the Swiss plateau in the 5th and 6th centuries, resulting in the early medieval territories of Alemannia (Swabia) and Upper Burgundy.

The endonym Helvetii is mostly derived from a Gaulish elu-, meaning “gain, prosperity” or “multitude”, cognate with Welsh elw and Old Irish prefix il-, meaning “many” or “multiple” (from the PIE root *pelh1u- “many”). The second part of the name has sometimes been interpreted as *etu-, “terrain, grassland”, thus interpreting the tribal name as “rich in land”.

The earliest attestation of the name is found in a graffito on a vessel from Mantua, dated to c. 300 BC. The inscription in Etruscan letters reads eluveitie, which has been interpreted as the Etruscan form of the Celtic elu̯eti̯os (“the Helvetian”), presumably referring to a man of Helvetian descent living in Mantua.

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Upper Mesopotamia and Mesopotamia

Posted by Fredsvenn on August 3, 2018

Upper Mesopotamia

Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain of northwestern Iraq, northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey, in the northern Middle East. The region extends south from the mountains of Anatolia, east from the hills on the left bank of the Euphrates river, west from the mountains on the right bank of the Tigris river and includes the Sinjar plain.

It extends down the Tigris to Samarra and down the Euphrates to Hit. The Khabur River runs for over 400 km (250 mi) across the plain, from Turkey in the north, feeding into the Euphrates. The major settlements are Mosul, Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa, Al Hasakah, Diyarbakır and Qamishli. The western, Syrian part, is essentially contiguous with the Syrian Al-Hasakah Governorate and is described as “Syria’s breadbasket”.

The eastern, Iraqi part, includes and extends slightly beyond the Iraqi Ninewa Governorate. In the north it includes the Turkish provinces of Şanlıurfa, Mardin, and parts of Diyarbakır Province. The Euphrates and Tigris rivers transform Mesopotamia into almost an island, as they are joined together at the Shatt al-Arab in the Basra Governorate of Iraq, and their sources in eastern Turkey are in close proximity.

The region is extremely important archeologically. This is the area where the earliest signs of agriculture and domestication of animals have been found, and thus the starting point leading to civilization and the modern world. It includes the mountain Karaca Dağ in southern Turkey, where the closest relative to modern wheat still grows wild.

At several sites (e.g. Hallan Çemi, Abu Hureyra, Mureybet) we can see a continuous occupation from a hunter-gathering lifestyle (based on hunting, and gathering and grinding of wild grains) to an economy based mainly on growing (still wild varieties of) wheat, barley and legumes from around 9000 BC. Domestication of goats and sheep followed within a few generations, but didn’t become widespread for more than a millennium. Weaving and pottery followed about two thousand years later.

After the Arab Islamic conquest of the mid-7th century AD the region has been known by the traditional Arabic name of al-Jazira, also transliterated Djazirah, Djezirah, Jazirah & the Syriac (Aramaic) variant Gazerṯo or Gozarto. The name means “island”, and at one time referred to the land between the two rivers, which in Aramaic is Bit Nahren.

Historically, the name could be restricted to the Sinjar plain coming down from the Sinjar Mountains, or expanded to embrace the entire plateau east of the coastal ranges. In pre-Abbasid times the western and eastern boundaries seem to have fluctuated, sometimes including what is now northern Syria to the west and Adiabene in the east.

The name al-Jazira has been used since the 7th century AD by Islamic sources to refer to the northern section of Mesopotamia, which together with the Sawād, the name used in early Islamic times (7th–12th centuries) for southern Iraq, made up al-‘arāq (Iraq).

Sawad means “black land” and refers to the stark contrast between the alluvial plain of Mesopotamia and the Arabian desert. As a generic term, it was used to denote the irrigated and cultivated areas in any district, in Arabic and Persian.

The term Sawad was also used in early Islamic times for the region of the alluvial plain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, contrasting it with the arid Arabian desert. As an Arabic word it means “hem”, “shore”, “bank”, or “edge”, so that the name by folk etymology came to be interpreted as “the escarpment”, viz. at the south and east of the Jazira Plateau, which forms the northern and western edge of the “al-Iraq arabi” area.

Under the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, it was an official political term for a province encompassing most of modern Iraq (except for the western desert and al-Jazira in the north).

The Arabic name al-ʿIrāq has been in use since before the 6th century. There are several suggested origins for the name. One dates to the Sumerian city of Uruk (Biblical Hebrew Erech) and is thus ultimately of Sumerian origin, as Uruk was the Akkadian name for the Sumerian city of Urug, containing the Sumerian word for “city”, UR.

The historical period in Iraq truly begins during the Uruk period (4000 BC to 3100 BC), with the founding of a number of Sumerian cities, and the use of Pictographs, Cylinder seals and mass-produced goods.

An Arabic folk etymology for the name is “deeply rooted, well-watered; fertile”. During the medieval period, there was a region called ʿIrāq ʿArabī (“Arabian Iraq”) for Lower Mesopotamia and ʿIrāq ʿajamī (“Foreign Iraq”), for the region now situated in Central and Western Iran.

The term historically included the plain south of the Hamrin Mountains and did not include the northernmost and westernmost parts of the modern territory of Iraq. Prior to the middle of the 19th century, the term Eyraca Arabic was commonly used to describe Iraq. In accordance with the 2005 Constitution, the official name of the state is the “Republic of Iraq” (Jumhūrīyyat al-‘Irāq).

Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia literally means “(Land) between rivers” in ancient Greek. The oldest known occurrence of the name Mesopotamia dates to the 4th century BC, when it was used to designate the land east of the Euphrates in north Syria.

Later it was more generally applied to all the lands between the Euphrates and the Tigris, thereby incorporating not only parts of Syria but also almost all of Iraq and southeastern Turkey.

The neighbouring steppes to the west of the Euphrates and the western part of the Zagros Mountains are also often included under the wider term Mesopotamia. A further distinction is usually made between Upper or Northern Mesopotamia and Lower or Southern Mesopotamia.

Upper Mesopotamia, also known as the Jezirah, is the area between the Euphrates and the Tigris from their sources down to Baghdad. Lower Mesopotamia is the area from Baghdad to the Persian Gulf and includes Kuwait and parts of western Iran.

In modern scientific usage, the term Mesopotamia often also has a chronological connotation. It is usually used to designate the area until the Arab Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD, with Arabic names like Syria, Jezirah and Iraq being used to describe the region after that date.

It has been argued that these later euphemisms are Eurocentric terms attributed to the region in the midst of various 19th-century Western encroachments. The regional toponym Mesopotamia (“land between rivers”) or Syriac Beth Nahrain (“land of rivers”) comes from the ancient Greek root words meso (“middle”) and potamos (“river”) and translates to “(Land) between two/the rivers”.

It is used throughout the Greek Septuagint (ca. 250 BC) to translate the Hebrew and Aramaic equivalent Naharaim. Naharin, which is usually pronounced as Naharin from the Assyro-Akkadian word for “river”, cf. Aram-Naharaim, was the Ancient Egyptian term for the kingdom of Mitanni during the New Kingdom period of the 18th Dynasty.

Ancient writers later used the name “Mesopotamia” for all of the land between the Tigris and Euphrates. However the usage of the Hebrew name “Aram-Naharaim” does not match this later usage of “Mesopotamia”, the Hebrew term referring to a northern region within Mesopotamia.

The Book of Jubilees 9:5 places Aram’s portion between the Tigris and Euphrates, and lying north of the Chaldeans, who are south of the Euphrates: “And for Aram there came forth the fourth portion, all the land of Mesopotamia [Naharaim] between the Tigris and the Euphrates to the north of the Chaldees to the border of the mountains of Asshur and the land of ‘Arara.”

The translation of the name as “Mesopotamia” was not consistent – the Septuagint also uses a more precise translation “Mesopotamia of Syria” as well as “Rivers of Syria”. Josephus refers to the subjects of Chushan, king of Aram Naharaim, as Assyrians.

In Hebrew, Ashur denotes the region of Assyria proper on the Tigris, and is listed as distinct from Aram Naharaim in Jubilees. Aram Naharaim lay west of Ashur, as it contained Haran. Haran lies on the west bank of the Balikh, east of the Upper Euphrates.

The traditional Jewish location of Ur Kasdim (at Edessa) and the Balikh itself lie west of the Khabur, and the latter may have been considered one of the “two rivers” delineating this Aramaean homeland, the other being the Euphrates.

Jubilees, however, clearly associates the city of Ur Kesed (Ur Kasdim, “Ur of the Chaldees”) not with the descendants of Aram who received Aram Naharaim as an inheritance, but rather with those of Arpachshad, his brother, who was Abram’s ancestor. Both Jonathan ben Uzziel and Onkelos translate Aram Naharaim “Aram which is on the Euphrates”.

Aram-Naharaim (Hebrew: ’Aram Naharayim) is a region that is mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. It is commonly identified with Nahrima mentioned in three tablets of the Amarna correspondence as a geographical description of the kingdom of Mitanni.

In Genesis, it is used somewhat interchangeably with the names Paddan Aram and Haran to denote the place where Abraham stayed briefly with his father Terah’s family after leaving Ur of the Chaldees, while en route to Canaan (Gen. 11:31), and the place from which later patriarchs obtained wives, rather than marry daughters of Canaan.

Paddan Aram refers to the part of Aram-Naharaim along the upper Euphrates, while Haran is mainly identified with the ancient Assyrian city of Harran on the Balikh River. According to one rabbinical Jewish tradition, the birthplace of Abraham (Ur) was also situated in Aram-Naharaim.

An even earlier Greek usage of the name Mesopotamia is evident from The Anabasis of Alexander, which was written in the late 2nd century AD, but specifically refers to sources from the time of Alexander the Great. In the Anabasis, Mesopotamia was used to designate the land east of the Euphrates in north Syria.

The Aramaic term biritum/birit narim corresponded to a similar geographical concept. Later, the term Mesopotamia was more generally applied to all the lands between the Euphrates and the Tigris, thereby incorporating not only parts of Syria but also almost all of Iraq and southeastern Turkey.

Eber-Nari (Akkadian, also Ebir-Nari), Abar-Nahara (Aramaic) or ‘Ābēr Nahrā (Syriac) was the name of a region of Western Asia and a satrapy of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC), Neo-Babylonian Empire (612-539 BC) and Achaemenid Empire (539-332 BC).

Eber-Nari roughly corresponded with the Levant (modern Syria), and was also known as Aramea. It means “Beyond the River” or “Across the River” in both the Akkadian and Imperial Aramaic languages of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (that is, the Western bank of the Euphrates from a Mesopotamian and Persian viewpoint). It is also referred to as Transeuphratia (French Transeuphratène) by modern scholars.

The province is also mentioned extensively in the Biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Additionally, sharing the same root meaning, Eber was also a character in the Hebrew Bible from which the term Hebrew was widely believed to have been derived, thus the Hebrews were inferred to have been the people who crossed into Canaan across the (Euphrates) river.

The definitive origin of the term “Hebrew” remains uncertain. The Biblical term Ivri (“to traverse” or “to pass over”, is usually rendered as Hebrew in English, from the ancient Greek and the Latin Hebraeus. The Biblical word Ivri has the plural form Ivrim, or Ibrim.

Genesis 10:21 refers to Shem, the elder brother of Ham and Japheth and thus the first-born son of Noah, as the father of the sons of Eber, which may have a similar meaning. Some authors argue that Ibri denotes the descendants of the biblical patriarch Eber, son of Shelah, a great-grandson of Noah and an ancestor of Abraham, hence the occasional anglicization Eberites.

Since the 19th-century CE discovery of the second-millennium BCE inscriptions mentioning the Habiru, many theories have linked these to the Hebrews. Some scholars argue that the name “Hebrew” is related to the name of those seminomadic Habiru people recorded in Egyptian inscriptions of the 13th and 12th centuries BCE as having settled in Egypt.

Other scholars rebut this, proposing that the Hebrews are mentioned in older texts of the 3rd Intermediate Period of Egypt (15th century BCE) as Shasu of Yhw, Semitic-speaking cattle nomads in the Levant from the late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age or the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt.

The name’s etymon may be Egyptian š3sw, which originally meant “those who move on foot”. Levy, Adams, and Muniz report similar possibilities: an Egyptian word that means “to wander”, and an alternative Semitic one with the meaning “to plunder”.

The term Eber-Nari was established during the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC) in reference to its Levantine colonies, and the toponym appears in an inscription of the 7th century BC Assyrian king Esarhaddon.

The region remained an integral part of the Assyrian empire until its fall in 612 BC, with some northern regions remaining in the hands of the remnants of the Assyrian army and administration until at least 605 BC, and possibly as late as 599 BC.

Nairi was the Assyrian name for a confederation of tribes in the Armenian Highlands, roughly corresponding to the modern Van and Hakkâri provinces of modern Turkey. The word is also used to describe the Armenian tribes who lived there.

