Kura-Araxes culture

Early trans-Caucasian culture


Kura-Araxes culture

Kura-Araxes branches of G2a2

Around the same time as the Indo-European ethnogenesis was taking shape in the Pontic Steppe during the Maykop (3700-3000 BCE) and Yamna (3500-2300 BCE) cultures, another Early Bronze Age society was developping on the other side of the Caucasus: the Kura-Araxes culture (3400-2000 BCE). Although the Kura-Araxes people were less militaristic and more sedentary, they also underwent a major expansion, first west to Anatolia, south to the Fertile Crescent and east toward the Iranian plateau, possibly all the way to Pakistan, where they would have influenced the Indus Valley Civilisation. It is likely that the descendants of the Kura-Araxes culture eventually colonised Greek islands, including Crete, where they would have founded the Minoan Civilisation (2600-1100 BCE), Europe's oldest civilisation.

During the Classical Antiquity ancient Greek islanders, who were descended in great part from the Minoans, colonised southern Italy, bringing their Kura-Araxes lineages with them.


c. 3500-3000 BC


c. 3000-2000 BC

 

Shulaveri-Shomu culture, c. 6000 BC - 4200 BC

Y-DNA J2a1 & G2a1

In around ca. 6000–4200 B.C the Shulaveri-Shomu and other Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Southern Caucasus were using local obsidian for tools; were raising animals such as cattle and pigs; and growing crops, including grapes. - Shulaveri-Shomu culture

  • Preceded by; Halaf - Hassuna culture
  • Followed by; Leyla-Tepe culture

 

Noah - Utnapishtim

Among the thousands of inscribed clay tablets that the British explorer Austen Henry Layard shipped to London in 1851 A.D. from a dig in northern Mesopotamia (Nineveh, modern Iraq) were the famous Black Obelisk of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (858-824 B.C.E.) and the library of King Assurbanipal (668-627 B.C.E.). In 1872, George Smith an assistant at the British Museum discovered on one of the tablets (Tablet XI) a story about a flood, written down in the seventh century B.C.E., that was strikingly similar to the Biblical story of Noah in Genesis 6-9.

Utnapishtim

Utnapishtim is a character in the Epic of Gilgamesh who is tasked by Enki (Ea) to abandon his worldly possessions and create a giant ship to be called The Preserver of Life. He was also tasked with bringing his wife, family, and relatives along with the craftsmen of his village, baby animals, and grains. The oncoming flood would wipe out all animals and humans that were not on the ship, a concept that was mirrored by the biblical story of Noah's Ark. After twelve days on the water, Utnapishtim opened the hatch of his ship to look around and saw the slopes of Mount Nisir, where he rested his ship for seven days. On the seventh day, he sent a dove out to see if the water had receded, and the dove could find nothing but water, so it returned. Then he sent out a swallow, and just as before, it returned, having found nothing. Finally, Utnapishtim sent out a raven, and the raven saw that the waters had receded, so it circled around, but did not return. Utnapishtim then set all the animals free, and made a sacrifice to the gods. The gods came, and because he had preserved the seed of man while remaining loyal and trusting of his gods, Utnapishtim and his wife were given immortality, as well as a place among the heavenly gods.


Gilgameš

In the epic, overcome with the death of his friend Enkidu, the hero Gilgamesh sets out on a series of journeys to search for his ancestor Utnapishtim (Xisouthros) who lives at the mouth of the rivers and has been given eternal life. Utnapishtim counsels Gilgamesh to abandon his search for immortality but tells him about a plant that can make him young again. Gilgamesh obtains the plant from the bottom of the sea in Dilmun (often considered to be current-day Bahrain) but a serpent steals it, and Gilgamesh returns home to the city of Uruk, having abandoned hope of either immortality or renewed youth.

 

Noah

Bez mane, bez greške, zdrav, bez ljage, netaknut..


Čiste i nečiste životinje

Jahve se pokaja i u svom srcu ražalosti što je načinio čovjeka na zemlji. Reče Jahve: "Ljude koje sam stvorio izbrisat ću s lica zemlje - od čovjeka do zvijeri, puzavce i ptice u zraku - jer sam se pokajao što sam ih napravio." Ali je Noa našao milost u očima Jahvinim. Ovo je povijest Noina: Noa je bio čovjek pravedan i neporočan u svom vremenu. S Bogom je Noa hodio. Tri su se sina rodila Noi: Šem, Ham i Jafet.

  • Neporočan - Tamiym, bez mane, bez greške, zdrav, bez ljage, netaknut..

U očima Božjim zemlja se bila iskvarila; nepravdom se napunila. I kad je Bog vidio kako se zemlja iskvarila - ta svako se biće na zemlji izopačilo - reče Bog Noi: "Odlučio sam da bude kraj svim bićima jer se zemlja napunila opačinom; i, evo, uništit ću ih zajedno sa zemljom.

Uzmi sa sobom od svih čistih životinja po sedam parova: mužjaka i njegovu ženku. Isto tako od ptica nebeskih po sedam parova - mužjaka i ženku - da im se sjeme sačuva na zemlji.

Od čistih životinja i od životinja koje nisu čiste, od ptica, od svega što zemljom puzi, uđe po dvoje - mužjak i ženka - u korablju s Noom, kako je Bog naredio Noi.

Prokletstvo Hama

Noini sinovi u Bibliji su prikazani kao "očevi" različitih naroda i rasa: Šem je praotac Semita; Jafet Arijaca; a Ham "Hamita" ili Afrikanaca. Priča je pretvorena u rasističku propagandu jer su se Semiti smatrali najboljima, Jafetiti su se smatrali dovoljno prikladnima za "boravak u šatorima Semita", dok su Hamiti trebali služiti kao robovi drugih dvaju naroda, kao kazna za Hama koji se izrugivao pijanom, golom Noi. Ne samo da je takva kazna apsurdno stroga, već Noa priča služi za opravdanje ropstva.

Tijekom Atlantic trgovine robljem, mnogi su kršćani počeli podučavati da su crni Afrikanci su bili potomci kanaansku, koristili su prokletstva Ham bi opravdali porobljavanje crne Afrikance. Ta veza je posebno jaka u "Crkvi Isusa Krista svetaca posljednjih dana, koji je kanonizirao u Knjigu Abrahama koji uči da je Kanaan je bio potomak Kaina. To je bila osnova za njihovu podršku ropstva i racionalno u nijekanju Afrikanci pristup njihovom svećenstvu.

 

Leyla-Tepe culture, c. 4350 - 4000 BC

Y-DNA J2a1, G2a1 & G2a2


Leyla-Tepe culture

  • Preceded by; Shulaveri-Shomu culture, Danubian culture
  • Followed by; Kura-Araxes culture

 

Kura-Araxes kultura, c. 4000 - 2000 BC

Noa, zemljoradnik, zasadio vinograd

Sinovi Noini, koji su iz korablje izišli, bijahu: Šem, Ham i Jafet. Ham je praotac Kanaanaca. (19) Ovo su trojica Noinih sinova i od njih se sav svijet razgranao. (20) Noa, zemljoradnik, zasadio vinograd. (21) Napio se vina i opio, pa se otkrio nasred šatora.

Current evidence suggests that wine originated in the Caucasus Mountains. This mountain range spans from Armenia through Azerbaijan, Georgia, northern Iran, and eastern Turkey, and contains some of the highest peaks in Europe. The ancient wine production evidence dates from between 8000 B.C. and 4100 B.C., and includes an ancient winery site in Armenia, grape residue found in clay jars in Georgia, and signs of grape domestication in eastern Turkey. The people who made the first wines were of the Shulaveri-Shomu culture. They were a people of the Stone Age who used obsidian for tools, raised cattle and pigs, and most importantly, grew grapes.

The oldest known winery (4100 B.C.) is located among a group of caves outside the Armenian village of Areni. The village is still known for winemaking and makes red wines with a local grape also called Areni. Areni is thought to be quite old, but whether or not it is actually the world’s first grape has yet to be determined.


We have the civilizations of Greece and Phoenicia to thank for the spreading of wine grapes throughout Europe.

From Caucasus, wine grapes have followed human civilization as it expanded southward and westward and into the Mediterranean. These sea-fairing civilizations of the Phoenicians and Greeks were the most responsible for the spread of wine throughout Western Europe. With each new region that was planted, the grapes slowly mutated and adapted to their unique environments. This slow divergence over thousands of years is what created the incredible diversity of over the 1300 identified wine varieties we have today.


