Friday, 10 October 2014

The Fertile Crescent

The Fertile Crescent

ONE OF THE central facts of human history is the early importance of the part of the Near East known as the Fertile Crescent

If you draw a line from the Nile River through the lower border of the Mediterranean and through the Tigris and Euphrates rivers , you'll get a crescent-shaped region around this line

This crescent-shaped region contains the comparatively moist and fertile land of an otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia

That area appears to have been the earliest site for a whole string of developments, including cities, writing, empires, and what we term (for better or worse) civilization

So civilization started here.


All those developments mentioned above sprang, in turn, from the dense human populations, stored food surpluses, and feeding of nonfarming specialists made possible by the rise of food production in the form of crop cultivation and animal husbandry

The Mediterranean climate was just suitable for crop cultivation and animal rearing, sedentary lifestyle and community development. Crucially, while some were engaged in these activities of daily living, it allowed other people to concentrate on the things associated with development and civilisation such as writing, carvings, arts and the building of empires

Note Canaan in that area in the maps ( thus a land 'flowing with milk and honey' makes more sense )

While my ancestors were still nomadic hunter-gatherers-moving from place to place, these dudes were settled and becoming civilised

Thus, with the coming of the Early Bronze Age (3200–2200 BCE) the first great civilizations emerged in proximity to the great rivers of the region, the Nile in Egypt, and the Tigris and Euphrates that define Mesopotamia (literally, the land between the two rivers) in modern Iraq.

In southern Mesopotamia, around the junction and mouth of the two rivers, the Sumerians are credited with the earliest known writing system, around 3200 B.C.E.

Egyptian civilization is almost as old as that of Sumer. A form of writing known as hieroglyphics first appears around 3100 B.C.E

Note that Canaan lies between these 2 great civilisations

Around 1400 B.c.E, the Kingdom of the Ugarit arose in Canaan

Israel emerged in the highlands of Canaan between 1250-1000 BCE (

Why is this bit of history important?

Israel didn't exist until about 1500 years after the great civilisations of Egypt, and more importantly, Mesopotamia ( as the latter spoke a language similar to the Semitic language of the Israelites )

This earlier civilisations had to have an influence on the history and the culture of the Israelites

This narrative is important for my future posts

In current usage, all definitions of the Fertile Crescent include Mesopotamia, the land in and around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The modern-day countries with significant territory within the Fertile Crescent are Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt, besides the southeastern fringe of Turkey and the western fringes of Iran.

Any body who's met an educated Egyptian or Iraqi or Iranian knows how proud these people can be. Their people were the first ones to be civilised. Even Caucasians ( Europeans) were still hunter gatherers when these people were forming communities

No comments:

Post a Comment