Nairi has sometimes been equated with Nihriya, known from Mesopotamian, Hittite, and Urartean sources. The Battle of Nihriya, the culminating point of the hostilities between Hittites and Assyrians for control over the remnants of the former empire of Armenian (Indo-European) Mitanni, took place there, c. 1230 BC. However, its co-occurrence with Nihriya within a single text may argue against this.

During the Bronze Age collapse (13th to 12th centuries BC), the Nairi tribes were considered a force strong enough to contend with both Assyria and Hatti. The Nairi fought against the southern incursions of the Assyrians and would later unite into Urartu. Nairi was incorporated into Urartu during the 10th century BC.

 

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The Principality of Khachen

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 29, 2018

Sjur Cappelen Papazian sitt bilde.

Royal Standard of the Principality of Khachen (Kingdom of Artsakh) during the reign of Grand Prince Hasan Jalal Vahtangian (1214-1261).

The Principality of Khachen was a medieval Armenian principality on the territory of historical Artsakh (present-day Nagorno-Karabakh). Artsakh is located in the southern part of the Lesser Caucasus range, at the eastern edge of the Armenian Highlands, encompassing the highland part of the wider geographical region known as Karabakh.

Under Russian and Soviet rule, the region came to be known as Nagorno-Karabakh, meaning “Mountainous Karabakh” in Russian. The name Karabakh itself (derived from Turkic and Persian, and literary meaning “Black Vineyard”) was first employed in Georgian and Persian sources from the 13th and 14th centuries to refer to an Armenian principality known by modern historians as the Kingdom of Artsakh or Khachen.

Currently, most of this area is under the control of the de facto Artsakh Republic, which has economic, political, and military support from Armenia, but the region is de jure recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The final status of the region is still a subject of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The marches of Artsakh and Utik were attached to the Kingdom of Armenia in Antiquity. In the early medieval period they were under Sassanid or Arab suzerainty until the establishment of the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia in the 9th century.

From the 12th century the Armenian Khachen principality dominated the region. The Byzantine emperor Constantine VII addressed his letters to the prince of Khachen with the inscription “To Prince of Khachen, Armenia.”

According to Abū Dulaf, an Arab traveller of the time, Khachen was an Armenian principality immediately south of Barda’a,  the capital of Caucasian Albania, a modern exonym for an ancient country in the eastern Caucasus, on the territory of present-day republic of Azerbaijan (where both of its capitals were located) and southern Dagestan, perhaps since the end of the fourth century.

The Armenian princely family of Hasan Jalalyan began ruling much of Khachen and Artsakh in 1214. In 1216, the Jalalyans founded the Gandzasar monastery which became the seat of a local Catholicos forced to Khachen from Partav (Barda) by the steady Islamization of the city.

The House of Hasan-Jalalyan was an Armenian dynasty named after Hasan-Jalal Dawla, an Armenian feudal prince from Khachen, that ruled the region of Khachen (Greater Artsakh) from 1214 onwards in what are now the regions of lower Karabakh, Nagorno-Karabakh and small part of Syunik.

Hasan-Jalal traced his descent to the Armenian Aranshahik dynasty, a family that predated the establishment of the Parthian Arsacids in the region.Much of Hasan-Jalal Dawla’s family roots were entrenched in an intricate array of royal marriages with new and old Armenian nakharar families.

Nakharar (“holder of the primacy”) was a hereditary title of the highest order given to houses of the ancient and medieval Armenian nobility. The origin of the nakharars seems to stretch back to pagan Armenia, which coexisted with the Roman and Parthian Empires.

The Hasan-Jalalyan family was able to maintain its autonomy throughout several centuries of foreign domination of the region by Seljuk Turks, Persians and Mongols as they, as well as the other Armenian princes and meliks of Khachen, saw themselves of holding the last bastion of Armenian independence in the region.

Through their many patronages of churches and other monuments, the Hasan-Jalalyans helped cultivate Armenian culture throughout the region. By the late 16th century, the Hasan-Jalalyan family had branched out to establish melikdoms in Gulistan and Jraberd, making them, along with Khachen, Varanda and Dizak, a part of what was then known as the “Melikdoms of Khamsa.”

The Khamsa (The Five) principalities maintained Armenian autonomy in the region throughout the Persian-Ottoman Wars. In 1603 the Persians established a protectorate over the Khamsa and sponsored the establishment of a local khanate in 1750. The name Khamsa, which was used by Arabs for the state, refers to the five Armenian Melikdoms who ruled the state.

History of Armenia in short

Little is known about the ancient history of the region, primarily because of the scarcity of historical sources. Because of its strategic location at the intersection of Asia and Europe, Anatolia has been the center of several civilizations since prehistoric times.

Neolithic settlements include Göbekli Tepe, Çayönü, Nevalı Çori, Hacılar, Mersin and Çatalhöyük. The history of Urfa may date back at least to 9000 BC, when there is ample evidence for the surrounding sites at Duru, Harran and Nevali Cori.

Within the further area of the city are three neolithic sites known: Göbekli Tepe, Gürcütepe and the city itself, where the life-sized limestone “Urfa Man” statue was found during an excavation in Balıklıgöl.

This is the place where the wide-scale transition from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement, making an increasingly larger population possible, found place during the Neolithic period.

According to the local traditions held by many people in the area, the two river valleys in Nagorno-Karabakh were among the first to be settled by Noah’s descendants. The region was occupied by the people known to modern archaeologists as the Kura-Araxes, and is located between the two rivers bearing those names.

Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of Ararat. The area is traditionally believed to be one of the possible locations of the Garden of Eden. In Gilgamesh, the land of Aratta is placed in a geographic space that could be describing the Armenian plateau.

The Armenian Highland shows traces of settlement from the Neolithic era. Archaeological surveys in 2010 and 2011 have resulted in the discovery of the world’s earliest known leather shoe (3,500 BC), straw skirt (3,900 BC), and wine-making facility (4,000 BC) at the Areni-1 cave complex.

Shulaveri-Shomu culture of the central Transcaucasus region, one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures, is a Late Neolithic/Eneolithic culture that existed on the territory of present-day Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Armenian Highlands roughly 6000–4000 BC.

Many of the characteristic traits of the Shulaverian material culture (circular mudbrick architecture, pottery decorated by plastic design, anthropomorphic female figurines, obsidian industry with an emphasis on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic Hassuna and Halaf cultures.

The Halaf period was succeeded by the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (ca. 5500/5400 to 5200/5000 BC) which comprised the late Halaf (c. 5400-5000 BC), and then by the Ubaid period. The Halaf appears to have ended around 5200 cal. BC and the northern Ubaid begins around then. There are several sites that run from the Halaf until the Ubaid.

During the Ubaid Period (5000–4000 BC), the movement towards urbanization began. “Agriculture and animal husbandry were widely practiced in sedentary communities”. There were also tribes that practiced domesticating animals as far north as Anatolia and as far south as the Zagros Mountains.

The Ubaid period in the south was associated with intensive irrigated hydraulic agriculture, and the use of the plough, both introduced from the north, possibly through the earlier Choga Mami, Hadji Muhammed and Samarra culture, a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to 5500–4800 BC.

The Sumerians spoke a language isolate, but a number of linguists have claimed to be able to detect a substrate language of unknown classification beneath Sumerian because names of some of Sumer’s major cities are not Sumerian, revealing influences of earlier inhabitants.

However, the archaeological record shows clear uninterrupted cultural continuity from the time of the early Ubaid period (5300 – 4700 BC C-14) settlements in southern Mesopotamia. The Sumerian people who settled here farmed the lands in this region that were made fertile by silt deposited by the Tigris and the Euphrates.

Some archaeologists have speculated that the original speakers of ancient Sumerian may have been farmers, who moved down from the north of Mesopotamia after perfecting irrigation agriculture there.

The Ubaid period pottery of southern Mesopotamia has been connected via Choga Mami transitional ware to the pottery of the Samarra period culture (c. 5700 – 4900 BC C-14) in the north, who were the first to practice a primitive form of irrigation agriculture along the middle Tigris River and its tributaries.

The connection is most clearly seen at Tell Awayli (Oueilli, Oueili) near Larsa, excavated by the French in the 1980s, where eight levels yielded pre-Ubaid pottery resembling Samarran ware.

According to this theory, farming peoples spread down into southern Mesopotamia because they had developed a temple-centered social organization for mobilizing labor and technology for water control, enabling them to survive and prosper in a difficult environment.

Others have suggested a continuity of Sumerians, from the indigenous hunter-fisherfolk traditions, associated with the bifacial assemblages found on the Arabian littoral. Juris Zarins believes the Sumerians may have been the people living in the Persian Gulf region before it flooded at the end of the last Ice Age.

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is a Neolithic culture centered in upper Mesopotamia. It was typed by Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the West Bank.

Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Mesolithic Natufian culture. However, it shows evidence of a northerly origin, possibly indicating an influx from the region of north eastern Anatolia.

Cultural tendencies of this period differ from that of the earlier Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) period in that people living during this period began to depend more heavily upon domesticated animals to supplement their earlier mixed agrarian and hunter-gatherer diet.

In addition the flint tool kit of the period is new and quite disparate from that of the earlier period. One of its major elements is the naviform core. This is the first period in which architectural styles of the southern Levant became primarily rectilinear; earlier typical dwellings were circular, elliptical and occasionally even octagonal.

Pyrotechnology was highly developed in this period. During this period, one of the main features of houses is evidenced by a thick layer of white clay plaster floors highly polished and made of lime produced from limestone.

It is believed that the use of clay plaster for floor and wall coverings during PPNB led to the discovery of pottery. The earliest proto-pottery was White Ware vessels, made from lime and gray ash, built up around baskets before firing, for several centuries around 7000 BC at sites such as Tell Neba’a Faour (Beqaa Valley).

Sites from this period found in the Levant utilizing rectangular floor plans and plastered floor techniques were found at Ain Ghazal, Yiftahel (western Galilee), and Abu Hureyra (Upper Euphrates). The period is dated to between ca. 10,700 and ca. 8,000 BP or 7000 – 6000 BCE.

Danielle Stordeur’s recent work at Tell Aswad, a large agricultural village between Mount Hermon and Damascus could not validate Henri de Contenson’s earlier suggestion of a PPNA Aswadian culture.

Instead, they found evidence of a fully established PPNB culture at 8700 BC at Aswad, pushing back the period’s generally accepted start date by 1,200 years. Similar sites to Tell Aswad in the Damascus Basin of the same age were found at Tell Ramad and Tell Ghoraifé.

How a PPNB culture could spring up in this location, practicing domesticated farming from 8700 BC has been the subject of speculation. Whether it created its own culture or imported traditions from the North East or Southern Levant has been considered an important question for a site that poses a problem for the scientific community.

Work at the site of ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan has indicated a later Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period, which existed between 8,200 and 7,900 BP. Juris Zarins has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6200 BCE.

Partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon animal domesticates, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in Southern Palestine, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into southern Iraq.

The culture disappeared during the 8.2 kiloyear event, a term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8,200 years before the present, or c. 6200 BCE, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries.

In the following Munhatta and Yarmukian post-pottery Neolithic cultures that succeeded it, rapid cultural development continues, although PPNB culture continued in the Amuq valley, where it influenced the later development of the Ghassulian culture.

Some authors have proposed that there may be evidence of a substratum or adstratum language for geographic features and various crafts and agricultural activities, called variously Proto-Euphratean or Proto Tigrean, but this is disputed by others.

Proto-Euphratean is a hypothetical unclassified language or languages which was considered by some Assyriologists (for example Samuel Noah Kramer), to be the substratum language of the people that introduced farming into Southern Iraq in the Early Ubaid period (5300-4700 BC).

Dyakonov and Ardzinba identified these hypothetical languages with the Samarran culture. Benno Landsberger and other Assyriologists argued that by examining the structure of Sumerian names of occupations, as well as toponyms and hydronyms, one can suggest that there was once an earlier group of people in the region who spoke an entirely different language, often referred to as Proto-Euphratean.

Terms for “farmer”, “smith”, “carpenter”, and “date” (as in the fruit), also do not appear to have a Sumerian or Semitic origin. Linguists coined a different term, “banana languages,” proposed by Igor Dyakonov and Vladislav Ardzinba, based on a characteristic feature of multiple personal names attested in Sumerian texts, namely reduplication of syllables (like in the word banana): Inanna, Zababa, Chuwawa, Bunene etc.

The same feature was attested in some other unclassified languages, including Minoan. The same feature is allegedly attested by several names of Hyksos rulers: although Hyksos tribes were Semitic, some of their names, like Bnon, Apophis, etc. were apparently non-Semitic by origin.

The Minoan language is the language (or languages) of the ancient Minoan civilization of Crete written in the Cretan hieroglyphs and later in the Linear A syllabary. As the Cretan hieroglyphs are undeciphered and Linear A only partly deciphered, the Minoan language is unknown and unclassified.