There are 1368 identified wine varieties included in Wine Grapes (2012). Diversity appears to increase in areas like Italy (ancient Rome) and France, where wine has been an important facet of the culture.

 

Kartvelian languages

Y-DNA G2a1


Kartvelian languages

The Kartvelian languages (Georgian: ქართველური ენები, Kartveluri enebi, also known as Iberian and formerly South Caucasian

Iberians (Caucasian Iberians) - Iberians (Iberian Peninsula) - Habiru (Fertile Crescent)

Great Britain

The earliest known reference to the inhabitants of Britain seems to come from 4th century BC records of the voyage of Pytheas, a Greek geographer who made a voyage of exploration around the British Isles between 330 and 320 BC. Although none of his own writings remain, writers during the time of the Roman Empire made much reference to them. Pytheas called the islands collectively αἱ Βρεττανίαι (hai Brettaniai), which has been translated as the Brittanic Isles; he also used the term Pretannike. The peoples of these islands were called the Πρεττανοί (Prettanoi), Priteni, Pritani or Pretani. The group included Ireland, which was referred to as Ierne (Insula sacra "sacred island" as the Greeks interpreted it) "inhabited by the race of Hiberni" (gens hibernorum), and Britain as insula Albionum, "island of the Albions".

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which was originally compiled by the orders of King Alfred the Great in approximately 890, and subsequently maintained and added to by generations of anonymous scribes until the middle of the 12th century, starts with this sentence: "The island Britain is 800 miles long, and 200 miles broad, and there are in the island five nations: English, Welsh (or British, including the Cornish), Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. The first inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia, and first peopled Britain southward."

 

Trialeti culture, c. 2500 - 2000 BC

Y-DNA T1a


Trialeti culture

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 probably the Sumerians and Akkadian.

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

Preceded by; Kura-Araxes culture


Vinča - Ubaid, c. 4500 BC


Vinča - Ubaid

The original homeland of the Sumerians is unknown. We know that they are not local people because their language belongs to an isolated language group. During the 5th millennium B.C. a people known as the Ubaidians established settlements in the region later known as Sumer (Mesopotamia) It has been noticed that there are very clear similarities between the Ubaid artwork, and that of 'Old Europe' Vinca Culture which flourished c. 5,700 - 4,500 BC.


This bull was discovered in 1923 at Tell al-'Ubaid, close to the remains of the city of Ur. The bull was found among a group of objects at the foot of a mud brick platform that had originally supported a temple building dedicated to the goddess Ninhursag. The body of the bull originally had a wooden core, now decayed, which was covered in a thin layer of bitumen. Over this was hammered thin sheet copper (probably from Iran or Oman) secured with copper nails..


Painted jar dating from ca. 4500-4200 BC.

Later Ubaid: Wheel-made pottery often of a greenish hue, decorated with fine monochrome dark paint, used sparingly in broad black horizontal lines and simple curving shapes. Forms include large globular jars, shallow flaring bowls, round-bottomed bowls, and cups with flat bases. Below we have a painted jar dating from ca. 4500-4200 BC.

 

Lizard figurines


Vinča culture


So-called “Lizard” figurines, dating from ca. 4500 BC.
These figures were usually of women, slim, and often holding a child with an elongated head and slanted “coffee bean” eyes. Ears are not shown and the nose is only presented by two holes. Decoration is simple with bands of black/brown.


Ubaid figurine dated ca. 3500 BC.

 

Eridu c. 4500 BC


Eridu

Kad je Mahalalelu bilo šezdeset i pet godina, rodi mu se Jered. (16) Po rođenju Jeredovu Mahalalel je živio osam stotina i trideset godina te mu se rodilo još sinova i kćeri. (17) Mahalalel poživje u svemu osam stotina devedeset i pet godina. Potom umrije. (18) Kad je Jeredu bilo sto šezdeset i dvije godine, rodi mu se Henok.

  • JeredEridu
  • Henok = Anakim or Anunnaki

 

Enki - Ea


Enki

Enki was a deity in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Babylonian mythology. The name Ea is of Sumerian origin and was written by means of two signs signifying "house" and "water". Enki was the deity of water, intelligence, creation, and lord of the Apsu, the watery abyss.

Creation Myths

The main temple of Enki was the so-called e-engur-ra, the "house of the water-deep" in Eridu, which was in the wetlands of the Euphrates valley at some distance from the Persian Gulf - the Cradle of Civilization. His name is possibly an epithet bestowed on him for the creation of the first man, Adamu or Adapa.

He was the leader of the first sons of Anu who came down to Earth, playing a pivotal role in creating humans then saving them from the Deluge. According to Sumerian mythology, Enki allowed humanity to survive the Deluge designed to kill them. After Enlil and the rest of the Anunnaki, decided that Man would suffer total annihilation, he covertly rescued the human man Ziusudra by either instructing him to build some kind of an boat for his family, or by bringing him into the heavens in a magic boat. This is apparently the oldest surviving source of the Noah's Ark myth and other parallel Middle Eastern Deluge myths.

Flood Myths

Linked to flood myths, Enki was considered a god of life and replenishment, and was often depicted with streams of water emanating from his shoulders. Alongside him were trees symbolizing the male and female aspects of nature, each holding the male and female aspects of the 'Life Essence', which he, as apparent alchemist of the gods, would masterfully mix to create several beings that would live upon the face of the Earth.

Family

Enki's youngest son, Ningizzida, was Lord of the Tree of Truth, in Mesopotamia and played the role of Thoth in Egypt. The ancient Mystery School Teachings of Thoth were past down to his Initiates who became the priests. They hid the secret knowledge of creation, passing it down through the ages until their experiment was to end.

Symbols

Enki's emblem was two serpents entwined on a staff - the basis for the winged caduceus symbol used by modern Western medicine and the rod of Hermes. His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the Capricorn, which became one of the signs of the zodiac. Enki's sacred number is 40.

 

Šemovci

Šemu - praocu svih sinova Eberovih i starijem bratu Jafetovu - rodili se sinovi. Šemovi su sinovi: Elam, Ašur, Arpakšad, Lud i Aram.

A Aramovi su sinovi: Us, Hul, Geter i Maš.

Arpakšad rodi Šelaha, Šelah rodi Ebera. Eberu su se rodila dva sina: jednomu bješe ime Peleg, jer se za njegova vijeka zemlja razdijelila. Njegovu je bratu bilo ime Joktan. Od Joktana se rodiše: Almodad, Šelef, Hasarmavet, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Dikla, Obal, Abimael, Šeba, Ofir, Havila i Jobab. Sve su to sinovi Joktanovi. Njihova se naselja protezahu od Meše sve do Sefara, brdovitih krajeva na istoku. To su sinovi Šemovi prema svojim plemenima, jezicima i zemljama, po svojim narodima.

  • Elam - Elamo-Dravidian languages
  • Ašur - Semitic languages
  • Arpakšad - Heber (Iberians) - Kartvelian languages
  • Lud (Luwian) - Indo-European languages
  • Aram - Semitic languages


Luwian language

 

Man's golden age

The tablet (29.16.422 in the Nippur collection of the University Museum) is one of the unpublished pieces belonging to the Sumerian epic poem whose hero Enmerkar ruled in the city of Erech sometime during the fourth millennium B. C. The passage enclosed by the black line describes the blissful and unrivalled state of man in an era of universal peace before he had learned to know fear and before the "confusion of tongues"; its contents, which are very reminiscent of Genesis XI:1, read as follows:

In those days there was no snake, there was no scorpion, there was no hyena,
There was no lion, there was no wild dog, no wolf,
There was no fear, no terror,
Man had no rival.

In those days the land Shubur (East), the place of plenty, of righteous decrees,
Harmony-tongued Sumer (South), the great land of the "decrees of princeship,"
Uri (North), the land having all that is needful,
The land Martu (West), resting in security,
The whole universe, the people in unison,
To Enlil in one tongue gave praise.