Indeed, with the existing evidence, it seems impossible to be certain that the two scripts record the same language, or even that a single language is recorded in each. The Eteocretan language, attested in a few alphabetic inscriptions from Crete 1,000 years later, is possibly a descendant of Minoan, but it is itself unclassified.

The Minoan civilization was an Aegean Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands which flourished from about 2600 to 1600 BC, before a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100. It preceded the Mycenaean civilization of ancient Greece.

The civilization was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Arthur Evans. It has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe, with historian Will Durant calling the Minoans “the first link in the European chain”.

The term “Minoan”, which refers to the mythical King Minos, originally described in the pottery of the period. Minos was associated in Greek mythology with the labyrinth and the Minotaur, which Evans identified with the site at Knossos (the largest Minoan site). According to Homer, Crete once had 90 cities.

The Minoan period saw trade between Crete, Aegean and Mediterranean settlements, particularly the Near East. Through their traders and artists, the Minoan cultural influence reached beyond Crete to the Cyclades, the Old Kingdom of Egypt, copper-bearing Cyprus, Canaan and the Levantine coast and Anatolia.

Minoans, Mycenaeans, and modern Greeks have ancestry related to the ancient people of the Caucasus, Armenia, and Iran. Minoans and Mycenaeans were genetically similar, having at least three-quarters of their ancestry from the first Neolithic farmers of western Anatolia and the Aegean, and most of the remainder from ancient populations related to those of the Caucasus and Iran.

However, the Mycenaeans differed from Minoans in deriving additional ancestry from an ultimate source related to the hunter–gatherers of eastern Europe and Siberia, introduced via a proximal source related to the inhabitants of either the Eurasian steppe or Armenia.

Rubio challenged the substratum hypothesis, arguing that there is evidence of borrowing from more than one language. This theory is now predominant in the field (Piotr Michalowski, Gerd Steiner, etc.). A related proposal by Gordon Whittaker is that the language of the proto-literary texts from the Late Uruk period (c. 3350–3100 BC) is an early Indo-European language which he terms “Euphratic”.

Understanding Sumerian texts today can be problematic. Most difficult are the earliest texts, which in many cases do not give the full grammatical structure of the language and seem to have been used as an “aide-mémoire” for knowledgeable scribes.

During the 3rd millennium BC a cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism. The influences between Sumerian on Akkadian are evident in all areas including lexical borrowing on a massive scale—and syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence.

This mutual influence has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian of the 3rd millennium BC as a Sprachbund. Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language somewhere around the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC, but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary, and scientific language in Babylonia and Assyria until the 1st century AD.

Ubaid 3/4, sometimes called Ubaid I and Ubaid II (4500–4000 BC) saw a period of intense and rapid urbanisation with the Ubaid culture spread into northern Mesopotamia and was adopted by the Halaf culture. Ubaid artifacts spread also all along the Arabian littoral, showing the growth of a trading system that stretched from the Mediterranean coast through to Oman.

Spreading from Eridu, the Ubaid culture extended from the Middle of the Tigris and Euphrates to the shores of the Persian Gulf, and then spread down past Bahrain to the copper deposits at Oman. The archaeological record shows that Arabian Bifacial/Ubaid period came to an abrupt end in eastern Arabia and the Oman peninsula at 3800 BC, just after the phase of lake lowering and onset of dune reactivation.

At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, and there is no evidence of human presence in the area for approximately 1,000 years, the so-called “Dark Millennium”. That might be due to the 5.9 kiloyear event at the end of the Older Peron, one of the most intense aridification events during the Holocene. It occurred around 3900 BC (5900 years Before Present), ending the Neolithic Subpluvial.

It is associated with the last round of the Sahara pump theory, and probably initiated the most recent desiccation of the Sahara, as well as a five century period of colder climate in more northerly latitudes.

It triggered human migration to the Nile, which eventually led to the emergence of the first complex, highly organized, state-level societies in the 4th millennium BC. It may have contributed to the decline of Old Europe and the first Indo-European migrations into the Balkans from the Pontic–Caspian steppe.

A model by Claussen et al. (1999) suggested rapid desertification, associated with vegetation-atmosphere interactions following a cooling event, Bond event 4. Bond et al. (1997) identified a North Atlantic cooling episode 5,900 years ago from ice-rafted debris as well as other such events, now called Bond events, which indicate the existence of a quasiperiodic cycle of Atlantic cooling events approximately every 1500 years ± 500 years.

For some reason, all the earlier arid events (including the 8.2-kiloyear event) were followed by recovery, as is attested by the wealth of evidence of humid conditions in the Sahara between 10,000 and 6,000 BP. However, it appears that the 5.9-kiloyear event was followed by a partial recovery at best, with accelerated desiccation in the millennium that followed.

For example, Cremaschi (1998) describes evidence of rapid aridification in Tadrart Acacus of southwestern Libya, in the form of increased aeolian erosion, sand incursions and the collapse of the roofs of rock shelters. The 5.9-kiloyear event was also recorded as a cold event in the Erhai Lake (China) sediments.

In the eastern Arabian Peninsula, the 5.9-kiloyear event may have contributed to an increase in relatively greater social complexity and have corresponded to an end of the local Ubaid period and the emergence of the first state societies at the lower end of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in southern Mesopotamia.

In central North Africa it triggered human migration to the Nile, which eventually led to the emergence of the second complex, highly organized, state-level societies in the 4th millennium BC.

By causing a period of cooling in Europe, it may have contributed to the decline of Old Europe and the first Indo-European migrations into the Balkans from the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Around 4200–4100 BCE a climate change occurred, manifesting in colder winters in Europe.

Between 4200–3900 BCE many tell settlements in the lower Danube Valley were burned and abandoned, while the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture showed an increase in fortifications, meanwhile moving eastwards towards the Dniepr. Steppe herders, archaic Proto-Indo-European speakers, spread into the lower Danube valley about 4200–4000 BCE, either causing or taking advantage of the collapse of Old Europe.

The Leyla-Tepe culture of ancient Azerbaijan belongs to the Chalcolithic era. It got its name from the site in the Agdam district. Its settlements were distributed on the southern slopes of Central Caucasus, mostly in Agdam District, from 4350 until 4000 BC.

Among the sites associated with this culture, the Soyugbulag kurgans or barrows are of special importance. The excavation of these kurgans, located in Kaspi Municipality, in central Georgia, demonstrated an unexpectedly early date of such structures on the territory of Azerbaijan. They were dated to the beginning of the 4th millennium BC.

The Soyugbulag kurgans has provided substantial proof that the practice of kurgan burial was well established in the South Caucasus during the late Eneolithic. The roots of the Leylatepe Archaeological Culture to which the Soyugbulaq kurgans belong to, stemmed from the Ubaid culture of Southern Iraq.

The Leylatepe Culture tribes migrated to the north in the mid-fourth millennium, BC. and played an important part in the rise of the Maikop Culture of the North Caucasus. A number of Maikop Culture kurgans and Soyugbulaq kurgans display the same northwest to southeast grave alignment. More than that, Soyugbulaq kurgans yielded pottery forms identical to those recovered from the Maikop kurgans.

The Leyla-Tepe culture has been linked to the north Ubaid period monuments, in particular, with the settlements in the Eastern Anatolia Region (Arslantepe, Coruchu-tepe, Tepechik, etc.). Other sites belonging to the same culture in the Karabakh valley of Azerbaijan are Chinar-Tepe, Shomulu-Tepe, and Abdal-Aziz-Tepe.

The settlement is of a typical Western-Asian variety, with the dwellings packed closely together and made of mud bricks with smoke outlets. It has been suggested that the Leyla-Tepe were the founders of the Maykop culture.

An expedition to Syria by the Russian Academy of Sciences revealed the similarity of the Maykop and Leyla-Tepe artifacts with those found recently while excavating the ancient city of Tel Khazneh I, from the 4th millennium BC.

Leyla-Tepe pottery is very similar to the ‘Chaff-Faced Ware’ of the northern Syria and Mesopotamia. It is especially well attested at Amuq F phase. Similar pottery is also found at Kultepe, Azerbaijan.

In 2012, the important site of Galayeri, belonging to the Leyla-Tepe archaeological culture, was investigated. It is located in the Qabala District of Azerbaijan. Galayeri is closely connected to early civilizations of Near East.

Structures consisting of clay layers are typical; no mud-brick walls have been detected at Galayeri. Almost all findings have Eastern Anatolian Chalcolithic characteristics. The closest analogues of the Galayeri clay constructions are found at Arslantepe/Melid VII in Temple C.

The appearance of Leyla-Tepe tradition’s carriers in the Caucasus marked the appearance of the first local Caucasian metallurgy. This is attributed to migrants from Uruk, arriving around 4500 BCE. Recent research indicates the connections rather to the pre-Uruk traditions, such as the late Ubaid period, and Ubaid-Uruk phases.

Leyla-Tepe metalwork tradition was very sophisticated right from the beginning, and featured many bronze items. Yet later, the quality of metallurgy declined with the Kura–Araxes culture, an early Bronze-Age culture in the area assigned to the period between c. 4000 and 2200 BC.

The earliest evidence for the Kura Araxes culture is found on the Ararat plain; thence it spread to Georgia by 3000 BC, proceeding westward and to the south-east into an area below the Urmia basin and Lake Van.

Hurrian and Urartian language elements are quite probable, as are Northeast Caucasian ones. Some authors subsume Hurrians and Urartians under Northeast Caucasian as well as part of the Alarodian theory.

The presence of Kartvelian languages was also highly probable. Influences of Semitic languages and Indo-European languages are highly possible, though the presence of the languages on the lands of the Kura–Araxes culture is more controversial.

In the Armenian hypothesis of Indo-European origins, the Kura Araxes culture (and perhaps that of the Maykop culture) is identified with the speakers of the Anatolian languages.

Trialeti culture, attributed to the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC, emerged in the areas of the preceding Kura-Araxes culture. At that time, there was already strong social differentiation indicated by rich mound burials. There are parallels to the Early Kurgan culture. Cremation was practised. Painted pottery was introduced. Tin-based bronze became predominant.

Geographical interconnectedness and links with other areas of the Near East are seen in many aspects of the culture. For example, a cauldron found in Trialeti is nearly identical to the one from Shaft Grave 4 of Mycenae in Greece. The Trialeti culture shows close ties with the highly developed cultures of the ancient world, particularly with the Aegean, but also with cultures to the south, such as the Sumerians and their Akkadian conquerors.

Trialeti-Vanadzor painted monochrome and polychrome pottery is very similar to that in the other areas of the Near East. In particular, similar ceramics are known as Urmia ware (named after Lake Urmia). Also, similar pottery was produced by the Uzarlik culture, and the Karmirberd-Sevan culture.

Martqopi kurgans are somewhat similar, and are contemporary to the earliest among the Trialeti kurgans. Together, they represent the early stage of the Early Kurgan culture of Central Transcaucasia.  The Martqopi Culture may be dated before 2550 BC.

This stage of the Early Bronze Age seems to represent the final stage of the Kura-Araxes culture. According to recent dating, the transition to the Early Kurgan period was around the mid of the 3rd millenium – somewhat between the 2700 to 2400 BC.

The Trialeti culture was known for its particular form of burial. The elite were interred in large, very rich burials under earth and stone mounds, which sometimes contained four-wheeled carts. Also there were many gold objects found in the graves. These gold objects were similar to those found in Iran and Iraq. They also worked tin and arsenic.

This form of burial in a tumulus or “kurgan”, along with wheeled vehicles, is the same as that of the Kurgan culture which has been associated with the speakers of Proto-Indo-European. In fact, the black burnished pottery of especially early Trialeti kurgans is similar to Kura-Araxes pottery.

In a historical context, their impressive accumulation of wealth in burial kurgans, like that of other associated and nearby cultures with similar burial practices, is particularly noteworthy. This practice was probably a result of influence from the older civilizations to the south in the Fertile Crescent.

During the final phase of the Middle Bronze Age (c.1700–1500 BC), in addition to the Trialeti Kirovakan Vanadzor period culture, three other geographically overlapping material culture horizons predominate in the South Caucasus and eastern Anatolia: Karmir-Berd (a.k.a. Tazakend), Karmir-Vank (a.k.a. Kizil Vank, Van-Urmia), and Sevan-Uzerlik (a.k.a. Sevan-Artsakh).

Black-burnished and monochrome painted wares vessels from the cemeteries of Ani, and Küçük Çatma (Maly Pergit), both in the Kars Province of Turkey, and tr:Sos Höyük IV in Erzurum Province resemble those of Trialeti.

Mitanni, also called Hurri by the Hittites, Hanigalbat (Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) in Assyrian or Nahrin, Maryannu and Naharin in Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and southeast Anatolia from c. 1500 to 1300 BC.

Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Amorite Babylon and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia. At the beginning of its history, Mitanni’s major rival was Egypt under the Thutmosids.