 

Pobrkan govor svima

Sva je zemlja imala jedan jezik i riječi iste. (2) Ali kako su se ljudi selili s istoka, naiđu na jednu dolinu u zemlji Šinearu i tu se nastane. (3) Jedan drugome reče: "Hajdemo praviti opeke te ih peći da otvrdnu!" Opeke im bile mjesto kamena, a paklina im služila za žbuku. (4) Onda rekoše: "Hajde da sebi podignemo grad i toranj s vrhom do neba! Pribavimo sebi ime, da se ne raspršimo po svoj zemlji!" (5) Jahve se spusti da vidi grad i toranj što su ga gradili sinovi čovječji. (6) Jahve reče. "Zbilja su jedan narod, s jednim jezikom za sve! Ovo je tek početak njihovih nastojanja. Sad im ništa neće biti neostvarivo što god naume izvesti. (7) Hajde da siđemo i jezik im pobrkamo, da jedan drugome govora ne razumije." (8) Tako ih Jahve rasu odande po svoj zemlji te ne sazidaše grada. (9) Stoga mu je ime Babel, jer je ondje Jahve pobrkao govor svima u onom kraju i odande ih je Jahve raspršio po svoj zemlji.

Šinear = Sumer


Old Europe

Varna culture, c. 4400 - 4100 BC


A burial at Varna, with some of the world's oldest gold jewellery.


Varna culture

The Varna culture belongs to the late Eneolithic of northern Bulgaria. It is conventionally dated between 4,400-4,100 B.C, and is contemporary with Karanovo VI in the South. It is characterized by polychrome pottery and rich cemeteries, the most famous of which are at the Varna Necropolis, the eponymous site, and the Durankulak complex, which comprises the largest prehistoric cemetery in southeastern Europe (1,200 graves), with an adjoining coeval Neolithic settlement and an unpublished and incompletely excavated Chalcolithic settlement. Burial is normally flat on the back, sometimes covered with stones. Grave gifts include bracelets of Spondylus, carnelian beads, gold beads and pendants, and blades of blond balcanic flint. Over 3000 gold artifacts were found, with a weight of approximately 6 kilograms (over 13 lb.). Grave 43 contained more gold, than has been found in the entire rest of the world for that epoch.

 

 

Decline

The discontinuity of the Varna, Karanovo, Vinča and Lengyel cultures in their main territories and the large scale population shifts to the north and northwest are indirect evidence of a catastrophe of such proportions that cannot be explained by possible climatic change, desertification, or epidemics. Direct evidence of the incursion of horse-riding warriors is found, not only in single burials of males under barrows, but in the emergence of a whole complex of Indo-European cultural traits. The original term for: 'Castes' in India was: 'Varna', meaning: 'Color', cognate to French: 'Vernis', and Spanish: 'Barniz' (both= Varnish).

Some say that the Varna culture seems to have come to a sudden end around 4,100 B.C, which Henrietta Todorova believes was brought about by a dramatic climatic change. Others like M. Gimbutas (1991) disagrees, saying, "The discontinuity of the Varna, Karanovo, Vinča and Lengyel cultures in their main territories and the large scale population shifts to the north and northwest, are indirect evidence of a catastrophe of such proportions that it cannot be explained by possible climatic change, land exhaustion, or epidemics (for which there is no evidence in the second half of the 5th millennium B.C.). However, direct evidence of the incursion of horse-riding warriors is found, not only in single burials of males under barrows, but in the emergence of a whole complex of Kurgan (White Nomadic) cultural traits.

Followed by; Uruk period (Sumer)

 

Suvorovo culture, 4200 BC

The horse-head maces in graves in the Dnieper steppes and in the lower Danube valley


Suvorovo Culture 4200 BC

Graves of the Suvorovo type appeared in the drier, more open parts of lower Danube valley just before the tells of the "Old Europe" (Karanovo VI-Gumelnitsa-Varna cultures) were abandoned in neighboring regions. Polished stone zoomorphic maces were typical prestige objects in the steppes going back to Khvalynsk and Varfolomievka, but were absent from earlier Karanovo or Gumelniţa societies (Chapman 1999). Maces shaped into horse-heads probably were made by people for whom the horse was a powerful symbol. Horses averaged less than 6% of animal bones in "Old European" (Tripolye B1, Gumelniţa, and Karanovo) settlements, so were unimportant in Danubian diets. Horse-head maces signaled a new iconic status for horses in the Danube valley just when the Suvorovo graves appeared, 4200-4000 BCE, and just before the abandonment of hundreds of long-established tell settlements. Mounted raiding could have contributed to the collapse of "Old Europe."

 

Yamna-Maykop invasion


Yamna-Maykop invasion

 

Late neolitic in Europe, c. 4000 to 3500 BC - Eupedia

 

Varna decline 4100 BC - Followed Uruk period 4100 - 3100 BC

 
Old Europe (Varna culture) > Sumer (Uruk period)

 

Uruk period, 4100 - 3100 BC


Standardized, small, hand-made coarse ware bowl with a beveled rim that was clear quite a common piece.

Uruk pottery (ca. 4000-3100 BC) was a burnished or polished monochrome (red-slipped or grey) wares, typically utilitarian, undecorated (unlike earlier Ubaid painted pottery) and mass-produced (fast wheel-made). Jars of this period often have bulging bellies, large mouths, short necks, and occasionally tubular spouts on the shoulder. For example below we see a standardized, small, hand-made coarse ware bowl with a beveled rim that was clear quite a common piece. This was probably produced using a mould, and some experts have suggested that the standard size was associated with rationing of barley or bread.

Cuneiform script is an early form of writing that emerged in the so-called Uruk IV period (ca. 4000-3100 BC). Initially a pictographic representation, it became more abstract as the number of characters were simplified and reduced. It disappeared from use in the 2nd C, and was only deciphered in the 19th C. Cuneiform documents were written on clay tablets using a stylus made of a blunt reed to make wedge shaped symbols (cuneus is Latin for wedge). As with Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese ideograms cuneiform was not a language even if the Sumerians did assign word-sounds to the symbols. Later the Akkadians added their own words to the same cuneiform symbols. It probably disappeared from use because it was not an alphabetic way of writing, and could not really compete with the alphabetic systems of the Phoenicians or Greeks. The cuneiform is seen today as a tool for theocratic (priestly) rule born out of the economic necessity to keep track of the agricultural wealth of the city-states. Given the formal status of the cuneiform, they were often associated with a formal signature using a cylinder seal.

The example below dates from ca. 3000 BC and it contains the calculations of basic ingredients needed to produce cereal products, including different types of beer. It would appear the “fermented cereal juice” was very popular with the Sumerians. The reality is that the number systems and measurement units were not consistent, the quantities remained constant over decades so probably did not reflect reality, and no production processes or recipes are listed. So it is not sure that the juice could be called a beer, or that it contained any alcohol.

Dating and periodization

Periodization is after archaeological layers at Uruk. Thus, Uruk XVIII–XIV are not part of the "Uruk period" proper but are comprised by the Ubaid period. The Uruk period proper corresponds to the layers Uruk XIV–IV, with the late phase Uruk IV lasting ca. 3300–3100 BC. Uruk III reaches up to 3000 BC and into the Early Dynastic period.

Uruk expansion

Around 3600 BC, during the Middle Uruk period, Uruk trade networks started to expand to other parts of Mesopotamia, and as far as North Caucasus. According to archaeologist Konstantine Pitskhelauri, this expansion started even earlier, at the end of the 5th millennium BC, and continued in the 4th millennium.

Large masses of Uruk migrants settled in the South, and later in the North Caucasus. The sites in this general area include Habuba Kabira in Syria, and Arslantepe in Turkey. Uruk expansion to the northeast included sites like Godin Tepe in Iran. Tepe Gawra, in northwest Iraq, is another important site with deep stratigraphy that includes the Uruk period in later layers. Hamoukar is a large site in northeastern Syria that has been recently excavated; it includes Uruk and pre-Uruk layers.

Uruk enclaves have also been identified at Tell Brak and Nineveh in northern Mesopotamia, and on the Syrian Euphrates at Qrayya, and Jebel Aruda. On the Euphrates in Anatolia, Uruk enclaves were found at Hassek Hoyuk, Samsat, and Tepecik (Elazığ Province, near Keban Dam).

Early city-states

These early city-states had strong signs of government organization (though social stratification was not strongly evident until very late in this period and the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period, beginning around 3100 BC), evident even in items such as cheap, mass-produced beveled rim bowls which were made to be discarded. These bowls may have been handed out at community outings, such as large-scale constructions. The cities grew to cover up to 250 acres (1 km²) and supported up to 10,000–20,000 people by the end of the period.

End of the Uruk period

A few commentators have associated the end of the Uruk period with the climate changes linked to the Piora Oscillation, an abrupt cold and wet period in the climate history of the Holocene Epoch, another explanation given is the arrival of the East Semitic tribes represented by the Kish civilization.

  • Preceded by; Old Europe (Varna culture)

 

Central Iran, c. 4000 BC


Storage jar decorated with mountain goats (ibex) from Iran central and dated to early 4000 BC.

Chalcolithic vessels are unglazed bichrome pottery having a buff body decorated with dark paint. These early ceramics were made by hand in a variety of techniques, including coil, mold, and slab construction (the potters wheel had still not been invented). Decoration consists of geometric patterns, sometimes including motifs from nature. For example below we have storage jar decorated with mountain goats (ibex) from central Iran and dated to early 4000 BC.

 

Godin Tepe - Susa


Goblet and cup, Iran, Susa I style, 4th millennium BC

Susa II and Uruk influence

Susa came within the Uruk cultural sphere during the Uruk period. An imitation of the entire state apparatus of Uruk, proto-writing, cylinder seals with Sumerian motifs, and monumental architecture is found at Susa. According to some scholars, Susa may have been a colony of Uruk.

There is some dispute about the comparative periodization of Susa and Uruk at this time, as well as about the extent of Uruk influence in Susa. Recent research indicates that Early Uruk period corresponds to Susa II period.

D. T. Potts, argue that the influence from the highland Iranian Khuzestan area in Susa was more significant at the early period, and also continued later on. Thus, Susa combined the influence of two cultures, from the highland area and from the alluvial plains. Also, Potts stresses the fact that the writing and numerical systems of Uruk were not simply borrowed in Susa wholesale. Rather, only partial and selective borrowing took place, that was adapted to Susa's needs. Despite the fact that Uruk was far larger than Susa at the time, Susa was not its colony, but still maintained some independence for a long time, according to Potts. An architectural link has also been suggested between Susa, Tal-i Malyan, and Godin Tepe at this time, in support of the idea of the parallel development of the protocuneiform and protoelamite scripts.

Some scholars believe that Susa was part of the greater Uruk culture. Holly Pittman, an art historian at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia says, "they [Susanians] are participating entirely in an Uruk way of life. They are not culturally distinct; the material culture of Susa is a regional variation of that on the Mesopotamian plain". Gilbert Stein, director of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, says that "An expansion once thought to have lasted less than 200 years now apparently went on for 700 years. It is hard to think of any colonial system lasting that long. The spread of Uruk material is not evidence of Uruk domination; it could be local choice".

Followed by;  Proto-Elamite > Indus Valley Civilisation

 

Lactose tolerance in India

Y-DNA G2a, L-M20, T1a

The T*13910 variant is also found in North Africans. Thus it probably originated earlier than 7500 ya, in the Near East, but the earliest farmers did not have high levels of lactase persistence and did not consume significant amounts of unprocessed milk.

According to Gallego Romero et al. (2011), their research on lactose tolerance in India suggests that "the west Eurasian genetic contribution identified by Reich et al. (2009) principally reflects gene flow from Iran and the Middle East." Gallego Romero notes that Indians who are lactose-tolerant show a genetic pattern regarding this tolerance which is "characteristic of the common European mutation." According to Romero, this suggests that "the most common lactose tolerance mutation made a two-way migration out of the Middle East less than 10,000 years ago. While the mutation spread across Europe, another explorer must have brought the mutation eastward to India - likely traveling along the coast of the Persian Gulf where other pockets of the same mutation have been found." In contrast, Allentoft et al. (2015) found that lactose-tolerance was absent in the Yamnaya culture, noting that while "the Yamnaya and these other Bronze Age cultures herded cattle, goats, and sheep, they couldn’t digest raw milk as adults. Lactose tolerance was still rare among Europeans and Asians at the end of the Bronze Age, just 2000 years ago."

 

Near East and Indus River

"The Fertile Crescent in the Near East is one of the independent origins of the Neolithic, the source from which farming and pottery-making spread across Europe from 9,000 to 6,000 years ago at an average rate of about 1 km/yr. There is also strong evidence for causal connections between the Near-Eastern Neolithic and that further east, up to the Indus Valley"

This suggests that Neolith cultures spread out west and east from the Fertile Crescent. In the east from Syria/Iraq and Iran it moved into present day Pakistan. Then from the highlands in Western Pakistan it dropped down into the Indus Valley maturing to the great Indus Valley cities like Harappa and Mohenjo Daro.

"the available 14C data with the archaeological evidence for early Neolithic sites in South Asia to analyze the spatio-temporal continuity of the Neolithic dispersal from the Near East through the Middle East and to the Indian subcontinent. We reveal an approximately linear dependence between the age and the geodesic distance from the Near East, suggesting a systematic (but not necessarily uniform) spread at an average speed of about 0.65 km/yr."

Citation: Gangal K, Sarson GR, Shukurov A (2014) The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia. PLoS ONE 9(5): e95714. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095714
Editor: David Caramelli, University of Florence, Italy

Source > PLOS ONE: The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia

Western Pakistan is hilly plateau and in geographic terms continuation of the Iranian plateau. This area of Pakistan has lots of pre Indus Valley sites most famous of the Mehrgarh which as beenb dated to about 7,000 BCE well before Harappa or Mohenjo Daro sites on the Indus floodplain. The hilly plateau is proximal to the west bank of the Indus.

Source > Neolithic Site of Mehrgarh in Pakistan

Map below. Pre Indus sites on the plateau to the east of Indus are shown in red stars (these are just selection) in modern day Iran, Afghanistan and Western Pakistan. From this high ground neolithic cultures spread down east to the Indus River as shown in the arrows. Harappa and Mohenjo Daro (in diamond red) went on to become the defining cities of the Indus Valley Civilization all centred around the River Indus - which gave the civilizations it's name.

The average Neolithic dispersal speed graph.

The interaction between sites in the high plateau of Iran, Afghanistan, Western Pakistan and the verdant Indus River Basin in Pakistan has been known for some time.

"This paper presents a systematic review of the archaeological evidence for cultural interaction between the Helmand and the Indus during the 3rd millennium BCE. A series of artefacts found at Shahr-i Sokhta and nearby sites (Iranian Seistan) that were presumably imported from Baluchistan and the Indus domain are discussed, together with finds from the French excavations at Mundigak (Kandahar, Afghanistan)"

Cortesi, Maurisio Tosi,Alessandra Lazzari et al - Cultural Relationships beyond Iranian Pleateu, Helmand Civilization, Balochistan and the Indus River.

Source > Cultural Relationships beyond the Iranian Plateau: The Helmand Civilization, Baluchistan and the Indus Valley in the 3rd Millennium BCE on JSTOR

Here below is my map of tge early civilization's all of which have interaction and trade. This is based on Posi et al Map. BMAC is Bractrian Margiana Archaelogical Complex. The remarkable thing is almost all are based around great rivers. Nile-Egypt, Tigris/Euphrates-Mesoptotamia, Amu Darya-BMAC, Heland River-Helmand Complex, Indus River- Harappa/IVC.

Source > https://www.google.co.uk/search?neww....0.yj1EopI-bvI

The above map is based on Tosi et al 1979. The boundaries are approximate for obvious reasons.

Copyright: © 2014 Gangal et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Mesopotamia


Mesopotamia


Mesopotamia

Jedna od najstarijih civilizacija nastala je u Mezopotamiji (grč. međurječje). Nastala je između rijeka Eufrata i Tigrisa te anatolijskih i iranskih planina na sjeveroistoku, arapske pustinje na zapadu i Perzijskog zaljeva na jugu. Mezopotamijsko područje je u razdoblju od 4000. pr. Kr. do 1000. pr. Kr. dalo značajnu civilizaciju u kojoj su se izmjenjivali razni narodi: Sumerani, Akađani, Amorejci... Zajednička karakteristika naroda Mezopotamije je uporaba "najstarijeg" klinastog pisma kojeg su oni i izmislili. Sumerani su prvi tvorci ove visoko razvijene kulture.