However, with the ascent of the Hittite Empire, Mitanni and Egypt struck an alliance to protect their mutual interests from the threat of Hittite domination. At the height of its power, during the 14th century BC, Mitanni had outposts centred on its capital, Washukanni, whose location has been determined by archaeologists to be on the headwaters of the Khabur River.

The Mitanni dynasty ruled over the northern Euphrates-Tigris region between c. 1475 and c. 1275 BC. Eventually, Mitanni succumbed to Hittite and later Assyrian attacks and was reduced to the status of a province of the Middle Assyrian Empire.

While the Mitanni kings were Indo-Aryan, they used the language of the local people, which was at that time a non-Indo-European language, Hurrian. Their sphere of influence is shown in Hurrian place names, personal names and the spread through Syria and the Levant of a distinct pottery type.

Wasashatta, also spelled Wasašatta, was a king of the Hurrian kingdom of Mittani ca. the early thirteenth century BC. Like his father Shattuara, Wasashatta was an Assyrian vassal. He revolted against his master Adad-nirari I (c. 1295-1263 BC (short chronology)) and sought help in vain from the Hittites.

The Assyrians crushed his revolt and devastated Hanigalbat. The royal family was captured and brought to Assur and Wasashatta was never heard of again. Some scholars think he became ruler of a reduced Mitanni state called Shubria or Arme-Shupria, a Hurrian kingdom, known from Assyrian sources beginning in the 13th century BC.

Shubar was located in what is now known as the Armenian Highlands, to the southwest of Lake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. Some scholars have linked the district in the area called Arme or Armani, to the name Armenia.

Weidner interpreted textual evidence to indicate that after the Hurrian king Shattuara of Mitanni was defeated by Adad-nirari I of the Middle Assyrian Empire in the early 13th century BC, he then became ruler of a reduced vassal state known as Shubria or Subartu.

The name Subartu (Sumerian: Shubur) for the region is attested much earlier, from the time of the earliest Mesopotamian records (mid 3rd millennium BC), although the term during Sumerian times appears to have described Upper Mesopotamia (Assyria).

The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land (the Amorites). Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name Subartu as one of these quarters around Akkad, along with Martu, Elam, and Sumer.

Armani, (also given as Armanum) was an ancient kingdom mentioned by Sargon of Akkad and his grandson Naram-Sin of Akkad as stretching from Ibla (which might or might not be Ebla) to Bit-Nanib; its location is heavily debated, and it continued to be mentioned in later Assyrian inscriptions.

Armani was attested in the treaties of Sargon in a section that mentions regions located in Assyria and Babylonia or territories adjacent to the east, in contrast to the Syrian Ebla, located in the west. The later King Adad-Nirari I of Assyria also mentions Armani as being located east of the Tigris and on the border between Assyria and Babylon.

During the Middle Assyrian and Kassite periods, the land of Armani was mentioned as located east of the Tigris. King Shalmaneser III mentions his conquest of Halman, but the identification of Halman with Akkadian Armani (Arman) is dubious according to J.A. Brinkmann.

Armani was mentioned alongside Ibla in the geographical treaties of Sargon. This led some historians to identify Ibla with Syrian Ebla and Armani with Syrian Armi. However, Michael C. Astour refused to identify Armani with Armi, as Naram-Sin makes it clear that the Ibla he sacked (in c. 2240 BC) was a border town of the land of Armani, while the Armi in the Eblaite tablets is a vassal to Ebla.

Historians who disagree with the identification of Akkadian Armani with Syrian Armi place it (along with Akkadian Ibla) north of the Hamrin Mountains in northern Iraq. The site of Tall Bazi has also been suggested as the location of Armanum.

Together with Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other populations of the region such as the Nairi fell under Urartian (Kingdom of Ararat) rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants, according to most scholars, later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the Armenians.

In the Bronze Age, several states flourished in the area of Greater Armenia, including the Hittite Empire (at the height of its power), Mitanni (South-Western historical Armenia), and Hayasa-Azzi (1600–1200 BC).

Soon after the Hayasa-Azzi were the Nairi (1400–1000 BC) and the Kingdom of Urartu (1000–600 BC), who successively established their sovereignty over the Armenian Highland. The Iron Age kingdom of Urartu (Assyrian for Ararat) was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty.

Each of the aforementioned nations and tribes participated in the ethnogenesis of the Armenian people. The name Armenia was given to the country by the surrounding states, and it is traditionally derived from Armenak or Aram (the great-grandson of Haik’s great-grandson, and another leader who is, according to Armenian tradition, the ancestor of all Armenians).

The original Armenian name for the country was Hayk, later Hayastan, translated as the land of Haik, and consisting of the name of the ancient Mesopotamian god Haya (ha-ià) and the Persian suffix ‘-stan’ (“land”). The historical enemy of Hayk (the legendary ruler of Armenia), Hayastan, was Bel, or in other words Baal (Akkadian cognate Bēlu).

Yerevan, the modern capital of Armenia, dates back to the 8th century BC, with the founding of the fortress of Erebuni in 782 BC by King Argishti I at the western extreme of the Ararat plain. Erebuni has been described as “designed as a great administrative and religious centre, a fully royal capital.”

Following Persian and subsequent Macedonian rule, the Artaxiad dynasty from 190 BC gave rise to the Kingdom of Armenia which rose to the peak of its influence under Tigranes II before falling under Roman rule.

In 301, Arsacid Armenia was the first sovereign nation to accept Christianity as a state religion. The Armenians later fell under Byzantine, Sassanid Persian, and Islamic hegemony, but reinstated their independence with the Bagratid Dynasty kingdom of Armenia.

The Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia, also known as Bagratid Armenia, was an independent state established by Ashot I Bagratuni (c. 820-890) in the early 880s following nearly two centuries of foreign domination of Greater Armenia under Arab Umayyad and Abbasid rule.

Ashot I oversaw the beginning of Armenia’s second golden age (862 – 977). He was known as Ashot the Great, was the son of Smbat VIII the Confessor and was a member of the Bagratuni Dynasty.

As with the other two other contemporary powers in the region, the Abbasids and the Byzantines, Ashot I was preoccupied in subjugating the people of the region and by the dissipation of several of the Armenian nakharar noble families he was able to assert himself as the leading figure of a movement to dislodge the Arabs from Armenia.

Ashot’s prestige rose as he was courted by both Byzantine and Arab leaders eager to maintain a buffer state near their frontiers. The Caliphate recognized Ashot as “prince of princes” in 862 and, later on, king in 884 or 885.

The establishment of the Bagratuni kingdom later led to the founding of several other Armenian principalities and kingdoms: Taron, Vaspurakan, Kars, Khachen and Syunik. Unity among all these states was sometimes difficult to maintain while the Byzantines and Arabs lost no time in exploiting the kingdom’s situation to their own gains.

Under the reign of Ashot III, Ani became the kingdom’s capital and grew into a thriving economic and cultural center. However, the first half of the 11th century saw the decline and eventual collapse of the kingdom.

With emperor Basil II’s string of victories in annexing parts of southwestern Armenia, King Hovhannes-Smbat felt forced to cede his lands and in 1022 promised to “will” his kingdom to the Byzantines following his death.

However, after Hovhannes-Smbat’s death in 1041, his successor, Gagik II, refused to hand over Ani and continued resistance until 1045, when his kingdom, plagued with internal and external threats, was finally taken by Byzantine forces.

The Bagratid king of Kars, Gagik-Abas, still kept his throne even after 1064 when Ani fell to the Seljuk Turks, but even he was constrained to cede his lands to the Byzantines and retreat to Anatolia, only to see Kars captured by the Turks in 1065.

The Seljuk Empire was a medieval Turko-Persian Sunni Muslim empire, originating from the Qiniq branch of Oghuz Turks. The Seljuk empire was founded by Tughril Beg (1016–1063) in 1037. Tughril was raised by his grandfather, Seljuk-Beg, who was in a high position in the Oghuz Yabgu State. Seljuk gave his name to both the Seljuk empire and the Seljuk dynasty.

From their homelands near the Aral Sea, the Seljuks advanced first into Khorasan and then into mainland Persia before eventually conquering eastern Anatolia. The Seljuk Empire controlled a vast area stretching from the Hindu Kush to western Anatolia and the Levant, and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf.

Highly Persianized in culture and language, the Seljuks played an important role in the development of the Turko-Persian tradition, even exporting Persian culture to Anatolia. The settlement of Turkic tribes in the northwestern peripheral parts of the empire, for the strategic military purpose of fending off invasions from neighboring states, led to the progressive Turkicization of those areas.

In Baghk and Eastern Syunik, only a few Armenian fortresses remained. Many churches and other forms of architecture suffered vandalism or outright destruction following the Seljuk invasions of the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

After the fall of the kingdom in 1045, and the subsequent Seljuk conquest of Armenia in 1064, the Armenians migrated westward into the Byzantine Empire, and in 1080 Ruben, a relative of the last king of Ani, founded in the heart of the Cilician Taurus a small principality which gradually expanded into the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

This Christian state, where the Armenians prolonged their sovereignty to 1375, was surrounded by Muslim states hostile to its existence and had a stormy history of about 300 years, giving valuable support to the Crusaders, and trading with the great commercial cities of Italy.

Nagorno-Karabakh

Nagorno-Karabakh, meaning “Mountainous Karabakh,” also known as Artsakh, is a geographic region in present-day eastern Armenia and southwestern Azerbaijan, extending from the highlands of the Lesser Caucasus down to the lowlands between the rivers Kura and Aras.

It is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, within the mountainous range of Karabakh, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur, and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains. The region is mostly mountainous and forested.

It’s conventionally divided into three regions: Highland Karabakh (historical Artsakh, covered mostly by present-day Nagorno-Karabakh), Lowland Karabakh (the steppes between the Kura and Aras rivers), and the eastern slopes of the Zangezur Mountains (roughly Syunik and Kashatagh).

The region was populated with various Caucasian tribes, and is believed to have been conquered by the Kingdom of Armenia in the 2nd century BC and organized as parts of the Artsakh, Utik and the southern regions of Syunik provinces.

In the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD, the area south of the Greater Caucasus and north of the Lesser Caucasus was divided between Caucasian Albania in the east, Caucasian Iberia in the center, Kolchis in the west, Armenia in the southwest and Atropateneto the southeast.

However, it is possible that the region had earlier been part of the Satrapy of Armenia under the Orontid dynasty from as early as the 4th century BC. After the partition of Armenia by Rome and Persia in 387 AD, Artsakh and Utik became a part of the Caucasian Albanian satrapy of Sassanian Persia, while Syunik remained in Armenia.

Utik was a historic province of the Kingdom of Armenia and a region of Caucasian Albania after the splitting of Armenia in 387 AD by Sassanid Persia. Most of the region is located within present-day Azerbaijan immediately west of the Kura River while a part of it lies within the Tavush province of present-day northeastern Armenia.

The first time the territory of modern Nagorno Karabakh is mentioned is in inscriptions of Sardur II, King of Urartu (763–734 BC), found in village Tsovk in Armenia, as the region Urtekhini. Then a breakdown to the Roman epoch. A following mention—already at Strabo which characterizes “Orkhistena” (Artsakh) as “the area of Armenia exposing the greatest number of horsemen”.

It is unclear when Orkhistena became part of Armenia. Strabo, carefully listing all gains of Armenian Kings since 189 BC., does not mention Orkhistena, which indirectly shows that it probably has been an accessory of the Armenian empire to which it could get in the inheritance from Persian satrapy “East Armenia”.

Strabo and authors of the 1st and 2nd centuries—Claudius Ptolemaeus and Pliny the Elder—unanimously approve, that border between Greater Armenia and Caucasian Albania is river Cyrus (Kura). Classical sources are unanimous in making the Kura River (Cyros) the frontier between Armenia and Albania after the conquest of the territories on the right bank of Kura by Armenians in the 2nd century BC.

Authoritative encyclopedias on antiquity also name Kura southern border of Albania, a modern exonym for an ancient country in the eastern Caucasus, on the territory of present-day republic of Azerbaijan (where both of its capitals were located) and southern Dagestan.

Albania or Arran in Islamic times was a triangle of land, lowland in the east and mountainous in the west, formed by the junction of the Kura and Aras rivers, Mil plain and parts of the Mughan plain, and in the pre-Islamic times, corresponded roughly to the territory of modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan.

Aghuank is the Armenian name for Caucasian Albania. The term Aghuank is polysemous and is also used in Armenian sources to denote the region between the Kur and Araxes rivers as part of Armenia. In the latter case it is sometimes used in the form “Armenian Aghuank” or “Hay-Aghuank”.

Armenian authors mention that the name derived from the word “ału” meaning amiable in Armenian. The Armenian historian of the region, Movses Kaghankatvatsi, who left the only more or less complete historical account about the region, explains the name Aghvank as a derivation from the word ału (Armenian for sweet, soft, tender), which, he said, was the nickname of Caucasian Albania’s first governor Arran and referred to his lenient personality.

The Parthian name for the region was Ardhan (Middle Persian: Arran). The Arabic was ar-Rān. In Georgian, it was known as Rani. In Ancient Greek, it was Albanía. Its endonym is unknown.

According to a 5th-century AD Armenian tradition, a local chieftain named Aran was appointed by the Armenian King Vologases I (Vagharsh I) to be the first governor of this province.

Movses Kaghankatvatsi and other ancient sources explain Arran or Arhan as the name of the legendary founder of Caucasian Albania (Aghvan) or even of the Iranian tribe known as Alans (Alani), who in some versions was a son of Noah’s son Yafet.

The name Alan is an Iranian dialectical form of Aryan, a common self-designation of the Indo-Iranians. Possibly related to the Massagetae, the Alans have been connected by modern historians with the Central Asian Yancai and Aorsi of Chinese and Roman sources, respectively.

Having migrated westwards and become dominant among the Sarmatians on the Pontic Steppe, they are mentioned by Roman sources in the 1st century AD. At the time, they had settled the region north of the Black Sea and frequently raided the Parthian Empire and the Caucasian provinces of the Roman Empire. In 215–250 AD, their power on the Pontic Steppe was broken by the Goths.

Upon the Hunnic defeat of the Goths on the Pontic Steppe around 375 AD, many of the Alans migrated westwards along with various Germanic tribes. They crossed the Rhine in 406 AD along with the Vandals and Suebi, settling in Orléans and Valence. Around 409 AD, they joined the Vandals and Suebi in the crossing of the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, settling in Lusitania and Carthaginensis.

The Iberian Alans were soundly defeated by the Visigoths 418 AD and subsequently surrendered their authority to the Hasdingi Vandals. In 428 AD, the Vandals and Alans crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into North Africa, where they founded a powerful kingdom which lasted until its conquest by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century AD.

The Alans who remained under Hunnic rule founded a powerful kingdom in the North Caucasus in the Middle Ages, which ended with the Mongol invasions in the 13th century AD. These Alans are said to be the ancestors of the modern Ossetians. The Alans spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.

The various forms of Alan (Greek: Alanoi) are derived from Iranian dialectal forms of Aryan. This word was preserved in modern Ossetian language in form of Allon. These and other variants of Aryan (such as Iran) were common self-designations of the Indo-Iranians, the common ancestors of the Indo-Aryans and Iranian peoples to whom the Alans belonged. Scarcer spellings include Alauni or Halani.

The Alans were also known over the course of their history by another group of related names including the variations Asi, As, and Os (Romanian Iasi or Olani, Bulgarian Uzi, Hungarian Jász, Russian Jasy, Georgian Osi). It is this name that is the root of the modern Ossetian.

The Iron (ar, aratta) are a subgroup of the Ossetians. They speak the Iron dialect, one of the two main dialects of the Ossetian language. The other group is known as Digor (digoron, pl.: digora, digorantta).

Ancient Armenian authors, Movses Khorenatsi and Movses Kaghankatvatsi, name Aran as the ancestor inhabitants of Artsakh and Sisak the ancestor of the people in Utik, and through it the descendant of Haik, the ancestor and eponym of all Armenians.

In ancient times, the area was inhabited by “Utis” (modern day Udi people), after whom it was named. Early Armenian chronicles (5th century) state that the local princes of Utik descended from the Armenian noble family of Sisakan and spoke Armenian.

Utik had been one of the provinces of Greater Armenia, the population of which is referred to by the name Udini (or Utidorsi) in Latin sources, and by the name Outioi in Greek sources. However, Ancient Greco-Roman writers placed Udis beyond Utik, north of the Kura River.

Pliny the Elder calls “Utis” a Scythian tribe and also mentions so called utidors (which was apparently a tribe of mixed origin). Due to this a drift of ethnonym or more complex ethnogenetic processes are possible (for example, settlement of some Iranian-speaking or, less probably, Uralic peoples and adoption by them of language of the local Caucasian population).

According to Strabo, in the 2nd century BC, Armenians conquered from the Medes the lands of Siwnik and Caspiane, and the lands that lay between them, including Utik, that was populated by the people called Utis, after whom it received its name.

Modern historians agree that “Utis” were a people of non-Armenian origin, and the modern ethnic group of Udi is their descendants. After the Armenian conquest in the 2nd century BC Utik also had some Armenian population. The province was called Otena in Latin sources and Otene in Greek sources.

According to the Armenian geographer Anania Shirakatsi’s Ashkharatsuyts (“Geography”, 7th century), Utik was the 12th among the 15 provinces of the Kingdom of Armenia, and belonged, at the time, to the Caucasian Albania (when the Utik and Artsakh provinces were lost by Armenia after its partition in the 4th century).

According to Ashkharatsuyts, Utik was bounded by the Kura River from north-east, river Arax from south-east, and by the province of Artsakh from the west. Greco-Roman historians from the 2nd century BC to the 4th century AD state that Utik was a province of Armenia, with the Kura River separating Armenia and Albania.

However, the Armenian-Albanian boundary along the river Kura, confirmed by Greco-Roman sources, was often overrun by armies of both countries. According to Strabo, Armenia, which in the 6th century BC had covered a large portion of Asia, had lost some of its lands by the 2nd century BC. At the same time Strabo wrote: “According to report, Armenia, though a small country in earlier times, was enlarged by Artaxias and Zariadris”.

Around 190 BC, under the king Artashes I, Armenia conquered Vaspurakan and Paytakaran from Media, Acilisene from Cataonia, and Taron from Syria. Some have suggested that Utik was among the provinces conquered by Artashes I at this time, though Strabo doesn’t list Utik among Artashes’ conquests.

King Urnayr of Caucasian Albania invaded Utik. But in 370 AD, the Armenian sparapet Mushegh Mamikonyan defeated the Albanians, restoring the frontier back to the river Kura. In 387 AD, the Sassanid Empire helped the Albanians to seize from the Kingdom of Armenia a number of provinces, including Utik.

In the middle of the 5th century, by the order of the Persian king Peroz I, the king Vache of Caucasian Albania built in Utik the city initially called Perozapat, and later Partaw and Barda, and made it the capital of Caucasian Albania.

James Darmesteter, translator of the Avesta, compared Arran with Airyana Vaego which he also considered to have been in the Araxes-Ararat region, although modern theories tend to place this in the east of Iran.

In pre-Islamic times, Caucasian Albania/Arran was a wider concept than that of post-Islamic Arran. Ancient Arran covered all eastern Transcaucasia, which included most of the territory of modern-day Azerbaijan Republic and part of the territory of Dagestan. However, in post-Islamic times the geographic notion of Arran reduced to the territory between the rivers of Kura and Araks.

Ancient Caucasian Albania lay on the south-eastern part of the Greater Caucasus mountains. It was bounded by Caucasian Iberia (present-day Georgia) to the west, by Sarmatia, a large Iranian confederation that flourished from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD, to the north, by the Caspian Sea to the east, and by the provinces of Artsakh and Utik in Armenia to the west along the river Kura.

Originally, at least some of the Caucasian Albanians probably spoke Lezgic languages close to those found in modern Daghestan; overall, though, as many as 26 different languages may have been spoken in Caucasian Albania.

Parts of the population in Caucasian Albania was assimilated by the Armenians, who dominated in the provinces of Artsakh and Utik, and by Georgians in the north, while the eastern parts of Caucasian Albania were Islamized and absorbed by Iranian and subsequently Turkic peoples, the modern Azerbaijanis, after becoming Christianized in the 4th century.

Small remnants of this group continue to exist independently, and are known as the Udi people, who are considered to be the descendants of the people of Caucasian Albania. The Udis (self-name Udi or Uti) are a native people of the Caucasus. They speak the Udi language. Their religion is Christianity.

According to the classical authors, the Udi inhabited the area of the eastern Caucasus along the coast of the Caspian Sea, in a territory extending to the Kura River in the north, as well as the ancient province of Utik.

Today, most Udis belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church while others are still trying to restore the Parthian Church of Caucasian Albania. Centuries of life in the sphere of Turco-Persian society influenced their culture, as is expressed in Udi folk traditions and the material culture.

The Udi were one of the predominating Albanian tribes and they were considered the creators of Caucasian Albania. Both capitals of Caucasian Albania: Kabalak (also called Kabalaka, Khabala, Khazar, today’s Qabala) and Partav (also called Partaw, today’s Barda), were located in the historical territory of the Udi.

After the rise of the Parthian Empire the kings of Caucasian Albania were replaced with an Arsacid family and would later be succeeded by another Iranian royal family in the 5th century AD, the Mihranids, an Iranian family which ruled several regions of Caucasus from 330 to 821. They claimed to be of Sasanian Persian descent but were of Parthian origin.

The Parni or Aparni were an east Iranian people who lived around Ochus River, southeast of the Caspian Sea but it is believed that their original homeland may have been southern Russia from where they emigrated with other Scythian tribes. The Parni were one of the three tribes of the Dahae confederacy.

In the middle of the 3rd century BCE, the Parni invaded Parthia, “drove away the Greek satraps, who had then only just acquired independence, and founded a new dynasty”, that of the Arsacids. Through the influence of the Parthians in Armenia, traces of the Parni language survive as loan-words in Armenian.

During the early Sasanian period, Middle Persian along with Greek and Parthian appeared in the inscriptions of the early Sasanian kings. However, by the time Narseh (r. 293–302) was ruling, Greek was no longer in use, perhaps due to the disappearance of Greek or the efforts of the anti-Hellenic Zoroastrian clergy to remove it once and for all.

This was probably also because Greek was commonplace among the Romans/Byzantines, the rivals of the Sasanians. Parthian soon disappeared as an administrative language too, but was continued to be spoken and written in the eastern part of the Sasanian Empire, the homeland of the Parthians.

Middle Persian is the Middle Iranian language or ethnolect of southwestern Iran that during the Sasanian Empire (224–654) became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions of the empire as well.

Middle Persian is classified as a Western Iranian language. It descends from Old Persian and is the linguistic ancestor of Modern Persian. With the establishment of the Sassanids, Middle Persian, a closely related language to Parthian, became an official language of the Sassanid empire.

As a written language, Old Persian is attested in royal Achaemenid inscriptions. It is an Iranian language and as such a member of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. The oldest known text written in Old Persian is from the Behistun Inscriptions carved by the order of Darius I in 521 or 520 BC.

In the trilingual Behistun Inscription the country referred to as Urartu in Babylonian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in the Elamite language. Urartu is cognate with the Biblical Ararat, Akkadian Urashtu, and Armenian Ayrarat. Being heirs to the Urartian realm, the earliest identifiable ancestors of the Armenians are the peoples of Urartu.

Urartu, which corresponds to the biblical mountains of Ararat, is the name of a geographical region commonly used as the exonym for the Iron Age kingdom also known by the modern rendition of its endonym, the Kingdom of Van, centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands.

The name Kingdom of Van is derived from the Urartian toponym Biai or Biainili, which was adopted in Old Armenian as Van, because of betacism (in linguistics, when the letters b and v undergo a sound change), hence the names “Kingdom of Van” or “Vannic Kingdom”.

Assyrian inscriptions of Shalmaneser I (c. 1274 BC) first mention Uruartri as one of the states of Nairi, a loose confederation of small kingdoms and tribal states in the Armenian Highland in the 13th to 11th centuries BC which he conquered. Uruartri itself was in the region around Lake Van.

The Nairi states were repeatedly subjected to further attacks and invasions by the Assyrians, especially under Tukulti-Ninurta I (c. 1240 BC), Tiglath-Pileser I (c. 1100 BC), Ashur-bel-kala (c. 1070 BC), Adad-nirari II (c. 900 BC), Tukulti-Ninurta II (c. 890 BC), and Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC).

Urartu re-emerged in Assyrian inscriptions in the 9th century BC as a powerful northern rival of Assyria, which lay to the south in northern Mesopotamia and northeast Syria.

The Nairi states and tribes became a unified kingdom under king Aramu (c. 860–843 BC), whose capital at Arzashkun was captured by the Assyrians under Shalmaneser III.

However, the Middle Assyrian Empire fell into a period of temporary stagnation for decades during the first half of the 8th century BC, which had aided Urartu’s growth. Within a short time it became one of the largest and most powerful states in the Near East.

Sarduri I (c. 832–820 BC), son of king Aramu, successfully resisted the Assyrian attacks from the south, led by Shalmaneser III, consolidated the military power of the state and moved the capital to Tushpa (modern Van, on the shore of Lake Van).

His son, Ispuini (c. 820–800 BC) annexed the neighbouring state of Musasir and made his son Sarduri II viceroy; Musasir later became an important religious center of the Urartian Kingdom. Ispuini was in turn attacked by Shamshi-Adad V.