 

Sumer


Sumer

  • Ubaid: 5300 - 4100 p.n.e. (Keramika neolitika do bakrenog doba)
  • Uruk razdoblje: 4100 - 2900 p.n.e.
    • Uruk XIV-V: 4100 - 3300 p.n.e.
    • Uruk IV razdoblje: 3300 - 3100 p.n.e.
    • Jemdet Nasr razdoblje (Uruk III): 3.100-2.900 p.n.e.
  • Rano dinastičko razdoblje
    • Rano dinastičkio razdoblje I: 2900-2800 p.n.e.
    • Rano dinastičkio razdoblje II: 2800-2600 p.n.e. (Gilgameš)
    • Rano dinastičkio razdoblje IIIa: 2600-2500 p.n.e.
    • Rano dinastičkio razdoblje IIIb: c. 2500-2334 p.n.e.
  • Akadsko Carstvo: c. 2334-2218 p.n.e. (Sargon)
  • Gutian razdoblje: c. 2218-2047 p.n.e.
  • Ur razdoblje III: c. 2047-1940 p.n.e.

Sumer was the southernmost region of ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq and Kuwait) which is generally considered the cradle of civilization. The name comes from Akkadian, the language of the north of Mesopotamia, and means “land of the civilized kings”. The Sumerians called themselves “the black headed people” and their land, in cuneiform script, was simply “the land” or “the land of the black headed people”. In the biblical Book of Genesis Sumer is known as Shinar. According to the Sumerian King List, when the gods first gave human beings the gifts necessary for cultivating society, they did so by establishing the city of Eridu in the region of Sumer. While the Sumerian city of Uruk is held to be the oldest city in the world, the ancient Mesopotamians believed that it was Eridu and that it was here that order was established and civilization began.


Sumer


Sumer

The Ubaid Period

The region of Sumer was long thought to have been first inhabited around 4500 BCE. This date has been contested in recent years, however, and it now thought that human activity in the area began much earlier. The first settlers were not Sumerians but a people of unknown origin whom archaeologists have termed the Ubaid people (from the excavated mound of al-Ubaid where the artifacts were uncovered which first attested to their existence) or the Proto-Euphrateans (which designates them as earlier inhabitants of the region of the Euphrates River).

Whoever these people were, they had already moved from a hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian one prior to 5000 BCE. Excavations from al-Ubaid and other sites throughout southern Iraq have uncovered stone tools from the Ubaid people such as hoes, knives, and adzes and clay artifacts which included sickles, bricks, painted pottery, and figurines. These people were the first agents of civilization in the region. At what point the people who came to be known as Sumerians entered the area is not known.

The Sumerian King List

Mesopotamians generally, and the Sumerians specifically, believed that civilization was the result of the gods’ triumph of order over chaos.

According to the Sumerian scholar Samuel Noah Kramer, “The first ruler of Sumer, whose deeds are recorded, if only in the briefest kind of statement, is a king by the name of Etana of Kish, who may have come to the throne quite early in the third millennium B.C. In the King List he is described as `he who stabilized all the lands’.” The Sumerian King List is a cuneiform document, written by a scribe of the city of Lagash, sometime around 2100 BCE which lists all of the kings of the region, and their accomplishments, in an attempt to show continuity of order in society dating back to the beginning of civilization.

As the Mesopotamians generally, and the Sumerians specifically, believed that civilization was the result of the gods’ triumph of order over chaos, the King List is thought to have been created to legitimize the reign of a king named Utu-Hegal of Uruk (who ruled c. 2100 BCE) by showing him as the most recent in a long line of rulers of the region. Etana is famous from the myth of the man who ascends to heaven on the back of an eagle and, like other kings mentioned in the list (Dumuzi and Gilgamesh among them) was known for superhuman feats and heroism. Utu-Hegal, it is thought, was trying to link himself to such earlier hero-kings through the creation of the King List. Since the Mesopotamians believed that the gods had set everything in motion, and that human beings were created as co-laborers with the gods to maintain order and hold back chaos, the early writers of history in the region concentrated more on the links between the rulers and their gods. Writing down the history of human accomplishments seems to have been considered a matter of little importance for these writers and, as a result, the early history of Sumer has been deduced from the archaeological and geological record more than a written tradition and much information is still unavailable to modern scholars.


Ruins of Ur

The Rise of Cities

Whenever the Sumerian civilization was first established in the region, by 3600 BCE they had invented the wheel, writing, the sail boat, agricultural processes such as irrigation, and the concept of the city (though China and India also lay claim to `the first cities’ in the world). It is generally accepted that the first cities in the world rose in Sumer and, among the most important, were Eridu, Uruk, Ur, Larsa, Isin, Adab, Kullah, Lagash, Nippur, and Kish. The city of Uruk is held to be the first true city in the world. It has been noted, again by Kramer, that these names are not Sumerian but come from the Ubaid people and so were founded, at least as villages, much earlier than c. 5000 BCE. Other cities in Sumer were Sippar, Shuruppak, Bad-tibira, Girsu, Umma, Urukag, Nina, and Kissura. All were of varying size and scope with Uruk the largest and most powerful at its prime.

With the establishment of the cities of Sumer, their history unfolds from approximately 5000 BCE to 1750 BCE when “the Sumerians ceased to exist as a people” (Kramer) after Sumer was invaded by the Elamites and Amorites. After the Ubaid Period (c. 5000-4100 BCE) came the Uruk Period (4100-2900 BCE) in which cities began to emerge across the landscape and the city of Uruk rose in prominence. Though the period is named for the `first city’ of Uruk, Eridu was considered the first city by the Sumerians themselves, as previously noted. Trade was firmly established with foreign lands at this time and writing evolved from pictograms to cuneiform script. It is thought that trade was the main motivator in the development of writing as there now had to be some means for accurate, long-distance, communication between the merchants of Sumer and their agents abroad. The kingship also arose at this time and the city-states of Sumer came to be ruled by a single monarch who was assisted by a council of elders (which included both men and women). The kings following Etana were Semites, not Sumerians, as attested to by their names such as Enmebaraggesi of Kish. It is not until after the rule of eight kings passed that Sumerian names begin to appear in the King List.


Map of Sumer and Elam

The Akkadian Empire in Sumer

The Early Dynastic Period (2900-2334 BCE) saw the subtle shift from a priest-king (known as an ensi) to a more modern-day concept of `king’ known as a Lugal (`big man’). The city-states of Sumer during this time fought for control of arable land and water rights until the rise of the First Dynasty of Lagash in 2500 BCE. Under their king Eannutum, Lagash became the centre of a small empire which included most of Sumer and parts of neighboring Elam. This empire was still extant under the king Lugal-Zage when a young man, who later claimed to have been the king’s gardener, seized the throne. This was Sargon of Akkad who would go on to found the Akkadian Empire (2334-2154 BCE), the first multi-national empire in the world and, it is thought, based on the model set by Eannutum. The Akkadian Empire ruled over the majority of Mesopotamia, including Sumer, until a people known as the Gutians invaded from the north (the area of modern-day Iran) and destroyed the major cities. The Gutian Period (c. 2154-2047 BCE) is considered a dark age in Sumerian history (and Mesopotamian history overall) and the Gutians were universally reviled by Sumerian writers in later histories, most of which consider them a punishment sent by the gods.

The Sumerian Renaissance

The last period in Sumerian history is known as The Ur III Period (2047-1940 BCE) so named for the Third Dynasty of the city of Ur. This period is also known as The Sumerian Renaissance due to the remarkable advances in culture – touching upon virtually every single aspect of civilized human life – which were made. The kings of Ur, Ur-Nammu and Shulgi, set cultural advancement as the goal of their administrations and maintained a peace which allowed for art and technology to flourish. Whether invented before or during the Ur III Period, the tools, concepts, and technological innovations in place during the Third Dynasty of Ur solidified the Sumerian’s place in history as the creators of civilization as we know it. In Samuel Noah Kramer’s book History Begins at Sumer he lists 39 “firsts’ in history from the region among which are the first schools, the first proverbs and sayings, the first messiahs, the first Noah and the Flood stories, the first love song, the first aquarium, the first legal precedents in court cases, the first tale of a dying and resurrected god, the first funeral chants, first biblical parallels, and first moral ideas. The Sumerians also essentially invented time in that their sexigesimal system of counting (a system based on the number 60) created the 60-second minute and the 60-minute hour. They also divided the night and day into periods of 12 hours, set a limit on a `work day’ with a time for beginning and ending, and established the concept of `days off’ for holidays. The historian Bertman writes, “The hand of Mesopotamia still determines the hourly length of the traditional workday and even the length of our electronic entertainment (half-hour or hour TV shows) when our workday has stopped” (334). Bertman further notes that the modern day practice of checking one’s horoscope comes from ancient Sumer and that the astrological signs one is born under were first noted and named by the ancient Mesopotamians.