His successor Menua (c. 800–785 BC) also enlarged the kingdom greatly and left inscriptions over a wide area. Urartu reached the highest point of its military might under Menua’s son Argishti I (c. 785–760 BC), becoming one of the most powerful kingdoms of ancient Near East.

Argishti I added more territories along the Araks River and Lake Sevan, and frustrated Shalmaneser IV’s campaigns against him. Argishti also founded several new cities, most notably Erebuni in 782 BC. 6,600 captured slaves worked on the construction of the new city.

At its height, the Urartu kingdom stretched North beyond the Araks River (Greek: Araxes) and Lake Sevan, encompassing present-day Armenia and even the southern part of present-day Georgia almost to the shores of the Black Sea; west to the sources of the Euphrates; east to present-day Tabriz, Lake Urmia, and beyond; and south to the sources of the Tigris.

It is unknown what language was spoken by the peoples of Urartu at the time of the existence of the kingdom, but there is linguistic evidence of contact between the proto-Armenian language and the Urartian language at an early date, occurring prior to the formation of Urartu as a kingdom.

The presence of a proto-Armenian-speaking population in Urartu prior to its demise is subject to speculation, but the existence of Urartian words in the Armenian language suggests early contact between the two languages and long periods of bilingualism.

The Mannaeans (country name usually Mannea; Akkadian: Mannai, possibly Biblical Minni) were an ancient people who lived in the territory of present-day northwestern Iran south of lake Urmia, around the 10th to 7th centuries BC. At that time they were neighbors of the empires of Assyria and Urartu, as well as other small buffer states between the two, such as Musasir and Zikirta.

According to examinations of the place and personal names found in Assyrian and Urartian texts, the Mannaeans, or at least their rulers, spoke a Hurrian language, a non-Semitic and non-Indo-European language related to Urartian, with no modern language connections.

In the Bible (Jeremiah 51:27) the Mannaeans are called Minni. In the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), Minni is identified with Armenia, but it could refer to one of the provinces in ancient Armenia; Minni, Ararat and Ashkenaz.

The Mannaeans were subdued by the Scytho-Kimmerians during the seventh and eighth centuries BC. After suffering several defeats at the hands of both Scythians and Assyrians, the remnants of the Mannaean populace were absorbed by an Iranian people known as the Matieni and the area became known as Matiene.

Matiene was the name of a kingdom in northwestern Iran on the lands of the earlier kingdom of the Mannae. Ancient historians including Strabo, Ptolemy, Herodotus, Polybius, and Pliny, mention names such as Mantiane, Martiane, Matiane, Matiene, to designate a region located to the northwest of Media.”

The name Matiene was applied also to the neighboring Lake Matianus (Lake Urmia) located immediately to the east of the Matieni people. Matiene was ultimately conquered by the Medes in about 609 BCE.

Matiene became a satrapy of the Median Empire until the Persian conquest, when alongside with tribes of Saspires and Alaradians (remnants of Urartians) it became a part of the XVIII satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire.

The name Matiene is believed to be related to Mitanni, the name of a state some 800 years earlier, which was founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class governing the Hurrian population. The Mitanni kingdom was referred to as the Maryannu, Nahrin or Mitanni by the Egyptians, the Hurri by the Hittites, and the Hanigalbat by the Assyrians.

The ethnicity of the people of Mitanni is difficult to ascertain. A treatise on the training of chariot horses by Kikkuli contains a number of Indo-Aryan glosses. Kammenhuber (1968) suggested that this vocabulary was derived from the still undivided Indo-Iranian language, but Mayrhofer (1974) has shown that specifically Indo-Aryan features are present.

It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî. The Assyrians (direct descendants of Akkadians) to this day refer Armenians by their inscription Armani.

There are certain Bronze Age records identified with the toponym in both Mesopotamian and Egyptian sources. The earliest is from an inscription which mentions Armânum together with Ibla as territories conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad in c. 2250 BC identified with an Akkadian colony in the Diarbekr region.

However, many historians, such as Wayne Horowitz, identify Armanî which was conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad, with the Syrian city of Aleppo and not with the Armenian Highland.

Another mention by pharoah Thutmose III in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) as the people of Ermenen (“Region of the Minni”), and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”. The Kurdish and Turkish form referring to Armenians is Ermenin.

Maryannu is an ancient word for the caste of chariot-mounted hereditary warrior nobility which existed in many of the societies of the Middle East during the Bronze Age.

The term is attested in the Amarna letters written by Haapi. Robert Drews writes that the name ‘maryannu’ although plural takes the singular ‘marya’, which in Sanskrit means young warrior, and attaches a Hurrian suffix.

He suggests that at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age most would have spoken either Hurrian or Aryan but by the end of the 14th century most of the Levant maryannu had Semitic names.

Old Persian belongs to the Iranian language family which is a branch of the Indo-Iranian language family, itself within the large family of Indo-European languages. The common ancestors of Indo-Iranians came from Central Asia sometime in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE.

The extinct and unattested Median language is another Old Iranian language related to Old Persian (e.g. both are classified as Western Iranian languages and many Median names appeared in Old Persian texts).

The group of Old Iranian languages was presumably a large group; however knowledge of it is restricted mainly to Old Persian, Avestan and Median. The former are the only languages in that group which have left written original texts while Median is known mostly from loanwords in Old Persian.

The oldest date of use of Old Persian as a spoken language is not precisely known. According to certain historical assumptions about the early history and origin of ancient Persians in south-western Iran (where Achaemenids hailed from).

Old Persian was originally spoken by a tribe called Parsuwash, who arrived in the Iranian Plateau early in the 1st millennium BCE and finally migrated down into the area of present-day Fārs province. Their language, Old Persian, became the official language of the Achaemenid kings.

Assyrian records, which in fact appear to provide the earliest evidence for ancient Iranian (Persian and Median) presence on the Iranian Plateau, give a good chronology but only an approximate geographical indication of what seem to be ancient Persians.

In these records of the 9th century BCE, Parsuwash (along with Matai, presumably Medians) are first mentioned in the area of Lake Urmia in the records of Shalmaneser III. The exact identity of the Parsuwash is not known for certain, but from a linguistic viewpoint the word matches Old Persian pārsa itself coming directly from the older word *pārćwa.

Also, as Old Persian contains many words from another extinct Iranian language, Median, according to P. O. Skjærvø it is probable that Old Persian had already been spoken before formation of the Achaemenid Empire and was spoken during most of the first half of the first millennium BCE.

Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and hospitality in around 401 BC, which is when Old Persian was still spoken and extensively used. He relates that the Armenian people spoke a language that to his ear sounded like the language of the Persians.

By the 4th century BCE, the late Achaemenid period, the inscriptions of Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III differ enough from the language of Darius’ inscriptions to be called a “pre-Middle Persian,” or “post-Old Persian.” Old Persian subsequently evolved into Middle Persian, which is in turn the ancestor of New Persian.

The language known as New Persian, which usually is called at this period (early Islamic times) by the name of Parsi-Dari, can be classified linguistically as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of Sassanian Iran, itself a continuation of Old Persian, the language of the Achaemenids.

Unlike the other languages and dialects, ancient and modern, of the Iranian group such as Avestan, Parthian, Soghdian, Kurdish, Pashto, etc., Old, Middle and New Persian represent one and the same language at three states of its history. It had its origin in Fars and is differentiated by dialectical features, still easily recognizable from the dialect prevailing in north-western and eastern Iran.

Middle Persian, also sometimes called Pahlavi, is a direct continuation of old Persian and was used as the written official language of the country. Comparison of the evolution at each stage of the language shows great simplification in grammar and syntax. However, New Persian is a direct descendent of Middle and Old Persian.

Parsua (earlier Parsuash, Parsumash) was an ancient tribal kingdom/chiefdom (860-600 BC) located near Lake Urmia between Zamua (formerly: Lullubi) and Ellipi, in central Zagros to the southwest of Piranshahr, northwestern Iran. The name Parsua is from an old Iranian word *Parsava and it is presumed to mean border or borderland.

Parsua was distinct from Persis, another region to the southeast, now known as Fars province in Iran. Some accounts suggest that Teispes, the ancestor of the Achaemenid dynasty, led a migration from Parsua to Persis, formerly the Elamite state of Anshan.

Teïspes, who ruled Anshan in 675-640 BC, was the son of Achaemenes of Persis (c. 705 BC-675 BC), the eponymous apical ancestor of the Achaemenid dynasty of rulers from Persis, and an ancestor of Cyrus the Great. There is evidence that Cyrus I and Ariaramnes were both his sons. Teispes’ sons reportedly divided the kingdom among them after his death. Cyrus reigned as king of Anshan while his brother Ariaramnes was king of Parsa.

Cyrus I (Old Persian: Kuruš) or Cyrus I of Anshan or Cyrus I of Persia, was King of Anshan in Persia from c. 600 to 580 BC or, according to others, from c. 652 to 600 BC. Cyrus I of Anshan is the grandfather of Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus II.

Ariaramnes (“He who brings peace to the Aryans (i.e. Iranians)” was a great uncle of Cyrus the Great and the great-grandfather of Darius I, and perhaps the king of Parsumash, the ancient core kingdom of Persia.

As supported by the relief at Bisitun he was the first king of a separate Achaemenid branch that ran parallel to the reigns of Cyrus I and his son Cambyses I. An attestation of his reign is the later Behistun Inscription, where his great grandson Darius I states that eight Achaemenid kings preceded him – and then, he must be counting Ariaramnes as a king.

According to 7th-century BC documents, Teispes captured the Elamite city of Anshan, speculated to have occurred after the Persians were freed from Median supremacy, and expanded his small kingdom. His kingdom was, however, a vassal state of the Neo Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC). He was succeeded by his second son, Cyrus I.

The name is probably Iranian, but its etymology is unknown. Its connection with either the name of the Mitannian and Urartu storm god Tešup-Theispas, or with the (Elamite) byname Za-iš-pi-iš-ši-ya is likely.

It is quite possible that Achaemenes was only the mythical ancestor of the Persian royal house, but if Achaemenes was a historical personage, he should have lived at the end of the 8th and the first quarter of the 7th century BC. Many scholars believe he was a ruler of Parsumash, a vassal state of the Median Empire, and that from there he led armies against the Assyrian king Sennacherib in 681 BC.

The chronological placement of this event is uncertain. This is due to his suggested, but still debated identification, with the monarch known as “Kuras of Parsumas”. Kuras is first mentioned c. 652 BC. In that year Shamash-shum-ukin, king of Babylon (668–648 BC), revolted against his older brother and overlord Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria (668–627 BC).

Cyrus is mentioned being in a military alliance with the former. The war between the two brothers ended in 648 BC with the defeat and reported suicide of Shamash-shum-ukin.

Cyrus is mentioned again in 639 BC. At that year Ashurbanipal managed to defeat Elam and became overlord to several of its former allies. Kuras was apparently among them. His elder son “Arukku” was reportedly sent to Assyria to pay tribute to its King.

Kuras then seems to vanish from the historical record. His suggested identification with Cyrus would help connect the Achaemenid dynasty to the major events of the 7th century BC.

Ashurbanipal died in 627 BC. Cyrus presumably continued paying tribute to his sons and successors Ashur-etil-ilani (627–623 BC) and Sin-shar-ishkun (623–612 BC). They were both opposed by an alliance led by Cyaxares of Media (633–584 BC) and Nabopolassar of Babylon (626–605 BC).

Cyaxares (“Good Ruler”; r. 625–585 BC) was the third and most capable king of Media, according to Herodotus, with a far greater military reputation than his father Phraortes or grandfather Deioces. He was the first to divide his troops into separate sections of spearmen, archers, and horsemen.

By uniting most of the Iranian tribes of ancient Iran and conquering neighbouring territories, Cyaxares transformed the Median Empire into a regional power. He facilitated the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and according to Herodotus repelled the Scythians from Media.

Cyaxares was born in the Median capital of Ecbatana. His father Phraortes was killed in a battle against the Assyrians, led by Ashurbanipal, the king of Assyria. After Phraortes’ demise, the Scythians overran Media. Cyaxares, seeking revenge, killed the Scythian leaders and proclaimed himself King of Medes. After throwing off the Scythians, he prepared for war against Assyria.

Cyaxares reorganized the Median army, then allied himself with King Nabopolassar of Babylonia, a mutual enemy of Assyria. This alliance was formalized through the marriage of Cyaxares’ daughter, Amytis, to Nabopolassar’s son, Nebuchadnezzar II. These allies overthrew the Assyrian Empire and destroyed Nineveh in 612 BC.

This was effectively the end of the Neo-Assyrian Empire though remnants of the Assyrian Army under Ashur-uballit II (612–609 BC) continued to resist from Harran.

Media and Babylon soon shared the lands previously controlled by the Assyrians. Anshan apparently fell under the control of the former. Cyrus is considered to have ended his days under the overlordship of either Cyaxares or his son Astyages (584–550 BC). Cyrus was succeeded by his son Cambyses I. His grandson would come to be known as Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire.

It has been noted that this account of his life and reign would place his early activities more than a century before those of his grandson. This would place his fathering of Cambyses very late in life and his death at an advanced age.

It has been argued that Kuras and Cyrus were separate figures of uncertain relation to each other. The latter would have then reigned in the early 6th century BC and his reign would seem rather uneventful. Due to the current lack of sufficient records for this historical period it remains uncertain which theory is closer to the facts.

Tiglath Pileser III of Assyria conquered Urartu in the first year of his reign (745 BC). There the Assyrians found horsemen and horses, tamed as colts for riding, that were unequalled in the south, where they were harnessed to Assyrian war-chariots.

In 714 BC, the Urartu kingdom suffered heavily from Cimmerian raids and the campaigns of Sargon II. The main temple at Mushashir was sacked, and the Urartian king Rusa I was crushingly defeated by Sargon II at Lake Urmia. He subsequently committed suicide in shame.

Rusa’s son Argishti II (714–685 BC) restored Urartu’s position against the Cimmerians, however it was no longer a threat to Assyria and peace was made with the new king of Assyria Sennacherib in 705 BC. This in turn helped Urartu enter a long period of development and prosperity, which continued through the reign of Argishti’s son Rusa II (685–645 BC).

After Rusa II, however, the Urartu grew weaker under constant attacks from Cimmerian and Scythian invaders. As a result, it became dependent on Assyria, as evidenced by Rusa II’s son Sarduri III (645–635 BC) referring to the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal as his “father”.

According to Urartian epigraphy, Sarduri III was followed by three kings—Erimena (635–620 BC), his son Rusa III (620–609 BC), and the latter’s son Rusa IV (609–590 or 585 BC).

Late during the 7th century BC (during or after Sarduri III’s reign), Urartu was invaded by Scythians and their allies—the Medes. In 612 BC, the Median king Cyaxares the Great together with Nabopolassar of Babylon and the Scythians conquered Assyria after it had been badly weakened by civil war.

Little is known of what was truly spoken in the geopolitical region until the creation of the Armenian alphabet in the 4th century AD. It is unclear weather the Medes then took over the Urartian capital of Van towards 585 BC, effectively ending the sovereignty of Urartu, or the Medes helped the Armenians establish the Orontid dynasty.

Many Urartian ruins of the period show evidence of destruction by fire. This would indicate two scenarios—either Media subsequently conquered Urartu, bringing about its subsequent demise, or Urartu maintained its independence and power, going through a mere dynastic change, as a local Armenian dynasty (later to be called the Orontids) overthrew the ruling family with the help of the Median army.

Ancient sources support the latter version: Xenophon, for example, states that Armenia, ruled by an Orontid king, was not conquered until the reign of Median king Astyages (585–550 BC) – long after Median invasion of the late 7th century BC.

Similarly, Strabo (1st century BC – 1st century AD) wrote that “[i]n ancient times Greater Armenia ruled the whole of Asia, after it broke up the empire of the Syrians, but later, in the time of Astyages, it was deprived of that great authority …”

Medieval Armenian chronicles corroborate the Greek and Hebrew sources. In particular, Movses Khorenatsi writes that Armenian prince Paruyr Skayordi helped Cyaxares and his allies conquer Assyria, for which Cyaxares recognized him as the king of Armenia, while Media conquered Armenia only much later—under Astyages.

It is possible that the last Urartian king, Rusa IV, had connections to the future incoming Armenian Orontids dynasty. Anyway, Urartu was destroyed in either 590 BC or 585 BC. By the late 6th century, Urartu had certainly been replaced by Armenia.

The region formerly known as Urartu became the Satrapy of Armenia under the Achaemenids, which later became an independent kingdom, the Kingdom of Armenia. Little is known of what happened to the region of Urartu under the foreign rule following its fall and the emergence of Armenia.

According to Encyclopaedia Iranica, during the Armenian rebellion against the Persian king Darius the Great in 521 BC (70 years after the fall of Urartu), the ethnonym Armenian and all other names attested, including personal and topographic names, were of Urartian origin (proper names Araxa, Haldita, Dādṛšiš; toponyms Zūzahya, Tigra, Uyamā), suggesting that Urartian elements persisted within Armenia after its fall.

Darius’ inscription, which was written in three languages, refers to the country as Armenia (Armina) and the people as Armenian (Arminiya) in Old Persian, but as Urartu (Urashtu) and Urartian (Urashtaa) in Babylonian, suggesting that Urartu and Armenia were part of the same geopolitical entity.

The most widely accepted theory about the emergence of Indo-European in the region is that settlers related to Phrygians (the Mushki and/or the retroactively named Armeno-Phrygians), who had already settled in the western parts of the region prior to the establishment of Urartu, had become the ruling elite under the Median Empire, followed by the Achaemenid Empire. Some have argued that the Urartian language wasn’t spoken at all.

The Kingdom of Urartu, during its dominance, had united disparate tribes, each of which had its own culture and traditions. Thus, when the political structure was destroyed, little remained that could be identified as one unified Urartian culture.

With the region reunified again under Armenia, the disparate peoples of the region mixed and became more homogenous and a unified sense of identity developed. The Indo-European language became the predominant language, and eventually become known as “Armenian”. Some Urartians might have kept their former identity.

According to Herodotus, the Alarodians (Alarodioi)—believed to be Urartian remnants—were part of the 18th Satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire and formed a special contingent in the grand army of Xerxes I. The Urartians who were in the satrapy were then part of the amalgamation of the peoples, becoming part of the Armenian ethnogenesis.

As the Armenian identity developed in the region, the memory of Urartu faded and disappeared. Parts of its history passed down as popular stories and were preserved in Armenia, as written by Movses Khorenatsi in the form of garbled legends in his 5th century book History of Armenia, where he speaks of a first Armenian Kingdom in Van which fought wars against the Assyrians.

The toponym Urartu did not disappear, however. The name of the province of Ayrarat in the center of the Kingdom of Armenia is believed to be its continuum. The Ararat Province of modern Armenia is named after Mount Ararat, which itself receives its name from the biblical Mountains of Ararat (or Mountains of Urartu).

According to historian M. Chahin: “Urartian history is part of Armenian history, in the same sense that the history of the ancient Britons is part of English history, and that of the Gauls is part of French history. Armenians can legitimately claim, through Urartu, an historical continuity of some 4000 years; their history is among those of the most ancient peoples in the world.”

In the 6th century BC, Urartu was succeeded by a geopolitical entity referred to as “Armenia”, ruled by the Orontid Dynasty, who spoke the Armenian language, which is part of the Indo-European language family. Since the Urartian language is not a part of the Indo-European language family, linguists and historians have attempted to explain the emergence of the Armenian language in the area.

It is generally assumed that proto-Armenian speakers entered Anatolia from around 1200 BC, three to four centuries before the emergence of the Kingdom of Urartu. Proto-Armenian would have derived from a Paleo-Balkans context, and over the following centuries spread east to the Armenian Highlands.

The Kingdom of Urartu united the disparate peoples of the highlands, which began a process of intermingling and amalgamation of the peoples, languages, and cultures within the highlands. This intermixing would ultimately culminate in the emergence of the Armenian people as the direct successors and inheritors of the Urartian domain.

While the Urartian language was used by the royal elite, the population they ruled may have been multi-lingual, and some of these peoples would have spoken an Indo-European language which would later be known as “Armenian”.

In the later days of the Kingdom of Urartu, its population may have already been speaking the Armenian language, which, after the fall of Urartu, would rise to prominence and replace the Urartian language used by the former ruling elite.

An addition to this theory, supported by the official historiography of Armenia and experts in Assyrian and Urartian studies such as Igor M. Diakonoff, Giorgi Melikishvili, Mikhail Nikolsky, Ivan Mestchaninov, suggests that Urartian was solely the formal written language of the state, while its inhabitants, including the royal family, spoke Armenian.

This theory primarily hinges on the fact that the Urartian language used in the cuneiform inscriptions were very repetitive and scant in vocabulary (having as little as 350–400 roots). Furthermore, over 250 years of usage, it shows no development, which is taken to indicate that the language had ceased to be spoken before the time of the inscriptions or was used only for official purposes.

According to the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture: “The Armenians according to Diakonoff, are then an amalgam of the Hurrian (and Urartians), Luvians and the Proto-Armenian Mushki who carried their IE [Indo European] language eastwards across Anatolia.

After arriving in its historical territory, Proto-Armenian would appear to have undergone massive influence on part the languages it eventually replaced. Armenian phonology, for instance, appears to have been greatly affected by Urartian, which may suggest a long period of bilingualism.”

Another theory suggested by Tamaz V. Gamkrelidze and Vyacheslav V. Ivanov in 1984 places the Proto-Indo-European homeland (the location where Indo-European would have emerged from) in the Armenian Highlands, which would entail the presence of proto-Armenians in the area during the entire lifetime of the Urartian state.

This Armenian hypothesis theory supports the theory that the Urartian language was not spoken, but simply written, and postulating the Armenian language as an in situ development of a 3rd millennium BC Proto-Indo-European language.

Armenian is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages. It is of interest to linguists for its distinctive phonological developments within that family. Some linguists tentatively conclude that Armenian, Greek (Phrygian) and Indo-Iranian were dialectally close to each other; within this hypothetical dialect group, Proto-Armenian was situated between Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian.

The Armenian historian Faustus of Byzantium wrote that during an epoch of the disorders which followed intrusion of Persians into Armenia (about 370), Artsakh appeared among the risen provinces, whereas Utik has been grasped by Caucasus Albanians.

Armenian military commander Mushegh Mamikonian defeated the country of Artsakh in a big battle, made many inhabitants of the region prisoners, took hostages from the rest, and imposed a tribute on them. In 372 Mushegh defeated the Caucasus Albanians, took from them Utik, and restored the border on Kura, “as was earlier”.

In 387 Armenia was divided between Roman Empire and Persia; thus Artsakh together with Armenian provinces Utik and Paytakaran was attached to Caucasian Albania. Ancient inhabitants of Artsakh spoke a special dialect of the Armenian language; we know about this from the author of the Armenian grammar Stepanos Siunetsi who lived in around 700 AD.

The Byzantines cooperated extensively with the leader of Caucasian Albania, Sandilch, in the latter half of the 6th century. They occupied extensive territories from the bank of the Caspian Sea to the Caucasian Mountains, on the left and right banks of the Kura River. One of the regions in this area was named “Utik”.

The Arab invasions later led to the rise of several Armenian princes who came to establish their dominance in the region. After the conquest of the Caucasian Albania by the Arabs, the number of the Udi and their territory were gradually reduced.

According to “Geography” (Ashkharatsuyts) by 7th-century Armenian geographer Anania Shirakatsi, Artsakh was the 10th among the 15 provinces (nahangs) of Armenia, and consisted of 12 districts (gavars).

During the period of Mongol domination, a great number of Armenians left Lowland Karabakh and sought refuge in the mountainous (Highland) heights of the region. Centuries of constant warfare on the Armenian Plateau forced many Armenians, including those in the Karabakh region, to emigrate and settle elsewhere.

In 1813, under the terms of the Treaty of Gulistan, the region of Karabakh was lost by the Persians to the Russian Empire. Under Russian and Soviet rule, the region came to be known as Nagorno-Karabakh, meaning “Mountainous Karabakh” in Russian.

Under Russian rule, Karabakh (both Lowland and Highland) was a region with an area of 13,600 km2 (5,250 sq mi), with Shusha (Shushi) as its most prominent city. Its population consisted of Armenians and Muslims (mainly of “Tatars” (Azerbaijanis), but also Kurds).

After the dissolution of Russian Empire Karabakh, Zangezur and Nakhchivan were disputed between newly established republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Fighting between two republics broke out. However, following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, British troops occupied the South Caucasus.

The British command affirmed Khosrov bey Sultanov (an appointee of the Azerbaijani government) as the provisional governor-general of Karabakh and Zangezur, pending a final decision by the Paris Peace Conference.

In 1920, Azerbaijan and Armenia were sovietized and Karabakh’s status was taken up by the Soviet authorities. In 1923, parts of Karabakh were made a part of the newly established Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO), an administrative entity of the Azerbaijan SSR, leaving it with a population that was 94% Armenian.

During the Soviet period, several few attempts were made by the authorities of the Armenian SSR to unite it with the NKAO but these proposals found no support in Moscow.

In February 1988, within the context of Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika policies, the Supreme Soviet of the NKAO voted to unite itself with Armenia. By the summer of 1989 the Armenian-populated areas of the NKAO were under blockade by Azerbaijan as a response to Armenia’s blockade against Nakhichevan, cutting road and rail links to the outside world.

On July 12 the Nagorno-Karabakh AO Supreme Soviet voted to secede from Azerbaijan, which was rejected unanimously by the Supreme Soviet of USSR, declaring NKAO had no right to secede from Azerbaijan SSR under Soviet Constitution.