A Sumerian Wall Plaque Showing Libation Scenes

Ur-Nammu wrote the first legal code in Sumer which became the precedent for the much later, and better known, Code of Hammurabi of Babylon. The historian Paul Kriwaczek writes, “Ur-Nammu’s universal legal pronouncements present a good example of the unifying drive of Ur’s kings: the compulsion to regulate every aspect of life” (149). Sumer, under the unifying force of the Third Dynasty of Ur, became a Patrimonial State (“meaning one constructed on the pattern of the patriarchal family ruled by a father figure”, as Kriwaczek notes) in which the monarch served as the father figure who guided his children along a proper path toward prosperity. Ur-Nammu’s son, Shulgi, is considered the greatest of the Neo-Sumerian kings who continued his father’s policies but went further. In an effort to both impress his people, and distinguish himself from his father, Shulgi ran 100 miles (160.9 kilometres) between the religious centre of Nippur and the capital city of Ur and back again – in one day – in order to officiate at the festivals in both cities. Though some have considered the hymn which recounts his achievement as a kingly boast and highly exaggerated, scholars have determined that he could, in fact, have made his famous run and, further, that it was in keeping with the spirit of Shulgi’s rule. Creating a sense of awe and admiration in their subjects seems to have been central to the governing power of the kings of Ur at this time.

Sumer's Decline & Legacy

Under Shulgi’s reign, a wall was constructed 155 miles long (250 kilometres) to keep out the Semitic-speaking tribes known as the Martu or Tidnum but better known by their biblical name of Amorites. Shulgi’s son, grandson, and great-grandson all renovated and strengthened the wall to keep those they called `the barbarians’ out of Sumer proper but the barrier proved ineffective. The wall could not be properly manned or maintained and, further, was not anchored to any solid barrier at the end points and so invaders could simply follow the wall on the one side to either end point and then walk around it. The forces of neighboring Elam breached the wall and marched on Ur, sacking it and carrying away the king.

Following the Ur III Period and the fall of Ur, many Sumerians migrated north. Sumerian was no longer spoken as a language (though it was still written), having been largely replaced by the Semitic Akkadian, and the Sumerian culture was ended. Their legacy, however, continues in many aspects of civilization which those in the modern day take for granted as always existing. Even so, something as basic as the twenty-four hour day was invented, once upon a time, in Sumer.

 

Sumerani

Zapanjujuća činjenica o Sumeranima je da su znali da godina ima 365 dana, 6 sati i 11 minuta, što se od današnjih proračuna razlikuje samo tri minute! Podijelili su dan na 86400 sekundi, dakle, 24 sata od 60 minuta sa po 60 sekundi. Pisali su tvrdim pisaljkama na glinenim pločicama pa je njihovo pismo nazvano klinasto pismo.

Pretpostavlja se da su Sumerani napisali prvi knjige na svijetu, da su znali za statički elektricitet i električnu energiju. Imali su znanje iz područja optike, a moguće je da su znali i za mikroskop. Njihovo znanje iz astronomije bilo je ne odlično, nego izvanredno. Znali su za Uran i Neptun, mada se Uran samo ponekad može vidjeti golim okom, dok se Neptun ne može vidjeti. Sumerani su znali da se sve planete i njihovi sateliti istog datuma i u istoj točki svakih 2268 miliona dana tj. svakih 6300 godina od 360 dana nalaze u istoj ravnini na nebu. Ali naravno to nije sve od njihovog astronomskog znanja. Kao što smo već rekli njihovo astronomsko znanje je ogromno, pa je logično da ono nije ograničilo samo na naš planetarni sustav. Oni su poznavali i zagonetno zviježđe Sirijus B koje je otkriveno tek 1862. godine i to teleskopom s promjerom od 40 cm. I opet, po stoti put se moramo pitati kako su oni mogli vidjeti nešto što smo mi tek uspjeli vidjeti prije gotovo 150 godina?

Prema zapisima koje su nam ostavili Sumerani, Anunnaki su došli na Zemlju radi vađenja ruda. Vladar Anunnakija zvao se Anu i imao je sina Enkija koji je bio glavni znanstvenik. Shvatio je da je to pretežak posao za njegove ljude pa je dao svome sinu zadatak. Enki je od svog oca dobio zadatak da stvori novo biće, roba radnika. Biće je moralo biti dovoljno napredno da obavlja složene poslove. Nakon mnogo neuspjeha, Enki je uspio. Stvorio je Homo sapiensa.

Vođe Anunnakija bili su zadovoljni te su ih stavili da rade u rudnicima. No Enki je želio više. Želio je stvoriti biće po svom ugledu, slično ne samo fizički nego i mentalno, intelektualno, emotivno i duhovno. Ostali Anunnakiji bili su ljuti i pokušali su uništiti Enkijevu kreaciju.

Drevni narodi smatrali su da su njihovi Bogovi besmrtni. No njihova tzv.besmrtnost je bio njihov dug životni vijek.

 

Enki - Enlil


Enki - Enlil

  • Enki = Silvan Y-DNA I2a
  • Enlil = Boreas (Hyperborea) Lake Baikal Y-DNA R-V88

 

The Sumerian Sciences

Writing (Cuneiform) - The Sumerian writing known as cuneiform is often (mistakenly) cited as the oldest writing in the world. It was achieved by pressing a 'stylus' made of reed or wood into soft clay tablets. The first signs were pictographic, later improved upon by the Babylonians, who created a syllabic script.

A strong link has been shown to exist between the scripts of the 'Old Europe' Vinca culture and the Sumerians. It was long assumed that the Sumerians were the originators of writing, but recent archaeology has shown that the Vinca existed c. 6,000 - 3,500 BC, with evidence of the Vinca 'proto' script from as early as 5,500 BC. This evidence clearly suggests that the Vinca were the originators of script, and not the Sumerians, to whom they apparently passed it on during their mass migration following the collapse of their 2,000 year old civilisation.


Associated with writing is the development of cylinder-seals, which were also a Sumerian invention.
The first written documents, from around 3,500 BC, are receipts and lists of items.

Amongst the thousands of cuneiform clay tablets discovered, there are three major Sumerian texts left to us; The Epic of Creation (Enuma Elish), The Epic of the Flood and The Epic of Gilgamesh.

The discovery of both Sumerian and Indus valley seals demonstrates a level of communication between the two great cultures. Both of which disappeared overnight at around the same time.

The earliest known epic poetry is that of the Sumerians. Its origin has been traced to a preliterate heroic age, not later than 3000 bce, when the Sumerians had to fight, under the direction of a warlike aristocracy, for possession of this fertile Mesopotamian land. Among the extant literature of this highly gifted people are fragments of narrative poems recounting the heroic deeds of their early kings: Enmerkar, Lugalbanda, and Gilgamesh. By far the most important in the development of Mesopotamian literature are the five poems of the Epic of Gilgamesh. This cycle tells the odyssey of a king, Gilgamesh, part human and part divine, who seeks immortality. A god who dislikes his rule, fashions a wild man, Enkidu, to challenge him. Enkidu first lives among wild animals, then goes to the capital and engages in a trial of strength with Gilgamesh, who emerges victorious. The two, now friends, set out on various adventures, in one of which they kill a wild bull that the goddess of love had sent to destroy Gilgamesh because he spurned her marriage proposal. Enkidu dreams the gods have decided he must die for the death of the bull, and, upon awakening, he does fall ill and die. Gilgamesh searches for a survivor of the Babylonian flood to learn how to escape death. The survivor shows him where to find a plant that renews youth, but after Gilgamesh gets the plant it is snatched away by a serpent. Gilgamesh returns, saddened, to his capital.

 

Cuneiform

Cuneiform is a system of writing first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia c. 3500-3000 BCE. It is considered the most significant among the many cultural contributions of the Sumerians and the greatest among those of the Sumerian city of Uruk which advanced the writing of cuneiform c. 3200 BCE. The name comes from the Latin word cuneus for 'wedge' owing to the wedge-shaped style of writing. In cuneiform, a carefully cut writing implement known as a stylus is pressed into soft clay to produce wedge-like impressions that represent word-signs (pictographs) and, later, phonograms or `word-concepts' (closer to a modern day understanding of a `word'). All of the great Mesopotamian civilizations used cuneiform (the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Elamites, Hatti, Hittites, Assyrians, Hurrians and others) until it was abandoned in favour of the alphabetic script at some point after 100 BCE.

Early Cuneiform

The earliest cuneiform tablets, known as proto-cuneiform, were pictorial, as the subjects they addressed were more concrete and visible (a king, a battle, a flood) but developed in complexity as the subject matter became more intangible (the will of the gods, the quest for immortality). By 3000 BCE the representations were more simplified and the strokes of the stylus conveyed word-concepts (honour) rather than word-signs (an honourable man). The written language was further refined through the rebus which isolated the phonetic value of a certain sign so as to express grammatical relationships and syntax to determine meaning. In clarifying this, the scholar Ira Spar writes:

This new way of interpreting signs is called the rebus principle. Only a few examples of its use exist in the earliest stages of cuneiform from between 3200 and 3000 B.C. The consistent use of this type of phonetic writing only becomes apparent after 2600 B.C. It constitutes the beginning of a true writing system characterized by a complex combination of word-signs and phonograms—signs for vowels and syllables—that allowed the scribe to express ideas. By the middle of the Third Millennium B.C., cuneiform primarily written on clay tablets was used for a vast array of economic, religious, political, literary, and scholarly documents.

The great literary works of Mesopotamia such as the famous Epic of Gilgamesh were all written in cuneiform.


Golden Earrings From King Shulgi

Cuneiform Literature

The great literary works of Mesopotamia such as the Atrahasis, The Descent of Inanna, The Myth of Etana, The Enuma Elish and the famous Epic of Gilgamesh were all written in cuneiform and were completely unknown until the mid 19th century CE, when men like the brilliant translator George Smith (1840-1876 CE) and Henry Rawlinson (1810-1895 CE) deciphered the language and translated it into English. Rawlinson's translations of Mesopotamian texts were first presented to the Royal Asiatic Society of London in 1837 CE and again in 1839 CE. In 1846 CE he worked with the archaeologist Austin Henry Layard in his excavation of Nineveh and was responsible for the earliest translations from the library of Ashurbanipal discovered at that site. George Smith was responsible for deciphering The Epic of Gilgamesh and in 1872 CE, famously, the Mesopotamian version of the Flood Story, which until then was thought to be original to the biblical Book of Genesis.

Along with other Assyriologists (among them, T. G. Pinches and Edwin Norris), Rawlinson spearheaded the development of Mesopotamian language studies, and his Cuneiform Inscriptions of Ancient Babylon and Assyria, along with his other works, became the standard reference on the subject following their publication in the 1860's CE and remain respected scholarly works into the modern day. George Smith, regarded as an intellect of the first rank, died on a field expedition to Nineveh in 1876 CE at the age of 36. Smith, a self-taught translator of cuneiform, made his first contributions to deciphering the ancient writing in his early twenties, and his death at such a young age has long been regarded a significant loss to the advancement in translations of cuneiform in the 19th century CE.

 

Astronomy

The Sumerians are amongst the first people to leave sophisticated records of their astronomical observations. Their fascination with the heavens is apparent in the large number of seals and cuneiform tablets unearthed of an astronomical nature.

The Sumerians were the first to divide both space and time by units of six.

The modern division of the year into 12 months, the 24 hours of each day, the division of hours into 60 minutes and 60 seconds, and the divisions of the circle/sphere by 360 degrees, each composed of 60 minutes and 60 seconds of an arc, are all Sumerian developments. This same division by units of six has been observed at several of prominent British megaliths.

Aubrey Burl said of it:

'From Brodgar, where there was once 60 stones, to the Stripple stones with a probable thirty, the builders may have counted in multiples of six. Stennes had twelve. The inner and outer rings at Balfarg have been computed at twenty-four and twelve respectively. Twenty-four has been suggested for Cairnpappel, thirty-six for Arbor Low, and the same number for the devils quoits'.

 
The Sumerians were also aware of the importance of Pleiades, showing it in several seals and images.

In addition to being thought of as the seven great gods gathered together, the morning setting of Pleiades was used to mark the beginning and end of the agricultural year.

The Sumerians called the twelve major zodiacal constellations the 'Shiny Herd'.

Sumerian Translation Modern name
GU.AN.NA
MASH.TAB.BA
DUB  
UR.GULA 
AB.SIN
ZI.BA.AN.NA
GIR.TAB
PA.BIL (Archer)
SUHUR.MASH
GU
SIM.MAH
KU.MAL
Heavenly Bull
Twins
Pincers, Tongs
Lion
Her father was Sin
Heavenly Fate
Which claws and cuts
Defender
Goat-Fish
Lord of the waters
Fishes
Field dweller
Taurus
Gemini
Cancer
Leo
Virgo
Libra
Scorpio
Sagittarius
Capricorn
Aquarius
Pisces
Aries


Possible 'Cardinal' animals. From Susa. c. 3,000 B.C.

 
This cylinder seal (VA/243 -State Museum, East Berlin), shows a 'star' with several (eleven) planets surrounding it. However, as there are no known records of the Sumerians having knowledge of any more than five planets in our solar-system the jury's out over what it represents.

 

Beer Brewing

Article: The Independent. 22nd March 1997.

Chemical analysis has identified a 6,000-year-old brewery at an archaeological site in what is now modern Iran. The evidence, which was published recently in the scientific journal Nature, suggests that fermentation of barley was first practised in Sumer - southern Babylonia - between 4000 and 3000 BC. The Sumerian civilisation occupied the flood plain between the lower Tigris and Euphrates rivers, land that is today mainly shared by Syria and Iraq. One of the oldest literate civilisations, the Sumerians had a sophisticated system of agriculture, in which irrigation was used to grow cereal crops, including barley.

Towards the end of last year, archaeologists found a jar from the late fourth millennium BC at Goden Tepe (just inside the border of Iran). It has grooves containing traces of calcium oxalate, the main component of 'beerstone', a substance that settles on the surfaces of storage tanks of fermented drinks brewed from barley. The only other foodstuffs to contain an appreciable amount of oxalates are spinach and rhubarb, neither of which plays a key part in the human diet.

The archaeologists working on this ancient artefact, Rudolph Michel and Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania, and Virginia Badler of the University of Toronto, have concluded that it was used as a vessel for a fermented barley drink. If this is indeed the case, then they have stumbled across the earliest record of such brewing in history.


Sumerian bull lyre

"Oduvijek smo znali" - objašnjava ekipa sa Berkleva - " da je u ranijoj asirsko - babilonskoj civilizaciji postojala glazba, ali dok nismo odgonetnuli note nismo znali da se radilo o istoj ljestvici od sedam dijatonskih tonova koja je karakteristična za suvremenu zapadnu glazbu, i grčku glazbu prvog tisućljeća pr.n.e." Do sada se smatralo da je zapadna glazba porijeklom iz Grčke: sada je ustanovljeno da naša glazba, kao i glazba zapadne civilizacije, potječe iz Mezopotamije.

   

To nas ne bi trebalo čuditi, jer je već grčki učenjak Filon izjavio kako su Mezopotamci bili poznati po tome što "traže svjetski sklad i slogu preko glazbenih tonova".

Nema sumnje da Sumeranima možemo pripisati prvenstvo u pitanjima glazbe i pjesme. Profesor Crocke je konstruirao liru poput one pronađene u ruševinama Ura i na njoj uspio odsvirati drevnu melodiju.

 

Ninhursag

Ninhursag, also known as Damgalnuna or Ninmah, was the ancient Sumerian mother goddess of the mountains, and one of the seven great deities of Sumer. She is principally a fertility goddess. Temple hymn sources identify her as the "true and great lady of heaven" (possibly in relation to her standing on the mountain) and kings of Sumer were "nourished by Ninhursag's milk". Sometimes her hair is depicted in an omega shape and at times she wears a horned head-dress and tiered skirt, often with bow cases at her shoulders. Frequently she carries a mace or baton surmounted by an omega motif or a derivation, sometimes accompanied by a lion cub on a leash. She is the tutelary deity to several Sumerian leaders.

Ninmah ("Great Queen"); Nintu ("Lady of Birth"); Mamma or Mami (mother).