Soviet authorities in Moscow then placed the region under its direct rule, installing a special commission to govern the region. In November 1989 the Kremlin returned the oblast to Azerbaijani control. The local government in the region of Shahumian also declared its independence from the Azerbaijan SSR in 1991.

In late 1991, the Armenian representatives in the local government of the NKAO proclaimed the region a republic, independent from Azerbaijan. Portions of the lowland Karabakh are now under the control of the Karabakh Armenian forces. The region’s Azerbaijani inhabitants were forced to leave the territories remaining under Armenian control.

Currently, most of this area is under the control of the de facto Artsakh Republic, which has economic, political, and military support from Armenia, but the region is de jure recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The final status of the region is still a subject of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This article encompasses the history of the region from the ancient to the modern period.

Today Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed territory, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but most of the region is governed by the Republic of Artsakh (formerly named Nagorno-Karabakh Republic), a de facto independent state with Armenian ethnic majority established on the basis of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.

Azerbaijan has not exercised political authority over the region since the advent of the Karabakh movement in 1988. Since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, representatives of the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group on the region’s disputed status.

The region is usually equated with the administrative borders of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast comprising an area of 4,400 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi). The historical area of the region, however, encompasses approximately 8,223 square kilometres (3,175 sq mi).

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The trumpets of war and prophecy: doomsday

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 26, 2018

Primitive trumpets of one form or another have been in existence for millennia; some of the predecessors of the modern instrument are now known to date back to the Neolithic era. The earliest of these primordial trumpets were adapted from animal horns and sea shells. For the most part, these primitive instruments were “natural trumpets”: that is to say, they had none of those devices (fingerholes, keys, slides or valves) by which the pitch of an instrument might be altered.

The simplest – and presumably the earliest – type of trumpet was made from the hollowed-out horn or shell of an animal, into the end of which a hole was bored for the mouth. Cattle, sheep, goats and antelopes are among the animals whose horns are – or have been – most frequently used to make such trumpets.

This “trumpet” had neither a mouthpiece nor a bell, and was not so much a musical instrument as a megaphone into which one spoke, sang, or shouted. The intention was to distort the voice and produce a harsh, unnatural sound to ward off evil spirits or disconcert one’s enemies. Only later was the trumpet used to invoke friendly gods or to encourage one’s own warriors on the battlefield.

In Norse mythology, Heimdallr is a god who is attested as possessing foreknowledge, keen eyesight and hearing, and keeps watch for the onset of Ragnarök while drinking fine mead in his dwelling Himinbjörg, located where the burning rainbow bridge Bifröst that reaches between Midgard (Earth) and Asgard, the realm of the gods, meets heaven.

According to the Prose Edda, the bridge ends in heaven at Himinbjörg, the residence of the god Heimdallr, who guards it from the jötnar. He possesses the resounding horn Gjallarhorn (“yelling horn” or “the loud sounding horn”), a horn associated with the god Heimdallr and the wise being Mímir.

During Ragnarök (“final destiny of the gods”), a series of future events, including a great battle, the enemies of the gods will gather at the plain Vígríðr. Heimdallr will stand and mightily blow into Gjallarhorn, the gods will awake and assemble together at the thing.

Ragnarök is foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures (including the gods Odin, Thor, Týr, Freyr, Heimdallr, and Loki), the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in water.

Thor kills Jörmungandr but is poisoned by the serpent, and manages to walk only nine steps before falling to the earth dead. Fenrir swallows Odin, though immediately afterward his son Víðarr kicks his foot into Fenrir’s lower jaw, grips the upper jaw, and rips apart Fenrir’s mouth, killing the great wolf. Loki fights Heimdallr and the two kill each another. Surtr covers the earth in fire, causing the entire world to burn.

The bridge’s destruction during Ragnarök by the forces of Muspell is foretold. Scholars have proposed that the bridge may have originally represented the Milky Way. Parallels between the bridge and another bridge in Norse mythology, Gjallarbrú (literally “Gjöll Bridge”), which spans the river Gjöll in the underworld and must be crossed in order to reach Hel, have been noted.

Afterward, the world will resurface anew and fertile, the surviving and returning gods will meet, and the world will be repopulated by two human survivors. This reminds of the scriptural story of Noah and his Ark that describes the end of the corrupted original civilization and its replacement with a remade world. Noah is assigned the task to build the Ark and save the lifeforms so as to reestablish a new post-flood world.

Numerous other societies, including the Babylonian, had produced apocalyptic literature and mythology which dealt with the end of the world and of human society. Many of which also included stories that refer back to the Biblical Noah or describe a similar flood.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, written ca. 2000–1500 BC, details a myth where the angry gods send floods to punish humanity, but the ancient hero Utnapishtim and his family are saved through the intervention of the god Ea. A similar story about the Genesis flood narrative is found in Sura 71 of the Quran, where the Islamic counterpart of Noah, Nūḥ, builds the ark and rebuilds humanity.

According to the Matsya Purana, the Matsya avatar of Lord Vishnu, informed the King Manu of an all-destructive deluge which would be coming very soon. The King was advised to build a huge boat (ark) which housed his family, nine types of seeds, pairs of all animals and the Saptarishis to repopulate the Earth, after the deluge would end and the oceans and seas would recede.

At the time of deluge, Vishnu appeared as a horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope, with which Vaivasvata Manu fastened the boat to the horn of the fish. Variants of this story also appear in Buddhist and Jain scriptures.

Gimlé is a place where the worthy survivors of Ragnarök are foretold to live. Snorri presents Gimlé as a pagan heaven. Scholars including Hollander and Rudolf Simek have seen the description of Gimlé as influenced by the Christian Heavenly Jerusalem.

Ursula Dronke suggested that while the concept of a heaven in which “hosts” of the righteous lived together was based on the pagan Valhalla, the “Völuspá” poet or his associates invented the name “Gimlé” with reference to its protecting the blessed from the fires both of Surtr at Ragnarök and of the Christian Hell.

Gabriel’s horn (also called Torricelli’s trumpet) is a geometric figure which has infinite surface area but finite volume. The name refers to the biblical tradition identifying the Archangel Gabriel as the angel who blows the horn to announce Judgment Day, associating the divine, or infinite, with the finite.

The trope of Gabriel blowing a trumpet blast to indicate the Lord’s return to Earth is especially familiar in Negro spirituals. However, though the Bible mentions a trumpet blast preceding the resurrection of the dead, it never specifies Gabriel as the trumpeter.

Different passages state different things: the angels of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:31); the voice of the Son of God (John 5:25-29); God’s trumpet (I Thessalonians 4:16); seven angels sounding a series of blasts (Revelation 8-11); or simply “a trumpet will sound” (I Corinthians 15:52).

In Judaism, trumpets are prominent, and they seem to be blown by God himself, or sometimes Michael. In Zoroastrianism, there is no trumpeter at the last judgement. In Islamic tradition, it is Israfil who blows the trumpet, though he is not named in the Qur’an. The Christian Church Fathers do not mention Gabriel as the trumpeter; early English literature similarly does not.

In the Book of Revelation, Seven trumpets are sounded, one at a time, to cue apocalyptic events received in the Revelation of Christ Jesus, by John of Patmos, also called John the Revelator, John the Divine or John the Theologian, the suffixative descriptions given to the author named as John in the Book of Revelation, the apocalyptic text forming the final book of the New Testament.

An apocalypse (literally meaning “an uncovering”) is a disclosure of knowledge or revelation. Historically, the term has a heavy religious connotation as commonly seen in the prophetic revelations of eschatology a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, and were obtained through dreams or spiritual visions. Also, it is the Greek word for the last book of the New Testament entitled “Revelation”.

In the Hebrew Old Testament some pictures of the end of the age were images of the judgment of the wicked and the glorification of those who were given righteousness before God. In the Book of Job and in some Psalms the dead are described as being in Sheol, awaiting the final judgment. The wicked will then be consigned to eternal suffering in the fires of Gehinnom, or the lake of fire mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

The seven trumpets are sounded by seven angels and the events that follow are described in detail from Revelation Chapters 8 to 11. According to Revelation 8:1-2, the angels sound these trumpets after the breaking of the seventh seal. These seals secured the apocalyptic document, that was in the right hand of Him who sits on the main throne.

The trumpets are referred to in Koine Greek as salpingos, salpinx (the word salpinx is thought to mean “thunderer”). This was a straight, narrow bronze tube with a mouthpiece of bone and a bell; they do not resemble modern trumpets. Before the invention of the brass trumpet, God had Moses make two silver Trumpets (Numbers 10:2), but the traditional sacred horn of the ancient Hebrews was the shofar made from a ram’s horn.

It has been used since Moses’ day (Exodus 19:13) to get the attention of the Israelites, signal, or to prelude an announcement and/or warning from God. Joshua had 7 priests carry 7 horns for 7 days and circle Jericho 7 times, then the priest sounded the horns, the people shouted and the walls came down. (Joshua 6:4). In St. Paul’s letter of I Thessalonians 4:16, “the trumpet of God” heralds the Second Coming of Christ.

The seven seals are one of a series of end-times judgments from God. The seals are described in Revelation 6:1–17 and 8:1–5. In John’s vision, the seven seals hold closed a scroll in heaven, and, as each seal is broken, a new judgment is unleashed on the earth. Following the seal judgments are the trumpet judgments and the bowl or vial judgments.

The Seven Seals is a phrase in the Book of Revelation that refers to seven symbolic seals (Greek: sphragida) that secure the book/scroll, that John of Patmos saw in his Revelation of Jesus Christ. The opening of the seals of the Apocalyptic document occurs in Revelation Chapters 5-8 and marks the Second Coming. In John’s vision, the only one worthy to open the book/scroll is referred to as both the “Lion of Judah” and the “Lamb having seven horns and seven eyes”.

The opening of the first four Seals release The Four Horsemen, each with his own specific mission. The opening of the fifth seal releases the cries of martyrs for the “word/Wrath of God”. The sixth seal prompts earthquakes and other cataclysmic events. The seventh seal cues seven angelic trumpeters who in turn cue the seven bowl judgments and more cataclysmic events.

The seventh seal obviously introduces the next series of judgments, for John immediately sees seven angels who are handed seven trumpets ready to sound (verse 2). An eighth angel takes a censer and burns “much incense” in it, representing the prayers of God’s people (verses 3–4). The angel then took the same censer, “filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake” (verse 5).

Once the seven seal judgments are finished, the next part of the tribulation, featuring the seven trumpet judgments, is ready to begin. The seven trumpets are described in Revelation 8:6–9:19 and 11:15–19. The seven trumpets are the “contents” of the seventh seal judgment, in that the seventh seal summons the angels who sound the trumpets (Revelation 8:1–5). The judgments heralded by the seven trumpets will take place during the tribulation period in the end times.

The angel declares that the mystery of God would be revealed on the sounding of the seventh trumpet. Immediately after the seventh trumpet (and the third woe) sounds there are loud voices in heaven saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). The twenty-four elders say, “The time has come for . . . destroying those who destroy the earth” (verse 17).

Obviously, God is about to wrap things up once and for all. At the sound of the seventh trumpet, the temple of God is opened in heaven, and “within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm” (verse 19).

Thus end the seven trumpet judgments. All is set for the seven angels with the seven bowls of God’s wrath. These angels stand inside the now-open temple, ready to step forward and bring the final judgments on earth (Revelation 15).

The seven bowl judgments are called forth by the seventh trumpet. The seven bowls (Greek: phialas, sing. phialē; also translated as cups or vials) are a set of plagues mentioned in Revelation 16. They are recorded as apocalyptic events that were seen in the vision of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, by John of Patmos. Seven angels are thus given seven bowls of God’s wrath, each consisting of judgements full of the wrath of God.

These seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out on the wicked and the followers of the Antichrist after the sounding of the seven trumpets. When the seventh bowl is poured out, a global earthquake causes the cities of the world to collapse. All the mountains and islands are removed from their foundations. Giant hailstones weighing nearly 100 pounds plummet onto the planet. The plagues are so severe that the wicked’s hatred of God intensifies while the incorrigible continue to curse God.

The seven bowl or vial judgments are the final judgments of the tribulation period. They will be the most severe judgments the world has ever seen. The seven bowls are described in Revelation 16:1–21, where they are specifically called “the seven bowls of God’s wrath” (verse 1). Under the Antichrist, the wickedness of man has reached its peak, and it is met with God’s wrath against sin.

One of the angels of the seven bowl judgments then shows John the fate of Babylon the Great (Revelation 17), as God avenges “the blood of prophets and of God’s holy people, of all who have been slaughtered on the earth” (Revelation 18:24). The world mourns the fall of Babylon (chapter 18), but heaven rejoices (chapter 19). Jesus Christ then returns in glory to defeat the armies of the Antichrist at Armageddon (Revelation 19:11–21) and to set up His kingdom on earth (Revelation 20:1–6).

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