Nintu with their early failures to fashion proper workers

Nin-hursag means "lady of the sacred mountain" (from Sumerian NIN "lady" and ḪAR.SAG "sacred mountain, foothill", possibly a reference to the site of her temple, the E-Kur (House of mountain deeps) at Eridu. She had many names including Ninmah ("Great Queen"); Nintu ("Lady of Birth"); Mamma or Mami (mother); Aruru, Belet-Ili (lady of the gods, Akkadian)


Ninhursag Enki

Possibly included among the original mother goddesses was Damgalnuna (great wife of the prince) or Damkina (true wife), the consort of the god Enki. The mother goddess had many epithets including shassuru or 'womb goddess', tabsut ili 'midwife of the gods', 'mother of all children' and 'mother of the gods'. In this role she is identified with Ki in the Enuma Elish. She had shrines in both Eridu and Kish.

 

Ninhursag - Hathor


Hathor

 

Hathor's Sistrum

Perhaps one of the main cult objects associated with Hathor was the sistrum, a musical rattle. Its name is derived from the Greek, seiein, meaning "to shake".

The sound of the sistrum is metallic, produced by a number of metal disks or squares, strung onto a set of transverse bars, set horizontally into a frame of varying design. Its sound was thought to echo that of a stem of papyrus being shaken. However, the acoustic effects were frequently extremely limited. The sistrum was suitable for beating a rhythmical accompaniment in open-air processions. Apuleius, the Roman philosopher, described a procession in honor of Isis, in The Golden Ass, where the rhythmic pattern was three beats followed by a pause on the fourth. The sound of the instrument seems to have been regarded as protective and also symbolic of divine blessing and the concept of rebirth. In addition to the symbolic significance of its sound, the shape and decoration of the sistrum relate it to the divine.

Two forms of this ceremonial instrument may be distinguished, the oldest of which is probably the naos sistrum (ancient Egyptian ss, ssst). While Hathor's head was often depicted on the handles of sistrum, an early travertine sistrum inscribed with the name of the 6th Dynasty ruler, Teti, takes the form of a papyrus topped by a naos, which is itself surmounted by a falcon and cobra, thus forming a rebus of the name Hathor (i.e. hwt Hor). Thus, the sistrum known as the naos sistrum dates back to at least the Old Kingdom. It was usually surmounted by twin heads of Hathor upon which a small shrine or naos-shaped box was set. A vulture may crown the naos, and the handle may be covered with the incised plumage of the bird. Rods were passed through the sides of this naos to form the rattle. Carved or affixed spirals framing the sides of the naos represented the horns of the cow-eared goddess. Note that this earliest form of sistrum was often made of faience.

Most surviving sistrum usually date to the Greco-Roman Period, when a second type of sistrum was common. It is referred to as a hooped (or arched) sistrum, known in ancient Egypt as shm or ib. It is known from the 18th Dynasty onward, though it seems to be based on earlier prototypes for which we have the hieroglyphic designation but no depictions. This instrument consisting of a handle surmounted by a simple metal hoop. The handle could be either plain, in the shape of a papyrus stem, which was most common, or in the shape of a miniature column adorned with the head of the goddess Hathor. However, the god Bes might also be molded as part of the handle. Like the naos-style sistrum, metal rods set into this hoop supported small metal disks or squares which produced a characteristic tinkling sound when the instrument was shaken. Because of its basic form, this type of sistrum was often made in the shape of the ankh or "life" sign and carried that hieroglyph's significance. These types of sistrums were most frequently made of bronze.

In a funerary context, sistrum could sometimes be included in the tomb equipment, but were frequently non-functional, and made of wood, stone or faience.

The symbolic value of the sistrum far exceeded its musical potential. It is thought that the instrument may have originated in the practice of shaking bundles of papyrus flowers (hence the onomatopoeic name sesheshet) with which Hathor was associated. In fact, the papyrus plant appears to be at the base of the mythology surrounding the sistrum. It is from a papyrus thicket that Hathor is seen to emerge, and it is also in a papyrus thicket where Isis raised her infant son, Horus. Hence, though originally mostly associated with Hathor, the sistrum eventually entered the cults of other deities and especially those of Amun and Isis.

The decoration sometimes included the royal uraeus (cobra), referring to the myth of the solar Eye. In this myth, Hathor is in her role as the rebellious daughter of Re, to be appeased by music and dance. Based on this proven effect of the instrument, the sistrum was, from the New Kingdom on, the instrument that pacified and satisfied any deity, whether female such as Hathor, or male. In the Temple of Amun-Re at Karnak, a noas-shaped sistrum was a prime cult object, perhaps through its connections to Hathor, who sometimes represented the female procreative element needed to sustain Amun-Re's virility. In Late Period representations, the sistrum was held by priestesses adoring the deity face to face. This intimacy was a female prerogative. Other deities, too, benefited from the presence of the sistrum.

As the sistrum reflected in such a visible manner the presence of the gods, it is no wonder that during the Amarna Period, it was virtually deprived of decoration, except for the papyrus handle. But it is significant that it was held by the queen or the princesses during the cult of Aten, the sun disk. The instrument belonged in the realm of cosmic deities. According to the ancient Greek historian Plutarch, the sistrum's arch was the lunar cycle, the bars were the elements, the twin Hathor heads rendered life and death and the cat, often included in the decoration, was the moon.

Many of these instruments carry the names of royal persons. When the sistrum is depicted, it was often in the hands of royal family members. In the Story of Sinuhe, we learn that the princesses received him with music and song. The musical instruments were not refined wind or string instruments, but the sistrum. In the Westcar papyrus, when the goddesses dress up as itinerant musicians to gain access to the birth chamber of the mother of the children of Re, they too accompany themselves only with the sistrum.

However, it is with Hathor, her son Ihy (sometimes represented by the king) and her attendants that the instrument is associated in most representational contexts. Apart from the exceptions mentioned, the sistrum appears to have been used only by the priestesses of the cults with which it was associated and its use, at least in certain circumstances, seems to have carried erotic or fertility connotations probably based on the mythological character of Hathor. The small gilt shrine of Tutankhamun has several scenes showing the use of the sistra in this context. On the inner side of the shrine's right-hand door, for example, Queen Ankhesenamun is depicted holding a hoop-type sistrum and wearing the cow horns and solar disk of the goddess. In another scene the queen holds a naos-type sistrum and proffers the menit necklace, a heavy necklace that when grasped by its inverted keyhole shaped counterpoise, would produce a variant rattling sound, frequently associated with the use of sistra.

In more remote times, such as the religious feats celebrated in Thebes during the New Kingdom, we also find groups of women shaking sistrums in honor of the divine procession. These celebrations were for Amun-Re, such as the Opet festival depicted on the walls of the Luxor Temple or the Valley Festival (Beautiful Feast of the Valley) rendered in countless Theban tombs. The world of the funerary cult is depicted in the Valley Festival, for the sistrum is seen presented to the tomb owner and his wife by their daughters. In fact, "bringing" and "receiving" were the key words, rather than making music or maintaining a beat, for the blessings that Hathor bestowed, of well-being and eternal life, were the focus of the ceremony. The scenes show the sistrum often carried by its look, looking similar to the ankh, the sign of life, of which it may be seen to be an equivalent.

Closely connected with the sistrum playing is Ihy, the infant born of the union between the sky goddess Hathor of Dendera and the god of light Horus of Edfu. Through his music he performed the part of intermediary between the adorer and the goddess.

The distinctive shape of the instrument is found in many contexts ranging from minor objects of mortuary significance to the columns of temples such as the Temple of Hathor at Dendera. These columns are surmounted not only by images of the cow-eared goddess, but also, above these Hathor Heads, the form of a shrine or naos. Thus, in their shafts and capitals, such columns mirror the shape of the naos sistrum. A similar application of the motif is found in the shape of many of the small shrines which were offered to the gods by the devout.

During the Greco-Roman Period, the use of the sistrum spread beyond the borders of Egypt with the cult of Isis wherever the Romans went. The use of the sistrum has survived in the Coptic church, were it is directed at the four cardinal points, to demonstrate the extent of God's creation.

 

 

Ninhursag symbol

Omega Ω

Her symbol, resembling the Greek letter omega Ω, has been depicted in art from approximately 3000 BC, although more generally from the early second millennium BC. It appears on some boundary stones-on the upper tier, indicating her importance. The omega symbol is associated with the Egyptian cow goddess Hathor, and may represent a stylized womb. The symbol appears on very early imagery from Ancient Egypt. Hathor is at times depicted on a mountain, so it may be that the two goddesses are connected.


Ninhursag

Orpheus


Hermes lyre


Nikola Tesla's idea of a flag Illyria should have.


Hermes lyre - Orpheus

Maykop culture Index Back to Africa